Thimbron

June 18, 2020

Crawling btcbase.org/log

Filed under: bitcoin, irc, search — thimbronion @ 2:06 a.m.

The results for lekythion’s first crawl of btcbase.org are in. The index created is not of much use due to the crawler being blocked by many sites including archive.is, reddit and tardstalk for not complying with the robots.txt files.

Nevertheless I now have a comprehensive list of links from the #trilema logs. I think the index should include the logs themselves, but it might be convenient to be able to compartmentalize crawling external links into a separate task/configuration.

June 8, 2020

The Voice of Trilema

Filed under: bitcoin, irc, rhetoric — thimbronion @ 5:52 p.m.

Now that I’ve been reading Trilema (successfully or not) for about six years, I thought I’d take some time to comment on the style and voice of the English portion of the the blog.

His voice is distinctive in many ways, but some of the distinctive features that most stand out to me are mircea_popescu’s frequent use of the 2nd person and the the use of graphic sexual metaphor to illustrate many, many concepts.

Given the prominence of this person in his writing, it wouldn’t be a waste of time to think a little bit about who exactly is “you.”

Is it really me, the person reading? In many cases yes, if I go by his qualifications - those usually being something along the lines of either not having read some text or not having some particular thought on my own by my late teens. The interesting thing is, after time, if I come back and read an article again, the “you” is less and less me, and more someone else, and the article begins to feel off - because I’ve likely read the text or internalized the thought by that point.

Whoever the “you” is, mircea_popescu in this voice at least plainly holds the reader in contempt. I think this is intended as a form of rhetoric. In other words he’s using this voice to evoke particular emotions in the reader for persuasive purposes. Whoever the reader is he is in a miserable state and is absolutely responsible for being in this state and is responsible as well for his parents and grandparents sucking and so forth. There is no quarter given, without exception, except perhaps to those who realize their worthlessness and die either by their own hand or in some highly risky endeavor1. Now I have to be careful here because I know it’s impossible to know what someone else is thinking, and I certainly don’t want to appear to be making that claim. I am only speculating. In any case, I speculate that the intended effect of this use of rhetoric is to arouse a feeling of shame. Shame is painful. “You” are to be spurred on by this pain. “You” are to do whatever is necessary to deal with the pain. In my observations of some others reading Trilema, this pain turns them immediately away and they never come back. Others, such as myself, somehow either become addicted to the pain, or perhaps keep reading on to find some sort of salvation from it2.

As for the frequent use of graphic sexual metaphor mircea_popescu himself explains why he prefers this style. I suspect this rhetoric also is meant to instill pain in many readers, and perhaps levity in others. Either way it is memorable, and I can’t think of any other writer using sexual metaphor to this extent.

Another aspect of his style that I’d like to comment on is the … finality, the unforgivingness. Read any article and there is a very good chance he’ll make you aware of a mistake you’ve made that can never, ever be corrected, only regretted. It is interesting to contrast this with other writers in the Anglosphere today, where there is endless redemption to be found.

And while there is doubtless much more to be said, this is all my cup of chai will allow me to put forth today.

  1. Not that it matters but I don’t particularly disagree with this attitude []
  2. Pain itself in various forms is a major theme in Trilema articles and it makes sense that given the significance of pain’s role in mp’s thoughts on education, reading Trilema itself would be painful []

May 24, 2020

Exploring WoT Search Project

Filed under: WoT, bitcoin, irc, search — thimbronion @ 3:26 p.m.

I am in the process of exploring working on a WoT search bot. At the moment I don’t know how exactly to make a “WoT” search bot. I did a little searching of the logs, and this line from trinque aligns most with my own itch. Some possibilities:

  1. Everyone has their own search bot that searches sites they specify (presumably in their WoT).

  2. Anyone can register their list of sites they want indexed/searched1. Registered lists are associated with a nick. The search bot interfaces with deedbot to get WoT for your nick when you register and ranks search results originating from registered sites according to your WoT rankings when available.

