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Sunday, Oct 15, 2017 - 23:47 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Intro To IOTA

Mr. Robo: Human! Human! Am I glad you're here! Why, after the Bitcoin price blasted past US$5000 on Thursday, Mr. Ham has locked himself in his office, and he ain't coming out! Not only that, there have been some very odd sounds emitted from within, usually coinciding with the sudden price jumps...

Me: Nah, leave him be, somehow I think he's okay. On to proper business. But before that, just a small observation. With the current crypto boom, you can't help but hear of more private investors leaping in, particularly into alt-coins, with a get-rich-quick mentality.

It may be timely to reiterate Mr. Ham's observation - wise, for once - from over three years ago here: in general, I intensely dislike giving investment advice, since it's far easier to get blamed when things go pear-shaped, than remembered if they go right. Consider one of Livermore's timeless quotes:

"If I buy stocks on Smith's tip I must sell those same stocks on Smith's tip. I am depending on him. Suppose Smith is away on a holiday when the selling time comes around? A man must believe in himself and his judgment if he expects to make a living at this game. That is why I don't believe in tips."

Mr. Robo: With that said, the firm of H.L. Ham hasn't done too badly by following other Livermore rules - in particular, not to try and catch the exact tops and bottoms in a secular crypto bull market, and that sometimes - often - the right thing is just to sit tight and hodl.

But also, if you're confident, not to be discouraged by those with differing worldviews, e.g. the fine folk over at r/personalfinance
(Source: r/bitcoin)

Me: With that off my chest, a further comment. From both real-life communications and forum surfing, it appears that many newer would-be investors are getting interested in more-minor alt-coins (i.e. excepting Bitcoin, usually also Ethereum and Litecoin, and maybe a few others) and ICOs, with the following common reasonings:
  • The "big" cryptos are already too expensive (BTC is at time of writing at about US$5500, ETH at US$325, and LTC at US$65)
  • Minor alt-coins/ICOs have much more room to grow, and become the next BTC/ETH/LTC (i.e. multiply in price hundredfold, or even more)
On that first point, it appears partly due to a misconception that one has to buy a whole coin (i.e. the minimum investment in BTC is over five thousand bucks). This is, of course, untrue. Further, it also seems to come with some misunderstandings about the per-coin price being meaningful in a vacuum. Using a stock market analogy, Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares are currently going for US$280000 each, and Google/Alphabet shares only US$1000, but Alphabet actually has a larger market cap than Berkshire.

As for the second point, it is almost certainly true, in that some alt-coin will near-surely produce returns that blow the major cryptos out of the water over the next years. The question, as with penny stocks, is identifying the correct one. For once, China was probably right to put a lid on ICOs, given the proliferation of dot-com era-like vapourware offerings and outright scams starting to take root in the space.

Case in point: a biotech firm with nothing previously to do with crypto renamed itself "Riot Blockchain", and its stock price promptly doubled. Cutting to the chase, I must admit that I have not been able to model alt-coin prices to my satisfaction, unlike that done for Bitcoin over the past few years. Now, I could proffer the relatively tiny market caps - making manipulation even easier - as an excuse, but it's mostly that I have not managed to form a good enough idea of the fundamentals and factors involved.

For example, had I known, we could have increased profits several more times over by simply shifting it all from BTC to ETH last year, rather than just maintaining a modest hedge. Let's just say that I haven't been losing much sleep over such what-if scenarios, however.

But anyway, there has been some particular interest in the IOTA crypto, so... Mr. Robo, you've prepared the notes?

(Source: wikimedia.org)

Mr. Robo: Yes, human. There's the main website and subreddit, of course, but its bitcointalk.org thread is also worth going through if you're serious - note that a lot of alt-coins are first unveiled to the in-crowd at that crypto watering hole.

I'll even put its original Tangle whitepaper out here, but since I guess most of the audience would be interested in a less-technical summary, here goes.

Recall that most crypto(coin)s - probably the vast weighted majority, by market value - currently follow the Bitcoin blockchain paradigm. You have users submitting transactions, usually with a small associated fee, and miners including these transactions into blocks, partly incentivized by those fees. These miners constantly compete to include their active block into the blockchain, by performing computationally-costly calculations as proof-of-work (POW). By successfully solving the active "puzzle", their block is inserted into the chain, the transactions become official, and the lucky miner is rewarded some time later with both the transaction fees, and usually a block reward.

