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Bitcoin - The Currency of the Internet
A community dedicated to Bitcoin, the currency of the Internet. Bitcoin is a distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you like cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics. A large percentage of Bitcoin enthusiasts are libertarians, though people of all political philosophies are welcome.
/btc was created to foster and support free and open Bitcoin discussion about cryptocurrency, Bitcoin news, and exclusive AMA (Ask Me Anything) interviews from top Bitcoin and cryptocurrency leaders. Bitcoin is the currency of the Internet. A distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money. Unlike traditional currencies such as dollars, bitcoins are issued and managed without the need for any central authority whatsoever. Learn more about Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, cryptocurrency, and more.
12/6/14 /r/todayilearned: "...posts with views differing from the US government’s get removed or manipulated, Snowden documents show. And Reddit is currently using bots that remove posts regarding key words such as US government, NSA, Edward Snowden, Patriot Act, TSA Bitcoin, 9/11, Wiki Leaks, etc."
Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet
Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots. A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC). Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea. When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust. However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:
Is Bitcoin money?
No. Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves: 1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own. As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get. You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there? 2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile. If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point: 3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away. For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast. On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad. One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy. If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due. Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.
BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in
Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense. Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run. See here Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well. Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money. Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand. Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control. It's also a national security risk... The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca. He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade. This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.
Currencies are based on trust
Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged? The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president. People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all. It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board. For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government." The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.
BTC is not gold
Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value. How do we know that? Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan. Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well. Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties: First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment. Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials. Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans. It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods. To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that. On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Means of Exchange: if people seriously start using BTC to buy pizzas, then this creates a real demand for the currency to accomplish the short-term exchanges. As we saw previously, I'm not personally sold on this one and it's currently a negligible fraction of overall demand.
Criminal uses: Probably the largest inbuilt advantage of BTC is that it's anonymous, and so a great way to launder money. Hacker gangs use BTC to demand ransom on cryptolocker type attacks because it's a shared way for an honest company to pay and for the criminals to receive money without going to jail.
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.
BTC is really risky
One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds. But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:
A critical software vulnerability is found in the BTC codebase, leading to a possible exploitation.
Xi Jinping decides he's had enough of rich people in China hiding their assets from him and bans BTC.
Some form of bank run takes hold for whatever reason. Because BTC wallets are uninsured, unlike regular banks, this compounds into a Black Tuesday style crash.
Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient
Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science. That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale. The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
BTC was estimated to use as much electricity as Belgium in 2019. It's hard to trace where the BTC mining comes from, but we can assume it has a huge carbon footprint.
A single transactions is necessarily expensive. A single transaction takes as much electricity as 800,000 VISA transactions, or watching 50,000 hours of youtube videos.
There is a large necessary tax on the transaction, since those checking the transaction extract a few BTC from it to be incentivized to do the work of checking it.
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
US OFAC issues advisory: ransom payments for ransomware may involve felony charges and personal civil liability for staff.
Under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) or the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA),9 U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions, directly or indirectly, with individuals or entities (“persons”) on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), other blocked persons, and those covered by comprehensive country or region embargoes (e.g., Cuba, the Crimea region of Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, and Syria). Additionally, any transaction that causes a violation under IEEPA, including transactions by a non-U.S. person which causes a U.S. person to violate any IEEPA-based sanctions, is also prohibited. U.S. persons, wherever located, are also generally prohibited from facilitating actions of non-U.S. persons, which could not be directly performed by U.S. persons due to U.S. sanctions regulations. OFAC may impose civil penalties for sanctions violations based on strict liability, meaning that a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction may be held civilly liable even if it did not know or have reason to know it was engaging in a transaction with a person that is prohibited under sanctions laws and regulations administered by OFAC.
Sauce Here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/ofac_ransomware_advisory_10012020_1.pdf OFAC Sanctions list here: https://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov/ Analysis: Both TWEA and IEEPA carries Criminal and Civil penalties, so under these acts they can fine the company, fine staff directly, or press criminal charges. We know the US Government as part of both the 5 eyes agreements and domestic bank monitoring programs under FACTA monitors all international wire transfers. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies generally leave a paper trail that can be traced back to who purchased the currency. What I expect to start happening here is most CFO's are going to write off the cost of the ransom as a tax deduction which tips off the IRS that a ransom of some kind was paid. I expect the next step is the IRS is going to start asking for additional proof of payment and additional information about the cases. That puts CFO's in a bind, because I expect both the IRS, and federal courts, won't let it fly that you didn't know who you were paying money to under the TWEA. They'll sit on the data, and when eventually an APT Group gets compromised, they'll trace the payments back via said tax records. At that point, if your org paid under this, that data gets used to open up a search warrant and then they rip you a new one especially if the payment was substantial. The bigger issue here is it opens up tremendous liability for security services firms and insurers who pay ransoms on behalf of clients or advise clients to pay ransoms. Now is a good time to review your backup strategy and ensure you have tested backups that are isolated from your infrastructure. For those of you with your hands tied behind your back, now is a good time to gently remind your management staff, and especially the CFO if you have their ear, that they cannot rely on the renound cryptographic competence of our eastern european bretheren, and that their worst-case risk is a determined remote attacker and adversary of the US infecting your network, destroying the data while making it look like a ransomware attack, selling you worthless encryption keys to fund their operation before flaunting the fact they took you for a fool with a press release taking credit for the attack to tip off state government you paid them in order to further disrupt the company operations via putting your talented technical staff or c-suite staff in handcuffs and injuring your PR. To those of you in the business who are afraid of being scapegoated or in a tenuous situation, getchu some evidence tape and some tags, some vanilla envelopes and a glue stick. Print 2 copies, put one copy in a folder, seal it with evidence tape and a tag, then use your handy glue stick to adhere the other vanilla folder to its back and put the 2nd copy in so you can review the paperwork without breaking the evidence seal and shove that sucker in a fire proof safe or safety deposit box. Also, Mailstore home is free. TL;DR: If your company is attacked by ransomware, tell the management only facts of the occurance you know, what you can and cannot do for them, and don't advise them of anything upto and including getting a security services firm involved. I wouldn't even tell them paying the ransom might work. If you're going to have a verbal conversation, make it a one-on-one. Happy Saturday all!
Bored? Looking for something to do? Start with this list of things to do in the Sacramento area.
(Credit for the below list has to be given to u/BurritoFueled, who created the original list in 2014 and updated it a year later. Almost two-thirds of the items below are still from that original list. All I’ve done with the list is revive it a little bit by updating dead links and making little tweaks when necessary. Also, thanks to those that submitted new additions to the list last week. Over a third of the below items are new and a lot of the original items have had newer information added onto them.) People are always looking for something to do around here. Maybe you’re a transplant, unaware of what this area has to offer, or maybe you’re a lifelong resident, tired of the same old thing. Well friend, if you fall into the latter category, do not despair. There’s actually plenty of things to do in the Sacramento area – things of interest to almost any lifestyle, personality, or budget. So, whether you’re an athlete, geek, eccentric, hipster, weirdo, sexual deviant or just a normal person looking for a new activity, below is a list of activities for you to try. Please note that it includes only activities that take place at least a few times a year – no one-off events or festivals here. Enjoy this list. If you have any suggestions of your own to add, comment below in this thread. I'll try to keep this as up to date as possible. Away we go. UPDATED 10-6-20 (Note: Due to the current pandemic, some of these activities may be curtailed or not offered at all.)
Become the next Tiger Woods (the golf part, not the cheating, getting your windshield smashed by your wife with one of your golf clubs part). Start by hitting up a driving range at Top Golf or Haggin Oaks.
Purchase the sweetest sweet corn in all the land at the Davis Ranch in Sloughhouse.
When you're done in Sloughhouse, head a little further up the Jackson Highway (just past Rancho Murieta), hang a left on Michigan Bar Road, and cross the bridge (it's safe, trust me!) for one of the most historic, beautiful, and adventurous road trips in the entire area. Make sure you bring a hearty vehicle and avoid during winter and spring.
Check out – or offer your services – at the Oak Park Fix-it Café, a community-powered gathering for repairing and maintaining bicycles, clothing, household items, and the ties that bind a healthy community.
Buy some tricks, attend magic workshops, and become the next David Blaine at Grand Illusions.
Go watch some horseracing at Cal Expo. It’s harness racing from November through April and then traditional horseracing during the state fair. Want to end up with small fortune at the end of your day at the track? It’s easy. Just start your day there with a large fortune.
Watch some high school football! The Sacramento region boasts some of the best high school programs in the state. Check out top notch teams like Grant, Elk Grove, Folsom, and Del Oro to see potential NCAA Division 1 and NFL players of the future.
Watch some college football! Sac State had a huge resurgence in 2019 and UC Davis has always had a solid program. You can also check out the JC teams such as ARC and Sac City.
If Live-Action Role Play (LARP) floats your boat, Sacramento Valley Amtgard has the battles, weapons workshops, and skills classes you've been looking for.
Take a ride on the Sacramento River Train. You can ride the train or power along the tracks yourself with railbikes. They have different train excursions, including beer tasting and wine tasting trips. If you want to book a trip on a weekend, book early.
Want to learn how to fish? Try Fishing in the City from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. After you’ve learned, check out the blog from FishingBooker on where and when to go fishing and what to expect. For some recent local recommendations, check here, here, here or here.
If fishing tours are more your style, catch your lunch on a guided fishing tour of local waterways.
