A covid-19 retrospective

January 5, 2023 at 9:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Now that covid “pandemic” is effectively ended for the great bulk of what I refer to as “pop culture”, it is nice to have a retrospective. And the big lessons I learned from this are:

  • “Normal” people would become outright fascist if that particular belief was the popular belief. I now fear majority rule if it’s governed by emotion.
  • People would rather be wrong in a group than right by themselves.
  • Most people are afraid of speaking out against majority rule.
  • Most people would rather double down on their position than to admit that they were wrong. I will be fair and admit that I predicted the opposite
  • Social media is causing people to act out of their own best interests by manipulating emotion
  • There is something instrinsic to human nature that prevents people from saying “I was wrong”. We latch upon our conclusions too quickly – then we get married to them. To the point of irrationality.

I deeply admire people that say “I changed my mind when new information came into the picture. I thus changed my behavior accordingly”.

My unpopular opinion regarding the Ukraine war

July 27, 2022 at 6:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My unpopular opinion regarding the Ukraine war: I think this is a mistake and a big one.

These sanctions, along with these ridiculous “panedemic” lockdowns, will lead to a huge economic collapse, something way way worse than the great depression. The United States and it’s european allies are literally cutting off our own supply of oil, wheat, natural gas, etc which will lead to massive amounts of shortages, come harvest time. You watch! I also have the sneaking suspicion that the russian ruble will come out pretty good during these sanctions because the russian currency is now pegged to gold, and the US dollar is not. So in the event of a market crash or hyperinflation (which is going to happen. . .) the russian ruble will strengthen against the US dollar.

In fact, this is already starting to happen. The russian ruble is stronger than it was before the sanctions. Russia is also making more money on it’s exports than it did before the sanctions. Sanctions are having the opposite of it’s intended effect, while at the same time we are cutting off our own supplies of energy and food. This will cause worldwide famine. Again, not in civilization’s interests.

Next, I have a hard time believing the US government is defending Ukraine for humanitarian reasons. And I think it’s incredibly naive to think otherwise. The “news”, as it is currently being reported, is basically false. So I doubt any reports of this war are accurate in any way and most of it is probably misleading misinformation. And since I have no idea what is the truth anymore, I refuse to make a political opinion without sufficiently hearing the other side – no matter how evil the other side is perceived to be. So I am resoundingly “neutral” regarding the conflict.

Finally, there’s going to be some STUPID scapegoat when an economic collapse happens. My guess is the “1%”, “russians”, the “karens”, or “the unvaccinated”. I don’t know, specifically, but the world will unjustly blame a scapegoat.

You watch.

My thoughts on covid-19

May 28, 2022 at 10:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To make sure my stance on covid is absolutely clear. I believe covid-19 is about as dangerous as the flu, which is not very. I also believe covid-19 vaccines are about as effective as flu shots, which again is not very. Although, perhaps slightly. Covid-19 is completely overblown beyond proportion and the whole world overreacted.

And here are my counterpoints to your responses:

  • “Those are people that died with covid, not from it”
  • “natural immunity”
  • “Sweden”
  • “opportunity cost”

Sweden and covid-19

September 26, 2021 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I find it bizarre that no one mentions Sweden in the vaccine debate. During 2020, Sweden had:

  • no vaccinations
  • no masks
  • no lockdown

Yet their hospitals never got overwhelmed. I also know this to be a fact as I have a relative who works there in an actual hospital in Stockholm. And total (all cause) deaths for the entire 2020 year are nothing out of the ordinary. Here, compare Sweden 2020 total deaths to the 5-year average:

I swear, I tell people this and they look at me like I’m weird. Some people even become visibly angry! I think the issue is most people fell for “social media hype” and they formed their opinion too early based on bad evidence. Then they latched on to that first opinion that came to mind and it turned into ideology. And ideology causes people to reject conflicting information . such as the above graph. Psychologists even have a word for this. It is called “first conclusion bias”.

I find it sad that I’m one of the few people who think that the whole world obviously overreacted. Watch what happens now, this ridiculous over-response to a glorified flu will result in a massive economic crash, one that the world has never seen before. Much worse than the one in 1929. It will, possibly and probably, be coupled with hyperinflation and it will cause unspeakable hardship on civilization. Then there will be scapegoats. I am not sure who exactly, but it will be incredibly unfair. Much to the delight of the masses.

