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Something Awful's 6000+ post bitcoin thread closed, just as bitcoin starts to recover

Something Awful's 6000+ post bitcoin thread closed, just as bitcoin starts to recover submitted by BadSysadmin to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Let's discuss the 'one chain or none approach' and BSV winning narrative - aside from CSW!

It's been a bit quiet on here, and since a lot of things are up in the air about the court case currently, I thought I would start a discussion that is largely unrelated to CSW except for in addressing some of the broadly accepted statements and predictions for the longer term performance of BSV.
I wanted to make this thread because there have been fragmented discussions on this that I have found interesting and engaging, and I would like to put it in one place. I think it also addresses a very key point which I believe both sides will agree on - the 'survival' of BSV regardless of whether CSW is Satoshi.
I feel there are a few key areas around which this revolves so I will attempt to capture them below and hopefully we can address each one and why it could/couldn't leave BSV as the sole survivor without it descending into bickering.
  1. The whole bitcoin whitepaper narrative, and the flaws of other chains, in particular bitcoin core and cash. Aside from interpretations of the whitepaper, a lot of this narrative is based on things that BTC or other chains have done wrong which prevent scaling. My issues with this argument are primarily that some the 'facts' that are used as an argument against BTC are basically not true. Blocks are not actually capped at 1MB, Segwit does not break the chain of digital signatures and non segwit nodes can still verify transactions that have happened using segwit. Obviously segwit didn't fix all the problems it was meant to and the lightning network is awful, but it seems like one of the first arguments presented against BTC in favour of BSV relates to the above, but just because they are repeated incessantly does not make them true. If core presented a valid scaling solution within certain parameters surely this is a huge setback for BSV. For other chains I'll be more general, but I think it comes across as ignorant to say that the system proposed in the whitepaper is the only thing that could ever work. What if something that does not yet exist comes along tomorrow (like it has done before) and is better. Ethereum has it's flaws, but on the back end it is a proof of work chain that has consistently achieved higher daily transactions and an order of magnitude greater functionality than bitcoin since some point in 2017 with the downside that the blockchain is bigger. This obviously does not phase the BSV camp, so why fork from something that was already 'on the back foot' with respect to the metrics that are hailed as important. I do not see BSVs unique proposition in this respect.
  2. The crude approach to scaling metrics. I will concede this is more just a thing that annoys me which I want to address and for the purpose of my posts define, obviously people are free to disagree and discuss. A lot of the social media debates revolve around 'scaling' and for good reason. But I want to explore the definition of that word. To me, doubling a block size to double the number of transactions is not scaling, that is a crude way to increase throughput. Scaling would be fitting twice the number of transactions into the same block, for example. They are not the same thing, and crudely increasing throughput will have diminishing returns effects in relation to performance. The other scaling metric that annoys me is quotes in TPS when we're talking about bitcoin rules which is a new block every 10 minutes. Functionally this is completely misleading and should be looked at with respect to finality. If I had an account with a bitcoin in it, I could spam a bunch of 'valid' 1 bitcoin transactions to nodes, yet after the block is mined obviously only one of those can be valid. Daily transaction metrics are good, or unique address interactions etc, but quoting 'high' TPS just because a big block was mined after 10 minutes does not necessarily make that any more useful. I do not see BSVs unique proposition in this respect.
  3. The legal compliance thing vs anarachist thing that is being pushed and about it being the 'only' legal compliant chain. This is basically nonsense, code is code, obviously it is not law. Code is a neutral ruleset which people choose to participate with and abide by. Nothing is black and white, one could choose to be completely legal things on any other chain and completely illegal things on BSV to the same effect. I don't think there is a BSV vs other chains argument to be made here from either perspective. The law is the law, it doesn't matter which software you use to abide by it or break it with.
  4. The decentralisation debate. I have less to say on this one but I don't think it's a compelling case for any approach as being objectively better or worse. Decentralisation is a spectrum and there is no universal sweet spot. On one end we have the 'everyone run a node' approach and on the other end we have host everything on AWS. BSV is somewhere in the middle of this, no one knows what the 'correct' amount of decentralisation is for general purposes so I do not see how it can be claimed that BSV has an optimal approach as long as it remains functional.
  5. This is my personal point of greatest interest. I wouldn't say I'm a die hard supporter of any chain in particular, so I do think it is a worthwhile experiment trying the big block approach to see what happens. The issue is the assumption that this is the correct and best solution for doing everything on the blockchain. This leads me to the thinking that BSV is getting stuck in a 'jack of all trades - master of none' scenario. Whilst this means it may perform 'fine' functionally at the moment, it feels that all things equal, it may not survive long term and will certainly never be the dominant chain because there will always be a better alternative for a specific purpose, four general examples that I can think of below:
    1. Security of a significant transaction. Lets say a house purchase, if I had to choose a chain I would obviously choose BTC because it has the greatest hashrate by orders of magnitude. I will happily pay a fee and wait for a few confirmations to know that as far as blockchains go, my transaction is as final as possible. Obviously this example uses current state of things, but obviously this use case will always go to the most secure chain, which could be anything. I cannot see a compelling case for this becoming BSV.
    2. Microtransactions. I agree this is very important, and this narrative is pushed a lot in BSV. The problem is, there are plenty of chains currently that allow fast transactions with finality in seconds that are literally fee free. Whilst it is true that BSV can do really cheap transactions, what is the point when there is a faster and cheaper alternative. The same applies to SPV and 0-conf, while they might be 'fine' most of the time, why rely on them when you don't have to. Whilst there are more concerns over security for these fast and free chains, if we're talking beer money or whatever it's less of an issue if you're paying for convenience. This sort of echoes what Craig said in the bitcoin vision video from the other day that I agree with, except for the BSV part, so again I don't think this is a compelling case for only BSV, in fact I already think it is on the back foot.
    3. Privacy. It's a controversial topic for sure, but the fact remains that people will sometimes for whatever reason want to be able to transact privately and for illicit reasons. BSV does not intend to cater for this, but there is a market for this regardless, and a number of chains that offer it to varying degrees.
    4. Smart contracts. Another big one which encompasses a lot of things from tokens to actual contracts to provably fair gaming and gambling. There is already a host of account based chains with far more advanced functionality and greater developer communities than BSV. The 10 minute block finality is also an issue here, as for many of the above you presumably will want finality to transactions. I know BSV is expanding the 'smart contract' capabilities but I do not see a unique or compelling case for it to suddenly dominate or even make an impact any time soon. Once again, I do not see any kind of unique selling point.
So all in all, there is a fierce discussion aside from CSW about whether BSV is superior and can survive and thrive. I am obviously of the belief that the 'one chain or none' approach will not be the case, but I would be curious to here why people on both sides of the fence agree or disagree on the various points, and whether there will be one chain to rule them all..!
submitted by Martin1209 to bitcoinfights [link] [comments]