Take in a play at one of Sacramento's smaller, edgier, more contemporary community theatre companies, like the Big Idea Theatre.
Do you like beer and visiting breweries, but don’t like driving between them? Midtown Sacramento has got you covered! Make a day of it by visiting these breweries, all within easy walking distance of each other: At Ease, Sacrament, Big Stump, Golden Road, Fieldwork, and Alaro. If you don’t mind walking a few extra blocks, you can add Device and Urban Roots to the list.
Ever wanted to learn to sail, kayak or row? You’re in luck! The Sac State Aquatic Center offers lessons for those activities and more.
Antiquing never gets old, right? Visit Midway Antique Mall in Citrus Heights (focusing almost solely on midcentury wares), Antique Trove in Roseville, or the Antique Fair that happens every second Sunday on X Street, under the freeway.
Want to become the next Picasso? You gotta start somewhere, so take a paint and sip class at The Painted Cork in Midtown Sacramento or Historic Folsom.
It’s well known that you can play miniature golf at Scandia, but did you know that there are indoor mini golf courses in the area as well? Try SacMiniGolf in Old Sacramento, Flatstick Pub in DoCo downtown, or even glow-in-the-dark indoor mini golf at Monster Mini Golf in Rancho Cordova or at CaliGlo in Elk Grove.
The Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society meets, and hosts a talk, at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park monthly and welcomes guests. They also do field trips and their Annual Show and Sale is a must-see event for plant lovers.
Not to diminish the concert series at Fair Oaks Village Park, but when you hear "concerts in the park", everyone knows that is the Concerts in the Park series in downtown Sacramento. Live local and national acts perform on Friday evenings in the summer, and it’s totally free. If you’re not good with crowds you may want to give this a miss because it is packed!
Vacation or day trip so close, yet feel so far away, along the Delta. Rent a boat, jet skis, a cabin or camping spot, buy some bait and tackle, and/or eat out at various locations on the river.
Take a drive around the world’s smallest mountain range: the Sutter Buttes. You can actually drive around and hike the Sutter Buttes in the same day, however hiking is not free, you must do it as part of a guided group and you have to reserve a spot in advance.
[Spoilers S7] Here's what we know about the state of Earth before the bombs
Here's a compiled list of what Earth was like pre-apocalypse using details from the show. Jason Rothenberg has said if the prequel gets greenlit, he wants to implement a lot of flashbacks LOST style. These flashbacks may include references to the following:
In Monty's video message he said: "After sucking the Earth dry of oil, they [Eligius III] went looking for another planet to tap." [Episode 5x13]
This is presumably why Eligius I (unmanned), II (manned), and IV (prison labor) were sent to asteroids to mine for hythylodium, an incredibly efficient energy source. Hythylodium was used to power the Eligius III and IV missions. [Episode 5x03]
Other energy alternatives are used, such as solar energy (the field of solar panels Jaha and Murphy see in 2x14). And in 6x04, Ryker tells Raven the propellant they use for the motorcycles is "ethanol distilled from Earth corn."
During Josephine's flashback in Boston 2043, a man walks into a diner holding a mask, brushing dust off his shoulders. Josephine's friend also says "It's really dusty outside." You can see multiple people in the diner wearing masks around their neck. [Episode 6x07]
During Josephine's flashback, the guy that commits suicide mentions that she posted about going to a water-rationing protest. [Episode 6x07]
Gabriel says his mother's water was cut off in Colombia so the rich could water their lawns. [Episode 7x10]
On Callie's TV, a headline says "Yosemite National Park Burns". [Screenshot] Another headline says: "Deadly Heat Wave". [Screenshot] You can also hear the newscaster mention "above 110 degrees." [Episode 7x08]
On Callie's TV, a headline says "Russian Ankovirus Spreads". [Screenshot] The newscaster mentions the US has declared a public health alert. [Episode 7x08]
Becca says ALIE intends to kill 6.5 billion people to solve overpopulation. She's not trying to kill 100% of the population, so 6.5 billion is not the total population count. [Episode 3x16]
On Callie's TV, a headline says "World's 11 Billionth Child Born". [Screenshot][Episode 7x08]
This is abundant when we look at the technologies developed by just Becca and Eligius, such as large space ships, cryopods, sonic drills, brain chips, ALIE, nightblood, etc.
We also see hologram technology. In 2x16, Jaha first meets ALIE in hologram form. In 7x08, it's used as a telecommunication device when Callie speaks to her father and brother.
On Callie's TV, we see a headline "first human brain transplant successfully performed in Bangalore". [Screenshot] Another headline says "Dubai's Alpha Centauri Group debuts first orbital hotel". [Screenshot][Episode 7x08]
Becca Franko, The Tech Celebrity
She was born in 2025 and went to Harvard when she was 10 years old (2035). [Episode 7x08]
In 2043, she started making tech for Eligius at 18 years old. [Episode 6x01]
She owned her own company. We don't know the name of it but we do know it's corporate logo is an infinity sign and its motto is "Seek Higher Things". [Episode 3x07]
People idolized her. The newscaster on Callie's TV said she had "legions of devotees". In 6x07, Josephine had a magazine with Becca featured on the cover. In 7x08, Reese said "Don't mind my sister. She once dressed as you for Halloween."
She owned her own television network. The channel that Callie was watching on her TV has the infinity sign as its network logo. [Screenshot] The newscaster said "The reclusive billionaire and owner of this network made her last public appearance". [Episode 7x08]
On Callie's TV, a headline says "Stock Market Headed For A ..." and it's cut off. [Screenshot] There's most likely a recession going on and stock markets are crashing. You can also see bitcoin (BTC) is worth 4563.44 (half of what it is today). [Screenshot] Also, on top of the pandemic, huge advancements in AI and technology are most likely disrupting businesses and employment as well. [Episode 7x08]
On Callie's TV, we see a headline "Wyoming joins 32 other states in legalizing the recreational use of psilocybin mushrooms". Shrooms. [Screenshot][Episode 7x08]
Battles in U.S. Cities
The Battle of San Francisco was an armed conflict that Shaw recalls watching on TV as a child. During Diyoza's time in the military, she was one of the soldiers helping the evacuation of thousands of refugees. [Episode 5x07]
Resistance Groups & Terrorism
The United Liberation Army (ULA), was a terrorist group dedicated to fighting against the corrupt government that Diyoza became a part of after the military. The ULA was involved in many terror attacks, including an attack on the 4th of July, 2041 (which they took credit for) that killed 80 civilians in a plane bombing, and a suspected metro suicide bombing in Washington D.C., killing 19 civilians in 2042. [Screenshot][Episode 5x04]
Asteroid Mining Penal Colony
The Asteroid Mining Penal Colony was an off-world penitentiary on the asteroid Proxima 6 that used prison labor to mine for hythylodium. After her arrest in 2043 [Episode 6x07], Diyoza was transported to the colony on Eligius IV.
In 2047, she and the other prisoners learned they were to be abandoned on the asteroid due to getting sick from the hythylodium so they took over the ship, damaging one of it's engines and making the ship significantly slower. It would take 109 years to fly back to Earth. Had the engine not been damaged, it's possible Diyoza and the prisoners could've made it back to Earth before the bombs. [Episode 5x03]
This damaged engine can also explain why it took Eligius IV 75 years to travel to Sanctum, while Eligius III presumably got there in shorter time. [Episode 5x13]
Corrupt U.S. Government
Diyoza says to Clarke "When the fascist government tried to take my home, I wanted blood too." [Episode 5x03]
When Reese mentions Callie dropping out of MIT, she says "Refusing to take part in fascistic regimes is my thing." [Episode 7x08]
On Callie's TV, the newscaster says "... when riot police, on orders from the Wallace Administration, moved in to clear the extreme environmental group known as The Tree Crew." [Episode 7x08]
Callie: "Extreme? What a joke. We were there peacefully. They're the extreme ones."
Lucy: "Don't they know they're defending a system that hurts people like them?"
Callie: People want to believe their leaders are telling the truth, which is why we need to get back there and continue exposing their lies.
The US president at the time of the bombs was a Wallace. In Season 2, Dante says "I love you Cage, and there's been a Wallace in this office since the bombs but if I find out that you're lying there won't be one after me". So most likely the Wallace administration and their family were corrupt. They easily decided to do away with democracy in order to have complete control in Mount Weather. [Episode 2x06]
Russell says to Diyoza in 6x03 "Your face is in our history books next to Hitler and Bin Laden". Eligius took part in federal prison labor, so most likely they had close ties with the government. Fascist governments like to vilify their opponents through propaganda. Even though Diyoza was indeed causing violence, she was probably also used as a scapegoat by the government since she was against them. Even Gabriel said in 7x04, "She was a freedom fighter, not a terrorist".
On Callie's TV, the newscaster says "The 11 billionth baby was born in the Wayne County Internment Camp". Internment camps/concentration camps are "camps where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group which the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable." [Source]
On Callie's TV, a headline says "Congress's negotiations on economic relief funds at an impasse amidst violent riots ..." [Screenshot]
Cult Mentality & Conspiracy Theories
In 7x10, Gabriel says to Bill Cadogan "Earth was pretty terrible. But it's good for the cult business, am I right?"
According to this article, Bill grew up in poverty. And Jaha mentioned in 4x03 that Bill's father beat him frequently. Bill, a millennial, says in 7x10 that his first job was flipping burgers, dreaming of the day he'd escape. "There must be more to life than politics, the dying ecosystem, the memes." In times of economic hardship and social upheaval, it's easy for people to latch onto certain beliefs.