  3. ??

I am not sure how to best display search results. I think I will start with maybe displaying the top 5 in chan/dm. I don’t know if I have the stomach for putting up a search webshit.

At the moment I am indexing Trilema. As soon as that finishes (if ever - currently going for about 10 hours) I’ll try to get lekythion (a bot I wrote a while ago for checking prices and logging #exusiae) serving up search results and see how that works out and gauge interest.

  1. It may be that at some point someone develops a WP plugin that the search bot can interface with that would provide “live” results and obviate the need for indexing mp-wp blogs []

May 5, 2020

Costa Rica Servers

Filed under: bitcoin — thimbronion @ 4:24 p.m.

I have found a hosting service in Costa Rica called Costa Rica Servers that accepts Bitcoin as payment. I can’t find any references to this company in the logs1.

In their favor they accept Bitcoin payment via BTCPay as opposed to Bitpay. A strike against them is that they also accept payment in two shitcoins not worth mentioning.

When I asked them about colocation and payment, I got a reply from Edgar Fernandez who seems unfortunately to be involved with EOS.

Hi Adam,

Thanks for your inquiry. The best way to bring the server is to use a Customs Agent / Courier service and have them handle the local customs. We use Star Box (http://starboxcr.com/)

As for the BTC payments, we accept BTC/LTC/Dash through a BTCPay service we run in our own server where the USD invoice is converted at the time of payment at the rate published by Kraken exchange at the time. We welcome BTC payments and provide discount codes for new clients paying in BTC!

Hope you decide on CRServers.com!

Please let us know if we can help with the introduction to Star Box.

Thanks

Edgar Fernandez
EDENiA
edgar@edenia.com

In terms of their network connectivity, they’ve provided a little bit of info on their datacenter connectivity page. I’m not in a position to compare this to Latechco’s connectivity and would appreciate any pointers as to how to do so.

I am planning a trip to Costa Rica in June to fulfill my visa requirement that I physically be in Costa Rica at least one day per year. I may take this opportunity to colocate a box at Costa Rica Servers, but I haven’t decided yet.

  1. I can only assume CR was specifically excluded in the Pizarro ISP search based on some criteria - but I don’t know what that would be []

May 4, 2020

Heraclitus

Filed under: authority, bitcoin — thimbronion @ 8:36 p.m.

I looked into Heidegger a bit and though I haven’t read him yet, I read that one of his influences was the Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus (Ἡράκλειτος). The last go I had at the Pre-Socratics I remember their texts as being enigmatic to say the least. Nevertheless I decided to have yet another go at one of them. One of Heraclitus’ fragments that struck me follows:

Τίς γαρ αὐτῶν νόος ἢ φρέν ; [δήμων] ἀοιδοῖοι
ἔπονται καὶ διδασκάλῳ, οὺκ
εἰδότες ὅτι πολλοὶ κακοὶ ὀλίγοι δὲ ἀγαθοι.
αἱρεῦνται γὰρ ἓν αντία παντων οἱ ἄριστοι,
κλέος ἀέναον θνητῶν, οἱ δὲ πολλοὶ κεκόρηνται
ὅκωσπερ κτήνεα.

And the English translation1:

For what thought or wisdom have they?
They follow the poets and take the crowd as their teacher,
knowing not that there are many bad and few good.
For even the best of them choose one thing above all others,
immortal glory among mortals,
while most of them are glutted like beasts.

I was struck by how closely this fits with Etica Mircea and how it also fits with avoiding platforms.

  1. I looked at a few translations and this is the best I could find. Translated by John Burnet in “Early Greek Philosopy,” published in 1920. []

April 26, 2020

Bonds and Inflation

Filed under: bitcoin — thimbronion @ 3:42 p.m.

I have been preoccupied recently trying to counter (mostly in my own mind) the inevitable pantsuit reply to any reference to the Federal Reserve’s continual printing of money. It goes like this:

Actually the real problem is trying to prevent deflation.

