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To address concerns about my identity

Doubts about my identity seem to crop up, so I like to address all those once more. Hopefully in a comprehensive way.
First of all, to explain the situation from my article again, originstamp.org is my go-to service. Usually, 24h is plenty and suffices to timestamp everything.
But in this case, Core went quickly ahead with release information, which made the 24h window (due to fees) too small to conclusively prove ownership on the BTC chain.
But let's have a look in detail. This is the text that I wrote:
BitcoinABC does not check for duplicate inputs when processing a block, only when inserting a transaction into the mempool. This is dangerous as blocks can be generated with duplicate transactions and then sent through e.g. compact block missing transactions and avoid hitting the mempool, creating money out of thin air. awemany 
If you SHA256 this, it calculates to: 5c45a1ba957362a2ba97c9f8c48d4d59d4fa990945b7094a8d2a98c3a91ed9b6
Exhibit A: I timestamped that here: https://originstamp.org/s/5c45a1ba957362a2ba97c9f8c48d4d59d4fa990945b7094a8d2a98c3a91ed9b6
Note that there is a timestamp when it entered their system, which is before anything else became public and which is:
17.9.2018, 14:54:19 CEST
It shows it in your local time zone in your browser, a fact that Peter Todd apparently tripped over as well: https://archive.fo/W1gdf
Scroll down to "Submission to OriginStamp" at the end.
This timestamp is, however, just from their service and thus centralized. But if you think I faked that, that would mean that I must have hacked their service in time to do so. In the last few days. Furthermore, the window for this hack would be quite small, as there is also a later submission into the blockchain. So if you doubt this information alone, it would mean I'd had to hack the service in time (within a few hours window) just to claim this identity, leave no trace of all of this, face the risk of being called out by the true finder of the bug (who'd be different then) and write this long article ...
But there's more:
Exhibit B: For anyone who is a member of the BU slack, I posted a message that was the above hash (as I said in my medium article) and which is still sitting unedited on the slack as well, in the #general channel. There are likely several hundred members of this slack, and all of them who read it should have seen this message in time. I believe there are also (well-behaved) Core supporters in there. I would need to have hacked that service in an undetected way as well and fool or collude with all active members therein as well. That now creates a pretty big collusion, don't you think?
Exhibit C: Finally, let me close with this PGP signed message. I created a PGP key just to keep my identity separate, at least for a while, from my main pseudonym awemany. And in the email I send out to the developers, I have added myself as a recipient. Even though the message has not been signed (I didn't see any reason to do so at the time of release), my full key id is still in this message. And that is, as far as I know, a 128-bit hash for which it is practically impossible to find a preimage for. This explicit 'encrypt-to-self' is because I fucked up with PGP encryption in the past (because, as I say in my article, mistakes just happen) and I wanted to at least be able to read my own encrypted message later. I have created sitations for myself where I wasn't able to read my own encrypted emails. Yes, call me a crypto noob, say PEBKAC or whatever, it is exactly an example of why I am saying that I am not perfect but so is no one else!
Here is this message, which I am sure anyone owning the original disclosure email is happy for you to confirm that it is the same key id:
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA512 This messsage is signed by the beardnboobies GPG key that I created just in time for the vulnerability disclosure. In reality, I am awemany on reddit and elsewhere. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- iQGzBAEBCgAdFiEERGszUXtt2s3Wfkt1yydp8d93NcQFAlumBkAACgkQyydp8d93 NcQvegwAmcfqKSp/RZVE6HIyN9gbxa5oz2YFaaoeVCoQTsDZPX08zjBjp7jzMUGW izraVk+yOz8Yxdv7re8G+CBqnpgfpNvMoHPe75bgoyKzavTtukVSScDUHZ9Tu9D7 xQcfWnwZhsUjsTsxFD7B6PLAWzeh7cA3d0xUwrFJoa//hlOylnlC/76cbBspqSll ispvQgBcEM6NfKvmCTb9LItts2/QrXX891LK9I4vPC1WpOrXPA9lNnuuP8/S/ey9 O7iqwW+oCwGKLELQJE58hgwt7keQukrPEfwUtBXACW77gtk1dXaxRL5RqCkmMsMn rBMkTGmjDit+AVE/5oW+flds8/Hq+kQDXUZfaLbnOrleW50LTTi+etA/PPhHxe45 CUD7Jm8d2LbTIjFWsZT/Rq2Djsy3gBcHeKqFMRXEBI7WoFe431q38gVSyfvbCrPR R4AJsg2eGgysu0E/SZecHHULc4CU6RdLmCRrORRSv1T9tOyJcRpfwRlE4FnT9LTC /+5v9mXI =k2oE -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- 
And here is the public key which matches that key Id and which has likewise not been made public yet:
-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- mQGNBFufufgBDADJ3N5xocCOSyRrF42nvrujUZXRPnaq+X3E0GjNlCwuCFZELNE9 l950cR4l+sNFbjcvWtlCgAdHPAggED3ZeutTO3fAIClN+LOgnyEF4txjdG72j9L4 NnCVMfKhT2yc7JZQh3lS+GHFSBS8joLq09GxllTORvdawuW34yzV4rzFZZ3NfK+/ 8BtNAf+nXvtafugw4Nlln5LPvGna9bmh/74RlZTAJeV52a/WsucBQ7kVuWTAERMy N+DuvUIxh7gG9KbSQXsPQ+1ZleO9+nWJs4pgX3ro6ZRMYvN9jeJsDjx2uQoL77zM RwMKNis5ifxnkHmExOG01SQxz3j9tw1anC8dFi2zs9jlr+qjUofSUT0RctKNJlga BgDV1dsu8dg11xxo4slH93D5LqJJs3lg+RjxHeWE6Oxvpz4SQpU+sLT4T73xOh/d GDw4UmLMUgKjjlYexVhlNk6FUamAkpYzuTgN35AeUt1iGj9D9XAbbi0G3MjKYSX6 tPkBC5h7XIGDzGcAEQEAAbQuQmVhcmQnbidib29iaWVzIDxiZWFyZG5ib29iaWVz QHByb3Rvbm1haWwuY29tPokB1AQTAQoAPhYhBERrM1F7bdrN1n5LdcsnafHfdzXE BQJbn7n4AhsDBQkDwmcABQsJCAcCBhUKCQgLAgQWAgMBAh4BAheAAAoJEMsnafHf dzXEi0gMAL0StgXSH4mbHPeyj0pJOmzOpEsfm7S05EKoGnMzmB/ZfCxag9YvDSSQ Jz28jOmPIrnLLkuOFcf0BnSKmys2WbEpGm5SgRU0anSTiiaTy2RjPa8eC34F6X/q LjgJ6J4hvOoDkQAjOzfspayRjRmFewNzssMHn6JC2NWvP+8+nClsJA959E9rxJ5F xaPmPZ9g4AJFah/vpRXbv44JQGbjr42CdB2JUTYW3rd7WjYFdcGcPU0UQhRQSflL 2ZOCw8bJCdPRRXpy2xTewTPE4eVcrclvmbKDhDbDNkY9cqDSPqag2JG8GoPsl3Ym 33uwzN1Y5qkocfGoVxr3eEEFQgkPnqX27OyGAL1+MoEOYuLuhUaNX2E/WmPZwtU3 E5JdjdIRfVfzI+oWs6Mfn1mbxeePBikjHgNgr4vs2+DkujeenS8UsD5Y6qrk9Ypt Erh5GRT0BauSSV52U3mEboMyxRHriObFT+BQAK0cJ4ZZ9aAUVLZcC4TXps2PKcjZ ozJYgvFm1rkBjQRbn7n4AQwAx7JiWJSuwAidK0AcPS2kt5gpzsESgxq1qyoeELYg tNb6G2SihbFj4hVMjc8Ol+a0wtcd+3D7Wcyu5EDbfnIydfmytIvF6CABWCkKtulG lxKSydMg16QGMwWixqTLRo1FoCdAzvKJktTshIlARoRt1cII/5n0C+Ny33kdm809 c+5EPFW22Hu5cNZR6xjYkONoM+Gw9JVIo5O9DY1l2s7qaQhnnTQDMBJLZjtOVFZF l/QQjnM5SJZr7lkzNMOgdA3saCbjk7NVMnV8ledLHYZguR3lDfsfdwWvw9Q3tEp9 Ii5P3AHzzV7eu0g6T7xpjV4LNssP1abvrBBd/RFfA6A3ec9wXEWTk2ewXpZLkicm 9VBy3nsz5bedoAvcyTVB0HF80yHbo99eSwEUenlrs0K0Yv97hxJ2ioPrhx4y7M9Q XRWRXFRaLBgLT5GxvIs9jRWJq7jwtKknA7GSun06UFKnOmiT81dmVf4Dne1F9y/R U7ld9Doo7IARUYP11/twEh5HABEBAAGJAbwEGAEKACYWIQREazNRe23azdZ+S3XL J2nx33c1xAUCW5+5+AIbDAUJA8JnAAAKCRDLJ2nx33c1xMiGDACbqHLuXMZ2937O aDfuchIYJ7BoqLiY+Po0V78jenYcx4pXXnau2rL44f02B6nV5RK21b+PwFDX+SMh usQfAYdBBRxIb0uDePKx2/Vb0UC5yb456eprYBXOIN7odl0J68PpjUQik5kqizig n/vyrIMMQehnFFee88xdSUYK495I6URJtIp6YLCYoalFs49l3szLJZK57OcCmfsR gzQbBIsPqQ7uqKZlGYZY9a/PYEZd3Lb6qLF693jZyNjDZ8IIfBjvJa3ZwJiTtNXi NknfmW2KcokFljOa5Fvs6Gu11Q9KpbVRpkKeHF79TSN5lPSwvBjsBbx9j4KoFBum yNNQTclRMe+AWHfcnoIXooFemiv27n6HEwoFEyoKm3ita1V+RiDuZ1e3FEA4zUPO XlZv6e7p+Cd0coP4FDWR5mq1ck+SOFoFuqNrqpEIumrHEC4wKcIA7iy/jJ5frgab UjEcFa/MBAaZ7If9+3kHh2kpfPwLOT+7Mm7i9kD1Yu3UBvwoYOE= =DyTh -----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- 
I am not going to disclose the original email just yet, because there is exploit code in there. Even though I think that exploit code is quite simple and will likely not do harm, there is no reason to add more risk and this could also still be used against me by trolls by being called irresponsible. So I hope folks understand why I refrain from that for now.