Callie says Bill's a vulture capitalist who "traded his precious credibility to become a prophet of doom". She also called him a cultural artifact thief. He found and stole the Anomaly stone from Machu Picchu and in 2042, he started studying it. [Episode 7x08]
It's unknown when Bill founded the Second Dawn, but we know a news article was written about them in 2042, saying that only those with lots of money could "unlock the twelve seals" since it required payments of over $10 million to the cult. [Episode 4x03]
That's what I got. If you spotted anything else from the show, feel free to share! :) Edit: Thanks everyone for the kind words and the awards! Also, thanks to clwrutgers for asking me to make this list.
d down, k up, everybody's a game theorist, titcoin, build wiki on Cardano, (e-)voting, competitive marketing analysis, Goguen product update, Alexa likes Charles, David hates all, Adam in and bros in arms with the scientific counterparts of the major cryptocurrency groups, the latest AMA for all!
Decreasing d parameter Just signed the latest change management document, I was the last in the chain so I signed it today for changing the d parameter from 0.52 to 0.5. That means we are just about to cross the threshold here in a little bit for d to fall below 0.5 which means more than half of all the blocks will be made by the community and not the OBFT nodes. That's a major milestone and at this current rate of velocity it looks like d will decrement to zero around March so lots to do, lots to talk about. Product update, two days from now, we'll go ahead and talk about that but it crossed my desk today and I was really happy and excited about that and it seemed like yesterday that d was equal to one and people were complaining that we delayed it by an epoch and now we're almost at 50 percent. For those of you who want parameter-level changes, k-level changes, they are coming and there's an enormous internal conversation about it and we've written up a powerpoint presentation and a philosophy document about why things were designed the way that they're designed. Increasing k parameter and upcoming security video and everybody's a game theorist My chief scientist has put an enormous amount of time into this. Aggelos is very passionate about this particular topic and what I'm going to do is similar to the security video that I did where I did an hour and a half discussion about a best practice for security. I'm going to actually do a screencasted video where I talk about this philosophy document and I'm going to read the entire document with annotations with you guys and kind of talk through it. It might end up being quite a long video. It could be several hours long but I think it's really important to talk around the design philosophy of this. It's kind of funny, everybody, when they see a cryptographic paper or math paper, they tend to just say okay you guys figure that out. No one's an expert in cryptography or math and you don't really get strong opinions about it but game theory despite the fact that the topics as complex and in some cases more complex you tend to get a lot of opinions and everybody's a game theorist. So, there was enormous amount of thought that went into the design of the system, the parameters of system, everything from the reward functions to other things and it's very important that we explain that thought process in as detailed of a way as possible. At least the philosophy behind it then I feel that the community is in a really good position to start working on the change management. It is my position that I'd love to see k largely increased. I do think that the software needs some improvements to get there especially partial delegation delegation portfolios and some enhancements into the operation of staking especially. E-voting I'd love to see the existence of hybrid wallets where you have a cold part a hot part and we've had a lot of conversations about that and we will present some of the progress in that matter at the product updates. If not this October certainly in November. A lot of commercialization going along, a lot of things going on and flowing around and you know, commercial teams working hard. As I mentioned we have a lot of deals in the pipeline. The Wyoming event was half political, half sales. We were really looking into e-voting and we had very productive conversations along those lines. It is my goal that Cardano e-voting software is used in political primaries and my hope is for eventually to be used in municipal and state and eventually federal elections and then in national elections for countries like Ethiopia, Mongolia and other places. Now there is a long road, long, long road to get there and many little victories that have to begin but this event. Wyoming was kind of the opener into that conversation there were seven independent parties at the independent national convention and we had a chance to talk to the leadership of many of them. We will also engage in conversation with the libertarian party leadership as well and at the very least we could talk about e-voting and also blockchain-based voting for primaries that would be great start and we'll also look into the state of Wyoming for that as well. We'll you know, tell you guys about that in time. We've already gotten a lot of inquiries about e-voting software. We tend to get them along with the (Atala) Prism inquiries. It's actually quite easy to start conversations but there are a lot of security properties that are very important like end-to-end verifiability hybrid ballots where you have both a digital and a paper ballot delegation mechanics as well as privacy mechanics that are interesting on a case-by-case basis. Goguen, voting, future fund3, competitive marketing analysis of Ouroboros vs. EOS, Tezos, Algorand, ETH2 and Polkadot, new creative director We'll keep chipping away at that, a lot of Goguen stuff to talk about but I'm going to reserve all of that for two days from now for the product update. We're right in the middle, Goguen metadata was the very first part of it. We already have some commercialization platform as a result of metadata, more to come and then obviously lots of smart contract stuff to come. This update and the November update are going to be very Goguen focused and also a lot of alternatives as well. We're still on schedule for an HFC event in I think November or December. I can't remember but that's going to be carrying a lot of things related multisig token locking. There's some ledger rule changes so it has to be an HFC event and that opens up a lot of the windows for Goguen foundations as well as voting on chain so fund3 will benefit very heavily from that. We're right in the guts of Daedalus right now building the voting center, the identity center, QR-code work. All this stuff, it's a lot of stuff, you know, the cell phone app was released last week. Kind of an early beta, it'll go through a lot of rapid iterations every few weeks. We'll update it, google play is a great foundation to launch things on because it's so easy to push updates to people automatically so you can rapidly iterate and be very agile in that framework and you know we've already had 3500 people involved heavily in the innovation management platform ideascale and we've got numerous bids from everything. From John Buck and the sociocracy movement to others. A lot of people want to help us improve that and we're going to see steady and systematic growth there. We're still chipping away at product marketing. Liza (Horowitz) is doing a good job, meet with her two three-times a week and right now it's Ouroboros, Ouroboros, Ouroboros... We're doing competitive analysis of Ouroboros versus EOS, Tezos, Algorand, ETH2 and Polkadot. We think that's a good set. We think we have a really good way of explaining it. David (David Likes Crypto now at IOHK) has already made some great content. We're going to release that soon alongside some other content and we'll keep chipping away at that. We also just hired a creative director for IO Global. His name's Adam, incredibly experienced creative director, he's worked for Mercedes-Benz and dozens of other companies. He does very good work and he's been doing this for well over 20 years and so the very first set of things he's going to do is work with commercial and marketing on product marketing. In addition to building great content where hope is make that content as pretty as possible and we have Rod heavily involved in that as well to talk about distribution channels and see if we can amplify the distribution message and really get a lot of stuff done. Last thing to mention, oh yeah, iOS for catalyst. We're working on that, we submitted it to the apple store, the iOS store, but it takes a little longer to get approval for that than it does with google play but that's been submitted and it's whenever apple approves it or not. Takes a little longer for cryptocurrency stuff. Wiki shizzle and battle for crypto, make crypto articles on wiki great again, Alexa knows Charles, Everpedia meets Charles podcast, holy-grail land of Cardano, wiki on Cardano, titcoin Wikipedia... kind of rattled the cage a little bit. Through an intermediary we got contact with Jimmy Wales. Larry Sanger, the other co-founder also reached out to me and the everpedia guys reached out to me. Here's where we stand, we have an article, it has solidified, it's currently labeled as unreliable and you should not believe the things that are said in it which is David Gerard's work if you look at the edits. We will work with the community and try to get that article to a fair and balanced representation of Cardano and especially after the product marketing comes through. We clearly explain the product I think the Cardano article can be massively strengthened. I've told Rod to work with some specialized people to try to get that done but we are going to work very hard at a systematic approval campaign for all of the scientific articles related to blockchain technology in the cryptocurrency space. They're just terrible, if you go to the proof of work article, the proof of stake or all these things, they're just terrible. They're not well written, they're out of date and they don't reflect an adequate sampling of the science. I did talk to my chief scientist Aggelos and what we're gonna do is reach out to the scientific counterparts that most of the major cryptocurrency groups that are doing research and see if they want to work with us at an industry-wide effort to systematically improve the scientific articles in our industry so that there are a fair and balanced representation of what the current state of the art are, the criticisms, the trade-offs as well as the reference space and of course obviously we'll do quite well in that respect because we've done the science. We're the inheritor of it but it's a shame because when people search proof of stake on google usually wikipedia results are highly biased. We care about wikipedia because google cares about wikipedia, amazon cares about wikipedia. If you ask Alexa who is Charles Hoskinson, the reason why Alexa knows is because it's reading directly from the wikipedia page. If I didn't have a wikipedia page Alexa would know that so if somebody says Alexa what is Cardano it's going to read directly from the wikipedia page and you know and we can either just pretend that reality doesn't exist or we can accept it and we as a community working with partners in the broader cryptocurrency community can universally improve the quality of cryptocurrency pages. There's been a pattern of commercial censorship on wikipedia for cryptocurrencies in general since bitcoin itself. In fact I think the bitcoin article is actually taken down once back in, might have been, 2010 or 2009 but basically wikipedia has not been a friend of cryptocurrencies. That's why everpedia exists and actually their founders reached out to me and I talked to them over twitter through PMs and we agreed to actually do a podcast. I'm going to do a streamyard, stream with these guys and they'll come on talk all about everpedia and what they do and how they are and we'll kind of go through the challenges that they've encountered. How their platform works and so forth and obviously if they want to ever leave that terrible ecosystem EOS and come to the holy-grail land of Cardano we'd be there to help them out. At least they can tell the world how amazing their product is and also the challenges they're having to overcome. We've also been in great contact with Larry Sanger. He's going to do an internal seminar at some point with with us and talk about some protocols he's been developing since he left wikipedia specifically to decentralize knowledge management and have a truly decentralized encyclopedia. I'm really looking forward to that and I hope that presentation gives us some inspiration as an ecosystem of things we can do. That's a great piece of infrastructure regardless and after we learn a lot more about it and we talk to a lot of people in ecosystem. If we can't get people to move on over, it would be really good to see through ideascale in the innovation management platform for people to utilize the dc fund to build their own variant of wikipedia on Cardano. In the coming months there will certainly be funding available. If you guys are so passionate about this particular problem that you want to go solve it then I'd be happy to play Elon Musk with the hyperloop and write a white paper on a protocol design and really give a good first start and then you guys can go and try to commercialize that technology as Cardano native assets and Plutus smart contracts in addition to other pieces of technology that have to be brought in to make it practical. Right now we're just, let's talk to everybody phase, and we'll talk to the everpedia guys, we're going to talk to Larry and we're going to see whoever else is in this game and of course we have to accept the incumbency as it is. So, we're working with obviously the wikipedia side to improve the quality of not only our article but all of the articles and the scientific side of things so that there's a fair and accurate representation of information. One of the reasons why I'm so concerned about this is that I am very worried that Cardano projects will get commercially censored like we were commercially censored. So, yes we do have a page but it took five years to get there and we're a multi-billion dollar project with hundreds of thousands of people. If you guys are doing cutting-edge novel interesting stuff I don't want your experience to be the same as ours where you have to wait five years for your project to get a page even after government's adopted. That's absurd, no one should be censored ever. This is very well a fight for the entire ecosystem, the entire community, not just Cardano but all cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, ethereum and Cardano have all faced commercial censorship and article deletions during their tenure so I don't want you guys to go through that. I'm hoping we can prove that situation but you know you don't put all your eggs in one basket and frankly the time has come for wikipedia to be fully decentralized and liberated from a centralized organization and massively variable quality in the editor base. If legends of valor has a page but Cardano didn't have one until recently titcoin, a pornography coin from 2015, that's deprecated, no one uses it, has a page but Cardano couldn't get one there's something seriously wrong with the quality control mechanism and we need to improve that so it'll get done.