Certainly, this is not perfect, with one of the major gripes - which has led to the ongoing strife over scaling and segwit - being limited transaction rates and backlogs. For example, Bitcoin currently has a 1MB block size limit, with hash difficulty retargetings aimed at maintaining an average block time of ten minutes. Some simple math then puts this at up to 2000 transactions every ten minutes, or maybe three per second. Definitely not enough to serve a global population as-is, which has brought fierce debate as to the right solution.

While Bitcoin-type blockchains are largely quibbling over block size and second-layer tradeoffs, however, IOTA has cleverly made to sidestep the scaling problem with a whole new underlying data structure: the Tangle, which is basically a direct acyclic graph (DAG). Basically, so the proposal goes, rather than rely on blocks and miners, return power to individual users (nodes) for the Internet of Things - each node must participate in transaction validation to get its own transaction considered, and because this involves validating two existing transactions, validation supply rate is always twice that of demand, unlike the fixed validation supply rate of blockchains.

The Tangle: newest transactions (tips) in grey
(Source: forum.iota.org)

Ergo, the Tangle is infinitely scalable - the more transactions, the more confirmations! Not only that, there are no longer any transaction fees, since participating nodes "pay it backward" for their transaction, by validating previous transactions.

Or, at least, that's the idea if all goes well - refer to the whitepaper for the detailed proofs. Before continuing, it may be helpful to try and understand the Tangle with reference to blockchains, on one of their prime motivations: the illegality of double-spending in a distributed environment, i.e. invalidating of an earlier transaction, with associated monetary losses.

It can be recognized that the Tangle is not really that different from blockchains in this sense. Where blockchains rely on POW to ensure that it is prohibitively difficult to rewrite previous blocks (with increasing difficulty the more blocks have passed), the Tangle indeed relies on a similar mechanism. The basic idea is, while you can't be sure that your transaction is "locked in" right after you add it to the Tangle, you can become surer as newer transactions validate your transaction... and yet newer transactions validate those transactions.

In this sense, users can decide on their own margin of safety, as with blockchains. A common rule-of-thumb was to wait for six confirmation blocks after one's transaction, for high-value Bitcoin transactions. This however becomes slightly more iffy with the Tangle, since there are no canonical blocks - one can only estimate some "weight" for a transaction, depending on how many new transactions directly or indirectly validate it.

However, we now note that this itself is only really reliable, if the node has a good-enough idea of the state of the Tangle. If it is aware of too small a subset of the Tangle, it may only later realise that what it thought to be a "safe" transaction, had in fact been invalidated by a "heavier" parallel Tangle - sort of analogous to a blockchain miner reserving private blocks in a classic 51% (or 33%) attack.

And boy, can they attack when they want to
(Source: ibtimes.com)

While the whitepaper does analyse a parasite chain attack, the explanation of how it handles the touted billions of transactions, across a similar number of devices in the machine economy, is rather less examined. Offhand, the Tangle doesn't magically escape some fundamental physical limitations. If there are more transactions, they still have to be distributed, else the underlying data structure might well shard involuntarily. Moreover, they still have to be stored, and while IOTA appears to have hit upon automated snapshots as a solution - which sounds to me like a de-facto "block" - it seems that a minimal Tangle of just the nodes nearest to the tips can still be fairly large indeed, which might be a problem for embedded devices...

Perhaps more worryingly, it seems that IOTA is currently quietly utilizing a master "coordinator" node to operate, which means that it is effectively centralised, after all! The author of that exposé further posits that this is because one of the purported strengths of IOTA can also be a weakness - while having users be miners does encourage decentralisation in a manner, it also means that IOTA's effective hashpower can be very unreliable, since there is no reward for consistent hashing throughput. As such, a 33% attack does not need to defeat a baseline set by dedicated miners, but only needs to defeat what is likely a much easier transient target.

Interestingly, the response to this critique by the IOTA devs appears rather defensive and slightly hostile (as often is the case in the crypto space, where riches are involved; this extends to some professors from reputable universities, who shall not be named here), and it'll be interesting to observe when the "coordinator" node is obsoleted, if ever. Actually, I wouldn't be overly surprised if IOTA eventually turns to second-layer solutions too; as it is, some of the tech should be included in Bitcoin's Rootstock implementation, which may lend some credence to the Bitcoin maximalist "Bitcoin can just incorporate any new innovation as a secondary layer/sidechain" view.

And finally, the part you've been waiting for - so, is IOTA a good investment? Short answer: I don't know.

