Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Showing posts with label Crypto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crypto. Show all posts

Friday, February 8, 2019

QuadrigaCX: Opinions and Sources

Image Source: PrestonMartelly.

[NOTE: I am away from the blog, March-April 2019. On return, I will update this post.]

This blog will embark on a larger exploration into decentralized institutions and how they are relating to mainstream institutions, governments and globalism. To support that research, this post will feature links, opinions, and sources on the QuadrigaCX crypto exchange collapse. See my initial post on QuadrigaCX's meltdown, here.

11 February 2019: TRON CEO Justin Sun offered a job to QuadrigaCX client Tong Zhou who lost $422,000 on the exchange. Image Source: UToday.

Vlog - QuadrigaCX, how I lost my life savings, how I am dealing with it so far.. (15 February 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

By the second week of February 2019, the picture of QuadrigaCX as presented by CEO Gerald Cotten's widow, Jennifer Robertson, began falling apart under scrutiny of different cryptocurrencies' blockchains. See the 'Blockchain Forensics' section below in this post for details.

Social Media Innovation:
Crowd-Sourced Truth and Justice

In an innovative twist, Quadriga's users banded together on social media in early February 2019 to change the narrative. Instead of the funds being automatically lost, they set out to discover the truth about the exchange, because this affair is possibly "just the tip of the iceberg" in the cryptosphere and beyond it.

Together, Quadriga's users are launching their own investigation and are slowly turning the tide of opinion, first in the establishment, which refuses to touch the crypto space or treat it as a legitimate enterprise. On 8 February 2019, Reuters reported that Canada's biggest securities regulator (the Ontario Securities Commission) was looking into QuadrigaCX and cooperating with an RCMP investigation.

Second, Quadriga's users may sway the crypto sphere, where conventional wisdom and cynicism take lack of trust for granted; anyone who leaves fiat or crypto on an exchange is considered a fool who got what is coming to him or her. Some crypto users would rather look the other way and look at this crime as a non-issue. Quadriga is a transitional test case for mainstream adoption; thus, complacency in crypto circles about the collapse of this large exchange and crimes committed therein will affect that space over the long term.

Unfortunately, it appears that there was a difference between what Quadriga seemed to be and what it really was. Informal investigations and unconfirmed and dodgy information related to Quadriga are listed in the 'Theories' section near the bottom of this post.

On 7 February 2019, Quadriga's users set up a Wiki, qcWiki.org dedicated to their online investigation. Declaring that they were seeking "Crowd Sourced Truth and Justice," the site's founders stated:
"The events surrounding QuadrigaCX are extremely suspect; the official story simply doesn't make sense. As things stand, we're left with a mix of facts, rumors and hearsay. This wiki has been created to organize and verify facts. It will help eliminate the spread of misinformation, bring clarity to those interested in following the case and help law enforcement with their investigation.

If you have information/evidence of potential crimes committed by QuadrigaCX or individuals associated with it, you can contact RCMP Toronto West who are currently investigating.

Phone: (905) 876-9500

-This post will be continually expanded and updated in chronological order and will serve as a resource and links dump for researchers. Suggestions are welcome in the comments below the post. Over time, I will try to make it as complete as possible.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Stateless Futures: Crypto, Quadriga, and Anarchy in Acapulco

Court photograph showing Quadriga's book-keeping system; incredibly, the published photograph reveals personal and business data. Image Source: Twitter via Reddit. You can follow updates from Quadriga here.

On the heels of the Dark Overlord 9/11 hacks and bitcoin ransoms, the primary and most reputable Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, has melted down over the past two months after its missing 30-year-old CEO 'died' (or maybe, 'did not die') on 9 December 2018. He supposedly was the only person who had the passwords to the company's cold wallets. A dig into Quadriga reveals interests in charitable orphanages (human trafficking?), e-gold, and money laundering.

The crypto exchange has filed for court protection, which was granted by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. As of 5 February 2019, Quadriga has a 30-day stay of proceedings to stop lawsuits from its clients and account holders. The company has to find CAD $250 million in that time. Third-party observer Ernst and Young will oversee the process; they are publishing relevant documents here.

[Addendum: the above three tweets were added to this post on 7 February 2019, after the original publication date of the post.]

This case and a recent murder in Acapulco, Mexico reveal how tech-driven internationalism is faring as an alternative to globalism. The latter is growing out of older institutions, legal systems, governments and similar structures. The former is the Wild West: there are thousands of start-ups in the world which are trying to develop decentralized, scalable infrastructure based on block chain technology and smart contracts.

The real question is how these two worlds are contrasting and, more surprisingly, colliding. They are becoming integrated in the shadows.

