Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Nicaragua 2019

I own a piece of a property in Nicaragua, as I wrote about in this earlier newsletter, and I stayed there from December 4 to December 14th.  I finished reading Jordan Peterson's first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief and it changed me.  I started reading Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist on the plane on the way there.  Coelho's book was a gift from a nearly perfect stranger I met at jury duty in November. I leaned over to peak at the cover of her book and she held it up for me.  I'd heard of it on the Tim Ferriss Show (a podcast to which I subscribe). I'm lucky that I get a lot of books either from or because of smart people I know or listen to.  I haven't gotten to read that much in a very long time, and that's probably why it changed me.

I was already on a path to see value in doubt, and my (non) experience in Nicaragua increased the value I see in it.  I call it a "(non) experience" because I got to do nothing so much.  There were lots of things I did do, including seeing two pigs mate, cutting down fast growing trees so that slower-growing (stronger, and longer lasting) trees can get the sun they need to grow, befriending some dogs who serve as alarms, eating clean and healthy, locally grown food every day that I didn't have to prepare, and sleeping from dusk till dawn, which was about eleven or twelve hours.  And there were fireflies.

Doubt is hope, and which word you use is based on whether you're being optimistic or pessimistic.  At the same time hope is not a strategy, and many people recognize the seeds of destruction in hope. If all you do is hope, failure just becomes more likely.  It's taking action, even when you doubt that you will succeed, that increases the chances of success. An open mind will learn from failure, and learning is a kind of success too. My younger sister Anitra who died of breast cancer almost five years ago, gave me a shirt from a program she worked, "Supercamp," with seven keys to success on it, and one of them was "Failure leads to success."

Today I heard part of Tim Ferriss' interview of Marcela Ot'alora.  He asked her several questions about how one "sits for" someone who takes MDMA or some other psychedelic substance for the purpose of healing. Now that I'm writing this (fulfilling a promise I've been making to everyone who asked me how my trip was), I think a good way to put it is that I went there to "sit for" myself as I allowed it (myself, which I'm objectifying as my body and the experiencing spirit that lives in it) to do whatever it wanted. There are a lot of things for which I take responsibility when I'm home, and I got to let them all go.  I came back and take on these responsibilities and more with more energy and optimism than I had before.  It worked!

I've been making the claim that "I don't get bored."  It's not really true, but I like to make it as true as I can.  Being bored is an extreme luxury if you really think about it. Most creatures usually have something that needs to be done by a certain time, and they will work on doing that thing. If there's enough time, they will lounge around instead, and eventually, the need overtakes them and they get up and do it. I went to Nicaragua because I like lounging around.  I did a lot of it, and I still like it and do a lot of it.  I didn't have enough of an Internet connection to plan my next one, so I'll go work on that now.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

My Internal Family System

One of the practices that can help a person avoid the destructive symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder ("DID") is to integrate their various personalities by having them communicate with each other and work together.  People who have not been diagnosed with any kind of disorder (and even those who have) can also benefit from recognizing and integrating various personalities that they might imagine they hold.  On my walk this morning, I worked on identifying and naming several of my own.  In the hope of inspiring you, I will introduce some of them.

I ask who wants to be introduced first, and it's "Thomas" (from "Doubting Thomas," the apostle who doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead).  I christen my ability to doubt, "Thomas," and you have probably met him if you've read other blog posts of mine.  Okay, who's next?

Theresa, probably because I'm proud of her too.  I chose that name because of the popular conception of "Mother Theresa" as an extremely compassionate person.  This part of me seeks to recognize other people's pain (as well as my own), and offer those suffering from it some understanding. Next?

Phil, who is named after Phil Collins, because of his song "In the Air Tonight," and the "bitterness and frustration" that I sometimes express. He is one of the last personalities I discovered. I figured I had gotten nearly all the "personalities" I can exhibit and asked if anyone was missing.  Phil showed up, just as a name, and then I realized that I hadn't really accounted for feelings I tend to suppress.  Sorry, Phil, I will honor you more in the future.

Greg (short for "Gregarious") seems to be a relatively new personality, perhaps because he was pretty insignificant until I went through The Forum, a training and development seminar from Landmark Worldwide.

David, the little boy who was abandoned.  He's the first personality I met (or invented).  I had been walking around the block considering a recent School Sucks podcast in which I heard about "Internal Family Systems Therapy." I introspected to see if I felt there were any personalities inside myself that might need attention, and a little abandoned boy showed up. I attach this to having to stay at school when my mom dropped me off at Preschool.  I only remember crying because I didn't want her to leave me.

Frank, who is ashamed of my sexuality.  His name comes from Francisco d'Anconia, a character in Atlas Shrugged who was known as a playboy.

Yoda, who is always saying "It's Okay," like my boss at iBus/Phoenix from many years ago, Mien Shih.  Yoda is an excellent Stoic.  He knows that our memories and our cognitive abilities are there to take the worst of situations, once they are in the past, and draw useful conclusions from them to have a better future.  That's why he's always there to alleviate my concerns and slow me down when I'm ready to jump into a situation and stop something that is about to happen. Yoda is the space between stimulus and response for me.

Chuck, or Charlie, from Charlie Brown, because he's the "peanut gallery."  He's funny.

Ed (prospective name, from my Toastmasters club) who likes to talk.  The reason Ed and Greg are two different personalities is that I like active listening.  Allowing someone to express themselves, again because of The Forum, is something I enjoy a lot, and it's Greg's function. Chuck and Ed could be the same, but I do like to have something useful to say when Ed has the floor (not "the light" because I think keeping others in the dark is foolishly dangerous).  Chuck just shows up for one-liners without much respect for anyone else, internal or external.

I made up all these personalities by questioning where a thought came from. What motivated me to do this today was that I was thinking one thing and then lost it to another thought that took over.  I can't remember either thought now, but I figured that those two competing motivations could more effectively work together if I distinguished them and created an intention.  I called a meeting in my head and started asking "people" (men, personalities, whatever) to speak up. This strategy was mentioned in a recent Tim Ferriss podcast as a way to get back to sleep when that was difficult.

There may be personalities that I've left out, as this is not an exhaustive exercise.  If you ever talk to me, and you feel that one of these personalities might be a better interlocutor, please remind me.  You have their names, and you are free to use the same names to name your own internal family members who share these traits.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Jackson Roland (likely not his real name), Scammer

Jackson's number, from the screenshots "Ben" sent me, is +1 281-884-9759, if you would like to offer him some advice.

Jackson: Hello (4:01 AM)
Ben: Hi (4:02 AM)
Jackson: How're you? (4:02 AM)
Ben: Good (4:02 AM)
Ben: What can I do for you?
Jackson: Can we chat for a while? (4:03 AM)
Ben: About what? (4:04 AM)
Jackson: Where are you chatting from? (4:04 AM)
Ben: I'm in the US (4:05 AM)
Jackson: Wow (4:06 AM)
Jackson: Am from northern Texas but I live in Romania (4:07 AM)
Ben: Cool (4:07 AM)
Jackson: Do you know Bitcoin? (4:09 AM)
Ben: Yes (4:09 AM)
Jackson: Am new in bitcoin (4:10 AM)
Ben: Nice (4:10 AM)
Ben: There's a lot to learn (4:10 AM)
Jackson: Yes but I do earn more than a thousand dollar on my wallet within 24hrs (4:12 AM)
Jackson: Have invested in bitcoin before? (4:15 AM)
Ben: No. I haven't (4:15 AM)
Jackson: I have a legit place were you can trade your btc and get back your profit within 24hrs (416 AM)
Ben: Really? How? (4:16 AM)
Jackson: Do you know an investor called Stanley woods he live in Ohio ? (4:18 AM)
Ben: No (4:18 AM)
Jackson: I can give you his private whatsapp line for you to invest and earn like me (4:20 AM)
Ben: I don't use WhatsApp (4:21 AM)
Jackson: Hmm okay I will help you talk to Mr Stanley woods if you are interested to invest? (4:22 AM)
Ben: Yes sure (4:23 AM)
Jackson: Okay so how much do you want to invest in btc (4:23 AM)
Ben: I don't know (4:24 AM)
Ben: How much do people usually invest? (4:24 AM)
Jackson: I depends on the profit (4:25 AM)
Jackson: Like today I invested 200$ (4:25 AM)
Ben: How much will $200 get me in profit? (4:26 AM)
Jackson: As you are a new member your profit will be 500$ (4:28 AM)
Ben: WOW (4:28 AM)
Ben: amazing (4:28 AM)
Ben: What if I invest more? (4:28 AM)
Ben: I have like 0.4 bitcoin (4:29 AM)
Jackson: It depends on the profit you want (4:31 AM)
Jackson: So how do you like to start up with? (4:32 AM)
Ben: I wanna invest 0.4 bitcoin (4:32 AM)
Ben: That's like $4000+ (4:32 AM)
Ben: Where do I sign up? (4:32 AM)
Jackson: Okay wait (4:33 AM)
Ben: Ok (4:34 AM)

