Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money 6 April 2013 ...

Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money

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Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money

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Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money 6 April 2013, version 1.0 [PDF]

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ZYPHR. Read before going to bed.

Here’s an interesting one that isn't really permitted to talk about on Reddit. The only other topics that are about the same taboo are Palau and the Ocean Society. That's for another day.
Also, I am not suicidal.
If you haven’t read my last article and this one, make sure you do on my blog (find it yourself, since my link is automatically triggering a shadowban or a sort of downvote by bots. I got deleted from Reddit a month ago too!), before or after you read this one. The hyperlinks are lost here, so I recommend you visit the original post.
You might get a little bit lost if you read this one first but by all means, go ahead.
David Goldberg was a whistleblower that shared with us a year ago the Globalist Agenda for the extermination of the American people between 2020-2025.
Here is what he said in mid-2019 that came true in 2020:
That’s 7 predictions that came true in 2020... From 2018 or 2019. Too close for comfort.
What he predicted for the end of 2020 and 2021:
What he got wrong:
Agenda 21 was always about 2021, to lay the path of their utopia technocrat world post-2030. Ann Bressington was right in 2012. Max Spiers was right in 2015. Phil Schneider was right in the late 90s/early 2000s. Will Dave Golberg be proven right?
If they could kill thousands of people on 9/11, and millions indirectly through a war that should have never happened in the first place, they can and will kill millions again. Their goal is their extermination of the white people of North America or something like that. Deagel forecasts a 70% population reduction before 2025 in the US (again, I go in deep on that on the website that shall not be named –hint: the most beautiful world, article flatten the curve 53 and 54). It does not say that they will die, but rather that they will “move” somewhere. However, no other countries show a huge migration of people. Therefore, maybe David Goldberg was right when he said that they would be moving into a deep underground military installation.
There is a dark agenda at play folks. I hope that I am wrong, but so far, seeing that Canada is building an internment camp for 2021 (going viral in the news at this moment), that the UK and Australia are going full 1984, the writing is on the wall.
We call all wish for a better day. We are at war at multiple fronts: against the communist taking over the world, against the force of darkness itself, and against the zombies around us, willing to call the cops if we disobey.
We are in a zombie apocalypse. Look around you. People wearing a mask for disease less infectious than the common flu. People willing to surrender their rights for that! Zombies and drones will be the one coercing us into concentration camps, make no mistake.
If you got time and money and are free, consider moving to Malta or Georgia (the country, not the state). Mexico, Brazil is a good place to “lose” yourself in the crowd. Do not go to Chile or Argentina or any western European country, albeit Austria, Switzerland, and Germany might be a safer place to be than it appears.
I hope David was wrong. But he hit the nail damn on the head, you know. His source was right about the passport revocation thing TO THE DAY, and that, a year early. Okay, the US did not revoke patriot’s passport, but more or less the same by canceling the ability to get a new one. He also said that Americans won’t be able to come to Canada, which has been true since March 2020.
Everybody would have dismissed the poor guy a year ago. It sounded crazy, right? But now, 17 months after he blew the whistle (and got killed for doing so), it doesn’t sound so crazy, doesn’t? After all, a Mossad agent was in charge of simulating a power blackout after the election (or during), in November 2019, to prepare for November 2020. Wherever Mossad agents are, you know they are up to no good.
The man that predicted that Trump was going to be claimed “the king of Israel”, that Americans won’t be able to come to Canada, that a flu-like pandemic will confine everybody home in an international lockdown, the man that did say that passport would be suspended on April 4, 2020, that man… was right. We are talking about 6-7 big points, absolutely crazy and unbelievable simply 8 months ago… that were found to be true and accurate. Will he be right about the next 4-5 points? I fear that he is.
Now let’s think about it from a critical point of view:
What was Dave’s motive to do such fear-mongering, if all of it was bs? Money. But how? Exactly. Many shills expressed the fact that David was trying to steal Bitcoin from people, yet anyone that spends any amount of time listening to David Golberg or friends of David Golberg (before the whole website got nuked), know that this isn’t true. It would be like me telling you and my readers to transfer their money into Bitcoin or Ethereum due to an incoming financial collapse: I would not profit at all. It would be for your good.
Now why the US? Why not exterminate Christians and patriots in Germany, Hungary, Brazil or Croatia? Good question. All I can think of is that the US and Canada to a certain extent are the last bastion of the free world, the only thing in the way of China and the zionist. Remember how Dr. Carol Baker (a Jewish… zionist too?) at a CDC meeting back in 2017 said “I have the solution…Vaccine refusers… We will just get rid of the whites in the United States.”
I shit you not. This video has been deleted over and over on youtube, so here’s another copy. Please download a copy of it and share it. Full quote: “So I have the solution. Every study published in the last five years, when you look at vaccine refusers. I’m not talking about…hesitance, most of them we can talk into coming to terms. But refusers. We’ll just get rid of all the whites in the United States,” Baker said at the “Achieving Childhood Vaccine Success in the U.S.” expert panel discussion sponsored by the National Meningitis Association in New York City on May 9, 2016. “Guess who wants to get vaccinated the most? Immigrants.”
God help us. I want this nightmare to be over, I want Dave to be so badly wrong. It sounds too terrific but the writing is on the wall.
Now, now you know. If anyone could help me doing so sort of rational thinking in concern to ZYPHR, that would be great. The fact that Tom Hanks posted a picture (again, go on the original blog post to see it) with a typewriter with the logo ZEPHYR and CORONA on it back in 2017 isn't really comforting.
out
Arctic
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Just watched a video explaining mimblewimble. Don't all non-privacy coins have a fatal flaw?

Don't all non-privacy coins like Bitcoin or Nano have a fatal flaw, in which the fact that all transactions are public, you're literally giving away everything regarding your financial situation? Given that it is a taboo today to even ask for a person's salary or wealth and money is a fairly looked down upon subject altogether, how and why would people even use money that would make it possible for "everyone" to know about everything you're doing financial-wise? And sure, the address isn't linked to your name/identity, but there are few instances where your identity simply is known, like within a family (and you are trying to surprise someone with a gift or other reasons), or as a company (and you're trying to gain competitive advantage by buying XYZ - now everyone knows), or even something like a stalker seeing you buy a coffee from a coffee shop: if he's smart, he can fairly easily interpret what you're doing each day and capitalize (by checking all your transactions and looking for public places like your school, other shops or like hobbies) on it plus more you can figure out yourself given some creativity. And yes you can always make a new wallet but once you make a single transaction with it, its cover is partly blown, especially if you only use it for once specific transaction (and make it right after you've received your funds), plus I'm sure ,,everyday people" would find that inconvenient (unless you always load it up from an exchange which is even more inconvenient). Plus, if you were trying to use the "oh we want everything public so that no one can be doing money laundering etc., wouldn't these people simply use privacy coins if they wanted to, essentially rendering this sake of the public records useless (making it like the dark web? Not everyone using it is a criminal but criminals do use it)? So wouldn't all people, in the end, resort to a privacy coin, like Monero or a mimblewimble based one, for the sake of their...privacy (if governments somehow didn't ban them)? And I know there has been a post about this great nano wallet recently, that always generates new addresses to transact with to partly solve this, but this only proves the point of how important privacy is and why the vast majority of coins today are simply unusable and therefore unadoptable. Are there other measures taken in order to guarantee the users privacy in btc, nano or other projects that are not privacy coins?
Please know that a) I'm not shilling, I own a fairly proportional stake in all mentioned projects (but a mw based one) and b) I'm super open to discussion! c) I'm not new to crypto, but have never viewed this as a problem, rather as a feature.
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Overcoming Identity Crisis of Today, while Taking a Matrix Pill 2020 and Affecting the Social Trends