shittykickstarters kicks a blockchain MMO developer to the curb

(ugh, the guy deleted his posts right as i was making the thread..)
developer warns he is a pioneer like bitcoin
We are doing things no other studio has done and we hope one day when blockchain games explode they will look at us for taking the risk and setting the standard for all other blockchain games.
Bitcoin was mocked and laughed at in 2007. Now everyone regrets not buying thousands of Bitcoins.
in the end i don't doubt he has invested thousands of dollars of his own money, but the blockchain aspect really puts this in a different light from a "i'm a passionate developer!" to "i genuinely am deluded enough to think i am going to earn a LOT of money of this scheme"
game developer admits that his business model is going to be flipping unity assets, manages to realize how a 200 million dollar project is having a hard time developing an MMO (star citizen) but doesn't see it as a challenge
A small indie team can pump out a MMO in less than a year. When we launch I am happy to send you a free access. Feel free to do actual research, check out our community and come back to me when you have actual questions or feedback
We are built on Unity. You should google it and learn more about it before making assumptions. Or go play Star Citizen who has taken over 200 Million and has been a compete disaster.
We are doing things no other game has done. Of course there will be haters and we are happy to squash them!
Our team consist now 2 developers with a combined experience of over 30 years [editors note: people still don't know what this guy means by 30 years in the gaming industry, they think he just means that they've been playing games for 30 years lol] in the gaming industry. Massive experience with Unity and multiple games launched. Before you talk about our game do your research.
and our 2 marketers are recently retired from the Navy and excited to launch something we been talking about for years!
candre23 calls out the fishy kickstarter backer numbers, and other social media foolery
So the game is obviously fishy as hell, and can't be good. You can't make an mmo in a year with a full team, a few dudes aren't going to pull it off.
Now the crazy amount of supporting comments in that thread SO SOON after it was posted is fishy. Especially since near all of the commenters have near 0 activity and the only activity they have is a couple comments on weird Bitcoin subreddits.
So is it just an overestimated project? Maybe
Or is it scam trying to get the attention of people who throw money at buzzwords and blockchains? Also maybe.
Or maybe it's just an attempt at scamming with a bunch of fake accounts thrown in?
followed by
game developer admits to violating reddit TOS by sending out the link to the reddit thread in telegram, although it does also still seem likely that they're just his sock accounts:
If I may let me address a few solid points here.... Please read if you have the time :)
Anything with "blockchain" in the pitch is a scam 99 times out of 100. And that one time it isn't an actual scam, it fails anyway, but at least it fails honestly.
This is so true! But we are not selling a token or coin. We are just built on ENJIN technology. That's it. we are doing something no one has ever done before....
There are an awful lot of positive comments in that thread from users with almost no karma. Like 80% of the comments are from single-digit-karma accounts. It's incredibly unlikely that everybody who thinks this game is the best thing since sliced bread just happens to be a hardcore lurker.
lol.. This is my fault actually. We have 1300 people in our Telegram channel and most of these people are people looking for airdrops. So I offered a airdrop to those who comment on the post. Of course everyone will want to do this. So yes, most people are new and with low or no karma or even created today.
Also we ran a massive giveaway giving away over $13,000 in blockchain assets. When we did this we had massive social media sharing, posting and commenting. That has caused us to inflate our subcriptions and likes and that is why it looks a little strange. We ran a giveaway.
The ratio of low-dollar backers to high-dollar backers is bonkers. They've only got a handful of people at the reasonable $65-and-under backer levels, but they've sold out at the $1000+ levels. They have less than 150 backers total, but 24 of them have pledged more than a grand for a free-to-play game. If that doesn't scream "money laundering scheme", I don't know what does.
We do have a HUGE high tier backers because the things we are offering are sold for hundreds of dollars on our website already. The people backing it see huge potential in the game and the same backers are the one who have already played and LOVED our game... They want to back us because they see the potential. I can't stop this from happening.. How is this a bad thing?
I do appreciate your points as they are solid and good questions to ask! I employ you to check out our telegram channel and see the community that we have. it's a strong and passionate community and something we are blessed with. We worked really hard to get where we are at and so far we have reached some incredible milestones no one has ever done before.
game dev gives out assets that aren't actually worth anything, wow so generous, he even proposes a challenge:
Im the worst because I am building something no one has ever done before. Go find a game like ours. I swear I will pay you $300!! Take my challenge please. No other game out there is like ours. Of course we are gonna bring haters like you in the woodwork, you get scared if this isn't another traditional game.
Mining is optional and not forced on anyone. It's just to avoid being charged a sub fee and our COMMUNITY have asked for this and LOVE the idea. I don't care if you don't like it or think it's a bad idea... You aren't in our community nor do you back us. Why should it matter what you think?
Our community is heavily involved in our progress and future features.
Did you know we recently gave away over $50k in assets to only 300 players who played the game so far?
Why don't you actually play our game and learn more about it instead of trashing us?
Those 300 people who have played our game love it. You think we can have the community support like we do if they hate our game? lol, your logic makes no sense..
Take my challenge. $300 dollars to find a game like ours! Kickstarter is based on a unique idea right? Why don't we deserve a kickstarter campaign that brings a unique product to the industry?
more of game dev trying to defend himself
moderator does their research, finds old astroturfed threads and sock puppet accounts:
reddit.com/kickstartecomments/bo3bqu/space_misfits_a_complete_3d_space_sandbox_mmo/
submitted by bunny_comb to SubredditDrama [link] [comments]

