Trading Tuitions

An Overview of Arizona Primary Races - Part 4: Legislative Districts 11-20

Welcome back to my omnibus compendium of Arizona’s upcoming primary races in the style of my 2018 summaries. The primary is set to take place August 4th – early voting ballots should have been mailed out on or around July 8th.
Arizona’s a really interesting state (I may be a hair biased), since it not only is home to 2-3 swing House seats and a high-profile Senate race, but also tenuous majorities in both state houses that could – theoretically – neuter Ducey’s trifecta this fall. And counties have their races this year as well, so I’ve highlighted some of the fireworks ongoing in Maricopa.
And this is before factoring in the fact that our state is a COVID-19 hotspot, with an unpopular Republican Governor doing almost nothing to stop it.
If you’re interested about which district you live in, check https://azredistricting.org/districtlocato. If you want to get involved with your local Democratic party, find your legislative district on the previous link (NOT CD), and then search for your LD’s name at this link. Feel free to attend meetings, they’re a great way to get involved with candidates and like-minded individuals.
If you wish to donate to a “clean elections” candidate (mentioned in the post as “clean”), you will have to live in that candidate’s legislative district to give qualifying $5 contributions (check here if anyone needs it in your area), but they are allowed to accept a limited amount of “seed money” from people outside of the district. The three CorpComm candidates can take $5’s statewide.
If you do not want to vote at the polls, you will need to request an early ballot using the website of your county’s recorder prior to July 4th. Example links for Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal. Others available if needed.
Race ratings for listed primaries will be listed as Safe/Likely/Leans/Tilt/Tossup (alternatively Solid instead of Safe if my mind blanks) and are not indicative of my own preference for that seat. I’ll denote my personal primary preferences at the end of this series, as well as the best Republican ticket for the Dems if someone here really really wants to pull a GOP ballot in the primary. I do not advise it, but since I can't stop ya, you'll get my best suggestions.
Write-in candidates have yet to file, which could give us an outside chance at getting some Libertarians on the ballot (the Greens have lost their ballot access).
If you have any questions about voting in the primary, which races are the most contested, and how to get involved with other Democrats in Arizona, feel free to PM me.
All fundraising numbers here are as of 7/18/2020 (“Q2”).
District stats are listed for the race that involved the top Democratic vote-getter in the past two midterm cycles plus the last two presidential races, taken from Daily Kos’s legislative sheet – Clinton’16, Obama’12, Sinema’18, and Garcia’14 (not his 2018 run).
Part 1: Statewide and Congressional Races
Part 2: Maricopa County Races
Update 1: Congressional and County Rating Updates
Part 3: Legislative Districts 1-10
ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN SOLELY IN MY CAPACITY AS A VOTER IN ARIZONA, AND NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY ORGANIZATIONS I WORK/ED FOR OR AM/WAS A MEMBER OF. THIS POST IS IN NO WAY ENDORSED BY THE ARIZONA DEMOCRATIC PARTY OR ANY SUB-ORGANIZATION THEREOF, OR ANY FILED CANDIDATE.
Alright, let’s get cracking, y’all. I’m going to try to save time and characters on the safer seats when I can, although of course I’ll expound on any fun stuff that comes up.
Legislative District 11 (McSally+9.93, Trump+13.9, Douglas+16.7, Romney+19.3)
The first district in this writeup installment is LD11, a district very close geographically and politically to LD8. Unlike LD8, however, LD11 has slowly been trending towards Democrats, instead of away from them. Encompassing the southern half of Pinal (including a large chunk of Casa Grande) and bits of Pima, LD11 could swing under the right conditions, but is probably a safe seat this year. That’s disappointing, since the incumbents in the district are pretty darn nasty.
Incumbent Senator Venden “Vince” Leach ($98K COH), a sort-of Great Value Mitch McConnell, loves to spend his time filing SB1487 complaints against various liberal towns in Arizona – basically, suing cities over their attempts to go above and beyond state law when it comes to certain issues. Leach leads the SB1487 leaderboard with 4 SB1487 suits, most recently targeting Pima County over COVID-19 safety regulations that were slightly stricter than state law. Joining the suit were his House counterparts, COVID-19 conspiracy-monger Bret Roberts ($22.4K COH) and actual goddamn Oathkeeper and Charlottesville truther Mark Finchem ($27K COH).
Facing Finchem and Roberts is the Democratic House nominee for LD11, Dr. Felipe Perez ($24.2K COH). Perez has made few waves online and I haven’t seen him even in the same tier of candidates as Girard in LD8, so he’s probably not going to supercharge this district into Dem. territory. But given the spike in public approval for the healthcare industry due to COVID, he may get lucky. On the Senate side, Leach’s opponent will be one of retired public administrator Linda Patterson ($4.7K COH, Clean) and Marine drill instructor Joanna Mendoza ($14.5K COH). Anything could happen between now and August, but Mendoza currently has a significant organizational, political (endorsements) and fiscal advantage over Patterson, and will probably be the nominee come August.
A well-run race could feasibly knock out Finchem or Roberts, but I’ve yet to see that happen. Still, it’s far out enough that I’m not going to slam the door shut on a Perez win just yet.
hunter15991 Rating: GOP primary unopposed, Safe Mendoza, Perez unopposed, Safe Leach, Safe Roberts, Likely Finchem general
Legislative District 12 (McSally+17.19, Trump+24.5, Douglas+17.84, Romney+33.35)
Really not going to focus much on this district to save space, as it’s a snoozefest. House Majority Leader Warren Petersen ($84.8K COH) is running for Senate to replace outgoing Sen. Eddie Farnsworth. Petersen faces Haitian DREAMer. former teacher, and 2018 LD-12 House nominee Lynsey Robinson ($1.4K COH). Robinson’s a great person, but lost her House race against Petersen by the 1v1 equivalent of 20 points, and shows no sign of knocking him off this time around.
Petersen’s runningmates, Rep. Travis Grantham ($39K COH) and Queen Creek Councilman Jake Hoffman ($107.7K COH) are unopposed in both the primary and general.
hunter15991 Rating: Primaries all unopposed, Safe Petersen general, GOP House unopposed
Legislative District 13 (McSally+21.59, Trump+26.96, Douglas+26.22, Romney+31.62)
Moving on to another Safe GOP district with not much activity – LD13! Stretching from the whiter Yuma neighborhoods all the way to Phoenix exurbs in Maricopa County (and the mirror image of LD4 to its south), LD13 routinely sends Republican slates to the legislature. This year, incumbents Sen. Sine Kerr ($58.5K COH), Rep. Tim Dunn ($60.4K COH), and Rep. Joanne Osborne ($15K COH) are all fighting to hold their seats.
Kerr is unopposed in both the primary and general, while Dunn and Osborne are in the opposite situation – they’ve got two elections between now and inauguration day. Democratic paralegal Mariana Sandoval ($3.1K COH, Clean) will put up little resistance for the GOP in the general, but the entrance of former Senator and former Speaker Pro Tem Steve Montenegro ($27.8K COH) could really shake up the LD13 House primary. Montenegro, a Salvadoran-American legislator who resigned his Senate seat to run for the CD-8 special election primary (he placed 3rd, ultimately losing to then-Sen. Debbie Lesko), was a rising star in the AZ-GOP before his resignation and contemporaneous sexting scandal. This Senate run could be a good way for him to get his foot back in the door, and since his election would single-handedly double the amount of non-white Republicans in the legislator, I would figure that some Arizona Republicans are excited that Montenegro is throwing his hat back into the ring.
I haven’t seen much about this primary online, but there’s vague general on GOP pages dinging Montenegro for his ties to a 2016 National Popular Vote bill in the legislature, which is a big purity sticking point for the further-right members of the Arizona GOP. That being said, the chatter is vague at best, and Montenegro has enough conservative cred (with endorsements from people like Joe Arpaio and former Rep. Trent Franks back during his special election run) that he will primarily face issues over the sexting scandal.
I’ll give Osborne and Dunn a slight advantage over their incumbency, financial well-being, and the issues in Montenegro’s closet, but this is a really tight race and Montenegro could very well end up back in the legislature this time next year.
hunter15991 Rating: Dem. unopposed, Kerr unopposed, Tilt Osborne, Tilt Dunn, All Safe GOP general
Legislative District 14 (McSally+23.83, Trump+26.24, Douglas+22.88, Romney+26.84)
This is yet another district where Democrats stand no real chance in competing this year, and haven’t in quite some time. Situated in SE Arizona, LD14 once incorporated some ancestrally Democratic mining towns in Greenlee and Graham County, but they’ve grown red enough in the past couple of decades that this district is now held by three GOP legislators.
Former House Speaker and current Sen. David Gowan ($60.9K COH) (who was previously in the news for trying to use a state vehicle to assist in a failed Congressional campaign) faces realtor Bob Karp ($12.9K COH, Clean) in the general, while House incumbents Rep. Gail “Tax porn to build the wall” Griffin ($50.5K COH) and Rep. Becky Nutt ($47.4K COH) face retired union activist Ronnie Maestas-Condos ($686 COH, Clean) and teacher Kim Beach-Moschetti ($13K COH, Clean). All 3 races will probably be easy GOP wins.
hunter15991 Rating: Candidates unopposed in primaries, All Safe GOP general
Legislative District 15 (McSally+8.01, Trump+16.61, Douglas+11.06, Romney+25.44)
LD15, up in Northern Scottsdale and Phoenix, is one of the final frontiers of suburban expansion for Arizona Democrats, along with the Mormon suburbs of the far East Valley (LD12, 16, and 25). A very wealthy area, LD15 has routinely been a GOP stronghold – but their hold on the area has been dissipating steadily rapidly in the Trump era. In 2018, two Dem. House candidates both managed to outperform the “single-shot” performance of a 2016 candidate, and Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko ($48.6K COH, hereafter “KDP”) improved on the district’s 2016 State Senate margin by several points despite facing a significantly more difficult opponent than the 2016 Democrat.
KDP is running again this year, as a single-shot candidate for the State House. Her opponents have yet to be set in stone, as both GOP Representatives are vacating their seats to run for higher office, and there are three GOP candidates in the August primary vying for two nominations. Veteran Steve Kaiser ($13.6K COH) and State House policy adviser Justin Wilmeth ($16K COH, $5.2K self-funded) are the nominal establishment picks for both seats, and have been endorsed by a whole host of GOP legislators. However, they face stiff competition from businessman Jarret Hamstreet ($23.2K COH, $10K self-funded), who boasts endorsements from GOP power-players like the local Chamber of Commerce and the NRA, as well as tacit support from the incumbent Senator in the district Heather Carter ($101.2K COH) (somewhat of an Arizona Lisa Murkowski). I’ve been able to find very little chatter on the race, but with Hamstreet’s significant fundraising advantage I definitely think he secures one of the two nominations this November. While the district is still quite red, KDP is no spring chicken, and facing Kasier, Hamstreet, or Wilmeth will be a lot easier than her run against Carter in 2018.
If I’m going to be honest, it is the GOP Senate primary that is almost as important as the House general election. Heather Carter has gotten on the bad side of quite a few conservative legislators during her tenure in the Senate, holding up GOP budgets with her partner in crime Paul Boyer in 2019 over a stalled child sexual assault statute of limitations bill and this year over an amendment to give additional funding to firefighters for PPE and to students for tuition support.
That amendment failed 15-15 thanks to one Kate Brophy McGee - more on her later.
Carter’s actual attempts at moderation (as opposed to McGee’s performative bullshit) has inspired current State Rep. Nancy Barto ($9.9K COH) to challenge her for the Senate. Barto has the support of both Kaiser and Wilmeth (as well as most of the GOP establishment) but has been routinely lagging behind Carter in fundraising (both in terms of current COH and overall amount raised). Carter has been bringing in more “moderate” and pro-public education GOP volunteers from all over Phoenix and is sure to put up a fight in August. As it stands, I think she narrowly pulls it off. There is no Democratic Senate opponent in the general, so winning the primary automatically wins the seat.
If you’ve got GOP friends in AZ who just can’t bare phonebanking for Democratic candidates but complain about the state of the Republican party, send them her way.
Carter has beliefs. Barto has none.
Slate totals:
  • CarteHamstreet: $124.4K
  • KDP: $48.6K
  • Barto coalition (KaiseWilmeth/Barto): $40.5K
hunter15991 Rating: Dem. unopposed, Tilt Carter, Lean Hamstreet, Tilt Kaiser, GOP Sen. unopposed in general, Likely Hamstreet, 2nd GOP unopposed
Legislative District 16 (McSally+17.58, Trump+28.37, Douglas+17, Romney+28.11)
LD16, out on the border between Pinal and Maricopa County, is probably the reddest district in Arizona that could still be relatively considered “suburban”. The only Democratic candidate is write-in House candidate Rev. Helen Hunter ($783 COH), and while her background is stellar (incl. past work with the NAACP, Mesa PD’s Use of Force Committee, and other community involvement), there isn’t even a guarantee she’ll make it onto the November ballot.
Meanwhile, Rep. Kelly Townsend ($15.5K COH) has tired of the State House (just like she tired of her furry fursona, and is running unopposed for State Senate.
The real drama, therefore, is in the GOP State House primary to win Townsend’s old seat. Incumbent Rep. John Fillmore ($12.9K COH) is running for another term, and seems set to win one of the two nominations. Townsend’s former seat is contested by respiratory therapist Liza Godzich ($14.6K COH) (who wins the “most moderate” title by default by virtue of taking COVID kinda seriously), CorpComm policy advisor Jacqueline Parker ($16.4K COH), and school choice activist/general lunatic Forest Moriarty ($17.7K COH).
Moriarty has the valuable Townsend endorsement, but has not been able to consolidate support easily elsewhere – Parker’s CorpComm ties let her bring quite a few assets of her own to bear, as well as endorsements from Congressman Andy Biggs and the NRA.
This election will be a test of Townsend’s downballot coattails, as well as those of the school choice movement in AZ parlaying any support they may have into legislative results. Success for Moriarty here could go as far as inspiring Townsend to run for Governor. We’ll see if it comes to that.
hunter15991 Rating: No Dem. filed (pending write-in), Townsend unopposed, Lean Fillmore, Tossup ParkeMoriarty, GOP unopposed in general
Legislative District 17 (Sinema+3.53, Trump+4.09, Douglas+3.12, Romney+14.16)
One of the reasons I significantly delayed writing these writeups was because I was dreading writing about LD17. Not to doxx myself completely, but in 2018 I had far too many negative encounters with the incumbent Democratic Representative, Jennifer Pawlik ($101.3K COH) that made me routinely question my support of her. I’m still trying to heal the wounds in multiple relationships I have with friends that were caused by Pawlik’s actions.
