Much has changed in the last week. I want to give you guys an idea of what I’m dealing with and my plans in the near future. As many of you know, my father’s health has taken a turn for the worse. He has been battling Cirrhosis for many years (along with Congestive Heart Failure in the last year) and was told last week that he is now in end stage liver failure.
To be honest, the news caused my head to spin but I’ve gotten it on straight. So, no one needs to worry about me. Since my mother is disabled and both are out of work, I will be moving in with my parents for awhile to help them in any way that I can. Which means, there will be some changes to my camming style.
This business is my only source of income. So, despite the huge change, I need to make it work and must make my goals if I am to support two households (my own in S. Florida and my parent’s household). I’m not going to lie, I have some worries because my cam style will have to change. I will sneak on cam any chance that I can - most likely late in the evening in my bedroom and possibly at outdoor locations during the day. I won’t be able to be as loud as I normally am but will work on fun games to keep us enjoying our time together. I have faith that no matter what we do, we will have a good time because my Penguin Army is like family.
The next days will be filled with paperwork, meeting with a lawyer to grant Power of Attorney to me and hospital visits. It’s been a hell of a ride (especially since my father is losing his cognitive functions and it is difficult for him to do the things we take for granted like walking, eating and even sleeping).
I appreciate any and all support for my Penguin Army. The support that has poured into my inboxes and twitter feed have filled my heart with joy and brought tears to my eyes many times. It’s heart warming that y’all are sticking by me even through the worst of it. It’s so common that people disappear during troubling times but I know who are my true friends since you’re still with me, sending me kind messages and making me smile. I wish I could express my gratitude fully for your kindness and support but there are not enough words in the English language.
I’ve remained strong, focus on one task at a time and am making sure to keep my parents smiling and laughing. They’re worried. We all are but there is no sense in collapsing and becoming morbid / depressed. There’s still so much beauty in this world, in my life, in the eyes of my family. I am thankful that we can go through this together. I am thankful to have my friends, you, to spend time with. I cannot promise anything but I hope that I can log online tomorrow night. The Penguin Army cheers me up and makes me giggle like a maniac. I miss those times and can’t wait to have them again!
May the penguin be with you. All of my love,
xoxo Aedan Rayne
The last Bitcoin bubble ran from March 16th ($47) through April 10th ($259) on BitStamp with somewhat higher numbers on MtGox. BTC fell from $259 to $130 in a couple of hours during the first exchange run, then fell a second time from all the way down to $60.
That 451% increase in 25 days almost completely evaporated once the speculators and traders decided to cash out. The thing that probably stopped another bubble from forming before now was the ineptitude of the amateur exchanges which simply fell over when it actually mattered and scared away everyone with any amount of real money.
I’ve seen nothing that would lead me to believe that the same thing won’t happen again.
First, as a service, the intrinsic value of Bitcoin is the sum of its benefits and drawbacks when compared to other digital currency services. I went over this earlier this year and anyone familiar with Bitcoin is probably aware of its many drawbacks and few benefits. Bitcoin is not nearly as anonymous as you think it is and never will be unless it becomes a viable currency, and right now that’s not the case.
Until that happens, three major problems stand in the way of practical anonymity:
- The nature of the way that Bitcoin functions means that every single transaction is broadcast publicly and recorded. Entire wallets could be moved from person to person covertly, but that’s not practical.
- Government surveillance capabilities have exploded in the last 20 years. If the United States and Israel can sneak mechanically-damaging malware into the networks and computers involved in Iran’s nuclear programs, can break VPNs with ease and possibly end-run around SSL, deep monitoring of BTC transactions from the exchange all the way down to your PC are well within reason.
- The need to exchange Bitcoins for real currency in order to do anything meaningful with them is its single weakest point. The two largest exchanges dealing in US dollars — MtGox in Japan and Bitstamp in Europe — are already taking steps to comply with US and international laws regarding money laundering that require proof of identity and residency that can be subpoenaed. Because exchanges sit outside the intention and design of the Bitcoin system, they are a natural point of attack for thieves and governments alike.
