Preliminary report on the bitcoind hex conversion mess

Filed under: Bitcoin, Politikos, Software — Jacob Welsh @ 16:46

As I previously noted about my getrawtransaction patch,

It does accept invalid hex strings, perhaps a flaw in that SetHex method.

Indeed, SetHex in the base_uint class is completely permissive: it accepts leading whitespace, optional "0x" or "0X", then however many hex digits it finds, up to the length of the template specialization (160 or 256 bits), zero-filling if too short and ignoring excess if too long. It also includes some pointer arithmetic I believe has technically undefined behavior: comparing after decrementing past the start of the object. And it's one source of the obnoxious byte order reversal in bitcoind hash I/O, with GetHex being its counterpart.

The users of the function are the RPC commands listsinceblock and gettransaction. There's another SetHex function in CBigNum, similar but taking arbitrary length, entirely unused.

On the other hand, ParseHex, the subject of mod6_phexdigit_fix.vpatch, is oriented toward "dumps" in that it allows space between digit pairs and doesn't reverse byte order. It's used in some tests, in the hard-coded genesis block output in main.cpp, in the mining RPC commands getwork and getmemorypool, and in sendrawtransaction as seen in polarbeard_add_sendrawtransaction.vpatch.

My conclusion is that getrawtransaction is doing the right thing here, in that it shouldn't be made a special case, but the hex parsing should be cleaned up generally. If it were just me, I'd rip it all out and use a single, strict, non-reversing hex decoder. But there's no telling how much outside code or data has built up around the old rules. Parties interested in the matter, in the sense of having a meaningful amount of coin on the line, are encouraged to write in.(i)

  1. Not that I expect this to do much on its own, as politics involves involves actively going out to find people where they are and talk to them. [^]


JFW's 130 top Trilema picks to date

Filed under: Bitcoin, Hardware, Historia, Lex, Paidagogia, Philosophia, Politikos, Software, Vita — Jacob Welsh @ 16:25

Inquiring minds have asked of me to please shed a bit more light on what this Republic thing and that Popescu fellow in particular are all about. Is there more to it than the ravings that first meet the eye, of sluts and slaves and scandalous sexual predations and every "ism" and trigger word known to man or woman? What's the value I see in it that keeps me coming back? And what's the plan for this world domination thing anyway?

I gave the most accurate response I could, if not the most helpful: see, all you gotta do is read a couple thousand articles in multiple languages averaging maybe a thousand words each, a couple times over, and likely a bunch of the imported cultural environment and extensive chat logs besides, and then all will become clear! At least as clear as it can be so far. At least I think it will. But what would I know, I'm a long ways from being there.

Well great, so couldn't I at least give an executive summary? Not exactly an easy task either. Short of that, here's an attempt at picking some of the especially interesting, informative or significant articles on Trilema from my reading so far, a map of sorts of enticing entries to the rabbit hole.

The very unfair process that articles went through to make this list was as follows:

  1. I extracted an initial set of 957 items from my presently accessible browsing history, using some CLI magic.(i)
  2. I narrowed the list to those where I believed I recalled something of the article, going off the title alone. This brought it down to 424.
  3. I further selected based on roughly the above "interesting, informative or significant" standard in my subjective perception, again by memory from title alone.(ii) I also ended up skipping some that would have met this by way of having especially horrified me; not sure if I've done anyone any favors thus, but there it is.

The ordering within each publication year is merely alphabetical (because I can't quite see a pressing need to do it better in this context).

Enjoy... if you dare. What can I say, it's not for everyone.










  • The slap and human dignity
  • Fin.

    1. You know Firefox keeps this in a SQL database, yes? Because they told you about it in the manual, and documented the schema and all? [^]
    2. At times I was overpowered by the temptation to go check, with the inevitable expenditure of time on re-reading which, useful as it can be, I hadn't planned on getting drawn into just now. And while my shiny tools got this down to a minimal "this button to keep, that button to skip" flow, they were entirely powerless to speed up the thinking. [^]


What's on my mind

Filed under: Ego, Politikos — Jacob Welsh @ 20:46

As I continue shaking off the grogginess of a deep holiday blogging slumber,(i) it's time for a tack away from the recent technical series, fascinating as it is, to make room for some other thoughts that have been occupying my head the past couple days.

There were the occurrences of Mr. Ragavan dropping out of our academy and Mr. Datskovskiy reversing his previous confidence in its Master, based on an alleged lack of capacity for independent judgement. The matter was explored quite nicely I thought by Will Haack and commenters; all I really have to add is my own perspective, a narrow selection from the many available facts that I found most relevant, that I may shed light on myself as well as the subject.

I agree with Diana Coman's comment, as I understand it. MP asked her to stop advertising for the #asciilifeform channel; Datskovskiy took this as a demand to tune him out altogether, seemingly so he could consider his prediction fulfilled and sustain his view of MP as an unreasonable and overreaching madman. I'm not presently sure how I should interpret the invitation to leave, though I wasn't especially tuned in to begin with based on time constraints; I'm not inclined to contribute to building a Berlin Wall, as he puts it, if I don't have to, but at minimum it would give me pause about signing up for his ISP service knowing that I could be kicked out on such grounds.