I deeply regret ever lifting a finger to help her when I had opportunities in other districts. But because her actions never got physical, because the stakes are so high this year, and because too much unsubstantiated negative talk about a candidate can get a post deleted - I don’t wish to publicly expound on her actions (nor put words in the mouth of other people who interacted with her). Feel free to PM if interested.
Pawlik as a candidate is a grab-bag. On paper she’d be a strong option for a suburban district – a teacher and education funding activist with a prior win during the 2018 wave. However, behind the scenes she is quite a poor campaigner in ways that directly impact Democratic candidates’ odds and presences in the district, including her own - which makes me more apprehensive of her odds of re-election than her fellow Jennifer in HD18 (Rep. Jennifer Jermaine), who’s quite similar to Pawlik on the whole.
Pawlik’s Senate runningmate this year is local businessman and first-generation American Ajlan “AJ” Kurdoglu ($51.5K COH). AJ’s a good guy and more serious of a campaigner than Pawlik, and is on well enough terms with her that no inter-candidate drama will probably happen this fall (which would be a welcome change for the district). He’s been slightly outpacing her in fundraising and seems to be hitting the ground running.
The Republican incumbents in this district are Sen. JD Mesnard ($102.6K COH), who moonlights as legal counsel for an organization categorized as a hate group by the SPLC, and Jeff Wenninger ($117.8K COH), a backbench Bitcoin bro. Wenninger and Mesnard have both been in their seats for a while, and this cycle were backing Chandler Vice Mayor (and JD Mesnard’s mom) Nora Ellen for the other State House seat – Ellen lost to Pawlik in 2018.
But in a stroke of luck for Pawlik, Ellen failed to qualify for the ballot this year. However, in a similar stroke of luck for the GOP Liz Harris ($27.3K COH, $21.3K self-funded) - a local realtor (like Ellen) - did qualify. I’ve yet to discern just how close she is with Mesnard and Wenninger, and how much cash she is willing to dump into this race, but in terms of how random non-GOP establishment candidates the LD17 Republicans could have done far worse than Harris.
All the pieces in this district would point to a shift even further left than it was in 2018, and had I not known what I know about Pawlik this would be a Tilt D House/Tossup Senate. But I don’t know if she’s changed since 2018 - and if she hasn’t, there is no guarantee that she won’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
hunter15991 Rating: Primaries uncontested, Tilt Mesnard, Tossup House (Pawlik/Harris), Safe Wenninger
Legislative District 18 (Sinema+18.58, Clinton+10.39, Garcia+12.5, Romney+1.93)
Like LD10 in the previous part of my writeup, the situation in LD18 is another blast of the proverbial Gjallarhorn for the AZ-GOP’s suburban chances. Once a very competitive district (fully red as recently as 2016), LD18 is now held by 3 Democrats – Sen. Sean Bowie ($106.3K COH), Rep. Jennifer Jermaine ($65.7K COH), and Rep. Mitzi Epstein ($60.8K COH). Bowie and Epstein have carved rather moderate paths in their respective houses having been elected back when this district was more competitive, while Jermaine’s tacked a bit more to the left, and has been a prominent voice for increasing education funding (prior to running for the State House she was a public school funding activist and IIRC Moms Demand Action member) and for missing indigenous women (Jermaine is part indigenous herself).
The GOP’s troubles in this district started around the filing deadline, when one of their candidates, Alyssa Shearer, withdrew from the primary. Super anti-abortion nut Don Hawker ($619 COH) filed as a write-in candidate to replace her, but it’s uncertain if he’ll qualify for the general election. Their other House candidate, Bob Robson ($11K COH) is on paper a solid candidate (being a former Speaker Pro Tem of the state house), but lost by the equivalent of 6% to Epstein in 2016 and by 19% when he ran for Kyrene Justice of the Peace (a district that roughly matches the boundaries of LD18. Robson’s an old warhorse) - going 0 for 2 since 2014. It’s a sign of the times that he and discount Scott Roeder are the two potential House candidates for the GOP in this district.
In the Senate, the GOP doesn’t fare much better. Real estate agent Suzanne Sharer ($4.2K COH) is trying to run a semblance of a decent race against Sen. Bowie, but keeps using her campaign Twitter (@blondeandsmart – I promise you that’s a real handle) to retweet QAnon shit. Sharer is going nowhere in November. That’s if she makes it to November, given her past retweets advocating for people to drink bleach to cure COVID.
hunter15991 Rating: Primaries uncontested, All Safe Dem. general
Legislative District 19 (Sinema+44.97, Clinton+40.25, Garcia+32.38, Obama+34.3)
LD19 is a safe Democratic district in the West Valley, where all the drama is happening in the primary. Rep. Lorenzo Sierra ($9.3K COH) and Rep. Diego Espinoza ($25.2K COH) are both running for re-election, defending their seats against challenger Leezah Sun ($5.1K COH), a local activist. Sierra and Espinoza haven’t been particularly conservative in their voting records in the legislator, but have taken some flack from the more progressive wing of the party lately for outside corporate expenditures in this primary. I’m honestly unsure why these PACs are weighing in given that Sun isn’t running all that good of a campaign, but I guess better spend it here than in tighter primaries. Assistant State Minority Leader Lupe Contreras ($7.2K COH) is unopposed in his primary.
In the general, there’s one GOP candidate for both House and Senate, but both are write-ins and could possibly not qualify for the ballot. For now, Democrats are unopposed in this district in the general.
hunter15991 Contreras uncontested, Safe Sierra, Safe Espinoza, Uncontested Dem. general
Legislative District 20 (Sinema+3.7, Trump+8.01, Douglas+0.04, Romney+12.87)
LD20 is another suburban district where Democrats could see sizable gains this fall. Won by Sinema and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, and almost snagged by David Garcia during the 2014 Superintendent race, LD20 has been on the Arizona Democratic Party’s mind for a few cycles now. Their candidates this year are strong – 2018 Senate nominee Doug Ervin ($94.6K COH) has filed for a rematch after losing by 4 in 2018 (where an independent ex-GOP candidate took 7% - Ervin claims Quelland actually hurt him more than district Republicans), and retired teacher Judy Schweibert ($158.2K COH) is running for House. Both are running bang-up campaigns and seem set to make November a problem for local Republicans, and Ervin has eschewed the public funding he took last time in order to be able to fundraise better for the slugfest ahead.
The local GOP, however, isn’t taking this lying down. Representatives Shawnna Bolick ($161.8K COH) - who was almost bumped off the ballot for using a PO Box as her filing address - and Anthony Kern ($73.4K COH) - an ex-cop on the Brady “untrustworthy cop” list - have been building their warchests in preparation for this cycle after narrowly hanging on in 2018 (despite both Democrats in that race running with public funding). While Bolick has typically stayed out of especially heinous controversy on social media (despite once posting that all masks come from Wuhan and are thus contaminated with COVID), Kern’s time on the force seems to have stuck with him, and his Twitter feed is full of a lot of pro-cop posts and whatnot. With Schweibert running as a single-shot candidate this year I can see Kern’s tendency of accidentally discharging his foot into his mouth finally coming back to bite him.
On the Senate side the past election results are slightly more promising than the House, but the opponent is tougher as well. Sen. Paul Boyer ($50.5K COH) is probably the closest there is to a living John McCain in the Arizona Legislature (not to deify him too much – he’s still conservative), having blocked two GOP budgets in the past two years along with Sen. Heather Carter (see LD15). In 2019 this was over a child sexual assault reform bill (extending the statute of limitations), and in 2020 this was over a lack of funding to firefighters and university students in the emergency “skinny” COVID budget the legislature passed in the spring. His attempts at moderation are visible outside of that: Boyer’s abysmal Q2 fundraising – per his own words – came from not fundraising at all during the 5 month long legislative session despite campaign finance rules only banning lobbyist contributions during the session (and I guess that’s commendable self-policing), and on his website he stops just short of calling for abortion to be banned, which makes him Margaret fucking Sanger among the current AZ-GOP.
That’s not to say that people shouldn’t support Ervin with all it takes – hell, if anything he’ll need more help to oust Boyer. Ultimately I think Ervin holds a narrow lead in this race with the absence of Quelland and with far better fundraising than what the LD20 slate had last year, but the election is still quite far away. If I had to pick one Democrat to win in this district, it’d be Schweibert.
hunter15991 Rating: Primaries uncontested, Tilt Ervin, Tilt Schweibert, 2nd House uncontested
submitted by hunter15991 to VoteDEM [link] [comments]

IamA High School drop out that had a million dollar bet with his parents that if I made a million before I'm 18. I did not have to go to college! I won! AMA!

Hello Reddit!
You may have seen me at the top of /technology the other day and I got a lot of messages telling me to do an IAMA about this article on CNBC so here I am!
So I made a bet with my parents that if I turned 18 and was a millionaire, my parents wouldn't force me to go to college. I’m proud to say I won that bet! Thanks to some clever investments, making money from projects, and as is the case with everyone who has any kind of success (or even failure) a little bit of luck.
Here’s the story of how it happened:
When I was 12 years old in May 2011, my older brother showed me this technology that I fell in love with and found fascinating. The technology was called Bitcoin.
At that stage in life I had a $1000 saved up, solely a gift from my Grandma to use for my scholarship fund. It did not go to my scholarship fund. I asked my brother to help me put it into Bitcoin at $12 because I knew it would be huge in someway. At that point I had about a 100 bitcoins.
I continued to do ‘day trading’ buying low and selling high over the coming years as well and reinvesting the money.
Fast forward to when I was 14 in high school I was not enjoying school. I was in a small town in Idaho living on a llama farm. So the quality of the school system, was let’s say, not the highest grade. I found the classes to be boring, valuable to some people, but at least for me boring and teaching me in a way that didn’t make sense to me. Lessons that did not seem applicable in my life.
My teachers would constantly criticize people in the classroom. Especially me.
One teacher told me to drop out and work at McDonald's because that was all I would amount to for the rest of my life.
Another would force us to read other student’s grades out to the rest of the class to shame them for failing.
Another roasted me (me in particular) for the full hour of class. No teaching. It was literally the “Roast of Erik Finman”. Which now seems kind of funny actually but still very bad to do.
I went to a summer program to prepare me for the next year and found the best teacher ever in my life that changed my life who was from the UK. I got an A+ in advanced physics when I got a C- in basic physics the previous year.
With that knowledge. Since I didn’t have access to good teachers in my small town in Idaho. I wanted to fix it. So I learned how to code and created an educational website that would allow you to connect with Tutors/Teachers/Mentors online over video chat to teach you any subject you wanted to learn. You could search for Spanish. And find someone to teach you from Ecuador. You could type in programming and you’d find a CS college student that is trying to pay tuition by doing this on the side. Or a retired expert who is a veteran in his field that just wants to impart his knowledge onto others.
It became very popular in the local community! I told my teachers about it, but they did not like it because it felt like competition. Maybe they thought they might have to do better?
At this point I was 15 and this got some initial traction and I was using it to teach myself.
I asked my parents to let me drop out of High School to focus on this because I was miserable in school.
They agreed and were supportive, but they made a bet with me that I can drop out of High School, but I have to go to college if I don’t make a million dollars by the age 18.
I agreed and I dropped out of High School to work on this. A little bit after I dropped out of High School, and I had traction with my project. Bitcoin was shooting up! It was going big! $800! $900! $1000!!!!
So I sold a lot of my Bitcoins which resulted in me gaining a $100,000.
I used that money to put into my business so I could hire more professional programmers and I moved to Silicon Valley.
I even caught the attention of Alexis Ohanian of Reddit because his book at the time Without Their Permission is what got me started. He helped me in many ways!
Fast forward to early 2015. Eventually I found a buyer for the companies code & technology in January 2015. The investor offered either $100,000 or 300 bitcoin, which had dropped in value at that time to a little more than $200 a coin. I took the lower cash value bitcoin deal because I believed it was the next big thing and an official buyout would’ve been very difficult for someone under 18 and it was good tax planning to use Bitcoin. Also continuing to do day trading on a daily basis.
I used some of that money in the coming years to travel the world. Going to London, Dubai, Australia, and more!
I used that to start a VR company using crowdfunding and that did well. I shipped all those out. It was incredible!
Now I’m doing a satellite as part of a NASA award which is launching in November out of New Zealand! I'll probably do another post about this soon because it's so cool.
Elon Musk has always been hero of mine. He's such a talented guy changing the world with Tesla and SpaceX. I'm a great admirer of his and respect him immensely. He's the closest we have yet to a real life Iron Man. But who knows maybe I'll beat him one day haha ;-) After all we stand on the shoulders of giants right? haha that's a big goal though and I say it as such.
It’s been a fantastic few years! I’ve used that money to learn how to do a business, invest, and learn about the world! I didn’t do investing all the time and I used that money to build things that I thought were important! I haven’t done everything perfectly, no one has! I’ve made some humbling mistakes, but had lots of exciting successes! I’ve really launched my career in exciting ways and have met mentors that help me and advise me along the whole way! Which I’m so thankful for!
I’ve learned so much outside the education system and have been so much happier. Although I’m unique, I’ve met many many people that weren’t satisfied and unhappy — ranging from students with the lowest and highest GPAs. My GPA was a 2.1 in school!
And I’m happy I’m not going to College! College wasn’t for me but it was the ‘life path’ you are supposed to go on and I did not want to go nor felt it would’ve helped me too much in life — especially the $250,000 in debt! Or $249,000 with my scholarship fund if I had not used it on Bitcoin and my projects ;-)
I really believe the education system needs to be reformed and I think technology is the way to do that. I think it’s wonderful how society allows you to be a ‘student’ so that you can learn for many years and that’s your full time job. The infrastructure would just ideally be much better so you could do that without being in sometimes a bad environment and crippling debt.
I can say today that I own 403 bitcoins which is currently valued at $1,092,678.08 with the price per Bitcoin being at $2,711.36 plus some other money invested in other things. Can’t have all your eggs in one basket! So I won the bet!
If you have any questions let me know! And if you want any advice on cryptocurrency or your own educational route, or anything else let me know!
Also on reddit! People have made Pepe memes of me! I feel like I've finally made it: http://imgur.com/gallery/06dWK
If you want to keep updated with everything I’m doing! Follow me on twitter!
Proof:
Proof of the bet: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/erik-finman-botangle-after-100k-bitcoin-score-15-year-old-creates-startup/
Travel proof: http://imgur.com/a/kvlzR
Proof: I went through rigorous proof verification and fact checking with CNBC as you can see with this article. I keep my Bitcoin is super secure places spread out across multiple wallets across multiple machines. I'm so paranoid after all this media attention someone is going to steal it all! haha
Proof of growing up on the llama farm: http://imgur.com/gallery/6scF5 ---- ASK me about the time the llama came into my house!