Why I choose not to get vaccinated

September 15, 2021 at 8:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back in March 2020, when this whole covid hysteria started, I actually started reading the scientific journals on this supposedly “novel” virus. I determined the infection fatality rate of this thing is a joke, everyone is massively over-reacting, and it’s not going to end up not killing anyone that I actually know.

Which it didn’t.

So I figured since I’m healthy, I should just infect myself with the coronavirus and quarantine for 2 weeks. And when I emerge out of quarantine I’ll have something called ‘natural immunity’ which will prevent me from spreading it to others. I will thus be no longer be part of the problem. Case closed. I then encouraged every healthy person to do the same. People thought I was crazy, but I didn’t care.

So I asked around and actually found a person, two people actually (boyfriend/girlfriend), who was willing to give it to me. So I drove to vegas to get infected, went over to their place and asked them to both spit in my water, which I then subsequently drank. Then I drove to a neighboring covid-friendly hotel in the area and quarantined.

Most people view this as “strange”, even shocking. It does not occur to some people that there are some people out there willing to risk, or even sacrifice, their lives for the sake of protecting another. Perhaps a loved one, an elderly grandmother, or just mankind itself. And I’m one of those people.

Another thing about american pop culture that I absolutely despise: it is scientifically illiterate. There is this bizarre, yet popular notion in my culture that natural immunity does not form after a covid-19 infection. Hint: it does. This is not only a scientific fact, this is a well-proven scientific fact. And when I explain this to people, they look at me like I’m a leper.

In any event, I don’t bother getting the vaccine because, well, I have natural immunity so I figure “why bother”. Natural immunity is far more robust than vaccinated immunity by literally every metric that I could find. There’s a also a 99% efficacy rate with natural immunity and only 90% efficacy rate with vaccines. And yes, I read the actual scientific papers on the matter.

So this is the method I chose. My body, my choice. And the fact there is so much government and social coercion regarding the vaccine makes me not want to do it. I would rather see the pharmaceutical company not make any money of me. So now I’m not getting it out of pure rebellion.

Inflation is coming!

March 15, 2021 at 12:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Get ready for inflation.

I know I’ve been preaching this for years, but now we are actually about to
experience it. US Bonds are spiking which implies the market sees more long term risk in the US dollar. Also, notice the price of silver. As of this writing:
Market price: $25/ounce
Street price: $40/ounce

Just watch when this thing snowballs.

I’m also curious to see how the “dont-be-selfish” crowd are
going to react to this. You know, the very same types who post things like this:

First off, I don’t believe what is said in this plaque is very sincere. Most people (including 80% of the people reading this post. . .), would happily take advantage of me if it meant making money for them. Don’t believe me? Watch how most salesmen, lawyers, and financial “advisors”, perform their jobs.

Now I want you to watch how these very same “not selfish” types behave when there’s a financial collapse. And then contrast it with how they describe themselves on twitter. There will be scapegoats for this, for sure. I am not sure who, but there will be. And they will be treated very unfairly.

What do you think are the primary motivations behind reporting on the plague and shutdowns in a way so as to make it seem as if are obligated to shut down society and wall ourselves at home?

October 11, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I saw this posting on reddit to the above title and it did a good job of summing up my feelings on the subject. A “multiple-model” approach to analysis usually yields good results. Posted by “chasonreddit” on reddit:

I’m a believer that there there are no huge conspiracies in government or media. There are simply a lot of different people working in their own best interest and perverted incentives get you the rest of the way.

  • Media live for clicks and content purchases
  • Pharmaceutical companies live to develop and sell new drugs
  • Politicians live for votes (and power, can’t leave that out)
  • Bureaucrats and civil servants do what they can do to hold and keep their cushy jobs.
  • People love to feel morally superior to their peers.
  • Businesses comply with government mandates because that optimizes profits.
  • Businesses cater to the majority sentiment whether they share it or not to optimize profits.
  • Some number of people are simply afraid of life and welcome an opportunity to take a time out.

Put all of those together and you can pretty much see the narative unfold.

reddit’s /r/losangeles response to cancel culture

July 26, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I wrote an email to the moderators of /r/losangeles regarding my
concern over their contribution to “cancel culture”. I am posting this online so everyone can see how much of an ass reddit is in handling this issue.