In a recent spillover of internet-based long-form intellectual new media into the mainstream, Eric Weinstein appeared as a guest on Ted Cruz's podcast. Eric was well prepared. Cruz played the role of a charitable and engaged critic while avoiding direct confrontation. The conservation laid bare the intersection of the anti-corporate socialist left and anti-government libertarian right and the potential of these forces as a combined political interest. There was a strong sense of shared acknowledgement of the current crisis and they touched on all the culture war aspects. But I'm more interested in what Eric has pointed to now several times as the root cause of the systemic decline, and what seems to be the original trigger for the slow decay and building of tension that has ultimately led to the rise of darker elements on both the left and right that we see today: a Great Decoupling of productivity (GDP) and wage growth in the early 1970's. The significance of this time period has also been highlighted by Eric's boss, Peter Thiel. We are referred to https://wtfhappenedin1971.com/, where a collection of charts give the impression that a profound change in the foundations of the economy took place, effectively causing a divergence of all kinds of metrics related to equality, wealth creation, the complexity of regulation, and implicitly downstream effects like political polarization, incarceration rates, and age of marriage. The simple, seemingly persuasive answer is that the effective cancellation of the gold standard set us on a path towards borrowing ever larger sums to avert financial crises as they arise, and the return to a currency backed by something provably scarce, i.e. bitcoin, is a solution. I can't say I'm convinced it's that simple. And Eric doesn't mention currency specifically as the problem. So what I want to know is, was 1971 a real inflection point, the real root of inequality and dysfunction we see today? Was the removal of limits on the Fed's ability to print money a mistake? Or was there some other government action or change at that time that was the real cause? Do we need to let stock market crashes happen from time to time? A year ago, u/gwern posted a 1986 Atlantic article that described a lot of the problems in black America that are still around 4 decades later and offered more in the way of nuance and insight than most of the discourse we see today. What struck me on revisiting it was how the timing of the decline of Chicago aligns with the early 1970's trigger hypothesis:
In 1970 thirty-seven percent of the population of the area was below the poverty line; in 1980 the figure was 51 percent. In 1970 the unemployment rate was 9.5 percent; in 1980 it was 24.2 percent. In 1970 forty percent of the residents of the neighborhood lived in families with a female head; in 1980 the number had grown to 72 percent. In 1980 of the 54,000 residents 33,000 were on welfare. Experts agree that all of the numbers are even worse today.
My mental model for social issues is that they are mostly rooted in economics. If you have a society that generates wealth, you can pay teachers, doctors, and police well enough to attract competent candidates and the competition necessary to create real expertise. You can afford to build and maintain good infrastructure and spend time on figuring out how to best help the disadvantaged. You have the resources to advance technology and support the arts. You get all the positive feedback loops that come with this. When wealth generation becomes concentrated and restricted, public institutions start to struggle, people feel they have less opportunity, and social issues start to bubble up like the formation of outgroups of all kinds. A massive oversimplifation, I know, but a useful general framework to approaching issues that avoids (mis)placing blame on cultural degeneracy, "evil" corporations, or other common scapegoats that are largely symptoms of greater problems. Today, this mindset seems to align with the conservative right, but in the 1986 article it's the "liberal answer" to the problem of ghettos that I identify with:
In Chicago the harbinger of the change was the closing in the late fifties of the stockyards, which for half a century were the sine qua non of lower-class grunt work and a heavy employer of blacks. Chicago lost 200,000 jobs in the seventies; small shut-down redbrick factories that used to make products like boxes and ball bearings dot the city, especially the West Side. The lack of jobs, the argument continues, caused young men in the ghetto to adopt a drifting, inconstant life; to turn to crime; to engage in exaggeratedly macho behavior -- acting tough, not studying, bullying women for money -- as a way to get the sense of male strength that their fathers had derived from working and supporting families. As Murray believes that one simple step, ending all welfare programs, would heal the ghettos, the unemployment school believes that another simple step, jobs, would heal them. "When there's a demand for the participation of the black underclass in the labor force, most of the so-called problems people talk about will evaporate in a generation," says John McKnight. an urban-research professor at Northwestern University.
Indeed, Mr. McKnight. And up until this spring, it looked like the Trump presidency's aggressively pro-jobs and pro-American workers policy was showing promise of vindicating this view - the presence of BLM and racial tensions leading up to 2016 had all but subsided by 2018-2019. I wonder just how little backlash the George Floyd incident would have caused if the pandemic hadn't undone the economic progress of the past 3 years. Mind you, that "progress" was but a tiny step in the right direction in terms of improving wages and opportunities for the lowest earners. And for all the times the "audit the fed" meme hit the top of the_donald, it now seems impossible that the current administration has any capability or willingness to take the drastic steps needed to address the real root cause that apparently started 50 years ago. To do that, we may need an actual revolution.
I've been sharing conspiracies on reddit longer than this sub has been around. I have a story to tell.