submitted by awemany to btc [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

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

new england patriot has been created

By Katharine Brush Night Club PROMPTLY at quarter of ten P.M. Mrs. Brady descended the steps of the Elevated. She purchased from the newsdealer in the cubbyhole be- neath them a next month's magazine and an tomorrow morning's paper and, with these tucked under one plump arm, she walked. She walked two blocks north on Sixth Avenue; turned and went west. But not far west. Westward half a block only, to the place where the gay green awning marked "Club Français" paints a stripe of shade across the glimmer- ing sidewalk. Under the awning Mrs. Brady halted briefly, to remark to the six-foot doorman that it looked like rain and to await his perform- ance of his professional duty. When the small green door yawned open, she sighed deeply and plodded in. The foyer was a blackness, an air- less velvet blackness like the inside of a jeweler's box. Four drum-shaped lamps of golden silk suspended from the ceiling gave it light (a very little) and formed the jewels: gold signets, those, or cuff links for a giant. At the far end of the foyer there were black stair, faintly dusty, rippling upward toward an amber radiance. Mrs. Brady approached and ponderously mounted the stairs, clinging with one fist to the mangy velvet rope that railed their edge. From the top, Miss Lena Levin observed the ascent. Miss Levin was the checkroom girl. She had dark-at- the roots blonde hair and slender hips upon which, in moments of leisure, she wore her hands, like buckles of ivory loosely attached. This was a moment of leisure. Miss Levin waited behind her counter. Row upon row of hooks, empty as yet, and seeming to beckon——wee curved fingers of iron——waited be- hind her. "Late," said Miss Levin, "again." "Go wan!" said Mrs. Brady. "It's only ten to ten. Whew! Them stairs!" She leaned heavily, sideways, against Miss Levin's counter, and, applying one palm to the region of her heart, appeared at once to listen and to count. "Feel!" she cried then in a pleased voice. Miss Levin obediently felt. "Them stairs," continued Mrs. Brady darkly, "with my bad heart, will be the death of me. Whew! Well, dearie? What's the news?" "You got a paper," Miss Levin languidly reminded her. "Yeah!" agreed Mrs. Brady with sudden vehemence. "I got a paper!" She slapped it upon the counter. "An' a lot of time I'll get to read my paper, won't I now? On a Saturday night!" She moaned. "Other nights is bad enough, dear knows——but Saturday nights! How I dread 'em! Every Saturday night I say to my daughter, I say, 'Geraldine, I can't,' I say, 'I can't go through it again, an' that's all there is to it,' I say. 'I'll quit!' I say. An' I will, too!" added Mrs. Brady firmly, if indefinitely. Miss Levin, in defense of Saturday nights, mumbled some vague some- thing about tips. "Tips!" Mrs. Brady hissed it. She almost spat it. Plainly money was nothing, nothing at all, to this lady. "I just wish," said Mrs. Brady, and glared at Miss Levin, "I just wish you had to spend one Saturday night, just one in that dressing room! Bein' pushed an' stepped on and near knocked down by that gang of hussies, an' them orderin' an' bossin' you round like you was black, an' usin' your things an' then sayin' they're sorry, they got no change, they'll be back. Yeah! They never come back!" "There's Mr. Costello," whispered Miss Levin through lips that, like a ventriloquist's, scarcely stirred. "An' as I was sayin'," Mrs. Brady said at once brightly, "I got to leave you. Ten to ten, time I was on the job." She smirked at Miss Levin, nodded, and right-about-faced. There, indeed, Mr. Costello was. Mr. Billy Costello, manager, proprietor, monarch of all he surveyed. From the doorway of the big room where the little tables herded in a ring around the waxen floor, he surveyed Mrs. Brady, and in such a way that Mrs. Brady, momentarily forgetting her bad heart, walked fast, scurried faster, almost ran. The door of her domain was set politely in an alcove, beyond silken curtains looped up at the sides. Mrs. Brady reached it breathless, shoul- dered it open, and groped for the electric switch. Lights sprang up, a bright white blaze, intolerable for an instant to the eyes, like the sun on snow. Blinking, Mrs. Brady shut the door. The room was a spotless, white- tiled place, half beauty shop, half dressing room. Along one wall stood washstands, sturdy triplets in a row, balloons afloat above them. Against the opposite wall there was a couch. A third wall backed an elongated glass-topped dressing-table; and over the dressing-table and over the wash- stands long rectangular sheets of mirror reflected lights, doors, glossy tiles, lights multiplied. . . . Mrs. Brady moved across this glit- ter like a think dark cloud in a hurry. At the dressing table she came to a halt, and upon it she laid her news- paper, her magazine, and her purse ——a black purse worn gray with much clutching. She divested herself of a rusty black coat and a hat of the mushroom persuasion, and hung both up in a corner cupboard which she opened by means of one of a quite preposterous bunch of keys. From a nook in the cupboard she took down a lace-edged handkerchief with long streamers. She untied the streamers and tied them again around her chunky black alpaca waist. The handkerchief became an apron's baby cousin. Mrs. Brady relocked the cupboard door, fumbled her key ring over, and unlocked a capacious drawer of the dressing table. She spread a fresh towel on the plate-glass top, in the geometrical center, and upon the towel she arranged with care a pro- cession of things fished from the drawer. Things for the hair. Things for the complexion. Tings for the eyes, the lashes, the brows, the lips, and the fingernails. Things in boxes and things in jars and things in tubes and tins. Also an ash tray, matches pins, a tiny sewing kit, a pair of scissors. Last of all, a hand-printed sign, a nudging sort of sign: NOTICE! THESE ARTICLES, PLACED HERE FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, ARE THE PROPERTY OF THE MAID. And directly beneath the sign, prop- ping it up against the looking glass, a china saucer, in which Mrs. Brady now slyly laid decoy money: two quarters and two dimes, in four- leaf-clover formation. Another drawer of the dressing table yielded a bottle of Bromo- seltzer, a bottle of aromatic spirits of ammonia, a tin of sodium bicar- bonate, and a teaspoon. These were lined up on a shelf above the couch. Mrs. Brady was ready for anything. And (from the grim, thin pucker of her mouth) expecting it. Music came to her ears. Rather, the beat of music, muffled, rhythmic, remote. Umpa-um, umpa-um, umpa- um-umm——Mr. "Fiddle" Baer and his band, hard at work on the first fox- trot of the night. It was teasing, foot- tapping music; but the large solemn feet of Mrs. Brady were still. She sat on the couch and opened her newspaper; and for some moments she read uninterruptedly, with spe- cial attention to the murders, the divorces, the breaches of promise, the funnies. Then the door swung inward, ad- mitting a blast of Mt. Fiddle Baer's best, a whiff of perfume, and a girl. Mrs. Brady put her paper away. The girl was petite and darkly beautiful; wrapped in fur and mounted on tall jeweled heels. She entered humming the ragtime song the orchestra was playing, and while she stood near the dressing table, stripping off her gloves, she con- tinued to hum it softly to her self: Oh, I know my baby loves me, I can tell my baby loves me. Here the dark girl got the left glove off, and Mrs. Brady glimpsed a platinum wedding ring. 'Cause there ain't no maybe In my baby's Eyes. The right glove came off. The dark little girl sat down in one of the chairs that faced the dressing table. She doffed her wrap, casting it care- lessly over the chair back. It had a cloth-of--gold lining, and the name of a Paris house was embroidered in curlicues on the label. Mrs. Brady hovered solicitously near. The dark little girl, still humming looked over the articles. "placed here for your convenience," and picked up the scissors. Having cut off a very small hangnail with the air of one performing a perilous major oper- ation, she seized and used the mani- cure buffer, and after that the eye- brow pencil. Mrs. Brady's mind, hopefully calculating the tip, jumped and jumped again like a taxi meter. Oh, I know my baby loves me——— The dark little girl applied powder and lipstick belonging to herself. She examined the result searchingly in the mirror and sat back, satisfied. She cast some silver Klink! Klink! into Mrs. Brady's saucer, and half rose. Then remembering something, she settled down again. The ensuing thirty seconds were spent by her in pulling off her platinum wedding ring, tying it in a corner of a lace handkerchief, and tucking the handkerchief down the bodice of her tight white velvet gown. "There!" she said. She swooped up her wrap and trotted toward the door, jeweled heels merrily twinkling. 