Aftermath

 
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香港蘋果日報

港府在遞交民情報告、啟動政改第二輪諮詢前夕,對雨傘運動抗命者展開第一波「預約拘捕」算賬行動。警方有組織罪案及三合會調查科(O記)探員昨逐一致電佔領行動的組織者,邀約他們到警署助查,及表明他們將會被捕。首輪「預約名單」據知約有50人。

【A1頭條】佔中秋後算賬 O記預約拘捕50人
http://bit.ly/1wfQeHB

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Fanny-Min Becker shared 香港蘋果日報’s photo
7 January 2015 

AFTERMATH

Rightly guesses …
The rounding up starts …
None of them spared …

And we stay out …
Thousands and thousands of us …
Who are we? What are we? Where are we?

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FM:(
♥♥

Bitcoin

Fanny-Min Becker 14 December at 11:36 ·

// Play it for entertainment value if you want, but remember that
you are purely betting on the greater stupidity of others. //

FM:)

 

14 December 2017

Let’s try to explain, in simple terms, why Bitcoin and other digital pseudo-currencies will fail. Bitcoin is the World’s first distributed, decentralised Ponzi scheme. No single operator is running it, and everyone has a chance to participate in it, but its value is determined purely by the weight of money coming into it and the willingness of holders to sell it. Like any Ponzi scheme, earlier participants came in at lower cost, and are now receiving much of the billions of dollars (yes, really) that newcomers are putting in.

Some members of the scheme spend their time telling their friends how they should get in on this Big New Thing and how much money they have already made “on paper”, or more accurately “on screen”. If your Bitcoins are now “worth” more than you paid for them then you may feel successful, but if you haven’t yet cashed out as much as you’ve put in, then you’re still a potential victim. On the other hand, if you’ve got your cash back or more, then you’re already a paid-up and paid-out member of the Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme. And unlike Bernie Madoff, you’re probably not going to jail, although some of the self-serving promoters of Bitcoin are skating dangerously close to that if it can be proven that they knew their claims were false and/or were simultaneously selling. Also, unlike the beneficiaries who cashed out of Madoff’s funds before he crashed, you probably won’t have to pay anything back. That’s the beauty of a decentralised Ponzi scheme.

Most of the larger participants will privately admit, if only to themselves, that Bitcoin is a bubble, but they also believe that they can get out before it crashes, or don’t much care because they have already cashed out far more than they put in. But just remember this: Bitcoin is essentially a zero-sum game. At any point in time, the cumulative sum of all net cash put in by losers will equal the cumulative sum of all net cash taken out by winners (excluding mining costs).

“But banks are awful – there must be a better way”

Millions of smaller participants, perhaps holding the not-unjustified view that the World’s banking systems and governments have failed them, think that Bitcoin or other crypto-tokens are the future of money, some kind of utopian “end of fiat currency” scenario in which we will all trade with each other in units of “crypto-currencies” and take back control of our financial lives. We’re here to tell you, for reasons explained below, that as long as the World has governments with the power to tax and spend, that isn’t going to happen. Citizens should instead pressure their governments to stop the insane amount of interference in the banking system which has kept it so difficult and expensive for honest people to wire money, open accounts and do business, particularly when they are running small businesses. Banks should not be expected to act as policemen, particuarly now that Governments are getting more access to their customers’ data.

No, it’s not a currency

To be viable as a currency, something must be both a medium of exchange and a store of value. These are mutually independent criteria: one cannot be satisfied from the other. If a currency doesn’t have some intrinsic value relative to real-world assets or liabilities, then even if you can wire it around the world in minutes, it’s value will fluctuate based on the willingness of others to take it off your hands and nothing else. It won’t be a reliable store of value, so it will be tossed around like a hot potato. Any merchant who accepts it will immediately convert it into a fiat currency to avoid the risk of holding it.

Governments no longer guarantee the exchangability of their currencies for gold, silver or other rare atomic elements. They instead issue “fiat” currencies, basically IOUs, the value of which (measured in other currencies, or the goods and services it can buy) can also crash if they print too much – as Zimbabwe did. A fiat currency is only as good as the country which issues it. However, a government levies taxes in the same currency (creating liabilities for taxpayers), and spends that money to pay civil servants and provide citizens with basic goods and services, such as education, healthcare or public roads, or just hands it out as welfare that its poorer citizens can spend. A government also measures business profits and salaries in the same currency – giving currency its third major function, as a unit of account. You won’t see companies or people filling out their tax returns in Bitcoins.