The specimen of deductive reasoning that Datskovskiy took for finding a spine: it's not because it's not; I don't see the need; I'm not convinced; I don't think it conforms to idea. I'm not too surprised by Ragavan's attitude after how he spoke in our own main interaction. I will note that I don't hold it against anyone for having doubts. I know my own grasp of philosophy and what TMSR is really about remains limited; I've been wrong about plenty of ideological things; and we're all limited beings striving to navigate a complex world. As far as I can see, if he had wanted to avoid getting quite so tied up in knots, his best bet would have been to communicate more, or more clearly. This is a point that I still quite need to keep in mind myself.(ii)

What's been more on my mind though are some different relationships altogether. To be continued...

  1. I see myself as having been something of a compressed spring; once released, I overshot the neutral state, doing no writing at all, and am now having to pick back up the habits of time-sensitive existence. [^]
  2. As for instance about my getting stuck on drafting this article. [^]


Uruguay parte 4: el turismo es trabajo

Filed under: Historia, Politikos, Vita — Jacob Welsh @ 16:11

Concluding from Parte 3.

On Sunday my host generously treated me to a five or six hour walking tour of the city, starting at the Feria de Tristan Narvajo, a weekly flea market named after the street it centers on in the Cordon neighborhood, where we browsed a while, then headed west along Avenida 18 de Julio through Centro to Ciudad Vieja (old town) and the seaport, then back and northeast to El Obelisco and finally back southeast to Pocitos. His extensive time on the pavement and accumulated trove of information became all the more apparent. He figured we did about ten miles on foot on this part of the day alone and noted it was certainly more than whatever else passes for tours these days.

The previous night he had made his rounds near the site of previous post-election destruction and observed light tank, helicopter and searchlight presence, apparently effective at deterring a third weekly recurrence.

Once I had managed to rouse myself, grab a bite and walk to his place, we proceeded by cab to be sure to catch the Feria. As at the airport, the orange-and-white themed cab system is far more orderly than Panama's, with taxi stands (this one unoccupied presumably due to being Sunday, but we didn't have to wait long for one to stop by), metering, divider between front and back seats and a better kept (or at least more consistently so) fleet from what I saw. Cost is higher but still reasonable.



Exiting Pocitos, looking northbound down the Boulevard General Artigas if I'm not mistaken.


Things get a bit less polished in Cordon.


Arriving at the entrance to the Feria.


My illustrious guide.


The Feria had all manner of things from varyingly finished woodwork...


to outright junk...


to antiques such as typewriters...




rotary phones, some sporting the Antel brand which has enjoyed its monopoly from the early days...




kerosene lamps...


mechanical calculators...


and more guns...


to clothing, plants, birds...



to cameras new and old...


to some nice amethyst, one of the few items of local origin...


and more generic polished rocks.


Not pictured were stands with fresh produce, empanadas and similar prepared bites, jewelry, books (mainly well-used and yellowing paperbacks from what I saw), and paraphernalia for Mate consumption.(i) Something to do with cannabis too, its being fully legalized now: some "art" but I don't recall whether any consumables.


Exiting the Feria onto 18 de Julio where we find an Universidad de la Republica. The stand in front with red handwriting was promoting a hunger strike (better pictured).


Some live percussion on the corner...


Then a national library...


where Cervantes, or perhaps his ingenious Don, reminds us that he who reads much and walks much, sees much and knows much.


Many shops here were closed for Sunday, leaving a good view of the graffiti on the roll-down metal covers protecting the glass within.


McD's will use old buildings if needed to get that corner real estate.


The local Communists and friends, known as the Frente Amplio, fly an inverted Russian flag.





Aaron takes note of a new message scrawled on the Ministry of Social Destruction by someone who doesn't want her rights pissed on. Er, stepped on.


The Bronze Statue of Man on Horse series begins.



The Intendencia de Montevideo, a government office and one of the taller buildings with Mirador public observatory from which we were going to "see the entire city (if not up close)"; sadly it was closed that day, for reasons the posted officers didn't know.





A particularly elegant cupola, I thought, with neighboring buildings of entirely differing character.



The lamppost builletin board is alive and well.


I would have liked to see if the arcade machines were as old as the signage evokes.


Park with some epic struggle depicted, fountain not operational...


But side fountains were.


A look toward the Palacio Legislativo, suggesting this is from Plaza Fabini.


Four blocks further and we reach the sizable Plaza Independencia, marking the transition from Centro to Ciudad Vieja.





Presidential office gets a nice building. Whatever's to the right, not so much.


Nor do the offices look much more pleasant inside.







The biggest statue is for national hero Artigas, who died in exile. I'm told that ashes are kept below and might even be his.


Old city gate.


There's this rainbow-filled park-of-sorts tucked around a corner.


Pictures and sign read "Trans Law Now", "Fight for Diversity", "Constructing the future with love".


Back to park-like parks; some National Party colors.



First glimpse of the port down a street in Ciudad Vieja.


It's a mix of the very old and the new.



Instituto Nacional de Colonizacion: I'm told there's an active homesteading program for unused land in the interior.



Caribaldi, chief of naval forces of the Republic, 1842-1848.


Across the water to the Antel tower, tallest building in the country at 158m if the Internet is to be believed.


Port facilities.


Holding pen for containers, and a cruise ship.



View across the water to what might be a refinery, past some wreckage I hadn't noticed at the time.




Radar, presumably for maritime traffic control.


Fortress atop a distant hill.



There was this nice semi-indoor plaza, the one exception to the uniform restaurant cost thing.


The town has its run-down parts.