The Matrix has you…
The cultural overview over "The Matrix Trilogy" and how it foresaw the social trends.
"The Matrix" trilogy by the Wachowski brothers is the most iconic and groundbreaking movie trilogies in cinema history. Terms like "The red pill", "Dessert of the real", "There is no spoon", "Follow the white rabbit", "Why, Mr. Anderson? Why?" and many other phrases from the film became the golden quotes of the new millennium, shaping the entire culture of the "generation Y"… also known as "the millennials". "The bullet time" effect with fancy acrobatic moves and bullet waves turned into the most quoted gimmick for decades in action films, parodies and video games. The slow motion has never been so cool and slick, as it was after "The Matrix", not to mention sunglasses at night and dark looks with fashionable black leather tailored coats.
Its been 21 years since the theatrical release of the first "The Matrix" film. It came out in November of 1999 (the most revolutionary year in cinema history, since it is the release year of such groundbreaking hit titles like "Star Wars: Episode I. The Phantom Menace" by George Lucas, "Fight Club" by David Fincher, and "The Matrix", of course, by the Wachowski brothers). Four years after the great success of the film, "The Matrix" was reloaded with two worthy sequels: "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions" — turning a movie franchise into a full-time trilogy. There was also "The Animatrix" — an anthology of animated short films set in "The Matrix Universe" directed by highly acclaimed Japanese animators, and a video-game "Enter the Matrix" which told a story that went parallel to the story of sequels, explaining some of the unanswered questions in the films. Thus "The Matrix" franchise has become one of the first inter-media franchises where all available storytelling formats told one epic story from different angles and points of view. And unlike other attempts of creating such inter-media franchise around movies (like it was with "Star Wars Expended Universe" or "The Terminator" franchise) it wasn't just pure merchandising and cash-grabbing schemes with questionable product quality having a famous brand logo on it… no, '"The Matrix" franchise was one well thought out project and story from the very beginning, created and curated by the Wachowski brothers. Nothing more or less.
In the year of 2020 "The Matrix" is being reloaded once again with its new instalment being in production. Internet is filled with shaky mobile phone behind the scenes footage of "The Matrix 4". We see Neo, played by actor Keanu Reeves and his stunt double, jumping of high buildings and riding fancy motorcycle with Trinity, played by Carrie Ann-Moss, while the streets of San-Francisco are being turned into a chaotic war zone with explosions, car chases, extras running all over the streets and helicopters flying.
Usually such big blockbuster film productions are being held in secret in order to prevent unnecessary leaks and story spoilers… most of the extras and crew members don't even know what movie they are filming up until the very end. During such big productions fake movie titles are made. But this time, as it seams, filmmakers don't really care about production secrecy, as actor Keanu Reeves and film director Lana Wachowski keep on hanging out with random people on a street during the filmmaking process. What is it? A new viral social media format of film advertising? Or the new way of entire filmmaking approach? Or maybe both?
Either way — Lana Wachowski is the visionary artist that is going to bring something fresh and unexpected into the cinema format and into the new "Generation Z" culture. The Wachowski brothers have foreseen the future with "The Matrix" film almost in every way possible… and I'm pretty sure they are going to do so again. They spoke of cyber-crimes, data privacy and internet control long before Edward Snowden incident, WikiLeaks, Anonymous group, social medias and etc. They showed aircraft controlled by so called "terrorists" hitting skyscrapers years before 9/11. "The Matrix" also tried to warn us about the dangers of virtual realities, and here we are 20 years later using VR systems and spending our lives in endless MMO RPG games (by the way, "The Matrix" franchise even had its own MMO RPG video game "The Matrix Online"). The virtual values have become much more valuable that the material ones. Bitcoins and Facebook likes are considered to be much more precious then real money and even gold by many. Instagram pages are viewed as the only true portraits of their users, however bright filters, happy faces, flattering camera lenses and photoshop have nothing to do with reality. It is merely a "Residual self-image", as it was named in the film, "A mental projection of your digital self". The person sees himself whom he wants him to be, not whom he really is.
And I think that this topic is the most overlooked topic by critics and contemporary culture scholars.
Just think about it — the Wachowski brothers are the physical manifestation of their own concept of "Residual self-image", as both of them saw themselves as someone different. Both brothers were men, but they considered themselves to be women. Their physical reality didn't match with their mental projection of virtual self. Thus they had to do surgeries and go through sex change procedures. The Wachowski brothers are officially sisters. Nowadays in 2020 it is a common practice that can't surprise anyone, however in 1990s during the production of the first "The Matrix" film it was a big deal… so big that Wachowski brothers had to rewrite the screenplay. In the earlier drafts of the script there was a fully flashed out transgender character. She is still present in the final film, but her role and concept has been reduced. Character Switch — portrayed by Belinda McClory — was a transgender, and her name "Switch" meant too illustrate her constant transitions from one form into another, as she was a female in the real world, but in the Matrix her personal "Residual self-image" switched her into a masculine male. For Wachowski brothers it was a very important topic to explore, since both of them dedicated their lives to transgender worldview, but in 1990's the film studio and producers thought that such concepts would be too confusing for average film viewers and difficult to follow, thus it was all cut out during pre-production. Even their first film "Bound" that featured lesbian love story was met with numerous misunderstandings during pre-production, during its filming and, of course, during its release, since such themes were considered too risky… almost taboo, as they could easily put off many unprepared audiences.
But now… look how the world and culture has changed?! In 21 years everything is upside down. It is almost impossible to find a big blockbuster film or franchise or T.V. series or even a video-game that has no lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, pansexual or any other "something"-sexual character. It is true for both "rated R" and "rated M" media and for media oriented for children. Disney's life adaptation of animated classic "Beauty and the Beast" is the prime example… not to mention more.
I must say that unorthodox sexual orientation of characters were always present in cinema, they were never the subject of prohibition and never will be, however before "Wachowski era" their orientation always played some sort of narrative purpose. No character was supposed to be gay or transexual just for that sake of being such. But nowadays we see LGBT characters all over visual media… and the fact of their orientation rarely enhance the story or add anything to it. For the most part it is just being there for no reason other then being there. No wonder we have so many poorly written stories today. "Chekhov's gun" is the key to good storytelling, isn't it? If you put something into a story, it must heave a purpose, because without purpose it's just a filler, a white noise… this means it shouldn't be there at all. And here I'd like to quote Agent Smith from "The Matrix" films:
"But, as you well know, appearances can be deceiving…" — even here Wachowski brothers point out the previous "Residual self-image" topic. "…which brings me back to the reason why we're here. We're not here because we're free. We're here because we're not free. There is no escaping reason; no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist."
Curious… Wachowski brothers were pioneers in LGBT mass-media, yet even they were smart enough to exclude these themes from "The Matrix trilogy", even having a total creative freedom over the sequels, as they knew that it would serve no purpose in their story. Yet they used much more sophisticated tricks to pinpoint their agenda and worldview. Get ready for some hard drugs! Wachowski brothers urged the protagonist and film viewers to take "The red pill" and "Free our minds". They also urged us to fight against all rules and stereotypes, and young generation loved it. In the film it simply meant "rage against the machines", but in our world where this film was "The red pill" for young people, this fight against the established order had much deeper purpose.
Upon the quick view on the lives of the Wachowski brothers over these two decades we can tell that their "red pill" they were giving us, was simply a androgyne hormone for transgenders and their main "Matrix" they were fighting against, was the sexual orientation stereotypes. They succeeded in their revolution, as LGBT themes are no longer taboo in mass-media. But there were also other important cultural topics Wachowski brothers presented with their trilogy: multiculturalism, racial diversity, feminism and even "toxic masculinity" and war against white men and patriarchy… long before these themes became mainstream in pop-culture.
"The Matrix" franchise had always a diverse cast, didn't it? It also has strong and independent female characters right from the start. And it wasn't just a copycat trend to appeal some social minorities, as it happens today. It was the personal philosophy of the authors. However, despite all their diversity and equality, one social group was shown deliberately one-sided. Just think about it. All evil characters in all three films were male and white. Agents are white middle aged men, Cypher — white middle aged man, Merovingian — white middle aged man, Architect — white man, Bane — white middle aged man, etc. Some can argue on this topic, since white men where also on the side of good guys. True, "but, as you well know, appearances can be deceiving…" says Smith. All white men on the good side of the story are… well, questionable. Whom can we name? Councillor Hamann — played by Anthony Zerbe — is a white man… a father figure in Zion, however he is shown to be an irrational and rhetorical weak old man. Comparing him to other leaders of Zion we can easily see his incompetence. Even Neo makes fun of him, pointing out on a fact that Hamann's solid age doesn't make him wiser (and it is the only time in the whole trilogy when the main protagonist ever trolls anyone). Then there is the Kid — played by Clayton Watson — another white man good guy, but he is just an immature naive boy… in "The Animatrix" he in the moment of danger finds no better way out then a suicide… a very questionable role model, don't you think? Who's next? Mouse — portrayed by Matt Doran — once again a young teenager full of sexual hormones and nothing more. There is also Captain Roland — played by David Roberts — and his ship crew, but a single black woman Niobe — played by Jada Pinkett Smith — turns out to be wiser and much more competent then any of them. Meanwhile all non-white and non-male characters are shown in the positive light. Wait… but what about Neo — the one himself — played by Keanu Reeves — he is a white man — the hero of the trilogy. True. However originally "The Matrix" creators wanted to cast Will Smith for the role of Neo, but Will Smith declined the role and chose to act in "Wild Wild West".
In other words Wachowski brothers brought up anti-white men SJW themes in their films long before such topics became mainstream and part of pop-culture. Thus they weren't even noticed by the time of film release. But it is worth mentioning that Wachowski brothers were depicting anti-white men subplots not because they were following some kind of fashion or social agenda like mass-media does today, but because brothers WERE white and men, and they wanted to do something about it. And they did. For real.
However next generation of filmmakers and artists took the Wachowski brothers' personal issues and turned it into a viral trend, changing the culture forever. It can be even said that the modern SJW and LGBT hysteria is the Matrix, created by Wachowski brothers. I wonder, will their new "The Matrix" film change the world once again?.. and how?
Text: Jurii Kirnev
Omnifinery Editorial: Article 003
submitted by SelfMadeAsia to OMNIFINERY [link] [comments]