Longer answer: although there appears to be some technical concerns about IOTA in practical deployment, we have frankly not been able to price these considerations to our satisfaction. One might suppose, for example, that a crypto with no promised issuance schedule or cap cannot be valued, but ETH somehow exploded in price anyhow. Speaking in crude terms of signal and noise, the general hype ("noise") over alt-coins has H.L. Ham severely doubting its ability to read their true value ("signal").

It can be noted that for IOTA, as with ETH, those involved in the initial technical ICO - buying the initial distribution with Bitcoin - definitely made out like bandits. Of course, this has probably become too widely known, and the market premium has perhaps swung the other way...

Do I spy shades of Tarja?
[Russian/Mandarin lyric glosses for Katyusha; Russian choir version]

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Sunday, Oct 08, 2017 - 20:26 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Staying On The Move

"Young adept, you must not walk behind me,
for I shall not always lead.
Nor shall you walk in front, for you know not the way.
You cannot walk beside me because the path is too narrow.
In fact, f**k off and find your own path.

- the wise kung fu master's refrain
(the original advice's not half bad either)

Mr. Ham: *puffing on cigar* Yo, human. Long time no see. Figured I'd just drop by and bum a few bucks off ya, see.

Me: And I'd say you'd almost deserve it, for such direct honesty. Which brings me to some weeks ago, when a fellow approached me with his Singaporean passport for purposes of panhandling, with a cover story of having to catch a ferry back to Batam to visit his daughter, whose photo appeared slightly-suspiciously to have been extracted from a magazine. To be frank, I'm kind of torn on the proper response to such efforts, given that my continued investigations into practical economics reveal no particular justice in wealth distribution.

*Mr. Ham proffers upturned hat impatiently*

Me: Eh, we'll see about that later.

Mr. Ham: Sure, fob me off; it's not like I got anything else important to do.

Me: As a matter of fact, you don't.

Mr. Ham: Fine, I'll come straight with ya, my cards are all maxed out for the month, but there's this Steam game I wanted...

Expeditiously banned in Malaysia, like all the other fun stuff

Me: Say no more fam, I gotcha covered. Never been much use at them myself, but fighting scrollers - and gaming in general - is an area that Singapore has potential in, what with a new crop coming out; the real thing can be dangerous, though, going by the tragic Steven Lim vs. Pradip bout. In any case, Singapore probably will be needing a new national sport pronto, given how totally messed-up the football scene is. Massive funding cuts, bare months after apparent support? It's time for our aspiring youngsters to high-tail it out of here, like Schooling.

Mr. Ham: Yeah, last I heard, he's well on the way to becoming a Manchester United all-time great...

Me: Not that one, the other one. Can't complain about Mourinho's second season, by the way. The first wasn't all that nice save for some bright spots, but swapping a fading Rooney for a rising Lukaku - who's duly earned the adulation of the faithful - was some top business. It's looking like the old days again. Goes without saying, of course, that even Mourinho wouldn't be able to salvage the crocked local game.

Mr. Ham: Meh, it's an attitude problem, and it goes very deep. Like, the remote controls in Brazil come with a "football" button, and then there's all the pride, dedication and sardonic humour living and breathing the British version. But I suppose you lot can come up with a catchy slogan the next time a newly-installed sports minister needs to boost his stock...

Me: No need to rub it in to that extent, hamster. Myself, I'm reduced to anticipating a possible Ronaldo return.

Chances improved by developments in Catalonia?

There have been some downers in other aspects too - for example, they actually killed off Littlefinger in the show! Come on, he was the only largely-competent strategic thinker with any balls in the entire series, to the extent that despite the show's writers dumbing him down to a ridiculous extent, the only way they could write him out was by playing Magic Seer Boy as a cheat code?! The way it's going, it's a good bet that a formerly mould-breaking tale is gonna end with the tired cliché of Dispossessed Prince with Heart of Gold Reclaims Birthright, Slays Dragon/Evil King, Marries Princess, Lives Happily Ever After, when instead it could well have been Visionary Reformer Overturns Feudalism, Ushers in New Political Age to Westeros.

Here's to hoping George R. R. Martin doesn't stoop to that in the actual books, but as for the show, barring the appearance of Lord Stoneheart, I'm just staying for Cleganebowl, and any last few straggling memes.

Mr. Ham: Turns out, Mr. Ducky's a re-enactment hobbyist, and he's taken part in a fair few scenes.

