Monday, January 31, 2022

My Washington Football Team Prediction

I thought "Redskins" was just fine, but they went with "Washington Football Team" while thinking about a new name. They'll be announcing it on February 2.

My prediction:

The Washington Lying Dog-Faced Pony Soldiers

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Paid Beta Tester Wanted

The first person to send me a wallet address capable of handling Ravencoin assets gets some arbitrary quantity of NORTONXIII. Use the contact form rather than expose your wallet address, please.

I just want to confirm that the asset can be sent to someone and arrive. Not that I doubt it, but it's better to know than to not know, since I'm planning an airdrop soon.

Something I Don't Get

Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that the Ninth Circuit has rejected a challenge to California's Netflix Corporate Welfare and Internet Censorship Act of 2018.

The question under consideration seems to be:

If the FCC won't ensure that my next door neighbor (whose monthly bandwidth use probably runs in the megabytes, not gigabytes) is forced to subsidize my HD streaming habit and empower itself to determine which content is "lawful" and therefore must be subsidized, can the states do it on their own?

It seems to me that there's another consideration here -- a constitutional provision that gets abused a lot, but that seems applicable: The Interstate Commerce Clause.

Almost all of the bits flowing up and down lines to California users are probably crossing state lines while doing so.

The Interstate Commerce Clause says Congress, not the state of California, gets to regulate that kind of thing. And no, that power doesn't magically devolve to the states just because Congress (or federal agencies acting under congressional mandates) choose not to exercise it in this or that particular way. If Florida's legislature bans, puts extra taxes on, etc. commerce in grapes from New York, the courts will put a stop to that post-haste. Why would bits on wires be any different?

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Well, That Part's Done, Anyway ...

Due to various computer issues, I eventually resorted to using the Android phone version of the Ravencoin wallet. I may eventually move to a Linux or Windows version, or pick up a cheap Android tablet/laptop to make things easier.

After nearly 24 hours of blockchain synchronization, I had a fully functional wallet with 600 RVN in it (sent from my daily driver wallet, Edge).

So, the NORTONXIII Ravencoin token is here:

That's by no means the end of the travails of learning how this stuff works, though.

From a supply of 21 million, I sent 1 million to my Edge wallet. Transaction complete. But they don't appear there. My impression (I thought I had actually specifically read this somewhere) was that Edge automatically stored Ravencoin tokens as a subset of its internal Ravencoin wallet. But apparently not. So I'm down 1/21th of my supply (but the token is "reissuable," so no biggie, I guess).

How do I get the token out to people? At the moment, the only wallet I know of that handles Ravencoin assets is the Ravencoin wallet. But I believe that to be incorrect. I just have to do some looking around. For obvious reasons, I'd prefer it to be receivable to, storable in, and sendable from, as many wallets as possible. If the number of such wallets is tiny, my big project (the panarchy token system) may be on the ERC-20 schema.

Aside from wallets, there's the matter of exchanges. The only one I've found that meets certain standards I consider important (P2P, no gatekeepers to get past, etc.) is RavenTrader. Which I haven't figured out how to use yet. It seems to function on the basis of something called "atomic swaps," and the information it requires isn't information I can seem to find in my Android Ravencoin wallet. The token is, in fact, listed there. But no swaps because, well, I have all the damn tokens and can't figure out how to offer them.

For the moment, in tandem with a forthcoming imperial decree on currency and taxation, my plan is to set up some kind of "airdrop" to those willing to 1) possess and use a compatible wallet and 2) fill out a request form. That decree will include the "official introduction" of the NORTONXIII token. This is just my blog complaining about the technical difficulty of making that token happen.

If I ever get the exchange thing figured out, I'll probably initially offer the token at a 1-1 price with Ravencoin (at the moment, a little less than 8 cents). After which, of course, those who either buy it or got it from me in the "airdrop" or whatever, can create their own market price for it.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Bleg: An Online Sales Feature I'd Like to See But Am Not Finding

I'd like to be able to set up something like a Zazzle store -- t-shirts, coffee mugs, whatever -- but instead of collecting the commissions on sales, have them automatically assigned/donated to a non-profit of my choice.