Jackson: I have talk to him (4:55 AM)
Ben: Ok (4:55 AM)
Jackson: +14044654298 That's the manager number on telegram (4:58 AM)
Jackson: Massage him directly on telegram now so he can provide all the details you required for investment ok (4:58 AM)
Ben: Ok cool (4:59 AM)
Ben: Why can't you do the investment for me? (4:59 AM)
Ben: Do you work with him? (4:59 AM)
Jackson: Yeah (5:03 AM)
Ben: Ok then. Just let me work with you (5:03 AM)
Jackson: Okay (5:09 AM)
Ben: So how long is the investment before pay out? (5:09 AM)
Jackson: 24hrs (5:11 AM)
Jackson: Btctradmate.com
That's the company website I invested with ok (5:11 AM)
Ben: Ok I'm ready to invest. How do I do this? (5:11 AM)
Jackson: http://Btctradmate.com
Jackson: Create an account (5:12 AM)
Ben: Ok (5:13 AM)
Jackson: Signup and send me your username of your account registration So I can notify the manager for you, since you don't want to make him directly ok (5:14 AM)
Ben: Ok thanks (5:15 AM)
Jackson: Once you are done in sign up the account let me know (5:15 AM)
Ben: Done (5:26 AM)
Ben: Username: real_satoshi (5:27 AM)
Jackson: I will tell the manager to send his company wallet address so you can make your deposit (5:31 AM)
Jackson: Okay (5:31 AM)
Ben: Cool (5:31 AM)
Ben: Can you guys do me a favor first to make sure you guys are legit? (5:31 AM)
Jackson: We are legit we you have seen our website (5:32 AM)
Ben: Ima give you my bitcoin address and send me a small amount 50 cent or $1 (5:32 AM)
Ben: Just to make sure this legit (5:32 AM)
Jackson: We don't joke with our customer investment you can trust on us (5:35 AM)
Jackson: 14cpVR9YL9nKngsVSVByE9sjh5tmB4UoAF (5:35 AM)
Ben: This is my bitcoin address: bc1qv7sdkw9n3327gcd8wy8d3r37ng3ex45g 5s894tf9syppsxthgvvqeum4sa (5:35 AM)
Jackson: That's the company wallet address make your deposit and send me screenshots payment so I can send it to the manager now ok (5:36 AM)
Ben: Just make a small amount transaction so I can be at ease (5:36 AM)
Jackson: I don't get you (5:36 AM)
Ben: Send me 50 cent or $1 transaction to make sure you're legit (5:36 AM)
Ben: I will send back with my investment
Jackson: Okay the company will do so (5:38 AM)
Jackson: Send your wallet address (5:38 AM)
Ben: bc1qv7sdkw9n3327gcd8wy8d3r37ng3ex45g5s894tf9syppsxthgvvqeum4sa (5:39 AM)
Jackson: Okay wait (5:39 AM)
Ben: Ok  (5:39 AM)
Jackson: Just wait you will receive it (5:40 AM)
Ben: Ok  (5:39 AM)
Jackson: Invalid Bitcoin address (5:41 AM)
Jackson: Send your real bitcoin address 5-(42 AM)
Ben: Ok try this (5:43 AM)
Ben: 1DvdeyLJrRux747JKfHSZaDhrMSfouBAdj (5:44 AM)
Jackson: Wait (5:44 AM)
Ben: Ok  (5:44 AM)
Jackson: Sent (5:47 AM)
Ben: Awesome (5:47 AM)
Ben: Haven't got the notification yet (5:47 AM)
Ben: Just got it (5:47 AM)
Ben: Thank you (5:47 AM)
Jackson: Alright (5:48 AM)
Ben: Now go fuck yourself, you filthy scammer (5:48 AM)
Ben: Get a job and stop scamming people (6:01 AM)
Jackson: I am not a scammer (6:06 AM)
Ben: Stop it. Yes you are (6:06 AM)
Ben: And a stupid one too (6:06 AM)
Jackson: I swear I am not (6:06 AM)
Jackson: I Showed you a legit place to trade your btc edited (6:08 AM)
Jackson: Why me. (6:09 AM)

Jackson Roland last seen recently
bio: Life is sweet
username @Jackroland

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bitcoin is a Tool

Technology can be used to help anyone.  It can help criminals, and it can help upstanding people, and it can even help people who want to control everyone.  I recently had a reason to review Larken Rose's "The Tiny Dot," an explanation of which will soon be available on the voluntaryist website, in the newsletter, or both.  The reason I cherish bitcoin despite its ability to help people who want to control everyone is that they are a tiny minority.  As Larken explains, the reason they cause the problems they cause is that the rest of us have not "fixed what's between our ears."

I was one of the first people who started talking about the ability to track bitcoin.  I know this because I described what has been called "taint" before it was used in reference to tracking bitcoin. I'm not talking about that episode from Weeds where the actor who looks like Harry Connick Jr. explains what "taint" is.  That's a different kind of taint.

In a post on bitcointalk.org, I mentioned that the bitcoin stolen from a useful enterprise necessarily goes to an address (or a script) that can be watched on the publicly available bitcoin blockchain.  If bitcoin wallet software allowed it, the user could enter that new address or script into the software and if he ever got any of the bitcoin that was stolen, the software could tell him, and also tell him how many transactions happened between the heist and his receipt of stolen bitcoin.

It was amazing to me how many people resisted and challenged what I had pointed out.  No one said it was impossible, but rather they suggested it was "bad or wrong" because it would make bitcoin less fungible.  A few months later, blockchain.info provided a "taint analysis" tool that did exactly what I had described.  That tool is now gone, and I haven't found a good replacement for it.  It is the kind of thing that Chainalysis does.  If you know of a (free) replacement, please let me know.  I assume such a service would not be free because it takes some computing resources to do "taint analysis."  However, if the software were open source and you could run it on your own equipment, then you'd be paying that computing price.

Bitcoin is less fungible.  Companies like Chainalysis exist and can (sometimes!) track down bitcoin users, and this causes some bitcoin to be less useful than other bitcoin (the essence of fungibility).  If I remember correctly, some exchange or service accepted a BTC deposit and then would not let the depositor access the BTC, and offered the reason "Came from an illegal service."  It is a fact that what I described was possible, and it is being used, but it is not being used effectively to stop scammers.

Scammers are all over every website that allows peer to peer trading of bitcoin.  They are most likely all over other sites that don't do bitcoin, but which do other cryptocurrencies which also can be tracked.  I view this as a failure of the public to cooperate (which, I understand, is very common), but I'm part of that public, and so are you.  For that reason, I create a group in Telegram called "Imposter and Scammer Reporting."  You have to have some funds (at least 25 Satoshis, or about a quarter of a penny) to get in, but I can provide that for you.  Just ask me (@dscotese on Telegram).

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Gibberish and Mind Control

Have you heard someone making sounds that didn't carry any meaning? By speaking words, we control the minds of those who are fluent in the language and can hear us. Speech is a form of mind control. Please be careful how you use it. 

Writing is also a form of mind control that can be used on those who are literate. Please be careful when you write.

Because you are literate in English, I'm responsible for a lot of what is in your mind right now, but there's plenty that is completely out of my hands. We currently share an important responsibility, the contents of your mind. If it disturbs you, don't forget that you can stop reading, or that your actions are entirely under your control.

Even if someone holds a gun to your head and demands a certain behavior, you still have the power to refuse, or even just lie about your intention to fulfill the demand.  The beautiful thing about our language-based susceptibility to mind control is that there is a space between the stimulus and the response, and in that space, we have the freedom to chart our own course and follow it. Become adept at processing input before acting on it. Look before you leap, because mind control is everywhere! 

Monday, September 2, 2019

User Manual for lntxbot

lntxbot is a Telegram ("TG") bot which provides a custodial wallet to Telegram users.  The custodian is Telegram user fiatjaf, but anyone else can fork the code from his repository and clone the bot, and get help on their efforts in the development channel.

