Salon updated its series with its sixth installment. It is full of fail between people. Sorry. The sausage of bottom-up democracy is bitter and tough—however, it shows excellent use of the human microphone as it has been refined over months of use at Zuccotti Park and the General Assembly. If you’re a 99er, for now at least, don’t expect much help from 99%ers, which in themselves can’t decide if they want to reboot/change the State or abandon it. The human microphone, is a great tool for informing people without technology, but it’s still being applied to State-like systems by people unsure what they want to do. If there’s a saving grace for 99%ers, they made their own rules for “never making demands,” which has allowed them to continue their anti-movement indefinitely since there are no expectations (if there are no demands, there’s nothing to move toward).
Foreign Policy introduced its readers to “The Black Market Global Economy” last November and now an exerpt is available online. Systeme D is the slang from the French-African and French-Carribean’s term for the black market, and this article explains the origins of the name and estimates how large that market is.
Tarsnap’s page on sCrypt explains it all. How do you keep your cryptography keys safe (and yet, easy to create from a password) from an attacker who has lots of money to throw at hardware? Better still, what if you wish to create a crypto-currency that couldn’t be farmed by its enthusiasts so easily with the purchase of a few high-end graphics cards for their GPUs? sCrypt is there as well. This is most definitely not fast encryption, encrypting a short file with just a single-letter password (which I totally do NOT recommend) takes almost 7-seconds of clock-time and almost 4-seconds of CPU time. If you did nothing but a 9-character base58 passwords you’re looking at 16.4-million centuries of clock time with one computer. Add another character and it’s 956 million-centuries… keep adding characters to your password for your given level of paranoia. It’s not that it takes a long time to process a password, it also takes a lot of memory to do so at the same time. Certainly you can add lots and lots of processors in the form of ASICs but the more RAM required, the more expensive the ASICs become. The nature of the algorithms makes it unlikely that any attacker can pre-compute rainbow tables for all possible passwords.
This podcast stands out with a 5-day a week, hourly show, if anything Ben Stone is prolific. If anything, Ben Stone is the Anti-Alex Jones and he provides an uplifting and positive message about agorism/anarchism/insert-label-here. Bad Quaker has a huge focus on the zero-aggression principle and anarcho-capitalism, which of course is going to make anarcho-socialists [which seems like an oxymoron in light of the zero-aggression principle] a little upset. Ben digs out some amazing history, theory and thought about the State that ranks him up there with Daniel Quinn in my eyes—I’ve certainly have learned a lot from Ben Stone since I’ve started listening.
AFTER years as a civil rights lawyer, I rarely find myself speechless. But some questions a woman I know posed during a phone conversation one recent evening gave me pause: “What would happen if we organized thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people charged with crimes to refuse to play the game, to refuse to plea out? What if they all insisted on their Sixth Amendment right to trial? Couldn’t we bring the whole system to a halt just like that?”
Apparently so, since 90% of all criminals currently plea-out instead of having a trial because harsh minimum mandatory sentences have become the rule. We appear to have slowly grown beyond the State’s ability to administer justice “within the system” that defines itself and plea-bargaining has become the defacto-method of saving the State money. If your mandatory minimum sentence would be 5 years and they’re dangling a plea that “wins” you 2 years, you’re probably going to take it even though you have the “right” to a trial. If no one takes the deal, then everyone must go to trial. It would be an interesting massive-multiplayer prisoner’s dilemma—do we make it harder for the State to administer justice or force its hand into making itself more efficient and likely, more totalitarian than it ever has been before. That is, until you also teach everyone about jury nullification. Of course, all bets are off no matter what, because the State always redefines itself away from the people’s control whenever the people attempt to control it.
It’s still energy-into-money, but this crypto-currency lends itself to more thinking about proof-of-work. The proof-of-work (PoW) here with LiteCoin is based on sCrypt, which cannot be easily accelerated with farms of video-card GPUs. You can still make farms upon farms of ordinary CPU-based computers, but at least the difficulty is low enough that there will be more liquidity to the currency.
I’ll have more thoughts later on proof-of-work and alternative currencies.
A musical interlude from Thirtyseven and Godforbid.