Bitcoin firm CEO found dead in suspected suicide Fox News
Bitcoin firm CEO found dead in suspected suicide Fox News
Bitcoin firm CEO found dead after ‘suicide’
American Bitcoin exchange CEO found dead in her Singapore ...
Bitcoin CEO found dead: ‘Everything has its price’
Bitcoin Isn’t Dead But One Day You Will Be
9 Japanese Firms Get Blackmail Letters, Reportedly Laced With Cyanide -- The letters were sent under the names of executed members of the Aum Shinrikyo -- the Japanese doomsday cult behind the deadly 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo -- and demanded 35 million won ($31,000) in bitcoins
9 Japanese Firms Get Blackmail Letters, Reportedly Laced With Cyanide -- The letters were sent under the names of executed members of the Aum Shinrikyo -- the Japanese doomsday cult behind the deadly 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo -- and demanded 35 million won ($31,000) in bitcoins
Bored? Looking for something to do? Start with this list of things to do in the Sacramento area.
(Credit for the below list has to be given to u/BurritoFueled, who created the original list in 2014 and updated it a year later. Almost two-thirds of the items below are still from that original list. All I’ve done with the list is revive it a little bit by updating dead links and making little tweaks when necessary. Also, thanks to those that submitted new additions to the list last week. Over a third of the below items are new and a lot of the original items have had newer information added onto them.) People are always looking for something to do around here. Maybe you’re a transplant, unaware of what this area has to offer, or maybe you’re a lifelong resident, tired of the same old thing. Well friend, if you fall into the latter category, do not despair. There’s actually plenty of things to do in the Sacramento area – things of interest to almost any lifestyle, personality, or budget. So, whether you’re an athlete, geek, eccentric, hipster, weirdo, sexual deviant or just a normal person looking for a new activity, below is a list of activities for you to try. Please note that it includes only activities that take place at least a few times a year – no one-off events or festivals here. Enjoy this list. If you have any suggestions of your own to add, comment below in this thread. I'll try to keep this as up to date as possible. Away we go. UPDATED 10-6-20 (Note: Due to the current pandemic, some of these activities may be curtailed or not offered at all.)
Become the next Tiger Woods (the golf part, not the cheating, getting your windshield smashed by your wife with one of your golf clubs part). Start by hitting up a driving range at Top Golf or Haggin Oaks.
Purchase the sweetest sweet corn in all the land at the Davis Ranch in Sloughhouse.
When you're done in Sloughhouse, head a little further up the Jackson Highway (just past Rancho Murieta), hang a left on Michigan Bar Road, and cross the bridge (it's safe, trust me!) for one of the most historic, beautiful, and adventurous road trips in the entire area. Make sure you bring a hearty vehicle and avoid during winter and spring.
Check out – or offer your services – at the Oak Park Fix-it Café, a community-powered gathering for repairing and maintaining bicycles, clothing, household items, and the ties that bind a healthy community.
Buy some tricks, attend magic workshops, and become the next David Blaine at Grand Illusions.
Go watch some horseracing at Cal Expo. It’s harness racing from November through April and then traditional horseracing during the state fair. Want to end up with small fortune at the end of your day at the track? It’s easy. Just start your day there with a large fortune.
Watch some high school football! The Sacramento region boasts some of the best high school programs in the state. Check out top notch teams like Grant, Elk Grove, Folsom, and Del Oro to see potential NCAA Division 1 and NFL players of the future.
Watch some college football! Sac State had a huge resurgence in 2019 and UC Davis has always had a solid program. You can also check out the JC teams such as ARC and Sac City.
If Live-Action Role Play (LARP) floats your boat, Sacramento Valley Amtgard has the battles, weapons workshops, and skills classes you've been looking for.
Take a ride on the Sacramento River Train. You can ride the train or power along the tracks yourself with railbikes. They have different train excursions, including beer tasting and wine tasting trips. If you want to book a trip on a weekend, book early.
Want to learn how to fish? Try Fishing in the City from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. After you’ve learned, check out the blog from FishingBooker on where and when to go fishing and what to expect. For some recent local recommendations, check here, here, here or here.