Commands are issued to telegram bots, both in a chat with the bot and in any group of which the bot is a member, using a forward slash. For example, in a group that contains @lntxbot, or in your direct messages with it, /help produces the text below, but without the hyperlinks.  If there are other bots in the same group, the command itself must be suffixed with "@lntxbot" (for example, /tip@lntxbot) so that TG directs it to the correct bot.
  /receive(lnurl <lnurl> | (<satoshis> | any) [<description>...] [--preimage=<preimage>])
  /invoice(lnurl <lnurl> | (<satoshis> | any) [<description>...] [--preimage=<preimage>])
  /fund(lnurl <lnurl> | (<satoshis> | any) [<description>...] [--preimage=<preimage>])
  /pay(lnurl [<satoshis>] | [now] [<invoice>])
  /decode(lnurl [<satoshis>] | [now] [<invoice>])
  /paynow(lnurl [<satoshis>] | [now] [<invoice>])
  /withdraw(lnurl [<satoshis>] | [now] [<invoice>])
  /send[anonymously] <satoshis> [<receiver>...] [--anonymous]
  /tip[anonymously] <satoshis> [<receiver>...] [--anonymous]
  /sendanonymously[anonymously] <satoshis> [<receiver>...] [--anonymous]
  /transactions[--in] [--out]
  /coinflip<satoshis> [<num_participants>]
  /lottery<satoshis> [<num_participants>]
  /giveflip<satoshis> [<num_participants>]
  /fundraise<satoshis> <num_participants> <receiver>...
  /crowdfund<satoshis> <num_participants> <receiver>...
  /hide<satoshis> [<message>...] [--revealers=<num_revealers>] [--crowdfund=<num_participants>] [--public] [--private]
  /microbet[list | bets | balance | withdraw | bet]
  /bitflash(orders | status | rate | <satoshis> <address>)
  /satellite(transmissions | <satoshis> [<message>...])
  /qiwi(list | <amount> (sat | rub) [to <target>] | default [<target>])
  /yandex(list | <amount> (sat | rub) [to <target>] | default [<target>])
  /gifts(list | [<satoshis>])
  /paywall[list | <url> <satoshis> <memo>... | balance | withdraw]
  /poker[deposit <satoshis> | balance | withdraw | status | url | play | (available|watch|wait) <minutes>]
  /sats4ads (on [<msat_per_character>] | off | rates | broadcast <spend_satoshis> [<message>...] [--max-rate=<maxrate>] [--skip=<offset>])
  /toggle(ticket [<price>] | spammy | language [<lang>])
For more information on each command type /help<command>.

Conventions used in this manual:
Bold: Something for you to type into Telegram will be in bold.  For example, /start tutorial, below, is followed by an explanation of what it does if you type it into a place where the bot will process it.
Italics: I will use italics only for emphasis.
<Angle brackets>: The name of an argument in <angle brackets> indicates that it can be any value, as long as that value is the right kind of value.  For example, <satoshis> can be any integer, and <lnurl> can be any lnurl.  If it's part of something you can type into Telegram to make the bot do something, it will also be in bold, as explained above.
[Square brackets]: stuff in square brackets is optional.

Commands to the bot can contain underscores instead of spaces to separate arguments.  This allows users to create full commands that can simply be clicked to execute them (becase TG interprets the forward slash as the beginning of a link to a command).

/start will create your wallet.  There's no harm in sending the command multiple times.
/start tutorial will provide you with a lot of information that is not repeated here in this manual. The manual may refer to information from the tutorial, so it's recommended that you go through the tutorial now.
/tutorial is equivalent to /start, and still requires "tutorial" afterwards, as in /tutorial tutorial.

Commands for Sending and Receiving
/receive, /invoice, and /fund are all equivalent.  This command, followed by one of the three argument patterns shown below, is how you can collect payments.
/receive lnurl <lnurl> will generate a BOLT11 invoice using the data available through the lnurl you provide. Amounts will be added to your @lntxbot balance. 
/receive <satoshis> [<description>] [--preimage=<preimage>] will create an invoice for the number of satoshis you indicated.  You can tell lntxbot what to use as the preimage.
/receive any [<description>] [--preimage=<preimage>] will create an invoice without any amount, allowing whoever pays it to choose what to pay.

/pay, /decode, and /withdraw are equivalent.  This command, when sent as a reply to another message containing an invoice (for example, in a group), asks privately if you want to pay the invoice, through your chat with @lntxbot.  It also lists the value of the invoice, the Node ID of the receiving node, and the hash of the secret, or "preimage," used to route the payment.   If it isn't a reply, then it must be followed by one of the two following argument patterns, and in the second case, the private request to confirm that you want to pay can be skipped by adding now before the <invoice>:
/pay lnurl <satoshis>
/pay <invoice>
/paynow is a way to skip the private request without using "now". At the time of writing, /paynow lnurl <lnurl> returned a larger lnurl instead of simply paying the lnurl'ed amount.

/send and /tip are equivalent.  This command, when sent as a reply to another message, will send a payment to the author of that other message only if no other user is specified as the receiver.  The receiver will be notified of the payment if they have never talked to the bot, or they have but subsequently blocked it.  That notification will identify the sender unless one of the three following methods is used to send (or tip) anonymously:
  1. anonymously appears after the command, and before the amount.
  2. --anonymous appears at the end of the command arguments.
  3. The command used is sendanonymously.
/lottery and /coinflip are equivalent.  This command starts a fair lottery with the given number of participants.
/coinflip <satoshis> [<num_participants>] will create a message that allows num_paticipants (or two, if that argument is not specified) to participate, but you will be one of them, so /coinflip <satoshis> 3 is what you need to have two more people participate. Once the specified number of people have joined (and paid <satoshis>), the bot will choose one of them at random to collect all those payments.

Commands for Examining Your Wallet
/balance will cause the bot to send you a direct message which displays four amounts of satoshis:
  1. Your current balance.
  2. The total amount you have received.
  3. The total amount you have sent.
  4. The total amount of fees you have paid to route lightning payments.
/transactions will cause the bot to send you a direct message that lists the last 25 transactions with the oldest first.  This list has pagination controls so that you can see your full history, but only 25 transactions at a time.  You can filter this list to contain only receipts or only sends by adding --in or --out after the command.

Commands for Group Activity
In the following commands, chat participants are invited to act together.  It is not possible to accept an invitation twice.  For example, if there should be three participants in a "giveflip," you can be only one of them. Clicking the button to join something in which you're already participating will generate an error message.

/giveaway <satoshis> will create a message in your chat with two buttons.  One of them allows you to cancel the giveaway.  The other can be used by anyone to claim the amount you specified.

/giveflip <satoshis> [<num_participants>] is just like coinflip with two important differences:
  1. There is no entry fee.
  2. You can't participate, but you pay the winner the amount you specified.
/fundraise and /crowdfund are equivalent.  This command invites others to contribute to a fund that, if enough people participate, will collect funds for a specific user.
/crowdfund <satoshis> <num_participants> <receiver> [<message>] places a message in the chat with a "contribute" button.  By issuing this command, you become the first contributor.  It is not possible to cancel this message. <receiver> must start with the @symbol, although TG  may remove it if it refers to a user using their name instead of their username (for example, for users that don't have usernames).

/hide creates an opportunity for you to get paid for providing some content. You may hide the whole message, or prefix the part to hide with a prompt that will be displayed to everyone and then a tilde (~) to indicate where  the hidden part starts. You can reveal the hidden part to everyone or just to those who paid.  You can require that any number of people pay before everyone sees the content, or restrict the content to the first people who pay.
/hide <satoshis> ["<prompt>" ~] "<secret>" will provide you with a message ID for your hidden message.  Below it will be a button you can use to share your hidden content in any other chat where each user can pay to see it or a subset of users can pay so everyone can see it.  Be sure not to use double-quotes inside the secret or the prompt, and to surround each of them with the double quotes.  You can limit the number of users who have to pay, or limit the number who get to see it.  Here are the optional arguments and how they work:
--revealers=<num_revealers> will only allow this number of people to see the secret.
--crowdfund=<num_participants> will show the secret to the whole group once this many people pay.
--private will allow any number of people to pay to see the secret privately in their chat with the bot.
--public will allow everyone to see the secret once one person pays the price.
--public and --private will both be ignored if one of the other two arguments are used.
Your hidden message will remain in the bot's database for 72 hours.

/reveal <hidden_message_id> will provide you with a (perhaps customized) prompt to pay to see hiden content.  If you are the user who hid the message, you won't actually pay.  When you click the button from /hide to share your hidden content in a group, it executes the /reveal command in the group, giving everyone there the opportunity to pay for your content.

