0xa32e
July 15th, 2022

Trust is one of the pillars of any relationship. Without trust, any relationship breaks down. Most people don’t really understand trust. Most people take their feelings for granted. I read you, you are trying to disapprove me, saying: “No, people don’t take trust for granted. See, there are companies that says ‘we build our products on trust’ and ‘we aim to ensure that our customers continue to trust us by doing what we said’, etc.” Believe me or not, these are people whom only understand trust at a surface level; and believe me or not, these people may apply trust in their workplace, but not at their home place. And believe me or not, workplace is never more important than homeplace. And believe me or not, that you need to trust more in your homeplace than in your workplace. And lastly, believe me or not, trust in homeplace with your close relationship is more complicated than trust in workplace with customers.

And that’s why one said, we take trust for granted. We already know a bit during experimentation on workplace, how to ensure we keep trust for customers, how to trust our customers, and how to trust our coworkers, how to trust our colleagues; yet, we don’t apply the research outcome to a more sophisticated, more headache, more complicated, more demanding, more required place: our home. In the extreme, to keep trust maintained in our workplace, we may sacrifice trust in our homeplace. Isn’t that stupid? Isn’t that taking trust for granted? There’s a Chinese speaking that goes like this:

攘外必先安内

It means, if there are lots of conflicts within your country, how can you feel safe to expand your country’s territory and influences? It usually used for countries; but it also applies for you, my dear reader. If you can’t keep trust within your homeplace, how can you keep trust in your workplace? Where are your base?

0xa32e
July 3rd, 2022

“Ahhh! You guys! You guys dare opposes me! Then shall this city pay for your opposing price!”

Hei Huang, being annoyed at his friends betrayal, summoned his power and raise the Earth to the sky. He turned it upside down, so humans started falling from the sky like rain, together with other objects that doesn’t stay intact to the toppled ground. He fly up quickly and slam on the piece of Earth, tearing it into pieces, like many pieces of meteorites hitting Earth.

“Shit!”

Bai Huang was about 1 minute away from the disaster. He quickly fly towards the location. He was feeling nervous, as his friend was a victim of Hei Huang’s revenge. Bai Huang cares for his friend a lot, much more than other things we could do in life. After all, he understands it’s his friends whom accompany you after he retire, not his work. And nourishing a close friends takes a really long time, many problems faced and solved, many irritants sat down and tell each other their expectations. It’s not easy, but the outcome is happier. And Hei Huang’s gonna destroy his happiness? Bai Huang cannot take it.

0xa32e
June 28th, 2022

Abstract

Intertribal communication and sharing of different skills opens the door to larger population aggregation, from tribes to cities to countries to empires. Let’s look at how knowledge evolves and transferred as time passes. All in all, we aim to become a more knowledgeable person.

Knowledge

Even without a civilization, the importance of knowledge is highlighted. Parent birds step a short distance away from their nest, encouraging their young to fly once they are ready to. Perhaps they might hit hard on the ground for a few times; but with practice and instinct, they get to fly sooner or later. Kittens could learn from their parents how to hunt faster, or try and fail many times on their own. Some knowledge are culture-specific, like chimpanzee populations whom crack nuts! The transfer of knowledge ensure species survival.

0xa32e
June 25th, 2022

Blockchain safety, or web3 safety, refers to a group of people researching for negative implications that blockchain and web3 brings. What new negative implications that haven’t yet exist does blockchain brings? I don’t know. What already negative implications does blockchain and web3 enhance, making it even more negative than it currently is? Hah, I know. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article.

If you haven’t understand what one means by blockchain safety (I’ll use blockchain safety and web3 safety interchangeably; but sometimes web3 refers to just the web, while blockchain refers to a larger, well, blockchain), let’s look to another field for an example: Machine Learning.