The conventional assumption is that the established world is legitimate and legal and the alt-world is illegitimate and illegal. The alt-world maintains that the established system is completely corrupt, a rotten, eaten-out hulk, staffed by passive blue pills, complicit agents, and masterminds who want to impoverish and destroy the common people. Underground circles assumed that anything anti-establishment was automatically virtuous, a signpost to a new and better world. Quadriga's collapse suggests that the truth is much more murky and everything is connected.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Your Friends, The Dark Overlord

If you want to see the Dark Overlord files, go here. Image Source: Time.

A group called the Dark Overlord claimed responsibility for the 2017 Netflix hacks. They have also lately hacked London Bridge plastic surgery clinic and released celebrities' medical files onto the Web. On 31 December 2018, they rang in the New Year with the announcement that they had breached a law firm and stolen 10 Gigabytes (18,000 documents) of legal papers, video, and audio files relating to 9/11 insurance claims with Hiscox Group. The trolls at 4chan were unimpressed:
"Q: who did 9/11 in your opinion based on the docs?

A: We don't really give a fuck. We want internet money.

We've already released a select few documents to serve as proof of our claims. We're about to change the fucking world. Edward Snowden's NSA leak will be pale in comparison."
"We are all broke and also we don't feel like going to jail as we are all just 16yo virgin keyboard worriers. How come you couldn't find someone to give you a suitcase of money?"
"Q: Hi, thedarkoverlord, Have you considered that information may well be used crash the monetary system you hope to be compensated in?

A: Fantastic question, mate. We're not concerned about that as we receive our payments only in internet money like Bitcoin. The monetary crash will be your problem. We always advise our clients to diversify and acquire different convertible currencies."
Some trolls were less skeptical. After viewing the document below, which was released on 4chan, one noted that 'Iron Mountain' documents had been shredded:

Flight 93 was shot down by National Guard because it was heading to Iron mountain, a military base.

Shredding documents related to that seems like a crime/treason!"

In fact, Iron Mountain is a Boston-based data management company; their history is here. But the company has also partnered with the US government and maintains an underground data storage facility called Iron Mountain in Pennsylvania, USA. They have a staff of 2,700 and they do hold Flight 93 evidence.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The People Who Want to Microchip People

Image Source: CBS News.

In an earlier post, I noted how the BBC is promoting human microchipping as well as larger tech-body implants. Their poster boy for this cause, colour blind guy, Neil Harbisson, merits a special 'cyborg' passport status.

Image Source: NYT.

Image Source: Munsell Color.

The subcutaneous chip was first developed by Siemens in the United States. The human microchip implant was invented by Kevin Warwick: "He is known for his studies on direct interfaces between computer systems and the human nervous system, and has also done research concerning robotics." You can read backgrounders on human microchip technology, here and here.

If this practice becomes widely accepted, it will become an automatic, mainstream practice, and children will be microchipped at birth. There are already brain chips which can affect moods and behaviour. Let this go further, and subcutaneous implants will become an organic user interface. They will also constitute an assault on the integrity of the bodies and minds of individuals both as individuals, and as members of society. Soon, it won't be necessary to talk about human rights and freedoms, because the preconditions for them will be medically removed and technically absent. For a disturbing, unconfirmed original sources on this endgame, see here.

The BBC promoting microchipping for Humans (29 January 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Body, Colonized

China Behavior Rating System V/S Sweden Microchip implants | Must watch technology (18 June 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Of course, rhetoric which promotes rights and freedoms will remain. The political speeches will continue, but rights and freedoms will be erased in reality. Lip service will be paid to these archaic constructions until it is no longer necessary to do so, and people have forgotten them, or been reprogrammed. Expect whatever slavery that follows to be labeled as a new type of freedom. The Chinese have a saying about manipulation and the acquisition of power: point to a deer, and call it a horse.

Human microchipping is part of a new field called 'biointerfaced nano-engineering.' Another catch-all term is 'wearables,' created by firms like Proteus and MC10. This is not the path to convenience, progress or enlightenment. It is the path to slavery. Although it seems that the human body must become the next technological platform, it is not inevitable. Do not do it. Do not accept it.

This post is not a Luddite screed. It is a plea to save the best potentials of technology and keep them on a course that will not destroy us. We are entering a new stage in the Tech Revolution, in which we have to learn to take responsibility for progress and innovation. Thus far, citizens have been accepting actors on the receiving end of research projects released via big tech companies. These were experimental prototypes, presented as exciting consumer goods. Electronic goods were marketed with various political and socio-economic messages to make them palatable in the capitalist endeavour to build self-identity from the outside in.

Image Source: Go into the Story.

We were entranced in the first decades of the Tech Revolution by the gadgets and rapid software upgrades. Most people believed in the opening act that they acted as consumers inside the pre-existing capitalist model. They did not understand that that old system had already been effectively outdated and internally destroyed; only an illusory shell of that model persists as a form of mass behavioural control.

We can all be forgiven for assuming that consumerism was how tech was introduced into our reality. But it never was.