Just watched a video explaining mimblewimble. Don't all non-privacy coins, BTC included, have a fatal flaw?

Don't all non-privacy coins like Bitcoin have a fatal flaw, in which the fact that all transactions are public, you're literally giving away everything regarding your financial situation? Given that it is a taboo today to even ask for a person's salary or wealth and money is a fairly looked down upon subject altogether, how and why would people even use money that would make it possible for "everyone" to know about everything you're doing financial-wise? And sure, the address isn't linked to your name/identity, but there are few instances where your identity simply is known, like within a family (and you are trying to surprise someone with a gift or other reasons), or as a company (and you're trying to gain competitive advantage by buying XYZ - now everyone knows), or even something like a stalker seeing you buy a coffee from a coffee shop: if he's smart, he can fairly easily interpret what you're doing each day and capitalize (by checking all your transactions and looking for public places like your school, other shops or like hobbies) on it plus more you can figure out yourself given some creativity. And yes you can always make a new wallet but once you make a single transaction with it, its cover is partly blown, especially if you only use it for once specific transaction (and make it right after you've received your funds), plus I'm sure ,,everyday people" would find that inconvenient (unless you always load it up from an exchange which is even more inconvenient). Plus, if you were trying to use the "oh we want everything public so that no one can be doing money laundering etc., wouldn't these people simply use privacy coins if they wanted to, essentially rendering this sake of the public records useless (making it like the dark web? Not everyone using it is a criminal but criminals do use it)? So wouldn't all people, in the end, resort to a privacy coin, like Monero or a mimblewimble based one, for the sake of their...privacy (if governments somehow didn't ban them)? And I know there has been a post about this great Nano wallet recently, that always generates new addresses to transact with to partly solve this, but this only proves the point of how important privacy is and why the vast majority of coins today are simply unusable and therefore unadoptable. Are there other measures taken in order to guarantee the users privacy in btc or other projects that are not privacy coins?
Please know that a) I'm not shilling, I own a fairly proportional stake in all mentioned projects (but a mw based one) and b) I'm super open to discussion! c) I'm not new to crypto, but have never viewed this as a problem, rather as a...feature I suppose...
submitted by Bacteria_E-coli to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure.
Myself included.
So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate.
But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall.
Yes, I’ve seen the video.
No, I won’t be sharing the link.
Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it.
Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air.
Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable.
Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman.
We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym.
What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck.
Inevitable, as you’d say.
Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often.
See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later.
I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt.
Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering.
Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked.
Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them.
Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance.
A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really.
As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school.
Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence.
Which is why I refuse to be silent.
Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all.
I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique.
Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.”
I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight.
That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else.
I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend.
When with Roman, do as the Roman does.
After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design.
Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world.
As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School.
I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though.
Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line.
See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself.
Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.”
With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.”
Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’
It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.)
And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.”
Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer.
It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class.
Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.”
“Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling.
“I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.”
“Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?”
Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his.
I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick.
You might have something to say about what we deserve though.
As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too.
Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from.
They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful.
In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required.
However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature.
Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’
I thought this was really funny.
Ellie Monk however, did not.
She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.”
“Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!”
“Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.”
“It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!”
“Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.”
Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman.
“Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.”
“Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.”
At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier.
Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.”
I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all.
Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity.
I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt.
Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all.
Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman.
He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion.
Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care.
I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you.
The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name.
He mentioned the Basilisk.
Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant.
Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind.
Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor.
Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps.
Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger.
In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down.
Now I understood what this was.
I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh.
Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms.
It drew nearer and I ran.
I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me.
Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up.
Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat.
I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load.
Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy.
As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut.
What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk.
After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either.
I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead.
He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T.
He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside.
His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked.
“A few months.”
With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour.
Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?”
“Shoot.”
“What is the Basilisk?”
At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?”
“From you. You told me about it.”
“No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.”
“Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.”
Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.”
“So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?”
He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that.
“Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?”
“No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.”
“The… Basilisk is your computer?”
Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.”
I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?”
“Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.”
Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.”
He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.”
“So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?”
“Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.”
All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?”
“Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.”
“Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer.
“Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.”
My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?”
“The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again.
“You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?”
“Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.”
This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up.
I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.”
Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us.
He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.”
When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester.
But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?”
In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on.
In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given.
When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.”
Institute? Mipsqueak?
Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account.
Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.”
I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject.
They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.”
Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’.
Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute.
It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’.
“A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee.
Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile.
That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been.
From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!”
As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer.
This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped.
That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl.
I sprinted to run.
Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch.
The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet.
With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting.
Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death.
Its teeth opened wide.
Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage.
I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence.
Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger.
I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components.
He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes.
One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit.
I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh.
“I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.”
“Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.”
“I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.”
He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—”
“Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!”
“Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.”
“It’s not moralizing.”
“Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.”
Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view.
At least not in person.
When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear.
The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits.
I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said.
Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know.
But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity:
I don’t believe in you.
submitted by CrimsonClubs to nosleep [link] [comments]