'Cause there ain't no maybe——— The door fell shut. Almost instantly it opened again, and another girl came in. A blonde, this. She was very pretty in a round-eyed, doll-like way; but Mrs. Brady, re- garding her, mentally grabbed the spirits of ammonia bottle. For she looked terribly ill. The round eyes were dull, the pretty silly little face was drawn. The thin hands, picking at the fastenings of a specious beaded bag, trembled and twitched. Mrs. Brady cleared her throat. "Can I do something for you, miss?" Evidently the blonde girl had be- lieved herself alone in the dressing room. She started violently and glanced up, panic in her eyes. Panic, and something else. Something very like murderous hate——but for an in- stant only, so that Mrs. Brady, whose perceptions were never quick, missed it altogether. "A glass of water?" suggested Mrs. Brady. "No," said the girl, "no." She had one hand in the beaded bag now. Mrs. Brady could see it moving, causing the bag to squirm like a live thing and the fringe to shiver. "Yes!" she cried abruptly. "A glass of water ——please——you get it for me." She dropped on to the couch. Mrs. Brady scurried to the water cooler in the corner, pressed the spigot with a determined thumb. Water trickled out thinly. Mrs. Brady pressed harder, and scowled, and thought, "Something's wrong with this thing. I mustn't forget, next time I see Mr. Costello———" When again she faced her patient, the patient was sitting erect. She was thrusting her clenched hand back into the beaded bag again. She took only a sip of the water, but it seemed to help her quite miraculously. Almost at once color came to her cheeks, life to her eyes. She grew young again——as young as she was. She smiled up at Mrs. Brady. "Well!" she exclaimed. "What do you know about that!" She shook her honey-colored head. "I can't imagine what came over me." "Are you better now?" inquired Mrs. Brady. Yes. Oh, yes, I'm better now. You see," said the blonde girl confiden- tially, "we were at the theater, my boy friend and I, and it was hot and stuffy——I guess that must have been the trouble." She paused, and the ghost of her recent distress crossed her face. God! I thought that last act never would end!" she said. While she attended to her hair and complexion, she chattered gaily to Mrs. Brady, chattering on with scarcely a stop for breath, and laughed much. She said, among other things, that she and her "boy friend" had not known one another very long, but that she was "ga-ga" about him. "He is about me, too," she con- fessed. "He thinks I'm grand." She fell silent then, and in the looking glass her eyes were shad- owed, haunted. But Mrs. Brady, from where she stood, could not see the looking glass; and half a minute later the blonde girl laughed and began again. When she went out she seemed to dance out on winged feet; and Mrs. Brady, sighing, thought it must be nice to be young . . . and happy like that. The next arrivals were two. A tall, extremely smart young woman in black chiffon entered first, and held the door open for her companion; and the instant the door was shut, she said, as though it had been on the tip of her tongue for hours, "Amy, what under the sun hap- pened?" Amy, who was brown-eyed, brown-bobbed-haired, and patently annoyed about something, crossed to the dressing table an flopped into a chair before she made a reply. "Nothing," she said wearily then. "That's nonsense!" snorted the other. "Tell me. Was it something she said? She's a tactless ass, of course. Always was." "No, not anything she said. It was———" Amy bit her lip. "All right! I'll tell you. Before we left your apartment I just happened to notice that Tom had disappeared. So I went to look for him——I wanted to ask him if he'd remembered to tell the maid where we were going—— Skippy's subject to croup, you know, and we always leave word. Well, so I went into the kitchen, thinking Tom might be there mixing cock- tails——and there he was——and there she was!" The full red mouth of the other young woman pursed itself slightly. Her arched brows lifted. "Well?" Her matter-of-factness appeared to infuriate Amy. "He was kissing her!" she flung out. "Well?" said the other again. She chuckled softly and patted Amy's shoulder, as if it were the shoulder of a child. "You're surely not going to let that spoil your whole evening? Any dear! Kissing may once have been serious and significant——but it isn't nowadays. Nowadays, it's like shaking hands. It means nothing." But Amy was not consoled. "I hate her!" she cried desperately. "Redheaded thing! Calling me 'darling' and 'honey,' and s-sending me handkerchiefs for C-Christmas—— and then sneaking off behind closed doors and k-kissing my h-h-hus- band———" At this point Amy broke down, but she recovered herself sufficiently to add with venom, "I'd like to slap her!" "Oh, oh, oh," smiled the tall young woman, "I wouldn't do that!" Amy wiped her eyes with what might well have been one of the Christmas handkerchiefs, and con- fronted her friend. "Well, what would you do, Vera? If you were I?" "I'd forget it," said Vera, "and have a good time. I'd kiss somebody myself. You've no idea how much better you'd feel!" I don't do———" Amy began in- dignantly; but as the door behind her opened a third young woman ——redheaded, ear-ringed, exquisite—— lilted in, she changed her tone. "Oh, hello!" she called sweetly, beaming at the newcomer via the mirror. "We were wondering what had become of you!" The redheaded girl, smiling easily back, dropped her cigarette on the floor and crushed it out wit a silver shod toe. "Tom and I were talking to Fiddle Baer," she explained. "He's going to play 'Clap Yo' Hands' next, because it's my favorite. Lend me a comb, will you?" "There's a comb there," said Vera, indicating Mrs. Brady's business comb. "But imagine using it!" murmured the redheaded girl. "Amy, darling, haven't you one?" Amy produced a tiny comb from her rhinestone purse. "Don't forget to bring it when you come," she said, and stood up. "I'm going on out, I want to tell Tom something." She went. The redheaded young woman and the tall black-chiffon one were alone, except for Mrs. Brady. The red- headed one beaded her incredible lashes. The tall one, the one called Vera, sat watching her." And Sylvia looked. Anybody, addressed in that tone, would have. "There is one thing," Vera went on quietly, holding the other's eyes "that I want understood. And that is, 'Hands off!' Do you hear me?" "I know what you mean." "You know what I mean!" The redheaded girl shrugged her shoulders. "Amy told you she saw us, I suppose." Precisely. And," went on Vera, gathering up her possessions and rising, "as I said before, you're to keep away." Her eyes blazed sudden white-hot rage. "Because, as you very well know, he belongs to me," she said, and departed, slamming the door. Between eleven o'clock and one Mrs. Brady was very busy indeed. Never for more than a moment during those two hours was the dressing room empty. Often it was jammed, full to overflowing with curled cropped heads, with ivory arms and shoulders, with silk and lace and chiffon, with legs. The door flapped in and back, in the back. The mirrors caught and held——and lost—— a hundred different faces. Powder veiled the dressing table with a thin white dust; cigarette stubs, scarlet at the tip, choked the ash receiver. Dimes and quarter clattered into Mrs. Brady's saucer——and were transferred to Mrs. Brady's purse. The original seventy cents remained. That much, and no more, would Mrs. Brady gamble on the integrity of womankind. She earned her money. She threaded needles and took stitches. She powdered the backs of necks. She supplied towels for soapy, drip- ping hands. She removed a speck from a teary blue eye and pounded the heel on a slipper. She curled the struggling ends of a black bob and a gray bob, pinned a velvet flower on a lithe round waist, mixed three doses of bicarbonate of soda, took charge of a shed pink-satin girdle, collected, on hands and knees, sev- eral dozen fake pearls that had wept from a broken string. She served chorus girls and school- girls, gay young matrons and gayer young mistresses, a lady who had divorced four husbands, and a lady who had poisoned one, the secret (more or less) sweetheart of a Most Distinguished Name, and the Brains of a bootleg gang. . . . She saw things. She saw a yellow check, with