I'm not finding anything like that in my initial web searches. Anyone know of such a thing?

Four Safe SCOTUS Predictions

I don't have any unsafe predictions to make in the matter of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer's replacement. Here are the safe ones:

  1. Yes, Joe Biden will nominate a black woman. Why? Well, because he promised to on the campaign trail, because breaking that promise might depress black voter turnout for Democrats this November and in 2024, and because keeping it might drive higher black voter turnout for Democrats this November and in 2024. It's a stupid criterion for the position, but entirely politically understandable.
  2. No, that black woman won't be Kamala Harris. She doesn't want a lifetime supply of black robes, she wants the Oval Office. Besides, she might be the only black woman in America whose name isn't "Angela Davis" who couldn't get confirmed, especially if she did the right thing and recused herself from her tie-breaking role in the Senate.
  3. No matter who that black woman is, or what her record looks like, some Republicans will insist that she's actually Angela Davis in disguise and that if she's confirmed the capital will be relocated to Havana, abortion will be legalized through the 57th trimester, etc.
  4. Any plausible nominee -- in fact, probably any nominee other than Angela Davis -- will receive unanimous Democratic support (yes, including Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema) and almost certainly at least a handful of Republican votes for confirmation.
Who will the nominee be?

The top of the media short list seems to be Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was recently confirmed to the DC Court of Appeals. That means she's already been throught the "vetting" process that also takes place with SCOTUS nominees.

My money is on J. Michelle Childs, for three reasons:

  1. She's from South Carolina (where she sits on a federal bench already), sort of (she was born in Detroit, but has been in South Carolina for more than 30 of her 55 years). Unlike a DC Appeals Court judge, a southern nominee sitting on a southern court is good politics for an administration that's often criticized for being too Beltway Establishment.
  2. Again, she's from South Carolina, where Joe Biden made his promise to nominate a black woman, presumably as a favor to Childs's patron/booster, US Senator Jim Clyburn. Biden may not need South Carolina to win the 2024 Democratic nomination, but Clyburn helps whip black voter turnout across the south and Biden wants to be on his good side. In 2024, it might make a difference in North Carolina, where Trump beat Biden by less than 1.5% in 2020. And in Georgia. And in Florida.
  3. In the "outside the Beltway Establishment" vein -- and in Joe Biden's "working class guy, went to law school at night, common man" wheelhouse -- she's not an Ivy Leaguer. "Public" school educated, graduate of the University of South Carolina's law school, state-level trial judge. When it comes to SCOTUS prospects, that's about as close to "working class" as you're gonna find.
But I could be wrong.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Game is (Re-)Afoot

To All Who Shall See These Presents, Greetings. 


As I approach nine years of personally peaceful and prosperous rule, it comes to my attention that those previously styling themselves “the government of the United States” have, in violation of my decree dissolving it and ordering its officers, legislators, appointees, employees, etc. to to conclude that institution’s affairs, settle its debts (which in no respect adhere to the new regime), and turn over any remaining assets and title to any putative properties to myself or to the emergent imperial apparatus, persisted in their imposture. 


Said circumstance compels me to declare a state of insurrection and to take such steps as may result in said insurrection’s suppression.

Thus the opening salvo of the Inaugural Proclamation and Miscellaneous Decrees Thereunto Pertaining, Part II: This Time It’s Personal.

Consider it a clue to the nature of the fun crypto token foray I'm planning (as those who did acid with me in New Hampshire earlier this year heard all about, and, probably to their credit, discouraged).

Sometimes It's Difficult to Become Master of One's Domain

Pursuant to the renewal of an old bit of fun, and to a novel cryptocurrency scheme, I hit Namecheap today to buy a domain. It's a domain I used to own, but let lapse, but which was available.

When I attempted to add the domain -- which sports the .us TLD -- to my cart, I was informed that due to "restrictive phrases," I'd have to ask, via support chat, for it to be added manually.

That got done, after I certified various things (US citizen, personal site, understanding that trademark infringement or illicit activity would result in loss of the domain without reimbursement).

Then when I went to my web hosting control panel to add the domain, I had to get with support again since .us domains are "restricted."

The first process took somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes (I multi-tasked while waiting on chat responses, of course), the second perhaps five minutes.