Although glitzy, futuristic marketing campaigns created the illusion that technology turned people into empowered, connected consumers, each new level of hardware and software between the 1980s and the 2010s blinded technophiles to the fact that they were never consumers at all. They were increasingly-conditioned lab rats, running through monitored environments, inside the biggest human behavioural study ever conducted.

Now, things must change. It is time to wake up. It is time to grow up. We can be forgiven for trusting those big corporations, helmed by intelligence agencies and Promethean research groups, as benevolent guides in the opening act of the Tech Revolution.

Image Source: Film Connection.

But we cannot be forgiven if we sleepwalk into Act Two, and deliver our children into immersive slavery. In transhumanism, the commodity is not the microchip or its successor technologies. The commodity will be a new type of interbody imperialism and colonization, developed under the banner of building safer, more efficient societies. This will be a coercive, predictable, micro-legalized system, based on live feed maps of humankind's biological processes, mass consciousness, and psychological and physical reactions as a collective of living beings.

There has to be a moment when we recognize that the integrity of our bodies and souls is worth more than a few everyday conveniences. We are not meant to become 'the Borg.' Planting a gadget in your body is not a form of self-improvement that is good for the environment. To believe this reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the body as an environment in itself, and of the body as an organism functioning within the larger natural environment.

I suspect that what will happen is that humankind will split into two camps. One group will absorb technology fully into the mind and body with erotic abandon. They will love the quasi-sexual interface, and will mistake the enhanced experience for an authentic upgrade.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Redefinitions of Currency 3: Kim Dotcom's Scary Tweets

Kim Dotcom (aka Kim Schmitz), the Finnish-German-Kiwi Internet pirate, has decided that the USA is going to go the way of Venezuela. Dotcom is piloting a new crypto-powered ecosystem, K.im, and his own branded KimCoin, to reward content creators. This month, the Megaupload and Mega founder, Assange ally, Deep State foe, and founder of the Internet Party has also been writing scary tweets about the future of the US and global economy.

Dotcom has an axe to grind, because his companies' copyright violations led in July 2018 to a New Zealand court ruling that he could face extradition to the United States for racketeering, money laundering, fraud, and criminal copyright charges. While this gives him a motive to trash talk the US, and he is fundraising for a new project to cover his legal bills, Dotcom really believes that America's economy is about to go bust.

He has thought so for awhile. Originally, the hacker was based on the top floor of the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong. But Dotcom moved to New Zealand because he felt it was the best place to start and raise a family during and after World War III. As he put it:
"You wouldn't want to be stuck in a penthouse at the top of a hotel tower when it's end days. ... That's why I was looking for a place. And I thought that if I had somewhere in the South Island, shielded by mountain ranges on both sides, I would install a really sophisticated solar power plant. I was thinking if I had something like that, you could survive. New Zealand strategically is the safest spot in the world. It has everything that is required to sit it out and start again."
Dotcom is not alone. The very rich are talking about the end of the world and building bunkers in preparation. They see the future just like the backwoods and doomsday cult preppers, except billionaires build nicer bunkers.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Redefinitions of Currency 2: Crypto Venezuela

Venezuela: then and now. Image Source: Total Crypto.

To paraphrase Chris Dixon, technology has changed the underlying drivers of wealth; once, wealth was determined by commodities; then it was decided by politics; and now, wealth is based on mathematics. There is no better indicator of that shift than in Venezuela.

Fiat collapse: Venezuela's currency crisis (20 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Return to the world's oldest economy: Venezuela's economic crisis fuels sex trade (23 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Venezuela: New currency fails to curb hyperinflation | Al Jazeera English (22 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Venezuela is currently Ground Zero for bad news. In one month, the president, Nicolás Madurododged a historic first drone assassination attempt on a world leader. The country survived a 7.3 magnitude earthquake. Millions of Venezuelans are migrating to neighbouring countries, which are becoming less and less welcoming.

The hacktivist group Anonymous dismissed the Maduro assassination attempt as a government hoax, perhaps similar to a recent incident in Zimbabwe; note the discrepancy in footage that showed - and did not show - Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores, from two different cameras. Note also that the source of the differing footage is the Russian network RT (Ruptly) and these could be two separate occasions. Otherwise, this means that there were two versions of the footage of the attack, which were filmed separately. Anonymous - LA VERDAD sobre supuesto atentado contra Nicolás Maduro 2018 [Anonymous - THE TRUTH about alleged attack against Nicolás Maduro 2018] (5 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Maduro's popularity is in the toilet; back-chamber rumours are circulating that he knows secrets about Hugo Chávez's death, that he is in league with the devil, and that he is not a true Venezuelan, but perhaps was born in Colombia, and in any event - it is whispered - he will die soon, though not by assassination. Other rumours are circulating the president tried to escape Venezuela in secret on 26 August 2018, knowing that the situation is irreparable. The cult of personality may not provide a suitable replacement, since alternatives to Maduro, like María Gabriela Chávez, are not popular either.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Millennial Extremes 14: Next Gen Tech and the Bering Strait Connection

Image Source: InterBering.

