Too Far Left, or What Does It Mean to Be “Radical”

“On Tuesday, a Florida judge sentenced Daniel Baker, an anti-fascist activist, to 44 months in federal prison for social media posts that called for armed defense against possible far-right attacks on the state’s Capitol in the wake of the January 6 riots. Baker, a 34-year-old yoga teacher and emergency medical technician trainee, had no previous criminal convictions and has already been held for 10 months of harsh pretrial detention, including seven months in solitary confinement. He never brought a weapon near a government building; he amassed no armed anti-fascist forces; he made no threats on a single individual.

Baker will, nonetheless, face considerably more prison time than most January 6 defendants, including those who crossed state lines, small arsenals in tow, with the aim of overturning a presidential election…

…Baker was convicted at trial earlier this year on two counts of “transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure another person.” The threat of kidnapping charge stemmed from a feverish public Facebook post in which Baker put out a general call for anti-racists and anti-fascists to encircle the state Capitol, should far-right groups attack it “on or around inauguration day,” and “trap” right-wingers inside with cops. In the very next sentence, though, he wrote, “we will drive them out of Tallahassee with every caliber available!” The right wing militiae were thus to be trapped in and driven out at once, on an unspecified day, by an unnamed collaboration of counterprotesters.”

-Natasha Lennard, “A Florida Anarchist Will Spend Years in Prison for Online Posts Prompted by Jan. 6 Riot.The Intercept. October 16, 2021.

I find this interesting on two levels.

One, there’s a saying: “The e in email is for evidence.” Same is true of Facebook and other social media. Using Facebook to advocate for any kind of radical societal change is an exercise in trying to use a tool of totalitarianism against itself. It’s unlikely to work, and very likely to land you in prison.

Two, the advantage that the right have is that they, on the surface, support the institutions of the state. Many are police officers, served in the military and so forth. However, the January 6th riots show that if any of those institutions get in the way, they are more than happy to push them aside. Radical leftists are more obviously against the state and its institutions. So, the state is also more obviously against them.

In fact, this brings us to a helpful definition to determine who is and is not a radical. Ask yourself: does this person think that the state is the solution to many of the problems of society or the cause of many of the problems? If they believe it is the cause of the problems of society, do they believe the state can be reformed to address those problems? If the state is the solution, then you are dealing with a traditional leftist, liberal or conservative in their political opinions.

If a “leftist” supports state solutions, whether Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Dennis Kucinch, George McGovern, or whomever, then there is nothing radical about their position. They are only “radical” in so far as they are leftists in a fundamentally and moderately conservative society, where radical is defined as anyone to the left (or occasionally, the right) of the majority or more often, the person making the judgment.

Leftists are advocating to use the government outside of the limited government fiction and the great lie of conservativism that you can have a global war-fighting capability and still maintain a small government with low taxes. The true goal of the limited government lie is to prevent the government from being repurposed to leftist goals, i.e., serving the citizenry rather than elite interests (or at least different elites). From the perspective of someone that believes the lie of limited government, this position is radical.

However, it’s also not radical because much of the justification for modern government is that it protects the citizenry, from providing clean water, consumer protections, national security and so forth. So, it’s clear that limited government, Originalism, and some of the modern tenets of conservativism are actually a radical reframing of the debate. Calling traditional liberals “radical leftists” is just another way to put them on the defensive and of closing the Overton window around these new conservative ideas.

But, the framing that Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and so forth are radical leftists, “socialists”, and so forth are relativistic arguments. Better to have a clear definition of what makes someone radical that works across both right and left perspectives.than define radical relativistically. Being against the state serves that function rather well.

Installing Citrix Workplace on Ubuntu Linux

Installation

$ cd Downloads
$ sudo dpkg -i Citrix-Workspace.deb

Installing a CA Certificate

The pre-installed certificates might work for you. If you get errors when trying to use Citrix, then you’ll likely need to install a CA certificate.

  • Go to the VPN website you use Citrix for.
  • Click on the lock in front of the url
  • Click on certificate (Chrome) or Connection Secure (Firefox)
  • Note the authority under Issued By (Chrome) or Verified By (Firefox)
  • For example, the certification authority might be: DigiCert TLS RSA SHA256 2020 CA1
  • Search for DigiCert TLS RSA SHA256 2020 CA1 in your favorite search engine.
  • Select the official site that allows you to download the relevant certificates.
  • Download both the PEM and the CRT files.
  • Do the following:
$ sudo cp ~/Downloads/DigiCertTLSRSASHA2562020CA1-1.pem /opt/Citrix/ICAClient/keystore/cacerts
$ sudo chmod 644 /opt/Citrix/ICAClient/keystore/cacerts/DigiCertTLSRSASHA2562020CA1-1.pem
$ sudo /opt/Citrix/ICAClient/util/ctx_rehash

Note: The instructions on the Citrix website seem to be incorrect. It tells you to cp the pem file with a crt extention, even though every other file in the directory is a PEM file. The above copies to the default Citrix directory on Ubuntu, changes the file permissions to -rw-r–r–, and rehashes the new certificate so Citrix can use it.