If what the NSA has done with Google and Facebook is any indication, along with existing surveillance of financial networks through Fincen, it’s possible that every currency exchange taking place at any company — including and especially China’s new exchange — is already being monitored and stored.
Other significant drawbacks besides a false sense of anonymity include the lack of transaction guarantees (delivery, time-to-delivery) and reversibility, no fraud protection, lack of fund security (lose your digital wallet, lose your funds), hidden fees from exchanges, uncertain future for fees which are guaranteed to increase but with no known boundary, a dearth of high quality client applications, no supporting commerce market, private and yet not authoritative protocol development not based on any vetted standard, unaddressed security weaknesses in the blockchain protocol, a lack of transaction metadata, and no plan to deal with inevitable contraction of the monetary base from wallet loss.
And that’s just off the top of my head. Compared to a service like Paypal which is available in 193 countries including Cyprus and China, Bitcoin has too many flaws and far too few benefits.
* * *
What’s causing the current bubble? It’s hard to say. Claims that financial problems in Cyprus caused the first bubble were laughable from the outset. Cyprus instituted capital controls before the bubble began to form, meaning banks were closed and ATMs were limited to less than €100 (about $135 dollars).
Some overly confident startups had planned to deploy Bitcoin ATMs to Cyprus within weeks, but the banks reopened long before that was ever feasible and they probably would have been illegal anyway. The first Bitcoin ATM wasn’t deployed until just the past week or so and it wasn’t in Cyprus or any country where it would actually benefit people.
Speculation is still the best explanation for the April bubble and very little has changed since then. Volume growth on the Chinese exchange hasn’t been nearly enough to account for the current bubble. If anything, it may be drawing in more investors and speculators looking to realize capital gains without paying any taxes.
The only cause of commodity bubbles is scarcity, and the three primary drivers of scarcity are increased demand, production shortfall, and of course speculation. There may be an increase in demand for BTC, but not so much as to explain a 187% increase in value in 18 days. There’s only been an increase in production this year, so that’s out. That only leaves speculation has the cause.
Things change quite a bit if you consider BTC a currency. Value can fluctuate based on subjective measurements like investment security. BTC is terrible for investment security because its value relative to other currencies is psychotic. Nobody is investing in BTC long-term because it has long-term prospects of rapid declines and is subject to manipulation like no other security can be.
Investors will complain endlessly about excessive regulation, but regulation is why financial markets can exist at all in modern times. Even a mildly successful attack on the blockchain could reduce confidence in Bitcoin’s viability and cause its value to plummet, allowing the attacker to buy up BTC at very low prices which could result in significant gains even for a very small recovery. Denial of service attacks against the three largest exchanges could easily cause a market crash. And none of that carries any threat from law enforcement. Exchanges aren’t banks, they are tiny and poorly run unregulated startups that could disappear off the face of the earth and nobody would care. The entire Bitcoin monetary base wouldn’t even qualify as a tiny hedge fund, even at $7 billion in value.
That only leaves speculators. It can’t be said with certainty precisely for the reasons that investors won’t seriously touch Bitcoin, because of the lack of transparency. Bitcoin is good for freedom advocates trying to avoid third world repressive governments, but it won’t hide you from the big players and it’s useless for just about anything else. But there just aren’t any other viable explanations for the April bubble and the one forming right now.
The only question I have is when will it pop. The last bubble (again using Bitstamp as a baseline) ranged from $47 to $259, a 451% increase. To match that this time, BTC would have to hit $800. This current bubble is just about to cross the 300% threshold, so it has a ways to go before it’s even as big as the last one.
But that doesn’t mean it’ll pop at precisely the same point. It could crash at any moment or build to 1500%, there’s no way to know without having more data. If the speculators aren’t moving BTC between exchanges and are primarily buying and selling on a single exchange, which doesn’t seem to be the case, it may never be possible to predict criticality. If funds are being regularly moved, it should be possible to tell how big the BTC reserves are and to identify the traders. Had that been done in April, it might be possible to estimate where the tipping point is based on where it was before.
That was never done, and isn’t being done now, which again is a big reason that real investors won’t touch Bitcoin.