Dear /r/losangeles,

My name is Steve. I’ve been a long time redditor of over 12 years. You may recognize me from the global reddit meetup day, as I attend to them most years. I also sponsored a couple of years of global reddit meetups under my then company “Model Printing” and “The Bitcoin Spot”. So I am hoping you can take the time to both read and understand my message. This is my picture: https://steverstuff.s3.amazonaws.com/steve.jpg

/u/barbeque has met with me a few times, and he can attest that I am a “real reddit account”.

I politely the moderators of /r/losangeles to create a new rule for stop “exposing” the “racists and karens from being racist and a asshat so we can shame them” videos. I think it fosters a toxic culture and often times lives are ruined, in my view unfairly.

I don’t think these videos should be shown for the following reasons:

1) A lot of the times, these videos are without context with no understanding what happened before or after the incident. Unfortunately, reddit seems to jump to the first conclusion that comes to mind. And sometimes this conclusion is wrong.

2) The subject is not given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself and give “his side” of the story. Unfortunately, “the mob” is judge, jury and executioner and often times they base their decision on NOT HEARING THE OTHER SIDE.

3) Many times “the bad thing” in the video is debatable. For example, some guy washing down graffiti left over from some BLM protester or something. I realize that BLM harbors a different opinion on whether that particular action is “bad”, but they should also realize reasonable minds can also DISAGREE. This is not a black and white issue!

4) Family members, employers, and even employees are harassed, even though they had nothing to do with the video.

5) The backlash against said racist is often irrationally disproportional to the harm that was caused. While what they said may have been bad and all, the video is not the holocaust either.

6) It is wrong to judge the character of a person by 60 seconds of video.

8) It is not right that many people lose their livelihoods based on, at the end of the day, a belief system. Most racists that I know ( and I know a great many of them. . .) are just regular people with an unpopular opinion. They are not “proud boys” or KKK or whatever and they don’t go around hurting people.

It’s like if you are say, a christian and the other guy is a muslim. If that offends you, well than I’m sorry, that’s on YOU, not the muslim. And yes, I realize “muslim beliefs can possibly lead to suicide bombings” (or whatever. . .) but until I see solid evidence, the muslim should be left alone.

9) Most of the time these videos are basically an allegation and a click-bait title. Because of the nature of US labor laws, the court of public opinion is, lately, becoming more powerful than the court of law themselves! So now people are afraid of getting fired if they express a dissenting thought (“I think the BLM movement is a net-negative to our culture”). I, personally, don’t want to live in a society where people live in fear of a dissenting thought, for fear of losing their livelihoods. It is simply wrong, even for perceived “karens”.

In short, I feel that reddit is contributing to this culture and I believe that it’s having a negative civilization-level effect on society.

I humbly ask for this message to be distributed across the mods, so they can at least here what I have to say.

We already have a rule in place that prohibits the posting of personal information. This rule applies to these videos as well as any other posts. Names, workplaces, addresses, social media accounts, any information that could be used to identify someone without their consent is not permitted, and we remove any offending comments on sight. However, once these situations reach the news, their names are out in the open and it’s out of our hands. The doxxing and harassment is not originating here.

These videos are of events happening within our community, as we believe that they do belong on the sub.

And we love seeing racists get fired. That “belief system” is indefensible and we’re glad people aren’t tolerating it anymore.


But if racists get fired, then they won’t be able to maintain a livelihood in any meanginful way!

The other issue is that this type of mob behavior is selectively applied. So-called “gangsta rappers”, for instance, get no such backlash from reddit or the greater society in any by-and-large way, particularly in America. And one can argue that both their behavior and beliefs are even more abhorrent and even more indefensible as anything these so-called “karens” have done.


How unfortunate for them –


Dear /r/losangeles,

Enclosed is an example of someone who is probably going to lose their job over an “unpopular opinion”. Again, he’s not hurting anyone, it’s just an unpopular belief. Yet, it is on reddit. I “reported it” (I report all ‘cancels’ that I find), but we need to start banning users who do this, it ruins lives:



Their lives are being ruined by their own actions, not by people
pointing out their actions.


Well yes, but my point being is the backlash is disproportional to the
“harm” committed.


…losing their job around impressionable kids?

If depends on the situation, but by and large what was posted online brings about a backlash is not proportional to the “harm” that was done.