Vodou - A drunken inspection into what to expect.

Hey you guys! I've been seeing some stuff lately, like "Why Voodoo?" and "I didn't even know voodoo was real"!
Who is I? Why, I'm an ex-Smite player (I can't persuade myself to let easyanticheat be installed on my computer T_T), but when I WAS a Smite player, i really, really, REALLY loved the idea of vodou in Smite. And since quite a number of people are asking questions, here's why!

What is Voodoo?

Yes. It's real! it exists! It's...a product of slavery...oh...this got dark...
Let's talk about how Vodou came to exist real quick. So back in the day, black folk were imported to the Americas like tea to England, or Skyrim to every goddamn piece of technology with or without a screen. There was usually an appalling lack of consent inherent to this process. They were generally stripped of...well, everything. But there's one thing you can never strip from a man: Copious amounts of Student Debt His faith! And so along with the slaves, came religion from Africa. This faith, transplanted in the Caribbean and southern territories of the future United States, not only endured, but evolved. See, being a slave kinda screws with you just a wee bit. It makes you see things in different lights, one could assume. The religion that the slaves brought with them were battered at every angle by Christian ideals and doctrine, and this wormed its way into how the slaves behaved, and every aspect of their faith.
Vodou/Voodou (the classical term, that was changed to Voodoo when it became a mainstream taboo in American Culture) hence turned into a religion dominated by one classical "god", Bondye, and a vast array of lesser figures called Loa. These Loa are spirits; not quite godly, not quite demigods. Rather, aspects that came into being along with the main god, but are lesser to him in every way. In a sense, Loa are very similar to Valar from Tolkien's Middle Earth, who are in turn subservient to (but free-willed) Eru Illuvitar.
These Loa are responsible for many aspects of life, nature, and society, and respect to them is paid to keep life, nature, and society turning smoothly. Contact with these Loa is not just possible, it's an everyday fact of reality as they shape your life, and the life of all around you. However, Literal contact (speaking, seeing, invoking, etc.) is managed through ritual and not something you take lightly. Of course, this style of ritual is where a vast majority of pop culture Voodoo takes it inspiration from: flanderized and demonized to the point of being comical. While tools, figures, symbology, and body snippets human or otherwise do make up the bulk of ingredients necessary to perform these rituals, Vodou is not in and of itself nothing but this type of stuff.
Now that there's a bit of background on why Vodou exists, let's take a look at some more well known figures it's got going for it.

Gimme some Gods!

I already forgot they're really called Loa!
Baron Samedi, Loa of mediating death First up, there's the main man. The one we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he will be the first vodou figure in the game. This shit talking, womanzing, alcoholic, well dressed, skull faced piece of work himself. When you are sick, when you are wounded, when you are old, your very life hangs in a balance. And this rat bastard is the dude holding the scale. He determines when you live. He determines when you die. He sees all the dead. He helps the dead. Or he doesn't, depending on how he feels about you them. He's witty with a foul mouth to boot. He's got a wife, but that doesn't stop him from diversifying his portfolio. Why he became so popular in the first place, so overbearingly the face of all Voodoo to the entire world, is pretty crazy. But I didn't even need to list him, so let's move on to the next guy.
Bondye, God himself Well, this one's a little strange. See, we don't really have many figures in the game of this pedigree and relative importance tierlist. One could argue Vishnu, from the Hindu pantheon, compares to the centrality that Bondye holds...but Vishnu isn't in the game. Only two of his avatars. One could say Osiris and Zeus hold similar titles, but "kings of gods" is a bit different from "the one and only god, under whom serve countless spirits." Time will tell if such a figure is introduced into the game. I'm not banking on it.
Maman Brigitte, Loa of making sure your corpse is alright, sweety Holy shit, there are white loa? You bet your sweet ass there are! This surprisingly Irish-inspired Loa is married to Baron Samedi, and is sort of a collaborator in the death/drinking/shit-talking department. More often than not she protects graves. I actually would not expect to see her, at least not as an isolated character; Her role with Samedi is just too highly overlapping. However, an appearance or two in the Baron's kit could be an interesting surprise.
Damballah, The creator Loa Wait, the creator figure in't the main one? The hell? That's right, instead, you got yourself a snake! A really big, really long snake, that coiled itself up and pressure treated the world just right.. Our waters are his shed skin, and goddamn does he love to drink. His power to create and shape gave rise to not just land, but life, and with it intelligence. And so he's a smart boi. Still a snake, though.
Ogoun, Loa of metalwork. Oh, and rum This is one spicy meatball. He's like vulcan, except all the pitifulness has been transformed into pent-up rage, except without the pent-up part. He is the spirit of the warrior that says "To hell with the Geneva convention, let's try attaching rabid wolves to the ends of our ICBM's!". He is known for clearing da wey for civilization with a bushwakka because the mortals were too slow and hell, it's a special occasion! It's not every day he gets to whip out machete #3,772! He is Loa of all metal crafting, and he loves to see his metalcraft be used for fightin'. And yes, he is also Loa of rum. Brewing rum, to be specific.
Loko/Loco, Loa of plants and healing Loko (or Loco, if Loko is too close to Loki for your Liking.) is THE Loa of priests. His wife is THE Loa of priestesses. Together, they form a nice, neat pair. They are both similar to Agni, in that invoking them is an important step to holding out a Vodou ritual. He himself is a very important figure in the aspect of plants, and the healing aspect of nature. Both things revolve on his good will and efforts. You want a healer mage? You got a freaking healer mage. He is THE healer mage. The biggest. The yyyuuuugest.
Ayizan, Loa of commerce and markets What's this, another husband wife pair? She's wife to Loco, and together, they are integral to ritual rites, being patrons of priests and priestesses. Ayizan herself is a bit more different in aspect, however: she is integral also to the aspect of trade and bitcoin money! She actually DOESN'T drink, go figure!
Linglesou, Loa of slasher films Don't run. Don't breathe. Don't make a sound. Oh fuck, is...is that Linglesou? RUN, RUN, MOTHERFUCKER EATS KNIVES! HE VOMITS KNIVES AT YOU TO KILL YOU IF YOU PISS HIM OFF! HE'S ALWAYS PISSED OFF, RUN RUN RUN! HE'LL FUCKING EAT YOU FACE, RUN! NOBODY DOES VODOU JUST THE WAY HE LIKES IT SO HE'S GONNA MURDER YOUR ENTIRE FUCKING FAMILY AND EAT THEIR FACES WITH A SIDE OF KNIVES, RUN GODDAMN IT!
Agaou, Loa of a very angry earth This dude is the aspect of the earth when it seems like it kinda just wants you to just...just die already. Lightning, thunder, earthquakes, tsunamis; shit a meteor could fall square on your dog and that's Agaou saying "I only miss once." He's essentially the spirit that Bondye hands all his contract killings out to, and he very seriously calls himself "God's Gunner". By the way, probably shoulda mentioned this before, but most all Loa can possess people to get work done in the mortal realm. Being possessed by Agaou is essentially the same as having a neverending grand mal seizure, and when he leaves your body there's a pretty good chance you're gonna die.
Erzulie (Fréda Dahomey), Loa of Beauty, Glamor, and Don't talk to me or my son ever again Erzulie is actually a class of Loa. There are a few classes of Loa, just like in Hinduism there are Devas and Asuras to denote classes of powerful figures. But Fréda Dahomey is basically THE Erzulie, so much so you can probably just call her Erzulie. She is glamour and feminism incarnate. She is also the Loa of This Haircut. She's got husbands for days, and she'll flirt with pretty much anything that walks, talks, and has a hot italian sausage swingin' between its legs. However, If it's feminine (including gay men), she's pretty much top bitch. Not in a mean way, more like in an overbearing "I shall break thine dick off if you look at a female for 5.26 uninterrupted seconds" type way.
Papa Legba, Loa of crossroads Papa Legba is the alpha and omega when it comes to the game of Let's Talk to Some Loa. You cannot start the ritual without him. You cannot end the ritual without him. He is the one who stands in the middle of the world of mortals and the spirit realm, the crossroads, if you will. Through him, mortals can contact Loa, and vice versa. As a gatekeeper, there's not a whole lot more to him other than "yep, he drinks and he's horny", but hey, they made Ah Muzen Cab, didn't they?
Grand Bois, Loa of the wilderness Grand Bois is Loa of the wild aspect of nature. He's often thought of as the start of the cycle of life: the primordial broth from which nature matures into man. His aspect is more specialized on the elemental parts of nature, the dense trees and bush that choke and strangle light and passage through sheer mass and vigor. Grand Bois gives 0 fucks about you as an individual; nature WILL persevere.