[Discussion] AAS induced hypogonadism and an appeal to the community

Tldr; AAS induced hypogonadism is a very real consequence of steroid use, and the wiki needs to be updated to state this fact clearly and without bias so that prospective users who find TRT (for life) an unacceptable consequence can make an informed decision. Also, lots of people, and some are experienced users, have demonstrated that they don't believe this is a thing.

Before I begin, I want to qualify myself a bit as I am asking that we address something together and make a change to the wiki. I am a 30 year old who has been into weight lifting since I was 15, and I had a keen interest in AAS that led me to my first cycle at 24. I'm on TRT. I have a BS in biochemistry and although that is not inherently relevant, it did give me a tendency to research topics I was unfamiliar with, and to do so in peer-reviewed sources.
Over the last 10 years, AAS use has exploded in popularity. It amazes me sometimes when I show up at the gym and see clearly enhanced lifters all around. Bitcoin has made AAS accessible to anyone with a mailbox; for very low prices you can have any major steroid in the bodybuilding world shipped to you in a week or less, and you don't even need to go to the dark web to find it. You don't need to know a guy. This surge in new users has clearly diluted the atmosphere of online steroid forums, whose members used to be very scrutinizing and against anyone hopping on gear if they seemed even slightly uninformed of the ins and outs.
While I think its overall a good thing that the tone has become more welcoming, since people are going to do their thing regardless, I have noticed that we've collectively been skating over something that didn't used to happen as often. That thing is AAS-induced hypogonadism. In the past 4-5 months I cannot count the number of times I have informed a newcomer that recovery not only wasn't guaranteed, but multiple cycles and years of use make TRT a VERY real outcome. Now, I know there are many who recover from years of use, the majority. That is great. But there are no studies that I can find that show what percentage do and don't, or what parameters are involved. I only have the experience of my many friends, people on these kinds of forums, an endocrinologist, and myself to go on and I can say that there are a lot of us walking around who are on TRT because of our AAS use. Literature overwhelmingly supports this.
The wiki itself states that length of suppression, the types of drugs used, and individual response are factors in determining HPTA recovery. It states that failure to do a proper pct "will present a very high probability of long-term endocrine damage" without saying anything about the possibility of not recovering even after you do everything right, giving the false impression that a pct will get everyone back to normal. The individual response paragraph discerns between users who will recovery easily and those who will have "extreme difficulty recovering" but makes no concession anywhere that there is a third category: those who's test levels never fully return to baseline. The HPTA was never designed to be fully suppressed and brought back, there is no situation where exogenous hormones would ever exist in any time during our evolution. The pituitary sends a message to the balls to make more test when it dips a bit, and then tells them to stop when it reaches a max. Small changes. Dumping hormones into your body causes a hijacking of that entire system and crashes it. The pituitary goes silent, your balls stop producing test, stop making sperm, shrink. They literally atrophy from disuse and revert back to being as useless as they were before puberty. Recovery from that is not a given. After my 3rd cycle, my test values returned to normal but my balls felt a tad smaller, my libido a bit off. My 4th cycle's pct failed, as did the 3 other pcts I attempted over the next 1.5 years. HCG runs, pharma pcts of varying lengths, but no matter what 2-3 months after pct I would dip down. I had lost 40% of my natural production and at the 2 year mark with no improvement I decided to do TRT. For me, it wasnt that huge of a deal because I love this lifestyle and knew I wanted to continue to cycle. But there are guys out there who may find this outcome unacceptable and should really make this the number 1 consideration in whether they cycle or not.
I made this post because I have been met with skepticism many of the times I have pointed out the possibility of not recovering. Someone today called it a myth on the same comment thread that he was giving a new guy advice on. Another guy last month PMed me to let me know he was thankful I had brought it up in a comment thread where a guy was asking about the chances of not recovering and 4-5 people were encouraging him that doing a pct and enough time off would prevent that. I get it, we don't like to think about it. Everyone, when they started, worried a bit about their natural levels coming back since everyone was so adamant about checking via bloodwork, but we seem to have calmed that down by carrying on that a proper pct is King and will set things right. The truth is, there are many people on and off these forums with AAS-induced hypogonadism and I am concerned about the numbers who are happily cycling not knowing their next pct is going to fail. While there is no guarantee, a test cycle will most likely go fine. But when people get into the territory of their 3rd, 4th, 5th cycles, more powerful drugs, BnC, they are most likely not going to leave with the test levels they came in with. For many, it will be severe enough of a dip to warrant TRT, others will suffer minor sides and just go on with life, and some will probably struggle for year with it. I visited an endocrinologist recently because I want to stop self prescribing and he told me he deals with this all the time, that its very common.
I don't really know how changes get made to the wiki, but I propose that we make it a very large disclaimer at the top of the PCT section and in the 500mg test cycle section. Below are just a few sources I found over a very short time. I suggest you look further if you need more evidence. I am not a gatekeeper and never will be, but if we transmit any information to a prospective user about how to take these drugs safely it should come with this fact. Discuss.