Outside of the fact that this claim doesn’t match observable reality (see home prices, health insurance premiums, “education” costs - everything excluded from the CPI - vs. median real income over whatever period you wish in the last 100 years or so) there are the nebulous zombie financial markets, which include the buying and selling of bonds.

  1. As interest rates are going to zero, and real rates are going negative, bonds have become a cash equivilant (in terms of rate of return).

  2. Bonds make very bad cash otherwise, so people are selling them.

  3. No one wants to buy them so the Federal Reserve is now creating debt to buy them.

This money being received by the bond sellers causes inflation. Those former bond hodlers are spending that money elsewhere and bidding up the price of other things that would not be bid up otherwise.

Another aspect to this is that there is this ridiculous assumption out there that all this debt is going to be paid back, but it’s not.

Thought experiment. Fed loans a bank money. The bank spends the money but gets no return. The bank can’t pay back the loan. The fed loans the bank more money to pay back the loan, and additional money to try again to get a return. Is this deflation?

I would be grateful for any corrections anyone has to offer on my comments on this topic.

December 22, 2019

Xi Jinping Thinks You're Stupid

Filed under: bitcoin, china — thimbronion @ 7:29 p.m.

I have so far two unpublished translations of Chinese articles related to Bitcoin. One is left unpublished due to me not knowing exactly what to do with it. There is nothing new to me in it about Bitcoin per se, and although it is interesting to see a not terrible run down of Bitcoin that was both produced and consumed within China, there are no either intelligent or retarded arguments that I haven't already seen countless times in Western media. Not to mention the quality of the English version is low. I could go through and correct the grammar mistakes, but I don't know if this is the right thing to do given my current skill level in Chinese. That leaves me with something that is both a pain to read for my readers, and also uninformative.

The other is unpublished due to being, well, not what I wanted. There was some kerfluffle a while back about Xi Jinping endorsing "crypto" and I wanted to find out exactly what he said. It turns out that, unless you were physically there at the party meeting, or whatever they call it, there is no way to know. The only texts that Mia could find were not direct quotes, but summaries by no one I ever heard of of what he said.

After seeing these, I explained that I really wanted to know exactly what he said, and asked her if she could maybe find a video of the event. Now, she did find a video of the event, but there was no audio of Xi Jinping, just a voice over by, again, someone I've never heard of, "summarizing" what Xi Jinping "said."

This obfuscation has to be intentional. This technique of only providing summaries of what Xi Jinping said by other people who no one ever heard of allows Xi Jinping never to have to say anything stupid or wrong, because if it turns out that whoever summarized what he said said something wrong, that's on him, not Xi Jinping.

So, although I consider these two translations to be negative results, perhaps there is still some value to them. The first thing I have learned is perhaps a question to ask, rather than some new information: "How do you best work with a translator that knows Chinese better than English?" The second thing I have learned is (although I always suspected this to be true) not only that English language news about "crypto" coming out of China is total trash, but specifically why, which is that until I see some counter evidence I must assume that all news articles are based on summaries in Chinese by no names, and that it cannot be assumed that these summaries are sourced from original content by anyone with any sort of reputation.

I am left, at this point, with no great desire to continue digging through the dung heap remotely. As for what's next, I am considering having Mia try to attend a Bitcoin meetup near where she's located and write up a report, or going to China myself and attending one.

December 11, 2019

Surfing in Tamarindo with Will

Filed under: bitcoin, irc — thimbronion @ 1:02 a.m.

I didn't know what Will would look like, having only seen his tiny comment icon on my blog. But I knew he had hair, and lots of it, and that's how I knew it was him when I arrived at the Surf Culture surf shop. He had already procured a board for me, and, donning the white man's burden1, we made our way to the beach.

