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Jared A. Brock

Jared A. Brock

2 years ago

Here is the actual reason why Russia invaded Ukraine

Democracy's demise

Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are being attacked by a far superior force.
It's the biggest invasion since WWII.

43.3 million peaceful Ukrainians awoke this morning to tanks, mortars, and missiles. Russia is already 15 miles away.

America and the West will not deploy troops.
They're sanctioning. Except railways. And luxuries. And energy. Diamonds. Their dependence on Russian energy exports means they won't even cut Russia off from SWIFT.

Ukraine is desperate enough to hand out guns on the street.

France, Austria, Turkey, and the EU are considering military aid, but Ukraine will fall without America or NATO.

The Russian goal is likely to encircle Kyiv and topple Zelenskyy's government. A proxy power will be reinstated once Russia has total control.

“Western security services believe Putin intends to overthrow the government and install a puppet regime,” says Financial Times foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman. This “decapitation” strategy includes municipalities. Ukrainian officials are being targeted for arrest or death.”

Also, Putin has never lost a war.

Why is Russia attacking Ukraine?

Putin, like a snowflake college student, “feels unsafe.”
Why?

Because Ukraine is full of “Nazi ideas.”

Putin claims he has felt threatened by Ukraine since the country's pro-Putin leader was ousted and replaced by a popular Jewish comedian.

Hee hee

He fears a full-scale enemy on his doorstep if Ukraine joins NATO. But he refuses to see it both ways. NATO has never invaded Russia, but Russia has always stolen land from its neighbors. Can you blame them for joining a mutual defense alliance when a real threat exists?
Nations that feel threatened can join NATO. That doesn't justify an attack by Russia. It allows them to defend themselves. But NATO isn't attacking Moscow. They aren't.
Russian President Putin's "special operation" aims to de-Nazify the Jewish-led nation.
To keep Crimea and the other two regions he has already stolen, he wants Ukraine undefended by NATO.

(Warlords have fought for control of the strategically important Crimea for over 2,000 years.)
Putin wants to own all of Ukraine.

Why?

The Black Sea is his goal.

Ports bring money and power, and Ukraine pipelines transport Russian energy products.
Putin wants their wheat, too — with 70% crop coverage, Ukraine would be their southern breadbasket, and Russia has no qualms about starving millions of Ukrainians to death to feed its people.

In the end, it's all about greed and power.
Putin wants to own everything Russia has ever owned. This year he turns 70, and he wants to be remembered like his hero Peter the Great.
In order to get it, he's willing to kill thousands of Ukrainians

Art imitates life

This story began when a Jewish TV comedian portrayed a teacher elected President after ranting about corruption.
Servant of the People, the hit sitcom, is now the leading centrist political party.
Right, President Zelenskyy won the hearts and minds of Ukrainians by imagining a fairer world.
A fair fight is something dictators, corporatists, monopolists, and warlords despise.
Now Zelenskyy and his people will die, allowing one of history's most corrupt leaders to amass even more power.

The poor always lose

Meanwhile, the West will impose economic sanctions on Russia.

China is likely to step in to help Russia — or at least the wealthy.

The poor and working class in Russia will suffer greatly if there is a hard crash or long-term depression.
Putin's friends will continue to drink champagne and eat caviar.

Russia cutting off oil, gas, and fertilizer could cause more inflation and possibly a recession if it cuts off supplies to the West. This causes more suffering and hardship for the Western poor and working class.

Why? a billionaire sociopath gets his dirt.

Yes, Russia is simply copying America. Some of us think all war is morally wrong, regardless of who does it.

But let's not kid ourselves right now.

The markets rallied after the biggest invasion in Europe since WWII.
Investors hope Ukraine collapses and Russian oil flows.
Unbridled capitalists value lifeless.

What we can do about Ukraine

When the Russian army invaded eastern Finland, my wife's grandmother fled as a child. 80 years later, Russia still has Karelia.
Russia invaded Ukraine today to retake two eastern provinces.
History has taught us nothing.
Past mistakes won't fix the future.

Instead, we should try:

  • Pray and/or meditate on our actions with our families.
  • Stop buying Russian products (vodka, obviously, but also pay more for hydro/solar/geothermal/etc.)
  • Stop wasting money on frivolous items and donate it to Ukrainian charities.