Coward RM, Rajanahally S, Kovac JR, Smith RP, Pastuszak AW, Lipshultz LI. Anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism in young men. The Journal of urology. 2013;190(6):2200–5. Epub 2013/06/15. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2013.06.010 pmid:23764075.

Rahnema CD, Lipshultz LI, Crosnoe LE, Kovac JR, Kim ED. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism: diagnosis and treatment. Fertil Steril. 2014;101(5):1271–9. Epub 2014/03/19. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.02.002 pmid:24636400.

Tan RS, Scally MC. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism—towards a unified hypothesis of anabolic steroid action. Med Hypotheses. 2009;72(6):723–8. Epub 2009/02/24. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.12.042 pmid:19231088.

van Breda E, Keizer HA, Kuipers H, Wolffenbuttel BH. Androgenic anabolic steroid use and severe hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction: a case study. International journal of sports medicine. 2003;24(3):195–6. Epub 2003/05/13. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-39089 pmid:12740738.

Boregowda K, Joels L, Stephens JW, Price DE. Persistent primary hypogonadism associated with anabolic steroid abuse. Fertil Steril. 2011;96(1):e7–8. Epub 2011/05/18. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.04.029 pmid:21575947.

Jarow JP, Lipshultz LI. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Am J Sports Med. 1990;18(4):429–31. Epub 1990/07/01. pmid:2403193.

Lloyd FH, Powell P, Murdoch AP. Anabolic steroid abuse by body builders and male subfertility. BMJ. 1996;313(7049):100–1. Epub 1996/07/13. pmid:8688713; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2351471.

Kanayama G, Hudson JI, DeLuca J, Isaacs S, Baggish A, Weiner R, et al. Prolonged hypogonadism in males following withdrawal from anabolic-androgenic steroids: an under-recognized problem. Addiction. 2015;110(5):823–31. Epub 2015/01/20. doi: 10.1111/add.12850 pmid:25598171; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4398624.

Kanayama G, Hudson JI, Pope HG Jr. Long term psychiatric and medical consequences of anabolic androgenic steroid abuse: a looming public health concern. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Nov 1;98(1-2):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep. 2008.05.004. Epub 2008 Jul 2. Review. PMID: 18599224
EDIT: does anyone know how we even go about modifying the wiki? What’s the process?
submitted by benchpressyourfeels to steroids [link] [comments]

Evidence that the mods of /r/Bitcoin may have been involved with the hacking and vote manipulation "attack" on /r/Bitcoin.

While running the Censorship Notifier Bot, we generally try to stay out of any specific situations regarding any subreddits we monitor. But the very nature of the CNBot requires it to collect and store large amounts of data, and requires us to be aware of normal trends within a subreddit to ensure the bot is running correctly. Specifically, the bot needs to know exactly what was on the site at a specific time, and when things disappear from the site. This data positions us to diligently analyze events and check real data as we go. When we first began looking at the massive downvoting attack as shown in BashCo's previously stickied thread last week, the first thing we noticed was that both of the bot-voted comments ( Image of #1, link to #2 ) would normally trigger our censorship notifier detection. Both "censoring" and "censorship" are trigger words we have found triggering automatic removal, something we later confirmed again. This would imply that either the comments were explicitly approved by the moderators at that time, or our understanding of the subreddit's policies needed updating. We began to dig into the data available, and those findings lead us to the conclusion that we must publish what we had found. Note: All times are in UTC; Some references are moved to the end of the document, tagged as [REF-1], [REF-2], etc.

Overview

We'll start out by giving a rough picture of the events that transpired. The bots which were downvoting comments and posts on /Bitcoin and upvoting posts on /btc began their attack on 11/14/2017 at around 18:00 utc. A similar unusual pattern of voting appeared on /btc around the same time the day before, though less dramatically. The bots seemed to be pushing people to buy Bitcoin Cash in such a blatant way that it even left a bad taste in the mouths of Bitcoin Cash supporters. Both the attack the day before and the /Bitcoin bot voting attack on 11/14/2017 ended before or around 22:00 utc [REF-3]. The bots attacking /Bitcoin upvoted posts complaining about high fees and downvoted about 30 other /Bitcoin posts. At the same time they upvoted posts on /btc. We identified 65 comments downvoted by bots in /Bitcoin and 2 upvoted. The conclusions appeared to indicate that the bots were promoting Bitcoin Cash and /btc and harming /Bitcoin.