For a $3.98 (first year) domain.

I don't blame Namecheap. I've always had excellent service from them. Presumably they've been hit with enough complaints, litigation, etc. that it's easier for them to handle that TLD manually than to have to respond to that stuff later.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

This Southern Man Still Needs Him Around, Anyhow

I generally avoid letting my preferences in art get tangled up with my opinions -- or the artist's opinions -- on politics.

There are obvious exceptions when a song, film, etc. is itself inherently political. But for the most part, I don't give a tinker's damn if Sean Penn hangs out with Hugo Chavez, or James Woods or Jon Voight babbles nonsense about politics, or Bruce Springsteen expresses an opinion I disagree with, or whatever.

Neil Young's a treasure, and if he's crotchety about sharing a platform with someone he disagrees with, well, he's an old man with a big damn lawn and can yell at Spotify to get off it if he damn well pleases with no static from me.

Besides, not even Rogan's important enough to get me to use Spotify very often.

Another Stab at the Computer Setup

Because I don't want to pay $12 for a keyboard, don't like plugging/unplugging, and won't be making it out to e.g. yard sales and thrift stores before the weekend, I decided on a Hail Mary play.

There was an old laptop (not that old, but abandoned and therefore fair game, reasonable specs) sitting around the house that was abandoned because it had ... problems.

So, I managed to get it started, wiped Windows, installed Kubuntu.

Unfortunately, it keeps citing dependency problems on installing things like Chrome Remote Desktop, the Ravencoin wallet, etc. My kid, the Linux Command Line King, will probably tutor me on adding repositories, etc., but he's asleep. So I'm trying to get a Windows 10 Virtual Machine running in Gnome Boxes. Not successfully as yet, but fun anyway.

I don't care about OS that much. I just need to be able to run, at a minimum, some Ravencoin-related apps. I'd like to be able to run the machine remotely so I can just stick it somewhere out of site and forget about it, but I do have some reasonable spaces where I could leave the laptop running and just walk over to it when I want to do something.

My bigger plan -- not the panarchy token scheme, but a precursor to familiarize myself with how Ravencoin assets work and what they can do -- involves a reprise/reboot/rework of the April 1, 2013 decree.

NFL Overtime Rules -- Yes, It's Messed Up

I'm not sure that there's ever been a two-minute period in NFL football as exciting as the last two minutes of regulation play in the Chiefs-Bills playoff on Sunday night.

And, naturally, I'm glad my team, the Chiefs, won in overtime.

But I have to agree with the complaints that the NFL's overtime rules are FUBAR and that the Bills got robbed of an opportunity they should have had to go for a different outcome.

Here's how the overtime rules currently work:

  1. There's a coin toss, just like at the beginning of the regular game. The winning team chooses to kick off or receive (and, for obvious reasons, will always choose to receive).
  2. If the receiving winning team doesn't score, or only scores a field goal, the other team gets its shot.
  3. But if the receiving team scores a touchdown the game is over.
It's a dumb, unfair compromise between "sudden death" and "play until a quarter ends with one team ahead."

I favor "play until a quarter ends with one team ahead." And no coin toss. The game just continues where it left off at the end of regulation play.

Yes, that could make for some long games. But it's better than either "sudden death" or the half-assed version of same. Play another quarter. Got a winner yet? No? Play another quarter.

As a side bit of trivia, the longest NFL game in history also involved the Chiefs. The Dolphins beat them on Christmas Day in 1971. Game time: 82 minutes and 40 seconds.

Ah, Mystification


Monday, January 24, 2022

NFL Picks: I Should Have Gone Bigger

The up side: I picked three of four games correctly.

The down side: I still lost 88.4 points because I had the Packers at 100% to beat the 49ers, for a 150 point loss. While I also had the Chiefs at 100% to beat the Bills for a 50 point gain, I only had the Bengals at 53% to beat the Titans and the Rams at 53% to beat the Buccaneers, only picking up 5.8 points each on those two games. If I'd gone 100% on all my picks, I'd have ended in positive points territory.