It's a peninsula, with water visible in both directions.



I hadn't recalled seeing an evergreen yet.


As-yet unidentified man on horse. And sheep.



Juniper if I'm not mistaken.



Itau and BBVA branches.


Some fine woodwork on the Palacio Santos, home of the ministry of foreign relations.


En esta plaza, el dia 24 de abril de 1925 el fisico Albert Einstein mantuvo un dialogo con el filosofo uruguayo Carlos Vaz Ferreira.

Homenaje del Consejo de Educacion Tecnico Profesional (UTU) y el Gobierno Departamental de Montevideo 30 de junio de 2005, a los 100 años de la Teoria de la Relatividad

If the bench were traveling half the speed of light, would it still fit within the chains?




In Ciudad Vieja and on the way back we were approached two or three times by beggars: bold, persistent, sad stories at the ready, and ungrateful when I did once offer a coin against my better judgement.


Back at Cordon, the Feria was packing up. Below, one of the air-cooled VWs that provide an inexpensive transport option as many were produced nearby (Brazil?) and imports otherwise face steep tariffs.


Classic Plymouth soft-top, apparently in decent shape, a rare sight here.


We made our way to this freestanding radio tower, marking an approximate center of the city and visible from many directions due to height.


Mega-flag and mega-cross; Aaron tells me there were three when the Pope made his one and only visit.


The promised obelisk: A los constituyentes de 1830. Bystanders included at the base for scale.


Heading back to Pocitos; there's a hospital complex behind the row of trees. Perhaps you'll recall this boulevard from the cab ride.


Petrobras, soon to be leaving the country.


Pole painted in Commie colors; private school in the background.




Church of Christ, Scientist. No sign of Scientologists though.


This time we dined at a Club de la Papa Frita. Determined to get in some beach time, we went home to change and, at least in my case, rest up a bit from the day's mileage.

A waxing gibbous hangs above the Rambla just before dusk.


Hitting the beach, with sunset peeking through the distant showers.

Health hazards are sometimes flagged for the water e.g. due to city runoff after a rain or cyanobacterial blooms, but no problems this time.




We walked the surf for a ways then back. Among topics that came up were DDoS attacks; Aaron reflected on how they had varied depending on time and context, comparing things to a shallow beach where waves can travel far and steeper beach where they break.



180+ saved shots yet only one of the cameraman; I oughta take more initiative about requesting these.


A look at the hotel room prior to rolling out Monday morning.


The balconies were a nice touch, at least on this side that faces street rather than concrete wall.


Kitchenette stocked with plates, glasses and cutlery; works for leftovers if not quite for cooking.


Bathroom with separate bidet, which might be the first time I'd seen this type IRL. (Panama does this hose on the wall thing, cheaper I suppose.)


At center, the World Trade Center tower that once housed a datacenter, the failure of which set in motion the whole chain of events that led me to this spot.



The cab driver tuned to a radio program on which there happened to be some extended chatter about Bitcoin y Blockchain en Uruguay. I didn't make out much but it sounded like someone promoting a conference.







Chilling at the gate, this time with plenty of time to spare. The wait for check-in was reasonable; security was noticeably less obnoxious just for that seemingly small difference of leaving shoes and coats alone.


Eat enough of those Uruguayan portions of mozzarella and you too could transition from underwear model to pear.


Perhaps airplane photos are a cliche but I still enjoy them...




Likely the Hipodromo de Moroñas, from a glance at the map.





Unlike Panama, Uruguay supplied real butter with the airplane dinner. Aaron also tells me that unlike Europe, they produce consistently unadulterated olive oil.

Near Peru, some Andes poking through the clouds.






Approaching Panama.


The decent beaches here are a ways out from the city.



Clockwise from bottom: the causeway islands of Amador; the old town Casco Viejo with bypass on the water, the coastal Avenida Balboa, Punta Paitilla.


Mouth of the canal.


Punta Paitilla and the manmade Punta Pacifica, with recently added islands.


On arrival I had what seemed like at least a kilometer to walk from gate to immigration; the moving walkways along the way were out of service just as they'd been my last several trips. Despite walking briskly and getting in the short line for residents, by the time I got through the bags from my flight had already been unloaded from the belt and stood in a row. I suppose they think this is helpful, or necessary to make room; it does tend to confuse the newbies.

I faced another vague list of things requiring customs declaration, citing all sorts of old and recent laws and decrees, and decided I could argue that my stuff qualified for exemption if need be while declaring might draw additional scrutiny. It probably would have been about the same either way. As I'd mentioned, the servers attracted some curiosity on the X-ray belt, but no further trouble once it was clarified they were my own, not TVs, used, relevant to occupation, or whatever other checksums the agent was looking for.

Congratulations: we've made it to the end. I hope you've enjoyed the tour of the tour; I certainly enjoyed the thing itself and the recounting. Till next time, que les vaya bien!

  1. Hot infusion of Yerba Mate, the local caffeinated drink of choice and apparently something of a ritual involving special gourds and straws, though I didn't get to witness or try. [^]


Uruguay parte 2: llegada y primeras vistas

Filed under: Historia, Politikos, Vita — Jacob Welsh @ 20:12

Continued from Parte 1.