the ink hardly dry. She saw four tiny bruises, such as fingers might make, on an arm. She saw a girl strike another girl, not playfully. She saw a bundle of letter some man wished he had not written, safe and deep in a brocaded handbag. About midnight the door flew open and at once was pushed shut, and a gray-eyed, lovely child stood backed against it, her palms flattened on the panels at her sides, the dra- peries of her white chiffon gown settling lightly to rest around her. There were already five damsels of varying ages in the dressing room. The latest arrival marked their pres- ence with a flick of her eyes and, standing just where she was, she called peremptorily, "Maid!" Mrs. Brady, standing just where she was, said, "Yes, miss?" "Please come here," said the girl. Mrs. Brady, as slowly as she dared, did so. The girl lowered her voice to a tense half whisper. "Listen! Is there any way I can get out of here except through this door I came in?" Mrs. Brady stared at her stupidly. "Any window?" persisted the girl. "Or anything?" Here they were interrupted by the exodus of two of the damsels-of- varying-ages, Mrs. Brady opening the door for them——and in so doing caught a glimpse of the man who waited in the hall outside, a debonair, old-young man with a girl's furry wrap hung over his arm, and his hat in his hand. The door clicked. The gray-eyed girl moved out from the wall, against which she had flattened herself——for all the world like one eluding pursuit in a cinema. "What about the window?" she demanded, pointing. "That's all the farther it opens," said Mrs. Brady. "Oh! And it's the only one——isn't it?" "It is." "Damn," said the girl. "Then there's no way out?" "No way but the door," said Mrs. Brady testily. The girl looked at the door. She seemed to look through the door, and to despise and to fear what she saw. Then she looked at Mrs. Brady. "Well," she said, "then I s'pose the only thing for me to do is to stay in here." She stayed. Minutes ticked by. Jazz crooned distantly, stopped, struck up again. Other girls came and went. Still the gray-eyed girl sat on the couch, with her back to the wall and her shapely legs crossed smoking cigarettes, one from the stub of another. After a long while she said, "Maid!" "Yes, miss?" "Peek out that door, will you, and see if there's anyone standing there." Mrs. Brady peeked, and reported that there was. There was a gentle- man with a little bit of a black mustache standing there. The same gentleman, in fact, who was stand- ing there "just after you came in." "Oh, Lord," sighed the gray-eyed girl. "Well . . . I can't stay here all night, that's one sure thing." She slid off the couch, and went listlessly to the dressing table. There she occupied herself for a minute or two. Suddenly, without a word, she darted out. Thirty seconds later Mrs. Brady was elated to find two crumpled one- dollar bills lying in the saucer. Her joy, however, died a premature death. For she made an almost si- multaneous second discovery. A a sad- dening one. Above all, a puzzling one. "Now what for," marveled Mrs. Brady, "did she want to walk off with them scissors?" This at twelve-twenty-five. At twelve-thirty a quartet of ex- cited young things burst in, babbling madly. All of them had their evening wraps about them; all talked at once. One of them, a Dresden-china girl with a heart-shaped face, was the center of attraction. Around her the rest fluttered like monstrous butter- flies; to her they addressed their shrill exclamatory cries. "Babe," they called her. Mrs. Brady heard snatches: "Not in this state unless . . ." "Well, you can in Maryland, Jimmy says." "Oh, there must be some place nearer than . . ." "Isn't this marvelous?" "When did it happen, Babe? When did you decide?" "Just now," the girl with the heart- shaped face sang softly, "when we were dancing." The babble resumed, "But listen, Babe, what'll your mother and father . . . ?" "Oh, never mind, let's hurry." "Shall we be warm enough with just these thin wraps, do you think? Babe, will you be warm enough? Sure?" Powder flew and little pocket combs marched through bright mar- cels. Flushed cheeks were painted pinker still. "My pearls," said Babe, "are old. And my dress and my slippers are new. Now, let's see——what can I borrow?" A lace handkerchief, a diamond bar pin, a pair of earrings were proffered. She chose the bar pin, and its owner unpinned it proudly, gladly. "I've got blue garters!" exclaimed a shrill little girl in a silver dress. "Give me one, then," directed Babe. "I'll trade with you. . . . There! That fixes that." More babbling, "Hurry! Hurry up!" . . . "Listen are you sure we'll be warm enough? Because we can stop at my house, there's nobody home." "Give me that puff, Babe, I'll powder your back." "And just to think a week ago you;d never even met each other!" "Oh, hurry up, let's get started!" "I'm ready." "So'm I." "Ready, Babe? You look ador- able." "Come on, everybody." They were gone again, and then dressing room seemed twice as still and vacant as before. A minute of grace, during which Mrs. Brady wiped the spilled pow- der away with a damp gray rag. Then the door jumped open again. Two evening gowns appeared and made for the dressing table in a bee line. Slim tubular gowns they were, one green, one palest yellow. Yel- low hair went wit the green gown, brown hair with the yellow. The green-gowned, yellow-haired girl wore gardenias on her left shoulder, four of them, and a flashing bracelet on each fragile wrist. The other girl looked less prosperous; still, you would rather have looked at her. Both ignored Mrs. Brady's cos- metic display as utterly as they ignored Mrs. Brady, producing full field equipment of their own. "Well," said the girl with gar- denias, rouging energetically, "how do you like him?" "Oh-h——all right." "Meaning, 'Not any,' hmm? I sus- pected as much!" The girl with gardenians turned in her chair and scanned her companion's profile with disapproval. "See here, Marilee," she drawled, "are you going to be a damn fool all your life?" "He's fat," said Marilee dreamily. "Fat, and——greasy, sort of. I mean greasy in his mind. Don't you know what I mean?" "I know one thing," declared the other. "I know Who He Is! And if I were you, that's all I'd need to know. Under the circumstances." The last three words, stressed meaningly, affected the girl called Marilee curiously. She grew grave. Her lips and lashes drooped. For some seconds she sat frowning a little, breaking a black-sheathed lip- stick in two and fitting it together again. "She's worse," she said finally, low. "Worse?" Marilee nodded. "Well," said the girl with gar- denias, "there you are. It's the climate. She'll never be anything but worse, if she doesn't get away. Out West. Arizona or somewhere." "I know," murmured Marilee. The other girl opened a tin of eye shadow. "Of course," she said dryly, "suit yourself. She's not my sister." Marilee said nothing. Quiet she sat, breaking the lipstick, mending it, breaking it. "Oh, well," she breathed finally, wearily, and straightened up. She propped her elbows on the plate- glass dressing-table top and leaned toward the mirror, and with the lip- stick she began to make her coral- pink mouth very red and gay and reckless and alluring. Nightly at one o'clock Vane and Moreno dance for the Club Français. They dance a tango, they dance a waltz; then, by way of encore, they do a Black Bottom, and a trick of their own called the Wheel. They dance for twenty, thirty minutes. And while they dance you do not leave your table——for this is what you came to see. Vane and Moreno. The new New York thrill. The sole justifica- tion for the five-dollar couvert ex- torted by Billy Costello. From one until half-past, then, was Mrs. Brady's recess. She had been looking forward t it all the eve- ning long. When it began——when the opening chords of the tango music sounded stirringly from the room outside——Mrs. Brady brightened. With a right good will she sped the parting guests. Alone, she unlocked her cupboard and took out her magazine——the magazine she had bought three hours before. Heaving a great breath of relief and satisfaction, she plumped herself on the couch and fingered the pages. Immediately she was absorbed, her eyes drinking up the printed lines, her lips moving soundlessly. The magazine was Mrs. Brady's favorite. Its stories were true stories, taken from life (so the editor said); and to Mrs. Brady they were live, vivid threads in the dull, drab pat- tern of her night. 
From Harper's Bazaar of September, 1927. Copyright, 1927, by Katharine Brush. From A Treasury of Short Stories. Edited by Bernardine Kielty. Copyright, 1947, Simon and Schuster, Inc., New York; pp. 655—663.