The blog is back after a break! Today's post is about a mega-project which illustrates how early generations of imperialists have passed to torch to Millennial globalists.

If the Channel Tunnel ignited the hopes of a European generation when it opened in 1994, the Bering Strait Tunnel is an engineering scheme which could similarly transform geopolitics and revolutionize transportation. The dedicated site, InterBering, expects "Tourists will be able to cross between the U.S. and Russia in just 15-20 minutes." The most colourful aspects of the plan include proposed five star hotels along the route:
"Where the tunnels pass under America's Krusenstern Island (Small Diomede), a railway station can be built allowing passengers elevator access to the island. A world-class hotel would provide them with a mid-Strait vista of the confluence of the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. A stay at this iconic hotel, along with a journey on the magnetic levitation train serving it, will become a tourist attraction in its own right. A similar facility can be created on Russia's neighboring Ratmanov Island (Big Diomede)."
Bering Strait Tunnel proposal. Image Source: InterBering.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Redefinitions of Currency 1: Óscar Pérez and the Rise of the Petro-Yuan

Óscar Alberto Pérez, ex-policeman and Venezuelan rebel leader died on Monday (7 April 1981 – 15 January 2018). Image Source: Newsweek.

This post is a preface to a series of posts in which I will begin to explore how technology and globalization are changing what we call 'currency' in all its forms: from Canada's sale of the country's total gold reserves in 2016, to the ups and downs of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, to the evolution of the Internet into an economy of value (and what that means).

For today, we start with a glance at Venezuela, where President Nicolás Maduro Moros last September planned that his country would abandon the Petro-Dollar and take up the Petro-Yuan. Since 1974, the American dollar has functioned as the de facto global currency because it was the main currency for oil purchases, and thus for all other commodities and trade.

Now that arrangement is changing, under the leadership of Russia, China, and Iran, as oil is being priced in the Chinese Yuan: "This is about the implementation of a huge, new alternative reserve currency zone, bypassing the US dollar." If you believe sources like Russia Today, we are watching the American Petro-Dollar die, and the period from 1974 to the present is dying with it, including its power structure, its key players, and its principles of control. This is the start of a new era.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Of Hauntings and Homelessness

A few years ago, when I was living in England, I walked through a back parking lot behind a grocery store on my way home. There were two vagrants there, sharing a bottle of wine, and I heard them talking:
"I never expected this."
"Expected what?"
"To be brought low."

Image Source: RT.

They are in growing company: in November, 2017, The Guardian reported that one person is homeless out of every 200 people in the UK. In London, one person in every 59 people is homeless! The epidemic is masked by unreported situations, people who are sofa-surfing, people living in their cars. The rot is spreading to London's leafy suburbs. Numbers are similar for the UK's other big cities. In Scotland, one household goes homeless every 19 minutes; over 6,000 children will be homeless on Christmas Day this year; and 184,000 families are one paycheque away from losing their home. This is mainly due to high rents, soaring property taxes, and housing benefit cuts.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Awaken the Amnesiacs 8: You are Now Inside the Computer

Image Source: The Hedge Mason.

The Urban Dictionary defines Youtube comments as:
"The only place where a polite discussion about kittens can lead to a flame war about government conspiracies."
Conspiracists vary in style. On Youtube, there is a spectrum. David Seaman's vitriol approaches incendiary levels, his this-is-not-a-threat promises are so chilling that they help me understand the history of mass psychology better, especially that of the 1930s.

This post is not exactly about Seaman, nor the accusations he levels in a brooding monotone at the bankers, politicians, deep-staters, evil cabal, establishment figures, and finally - the tech leaders who censor him (like Youtube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, whom he calls "Catshit Face"). This post is about Seaman's and others' rhetorical style in relation to conspiratorial subject matter, and what it means for all of us.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Emperor's Scribe has No Clothes

Video Source: Youtube.

It is no secret that the recession sparked a huge backlash against the establishment. It does not help that there are legitimate reports of a "global scourge" of high level corruption. Royal families are lightning rods for projected anger and distress, channeled through fake news stories which blame them as grand masters of everything that has gone wrong. As democracies slip into fascism, frightened citizens fear the resurgence of old monarchical absolutism, in the same way they fear a phantom limb. Do they really need to fear, when many royals have become commoners, like Korea's forgotten prince, who ran a liquor store in Los Angeles?