/sats4ads creates a marketplace for advertisements.  To get paid to receive ads in your chat with the bot, use the "on" command.
/sats4ads on <millisats> tells the bot to send you ads and pay you the indicated rate per character.  Pictures and videos in ads count as 300 characters.  If you demand a high price, you will see fewer ads and may earn less.
/sats4ads broadcast <satoshis> will send ads to lntxbot users who have turned on the feature, starting with those who demand the smallest fees, and spending the indicated number of satoshis until it runs out of subscribers or funds. To send an ad to others who have subscribed to ads, use this command as a reply to the message you want to use as the ad.  The bit will respond with the number of sats you spent and the number of advertisees your message reached. The broadcast command has two optional arguments:
--max-rate=<satoshis> will prevent the bot from sending your ad to people who have demanded enough millisats per character to make your transmission to them cost more than this amount.  Note that every ad sent costs the broadcaster one additional satoshi beyone wht they pay to the advertisee.
--skip=<offset> will skip the indicated number of advertisees.  If you used too small a budget and reached fewer people than you wanted, you can broadcast again and skip that many people. Note that if any advertisees who have not seen your ad set their rate low enough to be one of the first offset advertisees, they will be skipped, and possibly someone who has a higher fee and already saw your ad will see it again.  Fret not! Repetition is crucial in advertising.
/sats4ads off will prevent you from receiving any more ads in your chat with the bot.
/sats4ads rates will respond with a list of each rate (millisatoshis per character) that users have chosen to use and the number of users demanding that rate.

Commands Integrating other Apps
The following list of application names are integrated with lntxbot to some degree.  It's currently beyond the scope of this manual to describe their use, but an understanding of the apps themselves (URLs provided below) ought to make their use clear.  The author requests that you let him know if there are potential misunderstandings about how these integrations should work that he can address by updating this post.
/apps is a command that will provide a list of the apps that are integrated into lntxbot.

/microbet is a simple service that allows people to bet against each other on sports games results. The bet price is fixed and the odds are calculated considering the amount of back versus lay bets. There's a 1% fee on all withdraws.
/microbet_bet displays all open bet markets so you can yours.
/microbet_bets shows your bet history.
/microbet_balance displays your balance.
/microbet_withdraw withdraws all your balance.

Bitflash is a service that does cheap onchain transactions from Lightning payments. It does it cheaply because it aggregates many Lightning transactions and then dispatches them to the chain after a certain threshold is reached.
/bitflash_100000_3NRnMC5gVug7Mb4R3QHtKUcp27MAKAPbbJ buys an onchain transaction to the given address using bitflash.club's shared fee feature. Will ask for confirmation.
/bitflash_orders lists your previous transactions.

/satellite connects lntxbot to the Blockstream Satellite which is a service that broadcasts Bitcoin blocks and other transmissions to the entire planet. You can transmit any message you want and pay with some satoshis:
/satellite 13 'hello from the satellite! vote trump!' queues that transmission to the satellite with a bid of 13 satoshis.  The following commands can be used as the first argument to /satellite:
/satellite transmissions lists your transmissions.

GoLightning.club is the cheapest way to get your on-chain funds to Lightning, at just 99 satoshi per order. First you specify how much you want to receive, then you send money plus fees to the provided BTC address. Done.
/fundbtc_1000000 creates an order to transfer 0.01000000 BTC from an on-chain address to your bot balance.

/qiwi (list | <amount> (sat | rub) [to <target>] | default [<target>])
Transfer your satoshis to your Qiwi account instantly. Powered by @lntorubbot.
/qiwi 50 rub to 777777777 sends the equivalent of 50 rubles to 77777777.
/qiwi default 999999999 sets 999999999 as your default account.
/qiwi 10000 sat sends 10000 sat as rubles to your default account.
/qiwi_default shows your default account.
/qiwi_list shows your past transactions. 

/yandex (list | <amount> (sat | rub) [to <target>] | default [<target>])
Transfer your satoshis to your Yandex.Money account instantly. Powered by @lntorubbot.
/yandex 50 rub to 777777777 sends the equivalent of 50 rubles to 77777777.
/yandex default 999999999 sets 999999999 as your default account.
/yandex 10000 sat sends 10000 sat as rubles to your default account.
/yandex_default shows your default account.
/yandex_list shows your past transactions.

Lightning Gifts is the best way to send satoshis as gifts to people. A simple service, a simple URL, no vendor lock-in and no fees.
By generating your gifts on @lntxbot you can keep track of the ones that were redeemed and the ones that weren't.
/gifts lists the gifts you've created.
/gifts_1000 creates a gift voucher of 1000 satoshis.

paywall.link is a Paywall Generator. It allows you to sell digital goods (files, articles, music, videos, any form of content that can be published on the open web) by simply wrapping their URLs in a paywall.
By generating your paywalls on @lntxbot you can keep track of them all without leaving Telegram and get information on how much of each you've sold.
/paywall will list all your paywalls.
/paywall https://mysite.com/secret-content 230 'access my secret content' will create a paywall for a secret content with a price of 230 satoshis.
/paywall_balance will show your paywall.link balance and ask you if you want to withdraw it.
/paywall_withdraw will just withdraw all your paywall.link balance to your @lntxbot balance.

Lightning Poker is the first and simplest multiplayer live No-Limit Texas Hold'em Poker game played directly with satoshis. Just join a table and start staking sats.
By playing from an account tied to your @lntxbot balance you can just sit on a table and your poker balance will be automatically refilled from your @lntxbot account, with minimal friction.
/poker_deposit_10000 puts 10000 satoshis in your poker bag.
/poker_balance shows how much you have there.
/poker_withdraw brings all the money back to the bot balance.
/poker_status tells you how active are the poker tables right now.
/poker_url displays your secret game URL which you can open from any browser and gives access to your bot balance.
/poker_play displays the game widget.
/poker_watch_120 will put you in a subscribed state on the game for 120 minutes (2 hours) and notify other subscribed people you are waiting to play. You'll be notified whenever there were people playing. If you join a game you'll be unsubscribed.
Inline query: This command can also be called as an inline query from group or personal chats where the bot isn't added. The syntax is similar, but simplified: @lntxbot poker then wait for a "search result" to appear.

/lndhub and /bluewallet are equivalent. This command duplicates your bot wallet into the Bluewallet app
/bluewallet prints a string like "lndhub://<login>:<password>@<url>" which must be copied and pasted on BlueWallet's import screen for importing your bot wallet on BlueWallet. After that, you can use the same account from both places interchangeably.
/bluewallet_refresh erases your previous password and prints a new string. You'll have to reimport the credentials on BlueWallet after this step. Only do it if your previous credentials were compromised.

/toggle Toggles bot features in groups on/off. In supergroups it can only be run by admins.
/toggle_ticket_10 starts charging a fee for all new entrants. Useful as an antispam measure. The money goes to the group owner.
/toggle_ticket stops charging new entrants a fee.
/toggle_spammy toggles 'spammy' mode. 'spammy' mode is off by default. When turned on, tip notifications will be sent in the group instead of only privately.

/help [<command>] will provide a help message if there is a command with the specified name.

/stop will stop the bot from sending you messages.To allow it to send you messages again, use /start.

Thanks for reading!  If you'd like to tip me for this manual, /tip@lntxbot [You Choose] @dscotese in Telegram.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Chapter Seven: Kimberlee

Dr. Sloane and I sat there for about a minute in silence.  I had always had a strong desire for proof and now I could see that I was expecting that desire to be in everyone else.  I was waiting for her to say something else, remembering that she was supposed to interview Kim and me together soon.  Finally I realized that her patience and silence and receptivity were a demand that I respond somehow to the fact that we all take it on faith that everyone else also has experience, that we are all experiencing.

"Is she here?" I finally had the courage to ask.  I see now that it took courage, and as I write this, I wonder why it took courage.  What did I fear?

"She is.  I'm finished interviewing you alone, but if you have any questions before she comes in, now is the time to ask them."

There was another very long pause during which I slowly realized that it was my turn again.  For a few more seconds after realizing that, I enjoyed it.  She was waiting patiently for me in case I had questions.  I couldn't think of any, and I really wanted to see Kim, so I said, "I can't think of any, and I really want to see her."

Dr. Sloane nodded and smiled and concentrated on her phone for a few seconds.  "She'll be here in a minute or so."