یہ آپ کی جگہ ہے ایک دوسرے کے ساتھ حسن سلوک کرو۔ https://old.reddit.com/thesee [♘] [♰] [☮]
submitted by MarleyEngvall to newenglandpatriot [link] [comments]

Another update on my solar powered farm and bitcoin mining in the desert

Tl;Dr - Just skip to the bottom where I lay out my solabattery requirements for mining and my solabattery requirements for vertical farming. Oh...and costs and earnings.
Well, Summer is here and we have had some extremely hot weeks. This has given us a chance to test our greenhouses at temperatures of 126F/52C. We are still up and running quite well. Our energy requirements have gone up quite a bit. But the electricity we are consuming is right in line with our estimates. We do not feel that the temperatures will be any higher than the numbers we have seen so far. Unless Global Warming is for real...because now that I think about it, we did blow through our all-time-high in temperatures...and this was the last day of Spring, if I recall.
We are ordering all of our equipment directly from China. Our 40' greenhouses are extremely cheap to build in China. We are building them for about 40% of what companies like Freight Farms and Bright-Agro-Tech are selling their systems for. Our system is at least 90% as good as their systems. But we do have many bugs, it seems when we first receive them from China. Perhaps my main complaint. They can be a bit finicky. I would not want to sell these as the customer service would consume me.
Our most simple greenhouse uses between 250 and 450 kwh per day. I am in San Diego. Our residential rates from SDG&E are $0.43 per kwh. That is crazy high, for the record. This would cost between about $105 and $190 per DAY. Between about $3,000 and $5,500 per month. Most people in the US pay about $0.11 per kwh. This would equate to a monthly bill of $750 and $1350 per month. The Arizona desert pays that rate, for example.
Next, these greenhouses grow about 4,000 heads of lettuce per month. Wholesale price for this lettuce is $1. We sell direct to the end user. We charge $1.50. But at wholesale prices, this generates $4,000 per month in revenue. Labor is 10 hours per greenhouse. We pay $20 per hour. When you add all the California bullshit taxes and fees for employees this puts us at about $30 per hour. We also have insurance and Workers Comp. This is about $40 per month for each greenhouse.
Ok, now for the solar and battery requirements. We use 150 panels of 300 watt panels. I know...this is a lot. It takes a lot of space. You need a lot of cheap land. We spend about $0.45 per watt for solar panels from China. Our lettuce greenhouses run for 8 hours per day with lights. The other 16 hours we go "dark" and do not use much energy (just pumps, air conditioning and a few devices). We run the lights and everything during the peak sun hours. This allows us to not purchase as many batteries because we are turning the sun directly into the farming and lighting. Then, when the sun starts to wane, we turn most systems off and just remain in a well-insulated state. The battery requirements are still large, however. We currently use 50 lead acid batteries for each greenhouse. Each battery is 24V and 200 amp hours. Each battery costs us $180 from China.
Ok, how does this all tie into bitcoin and bitcoin mining? Here's the answer. Each Antminer S9 uses about 1400 watts when it is placed in the environment of our lettuce greenhouse. We place between one and four miners in each greenhouse. We need about 6,000 watts in solar panels to charge up the batteries and simultaneously run one S9 for 24 hours straight. We need 15 of the 24V/200 amp hour batteries for each miner. Cost for panels is $3,000. Batteries are $2750. The miner, when you buy from Bitmain is $1225 delivered to your door in the US. I have over-clocked the miners as high as I am comfy with. I am generating 0.007 btc per miner per day right now. That is about $18 per day at today's rate.
So here is how it all breaks down for the vertical farm: cost for one lettuce farm that is 100% off grid is about $90k. This includes EVERYTHING... solar, batteries, control systems, installation and framing for the solar, greenhouse, all equipment, air conditioners a water cooler...everything. Monthly labor, insurance, nutrients and supplies is $1500. Shipping of the lettuce is about $400. Total net profit is about $2100 per month. And $25,000 per year.
Mining...ok...this is the wobbly one to predict. Just remember this and it'll make it all easier to accept these numbers: bitcoin is probably headed to $10,000 within 3 years. If you don't believe that then much of this will just be comical to you (if it isn't already). One miner will cost (miner + solar panels + batteries + power control systems + cooling equipment and the solabatteries to support it) = $8000. The solar and battery system costs a total of $6800. The miner is $1200. Once you have purchased the solar and batteries, you own them forever. They can be used to mine for 25 years for solar and at least 6 years with the lead acid batteries. You can amortize these costs. If bitcoin drops to $0 then you can instantly switch your solar and batteries to your farm. This is how I backstop my potential losses.
Now, here is the magical way we have figured out how to avoid the "decay" that is built into the miners: we run them for 4 to 8 weeks then we sell them on the open market at a premium over cost. When you purchase large numbers from Bitmain, they will offer you a discounted price. The miners seem to always go up in value in between releases fom Bitmain. After 6 to 9 months of reselling at this pace, you will make all of your initial investment back in the miners. You will also stay current with the miners. So, one miner will generate about 2 btc per year (when you stay ahead of decay). That is $5,000 per year at today's rate. If bitcoin follows the trend (and you believe) then I expect that you will generate $6500 or more within one year from mining today. This means the system will completely pay for itself (including solar and batteries) in about one year. Oh...and then after a year, you own a brand new miner (cuz you have been constantly reselling them to stay current and slightly profit). Oh...and you how have 6kw of solar AND batteries...just keep mining til bitcoin is outlawed. You are now in a unique position...your mining rig costs you $0 from this point forward.
I have calculated the amount of profit you can make if you build your own solabattery array and point this array to different businesses. One business is a modern, vertical farm which is good for the environment and makes healthier food. The other is a bitcoin mining operation. Both businesses have energy as their single largest cost of doing business. I like the idea of having two businesses that I can just point an energy source towards and they start making money. Isn't that kinda cool to think about? Farming generates a net profit of $0.22 per kwh from a solabattery system. Bitcoin mining generates $0.51 per kwh for the exact same system. Think about that for a minute.
Also, what the fuck? If bitcoin actually does take off, imagine how it will pollute the world with miners in places with shitty but cheap fossil fuel. Shouldn't we be mining on renewable energy since...let's be honest, bitcoin shouldn't really exist? It only exists because people lie a bunch. It seems like protecting ourselves from our despicable selves shouldn't turn the world into a toilet that may become uninhabitable.
I just wanted to share everything with this community. If it weren't for this community, I would have been nervous about trying this crazy idea. What I mean by this is that I appreciate the handful of people here who have a lot of bitcoin and just handed them over to me so that I could test this TOTALLY insane and HIGHLY SPECULATIVE business model. I told you (those who lost their btc to me) that I will make it up to you. For the couple of you who didn't threaten to kill me, I will return your btc when my profits from mining hit 4,000 btc, unless the price is under $3100 per btc...seems fair...you did lose...and it was a fair bet.
I hope for several things from this post. (1) The nice people who are here hopefully will take this info and appreciate what went into getting these numbers. (2) Someone will read this, run the numbers themselves and decide to do the exact same thing. (3) Someone in an area with good sun, year round, will set up a mining operation based on my model. (4) Someone will bet me publicly again that I am lying. (5) Someone interesting will buy the land next to mine and compete head-to-head with me...I seem to perform better under competition.
To;Dr - To take a miner off grid, in a sunny place, will cost $8,000 (including the miner). You'll break even in a year if you follow my plan (and if fate complies as well). One 40' greenhouse that is off grid costs me $90k. Least amount of net profit per greenhouse is $25,000 per year. Average net profit is $36,000per year, typically from blending lettuce and other crops such as basil.
Farming generates a net profit of $0.22 per kwh from a solabattery system. Bitcoin mining generates $0.51 per kwh for the exact same system. Think about that for a minute. We sell energy back to the grid for about $0.05. Does anyone look at this the way I am looking at it?...I am just curious.
Anybody have any questions?
submitted by dan_from_san_diego to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

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

Coin-a-Year: Nyancoin

Hello cryptocurrency lovers! Welcome to Coin-a-Year, the laziest series yet in the Coin-a-Day publishing empire. This year's coin is Nyancoin (NYAN). I originally covered Nyancoin in an article here in /cryptocurrency published January 4th, 2015.
Without (much) further ado, I'm going to include the original report next, unmodified. This is unlike my Coin-a-Week series, where I use strikeout and update in-text. Because this is going to be a longer update, I'll just make all further comments and updates below, just realize that all information below is as of January 4th, 2015 and thus is more than a year out of date as of posting now, at the end of February 2016.
Since I use horizontal rules as internal dividers in the original post, I'll use a double horizontal rule to divide the original text from this prelude and the following update.