Proof of the 100k initially made: http://mashable.com/2014/06/10/botangle/
Proof it's really me: http://imgur.com/a/zc3eu
Edit: Wow! Thanks for the gold guys!
Edit: Was on for the first few hours of the AMA and had a meeting to go to and I just came back now to see all these great questions! Questions I all have answers to! I will respond to them tomorrow as it's midnight here now.
Edit: That's it for me! A lot of great questions and a lot of great feedback.
submitted by erikfinman to IAmA [link] [comments]

Bi-Weekly Rational Feed

===Highly Recommended Articles:
Superintelligence Risk Project Update II by Jeff Kaufman - Jeff's thoughts and the sources he found most useful. Project is wrapping up in a few day. Topics: Technical Distance to AI. Most plausible scenarios of Superintelligence risk. OpenPhil's notes on how progress was potentially stalled in Cryonics and Nanotech.
Superintelligence Risk Project Update by Jeff Kaufman - Links to the three most informative readings on AI risk. Details on the large number of people Jeff has talked to. Three fundamental points of view on AI-Safety. Three Fundamental points of disagreement. An update on the original questions Jeff was trying to answer.
Podcast The World Needs Ai Researchers Heres How To Become One by 80,000 Hours - "OpenAI’s latest plans and research progress. Concrete Papers in AI Safety, which outlines five specific ways machine learning algorithms can act in dangerous ways their designers don’t intend - something OpenAI has to work to avoid. How listeners can best go about pursuing a career in machine learning and AI development themselves."
Radical Book Club The Decentralized Left by davidzhines (Status 451) - The nature of leftwing organizing and what righties can learn from it. An exposition of multiple books on radical left organization building. Major themes are "doing the work" and "decentralized leadership".
Study Of The Week To Remediate Or Not To Remediate by Freddie deBoer - Should low math proficiency students take remedial algebra or credit bearing statistics. The City University of New York ran an actual randomized study to test this. The study had pretty good controls. For example students were randomly assigned to three groups, participating professors taught one section of each group.
Kenneth Arrow On The Welfare Economics Of Medical Care A Critical Assessment by Artir (Nintil) - "Kenneth Arrow wrote a paper in 1963, Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. This paper tends to appear in debates regarding whether healthcare can be left to the market (like bread), or if it should feature heavy state involvement. Here I explain what the paper says, and to what extent it is true."
Becoming Stronger Together by b4yes (lesswrong) - "About a year ago, a secret rationalist group was founded. This is a report of what the group did during that year."
The Destruction Of American Cuisine by Small Truths - America used to have a tremendous number of regional cuisines, most are dead. They were killed by supermarkets and frozen food. This has been costly both in terms of culture and health (antibiotic resistance, crop monoculture risk)
===Scott:
Targeting Meritocracy by Scott Alexander - Education and merit are different. Programming is one of the last meritocracies, this lets disadvantaged people get into the field. If a job is high impact we want to hire on merit. The original, literal meaning of meritocracy is important.
Classified Thread 2 Best In Classified by Scott Alexander - Scott is promoting a project to accelerate the trend of rationalists living near each other. There are four houses available for rent near Ward Street in Berkeley. Ward street is currently the rationalist hub in the Bay. Commenters can advertise other projects and services.
Url Of Sandwich by Scott Alexander - Standard links post, somewhat longer than usual.
Opec Thread by Scott Alexander - Bi-weekly open thread. Update on Scott and Katja's travels. Salt Lake City Meetup highlight. Topher Brennan is running for Senate.
Can We Link Perception And Cognition by Scott Alexander - SSC survey optical illusions. "So there seems to be a picture where high rates of perceptual ambiguity are linked to being weirder and (sometimes, in a very weak statistical way) lower-functioning." Speculation about fundamental connections between perception and cognitive style. Ideas for further research.
Change Minds Or Drive Turnout by Scott Alexander - Extreme candidates lower turnout among their own party. Is base turnout really the only thing that matters? Lots of quotes from studies.
===Rationalist:
Learning From Past Experiences by mindlevelup - "This is about finding ways to quickly learn from past experiences to inform future actions. We briefly touch upon different learning models." Model-based and Model-Free reinforcement learning. Practical advice and examples.
How Long Has Civilization Been Going by Elo (BearLamp) - Human agricultural society is only 342-1000 generations old. "Or when you are 24 years old you have lived one day for every year humans have had written records." Human civilization is only a few hundred lifetimes old.
Choices Are Bad by Zvi Moshowitz - Choices reduce perceived value. Choices require time and energy. Making someone choose is imposing a real cost.
Erisology Of Self And Will: The Gulf by Everything Studies - "Part 4 will discuss some scientific disciplines with bearing on the self, and how their results are interpreted differently by the traditional paradigm vs. the scientific."
Philosophy Vs Duck Tests by Robin Hanson - Focusing on deep structure vs adding up weak cues. If it looks like an x... More discussion of whether most people will consider ems people and/or conscious.
Knowing How To Define by AellaGirl - "These are three ways in which a word can be ‘defined’ – the role it plays in the world around it (the up-definition), synonyms (lateral-definition), and the parts which construct the thing (down-definition)." Applications to morality and free-will.
Change Is Bad by Zvi Moshowitz - "Change space, like mind space, is deep and wide. Friendly change space isn’t quite to change space what friendly mind space is to mind space, but before you apply any filters of common sense, it’s remarkably close." A long list of conditions that mean change has lower expected value. Why we still need to make changes. Keep your eyes open.
Meditation Insights Suffering And Pleasure Are Intrinsically Bound Together by Kaj Sotala - The concrete goal of meditation is to train your peripheral awareness. Much suffering comes from false promises of pleasure. Procrastinating to play a videogame won't actually make you feel better. Temptation losses its power once you truly see the temptations for what they truly are.
Be My Neighbor by Katja Grace - Katja lives in a rationalist house on ward street in Berkeley and its great. The next step up is a rationalist neighborhood. Katja is promoting the same four houses as Scott. Be her neighbor?
What Value Subagents by G Gordan (Map and Territory) - Splitting the mind into subagents is a common rationalist model (links to Alicorn, Briene Yudkowsky, etc). However the author preferred model is a single process with inconsistent preferences. Freud. System 1 and System 2. The rider and the Elephant become one. Subagents as masks. Subagents as epicycles.
The Order Of The Soul by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - The philosophy of accepting things vs the impulse to reshape them. Many philosophical and psychological models split the soul into three. Internalized authority vs seeing the deep structure of moral reality. In some sense math is the easiest thing in the world to learn. School poisons the enjoyment of rational thought. Lockhart's lament. Feynman. Eichmann and thinking structurally.
Aliens Merely Sleeping by Tyler Cowen - The universe is currently too hot for artificial life to be productive. Advanced civilizations might be freezing themselves until the universe cools. "They could achieve up to 1030 times more than if done today" [short]
Book Reviews by Torello (lesswrong) - Rationalist Adjacent. Each book has an interesting 'ideas per page' rating. Homo Deus, Sapiens, Super-intelligence, Surfaces and Essences, What Technology Wants, Inside Jokes, A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind.
Geometers Scribes Structure Intelligence by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - "How does spatial reasoning lead to formal, logical reasoning?" Fluid and crystalized intelligence. Some history of Philosophy. How social dynamics lead to the evolution of reasoning. Talmudic and Western law, and their oddities. Universal Grammar and connecting with the divine. FizzBuzz.
High Dimensional Societies by Robin Hanson - In high dimensional space the distance between points varies less. What implications does this have for 'spatial' social science models (ex analogues of 1D spectrums and 2D graphs).
Feelings In The Map by Elo (BearLamp) - Confusion is not a property of the external world. The same holds for many emotions. Non-violent communication and speaking from your own perspective.
Lesswrong Is Not About Forum Software by enye-word (lesswrong) - The best way to increase activity on lesswrong is to get back the top posters, especially Scott and Eliezer.
Explication by mindlevelup - "This essay is about explication, the notion of making things specific. I give some examples involving Next Actions and systematization. This might also just be obvious to many people. Part of it is also a rehash of Act Into Uncertainty. Ultimately, explication is about changing yourself."
Concrete Instructions by Elo (BearLamp) - "The objective test of whether the description is concrete is whether the description can be followed by an anonymous person to produce the same experience." Some examples including the 'paper folding game'.
Human Seems Low Dimensional by Robin Hanson - 'Humanness' seems to be a one dimensional variable. Hence people are likely to consider ems conscious and worthy of decent treatment since ems are human-like on many important factors. Some discussion of a study where people rated how human-like various entities were.
Erisology Of Self And Will: A Natural Offering by Everything Studies - A description of naturalism and it relation to science. Daniel Dennet. Many philosophers are still dualists about the self. The self as a composite. Freedom as emergent.
The Hungry Brain by Bayesian Investor - A short review that focuses on the basics of Guynet's ideas and meta-discussion of why Guynet included so much neuroscience. "Guyenet provides fairly convincing evidence that it’s simple to achieve a healthy weight while feeling full. (E.g. the 20 potatoes a day diet)."
Boost From The Best by Robin Hanson - [Age of Em] How many standard deviations above the mean will be the best em be? How much better will they be than the second best em? How much of a wage/leisure premium will the best em receive.
Becoming Stronger Together by b4yes (lesswrong) - "About a year ago, a secret rationalist group was founded. This is a report of what the group did during that year."
In Praise Of Fake Frameworks by Valentine (lesswrong) - "I use a lot of fake frameworks — that is, ways of seeing the world that are probably or obviously wrong in some important way. I think this is an important skill. There are obvious pitfalls, but I think the advantages are more than worth it. In fact, I think the "pitfalls" can even sometimes be epistemically useful."
Letter To Future Layperson by Sailor Vulcan (BYS) - A letter from someone in our age to someone post singularity. Description of the hardships and terrors of pre-singularity life. Emotional and poetic. ~5K words.
===AI:
Conversation With An Ai Researcher by Jeff Kaufman - The anonymous researcher thinks AI progress is almost entirely driven by hardware and data. Back propagation has existed for a long time. Go would have taken at least 10 more years if go-aI work had remained constrained by academic budgets.
Openai Baselines PPO by Open Ai - "We’re releasing a new class of reinforcement learning algorithms, Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO), which perform comparably or better than state-of-the-art approaches while being much simpler to implement and tune. PPO has become the default reinforcement learning algorithm at OpenAI because of its ease of use and good performance."
Superintelligence Risk Project Update II by Jeff Kaufman - Jeff's thoughts and the sources he found most useful. Project is wrapping up in a few day. Topics: Technical Distance to AI. Most plausible scenarios of Superintelligence risk. OpenPhil's notes on how progress was potentially stalled in Cryonics and Nanotech.
Real Debate Robots Education by Tyler Cowen - Robots are already becoming part of the classroom. K-12 is an artificially creation anyway. Robots can help autistic or disabled children. Children sometimes trust robots too much.
Robust Adversarial Inputs by Open Ai - "We’ve created images that reliably fool neural network classifiers when viewed from varied scales and perspectives. This challenges a claim from last week that self-driving cars would be hard to trick maliciously since they capture images from multiple scales, angles, perspectives, and the like."
What Is Overfitting Exactly by Andrew Gelman - "If your model is correct, “overfitting” is impossible. In its usual form, “overfitting” comes from using too weak of a prior distribution."
Conversation With Bryce Wiedenbeck by Jeff Kaufman - "AGI is possible, it could be a serious problem, but we can't productively work on it now." AGI will look very different from current technologies. Utility functions are a poor model of human behavior.
Examples Of Superintelligence Risk by Jeff Kaufman - A series of extended quotes describing ways AI with innocent seeming goals can destroy the world. Authors: Nick Bostrom, Eliezer (and collaborators), Luke M, 80K hours, Tim Urban. Jeff finds them unpersuasive and asks for better ones. Lots of interesting comments. Eleizer himself comments describing how 'paperclip maximizers' might realistically occur.
Superintelligence Risk Project Update by Jeff Kaufman - Links to the three most informative readings on AI risk. Details on the large number of people Jeff has talked to. Three fundamental points of view on AI-Safety. Three Fundamental points of disagreement. An update on the original questions Jeff was trying to answer.
Conversation With Michael Littman by Jeff Kaufman - CS Professor at Brown's opinions: Deep Learning is surprisingly brittle in his experience. General Intelligence will require large fundamental advances. The AI risk community isn't testing their ideas so they probably aren't making real progress.
===EA:
EAGX Relaunch by Roxanne_Heston (EA forum) - The EA global satellite EAGA-X conferences have been low activity. Changes: More funding and flexibility. Standardized formats. Fewer groups approved. Stipends to primary organizers.
Uncertainty Smoothes Out Differences In Impact by The Foundational Research Institute - Many inside view evaluations conclude that one intervention is orders of magnitude more effective than another. Uncertainty significantly reduces these ratios.
Autonomy: A Search For A Measure Will Pearson (EA forum) - "I shall introduce a relatively formal measure of autonomy, based on the intuition that it is the ability to do things by yourself with what you have. The measure introduced allows you to move from less to more autonomy, without being black and white about it. Then I shall talk about how increasing autonomy fits in with the values of movements such as poverty reduction, ai risk reduction and the reduction of suffering."
Eight media articles on GiveDirectly, Cash Transers and Basic Income.- A world where 8 men own as much wealth as 3.6 billion people by GiveDirectly -
More Giving Vs Doing by Jeff Kaufman - EA is moving far more money than it used to and the ramp up will continue. This means direct work has become relatively more valuable. Nonetheless giving money is still useful, capacity isn't being filled. Jeff plans on earning to give based on his personal constraints.
Why I Think The Foundational Research Institute by Mike Johnson (EA forum) - A description of the FRI. Good things about FRI. FRI's research framework and why the author is worried. Eight long objections. TLDR: "functionalism ("consciousness is the sum-total of the functional properties of our brains") sounds a lot better than it actually turns out to be in practice. In particular, functionalism makes it impossible to define ethics & suffering in a way that can mediate disagreements."
Tranquilism by The Foundational Research Institute - A paper arguing that reducing suffering is more important than promoting happiness. Axiology. Non-consciousness. Common Objections. Conclusion.
An Argument For Why The Future May Be Good by Ben West (EA forum) - Factory farming shows that humans are deeply cruel. Technology enabled this cruelty, perhaps the future will be even darker. Counterargument: Humans are lazy, not evil. Humans as a group will spend at least small amounts altruistically. In the future the cost of reducing suffering will go down low enough that suffering will be rare or non-existent.