She looked at me as if to study my state of mind, and I looked at her the same way.  I think she was the first one to look directly at my eyes, or we did it at the same time, but I was overcome with some kind of connection.  We both smiled and I looked away.

"Thank you," I said, near a whisper.

Kimberlee had come in the front door and was there when I looked up, looking at me the same way Dr. Sloane had.  I stood up to hug her, and she received me warmly and held me long enough that I felt we might be using Dr. Sloane's time inappropriately, but I didn't stop holding her.  Then I felt her kiss my neck and tilt her head back to kiss my cheek and then my lips.

I wasn't ready for the kind of intimacy where I'd kiss her back, especially in front of Dr. Sloane, but I understood it as a very good sign and it made me really happy.

We sat next to each other facing Dr. Sloane and turned toward each other.  We both started speaking at the same time, her saying "How are you doing?" and me saying "What have you been up to?"  She smiled to let me go first.

"I missed you.  I feel weird because, ... I guess because this," I said, curling my hands to point all my fingers at my head and body and sweep down it, "isn't really me.  I think I'm okay though."  I looked at Dr. Sloane for confirmation and she nodded.

Kim said "I was talking to Rod.  He said you were worried that I might think you're just a machine."

"Yeah." I looked at Dr. Sloane for help, and Kim then looked at her too.

"Kimberlee, will you share what you told me was your primary concern?" She asked.

"I said that if he's really here- Okay, wherever he is, I want him to be happy."

"Right," said Dr. Sloane, "and you also said you hoped that- ...?"

"I hope that's really you," she said to me, quietly.  We gazed at each other and then Kim looked at the psychologist, who said "... because ...?"

Kim took a deep breath and blew it out and said, "Because I miss you and you help me so much and... you hold me up."

We sat in silence for a few minutes after I rested my head on her shoulder and held her hand.

I said, "Thanks, babe.  I remember the first time you said that.  And... umm... I'm sorry for my shitty driving skills.  I'll be more careful from now on."  I giggled a little at the end of saying that.

"It's not funny," she said, but Dr. Sloane was visibly stifling her amusement.  Then Kim said, "Okay it's a little funny, but I'll kill you if you do it again.  Kill yourself in a car accident, I mean."

"Yeah," said Dr. Sloane, "I think you two are fine.  Do you have any more questions?"  Neither of us said anything, and she just got up and left.

Chapter Six
Chapter Eight

Respect Your Body's Intelligence

Drawful is a party game I've been playing with my family for a couple months. I was tasked with drawing "shaved bears."  We only get to use two predetermined colors. I drew the outline of a teddy bear but the legs were kind of messy.  I drew some "fur" on the ground next to the bear, same color as the outline. I drew a T at a diagonal (looks like a razor) above the bear.  I drew a can with some shaving cream next to it.  How do I make it look like the bear is shaved?  I couldn't figure it out, so I decided to fix the legs.  I colored over the messed up part, filling in about half the (very short) leg.  I did the same thing to the other leg.

When my drawing came up, many players recognized the bear.  Some recognized the razor.  When they had all finally guessed what it was, I realized that filling in the legs was the answer to the question I couldn't answer.  It made the rest of the bear look shaved.  I believe this was my subconscious at work.  The solution that my brain came up with did not make it into my consciousness, but "fixing the legs" did.  The fact that I didn't realize I had found the answer until later in the game fascinates me.  Sure, it could have been dumb luck, but that theory would only present itself to someone who wants to deny the existence of the subconscious, the processing power to which our awareness doesn't have access.

I've been working on a book the beginning of which is Chapter One: Waking Up. The book is a kind of diary for me, rendering my life into story along with my search to be known better by the people who love me.  Chapter Seven is about the main character (my) wife, and I was stuck on how to write it because I wanted her input.  A friend emailed me asking about my progress and I wrote back that I was stuck on chapter seven, but while writing the email, I thought that maybe if I looked again, I'd be able to continue writing.  When I looked, chapter seven was already there.  I had forgotten that I wrote it.  I assume that having forgotten about it made me act a certain way until that moment.  I had already figured out how to write it, and I don't know why I still felt stuck.  Again, I think forgetting that I wrote it was a function of my subconscious, trying to help me with ... something - and I don't know what it is.

I'm in several Telegram groups and in one of them, someone posed a problem and asked for help.  The simple answer I provided was: Meditate.  Since I've developed the habit of taking my own advice whenever I give it, this made me chuckle.  I meditate every morning, but when I sent that message, it was the afternoon and I hadn't meditated yet.  It was a slow day, I guess.  More and more, I notice subtle benefits of meditation.  Meditating is something to which I don't mind being addicted.  Now I'm curious what are the symptoms of too much meditation?

As I try to understand myself better, I wonder about how that mind-body connection can be so elusive. Maybe it's not elusive at all, but we just take it for granted. It shows up starkly for me sometimes, and maybe what's different is that I have the humility to recognize that something my body did was not my intention. Sometimes we actually disagree, me and my body.

I noticed my motivation to do sit-ups, squats and pushups disappeared for a few days and then came back. I had done the extra exercise anyway, but it was getting more difficult each day to find the motivation.  I traced it to my use of a mat between me and the floor. The hard floor doesn't bother me, but I guess it bothered my body enough that it sapped my motivation away.   Since I started using a mat again, I find the extra exercise a lot more enjoyable.

My hope for this post is that by making you more aware of the processing power inherent in your body, power of which you might not be aware, you'll appreciate and accept yourself more, and respect the intelligence that your body exhibits in those moments when you discover it doing something you didn't intend to do.  Evolution has been chipping away at the singular goal of creating things that reproduce themselves. Apparently, intelligence is very helpful, and there is no reason to doubt that some of that intelligence is built into the structure and not available to the awareness of the being that inhabits the structure.  Not available, that is, until you look for it, and possibly not until you learn to appreciate it.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Handling the Pretense to Authority

I have a speech about the pretense to authority.  In the speech, I refer to the following resources which I list here for those who would like to explore the issues I raised more deeply.
  1. Johann Hari's "Chasing the Scream"
  2. Michael Huemer's "The Problem of Political Authority"
  3. Stanley Milgram's Experiment on Obedience
  4. Larken Rose's "The Most Dangerous Superstition"
  5. Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment
A video of my speech may be available, but in case it isn't, I provide what follows.  Please note that I don't speak the way I write. It would be more accurate to say that I try to write the way I speak, but my speaking skills are far less polished than the prose you're reading.  Watching me speak will help you get to know me.  Reading this will help you understand me.

First we need an idea of what genuine authority is.  There are two basic meanings for the word, one being about expertise and the ability to, for example, "author" a book. The other meaning is the right to coerce someone into doing or cease doing something.  My view is that this second meaning has unfortunately grown while the first meaning has given way to it.

Michael Huemer calls that second kind "Political Authority" and refers to it (as I do) as a problem.  In fact, the view of authority as the right to coerce seems to be a perversion.  If someone is an expert, then it's sensible to do things the way they say to do them so you can benefit from their expertise.  If you choose to try some other way, does it make any sense for the expert to punish you?  The modern meaning of "authority" says, "yes, of course you should be punished for defying the authority."  This is a prescription for halting all progress.  It's a mistake, and it is the pretense to authority.

Harry Anslinger is an example of someone who abused our conception of authority.  In 1930, he became the commissioner of the U.S. federal department of narcotics. According to Johann Hari, Anslinger worried that his sub-department of the Treasury would not have enough power or longevity.  His department was responsible for preventing and punishing crimes related mostly to cocaine and heroin, and that just wasn't enough, so he decided to add cannabis.  Hari, the author, (actually the journalist who wrote the article about his book) said that Anslinger was already on record using the word "absurd" to describe the idea that cannabis was dangerous.

Anslinger contacted thirty scientists to ask if cannabis was dangerous and twenty-nine said it wasn't. He publicized what the 30th scientist had said, and so we got laws against cannabis and waged the "war on drugs."  I think that blowing up the words of one out of thirty scientists when they are the opposite of the other 29 is a pretense to authority.  What did we do about it?  Anslinger was commissioner for 32 years, and then the U.S. narcotics representative to the UN.  We did nothing about it.  Instead, we rewarded him

Pharaoh says "I am God." The king claims a divine right to rule his subjects.  Nowadays, elected officials claim that they have a mandate from the people to rule their subjects. I say, "I rule me, and you rule you."  If your conscience doesn't stop you, then it's my responsibility to exercise some self-defense.  Who is the authority?  If you tell someone that the law says X but your conscience says no, what will they say?  "Well, you gotta do the right thing, right?"  We all know what the right thing is.  The authority is the self.