Second up side: FiveThirtyEight's model only picked one of four (Chiefs vs. Bills) correctly, for a loss of 116.4 points. So I beat the model this week, anyway. My cumulative score is 183.3 points, top 28% of players. The model's cumulative score is 531.4 points, though.

So, we're down to the conference championships, and I'm going big on both -- 100% on the Chiefs to beat the Bengals for the AFC championship, 100% on the Rams to beat the 49ers for the NFC championship.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Kinda Faily

I booted up the Lenovo x86 tower today for the first time in ... well, quite some time, since I decided to try out the Raspberry Pi 4 as my daily driver machine.

Booted into Kubuntu, updated/upgraded everything ... and the next step, really, was trying to get a remote desktop program set up. No joy there. It kept supposedly installing Chrome Remote Desktop, and then saying I should wait for it to install. And most other options looked like they required paid subscription plans.

When I tried to reboot into Windoze to try things there, I couldn't select anything at the boot menu. Maybe because I had the mouse and keyboard plugged in via a USB hub, and maybe it needed a driver that wasn't loaded?

I'll mess with it some more tomorrow, probably. I probably have a spare mouse/keyboard lying around so I don't have to switch back and forth.

The goal is to get a remote desktop working so that I can just access the tower from the Pi. Then install the full Ravencoin package on the tower so that I can do token stuff. Not really a big hurry since the goal is more to mess around with creating/deploying/using a token than to implement the bigger scheme, which I don't really have worked out in detail anyway.

Friday, January 21, 2022

More Fun With IPFS

I'm not sure how useful it is, but I uploaded today's edition of Rational Review News Digest to IPFS.

In theory, I could publish the newsletter to IPFS every day with probably 2-3 minutes extra work -- in addition to the web, email, Twitter, Facebook, Diaspora, MeWe, Minds, Steemit and Mastodon editions.

Of course, the way I tell people about each edition of the newsletter is by emailing them, uh, the newsletter. or by posting the newsletter to those various media (either daily or in real time by item post). If those media were cut off for me, how could I tell them to go to IPFS to get it?

Well, I suppose I could generally advertise the link to the folder over time, so that if content stops coming due to some kind of general crackdown they can open an old edition, grab the IPFS URL, and look there to see if I'm still publishing it. 

I like the idea. I like the interface/implementation. I'm just not sure those likelihoods justify even the minimal effort involved. If I'm nuked on all those media, chances are I'm also in some Gitmo-like environment, not happily curating and publishing away.

Still cool, though, so I guess I'll think about it some more.

A Test

Looks like I've got IPFS up and running on the Raspberry Pi. Of course, the daemon can be run from the command line, but I'm a GUI guy and had problems finding a 32-bit GUI interface for it. Fortunately, the Chrome Web Store has an "IPFS Companion" extension.

So, here's the test: Can those of you not running IPFS see the image? I haven't read into things enough to know if that's how it works or not.

Update: Interesting. I can see the image when editing this post, but when I go to the blog after publishing it, no joy, even though I have IPFS running. So, a secondary test:

If you visit this URL without the IPFS daemon running on your machine, do you see the image?

One Cryptocurrency Claim I Don't Buy ...

... at least as a general principle, is the claim that "governments can't manipulate e.g. Bitcoin."

Now, granted, what the people saying that usually mean is that governments don't control the issuance of cryptocurrency and therefore can't inflate it by just "printing" more.

But that's not the only way governments can manipulate things.

You may have noticed the large drop in BTC and other major cryptocurrencies overnight.

At least one explanation I've read ties that drop to a statement from the Russian state's central bank calling for regulation and/or banning of cryptocurrency.

Now, if I was born yesterday, I might evaluate that as a natural sequence -- Russian regime considers regulating/banning cryptocurrency, there's some panic selling.

But if I was cynical, and I happen to be very cynical, I might think it looked something more like this:

Oligarchs: Yo, Vlad!

Vladimir Putin: Yeah, 'sup?

Oligarch: We're thinking of buying a crap ton of Bitcoin, but the price looks higher than we'd like it to.

Putin: No problem, I'm on it.

Ringgg .... Ringgg ...

Head of Russian Central Bank: Hello?

Putin:  Announce that we're thinking about regulating/banning cryptocurrency so our friends can buy the dip.