Here are 35+ places to donate.

  • To protest, gather a few friends, contact the media, and shake signs in front of the Russian embassy.
  • Prepare to welcome refugees.

More war won't save the planet or change hearts.

Only love can work.

More on Current Events

B Kean

B Kean

1 year ago

To prove his point, Putin is prepared to add 200,000 more dead soldiers.

What does Ukraine's murderous craziness mean?

Photo by Anastasiya Romanova on Unsplash

Vladimir Putin expressed his patience to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet. Thousands, even hundreds of thousands of young and middle-aged males in his country have no meaning to him.

During a meeting in March with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel, Mr. Putin admitted that the Ukrainians were tougher “than I was told,” according to two people familiar with the exchange. “This will probably be much more difficult than we thought. But the war is on their territory, not ours. We are a big country and we have patience (The Inside Story of a Catastrophe).”

Putin should explain to Russian mothers how patient he is with his invasion of Ukraine.

Putin is rich. Even while sanctions have certainly limited Putin's access to his fortune, he has access to everything in Russia. Unlimited wealth.

The Russian leader's infrastructure was designed with his whims in mind. Vladimir Putin is one of the wealthiest and most catered-to people alive. He's also all-powerful, as his lack of opposition shows. His incredible wealth and power have isolated him from average people so much that he doesn't mind turning lives upside down to prove a point.

For many, losing a Russian spouse or son is painful. Whether the soldier was a big breadwinner or unemployed, the loss of a male figure leaves many families bewildered and anxious. Putin, Russia's revered president, seems unfazed.

People who know Mr. Putin say he is ready to sacrifice untold lives and treasure for as long as it takes, and in a rare face-to-face meeting with the Americans last month the Russians wanted to deliver a stark message to President Biden: No matter how many Russian soldiers are killed or wounded on the battlefield, Russia will not give up (The Inside Story of a Catastrophe).

Imagine a country's leader publicly admitting a mistake he's made. Imagine getting Putin's undivided attention.

So, I underestimated Ukrainians. I can't allow them make me appear terrible, so I'll utilize as many drunken dopes as possible to cover up my error. They'll die fulfilled and heroic.

Russia's human resources are limited, but its willingness to cause suffering is not. How many Russian families must die before the curse is broken? If mass protests started tomorrow, Russia's authorities couldn't stop them.

When Moscovites faced down tanks in August 1991, the Gorbachev coup ended in three days. Even though few city residents showed up, everything collapsed. This wicked disaster won't require many Russians.

One NATO member is warning allies that Mr. Putin is ready to accept the deaths or injuries of as many as 300,000 Russian troops — roughly three times his estimated losses so far.

If 100,000 Russians have died in Ukraine and Putin doesn't mind another 200,000 dying, why don't these 200,000 ghosts stand up and save themselves? Putin plays the role of concerned and benevolent leader effectively, but things aren't going well for Russia.

What would 300,000 or more missing men signify for Russia's future? How many kids will have broken homes? How many families won't form, and what will the economy do?

Putin reportedly cared about his legacy. His place in Russian history Putin's invasion of Ukraine settled his legacy. He has single-handedly weakened and despaired Russia since the 1980s.

Putin will be viewed by sensible people as one of Russia's worst adversaries, but Russians will think he was fantastic despite Ukraine.

The more setbacks Mr. Putin endures on the battlefield, the more fears grow over how far he is willing to go. He has killed tens of thousands in Ukraine, leveled cities, and targeted civilians for maximum pain — obliterating hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings while cutting off power and water to millions before winter. Each time Ukrainian forces score a major blow against Russia, the bombing of their country intensifies. And Mr. Putin has repeatedly reminded the world that he can use anything at his disposal, including nuclear arms, to pursue his notion of victory.

How much death and damage will there be in Ukraine if Putin sends 200,000 more Russians to the front? It's scary, sad, and sick.

Monster.

B Kean

B Kean

1 year ago

Russia's greatest fear is that no one will ever fear it again.

When everyone laughs at him, he's powerless.

Courtesy of Getty Images

1-2-3: Fold your hands and chuckle heartily. Repeat until you're really laughing.

We're laughing at Russia's modern-day shortcomings, if you hadn't guessed.