Arguments Moral Advocacy by The Foundational Research Institute - "What does moral advocacy look like in practice? Which values should we spread, and how? How effective is moral advocacy compared to other interventions such as directly influencing new technologies? What are the most important arguments for and against focusing on moral advocacy?"
An Argument For Broad And Inclusive by Kaj Sotala (EA forum) - "I argue for a very broad, inclusive EA, based on the premise that the culture of a region is more important than any specific group within that region... As a concrete strategy, I propose a division into low-level and high-level EA"
Not Everybody wants a Goat by GiveDirectly - Eight links on GiveDirectly, Cash Transfers, Effective Altruism and Basic Income.
Mid Year Update by The GiveWell Blog - Encouraging more charities to apply. More research of potential interventions. Short operations recap. GiveWell is focusing more on outreach.
===Politics and Economics:
College Tuition by Tom Bartleby - Sticker prices for college have gone up 15K in twenty years, but the average actual cost has only gone up 2.5K. High prices are almost compensated by high aid. Advantage: more equitable access to education. Disadvantages: Not everyone knows about the aid, financial aid is large enough it can seriously distort family financial decisions.
War Of Wages Part 1 Apples And Walmarts by Jacob Falkovich (Put A Number On It!) - The Author thinks minimum wage hurts the poor. Walmart can't afford higher wages. Copenhagan Interpretation of Ethics: Walmart helps the poor and gets blamed, Apple does nothing for the poor but avoids blame.
Links 10 by Artir (Nintil) - Tons of links. Economics, Psychology, AI, Philosophy, Misc.
Pretend Ask Answer by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - A short dialogue about Patriarchy and the meaning of oppression. Defensive actions are often a response to bad faith from the other side. Its not ok to explicitly say you think your partner is arguing in bad faith.
Cultural Studies Ironically Is Something Of A Colonizer by Freddie deBoer - An origin story for Writing Studies. The fields initial methodological diversity. Cultural studies took over the field, empirical work has been pushed out. Evidence that some cultural studies professors really do believe its fundamentally bigoted to do science and empirical research endangers marginalized students. The field has become insular.
The Dark Arts Examples From The Harris Adams Debate by Stabilizer (lesswrong) - The author accuses Scott Adams of using various dark Arts: Changing the subject, Motte-and-bailey, Euphemisation, Diagnosis, Excusing, Cherry-picking evidence.
Study Of The Week Modest But Real Benefits From Lead Exposure Interventions by Freddie deBoer - Freddie reviews a survey he found via SSC. The study had very good controls. Methodology is explained and key graphs are posted and discussed. Scott and Freddie seem to agree on the facts but have a different opinion on how large to consider the effects.
Descriptive And Prescriptive Standards by Simon Penner (Status 451) - Leadership means winning the Keynesian Beauty Contest. Public opinion doesn't exist as a stable reality. Prescribing public opinion. Dangers of social reform and leaders twisting the facts to promote noble outcomes.
A Taylorism For All Seasons by Lou (sam[]zdat) - "Christopher Lasch – The Culture of Narcissism, part 1/X, current essay being more of an overview." A Masquerade where you must act out the mask you choose.
Mechanism Agnostic Low Plasticity Educational Realism by Freddie deBoer - Freddie's educational philosophy. People sort into persistent academic strata. Educational attainment is heavily determined by factors outside of school's control. The mechanism differences in academic ability is unknown. Social and political implications.
Kin Aesthetics Excommunicate Me From The Church Of Social Justice by Frances Lee - A SJ-insider's critical opinion of SJ. Fear of being impure. Original Sin. Reproducing colonial structures of power and domination within social justice. Everyday Feminism's belittling articles. More humility. Bringing humanity to everyone, even those who have been inhumane.
Study Of The Week To Remediate Or Not To Remediate by Freddie deBoer - Should low math proficiency students take remedial algebra or credit bearing statistics. The City University of New York ran an actual randomized study to test this. The study had pretty good controls. For example students were randomly assigned to three groups, participating professors taught one section of each group.
Should We Build Lots More Housing In San Francisco: Three Reasons People Disagree by Julia Galef - For each of the three reasons Julia describes multiple sub-reasons. More housing might not lower prices much. More housing won't help the poor. NIMBY objections might be legitimate.
Kenneth Arrow On The Welfare Economics Of Medical Care A Critical Assessment by Artir (Nintil) - "Kenneth Arrow wrote a paper in 1963, Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. This paper tends to appear in debates regarding whether healthcare can be left to the market (like bread), or if it should feature heavy state involvement. Here I explain what the paper says, and to what extent it is true."
Thoughts On Doxxing by Ozy (Thing of Things) - CNN found the identity of the guy who made the video of Trump beating up CNN. They implied they would dox him if he continued being racist. Is doxxing him ok? What about doxxing someone who runs jailbait? Ozy discusses the practical effect of doxxing and unleashing hate mobs.
On The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 2 by Zvi Moshowitz - Several relevant links are included. Seattle's economic boom and worker composition changes are important factors. Zvi dives deep into the numbers and tries to resolve an apparent contradiction.
Radical Book Club The Decentralized Left by davidzhines (Status 451) - The nature of leftwing organizing and what righties can learn from it. An exposition of multiple books on radical left organization building. Major themes are "doing the work" and "decentralized leadership".
On The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 1 by Zvi Moshowitz - The claimed effect sizes are huge. Zvi's priors about the minimum wage. Detailed description of some of the paper's methods and how it handle potential issues. Discussion of the raw data. More to come in part 2.
===Misc:
Childcare II by Jeff Kaufman - A timeline of childcare for Jeff's two children. Methods: Staying at home, Daycare, Au pair, Nanny.
Easier Chess Problem by protokol2020 - How many pieces do you need to capture a black queen?
Book Review Mathematics For Computer Science by richard_reitz (lesswrong) - Why the text should be in the MIRI research guide. Intro. Prereqs. Detailed comparisons to similar texts. Complaints.
Information is Physical by Scott Aaronson - Is information is physical a contentful expression? Why 'physics is information' is tautological. A proposed definition. Double slit experiment. Observation in Quantum Mechanics. Information takes up a minimum amount of space. Entropy. Information has nowhere to go.
Book Review Working Effectively With Legacy Code By Michael C Feathers by Eli Bendersky - To improve code we must refactor, to refactor we have to test, making code testable may take heroic efforts. "The techniques described by the author are as terrible as the code they're up against."
The Ominouslier Roar Of The Bitcoin Wave by Artem and Venkat (ribbonfarm) - A video visualizing and audiolizing the bitcoin blockchain. A related dialogue.
From Monkey Neurons To The Meta Brain by Hal Morris (ribbonfarm) - Neurons that only fire in response to Jennifer Anniston. Mirror Neurons. Theory of Mind. The path from copying movement to human-level empathy. Infant development. Dreams as social simulator. Communicating with our models of other people. He rapidly accelerating and dangerous future. We need to keep our mind open to possibilities.
Newtonism Question by protokol2020 - Balancing Forces. Gravity problem.
Short Interview Writing by Tyler Cowen - Tyler Cowen's writing habits. Many concrete details such as when he writes and what program he uses. Some more general thoughts on writing such as Tyler's surprising answer to which are his favorite books on writing.
Unexpected by protokol2020 - Discussion of gaps between primes. "Say, that you have just sailed across some recordly wide composite lake and you are on a prime island again. What can you expect, how much wider will the next record lake be?"
Interacting With A Long Running Child Process In Python by Eli Bendersky - Using the subprocess module to run an http server. Solutions and analysis of common use cases. Lots of code.
4d Mate Problem by protokol2020 - How many queens do you need to get a checkmate in 4D chess.
The Destruction Of American Cuisine by Small Truths - America used to have a tremendous number of regional cuisines, most are dead. They were killed by supermarkets and frozen food. This has been costly both in terms of culture and health (antibiotic resistance, crop monoculture risk)
===Podcast:
Sally Satel On Organ Donation by EconTalk - "The challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the supply." Tax Credits. The ethics of donor compensation.
Podcast The World Needs Ai Researchers Heres How To Become One by 80,000 Hours - "OpenAI’s latest plans and research progress. Concrete Papers in AI Safety, which outlines five specific ways machine learning algorithms can act in dangerous ways their designers don’t intend – something OpenAI has to work to avoid. How listeners can best go about pursuing a career in machine learning and AI development themselves."
88 Must We Accept A Nuclear North Korea by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Mark Bowden and the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea."
Triggered by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Sam Harris and Scott Adams debate the character and competence of President Trump."
Conversation Atul Gawande by Tyler Cowen - The marginal value of health care, AI progress in medicine, fear of genetic engineering, whether the checklist method applies to marriage, FDA regulation, surgical regulation, Michael Crichton and Stevie Wonder, wearables, what makes him weep, Knausgaard and Ferrante, why surgeons leave sponges in patients.
Nneka Jones Tapia by The Ezra Klein Show - The first psychologist to run a prison. 30% of inmates have diagnosed mental health problems. Mental heath view of the penal system, balancing punishment and treatment, responsibility versus mental instability, the tension between what we use jail for and what we should use jail for.
Tamar Haspel by EconTalk - "Why technology helps make some foods inexpensive, how animals are treated, the health of the honey bee, and whether eggs from your backyard taste any better than eggs at the grocery."
From Cells To Cities by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Biological and social systems scale, the significance of fractals, the prospects of radically extending human life, the concept of “emergence” in complex systems, the importance of cities, the necessity for continuous innovation"
Inside The World Of Supertraining: Mark Bell by Tim Feriss - "Mark’s most important lessons for building strength. How to avoid injury and breakdown. Lesser-known training techniques that nearly everyone overlooks. How Mark became a millionaire by offering his gym memberships for free."
Eddie Izzard by The Ezra Klein Show - 27 marathons in 27 days, process for writing jokes, why he wants to run for parliament, inspiration from Al Franken's, borrowing confidence from his future self. What he learned as a street performer, routines are based on history and anthropology, World War I, 'cake or death?'. His gender identity, and how he integrated it into his act early on, etc.
Martha Nussbaum by EconTalk - "The tension between acquiring power and living a life of virtue. Topics discussed include Hamilton's relationship with Aaron Burr, Burr's complicated historical legacy, and the role of the humanities in our lives."
Rs 188 Robert Kurzban On Being Strategically Wrong by Rationally Speaking - Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite." The "modular mind" hypothesis, and how it explains hypocrisy, self-deception, and other seemingly irrational features of human nature.
submitted by deluks917_ to slatestarcodex [link] [comments]

[uncensored-r/Bitcoin] Bitcoin is fraudulent and nothing but insider Trading ...NO, Researchers find that one person lik...

The following post by Theguy3993 is being replicated because the post has been silently removed.
The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link:
np.reddit.com/ Bitcoin/comments/7qqmjt
The original post's content was as follows:
Yeah ok keep pumping out the articles about this so funny I would bet the articles stating bitcoin went to 1000$ on fraudulent money is 100% posted by insider traders or Wall St.. And Its no secret Wall St is driven by insider trading. Heck you can watch a documentary that shows how they do insider trading using loopholes of having a couple people down the line get the info that they "donate" money to for information. But anyways I just wanted to post another rant and laugh... Also, if you want to claim bitcoin is fraudulent based on a couple people who traded 36 million dollars worth of a coin worth 250 Billion on average give or take 50 billion or 0.000144% of bitcoin then I guess all banks should close tomorrow since 90% of all money banks handle have traces of cociane on them and clearly came from fraudulent places.
Again, I will state bitcoin will rise and fall like it always does pretty much only falling from fake news pumped in sync with sell offs to try to get more for cheap, and thats fine its so obvious to me also I have traded since before Mt.Gox and the coins never went to its peak and stayed there untill after the fall of Mt.Gox. The timeline may show that right before Mt.gox froze the price of BTC was going up. Until around that time but anyone who used MT.Gox knows that no one could move, trade or withdraw there funds long before it was froze and it finally froze from the lawsuits regarding this so essentially Mt.Gox was out of the game.
And for those who like facts here you are I will include the links also
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_bitcoin#2013
"On 15 May 2013, the US authorities seized accounts associated with Mt. Gox after discovering that it had not registered as a money transmitter with FinCEN in the US.[52][53]
On 17 May 2013, it was reported that BitInstant processed approximately 30 percent of the money going into and out of bitcoin, and in April alone facilitated 30,000 transactions,[54]
On 23 June 2013, it was reported that the US Drug Enforcement Administration listed 11.02 bitcoins as a seized asset in a United States Department of Justice seizure notice pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881.[55] It is the first time a government agency has claimed to have seized bitcoin.[56][57]
In July 2013 a project began in Kenya linking bitcoin with M-Pesa, a popular mobile payments system, in an experiment designed to spur innovative payments in Africa.[58] During the same month the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department in Thailand stated that bitcoin lacks any legal framework and would therefore be illegal, which effectively banned trading on bitcoin exchanges in the country.[59][60] According to Vitalik Buterin, a writer for Bitcoin Magazine, "bitcoin's fate in Thailand may give the electronic currency more credibility in some circles", but he was concerned it didn't bode well for bitcoin in China.[61]
On 6 August 2013, Federal Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas of the Fifth Circuit ruled that bitcoins are "a currency or a form of money" (specifically securities as defined by Federal Securities Laws), and as such were subject to the court's jurisdiction,[62][63] and Germany's Finance Ministry subsumed bitcoins under the term "unit of account"—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency, a classification nonetheless having legal and tax implications.[64]
In October 2013, the FBI seized roughly 26,000 BTC from website Silk Road during the arrest of alleged owner Ross William Ulbricht.[65][66][67] Two companies, Robocoin and Bitcoiniacs launched the world's first bitcoin ATM on 29 October 2013 in Vancouver, BC, Canada, allowing clients to sell or purchase bitcoin currency at a downtown coffee shop.[68][69][70] Chinese internet giant Baidu had allowed clients of website security services to pay with bitcoins.[71]
In November 2013, the University of Nicosia announced that it would be accepting bitcoin as payment for tuition fees, with the university's chief financial officer calling it the "gold of tomorrow".[72] During November 2013, the China-based bitcoin exchange BTC China overtook the Japan-based Mt. Gox and the Europe-based Bitstamp to become the largest bitcoin trading exchange by trade volume.[73]
In December 2013, Overstock.com[74] announced plans to accept bitcoin in the second half of 2014. On 5 December 2013, the People's Bank of China prohibited Chinese financial institutions from using bitcoins.[75] After the announcement, the value of bitcoins dropped,[76] and Baidu no longer accepted bitcoins for certain services.[77] Buying real-world goods with any virtual currency has been illegal in China since at least 2009.[78]"
In fact I was trading the Down swings around this time and remember it quite clearly and the price most deffinatly did not shoot up with any relation to Mt.Gox if anything Mt.Gox was the reason for the fall from the news and panic!