Head of Russian Central Bank: Consider it done.

The Compromise ...

So the plan was that this morning, as soon as I got my "end the week" work wrapped up, I'd shut down the Raspberry Pi, hook up the Lenovo tower, and get on the whole Ravencoin token project.


I had forgotten something.

The Raspberry Pi connects to my two HDMI monitors (actually televisions used as monitors) via cables that came with it -- USB-C to HDMI, I believe.

And when I was rocking the tower, I had some kind of weird setup involving one adapter that I can't find right now (USB to HDMI, I think) and one that I can (DisplayPort to DVI, which does me no good since the DVI monitor got passed on to a kid and replaced by that second HDMI monitor). The tower has VGA out, DisplayPort out, and USB.

But of course I have HDMI cables lying around. And I also had a $5 reward credit at Best Buy, bringing the cost of a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter down to less than $5. So I ordered that, Tamara will pick it up on the way home this evening ...

... and instead of switching from the Raspberry Pi to the tower in general, my plan is to get the tower hooked up to one monitor via a second HDMI port, install all the stuff I want to work with, then have it easy to switch to (or just work with via remote desktop), while continuing to use the Pi as my daily driver.

Not that any battle plan survives contact with the enemy. But that's my thinking at the moment.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

I'm Thinking About Abandoning the Raspberry Pi 4 ...

... at least temporarily.

It's fine for daily work. It's even fine for the type of casual gaming I do.

But apparently if I want to create and manage one or more cryptocurrency tokens, it's not up to the job.

Or, rather, the computer is up to the job, but the operating system isn't. The computer is a 64-bit machine, but there's not a stable build of 64-bit Raspbian, so the machine is operating with 32 hands tied behind its back. And most of the crypto software, including the Linux native Ravencoin wallet, seems to be 64-bit.

So I may just kick the weekend off by re-setting-up the boss tower PC one of y'all made it possible for me to buy a couple of years back.

And then I may see about setting the Pi up as a Lightning Network node. There's a 32-bit ARM version of that software available. But I'd need an external hard drive to store the blockchain on, and it's a lot of bandwidth for the initial blockchain download. That would probably bust my bandwidth cap. Fortunately, I know someone with the same bandwidth cap who probably doesn't use a gigabyte a month, so I could just set it up at their place and run it via remote desktop.

But that idea is secondary to figuring out this token stuff. Which I may learn by doing something more fun and flighty, and far less complicated, than the "panarchy token system" I've got a bee in my bonnet about.

One Thing That Bothers Me About Foreign Policy Discussions ...

... is that many people who rightly notice how dumb and flighty and arbitrary and capricious US foreign policy is also believe that every other state on the planet is coldly rational, takes the long view, etc., and does so due to some inherent, in-the-blood "national spirit" running back through the centuries.

If I had a nickel for every time someone claimed that a particular state -- usually Russia -- "thinks long-term" and is playing an eternal chess game in which it's always five moves ahead of its opponents, I'd be a very wealthy man.

Was Nicholas five moves ahead when he decided to support Serbia versus the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914?

Was Stalin five moves ahead when he entered into the non-aggression pact with Hitler, then co-invaded Poland, then let himself get taken by surprise?

Yeah, that there Brezhnev proved himself a veritable Boris Spassky with the whole invasion of Afghanistan bit, didn't he?

That's not to say there aren't situations in which another state's foreign policy apparatus isn't thinking more clearly, in the moment, than that of the US. There certainly are. In fact, it seems to be the norm lately. But it's not some kind of magical quality of particular "nationhoods," extending across the long term as an inherent phenomenon No state is immune to hubris. Sooner or later, all of them fuck up.

Is it REALLY Spam, or am I Just That Darn Attractive?

This blog, and every other site I admin, is currently experiencing one of those periodic deluges of comments from women who:

  1. Want to show me their naked, writhing bodies via pic, video, or live cam;
  2. Want to actually hook up with me for sex; or
  3. Want me to come play online sex games with them.
I'd like to think that many, many thousands of biological clocks are ticking and evaluating me as a good sperm donor prospect. But I suppose it's possible that they're just spam comments.

