Dharma Protocol in a Nutshell
“I understood why other companies had been reluctant to let me see something like this. Never again would I be able to read a lofty phrase about a social-media company’s shift in policy—“open and connected,” or “encouraging meaningful interactions”—without imagining a group of people sitting around a conference room, eating free snacks and making fallible decisions. Social networks, no matter how big they get or how familiar they seem, are not ineluctable forces but experimental technologies built by human beings.”
“Many different use cases have been proposed for blockchains, relating to financial assets, health records, identity management and supply chains. But when examined in the cold light of day, many of these applications do not need a blockchain at all, and could be implemented perfectly well using a regular relational database.”
“Until the mid-19th century, most of the world was a sprawl of empires, unclaimed land, city-states and principalities, which travellers crossed without checks or passports. As industrialisation made societies more complex, large centralised bureaucracies grew up to manage them. Those governments best able to unify their regions, store records, and coordinate action (especially war) grew more powerful vis-à-vis their neighbours. Imperialistic expansion spread the nation-state model worldwide, and by the middle of the 20th century it was the only game in town. There are now 193 nation-states ruling the world.”
"Disinterest in social welfare did not happen overnight. It has been the background music to American economic prosperity since World War II—especially during Republican administrations. You might argue: “But look, it works; we are arguably the largest economy.” However, who are the richest, most socially conscious, and most productive people in the world? No matter what list you look at, the top five are always social democracies, like Denmark and Sweden, which Americans often derogatorily called welfare states. These societies have a group mindset that puts us before me. They do not consider citizens to be customers."
"One of the problems facing China is that manufacturers continue to engage in a practice I call “quality fade.” This is the deliberate and secret habit of widening profit margins through a reduction in the quality of materials."
"Token economies introduce a strange new set of elements that do not fit the traditional models: instead of creating value by owning something, as in the shareholder equity model, people create value by improving the underlying protocol, either by helping to maintain the ledger (as in Bitcoin mining), or by writing apps atop it, or simply by using the service. The lines between founders, investors and customers are far blurrier than in traditional corporate models; all the incentives are explicitly designed to steer away from winner-take-all outcomes."
"There are countless blockchain explainers in text, audio, and video around the web. Almost all of them are wrong because they start from a false premise. There is no universal definition of a blockchain, and there is widespread disagreement over which qualities are essential in order to call something a blockchain."
“We need to consciously embrace the inconvenient — not always, but more of the time. Nowadays individuality has come to reside in making at least some inconvenient choices. You need not churn your own butter or hunt your own meat, but if you want to be someone, you cannot allow convenience to be the value that transcends all others. Struggle is not always a problem. Sometimes struggle is a solution. It can be the solution to the question of who you are.”
“It is first and foremost an African American love letter, and as such it is consumed with The Void, the psychic and cultural wound caused by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the loss of life, culture, language, and history that could never be restored.”
“The lesson of history is clear: the pull towards monopolization is extremely strong in a capitalist economy. No matter how defiant the people, eventually powerful economic interests prevail. If a government does not make attempts to curb wealth hoarding at both the individual and business level, inequality will rise and competition will be restricted.”
“In a not-so-distant future,” he wrote, “it may be that if you're going to put content on the Internet you'll need to use a company with a giant network like Cloudflare, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, or Alibaba.” The implication was clear: if those six companies don’t like what you’re doing, they can keep you off the internet.”
this has bothered me for a while & will probably only get worse
"I'm not sure when mobile devices started installing updates by default. I think around 2014 my Android phone would still meekly ask to update all apps and that was an opportunity for me to reestablish my power over my device and go through all the things I wasn't using anymore and delete them. In 2016, when I got a new phone, the default setting changed and I would just wake up to my device stating, "Tinder has been updated. Deal with it".