Larken Rose drives the point home with his book, pointing out how dangerous the belief in authority is.  He mentions the Stanford Prison Experiment, Milgram's experiment on obedience to authority, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward", and the Nazis. Authority is necessarily a pretense if it uses coercion.  Auto, or Auth, refers to the self.  The "author" of a book is the one who created the words in it.  "He wrote the book." It makes sense to seek the advice of an expert, but it also makes sense to respect those who try stuff other than what the expert prescribes.

Dr. Martin Luther King ran with the words of Henry David Thoreau in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.  He wrote that there are just laws and unjust laws and "one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."  How we tell the difference is with our consciences. Take responsibility for developing your conscience, and I'll trust you to obey it, but don't forget that I encourage everyone to learn self defense too.  Don't fall for the pretense to authority.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Underdose and Overdose

For decades, I've been fascinated with the idea that every substance has an ideal dosage for each of us. It may be true that a single molecule of some substance will kill me, but I doubt it. 

My body makes platelets, just like everyone's does, but mine makes more than average. A higher platelet count is associated with an increase of risk for strokes. A lower platelet count is associated with increased risk for other problems. Except risk is not a symptom, it's a statistic. I think there is great wisdom in not fixing something unless it's broken. A higher platelet count has some symptoms, and I watch for them.  The medical industry recommends that I take a mild poison (Hydroxyurea) in order to suppress activity in my bone marrow where platelets are made.  The recommendation is a prophylactic against me having a stroke.  One side effect of this medicine is the possibility that the person taking it will develop leukemia.  By suppressing bone marrow activity, it also diminishes the power of the immune system.

Platelets are the main ingredient in the human body's recipe for healing.  I heal faster than average because my body makes more platelets.  I do like that, but I don't want to have a stroke.  There is both "too many" and "too few" and I try to stay between them.

Everything has side effects.  "Too much of a good thing" is certainly possible, although we wouldn't call it a good thing if we got too much of it. Looking for the negative side effects in a good thing makes for pessimism.  I'm an optimist, but I also recognize that, for everything (not just substances), there is both "too much" and "too little."  "Too much" optimism, for example, suggests to me ignoring the negative effects of something, whether it's considered "good" or "bad." There's always a sweet spot, and for me, finding that sweet spot is part of the fun in this game of life.

If you'd like to practice my "underdose / overdose" analysis, re-read the previous paragraph but translate for "Too much of a bad thing," and use pessimism as the "bad thing."  It reminds me of a quote displayed at voluntaryist.com.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Three Levels of Science

Level 1: Honest, common, and simple.
We all start out this way.  The thought that goes along with it is "I'm not a scientist, but I can figure stuff out."  We start figuring stuff out as soon as we are sentient.  We do pattern matching because we have wills and desires and quickly identify intentions that lead us to their fulfillment. We see people walk and we want to do that, so we work on being taller. We hold on to things so we can get on our feet.  We fall down.  We learn.  We put things in our mouths to find out what they are like and whether or not we want to eat them.  The truth is, we are little scientists until something comes along to suppress curiosity.

It's almost automatic that babies and children do seemingly random things (play) and observe the results in order to figure things out.  We don't realize that's what we're doing, but we most certainly do it, and we do figure things out.

Level 2: Research, Test, and discovery knowledge.
"Scientific fact" is composed of theories that haven't yet been disproved. To be honest, which I'll get to in a few paragraphs, we ought to admit that these so-called "facts" are working assumptions. This second level of science is filled with dishonesty.  When we research, we pretend that the inductive (statistics-based) reasoning upon which all scientific "fact" is based, is actually deductive reasoning.  We pretend that the axioms that form the foundation of a good scientific theory are the truth.  We interpret the research and believe the researchers when they claim that their experiments prove that a theory is true.  It's a mistake.

Experiments are successful when they demonstrate that a hypothesis is false.  Science is the process of elimination and creation.  Create a hypothesis and then work to prove it wrong.  If it's a good hypothesis, it will be difficult or impossible to prove wrong.  The difference between difficult and impossible is that a hypothesis that happens to be correct is impossible to prove wrong.  How slightly do you imagine such a hypothesis would need to be changed so that it's no longer correct?  That slight difference, which we can't see because we aren't God, is the difference between impossible and difficult.  Maybe we are God, but somehow, we decided not to have access to the kind of knowing that Level two scientists pretend to have.

Level 3: We Don't Know, but we have Working Assumptions.
The working assumption aspect of science is fully appreciated and therefore honesty returns here in level three. We use our working assumptions until someone shows us an experiment that makes us change them.  We stop claiming to know things and instead present our experience, memory, and interpretation.  We admit that we don't get to "know" in the way level two science claims.  We respect the logic that a hypothesis can be proven wrong, but not right. We understand that most questions that imply only two possible answers are hiding something.

I have been preaching about the value of doubt for a few months. It seems that I have assimilated the idea quite deeply.  I am often quite a bit more unsure of myself than I remember being earlier in my life. In one of my speeches, I described how doubt leads to testing, which can lead to confidence.  I'm lucky that, as my preaching about the value of doubt makes me more doubtful, even of myself, I have the confidence that I can figure things out when I need to, and my guesses will be good enough.

There is a kind of terror that goes along with experiencing evidence that shows something we "know" to be wrong.  If you've ever experienced cognitive dissonance, then you've been close to that terror. I feel largely immune to it. I invite you to follow that link and see if it offers you anything that will enhance your own immunity to it.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Use Redundancy Wisely

Backups are often neglected because they don't get used enough. If you find a frequent use for a backup, then you'll frequently be making sure the backup is effective. Distribution of data is a fantastic example. If your data distribution strategy pulls the data from a backup, then you will very quickly learn about any failures of the backup. Don't be tempted to cut the redundant middleman (the backup) out just because it's flimsy. That's like saving money by buying cheap food. It will eventually catch up with you in the form of health issues (or, data loss).

There are other areas where redundancy is a good idea and not used in a way that virtually guarantees its viability. It takes some consideration to use it wisely. Let's take canned goods. Having a lot of cans of food is good protection from natural disasters that could disrupt the flow of groceries to the stores and restaurants around us. However, if those cans get damaged or lost, they won't do much good. One solution is to eat canned food every now and then, and use the oldest cans you have. 

The are racks that are slightly tilted so that placing cans on them sideways allows the cans to roll to one side. You can buy new cans to put in on the highest side, and take cans to use from the lowest side. But what if you only want canned food in emergencies? I have an idea to handle that situation too.

A periodic disruption of a regular pattern is very healthy. That's the idea behind the Sabbath, and other forms of a "day of rest," even including vacations. A monthly "canned food day" might be a good idea.  It would provide that periodic disruption, and also give you a chance to ensure that your "backup food plan" is in working condition.  If you really don't want to eat canned food, you can just go through the motions on that day. This presents the last problem I want to address here, which is the difficulty with "practice."

Our brains are like ant colonies, constantly cutting corners to find the fastest route. When "going through the motions" serves no immediate purpose, motivation to go through with it will dwindle. I can't think of an attractive solution to that right now, so I'll leave it as an exercise for you.

To wrap it all up, remember that:
  1. Redundancy can provide security, so it's a good idea.
  2. Redundancy is susceptible to decay to the point of being useless.
  3. Incorporating redundant systems into routine and useful procedures protects them from that decay.
  4. The flimsiness of something that doesn't seem that important, like a routine secondary use of redundancy, can be deceptive (See #2).
A husband and wife who are both evolutionary biologists have been interviewed together a few times and I can't remember their names.  The husband, at one point, said something I found profound, and important.  Maybe it was someone else who said it, but the gist of it is that we create a lot of misery for ourselves by failing to pay attention to the negative consequences of the changes we make to our routines.  If you've designed a routine which uses something that is redundant specifically because you wanted to make sure the redundancy is maintained, then that routine is important on a level no one will ever see except in the nightmare scenario where the routine is thrown away, the redundancy falls into disrepair, and then the process for which it is a redundancy fails.  Any routine that serves this secondary (and, I argue, more important) function of ensuring healthy redundancy, is important.  Point out that importance to people, and marvel at it.  It's the kind of thing evolution figures out WAY before we do, and, as such, I think it's one of the beautiful elements we get to discover and share.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Create, it's important

We are minds. We have bodies. Evolution made the bodies. The mind in some bodies isn't actually there (we've all been a bit NPC (http://litmocracy.blogspot.com/2018/11/dont-be-npc.html?m=1) at some point). We have this playground called "the universe," but the only way to play in it is to create.

