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Long Response to Scott's Tax Posts

I've been reading the series of posts about these tax cuts and the associated discussion with great interest. I think it has been a very good, civil discussion, and there have been many enlightening viewpoints given. I also think a bunch of the discussion is based on a number of misunderstandings and/or misconceptions held by people on both sides of the debate, our own dear correspondent included. To respond properly to these misconceptions requires a post a bit longer than a traditional comment, hence this post. I hope that this can serve as another contribution to what I feel has been a productive discussion.
 
First off, some background on myself, since I am a newcomer to this forum. I work in finance, so while not being an economist, I am at least economist adjacent. I would self-describe my economics knowledge as roughly in line with someone who graduated from an upper tier college with an undergrad degree in economics, or maybe a first year grad student. (I myself have a Masters in Finance, and seven years work experience in various finance roles under my belt) All this to say that I at least have a working knowledge of most of the relevant theories, and a capacity to examine most underlying assumptions in various plans.
 
Let's also get another point out of the way; I think this particular tax bill, as drafted, is an absolute dog. This article, in the "Fun with Taxes" Section does a decent job of explaining why. In particular, the number of distortions and inefficiencies that this bill creates is at least as large as the number of inefficiencies it removes. The Pass-through income provision strikes me (and the author of the linked article) as particularly egregious, and seems, to me, to be a blatant giveaway to anyone rich and/or savvy enough to take advantage of it, while also creating massive loopholes that it purports to be removing. So, that's out of the way; I'm not going to try to defend this tax bill on its substance, because I think that's a losing battle. However, I am going to try to defend it on its principles. I think the best way to try that is to just walk through our dear correspondent's posts up to this point, and try to correct some of the more glaring issues I see with them.
 
THE TAX BILL COMPARED TO OTHER VERY EXPENSIVE THINGS
 
Before Scott accepts any of the numbers that he used on his chart at face value, I would encourage him to re-read his post, Considerations on Cost Disease. It's laughable to suggest that the U.S. Government could solve homelessness for $23B / year, truly. We spent $70B in 2016 on Food Stamps alone, you seriously think we could end homelessness for 1/3 of that budget? Similarly, Bernie's estimated $47B/ year for free college tuition for all relied on some, ah, dubious assumptions. This is before we even get into the current discussion about whether all that college is even worth it. When Scott says we could fund the Apollo Program nine times over, he conveniently forgets that the cost of the Apollo Program in 2017 dollars was $110B, and that's before we take into account the fact that everything the government does costs 5x as much as it should and no one knows why. Now is also a good time to mention that SpaceX runs on ~$1B per year, providing a bit of perspective on the relative efficiency of government vs free enterprise. Obviously, vast technology gains have been made since the 1970s, but it's pretty reasonable to suggest that a similar operation to SpaceX, but funded by the government, would be at least an order of magnitude more expensive. The numbers quoted for solving world hunger and universal healthcare don't ring particularly true to me either.
 
There are two numbers on there that seem pretty accurate, and unsurprisingly they are also the least inflammatory: the Bush Tax Cuts, and the Obama Stimulus. Incidentally, I, who voted for Obama precisely zero times, thought those stimulus measures were a good, even great, idea. I also think that a hypothetical, actually effective version of this bill would be a good idea. Furthermore, the majority of the complaints about this bill have not been of the form "Why can't we just do the Obama stimulus again? That would be so much more effective than this tax cut!" They have largely been in keeping with the tone Scott adopts here, which is "Why can't we do [thing that the government cannot accomplish], instead? That would be so much better!" Well, yes, solving homelessness for $23B would be better than this tax cut. It would also be nice to give everyone a $25k Universal Basic Income for the same price tag as the tax cut. Unfortunately, reality dictates that we would only be able to pay for a much smaller UBI for the same price. We need to focus on comparing to realistic expectations for the current government, rather than what might be possible if huge efficiency gains were made.
 
RESPONSE TO COMMENTS: THE TAX BILL IS STILL VERY BAD
 
I have less of a problem with the substance of this post, but more of a problem with the underlying assumptions Scott uses to arrive at his arguments. Again, let's reiterate that I think the bill is poorly drafted, and that I even think the alternative Scott suggested would be better than the current bill. Unfortunately, that's not so much a ringing endorsement of Scott's plan as it is a repudiation of the many problems with this bill. Part of the response was going to be essentially point 1 and 2 that Scott acknowledges at the beginning of his next post, so I won't elaborate on that any further than to say that the current regime of corporate taxation in America is extremely inefficient, and any plan that improves that state of affairs is a definite positive. There's a number of other points that I think are worth expounding upon however.
 
Scott points out the disconnect between economic growth and the fortunes of the majority of people in the last few decades. He's right, there definitely is something at work that is causing the most productive people to accrue the lion's share of economic gains in recent history. I think that topic is hugely complex, and it's clear that tax policy is, at best, a mere subset of the many causes of the phenomenon. (For my two cents, I think the two biggest causes are increased globalization, and increased scalability of new technology. Henry Ford was limited by how many cars he could produce, and largely by the American market. Mark Zuckerberg has no such limits on either front. I also think both globalization and scalable technology are net positive forces that have the drawback of exacerbating inequality.) I am not the artist that Scott is when it comes to medical related similies, but curbing inequality through tax policy seems to me like treating cancer with morphine. It may make you feel better, but you aren't addressing the underlying condition.
 
Scott then performs a surprisingly strong worded and vitriolic diatribe for someone who admits a layman's understanding of the issue at hand. Frankly, it was off putting and out of character. I won't get into that any further, however. What I want to address is what seems to be an underlying assumption that drove most of the rest of his post. Namely, he treats things that he considers to be important as terminal values for the government.
 