This story is mostly crafted from my own experiences, my conversations with some of the people involved, and the rest is my own guesswork as I try to fill in the gaps...so bear with me! That's why I wanted to share with this community, which I've watched grow over the years. I remember posting about the death of Barry Jennings (who witnessed explosions in the WTC on 9/11) the day after it happened. This was before /conspiracy (or right around when it was formed), and I remember thinking "we really need a sub for conspiracies on reddit!" And here we are, 12 years later and over 1.3 million subscribers...incredible! So... My story starts with a young man. We'll call him Andrew. Andrew grew up in the 90's in a coastal US town and quickly blossomed into a tech whiz at a young age. He began building his own computers, and after a brief stint using Windows, he decided that Bill Gates was everything wrong with technology (and the world), and he made it his mission to make sure folks like Gates were NOT the future of computers. He really believed that the use of technology was a fundamental human right, and that charging people for "proprietary" OS's that hid their source code was a violation of these rights. He saw a possible Deus Ex-like future, with a technocracy literally around the corner if we didn't act now. Andrew soon joined the Free Software Foundation and began rubbing elbows with the likes of Richard Stallman. He begun exclusively using GNU/Linux and was the type to correct you if you called it just "Linux". He also began visiting tech-savvy forums like slashdot and started networking in earnest. By 2006 (his senior year of high school) Andrew was completely over his "education" and decided to just drop out completely. Shockingly, a college accepted him anyway. A small East Coast school had been actively courting Andrew, and when they learned he had failed to get his HS diploma, they accepted him anyway! Now sometime during this period Andrew went to Iceland and stayed in Reykjavik for several months. This trip may have happened during the summer, fall, or early winter of 2006. The reason for his trip had something to do with his efforts in the FSF or similar group. The possible significance of this trip will become clear as we go on. What is clear is that Andrew started college in the fall of 2006, and that the circumstances were unusual. Andrew soon met several like-minded individuals and began building a social and technological network at his school. Two individuals in particular would become key players in his life (one more prominently in this story, but the other was significant as well), and eventually the 3 would live together in town for several years. But for now let's stick with Andrew. Andrew had an idea to build a social network for his college. Except, it wasn't just a network, it was a wiki for information about the school...and beyond. Soon, it began to morph into something much bigger in Andrew's mind. He saw his project as being one of many data "hubs" for leaks of important documents and otherwise sensitive information. So yeah, he saw the opportunity for a wiki for leaks (see where this is going yet...?). As his ambitions grew, his behavior started to become increasingly erratic. He was caught with drugs and arrested. Strangely, the charges were pretty much dropped and he was given a slap on the wrist. Eventually he decided to leave the school, but still lived in town and had access to the servers on campus. By 2010 Andrew was still living in the small town with his two "hacker" buddies, who were still enrolled at the school. This house was in some ways legendary. It appears that many "interesting" people spent time at or visited the residence. Indeed, some of the early movers and shakers of /conspiracy itself passed through. There was usually a full NO2 tank for anyone who was into that kinda thing, and they were stocked with every hallucinogen and research chemical known to man. It was also likely under surveillance by multiple intelligence agencies (NSA/Mossad/etc). Over time, the mental state of Andrew was slowly starting to deteriorate, which wasn't helped by his abuse of drugs. Still, Andrew decided to move his base of operations to Europe, spending time in Belgium, the Czech Republic and elsewhere. One of his housemates was soon to join him on his adventures in Europe and elsewhere abroad. We'll call him "Aaron." Aaron had a very similar story and upbringing as Andrew. Aaron was also from a coastal US town and was born into privilege. He was also, supposedly, born into a family with some serious connections to intelligence agencies, including an uncle with ties to the NSA, and both parents connected to military brass. By 2015, Andrew and Aaron were living together in the Czech Republic. During this time they were working directly and/or indirectly for the NSA (via Cisco and other companies). You see, the "college" they met at was actually a front for the recruitment of kids into the IC. Apparently, many "schools" in the US function that way. Go figure. Their intelligence and valuable skill set (hacking etc) made them valuable assets. They were also possibly involved with the distribution of certain "research chemicals" (of the 2C* variety) to dignitaries and their entourages (in one example, they provided 2CB to a group with David Cameron). In addition, Andrew was allegedly involved with, or stumbled upon, an NSA-linked surveillance project directed at the entire country of Malaysia, while Aaron was involved with Cisco. Aaron himself had gotten into hot water for releasing damaging information about the NSA, and even claimed to be an NSA whistleblower, and was also possibly the individual who leaked the 2014 (or 2015) Bilderberg meeting list. And then things went bad. Andrew quit the Malaysia project and Aaron left Cisco. It seems Andrew and Aaron were "set up" during a fiery false flag event in the Czech Republic in 2015. It may have happened at an embassy, but it's unclear which. There is no information on the web about anything like this (afaik). Aaron was immediately targeted and spent several years on the run. Allegedly, he was added to the list of victims in the so-called "Great Game". The Great Game is the term used for an international assassination program where intelligence agencies share a list of targets to be neutralized. The German BND and Mossad are heavily involved, as other networks. Individuals targeted by the Great Game may be offed by actual assassins, or by NPC-like humans whose minds will be influenced by mind control tech (a la Matrix...say influencing someone to ram your car unwittingly ie). As Aaron went on the lam, Andrew soon returned to the US, shell-shocked by his experience. Both Andrew and Aaron continue to suffer from some sort of PTSD from these series of events, rendering Andrew largely incapacitated and Aaron scattered and discombobulated. The Meat of the Matter OK...where does that leave us? Why am I sharing all of this? I think there's much more to this story. So let's start speculating! Everything I'm about to say is stuff that was told to me personally. I can't vouch for any of this information, though obviously I thought it was compelling enough to share. Here's the gist: The so-called whistleblowers you see in the media are almost all fake. This includes: Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Thomas Drake and William Binney (hey look, his AMA is pinned on this sub right now...no comment!). These individuals, and others, are controlled opposition. The real whistleblowers are severely punished. For example, Bradley Manning was punished with chemical castration in jail. His "transformation" was chemically induced torture. Andrew was not alone in his passion. There were lots of other young visionaries like him who dreamed of a freer and more transparent world. In this story, Julian Assange was an intelligence asset...a psyop meant to steal the thunder from real activists like Andrew. In this story, a small college-based "wiki" for government leaks was used as the model for an intelligence operation known as "wikileaks". In this story, Andrew traveled to Iceland at some point in 2006. When was Wikileaks founded? Wikileaks was founded by Julian Assange in December 2006, in Iceland. Aaron discovered (legally, like Manning who had clearance to access all the data he leaked) damning information about surveillance happening by the NSA, specifically against recruits entering the US army and elsewhere. In this story, the "Andrew" identity was co-opted and turned into "Julian Assange", and "Aaron" became "Edward Snowden". Granted, there were probably other people that these whistleblower imposters were modeled after, but Andrew and Aaron seem like very strong contenders for some of this inspiration. Now, much of the following may be gobbledygook (lol I spelled that right first try!) for all I know, but since I'm having a really hard time making sense of it all, I'll just include everything I can and let you guys run with it. Here are some phrases, ideas, terms and people of note that may be involved with this story...MODS: None of this is doxing! All of the links of people are wikipedia pages or published interviews/articles. So yeah. Not dox!
Rootkit: These are currency and the weapons of the intelligence agencies that allow access to any computer or OS on the planet.
"schizo-affective disorder" doesn't exist, it's cover for EM warfare. For those they can't attack chemically (like Manning), they punish via EM. This technology has been used for decades. Both Andrew and Aaron were likely subjected to this punishment after they stopped playing ball. It likely continues for them both as well.
IN CONCLUSION I don't know how these terms, theories and individuals fit into this story, but that they may be somehow related. Hopefully there are enough bread crumbs in here to keep some of you busy! Any help/insight would be appreciated. I confess I'm not so tech-minded so I can't offer any more explanation about some of the more techy terms. Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks for continuing to stimulate after all these years! It's really nice to see this place continuing to thrive after all of this time!
So I'm looking through my old yearbooks, and I'm realizing that I missed out on a crucial part of my life: during high school, I was supposed to have a punk phase. I can't believe I missed it! It seemed like everyone was rocking their unruly hair, their unkempt clothes, and their general disaffection towards life. Man, Green Day released new records, and there was an unrelenting hatred for all types of authority figures... Wait, this is just a slab of concrete with newspaper articles from 2020 stapled to it, isn't it. Regardless, the universe is telling me it's time for me to reclaim my lost childhood experiences; to go back to a better time. Unfortunately, latent legal issues surrounding my controversial "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" sign prevent me from going within 500 feet of any type of school, so winning the basketball championship and visiting the aquarium are right out. But I can still be the moodiest, edgiest, darkest person on the planet, and now that I've beaten Shadow the Hedgehog all the way through and went to Hot Topic, it's time to build a commander deck that's truly me. Presenting: RAMSESO V E R D A R K!
Ramses is the bad boy your mother would never let take you to IHOP. Not that he'd care; his business is killing, and he's efficient at it too, costing the least out of any commander I've ever written about. You want to sit around and drink tea with your little enchanted princess friends? Ramses Overdark is here to tell you how the real world works. Nothing personnel, kid.
Commander For You
Like a TI-83 Silver Edition, Ramses is a stone-cold calculating problem solver, but he only gets that way with some preparation. See, killing is a business, Ramses' business, and the one thing every business needs is synergy. So call me Nathan Fielder, because I'm going to unveil the plan that will keep this enterprise running smoothly:
Procure the payment.
Keep your friends close.
Keep your enemies closer.
Go to work.
As a teenager, I procrastinated from my task of being edgy by protesting government-backed financial institutions with the Bitcoin community, and one thing you learn there very quickly is that assassination ain't cheap. The first and most obvious barrier to breaking 18 U.S. Code § 1117 is his six mana casting cost, and unlike Gabriel, Ramses demands something a little more tangible than a green thumb to appease him. We're going to use the usual fare: rings, trinkets, stones, lockets, relics... archives... spheres? With you as an investor, Ramses' business (which is killing) will make a killing, letting us take full advantage of Revel in Riches as both a ramp tool and backup win condition. Ramses will also often require additional gas to keep going, whether it be finding a steady stream of enchantments to throw onto enemies, or to finding ways to close out games.
And don't forget about the artifacts that sacrifice themselves for cards: In a pinch, you can throw Curator's Ward onto them instead of Ramses.
Enchantment payoffs are few and far between in Dimir, so we're keeping this build a bit creature-light; but the ones we take with are absolutely vital for our success. While Ramses is no Cleopatra, he's still managed to form relationships with some important Greek allies:
Hateful Eidolon is another great draw engine. You're going to be enchanting enemy creatures constantly, so it'll be a steady stream of card advantage.
Protean Thaumaturge can transform into copies of anything on the board, and since you're usually targeting huge threats, he's straight value.
If you prefer just taking creatures instead of becoming them, Rootwater Matriarch is the mother everyone wants to follow, as she takes control of enemy enchanted creatures.
Man, she's way cooler than my mom. Incidentally, these control changing effects can go away, so lets include a sacrifice outlet, like Blasting Station.
Nighthowler is both the name of my new punk band and a decent Bestow creature. Cast it as a creature directly, or use it to build up Ramses' hit-list first.
Blightcaster lets you snipe less relevant creatures while you go for the big ones. I like saying "pew!" when I ping things. Please, take me seriously.
Grim Guardian is an Aristocrats-style payoff for enchantments, which is exactly the sort of talent Ramses' agents should be recruiting.
Rootwater Shaman gives your enchantments flash, making your targets subtle and you s n e a k y. Pretty sus, bro.
Agent of Erebos is repeatable graveyard exile, which isn't necessarily worth a slot but it pisses off Sandy, my Muldrotha-playing ex-wife.