One fake example which targets the British royals is the February 2015 video above, which circulated online in 2016 and 2017. This Buckingham Palace video was dismissed in the alt-media and the mainstream media as a CGI hoax after comparison with Google's street view of the same location. A commenter on the debunking of the Buckingham Palace video remarked:
"I have done CGI compositing for broadcast, using live footage and 'fake' elements blended to look like one shot. As a professional I can confirm that this is a studio quality job and I would strongly disagree with those who claim it is 'obviously' fake on the basis of the visuals alone. You have done your homework and established it as a fake by cross referencing the footage with verifiable reference photos. Given the expertise and resources required to fake this so well, the fact that reference to the architecture of Buckingham Palace quickly proves this to be a fake would lead me to agree with you that this could well be a psyop designed to muddy the waters for all researchers."
Conspiracy theorists would probably distrust Google's street view and insist the footage was real. This video was linked to the Pedogate conspiracy theory, implying that the royals are involved in child sex slavery rings, or worse.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Red Pill, Blue Pill, Green Pill, Black Pill

Forbidden fruit: The Apple logo is commonly considered to make an occult reference to the Garden of Eden and relates computer use to forbidden knowledge, information, and soul-testing enlightened liberation. Image Source: The Open Scroll.

Before 1999, there was no word in English, as far as I know, to describe information which shatters one's world view. Techno-political ideologies evolve from an overdose on information and subsequent, broken views of the world.

Information as Forbidden Fruit

The first cyber-ideology to describe the disillusionment of the Information Age was called the red pill, or being red-pilled. The term comes from the film, The Matrix (1999) and Morpheus's speech on how to deal with knowing something you can't explain:
"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more."
Red pilling starts with the feeling that there is something wrong in the world, and you don't know what it is. Everywhere you look, things have gone wrong.

The splinter, driving you mad, is that you are a slave, born into bondage in an invisible prison: The Matrix (1999) © Warner. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Aleppo's Disinfo D-Day

Umayyad mosque photographed on 12 March 2009 and 17 December 2016. Image Source: The Atlantic.

The Guardian has today published photographs showing Aleppo, Syria as it appeared before the civil war started on 15 March 2011 and how it appears now. Photo credits: The Guardian/ Omar Sanadiki / Khalil Ashawi / Reuters.

The old city photographed on 13 December 2016.

The courtyard of al-Sheebani school photographed on 17 December 2016.

Blame over Syria's devastation intensifies after the murder of the Russian ambassador, Andrey Karlov, on 19 December 2016 at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. You can see the terrible, raw video, here. The Double-007-type assassin, Mevlut Mert Altıntas, was Aleppo's self-styled avenger. The Telegraph asserted the assassin was an élite policeman who had guarded President ErdoğanKremlin-sourced online rumour mongers believe the killer was an anti-Russian NATO agent. Raw Story:
"The footage also shows the assassin saying a religious verse in Arabic: a pledge for jihad for Muhammed moments after the attack. He also said in Turkish: 'Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria. Until our towns are safe, you will not taste safety. Only death will take me away from here. Everyone who played a role in this cruelty will pay.'"
Several western MSM sources are accusing Syria, Russia and Iran of war crimes for bombarding civilians during a truce to evacuate the formerly-rebel-held city. You can see details at Human Rights Watch, hereWashington Times:
"Iran’s brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force has played an extensive role in the rape of Aleppo, building a network of bases around the Syrian city and directing militiamen from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan to do the killing, an Iranian opposition group says in a new intelligence report. 
'The fact is that Aleppo has been occupied by the IRGC and its mercenaries,' says the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, or MEK, the largest opposition group to the Islamic mullahs who rule Iran. 'Mass executions, preventing the transfer of the civilians, including women and children, [and] attacking the civilians has all been done by the forces of the mullahs' regime.'"
Heart-rending photograph of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh from Aleppo (August 2016). Image Source: CNN.

Smoke and mirrors: it is difficult to determine the nature of American and Russian involvement in Syria and the way ISIS was sponsored to destroy Assad's government. It is clear that ISIS got out of control.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shamans, Scandals and Post-Truth Totalitarianism

Image Source: Korean Exposé.

Three gigantic scandals currently challenge propriety and public service in politics. They raise the question of how the Internet is transforming government and the exercise of power. They also confirm a theme which I have considered here, namely, that futuristic technology is breathing life into old, mythical traditions, and not all of those traditions are nice or easy to manage. At the heart of all three scandals sits WikiLeaks, demonstrating that Julian Assange is a shaman in his own right. This post does not speculate on the truth of the scandals, but assesses what they mean for what is left of civil society and government. Warning: read no further if you are a minor or if you want to avoid offensive content.

Monday, November 7, 2016

World War III Projections 1: The Worm That Sleeps in the Wild

The Clutch album, Psychic Warfare, released 2 October 2015 by Weathermaker Music (for a taster, go here). Image Source: Jeff  Draws.