The most revealing sentence, I think, was this: [If the tax bill works, investment increases and turbo charges the economy, and poor and middle class people get more money] "then the good thing that happens is that poor and middle-class people have more money" (emphasis my own.) With all due respect, Scott, I think that spending money on investment and turbo-charging the economy, are noble goals in and of themselves. Of course, it would be better if they also resulted in the average person improving their economic station. Similarly, I think that on an isolated basis, a straight tax cut to the lower and middle class would be one of the most efficient ways to fulfill the goal "improve the economic station of the lower and middle class" in the short term. However, I think a more effective method of fulfilling that goal would be to take a longer term view and try to address the actual cause of the problem, which is more complicated and unrelated to tax policy.
 
I think that often, criticisms of the government allow perfect to be the enemy of good. If a program only increases spending on investment and turbo charges the economy, but doesn't help lower and middle class people, then it is suddenly an unacceptable option. The U.S. political system serves many interests, and many of those interests are often competing. As long as a particular policy is, on the balance, a net positive, then it should at least be considered a viable option (of course, there are many examples of seemingly net positive policies that are not good ideas for any number of reasons.) Scott seems to be making this sort of argument, while also not acknowledging that there are other perspectives on this issue that have different priorities.
 
TAX BILL 3: DON’T MESS WITH TAXES
 
I'm not going to disagree with his first point. I agree that I don't think the bill as drafted will stimulate growth very much. It doesn't do all that much to eliminate inefficiencies, and it creates quite a few, so it's at best a wash. I think this point is correct.
 
I very strongly disagree with the second point though. In fact, I think the viewpoint that Scott advocates in support of this concept is perhaps the biggest contributor to the mess we have found ourselves in. There's going to be some math in this but I will try to keep it as simple as possible.
 
Let's take the exact same town, with 1000 people, the effective altruist Alice, and the demon-cursed Bob. Let's throw in a few more details. Before Bob was cursed by the demon, everyone in town made $1000 per year, and paid $200 in taxes. The GDP of the town was $1 million per year, with $200,000 going to taxes to pay for various frivolous services that the townsfolk deem necessary to live their frivolous lives (per Scott's opinion.) To make the math easier, let's say that the demon curses Bob to destroy 5x the wealth he pays in taxes. After the curse, there's only $999,000 in GDP, which results in $199,800 in tax revenue. The demon has basically removed Bob from the town, economically speaking. All the contributions he makes are nullified by the effect of the demon's curse.
 
Now Scott gets elected president of the town. As promised, he takes the taxes on Alice down to $0. To make up for the lost revenue, he raises the taxes on everyone else by $0.20. Sure, Bob's curse destroys another $1 from the town's wealth, but that's an easy trade! We just paid $1 of frivolous wealth from frivolous people to accomplish $200 of stuff that matters. I'd do that every day and twice on Sunday.
 
A few thing happen after this however. First, the demon curses ninety nine more people, each also named Bob. The GDP of the town now drops to $900,000, and the effect of the tax is now $100 in lost wealth. That's not good, but the tax cut is still a good idea. $200 is way bigger than $100. In fact, even more good news is that seeing the tax cut inspires another ninety nine people to take up Alice's cause! Scott gleefully cuts their taxes too. We just created $20,000 in real, tangible progress, and all it cost was $10,000 of destroyed wealth.
 
Of course, the non-Alice townsfolk are less happy. They should have taken home $900k last year, $720k after tax. (Remember that there are now 100 Alices) They also should have had $200k dollars to pay for the governmental programs that they find important. After the demon's curse, that $900k decreased to $810k, the $720k decreased to $650k, and the $200k decreased to $180k. To add insult to injury, Scott's tax cut destroyed another $10,000, and raised the taxes on them even further. After Scott's tax cut, they now earn $800k, and take home $620k, but still have the same $180k of government spending. Their take home wages are down almost 20% in one year, and they are flipping mad.
 
Next year, Moloch runs against Scott in the local election. He says "Vote for me, and I will cut your taxes. I will make everyone who votes for Scott pay for it." The vote is split 800 - 200 for mathematical convenience, with all the Alices and Bobs voting for Scott, and everyone else voting for Moloch. In order to fund the tax cut to his favored consituents, Moloch raises the taxes on Alice and Bob to 100%. Alice is now not only unable to donate to her favored cause, but also unable to eat. Meanwhile, since the Bob's face a combined tax burden of $100k, they wipe out half of the GDP of the town through the demon's curse. The townspeople, being unaware that their taxation of Bob is the cause of this sudden decrease in their GDP, turn their hatred outward, blaming outsourcing or the decline of their favored industry for the town's sudden decrease in fortune. Moloch rules the town with an iron fist, and the GDP never recovers.
 
The point of this is that if you can direct money towards a favored constituency, then so can the opposition. And as long as you two continue trading power back and forth, then you will continue to break off pieces of the pie for your ingroup, while hurting everyone bit by bit. The purpose of a tax policy, therefore, not be to decide where we raise the funds from, but rather it should be to raise the appropriate amount of funds in the most efficient manner possible. To invite efficiency losses in the service of raising money from the "right" places is to invite ruin. How we spend the money that we raise can and should be an open and separate question. Unfortunately, these two questions are also frequently conflated. Nonetheless, when we are thinking about taxation, the operative question should be "What is the most effective way of doing this?" We should then set the level of taxation at a level commensurate with the level of spending that we deem necessary, subject to the deficit. "Necessary" spending is a whole different topic that really shouldn't be mixed with taxation, as it is complex enough as it stands.
submitted by azerusa to slatestarcodex [link] [comments]

We need to break up the unholy alliance between the Chinese miners and Core / Blockstream.

