The future of Privacy Inc.

I'm somewhat pragmatic about how I view the privacy market, even though having a more hyperbolic view would be better for business. It's somewhat telling that, almost a decade after the Snowden revelations, consumers still find themselves having to ask the age-old question of "why should I give up Google when it makes my life so much easier?" This question is so front-of-mind that it is almost immediately posed on podcasts where the subject is a prominent privacy figure like Brendan Eich on Acqu...
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The tyranny of unsolvable problems

There is a certain liberation one feels when realizing that some, if not most, problems do not really have a solution. There is no "oddly satisfying" fit of a missing puzzle piece that is needed to make it all work. The problem may not even be difficult or intractable; it's simply that our mechanical, technical, analytical, and engineering minds are accustomed to thinking that problems can be solved. But in fact, most problems don't have a solution in the way you would want. I risk igniting one...
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Things I was wrong about

In Beauty, I wrote that if it weren't for my dad's first wife passing away and him remarrying to my now mother, I would have never come into existence. And I treated this occurrence as a special, interesting fact of existence. But actually, it's not that interesting at all. I've become sort of obsessed with cause and effect over the past few years, stemming from my fateful encounter with an injection of an MRI contrast agent that turned out to be a toxic heavy metal that imparts upon you a life...
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A theory of poop

Barbacoa, black beans, and corn. Yes, this had been a particularly smelly poop. Not mine, but my daughter’s, who fights every diaper change until she realizes this may actually help her move around more efficiently during her destructive walks about the house. The moment I opened her diaper, my neck snapped in the other direction, my nose instantly repulsed by what it had just whiffed. In that moment, I realized the extent of the simulation. Poop doesn’t have to smell repulsive. And a poopy smel...
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Beauty

My dad’s first wife passed away when their first son was only two years old. The idea of my brother having grown up without a mother is hard to think about. In looking at the mother of my own child, I see what a mother means to a child: everything. The thought of losing my wife, though it doesn’t wade through my mind too often, makes my heart quake, on my behalf and on my daughter’s. This thought crossed my mind today when baby and mother were playing. I’m so often preoccupied contemplating my ...
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Dreaming of Evolution

I have come upon a functional synthesis of life that seems to do a good job of resolving the million factors and objections swirling about my mind. The Darwinian (or more accurately neo-Darwinian) view of life has never fully felt at home in my mind. I accepted it reluctantly but kept one eye open. I crossed paths with a book titled Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer who compellingly argues against Darwinism. He is not the first to do so, but is part of a collection of biologists and academics th...
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Nearer to the truth

I’m unimpressed by space. This sentiment for me is about five days old. I’ll explain that later. For now, the religion of scientism today celebrated releases of new telescope images of deep space, and everyone is performing the act of losing their minds. The truth is, space is not that practically interesting, nor ultimately that impressive. What’s not empty are just celestial bodies performing big body physics. What’s most mind blowing about space is its mere vastness and age, but I can entert...
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In Random we trust

There is no word that has caused me more tangible angst and metaphysical suffering than “random.” What an absolute disaster of a word. That we let these six letters permeate and dominate our most important scientific principles is a travesty of galactic proportions. Random is a word scientists use when they really, desperately need a theory to work, but cannot fill in that Great Gap. So they go with random, and receive a standing ovation from the rest of the circlejerk. Of the most important si...
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Battle cry

What’s left for us? There is a narrative vacuum for those who seek comfort, but I cannot imagine any future narrative that is anything similar to those of the past. Past narratives have always concerned themselves with a supernatural being who if not orchestrates then at the very least overlooks. But scientism precludes the supernatural. How does anyone cope with personal calamity these days? Seriously—what is the framework for suffering offered to earthlings today? What shall I pass on to my ...
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Simulation Overflow: The Runtime

The universe is described as having went from a state of nothing to being everything in a trillionth of a second. You know what else has that property? Software programs. Software programs go from a state of absolute nothingness to a state of infinite proliferation every time they are turned on. And what is software—like us—but an animation of electricity into different patterns and formations? In thinking about the nature of our existence in the past, I had imagined that our simulation was co...
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A thousand signs