Like religions, wars are indices of technology. Henry David Thoreau said: "What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party." War also involves a psychological marshaling of forces as well as catharses. It permits a descent into savagery, and paradoxically produces efficient organization which rewards strategists. Brutal and logical, unbridled and innovative, war turns the unthinkable into reality.

Future of robotics - Boston Dynamics.
Future of robotics - Boston Dynamics.
Posted by Arch2O.com on Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Although there is a popular belief that we will regress to sticks and stones, conflicts serve jumps in innovation. When radical testing is needed to assimilate knowledge secretly, war can enable unspeakable experiments beyond the usual subterfuges. The first use of airplanes in war occurred in 1911, in a conflict between Italy and Libya - one of several engagements fought around the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

This fact should inspire concern in a time when the tech industry is developing new capabilities ever more quickly, compulsively upgrading for the sake hyper-innovation. Technology departs the realm of engineers as mechanical capabilities intensify and deepen; tech is becoming more organic, intimate, integrated, more moral or spiritual than ever before. It is altering our behaviour; how we think; and what we think. Gadget designs are on the verge of becoming physically invasive.

This is the first of a series of posts which will ask what World War III would, or will, be like in an age of global communications. Given the way it is administered, the Internet as we know it would break down. But several systems would replace it.

Because currencies collapse in war zones, I wanted to know what would happen with gold and Bitcoin. It is a vast topic, so I will reserve gold and war for a future post. However, my first search on recent disappearances of large amounts of gold brought up a curious conspiracy theory that USD $740 million of gold and other precious metals disappeared from a two storey vault under the World Trade Center complex after 9/11.

Bitcoin, the currency of the Internet, could gain in value in a time of war; or perhaps the damage to the existing Internet would render Bitcoin worthless. There are two pages on page on Reddit where people have discussed this:
  • "In WW3 we all die. The only working currencies are ammo and iodine. But when people come out of the bunkers and restart civilization - there is a chance that one of them is a bitcoiner. Anyways bitcoin could be the currency for exchanging value between nations that hate one-another."
  • "How do you think the existing financial system works ... beads and shells? If WW3 kicks off this will be the least of our worries. However seen as you have asked I would imagine due to its inherent decentralization bitcoin would be extremely resilient. What other ledger of account is self propagating and distributed across 1000s of nodes? It may even be in space before long."
  • "Every soldier will get a 20 satoshi ration (worth $20 in 2026)"
  • "It will become completely worthless as well as fiat money will become worthless. The Blockchain will simply freeze because you need more energy then a coal plant generates to find new blocks at a reasonable time ... Nobody would be able to effort so much energy just to keep the Blockchain alive."
  • "Dont you think developers could Manually adjust difficulty?"
  • "Assuming there are developers with electricity and a computer, with an uplink? There is a fair probability that for at least the first while, they will have more important things on their mind than getting the blockchain running again. After that, a Hard Fork could be pushed to adjust difficulty, but at that point you'd have an interesting time pushing it."
  • "And whoever was pushing it would be effectively campaigning for election to run a gasp central bank."
  • "I was entertaining the thought of a 51% attack. Same concept, but whoever can get the ball rolling would be in control. Of course, it doesn't even begin to get into how war time inflation works, and how bartering winds up being used because the currencies can't keep up value-wise. A full blown world war would decimate bitcoin for a while I think, even if people somewhere were working on preserving it."
  • "The worst part of the war will be fought electronically. Governments will 'hack' each others systems to cause financial ruin. Grids will go down, markets will loose all information, treatment plants will go offline. Any server that can be pinpointed will be vulnerable. Most of all credit will stop causing most to fend for themselves. How this affects Bitcoin is that it runs on servers. I would think in the early stages of full scale mobilization people will flock to it but if the war drags on into most systems being taken off line it would probably become pretty useless. If things got to that point though currency would be the least of your problems. Most likely we would be forced to live under a feudal system where each ruler that can protect his population would seek to get back online and communicate with the rest of the world. In that case the original blockchain would most likely be lost and a new one would be started. But Im just guessing."
  • "Depends on how bad things get. The blockchain ledger would still exist in multiple states, I'm sure someone would've made a backup of it. However, screwing with the blockchain ledger would get significantly easier. With a lot less mining nodes around, reaching that 51% of hashing power would be more feasible. If you still had internet. If you still had power. But honestly, if WW3 happens and you somehow survive, I don't think the loss of your bitcoins will be your real problem. Finding things like food and shelter and clothing would be your real priority, and then if you somehow managed to get electricity flowing again, and jerry rigged an intarweb connection, then you'd be worried about recovering from backups (you did make backups, right) and seeing what's left of your BTC stash. Even gold would be more or less useless in a Mad Max screnario for the most part. Personally, I'm anticipating a Weimar type hyperinflation, where the phones and power all worked. Maybe I'm being too optimistic about the future? We'll see. You can tell me you told me so, if I'm wrong :)"
  • "I would be more concerned with forks in the blockchain when nations isolate themselves (internet wise) due to the embargoes (digital and otherwise) that would result. The fork would cause real problems for Bitcoin after the reconciliation of warring nation states. Let's hope this never happens."
  • "I actually think that gold and silver would quickly re-establish as money in a post-apocalyptic world. Basically I think civilization would revert to a historical model appropriate to whatever infrastructure and technology remain. Even if that meant returning to a lifestyle like ancient Rome, there would be local strongmen with armies and headquarters, there would be farms and protection money paid to operate them, there would be something very much like taxation, and there would be a need for a medium of exchange with all the classic properties of money ... just like there has been in every place and time, all throughout history. In the first few weeks after the bombs fall, food, water, and ammunition will reign supreme; but in the months and years after that, gold and silver will revert to their historic role."
  • "What? You mean that all these bottle caps I have been collecting in case of a post-apocalyptic scenario was for nothing? In all seriousness, I agree that we would either go back to the gold/silver/copper standard. A digital currency wouldn't be of much use with no internet."
Those chatting on Reddit did not consider that Bitcoin is entangled with the development of cyberwarfare. Just as Bitcoin challenges the power of central state banks, on this developing front of cyberwarfare, the full computing might of nation-states is brought to bear against that of state and non-state actors. In 2016, there were reports that ISIS had been attacked through cyberwarfare. In terms of politics, technological evolution during World War III will be tied to the evolution of the nation-state.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Open Source Code: Cross-Pollination and Consensus