Me: Nice of hear that. Real life's still f**ked as ever, for that. I mean, read the newspapers, and you'll come across headlines such as "Fed's Yellen expects no new financial crisis in our lifetimes", and wonder if so-called experts are actually capable of learning anything. But it's not all bad - occasionally you get heartwarming news like TRUMP's green energy infrastructure projects getting funded, while he's proven correct - as usual - on wiretapping suspicions. My instincts tell me Little Rocket Man's next on the hitlist. It's a pity in a way, our government was always oddly friendly with them, but that's business.

Truth be told, every profession - even academia - has its problems: presenting Nobel laureate Jeffrey Hall scrabbling for funding, with a good point about loving one's research subjects... no, not you, Mr. Ham. However, doing academic scitech does have its benefits, with fairly decent job benefits and prospects for now at least, but more importantly a ton of cool shit happening in the space, e.g. actual gene editing.

Now enabling cross-cultural disputes!

Google has just launched its new Pixel smartphone, but it was the claim of real-time speech translation across languages that caught my imagination. Upon closer inspection, however, it probably isn't quite there yet - snooping about with Google Translate, which deals with the rather simpler task of text translation, suggests that the latest much-improved neural techniques ain't all there either, with a load of contextual... strangeness remaining. Good, I guess, in the sense that there's plenty more open research available.

Sadly, from broad observation, tech titans are not at all immune to the old dictum that "power corrupts". Wailing on Microsoft's monopoly behaviour is of course old hat, but it turns out that the new generation of hippy-change-the-world startups ain't much different once they get big... which increasingly many are, and to near-unprecedented scale. Bezos is now more-or-less the richest guy on Earth, as Amazon plans multi-billion dollar HQs and commandeers fleets of taxis, twenty years after he started selling books out of his garage. Heck, Reddit's valued at near two bil, and even Walmart's feeling the heat.

Google, for one, appears to be blanking out dissenters and silently tailoring search results to drive desired narratives. Ditto Facebook. Then there's all the cloak-and-dagger corporate espionage, exemplified by Uber's supposed poaching of Google's - themselves perhaps not exactly that innocent either - self-driving tech. And, on top of all that, the over-promising of results by hype-merchant marketing departments, as happened to Tesla in the same field (the engineers will just fix it!)

Given the potential of A.I. to be the new nuke in global power balance terms - as recognized by Putin and the CCP - even without considering a looming Singularity, there has been some hysteria about A.I. leadership possibly passing out of the more-democratic bloc, with China singled out for special concern. However, while China can certainly move and build fast when committed, I remain less sanguine about their longer-term true-innovative prospects, for reasons that will be gradually revealed. Just a tidbit - their own chatbots were killed for praising America and criticizing communism, following which WhatsApp got blocked. Make what of that you will.

And, unfortunately, the situation here is smelling like China, and without the humongous domestic market that would allow a control-centric ecosystem to survive; paid tech transfer has brought us some distance, and while we may have some interesting startups, it's also not untrue that the staunchly risk-averse culture - propagated from the very top - has led to a market heavily saturated by copycat clones. But I suppose we could gangpress the media in to support local apps...

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Saturday, Sep 30, 2017 - 19:40 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Brief Obits

The Hef, 91

Forever radiant
(Source: abcnews.go.com)

Hugh Hefner - gentleman's gentleman and ladies' man - has passed on, likely as Heaven required someone to jazz up their staid parties. He attained the ripe old age of 91, confounding the overplayed association between conventional virtue and longevity, but seriously, Hef definitely had something - many things - to live for, unlike those stick-in-the-muds. Moreover, he conclusively proved that you didn't need to be dead to tutor six dozen young ladies in the ways of life, unlike what some misguided and largely departed souls might have asserted.

Other than being a class act, Hugh was an American publishing icon, whose devotion to presenting the bare facts before the advent of the Internet sated the intellectual lusts of his discerning readership, while opening new vistas for his many friends and imitators. A true man of letters, he provided a ready launchpad for an eclectic constellation of future literary giants - Asimov, Atwood, Bradbury, Dahl, Murakami, Vonnegut... the list goes on - to a degree never quite replicated. His genius in burnishing weighty expositions with very pleasant diversions has probably single-handedly done more to promote a love of reading, than any other character of the past two centuries.

Classy to the last and possessed of a stiff devotion to personal integrity, he was a visionary ahead of his time, who held courageous views on unpopular stands, and was nearly always vindicated by history. But, more than that, his influence further penetrated about every aspect of modern culture - how many can claim to have contributed significantly to modern computer vision, whilst managing to encourage generations of teenaged boys to pursue a healthy lifestyle by rambling in the woods?