In any case, if you see them, don't bother reporting them. I clean up the spam pretty regularly.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A Major Stumbling Block to My Panarchy Token Idea ...

... is that open, fully automated exchanges for Ravencoin assets aren't ready for prime time yet.

Raven Trader is working on that, but their app is still in alpha and not yet (at least according to the Github notes) at the fully automated point yet. Their model is simply being a posting point for P2P asset exchanges open to any valid Ravencoin asset (the seller posts the offer half of an Atomic Swap code; a buyer posts the acceptance half; then the buyer approves for the transaction to complete, with automation of that final step being in the works).

I need an exchange that is

  1. Open. That is, there's not some owner or board who gets to decide which tokens get traded. Any technically valid Ravencoin asset can be listed for trades without gatekeepers.
  2. Automated. That is, I can put up offerings and when someone buys them, it happens instantly (or, rather, at speed of actual Ravencoin transaction times once the buyer commits), rather than when I happen by to manually approve it.
So far, Ravencoin seems to be the best bet for such a setup. I could be wrong, but most of the other automated vehicles I've looked at tend to trade on proprietary exchanges -- your token gets on there if the exchange owners decide there's enough interest.

NFL Picks: Last Week and This Week

I went 4 of 6 correct in last weekend's NFL wild card games -- I did not pick the 49ers to upset the Cowboys, and I did pick the Cardinals to upset the Rams.

For week 20, I've also picked one upset: I give the Cincinnati Bengals a 53% chance of beating the Tennessee Titans.

My other picks are all at 100%: The Packers will beat the 49ers, the Buccaneers will beat the Rams, and the Chiefs will beat the Bills.

At present, I've got a score of 271.7 points and am in the top 24% of players in FiveThirtyEight's NFL Forecasting Game. Throughout the game, I've ranked, IIRC, as highly as the top 1% and as far down as 28th percentile. Early on, I outperformed FiveThirtyEight's model, but as the season continued that model kicked my ass in a big way. It currently sits at 647.8 points, which puts it in the 91st percentile.

Update, ~5pm 01/19/22: On re-thinking, I'm picking another upset. Well, not really an upset, as you'll see. Instead of 100% on the Buccaneers to beat the Rams, I'm at 53% on the Rams to beat the Buccaneers.

Why I was inclined to to go 100% Bucs:

  1. I have a "never bet against Tom Brady unless he's playing against the Chiefs" rule that usually stands me in good stead; and
  2. I fucking hate the Rams (I moved to Florida from St. Louis, a town the Rams got over on big-time then tried to screw).
What changed my mind:

  1. The numbers.
The Rams and the Bucs have played each other 27 times.

Of those 27 games, the Rams have won 18.

Including four of the last five, two of the last three, and both of the last two.

Those last two games are the only two games with the Rams that the Bucs have ever played with Brady as quarterback. 

Granted, that last contest took place when several Tampa Bay players were out of action on the COVID-19 list (which was why I picked LA that time, too). But the history and the trend, especially Brady being 0 for 2 in that match-up, makes me think FiveThirtyEight's model is incorrect in giving the Bucs a 68% chance of winning. I'd rather Tampa Bay won, but I kind of expect the Rams to.

Friday, January 14, 2022

The Reason I Asked ...

... in a previous post, "what do y'all think of Ravencoin" is that it at least seems suitable for a project I have in mind, of the "building the new society in the shell of the old" variety.

It's in the Molinari, de Puydt, et al. vein.

How might people go about building a panarchy while Westphalian Model nation-states still exist and zealously assert their claims/prerogatives?

It seems to me that Ravencoin (or some similar instrument ) would be suitable for creation of a blockchain-based "Bureau of Political Membership" based on tokens for ...

  1. Registration of polities, security/defense agencies, and arbitration agencies with the blockchain serving as a public database;
  2. Registration of personal affiliation claims with, submission to arbitration by, etc. entities in (1)

... might be valuable and should certainly be doable.*

Whether it's doable by me is, of course, a different question. But I want to get some distance down the track of overall design first, and once I'm convinced I have the idea licked, perhaps find some volunteers who are more well-versed in the technology to actually build it. And if it doesn't work out, well, it might at least provide useful lessons for later, better attempts.