Also, WAKE UP PEOPLE. Wall St's total value is what 2.7 Trillion that took like 100 years to get. Does no one else realize the magnitude of Bitcoin to them. Bitcoin in 10 years or less including its many other Coins under it is worth 658-758Billion or 0.65-0.75T in 1/10th the time Wall St did it and its getting bigger all the time.
I've said it before and Ill say it again there scared because Bitcoin, (and altcoin), traders are used to volatility, We can loose 70% of our gains or investment in a day or an hour and still keep on truckin. But that type of volatility scared the pants off the big traders because they also have investors to explain these situations to and they have no merits to base there explanations on since nothing in the real world short of good and bad news or money in and money out of coins affects the prices very much. And for this reason Wall St will never like it and the fact its outside of there nice controlled systems they designed that benefit the rich and rape the poor. And this new system which does not allow credit, or BS is a new realm to them. Sure there might be some insider trading some of the time but the order books and live stats are available to anyone and everyone equally, unlike stocks where you need crazy memberships just to get short 15 minute delayed stats on the live markets and only the top accounts with over 50,000$ invested can even dream about getting anything better. And you have to pay 6.99-24.99 Per trade the lesser being for the 50k investor, leaving no learning curve for the small guys. So in my opinion its still a way better system and anyone can easily do some research like I have today and not panic sell from every little BS article and simple trade for yourselves. And Bitcoin to Altcoin trades BTW will cost you 0.06-0.08% and Bitcoin/Altcoin to USD (Or your Currency) will cost you 0.18-0.24% on most exchanges or platforms.
If you've read my rant this far I thank you for your time. Some article just really grind my gears :D
PS - Below is some handy trading platforms and tools
I would also like to take a moment just to say anyone interested in a FreeTrading Platform should check out Qt Bitcoin Trader from source forge. Or if your a bit more advanced there is a nice program you can try for free and the trial is the the same as the full version (I have used both since I bought it shortly after) and that is called LeonarDo by margin software a very talented German company.
Qt Bitcoin Trader - https://sourceforge.net/projects/bitcointrade Leonardo - https://marginsoftware.de/product.html
submitted by censorship_notifier to noncensored_bitcoin [link] [comments]

01-16 16:43 - 'Bitcoin is fraudulent and nothing but insider Trading ...NO, Researchers find that one person likely drove Bitcoin from $150 to $1,000 ....NO. Try more FUD' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/Theguy3993 removed from /r/Bitcoin within 564-574min

'''
Yeah ok keep pumping out the articles about this so funny I would bet the articles stating bitcoin went to 1000$ on fraudulent money is 100% posted by insider traders or Wall St.. And Its no secret Wall St is driven by insider trading. Heck you can watch a documentary that shows how they do insider trading using loopholes of having a couple people down the line get the info that they "donate" money to for information. But anyways I just wanted to post another rant and laugh... Also, if you want to claim bitcoin is fraudulent based on a couple people who traded 36 million dollars worth of a coin worth 250 Billion on average give or take 50 billion or 0.000144% of bitcoin then I guess all banks should close tomorrow since 90% of all money banks handle have traces of cociane on them and clearly came from fraudulent places.
Again, I will state bitcoin will rise and fall like it always does pretty much only falling from fake news pumped in sync with sell offs to try to get more for cheap, and thats fine its so obvious to me also I have traded since before Mt.Gox and the coins never went to its peak and stayed there untill after the fall of Mt.Gox. The timeline may show that right before Mt.gox froze the price of BTC was going up. Until around that time but anyone who used MT.Gox knows that no one could move, trade or withdraw there funds long before it was froze and it finally froze from the lawsuits regarding this so essentially Mt.Gox was out of the game.
And for those who like facts here you are I will include the links also
[link]1
"On 15 May 2013, the US authorities seized accounts associated with Mt. Gox after discovering that it had not registered as a money transmitter with FinCEN in the US.[52][53]
On 17 May 2013, it was reported that BitInstant processed approximately 30 percent of the money going into and out of bitcoin, and in April alone facilitated 30,000 transactions,[54]
On 23 June 2013, it was reported that the US Drug Enforcement Administration listed 11.02 bitcoins as a seized asset in a United States Department of Justice seizure notice pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881.[55] It is the first time a government agency has claimed to have seized bitcoin.[56][57]
In July 2013 a project began in Kenya linking bitcoin with M-Pesa, a popular mobile payments system, in an experiment designed to spur innovative payments in Africa.[58] During the same month the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department in Thailand stated that bitcoin lacks any legal framework and would therefore be illegal, which effectively banned trading on bitcoin exchanges in the country.[59][60] According to Vitalik Buterin, a writer for Bitcoin Magazine, "bitcoin's fate in Thailand may give the electronic currency more credibility in some circles", but he was concerned it didn't bode well for bitcoin in China.[61]
On 6 August 2013, Federal Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas of the Fifth Circuit ruled that bitcoins are "a currency or a form of money" (specifically securities as defined by Federal Securities Laws), and as such were subject to the court's jurisdiction,[62][63] and Germany's Finance Ministry subsumed bitcoins under the term "unit of account"—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency, a classification nonetheless having legal and tax implications.[64]
In October 2013, the FBI seized roughly 26,000 BTC from website Silk Road during the arrest of alleged owner Ross William Ulbricht.[65][66][67] Two companies, Robocoin and Bitcoiniacs launched the world's first bitcoin ATM on 29 October 2013 in Vancouver, BC, Canada, allowing clients to sell or purchase bitcoin currency at a downtown coffee shop.[68][69][70] Chinese internet giant Baidu had allowed clients of website security services to pay with bitcoins.[71]
In November 2013, the University of Nicosia announced that it would be accepting bitcoin as payment for tuition fees, with the university's chief financial officer calling it the "gold of tomorrow".[72] During November 2013, the China-based bitcoin exchange BTC China overtook the Japan-based Mt. Gox and the Europe-based Bitstamp to become the largest bitcoin trading exchange by trade volume.[73]
In December 2013, Overstock.com[74] announced plans to accept bitcoin in the second half of 2014. On 5 December 2013, the People's Bank of China prohibited Chinese financial institutions from using bitcoins.[75] After the announcement, the value of bitcoins dropped,[76] and Baidu no longer accepted bitcoins for certain services.[77] Buying real-world goods with any virtual currency has been illegal in China since at least 2009.[78]"
*** In fact I was trading the Down swings around this time and remember it quite clearly and the price most deffinatly did not shoot up with any relation to Mt.Gox if anything Mt.Gox was the reason for the fall from the news and panic!
Also, WAKE UP PEOPLE. Wall St's total value is what 2.7 Trillion that took like 100 years to get. Does no one else realize the magnitude of Bitcoin to them. Bitcoin in 10 years or less including its many other Coins under it is worth 658-758Billion or 0.65-0.75T in 1/10th the time Wall St did it and its getting bigger all the time.
[link]2
I've said it before and Ill say it again there scared because Bitcoin, (and altcoin), traders are used to volatility, We can loose 70% of our gains or investment in a day or an hour and still keep on truckin. But that type of volatility scared the pants off the big traders because they also have investors to explain these situations to and they have no merits to base there explanations on since nothing in the real world short of good and bad news or money in and money out of coins affects the prices very much. And for this reason Wall St will never like it and the fact its outside of there nice controlled systems they designed that benefit the rich and rape the poor. And this new system which does not allow credit, or BS is a new realm to them. Sure there might be some insider trading some of the time but the order books and live stats are available to anyone and everyone equally, unlike stocks where you need crazy memberships just to get short 15 minute delayed stats on the live markets and only the top accounts with over 50,000$ invested can even dream about getting anything better. And you have to pay 6.99-24.99 Per trade the lesser being for the 50k investor, leaving no learning curve for the small guys. So in my opinion its still a way better system and anyone can easily do some research like I have today and not panic sell from every little BS article and simple trade for yourselves. And Bitcoin to Altcoin trades BTW will cost you 0.06-0.08% and Bitcoin/Altcoin to USD (Or your Currency) will cost you 0.18-0.24% on most exchanges or platforms.
If you've read my rant this far I thank you for your time. Some article just really grind my gears :D
PS - Below is some handy trading platforms and tools
I would also like to take a moment just to say anyone interested in a FreeTrading Platform should check out Qt Bitcoin Trader from source forge. Or if your a bit more advanced there is a nice program you can try for free and the trial is the the same as the full version (I have used both since I bought it shortly after) and that is called LeonarDo by margin software a very talented German company.
Qt Bitcoin Trader - [link]3 Leonardo - [link]4
'''
Bitcoin is fraudulent and nothing but insider Trading ...NO, Researchers find that one person likely drove Bitcoin from $150 to $1,000 ....NO. Try more FUD
Go1dfish undelete link
unreddit undelete link
Author: Theguy3993
1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_bitcoin#2013 2: www*w***dcoinind*x.*om/ 3: s*u*c*forge*ne*/*roje*ts/bitc*intr**e 4: ma**insof*ware.de*p**duct.ht**
Unknown links are censored to prevent spreading illicit content.
submitted by removalbot to removalbot [link] [comments]

Rational Feed

===Highly Recommended Articles:
Superintelligence Risk Project Update II by Jeff Kaufman - Jeff's thoughts and the sources he found most useful. Project is wrapping up in a few day. Topics: Technical Distance to AI. Most plausible scenarios of Superintelligence risk. OpenPhil's notes on how progress was potentially stalled in Cryonics and Nanotech.
Superintelligence Risk Project Update by Jeff Kaufman - Links to the three most informative readings on AI risk. Details on the large number of people Jeff has talked to. Three fundamental points of view on AI-Safety. Three Fundamental points of disagreement. An update on the original questions Jeff was trying to answer.
Podcast The World Needs Ai Researchers Heres How To Become One by 80,000 Hours - "OpenAI’s latest plans and research progress. Concrete Papers in AI Safety, which outlines five specific ways machine learning algorithms can act in dangerous ways their designers don’t intend - something OpenAI has to work to avoid. How listeners can best go about pursuing a career in machine learning and AI development themselves."
Radical Book Club The Decentralized Left by davidzhines (Status 451) - The nature of leftwing organizing and what righties can learn from it. An exposition of multiple books on radical left organization building. Major themes are "doing the work" and "decentralized leadership".
Study Of The Week To Remediate Or Not To Remediate by Freddie deBoer - Should low math proficiency students take remedial algebra or credit bearing statistics. The City University of New York ran an actual randomized study to test this. The study had pretty good controls. For example students were randomly assigned to three groups, participating professors taught one section of each group.
Kenneth Arrow On The Welfare Economics Of Medical Care A Critical Assessment by Artir (Nintil) - "Kenneth Arrow wrote a paper in 1963, Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. This paper tends to appear in debates regarding whether healthcare can be left to the market (like bread), or if it should feature heavy state involvement. Here I explain what the paper says, and to what extent it is true."
Becoming Stronger Together by b4yes (lesswrong) - "About a year ago, a secret rationalist group was founded. This is a report of what the group did during that year."
The Destruction Of American Cuisine by Small Truths - America used to have a tremendous number of regional cuisines, most are dead. They were killed by supermarkets and frozen food. This has been costly both in terms of culture and health (antibiotic resistance, crop monoculture risk)
===Scott:
Targeting Meritocracy by Scott Alexander - Education and merit are different. Programming is one of the last meritocracies, this lets disadvantaged people get into the field. If a job is high impact we want to hire on merit. The original, literal meaning of meritocracy is important.
Classified Thread 2 Best In Classified by Scott Alexander - Scott is promoting a project to accelerate the trend of rationalists living near each other. There are four houses available for rent near Ward Street in Berkeley. Ward street is currently the rationalist hub in the Bay. Commenters can advertise other projects and services.
Url Of Sandwich by Scott Alexander - Standard links post, somewhat longer than usual.
Opec Thread by Scott Alexander - Bi-weekly open thread. Update on Scott and Katja's travels. Salt Lake City Meetup highlight. Topher Brennan is running for Senate.
Can We Link Perception And Cognition by Scott Alexander - SSC survey optical illusions. "So there seems to be a picture where high rates of perceptual ambiguity are linked to being weirder and (sometimes, in a very weak statistical way) lower-functioning." Speculation about fundamental connections between perception and cognitive style. Ideas for further research.
Change Minds Or Drive Turnout by Scott Alexander - Extreme candidates lower turnout among their own party. Is base turnout really the only thing that matters? Lots of quotes from studies.
===Rationalist:
Learning From Past Experiences by mindlevelup - "This is about finding ways to quickly learn from past experiences to inform future actions. We briefly touch upon different learning models." Model-based and Model-Free reinforcement learning. Practical advice and examples.
How Long Has Civilization Been Going by Elo (BearLamp) - Human agricultural society is only 342-1000 generations old. "Or when you are 24 years old you have lived one day for every year humans have had written records." Human civilization is only a few hundred lifetimes old.
Choices Are Bad by Zvi Moshowitz - Choices reduce perceived value. Choices require time and energy. Making someone choose is imposing a real cost.
Erisology Of Self And Will: The Gulf by Everything Studies - "Part 4 will discuss some scientific disciplines with bearing on the self, and how their results are interpreted differently by the traditional paradigm vs. the scientific."
Philosophy Vs Duck Tests by Robin Hanson - Focusing on deep structure vs adding up weak cues. If it looks like an x... More discussion of whether most people will consider ems people and/or conscious.
Knowing How To Define by AellaGirl - "These are three ways in which a word can be ‘defined’ – the role it plays in the world around it (the up-definition), synonyms (lateral-definition), and the parts which construct the thing (down-definition)." Applications to morality and free-will.
Change Is Bad by Zvi Moshowitz - "Change space, like mind space, is deep and wide. Friendly change space isn’t quite to change space what friendly mind space is to mind space, but before you apply any filters of common sense, it’s remarkably close." A long list of conditions that mean change has lower expected value. Why we still need to make changes. Keep your eyes open.
Meditation Insights Suffering And Pleasure Are Intrinsically Bound Together by Kaj Sotala - The concrete goal of meditation is to train your peripheral awareness. Much suffering comes from false promises of pleasure. Procrastinating to play a videogame won't actually make you feel better. Temptation losses its power once you truly see the temptations for what they truly are.