We signed up for a grand experiment that would be controlled by math and not by men.
Now we've had a year where the community is coming apart at the seams and today top dev Mike Hearn is selling his coins and abandoning the project.
Are we going to let Bitcoin be killed by 10 miners with cheap electricity & cooling behind the Great Firewall of China and a private company which wants to cripple our code by limiting space on the blockchain and adding double-spends and high fees?
I'm really trying seriously here to put my finger on the main problems that are causing this whole Bitcoin thing to spin out of control.
I think the two biggest problems are:
(1) the concentration of most hashpower behind the Great Firewall of China,
(2) allowing Blockstream to hijack Satoshi's codebase, so that they could:
...both of which are essential for their flagship vaporware product Lightning Network.
Analyzing these two problems in more detail:
(1) Most hashpower is behind the Great Firewall of China
Most hashpower is concentrated in China, behind what is essentially a network partition (or at least a major speed bump) on the global network topology: the Great Firewall of China.
So if blocks got really big, the miners outside of China might actually suffer more, not the miners inside China (who have pretty decent bandwidth amongst themselves).
(If you've already heard a million times about US jobs being exported to China, you can skip down to the next section - the short section starting with a sentence in bold saying "Wouldn't it be ironic...").
Now for a bit of economic background that most people know but I wanted to just review it here.
As we know, countries such as the USA used to have a solid domestic manufacturing base. But then the power elite in the USA discovered that it was easier to fire more-expensive US workers and let underpaid Chinese workers breathing smog produce cheaper (ie, lower-price and often lower-quality) versions of those same goods - and then the Fed could just print up unlimited little pieces of paper (fiat US Dollars) to import all that stuff to the USA.
Paying workers decent wages and keeping the air breathable would have been expensive, but the Chinese have evidently shown they're fine with sacrificing those things.
So now:
Anyways, most people know about this outsourcing and money-printing situation I've just described, but I mentioned it here as a lead-in to suggest a weird ironic point about mining in China (in bold at the start of the next, short section below).
As we also know, the world finally has real money now: Bitcoin.
It's "real" because it's not infinitely printable by private central bankers who inject it into the economy as usurious debt, and because, like gold, its value doesn't depend on any "counterparty": you simply hold your value yourself, and verify it yourself - assuming you have enough bandwidth to run a full a/k/a verifying node.
So, I'll finally give the weird ironic point I've been building up to:
Wouldn't it be ironic if - now that we finally have "real", quality money - we let its "manufacturing" (issuance, mining) be outsourced to China?
Because that looks like what we've actually been doing here.
Plus, maybe in some un-apparent, heretofore un-considered sense, the Great Firewall of China really might be the ultimate form of "capital control".
Forget all those articles you read on ZeroHedge about billions about dollars being smuggled out of China via Macau, with people strapping little bundles of cash to their bodies under their clothes:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-15/how-smuggle-money-out-china
What if the real massive hemorrhaging of capital which the Chinese authorities are worried about is Bitcoin itself - and what if that's the main reason why they're gonna make sure they keep the Great Firewall of China in place - to keep billions (and maybe someday trillions?) of dollars in Bitcoins inside China?
I don't think Satoshi took the Great Firewall of China into account in his planning. I think he just assumed there would be one globally connected internet, with no top-level partitions.
So here's some things to think about:
  • From what I'm told, the Chinese work hard and they're wild about saving money - they have trillions of dollars in T-Bills, and a lot of them are into gold. In the aggregate, the country is swimming in various forms of wealth.
  • Also: their government has strict capital controls in place to try to prevent people from expatriating vast sums of wealth out of China.
  • And finally: many Chinese want real money. They know the dollar or the yuan could crash, so they want something which has no counterparty risk (like gold or bitcoin).
So I'd be curious to know who the buyers really are for all the bitcoins currently being "cheaply" manufactured in China.
Do bitcoins mined in China stay in China - or do they get sold to the rest of the world?
I would guess that most early Bitcoin adopters with large hodlings who got in when it was really cheap were probably Westerners (assuming that early news about Bitcoin was more available in the West).
But now, while Bitcoin is "still" in the USD 400s (which could be cheap, if it survives long-term) - I wonder who the main buyers are these days?
Is it people like Blythe Masters and other bankers who are sitting on billions of USD - or is it the Chinese who are also sitting on billions of USD as well? (Or: Why not both?)
One group I'm pretty sure isn't buying up lots of bitcoins: "average Americans".
Why? Because they're too broke.
Since Nixon unlinked the USDollar from gold im 1971, Americans have been getting screwed by insidious inflation and all the debt bubbles which formed around all the essentials in life (the housing debt bubble, the student loan debt bubble, the healthcare and pharma debt bubble, and the credit bubble which fuels all the others). Most Americans don't have enough cash to survive for more than a few weeks, and most can't even afford to take sick days or parental leave from work. The only people who have money are the ones near the printing presses: the bankers and their buddies.
There's certainly massive volume on several of the Chinese exchanges - although most people over on /BitcoinMarkets claim that it's all "faked" (mainly because there's no fees on those exchanges, so a lot of those trades could be "wash trades").
So, maybe the Chinese themselves are actually buying up a lot of those freshly-mined bitcoins, in China, using the trillions of dollars of T-Bills sloshing around in their system over there?
(And remember where those T-Bills ultimately came from: US Dollars which the USA printed up to buy cheap goods produced by Chinese slaves breathing smog.)
So - and here's my point again:
Wouldn't it be ironic - now that the world finally has real, quality money - if we were actually currently outsourcing all of its production to China - and they (plus a handful of scattered bankers) are the ones who all buying up the first real asset the world has ever known, during its current "mid-priced" phase?
(2) Core / Blockstream / Peter Todd / Theymos / max blocksize / RBF / LN
Where to begin? I'm sure you all know the story. Just a few reminders about RBF terminology:
(a) There are two orthogonal "axes" or "dimensions" to the whole RBF terminology (but some people get this wrong - I have no idea if it's intentionally or accidentally):
  • "Opt-In" vs "On-By-Default": This means what it says: for each transaction, you either enable RBF, or you don't:
    • "Opt-In" means the sender has to enable RBF for a particular transaction (ie: it's off-by-default)
    • "On-By-Default" would mean that RBF is "always on" but the sender could disable it for a particular transaction.
  • "Full" vs "FSS":