The reopening after covid-19

June 20, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This is what’s going to happen. 60% of us are going to get covid-19 at this point. And the numbers, if calculated honestly, will not reflect anywhere near the fatality numbers as first reported on commercial news sources. And everyone’s going to get it, 99% of the people will say “it was pretty mild”, and then everyone is going to feel stupid for quarantining all that time. Then cognitive dissonance will kick in, and people will start blaming some stupid third-party source like the Russians, or the Chinese, the “racists”, or nazis or something stupid like that. And many innocent people will be unfairly villified, which will be amplified by pop-culture social networks such as twitter. All just so that they can get us to click on things and sell us more ads.

I have a very low opinion of social networks.

way algorithms see us

Upgrading electrum on tails to 3.3.4

February 26, 2019 at 7:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 139 Comments

I see a lot of requests on reddit asking how to install the new version of Electrum on Tails. So I thought I would create a blog post showing people how to do it. There’s a lot of things you have to type so you might want to copy and paste this into a text file and load it on a USB, so you can copy and paste certain commands back into the commandline.

Currently, the running version of Electrum on Tails is insecure because it allows nodes to broadcast messages that can potentially be phishing attacks and trick users into downloading malware. Electrum 3.3.3 and above can mitigate such attacks. Currently, the latest version of Electrum is 3.3.6, so I’ll write about that.

First off, whenever you make “weird changes” to whatever you are doing, even in general, you should make a backup. This is doubly true if this involves money. My recommendation is to use the Tails official backup procedure here: https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/backups/ . There are a actually a couple of ways you can backup Tails. If the official article is somehow unsatisfactory, I can write another “how to” article later.

Ok, boot to Tails. We have to be able to login as “administrator” for what we need to do, so when we login, press the “+” sign on the bottom left hand of the screen:

Then double-click on “administration password” and set the password to any arbitrary password you like. (This, by the way, allows you to execute the “sudo” command which gives your Tails account temporary root privileges. This password is forgotten on the next reboot, so it won’t introduce any security problems once we’re done).

Now that we are logged in, we have to make sure the persistent folder has correct settings. Go to Applications -> Tails -> Configure Persistent Volume:

From there, make sure that the “dotfiles” switch is set to “on” and click “save” button:

Now, we can begin upgrading the Electrum wallet. The next step is to verify the binary’s validity. There are a lot of “scam wallets” going around where people download the wrong binary which then steals money. A hacker can also theoretically hack into the website and change the binary as well. So any binary that is not part of the official Tails distribution should be verified that is hasn’t been tampered with. One of the maintainers of Electrum is “ThomasV” and his GPG key is here:
gpg signature: 6694 D8DE 7BE8 EE56 31BE D950 2BD5 824B 7F94 70E6

Notice the high number of stars in the GitHub page. This means that a lot of people are saying “yep, I like this key”. I also recommend searching for this fingerprint on multiple search engines such as DuckDuckGo, Bing, and Google so you can cross-verify and make sure that is the REAL “ThomasV” in question. Don’t trust one particular source for GPG keys, just in case that source gets hacked or is somehow untrustworthy.

Anyway, save the key to your Tails distribution. Visit this webpage https://github.com/spesmilo/electrum/blob/master/pubkeys/ThomasV.asc, and highlight the text of the key, right click and press “copy”.

Then open gedit, which is the text editor to Tails:

Now paste the key, and then save it as “thomasv.key” in the “Tor Browser” directory.


Next, open “tor browser directory”:


in nautilus and double click the key. This will import it:

Once it’s imported, you have to then “sign” the key. By signing the key, one of the things you are doing is indicating “I trust this key as valid and I made sure that it’s owned by the actual ‘ThomasV’ in question.” You can verify the key by comparing the signatures with people who you know have the correct key (googling the fingerprint and verifying with multiple sites helps). The particular GitHub account we got our key from is heavily starred, and a google search shows a lot of references to it, so we have a reasonable assurance that it is the real one. I have also personally used this particular key for years with that exact signature, so I can personally attest that the signature with the following key is valid:

6694 D8DE 7BE8 EE56 31BE D950 2BD5 824B 7F94 70E6

There are web-of-trust benefits to signing the key, but I won’t go into that for now. Ok, now let’s sign the key.

Click on the clipboard icon, on the upper right hand corner of the screen, and then select “Manage keys”:

When the dialogue box comes up, click on “GnuPG keys” on the left, then scroll down until you find the key you want to sign (in this case ThomasV), right click and press “properties”.

