This is why I no longer live in the United Kingdom

Imagine for a moment someone makes an insensitive tweet in a repressive country which polices morals heavily, such that saying mean things is banned. Then imagine that the police investigate this “crime” and are unable to meet the very loose standards required to prosecute someone for it. Then imagine that, out of spite, the police force decides to report the user to Twitter anyway, for perfectly legal conduct, and in so doing succeeds in having the offending tweet censored from the site.  It’s not Saudi Arabia, North Korea or Sudan we’re talking about here. It’s England.  And that’s why I…

Against Tokens (and token Crowdsales)

Part of a two-part series. See Against Tokens: Part II (Token Harder). Yesterday, I was having lunch with Tierion’s Wayne Vaughan at our local Irish diner when our conversation turned to a rather distressing recent development we’d both noticed in the “blockchain” space. That development is that certain people who frankly should know better are openly discussing whether speculative investment in “crypto crowdsales” (for the uninitiated, this is the practice of creating a Bitcoin clone or some other distributed protocol, and selling “coins” or “shares” in the protocol directly to the public in exchange for investment funds) should be encouraged. Long have I been a vocal critic of…

On Fred

[I am reposting below a short essay by a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless. This was written shortly after the conclusion of the 2012 presidential election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.] I used to have a friend who was a con man. I don’t mean this metaphorically, I mean it literally. I’ll call him Fred, because I doubt he’d want me blabbing his actual name online. Fred used to run a bogus psychic hotline service that he advertised in supermarket tabloids (this was 20 years ago when such things still were popular) — the most gullible people…