If fishing tours are more your style, catch your lunch on a guided fishing tour of local waterways.
Take in a play at one of Sacramento's smaller, edgier, more contemporary community theatre companies, like the Big Idea Theatre.
Do you like beer and visiting breweries, but don’t like driving between them? Midtown Sacramento has got you covered! Make a day of it by visiting these breweries, all within easy walking distance of each other: At Ease, Sacrament, Big Stump, Golden Road, Fieldwork, and Alaro. If you don’t mind walking a few extra blocks, you can add Device and Urban Roots to the list.
Ever wanted to learn to sail, kayak or row? You’re in luck! The Sac State Aquatic Center offers lessons for those activities and more.
Antiquing never gets old, right? Visit Midway Antique Mall in Citrus Heights (focusing almost solely on midcentury wares), Antique Trove in Roseville, or the Antique Fair that happens every second Sunday on X Street, under the freeway.
Want to become the next Picasso? You gotta start somewhere, so take a paint and sip class at The Painted Cork in Midtown Sacramento or Historic Folsom.
It’s well known that you can play miniature golf at Scandia, but did you know that there are indoor mini golf courses in the area as well? Try SacMiniGolf in Old Sacramento, Flatstick Pub in DoCo downtown, or even glow-in-the-dark indoor mini golf at Monster Mini Golf in Rancho Cordova or at CaliGlo in Elk Grove.
The Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society meets, and hosts a talk, at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park monthly and welcomes guests. They also do field trips and their Annual Show and Sale is a must-see event for plant lovers.
Not to diminish the concert series at Fair Oaks Village Park, but when you hear "concerts in the park", everyone knows that is the Concerts in the Park series in downtown Sacramento. Live local and national acts perform on Friday evenings in the summer, and it’s totally free. If you’re not good with crowds you may want to give this a miss because it is packed!
Vacation or day trip so close, yet feel so far away, along the Delta. Rent a boat, jet skis, a cabin or camping spot, buy some bait and tackle, and/or eat out at various locations on the river.
Take a drive around the world’s smallest mountain range: the Sutter Buttes. You can actually drive around and hike the Sutter Buttes in the same day, however hiking is not free, you must do it as part of a guided group and you have to reserve a spot in advance.
Unpopular opinion - the economy has to become dynamic in order for it to have any longevity (and other musings on the progression)
Ain't no one gonna read this but here it goes! The issue of progression has recently been gaining some traction in the community with Klean and DeadlySlob covering this topic recently. Now any solution to this has an inherent issue associated with it - it'll be uncomfortable to someone. Whatever is done, it'll negatively affect someone, just by the fact of change alone. You cannot make something better by not changing anything. So anything you do or don't do, you will alienate a portion of your playerbase. Early/Mid-game vs Late game. Early and mid game is lauded, late game is considered boring. But why? For startes, firefights last longer, require more skill, movement, tactics and outsmarting your opponent. You value your life, you feel respect even for the shittiest of bullets. You have a feeling that the kill is earned. Guns have tons of recoil so you need to pick your shots. It's... I know it's illegal... but it's fun. Late game however is plagued with a number of issues. Gear gets dominated by very similar loadouts that cover approx 10% of the gear in the game. There's nowhere to progress as you've reached the ceiling. The excitement from killing a kitted player diminishes as time goes as the economy saturates. People start being picky with their loot and only the good stuff brings any sort of satisfaction. The hideout provides a steady, predictable stream of income. You let it run long enough it becomes a mindless PVP battleground. Side note - the black and white fallacy of the makeup of the community. Casuals vs hardcores. Rats vs Chads. Whenever a discussion pops up this dichotomy is always present. "Feature X hurts casuals but doesn't bother hardcore gamers playing 8h a day". No. Like anything in life the population of EFT is subject to the bellcurve distribution. There are hardcore sweaties grinding out the kappa within a week and there are also sunday gamers. Then there's everything else in between. Let's keep that in mind. You don't need to be a streamer or play the game as a full time job to make money. We have a discord for 30+ yr old gamers with families and all of us were swimming in roubles and gear after 3 months of the past wipe. Sure it takes us longer than streamers, but still. The meta Taking weapons as an example. Different items have different stats (recoil, ergonomics, etc), some are obviously better than others which obviously makes them more sought after. There