When the student is ready, the mentor will appear:

7,277 words

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Like putting lipstick on the Mona Lisa

There's a trend to write new choruses to go with verses of hymns that are hundreds of years old.

Sometimes it works.

Sometimes it's the aural version of putting lipstick on the Mona Lisa.



An idea of Titanic proportions

In times of crisis, it's: "Women and children first!"

After successful execution of that, it's: "Every man for himself!"

Wait. What about weak men? When do they get their turn?

Ah, such is the nature of things.

There is no space for weak men in the order of things, is there? Not in times of crisis, anyway.

It follows, then, that a primary task in times of peace is to get strong and ready.


Electroneum ETN is now one of the few cryptocurrencies that you can buy with fiat currencies

There are few cryptocurrencies that you can buy with government fiat currency (such as the euro and the dollar). Now electroneum is one of them. Electroneum can now be bought with euro.

For most cryptocurrencies, you must first buy bitcoin to trade with. This is akin to having to buy US dollars to buy oil, in my mind. Like oil props up USD, I wonder how much other cryptocurrencies prop up BTC. 

Like I wonder what will happen to USD when people can buy oil with other currencies, I wonder what will happen to BTC when people can buy cryptocurrencies with other currencies. 


Want to get involved with electroneum? Download the app (Android has been available for almost a year; iOS is in review) and experience simulated crypto mining on your mobile. The mining is simulated; the coins you get are real. 

Scan this QR code of mine and receive a 1% bonus for all your mining results: 



What will you choose for today?

Fear is a neutral emotion, like anger is a neutral emotion.

Cowardice, however, is a choice related to fear. As rage is a choice related to anger.

Similarly, gratitude is a choice related to happiness.

I wonder what choices I shall make today.

What will you choose today?


A great video to start with understanding cryptocurrencies

Just a year on, and the questions in this video seem terribly naive. (I don't think the interviewer was actually naive, but playing devil's advocate, as a responsible journalist.) 

For anyone wanting to learn about how cryptocurrency will change the world, though, this is still a great starting point:


Bitcoin and bitcoin cash visualised as a cute little bus terminal

This site does a fantastic job of visualising bitcoin (BTC) transactions and how they get onto the blockchain: https://txstreet.com

It does the same for bitcoin cash (BCH), a breakaway cryptocurrency that claims that the original bitcoin vision has been hijacked and claims to represent that vision more closely.

Just take a look at the visualisation.

I don't know about you, but it makes me sad about what they've done to bitcoin BTC. And it makes me glad for innovation and freedom of choice.

Oh, BTW, no one said you had to choose BTC or BCH.

Why not both?


Special Day of the Dead screening of The Book of Life

Today, I was scrolling through Netflix, looking for something to watch. Scroll, meh. Scroll, meh. Scroll, meh. Scroll - Wait, is that The Book of Life?

I caught it randomly with the family, four years ago, and found it magical. Quite mind-expanding, mystical and inspiring.

So, I pressed Play, and the opening scene rolled on. A bunch of school kids were visiting a museum, and the tour guide was telling them, Today is a very special day in Mexico. Today is the Second of November, the Day of the Dead... 

I looked at the corner of my laptop screen.

Second November.

The Day of the Dead.

Of course, I gleefully watched the movie as I waited for the wife and son to arrive at the office to meet me.

And they arrived right after the guy finished singing to the bull; the pivotal and high point of the movie to me.

Coincidence? Or is it a "special day, special screening" kind of thing?

Do you ever feel like somebody's looking out for you? 


Take a stand against censorship on the internet

The cure for fake news is real news, not less news.

The cure for bad speech is more speech, not less speech.

The cure for misinformation is more information, not less information.

Nature abhors a vacuum. You cannot unthink a thought.

You cannot choose not to think of a pink elephant.

You have to think of a pink elephant with grey stripes.

Now paint it with another row of grey stripes.

Now you have a grey elephant once again.

The censors, the book-burners, are always on the wrong side of history.

Don't line up with the wrong side.

Statement from Gab:

Gab has spent the past 48 hours proudly working with the DOJ and FBI to bring justice to an alleged terrorist. Because of the data we provided, they now have plenty of evidence for their case. In the midst of this Gab has been no-platformed by essential internet infrastructure providers at every level. We are the most censored, smeared, and no-platformed startup in history, which means we are a threat to the media and to the Silicon Valley Oligarchy.

Gab isn’t going anywhere.

It doesn’t matter what you write. It doesn’t matter what the sophist talking heads say on TV. It doesn’t matter what verified nobodies say on Twitter. We have plenty of options, resources, and support. We will exercise every possible avenue to keep Gab online and defend free speech and individual liberty for all people.

You have all just made Gab a nationally recognized brand as the home of free speech online at a time when Silicon Valley is stifling political speech they disagree with to interfere in a US election.