Suspicious comment #1

We began investigating into the comments that caught our eye at first, referred to as [CU-1] and [CU-2] for short. [CU-1]'s content can be seen here as it originally looked. Immediately we noticed the next oddity - How were people able to see votes in /Bitcoin to discuss voting in the first place? /Bitcoin has blocked votes from being visible on comments during discussion for years. When did that change? We found that it changed right before [CU-1] was posted. BashCo stickied a comment stating they would "pull back the curtains" at 20:49, and archive.org confirmed that scores became visible between 20:32 utc and 20:50 utc. That, oddly enough, was just 13 minutes before [CU-1] was posted at 21:02:25.
We have determined that [CU-1] was indeed blocked by /Bitcoin's automoderator rules as we expected. The screenshot taken by /Bitcoin moderator StopAndDecrypt clearly shows this, as the "moderator approved" checkmark is present. We also tested automoderator rules with an aged account with karma and confirmed that "censors" and "censoring" were both blocked [REF-1]. Note that the poster, darwin2500 (under control of hacker, please don't ping them; they aren't a Bitcoiner) could not have been an "approved submitter" - they seem to have only had one comment in /Bitcoin before the hacking. So why was the comment manually approved? We are not aware of any other approved or allowed comments that blatantly reference censorship like that in the last several months. The obvious answer is that after "pulling back the curtain" and making votes visible, the /Bitcoin mods wanted to give people an opportunity to see this voting manipulation in action.
Except this idea did not hold up. We found 10 similar comments from the same time period which were not approved or were explicitly removed unlike [CU-1]. Some of these were uncannily similar to the original comment. For example this one was submitted 8 minutes after [CU-1] and never approved. Another here supported neither subreddit and was blocked at 21:48 and never approved. This one accused /Bitcoin mods of being paid by Blockstream and was manually removed at ~22:35. A fourth was identical to [CU-2] and blocked at 00:12 and never approved. The same account of [CU-1] submitted a second comment 5 minutes after [CU-1] and was blocked and not approved. The other 5 things blocked or removed around the same time were: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. The existence or absence of most of these comments around the claimed time can be verified independently of the censorship_notifier, see [REF-2]
But the why wasn't the only oddity. [CU-1] was submitted, approved, upvoted, and screenshotted all in less than 180 seconds, as shown by its screenshot ("2 minutes" rounds down on Reddit). That is an extremely short time for an automoderated comment to be approved based on what we have observed and in checking other subreddits open modlogs on approvals. Perhaps the moderators were very snappy about approving comments within this particular thread? Once again, this idea did not hold up. This comment appears to have been manually approved as it wasn't seen until the third scan after its supposed creation, ~11 minutes of delay. Perhaps only when the comment was a direct reply to BashCo? Still no - Here's a comment that was a direct reply to BashCo, but didn't show up in scans for 45 minutes. Here specifically the our data can be independently checked - This snapshot does not show the comment, but this one does.
Despite all the comments being blocked or removed as normal that we found, what we did not find was any other examples of anti-Bitcoin comments approved or allowed except the comments the bots upvoted. Three snapshots([1] [2] [3]) of the thread in question show no other strongly anti-Bitcoin comments present except [CU-1] and [CU-2]; Why did the moderators specifically allow [CU-1] and [CU-2] and nothing else? Perhaps they wanted to reveal the voting patterns, but then why only those comments? Further, by the time of [CU-1], the bot had not upvoted any comments at all. Why would the moderators assume that particular comment and no others would be upvoted, a mere 13 minutes after they "pulled back the curtain?"
In addition to the data we're referenced, our claims about the moderation of [CU-1] can be verified by either the admins or any current moderators of /Bitcoin, as moderator log events cannot be deleted. If anyone sends us an image of the moderator who approved this comment(preferably with full HH:MM:SS timestamp!) we will add the image to this post and keep their identity anonymous.

How did the bots pick targets?

The next thing we investigated was the behavior of the bots during the "attack". How many posts and comments did they downvote? How many did they upvote? What did they pick and were there any obvious correlations? We initially identified only two posts inside /Bitcoin that were upvoted by the bots - Both being posts about long delays on the OP's transaction confirmations. The first post was removed by moderators but otherwise no one seemed to notice the sudden upvotes. The second post upvoted on the other hand had users commenting on the upvotes within 8 minutes of it being posted and had several comments downvoted within it by the bots. Generally (but not always) the targets of the bots got 200-250 votes, either up or down [REF-3]. Even before the moderators of /Bitcoin revealed comment scores, users were commenting on the obviousness of the downvotes (edits). We found images from hacked users which showed what posts the bots chose to upvote and downvote, which further helped us identify as many of the posts as possible [REF-4] [REF-5].
The comments upvoted, too, were specifically chosen. Both comments upvoted were ones attacking /Bitcoin over censorship, and without any subtlety. Both comments were in the primary stickied thread with most of the comment downvotes. We quickly determined that the account that posted [CU-1] was under the control of the hacker, something other users also concluded. [CU-2] was posted by a clear /Bitcoin supporter based on history. Both comments used words that /Bitcoin's automod rules normally silently block [REF-1]. Other comments that subtly denigrated the subreddit's policies were noticed by the bot - but were downvoted instead of upvoted. Why?
The comments and posts chosen for downvoting were all over the place. Many of the comments chosen for downvoting seems to have been simply "because they were there in the thread" - For example every single comment visible in before 20:50 was downvoted. BashCo was targeted more than any other user(8 comments), but the bot generally didn't seem to focus on specific users. The vast majority of comments downvoted(54/65) happened in the stickied post, with 6 more happening in the second upvoted post. The remaining 5 comments downvoted were scattered across 4 different posts [REF-3]. The bot specifically went after comments and posts talking about downvotes, the accounts hack, or the attack itself [REF-5] but they also downvoted neutral posts. The voting seemed to come almost exclusively in waves targeting one thing at a time, which made the bot votes obvious to anyone who was looking for them - which people were, since many posts targeted were about the downvotes.
We also noticed that an extremely high number of /Bitcoin and /btc users were reporting that they themselves were hacked and part of the bot attack. We identified 35 such users, but the highest number of votes seen on a single thing indicate between 250-300 accounts involved with the attack. Over 10% of the hacked users were Bitcoiners, what are the chances of that? Well, Reddit has (very) roughly 50 million accounts, and the CN database indicates that about ~50k are regular or semi-regular /Bitcoin and /btc users, which is 1/1000th. 35 / 300 of hacked users being regular Bitcoin users and feeling the need to post about it is > 1/10th. Whoever was running this bot seems to have intentionally chosen Bitcoin users - It seems like they wanted the hacked users to see the results of the hack.
The result of all of this was that many many people commented on the blatantness of the voting, with many of them suspicious as to why anyone would do such a blatant attack. More examples: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]. Amidst all of this there was one exception so subtle that we almost missed it - There were two posts voted on that ran completely contrary to the rest of the behavior of the bot. The first image showed upvotes on a pro-/Bitcoin post "PSA: Attack on Bitcoin" thread and a downvote for the anti-/Bitcoin "awkward meme orgy" /btc thread. At first we thought maybe this was a legitimate vote by this user mixed in with bot votes, but archive.org showed us that indeed that /btc thread got a sudden wave of downvotes in less than 23 minutes. Perhaps the bot forgot which side it was pushing for? But both changes were subtle and not noticed by any users as far as we can tell.
The final thing the bot did as far as we have identified was to upvote [CU-2], and then the attack seems to have stopped suddenly. That comment wasn't upvoted until 21:55 - 22:05. So what about that comment? Why was that the only comment not under its own control upvoted, and why did the attack stop suddenly afterwards?