AI boom and Bitcoin boom happens around the same time, at around 2010; but AI safety has gone forward far more than blockchain safety. In fact, searching for “blockchain safety”, what one got is how blockchain prevents conglomerate from controlling data, how to make data transparent for its users, how to prevent conglomerate from secretly using users data for whatever usage, how to prevent hackers from hacking the blockchain, etc. There are nothing like AI safety, which talks about how AI brings negative implication to end users life, in blockchain. One didn’t research deeply, but “blockchain safety” certainly either not yet exist, or isn’t something popular: researching onto how blockchain (and/or web3) brings negative implications to end users life. This article plans to look a bit into that.

Let’s just take a look at AI safety in two paragraphs before continue. Feel free to skip to the next section if you feel you already understand what one tries to mean.

0xa32e
June 15th, 2022

When writing smart contracts, we aim for less gas consumption and less storage used. But as far as one know, both cannot be optimized together. Maybe there are special situations that they can, I don’t know. Usually, it’s like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, where after the minima, further optimizing the storage causes gas to increase, and further optimizing gas causes storage to increase. These are trade-offs to make and decide.

Database searches are fast. They are especially tuned for fast search. More than that, it can also search multiple fields at once, plus even matching partial searches. That’s not the same for searching basic programming storage, like hashmap (dictionary/hash) or vector (array/list). It isn’t optimized for searches, so it’s up to us how we design the data for optimizing search speed. To ensure search speed, we certainly need to sacrifice storage space optimization. There will be duplication of data when we try to improve data-access.

What Was Learnt Before

From fast.ai, one used to learn about how to search quickly. In particular, there’s a language machine learning model that requires storing a dictionary of words. Computer can’t understand words, so we need to convert words to an array/list of numbers. Fast.ai did the conversion, and it come two ways. There is a vector of words, stored like this:

0xa32e
June 14th, 2022

For quite a lot of people, if they can get it for free, why would they pay?

Is there a lot of people whom buys a collection sticker of their favorite artists or musicians? K-pop singer? Yes, quite a number. It’s a collectible, something they could collect physically and keep it somewhere. One would like to say only the rich can do this, but it’s not necessary. People might earn quite little but spend their whole income on certain things that they can’t escape their addictions with. By addictions, one don’t necessarily mean drugs, although that could be a case. Addiction towards collecting favorite K-pop singer at a super-expensive price is considered another.

Then people want to spend it on necessary things only. For example, food, drinks, rental fee. Perhaps they are on a budget, and they can only afford enough for these fundamentals. And consider how fundamental things (food, water, shelter) increases in price while salary stays the same, it’s reasonable to trigger a budgeting mechanism to spend only on things necessary, even if they could afford other luxuries like books. A consideration to save the money instead of spending on luxuries is, if not for stinginess, preparing for emergencies. No one knows if they would earn less than what they need to pay the next moment.

And that includes collectibles, and one mean NFTs. Who spend the most on NFTs? Those that don’t have financial crisis. Well, maybe plus those that are willing to spend their remaining fortune on something they’re addicted to too! But mostly, we wouldn’t expect people to spend money on things that are available for free. Let’s just say books: if they could get it for free from their library, why would they want to buy a new one? And books are doomed to be pirated. When a book becomes popular, people will find a way to make it free publicly, even if it means pirating the contents. And say, music and movies? Piration on YouTube even if it gets taken down soon. It’s unknown to me why someone spending money on the content wants to make it publicly free, what are their motives, perhaps to share their joy. And “Give and Take” by Adam Grant suggests people whom are a giver would be more successful: so perhaps these are successful person that gets them pirated as a gift for others that cannot afford the contents.

0xa32e
June 11th, 2022

We have been too comfortable with life.

Humanity grew more peaceful in the last century. The formation of United Nations reduces war on a larger scale, and “most people” live in peace thereafter. Medicine and Therapy discoveries via scientific methods -- as opposed to traditional methods like bloodletting -- allows for longer life expectancy. And comparing today to the previous century, as we slowly perfected procedures, an average person lives more peaceful than before.

At least that’s what seen from the surface.