Our deck only runs sixteen creatures, and while being a lone-wolf is edgy, it's not the type of edge I want to be. I feel like I'm a Halloween bobbing apple -- razor edgy; the type of edge that speaks to people, in the very depths of their soul, and causes them to rebel against the man. In the end, I will be so edgy that even those rotten adults will realize I'm right. Enchant opposing creatures with reanimation-on-death enchantments:
Once opposing creatures are enchanted with one of these Auras, they become juicy targets for Ramses, as killing them will put them into play under your control. Unfortunately, six isn't a critical mass for Ramses; to ensure that Ramses' business isn't killed by a lack of clientele, let's use some recursive enchantments.
Remember Dragon Fangs from the last article? Dragon Shadow and Dragon Wings come back to haunt your opponents, auto-enchanting beefy boys at your discretion to give Ramses a target.
Echoing Fallen Angel from Ramses' set League of Legends, Fallen Ideal is a recursive enchantment that's also a sacrifice outlet.
The "Most 2020 Mood Award" goes to Despondency, which lowers a creature's power and keeps comin' back, again and again.
Screams from Within is unique in that it will auto-attach after death instead of coming back to your hand. Be aware that if you've got no enemy targets, it's gonna end up on Ramses.
Slow Motion's Pendrell-type effect might be enough to save you a Ramses activation if your opponent doesn't care enough to pay the toll.
Rounding out the auras, we've got a few utility spells we can play for neat effects:
Ramses' weapon of choice is obviously the Doom Blade, which he'll cast for you if his target is enchanted with Chime of Night.
If you prefer opponents to discard cards instead, Dying Wail's got you covered.
Your opponents will be at world's end when you exile their big threats off the top of their deck with Dead Man's Chest. This is the type of luxury even Gonti's jealous of!
And here's some spicy tech for you: Ensoul Artifact lets Ramses remove an artifact with his ability.
A lot of creatures are going to end up dead, which makes Rise of the Dark Realms a great end-game finisher. But that's boring. Are you ready to learn Ramses' true dark secret? Because here's where I blow your mind.
...lets you sacrifice Iridescent Drake to Blasting Station which...
...deals 1 damage and triggers the enchantment which means...
..Iridescent Drake goes onto the battlefield, returning...
This combo will make you feel like Joker, because your opponents will never see it coming. You've got some redundancy in the deck in case things don't pan out: use Fallen Ideal as your sacrifice outlet and win condition to swing with an evasive infinity/infinity attacker, or deal damage using Grim Guardian's Constellation trigger. Should Iridescent Drake be interacted with (which is illegal, by the way), use Ill Gotten Gains to get your combo pieces back to hand and recur some protective counterspells. I'm not a punk, I'm a goddamn dragon genius. Finally, the deck is truly me!
In conclusion, the Ramses Overdark deck for the Commander format is a fun and powerful budget deck for you to try. I hope you enjoyed reading my paper as much as I enjoyed writing- ...Buh? Oh. I guess I reverted to hastily written high school paper writing. Is that really what I sounded like? You know, people say you never really realize what you have until it's gone. It's easy to look to memories of better days and feel that melancholy drop in your stomach. It's natural to feel wistful for a time past when rain drips down the window. But the truth is also that you don't really realize what you don't have until you obtain it. Our experiences may be painful now, but that's no reason to give up hope. You can get over darkness. Look forward instead of back, because in that future lies a wiser you.
Monero Community Workgroup is preparing for the large growth ahead
Diego (u/rehrar), Doug (u/needmoney90), and Justin (u/SamsungGalaxayPlayer) would like to share some exciting news regarding the Monero Community Workgroup (MCW). The Monero community is growing, and so is our support and group of volunteers. The TL;DR is that you can expect some cool things as we grow.
Some MCW History
The MCW initially began as the Monero Marketing Workgroup in March 2017. Diego was interested in helping grow the Monero community, so he contacted Justin and set up the MoneroMarketing subreddit. At the time, the idea of a Monero marketing initiative shocked many in the community, who greatly appreciated Monero's general distance from the marketing efforts by many ICOs and scams around that time. The Monero Marketing Workgroup focused mostly on preparing educational materials and getting people involved to work on Monero-related initiatives. Shortly after the workgroup began, it transitioned into an area that needed more love: community organization and communication. Up until this point, the Monero community was focused around the developer meetings and the Monero subreddit. While these are still highly relevant in the Monero ecosystem (for good reason), there wasn't a great way for people to stay updated with the latest news and to discuss non-development items. The Monero Community Crowdfunding System (at the time Forum Funding System) submissions weren't discussed in the same way that they are today, and there was no central Community Workgroup to help bring initiatives together. It was obvious that with a larger, more diverse Monero community, a dedicated set of resources would be necessary to connect all these projects together. The Monero Marketing Workgroup became the Monero Community Workgroup during the first Community Workgroup meeting on 18 June 2017. These meetings have largely occurred every other Saturday ever since and serve as an essential community service to discuss CCS proposals, hear workgroup updates and news, and discuss new ideas. The Community Workgroup channel (#monero-community) is used for many other purposes, including other scheduled meetings on deemed-necessary items of interest and regular feedback, questions, and chat. On 7 October 2017, the workgroup hosted its first Coffee Chat, a casual conversation covering the month's recent news and most important discussion topics. These Coffee Chats help humanize the Monero community, who until this point typically were only known by their pseudonyms. The MCW played a part in the Monero Konferenco, Critical Decentralization Cluster at the Chaos Communication Congress, and Monero Village at Defcon livestreams and derived content. It also hosts Breaking Monero, a series that features members from the Monero Research Lab who discuss Monero's limitations. A year after the MCW became its new name, the newly-founded Monero Outreach Workgroup took over many of its initial ambitions in June 2018. Other related workgroups like Monero Ecosystem have their own communities and functions.
The Community Keeps Growing
The Monero communities are significantly larger than they were back in early-2017, and they keep on growing. In early-2017, there were no mobile wallets, the GUI was only 3 months old, there were far fewer exchanges, etc. Today, Monero has one of the largest, most respected, and most passionate communities. We have the third largest number of developers of any cryptocurrency project, we are the only project with our own DEF CON village, and we are one of the few names that everybody knows. Awesome work to everyone around, truly. With larger communities comes more work. The community deserves reliable, appropriate resources to sustain this growth. In a decentralized community, this is difficult. Monero Core provides some essential services such as the CCS, getmonero.org, Mattermost, and GitLab. However, they have been unable to meet the growing needs of the community alone. Thus, the MCW has been happy to support other needs to the extent possible: we discuss CCS proposals during our meetings, host several servers, organize Coffee Chats and conference talks, and more, along with efforts of other workgroups. These have become such a significant undertaking, and that's a good thing. As Monero continues to set the gold standard for cryptocurrencies the expectations keep growing. It's awesome to be a part of something where so many people care.
The MCW has grown too much for the three of us to organize all the resources we need, let alone the needs of everyone in the Monero communities and workgroups. Thus, we are furthering our commitment and offering substantially more services in the coming months. To get there, we need your support to fill volunteer leadership and support positions. Expect the following dedicated services from us:
Jitsi server with higher framerate and resolutions than Jitsi Meet, so that our Coffee Chats, conferences, and other events are better quality than before.
NextCloud to safely and securely collaborate on blog posts, share files, and more.
Sandstorm and Wekan kanban board (open source Trello copy) to keep track of, propose, and assign tasks and projects.
Chatwoot to provide tailored support for Monero users with a volunteer support community (also a good learning exercise).
Mastodon to communicate about Monero and other news, so we aren't dependent on Twitter's policies and security.
Flarum forum for Monero news and discussions, so we aren't dependent on Reddit.
We need your help to make this happen! We will form "task forces" to focus on certain areas like marketing, system administration, meetings, moderation, and finance. If you have any of these skills, please join #monero-community and say hi, or shoot us an email ([email protected])! Doug, Diego, and Justin feel that these changes will allow the Monero community to grow in new ways and continue collaborating. The community consists of many workgroups that focus on projects that they are interested in, and we want to support the efforts of these communities. To allow these changes, Justin will form an LLC, with him and Doug being officially on the board, and Diego taking an advisory role. Creating a legal entity serves two distinct purposes. First, it allows us to aggregate payments from many people into a single entity to pay the costs for hosting various community servers/services. This greatly reduces our own workload and out of pocket payment. Secondly, it allows us to aggregate multiple social media handles that are currently controlled by individuals under a single entity, to reduce the "Bus Factor." Of course, the MCW will remain very much grounded in the ideals that made that made it great in the first place. And the entity will always support the Monero communities, never claim to fully represent everyone involved in Monero. It can only ever represent the efforts of those involved. Current and future goals of the MCW include:
Provide resources as necessary and reasonable, such as communication platforms
Organize discussions to promote communication, such as Community Meetings and Coffee Chats
Promote positive culture through events, such as with Coffee Chats, the Monero Konferenco, the Moneoversary, and the Monero DEF CON Village
Support other Monero workgroups and Monero ecosystem projects
Provide mechanisms to collect feedback on community, developer, and research proposals
Discuss the Monero CCS ideas and otherwise support the Monero CCS
Promote Monero and privacy education and marketing
Serve as an available community mediatoarbitrator where reasonable
Communicate the broad interests of the Monero community and provide a voice where and how appropriate
Collaborate with other projects, companies, governments, and communities
Monero Community Support LLC
Q: Why does the MCW think that an LLC is needed? A: For two primary reasons. First, payments. As mentioned, there is existing digital infrastructure, currently paid out of pocket by MCW leaders. Even if a CCS proposal was to be explored, it would make personal accounting and tax reporting very difficult as assets would technically be mixed with personal assets, throwing off capital gains calculations. Up until now this has been a sacrifice of time that we were content to make, but as we continue to ramp up our goals it is becoming increasingly cumbersome, and alternative methods are needed. An LLC would be able to hold these monetary assets as its own entity, and all funds could be kept separate from personal funds, leading to much easier accounting all around. Secondly, an LLC would allow for digital infrastructure to come under the legal purview of several people, reducing the possibility for any particular person going rogue and decimating what has been built. There may be concern about bringing resources under a corporation, and that this is not in the spirit of Monero, but one thing to note is that all assets and services (noted above) are FOSS/CC. Meaning if at any time a community doesn't care for what the MCW accomplishes under this LLC, they can simply start their own infrastructure with low switching costs. Once again: EVERYTHING IS FOSS/CC. Q: Why not a nonprofit, cooperative, or other type of organization? A: While not out of the question, these take additional effort. We hope to grow into these organization types with the help of others. However certain registrations take a lot of time and effort, plus has quite significant restrictions on activities. The LLC will allow us the flexibility and convenience we need now, especially when we currently have no income anyway.