X.509 Certificate for Chrome or Firefox Browsers

I’m not sure if this is strictly necessary, but it might also be helpful to import the X.509 certificate into Chrome or Firefox. For Chrome (Firefox is similar), do the following:

  • Go to the three dots (hamburger)
  • Select Chrome settings
  • Search for: certificate
  • Click on Security
  • Click on Manage Certificates
  • Click on Authorities
  • Click on Import
  • Select ~/Downloads/DigiCertTLSRSASHA2562020CA1-1.crt
  • Select all three options.

Dan Savage Revolutionized Sex…

“Over the years, Savage honed his philosophy on boundaries—we should all be good, giving, and game for our partners, but we should also accept their hard limits as “the price of admission.” He built up an encyclopedic knowledge of kink and the mechanics of sex: the long-term effects of nipple clamps, how to stage an exciting bondage scene, what kind of butt plug to get when you’re first experimenting with anal penetration. (Not—and he cannot stress this enough—the small kind that looks like a finger, which will pop out of your butt at the least opportune moment.)

This staggering oeuvre, full of best practices and universal frameworks and detailed instructions, made Savage Love a beloved institution. It has also vexed Savage at times over the past decade, as the world he’s schooling changed with the #MeToo movement and the cultural evolution of the gay and trans communities. In recent years, it sometimes seemed like Savage was on the defensive as much as he was setting the rules. When I talked to him in Seattle, it was clear he felt that, too.”

-L.V. Anderson, “Dan Savage Revolutionized Sex. Then the Revolution Came for Him.” Slate. September 23, 2021.

If Dan Savage is on the defensive, who isn’t?

Proxi

“[Proxi] is in some sense a game of self-discovery, a game where we actually uncover the hidden you – your subconscious, your inner ID, and bring it to the surface, bring it to life so you can interact with it, you can play with it, you can learn from it and it can learn about you.”

-Will Wright

It’s an interesting idea. Create a proxy for yourself that interacts in a digital world, so you can view your behaviors with some perspective. Learn a bit about yourself and use that knowledge for self-transformation.

The problem, of course, is that journeys of self-discovery tend to be painful. What happens when you discover something about yourself that you don’t like?

What most people do is try ignore it or tell themselves that what they learned is not really how they are. There’s levels of deniability. I’m not a self-absorbed asshole. I’m not usually a self-absorbed asshole. The people around me are self-absorbed assholes. My environment is making me into a self-absorbed asshole. And so forth.

The appeal of this game, at least initially, will be the same appeal of psychology. People that want to learn more about themselves. The problem is that a lot of those people are self-absorbed assholes, and since they have put themselves on a pedestal, they’ll be inclined to blame the game or game the game. They’ll change the representation to reflect their views of themselves. So, it will perpetuate the delusions of self they already have and not be an exercise of self-realization.

So, the market for the stated purpose will be very much like the market for painful self-reflection in our everyday lives, almost nil. People use games as a way to escape reality. They rarely use them to gain insight into reality.

Programming Note: WordPress Scheduling

The secret to publishing something good every day is to get ahead, find more interesting stuff and stack it ahead of schedule. This way you don’t feel like you have to post every day, because you don’t. On the other hand, WordPress has a bit of a janky scheduling function that likes to default back to today half the time you use it. So, occasionally, I’ll try to get ahead a bit, or take a week off, or whatever, and you’ll see something briefly on the main page and then see it again several days later. That’s what’s going on my friends. Now, with the next week or so queued up, I’m taking off.

The next few days, and previous few now that I think on it, are heavily indebted to a backlog of WebCurios emails, which is excellent although maybe with the front image you should check it out when you aren’t at work.

Forecasting a Cryptocurrency’s Price

Disclosure: I own Ergo. This is a condensed summary of why I purchased it. I’m happy to share what I learned, but this is not investment advice. I don’t know you. I don’t know your situation. Cryptocurrencies are a speculative investment, and you could lose all your money. If that’s not something you can live with, then do something relatively safe, like invest in an index fund, a certificate of deposit at a major bank or U.S. Treasuries. Also, if you are making investment choices based solely on the suggestions of some random blog on WordPress, written by The Deity knows who, without engaging your own mind and taking responsibility for your own choices, then you deserve to lose all your money. Caveat emptor!