Suspicious comment #2

The CN database gave us some hints. Both the [CU-2] and this comment were deleted by the user, likely when they took back control over their hacked account. [CU-1] was deleted at 21:23 +/- 1 minute, ~21 minutes after creation [REF-6], and not present in that snapshot. The votebot operator probably didn't expect this to happen so quickly. After that deletion there was no obvious comment showing their upvotes on the thread, and there were no obvious choices to choose from. It seems that they wanted a comment that wouldn't vanish, so not a hacked account, and also that they preferred a comment that could ultimately be used to make /btc look guilty.
4n4n4's comment [CU-2] provided exactly this, and it was posted to the thread ~5 minutes after [CU-1] was deleted - at 21:28. [CU-2] was never blocked by automoderator, it was picked up in the next CN scan ~1 minute later... Seemingly because 4n4n4 is an approved submitter. They have a long history of pro-/Bitcoin comments; we archived 5 pages of comments. The moderators left the comment in place and the bot didn't touch it for at least 27 minutes. With the similarities listed above, [CU-2] made the ideal next target for the bot's upvoting. Almost immediately after it did so, 4n4n4 screenshotted, archived, and edited the comment. And then the bot's voting attack instantly ceased as far as we can tell [REF-3] [REF-5].
But 4n4n4 was not a hacked account. So who is 4n4n4?

So who posted that?

We have a surprisingly large amount of evidence indicating that 4n4n4 is nullc, the CTO of Blockstream.
The biggest indicator we found is that nullc has the very frequent pattern-- of writing--his sentences with two dashes separating words. This by itself is somewhat rare, though we confirmed that he uses it more times than anyone else in the CN database, the much more unusual habit is using two dashes with no spaces on either side. The CN database stored 860,000 comments for us to compare with, and very quickly confirmed the similarities between the two. His history is littered with examples, but we also used the bitcoin-dev email list to confirm the unusual habit. Like 4n4n4, nullc also has examples of using this--specific pattern twice in one sentence, which was extremely rare in our searches.
But there were many more things we noticed. We found several examples of 4n4n4 picking up nullc's conversations and continuing them. One such case was 4n4n4's third comment ever. 4n4n4 also referenced many of nullc's writings and posts. 4n4n4 referenced this code change that originated from nullc multiple times. 4n4n4's [CU-2] comment edit used the words "rbtc playbook," something our database confirmed was extremely rare but is a saying nullc likes.
And that was just the beginning:
  1. Very knowledgable about Bitcoin Core development & the history of the scaling conflict.
  2. 4n4n4 picked up a thread after many replies by nullc arguing that low fees and empty mempools are actually a problem.
  3. Just like nullc, 4n4n4 liked BIP148 but did not "support" or "endorse" it.
  4. Seems to know an awful lot about nullc's life.
  5. Used the phrase "Bitcoin's creator", a major nullc trait previously documented
  6. Talks about nullc. A lot.
  7. Somehow knows who is working on what within Blockstream.
  8. And even responded directly to nullc in support of a claim nullc had made multiple times within that thread

Conclusions

After the massive amount of research we put into this, we believe that at least one moderator of /Bitcoin must have been either aware of the bot's plans (and allowed it to place blame on others), or have executed the attack themselves. This is most likely the moderator who immediately approved the [CU-1] comment. Other moderators may or may not have been involved. Meaning, yes, we believe that a moderator of /Bitcoin either directed or was complicit in the hacking of many of their own Bitcoin Reddit user accounts.
We believe that it is likely that 4n4n4 aka nullc was also aware of or involved in this attack based upon the suspicious timing and similarities of [CU-2]. A Core Developer of nullc's experience would certainly have the technical abilities to pull off such an attack, but that is true of many others on both sides of the debate as well. Some users reported that the IP addresses the bots logged in from were vultr instances and that vultr 1) requires tracable payment methods like credit cards, and 2) takes an aggressive stance against abuse of their systems, so perhaps more information can come to light about this yet.
We encourage the Reddit admins to carefully review our claims and to validate them. If our claims here are true, surely some type of strong action is warranted. Please note that we have tried to make sure all of our links are archived, but they were archived under the www.reddit.com domain and not the np.reddit.com domain.
For any people who found this post helpful and want to tip us, please donate your tips to archive.is and archive.org (not us). Without those two amazing services none of this research would be possible.