At the beach, Will showed me how to get up for a wave. He demonstrated by quickly bringing his left foot and then right foot forward, with knees bent, and both feet on the center line. I practiced this several times, and when I felt like I had it down, we went into the surf. When a good wave came, Will would give my board a push at just the right moment, and so I was able to catch multiple waves and stand up on the board before either falling or jumping off as I got too close to the shore.

Rather than discussing the details of our conversation, I will say that Will listened very closely to what I said, and responded to that, and that to my detriment I probably talked too much about myself and did not ask him about himself as much as I should have. I also regret not having read more of his blog. When I last checked it prior to the trip I only saw 4 or 5 of his most recent articles, but now I know there are many more going back a few years, which I look forward to reading.

For me it was great to meet someone who had, with interest, read my blog. I was somewhat taken aback that anyone would find it interesting since either a) the topics discussed are a non-starter for most of the population or b) for the log-reading population it's nothing new.

It was also interesting to try to have a serious discussion outside of IRC. I was frustrated by my inability to remember things I had written myself.

After surfing, we went to get my girl2, who we found about to cross the street in between the hotel lobby and the rest of the hotel buildings going back up the hill, and tried to decide where to eat. The girl wasn't up for anything exotic3 like sushi, so we ended up going to an Argentinian place with standard Argentinian fare. I had the Neapoliton chicken Milanesa, Will had a gigantic steak, and the girl had ... I forget.

We still had some time, so we decided to go to the casino, which turned out to be almost completely empty except for ourselves and a few employees. I am not a gambler, but the girl was so she went about losing some money while the conversation continued. What I remember most from this part of the discussion was that we touched on morality - whether there is right and wrong and I believe Will's stance was that for most people it is too complicated to figure out. I was woefully unprepared to support my stance that there is indeed an ought, which I regret. Perhaps we can discuss it more next time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole afternoon and evening and look forward to the next opportunity we have to get together.

Here are some photos from Tamarindo, where the whole thing took place.

  1. sun screen []
  2. She was from Honduras, and was friend of a girl I met on one of my previous trips []
  3. I found out later she didn't know about for example sailboats or how the worked, but fortunately for me she was an expert in Spanish as it is spoken in Central America []

September 20, 2019

Preparing to join #ossasepia

Filed under: bitcoin, china — thimbronion @ 5:26 p.m.

Having spent some cycles following through with this comment, I've come up with the following.

I am interested in China and the Chinese.  I like how they play by their own rules wherever they go.  They are a good group to have connections with for obtaining dirty fiat cash, or building things.  I want more Chinese connections, specifically connections that grok Bitcoin.

I am persuaded that the news about Bitcoin coming out of China is filtered through a very specific class of characters - mainly bilingual diaspora Chinese such as Hong Kongers and Singaporeans, or the kind that have been merit-washed via the Ivies.  I suspect that the perspective of mainlander Chinese who don't speak English is not coming across.

In order to get that perspective, I would like to find or create a network of resources in China that can supply me with this perspective.  I would like to share this perspective via news stories in English.  I would also like to publish likbez in Chinese, just to see what I can dredge up from behind the firewall.

I am prepared to accept that there may be absolutely no thinking whatsoever concerning Bitcoin happening behind the firewall - this would also be good to know.

September 15, 2019

Monitoring the Chinese News Feed

Filed under: bitcoin, china — thimbronion @ 4:37 p.m.

I've been monitoring, on and off, the Chinese Bitcoin news feed1 I found a few weeks ago.  Thus far it appears mostly to consist of news originating in the West.  I suppose it is interesting to see what is of note to a Chinese audience, but this is disappointing none the less.

The only story originating in China on the front page today concerns some sort of scam being busted by provincial police in An Hui, with notes about the scammers attempting to flee to the Philippines.

  1. If you can call it that.  The Bitcoin specific feed appears only to be available on my iPad, and of course doesn't support Atom/RSS.  It's at http://8btc.com/flash, for reference, if you happen to have an iPad or iPhone. []
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