If you want to find people who are truly finding new ways to understand the world - society, the economy, politics, law, governance - in light of technological advances, look to the best thinkers in cryptocurrency circles. On 10 June 2016, Andreas Antonopoulous posted this tweet and video from Milan regarding evolutionary and anthropological similarities to open source code:
"The interest of anthropologists drawing similarities between evolutionary biology and market economies. Cross-pollination/ cross-genetic lines or horizontal transfer of DNA between species vs. the open source environment. Different cryptocurrency developers exchanging code ('DNA blueprints') and adopting it. Bitcoin is rapidly progressing. Concepts of basic income. Identity and reputation works best in small communities. They are difficult to scale without collapsing. We can scale reputation but should we or do we want to? Rigid mechanistic reputation systems don't have the the flexible human capability to forget. Scaling consensus through collaboration. The problem of control by the few."

Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In Millennial Eyes 3: Abandoned Buildings, Left to Rot

Abandoned federal gold exchange bank, Part 1 (29 June 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

This post is the first of three - respectively on the economy, politics, and war - which describe how a negative Millennial history is emerging from disconnections between perception and reality. For today, see urbex explorer Josh wander through an abandoned bank, somewhere in America. It appears that this bank closed in the 1980s. To protect properties from vandals, Josh does not reveal names or locations of many of the places he visits. He does not remove anything from the sites, he only films and photographs them. You can see Josh and his friends explore dozens of abandoned sites in the USA and abroadhere.

Urban explorers are now poking through the wreckage of a transformed economy. That transformation depended on the 'virtualization' of property. Before 2007-2008, the economic value of property lay more in its assessed worth as a tangible historical object. During and after the Great Recession, the temporal perception of property changed to become a fleeting and mutable virtual investment, divorced from its actual physical condition and connection to society. The process started before that, but the recession was the hard turning point. In order to understand this change in terms of its long term consequences, it is important to separate the official story of the recession from the post-recession reality which urban explorers have uncovered.

Abandoned federal gold exchange bank, Part 2. Video Source: Youtube.

Although urbex is the new Millennium's historical pastime, the perspective is based on experience, unmediated by historical knowledge, except for a Google search or two. Information on abandoned properties is suppressed on the Internet to discourage vandals and scavengers. Urban explorers seek history out, independently of the way it has been presented to them in the system. Josh thanks all his viewers, "even the haters," who jeer at his lack of knowledge. While urban explorers may not always know the historical context through which they move, they discover many things their viewers do not yet know.

Urban exploration reveals how rapidly the present is becoming the past. For some, the late 20th century and early 21st century are too recent to be considered historical. Urbex videos indicate how time is accelerating in everyday life, and why the past is being discarded at an alarming rate. It is not a pretty picture. Urban explorers document a secret history of incredible losses, shameful waste, and a throwaway culture which appeared over the past thirty years. Abandoned buildings and infrastructure are monuments to materialism, property bubbles, recessions and bankruptcies. The economic shocks are one thing. But the wreckage also confirms a deeper anti-historical malaise. Urbex confirms the need to revitalize historical awareness.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Infosec and the Totalitarian Principle

The Intercept: "New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship" (28 April 2016). Image Source: The Intercept (Hat tip: Edward Snowden).

