Category Archives: Food

Feudalistic Threats to Web 3.0

When I’m asked to explain Web 3.0 I always try to start by explaining that the world is far more diverse than just coins and financial assets.

This is similar to my old saw about history being more detailed than just who won what war and why. Culture is not just coinage.

The entirety of the human experience, which arguably will be predominantly expressed via the web if anywhere in technology, is vast and rich beyond monetary action. Only about half of transactions even involve money at all.

Yet, for many people their only topic of interest or focus on technology is how to capitalize as quickly as possible on anything “new”. Beware their depictions of the Web solely as finance instead of encompassing our most rich and interesting possibilities.

Geolocation data, as just one facet, has long been recognized as a source of power and authority. Think of it in holistic terms of the English and Dutch cracking the secretive Portuguese spice trade routes and upending global power, instead of just focusing on the spices being traded.

Knowledge is a form of power, which have been expressed as political systems far more vast than markets alone could ever encompass.

Here is an example to illustrate how oversimplification of humanity down to financial terms becomes an ethical quagmire, highlighting some very important mistakes of the past.

Ukraine cancelled a Crypto airdrop.

…“a lot of people” were abusing the possibility of an airdrop by sending minuscule donations “just to benefit” themselves. This is a common tactic among crypto investors, known as airdrop farming.

Farming is in fact the opposite of what is described here. Growing food at low margin so that others may gain has somehow been framed backwards: extraction of value from someone else’s plan to help others.

In other words “airdrop farming” is far more like “airdrop banking” as it has nothing in common with farms but a lot in common with banks. It begs a question why there there was any direct return and benefit of “donations”, given what has been said in past about that loop.

Appropriation of the term “farming” in this context thus reads to me as propaganda; we may as well be in a discussion of Molotov’s WWII bombs as a delivery of bread baskets.

Likewise in the same story Kraken’s CEO displayed complete ignorance by saying his company would be on the side of Russia in this war and could not help Ukraine because in his mind political Bitcoin only has “libertarian values”.

Exchanges including Coinbase, Binance, KuCoin, and Kraken all refused Fedorov’s February public request that they freeze all Russian accounts, not just those that were legally required by recently-imposed sanctions. The companies said such an action would hurt peaceful Russian citizens and go against Bitcoin’s “libertarian values,” as Kraken CEO Jesse Powell put it.

Calling Bitcoin libertarian is like calling diamonds bloody.

In fact, Bitcoin is notoriously slow-moving (terrible for payments) and notoriously volatile (terrible for currency) just like blood diamonds being extracted from dirt at artificially low cost to artificially inflate their value to a very small group desperate for power.

Mining doesn’t have to be an exercise in oppressive asset hoarding with a total disdain for the value of human life, but Kraken clearly displays here they operate intentionally to repeat the worst thinking in history.

So what values are we talking about really? Proportionality (tailoring response to the level of the attack, avoiding collateral impact) is not a libertarian concept, obviously, because its a form of regulation (let alone morality).

Note instead there is complete lack of care for victims of aggression on the principle of protecting “peaceful” among aggressors, with absolutely no effort to prove such a principle.

It’s sloppy and exactly backwards for a Bitcoin CEO to claim he cares about impacting others. The inherent negative-externality of Bitcoin means it carries a high cost someone else has to pay, proving that if Kraken cared about “peaceful” Russian civilians it would shutdown all Bitcoin since it harms them all while benefiting few if any.

Systemically redistributing transaction costs from selfish individuals to society instead, while claiming to be worried about societal impact of an individual action is… dangerously reminiscent of “nobles” and “clergy” of pre-revolutionary France who ignorantly stumbled into their own demise.

The Web already is so much more than a narrow line of thought from the ugly past of feudal thinking, and 3.0 should be more broadly representative of the human condition instead of boxed in like this by selfish speculators trying to get rich quick through exploitation and manipulation of artificially constrained assets.