The internet is not reality. TV is not reality. 80% of normal everyday people agree with Gab and support free expression and liberty. The online outrage mob and mainstream media spin machine are the minority opinion. People are waking up, so please keep pointing the finger at a social network instead of pointing the finger at the alleged shooter who holds sole responsibility for his actions.

No-platform us all you want. Ban us all you want. Smear us all you want.

You can’t stop an idea.

As we transition to a new hosting provider Gab will be inaccessible for a period of time. We are working around the clock to get Gab.com back online. Thank you and remember to speak freely.

Andrew Torba, CEO Gab.com


Ego is about self preservation

The propensity to justify oneself, to explain things away, is primal.

Like an instinct.

Self-preservation on an ego level.


What should be your net worth, as an average human being?

I watched this video that pointed out the total value of equity in the world is $1.5 quadrillion (rounded). That's 1,500,000,000,000,000 US dollars.

There are seven billion people on earth (rounded). That's 7,000,000,000 people.

So, what's your "fair share" of the dollars in the world?


That's about two hundred thousand US dollars (rounded).

That's what you should hold in equity, if you were "average": about $200,000.



(By the way, 1,500,000,000,000,000 is such an unfathomable number, it wouldn't fit in my calculator. I had to divide 1,500,000,000,000 by 7,000,000 instead.)

Think about it.

Partial truth is not enough.

Sunday School is G-rated.

Sunday church services are PG-13.

Public life is R-rated.

Private life can be X-rated.

Know what to expect. You aren't going to get enough for real life from a Sunday service. (From overarching church life, possibly.)

Just showing up on Sunday mornings is not enough. Nobody is going to tell you enough of the truth to handle real life just on Sunday mornings.


The Lion and the Duck: a fable for an increasingly intrusive internet

I mentioned the duck, the other day. Now I want to talk about the lion.

The duck is DuckDuckGo, an alternative search engine that doesn't track you and doesn't spoonfeed you.

When you search on Google, Google tracks and analyses everything you say, to create a profile of you - a virtual you that lives inside its artificial intelligence.

This virtual you is used by Google and their partners to sell stuff to you. First, they sell your virtual you, then they sell stuff to you by using the virtual you. What other uses will they have for the virtual you in the future?

And it's not just what you type into the Google search box, either. It's everything you say into Google Now. It's every email you send and receive in Gmail. It's every video you watch and every comment you write on YouTube. It's everywhere you travel with Google Maps (and Waze, I would presume). You get the idea.

Anecdotal accounts of people getting served with ads for stuff they talked about only in offline conversations have also made their way around the net. Your phone is listening to you, in other words. (The tech giants deny this and it is yet to be proven.)

Google also spoonfeeds you search results that it thinks you are most likely to click on, based on the virtual you. So you keep seeing entertainment, shopping and political values that mirror and amplify your own. You don't get an unbiased picture of the world, but you get what Google thinks you should see.

Why were so many people surprised by the 2016 US presidential election results, for example? Because Google and other big media presented a representation of reality that was not in tune with the true reality on the ground. If you keep searching only on Google, you're getting an increasingly skewed representation of reality. This does not aid good decision-making.

DuckDuckGo aims to solve these search problems by:

  1. Not tracking you, and
  2. Showing you unfiltered results.

The duck takes the virtual you out of the equation and serves up search results based on the search words you use - not according to an eerily detailed psychological profile of you in an AI database somewhere.

That's the duck. What's the lion?

The lion is Brave, a new web browser that takes the privacy ball and runs further with it.

Where DuckDuckGo seeks to repair search, Brave seeks to repair all of browsing. The duck blocks the spooks from stalking you as you search. The lion stops the spooks from following you as you browse all of the web.

"The new Brave browser blocks the ads and trackers that slow you down, chew up your bandwidth, and invade your privacy. Brave even lets you contribute to your favorite creators automatically." - brave.com*

Brave blocks all ads and trackers, resulting in a page load time that's two to eight times faster on popular news sites, for example.

Beyond the time savings, though, it's saving you from having a virtual you imprisoned in Google's AI.

And while it blocks ads, Brave has a blockchain payment system that can automatically reward the creators whose videos and words you consume, with cryptocurrency micropayments. Brave runs on the Basic Attention Token (BAT), a token that uses the Ethereum blockchain - the second biggest gorilla of crypto.

Technicalities aside, what it means is that the more media you consume, the more that media creator will receive micropayments of internet money.

What's more, Brave is based on Chromium, the same open source browser that Google Chrome is based on. So, virtually all the extensions that you use with Chrome will work on Brave without a hitch. (That's been my experience so far.)

It's time for a Brave new browser.*


*Download Brave from this special link and I'll get some BAT. To begrudge me of this BAT, use this plain link: brave.com

What is a fish?

As I finished my fried whole-fish today and looked at its bones, a thought occured to me:

What if the meat of a fish is actually an underwater encounter-suit for a centipede?