Hey, There's More!

But it's 12:30 and I'm tired.
There's a ton more Loa, but that's just a sampling of a lot of big names with lot of history to them. Many other Loa aren't very well documented on purpose or appearance, but I think the fairly decent amount posted above could field a pretty neat roster of figures for the pantheon in Smite. And if you're interested in it for yourself, awesome! I think that means I did a good job. Ekoz Outie.
submitted by _Ekoz_ to Smite [link] [comments]

Why Genesis Vision (GVT) Should Be on Your Watch-List

In light of the recent shills regarding GVT, I thought it would be the perfect time to give some of you a quick look on what GVT is and why it has been getting so much attention as of late. As a disclaimer, I am invested in GVT and I would like to also point out that although I am fairly active on the GVT sub reddit, I have not shilled it whatsoever on /r crypto. I mention this because I know there will be those that say "oh great, another shill post/comment" and had I been trying to shill, I would be all over this sub spamming people about it. I will try to make this post as unbiased as possible. In return, I simply ask that any FUD, and shills as well, include some substance so that we may have a nice discussion.

What is Genesis Vision?

Genesis Vision, from the site, is "the first platform for the private trust management market, built on Blockchain technology and Smart Contracts". Simply put, they are creating an easy-to-use app where people who do not know how to invest their money can give it to someone who does on a trustless platform. Think of it like a trust-less brokerage firm that is backed by blockchain technology and smart contracts. From the white-paper, there are 3 types of people on the platform:
The final GVT platform will have the forex, stock and crypto market all integrated onto one app. GVT's alpha release on April 1st will only include the forex market. Q4 of this year will then integrate crypto for their beta release. Finally, on their final product release, stocks will be added.

How is the platform trust-less?

First ask yourself this, why can people trust traditional brokers with their money? They can't. Who's not to say any given broker won't run away or make awful investments and lose your money? The only thing people like you and me can go off of when investing with any given broker is their track record - and that’s something that could be tampered with too. How long has this person/brokerage firm been in the market? How reliable are they? Stuff like this isn't going to be an issue on Genesis Vision. The time a person has been investing on the platform is all public on the blockchain. Every good investment and every bad investment will be publicly listed. Smart contracts will ensure that no manager can close shop and run with your money. At the end of the trading period, funds are released to the original investor and the manager is given a cut - all safely and securely using smart contracts. This completely eliminates the trust factor as everyone will simply base investments on a manager’s track record.

How does it work?

On the platform, each manager will have their own token. You invest into said manager by buying their token. The manager can then utilize the various markets available to invest and hopefully grow your money. Managers will have levels that are based on their ability to make consistent and reliable gains. The lowest level a manager can be is level 1 while the highest is 7. Your level basically determines how much money you can handle - the max level being able to handle roughly $1m. New people can apply to become a manager after they have developed a track record by trading a minimum of $1,000 over a given period of time.

How GVT is creating its own ecosystem.

To make it easier to understand how the platform will work, ask yourself how the current crypto market works. No matter how many trades you do or what coins you hold, the end goal is to have your portfolio be worth more satoshis/gwei than what you started with. You can either hold BTC, OR you can invest in various altcoins in hopes that it will grow faster than BTC. The reason people research low cap “undiscovered” cryptos is to hopefully catch a rocketship before it takes off. Times have since changed, but everything used to have to go through BTC. Buying alts? Exchange from BTC. Selling alts? Exchange to BTC. BTC falls, everyone falls. BTC grows, everyone grows (sometimes). Some alts will fall harder than BTC, and some won't. Some alts will grow faster than BTC and some won't. Because of BTC's dominance over the market, it is why many crypto veterans hold a big portion of their portfolio in BTC and why they often recommend it to others.
This is akin to how the GVT platform will work. GVT is BTC and the managers on the platform are the altcoins. You could either hold GVT or put it into a manager that will hopefully get you better returns. Much like how people right now look for “undervalued” and “undiscovered” altcoins, there will be talks and similar conversation about undiscovered managers with potential. Now remember, this is how it’s going to be for the intermediate to advanced people, but for newer or more busy people, GVT can become a fantastic tool for side-income.
The platform’s main goal is mass adoption. People like me and you would be more inclined to simply hold GVT since we’d be able to spot out good short, mid and long holds ourselves. Also, since as the platform grows, the coin itself will naturally grow with it. However, what GVT is aiming to do is build a platform similar to Robinhood. Just like how they made investing in stocks - and now cryptos - more appealing and easier to all audiences (especially younger ones), GVT is trying to do this but with a broker-like app instead. Also, keep in mind I’m just talking about crypto. The platform is going to utilize the forex market and the stock market as well.
The takeaway of all this is that because GVT will have its own platform where you can buy/sell GVT straight off of, down the line GVT could possibly part ways with Bitcoin and in a sense create its own ecosystem where GVT is the driving force of its own market.