Coin-a-Day Jan 4th
Welcome to the fourth installment of Coin-a-Day! To see convenient links to the introduction and the previous entries, please see /coinaday. Today's coin is Nyancoin (NYAN).
Summary
• ~173.6 million available currently [1]; 337 million limit [2]
• All-time high: ~0.000024 BTC on February 16, 2014 [1]
• Current price: ~3 satoshi [1]
• Current market cap: ~$1,275 [1]
• Block rate (average): 1 minute [1] [3]
• Transaction rate: ~25? / last 24 hours; estimated $3-4 [4]
• Transaction limit: 70 / second [5]
• Transaction cost: 0 for most transactions [6]
• Rich list: ??? [7]
• Exchanges: Cryptsy [8]
• Processing method: Mining [10]
• Distribution method: proof-of-work block rewards and 1% premine for "bounties, giveaways & dev support" [2] [10]
• Community: Comatose [9]
• Code/development: https://github.com/nyancoin-release/nyancoin ; there hasn't been a released code change in 10 months. The new developer has talked about some changes, but has not made a new release. He has given advice about how to keep the network running and operate the client. [10]
• Innovation or special feature: First officially licensed cryptocurrency (from Nyancat) [2]; "zombie"-coin [11]
Description / Community:
So you're probably wondering why in the world we're talking about a coin which has been declared dead and already written off. I actually first selected this coin to illustrate a "deadcoin", but the more I dug into it, the more I was amazed at the shambles I discovered. I am combining the description and community sections for this coin, because the community (or lack thereof) is the central issue for Nyancoin.
Substantially all, if not literally all, of the original infrastructure is gone. From the announcement post, the original website has expired. The nyan.cat site itself survives, but has no reference to the coin. The github repo remains, but then there was never much changed from the bitcoin/litecoin original. In fact, the COPYING file doesn't even list "Nyancoin Developers". None of the original nodes seem to be running anymore. @Nyan_Coin hasn't tweeted since July 6th. And that was just to announce posting an admittedly cute picture to facebook which makes a claim for a future which seems never to have developed. Of the original 15 pools, I think all are dead except p2pool, for which at least one node still supports NYAN. The original blockchain explorer, nyancha.in, is still running. The faucet is dead or broken. The original exchanges no longer list it (two of the three having died; SwissCEX having ended its trading as of the first of this year). And so forth.
And yet:

I'm not dead! I'm getting better!

No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
[Of course, that scene finishes with knocking out the "recovering" patient so he can be taken away...not to mention the absurdity of including Monty Python in a financial article, but moving right along.]
There is still just enough left to Nyancoin to keep it twitching, even if it is on life-support. Whether it's an individual node or whether it's a pool, there are blocks being produced at a steady rate as intended. Transactions are being processed. There is still a market. There is still a block explorer. And there is a dev. It is like a case study in the absolute minimum necessary to keep a coin alive. The most likely outcome is almost certainly a final collapse when one critical piece or another of the infrastructure goes away. And yet in the meantime, a person can own a million NYAN for $8 [12], and then move this coin quickly and easy, albeit with no particular external demand. It's like the world's most hyped testnet.
I think this case presents an interesting example of what happens to an altcoin when its initial support dries up. NYAN coin is more fortunate than some, actually, as there are some where there are no longer any nodes running it nor the original announcement thread (in fact, there was actually a second Nyancoin launched around the same time. But it died hard and its original announcement thread was deleted and at this point I would have no idea how to access it; so "Nyancoin" thus illustrates how hard a coin can die (Nyancoin 2) as well as how it can hang around despite being proclaimed dead, with far more justification behind that pronouncement than there has been for bitcoin (NYAN) ).
Footnotes
[1] http://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nyancoin/
[2] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=402085.0 Regarding the premine, it's unclear to me where this money is now, since the original poster hasn't been active on BCT since May and the original site is down. However, given that it's only 1%, and about $25 in value right now, there seem to be more significant concerns for NYAN.
[3] http://nyancha.in/chain/Nyancoin - Nyan blockchain explorer; blocks are somewhat inconsistent but somewhere around the 1 minute average
[4] There doesn't seem to be anything automatically doing these stats, so I did visual inspection on about 1500 blocks (about one day) excluding the block generation reward (~250k/day). Most blocks are otherwise empty. I counted about 24 transactions or so scrolling through, with an outlier around 300k NYAN and another around 100k NYAN. In total, about 500k NYAN, excluding the block rewards. This is very approximately $3-4.
[5] Nyancoin is a basically unmodified, slightly out-of-date bitcoin as far as code goes, and ignoring the change in block rate and total coin supply, as well as the difficulty retarget after every block. So for purposes of estimating maximum possible transaction throughput, I start with bitcoin's estimated 7 transactions per second, and multiply by 10 for having a block on average every minute rather than every 10 minutes. In any event, this limit is not likely to be reached in the foreseeable future.
[6] Like bitcoin, transaction fees appear to be optional in Nyancoin. Unlike bitcoin, there is almost no transaction volume, and coins tend to sit for a relatively long time before being moved. So zero-fee transactions appear to be the norm from looking at a couple transactions on the block explorer.
[7] I couldn't find one. See the disclosure section of this article: your humble correspondent is likely represented in some way on a top 100 if one were to be made or if one exists, despite not holding it directly, depending on how the exchange holds it.
[8] I could not find any other exchanges still listing Nyancoin. SwissCex appears to have disabled it as of a couple days ago. Cryptsy has a notice that the NYAN/BTC market will be closing, but its NYAN/LTC market appears strong.
[9] Essentially all of the original sites, pools, faucets, etc. are dead and there has been very little to replace it. There is basically a single node, or perhaps a very few, which are running the blockchain. However, there is a developer still trying to hold things together, maxvall_dev, maxvall on BCT. He is the last hope for the NYAN.
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=597877.0 This is the thread where maxvall took over as dev, and it also discusses switching to PoS, which hasn't happened as far as I know.
[11] "zombie"-coin: Not to be confused with ZMB (my god, does it ever end?). This is my term to describe a coin which is "undead": by rights it should be dead. And yet it's still walking around and acting like it's alive. What is it? What's going on? It's quite debatable whether this gives it any special value, but I find it an interesting state, and it's why this was chosen for early coverage. There are plenty of actually popular and successful coins, and we will go onto covering more normal selections; we're looking for variety rather than repetition. But I think this is an interesting example for what can go wrong, and yet in the midst of that, how little it takes for a coin to survive. In fact, it's almost like an alternate history bitcoin to me; this shows the concept that "it was run on one computer before; it can be run on one computer again" to some extent. And there are even some strange pragmatic benefits as well, like having no competition for getting a transaction into a block and thus zero transaction fees.
[12] And, in fact, the author chose to do so today, spending about 0.03 BTC for about 1 million NYAN.
Additional Reading
/nyancoins - Like NYAN: mostly dead, but not quite
http://nyan-coin.org/ - new official website
BCT thread listing nodes, xpool (p2pool), for mining information.
americanpegasus predicting in February that NYAN will hit $1; always an entertaining read
Giveaway
Instead of a challenge today, since NYAN has enough challenges, I decided I would give away 10,000 NYAN to at least the first ten people who ask for it. This still remains at my discretion, but honestly, if you really want, say, 50,000 NYAN and create four new accounts to do so, I'll probably be too amused to say no. I don't expect to get ten requests. If I get more, I'll probably still fulfill them, but as with everything else, this is left to my whim.
Donations and Disclosure
Okay, this is an important one today because of the tiny market here. I actually hold less USD value in NYAN than in BTC, DOGE, and PPC (although my value in PPC might be about equivalent actually), but I hold more of the total market in NYAN than any of those three. And I'll probably be buying more. So I have a conflict of interest in writing this article.
I am not providing financial advice and I do not make any recommendations of any sort on any matters. Make your own decisions; do your own research. Please, I do not want to hear about anyone doing anything "on my advice." I am not offering advice.
I personally hold just over 1 million NYAN on Cryptsy right now.
Perhaps it would be better if I didn't write any articles about anything I were invested inspeculating on, but I started this series for my own education to further my speculation, so unfortunately, dear reader, your needs come second to my own. tanstaafl; you get what you pay for, and I'm giving you my thoughts.
If by some strange quirk of fate you actually own NYAN and enjoyed this article and wished to donate some to me, K7Ho9HghBF6xWwS6JsepE6RAEPyAXbsQCV is mine (first non-empty account I've posted; transferred 1000 NYAN into here earlier from Cryptsy to test that the network and my wallet were actually working).