The first step, it seems to me, is determining whether a particular instrument (in this case Ravencoin) is the right one, and if not to look at others. The obvious alternative is the ERC-20 standard, but I already see problems with that (for one, apparently tokens with identical names can be created; apparently that's not the case with Ravencoin).

Now that I've elaborated, perhaps someone will weigh in.

*Obviously the idea of blockchains as databases of political affiliation assumes that the Westphalian Model nation-states won't e.g. nuke us all back to the age of stone tablets as their final, dying act. That's not a safe assumptions. On the other hand, if it happens, we'll have bigger problems and having wasted some time on the blockchain idea probably won't be the worst of our regrets.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

When I'm Sick ...

... I do my bare minimum of work (Rational Review News Digest, Garrison Center columns if I'm not feverish or otherwise feeling mentally fuzzy, and some administrative work at

In between I either nap or play some relatively familiar, semi-mindless video game of the type that doesn't tax me too much and that will run on a Raspberry Pi without trying to use Wine or whatever. The past few days that game is Warzone 2100, a fairly decent stand-in for Starcraft, if you're interested in "real-time strategy." Oh, and oddly, instead of going to bed early, I go to bed a little later but seem to sleep harder and better (probably due to whatever medications I'm taking for feeling crappy).

I'm feeling a bit better the last 24 hours or so, though, so I'll probably let the game go for a few weeks or months -- I'm actually further into it than I've ever been before and up against a hard place anyway.

Instead of doing an extra post, I'll just throw a question I've been thinking about out there for my readers who are cryptocurrency fans: What do you think about Ravencoin?

Monday, January 10, 2022

NFL Picks: Coming Down to the Wire

I lost 31.8 points in week 18 of the NFL season, with 10 of 16 games picked correctly (did anyone think the Lions would beat the Packers or the Jaguars would beat the Colts?), but I'm still performing better than 71% of players in FiveThirtyEight's NFL Forecasting Game with a running total of 171.9 points (FiveThirtyEight's model has definitely pulled itself up by the bootstraps after a poor start, racking up 503.8 points).

My picks for this week:

The Cincinnati Bengals will beat the Oakland Raiders (79% likely).

The Buffalo Bills will beat the New England Patriots (79% likely).

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will beat the Philadelphia Eagles (91% likely).

The Dallas Cowboys will beat the San Francisco 49ers (78% likely

The Kansas City Chiefs will beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (100%).

And, my one upset prediction (versus the FiveThirtyEight model's pick): The Arizona Cardinals will beat the Los Angeles Rams. But I only give that pick a 53% likelihood.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Survey Says ...

... not COVID-19. One family member who had symptoms  (including fever) got tested on Thursday and got the results yesterday morning. Negative.

But last night, my temperature was 98.6  degrees (which is high for me). And this morning it's 99.0. 

So it's obviously still something.

There's good reason for my symptoms to be lagging other family members' -- they returned from a road trip last Sunday, and were presumably the ones exposed (I didn't go more than a hundred yards or so from the house while they were traveling and interacted at close quarters with a grand total of two people, one of whom is a shut-in).

They brought something back, and I'm still not sure it isn't COVID-19, since someone they were visiting became symptomatic and then tested positive shortly after they left.

Not that I particularly fear COVID-19. But at the moment, influenza and "the common cold" seem to be the zebras to COVID-19's horses, so I'm thinking in terms of probabilities.

The good news is that the previously feverish family member seems to be out of those woods without ever having experienced especially severe symptoms.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Well, it was Going to Happen Sooner or Later

There's a non-trivial chance that I've got COVID-19.

Which is to say, I've definitely been exposed to people who have definitely been exposed to it -- family members returned from traveling on Sunday; three of four have since remarked that they're feeling a bit off, and one of the people they were visiting is now abed with a confirmed case. One of the travelers was already scheduled for a COVID test tomorrow in preparation for a medical procedure, so I guess we'll get an idea then whether it actually made it into the household, anyway.