Watch Good Fellas' laughing scene on YouTube. Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, and others laugh hysterically in a movie. Laugh at that scene, then think of Putin's macho guy statement on February 24 when he invaded Ukraine. It's cathartic to laugh at his expense.

Right? It makes me feel great that he was convinced the military action will be over in a week. I love reading about Putin's morning speech. Many stupid people on Earth supported him. Many loons hailed his speech historic.

Russia preys on the weak. Strong Ukraine overcame Russia. Ukraine's right. As usual, Russia is in the wrong.

A so-called thought leader recently complained on Russian TV that the West no longer fears Russia, which is why Ukraine is kicking Russia's ass.

Let's simplify for this Russian intellectual. Except for nuclear missiles, the West has nothing to fear from Russia. Russia is a weak, morally-empty country whose DNA has degraded to the point that evolution is already working to flush it out.

The West doesn't fear Russia since he heads a prominent Russian institution. Russian universities are intellectually barren. I taught at St. Petersburg University till June (since February I was virtually teaching) and was astounded by the lack of expertise.

Russians excel in science, math, engineering, IT, and anything that doesn't demand critical thinking or personal ideas.

Reflecting on many of the high-ranking individuals from around the West, Satanovsky said: “They are not interested in us. We only think we’re ‘big politics’ for them but for those guys we’re small politics. “We’re small politics, even though we think of ourselves as the descendants of the Russian Empire, of the USSR. We are not the Soviet Union, we don’t have enough weirdos and lunatics, we practically don’t have any (U.S. Has Stopped Fearing Us).”

Professor Dmitry Evstafiev, president of the Institute of the Middle East, praised Nikita Khrushchev's fiery nature because he made the world fear him, which made the Soviet Union great. If the world believes Putin is crazy, then Russia will be great, says this man. This is crazy.

Evstafiev covered his cowardice by saluting Putin. He praised his culture and Ukraine patience. This weakling professor ingratiates himself to Putin instead of calling him a cowardly, demonic shithead.

This is why we don't fear Russia, professor. Because you're all sycophantic weaklings who sold your souls to a Leningrad narcissist. Putin's nothing. He lacks intelligence. You've tied your country's fate and youth's future to this terrible monster. Disgraceful!

How can you loathe your country's youth so much to doom them to decades or centuries of ignominy? My son is half Russian and must now live with this portion of him.

We don't fear Russia because you don't realize that it should be appreciated, not frightened. That would need lobotomizing tens of millions of people like you.

Sadman. You let a Leningrad weakling castrate you and display your testicles. He shakes the container, saying, "Your balls are mine."

Why is Russia not feared?

Your self-inflicted national catastrophe is hilarious. Sadly, it's laugh-through-tears.

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow

1 year ago

The downfall of the Big Four accounting companies is just one (more) controversy away.

Economic mutual destruction.

Multibillion-dollar corporations never bothered with an independent audit, and they all lied about their balance sheets.

It's easy to forget that the Big Four accounting firms are lousy fraud enablers. Just because they sign off on your books doesn't mean you're not a hoax waiting to erupt.

This is *crazy* Capitalism depends on independent auditors. Rich folks need to know their financial advisers aren't lying. Rich folks usually succeed.

No accounting. EY, KPMG, PWC, and Deloitte make more money consulting firms than signing off on their accounts.

The Big Four sign off on phony books because failing to make friends with unscrupulous corporations may cost them consulting contracts.

The Big Four are the only firms big enough to oversee bankruptcy when they sign off on fraudulent books, as they did for Carillion in 2018. All four profited from Carillion's bankruptcy.

The Big Four are corrupt without any consequences for misconduct. Who can forget when KPMG's top management was fined millions for helping auditors cheat on ethics exams?

Consulting and auditing conflict. Consultants help a firm cover its evil activities, such as tax fraud or wage theft, whereas auditors add clarity to a company's finances. The Big Four make more money from cooking books than from uncooking them, thus they are constantly embroiled in scandals.

If a major scandal breaks, it may bring down the entire sector and substantial parts of the economy. Jim Peterson explains system risk for The Dig.

The Big Four are voluntary private partnerships where accountants invest their time, reputations, and money. If a controversy threatens the business, partners who depart may avoid scandal and financial disaster.