My text having overtaken the start of photography, I'll have to backtrack a bit to Montevideo's Aeropuerto Internactional de Carrasco (MVD) which was looking quite shiny and new. Bag claim (evidently I misremembered: there were three on the international side, though just the one active):


Aduanas (customs). That bienes de ingreso/egreso temporal would seem vague enough to cover just about anything if they felt like it; fortunately they didn't give a second glance (perhaps even first glance) to my scandalous screwdriver and packing materials.


Free at last, but not quite home.


I would have picked up a local SIM but the booth was closed for the night. It turned out my Panama SIM worked on roaming, at least briefly, which it hadn't in the US.


The bit of the world that is me thanks Uruguay for the welcome.


In contrast to Panama, there was no crowd of taxi syndicate reps soliciting eagerly. Instead it's an orderly racket; you go to the taxi counter and arrange a ride with prepayment and receipt. Having been warned the cab would be around US $55, I held out for the $13 shuttle bus, taking the wait time to replace that stolen sunscreen, collect my thoughts and decompress a bit. I found myself tired but alert and relieved.

The only exterior shot I managed of the airport, so it'll have to do:


Some Himpton by Halton thing near the airport with well-lit street:


First shuttle stop was at the Motel Bahamas:


A pleasant nighttime drive down the coast and another one or two stops later and I'd made it to my destination in the relatively nice Pocitos neighborhood.



The buildings here cap out around 10-12 stories due to zoning. Most are mixed-use, with shops at ground level and apartments above. My first impression of the area compared to most of Panama City was of something older (turns out many buildings date to the 1930's if I recall), more stable (as opposed to wreckage and new construction everywhere), cleaner, and far more pedestrian friendly (wide and not entirely treacherous sidewalks). Aaron pointed out that this does not apply to the whole city, with outlying neighborhoods ranging from more typically LatAm to outright favela (though these not walled off as in Brazil).


Right around the block was an ANCAP gas station with rare 24-hour convenience store and deli, which served me for breakfasts, rather dreadful espresso (they couldn't believe I didn't want sugar, which probably says it all), and a printed map so as to navigate free of any "mobile device" nonsense.

First daytime views of the coastal Rambla, supporting vehicle, bike and pedestrian traffic and beach access, as I made my way to meet my host.



Oh yes, the street signs serve advertising; it does seem to help keep them in good shape.


One of the larger mini-parks opposite the beach, near the Avenida Brasil.


Battery scooters for hire.


"Por la vida y la convivencia" : La Policia seem to like their mottos...


There's a lazy tourism option.


I have no idea. It didn't seem animate.


"Orgullosamente blanco" - "proudly white" - referring, I gather, to the party colors of the recently victorious Partido Nacional rather than something racial.


Either Ave. Brasil or Espana, two thoroughfares that converge at the coast.


Corner florists seem to be thriving...


Corner locksmiths not so much.


Heading inland a bit; some gym/yoga place.



Apparently they don't need no education at the Center of Foreign Tongues. Aaron tells me the buildings generally don't get repainted much because maintenance work is taxed the same as new construction.


Perhaps this would have been the spot for a better coffee.



There's minimal piped natural gas infrastructure (as in Panama, though there it's often provided building-wide and refueled by tanker trucks).


Pizzeria Trouville

Another florist, and some of the typical sycamores lining the streets.


To be continued with rare electronics and proper tourism.


Una visita a la Republica Oriental del Uruguay, parte 1

Filed under: Politikos, Vita — Jacob Welsh @ 18:22

Having bought some of the remains of the historic but sadly liquidated Bitcoin firms No Such lAbs and Pizarro ISP, and with expected overseas shipping costs being comparable to a personal courier run, I seized the opportunity for some travel and networking. It's been a success on all three fronts: retrieving the gear, getting a taste of Montevideo, and meeting and spending some quality time with Aaron Rogier aka BingoBoingo, whom I'd previously known mainly as the humorously grandiose voice of Qntra and a thoughtful contributor to IRC discussions; I found him to demonstrate the same insight in person and be quite likable besides. I made it a three-night stay to allow one full day for the hauling and packing and one for tourism.(i)

My biggest mess-up of the trip as I see it was not allowing enough time for my initial departure from the "Hub of the Americas", Panama's recently expanded Tocumen International Airport - for which I'm starting to develop a hearty loathing - or the time to get there, my previous departures here having been either in the wee hours or from locations with better toll road access. I got stuck in the check-in cattle queue for the better part of an hour.(ii) By the time my turn came, I was informed that due to late check-in my bags would be subject to "voluntary separation" and might end up on the next flight. Since apparently I couldn't find out whether they made it until arrival, I worried and contemplated my options on the flight. At security, while not subjected to the gate-side mandatory gropings reserved for the US-bound, there were still US-inspired theatrics like shoe removal and inspecting my carry-on for liquids, confiscating my over-100ml sunscreen. Serves me right for being such a terrorist, huh.

Things went much smoother from there; immigration in Montevideo was a breeze at least for chip-enabled passport holders, there were no kilometers to walk to the airport's one baggage claim, and my bags had made it just fine. Having been warned about the pricey airport taxi service, I elected to wait for a shuttle, which departed once the next flight had dumped enough passengers to form a group. On exiting the airport (around 2am local time) I was welcomed by the delightfully cool, spring-like air: always a nice thing after months in the tropics, though my skin and nose didn't adjust to the dryness too well.