I see no reason to get tested myself, at least at the moment. If I get sick enough to go to a doctor or hospital, they'll presumably do a test anyway. I doubt they'd accept the results of a home test as dispositive. And if I don't get sick enough to go to a doctor or a hospital, I don't really care what particular bug caused me to get mildly ill.

My symptoms, if they even are symptoms and not just hypochondria or e.g. the common cold, are mild so far. Cough, runny nose, scratchy throat, meh/fatigued feeling.

Of course I always have a cough since I'm a smoker, I cannot for the life of me remember if I thought my throat felt scratchy before the C-word came into play, I feel meh/fatigued more often than I'd like, and the runny nose could just be the common cold or something triggering allergies. No fever, at least yet.

I'm cutting my work load for the day, but  not eliminating it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Why Donald Trump Almost Certainly Won't Be Criminally Prosecuted ...

... at least for anything he did while in office.

Certain wolves are howling for that, of course.

But no sitting president's Attorney General is likely to go after the previous president for actions taken while in office.

Because if that ever happens to one president, it will happen to every president thereafter, including the one who unleashed it. Which means no president will want to be the one to unleash it.

As you may remember, Gerald Ford preemptively pardoned Richard Nixon. A president of the opposite party might not have done that, but also wouldn't have been eager to go after indictments, etc.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

I Am Now Even MORE Convinced ...

 ... that, as I've hypothesized before, the John Wick film franchise takes place in the Matrix universe.

Why? Well, for the TL;DR, see this piece by Dan Seddon at Digital Spy. Short version (Warning -- spoilerish material!):

"Tiffany's" (actually Trinity's) husband, Chad, in The Matrix Resurrections is played by ... Chad (Stahelski).

Who was also Keanu Reeve's stunt double in The Matrix and stunt coordinator for The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

And who directed the John Wick films.

Chad is clearly a major figure in the Matrix universe, used by The Analyst to supervise/control Trinity after previously having been substantially responsible for Neo's actions. ...

And the John Wick universe is basically entirely his (although Morpheus shows up in it as a fly in the control ointment).

Presumably that universe was a side Matrix project (a "modal?"), dedicated to helping work out / excise some of Neo's violent and obstinate tendencies as he was re-made into Thomas Anderson, neurotic game desiger, after Revolutions and before Resurrections.

And Chad, in between assignments coordinating all the violent action in the first three Matrix stories and acting as Trinity's supervisor/controller in Resurrections, was given the Architect role in that side project while the Analyst worked on the new, improved Matrix.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

This is Not "Evidence" That Our Reality is a Simulation ...

... if for no other reason than that the very proposition isn't testable/provable (if we are, the programmers of the simulation could code against it being discoverable, or change stuff any time we got close to evidence, or even "roll back" the simulation in "time" for a different outcome).

But, and this is one of those "I was thinking about it when going to sleep and say, oh, wow" things:

What is DNA if not a rules set for procedural generation of characters?

Yes, it's fallacious to jump from perceiving what looks like design to believing there's a designer. Just because we came up with a concept for our own purposes, it doesn't follow that an analog to that concept having existed in nature for billions of years was also drummed up by some intelligence.

But I still find it interesting.

I'm Not Sure the Educrats Have Figured This Out Yet

For some people, homeschooling is a hard choice. For one thing, it may mean loss of income if one parent needs to give up an outside-the-home job or job opportunity.

When government schools started shutting down or going to "remote" sessions during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, that made the decision easier for many parents -- especially if it came down to "I'd spend as much as I'd earn on daycare anyway, so what's the point of that job?"

Now a lot of schools are doing the hokey-pokey. We're back in-person, no, wait, someone said a new Greek letter, back to "remote," but maybe some time soon ...

Some parents already said "screw it, we're not sending our kid back to that mess."

Every time the educrats pull this bait-and-switch crap, more are going to do so. Fool them once, etc.

And every time the "bodies we get government funding for" count goes down, the educrats are going to whine and whine and whine.

Seeing as how I support full separation of school and state, well ... I always welcome opportunities to make myself sound sophisticated by using the word "schadenfreude."

Thanks For Asking! -- 01/01/22

New year, new AMA thread! Ask me anything (yes, anything) in the comment thread below this post and I'll answer in comments (or point to an answer from comments).