    • "Full" means the sender can change everything about the transaction: not only the fee but also the amount and the recipient.
    • "FSS" stands for "First Seen Safe" (by the way, where do the pinheads over at Core even get this retarded non-descriptive terminology anyways: FSS, RBF??). FSS means that the sender can alter only the fee - the amount and the recipient cannot be changed.
So, which combo of the above is Peter Todd / Core currently trying to force on users?
Opt-In Full RBF
I reviewed the terminology here to pre-emptively shut up the liars who often pop into these threads spreading FUD like "But it's only Opt-In so it's not really Full".
That is simply wrong and I'm tired of them conflating those two orthogonal (ie independent) dimensions of the terminology.
And oh yeah, another thing: I have heard plenty of rumors that the long-term plan (from the traitors at Core / Blockstream) is to eventually (stealthily) force the worst form of RBF on everyone:
On-By-Default Full RBF
But that will come later - once the frogs being slowly boiled (us, the victims of Blockstream's hijacking of Satoshi's code) have gradually gotten acclimated to "Opt-In Full RBF".
Anyways, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about some other things regarding RBF:
Yes we know, we know: Peter is "merely" adding something which any hacker or malicious user could have added anyways (if they modded the code, or if they tried really hard to misuse it).
But there's plenty of stuff which anybody do by modding the code.
For example - anyone could change the code so that it accepts a different block size. (In fact, BU is mainly about making this easy for users - instead of making double-spending easy for users like RBF does.)
So the "convenience barrier" is an important factor helping shape what most users do with the code. If a feature isn't already in the code, most users don't bother modding the C/C++ code and recompiling it and adding it. (Which is one reason why zero-conf has worked pretty well for so long - another reason being that in face-to-face retail, the retailer kinda does KYC already - ie, they literally "know their customer" to a certain degree - so certain social pressures and norms such as reputation do come into play - but Peter Todd doesn't really believe in those things, as we know.)
Now, Theymos / Core / Blockstream keep screaming that it would be taboo to mod the code so that it would accept bigger blocks.
But when Blockstream wants mod the code so that it allows double-spending unconfirmed transactions - well, in it goes.
That's because the real reason they're so gung-ho to get Full RBF added is because LN needs Full RBF in order to be able to work.
So... when certain people say "we need to allow confused users to be able to unstuck their transactions", they're lying.
The liars at Blockstream don't care about users, and they don't care about miners. They want to rip off users (making them pay massive fees for space on an artificially tiny blockchain) and then in a double-whammy they want to rip off miners as well (stealing fees from those miners, via LN).
Attention Bitcoin users and miners: Core / Blockstream don't care about you, and they're willing to lie to you in order to rip you off.
As Mike Hearn mentioned in his farewell essay today, Blockstream CTO Gregory Maxwell once "mathematically proved" that Bitcoin could not exist.
And Blockstream founder Adam Back missed the boat on being an early adopter of Bitcoin, because when he first heard about it years ago, he also didn't think it would work.
And the gullible Chinese miners are running software from these liars at Blockstream who don't believe in Bitcoin who are sabotaging Satoshi's code to decrease user adoption (and price)) and eventually steal miners' fees. If miners continue to blindly follow Core / Blockstream, it's going to hurt the miners themselves.
The Nine Miners of China: "Core is a red herring. Miners have alternative code they can run today that will solve the problem. Choosing not to run it is their fault, and could leave them with warehouses full of expensive heating units and income paid in worthless coins." – tsontar
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/3xhejm/the_nine_miners_of_china_core_is_a_red_herring/
And users who are still gullible enough to adopt a decentralized currency and then read about it on centralized censored forums controlled by some dweeb named Theymos are also going along with this.
Anyways, that's my rant for today.
Summary / Conclusions - plus a possible "nuclear" option (see the bold part below!)
The main obstacles which Bitcoin needs to get around now are:
  • the concentration of hashpower behind the Great Firewall in China
  • the adoption of Peter Todd's RBF which would provide a GUI telling users they can and should double-spend or reverse transactions which haven't been confirmed on the blockchain yet
  • allowing Core / Blockstream to artificially limit space on the blockchain - which drives up user fees, clogs the network, and supports their LN vaporware (which would also steal fees from miners)
  • if you signed up for a decentralized permissionless currency and you're happy to read about it on a centralized censored website owned by Theymos (/bitcoin, bitcointalk.org), then you're doing it wrong.
These things were not what Satoshi envisioned, and I suggest we focus on trying to figure out how to get around them.
Solutions which de-emphasize the importance of Chinese miners might be important. If their blind obedience to Core / Blockstream is one of the main factors killing Bitcoin, then why should we protect them?
Maybe if we're going to hard-fork, we shouldn't just bump up the max blocksize - maybe we should also invoke the nuclear option and change the PoW algorithm to bump the Chinese miners off the network.
Because, the whole story about needing small blocks "so that Luke-Jr with his shitty internet can stay on the network" is another lie being peddled by Blockstream.
The real reason was identified by Gavin:
"The physical bottleneck on the network today is not bandwidth to people's homes, it is the Great Firewall of China."
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/40kmny/bitpays_adaptive_block_size_limit_is_my_favorite/
So, if the Chinese are willing to throw Bitcoin under the bus for their short-term profits (and Core / Blockstream currently helping them).. then maybe we should be willing to throw the Chinese miners under the bus now for the long-term success of Bitcoin.
And, regarding Core / Blockstream, I we're actually making good progress towards routing around their damage - because if coders don't give users the code they want, those coders eventually get left by the wayside - and this is starting to happen now.
We already have several repos, (Classic, BU, XT) all of which will add some form of "max blocksize" increase. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those repos might also decide to omit RBF.
The new Bitcoin repos can easily cherry-pick features from "Core" which they did and didn't like - and they're going to have to compete to gain users.
So "max blocksize" is definitely going to increase.
And RBF could be abandoned in the garbage heap of history, another curious bit of vandalism which gave Peter Todd another 15 minutes of fame and drama, and then the rest of the world moved on and got back to business.
And finally, regarding Theymos: he's gonna lose his power eventually. He's already lost a lot. Plus he's sloppy and careless and one of his screw-ups will eventually be his undoing.
In the meantime, remember that it's easy to route around him on Reddit, by using a multi:
https://np.reddit.com/Bitcoin+bitcoinxt+bitcoin_uncensored+btc/
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