Why invest with a manager?

So now, I’m again talking exclusively crypto (since I’m not the most knowledgeable on the forex/stock market), but why would any of us want to invest with a manager? Technical analysis and day-trading is an incredibly taboo subject on this subreddit, but that’s because people don’t understand that TA is a tool. It’s not a fact that it’s going to pan out exactly as it’s written and there are many different things to look at when doing technical analysis on a chart. Any investment in this market is speculation and TA is very useful with helping you make educated guesses for the short, mid and long term. With that said, there are some really good day-traders out there. I’m not sure how this subreddits sentiment is towards Philakone (an exclusive day trader on twitteyoutube/steemit), but the dude makes a good amount of consistent money on a daily basis, whether it be a bull or bear market, and keeps his followers up to date by the minute - for free. Imagine if he were to get on the GVT platform and instead of people trying to copy/paste or follow what he does on Twitter, they can just give him money on the GV platform and have him do the work? Down the line if he becomes a level 7 manager and as a result is given a cut of the $1m he is allowed to work with, the literal TON of money he’d be making would certainly appeal to others looking to do the same. They would no doubt have their eyes on GVT and from there, the platform’s growth would be exponential once more and more managebrokers hop on.
I’m not saying that this is exactly how everything will turn out, but still imagine being able to make money in a bear market? And aside from that, there is the forex and stock market to utilize and if any of us ever become serious investors, it would important not to just diversify in crypto, but in different markets altogether and being familiar with GVT would greatly help. Again, this is purely talk on the potential of the platform so take it with a grain of salt and DYOR!

Some thoughts + moonboy talk

Okay this is going to be pure moon-talk since I know that’s what drives most of you. To start, the team is most familiar with the forex market - which has a LOT of money in it - and that is what they will be implementing first on their Alpha launch on April 1st. Crypto implementation in Q4 2018 on beta release and then stock implementation in Q1 2019 on the full release.
Remember that REAL adoption comes when people are using applications built on the blockchain without knowing - something GVT will be doing. Look at Steemit. It is the most active blockchain by far - beating out Ethereum AND Bitcoin ( http://blocktivity.info ). Why? Because it’s smooth and functions like a normal website, despite its use of blockchain technology. I’m not saying GVT will automatically shoot up to the top, but actual use is what will determine any crypto’s success and Genesis Vision is looking like a really solid candidate right now.
On top of this, GVT’s CBDO (Chief Business Development Officer) was the founder of tools4brokers ( http://www.t4b.com ) so they have someone on the team with experience with a successful and working product. I’m not going to take a deep-dive on the rest of the team, but I highly suggest checking out the roadmap and the team (all but a few have linkdin profiles).
Now for the money. First, do NOT be fooled about GVT’s USD price. The price is so high because its token supply is very limited. It is roughly 1/6th the supply of Bitcoin’s meaning we would just have to get to 1/6th of Bitcoin’s market cap (around $25b) in order for 1 GVT to equal 1 BTC. It’s a stretch, sure, but it’s more possible than you think. To put it plain and simple, the forex, stock and crypto market altogether amount to upwards of almost $100 trillion.
GVT is a $100m market cap crypto trying to disrupt a $100 trillion~ industry with an easy-to-use, innovative and game-changing app
  • .001% of this market = $1 billion market cap (1,000% gains from now)
  • .01% of this market = $10 billion market cap (10,000% gains from now)
  • .1% of this market = $100 billion market cap (100,000% gains from now)
Huge disclaimer that just because we could reach these numbers, does not necessarily mean we will, but I see no reason why can’t hit a billion or even 10 down the line.

Conclusion

That’s pretty much it from me. Genesis Vision is a project I, and many others, are extremely excited about. It has a lot going for itself and with such a low market cap, it’s definitely something to at least throw on your watch- list. Hopefully this post didn’t come off as too much of a shill (aside from the last portion) and instead opened some people up to why GVT isn’t just “another shitcoin”. If I missed anything, don't be afraid to chip in! And I’d also be more than happy to try and answer any questions some of you may have but I simply ask that you take a look at the white-paper ( https://genesis.vision/white-paper-eng.pdf ) first as it is very user-friendly and would answer some of your questions better than I could.
Links
Website: https://genesis.vision/
Whitepaper: https://genesis.vision/white-paper-eng.pdf
submitted by DKill77x to genesisvision [link] [comments]

Audacity + Notoriety

In the early days, Bitcoin was a radical new experiment in money. It was global, anonymous, and with its goal to dethrone fiat currency and central banker hegemony, it was utterly audacious. From day one, Bitcoin was directly at odds with the agenda of central bankers, who wanted total control over the money supply, and an end to all cash. Bitcoin was the epitome of audacity.
Then, dark markets made Bitcoin sinister. Governments scrambled to put a lid on illicit commerce and capital flight denominated in bitcoin. Bitcoin became notorious for thumbing its nose at the authorities in increasingly amusing ways.
In sum, Bitcoin's audacity and notoriety launched it from a worthless toy to stardom. Today, we must set out to do the same for Decred.
Recall it was the world's most disenfranchised persons who quote "invested" in Bitcoin first; of course back then, it wasn't really investing so much as it was financial martyrdom. VCs weren't even an afterthought.
When thinking about audacity and notoriety, we must ask who/what/when/where/why.
Audacity and notoriety was Bitcoin's foot in the door, as it must be for us at Decred. In cryptocurrency, this is what it means to "pay the cost to be the boss".
submitted by insette to DCR [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure.
Myself included.
So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate.
But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall.
Yes, I’ve seen the video.
No, I won’t be sharing the link.
Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it.
Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air.
Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable.
Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman.
We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym.
What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck.
Inevitable, as you’d say.
Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often.
See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later.
I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt.
Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering.
Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked.
Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them.
Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance.
A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really.
As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school.
Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence.
Which is why I refuse to be silent.
Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all.
I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique.
Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.”
I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight.
That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else.
I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend.
When with Roman, do as the Roman does.
After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design.
Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world.
As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School.
I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though.
Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line.
See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself.
Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.”
With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.”
Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’
It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.)
And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.”
Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer.
It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class.
Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.”
“Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling.
“I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.”
“Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?”
Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his.
I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick.
You might have something to say about what we deserve though.
As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too.
Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from.
They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful.
In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required.
However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature.
Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’
I thought this was really funny.
Ellie Monk however, did not.
She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.”
“Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!”
“Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.”
“It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!”
“Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.”
Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman.
“Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.”
“Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.”
At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier.
Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.”
I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all.
Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity.
I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt.
Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all.
Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman.
He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion.
Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care.
I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you.
The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name.
He mentioned the Basilisk.
Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant.
Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind.
Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor.
Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps.
Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger.
In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down.
Now I understood what this was.
I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh.
Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms.
It drew nearer and I ran.
I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me.
Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up.
Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat.
I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load.
Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy.
As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut.
What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk.
After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either.
I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead.
He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T.
He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside.
His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked.
“A few months.”
With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour.
Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?”
“Shoot.”
“What is the Basilisk?”
At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?”
“From you. You told me about it.”
“No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.”
“Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.”
Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.”
“So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?”
He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that.
“Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?”
“No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.”
“The… Basilisk is your computer?”
Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.”
I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?”
“Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.”
Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.”
He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.”
“So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?”
“Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.”
All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?”
“Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.”
“Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer.
“Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.”
My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?”
“The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again.
“You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?”
“Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.”
This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up.
I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.”
Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us.
He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.”
When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester.
Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?”
In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting brainwashed by some cult and I needed to know what the hell was going on.
In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given.
When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.”
Institute? Mipsqueak?
Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account.
Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.”
I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject.
They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.”
Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’.
Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute.
It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’.
“A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee.
Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile.
That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been.
From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!”
As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer.
This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped.
That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl.
I sprinted to run.
Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch.
The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet.
With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting.
Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death.
Its teeth opened wide.
Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage.
I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence.
Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger.
I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components.
He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes.
One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit.
I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh.
“I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.”
“Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.”
“I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.”
He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—”
“Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!”
“Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.”
“It’s not moralizing.”
“Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.”
I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.”
Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view.
At least not in person.
When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear.
The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be plesed Roman brought them so many more recruits.
I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said.
Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know.
But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity:
I don’t believe in you.
submitted by CrimsonClubs to CrimsonClubsWorkshop [link] [comments]