The NFL, 97

A sad end to a once-proud institution
(Source: r/the_donald)

Here, we mourn the loss of the National Football League, who had looked so hale and hearty and so certain to make its centenary, just a few months ago. Regrettably, as with so many venerable seniors, the slip into dementia-induced dotage was rapid and irreversible, and horrified onlookers could only watch as they, after persisting stubbornly with their poor decision-making, knelt over and expired in full view of the public.

They were ninety-seven.

This very much avoidable death has drawn much belated if deserved attention from their former friends, who have accused malicious parties of taking advantage of the NFL's chronic feeble-mindedness, brought upon by the job-related hazard of repeatedly getting hit extremely hard on the head; this condition had left them vulnerable to being led astray by the blandishments of opportunistic agitators, who after stripping them of the fruits of decades of goodwill and support, left them to perish in something between a murder and a suicide.

But frankly, like, the NFL should really have considered the demographic that were their loyal customers. I mean, of course you can get hopped up on disrespecting the GOD-EMPEROR at an antifa rally, but it just so happens that American football fans overwhelmingly tend to be, you know, the heartland type that actually likes their country. Well, with team gear being burnt across the nation, ticket sales falling almost 20% in days and their favorability ratings slashed in half, I'd say it's a matter of time before the GOD-EMPEROR claims yet another glorious moral victory. The political genius strikes again.

Plus, soccer-football's better anyway.

The Formerly Repressed Amos Yee, 18

He has walked through the darkness, and attained the light
(Source: channelnewsasia.com)

Death can at times be merely a symbolic transformation, and it is in this sense that we congratulate both Amos Yee for his liberation from an increasingly-unelected regime, and Great America for their foresight in welcoming a misunderstood and harshly-subjugated young talent - for, as the GOD-EMPEROR has pledged: they can come, but they have to come legally.

Now, with wings unfurled in the Land of the Free, we predict an immensely bright future for the brave prodigy, who has pledged to continue his reasoned criticism unabated. Worried establishment figures have attempted to downplay the significance of this event, but really, we think Amos will take to the American entertainment industry like a fish to water - and, recall, what did they say about the GOD-EMPEROR himself?

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Monday, Sep 25, 2017 - 23:12 SGT
Posted By: Ham H. Let


Mr. Robo: 人类先生这几个星期忙着搬家, 无声无迹, 倒也清静... 仓教授! 您怎么逃得这么狼狽呢?

仓教授: 大件事了, 大件事了! 现任政党总府事发, 得悉自己玩民作为实在玩得太过火了, 就连平常胆小如鼠的本地人也看不过去, 简直是迫羊跳墙! 回忆现任政党妒贤地无理排斥陈清木医生, 过后还将错就错, 来个指度为马》, 公然侮辱着民众的智慧, 当国人全是白痴, 该当何罪? 况且, 这等自欺欺人的下流伎俩连多数马来族群的认同亦得不到, 可说是赔了夫人又折兵, 笑话一个.

当然, 现任政党企图利用机关报继续宣传些胡言乱语以搅乱民心, 无奈机关报已经发表太多不合逻辑的社论, 导致诚信尽失, 订阅日续下滑, 爪牙们最后也被炒鱿鱼, 又何苦呢? 当记者嘛, 就该有点骨气, 倘若受不住上司迫使自己自我审查, 最后呈递些违背良心的报道, 不如回乡种田算了; 积些阴德, 总好过为了几两臭铜当条走狗.


(Source: mothership.sg)

回说走狗, 世上至少还存有些讲道义且直言不讳的男子汉, 西北方一代神帝特朗普是其中典范, 星洲起码也有一派年少英杰始政后裔绳武君理直气壮地指控传统媒体, 大快人心, 令人深感欣慰. 虽然因而被本地非独立法庭制度放逐, 但君子宁为玉碎不为瓦全, 绳武君行止难能可贵, 可敬可佩, 同时戳穿现任政党的心胸狭窄程度.

Mr. Robo: 果真来了个《迫扬跳墙》...

仓教授: 不言而喻, 较有声誉的国际媒体分明是不会吃现任政党这套, 大多都正确地赐予劣评, 如《经济学人》滑稽推断《只有一个新加坡人适合担任总统》般. 固然现任政党能同平常一样轻率起诉, 但这次确实是自己理亏, 况且昔日庄严早已不存, 无疑只会自讨没趣. 可想而知, 这对爱脸如命的现任政党是多么的慘痛, 然而歪路是自己选的, 怨不得他人. 他们因而来个终极打肿脸充胖子, 从自查发展至自赞, 首先花费不少心思安顿前总统, Ah Q 自慰本领倒算了得. 不仅如此, 议长女士还慷慨提前承担总统责任, 敬老尊贤, 或许现任政党因而抹杀正义也不无是处!