Bowl Experience Project Day 14: The St. Petersburg and TaxSlayer Bowls!

Bowl Experience Project Day 14: The St. Petersburg and TaxSlayer Bowls!

stpetersburg St. Petersburg Bowl stpetersburg - Writeup by xelphin

2016 Matchup: miamioh Miami OH vs. Mississippi State Mississippi State

miamioh Miami (OH) (6-6) miamioh
Miami (OH) Redhawks - Miami made history this season after starting with a rocky 0-6 start to the season and ending with an unprecedented 6-0 finish of the season to bring them to .500 and ensure bowl eligibility. Some claim that the change is due in part a change in the depth chart, which put Gus Ragland in the driver's seat at QB. This may be the redshirt sophomore's chance to make the MAC shine.
Losing close to WKU and creeping up on Cincinnati are sour tastes in the Redhawks' mouths and this bowl game is surely one of the toughest of their season. The Redhawks run defense, which is one of the best in the MAC, will come into play for this game with Tony Reid, Heath Harding, and De'Andre Montgomery shutting it down any chance they get.
Mississippi State Mississippi State (5-7) Mississippi State
Mississippi State Bulldogs - The Bulldogs, entering the game 5-7 on the season, rode their Academic Progress Report into bowl eligibility and they are going to come out looking for blood in this bowl. For them, failure is not an option: Win, and the SEC beat a MAC team. Lose, and the SEC lost to a MAC team. Unfortunate, but true.
Because of this, Mississippi State needs to come out fired up, and that extra 15 practices may do just that. On the brighter side of things, Nick Fitzgerald is surely going to be looking for any chances to shine and could very well be a dominant force in the pocket. Look for them to show some of that 'SEC speed.' The defense also very much needs to step up, specifically on pass defense. If they can patch a few holes in the defense, they should have very few issues.
Bowl History
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Stadium: Tropicana Field
Bowl Held Since: 2008
Conference Tie-Ins: American vs. ACC or Conference USA (Alternates MAC, Sun Belt)
Sponsor History:
magicJack (2008)
Beef O'Brady's (2009-2013)
BitPay (2014)
Payout: $500,000
Bowl History: The St. Petersburg Bowl is the third college bowl game to be played in the Tampa Bay area; both the long-defunct Cigar Bowl and the ongoing Outback Bowl have been held across the bay in Tampa. The bowl game features teams from the American Athletic Conference against either the Atlantic Coast Conference or Conference USA, unless one of the conferences does not have enough bowl eligible teams. In those cases, the Mid-American or Sun Belt Conference are eligible to send a team. This year, with teams from the SEC and MAC, they are slightly out of their typical fare as the SEC is not in their associated Conference Pool and the MAC is considered an 'Alternate'.
Interesting Facts:
Since Tropicana Field was originally designed for baseball, the football gridiron is arranged along the right field line, from home plate to the foul pole. The game is one of three bowls to take place in a baseball-only stadium among current post-season football contests; the others being the Miami Beach Bowl (played at Miami's Marlins Park) and the Pinstripe Bowl (played in The Bronx, New York at Yankee Stadium).
On June 18, 2014, it was announced that bitcoin payment service provider BitPay would become the new sponsor of the game under a two-year deal, renamed the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. Bitcoin, the digital currency, would be accepted for ticket and concession sales at the game as part of the sponsorship, and the sponsorship itself was also paid for using bitcoin. On April 2, 2015, after one year of sponsorship, BitPay declined to renew sponsorship of the game.
Notable Games:
2008 magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl: The inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl game was played on Dec 20, 2008, between the South Florida Bulls and Memphis Tigers, with the USF Bulls winning by a score of 41–14. USF Quarterback Matt Grothe was named Most Outstanding Player, after throwing for 236 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 83 yards on 15 carries.
2011 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: The 2011 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl featured the first Sun Belt conference team to play in the game, as Florida International lost 20–10 to Marshall (Conference USA). This was the first time that the Big East (a previous bowl tie-in conference) was unable to send a team to the game. FIU joined Marshall in C-USA in 2013, both competed in the conference's East Division for football.