Rural American Healthcare During COVID19 Worse Than 3rd World

The entire notion of a “3rd World” is a weird political framing of the world by the French. Economist Alfred Sauvy in 1952 spoke of Africa and Asia being like France’s “Third Estate“.

The vast majority of people (over 90%) in pre-Revolution France belonged neither to a clergy (1st) nor nobility (2nd), had less privileges and were unrepresented in government; this imbalance led to their Revolution.

With that in mind, Politico has an article making it clear that rural Americans are tiny in number and spread out, which leads worse healthcare than in the worst in the world.

“We have a residency program at Guyana, on the coast of South America,” Russ said. “These are the types of things that [I see] when I go down and work in Guyana. We see this for the Amerindian population that are coming out of the villages and need a canoe to get, you know, to a hospital. This isn’t the type of thing that we’re used to seeing in the United States.”

Tennessee lost over 1,200 staffed hospital beds between 2010 and 2020 despite a population that grew by over half a million, according to the American Hospital Directory and census data. Mississippi, with the most Covid-19 deaths per capita, lost over 1,100 beds over that decade. Alabama, second only to Mississippi in per-capita deaths from the virus, lost over 800.

Apparently living in rural America with a need for healthcare is like having a canoe without a paddle.

Or, as Dolly Parton famously sang, life on a mountain in Tennessee is hard.

Didja know corn don’t grow at all on Rocky Top?
The dirt’s too rocky by far
And that’s why all the folks on Rocky Top
Get their corn from a jar

Apparently nobody thought to put dirt in a jar and grow fresh corn. Yee haw.

But seriously those lyrics are about the rural community suspicion of federal government (e.g. prohibition and the history of bourbon, which is basically alcohol encoded as corn in a jar).

They come right after lyrics about killing the federal agents who visited.

Once two strangers climbed ol’ Rocky Top
Lookin’ for a moonshine still
Strangers ain’t come down from Rocky Top
Reckon they never will

As much as scarcity of services may seem like news, also I remember experiencing it myself in rural America for decades. A trip to a hospital was considered a minimum 30 minute drive. Even that was to what felt like an outpost where chance of meeting someone with any clue about science was marginal at best.

More recently when I tried to setup a primary care physician — a step required to use health insurance — I was told there was no availability. Doctors would not accept any new patients because healthcare crisis (COVID19) meant they had zero capacity. At one point the American healthcare “system” advised I try to find the rare Muslim woman doctor because they estimated (without explaining why) she would be most likely to have availability and take new patients.

Italian Police Seize Russian Oligarch’s 500ft Sailboat (Largest in World)

A boat builder boasted in 2017 about their 143m ship with gross tonnage of 12.600 that can only go 20 knots:

Her name: SAILING YACHT A. She will draw eyes the world over, as no other superyacht has ever done before.

Apparently this prediction of drawing eyes came true just now. Italian police announced the 530 million euro monstrosity had achieved their full attention.

Italian police have seized a superyacht from Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, the prime minister’s office said on Saturday, a few days after the businessman was placed on an EU sanctions list following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. […] Designed by Philippe Starck and built by Nobiskrug in Germany, the vessel is the world’s biggest sailing yacht, the government said. Melnichenko owns major fertiliser producer EuroChem Group and coal company SUEK.

Technically Melnichenko just resigned in an attempt to find a loophole in sanctions.

EuroChem Group AG, a leading global fertilizer producer, announces that Andrey Melnichenko has resigned his position as Non-Executive Director of the Board of Directors, and withdrawn as main beneficiary, effective March 9, 2022. The move follows Mr. Melnichenko’s inclusion in an EU sanctions list, and was taken to ensure EuroChem is able to continue providing millions of people around the world with nutrients for agriculture, helping to underpin global food security.

Nutrients that underpin global security?

*Cough* bullshit *cough*.

But seriously, this opulent waste of money on a party yacht sinks any claims to Melnichenko or his company giving a crap about global food security.