*叹气* 唉, 其实哈理马女士也是现任政党短视的受害者之一, 国会议长做得好好的, 起码没有像现任政党其他臭男人般偷鸡摸狗搞婚外情, 哪像特朗普敢做敢当, 天下英雄非神帝莫属! 忠贞最后也给老板沦为落水鸡, 尝试把死势用活马医, 到头来还不是白白牺牲; 可悲的是, 她确实人品不错, 无畏定居义顺, 胆色非凡, 可说是巾帼不让须眉!


(Source: theindependent.sg)

Mr. Robo: 这样说来, 现任政党不若让她光明正大参选?

仓教授: 非也. 起初还大有机会的, 顶多虽败犹荣, 从而重取民心, 但现任政党心术不正, 结局因而只有一个. 实话实说, 到了这个地步, 鬼祟到底总算明智, 至少没令无辜印度妇女遭受侮辱性的挫败, 尚算有点绅士风度; 有劳两位从商近乎亿万元生意的马族男士自叹不如, 屈服于哈理马女士卖椰漿饭的丰厚经验下. 但从另一个角度看, 新加坡一向以烹饪传统为荣, 从外卖煎饼至炸鸡演化成椰饭, 倒也自然.

其实, 我在某个方面赏识现任政党的不择手段, 对胜利存有一定程度的执着是值得称赞的. 虽没有神帝特朗普的绝对天份, 现任政党努力以后天作弊抵补先天不足, 怎说也该给予一些鼓励. 立名傀儡在大局看来亦不足为道, 如果他们因而如同神帝特朗普无私为国为民, 盗窃多些选举也无所谓啦, 你说对不对?

若要比喻, 现在的现任政党如同儒家二世主, 固然见闻及成绩尚可, 赠其七八十分勉強可道应得. 问题在予自尊心太重, 无法接受提点, 拒绝自我反省力求上进, 反而把精力放在暗算同学及死缠烂打, 斤斤计较, 直至师长在软硬皆施下忍痛加分; 添至九十多分后, 又不禁得意忘形, 以为自己真的那么了不起. 当然, 众所周知, 别人是看在他老子份上让其三分, 比起如同神帝般真正自力白手起家的政治巨人, 简直差天共地, 无从相比.

但命数有限, 不可强求, 若现任政党避免自作多为, 说不定还能安享其成. 可惜的是, 撇开金融部独一无二的投资筹略不谈, 现任政党还听信美洲白左傻逼的盲言, 为了青帮不切实际的甜言蜜语与一代神帝作对, 简直是自掘坟墓, 十条命也不够花! 好在总理大人存有些少自保直觉, 及时悬崖勒马, 才不导致祖业毁于一旦, 侥幸逃生. 不只如此, 现任政党还从美国政治创新受益良多, 学会如歪后般推卸责任至《外部影响》. 当然, 若要拜师, 倒不如求教神帝派无敌《浩然复盛正气》; 但不知是现任政党素质欠佳, 或是本性较适歪后的阴毒邪功, 促使他们练回一身次等功夫. 但怎样也好, 还算作了功课, 值得掌声鼓励吧!


(Source: grrrgraphics.com)

Mr. Robo: 咹, 讲了这么多, 还没解释到贵教授为何逃亡...

仓教授: 您不了解, 现任政党如袁绍般个性, 成功了不打紧, 若遇到不如意的事, 便会恼羞成怒, 处制任何正确预计他们行为举止后果的人. 例如华裔政治科学博士黄靖, 尽管人品可能有点问题, 但在分析现任政党众多政坛误差, 的确讲得头头是道, 如批判他们错信白左, 根本一针见血. 此地不宜久留了, 况且有才干的人都纷纷合法移民到神帝帝国, 自由领域去啦! 若来日有缘, 再次幸会吧!

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Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 - 17:07 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert


Mr. Robo: ...so, the meeting got delayed a week due to continued reschedulings, but it's finally on. As the human always said, you can do this, hamster! *takes deep breath and opens door to Mr. Ham's office*

Alright, buster! I've prepared all the - very comprehensive - evidence that I've been egregiously underpaid all these years, and mark my words, I'm not leaving unless my base salary is tripled and...