Gator Bowl TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Gator Bowl - Writeup by remwin

2016 Matchup:kentucky Kentucky vs. Georgia Tech georgia tech

kentucky Kentucky (7-5) kentucky
Kentucky Wildcats: In both the last 2 seasons, Kentucky was one game away from being bowl eligible for the first time since 2010. After opening the 2016 campaign with a loss to Southern Mississippi and on the wrong end of a blow out against Florida, all the talk in Lexington was whether or not Mark Stoops would be fired. The Wildcats changed their offensive style though as Stoops took over on the defense, resulting in the Wildcats ripping off seven wins out of their last 10 games for their best regular season finish since 2009. It was also the most conference wins (4) since 2006 capping off the turnaround season with a huge victory over rival Louisville. Speaking of, Kentucky shocked the world as they topped the Louisville Cardinals by picking off Heisman winner Lamar Jackson repeatedly in a 41-38 upset.
georgia tech Georgia Tech (8-4) georgia tech
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Georgia Tech may have had the quietest eight-win season in college football in 2016. They opened the season with a 17-14 against Boston College in Dublin, and equaled their 2015 win total of 3 after only the first 3 weeks. However, they dropped their next three games and entered the last half of the season at 3-3. As winners of five of their last six including wins over then #14 Virginia Tech and at rival Georgia, the Yellow Jackets showed marked improvement from 2015. Georgia Tech finished 10th in the country in rushing offense at 257 yards per game while seven players amassed 20 or more carries for the season.
Bowl History
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Stadium: Everbank Field
Bowl Held Since: 1946
Conference Tie-Ins: SEC vs. ACC or Big Ten
Former Names:
Gator Bowl (1946-85)
Mazda Gator Bowl (1986–91)
Outback Gator Bowl (1992–94)
Toyota Gator Bowl (1995–2007)
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl (2008–10)
Progressive Gator Bowl (2011)
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl (2012–2013)
Payout: $3,500,000+
TaxSlayer Bowl History: Operating continously since 1946 makes the TaxSlayer Bowl (Gator Bowl) the 6th oldest bowl game and was the first to be televised nationally. Florida and Clemson are tied with the most appearances with nine each. Starting in 2015, the bowl began a conference tie-in deal that will feature SEC teams playing ACC teams for three years, then Big Ten teams the other three years; Notre Dame is also eligible during ACC years.
Notable Games:
1978 Gator Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson - Ohio State coach Woody Hayes infamously lost his temper after a Clemson interception. Clemson player Charlie Bauman stepped out of bounds on the Ohio State sideline and Hayes hit Bauman with his forearm. Clemson won the game and Hayes was fired the next day.
1960 Gator Bowl: Florida vs. Baylor - Florida scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, but with a failed extra point, the Gators lead 13-0 entering the fourth quarter. Baylor RB Ronnie Bull punched it in from 3 yards out with less than 2 minutes to go to make the score 13-12. Baylor coach John Bridgers decided to go for the win and the 2 point conversion. Bobby Ply's two-point conversion toss into the end zone hit WR Ronnie Goodwin in the hands, but he dropped the ball and Florida held on for the win.

Now we want to hear from YOU!

Have you attended one of these bowls? If so, tell us about your experience! What was the gameday atmosphere? What advice would you give to fans traveling to the game? Do you recommend it?

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Cryptocurrency trenches: Are bitcoin & blockchain really transformative?

Today, I interviewed Phil Raymond. He co-chairs CRYPSA, hosts the New York Bitcoin Event and is keynote speaker at Cryptocurrency Conferences. He sits on the New Money Systems board of Lifeboat Foundation and is a top Bitcoin writer at Quora.

For the people who don’t know you, what can you tell about yourself?

I was originally a hardware design engineer, creating electronic memory systems for computers and a few consumer products. Later, I started a company that designed and manufactured local area network devices for the smart building controls industry.
Back at college, I studied hardware engineering, of course. But I was always fascinated with encryption, compression and error correction. I studied under Gilles Brassard (inventor of Quantum Cryptography), and I met Claude Shannon (the father of information theory) and David Chaum (founder of DigiCash). In the early days of email, I latched onto PGP, RSA and the public key infrastructure that enables internet commerce. I realized that these concepts would enable transformative products and services, and that they would radically benefit consumers.
Nine years ago, Satoshi hit the scene with a solution to the Double-Spend problem. In a very brief whitepaper, he articulated the blockchain and even introduced a test platform which used a blockchain as a distributed consensus mechanism for digital cash that required no central nexus or authoritative bookkeeper. He called it “Bitcoin”.
I was fortunate to appreciate the tectonic importance of Satoshi’s gift to mankind. The blockchain and Bitcoin are easily misunderstood or dismissed today, but they are no less important than the internet or public key cryptography. They will radically change how we work, play, spend money and how we interact with each other. Ultimately, they will redefine the relationship between citizens and their governments, because these concept allow us to redefine trust and democracy in a way that more closely matches our goals and ideals.
I was involved in cryptocurrency early on, even in the pre-PayPal days of DigiCash and Digital Gold.
So, what do I do today?
I co-chair the Cryptocurrency Standards Association, a loose-knit collaborative of researchers, journalists, enthusiasts and vendors. I host the New York Bitcoin Event and more recently, I am keynote speaker at Cryptocurrency Conferences. I also sit on the New Money Systems board at Lifeboat Foundation. I am a top Bitcoin writer at Quora and editor of the Blog, AWildDuck.com

What is blockchain and, how does it work?

We hear a lot about the blockchain. We also hear a lot of misconceptions about its purpose and benefits. Some have said that it represents a threat to banks or to governments. Nonsense! It is time for a simple, non-political, and non-economic definition…

What is a Blockchain?

A blockchain is a distributed approach to bookkeeping. Because it opens and distributes the ledger among all participants, it offers an empowering, efficient and trusted way for disparate parties to reach consensus. It is “empowering”, because conclusions built on a blockchain can be constructed in a way that is inherently fair, transparent and resistant to manipulation. At scale, it is also massively redundant. This further leads to a hardened network which can resist loss whether caused by accident, faulty infrastructure or attack.
This is why blockchain-backed systems are generating excitement. Implemented as distributed and permissionless, they take uncertainty out of accounting, voting, legislation or research, and replace it with trust and security. Benefits are bestowed without the need for central authority or arbitration. The blockchain not only solves a fundamental transaction challenge, it addresses communication and arbitration problems that have bedeviled thinkers since the ancient Egyptians.