All the travel intel Aaron had given that I had chance to verify proved accurate, and the Punta Trouville hotel he recommended was the perfect fit for my needs: budget but clean, functional, well located and with 24-hour service. Power outlets and money proved easier than anticipated. The hotel had multi-format outlets; it's just as well I came prepared with adapters, as Aaron said those can be flaky, though they worked for me. While there are cambios all over for changing currency with around 4% spread, I never ended up needing one as the airport transit and the merchants I tried were all equipped and even glad to take my specie (well, USD) and give change in pesos Uruguashos; the local currency sees the sort of inflation that gets automatically priced into yearly contracts.

To be continued (and with photos).

  1. Not ideal for really getting to know a place, but I already had a longer holiday coming up and lots to get done before it. [^]
  2. The "web check-in" line turned out to move faster; I can't see any good reason as it doesn't save much time at the counter: you still need to get docs checked, bags weighed and tagged, and any overage paid. The main reason as far as I could tell was simply that they'd allocated more agents there and didn't rebalance until the line was entirely exhausted. [^]


My present understanding of the WoT, part 2

Filed under: Philosophia, Politikos — Jacob Welsh @ 09:00

Continued from part 1

In the envisioned society in which all parties one might want to do business with participate in the WoT, there are many ways to gather deeper information from it beyond merely what is said in the ratings; for instance, how well connected a subject is to the evaluator's own network, relative to how that subject ought to be connected based on his claimed history. Or one might draw completely different conclusions about the subject from what a rater claims, based on knowledge of the rater. To not be present in the WoT at all, once of a sufficient maturity to protect one's key, is to be an un-person, an outcast, perhaps even more so than today's "undocumented" or "stateless" persons.

Even in its present form, many of the benefits of the WoT are already available; it has enabled substantial volumes of online commerce, and indeed it serves as a kind of filter for people who are both sufficiently intelligent and aware to find out about it, and who seek to accept the burdens and reap the rewards of a world of personal responsibility. If the concept works as well as is claimed and participants use it diligently, along with the other elements of economy, then it's not a stretch to imagine WoT-society continuing to grow in wealth and power until it's the only game in town.


My present understanding of the WoT, part 1

Filed under: Philosophia, Politikos — Jacob Welsh @ 23:41

The Web of Trust (WoT) as conceived by Mircea Popescu is a set of concepts and practices for publishing and finding information pertinent to making trust decisions about people, or more generally, finding sources of such information for further exploration. "The WoT" can also refer to the mathematical, technological and human machinery implementing the concept in a given context.(i) Unlike the commonplace wishful-thinking based attempts at "reputation systems", it is understood not to provide mechanical answers to questions such as "is X trustworthy" (even when properly qualified as "for Y purpose"); trust exists in the people rather than in the tools, but the tools provide the structure for making one's own judgements.

The WoT is represented as a graph, with nodes being the public keys of the participants, corresponding to private keys generated by the individuals themselves; exclusive control of a private key is one's sole claim to identity in the WoT world. The edges of the graph represent the trust ratings between individuals, inbound and outbound, and consist of a sign (overall positive or negative trust), a number reflecting the rater's degree of certainty that the assessment will not change, and optional comment.

~ To be continued(ii) ~

  1. Presently: identity provided by the RSA cryptosystem as implemented in GPG, and a ratings database available through deedbot. [^]
  2. The installment style lately was assigned as an exercise in improving my abysmal writing speed by publishing whatever I can get out in one hour, with 300-word minimum target, spreading the pressure across smaller segments rather than allowing it be deferred. [^]


The road to Ossasepia, part 1

Filed under: Ego, Politikos — Jacob Welsh @ 07:55

Where to begin but at the beginning?

lobbes: welcome jfw here as well! lol. diana_coman this is Jacob Welsh (he's commented on a few things on Trilema and my own blog). I pointed him to your castle
jfw: A vast republic of many castles! I think I'll start here because my current quest is blogotronics, which has me digging into a MySQL build and I see diana_coman was wrestling with it in

It reads more like a middle, doesn't it? Though of course any beginning comes as the middle of some larger process. So what meaning lies in the strange words, or behind them? What were their causes, and what was to follow?

The Most Serene Republic in question is a nascent political structure(i) whose values, as far as I've determined, include knowledge, wealth, honest communication, fixing problems at the root, and generally the fostering of elite individuals; it stands in opposition to the dying system of supposed sovereigns built on telling the crowd whatever it wants to hear - meanwhile screwing it as hard as any monarch ever did - often referred to as "Our Democracy".

The Republic operates through a forum consisting of an IRC channel of record where those of sufficient standing converse in real time, and a web of blogs functioning as an ever-growing library. The "castles" are a relatively recent addition, essentially side channels where Lords can converse with whom they please, as the culture of the central channel, #trilema, has grown increasingly rigorous. "Ossasepia", then, is the word adopted by Her Ladyship the Marquess Eulora, Diana Coman, first for her blog and later castle, that being dedicated to growing young hands.

~ To be continued ~

  1. Or "cult" if you prefer, though at the moment it's starting to look more like a kind of learning club. [^]


On Submission, Guiding Perceptions, Vulnerability, Liberty, Socialism and Emacs

Filed under: Ego, Philosophia, Politikos, Software — Jacob Welsh @ 05:14

No, I'm afraid it's not a grand thesis uniting all of the above. Wouldn't that be something, though!