On 26 April 2016, the political commentator Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's main foreign affairs programme, GPS, debated ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden for NYU Wagner's Debates of the Century, on whether the American government should have access to privately-held technology and private data. Debates of the Century:
"Some people believe the recent dispute between the FBI and Apple over a locked iPhone marks the return of what privacy advocates called the 'crypto wars' of the 1990s, when federal authorities tried and failed to mandate government access to most forms of electronic communication. Although the FBI managed to decrypt the iPhone at issue without the company’s help, Apple and others are racing to build devices and messaging services that no one but their owners can unlock. The legal question remains unresolved in Congress, where competing bills have been introduced, and in dozens of cases pending in state and federal courts.

Law enforcement agencies believe their vital mission requires compulsory access, under valid court order, to any device or communications stream. Leading technology companies (backed by some other U.S. government voices) say they cannot meet law enforcement demands without undermining customer security and privacy against hackers and foreign adversaries. Edward Snowden and Fareed Zakaria disagree on which course better serves society at large. Should companies be required to break into their own encrypted products, and should they be allowed to sell encryption that no one can break?" 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Time and Politics 19: Predicting the Future, A Tricky Business

Professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita spoke at LSE (Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building) on 21 October 2009; the chair of the discussion was Professor Richard Steinberg. Video Source: Youtube.

Caption for the above video: "Bruce Bueno de Mesquita has been shaking the world of political science to its foundations with his predictions of world events. His systems based on game theory have an astonishing 90%+ ratio of accuracy and are frequently used to shape US foreign-policy decisions on issues such as the terrorist threat to America to the peace process in Northern Ireland. Considered by many to be the most important foreign-policy analyst there is, it is no surprise that he is regularly consulted by the CIA and US Department of Defence. In this lecture Professor Bueno de Mesquita will look at what is needed to reliably anticipate and even alter events in any situation involving negotiation in the shadow of the threat of coercion. He will demonstrate how to bring science to decision making in any situation from personal to professional."

In an earlier post, I discussed the work of NYU professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, who uses game theory to predict the future in international relations and advises businesses and the American government on major strategic policy concerns. In the 2009 talk above from the London School of Economics (at 53:00), he explained how he was hired to develop a fraud prediction model applied to banking regulations. At 55:32, he remarked:
"One of the best early warning indicators of fraud is that, relative to growth in market cap, compensation for senior management is under expectation for the size of the organization of the firm, not over. ... They're husbanding whatever resources they can to try to save the company."
Bueno de Mesquita has become widely known for his predictions on war, the economy and politics, although he remains dogged by popular fringe elements who compare his work to mystical prognosticators and fortune-tellers of the past, such as the Renaissance apothecary Nostradamus (1503-1566). In this lecture, he maintained a serious academic attitude while promoting his book, The Predictioneer's Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future. He has since published a book on how leaders exercise power (2012); and he issued a new edition of his book on war and peace in international politics (2013). He need not worry about becoming too popular; one Youtuber was unimpressed:
"The fiction that human beings are 'rational actors' has been totally discredited. Establishment academics with tenure have a hard time accepting real [world] facts that most people on the street intuitively understand without ... study. Anyone who claims 90% prediction accuracy in working with any complex system - who has not made themselves a billionaire with such gifts - is a con man."
Two questions put to Bueno de Mesquita at the end of his talk suggested that the Youtuber's remark had some weight. Random events, as well as anti-rational or irrational impulses, fall outside the professor's model. This is the 10 per cent range of human behaviour extending into the future, where game theory meets chaos theory meets randomness.

At 56:40, a member of the audience asked about Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007; 2nd ed. 2010). To paraphrase, the person asked if random, chance occurrences could drastically affect statistical models (Bueno de Mesquita corrected him: game theory models) due to unique expressions of human nature.

At 1:10:00, another member of the audience asked about Frederic Vester's (1925-2003) sensitivity model, which applied game theory to biology and behavioural ecology, and produces results similar Bueno de Mesquita's application of game theory to economics and politics. This similarity implies that organic systems mirror human systems in their predictability and unpredictability.

Both questions relate to the nature and impact of the Internet, especially as it is redesigned to endure and become a lasting edifice. Is the Web a techno-organic entity which reflects the rational and irrational impulses of its users, and to what degree? Can we describe peer-to-peer technological environments as 'ecosystems,' and if they are organic, to what degree are they chaotic and unpredictable? Or are the computer systems and technical designs of the Web and other peer-to-peer technologies, including cryptocurrencies, shaping the way we behave and think inside virtual realities? Are we driving the car or is the car driving us? This is a concern as Big Data analysts flock to predict, manipulate and control consumers' behaviours and voters' choices. In future posts, I will consider how these theories of predictability relate to decentralized behavioural psychology and the psychodynamics of peer-to-peer technologies.

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