Related explanations:

What is a cryptocurrency and, how does it work?

Cryptocurrency is a blockchain-based token that has achieved a two-sided network and is used like money in payment for goods, services or debts. It is not simply traded by investors, hoarders and speculators (although these trades dominate the early adoption phase) — and it is not simply used as an asset-backed payment instrument like a gift card or debit card. (Those are instruments are tied to dollars or the solvency of banks and retailers). Rather, a cryptocurrency is traded with the potential to be the money itself. It’s value floats freely with supply and demand.
It is important to distinguish cryptocurrency from ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) and other digital tokens. Cryptocurrency always refers to Bitcoin or other altcoins that are built on an open source, transparent and permissionless blockchain. They have no proprietary code or features, and every transaction from the very start of time is open to public scrutiny.
A cryptocurrency might have a functional purpose like some ICOs (That is, they might be used for something other than a payment instrument). But they are never associated with Airdrops, multi-level trading, or promotions that generate benefits to early adopters or those who refer. These gimmicks never apply to genuine cryptocurrencies. They are concepts from the marketers who hawk ICOs. Those are digital products for speculators and not a cryptocurrency.

How do they work?

Cryptocurrencies work by permitting trust without any central authority keeping the books. Instead of a bank or retailer tracking your ownership of coins, a network of miners act as a giant network of distributed accounts. Their activity maintains the transaction logs, attests to the validity of transactions and keeps track of who owns what.

Here are some really interesting facts about miners:

(a) Anyone can be a miner. There are no restrictions on joining the party
(b) Eventually, everyone will be a miner, whether they realize it or not. That is, it will become a part of every wallet. The reason that everyone will become a miner, is because the rewards will eventually run out. When they do, the spread of mining to all parties is the glue that will keep transactions fast, free and trusted.
(c) Miners don’t “see” that they are writing, validating, publishing and guaranteeing validity of the books. From their perspective, they are participating in a massive networked gaming community. They race other gamers, trying to solve a math puzzle, while seeking little rewards as they go along.

Do you see future where we will adopt cryptocurrencies at international scale and, why?

It is inevitable! Someday, Cryptocurrencies will replace government issued currencies. I am certain of this. Why is this? Because Bitcoin is not only good for consumers, vendors, banks, lenders, creditors and NGOs — it is especially good for governments.
Today, some legislators and politicians fear that cryptocurrency will undermine a country’s control over its own monetary policy. This is true. Indeed, governments will lose that control. And this is good.
A government no more needs control over monetary policy as it does over telecommunications or the package delivery services. We are conditioned to believe that value comes from a trusted party, and this makes it hard to give up our assumption that governments must control the creation of wealth. But, in fact, nations are much healthier if they must balance their books like any individual, business, NGO, club, state or municipality. They can still borrow, of course. But they will no longer be able to print funny money and continuously hoist their debts onto unborn generations.

Why did bitcoin reach such a high value??

Bitcoin had a significant rise in 2017. From $1000 to almost $20,000 per BTC unit. During that time, the subject spread like wildfire — and so, of course did investor interest. News stories flourished and these led to functional studies by banks, vendors, exchanges, and settlement houses. But, more than 95% of trades were made by investors, day traders, hoarders and speculators, and this leads to a volatile commodity. (Not a bubble, but a very rapidly changing value). This exchange value makes for great dinner-table discussion. It also makes some very rich and poor traders. But, in the end, it is quite meaningless.
In the end, 1 BTC will always be worth 1 BTC. When the exchange rate fluctuates relative to the dollar or some other currency, you will wonder what good or bad news affected the value of the dollar. You will not wonder about Bitcoin, because goods and services will be quoted and exchanged in Bitcoin, and the value to your household will not fluctuate rapidly.

What is the best cryptocurrency out there and, why?

Bitcoin is the only viable long-term cryptocurrency. Others, like Ethereum, may survive or even flourish, but this is because they serve other markets, and are not trying to be simply money.

The reason that Bitcoin will not be dethroned as the future of money, is:

Developers that I work with view every altcoin as a beta test platform for Bitcoin. Any improvement, new feature or clever innovation can be backed into Bitcoin. It’s a messy exercise in democracy, but ultimate, it only requires that the new code is accepted by a majority of miners — or championed by rising user awareness.

Do you think ETFs will be possible?

Sure. This will happen. Some government bodies will be against it and some will be for it. But either way, it is fait accompli. Eventually, every country will be dragged into the party. In any democracy or capitalist country, there is no reasonable basis for government or regulators to forbid citizens from creating securities out of any commodity or asset. Cryptocurrencies do not present any unique issues for brokers and traditional exchanges. They can be easily securitized or partitioned into derivatives. Sure, some of these instruments will amplify risk, but in the end, the public will create and market whatever instruments they wish.

Do you think decentralization will be inevitable and, why?

Yes. Decentralization is inevitable, because it addresses the goal of fairness, accountability and capitalism. It has always been a viable solution, but without a mechanism to enable applications.
Trust built on decentralized consensus (especially money) creates a fair, transparent, fluid network. It keeps governments honest.
Contrary to early pundits, decentralized cryptocurrency does not lessen a government’s ability to tax, spend or enforce tax collection. Additionally, it does not facilitate crime. These are early myths from analysts who did not fully understand or appreciate the blockchain.
But, cryptocurrency will certainly change the social contract between a government, its citizens and its creditors. Walls will come tumbling down, and this benefits everyone.

Do you think we are making history and, why?

Yes indeed. Just like the steam hammer, the telephone, the internal combustion engine, the transistor and the internet, our grandchildren will look back on the 20-teens and 2020s, and ask what it was like to witness a revolution is real time. The advent of cryptocurrency is a bit harder to grasp at first. But it is just as transformative; just as beneficial; just as important to our future.