From there, you’ll get this dialogue box, so click on the trust tab and then press the “sign this key” button:
We did a reasonable search for the key, so let’s click on “casually searched”. Also click on “others may not see this signature” for correctness. Then click the “sign” button:

We have now successfully signed the key.

Ok, now that is done, we can download electrum. Download the AppImage binary and the appropriate signatures from this webpage:


save_link_asThe “AppImage” version of Tails is a self-contained version of Electrum with all the appropriate libraries and python version encased in one file. Currently Electrum 3.3.6 uses a version of python that the current version of Tails does not support (3.12.1). So the AppImage is your only recourse.

Ok, so once you download Electrum and it’s signature file, you can now verify the signature. Navigate to the “Tor Browser” directory you were in earlier, and right click the electrum-3.3.6-x86_64.AppImage.asc file and click “Open with Verify Signature”.
Once that goes through, it should hopefully give you a “good signature” emblem on top:


The “good signature” line shows that the binary has not been tampered with and is safe to put on the system. This is because we verified that it was digitally signed by a well-known hacker with a good reputation.

Ok. Next steps. We have to create some folders in an a appropriate directory. We do this because Tails has an ephemeral filesystem mostly, with only a few key directories that are “remembered” between each bootup. The “Persistent” folder is one of those folders.

So let’s return to the command terminal and type these commands (or copy and paste if you prefer):

sudo mkdir -p /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.local/share/applications
sudo chown -R 1000:1000 /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/
mkdir -p /home/amnesia/Persistent/bin/
mkdir -p /home/amnesia/Persistent/conf/electrum/

If the sudo command asks for a password, use the “administrator account” password that you setup when you booted Tails.

Ok, next go back to “Tor Browser” window and right click the AppImage files. From there click properties:

Click on the permissions tab and click on “allow executing file as program”:

This makes the file “executable” meaning it turns the file into an “app” that Tails can run. Then right click and rename file to “electrum.AppImage”.


Then open the persistent directory:

and drag the “electrum.AppImage” over to “Persistent/bin”

drag_electrum_icon_2It’s best to be extra cautious about bitcoin wallets, so we are not going to “write over” the old bitcoin wallet, we are going to create another wallet and put it in a separate directory. (Conservatism is an important concept in the bitcoin world). So let’s open your old electrum wallet and copy the seed. You can do this by going to Wallet -> Seed on your menubar and writing it down or saving it to a file in your persistent partition.


Keep these words in a safe place and don’t give it to anyone! Your seed is a “second layer” of defense in case you somehow screw up the upgrade process. If upgrading your wallet does not work for some reason, you can always re-create a new wallet, type the seed words back in and be able to recover your bitcoins through your seed words. So make sure you don’t lose that seed!

Once we have the words stored in a safe place, let’s go ahead and make the bitcoin icon point to the new version of Electrum that we just put on the persistent folder.

Go back to your terminal window and type the following:

gedit /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.local/share/applications/electrum.desktop

When gedit opens, copy and paste the following:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Lightweight Bitcoin Client
Exec=/home/amnesia/Persistent/bin/electrum.AppImage -D /home/amnesia/Persistent/conf/electrum/
GenericName[en_US]=Bitcoin Wallet
GenericName=Bitcoin Wallet
Name[en_US]=Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
Name=Electrum Bitcoin Wallet

Then save.

Go back to your terminal and type:

sudo chmod +x /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/.local/share/applications/electrum.desktop

Go to Places -> Computer on the upper left hand corner of the screen. Once it opens, Press ctrl-l and type this in the directory:



There should be an “Electrum” icon there, double click on it then click on “trust” (we verified the binary so we know we can trust it). When the new wallet comes up, go install the Electrum wallet like you normally would, but select “standard wallet” and “I already have a seed”.


When the prompt comes up, paste the words of that seed that you entered earlier and click next. When Electrum comes on, it should show your old “history of transactions”. Make sure you can see them.

Next, we have to tell Electrum to use the Tails proxy to communicate. Go to tools -> network in the menu:

Then click on the proxy tab and tell it to use the “Tor Proxy at port 9050”:

Reboot Tails, re-login and click on Electrum icon on your menu, it should bring up the new version of Tails:


Send a small test transaction to another wallet and make sure it works.

If there are any errors with this blog post, please leave a COMMENT and I can fix it.

LocalWords: Electrum AppImage

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