When disaster looms, each partner should bolt for the door, even if a disciplined stay-and-hold posture could weather the storm. This happened to Arthur Andersen during Enron's collapse, and a 2006 EU report recognized the risk to other corporations.

Each partner at a huge firm knows how much dirty laundry they've buried in the company's garden, and they have well-founded suspicions about what other partners have buried, too. When someone digs, everyone runs.

If a firm confronts substantial litigation damages or enforcement penalties, it could trigger the collapse of one of the Big Four. That would be bad news for the firm's clients, who would have trouble finding another big auditor.

Most of the world's auditing capacity is concentrated in four enormous, brittle, opaque, compromised organizations. If one of them goes bankrupt, the other three won't be able to take on its clients.

Peterson: Another collapse would strand many of the world's large public businesses, leaving them unable to obtain audit views for their securities listings and regulatory compliance.

Count Down: The Past, Present, and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms is in its second edition.

https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/doi/10.1108/9781787147003

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CNET

CNET

2 years ago

How a $300K Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT was accidentally sold for $3K

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of the most prestigious NFT collections in the world. A collection of 10,000 NFTs, each depicting an ape with different traits and visual attributes, Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry and Post Malone are among their star-studded owners. Right now the price of entry is 52 ether, or $210,000.

Which is why it's so painful to see that someone accidentally sold their Bored Ape NFT for $3,066.

Unusual trades are often a sign of funny business, as in the case of the person who spent $530 million to buy an NFT from themselves. In Saturday's case, the cause was a simple, devastating "fat-finger error." That's when people make a trade online for the wrong thing, or for the wrong amount. Here the owner, real name Max or username maxnaut, meant to list his Bored Ape for 75 ether, or around $300,000. Instead he accidentally listed it for 0.75. One hundredth the intended price.

It was bought instantaneously. The buyer paid an extra $34,000 to speed up the transaction, ensuring no one could snap it up before them. The Bored Ape was then promptly listed for $248,000. The transaction appears to have been done by a bot, which can be coded to immediately buy NFTs listed below a certain price on behalf of their owners in order to take advantage of these exact situations.

"How'd it happen? A lapse of concentration I guess," Max told me. "I list a lot of items every day and just wasn't paying attention properly. I instantly saw the error as my finger clicked the mouse but a bot sent a transaction with over 8 eth [$34,000] of gas fees so it was instantly sniped before I could click cancel, and just like that, $250k was gone."

"And here within the beauty of the Blockchain you can see that it is both honest and unforgiving," he added.

Fat finger trades happen sporadically in traditional finance -- like the Japanese trader who almost bought 57% of Toyota's stock in 2014 -- but most financial institutions will stop those transactions if alerted quickly enough. Since cryptocurrency and NFTs are designed to be decentralized, you essentially have to rely on the goodwill of the buyer to reverse the transaction.

Fat finger errors in cryptocurrency trades have made many a headline over the past few years. Back in 2019, the company behind Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar, nearly doubled its own coin supply when it accidentally created $5 billion-worth of new coins. In March, BlockFi meant to send 700 Gemini Dollars to a set of customers, worth roughly $1 each, but mistakenly sent out millions of dollars worth of bitcoin instead. Last month a company erroneously paid a $24 million fee on a $100,000 transaction.

Similar incidents are increasingly being seen in NFTs, now that many collections have accumulated in market value over the past year. Last month someone tried selling a CryptoPunk NFT for $19 million, but accidentally listed it for $19,000 instead. Back in August, someone fat finger listed their Bored Ape for $26,000, an error that someone else immediately capitalized on. The original owner offered $50,000 to the buyer to return the Bored Ape -- but instead the opportunistic buyer sold it for the then-market price of $150,000.

"The industry is so new, bad things are going to happen whether it's your fault or the tech," Max said. "Once you no longer have control of the outcome, forget and move on."

The Bored Ape Yacht Club launched back in April 2021, with 10,000 NFTs being sold for 0.08 ether each -- about $190 at the time. While NFTs are often associated with individual digital art pieces, collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which allow owners to flaunt their NFTs by using them as profile pictures on social media, are becoming increasingly prevalent. The Bored Ape Yacht Club has since become the second biggest NFT collection in the world, second only to CryptoPunks, which launched in 2017 and is considered the "original" NFT collection.

Muthinja

Muthinja

1 year ago

Why don't you relaunch my startup projects?

