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rustyshackleford

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rustyshackleford  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

My position on blockchain hasn't changed, but I'm willing to put this thread to sleep. I still have yet to hear any argument in this discussion that makes the compelling argument that blockchain is the only, or in many cases best, solution to the problem. You've described a ton of problems that can be solved with better record-keeping or by enforcing existing laws, but nothing that doesn't already have answers, and in many of your examples, implementing a blockchain-based solution would introduce new issues that would then require new solutions. Nobody is saying that blockchain doesn't work for the purpose of storing data, only that in most cases, it's neither the only nor best answer.

rustyshackleford  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Justice Dept. to file landmark antitrust case against Google

You are correct, I am perfectly happy to rephrase my standpoint in the interests of furthering discussion. I haven't moved the goalposts. I do still stand by my assessment that Google will win the hell out of any attempt at reigning in their monopoly power here in the US. I'm honestly sorry that you took is disparagingly. I made a point of not telling you "you're wrong" or "you're an asshole." I don't think that kind of talk helps anything. I've just been trying to present you with the opinions of people who've done research into the subject who feel that the government is behind the eight ball on this one. I would also love to believe that our government is still powerful enough to solve problems and interested in doing so, but I just don't think that's the case. So yeah, there you go--I've presented you with the well-researched and cited opinions of a bunch of other people, and I believe that those opinions back up my assertion that Google is going to win. And yes, your point about the states being stupid to join the case still stands. That's why nobody's said anything about it--you're right about that one. The only thread in this discussion that's been contentious is this one where you're arguing the opposite point, that there totally is a solid case that the government and states can manage to win.

rustyshackleford  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Justice Dept. to file landmark antitrust case against Google

Yes, the first is obviously an editorial. The second I think is fantastic as a source, and if you're willing to dismiss that outright, then I shudder to think what you would consider to be proof.

So humor me--what would you consider to be sufficient evidence to say that a hypothetical future scenario is likely going to be quite difficult?

rustyshackleford  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

Sure, but what's the motivation for anyone to use the blockchain? It effectively becomes just a new-fangled version of sending in your warranty card to Sears. Why would every owner of every widget-you-want-to-track in the world register their widget with the central blockchain managed by that company? why would everybody who owns a particular brand of a particular item agree to start using a particular app to register their purchases, sales, trades, and loans? Why would every retailer agree to report their sales to the same central registrar? And if you're talking about wildly expensive items, why would every rich person in the world want to make their assets publicly searchable and indexable?

What you're talking about isn't impossible, it just doesn't make any sense for people to take part in. If me and a buddy want to trade watches, or I want to give something expensive to a relative, you're telling me that I'm expected to report that home to the manufacturer? Fuck no. Hell no. Not on your goddamn life. If anything, the scenario you're describing is simply an incentive to not use blockchain at all because as soon as you start using blockchain-connected services, there's a possibility that you will, through no fault of your own, be accused of counterfeiting, theft, or forgery. You could be going about your business and suddenly something you own and love loses all value and becomes a crime.

rustyshackleford  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Justice Dept. to file landmark antitrust case against Google

Since you added a line to put sources below, let me take a moment to be a man of my word.

First, this one's not a primary source, but does a great job outlining the challenges faced by any regulatory agency trying to bring a case against a big tech firm: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/30/antitrust-amazon-apple-facebook-google/

And second, since I know you're not going to like that first one, here is a wildly detailed explanation of the possible antitrust routes the government can take, and the issues with each, including extremely detailed primary sources and relevant case law: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45910.pdf

Page 20 is where it gets into the specific charges that are levied against Google right now. You'll notice that it doesn't say "Google isn't a monopoly", it says that because of technicalities in how the laws are written and how precedent has been set in the last few decades, any prosecutor faces an uphill battle in proving that existing laws and precedent apply in the case of the big technology companies.

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

You make an interesting point, but I’ll try a different tack. In all of your examples, you’re using the example of someone trying to falsify who is doing the selling of something, or alter the existence of a record of ownership.

But, what about a way simpler example: you have a blockchain record showing you own a bottle of Pepsi. I add an entry showing that you sold me the bottle of Pepsi.