Source: Nobiskrug

It might be the ugliest sailboat I’ve ever seen. At best it resembles a Chinese Junk.

A trio of 300 ft masts with full battens on a 480 ft lethargic bathtub make no sense to me at all. I’m not kidding about bathtub designs being slow. Surface area clearly increases towards the waterline.

Source: Nobiskrug

It has all the grace and efficiency of a flat tire.

Really it looks like someone took a big container ship and chopped its stern off, then crammed on a cruise ship’s reverse poop deck. Running lights make it even uglier, like an old running shoe from Walmart.

Source: DailyMail

To be fair we’re talking about a fertilizer and coal billionaire who wanted a party boat that could operate on clean wind power instead of fertilizer or coal. Nothing about it sounds right, if you see what I mean, and yet somehow I am certain the Italians will know exactly what to do.

U.S. Marines Learn How to Shop at Local Gas Stations

“Only time we can have to much fuel is when we’re on fire. Let’s roll…”

I keep telling myself this is a real story in the news and not a clever Duffel Blog or Onion writer trying to make fun of Americans.

Marines are being taught how to buy gas at local gas stations…

That is real, I swear. It comes from a piece called “Butchering pigs, foraging water and fuel ― the future of Marine logistics

Someone clearly has the right idea here, it’s just being reported very awkwardly (e.g. nothing brings up a history of colonial violence and religious intolerance like butchering pigs).

When numerous local insecurities and large-scale anxieties threatened the empire, hunting pursuits involving the wily Indian pig, it was said, made soldiers out of boys; the attendant spectacles of masculinity aimed to exert symbolic dominance over the restive Indian masses.

It’s no coincidence that the legendary anti-war novel “Lord of the Flies” has a tragic hero named Piggy.

Anyway, back to the article, among all the noise it’s trying to bring up important topics like this one:

…they are reliant on a long supply chain that stretches from the South Pacific or northern Europe all the way back to the U.S.

Supply chains are indeed wasteful and full of vulnerabilities, not to mention crazy loopholes (e.g. Canadian Navy escapes environmental safety regulations while refueling Americans).

I particularly liked the following bits.

The first thing Marines need in those future distributed environments is learning to need less, said then-Lt. Gen. Eric Smith… “That’s insane, why would I move food?” Smith has since been promoted to general and now serves as the Corps’ assistant commandant. […] Eventually Tsukano [commander of Marine Corps Detachment Fort Lee, Virginia] sees the Corps bringing back field mess kits for certain style of deployments, replacing the disposable paper cups, plates and plastic utensils Marines use to eat most of their meals while on deployment. In addition to reducing the logistical burden that comes with transporting millions of disposable products to the front line, the metal plates, bowls and utensils would reduce the trash those units produce, making it easier for them to hide from the enemy.

Need less! Sounds like something out of WWII training manuals, or some 1970s hippie concert.

And then there’s this.

“All the cammie paint, the cammie netting, all the operating at night, that is all for naught if your logistics is loud and screaming in on these large trucks,” [Maj. Patrick Fitzgibbons, with Warfighter Instructor Battalion] added. The foraging techniques, if done right, will improve the Marines’ relationship with the locals around their base, turning the Marines’ housing into a local economy boon rather than a burden, he added.

“Hello I ditched my loud and screaming loud trucks and I’m here to create a local economy boon. Who wants to give me cheap gas or be shot to death?”

To be fair, putting pressure on local populations to cough up their food for a foreign military doesn’t have the optimal sound to it. Is it really an economy boon when the Americans arrive in large numbers pointing guns and saying they’re very hungry because food no longer is being moved to them? Wars have literally started (1859 Pig War) due to American hostility negotiating the price of one pig.

Very interesting reading, and far too late unfortunately for all those soldiers whose lives were destroyed by decades of toxic logistics such as “burn pits” and abject failures to integrate with local communities.