The owners of Blockstream are spending $75 million to do a "controlled demolition" of Bitcoin by manipulating the Core devs & the Chinese miners. This is cheap compared to the $ trillions spent on the wars on Iraq & Libya - who also defied the Fed / PetroDollar / BIS private central banking cartel.

At this point, that's really the simplest "Occam's razor" explanation for Blockstream's "irrational" behavior.
Once you let go of your irrational belief that Blockstream's owners actually want to get a "return" on their $75 million investment, from "innovations" such as sidechains technology (Lightning Network - LN) - only then will you be able to see that Blockstream's apparently "irrational" behavior is actually perfectly rational.
They say their goal is to "get rich" from LN. And if you believe that, I have a Dogecoin I'd like to sell you.
What are the real goals of Blockstream's owners?
Blockstream's owners don't give a fuck about the Rube Goldberg vaporware which some focus group christened "the Lightning Network". That name is just there to placate the masses of noobs who congregate on /bitcoin.
The owners of Blockstream are laughing at Adam Back as he continues to labor in isolation, the stereotypical math PhD who is clueless about economics, toiling away creating a slow, overpriced, centralized "level 2" payment layer on top of Bitcoin - a complicated contraption which may never work. They have neutralized him - but meanwhile, he thinks he's a rock star now, as "CEO of Blockstream". Little does he know he is the worst "collaborator" of all.
Investors are risk-averse
If Blockstream's owners really wanted to get rich from LN, do you really think they would freeze the "max blocksize" at 1 MB for the next year, when this 1-year freeze obviously risks destroying Bitcoin itself (along with their investment)?
Investors are not stupid - and they are risk-averse. They know that if there's no Bitcoin, then there's no Lightning - so their $75 million investment would go out the window.
And all the "Core" devs have actually gone on the record stating (in their less-guarded moments, or before they signed their employment contracts with Blockstream) that 2 MB blocks would work fine - even 3-4 MB blocks. Empirical research by miners has shown that 3-4 MB blocks - or even bigger - would work fine right now.
So why aren't the Blockstream investors pressuring the Core devs to go to 2 MB now, to remove the risk of Bitcoin failing?
If Blockstream did the "rational" thing and agreed to 2 MB now, the price would shoot up, the community would heal, innovation would start happening again. Bitcoin would proper, and Blockstream's investors would have a good chance at making a "return" on their investment.
For some reason, Blockstream's investors are trying to stop all this from happening. So we have to look for a different explanation. If the owners of Blockstream don't want to get rich from the Lightning Network, then what do they really want?
The simplest explanation is that the real risk which Blockstream's investors are "averse" to is the possibility of trillions of dollars in legacy fiat suddenly plunging in relative value, if Bitcoin were to shoot to the moon. They're afraid they'll lose power if Bitcoin succeeds.
In order to provide some support for this radical but simple hypothesis, we have to dive into some pretty nasty and shadowy geopolitics.
What do the wars on Iraq and Syria, JPMorgan's naked short selling of silver, and the book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" all have in common?
Whenever a currency tries to compete with the Fed / Petrollar / BIS [1] private central banking cartel, the legacy fiat power élite destroys that currency (if the currency has a central point of control - which Bitcoin does have: the Core devs, the Chinese miners, and Theymos).
[1] BIS = the Bank for International Settlements, often referred to as "the central bank of central banks"
Trillions of dollars were spent to take down the central banks of Iraq and Libya, because they defied the hegemony of the Fed / Petrodollar / BIS private central banking cartel.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=ellen+brown+iraq+libya+bis
And while you're googling, you might want to look up whistleblower Andrew Maguire (who exposed how JPMorgan uses naked short selling to "dump" nonexistent silver in order to prevent the USDollar from collapsing).
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=andrew+maguire+jpmorgan
And you might also want to look up John Perkins, whose book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" is another major eye-opener about how "the Washington consensus" manages to rule the world by printing fiat backed by violence and justified by "experts" and propaganda.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=john+perkins+confessions+economic+hit+man
That's just how the world works - although you have to do a bit of research to discover those unpleasant facts.
So for the legacy fiat power élite, $75 million to take down Bitcoin (and maintain their power) is chump change in comparison.
You all knew that "they" were going to try to destroy Bitcoin, didn't you?
Even Jamie Dimon practically admitted as much.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=jamie+dimon+bitcoin
Did you really think they would be clumsy enough to try to ban it outright?
Private central bankers run this planet, and they have never hesitated to use their lethal combination of guns, debt and psyops to maintain their power. They pay for the wars, they keep people enslaved to debt, and they dumb down the population so nobody knows what's really going on.
Print up a trillion dollars here, kill a million people there, brainwash everyone with censorship and propaganda. That's their modus operandi.
So we shouldn't be surprised if they they ruthlessly and covertly try to take down Bitcoin. They have the means and the motivation.
It was only a matter of time before they identified the three weakest centralized points in the Bitcoin system:
And so that's where they applied the pressure.
I'm sorry to be rude, but all three of those players listed above are idiot savants / sitting ducks up against the full-spectrum of covert dirty tricks deployed by the legacy fiat power élite - whether it's money, ego-stroking, or pretending to go along with their crazy cypherpunk beliefs that Bitcoin will only prosper as long as it remains small enough to run a node on a dial-up internet on a Raspberri Pi in Luke-Jr's basement.
So the simplest explanation is this: Blockstream is a "front company" which has been established for the purpose of performing a "controlled demolition" of Bitcoin.
So Satoshi messed up. He messed up by baking in a 1 MB constant into the code at the last minute as a clumsy anti-spam kludge - which could unfortunately only be removed via a hard fork - and which the global legacy power élite have figured how to retain via social engineering directed at clueless Core devs and clueless Chinese miners (and clueless forum moderators).
So why is the price is still fairly stable?
Heck, I'm so paranoid, I wouldn't even put it past them to try to interfere with investors who might otherwise be trying to send a signal by "voting with their feet".
In other words, several observers have commented that the only way to liberate Bitcoin from the cartel of Chinese miners and Core/Blockstream devs is to crash the price.
And many other observers are puzzled that the price isn't crashing now that Bitcoin is being strangled in its cradle by Blockstream.
Well, this wouldn't be the first time that the Fed / PetroDollar / BIS private central banking cartel sent in the "plunge protection" team to artificially prop up their fragile, centralized, permissioned currency.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=plunge+protection+team
Who knows, they could easily have printed up a few million dollars in phoney fiat and given it to players like Jamie Dimon or Blythe Masters who probably have access to the HFT (high frequency trading) tools to keep the price exactly where they want it, for as long as they want it. Manipulating an unregulated $6 billion market would be child's play for them.
The point is, we have no idea who is buying bitcoins at this price right now. Or what their motives are.