References

[REF-1] - Exact steps to confirm automoderator rules, on a aged account with comment karma: Before http://archive.is/ngxZk -> direct copy of [CU-1] (blocked) http://archive.is/yq52B (showing) http://archive.is/qPJTo -> "censoring" (removed) http://archive.is/geSvJ (showing) http://archive.is/muQzT -> "censors" (removed) http://archive.is/neMwe (showing) http://archive.is/2OLal -> After (showing) http://archive.is/LdZMb userpage: http://archive.is/SwCQ2.
[REF-2] - Links of userpages showing comments removed and subreddits showing missing: [1a] [1b] [2a] [2b] [3a] [3b] [4a] [4b] [5a] [5b] [6a] [6b shows missing]. These additional archive.org links show several of these items missing (or visible) at the snapshot time: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
[REF-3] - Data dump of all comments posted around the time of the event, with notes. CSV format.
[REF-4] - Images from hacked users: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
[REF-5] - Final vote tallies for all posts up to 24 hours prior to the event's end, with notes. CSV format.
[REF-6] - Records from the CN database regarding when darwin2500's comment was deleted. "minutesAlive" is incremented every time the item is seen and starts from the first_seen_live
submitted by censorship_notifier to btc [link] [comments]

Bitcoind stuck in startup loading block index

Hi,
I have had bitcoin core running on a raspberry pi for about 4 month now (followed the raspibolt instructions from stadicus) and it worked fine until 3 days ago it suddenly stopped working. With bitcoin-cli blockchaininfo i got
error code: -28 Loading block index... 
or something similar. When a looked in the debug log file i saw this:
2019-08-29T16:48:08Z BerkeleyEnvironment::Open: LogDir=/home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/database ErrorFile=/home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/db.log 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z init message: Loading banlist... 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z Cache configuration: 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z * Using 2.0 MiB for block index database 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z * Using 8.0 MiB for chain state database 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z * Using 90.0 MiB for in-memory UTXO set (plus up to 47.7 MiB of unused mempool space) 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z init message: Loading block index... 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z Opening LevelDB in /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/blocks/index 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z Opened LevelDB successfully 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z Using obfuscation key for /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/blocks/index: 0000000000000000 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z Bitcoin Core version v0.18.1 (release build) 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z Assuming ancestors of block 0000000000000000000f1c54590ee18d15ec70e68c8cd4cfbadb1b4f11697eee have valid signatures. 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z Setting nMinimumChainWork=0000000000000000000000000000000000000000051dc8b82f450202ecb3d471 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z Using the 'standard' SHA256 implementation 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Default data directory /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using data directory /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Config file: /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/bitcoin.conf 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using at most 20 automatic connections (1024 file descriptors available) 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using 16 MiB out of 32/2 requested for signature cache, able to store 524288 elements 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using 16 MiB out of 32/2 requested for script execution cache, able to store 524288 elements 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using 4 threads for script verification 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z scheduler thread start 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z HTTP: creating work queue of depth 16 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Config options rpcuser and rpcpassword will soon be deprecated. Locally-run instances may remove rpcuser to use cookie-based auth, or may be replaced with rpcauth. Please see share/rpcauth for rpcauth auth generation. 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z HTTP: starting 4 worker threads 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using wallet directory /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z init message: Verifying wallet(s)... 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using BerkeleyDB version Berkeley DB 4.8.30: (April 9, 2010) 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using wallet /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z BerkeleyEnvironment::Open: LogDir=/home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/database ErrorFile=/home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/db.log 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z init message: Loading banlist... 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z Cache configuration: 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z * Using 2.0 MiB for block index database 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z * Using 8.0 MiB for chain state database 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z * Using 90.0 MiB for in-memory UTXO set (plus up to 47.7 MiB of unused mempool space) 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z init message: Loading block index... 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z Opening LevelDB in /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/blocks/index 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z Opened LevelDB successfully 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z Using obfuscation key for /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/blocks/index: 0000000000000000 
After that there should follow a line about Loading the block index but it never appears.
It seems to be restarting without shutting down correctly, maybe it cannot find the block index? I tried reinstalling core, recreating the symlink to the hdd and resetting the service but nothing happened. Everytime it starts it gets stuck at the same point. It also takes an awful long time to stop bitcoind but i don't know if that is normal.
I found several people with similar problems online but noting helped so far. Has anyone had a similar problem in the past and found a solution to this?
submitted by BologneseWithCheese to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Blockchain adoption through an interopable OS Quant Network

Quant Company,
Product: Overledger , Quant Health , GoVerify, Quant Sentry, Quant Security , Quant IP
Team (CEO,CO-founder- now advisor, CTO): Gilbert Verdian , Paolo Tasca , Colin Paterson. (Rest of team: https://www.linkedin.com/search/results/people/?facetCurrentCompany=%5B%2211169903%22%5D
Also Guy Dietrich, managing Director of Rockefeller Capitral has joined Quant Network Board of Directors: https://www.quant.network/blog/guy-dietrich-managing-director-of-rockefeller-capital-joins-quant-networks-board-of-directors/
This months news (confirmed): AX Trading Partnership (SEC verified trading system) - https://www.americancryptoassociation.com/2019/08/08/ax-trading-integrates-quant-networks-blockchain-for-digital-asset-interoperability/
Quant Network blog post about AX trading: https://www.quant.network/blog/redefining-wall-st-with-decentralised-capital-market-infrastructure-the-possibilities-of-quant-networks-overledger-technology-in-regulated-capital-markets/
Binance Chain will be added to overledger - https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-enables-interoperability-for-binance-chain/
Short term upcoming news: Multiple tier 1 exchanges and a traditional exchange. Clients and Partners to be revealed. More in-depth information on their partnership with SIA.(SIA see partners under this thread)

Overledger:
Overledger is the blockchain operating system that enables interoperability between blockchains and connects the world’s existing networks and the Internet to blockchain.

Overledger encourages innovation by allowing developers to build applications across multiple ledgers or multi-chain applications (MApps), meaning that developers can harness the power of multiple individual blockchains to build the most effective solution instead of being confined to just one (‘single-ledger dependency’). Overledger not only enables blockchain-to-blockchain communication, it also takes things a step further and seamlessly connects existing networks and the Internet to blockchain, allowing Enterprises to harness the power of blockchain to address real-world challenges.