In this case, it’s not the blockchain that prevents the fraud, it’s whatever verification process is built into the app we’re using. Yes, the blockchain prevents us from both owning the Pepsi, and that’s good and built into the tech, but it’s the external sources of truth that the app reaches out to that prevent me from fraudulently taking ownership of your soda.

That’s all I’m saying—that blockchain is cool, but it’s not a fraud-proof system. And in the worst-case scenario of total systemic collapse, the new government just makes a new blockchain, and goes “maybe you should have had a hard copy, now go farm beets.”

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Breitling authentication is running on Ethereum

Hah! Don’t worry, I’m not about to accuse you of being a navel staring moron. Speaking as a grown-ass man who understands we’re all getting less flexible year over year, I make no assumptions about whether somebody can stare into their own bellybutton, and that’s a weird metric to hold somebody to anyway.

I will grant you your thoughts on trust, and simply argue that blockchain isn’t the only way to accomplish the paradigm shift you’re describing, nor is it a foolproof way to do so. You are correct though that it is a great step in the right direction, and is strongly indicative of the kind of thinking that solves Big Fuckin Problems.

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

In your example, yes, that plays out exactly the way you described. But why would Arthur and Bob be involved in the transaction at all? The government office responsible for recording deeds would be the ones with a copy of the blockchain. Nothing says they need to make it public, and only other offices from that agency need to be involved in the consensus process. The same scenario you described works just as well if there’s a central SQL db. Either way, the source of authenticity isn’t inherent to the blockchain itself, but to the security of the implementation and the agencies that are providing consensus. It’s not as though the agency in Portland and the agency in Omaha are going to call Arthur and Bob’s local agency to verify the transaction—they’re going to consent to the data so long as the data is valid and shows that the property only belongs to one person at a time. Yes, blockchain does prevent whatever piece of information is being recorded from belonging to two people at the same time, whether that’s money, land, expensive watches, whatever. But it doesn’t add anything to proving whether the owner of record is valid that you don’t get from a well-designed db running on some other platform. Like any platform, it just has certain elements of its implementation that are easier, and certain elements that are harder. All tech is like that.

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Breitling authentication is running on Ethereum

Indelible databasing is super important to the world as-is though. There’s plenty of ways to architect a database that prevent modification. In the simplest example, you simply store your transaction logs on a separate server, and give the keys to different people. That’s not even a very elegant solution, but it’s already enough to prevent somebody from just going in and modifying a record directly, because there’s an audit trail clearly showing their behavior. Yes, blockchain is a mathematically elegant solution to the issue of designing a zero-trust network, but it’s not the only one.

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

For sure

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

There’s certainly a ton of money to be made in blockchain tech, and lots of industries that need better databases and records. It’s important though to remember that blockchain is just a database. It doesn’t do anything whatsoever to stop shitty people from doing shitty things. In an example like a corrupt government office keeping track of deeds, there’s literally no additional difficulty entering a false record that results from any aspect of blockchain. Similarly, there’s nothing that makes it publicly accessible that’s inherent to blockchain. You can swap blockchain in that example with a SQL server or MongoDB and have the exact same end result.

Again, not saying there’s not dough to be made, there is. And yes, we need better record keeping in a lot of industries. But it’s important to not mistake blockchain for being a silver bullet that fixes humans. It is a silver platter that serves up investors to projects that need money, so that’s fantastic, but it’s just a database.

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Justice Dept. to file landmark antitrust case against Google

While I agree with all your points, mine was different—it’s not that Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon aren’t monopolies. They absolutely are.

My point was that there’s nothing that can be done without both new laws and new precedent. I’m on mobile now, so I’ll have to pull up some sources for you later, but the issue is that there’s no case the government can make that will stick, or even have any meaningful effect. In the total absence of any chance of meaningful victory for the government, the DOJ throwing a case like this at a company like Google has long-term negative effects on the rest of us by adding to the pile of precedent that makes it even harder to get a judgement in the future.

If I were an utter bastard like Barr, and I wanted a publicity stunt that I knew would strengthen the plutocracy while also giving the appearance to Joe Bob Average American that I’m standing up for consumer protection, this would be high on my list of ideas.

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Breitling authentication is running on Ethereum

Well, sorta. The same thing could be accomplished with literally any other form of database. The problem isn’t “there’s never been blockchain”, it’s “there’s never been a database.”