“a more rational way to look at things is the total crypto cap multiplied by the percentage of market dominance divided by number of coins.

so right now [Ergo is] at .02% when the whole crypto space achieves 8 trillion (4x) and if ergo were to gain 1% dominance it would be $226.53

$8T x .01 / 35,316,150 = 226.53

you change your numbers depending on your beliefs and timeline. so say 2025 you think it’ll be 4 trillion total crypto cap but you think ergo will get to 5 percent market cap then you get $8T x .05 / 35,316,150 = 566

edit: this is also why cardano sucks ass from a strictly financial viewpoint. put it through these numbers you’ll see”

King_Ghidra_’s comment from discussion “If ERGO has the market cap of … (Hopium version)” Reddit.com. .

Looking for Patterns in the Chart

I read the above, and I thought it was an interesting forecasting question. It seems to be a fairly common one. Let’s try to ballpark the numbers, as King Ghidra has done. However, I’d like to update these numbers using some data-centric assumptions rather than my beliefs.

Coinmarketcap has the data for Total Cryptocurrency Market Cap. Unfortunately, they don’t provide the data. So, we are going to have to develop a proxy.

If we look at the entire length of the Coinmarketcap chart, it looks like there’s a pattern, where there was a peak in January 2018 and another peak in May 2021. That’s roughly about 30 months. Before each peak, there was a 3-6 month ramp up that goes up by a multiple of 7. Is that a pattern? How do we measure the length of these series?

One way would be to measure the low between two highs. So, it gets to about a $100 billion in January 2019. It climbs by a multiple of three up above $300 billion by July 2019. Drops down to $150 billion by March 2020. Then, it increases from that low to above $300 billion by August 2020. From August 2020 to the peak in May 2021, there’s an 8 fold increase. From $350 billion to $2.5 trillion.

Let’s look at the run-up to the January 2018 peak. You’ll immediately notice that the scaling of the data makes it hard to know where to start. So, let’s look from the beginning of the series until it reaches $20 billion, or January 2017. At that scale that it was a low of $929 million in July 2013. There was a peak of $15.6 billion in December 2013.

It dropped from the December 2013 peak of $15 billion to $3.5 billion in January 2015. Let’s count the doublings:

  • $3.5 billion (January 2015)
  • $7 billion (November 2015, 11 months)
  • $15 billion (June 2016, 7 months)
  • $30 billion (April 2017, 10 months)
  • $60 billion (May 2017, 1 month)
  • $120 billion (August 2017, 3 months)
  • $240 billion (November 2017, 3 months)
  • $480 billion (December 2017, 1 month)
  • $815 billion (January 2018, 1 month)

Again, we see the same pattern, it takes a full year to drop from the January 2018 peak of $815 billion to $100 billion in January 2019. It triples and drops back down to $100 billion by April 2020. Then, let’s track the doubling again:

  • $150 billion (April 2020)
  • $300 billion (July 2020, 3 months)
  • $600 billion (December 2020, 5 months)
  • $1,200 billion (February 2021, 3 months)
  • $2,400 billion (May 2021, 3 months)

So, the size has gotten large enough that doublings are going to be less frequent. But, right now, have we hit a peak? Consider this: the cycles seem to be getting longer. In 2013, it was 5 months from bottom to top. In the 2015-2018 cycle, it was 35 months. If April 2020 is the starting point, then peak should be sometime in March 2023. If we assume a 14 month decline and 14 month recovery before another spike, the next peak after that one would be sometime in July 2025.

I’m inclined to think that the peak for this cycle will be a little sooner than March 2023, say sometime between July 2022 to December 2022. This will put the next peak somewhere around January 2025.

Forecasting the Total Cryptocurrency Market

After chart review, let’s try forecasting for January 1, 2025, which also has the nice property that it matches the quote introducing this topic. So, what kind of range to expect as possible by January 1, 2025? When I do a quarterly sampling of the data from Coinmarketcap, and then run it through R trying to determine a probability interval for 2025-01-01, I get a 95% confidence interval that total market cap will be between $0 and $6.2 trillion.[1,2] This approach likely underestimates the values because a quarterly sampling cuts out a lot of movement in the chart.