So a government (particuarly an elected one) has an inherent incentive not to dramatically devalue its currency, destabilising its economy with hyperinflation and reducing the real value of both its tax collections and its expenditures. Situations like Zimbabwe are the exceptions that prove the rule, and almost always result in the overthrow of the government involved. Governments therefore aim to manage the quantity of money so that there is just a modest incentive to spend it or lend it; many central banks have declared targets of 2% inflation and some (notably the US Federal Reserve) have a dual mandate of maximising employment.

By comparison, Bitcoin isn’t issued by any Government or any single entity. Nobody stands behind it, and its rate of creation is determined not by inflation targets but by a simplistic formula which halves the rate of production every 4 years. Indeed, because supply does not expand to meet demand, Bitcoin has been going through hyper-deflation – the price of everything measured in Bitcoin has been plummeting, making it irrational to spend Bitcoin unless you expect it to decline in value. So perversely, anyone who has the confidence that this is the future of currency is unlikely to spend it.

Incidentally, that formula for the mining rate, like every other aspect of a distributed system, is only set by consensus; it is perhaps only a matter of time before the consensus, out of rational self-interest, decides to abandon the software-imposed cap of 21 million Bitcoins and increase the reward for “mining” it, once the majority of operators have cashed out enough from the Ponzi scheme to make that attractive. What makes you think that a global collective of miners, without a country or an economy to run or an election to win, will not at some point begin to debase their “currency”?

“But its value is its utility”

Some Bitcoin proponents say that its value is derived from its utility as a medium of exchange – but that just takes you round in an infinite loop, because to be able to exchange value for goods and services, a currency must have a widely-accepted, stable value on its own. And even if that utility were there, the fees for transactions have begun rising, make Bitcoin unviable for small transactions. This has also prompted a split within the mining community (known as a “hard fork”), with a new variation in the software to allow more transaction capcity in every 10-minute settlement run. The result is that each old Bitcoin token on 1-Aug-2017 split into a current Bitcoin token and a “Bitcoin Cash” token, and there is no reason why that can’t happen again.

The combination of price volatility and transaction fees has also resulted in some early adopters such as Valve Corp (operator of the Steam gaming platform) dropping it as a means of payment.

“But it costs money to mine it”

Other proponents – John McAfee, for example, argue that Bitcoin has value because it costs money to “mine” it in enormous server farms, burning Gigajoules of electricity every second in the “proof of work”, literally creating hot air. That, again, is a false and circular argument, because the only reason that so much energy and hardware is being deployed to heat the air is because the price of Bitcoin is so high, and the only reason it is so high is because so much real money is being used to buy Bitcoins.

The key to understanding this is to understand that the Bitcoin software sets the “difficulty” of a cryptographic puzzle so that it is solved by brute force every 10 minutes on average. The more machines working on it, the higher the difficulty is set.

In more detail, the algorithm that all Bitcoin miners run is a distributed lottery in which each machine is performing random “hash” calculations on a “block” of transaction data, and the first machine to produce a hash-value below a certain target “wins” the mining reward, currently 12.5 new Bitcoins, plus a currently-smaller amount of existing Bitcoins deducted as fees from the transactions. Each 10-minute block only has room for a certain number of transactions, so the fees are set by bids attached to the submitted transactions. Indeed, the only thing that you can only buy with Bitcoin is the transaction confirmation.

The first 1,612,800 Bitcoins (up to block 32255) were generated on a single PC in 2009 with a “difficulty” level of 1. Today hundreds of thousands of machines are running the same software, with a difficulty level on block 499035 of 1.59 trillion. But if the price of Bitcoins drops, then machines will be turned off or used to mine another kind of cryto-token, and the difficulty level will drop again, reducing the mining cost in response. So it is the price of Bitcoin that drives the mining cost, not the other way around, and the price is determined by the money flowing into the Ponzi scheme, not by the cost of mining. If only the same amount of energy were being devoted to more useful computational tasks, such as protein folding. For more on the mechanics and origins of Bitcoin and its inherent flaws, see our article The Hole In Bitcoin, 4-Nov-2013.

It can melt down, but you can’t melt it down

You won’t find any pictures of Bitcoins in this article, because unlike the mass media, we don’t want to mislead you into thinking that Bitcoins are shiny, golden and metallic and have some kind of intrinsic value. Bitcoins are just 256-bit sequences of 1s and 0s, or 32-byte numbers. Nothing more than that. When the market crashes, you can’t melt them down or use them as jewellery or for electrical circuits. You can just print them out and wonder why you paid so much for a collection of 1s and 0s. The few physical coins that you see in stock photos were just produced as a promotional gimmick. Some are sold “empty” and others have inside them a printed private key for Bitcoins, like a fortune cookie. Anyone who has that key can transfer the Bitcoins electronically, leaving an empty physical coin.