You can play with something someone else created, but you can create too. What you can create, well, that's something which, in the infinite detail of its existence, nobody else can create. It's why you're here. Get busy. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Chapter Six: Waking Up Again

While I watched the videos, I felt weaker and weaker.  I was a little worried about it, but also comfortable with it.  It felt a little like I was high.  There were gaps in my thinking and I remember feeling like I couldn't trust myself any more.  There was also a very strange experience of uncomfortable bliss.  I have recalled that experience many times since then because I like it, but part of the attraction is that it's uncomfortable.  I suppose a good way to describe it is that I felt like I had something that I didn't deserve.

I was in a womb.  I was flying.  I could see light and it was pitch black. I felt deaf, but deafened by something like a loud nothingness.  It was as if all my senses were at maximum sensitivity and picking up nothing at all, but also making me hyper-aware of the lack of stimulus.  These sensations kept folding over onto each other, slowly resolving into two pieces.  One piece was absolute terror, not fear of pain or suffering, but fear of non-existence.  The other piece was also a feeling about non-existence, but it was opposite.  I had bliss and terror at the same time.  I wallowed in this sensation, taking pleasure in a seeming inability but also the utter lack of necessity to choose one of them.  It seemed to last forever, and I can say that the two feelings and the wallowing is still going on now, in the background.  I don't think it's something that will ever cease.

Then I was awake again, not tired or weak or feeling high in any sense.

I got up to find my wife.  I dimly recalled her leaving the night before and hoped that she had come back.

"Hon?" I called out.  There was no answer at all.

I started exploring the space I was in to see if I could find the exit.  Kim had said she wasn't supposed to let me leave, and I wasn't really ready to leave, but it's always nice to know how.  The front door was easy to find, and locked.  While I was examining the door handle to see if I could find a way to unlock it, there was a knock.  I stepped back and said "Come in!"

The door opened and there was a blonde woman who said "Hi, I'm Dr. Sloane, the psychologist.  Can we talk for bit?"

"Do you know if my wife is here?  Have you talked to her?  I mean, is she okay?"

"Yes, yes, and yes," she smiled.  "Is that your answer too?"

Oh yeah I thought, she asked me if we could talk. "Sure!"

I followed her to a sofa near a chair and sat on the sofa after she took the chair. "You have lots of questions?" she asked.

"Yes, but I need a moment to think of them.  You just answered the immediate ones."  She smiled at me and nodded.  When I realized she was giving me the moment I'd said I needed, I got a bit nervous and said "Umm... ." A few seconds later, I said "Does she think I'm actually me?"

"I don't know.  We discussed your relationship and what she's been going through since the accident.  Are you worried that she doesn't think you're you?"

"Absolutely.  Did they show you the tapes of the four previous attempts to bring me back?"

"No.  I will ask to review them if you think that's worthwhile."

"Well, I guess if she was open with you, you guys would have covered it all, but then if you don't know whether or not she thinks I'm actually here, it seems that maybe you didn't.  I know she can be... reserved." She waited for me to go on. "I think you might learn more if you watch them."

"You remember something from when you were brought into other machines?"

"Oh, no," I said, laughing a little at myself.  "I watched those tapes last night, several times.  It was torture for her."  She waited again. "I'm sorry I wasn't clear on that.  They let me see them so I watched them last night."

"Okay, I understand.  Would you like to talk about what you saw?"

"She said 'This isn't going to work.'  I mean, she knows I'm just a machine.  Or... Don't you see, all of this, what I'm doing and saying, it could just be clever programming."  She waited again but I wanted her to tell me Kim believed in me so I didn't continue.

"Do you think you're really here?" she finally asked.  I thought about it, but right before I answered, she continued, "I'm sorry if that seems like a rude question, I ..." but I cut her off because I was pretty sure she misinterpreted my silence.

"No, no, you're right to ask.  I know I'm experiencing, but how can I know if I'm really the person whose brain pattern is running in my circuits?  I thought about this before I lost my body.  I'm not sure that there is a soul which is unique.  Whether or not I am the soul that married Kimberlee, I love her and it matters less and less to me whether or not that soul is the one having this experience now.  For all practical purposes, I'm Dave, and I'm having experiences as him in this machine.  I have no way to prove it though, and it doesn't really matter who I am but rather whether or not I am.  You might even doubt there's anyone actually here besides you."

She gazed at me for a moment and then smiled warmly.  "You are here and I am here.  In fact, I am here for you and because of you.  Thank you."  She sat quietly for a moment, as if she were finished, but then she continued.

"You want to feel a connection from her, right?" she asked.

"Desperately," I said quietly.  "But maybe she sees nothing but a machine.  I can't prove I'm actually here."

"You must feel very lonely."

"Yes," I said.  My eyes don't make tears, but I was crying with some kind of relief that she understood me.

She watched me for a moment and then grabbed a box of tissues and held it out to me.  I took it and held it, and then she said "No one can prove that, can they?  We all just take it on faith that other people are... well, souls, or real, or, as you put it, having experience."

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

My Ideal Online Identity Protection Service

Do you have people you trust enough that you wouldn't mind them knowing when you log into your bank account?  How about other financial accounts or your email account?  I do, and I bet most people do, and I think these trust relationships can be used to eliminate identity theft for all those institutions that it hurts.  I'm going to describe an idea here which is intended to do just that.

Once the code is written, even the very basic code, anyone who knows about it can visit the site which will invite them to become a member for free.  You get a username and a password, and if you were referred to the site by someone you know, you can enter their username.  You can then enter your legal name, your phone number, your address, the usernames you use on various other services, etc.  You don't have to enter any of these things, but the last startup task for your account is to provide Identifiers (usernames or numbers) and Connection Methods (telephone, snail mail, email, various real time chat applications) (which we call ICMs) for people you know.  If they are also in the system, you can type in their usernames and select "Another member" as the Connection Method.  This will allow them to see that someone claims to be you by showing them the information you entered, and they can reach out to you to make sure.

This sets you up to build your "inalienable identity."  This is a theoretical object composed of the willingness of people you know to help identify you.  This help comes whenever someone (usually you) tries to connect as you to any subscribed system in order to verify that the someone is actually you.  You build it by letting friends know that you're interested in having them help you in that way.  The system itself is the first subscribed system.  You'll see a list of the identifiers with a proposed message to be sent to them through the connection methods you listed.

For example, you'll see something like
Your request message is 'Hi! Your friend [First Last] needs a six-digit code for [Service].  Will you pass it on if we send it to you? (y or n is enough).' If you'd like to edit this request message, >Click Here<.  Whenever you log in to a subscribed service, we will send this message to at least one of the following identifiers:
    1. As a text to [a list of cell numbers]
    2. As an audio file through Telegram to [a list of Telegram IDs]
    3. As an email to [a list of email addresses]
    4. As ...

FAQ: How long does it take? Your request message is followed after a delay you set (default: one minute) with another (also configurable) message that says "We've reached out to some of [First]'s other contacts for help with this matter, so no reply is necessary now," because when a contact is unresponsive, we reach out to others.

While you are entering ICMs, you will see a button "Assign ICMs" which allows you to find subscribed services and identify the ICMs you'd like to rely on when logging into those services.

I believe I sent a description like this one to Keybase.io, but I have not been able to find it.  The idea is now in the public domain.  If someone runs a website that implements the idea, I will be happy and probably use it.  If you see holes in it, or other problems that don't appear to be easily addressed, please leave a comment about it.