I know that if I were part of the legacy fiat power élite, this is exactly what I'd be doing now: buy off the devs, pressure the miners, encourage the censors, and play with the price - so nobody knows what the hell is going on. Prevent the price from crashing for the next year (so the community won't have a "smoking gun" to reject the Core devs and the Chinese miners)... and prevent it from going to the moon also (so the dollar won't look like it's crashing). Not too hard to do, especially if you have unlimited fiat at your disposal.
2016 is the perfect time to perform a "controlled demolition" on Bitcoin.
All the forces in the global economy are now aligned for a massive economic storm of epic proportions. Without Blockstream's interference, Bitcoin's price would be shooting to the moon right now, because it's the only digital asset class free of counterparty risk, compared to all the other garbage floating around in the system:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=deutsche+bank+lehman
https://np.reddit.com/BitcoinMarkets/comments/45ogx7/daily_discussion_sunday_february_14_2016/d0015vf
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=china+capital+flight
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=NIRP+Negative+Interest+Rate+Policy
Bitcoin is one of the only safe harbors in this oncoming economic storm. So it should be skyrocketing right now - if there were no artificial constraints on its growth.
So if Blockstream were not doing a controlled demolition of Bitcoin right now by freezing the blocksize to 1 MB for the next year, then the Bitcoin price could easily go to 4,000 USD - instead languishing around 400 USD.
In other words: the USDollar would be crashing 10-fold versus Bitcoin.
The only bulwark against Bitcoin rising 10x versus the USDollar is Blockstream's stranglehold on the Core devs and the Chinese miners.
Just like the only bulwark against precious metals rising 10x versus the USDollar right now is JPMorgan's naked short selling of phoney (paper) precious metals, mainly via the SLV ETF (exchange traded fund).
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=jpmorgan+naked+short+selling+slv
(Most informed estimates say that there is 100x more "fake" or "paper" gold and silver in existence, versus "physical" gold and silver. So it's easy for JPMorgan to suppress the silver price: just naked-short-sell "paper" silver. They do this as a service to the Fed, to prop up the dollar. And your tax dollars pay for this fraud.)
The silence of the devs
Isn't it strange how not a single Blockstream dev dares to "break ranks" on the 2 MB taboo?
This unanimous code of silence among Blockstream devs speaks volumes.
Devs on open-source projects like this (particularly ones which were founded on principles of "permissionless" "decentralization") would never maintain this kind of uniform code of developer silence - especially when their precious open-source project is on the verge of failing.
Most devs are rebels - especially Bitcoin devs - ready to break ranks at the drop of a hat, and propose their brilliant ideas to save the day.
But right now - utter silence.
This bizarre code of silence which we are now seeing from the "Core" devs must be the result of some major behind-the-scenes arm-twisting by the owners of Blocsktream, who must have made it abundantly clear that any dev who attempts to provide a simple on-chain scaling solution will be severely punished - financially, legally and/or socially.
Blockstream has deliberately set Bitcoin on a suicide course right now - and all the devs there are silently complicit - and so are the Chinese miners who submissively bowed down to Blockstream's stalling "scaling" roadmap.
But I don't really blame the devs and the miners. I feel bad for them.
I'm not really "blaming" any Chinese miners for being used like this - nor am I really "blaming" devs such as Adam Back, Greg Maxwell, etc.
Nor do I really "blame" guys like Austin Hill.
And I even think guys like Theymos and Luke-Jr "mean well".
They're all just being played. They think they're doing the right thing. Their arguments are genuine and heart-felt. Wrong, but heart-felt. This is what makes them so dangerous - because they really sound sincere and convincing. This is why they are the perfect pawns for the owners of Blockstream to play like this.
Subtle coercion
We recently found out that they locked the Chinese miners in a room for 13 hours until 3 AM to force them to sign an "agreement" to never use any code from a competing Bitcoin implementation that would increase the blocksize.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/46tv22/only_emperors_kings_and_dictators_demand_fealty/
Have you ever seen this kind of coercion in an open-source project - an open-source project founded on the principles of "permissionless" "decentralization" - where many of the founders were "cypherpunks"??
The miners and the devs - and Theymos - and guys like Austin Hill - all are passionate about Bitcoin, and they all believe they are doing "the right thing".
But they are being manipulated, without their knowledge, by the real power behind Blockstream.
Prisoners in a golden cage
Strange how we never get to hear what really goes on behind closed doors at Blockstream. We never get to see the PowerPoint decks, we never get to find out who said what. Blockstream's public messaging is tightly controlled.
If Bitcoin were to have a "core" dev team, it should have had something like the Mozilla Group, or the Tor Project - non-profits, who answer to the public, not to private investors. Instead we got Blockstream - a private company funded by some of the biggest players of the legacy fiat power élite. WTF?!?
If they wanted to develop sidechains and LN, then fine, they should be able to. But what they're really doing is radically changing Bitcoin itself - mainly by freezing growth at 1 MB blocks now, which is choking the system.
Depite all this, I still would not go so far as to say that the Core devs and the Chinese miners are really "traitors". At most, they are actually prisoners in a golden cage, who are not even really conscious of their own imprisonment. They're smart people - and in some ways, smart people are actually easier to fool, once you figure out what they believe in.
So this is what I really think the owners of Blockstream have done. They've figured out how to manipulate the Core devs and the Chinese miners - and they're happy that Theymos is playing along, censoring the main online forums - so they're able to move ahead with their plan to do a "controlled demolition" of Bitcoin, and it only cost them $75 million dollars.
Centralization got us into this mess.
The only reason Bitcoin is vulnerable to this kind of "controlled demolition" being performed by the owners of Blockstream is because mining operations and dev teams are centralized - thus providing a single, vulnerable point where the legacy fiat power élite could easily deploy their full-spectrum attack.
We finally have a digital asset with no counterparty risk - and they want to take it away from us, so that we continue to depend on their debt-backed, violence-backed legacy fiat.
And they're able to do this because the Core devs and the Chinese miners and Theymos were such easy gullible centralized targets.
Decentralization will get us out.
If you are a miner or a dev, and if you want Bitcoin to survive, then you must go back to the principles of permissionless decentralization.
Go dark, release some code anonymously.
Release an internal Blockstream PowerPoint deck or some internal Blockstream emails to Wikileaks, exposing what the Blockstream investors are really up to.
Otherwise, Bitcoin is probably going to fail to realize its potential - and we'll have to wait a while for truly decentralized development (and mining, and forums) to possibly create a successor someday.
If you're a hodler, it would be great if such a phoenix rising from Bitcoin would be a "spinoff" - ie, a coin bootstrapped off of the existing ledger (to preserve existing wealth, while upgrading to a new protocol for appending new blocks).
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=563972.0
But who knows.
submitted by UndergroundNews to btc [link] [comments]

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Bitcoin Documentary - The End of Money as We Know it

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