are also different ammo types for every caliber. Then lastly we come to the guns which directly tie into the first point, by their base stats and how much those can be brought down/up by attachments. If you have a plethora of items that have different stats, there's sure to be an optimal loadout. If that optimal loadout is always available at an attainable price to the point where you can run it consistently, then there's really no reason to run anything less. This is the meta and at the moment it's basically a synonym for best in slot. Appealing to a greater good such as gameplay variety is in vain because people will do everything to put themselves in the best possible position. If that means running whatever flavor of meta weapon that is - VAL, M4, FAL alongside top tier lvl 5 or 6 armor over and over and over and over again, so be it. We all know that's not the only way to get by in EFT, but all else being equal - top gear puts you on equal footing at minimum. Trash contextualizes treasure. A rare item is not rare if everyone is running it. It's a normal item. Gear minmaxing combined with a ceiling in progression create a situation where the game becomes stale, people get bored and we get chants for a wipe to releave the pressure. Wipes Wipes however, even at set intervals, are not the solution. Every wipe, in the absence of something fundamentally new, gives you (rapidly) diminishing returns. Doing the same quests over and over is an absolute drag. It's my 7th wipe and this time around I've really hit a brick wall with them. Now imagine doing them every 3 months. Maybe just do an inventory and trader level wipe? Yeah, that's just skipping one part of it and arriving at the same point but even quicker, considering how quickly you can make money. The endpoint being - having enough money to run anything you want all the time without the fear of getting broke. Or in the abstract, having a big enough cushion to make any blow from a bad streak become inconsequential. All of that is just a perpetuation of the same sawtooth progression. Grind, saturate, wipe, grind, saturate, wipe. Side note - persistent character vs wiped character I know there have been talks about having two characters - one persistent that's not wiped and one seasonal that is. On paper this might look like a good solution, but there are some problems. POE players would have to chip in, but I reckong, that in a way this might become a form of matchmaking - the persistent character would be a mode for "sunday" players, while the wiped one for the sweats. I mean, maybe that's the way to go, but if the game is to gave any longevity, the persistent character will eventually face the same issues as the current game, it'll just take longer to develop. Unpopular opinion - The economy is just a set of time and effort gated unlocks. There have been multiple ideas to prolong a wipe, but in my view the fundamental issue with those is that they're based off the same linear progression - start from scratch and acumulate wealth until saturation. Some of these ideas include restricting labs till level X, locking behind a quest or just disabling it for a month. The problem with these is that it's just delaying the inevitable, while also giving a direct buff to those who get there first as they'll have the place virtually to themselves. What follows is also the concept of "starting mid wipe", which essentially means that the gear disparity is so big that the further into a wipe, the more difficult it is to catch up. That effort is directly correlated with experience - the more experience you have the easier it is for you to reset or jump in midwipe. Extending a wipe potentially alleviates that by giving people more opportunity to catch up, but also pushes away from coming back/into the game if they recognize that it had passed their personal breakpoint where it's too hard / frustrating. Perpetual mid-game So out of all of that, a clearer picture emerges. We have to somehow find a solution to always have something to work for, but also not give the impression that you're up against an impenetrable wall. That means that the game needs to pivot around something colloquially known as mid game. How would we define mid-game? That's another debate, but for the sake of the argument we could define that as something in the range of:
Armor: Kirasa/6B23-1 to 6B3TM-01M or Uley chest rigs,
Ammo: 5.45 BP to BT, M855 to M856A1, 7.62 PS to TS-45, etc.
That would be the sort of mean loadout you can run on a consistent basis and you'd see the majority of the time. From the sentiment across the community, this seems to be the most enjoyable state of the game, where the sweetspot is in terms of protection and vulnerability, but allowing a lot of headroom for both variety and Solutions Now we must have to remember that there's a number of changes inbound that will alleviate some of the issues:
Armor will get more realistic hitboxes to match the actual armor plates which should flatten the armor progression curve quite a bit and make more ammo more viable.