Monday, July 15, 2019

How to Handle a Scammer

Recognizing a scammer might be a little more difficult, but once you know it's a scammer, below is how I suggest handling it.  I suspected it when he sent the first ALL CAPS message.  He didn't confirm it for a long time, but I was having fun.  Then it got serious and he finally confirmed it:

dudipanuh : hey . your email and phone please
dscotese : If you open up the "TERMS OF TRADE WITH DSCOTESE" link, it has my number: Text me at (951)236-2719 or message me on localmonero if you have any questions.
dudipanuh : okay . Your email
dudipanuh : ??
dudipanuh : hi?
dscotese : I probably won't get any email from you because of my filters. It's better to text me. If you text me your email address, then I can add it and email you if there is a good reason to do so.
dudipanuh : okay . give me your email . i will send email and text
[He really wants my email address... I wonder why and am already suspicious.]
dscotese : dscotese@yahoo.com
dudipanuh : ok
dudipanuh : waiting for you

dudipanuh : sorry it was mistake .all caps . i have sent you text to verify please paste here
dudipanuh : there ? waiting...
[I received a verification code from Yahoo.  That only happens if Yahoo is trying to help me recover my email account. - He's trying to access my email account.]
dscotese : JUFBENJC is your Yahoo verification code [A fake code.]
dudipanuh : the right one
[He must have tried the fake code to know that it was wrong.]
dudipanuh : sent again
dudipanuh : not needed now .bye
dscotese : What's wrong with the first one?
dscotese : What are we verifying with Yahoo?
dudipanuh : lol .you changed it .its not the correct one
dscotese : I changed what?
dudipanuh : code
dscotese : You got the first one working?
dudipanuh : its expired now .if you can send me correct one i can request again
dudipanuh : no, you sent me wrong code first one
dscotese : Okay, but you tried the first one I sent, right?
dscotese : I had to type it by hand. Maybe there was a typo. Wasn't it close?
dudipanuh : yes tried and it was wrong now its expired
[An admission that he is hacking my Yahoo email account.]
dscotese : What was the correct one? I love analyzing my own errors.
dudipanuh : you have in your phone check it
dscotese : It was close enough to what you sent me, right?
dudipanuh : lol
dudipanuh : it was completely changed and some random numbers
[He's lying.  He has no idea what the code was.]
dudipanuh : but its expired now .if you want i can send again new code
dscotese : What was the old code you sent?
dscotese : You're using a Yahoo service to verify phone numbers?
[Now I'm misrepresenting myself to him.  By now I knew he was trying to get access to my email.]
dudipanuh : you have in your phone check it
dscotese : It sounds useful, but I could just answer you if you text me directly. It's way easier than relying on Yahoo.
dudipanuh : can you paste the text if i send again
dudipanuh : you provided me wrong one last time
dudipanuh : sent again . if you will provide i will verify and processed to trade
dscotese : I got the same one twice. [True] Okay, my error was I put an N instead of an M. [False] It should be JUFBENJC. [I intentionally used the N again, pretending to make the same mistake twice.]
dudipanuh : its expired now
dscotese : Send it once more then.
dscotese : Why don't you just text me directly?
dscotese : It's easier that way.
dscotese : It's still the same code. [True]
dscotese : Did you use an N instead of the M?
dudipanuh : it was expired
dudipanuh : sent again
dscotese : Now I got a new one.
dudipanuh : yes paste here
dudipanuh : or upload photo of it
dscotese : Its JKENXUDL
dudipanuh : lol
dudipanuh : again wrong one
dscotese : All good now? [Typed after he wrote lol.]
dudipanuh : its wrong one you know it
dudipanuh : its expired now
dscotese : It was the M again. I keep hitting N when I should hit M.
dudipanuh : no
dudipanuh : i tried M but its wrong
dscotese : JKEMXUDL
dudipanuh : its expired again
dscotese : You tried that?
dudipanuh : its wrong one
dudipanuh : yes tried
dscotese : Oh I'm so sorry. I'm a bit dyslexic. I swapped the e and the K also. They kind of look the same. [All Lies!  Ha ha, scammer.]
dudipanuh : right
dscotese : Ok, send it again and we'll see if it's new.
dudipanuh : its expired now .leave it
dudipanuh : i can't send now
[Yahoo finally blocked him., Yay!  I had also emailed abuse@yahoo.com to let them know A) I had access to my email account, and B) A scammer would use the first code I sent him (JUFBENJC) so Yahoo could identify him.  They have not replied but it's only been 20 hours and ten minutes.]
dscotese : I'm so sorry. Did I fuck up your Yahoo phone number verifier account?
dscotese : It should warn you before cutting you off.
dscotese : I would complain. So are you just going to text me directly to verify?
dudipanuh : what
dscotese : You're using a Yahoo service to verify phone numbers?
dudipanuh : yes why
dudipanuh : yes why
dudipanuh : yes why
dudipanuh : and its fucked now
dscotese : Is that right? And now you can't verify my number again because it already failed too many times? I'm just guessing about the problem.
dscotese : Did they warn you?
dudipanuh : you are right and too smart
dscotese : How do I make it up to you?
dscotese : There is no such thing as "too smart".
dudipanuh : why you are here ?
dscotese : Just text me, okay? Then you'll know it's really my number.
dudipanuh : you provided me wrong email
dscotese : No I didn't. dscotese@yahoo.com. I never mistype that one. It's muscle memory.
dscotese : Did you send me an email?
dudipanuh : what about dscotese@litmocracy.com
dudipanuh : and dscotese@gmail.com
[Thanks for showing me that you're capable of researching me.  I am proud to be known.] 
dscotese : That one works too, but it just forwards.
dudipanuh : you are SMART
dscotese : Thanks. I can teach you.
dscotese : But you might not be humble enough.
dudipanuh : no i'm already a teacher
dscotese : You can sign up for my mailing list at http://eepurl.com/Pp7jf - I'm using it to keep my customers informed and also encourage others to deal bitcoin. It also explains more about how to avoid scammers. The newsletter archive is available at http://goo.gl/ZNjWe9
dscotese : So why are you using Yahoo's service to do something you can do yourself?
dscotese : Are you going to mail me $4,885?
dudipanuh : Pro trader
dudipanuh : yes
dscotese : Pro Trader?
dudipanuh : you are a fucking pro trader at LBTC
dudipanuh : Using 2FA at all sites
dudipanuh : including gmail
dscotese : Yes, but I dont fuck as much as I'd like to :-(
dudipanuh : but why you are behaving like kid ?
dudipanuh : acting like newbie
dscotese : Some sites don't let you see that a user is using 2FA unless you have their password.
dscotese : I'm not acting like a newbie. What do you mean?
dudipanuh : like LBTC
dscotese : You're smarter than you think.
[Google Gabor Mate.  People who have "Adverse Childhood Experiences" (also something to Google) tend to have low-self esteem and are at risk to become criminals, get diseases, and commit suicide.  Pooh Bear's advice to Christopher Robin (A.A. Milne's son) was meant to help heal those wounds, and I love to pass it on.]
dudipanuh : sometimes 2FA get compromised
dudipanuh : like happens on LBTC few months back
dscotese : You should consider using a white hat instead of a black one. You could feel good about yourself instead of bad. You could help people.
dudipanuh : not having money to eat you can't help
dscotese : Have your efforts to teach ever given you the opportunity to be humble?
dudipanuh : you are a good person .Sorry what i tried to do with you
dscotese : It's okay. You gave me the opportunity to help someone. Maybe I will be able to.
dudipanuh : This World is cruel man .
dscotese : I know, but a large part of that is just karma.
dscotese : Sometimes you make an honest trade with someone, right?
dudipanuh : true .this is a phishing site which i made
dudipanuh : http://localbticoins.tk/localbitcoins.com/accounts/login/index.html
dscotese : A few times, they paid you too much and you kept quiet about it.
dudipanuh : Cancelled the trade
dscotese : You thought it was great and ignored their suffering. That is the problem. It always comes back somehow.
dudipanuh : i'm a Human and i'm having heart
dscotese : You currently do not have enough money to compensate all your victims, but you're smart enough to earn it. It will take a long time but that kind of work will heal the parts of you that are broken.
 [I think I went too far.  His redemption would have to be a lot more gentle for him to be interested in it.  At least I gave him some seeds that might grow.]
dudipanuh : i don't have to eat
dudipanuh : Good luck for your trades
dudipanuh : Nice to meet you
dscotese : You write English well enough to tell the story and inspire others. Beg openly, and offer your knowledge of security. Let people know that you used to be a scammer and you wanted to redeem yourself. Tell them all the ways they are endangering themselves.
dscotese : I tend to open a lot of doors for people who never walk through them. I won't stop opening them though. I wish you luck too, and hope that you can improve your karma.
dudipanuh : you are right .But in this world people only help for their own profit or you have enough power to snatch from them .
dudipanuh : if i openly beg from you .what will your reaction ?
dudipanuh : and yes its karma
dscotese : You would say "there ? waiting..." and then when they paste the code you would say: "You just let me into your email account. I'm good at hacking, and instead of stealing, I'm trying to help. Please be more careful in the future, and if you appreciate my help on this matter, can you send me $5 of bitcoin or something?"
dscotese : If you can hack me, I will send you $100 of bitcoin as long as you explain how you did it.
dudipanuh : true
dudipanuh : appertained
dudipanuh : Right
dscotese : Ok. Good chatting with you. I hope you run into enough smart people and find your way to earning honest money.