Armies Around the World Testing Electric Bikes (Yet Again)

A nod to military bike history can be found in a new article about the British military called “Charge of the light brigade: Army Parachute Regiment trial electric bikes

Eighty years ago, wartime necessitated the introduction of the Royal Enfield WD/RE ‘Flying Flea’ and the Welbike, which were parachuted into occupied Europe, providing a means for airborne and assault troops to transmit messages. […] “Motorcycles have been in military use ever since they were invented. So, what we’re doing is nothing new – what’s new is the electrification side of it and the opportunities that presents…they can be used in a way where a petrol engine would just give your position away.”

Electric bikes have many obvious advantages, already getting a lot of attention from special forces in America: given low sound and heat profiles they are much safer, faster, lighter and easier to maneuver than liquid fuel bikes, not to mention an easier and safer supply chain.

What’s not to like about electric bikes?

Even more broadly, the bike in most cases is a far better tool for modern military application than any automobile including trucks. It’s not really any kind of news or secret.

Without a Motorcycle in Kandahar, ‘You Are Like a Prisoner’. A foreshadowing of how the Afghan war would be won and lost by distributed / localization networks, hit & run tactics, and terrain advantages.

See also:

In terms of the US Army, consider how they rode mountain-bike field tests way back in 1896, as I’ve written here before, so the Ogden Bolton electric bike from 1895 might be a better “nothing new” reference than a smelly, greasy 1939 Royal Enfield.

Source: ElectricBike

Speaking of references, in 1991 there was even a book published that detailed a century of bikes used in war. It’s kind of amazing to think how many better references there may be versus that WWII Enfield.

Swiss book that gets far less attention than it should

In WWI soldiers allegedly even were pulling heavy gear into battle using bicycles as if some kind of direct replacement for horse power. You’d think electricity would be on their mind.

Source: Leeds Bikes

Journalists in 1914 indeed mention that a bike has a major advantage because it can be dropped flat to the ground and completely hidden from enemy fire, which seems an odd point to make today yet it was an innovation in military thinking at the time.

Being completely hidden, of course, is again why the electric motor signature has been so compelling for 100 years versus oil burners.

And from there, the 1938 McDonald seems even more relevant, especially because by this time Japan was using bicycles in major offensive campaigns (1937 invasion of China).

Source: ElectricBike

Given the superiority of electric, it’s a wonder anyone bothered with gasoline bikes at all.

It seems all too easy to find evidence of electric bikes in military projects throughout history that are far more relevant to today’s British paratrooper than an Enfield of WWII. Here’s a good one:

In 1997, [US Government was] seeking a way to move military troops and equipment without the heat or noise signatures of a combustion engine and due to Montague’s experience in the field, they won the grant to develop the Tactical Electric No Signature (TENS) Mountain Bike. Montague worked closely with Currie Technologies on their earliest electric systems to equip these military models with the best electric motor technology of the time. Currie is still making electric drive systems used on many e-bikes today.

US military Tactical Electric No Signature (TENS) Mountain Bike. Source: Montague bikes

Someone in the US military surely thought TENS would be an hilarious acronym for an 18-speed electric bicycle.

So what really is new? The oil industry seems to be losing its death grip. In retrospect, bikes never should have been anything but electric this whole time.

I mean I know it’s fashionable to say electric bikes have short range, have trouble keeping a charge in extreme weather… but let’s be honest about such nonsense.

You can’t pull gasoline out of thin air or water like you can electricity. Even diesel has potential to be created from local sources that gasoline clearly does not. I’ve always found electricity available in even the most remote locations, places oil was nowhere to be found.

In fact, WWII motorcyclists reminisce about their leaky and wasteful fuel cans, which could never serve modern operations.

“We had flimsy cans of petrol, so you cut them in half, pierced it with a lot of holes, three-quarter fill it with earth, pour petrol and put a match on it and it would burn for a long while. That’s how we used to brew up [tea] while we’re on the road!”

With an electric bike he would have just heated water using a simple pad or pole plugged into the battery, having none of the signature/footprint issues of a setting that petrol can on fire.