Overledger is already connect to: Hyperledger - Corda - JPM Quorum - Ethereum - Ripple - Bitcoin - Stellar - IOTA - EOS - Binance Chain (this month). Of course way more to come. And there are currently 272 Registered Organisations building on overledger: https://treasury.overledger.com/

This means a ledger, app (mapp) , company or any IoT device can be deployed, connected and function on every chain and real world internet as we know it today.

Quant Health: More info to come with new website. (this month's rebranding) They already had meetings with for example the department of Health (London) and more.

GoVerify: GoVerify is a new system to verify if a caller, texter or emailer is the legit person behind this. They already are deploying this on banks and there is a huge demand for it. Trusttag so to call. (https://www.quant.network/products/goverify/)

Quant Atlas: Introducing Quant Atlas, our solution to enable interoperable banking through cross border Open Banking. (https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-atlas-interoperable-banking-through-cross-border-open-banking/)

Partners:

Named Cool Vendor by GARTNER 2019:
(BAT and LINK are the only companies as well to do so)
https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-named-a-cool-vendor-in-blockchain-technology-by-gartne

SIA: SIA is a leading infrastructure which has 2000+ financial institutions and 570 banks connected to their own wired network. And they will be using OVERLEDGER for INTEROPERABILITY. https://www.quant.network/blog/sia-partners-with-quant-network-to-explore-innovative-solutions-in-blockchain-interoperability-for-banks-and-financial-institutions/
Gilbert Verdian after the partnership with SIA on Telegram:
"This is what ripple with XRP, Stellar with XLM and partnering with IBM have been trying to do" - "This is a game changer we've been working on. We're bringing blockchain interoperability to the 570 banks that SIA work with"

Hyperledger: https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-joins
AWS: https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-becomes-amazon-aws-partne/
Founding member of INATBA: https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-is-a-founding-member-of-inatba/
Global Startup Ecosystem by Oracle: https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-has-been-accepted-into-the-oracle-global-startup-ecosystem/
Guarantor of PAY.UK: https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-is-appointed-guarantor-of-pay-uk/
AUCloud: https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-and-aucloud-partner-to-provide-worlds-first-blockchain-operating-system-for-government-and-critical-national-industries/
Crowdz: https://www.quant.network/blog/quant-network-and-crowdz-announce-partnership/

https://www.quant.network/ On the front page are the rest of the partners:
HAW Hamburg - MOBI - Accord - INTEROPen - Atlantic Power Exchange - UCL CBT - UKcloud - Global Legal Blockchain Consortium - Allianceblock - NVIDIA Inception Program.

Quant Network and the JBI have signed a MoU for a five-year cooperation. - https://medium.com/@quant_network/quant-network-exclusive-partner-to-chinas-blockchain-research-hub-for-china-ministry-of-commerce-42e1778bd1f4
Overledger is the only platform to facilitate internet-scale development and deployment of decentralised, multi-chain applications (MApps) and Treaty Contracts (multi-chain smart contracts)
As stated, We have more than one fortune 500/FTSE 100 company signed. We are going to the press release cycle now. They work with Governments , Enterprises and Central Banks.

Gilbert has founded ISO/TC 307 Standard - Blockchain and Distributed ledger technologies.
https://www.iso.org/committee/6266604.html
Where 57 countries are working with. An ISO Standard is created to adopt one certain technology for a certain element. (This is big)

Team members CV:
Gilbert Verdian:
"Gilbert is a technologist with an upbringing in business and a deep background in technology and security.

Having over 20 years of industry experience he has worked across Government in Downing St, HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice and NSW Health and private sector at CSC, EY, HSBC and BP.

Having a keen interest in disruptive technology, he’s the founder of the Blockchain ISO Standard TC307 and is the Chair of the UK’s national committee on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger technologies (DLT/1).

He’s actively working to advance technology in the areas of AI, Cybersecurity, Blockchain and FinTech."

Paolo Tasca:
"Paolo Tasca is a Digital Economist, an expert on digital innovation with salient expertise on Blockchain technologies and Complex Systems.

We stand on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution, which will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. New technologies are dramatically transforming our economic systems, and our society in general, into something very different from what we were used to thinking about over the last few decades."

Colin Paterson:
"Colin is a technology innovator with a background in Information, Cybersecurity and AI.

He calls on his years of cross sector experience in; Health, Defence, Finance and Utilities combined with his passion for new and emergent technologies to solve real world problems.
Working to democratise blockchain development he is seeking along with the other founders of Quant to help developers unchain the full potential of ledger technologies."

The team has connections over the whole world, aiming to be the most enterprise experienced team in the crypto space. They have spoken with many company's like PwC and such. On the telegram you can find much more answers of them, and they are very active (outside the Telegram). Every monday the team joins telegram to answer all questions. (AMA)

They are not hyping there project, they are building the future. And that is why I wrote this reddit post. To inform the crypto community and make it grow. This is the next big thing.

Circ Supply: 12,072,738 QNT
Total: 14,612,493 QNT
Mcap: 103,500,327 $ USD
Whitepaper: https://www.quant.network/whitepape
submitted by FredericosEduardo to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Kill the Basilisk

I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure.
Myself included.
So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate.
But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall.
Yes, I’ve seen the video.
No, I won’t be sharing the link.
Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it.
Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air.
Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable.
Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman.
We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym.
What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck.
Inevitable, as you’d say.
Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often.
See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later.
I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt.
Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering.
Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked.
Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them.
Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance.
A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really.
As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school.
Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence.
Which is why I refuse to be silent.
Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of mo