Thank you all for reading and commenting! I've already learned a lot from this process and I look forward to more!
Upcoming coins:
• January 5th: Nxt
• January 6th: Darkcoin
• January 7th: Namecoin
I'll use alphabetic labeling for footnotes in the updates to avoid any confusion with the footnotes in the original. For simplicity, unchanged items, like the 337 million limit and the 1 minute will not be mentioned, and we'll start with the summary changes.
Updates:
Summary
  • ~263.7 million NYAN currently exist [a]
  • Current price: ~7 satoshi [b]
  • Current market cap: ~$8,000 [c]
  • Transaction rate: ~185 / last 24 hours; ~3,300,000 NYAN (~$100) [d]
  • Exchanges: Cryptopia [e]
  • Community: We're not quite dead yet; in fact, I think we're getting better! [f]
  • Code/Development: I have an early draft of NYAN2, but I'm about six months past my initial goal for having it available to use. Life/work/lack of build machine/procrastination. NYAN2 will be a rebase onto a modern LTC codebase which will soft fork to fix a current vulnerability to a fork bug. For now, the network still runs on the same code that it did when I wrote the first article.
Discussion
I'm going to consider the community first, since I pointed it out as the weakness and central topic in the last one, then talk about the technical situation briefly, and then review the financial results.
The community has been excellent, if I do say so myself. We've got working infrastructure going thanks to the contributions of many Nekonauts (see [f]). Some original Nekonauts have returned or at least popped in from time to time, and new ones like myself have found Nyancoin (I would say given what I wrote in the original, I was still a skeptic of it at that point. Not that skeptics can't be Nekonauts, but I think I'd put my conversion to the cult of nyan shortly after writing that, even though I was already a nillionaire then for the heck of it.)
While I do look forward to seeing the community continue to grow in future years and consider that important, I don't think the community is our weakest point any longer; I think it's now our strongest point. I've tried to encourage the community's revival as best I could, including giving away tens of nillions in total, and lots of long rambling articles on my views on ethics and philosophy and frankly it's worked better than I would've really expected (or at least it has coincided with an effective recovery of the community). The community also helped me through at least a couple hard times personally in there as well.
The technical situation in Nyancoin is mostly unchanged but slightly improved, although with two additional known vulnerabilities. It's unchanged in that it's the same client. It's improved in that we have an active nyanchain explorer host (nyan.space), and we have a public draft of a plan for a soft forking security fix update in the near future (hopefully by the end of March (although I've slipped these deadlines before and may well miss March for release by a bit, I do think I'm inching closer now and then)).
The most serious vulnerability is to forking. This is the bug which hit Peercoin if I recall correctly. NYAN2 is intended to solve this through its soft fork from the LTC fix upstream (from the BTC fix upstream). In the meantime, we've been lucky we haven't been attacked. The tiny marketcap probably helps with not being a particularly attractive attack target. We're not exactly about to pay ransom to move faucet outputs. But that's no excuse; we want this fixed and should have it finally done "soon" (tm).
The less serious vulnerability is to a time warp attack in the difficulty function (Kimoto Gravity Well), which relates to general weaknesses it has and issues we've had with large gaps in the block chain because of spikes in the difficulty function causing it to be unprofitable and driving away most of the hash, and then low difficulty and price rise making it attractive to more hash, creating a spike and causing it again. While this is irritating, the chain still works, even if there are fits and starts at times. An important part of the reason I can get away with this is because there is at least one Nekonaut-supporting miner, CartmanSPC, who rescues us from time to time, and did so during the course of this article being written. We have a bunch of pools, but sometimes the hash just isn't there to get us unstuck when the difficulty goes high enough. Another part of the reason I consider it not an especially serious issue is because there's a workaround which works for me (classic bad developer logic): I use a large transaction fee (generally 337 NYAN, although I might have halved it after the most recent halving, I'll probably use 337 again) on my personal wallet by default. If necessary, I use a couple of them. It can make NYAN profitable to mine again despite the higher difficulty and "unstick" the chain. The difficulty function can go back down again in the next block if the gap has been long enough, so that can be enough to keep it going again for a while (although it can also get stuck again irritatingly fast at times). A fix for this will be putting in a better difficulty function for NYAN3, which will require a hard fork. This is tentatively scheduled for feature freeze around the middle of this year, coding to follow, activation sometime early 2017.
Financial has been our most disappointing performance. A graph of the 1 year performance right now on coinmarketcap looks pretty sad, showing our fall from a little over 60 satoshi down to around 7 satoshi now.
We rose too high, too fast, and I didn't stick with the safe high paying job like a sane person. Instead I hit the road, went to jail, and worked minimum wage. That doesn't sound like a sentence from a cryptocurrency financial review, does it? But the performance of NYAN since the article has been the story of my personal finances, which is the story of my life since then.
So, autobiographical coinaday interlude, trying to keep it generally to the most salient points. Well, in 2014 I had been on my way home to Minnesota from California when I was pulled over leaving Eureka, Nevada for speeding (got sloppy and went 45 approaching the 45 sign and thus technically still in the 35; bored cop seeing out-of-state plates). My vehicle reeked of weed, what with having been in Mendocino County previously with no intention of traveling out of the county much less state anytime soon but family emergency brought me back, and the end result was a citation for possession of cannabis and paraphernalia along with the speeding.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2015, I'm settled into a good software position and start looking more at cryptocurrency in my spare time. I write the coin-a-day series for a bit and then got annoyed and quit after a while when trying to do one a day on top of an actual job was too much for me (along with some annoyance over criticism; I can be rather thin-skinned at times). But I had gotten interested in Nyancoin, and started buying it up more and more with extra money I was making.
And then comes the crash. I had to stop putting as much in as I realized that where I was living and what I was working on wasn't going to work out for me and I needed to figure something else out. So, as I seem wont to do, I went on a roadtrip. I quit my job. And I went back for the court date for my citations and refused to pay, instead spending 10 days in jail rather than pay ~$1400 (I actually had the money in cash available to me if I chose to pay as a backup if I chickened out, but the judge annoyed me enough that I really preferred to be jailed instead of paying, as stupid as that sounds since I'm quite sure the judge didn't care in the least one way or another).
After that, I went back to roadtrip lifestyle for a while. It was a nice period. A lot of beautiful scenery; a lot of reading. Eventually, I busted up my car pretty badly...a couple times actually, the second time for good. Fast forwarding through the rest of the year, I worked a couple minimum wage jobs to pay bills and avoid cubicle life and kill some time until I figured out what I was going to do next. Just recently I quit as delivery boy after getting a speeding ticket (I swear, I'm not as horrible of a driver as this makes me sounds, although I have had a bad tendency to speed in the past, which I really have curbed to almost nothing; but I'm clearly not good enough) and am currently writing a Coin-a-Year article with a friend's incentive and applying to do documentation and development with the Nu project.
Okay, so what did any of that have to do with NYAN? Well, it's the mess of a life that has led to the fall of the price from 60 satoshi to 7 satoshi. If instead my life history for the time since the article had been simply "I was happily employed writing software", then I don't believe we would have dropped below 20 satoshi. It's easy to see in hindsight. If anyone can lend me a time machine, I'm sure I can get some condensed instructions which should improve performance significantly. Otherwise, just going to have more chalked up for the "character building" tally.
So, lessons learned if you are the major buy support for your coin: you need long-term reserves. Whatever you put in bids can be taken out in a moment by a dump for no apparent reason. This is particularly true if you may be quitting your cushy, high-paying job and wandering around without income for an extended period of time. Rather obvious, but hey, maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes. If I'd been bidding as cautiously as I am now from the beginning, I think the price would probably be somewhere from 10-20 satoshi now instead of around 7 satoshi.
It's especially unfortunate given that I wanted to be able to demonstrate the more consistent growth possible building a stable store of value, as opposed to the pump and dumps common in altcoins. And instead we had a pump-and-dump looking graph ourselves after I bid up higher than I was able to sustain, and a large (10+ nillion) instadump crashed the market all the way back down to 1 satoshi momentarily. We've had a few large (2+ nillion) dumps since, but nothing that large. We haven't generally had that large of bids though either.
It's hard to know when I've exhausted the supply at a price level, when it sometimes waits for a couple weeks or even more and then fills all the bids at once. But I want to maximize the minimum price paid because I think that's important for building confidence in a store of value long-term, which is one of my core goals for NYAN.
At the same time, we're still up from the lowest parts of the floor and where I found it. Since I own about 30% [g], the very cheapest supply has been taken off the market. I plan to keep on buying up "cheap NYAN" as much as I can. I've bought up to 60 satoshi before, I'll probably buy up that high this time around. I've got a token 100,000 NYAN ask at 300 satoshi; I hope never to sell lower.