Be My Neighbor by Katja Grace - Katja lives in a rationalist house on ward street in Berkeley and its great. The next step up is a rationalist neighborhood. Katja is promoting the same four houses as Scott. Be her neighbor?
What Value Subagents by G Gordan (Map and Territory) - Splitting the mind into subagents is a common rationalist model (links to Alicorn, Briene Yudkowsky, etc). However the author preferred model is a single process with inconsistent preferences. Freud. System 1 and System 2. The rider and the Elephant become one. Subagents as masks. Subagents as epicycles.
The Order Of The Soul by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - The philosophy of accepting things vs the impulse to reshape them. Many philosophical and psychological models split the soul into three. Internalized authority vs seeing the deep structure of moral reality. In some sense math is the easiest thing in the world to learn. School poisons the enjoyment of rational thought. Lockhart's lament. Feynman. Eichmann and thinking structurally.
Aliens Merely Sleeping by Tyler Cowen - The universe is currently too hot for artificial life to be productive. Advanced civilizations might be freezing themselves until the universe cools. "They could achieve up to 1030 times more than if done today" [short]
Book Reviews by Torello (lesswrong) - Rationalist Adjacent. Each book has an interesting 'ideas per page' rating. Homo Deus, Sapiens, Super-intelligence, Surfaces and Essences, What Technology Wants, Inside Jokes, A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind.
Geometers Scribes Structure Intelligence by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - "How does spatial reasoning lead to formal, logical reasoning?" Fluid and crystalized intelligence. Some history of Philosophy. How social dynamics lead to the evolution of reasoning. Talmudic and Western law, and their oddities. Universal Grammar and connecting with the divine. FizzBuzz.
High Dimensional Societies by Robin Hanson - In high dimensional space the distance between points varies less. What implications does this have for 'spatial' social science models (ex analogues of 1D spectrums and 2D graphs).
Feelings In The Map by Elo (BearLamp) - Confusion is not a property of the external world. The same holds for many emotions. Non-violent communication and speaking from your own perspective.
Lesswrong Is Not About Forum Software by enye-word (lesswrong) - The best way to increase activity on lesswrong is to get back the top posters, especially Scott and Eliezer.
Explication by mindlevelup - "This essay is about explication, the notion of making things specific. I give some examples involving Next Actions and systematization. This might also just be obvious to many people. Part of it is also a rehash of Act Into Uncertainty. Ultimately, explication is about changing yourself."
Concrete Instructions by Elo (BearLamp) - "The objective test of whether the description is concrete is whether the description can be followed by an anonymous person to produce the same experience." Some examples including the 'paper folding game'.
Human Seems Low Dimensional by Robin Hanson - 'Humanness' seems to be a one dimensional variable. Hence people are likely to consider ems conscious and worthy of decent treatment since ems are human-like on many important factors. Some discussion of a study where people rated how human-like various entities were.
Erisology Of Self And Will: A Natural Offering by Everything Studies - A description of naturalism and it relation to science. Daniel Dennet. Many philosophers are still dualists about the self. The self as a composite. Freedom as emergent.
The Hungry Brain by Bayesian Investor - A short review that focuses on the basics of Guynet's ideas and meta-discussion of why Guynet included so much neuroscience. "Guyenet provides fairly convincing evidence that it’s simple to achieve a healthy weight while feeling full. (E.g. the 20 potatoes a day diet)."
Boost From The Best by Robin Hanson - [Age of Em] How many standard deviations above the mean will be the best em be? How much better will they be than the second best em? How much of a wage/leisure premium will the best em receive.
Becoming Stronger Together by b4yes (lesswrong) - "About a year ago, a secret rationalist group was founded. This is a report of what the group did during that year."
In Praise Of Fake Frameworks by Valentine (lesswrong) - "I use a lot of fake frameworks — that is, ways of seeing the world that are probably or obviously wrong in some important way. I think this is an important skill. There are obvious pitfalls, but I think the advantages are more than worth it. In fact, I think the "pitfalls" can even sometimes be epistemically useful."
Letter To Future Layperson by Sailor Vulcan (BYS) - A letter from someone in our age to someone post singularity. Description of the hardships and terrors of pre-singularity life. Emotional and poetic. ~5K words.
===AI:
Conversation With An Ai Researcher by Jeff Kaufman - The anonymous researcher thinks AI progress is almost entirely driven by hardware and data. Back propagation has existed for a long time. Go would have taken at least 10 more years if go-aI work had remained constrained by academic budgets.
Openai Baselines PPO by Open Ai - "We’re releasing a new class of reinforcement learning algorithms, Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO), which perform comparably or better than state-of-the-art approaches while being much simpler to implement and tune. PPO has become the default reinforcement learning algorithm at OpenAI because of its ease of use and good performance."
Superintelligence Risk Project Update II by Jeff Kaufman - Jeff's thoughts and the sources he found most useful. Project is wrapping up in a few day. Topics: Technical Distance to AI. Most plausible scenarios of Superintelligence risk. OpenPhil's notes on how progress was potentially stalled in Cryonics and Nanotech.
Real Debate Robots Education by Tyler Cowen - Robots are already becoming part of the classroom. K-12 is an artificially creation anyway. Robots can help autistic or disabled children. Children sometimes trust robots too much.
Robust Adversarial Inputs by Open Ai - "We’ve created images that reliably fool neural network classifiers when viewed from varied scales and perspectives. This challenges a claim from last week that self-driving cars would be hard to trick maliciously since they capture images from multiple scales, angles, perspectives, and the like."
What Is Overfitting Exactly by Andrew Gelman - "If your model is correct, “overfitting” is impossible. In its usual form, “overfitting” comes from using too weak of a prior distribution."
Conversation With Bryce Wiedenbeck by Jeff Kaufman - "AGI is possible, it could be a serious problem, but we can't productively work on it now." AGI will look very different from current technologies. Utility functions are a poor model of human behavior.
Examples Of Superintelligence Risk by Jeff Kaufman - A series of extended quotes describing ways AI with innocent seeming goals can destroy the world. Authors: Nick Bostrom, Eliezer (and collaborators), Luke M, 80K hours, Tim Urban. Jeff finds them unpersuasive and asks for better ones. Lots of interesting comments. Eleizer himself comments describing how 'paperclip maximizers' might realistically occur.
Superintelligence Risk Project Update by Jeff Kaufman - Links to the three most informative readings on AI risk. Details on the large number of people Jeff has talked to. Three fundamental points of view on AI-Safety. Three Fundamental points of disagreement. An update on the original questions Jeff was trying to answer.
Conversation With Michael Littman by Jeff Kaufman - CS Professor at Brown's opinions: Deep Learning is surprisingly brittle in his experience. General Intelligence will require large fundamental advances. The AI risk community isn't testing their ideas so they probably aren't making real progress.
===EA:
EAGX Relaunch by Roxanne_Heston (EA forum) - The EA global satellite EAGA-X conferences have been low activity. Changes: More funding and flexibility. Standardized formats. Fewer groups approved. Stipends to primary organizers.
Uncertainty Smoothes Out Differences In Impact by The Foundational Research Institute - Many inside view evaluations conclude that one intervention is orders of magnitude more effective than another. Uncertainty significantly reduces these ratios.
Autonomy: A Search For A Measure Will Pearson (EA forum) - "I shall introduce a relatively formal measure of autonomy, based on the intuition that it is the ability to do things by yourself with what you have. The measure introduced allows you to move from less to more autonomy, without being black and white about it. Then I shall talk about how increasing autonomy fits in with the values of movements such as poverty reduction, ai risk reduction and the reduction of suffering."
Eight media articles on GiveDirectly, Cash Transers and Basic Income.- A world where 8 men own as much wealth as 3.6 billion people by GiveDirectly -
More Giving Vs Doing by Jeff Kaufman - EA is moving far more money than it used to and the ramp up will continue. This means direct work has become relatively more valuable. Nonetheless giving money is still useful, capacity isn't being filled. Jeff plans on earning to give based on his personal constraints.
Why I Think The Foundational Research Institute by Mike Johnson (EA forum) - A description of the FRI. Good things about FRI. FRI's research framework and why the author is worried. Eight long objections. TLDR: "functionalism ("consciousness is the sum-total of the functional properties of our brains") sounds a lot better than it actually turns out to be in practice. In particular, functionalism makes it impossible to define ethics & suffering in a way that can mediate disagreements."
Tranquilism by The Foundational Research Institute - A paper arguing that reducing suffering is more important than promoting happiness. Axiology. Non-consciousness. Common Objections. Conclusion.
An Argument For Why The Future May Be Good by Ben West (EA forum) - Factory farming shows that humans are deeply cruel. Technology enabled this cruelty, perhaps the future will be even darker. Counterargument: Humans are lazy, not evil. Humans as a group will spend at least small amounts altruistically. In the future the cost of reducing suffering will go down low enough that suffering will be rare or non-existent.
Arguments Moral Advocacy by The Foundational Research Institute - "What does moral advocacy look like in practice? Which values should we spread, and how? How effective is moral advocacy compared to other interventions such as directly influencing new technologies? What are the most important arguments for and against focusing on moral advocacy?"
An Argument For Broad And Inclusive by Kaj Sotala (EA forum) - "I argue for a very broad, inclusive EA, based on the premise that the culture of a region is more important than any specific group within that region... As a concrete strategy, I propose a division into low-level and high-level EA"
Not Everybody wants a Goat by GiveDirectly - Eight links on GiveDirectly, Cash Transfers, Effective Altruism and Basic Income.
Mid Year Update by The GiveWell Blog - Encouraging more charities to apply. More research of potential interventions. Short operations recap. GiveWell is focusing more on outreach.
===Politics and Economics:
College Tuition by Tom Bartleby - Sticker prices for college have gone up 15K in twenty years, but the average actual cost has only gone up 2.5K. High prices are almost compensated by high aid. Advantage: more equitable access to education. Disadvantages: Not everyone knows about the aid, financial aid is large enough it can seriously distort family financial decisions.
War Of Wages Part 1 Apples And Walmarts by Jacob Falkovich (Put A Number On It!) - The Author thinks minimum wage hurts the poor. Walmart can't afford higher wages. Copenhagan Interpretation of Ethics: Walmart helps the poor and gets blamed, Apple does nothing for the poor but avoids blame.
Links 10 by Artir (Nintil) - Tons of links. Economics, Psychology, AI, Philosophy, Misc.
Pretend Ask Answer by Ben Hoffman (Compass Rose) - A short dialogue about Patriarchy and the meaning of oppression. Defensive actions are often a response to bad faith from the other side. Its not ok to explicitly say you think your partner is arguing in bad faith.
Cultural Studies Ironically Is Something Of A Colonizer by Freddie deBoer - An origin story for Writing Studies. The fields initial methodological diversity. Cultural studies took over the field, empirical work has been pushed out. Evidence that some cultural studies professors really do believe its fundamentally bigoted to do science and empirical research endangers marginalized students. The field has become insular.
The Dark Arts Examples From The Harris Adams Debate by Stabilizer (lesswrong) - The author accuses Scott Adams of using various dark Arts: Changing the subject, Motte-and-bailey, Euphemisation, Diagnosis, Excusing, Cherry-picking evidence.
Study Of The Week Modest But Real Benefits From Lead Exposure Interventions by Freddie deBoer - Freddie reviews a survey he found via SSC. The study had very good controls. Methodology is explained and key graphs are posted and discussed. Scott and Freddie seem to agree on the facts but have a different opinion on how large to consider the effects.
Descriptive And Prescriptive Standards by Simon Penner (Status 451) - Leadership means winning the Keynesian Beauty Contest. Public opinion doesn't exist as a stable reality. Prescribing public opinion. Dangers of social reform and leaders twisting the facts to promote noble outcomes.
A Taylorism For All Seasons by Lou (sam[]zdat) - "Christopher Lasch – The Culture of Narcissism, part 1/X, current essay being more of an overview." A Masquerade where you must act out the mask you choose.
Mechanism Agnostic Low Plasticity Educational Realism by Freddie deBoer - Freddie's educational philosophy. People sort into persistent academic strata. Educational attainment is heavily determined by factors outside of school's control. The mechanism differences in academic ability is unknown. Social and political implications.
Kin Aesthetics Excommunicate Me From The Church Of Social Justice by Frances Lee - A SJ-insider's critical opinion of SJ. Fear of being impure. Original Sin. Reproducing colonial structures of power and domination within social justice. Everyday Feminism's belittling articles. More humility. Bringing humanity to everyone, even those who have been inhumane.
Study Of The Week To Remediate Or Not To Remediate by Freddie deBoer - Should low math proficiency students take remedial algebra or credit bearing statistics. The City University of New York ran an actual randomized study to test this. The study had pretty good controls. For example students were randomly assigned to three groups, participating professors taught one section of each group.
Should We Build Lots More Housing In San Francisco: Three Reasons People Disagree by Julia Galef - For each of the three reasons Julia describes multiple sub-reasons. More housing might not lower prices much. More housing won't help the poor. NIMBY objections might be legitimate.
Kenneth Arrow On The Welfare Economics Of Medical Care A Critical Assessment by Artir (Nintil) - "Kenneth Arrow wrote a paper in 1963, Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. This paper tends to appear in debates regarding whether healthcare can be left to the market (like bread), or if it should feature heavy state involvement. Here I explain what the paper says, and to what extent it is true."
Thoughts On Doxxing by Ozy (Thing of Things) - CNN found the identity of the guy who made the video of Trump beating up CNN. They implied they would dox him if he continued being racist. Is doxxing him ok? What about doxxing someone who runs jailbait? Ozy discusses the practical effect of doxxing and unleashing hate mobs.
On The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 2 by Zvi Moshowitz - Several relevant links are included. Seattle's economic boom and worker composition changes are important factors. Zvi dives deep into the numbers and tries to resolve an apparent contradiction.
Radical Book Club The Decentralized Left by davidzhines (Status 451) - The nature of leftwing organizing and what righties can learn from it. An exposition of multiple books on radical left organization building. Major themes are "doing the work" and "decentralized leadership".
On The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Part 1 by Zvi Moshowitz - The claimed effect sizes are huge. Zvi's priors about the minimum wage. Detailed description of some of the paper's methods and how it handle potential issues. Discussion of the raw data. More to come in part 2.
===Misc:
Childcare II by Jeff Kaufman - A timeline of childcare for Jeff's two children. Methods: Staying at home, Daycare, Au pair, Nanny.
Easier Chess Problem by protokol2020 - How many pieces do you need to capture a black queen?
Book Review Mathematics For Computer Science by richard_reitz (lesswrong) - Why the text should be in the MIRI research guide. Intro. Prereqs. Detailed comparisons to similar texts. Complaints.