What does an average American eats today? Or perhaps, what does most people around the world eats today? Unhealthy foods, unhealthy beverages, chemical products. We are overdependent on medicine for our health than exercises and healthy routines. If we catch a disease (including obesity), we could go to the hospital or pharmacy, and take a prescription as countermeasure against our unhealthy routines. The invention of medicines allow modern humans to depend on medicines for longer life expectancy than healthy routines. They are welcome to demolish their body, then gets repaired via medicines, and demolish again, enjoying the “happiness” and addiction that unhealthy foods and beverages brings. We could choose to ignore our health conditions, at least when we’re still young, as medicine backed us up.

0xa32e
June 10th, 2022

We have heard about the 51% attacks on validator nodes. It's when more than or equal to 50% of the validator nodes are controlled by hackers, whom could then control transactions, including reversing a transaction. But 51% attacks doesn't occur just for nodes! It could also happens on DAOs.

Consider this situation: a member is a BCH lover (NEAR lover); and he/she brings in members of their family to join the community. So we have active members as families here. Each family members, due to their activity, are allowed to join in a DAO and gain voting power.

Now, imagine the DAO has 13 council/community members with voting power; and out of the 13, 7 of them comes from the same family. If the family members sit down and make a decision without involving the other members, they could dominate DAO votes. It doesn't matter if all the others disagree. What matters is they discussed it within the family (especially if exclusive of community or against community expectations), and they decide something. This is the 51% attacks on DAO. The DAO is now a family-owned DAO; not a community-owned DAO.

It's not just limited to family members. Example, if students from the same class, lead by the teacher, join a same DAO. Assume that the DAO is owned by global community; but because more than 51% of voting members are from that classroom, if they make a decision within the classroom without involving the other voting members, they could perform a 51% attacks on the voting decisions. The DAO is now a classroom-owned DAO; not a community-owned DAO.

0xa32e
June 9th, 2022

Some story are interesting, some are not. You tend to read an interesting story slowly, word by word; while skipping and skimming uninterested stories, hopefully getting to some interesting part where we slow down, then start skipping/skimming again after that. But what makes a story boring? Too much details.

Note: these are one’s opinions. Different people have different opinion, attracted to different style, so observe your audience before deciding what style to adapt. Also note that, whatever style you write will have complainers. It’s impossible to make everyone happy, which is why we only make our target audiences happy.

First, too much details. An interesting story have feasible length. Great authors tend to write at a suitable high- or mid-level, deliberately ignoring details when necessary. On the other hand, new writers gets too excited by every single details, every single finger movement, every single specifics of how and why things work, and put them all down. It’s okay to put minute details down if you’re writing a scientific lab book or report; but not for general audiences. Our brain is designed to ignore details that we don’t need to care about, and be aware that different people are attuned to different details that they care about. Writing in minute details, we enforce others to read what we care about, which they probably don’t care about. The clashes of attuned details causes readers to lost interest in your work. Write your first draft with all the details, rewrite it by cancelling out the details, and rewrite again for neatness. If you love details, you’ll probably find that you can delete more than 50% of your writings (in a single blog post/story).

Second, abuse of “because”. Similar to previous paragraph, “because” puts details that most probably aren’t necessary. Not everyone is logical, at least one hate it when people talks like: “____ because ____ because _____ because…” as if they need to explain every single thing, finding that their explanation itself isn’t clear hence put another “because” to explain their explanation and repeat. Even a single “because” every sentence causes irritation. It’s okay to just mention the first sentence blurrer, and only explain when your audience demands explanation. Usually, when we find ourselves using “because”, its most probably we are weak at putting things straight and easy to understand in the first part of the sentence (anything before the first “because”). Even in scientific area, we use “because” because we make our first sentence too generic. Let’s take two examples.

0xa32e
June 7th, 2022

New technologies introduces new positions and supersede old positions. Only those whom can adapt thrives.

Some have significant difference in its new and old positions, while others are somewhat similar with new tools. Those with smaller difference includes electrical saw replacing axe in lumberjack sector, electrical motors replacing human rowers in boats, etc. These don’t easily lose their job, providing the lumberjack is willing to invest in an electrical saw and learns how to use it, for example. Learning to adapt and learning the new platform/technology retain their job.