But what about other uses?

Readers may have observed that Bitcoin seems to have found an application, or a partner, in crime. For example, producers of ransomware software have locked down computers and then demanded that the victims purchase and then send Bitcoins to a designated, anonymous network address. This is certainly an application, but for its utility, criminals still depend on ultimately being able to exchange the Bitcoins for real-world goods and services, or equivalently for fiat currency. So although Bitcoin can be used to skirt around the burdensome anti-money-laundering regulations or capital controls as long as it remains in the Bitcoin network, this is rather like entering an underground railway system – you can’t stay there forever. At some point, you have to resurface. And if only criminals are using the network, then it’s going to be rather difficult to get out without being noticed. So the ransomware operators can buy illegal drugs with Bitcoin, but how are the drug sellers going to convert their Bitcoins into cash or anything else?

Reduced to this level, Bitcoin is just an intermediary system between money-service operators, with victims exchanging cash for Bitcoins, and criminals trying to convert received Bitcoins back into cash without being noticed. No wonder, then, that most of the World’s governments have reacted by classifying any exchange that converts fiat currency to or from Bitcoins as a money-services operator, requiring the usual “know your client” obligations that are imposed on banks and remittance firms, thereby imposing similar administrative costs which are reflected in the conversion fees. These regulations severely limit Bitcoin’s potential as a payment system for crime.

Join if you want

We don’t doubt that some people are getting tremendous entertainment value just watching the price of a small bet (relative to their net worth) on Bitcoin go up and down. It’s no different to a night at the casino or the racetrack in that respect. As long as you accept that you could lose everything you bet, you too can participate in the World’s first decentralised Ponzi Scheme (or any of its imitators), but just remember that you are purely betting on the greater stupidity of others.

© Webb-site.com, 2017

Now that we know

Now that we know

Taishan nuclear power plant
Deaerator manufactured w. defects:
Seam gaps of 20 – 25 mm and not 2.

No way to remedy?
Too wide a gap to weld?
May affect core cooling?

All this they knew in 2012.
And only now we are told.
But so what now that we know?

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Thanks to Joanne Choi for sharing.

Image may contain: text

FactWire News Agency 傳真社

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FM:(
♥♥2017.12.17 Taishan.png

2017.12.17 Taishan Clean.png

Once upon a time

 Fanny-Min Becker shared Farms for Democracy 民主耕地’s photo.

12 December 2014 at 00:21 ·

WORLD! LOOK!

Let’s tell the next generation: Once upon a time …
They turned this patch of wasteland into land
For two long months, veggies grew and living creatures came.
Yes, there is more under the umbrella than you can imagine!
Paradise can be hand-made … made in Hong Kong

金鐘農耕實驗社區農業報告

內容:

耕地來歷:
自928發放催淚彈後,此地成為被人踩踏的土地,約一星期後後成為爛地,被黑布蓋着。

耕種日期:
10月25日至現在

耕種方法:
採用永續社區農業的方式; 在都市實踐農業;參照自然永衡法(permaculture)的設計原則;在金鐘/夏慤村每天進行社區互動,設置廚餘回收筒,取立法會物料資源管理站的廚餘回收耕種肥料,設立廚餘回收筒,收集枯枝乾葉,從木工工作坊回收木屑木糠作為乾料;善心市民捐出植物,工具,花盤和種子,種綠豆基肥, 市民日與夜輪流澆水照顧耕地。

實作各種園圃設計示範不同的種植風格,利用各種回收辦法,把在地回收的廢料化為生機:
1.Rows farming
– 最傳統的耕種方式,把泥土分成多行,混入堆肥,種下植物後再用檢拾回來的枯葉覆蓋泥土表面保濕,此方式能充分善用每一寸土地。
2.Umbrella Garden
– 以收集回來的玻璃罐堆砌出雨傘形狀,再於中間密集灑下綠豆,最後再種下菜苗及各種植物,除了美觀外,因綠豆可作為基肥改善土壤狀態,可大大幫助其後種下的植物生長。
3.Keyhole Garden
-此為自然永衡法的實踐,先用石磚堆砌出一個中心圓形及外圍有一缺口的圓環,再在中心圓形處中掘一個約一尺半深的洞作為堆肥用的匙孔,把乾草枯枝舖在底部作為乾料,再把成筒發酵過的堆肥倒在其上,最後用泥土覆蓋表面,再在園圃裡種上薯仔及各種植物,能有效處理廚餘同時兼顧美觀。
4.Spiral Garden
-用各方回收來的玻璃瓶砌成一雙螺旋形的外牆,再在牆間放入收集到的堆肥蓋上泥土,在其中種植,既是藝術也是耕種。

種植種類:
蔬菜 – 菜心,白菜,羽衣甘藍,蕃茄,薯仔,包心菜,辣椒,紅菜頭,紅蘿蔔,白蘿蔔,沙律菜,栗米,綠豆
水果:菠蘿
香草:九層㙮,道手香,迷迭香,薄荷
花草:蘆薈,仙人掌,萬年青,富貴竹…….

