Served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine, 2005-07.
Viscount of Hyrkania and private cartographer to the house of Beifong.
What happened to the cryptocurrencies discussed by John Oliver in 2018?
On March 11th 2018, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver did an episode about cryptocurrencies. As the episode explains, these are digital, decentralized currencies, open source, not controlled by any business or government. The episode touts the cryptocurrencies decentralized nature & blockchain technology, which was supposed to make them hard to hack, but that’s proven untrue. In 2020 a massive data breach saw the personal information of over 270,000 bitcoin and cryptocurrency users published online. While bitcoin's decentralized nature means there isn't a company or organization that can be targeted directly, centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet providers, and other digital platforms will always be bitcoin's greatest weakness. And it’s not just data that’s been stolen-- over $700 million worth of crypto had been pilfered as of 2019.
5 Pandemic Changes we ought to keep (and 3 that need to end immediately)
COVID-19 is not the only disease out there in the world. Even as vaccines bring the pandemic under control (but it is not over) that doesn’t mean that we should aim to get everything back to the way it was in 2019. Even though this last year has been defined by illness, its been one of health for me. This last year I haven’t had a cold once, I’ve never gone that long without one. That was kind of nice, maybe we shouldn’t give up all of our social distancing measures. Here’s some changes that should stay:
Should you talk about how you were canceled?
Lindsay Ellis is a popular YouTuber with a focus on in depth video essays about films. I’ve referenced her work before. She also does featurettes for PBS and wrote a best selling novel, Axiom’s End. On March 26th, she would make a controversial tweet that would lead to her being, in her words canceled.
The Henchman’s Award
An invitation to see James O’Keefe receive the Heartland Liberty Prize has been extended to me. Obviously The Heartland Institute doesn’t know who I am (I am a leftist) because there’s no way I’d pay a dime to attend a conservative fundraiser. The bigger question here though is, do they know who James O’Keefe is? Because the man has been repeatedly exposed as a fraud. I’m not going to go into examples of how he’s a fraud because that plays into his game. Mr. O’Keefe makes gotcha videos and he knows that even if the headlines eventually read “Video showing corruption at XYZ was deceptively edited” his intended audience will still vaguely remember “Video showed corruption at XYZ.” I’ll just mention that he has paid $100,000 in a legal settlement and pled guilty in federal court.
A review of music from 1996
Pop asks ecclesiastical questions While pop songs with spiritual undertones were not new, mainstream acts tended to leave overt religious themes to Christian rock groups. Not so in 1996. There were two big religious songs that year. The better one was Jewel’s Who will save your soul? The song is about a materialistic society full of people ready take advantage of others to get ahead. People aren’t cartoonish villains though, they are left wondering about the scars their actions have left on their souls. People ask god for salvation but without knowing what god even is. Hence we’re all looking for someone, anyone, to save us and we’re so desperate that it might just be a devil that answers our pleas.
Money can’t buy happiness, but can you be paid to be happy?
Early into the course Be Happy: How to Bring More Joy to Your Life participants are asked the following: “Please introduce yourself to the class. Who are you? Why did you decide to join the class? What are you hoping to learn?” My answer was blunt:
Spring 2021 starts on March 20th, unless it started on March 1st.
“Happy first day of Spring!” A coworker said to me, and she wasn’t the first one to say it. I looked outside, it was snowing. It had snowed almost everyday since November. What were these people thinking? This was not Spring.
Either I'm having a COVID fever dream or "Space Jam 2" is real and important
I must be unwell. Perhaps I should get tested for COVID-19. See, I think I’m having a fever dream, I’ve been seeing things that just can’t be so. Remember like a decade ago there was that joke going around the internet that there ought to be a Space Jam 2 starring LeBron James? What a ridiculous idea that would be. I mean, Space Jam was a movie that was largely enjoyed ironically, a so-bad it’s good film. I mean the movie was based on a Nike commercial.