The MCW has a mountain range of opportunities ahead of it, as do all Monero communities and workgroups. We hope that our efforts are of use to you and others, and we hope that you join us in making something great :) Justin, Diego, and Doug
Hello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may encounter online or in real life. Thank you to the many contributors who helped create this thread!
If you know of a scam that is not covered here, write a comment and it will be added to the next edition.
Caller ID spoofing It is very easy for anyone to make a phone call while having any number show up on the caller ID of the person receiving the phone call. Receiving a phone call from a certain number does not mean that the person/company who owns that number has actually called you. Email spoofing The "from" field of an email can be set by the sender, meaning that you can receive scam emails that look like they are from legitimate addresses. It's important to never click links in emails unless absolutely necessary, for example a password reset link you requested or an account activation link for an account you created. SMS spoofing SMS messages can be spoofed, so be wary of messages that seem to be from your friends or other trusted people.
The most common scams
The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part) The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business, or you were offered a job as a mystery shopper, you were asked to wrap your car with an advertisement, or you received a check in the mail for no reason), but the bottom line is always something like this:
The scammer sends you a very real looking, but fake, check. Sometimes they'll call it a "cashier's check", a "certified check", or a "verified check".
You deposit the check into your bank account, and within a couple of days your bank makes some or all of the funds available to you. This makes you think that the check is real and the funds have cleared. However, the money appearing in your account is not the same as the check actually clearing. The bank must make the funds available to you before they have cleared the check because that is the law.
For various and often complicated reasons, depending on the specific story line of the scam, the scammer will ask you to send someone some of the money, using services like MoneyGram, Western Union, and Walmart-2-Walmart. Sometimes the scammer will ask for you to purchase gift cards (iTunes, Amazon, Steam, etc) and give them the codes to redeem the gift cards. Some scammers may also give you instructions on how to buy and send them bitcoins.
Within a couple of weeks, though it can take as long as a month, your bank will realize that the check you deposited was fake, and your bank will remove the funds that you deposited into your account and charge you a bounced check fee. If you withdrew any of the money from the fake check, that money will be gone and you will owe that money to the bank. Some posters have even had their bank accounts closed and have been blocked from having another account for 5 years using ChexSystems.
General fraudulent funds scams If somebody is asking you to accept and send out money as a favour or as part of a job, it is a fraudulent funds scam. It does not matter how they pay you, any payment on any service can be fraudulent and will be reversed when it is discovered to be fraudulent. Phone verification code scams Someone will ask you to receive a verification text and then tell you to give them the code. Usually the code will come from Google Voice, or from Craigslist. In the Google version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Google Voice account that the scammer will use to scam people with. In the Craigslist version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Craigslist posting that the scammer will use to scam people. There is also an account takeover version of this scam that will involve the scammer sending a password reset token to your phone number and asking you for it. Bitcoin job scams Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins. Email flooding If you suddenly receive hundreds or thousands of spam emails, usually subscription confirmations, it's very likely that one of your online accounts has been taken over and is being used fraudulently. You should check any of your accounts that has a credit card linked to it, preferably from a computer other than the one you normally use. You should change all of your passwords to unique passwords and you should start using two factor authentication everywhere. Cartel scam You will be threatened by scammers who claim to be affiliated with a cartel. They may send you gory pictures and threaten your life and the lives of your family. Usually the victim will have attempted to contact an escort prior to the scam, but sometimes the scammers target people randomly. If you are targeted by a cartel scam all you need to do is ignore the scammers as their threats are clearly empty. Boss/CEO scam A scammer will impersonate your boss or someone who works at your company and will ask you to run an errand for them, which will usually be purchasing gift cards and sending them the code. Once the scammer has the code, you have no recourse. Employment certification scams You will receive a job offer that is dependent on you completing a course or receiving a certification from a company the scammer tells you about. The scammer operates both websites and the job does not exist. Craigslist fake payment scams Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent. The scammer will then either try to get you to send money to them using the fake funds that they did not send to you, or will ask you to ship the item, usually to a re-shipping facility or a parcel mule. Craigslist Carfax/vehicle history scam You'll encounter a scammer on Craigslist who wants to buy the vehicle you have listed, but they will ask for a VIN report from a random site that they have created and they will expect you to pay for it. Double dip/recovery scammers This is a scam aimed at people who have already fallen for a scam previously. Scammers will reach out to the victim and claim to be able to help the victim recover funds they lost in the scam. General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter. Credit card debt scam Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement. The parcel mule scam A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods. The Skype sex scam You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious. What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account. The underage girl scam You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer. What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money. Phishing Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick you into giving information to them, such as your password or private financial information. Phishing messages will usually look very similar to official messages, and sometimes they are identical. If you are ever required to login to a different account in order to use a service, you should be incredibly cautious. The blackmail email scam part 5: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/comments/g8jqnthe_blackmail_email_scam_part_5/ PSA: you did not win a giftcard: https://old.reddit.com/Scams/comments/fffmle/psa_you_did_not_win_a_gift_card/ Sugar scams Sugar scammers operate all over the internet and usually come in two varieties: advance-fee scams where the scammer will ask for a payment from you before sending you lots of money, and fake check style scams where the scammer will either pull a classic fake check scam, or will do a "bill pay" style scam that involves them paying your bills, or them giving you banking information to pay your bills. If you encounter these scammers, report their accounts and move on. Google Hangouts Google Hangouts is a messaging platform used extensively by all kinds of scammers. If you are talking with someone online and they want you to switch to Hangouts, they are likely a scammer and you should proceed with caution. Publishers Clearing House scams PCH scams are often advance-fee scams, where you will be promised lots of money after you make an initial payment. You will never need to pay if you win money from the real PCH. Pet scams You are looking for a specific breed of puppy, bird, or other pet. You come across a nice-looking website that claims to be breeding them and has some available right now - they may even be on sale! The breeders are not local to your area (and may not even list a physical location) but they assure you they can safely ship the pet to you after a deposit or full payment. If you go through with the payment, you will likely be contacted by the "shipper" who will inform you about an unexpected shipping/customs/processing fee required to deliver your new pet. But there was never any pet, both the "breeder" and the "shipper" are scammers, typically operating out of Africa. These sites are rampant and account for a large percentage of online pet seller websites - they typically have a similar layout/template (screenshot - example) If you are considering buying a pet online, some easy things to check are: (1) The registration date of the domain (if it was created recently it is likely a scam website) (2) Reverse image search the pictures of available pets - you will usually find other scam websites using the same photos. (3) Copy a sentence/section of the text from the "about us" page and put it into google (in quotes) - these scammers often copy large parts of their website's text from other places. (4) Search for the domain name and look for entries on petscams.com or other scam-tracking sites. (5) Strongly consider buying/adopting your pet from a local shelter or breeder where you can see the animal in person before putting any money down. Thanks to djscsi for this entry. Fake shipping company scams These scams usually start when you try to buy something illegal online. You will be scammed for the initial payment, and then you will receive an email from the fake shipping company telling you that you need to pay them some sort of fee or bribe. If you pay this, they will keep trying to scam you with increasingly absurd stories until you stop paying, at which point they will blackmail you. If you are involved in this scam, all you can do is ignore the scammers and move on, and try to dispute your payments if possible. Chinese Upwork scam Someone will ask you to create an Upwork or other freelancer site account for them and will offer money in return. You will not be paid, and they want to use the accounts to scam people. Quickbooks invoice scam This is a fake check style scam that takes advantage of Quickbooks. The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam. The blackmail mail scam This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail. Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse. Craigslist vehicle scams A scammer will list a vehicle on Craigslist and will offer to ship you the car. In many cases they will also falsely claim to sell you the car through eBay or Amazon. If you are looking for a car on Craigslist and the seller says anything about shipping the car, having an agent, gives you a long story about why they are selling the car, or the listing price is far too low, you are talking to a scammer and you should ignore and move on. Advance-fee scam, also known as the 419 scam, or the Nigerian prince scam. You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum. Man in the middle scams Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to. Digit wallet scam A variation of the fake check scam, the scammer sends you money through a digital wallet (i.e. Venmo, Apple Pay, Zelle, Cash App) along with a message claiming they've sent the money to the wrong person and a request to send the money back. Customer service for these digital wallets may even suggest that you send the money back. However, the money sent is from a stolen credit card and will be removed from your account after a few days. Your transfer is not reversed since it came from your own funds. Cam girl voting/viewer scam You will encounter a "cam girl" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to go to their site and sign up with your credit card. They may offer a free show, or ask you to vote for them, or any number of other fake stories. Amateur porn recruitment scam You will encounter a "pornstar" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to create an adult film with hehim, but first you need to do something. The story here is usually something to do with verifying your age, or you needing to take an STD test that involves sending money to a site operated by the scammer. Hot girl SMS spam You receive a text from a random number with a message along the lines of "Hey babe I'm here in town again if you wanted to meet up this time, are you around?" accompanied by a NSFW picture of a hot girl. It's spam, and they'll direct you to their scam website that requires a credit card. Identity verification scam You will encounter someone on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask that you verify your identity as they are worried about catfishing. The scammer operates the site, and you are not talking to whoever you think you are talking to. This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website. Multi Level Marketing or Affiliate Marketing You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.