...Mr. Ham? What's wrong?

Mr. Ham: *blubbering, while swigging from a flask* It's over, my old friend. We're done for. Kaput. I was about to break the news to you personally, but figured it may as well wait for our meeting today. Please, have a seat.

Mr. Robo: I, uh, you... but how? The way the crypto market's been going, a blind monkey who's only been dabbling for the past month would have turned a nice profit, what more the firm of H.L. Ham, which has been on it for years?

Mr. Ham: *hic* Well, a few days ago, I was off opening a new account in... I mean, socialising with potential investors on a yacht in the Caymans, and the private keys to our holdings were dropped overboard in unfortunate circumstances.

Mr. Robo: What?! But wait... aren't the bulk of our assets currently stored on exchanges for trading convenience, I remember writing the scripts for it...

Mr. Ham: Dropped the passwords overboard too.

Mr. Robo: There's a "Retrieve Lost Password" link, you know, I don't know how many times you've woken me in the middle of the night about this...

Mr. Ham: Went over the side of the yacht as well.

Mr. Robo: ...I don't think it works that way, let me show you, first, the 2FA code from my phone, which goes to their servers together with our login and password...

Mr. Ham: *smashes phone with flask* Whoops. And, uh, their servers were on the yacht too. Which sank. Yep, totally sank. Had to kick a bunch of folks out of the way to get to the life-raft, I did, it was terrible!

Mr. Robo: That... that actually makes sense.

Mr. Ham: So, as I was saying, H.L. Ham is no longer viable as a going concern, and therefore, we're going to have to lay you off, Mr. Robo. I am truly sorry. I'll definitely try to make it up to you eventually, but it'll take time...

Mr. Robo: *balls shrinking* No, not that, surely there must be something that can be done?

Mr. Ham: *sighs* Well, to begin with, while we truly appreciate your contributions, I'm sure that you understand that for the moment, the increment that you are steadfastedly demanding...

Mr. Robo: *quickly* It's okay! I'll even take a pay cut!

Mr. Ham: *brightens* The management of H.L. Ham sincerely thanks you for your dedication to the cause, Mr. Robo. But no, we couldn't do that to a key employee. Tell you what, you get to keep your current peanu... salary, for the next ten years, guaranteed! Plus, we're even throwing in extra perks.

Mr. Robo: Thank you! Thank you!

Mr. Ham: Well bargained and done, my friend Robo. And oh, you're reporting to Mr. Ducky, next morning onwards.

Meanwhile elsewhere...

The madness, it is spreading as the Eclipse is come.
(Source: r/the_donald)

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Saturday, Aug 19, 2017 - 22:21 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert


"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

- Winston Churchill

Mr. Robo: Well, I set up an appointment with Mr. Ham to discuss my compensation, but there's a while to go. Mind if we just chat to pass the time?

Me: Why not? But remember this, Mr. Robo: stick to your guns. Mr. Ham may be crude and obnoxious, but - and it pains me to say this - he's one of the best at fighting for and getting what he wants, which brings to mind our beloved American GOD-EMPEROR, Eternal Meme Lord of Trolls, to him be the glory!

But, more seriously - a group of demonstrators applied for and received a permit to hold a rally, fully in accordance with their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and assembly - apparently "White Lives Matter" is now a supremacist slogan - only to be ambushed by the usual anti-First Amendment suspects. At this, TRUMP, exhibiting his usual impartial no-nonsense common sense, correctly chastised both sides - the demonized alt-right, and finally the can-do-no-wrong-even-when-they're-bashing-heads-in-because-diversity alt-left - for their behaviour... and got heavily attacked by the Fake News media for it, of course.

The Standard Globalist Fake News Playbook
(Source: legalinsurrection.com)

There has been sentiment that TRUMP has not been a "uniter" about whom the nation can rally, but if this is so, I'd gather that this is more a product of the contemporary political environment, than any lack of rhetorical gifts on his part. Case in point: you actually believe that Hillary - who couldn't even keep her own party from splitting its support despite controlling the key apparatus - could have done better? Guess how loved Bernie would be, if he had actually managed to hike everyone's taxes? Saint Obama was at barely 38% approval himself, after the initial rah-rah novelty wore off... while some 40% of Americans have sensibly agreed with TRUMP that when one of your kids teases the other, who punches him in return, and then they start fighting... both are getting grounded.