2019-10-10 14:38 UTC

shrysr: Hey there! Wanted to connect and say hi... your website looks cool :)
jfw: Hey, thanks. Some homespun html/css. The content is certainly aging though, I've got my blogging work cut out for me!

jfw: Your struggle is an inspiration. To think, just 3 months ago you had minimal idea about WoT and thought Cloudflare and HTTPS were things...
jfw: I do hope you'll make the time and commitment to keep at it; with diana_coman's guidance I expect you can go far.
jfw: Feel free to ask me questions on -- though surely there are others better qualified, still I've studied and hacked on it a bit.

jfw: For my part, I think I'm still hung up on the 'full submission to master' thing, even as I'm increasingly seeing the value/need - like, I'm necessarily blind to or unable to fix my own stupidities, otherwise I'd have fixed 'em already
jfw: If you have links from the July-September log on the topic, I'd appreciate.

shrysr: glad to hear from you. hmm.. tbh - i think the key is simply reducing friction. Emacs and org mode did that for me some years ago. i've essentially been writing easily 1000+ words a day but publishing almost nothing. even now - tbh - i think publishing intimate details for the wide world to know is a risk... particularly in an age where employers and etc look you up online. It's true to say non-tmsr perception is
shrysr: their problem and the truth is important - absolutely... but the fact is also that unless you are being paid by tmsr - its important to guide the perceptions of the outside world abt you for your own purpose. fwiw : i think if you observe very closely - this is practised by the so called lords themselves in #t. You can diss the non-tmsr world till you choke... but cannot live aloof from it.. nations trade with
shrysr: each other and make compromises every day... its really a dynamic balance imho.

shrysr: re: submission - What I would profer as advice is that...... it is totally worth taking your time and assessing very deeply. I will be honest in stating that I joined #o - to do projects... under guidance. I had no idea abt tmsr/diana etc at all. i.e I kindda went there to submit, without thinking much at all... i'm naive that way and instead put in safe guards in the background to protect maself. It's not
shrysr: efficient... but it helps me.. not become terribly biased and blind. imho ---- the logs provide explicit evidence of both good, bad, inconsistent things from everybody, lord /master /page-boi. Lets say you are blind to your stupidity - how will I (external person) know? --- when you communicate. As you continue to communicate - you'll see it takes time and energy, and beyond this... no amount of words... fully
shrysr: describe anything! it takes even more to find the right words. Lets say you pour out words that dont indicate your stupidity - then I being.. master or whatever crap am still inclined to say something.. being human - i'm not immune to My Own ego, faults and world view.... i gotta guide you ...somehow or what guide am i? But that guidance is based the words that come out from you +++ my understanding of
shrysr: those words. Now it gets murky if I have an underlying.. somewhat hidden motive of 'making you better, but also useful to me/the cause/ w/e', and if I am employed by somebody whose wordz I gotta listen to. .............>>>> what I'm trying to say is that.... guidance is there, but imho - many other things too, and you gotta be..clear abt what You want... and what you Don't want.
shrysr: sorry if i overstepped... it was with the intention to help. You prolly kno a lot more than me abt all this. I'm not bereft of stupidity myself - but I guess the above is not irrational. and they are based on... the logs. I guess i'm just saying that...stupidity set aside, not knowing your goals and needs... and submitting can easily mean you are catering to goals and needs enforced by another who does not truly
shrysr: know you.

shrysr: Re: V >> sure. as of now, i will be coming back to V and etc in christmas... I gotta learn some stuff to bridge the gap in my skills... for next job :) so sure.. will bombard you with questions then, dont worry :)

jfw: hmm, this strikes me as something of a jumble of halfway-developed thoughts; kind of a conversation with yourself rather than an attempt to communicate clearly with me. Not overstepping so much as stepping every which way, if that makes sense. I'd guess it comes from all that practice with writing kilowordz into journal and minimal outside feedback. Or perhaps feedback from people who are more
jfw: concerned about guiding your perception of them than about honesty!

jfw: I don't know that you need to be hard on yourself for not deciding things clearly upfront - what basis would you have had to decide?
jfw: For me and others who already had some clue of what's what, she put it more bluntly, e.g. with the Pageboy's Pledge.

jfw: One problem with trying to hide things about yourself, is that you end up surrounded by people who you need to hide things about yourself around.
jfw: As far as worrying about what employers think, on the one hand, you might be overestimating how much 'outsiders' will actually read. (asciilifeform said something to this effect, I couldn't find it just now.) If they have 'allergic reactions' to some bad words they stumbled on, there's usually a ready counterpoint. E.g., "these people call themselves terrorists!" - well there's a qntra where
jfw: terrorist action by the USG is documented in gorey detail.
jfw: And if they don't see reason... where exactly is the loss in not being allowed to submit to an unreasonable boss?
jfw: And on the other hand, the strategy is to become skilled / valuable enough that they're just not gonna care. Businesses really can't afford not to hire good people, just as you can't live without engaging them.(i)

jfw: As far as catering to goals/needs of others, I tend to believe that diana_coman really does mean "what you need, whether you see it or not". Sure, she's taking on noobs because she needs help in the long run, but the thing about TMSR is that - if you can bring yourself up to be good enough here, odds are you won't want to do anything else, any more than strictly necessary

shrysr: You can be surrounded by anything and still be whatever you wanna be if you know what that is. You can be 200% honest in a public chan while saying its important to choose who you are vulnerable to. Not all external feedback is worth listening to or even relevant. You identify your Own stupidity and while 'guidance' is great - its not an infallible 'god' who is providing the guidance. Re: overestimating - thats
shrysr: strange. How exactly can you predict somebody stumbling onto something or not? Why do people and businesses have to 'market' things, why is one tennet of the defunct pizarro 'social engineering'? It is to Guide perception. You can see evidence of that in the way the ISP negotiation is going on. THe point the matter is - one has to submit to a boss by definition and if you want to have your own way - you
shrysr: manipulate the situation/boss/whatever. Its not just 'technical skill', tis also about navigating the politics of a workplace.