You should generally avoid answering or engaging with random phone calls. Picking up and engaging with a scam call tells the scammers that your phone number is active, and will usually lead to more calls. Tax Call You get a call from somebody claiming to be from your countries tax agency. They say you have unpaid taxes that need to be paid immediately, and you may be arrested or have other legal action taken against you if it is not paid. This scam has caused the American IRS, Canadian CRA, British HMRC, and Australian Tax Office to issue warnings. This scam happens in a wide variety of countries all over the world. Warrant Call Very similar to the tax call. You'll get a phone call from an "agent", "officer", "sheriff", or other law enforcement officer claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you will be arrested very soon. They will then offer to settle everything for a fee, usually paid in giftcards. [Legal Documents/Process Server Calls] Very similar to the warrant call. You'll get a phone call from a scammer claiming that they are going to serve you legal documents, and they will threaten you with legal consequences if you refuse to comply. They may call themselves "investigators", and will sometimes give you a fake case number. Student Loan Forgiveness Scam Scammers will call you and tell you about a student loan forgiveness program, but they are interested in obtaining private information about you or demanding money in order to join the fake program. Tech Support Call You receive a call from someone with a heavy accent claiming to be a technician Microsoft or your ISP. They inform you that your PC has a virus and your online banking and other accounts may be compromised if the virus is not removed. They'll have you type in commands and view diagnostics on your PC which shows proof of the virus. Then they'll have you install remote support software so the technician can work on your PC, remove the virus, and install security software. The cost of the labor and software can be hundreds of dollars. The scam: There's no virus. The technician isn't a technician and does not work for Microsoft or your ISP. Scammers (primarily out of India) use autodialers to cold-call everyone in the US. Any file they point out to you or command they have you run is completely benign. The software they sell you is either freeware or ineffective. What to do you if you're involved with this scam: If the scammers are remotely on your computer as you read this, turn off your PC or laptop via the power button immediately, and then if possible unplug your internet connection. Some of the more vindictive tech scammers have been known to create boot passwords on your computer if they think you've become wise to them and aren't going to pay up. Hang up on the scammers, block the number, and ignore any threats about payment. Performing a system restore on your PC is usually all that is required to remove the scammer's common remote access software. Reports of identity theft from fake tech calls are uncommon, but it would still be a good idea to change your passwords for online banking and monitor your accounts for any possible fraud. How to avoid: Ignore any calls claiming that your PC has a virus. Microsoft will never contact you. If you're unsure if a call claiming to be from your ISP is legit, hang up, and then dial the customer support number listed on a recent bill. If you have elderly relatives or family that isn't tech savvy, take the time to fill them in on this scam. Chinese government scam This scam is aimed at Chinese people living in Europe and North America, and involves a voicemail from someone claiming to be associated with the Chinese government, usually through the Chinese consulate/embassy, who is threatening legal action or making general threats. Chinese shipping scam This scam is similar to the Chinese government scam, but involves a seized/suspicious package, and the scammers will connect the victim to other scammers posing as Chinese government investigators. Social security suspension scam You will receive a call from someone claiming to work for the government regarding suspicious activity, fraud, or serious crimes connected to your social security number. You'll be asked to speak to an operator and the operator will explain the steps you need to follow in order to fix the problems. It's all a scam, and will lead to you losing money and could lead to identity theft if you give them private financial information. Utilities cutoff You get a call from someone who claims that they are from your utility company, and they claim that your utilities will be shut off unless you immediately pay. The scammer will usually ask for payment via gift cards, although they may ask for payment in other ways, such as Western Union or bitcoin. Relative in custody Scammer claims to be the police, and they have your son/daughtenephew/estranged twin in custody. You need to post bail (for some reason in iTunes gift cards or MoneyGram) immediately or the consequences will never be the same. Mexican family scam This scam comes in many different flavours, but always involves someone in your family and Mexico. Sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been detained, sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been kidnapped, and sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member is injured and needs help. General family scams Scammers will gather a large amount of information about you and target your family members using different stories with the goal of gettimg them to send money. One ring scam Scammers will call you from an international number with the goal of getting you to return their call, causing you to incur expensive calling fees.
Online shopping scams
THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Dropshipping An ad on reddit or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offers items at huge discounts or even free (sometimes requiring you to reblog or like their page). They just ask you to pay shipping. The scam: The item will turn out to be very low quality and will take weeks or even months to arrive. Sometimes the item never arrives, and the store disappears or stops responding. The seller drop-ships the item from China. The item may only cost a few dollars, and the Chinese government actually pays for the shipping. You end up paying $10-$15 dollars for a $4 item, with the scammer keeping the profit. If you find one of these scams but really have your heart set on the item, you can find it on AliExpress or another Chinese retailer. Influencer scams A user will reach out to you on a social media platform, usually Instagram, and offer you the chance to partner with them and receive a free/discounted product, as long as you pay shipping. This is a different version of the dropshipping scam, and is just a marketing technique to get you to buy their products. Triangulation fraud Triangulation fraud occurs when you make a purchase on a site like Amazon or eBay for an item at a lower than market price, and receive an item that was clearly purchased new at full price. The scammer uses a stolen credit card to order your item, while the money from the listing is almost all profit for the scammer. Instagram influencer scams Someone will message you on Instagram asking you to promote their products, and offering you a discount code. The items are Chinese junk, and the offer is made to many people at a time. Cheap Items Many websites pop up and offer expensive products, including electronics, clothes, watches, sunglasses, and shoes at very low prices. The scam: Some sites are selling cheap knock-offs. Some will just take your money and run. What to do if you think you're involved with this scam: Contact your bank or credit card and dispute the charge. How to avoid: The sites often have every brand-name shoe or fashion item (Air Jordan, Yeezy, Gucci, etc) in stock and often at a discounted price. The site will claim to be an outlet for a major brand or even a specific line or item. The site will have images at the bottom claiming to be Secured by Norton or various official payment processors but not actual links. The site will have poor grammar and a mish-mash of categories. Recently, established websites will get hacked or their domain name jacked and turned into scam stores, meaning the domain name of the store will be completely unrelated to the items they're selling. If the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nobody is offering brand new iPhones or Beats or Nintendo Switches for 75% off. Cheap Amazon 3rd Party Items You're on Amazon or maybe just Googling for an item and you see it for an unbelievable price from a third-party seller. You know Amazon has your back so you order it. The scam: One of three things usually happen: 1) The seller marks the items as shipped and sends a fake tracking number. Amazon releases the funds to the seller, and the seller disappears. Amazon ultimately refunds your money. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to re-order the item directly from their website, usually with the guarantee that the order is still protected by Amazon. The seller takes your money and runs. Amazon informs you that they do not offer protection on items sold outside of Amazon and cannot help you. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to instead send payment via an unused Amazon gift card by sending the code on the back via email. Once the seller uses the code, the money on the card is gone and cannot be refunded. How to avoid: These scammers can be identified by looking at their Amazon storefronts. They'll be brand new sellers offering a wide range of items at unbelievable prices. Usually their Amazon names will be gibberish, or a variation on FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME. Occasionally however, established storefronts will be hacked. If the deal is too good to be true its most likely a scam. Scams on eBay There are scams on eBay targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who privately message you regarding the order, especially if they ask you to ship to a different address or ask to negotiate via text/email/a messaging service. As a buyer you should look out for new accounts selling in-demand items, established accounts selling in-demand items that they have no previous connection to (you can check their feedback history for a general idea of what they bought/sold in the past), and lookout for people who ask you to go off eBay and use another service to complete the transaction. In many cases you will receive a fake tracking number and your money will be help up for up to a month. Scams on Amazon There are scams on Amazon targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who message you about a listing. As a buyer you should look out for listings that have an email address for you to contact the person to complete the transaction, and you should look out for cheap listings of in-demand items. Scams on Reddit Reddit accounts are frequently purchased and sold by fraudsters who wish to use the high karma count + the age of the account to scam people on buy/sell subreddits. You need to take precautions and be safe whenever you are making a transaction online. Computer scams Virus scam A popup or other ad will say that you have a virus and you need to follow their advice in order to remove it. They are lying, and either want you to install malware or pay for their software.
Chinese Brushing / direct shipping If you have ever received an unsolicited small package from China, your address was used to brush. Vendors place fake orders for their own products and send out the orders so that they can increase their ratings. Money flipping Scammer claims to be a banking insider who can double/triple/bazoople any amount of money you send them, with no consequences of any kind. Obviously, the money disappears into their wallet the moment you send it.
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