Outside the place where I lived many years ago in the bustling city was a one-way, dimly-lit side street, branching from the busy road and into the quiet neighborhood. The parking on the street was unpermitted and unassigned, but when I’d walk my dog at night, I’d see the same cars nestling in their usual spot. One of the cars was a small pickup truck with a large caged wagon attached for collecting metals and scraps. The neighborhood was new and old. Of the old was really old; the red-brick bu...
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The great external

One thing religion does well is externalize blame. Why are you poor/sick/alone? Because god deemed it so. Even more, he may have a special plan for you. This framework of externalizing cause and effect to a third party seems an important dependency of the human process, given its relentless survival against all odds and reason. It is a core human process, because we understand our powerlessness to change most things beyond our diet and morning routine. If it takes believing for god to exist and...
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Science client

I wrote a post last week about a concept of freedom which I later deleted. It was too obvious, direct, basic, simple, and I felt dirty afterwards. I like participating in current political trends sometimes with friends, but definitely try to avoid it on the internet. A friend once told me that if you find yourself arguing the same national talking points as everyone else, you’re too plugged in. Someone living their own life in their own world would hardly have any clue what the current trendy de...
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The Metaverse

Facebook has recently market-rebranded as a “metaverse” company. Ostensibly because they are a VR company, and there is supposed to be an implicit connection between VR and the metaverse. But the metaverse is not waiting to be built. It’s already here. Perhaps influenced by Ready Player One, there is this idea that the metaverse must be in 3D, and can only be experienced in high-fidelity VR. This is nonsense. The metaverse is more like a Pokédex than it is the actual fictional universe that Po...
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There is no team

I’ve come to learn there is no such thing as a “team”. Only very productive individuals. You can’t take a group of average individuals, make a team out of them, and produce above-average results. In fact work quality and efficiency decrease with team size. The most productive unit is the individual. This is a sort of anticlimactic realization for me. Back when I worked on Standard Notes solo, I had always been mystified by how large teams operate and produce. How did companies like Apple, with ...
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Simulation Overflow: Intervention

In previous posts on simulation theory, I had written with full certainty that our simulation was based on non-interventionist principles. That once a simulation was created, the simulator would not dare interfere in its rote operation as not to taint its outcomes, so that the simulator can observe what interesting results become of each unique fork of a simulation. I had also surmised that the purpose of a simulator creating simulations is for its own intellectual amusement. I want to make cle...
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Science™

Some thoughts on science that deeply conflict me: Science largely does not exist at the scale it does today without capital. Science is funded. There is always a money trail. Take away the capital, and the only science being conducted is in high school chemistry classes. Medicinal science is largely built on the homicidal tenet of when “the benefit outweighs the risk.” The risk is presented (but most times not) to you as a percentage: 1% of people who take this drug may experience a serious, n...
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Oscillation

Left versus right is a game of oscillation. The oscillation between the two poles creates heat. The heat creates movement. The generation of heat, on a societal scale, is difficult and not meant to be easy. It also needs to be a complete game. Each side wants to win, and each side must feel everything is at stake. Consider were it not this way: maybe you could get lazy, notice you are playing the game, and get away with attempting to generate the minimum heat possible. So when the heatball is...
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Simulation Overflow: Part 2

In Part 1, we established what motives a potential thing running our simulation could have from a universe-sized perspective. We mentioned a thing could be running many simulations, like jars on a shelf. Assuming there was a purpose of running multiple simulations, what could the thing be solving for? I would assume the thing had initially run simulations that resulted in fancy arrangements of planetary matter, and was awed at the results, but one thing-day a specific simulation developed some...
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Techno conservatism

It’s bleak and rainy outside. I woke up earlier than usual this morning, and even before I saw what it looked like outside, my insides matched. So it’s the perfect day to write a rage piece against the bewildering behavior of what I can only describe as techno-conservatism, whose followers seem to absolutely loathe any sort of movement or innovation in the space. Have you seen the comment threads in Hacker News on articles about Signal’s new crypto payments feature? Every single one of them a la...
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How does Naval speak so eloquently?