Conclusions
Now I try to wrap it all together as if I saw this all coming and am the wise expert, despite having had about 90% drop in price in the last year after bidding too high. My original concept was taking the "minimum viable coin" and reviving it to a powerhouse as a textbook example in how to do it.
Part of my core concept in this is the arbitrariness of value: throughout history, humans have chosen any number of things as a store of value for the time: salt, large rocks, certain metals, disks, marked sticks, and so forth. While there has generally been a certain logic in the choice, in that there is a locally restricted supply in one way or another, and so forth, from the perspective of other centuries or cultures the choices can seem quite strange. Growing up, I was always struck by how strange the notion of salt being limited and valuable seemed in a world where people were trying to reduce intake and large amounts could be bought for trivial sums. And yet, a key nutrient necessary for life fundamentally makes more sense as being valuable than notched sticks or printed paper or a piece of plastic with some encoded information.
Humans have perpetually come up with stranger and stranger ways of storing and transferring value. Each new step, as always, comes with its own disadvantages and, frankly, has generally appeared nonsensical at best and fraudulent at worst to the status quo. Which doesn't mean that each new attempt is valuable. The gold bugs always like to point out that every fiat currency ultimately returns to its true value of zero. And the skeptics of cryptocurrency argue that all cryptocurrencies will eventually return to their true value of zero.
It's certainly possible. And it's possible the USD will hyperinflate someday. I tend to try the moderate view for a plausible guess of the future. By that type of logic, I would guess that over the course of decades, USD will in general lose value, and cryptocurrency will tend to slowly gain value. That might not seem the moderate view, but USD not losing value over decades would be truly shocking. And hyperinflation has been predicted since the USD went off the gold standard, or before. So some amount of inflation less than hyperinflation seems like the safe guess (but then, the Titanic arriving would also have seemed like the safe guess to me). And with cryptocurrency, I think it's clear by now the technology will continue to survive. So my first question is with what overall value as a market? It could go down, of course, but that seems unlikely in an already small, young market. Even if all the current crop die off and are replaced, whatever cryptocurrencies are around should be able to do better than a handful of billion in market cap in my view.
I believe that cryptocurrency has a bright future ahead of it. The best coins should ultimately survive and thrive. But I've been wrong on most of my major calls so far, like for instance when I thought BTC was over-priced around $5-$10.
I think Nyancoin can have an important role to play in the future of cryptocurrency in the years and decades to come, but it's a massively speculative long-shot. See also Nyancoin risks document. But like Linus Torvalds' autobiography, I try to keep "Just for Fun" as a core motto and principle. It's makes for a good hobby project because there will always be more to work on, with a core community motto of
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!
Disclaimers / Sponsorship:
As I said before:
I am not providing financial advice and I do not make any recommendations of any sort on any matters. Make your own decisions; do your own research. Please, I do not want to hear about anyone doing anything "on my advice." I am not offering advice.
And I'll reiterate that I own about 30% [g] of the current supply of NYAN, which makes me by definition maximally biased.
Also, I'm not sure what's up with the address from the first post. It doesn't show up in my current wallet as a recognized address. So, anyhow, don't send there. :-) If you'd like to donate, please consider sponsoring a coin-a-day or coin-a-week article.
This is the first sponsored article. This Coin-a-Year article has been brought to you by spydud22 's generous patronage. I'd been meaning to do a Coin-a-Week article on Nyancoin for a while, but between wanting to "wait until the price recovered a bit" and general procrastination, then it seemed like it would make a good Coin-a-Year article, and then I wanted to wait until the price recovered a bit more...anyhow, so thank you spydud22, for causing me to finally do this. :-)
Footnotes
  • [a] nyan.space/chain/Nyancoin ; as of block 1091430, 263738786.71890615 NYAN outstanding. This is slightly over 50% more than the last report, which is what we would expect, since it had existed for about a year then, and has approximately annual halvings. The first year generated about 50% of total supply; the second year generated about 25% of total supply. We should expect in a year to have about 17% (one-sixth) more than we have now.
  • [b] https://www.cryptopia.co.nz/Exchange?market=NYAN_BTC ; this is the only market reflected in coinmarketcap and it is the primary one on which I trade. Cryptopia also has other base pairs which operate at significantly higher spreads (lower bids; higher asks) and have minimal volume. In the time since the last report, NYAN has traded as high as 60 satoshi (and briefly a little higher at times), but over the last almost twelve months since a peak about a year ago, the price has been generally declining overall, as a gross oversimplification of a lot of movements. This has been an effect of me not being able to keep buying as much and there being large dumps I wasn't expecting from time-to-time. Now I'm taking the approach of building large (one or more nillion (million NYAN)) bids on each price as I slowly work my way back up again in order to be able to handle possible dumps with less price shock.
  • [c] coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nyancoin/ ; as noted in [b], this only reflects the /BTC basepair on Cryptopia but that's where most of the volume is anyhow. Of course, the market is also not particularly liquid since I'm the primary buyer and have rather limited means currently.
  • [d] I haven't setup a script to count this yet, among many things on my to-do list for someday, so I went through by hand from what was the then-latest block of 1091430 on nyan.space back to 1089766 which was the first block generated less than 24 hours before. There was actually a three and a half hour block gap at that point, such that the next prior block was about 24 hours and 15 minutes before 1091430 while 1089766 was only about 20 hours and 45 minutes prior, and has a disproportionate number of transactions and value compared to a typical block (8 and ~313,000 NYAN respectively) from the build-up during the gap. But since that gap conveniently started right about at the start of the 24 hour period, doesn't really skew our results here.
Note that there are often times where the UTXO created during one transaction during the day is spent during a later transaction in the day. This can be considered the "same" Nyancoin being "spent" twice in the same day in our total. But in practice, I believe what's happening here is the faucet is breaking off small (10-50 NYAN) pieces from a larger (~40,000 NYAN) chunk, and so that pops up a bunch of times. So the total NYAN blockchain volume as counted for this topline number should not be interpreted as "NYAN spent in the day" but "NYAN moved on the chain", where the "same coin" can move many times. So it's a very easily gamed metric and not a strong / resistant metric like the market price tends to be (at least relatively speaking), but it's a fun number to calculate and provides a little bit of information.
The transaction count can also be easily inflated and certainly, for instance, having the faucet does generate transactions which are a very common transaction.
And this is also just an arbitrary 24 hour period compared to a previous arbitrary 24 hour period. Nonetheless, I do think there's clearly a bit more activity on the Nyanchain, even though the typical block is still empty and the number of transactions and volume is still tiny compared to the major cryptocurrencies.
Here's an arbitrary example of the faucet transactions Note the zero transaction fee, which I love that the miners support (the defaults are all quite low as well).
Here's an example of what may be the smallest transaction by NYAN volume of the day; but no, I followed its small, spent output, and it led to this gem which also links to this. I have no idea what's going on here, but it's hilarious and I love it. How's that for microtransaction support? :-)
  • [e] Obviously Cryptsy went down. We had had more than enough red flags with Cryptsy (including one time where I was able to withdraw 6 nillion more than I had in my balance) and got onto Cryptopia. spydud22 basically accomplished that for us, although I helped out in the tail end of the campaigning.
  • [f] Our community is still small (I wish there were literally dozens of us!) but we've had valuable activity from multiple people, including, just as highlights, vmp32k who hosts nyan.space, a clone of the original nyancha.in, jwflame who created the excellent nyancoin.info intro site, with the awesome status page (which currently notes that "the last 500 blocks actually took 111 minutes, which is approaching the speed of light, causing the universe to become unstable"), KojoSlayer who runs the faucet and dice, spydud22 who got us on Cryptopia, and many other Nekonauts have made worthy contributions, and the Nekonauts mentioned have done more than just that listed. So while we are small, we are active at least from time to time and technically capable.
Even though our posting rate is still around 1 post a day or so on average, and so still a relatively quiet subreddit (and it is our main (only?) hub), it's still a very noticeable and significant difference from how /nyancoins looked when I was reviewing it for the original piece here. Here's an attempt to approximate what was there using Reddit search ; archive.org has a snapshot on January 19th, 2015, which is well into the early revival mania and one from August 14th, 2014, before four and a half months of little to no activity. Apparently archive.org unsubscribed to /nyancoins in that interval itself...
  • [g] Maybe up to around 35% by now; maybe still around 30%. I haven't updated hodling report lately; it was 30% last time I recall, but I've bought more and more has been made since.
submitted by coinaday to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

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