Suppressors will get durability
Barrell overheating mechanics should alleviate some of the issues with magdumps.
But those are sill far on the horizon. The uncomfortable reality is that in order to truly balance that you have only a few choices. One is to go down the route of typical FPS tropes where every weapon type is perfectly balanced (i.e. shotguns powerfull but limited range, smg's low recoil, high ROF but weaker, dmrs powerful but high recoil and low ROF, etc). I don't think this will be ever a thing in the game. Another one is to make attachments roughly equal and just attribute the differences to the tacticool visual factor. This would be realistic in a way, but would take away from the game. The last one is to price them out. Literally. I'm of the unpopular opinion that endgame should not be a stage, it should be a state. Dynamic pricing I know I know, last time it failed spectacularly. However, that was a different flea market and the implementation was poorly thought out. Since it didn't have a pivot point to relate to it caused widespread inflation of even the most basic items and was prone to manipulation. However the concept in principal has proven itself to work - M995 was essentially priced out of existence and forced people to look for alternatives like M855A1 or M856A1 or different calibers alltogether. Even the sweaties of sweats got a bit excited when they killed someone with 3 60rounders filled with M995. See where I'm going with this? The execution was poor and poorly thought out. But how about a different implementation? Adjust the prices based on how much an item is (or is not) bought compared to other items of the same item type. Most popular items' price (of a specific category) increases, while the least popular one decreases. This could also be coupled with (or as an alternative) an additional rarity factor which would sort of specify how volatile the price is. Continuing the ammo example M995 would have the highest rarity factor and would be very prone to price increases, while the likes of M855 would be considered common and have a much more stable price. Obviously this would be subject to long term trends and would not happen overnight. But the main aim is to dynamically scale the economy to the general wealth of the playerbase around a certain pivot point which we established before as the mid-game. This would be a quite significant blow to the uberchads as they would unironically struggle to maintain a profit from their runs. And yes, some of them would still probably be able to pull this off, but remember what we said about the bell curve? It's just about making them so insignificant in the global player pool that they'd be a very rare occurance. Global item pools This idea has been floated around by Nikita some time ago but we have no ETA on this. In short - for some items, there is only a set amount that is present in circulation. For example there are only X amount of ReapIR's in the entire economy - spawns, traders, player stashes. If everyone hoards them in their stashes - thats where they'll remain. They don't spawn on maps, they're not sold on traders. Only until they're lost they get reinjected into the item pool. This idea should be reserved only for the absolute top tier OP items. Something that you'd get all giddy if found/looted and you'd contemplate taking it out. Side note, the X amount should scale to the active playerbase, which could be something like a weekly or biweekly moving average of people actively playing the game in a set period. Insurance This one is a bit controversial but also attributes to some of the in game inflation and gear recirculation. If you run a large squad, even if one of you dies, there's a high chance someone will survive and secure others' gear. And even if all of you die, something's bound to come back. This might be a bit controversial, but I think group size should have a debuff to the chance of getting your gear back the higher the bigger your squad size, for example an incremental 10% chance for each additional squadmate. Hideout adjustments Right now fuel consumption is static no matter how much stuff is going on. What if the fuel consumption rate was tied to the size of your bitcoin farm and the amount of crafting going on. Additionally hideout appliances could wear out and require maintenance, which would grant them performance debuffs like increased crafting time. Dynamic stocks. Right now stocks are predictable. You have the same amount of items at a set interval. Things like traders missing some items or not getting a restock due to broken supply lines, which can be cheekily tied into... Dynamic global events/quests Such as as getting rid of scavs on a particular location to remove the roadblock. These might be done per player or as a global event where everyone has to chip in. Summary The subject is difficult and solutions are not simple, but what I do know is that eventually Tarkov will have settle into an identity which will come with a sacrifice either at the expense of vision or mainstream popularity. Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk. I'd like to give a heartfelt thank you to the 5 people that read this wall of text.
[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 1/2)
Source | Guestbook Note: Some answers were repetitive, but were not edited out.