Have you ever heard Naval speak? He’s been on various podcasts, like Joe Rogan’s and Tim Ferris’. He oozes eloquence. Every sentence he speaks is brand new. Every analogy and metaphor a drop of revelation. I’m not sure if prophets are still made today in the post-Information Age, but he’s one for the ages. It’s not that he’ll just drop one-off quotables during the course of an interview. No—every sentence he speaks is something that twists your mind. Wow, you think—I didn’t know you could do tha...
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Rarity is extremely uncommon

With all the perpetual hype around cryptocurrencies and recent hype around non-fungible tokens, it can be easy to forget just how uncommon rarity is. Try this exercise: Look around you, or outside your window, and point to any object and ask, “is this rare?” The answer will almost certainly 100% be “No.” The tree outside my house — not rare. The bushes by the trees — unique, but not rare. The brick my house is made of — not rare. The gravel on the road — not rare. The ceramic my coffee cup is ...
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The Kids Choose

If you haven’t been following lately, there’s a newly relevant form of digital scarcity called NFTs that are selling for thousands of dollars, sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars. NFTs are rare collectibles, whether they be digital artworks, music, memes, or domains. In most cases NFTs are just a smart contract application built on top of Ethereum, where each collectible series is its own smart contract. Hashmasks are one example. There are a total of 16,384 unique digital items, and...
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The Bitcoin Story

According to Hacker News, Bitcoin has many problems, and therefore, is not merit-worthy: “Transactions are slow and expensive" "It lacks a lot of the controls that traditional banks have for good reasons, so fraud becomes harder to tackle” “I just wanted internet money, not a speculative financial instrument.” "This volatility is why it will never be a useful currency.” By this same logic, email should also not have succeeded: Email is slow, heavy, and uses largely outdated technologies It...
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On the Epic side of history

Imagine a natural road spontaneously forms between point A and point B, and that as a consequence of this road, individuals suddenly wake up to the importance of point B, and of traveling there. Companies had first ignored point B altogether, but because the overwhelming majority of individuals now travel this road, these companies must now begin meeting individuals where they are: at point B. If they don’t, they will perish. But then comes along a wonderful invention: a road between point A an...
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A total hoax

A friend of mine, whose intellectual opinion I admire, recently told me that he believes the coronavirus is a hoax. Completely fictional. Doesn’t even exist. I said, lolwut? That this virus could be completely fabricated had never remotely crossed my mind to be in the realm of possibility. But, this friend of mine had been right about other complex topics in the past. So I lent him my ear. The idea is that the virus, and the subsequent lockdown, is cementing power into the hands of a few organi...
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Bullshit opinions

If a friend describes to you some weird random physical pain they’re experiencing, probably the best thing you can say to them is, “you’ll be fine.” It’ll pass. In most cases this ends up being true. But imagine making a “spiritual” symptom checker website where the result for every input is “you’ll be fine” (rather than the present “you have cancer” minefield). You’d get harassed and bullied mercilessly for reckless endangerment. The difference between the friend and the internet is that on t...
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Simulation overflow

Quantum is the proof that we’re in a simulation. That there is a dimension beyond our own, by which our own physical rules and laws do not operate. Entangled particles bypass the light speed limitation because their state is reconciled externally. We only see the resulting particle flips. Not the computation, like what other particles to affect in the global counter. If a hundred-trillion light year wide simulation existed on a hard drive, the simulated particles are very far apart, but only i...
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A year of pain, and some growth

2019 has been a strange year. In April, I underwent a retrospectively unnecessary surgery that caused me to suffer a level of physical and emotional pain, lasting more than six months, than I had ever experienced before. I went from being unrelentingly focused and productive, to not being able to summon the will to write a single line of code. I don’t want to give this excruciating experience any credit for where I have ended up today, so I will treat the resulting occurrences as purely incident...
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The imagined world

An idea is a story. A story about how the world could be. Great ideas are often described as having an almost ethereal source. Beyond the mind—as if the mind were a receiver, and not a generator. Some people think, I’m not an ideas person. They just don’t come to me. But, and apparently like every other damned thing in this world, ideas appear to be nothing more than stories. They fictionalize the present, and imagine what an alternative could look like. You don’t have an idea for an app, or a ...
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