Not every technological changes are that lucky. Consider industrial revolution: factories introduce frontline workers and supersede blacksmith, cloth makers, handcraft makers, etc. Digger car supersede human diggers. Taxi drivers supersede horse carriage drivers and human carriages (carriages pulled by single human or carriages carried by at least four humans). Self-serving machines replacing human cashiers. Blacksmith understand the process of making metal, but they not necessary can become frontline workers nor managers. Someone knowing how to use a shovel not necessarily know how to drive a digger car. A single digger car replaces many human diggers, more unemployment than new positions. Cashier can become salesperson; but if the supermarket have enough salesperson already, unless cashier directly migrate to fix bugs on the self-serving machine, they risk losing their job. What jobs are open and closed for blockchain technology?

If your job is helping customers to open a new bank account, it most likely superseded. Your other responsibility may retain, but opening a new wallet replaces opening a new bank account. There’s no need for a bank account on the blockchain. Banks can survive as another entity, like CEX (Binance Exchanges, etc); but banks itself, not really. Workers originally working on banks may work as a consultant, but positions specific to traditional banks will be closed. Bank positions most likely changes to consultant or CEX positions.

0xa32e
June 4th, 2022

Why do users restrain from using blockchain? Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubts.

Internet have scams and frauds, but still a lot of users use it, because it offers a far greater benefits than without it. It not only goes through a stage overcoming fear, uncertainties, and doubts, but also goes through a stage where, without it, people feel “they can’t live anymore.” Internet creates a dependency where its users depends on it. Its users are mostly addicted to it. We can see, with terms like “internet sabbaticals”, “restricting internet access time” coming up days to days. How does people restraint from using web3?

Fear, uncertainties, and doubts. While there exist internet banking today, various precautions and safety are in place that provides a safe haven for users to use. By safe haven, one don’t mean somewhere that’s absolutely safe. Password digest transferred through the internet isn’t absolutely safe, nor are password saved inside a database risk being hacked. A safe haven is somewhere where users find their community, where users can stop worrying about the various headaches of forgetting their passwords, of the security, etc. It’s something more emotional than logical.

Considering blockchain. We assign the responsibility of each users to themselves, that they would keep their ledger safe, that they would keep their secure passphrase safe, that they won’t forget what their secure passphrase is. Not every users know how to put their password in Excel and encrypt their Excel file. Not every users have the thoughts of backing things up. And as a human, if we can stop worrying about something and assign that responsibility to somebody else, we tend to. We’re in favor of someone holding responsibility for us, so when things goes wrong, we can blame them than ourselves. It’s their fault, not ours, to lose our stuffs. We have something more important to care about, and we had already reassign these attention-demanding passwords and security to some experts and trustible entity to keep them for us. Blockchain tries to assign the responsibility back to the users that causes upheaval: a fear that they would lose their password and no one to back them up, no one there to help them, and they are in the water themselves, no one to save them.

0xa32e
June 3rd, 2022

Books: Evolution of What to Sell

Before the Internet, we sell papers. We buy books for its information, true; but we also sell the papers that captures that information we need. When internet became available, books become paperless (at least, for e-books), and we sell only its information. We could have physical guards guarding the shop, preventing people from reading inside the shop without buying. As for e-books, we have lots of locks (expiring PDFs, non-printable contents, format that requires special program to unlock first then read, etc) for gatekeeping its content. Now that information become decentralizes, it’s time to re-think whether we should be selling something else, except for its information.

Even physical books make changes. For example, one get to read books in a book store without buying it. It’s clear that, as long as we don’t damage the book, people are free to read the information and only buy the papers as a collection. Libraries exist to allow people whom can’t afford buying the book, or whom only needs the information (which they can finish reading real quick) for free. Then, internet libraries exist like Archive or OpenLibrary that either store a physical or electronic copies somewhere, bought from a store, and lend it for anyone with an account to borrow. Though with online libraries, to ensure it works like a real libraries, when someone is owning the copy for a period of time, others can’t read. What we want, minimally, is something that all of us could read at once, transparently, but anyone could also buy and support the author as a collection.

Let’s look first at a hybrid solution, solving web2 problem using web3 solution, before moving on to re-think a web3 problem with a web3 solution.