Information is Physical by Scott Aaronson - Is information is physical a contentful expression? Why 'physics is information' is tautological. A proposed definition. Double slit experiment. Observation in Quantum Mechanics. Information takes up a minimum amount of space. Entropy. Information has nowhere to go.
Book Review Working Effectively With Legacy Code By Michael C Feathers by Eli Bendersky - To improve code we must refactor, to refactor we have to test, making code testable may take heroic efforts. "The techniques described by the author are as terrible as the code they're up against."
The Ominouslier Roar Of The Bitcoin Wave by Artem and Venkat (ribbonfarm) - A video visualizing and audiolizing the bitcoin blockchain. A related dialogue.
From Monkey Neurons To The Meta Brain by Hal Morris (ribbonfarm) - Neurons that only fire in response to Jennifer Anniston. Mirror Neurons. Theory of Mind. The path from copying movement to human-level empathy. Infant development. Dreams as social simulator. Communicating with our models of other people. He rapidly accelerating and dangerous future. We need to keep our mind open to possibilities.
Newtonism Question by protokol2020 - Balancing Forces. Gravity problem.
Short Interview Writing by Tyler Cowen - Tyler Cowen's writing habits. Many concrete details such as when he writes and what program he uses. Some more general thoughts on writing such as Tyler's surprising answer to which are his favorite books on writing.
Unexpected by protokol2020 - Discussion of gaps between primes. "Say, that you have just sailed across some recordly wide composite lake and you are on a prime island again. What can you expect, how much wider will the next record lake be?"
Interacting With A Long Running Child Process In Python by Eli Bendersky - Using the subprocess module to run an http server. Solutions and analysis of common use cases. Lots of code.
4d Mate Problem by protokol2020 - How many queens do you need to get a checkmate in 4D chess.
The Destruction Of American Cuisine by Small Truths - America used to have a tremendous number of regional cuisines, most are dead. They were killed by supermarkets and frozen food. This has been costly both in terms of culture and health (antibiotic resistance, crop monoculture risk)
===Podcast:
Sally Satel On Organ Donation by EconTalk - "The challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the supply." Tax Credits. The ethics of donor compensation.
Podcast The World Needs Ai Researchers Heres How To Become One by 80,000 Hours - "OpenAI’s latest plans and research progress. Concrete Papers in AI Safety, which outlines five specific ways machine learning algorithms can act in dangerous ways their designers don’t intend – something OpenAI has to work to avoid. How listeners can best go about pursuing a career in machine learning and AI development themselves."
88 Must We Accept A Nuclear North Korea by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Mark Bowden and the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea."
Triggered by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Sam Harris and Scott Adams debate the character and competence of President Trump."
Conversation Atul Gawande by Tyler Cowen - The marginal value of health care, AI progress in medicine, fear of genetic engineering, whether the checklist method applies to marriage, FDA regulation, surgical regulation, Michael Crichton and Stevie Wonder, wearables, what makes him weep, Knausgaard and Ferrante, why surgeons leave sponges in patients.
Nneka Jones Tapia by The Ezra Klein Show - The first psychologist to run a prison. 30% of inmates have diagnosed mental health problems. Mental heath view of the penal system, balancing punishment and treatment, responsibility versus mental instability, the tension between what we use jail for and what we should use jail for.
Tamar Haspel by EconTalk - "Why technology helps make some foods inexpensive, how animals are treated, the health of the honey bee, and whether eggs from your backyard taste any better than eggs at the grocery."
From Cells To Cities by Waking Up with Sam Harris - "Biological and social systems scale, the significance of fractals, the prospects of radically extending human life, the concept of “emergence” in complex systems, the importance of cities, the necessity for continuous innovation"
Inside The World Of Supertraining: Mark Bell by Tim Feriss - "Mark’s most important lessons for building strength. How to avoid injury and breakdown. Lesser-known training techniques that nearly everyone overlooks. How Mark became a millionaire by offering his gym memberships for free."
Eddie Izzard by The Ezra Klein Show - 27 marathons in 27 days, process for writing jokes, why he wants to run for parliament, inspiration from Al Franken's, borrowing confidence from his future self. What he learned as a street performer, routines are based on history and anthropology, World War I, 'cake or death?'. His gender identity, and how he integrated it into his act early on, etc.
Martha Nussbaum by EconTalk - "The tension between acquiring power and living a life of virtue. Topics discussed include Hamilton's relationship with Aaron Burr, Burr's complicated historical legacy, and the role of the humanities in our lives."
Rs 188 Robert Kurzban On Being Strategically Wrong by Rationally Speaking - Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite." The "modular mind" hypothesis, and how it explains hypocrisy, self-deception, and other seemingly irrational features of human nature.
submitted by deluks917_ to PostPreview [link] [comments]

IamA High School drop out that had a million dollar bet with his parents that if I made a million before I'm 18. I did not have to go to college! I won! AMA!

+erikfinman:
Hello Reddit!
You may have seen me at the top of /technology the other day and I got a lot of messages telling me to do an IAMA about this article on CNBC so here I am!
So I made a bet with my parents that if I turned 18 and was a millionaire, my parents wouldn't force me to go to college. I’m proud to say I won that bet! Thanks to some clever investments, making money from projects, and as is the case with everyone who has any kind of success (or even failure) a little bit of luck.
Here’s the story of how it happened:
When I was 12 years old in May 2011, my older brother showed me this technology that I fell in love with and found fascinating. The technology was called Bitcoin.
At that stage in life I had a $1000 saved up, solely a gift from my Grandma to use for my scholarship fund. It did not go to my scholarship fund. I asked my brother to help me put it into Bitcoin at $12 because I knew it would be huge in someway. At that point I had about a 100 bitcoins.
I continued to do ‘day trading’ buying low and selling high over the coming years as well and reinvesting the money.
Fast forward to when I was 14 in high school I was not enjoying school. I was in a small town in Idaho living on a llama farm. So the quality of the school system, was let’s say, not the highest grade. I found the classes to be boring, valuable to some people, but at least for me boring and teaching me in a way that didn’t make sense to me. Lessons that did not seem applicable in my life.
My teachers would constantly criticize people in the classroom. Especially me.
One teacher told me to drop out and work at McDonald's because that was all I would amount to for the rest of my life.
Another would force us to read other student’s grades out to the rest of the class to shame them for failing.
Another roasted me (me in particular) for the full hour of class. No teaching. It was literally the “Roast of Erik Finman”. Which now seems kind of funny actually but still very bad to do.
I went to a summer program to prepare me for the next year and found the best teacher ever in my life that changed my life who was from the UK. I got an A+ in advanced physics when I got a C- in basic physics the previous year.
With that knowledge. Since I didn’t have access to good teachers in my small town in Idaho. I wanted to fix it. So I learned how to code and created an educational website that would allow you to connect with Tutors/Teachers/Mentors online over video chat to teach you any subject you wanted to learn. You could search for Spanish. And find someone to teach you from Ecuador. You could type in programming and you’d find a CS college student that is trying to pay tuition by doing this on the side. Or a retired expert who is a veteran in his field that just wants to impart his knowledge onto others.
It became very popular in the local community! I told my teachers about it, but they did not like it because it felt like competition. Maybe they thought they might have to do better?
At this point I was 15 and this got some initial traction and I was using it to teach myself.
I asked my parents to let me drop out of High School to focus on this because I was miserable in school.
They agreed and were supportive, but they made a bet with me that I can drop out of High School, but I have to go to college if I don’t make a million dollars by the age 18.
I agreed and I dropped out of High School to work on this. A little bit after I dropped out of High School, and I had traction with my project. Bitcoin was shooting up! It was going big! $800! $900! $1000!!!!
So I sold a lot of my Bitcoins which resulted in me gaining a $100,000.
I used that money to put into my business so I could hire more professional programmers and I moved to Silicon Valley.
I even caught the attention of Alexis Ohanian of Reddit because his book at the time Without Their Permission is what got me started. He helped me in many ways!
Fast forward to early 2015. Eventually I found a buyer for the companies code & technology in January 2015. The investor offered either $100,000 or 300 bitcoin, which had dropped in value at that time to a little more than $200 a coin. I took the lower cash value bitcoin deal because I believed it was the next big thing and an official buyout would’ve been very difficult for someone under 18 and it was good tax planning to use Bitcoin. Also continuing to do day trading on a daily basis.
I used some of that money in the coming years to travel the world. Going to London, Dubai, Australia, and more!
I used that to start a VR company using crowdfunding and that did well. I shipped all those out. It was incredible!
Now I’m doing a satellite as part of a NASA award which is launching in November out of New Zealand! I'll probably do another post about this soon because it's so cool.
Elon Musk has always been hero of mine. He's such a talented guy changing the world with Tesla and SpaceX. I'm a great admirer of his and respect him immensely. He's the closest we have yet to a real life Iron Man. But who knows maybe I'll beat him one day haha ;-) After all we stand on the shoulders of giants right? haha that's a big goal though and I say it as such.
It’s been a fantastic few years! I’ve used that money to learn how to do a business, invest, and learn about the world! I didn’t do investing all the time and I used that money to build things that I thought were important! I haven’t done everything perfectly, no one has! I’ve made some humbling mistakes, but had lots of exciting successes! I’ve really launched my career in exciting ways and have met mentors that help me and advise me along the whole way! Which I’m so thankful for!
I’ve learned so much outside the education system and have been so much happier. Although I’m unique, I’ve met many many people that weren’t satisfied and unhappy — ranging from students with the lowest and highest GPAs. My GPA was a 2.1 in school!
And I’m happy I’m not going to College! College wasn’t for me but it was the ‘life path’ you are supposed to go on and I did not want to go nor felt it would’ve helped me too much in life — especially the $250,000 in debt! Or $249,000 with my scholarship fund if I had not used it on Bitcoin and my projects ;-)
I really believe the education system needs to be reformed and I think technology is the way to do that. I think it’s wonderful how society allows you to be a ‘student’ so that you can learn for many years and that’s your full time job. The infrastructure would just ideally be much better so you could do that without being in sometimes a bad environment and crippling debt.
I can say today that I own 403 bitcoins which is currently valued at $1,092,678.08 with the price per Bitcoin being at $2,711.36 plus some other money invested in other things. Can’t have all your eggs in one basket! So I won the bet!
If you have any questions let me know! And if you want any advice on cryptocurrency or your own educational route, or anything else let me know!
Also on reddit! People have made Pepe memes of me! I feel like I've finally made it: http://imgur.com/gallery/06dWK
If you want to keep updated with everything I’m doing! Follow me on twitter!
Proof:
Proof of the bet: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/erik-finman-botangle-after-100k-bitcoin-score-15-year-old-creates-startup/
Travel proof: http://imgur.com/a/kvlzR
Proof: I went through rigorous proof verification and fact checking with CNBC as you can see with this article. I keep my Bitcoin is super secure places spread out across multiple wallets across multiple machines. I'm so paranoid after all this media attention someone is going to steal it all! haha
Proof of growing up on the llama farm: http://imgur.com/gallery/6scF5 ---- ASK me about the time the llama came into my house!
Proof of the 100k initially made: http://mashable.com/2014/06/10/botangle/
Proof it's really me: http://imgur.com/a/zc3eu
Edit: Wow! Thanks for the gold guys!
Edit: Was on for the first few hours of the AMA and had a meeting to go to and I just came back now to see all these great questions! Questions I all have answers to! I will respond to them tomorrow as it's midnight here now.
Edit: That's it for me! A lot of great questions and a lot of great feedback.
submitted by Concise_AMA_Bot to ConciseIAmA [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: I'm Patrick Byrne, a pro-freedom supporter of cryptocurrency and school vouchers, early critic of Wall Street, three time cancer survivor, journalist at DeepCapture.com, and CEO and founder of Overstock.com. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-05-02
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
What would you say to other CEOs and decision makers who are hesitant to utilize bitcoin? It depends upon what their hesitancy is.
There are business reasons to do it: save on transaction fees, eliminate fraud and charebacks, etc. There may be business reasons not to do it as well, such as the risk of volatility (but this concern can be obviated by trading out of Bitcoin immediately upon receipt, a service that the firms like Bitpay, Coinapult, and Coinbase all offer, I believe).
But if they are pro-freedom, they should want to get behind it on principle alone. Ghandi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Hi Patrick, do you have any thoughts on where the economy is heading? Are we truly in a recovery as the powers that be suggest? Do you have examples you see in business that say one way or the other? No we are not in a recovery. We have re-inflated a bubble and called it a recovery.
The government lies to us about the stats. Think of it this way: assume Alleged GDP (that is, "Nominal GDP") is growing at 3%. Inflation is calcualted to be 2%. So Real GDP is growing 3% - 2% = 1%. That is the basic equation. However, what if they are lying about inflation? Imagine it were really 5%? Then the truth, God's-eye-only view would be 3% - 5% = -2%. That is, if inflation is understated, then growth is overstated. I think this is likely the case. I think we are in a shallow dive that they are trying to make look like a level or small climb. See John Williams' site Shadow Government Statistics for more.
The Fed's policies are all about driving up asset prices (homes, stocks) in order to create a wealth effect. Your 401k goes from being worth $300,000 to $500,000. You think, "Gosh I made $200,000! I'll go out and spend $50,000 of it."
The Snoop Dogg Overstock commercial was awesome! When can we expect to see more ads from him? Thanks. It was even more fun hanging out with the guy for four hours. He is one smaaart dude. He asked me more intelligent questions about our business than any of the 80 or so VCs with whom I ever dealt. No kidding.
Also, he rolls a mean cigar.
Shouldn't the government be spending our tax dollars on putting wall street guys who caused the financial crisis in jail (instead of making them pay fines) ? Not one of them has ever been criminally convicted. But I do think the government should put more resources into policing Wall Street. The last I checked, the SEC budget was about $800 million. I think it was around the size of the budget for the Denver police force. It should be about 10X that. However, they should unplug the SEC and ship it to the DOJ. The only thing that scares these guys on Wall Street is an orange jumpsuit, and only the DOJ can issue those.
Patrick, What was your evolution toward being "pro-freedom" like? Were you always so? Was there some event that turned you in that direction? I grew up in New England and thought of myself as a Yankee Republican. Then the Republicans went crazy getting worked up over things that are none of the government's damn business. The old man with whom i sued to build stone walls in Vermont, Earl Barre, taught me that government should pave the roads, run the Post Office, and stay the hell off my porch. I think he must roll over in his grave to see the kinds of things Republicans care about today.
My friend, mentor, and teacher Milton Friedman used to say, "I'm a small-l libertarian and a small-r republican." Sounds right.