If I use Bitcoin as a proxy, then I can pull the data from the FRED database using the following command and these R scripts[3,4]

> fred(code="CBBTCUSD", begin_date="2017-01-01", closing_date="2025-01-01", bins=c(0.05, 0.5, 0.95), prob_type="probands")

This returns:

Projected mean: 242494.622314164
Projected standard deviation: 89419.7876711661
   bins     probs
1  0.05  95412.16
2  0.50 242494.62
3  0.95 389577.08

When I run the same data but putting it through a Monte Carlo function instead, I get a greater than 70% chance it will be above $250,000 on 2025-01-01.[4]

Let’s suppose Bitcoin is either $95,000, $250,000 or $390,000 on 2025-01-01. When you correlate the price of Bitcoin to the total cryptocurrency market cap on a quarterly basis (January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1), it’s roughly price * 31 million with a standard deviation of about a million. This would put the price range as follows:

  • Low: Bitcoin price: $95,000, Total Cryptocurrency Market cap: $2.945 trillion
  • Projected: Bitcoin price: $250,000, Total Cryptocurrency Market cap: $7.750 trillion
  • High: Bitcoin Price: $390,000, Total Cryptocurrency Market cap: $12 trillion

As a sanity check, you can check the chart again. My best guess would be that total crypto market cap on 2025-01-01 will be between $6-8 trillion. For this question, let’s assume the lower end of the range – a $6 trillion market cap on January 1, 2025 – as being a good, conservative guess.

Forecasting a Cryptocurrency (Ergo)

Now, to return to the comment at the top, the poster proposes a formula:

(total crypto market cap on 2025-01-01 * market share of a cryptocurrency) / number of coins = price

Let’s make the calculation of market share and coins easy and establish a floor. Suppose that Erg maintains its current market share. On Saturday, September 25, 2021, the cost of Erg is $14 and there are 43,705,365 Erg in circulation. That gives us a Ergo market capitalization of ~$612 million. Total cryptocurrency capitalization today is $1.9 trillion. So, the market share is 0.0032210. For this forecast, let’s just assume the maximum number of Erg, 97,739,924.

Then, we calculate for different hypothetical values:

  • $4 trillion total crypto market cap, same market share, all coins: ($4 trillion * 0.003221) / 97,739,924 = $131.82
  • $6 trillion total crypto market cap, same market share, all coins: ($6 trillion * 0.003221) / 97,739,924 = $197.73
  • Double the market share at $6 trillion total crypto market capitalization, all coins: $263.64
  • $8 trillion total crypto market cap, same market share, all coins ($8 trillion * 0.003221) / 97,739,924 = $263.64
  • Double the market share at $6 trillion total crypto market capitalization, all coins: $395.29
  • Double the market share at $8 trillion total crypto market capitalization, all coins: $527.28
  • $6 trillion total crypto market cap, 1% market share, all coins: $613.87
  • $6 trillion total crypto market cap, 2% market share, all coins: $1,227.75

On review of the above, I’m forecasting that Erg has a 90% chance of getting above $1,000 before or on January 1, 2025. I think cryptocurrencies are starting to get major traction so the conservative $6 trillion is probably too low. Given Ergo technical capabilities, I can see as much as an order of magnitude increase in market share by January 1, 2025. That would give a top end of ($8 trillion * 0.03) / 97,739,924 = $2,455. More likely, it will be something like ($7 trillion * 0.015) / 97,739,924 = $1,074.27. Add in normal fluctuations, easy to see it crossing $1,000 in the period, if this is the base case.

Let’s check back in ~1,200 days or so and see how I did.

As a reality check, even if you invested $1,000 at $14, right now, that’s 71.428 Erg. If the price went to $1,000, that’s $71,428. So, hard to become a millionaire without getting into a cryptocurrency before it’s above $1. On the other end, it’s hard to know which of the thousands of coins to invest in at that stage. It’s a veritable chicken and egg problem. But, $71,428 isn’t a bad haul, a salary for a couple of years in many folk’s cases.

Conclusion

Most of the work is in trying to come up with a reasonable market cap for the entire crytpocurrency space. Once you have that number, it is fairly straight-forward to calculate a minimum based on current market share of a coin. The same procedure could be used to forecast any cryptocurrency you are interested in.

References

  1. https://gitlab.com/cafebedouin/gjp/-/blob/master/csv.R
  2. https://gitlab.com/cafebedouin/gjp/-/blob/master/functions/probands.R
  3. https://gitlab.com/cafebedouin/gjp/-/blob/master/fred.R
  4. https://gitlab.com/cafebedouin/gjp/-/blob/master/functions/monte-full.R

bash: TOTP From the Terminal With oathtool

TOTP is Time-based One Time Password. Most people use applications on their phone for TOTP, such as andOTP, Google Authenticator, and related apps. But, as we move from using a phone as a second factor for what we are doing on a computer to a phone being the primary way we interact with the Internet, it makes sense to make the computer the second factor. This is the idea behind this script. It is based on analyth’s script, except I stripped out the I/O.