Can you name some of the projects who will have huge impact in society and, why?

Voting, Real estate (deeds, transfers, liens), contracts, multisig consensus (related to anything), peer review (in any field), medicine, genetics, law (adjudication & arbitration), sports (scoring and consensus) — and hundreds of fields that we cannot yet imagine.

What advice can you give to the people who are starting their own project on the blockchain?

Keep your eye on the fundamental things that make the blockchain credible and beneficial. That is, Be very skeptical of any implementation that is not:
If you are involved in a project that uses a new coin or token, ask yourself if the problem could be addressed by Bitcoin or Ethereum. If so, why bother with the new coin? It certainly cannot be as fair, transparent, vetted and scalable.

Where should people start when they want to begin to learn how blockchain works?

What resources can you share with us, besides the ones that you already share?

I write a lot of articles about the revolution under our feet. With irreverent modesty, I refer you to my own articles:
WildDuck I write under the pen name, “Ellery” [View articles]
• LinkedIn Blockchain columnist: Dozens of published articles. Additionally,
• Lifeboat Board member, Columnist [View articles]
• Quora Most active author Bitcoin & blockchain [1000 articles as “Ellery”]
Sophos Bitcoin wallet security [View article]

What is the next milestone to the blockchain?

In the past few months, we have seen the gradual roll out of Lightning Network. It successfully addressed critical infrastructure problems associated with of transaction speed, cost, and other issues affecting scalability.
There are several minor issues to be addressed, mostly related to security, malleability, and testability. But I am most interested in two long term issues that must eventually be addressed:

1. Energy Consumption Caused by Proof of Work

The blockchain is the engine of Bitcoin and all other fair cryptocurrencies. Currently, Bitcoin’s blockchain is based on a distributed consensus mechanism called Proof of Work [POW]. It is fair, but it is very expensive. If solar power and other cheap energy sources spread across the world, the economics of POW guarantee that all the new, inexpensive energy will be diverted into mining and will not free humanity from fossil fuels and massive cash payments across borders.
We must replace the current Proof-of-Work mechanism with one that does not suck up every available kilowatt. Currently, POW is the scalability elephant in the room. Other cryptocurrencies have introduced alternate consensus mechanisms, but, in my opinion, they are either centralized or unfair.
Fortunately, other fair, distributed consensus mechanisms are on the horizon. You can read more about it here:

2. Dwindling of Mining Rewards and the Alignment of Goals

Every user must eventually become a miner. This will align the interests of stakeholders, incentive validators (what is now called miners), and enhance Satoshi’s vision of a fair, decentralized system of accounting and consensus.

What motivates you?

I am very fortunate to have discovered a calling and a career that fires my passion in every way. I recognized the importance of the blockchain and Bitcoin very early, and as an amateur writer, I realized that I could dispel myths that were bound to arise. The biggest myths about cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin in particular, are:
Absolutely none of this is true. But it makes for great press and it leads to a state of fear, which helps to mislead the public. I try hard to counter such misunderstanding and irrational fear in my articles, presentations and consulting.

What’s your definition of success?

Cryptocurrency transactions fall into two classes:

1. Transactions driven by money exchange or investment (speculators, hoarders, day traders)
2. Transactions driven by commerce (purchases, sales, debt settlement, staff salaries, interbank transfers, bonding shipments).
Today, the first category accounts for 95% or more of all Bitcoin transactions.
The first stage of “success” will be the time at which the fraction of Bitcoin transactions in Category 2 exceeds those in Category one. This will be the day that Bitcoin stops fluctuating and becomes a serious economic instrument.
Later a 2nd success will arrive when citizens of the world begin to shift their accumulated wealth and credit from legacy, national currencies to Bitcoin.

What you think of work/life balance?

With any career or project, there is always a risk of abandoning family responsibilities or the need to relax. I find my work to be both rewarding and relaxing (my career in cryptocurrencies and blockchain). But, I still spend more than half of my time with family and friends. For me, the balance is crucial to leading a fulfilling life.
Many of these friends are interested in the same things as me, and i always try to learn from those with different interests and skills.

What is the best advice you can give to the people who are reading this?

Don’t get sucked into ICOs. They are scams
More about this:
(a) Is every ICOs a scam?
(b) ICOs & altcoins rise and fall, but Bitcoin endures
-Philip Raymond
Phil Blockchain columnist: Dozens of published articles. Additionally, Admin/Moderator of Largest Bitcoin group; 30,000+…bitcoinreferee.com
Thanks for reading. If you have thoughts on this, be sure to leave a comment.
If you found this article helpful, smash the clap 👏 button.
You can follow me on twitter for more.
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James Altucher's Alternatives to College [DailyFinance] Should You Go To College? (And 5 Alternatives) What Are the Alternatives to College? Why We Regret Going to College... Top 5 College Alternatives  modMBA.com

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James Altucher's Alternatives to College [DailyFinance]

Is college worth it in 2018? If you think about it college is in fact and investment. You're investing time and money in the hopes that getting a college degree will secure your future. But quite ... Nikhil Hutheesing hosts James Altucher who strongly opposes kids going right to college out of high school. In this video he offers many alternatives. Get mo... We going to share some alternatives to going to college to avoid college debt and build a business. We are Fox and Miles. Married Black Nomads traveling the Country journeying through life ... 0:01:41 - A good alternative to college and to get career education 0:11:22 - Definition and costs of trade schools and community colleges 0:19:00 - Becoming a well-rounded person and learning by ... Faster and Cheaper Alternatives to College with Ryan Craig - Duration: 37:29. His And Her Money 1,417 views. 37:29. Instead of College: A Practical Alternative - Duration: 37:10.

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