PS Thanks for seizing the term. We have a lot of people in our society who call themselves "progressives". If they can hijack the word "progress" I can hijack the word "freedom".
Hello Patrick, Thank you for doing this. Do you know when Overstock.com will be accepting bitcoin for international shipment? I've been waiting this for months! (I'm in Canada) Working on it now. Phase II was getting so we could issue credits back in Bitcoin. I think it came live last week. Phase III will be accepting it internationally. Should happen late summer +/-.
Hi Patrick! You've gotten a lot of praise for accepting Bitcoin, I think its great. But I'm curious what you've found to be the biggest challenge or drawback with accepting this new form of currency. What is something new merchents need to keep in mind before accepting bitcoin? It has been unbelievably seamless.
Coinbase made it easy. But Bitpay and Coinapult do as well, I hear.
Once integrated, it has not demanded an ounce of effort.
Where do you see Bitcoin in 1 year? What about 5? Or 10? I have no theories as to valuation.
Adoption... I would imagine SpaceCash (of one flavor or another) will gradually increase until you see 2-3% of transactions occur within it. If that day ever comes, it will leap quickly to 15-30%. (Lots of things are like that in life, rates of HIV infection in the adult population being one of them, for example.)
What percentage of transactions (# or revenue) are paid for in Bitcoin on Overstock.com? Tiny. <.1%
Did you ever reveal who the "Sith Lord" is??? Inquiring minds want to know! It was an amalgam of two people. 1) Steven A. Cohen of SAC Capital (hence, all my references to "someday I am going to sack up and tell the world...")
2) Michael Milken, who, I believe, is the Hannibal Lecter of the financial world. Read Den of Thieves. Since he was let out of prison (on his 98 count indictment) he spent a lot of money burnishing his image, but he is a really bad guy.
Is naked short selling still a problem? What do you see currently as the biggest risks to our financial system? "Is naked short selling still a problem? " Not so much, or at least, not as obviously as previously.
"What do you see currently as the biggest risks to our financial system?" Chains of title. You think you own something because you have some paperwork that says you do. However, in the central clearing systems of our economy there is slop. The slop was designed in as a way of providing fault tolerance. However, crooks figured out how to game that slop and create circumstances where more than one person thinks he owns the same thing.
Fractional reserve banking without a reserve requirement.
Nice to see you on Reddit, Mr. Byrne. I like Schiff. Opponents say, "Even a broken watch is right twice per day." But he shares my Austrian views.
Here is my question. Peter Schiff and many others think that a collapse of the dollar is imminent. What do you think about that? And what impact this collapse will have on digital currencies like Bitcoin? Yogi Berra said something to the effect, "Anything that cannot go on forever won't." We are living on borrowed time in many ways. However, it is like seeing a bridge built for 10 cars, that now has 80 driving across it. Will it collapse? I have no idea. I thought it would ahve collapsed at 20.
Did you have better experiences at Stanford, Cambridge, or Dartmouth? Which school influenced you the most, both culturally and intellectually? The day I got to Dartmouth I swore to myself that while I was there I would never enter a church, a party, or a fraternity. never did. Never had a single beer with anyone in college, went to a party, anything. I was a total grind. I did play football two years, then split, went to Asia, mucked around, came back just to graduate.
Cambridge - Marshall Fellow - Did a Master's in moral philosophy but was mostly an invalid, and spent my time with a handful of people, just reading for two years. Was in the uber-Lefty envornment of King's College (where the British traitors come from). When I got there I was Left-Curious, but when I split I was into Sowell and Milton Friedman.
Stanford - PhD They were great to me. I was an invalid there as well for much of the experience. Started in mathematical logic, ended up doing stuff in development economics, jurisprudence, and political philosophy. As a grad student my major influences were the other grad students, with whom one forms close bonds. Martin Jones (Oberlin?) and Taylor Carmen (Barnard?). Ask them.
What convinced you to damn the torpedoes and what other examples, successful or not, can you give of this full speed ahead orientation with respect to your life? So that has focused my mind tremendously. Lot of things I want to get done, and none of them have to do with knuckling under to the Combine. In fact, they largely have to do with blowing up the Combine. (Gold star to the first who can say where the expression "Combine" comes from.)
Combine = "Our Benefactors" in the half-life universe. HL3 confirmed! One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Organised crime on Wall St -- Can you elaborate? Yes. Wall Street started to be infiltrated by Organized Crime. It sttarted with Michael Steinhardt in the 1970's (his dad, Sol Steinhardt, was the biggest Mob fence in America, and went to Sing Sing, from whence he put his son Michael through Wharton, who then started what was arguably the first hedge fund in 1968, funded over time by cash from his dad's cronies.)
Google "Operation Uptick": the largest Mob arrest in US history was 120 goons from around Wall Street.
The Gambinos and Genovese fought over Wall Street in the 1990s. The Genovese won. Wherever Genovese are, there is Russian Orgnized Crime (the Genovese sponsored the Russian OC into the US like you or I would sponsor a family from Laos). See "Red Mafiya."
Anywhere you see "bucket shops" you are seeing OC.
I also work as an editor and journalist at DeepCapture.com, which explores this subject in hundreds of posts.
Mr. Byrne, No opinion on such companies.
What is your take on companies that operate solely in Bitcoin (i.e. Blockchain, Bitcoinstore.com, etc)? Are you offering your employees to take a percentage of their salary in Bitcoin? Not offering it to employees yet, but there is always the year-end bonus to consider!
Thank you for doing this AMA, and thank you for your activism and conviction you have shown over the years! Hindsight is 20/20, what is one decision that you would make, or wouldnt make, if you had to start Overstock.com all over again? When someone is dishonest, do not try to cajole or coach them. Get rid of him.
Hello patrick first i will like to say thank you for all you do. i have 3 questions 1. who are your favorite philosopher's and what book on philosophy do you recommened for enlightenment? Who are your favorite philosopher's and what book on philosophy do you recommened for enlightenment?
I admire tesla as a person and for his work, have you heard of the keshe foundation? where do you stand on free energy? I admire tesla as a person and for his work, have you heard of the keshe foundation? where do you stand on free energy? NO THOGHTS.
Will the criminal cabal who runs the united corporation of america fail? Will the criminal cabal who runs the united corporation of america fail? I'M WORKING ON IT, I'M WORKING ON IT.
I'm a computer programmer, so I'd like to ask a technical question if it's not a secret - what do you use for source control? Ironically enough: Subversion.
As a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you give to someone just starting up their own (tech) company? Calculate how much capital it is going to take to start your business, and how many years. Then square both those numbers.
I'd like to thank you for the nice red lounge chairs I got from Overstock. I was able to get a good price for them at a garage sale later. My question is how do you ensure a stable inherent value in cryptocurrency? Unlike Gold, which is a tangible thing, or a Federal Reserve Note which has value simply because the government says it does, with something like Bitcoin how can it retain value and trust without some "official" endorsement and tie in to a national currency? - if you DID tie it to something like the dollar.. then what would be the point? Right. Some say that Bitcoin is a figment of someone's imagination. But as I said on Fox or CNN or something recently (search my name on Youtube, you'll find it), I would be happy to debate the metaphysical properties of Bitcoin versus whatever the metaphysical properties are of those 65 billion figments Janet Yellen createde last month.
An opponent would say that those 65 billion figments are backed by the taxing authority of the US government. To which I respond: But if that taxing authority is tapped out (which it obviously is, otherwise we would not be in the fiscal state we are as a country) then those 65 billion things are backed by... nothing. At least there are a limited number of Bitcoin figments!
You have previously mentioned in a interview with Forbes that you are very intersted in a "Bitcoin version of the stock market" and having the ability to conduct more than just simple transactions via a blockchain. I am a bit confused about what you are asking. My fight with Wall Street came about because I became convinced in 2004 that the market's mechanisms for clearing and settling trades had been corrupted by bad elements. It all started there. Hence, the peer-to-peer aspect of Bitcoin et. al. deeply attracats me.
NXT - the first second generation cryptocurrency is doing this with it's new features being launched in the upcoming weeks and months. Have you looked into it and / or considered accepting it for overstock? I do not know NXT, but I am interested in finding (and even potentially investing in) efforts to create a peer-to-peer capital market. In fact, if a good solution emerges, you might even see Overstock be the first issuer of a stock or bond in such a market, just to help things get going! (Incidentally, we were the first to do a Dutch auction IPO, for precisely that reason.)
Clearly bitcoin has the potential to rid the world of much corruption. Have you thought of publicly endorsing it in this manner. Because most people do not understand the countless benefits that this technology has to offer to our society. All our new commercials end with a "Now Accepting Bitcoin" under the logo. Look for them.
Your top executives (Stormy Simon, Johnathan Johnson, Dave Nielsen) make $350K a year in salary, while Amazon pays their around $160K. This information is made public in SEC fillings. How is your executive compensation determined? One must look at cash and non-cash together.
When and from whom have you first heard of Bitcoin, and what was your first reaction? About two years ago I read a short piece about it in Wired, or Fast Company (perhaps). It struck a bell, from my computation studies at Stanford. I was also struck by how it has properties similar to gold's.
Edit: I also want to thank you for pioneering the way with cryptocurrencies and exposing Wallstreet corruption. Your work is very much needed and greatly appreciated! However, I think the crowdfunding movement is spectacular, and might be considered as well.
You mentioned the term bust out in your presentation on Ecomonic Warfare. You taught that an example of this was the S&L crisis. Where do you see the next bust out occurring? I don't know. Wherever you see an industry get over-leveraged, I suppose. Look for whatever sector has the most cronies of Michael Milken: thta would be a good guess.
I've heard from multiple sources that the stock market is due for a major retraction this year because its been artificially propped up by the FED's QE. Your thoughts? It is true that the Fed is propping it up, but they are not going to stop. They cannot stop lest we slide back into a deeper recession/depression.
However, eventually reality has a way of happening.
Remember, we used to refer to "The Great War" before we learned enough to start numbering them. The same will be true someday of "The Great Depression".
What do you think of the issues cryptocurrencies have been having in terms of security (Mt Gox "break-in", Flexcoin, etc all)? Will people ever be able to overcome their bias of Bitcoin or will it need to rebrand as a more secure currency or more user friendly to gain wider acceptance? So did Target.
It won't "rebrand" deliberately because there is no owner. It will morph and evolve to be better and better. I suspect that as other currencies develop traction, Bitcoin will harvest their better attributes and make them its own. However, switching costs are not too high... Other currencies may fare well.
I admire your position and fight for school vouchers, now that charter schools have become more common, do you feel that charter schools can replace the need for school vouchers? Charter schools are less controversial but not as readily available due to the lottery system. 1) Backpack funding (e.g., Oakland) - Send your kid to any public school in the district that you want, and the funds travel with him (in his "backpack" so to speak). Something like Henry Ford saying, "You can buy a Model T in any color you want as long as it's black." But it's a start.
2) Charter schools - As you say, these have momentum.
3) Vouchers (or their economic equivalent, tuition tax credits). These create the most freedom of all the methods.
Thanks for doing this Mr. Byrne. I was curious if overstock held a small % of the btc from purchases or is it all automatically sold on the market? 10%.
Sorry if this has been mentioned already but how would you suggest the community as a whole informs the general public about bitcoin? Obviously mainstream media isnt doing a great job since their main focus are the negative stories relating to bitcoin since thats what sells. Like Ho Chi Minh, make it a war of the ants against the elephants.
My company's CEO thinks there are more important things to take care of rather than bitcoin payments. What would you say to him? Beat the rush.
Hi Patrick! I'd just like to say it's great working here at Overstock. Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck? Having been nibbled to death by a duck, I would rather fight the horses of whatever size.
What do you like about Utah and what do you do for fun here? What do you like about Utah and what do you do for fun here? BUILD OVERSTOCK.
Any chance the Ostk benefits would include more than the Snowbird pass discount? Maybe more resorts discounts benefits? Any chance the Ostk benefits would include more than the Snowbird pass discount? Maybe more resorts discounts benefits? NO. WOULD RATHER JUST PAY THE CASH.
I'm sorry that you contracted cancer numerous times, do you have any ideas about what caused it? Also, Bitcoin :-} Nope. Just lucky I guess.
What was the last thing you bought from overstock.com? A book about Camille Claudel, I think.
What the fuck was the deal with Snoop? Stormy just wanted to meet the guy, so you waste MILLIONS on an ill-fated promotion that is so at odds with your brand? You mean this? Link to www.youtube.com
Note our appearance in his video: Link to www.youtube.com
It has 2.5 million hits. Seems to have struck a chord for some.
What are you, racialist?
"three time cancer survivor" Did you grow up under power lines? Or did you just like the way lead-based paint tasted? Some guys just get lucky.
Related note: Seriously, no one is out to get you! Quit moving your damn office every three months! 3) I move my office because we are a flexible, agile environment. Sounds like that was something you could not grasp during your tenure here.
Do you know who's behind the Satoshi twitter account? No.
I work over at castle and I challenge you to a game of ping pong. You're on.
My paycheck against yours?
(Joke: I don't get paychecks, I believe.)
Truly. The beautiful thing about bitcoin is that we can all be a small part of this change. The peer to peer aspect makes it truly pro-freedom. True dat.
Thank you for accepting bitcoin Patrick. I've made several purchases on Overstock instead of Amazon because of it. Thanks. Spread the word! We took a chance by taking it. Help make it pay off by getting more people to think like you.
(Notice Amazon recently dissed Bitcoin? They do not want to appear as Me-too'ers.)
Hello Mr. Byrne, I became a strong believer in several ways. 1) As a grad student at Stanford I studied computation thory, which underlies public key encryption, and so when cryptocurrencies came along it was not as magical-sounding to me as it might have been. 2) I am a proponent of the Austrian School of Economics, which, in general, eschews fiat currency in favor of a gold standard. The goal is not really the gold standard, however: the goal is to have a form of money that is intrinsically limited. Bitcoin et. al. accomplishes that. In addition, cryptocurrencies are SpaceCash (a word I think I just made up) that can be beamed across the galaxy! (Henceforth in my answers I will use "SpaceCash" top refer to all cryptocurrencies.)
Clearly bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have the potential to change how our world does money for the better. What made you such a strong believer in bitcoin, and how would you spread this knowledge to other CEOs like yourself.
It's my understanding that since Overstock.com uses a Coinbase to facilitate the transaction Overstock does not sit on any Bitcoin; just the cash after the fact. Correct. Acutally, I think we are accumulating 10% of what gets spent with us in Bitcoin, as Bitcoin.
Just want to say you sound like a really cool mega rich person. Thanks. If so, it helps that I was a really cool person before I became a rich guy.
Last updated: 2014-05-06 21:05 UTC
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