Seems like MFC cam models say they’ll be on, then don’t get on, and they do it constantly. It’s understandable when you remember that most of them are in their early 20s and are inherently immature and irresponsible people that still have a lot of growing up to do.
But they’re screwing with a hybrid of fans-customers that pay their bills and enable that carefree lifestyle. Some day down the road, they aren’t going to have the body of a 20-year-old anymore and their fans are going to go somewhere else when they get jerked around like that. As far as jobs go, it may be fun and absurd, but that’s no excuse to act unprofessionally. The same rule applies to this as everything else in life. Don’t say you’re going to do something if you’re not going to do it.
Here are the questions I answered in my Obamacare/shutdown AMA on Newsvine:
Come read the answers. I played it as straight as I believe possible.
THIS IS A TUMBLR. I am on it. So many caps locks. Test post.
Brett Gardner is done for the season, but it’s not as bad as it could have been. With Soriano back, the Yanks have four outfielders that they’d love to play every day but can’t.
The short of it is that now you’ll get Curtis Granderson playing center every day instead of playing on the days that the other three get days off, which trades batting for average (Grander) for power (Granderson). The bench also isn’t as deep, but there’s still Vernon Wells.
Granderson is probably gone next year by the way, if the new management is really serious about cutting payroll. Cano may be gone as well. It depends on whether or not Cano will take less money for staying with the Yankees.
It also depends on how long Alex Rodriguez is out next year. Suspended players don’t get paid and that money doesn’t get deferred. We’re talking about New York saving ~$25 million next year of Alex misses the entire season. Maybe they use that money to keep Cano and Granderson and miss their target of coming in under $189 (is it 189?) million next year. Or maybe they meet the target and keep one of them.
I wrote about what the #Yankees would have to do to make the playoffs this year on August 11th, so I figured it’d be good to revisit those assumptions a month later.
Eric Holder is giving a speech as I write this about prison reform, which from the DoJ will include the federal government filing less serious charges for non-violent, non-dealing, non-gang-related drug offenses so that they won’t carry mandatory minimum sentences.
My first thought was which cable channels will ignore this speech and initiative, which is a very big deal. The answer, of course, was all of them. CNN, Headline News, MSNBC, and Fox News all refused to air the speech.
Denial this deep holds a kind of fascination for me.
I know you don’t want to hear about Mitt Romney but how about the weird psychological spectacle of massive denial in public figures. Does that interest you at all?
A vivid example came ‘round today in an excerpt of a new book by Dan Balz, the Washington Post’s most experienced political reporter. His chronicle of campaign 2012 will be out next month. In late January Balz went to visit Mitt Romney to interview him. Of course, the topic of the “47 percent” video came up. Romney still cannot accept the reality of what he said. He’s not even close.
I expected him to be somewhere in the vicinity of, “I know what I meant to say, but when I listen to the tape I clearly said something else.” Maybe not all the way there, but on the way to reconciling himself to his actual words. But he isn’t on the way. He’s actually going backwards. He tried to convince Dan Balz that everything we know about the 47 percent video is just “perception,” that when you read the words themselves that perception is contradicted.
Go read the entire thing.
I took half of a bunch of Tweets from the @BreakingNews account and combined them to make it less depressing:
Italian youth unemployment crashes in northern Ontario, Canada, killing 2 pilots and 2 paramedics
Thousands of demonstrators from the anti-capitalist Blockupy movement released from prison in Mexico after being held on drug-smuggling charge
Texas man questioned in connection with lightning in Arkansas
I read what Jose Canseco did, along with the predictable immediate mob-rule reactions like a concerted effort to get Canseco banned from Twitter.
Not defending Conseco, but the spirit of the first amendment is to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech doesn’t need protection.
To which someone I don’t know that doesn’t follow me responded:
This is intimidation not “free speech”.
Intimidation is speech.
The White House renewing calls for passing the federal media shield law is a twisted and amazingly devious strategy. Such a law would protect the AP and other outlets from what the White House just did to them, but the only reason the law didn’t pass in 2007 is because the GOP filibustered it in the Senate.