Pity those migrant workers

"Pity those migrant workers. They were suckered with promises of high pay. Didn't they know most of it would go to pay off their debts to the people who got them here?" he thought to himself, looking out the window as he drove to work in his brand-new BMW.


Think about how you want to do this thing called life and work.

Are you feeling good right now?

Whatever you're doing right now, you're doing because you felt you really had nothing better to do.

If you don't like what you're doing right now, change your internal valuation system of what constitutes a better thing to do in this moment!

Change the valuation system and the action will change and stay changed. Trying to change the action will get you one or two successes and a relapse.

Change your values. That's what metanoia means. That's what repentance means. Not "feeling bad about yourself."

Change your values to the good-feeling values and feel good about yourself.

That's how you fuel the good actions: you feel good.


I believe in extra-biblical truths

I believe in extra-biblical truths.

And so do you.

For example, I believe that water is made of hydrogen and oxygen. That's extra-biblical. I believe that electric cars transfer pollution to electricity-generating power plants. That's extra-biblical. I believe the quartz movement is more accurate than the traditional Swiss movement. That's extra-biblical. I believe coffee should be drunk without milk or sugar. That's extra-biblical. (And an opinion, what's more.)

Even the Amish, who've decided to freeze time in the horse-and-buggy era, have electric turn signals on their buggies.

We're all extra-biblical. We're all hypocrites. "Let God be true and every man a liar." That's biblical.

My point? Relax. Don't be so anxious to live only-biblically. Don't be so anxious to point out what's biblical and what's not. Chances are, you don't really know.


Have you heard of this scary digital currency?

There's a digital currency that's not backed by anything. No gold. No silver. No reserves of any kind.

It exists only on a digital ledger.

Although, a small portion of it is stored on printed papers with unique serial numbers denoting their value. If lost or destroyed, the value stored on those papers is gone forever.

Despite being backed by nothing, this digital currency has grown exponentially in use and adoption (by the blind masses, according to its critics). These critics say that the users and holders of this currency have not done their due diligence research into what this currency actually is. They speak of a bubble and massive devaluation coming, down the line.

What is this digital currency?

That's right.

The US dollar.

(If that upsets you, replace USD with GBP, EUR, SGD, MYR, etc.).

Bitcoin is like the US dollar: It's digital, it's invisible, it's intangible, it's not backed by anything.

Bitcoin is unlike the US dollar: It's stored on a public ledger that anyone can examine. It's limited in supply (to 21 million bitcoins, ever). Whereas infinite dollars can be created (inevitably reducing the value of each dollar to approaching zero), a hard limit of bitcoins can be mined, increasing the value of each bitcoin as they become scarcer.


Are you fishing yet?

What you feed grows. What if you feed "the poor"? Will the poor grow as a category? I think so.

Does this mean that we stop feeding the poor?

The old adage goes that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. (Must be a big fish.) If you teach him to fish, you feed him for life.

So, I don't think we should stop feeding the poor. I think we should teach them "to fish," on top of giving them fish. Give them fish so they have enough strength to learn how to fish. Then they should continue the cycle by teaching others to fish, while giving them enough fish for strength till they learn how to fish.

Some will still refuse to learn to fish. These will continue to be poor and complain, while they subsist on a fish a day.

I think we should give them a daily fish anyway. Because you never know. From the ranks of the fish-subsisters may at any time rise a great fisherman. (See "Ratatouille," the Pixar film.)

Are you fishing? Or are you waiting for your daily (or weekly or monthly) fish? Do you need to learn how to fish? It's a learnable skill.


Do you do what you love? Or do you love what you do?

Do you do what you love? Or do you love what you do? There's a subtle distinction that makes a world of difference.

What is this difference?

Do what you love, and there's no guarantee that enough others love it or even have use for it. Do you love collecting beer coasters, for example?

Love what you do, and it's likely that you're already doing something that enough people value enough to pay you. And if you love doing it, you're going to be doing it well - and improving as well.

In short, "do what you love" is amateur hour. "Love what you do" is professional passion.

And it's not about money. It's about value. It's not just "hard" services like law and accounting that people pay for because they have to value them. People also pay for movies, games, toys - things that inspire them and give them a moment's respite from things like law and accounting.

If you're getting paid, you're giving value somewhere. If you give more value, you get paid more.

And it's still not about the money. Do you think that maybe God and the universe like it when you give value to others, and they've set things up to reward you for it?

Think about it.


Life is like bowling - straight down the lane with a little curve and stay out of the gutters on either extreme

As a kid, you start with certainty. Santa is good. Satan is bad. School is good. Play is a waste of time. (Which really messed you up, because you couldn't help but play, and feel bad at the same time.)

As an adolescent, you rebel. Santa is a cruel joke. The devil is the epitome of independent thought. School's a waste of time. Play is good. (So you indulge in too much of it.)

As a grownup, you come to terms with paradox (hopefully). Everything contains good and bad. Every ideology has a grain of truth in it.

Where are you in your mental, philosophical growth stage?