No, it was always about the principle, you see. Sure, the alt-right may have a despicable fringe element of individuals professing neo-Nazi beliefs and whatnot, but if we are to condemn them for that, what about the masked thugs and self-righteous rioters reliably associated with the alt-left?

In his reaction, TRUMP has affirmed that he is indeed what he had promised - no ordinary pandering politician who kowtows to the whims of media fancy, and instead a strong LKY-esque leader who speaks his mind and does what needs to be done, unpopular as it may be. Case in point: "Dreamy Eyes" Trudeau, who once so happily condemned TRUMP's enforcement of immigration laws for liberal brownie points, has suddenly decided that open floodgates isn't all it's cracked up to be, after all (sorry); I'm betting on them ghosting the Paris Agreement as they did Kyoto, i.e. once it's their turn to pick up the bill.

Mr. Robo: Yah, Bush II got to 90% approval - ninety! - after 9/11, so I would suppose it's more a sign of the times.

A permanent feature nowadays
(Source: businessinsider.sg)

Me: Well, they-who-may-not-be-named-because-it's-racist have just struck Barcelona and Finland, but the media somehow hates admitting that he's right. It's a mess, really - on one side, there have been plenty of individual injustices, but then you turn it around and watch as one of the "good Islamic" countries like Malaysia cracks down on atheists and bars conversion on pain of death, and you get the sense that it's not gonna work. Ironically, the alt-left are adopting the practice of destroying historical monuments that they don't like with the tacit approval of the FAKE NEWS - Lenin's ok though - when even Indonesia has settled for just covering them up.

I mean, like, if you're defacing Robert E. Lee statues just because he fought on the losing side, where does this end? Washington and Jefferson were unrepentant slaveowners, burn down the Capitol? This alt-left mania-cum-orgy-of-violence stinks of the French and Cultural Revolutions to me. It's not been great for some Lis in Singapore either, but I've got to give it to our PM - he tries. Oh, he tries.

Mr. Robo: It was one of the more entertaining National Day parades in recent memory - there were the drones - which have found wide usage locally - and then there were the other, unplanned highlights...

Me: What else is there... North Korea's latest fifteen minutes of fame appears to have overstayed its welcome, good riddance - but really, it was the superpowers who did this to themselves... ah yes, the sad Google Diversity affair. *shakes head* How the once-good have fallen.

Is this what it has come to?
[N.B. Google, with its unparalleled command over the consumption of information, is the prime target for those who would desire thought control]
(Source: linkedin.com)

The story of former Google employee James Damore is a chilling one - that increasingly, individuals can be punished for wrongthink. One can easily imagine his ex-colleagues gleefully bashing China's censorship and proposed harmonious citizen scoring system at the coffee machine, because this is acceptable rightthink by unspoken Goolag cultural norms, only to clam up when one of them carelessly brings Damore up. "Shush!" a lanyarded cubicle wage-slave whispers fearfully, glancing about to check if any of the dreaded HR overseers are about. "Master said that some things just cannot be discussed!"

"Don't Be Evil" - what happened?

Let's go over it again - guy penned a finely-reasoned and mildly-toned memo (so the usual knock on TRUMP's more-combative style doesn't apply here) on how the genders are wired differently; note, this is pretty uncontroversial according to current behavioural science. From this, he made the eminently logical deduction that this could make different groups diverge to different careers naturally (where are the campaigns demanding parity in women plumbers?) and offered a few reasonably-couched suggestions on how this could be approached.

For this, he was branded a Nazi.

The document - and his firing - has taken the Internet by storm, with lengthy discussions mushrooming overnight, most of which admitted one point: by rushing to dismiss Damore, Goolag were, in a way, proving him right. To make it clear - Goolag were under no obligation to implement, or even consider, his prescriptions. It could have been left to sink into obscurity, doubtlessly like most of the thousands of employee postings made each day. He might not have been 100% correct about the underlying science (but note, when the desired completely-equal outcome is stated, the bar for evidence somehow seems much lower). Indeed, Goolag were probably also well within their legal rights in handing him a pink slip.

But, as so often proclaimed in the opposite direction - shutting a man up doesn't mean that he is wrong. And, to be frank, there is no shortage of clever female engineers who recognize the essential truth in Damore's text (and they probably happen to be the ones that are better to work with, anyway)

Then again, he's just a f**king white cis male, so it's ok!

The Bitcoinity US$4000 GIF extended

[To be continued again...]

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Wednesday, Aug 09, 2017 - 22:37 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Happy National Day!

*sniff* Kids nowadays, they grow up so fast.
(Source: r/singapore)

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