jfw: "important to choose who you are vulnerable to. Not all external feedback is worth listening to" - certainly.
jfw: "How exactly can you predict somebody stumbling onto something or not?" - you cannot, nor what their reaction will be; kinda why "acting towards purposes" is a problem in general, as I understand it. (, which I'm due for a reread)(ii)
jfw: re 'social engineering', you could read about MPOE-PR for the canonical example.
jfw: e.g.

jfw: (mind if I publish the conversation at some point, btw?)
shrysr: nope i consider this convo personal. i liked your website and wanted to talk to you and know your thinking, and fwiw: all of this will anyway come out as long as I am in #o... as i have said - there are good points and bad, and I won't be leaving good things when i find em :)

shrysr: causes and purposes! nice point to bring up my man. the point is simple - if there is nothing for unwanted dicks to read about me - there is nothing to worry about.. there is No purpose. ... i'ma read the strategic superiority thing later - but you seem to not see - social engg by definition is dress up marketing. Ask any company - they will tell you they are being absolutely honest. You can even read abt this in
shrysr: the logs. You can call my thoughts half baked and stepping everywhere... but you can't evaluate anything without stepping everywhere and in fact you will see the same kind of thinking in the logs as well! Those are the 'good points' i was talking about.

jfw: re the first - cool, and perhaps in time we discover merit in the "bad points" too. To be clear, that's a "nope I don't mind" right? (Keeping things private is something of a cost, thus one isn't really entitled to expect it from others without cause; I just figure it's best to be explicit.)
shrysr: what exactly is that cost?
jfw: well for example, IRC is unencrypted, and let's say my client logs to an unencrypted disk. Am I now responsible for properly incinerating the disk before disposal? And what if it's in The Cloud? I gotta run a separate client now? Keep backups in a vault instead of on the desk? And on the other side there's a loss of benefit: it takes me however long it takes me to write here, on topics that will
jfw: surely come up again in some other context. I then have to repeat myself rather than just linking. Some stuff I said here would certainly be of interest to others interested in what I'm thinking - so now I gotta write a separate article to fill them in? And fwiw, I don't see anything "incriminating" that you've said here - as you say, it'll come up eventually
jfw: (and as usual, it's on trilema: )
shrysr: lol. No - i do not mind actually. ima already writing abt it maself anyway. and no therez nothing incriminating at all. and rofl : in case you Have read the logs - i've already admitted to a lotta things.
jfw: cool.

shrysr: btw: if its important to choose who you are vulnerable to - how does a public chan apply ?
shrysr: I can read MPOE-PR and all that - but i would rather observe at exactly whats actually happening.
jfw: It's more a matter of who you listen to & spend time on than who can read about it from the sidelines, I reckon. Like a blog: anyone can read, but only the owner can write.
jfw: And if any random passerby can write - that's a "vulnerability"!

shrysr: who you listen to and spend time on is certainly important. However, i think it is also ignorant to think that that public perception can have no detrimental impact whatsoever, or that it cannot be used against you if somebody wants to.
shrysr: btw the clock app on your site is nice. but org mode + ledger is prolly better :P
shrysr: okz. i better get to bed. ttyl. been wanting to connect since awhile.. nice talking to ya.
jfw: lolz, I don't believe I said "no detrimental impact whatsoever". There's costs and benefits; all I mean is you may be overestimating the costs, or underestimating the benefits, and sure, what the hell would I know. The fact that you need to breathe can be used against you too.
jfw: alright, later, and thanks for the chat.
jfw: I've improved the clock program btw, been stagnating on my todo list to clean up & publish. And yeah, I'm sure emacs is fine, I'm just not into the lifestyle.
jfw: heh, and it occurs to me I'm also arguing with my own reclusive/secretive tendencies here, and will likely have to continue doing so for a while.

shrysr: i'm curious to kno - how long you been following trilema, and whether you read books or w/e outside the logs?
shrysr: n whaddya mean by emacs lifestyle ?
jfw: Been lurking off and on since maybe 2015. In hindsight, I had the notion that I could apply the parts I liked or were convenient to me and ignore the rest -- this dissonance that TMSR was a buncha madmen that just magically happened to be saying smarter things about Bitcoin and computing than anyone else I'd come across. I wouldn't recommend this!
jfw: Not to say you can't take your time and think things through / ask questions.
jfw: Paper books I haven't been reading much these days; in theory I'm working on Don Quijote for learning Spanish, The Black Swan by Taleb, John Hull on options / derivatives, and Peter Drucker on management.(iii) In practice I haven't been putting in much time.