““The rise of digital media, meanwhile, has given ordinary Americans, especially younger ones, an instinctive feel for direct democracy. Whether they’re stuffing the electronic ballot boxes of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, liking a post on Facebook, or up-voting a comment on Reddit, they are seeing what it looks like when their vote makes an immediate difference. Compared with these digital plebiscites, the work of the United States government seems sluggish, outmoded, and shockingly unresponsive”
“Ms. Nelson also suggests being aware of the three areas to measure and evaluate a functional friendship. The first area is positivity: laughter, affirmation, gratitude and any acts of service. The second is consistency, or having interactions on a continual basis, which makes people feel safe and close to each other. The third is vulnerability, which is the revealing and the sharing of our lives.”
"Roberts broke nearly 1,000 people down into four groups based on how much of their diet came from carbohydrates. The group that ate the most carbs had an 80 percent higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment—a pit stop on the way to dementia—than those who ate the smallest amount of carbs."
"Set aside the debate over illegal immigration for a moment and think long and hard about what it means when government agents start demanding that people show their papers on penalty of arrest.
The problem with allowing government agents to demand identification from anyone they suspect might be an illegal immigrant—the current scheme being employed by the Trump administration to ferret out and cleanse the country of illegal immigrants—is that it lays the groundwork for a society in which you are required to identify yourself to any government worker who demands it."
"Periods of time that look impossibly long at their start look ever smaller when looking back. This is certainly frightening, but it’s also amazing. When I regularly focus on something – even in short increments – the time I’ve spent adds up faster than than seems possible."
"It’s much more difficult to say what districts should look like, because reformers can disagree on what priorities should govern our political cartography. Should districts be drawn to be more compact? More conducive to competitive elections? More inclusive of underrepresented racial groups? Should they yield a mix of Democratic and Republican representatives that better matches the political makeup of a state? Could they even be drawn at random? These concepts can be difficult to define and often stand in tension with one another."
"The opioid scourge, here and elsewhere, has overwhelmed police and fire departments, hospitals, prosecutors, public defenders, courts, jails and the foster care system.
Most of all, though, it has upended families."
"The most effective forms of censorship today involve meddling with trust and attention, not muzzling speech itself. As a result, they don’t look much like the old forms of censorship at all.
These tactics usually don’t break any laws or set off any First Amendment alarm bells. But they all serve the same purpose that the old forms of censorship did: They are the best available tools to stop ideas from spreading and gaining purchase."
“Bitcoin losing its lead makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is that Bitcoin still has a lead at all and that it still has so many proponents. In terms of actual utility, Bitcoin is inferior in almost every way to several other cryptocurrencies, most dramatically Ethereum”
“A system of this sort—one that produces and exalts generations of hopeless soldiers—requires millions of individual lies and necessitates discarding inconvenient truths.”
An interesting list of why "everything"—tools, inventions, ideas—wasn't created faster and sooner than it was.
"Neither Conway nor Trump himself nor his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — the effective head of the campaign — wavered in their certainty: Their unexpected adventure would soon be over. Not only would Trump not be president, almost everyone in the campaign agreed, he should probably not be. Conveniently, the former conviction meant nobody had to deal with the latter issue."
"The question is: Which coin wins in the end in terms of market adoption, and by inference, market value over the next 12–24 months. If it’s based on the current network effect, Bitcoin will win hands down. If Bitcoin Cash’s philosophy proves to be superior and it can build a bigger network by attracting the businesses than can no longer run on Bitcoin due to high fees, even while sacrificing some areas of centralization, then it has a chance of building the bigger network effect and having a higher coin price as a result."
“But you have to think about the universe of cryptoassets in terms of probabilities, and today, bitcoin cash seems relatively undervalued based on my personal probability estimate (20%) that it takes the mantle from bitcoin as the industry’s dominant cryptocurrency.”
"However as we shall see, small-game fallacies can sometimes arise even in the analysis of some very market-like institutions, such as "prediction markets."
"Since the costs of human ("wet") problems caused by the unreliability and insecurity of web servers running fiduciary code are often far higher than the extra hardware needed to run block chain code, when web server reliability and security falls short, as it often does for fiduciary computations such as payments and financial contracts, it will often make more sense to run that code on the block chain than to run it less reliably and securely on a web server."
Not surprising but pretty wild - the crazy tech behind addicting services
"The risk of war is greater than the public appreciates. There’s a complacency surrounding this crisis, which has been kicked down the road by several American presidents."