Open to ideas or acquisitions

Failure is an unavoidable aspect of life, yet many recoil at the word.

I've worked on unrelated startup projects. This is a list of products I developed (often as the tech lead or co-founder) and why they failed to launch.

Chess Bet (Betting)

As a chess player who plays 5 games a day and has an ELO rating of 2100, I tried to design a chess engine to rival stockfish and Houdini.

While constructing my chess engine, my cofounder asked me about building a p2p chess betting app. Chess Bet. There couldn't be a better time.

Two people in different locations could play a staked game. The winner got 90% of the bet and we got 10%. The business strategy was clear, but our mini-launch was unusual.

People started employing the same cheat engines I mentioned, causing user churn and defaming our product.

It was the first programming problem I couldn't solve after building a cheat detection system based on player move strengths and prior games. Chess.com, the most famous online chess software, still suffers from this.

We decided to pivot because we needed an expensive betting license.

We relaunched as Chess MVP after deciding to focus on chess learning. A platform for teachers to create chess puzzles and teach content. Several chess students used our product, but the target market was too tiny.

We chose to quit rather than persevere or pivot.

BodaCare (Insure Tech)

‘BodaBoda’ in Swahili means Motorcycle. My Dad approached me in 2019 (when I was working for a health tech business) about establishing an Insurtech/fintech solution for motorbike riders to pay for insurance using SNPL.

We teamed up with an underwriter to market motorcycle insurance. Once they had enough premiums, they'd get an insurance sticker in the mail. We made it better by splitting the cover in two, making it more reasonable for motorcyclists struggling with lump-sum premiums.

Lack of capital and changing customer behavior forced us to close, with 100 motorcyclists paying 0.5 USD every day. Our unit econ didn't make sense, and CAC and retention capital only dug us deeper.

Circle (Social Networking)

Having learned from both product failures, I began to understand what worked and what didn't. While reading through Instagram, an idea struck me.

Suppose social media weren't virtual.

Imagine meeting someone on your way home. Like-minded person

People were excited about social occasions after covid restrictions were eased. Anything to escape. I just built a university student-popular experiences startup. Again, there couldn't be a better time.

I started the Android app. I launched it on Google Beta and oh my! 200 people joined in two days.

It works by signaling if people are in a given place and allowing users to IM in hopes of meeting up in near real-time. Playstore couldn't deploy the app despite its success in beta for unknown reasons. I appealed unsuccessfully.

My infrastructure quickly lost users because I lacked funding.

In conclusion

This essay contains many failures, some of which might have been avoided and others not, but they were crucial learning points in my startup path.

If you liked any idea, I have the source code on Github.

Happy reading until then!

Adrien Book

Adrien Book

1 year ago

What is Vitalik Buterin's newest concept, the Soulbound NFT?

Decentralizing Web3's soul

Our tech must reflect our non-transactional connections. Web3 arose from a lack of social links. It must strengthen these linkages to get widespread adoption. Soulbound NFTs help.

This NFT creates digital proofs of our social ties. It embodies G. Simmel's idea of identity, in which individuality emerges from social groups, just as social groups evolve from people.

It's multipurpose. First, gather online our distinctive social features. Second, highlight and categorize social relationships between entities and people to create a spiderweb of networks.

1. 🌐 Reducing online manipulation: Only socially rich or respectable crypto wallets can participate in projects, ensuring that no one can create several wallets to influence decentralized project governance.

2. 🤝 Improving social links: Some sectors of society lack social context. Racism, sexism, and homophobia do that. Public wallets can help identify and connect distinct social groupings.

3. 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨 Increasing pluralism: Soulbound tokens can ensure that socially connected wallets have less voting power online to increase pluralism. We can also overweight a minority of numerous voices.

4. 💰Making more informed decisions: Taking out an insurance policy requires a life review. Why not loans? Character isn't limited by income, and many people need a chance.

5. 🎶 Finding a community: Soulbound tokens are accessible to everyone. This means we can find people who are like us but also different. This is probably rare among your friends and family.

NFTs are dangerous, and I don't like them. Social credit score, privacy, lost wallet. We must stay informed and keep talking to innovators.

E. Glen Weyl, Puja Ohlhaver and Vitalik Buterin get all the credit for these ideas, having written the very accessible white paper “Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul”.