多樣生機出現:
鵲鴝、蝙蝠、蛤蟆、白飛蛾、螄蚓、蝴蝶、蜜蜂、菜蟲….

轉廢為糧:
100litre(廚餘、木糠、乾草枯枝葉)

耕種肥料:
堆肥,液肥,豆渣咖啡渣

永續社區農業的好處:
個人
1)我能吃得更健康安全美味
2)我能收集廚餘做堆肥
3) 我可以參與認識耕種

食物:
最短里路、 最新鮮安全、品種多、味道好

消費:
明白食物生產過程,對食物更懂珍惜

生產:
1)成本極低!模仿大自然循環生產方式:運用泥土/種子/廚餘/枯枝 葉/堆肥/昆蟲/陽光/水/空氣,
2)零開發零丟棄的資源循環方法
3)取替常規(化肥農藥)耕種

社會/生態:
1) 保護土地,改善土壤
2) 消化垃圾淨食污染
3) 增強本地糧食自給力
4) 連結社區
5) 增加生物多樣性
6) 減少因食物安全問題的醫療開支

總結:
1)要求政府原址保留金鐘耕地,作為政府十二月尾檢討農業政策的一塊參考地。
2)政府有責任
– 鼓勵永續社區農業/生態農業/都市農業
– 收回荒廢農地全面復耕
– 設定本地農業生產指標
– 𨍭轉廢為糧:積極㕑餘回收計劃
– 肩負市民的健康

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FM:)

They will be back

Image may contain: 1 person, text

D100+11 December 2014 at 18:51 ·

黃秋生:「《最後一夜》 無論支持也好,反對也好。讚頌也好,抹黑也好。同情也好,憎厭也好。暴力也好,反暴也好。呐喊也好,恥笑也好。被捕也好,捕人也好。流血也好,流人血也好。今天,七十五天,無論你對數字多麼無知,無論你對歷史有幾白痴。七十五天,绝對是個世界紀錄。一把一把的雨傘,一壘一壘的帳篷,撑起了一個一個的夢。多數人也好,少數人也好,他們的組織能力,創作能力,那熱情,那冷靜,面對那惡者的無畏,絕不是那堆一千幾百,吃飽了盒飯,叉雞把嘴巴撑得連話也說不清楚的豬玀做得出來的。緣起緣滅。事情總有完結的一天,但是,通了一條路成就了一個夢,就像當天的煙霧一樣,把夢通得遍地開花。看過很多人的滿面披血,堅毅的眼神,最後一夜學生的笑靨,連儂牆的充滿創意,撤離前的現埸歡樂氣氛,直像嘉年華。我肯定,他們是會再來的,就像他們所說,we will be back。但不是用這種抗爭方式,而是,成千上萬的社會精英。(這才是i have a dream,當然,並不是用刀仔切榴槤的人所能理解的。)」

Source:黃秋生Facebook

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Fanny-Min Becker shared D100+’s photo.
12 December 2014 at 09:19 ·

‘I am sure they will be back as they say.
But not in the same form of combat.
Rather, in the form of thousands of outstanding citizens.’
~ Hong Kong famous actor Anthony Wong Chau Sang
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FM:)

Something beautiful from HK

  Linda Gaden shared Revolution News’s video.

12 December 2014 at 06:42 ·

Thank you for sharing this Fanny-Min Becker

A Walk Through of Admiralty in Hong Kong
A View of the Artistic Protests of the Umbrella Movement

*******
Three years
Three long years
Now all gone, long long gone.
But certain things remain, many things.
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 FM:)

Curtain

2017.11.17 Guns_Flowers

Curtain

Paris
13 November 2015 21:16 CET

Outside the stadium
During a football match

Bataclan theatre
Eagles of Death Metal concert

In cafés and restaurants
in the streets

Mass shooting, suicide bombing, hostage taking
137 dead 413 injured.

Father says to son:
They might have guns but we have flowers.

Son: The flowers and candles are here to protect us?
Father: oui.

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FM:)
♥♥