#!/bin/bash

# Assign variables
google=$(oathtool --base32 --totp "YOUR SECRET KEY" -d 6)
wordpress=$(oathtool --base32 --totp "YOUR SECRET KEY" -d 6)
amazon=$(oathtool --base32 --totp "YOUR SECRET KEY" -d 6)

# Print variables
echo "google: ${google} | wordpress: ${wordpress} | amazon: ${amazon}"

This will print:

google: 123456 | wordpress: 123456 | amazon: 123456

However, I didn’t like the idea of my one time password codes only being protected by normal file protections on a Linux system. I thought it should be encrypted with gpg. So, I saved it to a file in my scripts directory, totp, and encrypted it with my public key. If you don’t have a gpg key pair, instructions are available online.

$ gpg -r your@email.com -e ~/pathto/totp

Then, to run the shell script, do:

$ gpg -d ~/pathto/totp.gpg 2>/dev/null | bash

This will prompt you for your gpg password and then run this script. You likely won’t want to remember this string of commands, so you could make your life easier by adding it as an alias under .bash_aliases

alias totp='gpg -d ~/pathto/totp.gpg 2>/dev/null | bash'

Revisiting “A China Prediction”

…there’s going to be a reckoning, and the funny thing is that reckoning is going to begin in China and then eventually spread to the rest of the world. Whether it will happen in close proximity to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic remains to be seen, but there is definitely a short term correction and a longer term debt cycle deleveraging that are being put off by these policies. At some point, it will no longer be able to be kept at bay.

-cafebedouin, “A China Prediction: A Debt Deleveraging in a Decade.” cafebedouin.org

Today might be the day. Look for news on Evergrande and whether that will send China into recession. It probably won’t be Lehman Brothers, but it’s not going to be trivial. This comment seems about right to me:

“It won’t be a financial crisis, but a controlled burn of the world’s 2nd largest economy.”

-Kent Willard quoted in Adam Tooze, “Adam Tooze’s Top Links: Is Evergrande “China’s Lehman moment”? (#21)” adamtooze.substack.com. September 19, 2021.

Amazon’s Censorship of Devil Daddy

“Censorship is alive and well over at Amazon Kindle. Last time it was our scholarly edition of the rare 1881 Victorian gay text Sins of the Cities of the Plain, which they banned for several years. Now they’ve banned the ebook of John Blackburn’s 1972 horror novel Devil Daddy, while refusing to explain why. At Amazon, any book can be blocked from sale at some random employee’s whim, with no right of appeal. Please remember that you have a choice of where to shop, and all our ebooks are available on our site, as well as Nook, Kobo and iTunes.

If you can’t zoom in on the screenshot below, here is the email from Amazon:

“As stated in our content guidelines, we reserve the right to determine what content we consider to be appropriate. This content includes both the cover art image and the content within the book. We’re unable to elaborate further on specific details regarding our content guidelines…”

-Valancourt Books, “September 2021 Update, part 2“.

I should have known. But, this is the first time I’ve heard of Amazon censoring books. When the largest retailer of book refuses to carry particular titles, especially ones that are controversial in some way, it cheapens the public discourse. Devil Daddy may not be to the taste of the average American, but the average American’s taste and community standards is a horrible basis for content guidelines.

Is/Ought Fallacy: Exhibit A

“Crypto is gambling, and you should never gamble more than you can afford to lose, right? So the only people who held onto their bitcoin when it was worth $100,000 dollars were:

* People who could afford to lose $100,000

* People who couldn’t afford to lose it and were therefore making a very, very stupid gamble

And that’s the same at every dollar amount. Some people can’t afford to lose $1000, some people $100, but whatever level you’re at, you would have and should have sold when it hit that figure.

That means it’s literally not possible for a sensible person to make life-changing amounts of money from cryptocurrency, because the only way to do it is to bet more than you can afford to lose.”

McKinley Valentine, “No FOMO: If you’d bought bitcoin 10 years ago, you wouldn’t be rich today.” The Whippet. September 15, 2021.-

The way logic works is if you argue something is not possible, then pointing to one (or dozens of) counter-example(s) refutes your argument. You’ll notice the chart after the table of names that indicate that “investors” make up the majority of Bitcoin billionaires. So, it is literally possible. If you had limited resources, it could have been as simple as putting together a mining rig, well within the capabilities and budgets of most technical people back then.

If you want to feel good about not investing in Bitcoin back in its infancy, consider what sudden wealth tends to do to people talked about in this classic Reddit post on the lottery. It’s enough to make you never want to be rich, ever.