jfw: Emacs - it's a large program with 'ecosystem' of packages, wants you to make a large investment on learning and tweaking to your tastes and then use it for everything, as opposed to 'doing one thing well' 'Unix way'. It really wants to be its own operating system, indeed it was born as a component of Lisp environments as I understand.
jfw: I've used it at various points but it didn't stick, and I find the 'vim' commands more efficient and easier on the fingers once you've learned them.
jfw: I've even tried vim modes for emacs, lol, just not the same though.
jfw: I might be more interested in Emacs if it were based on a good Lisp like Scheme or CL and maintained by sane people rather than fungi. Maybe some day.
jfw: Do you read books?

jfw: Hmm, to be more precise, it wasn't so much that I thought them 'madmen'; more like ideological misalignment. In the early 2010's I became a pretty staunch libertarian, meaning I saw socialism as an evil on the basis that it was predicated on aggression - taking from productive people by force to feed the leeches. TMSR otoh is about elitism; it has no categorical ban on aggression but holds
jfw: socialism as an evil because it's predicated on the tempting but poisonous falsehood that people can be in any way equal.
jfw: I'd gotten stuck halfway out of the "Our Democracy USA #1 Land of the Free" indoctrination -- even to the point of fleeing the Zone -- but its last tendrils have been painful to cut.

shrysr: hmm. yea emacs has its deficiencies, as does any tool i guess. I got into emacs primarily for Org mode. [...] Finger pain some yes.. but it was okay when i switched ctrl <-> capslock and got a large ass thumb trackball mouse.

shrysr: Re: trilema /mad men / convenience: hmm... well in general - I would not discard anything out of inconvenience or because i dont understand, or even something I don't particularly give a shit about without a cursory consideration atleast. I don't view trilema et all as mad men; some initial cultural shock in a few places, which evaporated quickly, but myeah general ideological rigidity,(iv) narcissism,(v) elitism are my
shrysr: thoughts so far. Things I don't understand usually intrigue me. I reckon I tend to chew on 'troubling concepts' for a longggg time before concluding (if I have to conclude at all, which is an important consideration). imo every pov has pros and cons, and so I find it inefficient to conform to any contrived/historical pov/demarcation and rigidly subscribe to any 'ism' unless I reach the point where I see no holes
shrysr: in it (which I think atm is highly unlikely).(vi) I think combining different philosophies (and intelligence) are needed to extract what you want/need from the world and your particular situation. I'd rather be flexible in my evolution while striving to identify and hold on to values that matter (to me, and ones that reasonably dont harm, or preferably help society/environment etc(vii))... and also try to consciously and
shrysr: continuously re-evaluate whether such values.. are not illusions/non-sense (all of which ofc is not easy at all, but still imo the repeated empirical and somewhat painful approach has yielded some results over time). At any rate, I reckon policy making /thinking at the state or nation level cannot be deemed universally applicable at the individual level or atleast it cannot reliably hope to solve unique problems
shrysr: (as each individual is unique, and is dealing with different flavors of constraints in the least - if not quite different problems).

shrysr: Re: books, well I used to be what ppl call a bookworm, and still enjoy reading. Pretty much used to read anything I got my hands on, but curiously, would always forget the title and author even before finishing the book. Thankfully my observation is that the message is not lost and it seems what I manage to absorb meld together somehow churning away in the mess of my brain over time.(viii) [...] hohum one thing i like abt canada are the
shrysr: cool public libraries! but fuck me - i finally found work in a town with no working library lol; hopefully that will change in some months. Black swan I've read bits, and fooled by randomness a little more. Haven't read any finance book properly, though i have on my list intelligent investor by ben graham. Can rem reading - thinking fast and slow, blink, outliers.. finished 'kings of cocaine' nice i
shrysr: rem some names.. but yea - I guess i do read.

jfw: Emacs does have its champions in the forum, e.g. asciilifeform. I gather it benefits from deep study, not assuming the defaults are sane and working to make it your own
shrysr: oh yeah - emacs defaults are lol... the main strength is in the ability to customise. There are starter kits like emacs prelude which cut the learning curve significantly. I settled on the starter kit scimax ... the guy behind scimax is or was a prof at carnegie and quite responsive on github issues.. i enjoy corresponding with him.
shrysr: there are different philosophies really... some say its better to start with vanilla emacs and add customisations. thats actually what i did before choosing scimax... but i think its debatable. plenty you can get done with a starter kit faster.

  1. By "them" I meant outside-world businesses, or "heathens" as would be the term of art. [^]
  2. After the "reread" I'm pretty sure I hadn't in fact read it before. No wonder I was a bit fuzzy; I'd been second-handing it! [^]
  3. He wrote a whole bookshelf on the subject apparently; the one in question is Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. [^]
  4. I don't know that this is a bad thing. Would you fault the man who says "one plus one is two, always and unconditionally" for "mathematical rigidity"? Now, if he clings to a belief even in the face of clear disproof, that'd be stubbornness. [^]
  5. I don't think myself knowledgeable on this topic, but like "arrogance" it seems to hinge on whether the subject really is as great as he makes himself out to be. Which, yes, can be tough to decide if you aren't that great yourself. [^]
  6. Tempting perhaps, but eventually if you want to get anywhere you have to pick your team (and yes, you might pick wrong). [^]
  7. One problem here is that society/environment is not a singular interest: what's good for the fox is bad for the rabbit, except that no foxes at all is bad for the rabbits as a whole when they overgraze and so on. (Wait... do rabbits "graze" ?!) [^]
  8. This would be something to work on, because who wrote something is an important piece of metadata. Because, well, see above re: inequality. And vulnerability. And second-handing. [^]

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