Blockchain is extremely flawed, from a database perspective. The biggest issues with it are that people think it ensures entries are correct, and that people think you can read data out of it effectively. To the first, it doesn’t. It ensures that data is valid but to a computer, valid and correct are not synonyms. To the second, you can only get data out of a blockchain if it’s unpopular. As soon as a blockchain gets used, it grows and grows and grows, and becomes unmanageably complex. Simply reading information out of it and entering new information onto it becomes computationally ridiculous.

The true value of blockchain has nothing to do with the technology. The real value is the hype itself. Because of all the hype, blockchain is effectively tricking companies and industries to implement standardized databasing systems that they’ve been resisting for decades.

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Blockchain, the amazing solution for almost nothing

Dude, I love this article. I’ve sent this to half a dozen people over the last few weeks. It does such a good job of explaining things that we computer geeks have been trying to explain for years. One of my colleagues has a saying that he thought of after talking about Bitcoin: “don’t fail at your job rule #837: if your solution requires Dyson spheres, it’s not a solution.”

rustyshackleford  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Justice Dept. to file landmark antitrust case against Google

Genuinely fascinating to see. Despite being a backwoods Southerner building a cabin in the woods, I pay my bills with the sort of job that you'd expect out of some snooty Bay Area transplant that kleinbl00 would fantasize about ramming his car into in traffic, and believe me, this kind of discussion comes up internally at the big tech companies... and nobody's afraid.

Technology moves so much faster than legislation that just about all major tech companies, particularly the "big five", are more or less immune to antitrust laws the way they're written in the US. This isn't even new, it's been talked about for years. (On a side note--isn't that second article from 2017 super hopeful and innocent sounding? The tone of journalism has changed so much in such a short time, even on the Editorial side.)

This one in particular is such an easy win for Google. Absolute worst-case scenario, you end up with future smartphones that work like PCs sold in Europe--you turn it on, and when you create your user account it asks which search provider you want to use, and which browser you want to install. Woooooooo scary. That didn't reduce Microsoft's footprint in Europe any, and it's not even remotely scary to any modern tech company. I'd bet you a new car that Google already has that code written, and it's just commented out with a comment that says something like "emergency middle finger to legislators; enable this section whenever the government gets too big for their britches."

Cynically, this is actually good for the tech industry. Everybody knows that the big tech firms have grown entirely too large and now wield levels of influence traditionally reserved for governments and religions, but several years from now when the US government loses a long and expensive antitrust case against Google, or wins a purely symbolic victory that doesn't accomplish anything, it will only serve to empower the tech companies to push even further. The 2020 brain in me sees this as being just like when asshole "Republicans" pass anti-abortion laws that are wildly illegal purely in the hopes of pushing the issue and getting a decision that hurts everybody. Considering that Barr hasn't demonstrated a willingness or interest in doing anything that doesn't explicitly cause harm to the American people, I can't help but see this in the same light as some dickhole governor intentionally passing an abortion law that can't stand up in court.

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

I’m going with Wallace and Gromit

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

Princess Mononoke?

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

Awesome, awesome movie btw. Props to both of you on this one

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

Oh, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

Accepted? Good ol’ South Harmon Institute of Technology

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

Bing! Got it. Nicely done man.

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

Ok, going out on a limb here: Leon the Professional?

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

Something something Superman?

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 404th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"

Listening to that made me think of Plantasia:

rustyshackleford  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Breitling authentication is running on Ethereum

While I don't know anything about the luxury market, I do have some advice regarding blockchain in general. Keep an eye on which industries are talking blockchain, and look into investing in companies that fund software development in those areas. You don't even have to back any blockchain-based ideas (and you probably shouldn't), but it's a great indicator that there's a grassroots effort in that industry to change their ways. Blockchain itself is an almost fundamentally useless technology, but it's getting so much press and hype that industries and organizations that traditionally don't bother updating their models are talking about blockchain now. That's why you see it pop up in things like real estate, social services, and in this case, the provenance of luxury goods--those are all industries that are decades behind the curve and have never seen a reason to update their software. Now that blockchain is the hip new term du jour, it's like a new Y2K, spurring companies into taking baby steps they'd have otherwise ignored for another few decades.

rustyshackleford  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Funski: A goofy bit of fun with movie descriptions

A few people finish a boat ride from Europe to the US.