Have you ever gotten into legal trouble by exploring the dark places of the internet? Like, "sorry, officer, I was only surfing drug markets and child molester forums for my next journalism piece..." Do you worry about that? Do you have to take extra steps to protect yourself?
I'm very careful not to go anywhere that it is illegal to visit. You will hear loads of stories about how easy it is to "stumble upon" child porn, but the fact is that those sites usually have names like "Preteen cuties" so you know exactly what they are, and in order to access them you have to register. So you have to make a very deliberate choice to log into them. I have no interest whatsoever in viewing any child abuse material, so I don't go into those places. When I was researching The Darkest Web, I went to the discussion forums that didn't allow any images (though they did link to sites that did), and even there I turned off images.
As for the drugs, weapons etc, there is nothing illegal about surfing them and looking around.
I do get a bit nervous every time I visit the US, especially when I was invited to a "friendly" lunch with Homeland Security once (it was reasonably friendly as it turns out, it was also terrifying)
the below is a reply to the above
Why did homeland security want to talk to you?
They said it was about the murder-for-hire stuff, but some of the questions leaned toward something else
Is there anything that really concerns you about the dark web? Some of the things already discussed are beyond barbaric and that is only the stuff that has been found out about and been picked up by the media and your fantastic work. Do you think the public should expect worse and more horrific revelations from the dark web or is it just "more of the same" for lack of a better term and do you think the authorities are getting better in shutting this inhumanity down and catching the people responsible?
I am definitely not against people taking back their online privacy and I actually think that buying drugs from the darknet markets is a safer and more sensible option than buying them from the dodgy dealer down the road. However the one thing that is really disturbing is that the dark web has provided a place for child predators to find each other and form communities where they support and egg each other on. Imagine a few years ago, someone who was into hurtcore could never tell anyone else and would be unlikely to ever come across another person with the same perversions. Now it is as simple as finding the relevant site on the dark web. When there are suddenly hundreds of people who all think and act in the same way, it normlalizes what they are doing.
One of the guys who got caught, Matthew Falder, was a sadist who used to crowdsource "ideas" for torturing the children and teens he was blackmailing into doing heinous things for him online. But apparently he was a "normal" intelligent popular guy
the below is a reply to the above
But how does everyone participate in those illegal sites without getting caught? You said in other comments that you tried to stay away from underaged sites because they were illegal. Can't they be tracked down, even with tor and a vpn? The thing that I don't understand is that even on the dark web people say you should stay away from illegal sites, but how are pedos not getting caught?
they are getting caught, but the way they are getting caught is through painstaking detective work, looking for clues in photos, befriending them online and getting them to reveal things about themselves (what is known as social engineering). It takes a long time and many resources.
I say don't go there because (a) it is illegal and (b) you really shouldn't want to go there
Iirc you attended the trial of the person behind the horrific hurt core website that was exposed a few years back. I was wondering if there was anything in particular that happened during the trial that particularly shocked or horrified you that isn't really public knowledge or talked about? Reactions from the judge or perpetrator during the trial etc. As I remember it the guy was a fairly young loner who lived with his parents but would probably never have been expected to be behind the horrific vile things which he was found to be. Also, how did you get into investigative journalism/writing?
I wrote in one of the other replies above about the little mute girl that has stayed with me. Also, at the insistence of the prosecution, the judge had to watch "Daisy's Destruction" which was a video of torture of a toddler. He put it off for two days and when he came back he was white. He didn't have the sound on, which is considered the worst part, but he still looked shell-shocked. I don't envy him.
I'll cut'n'paste re your last question: I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
the below is a reply to the above
Thanks for the reply.. that really must've been horrific for all involved from investigation to trial and for all of the victims (apart from the scum responsible of course). I guess it would be naive to assume that the end of this site did anything other than drive this depraved community even further underground. That is the part which is really scary to me but I suppose all we can do is have faith that the authorities are always close on the tail. Thank you for your work on reporting on this and raising this stuff more into the public consciousness and making people more aware of what kind of evil still lurks.
It was the most disturbing two days of my life, made all the worse because they read out hours of interactions from the site where the children still had not been identified or the predators caught.
Hurt2theCore was not the last site of its kind and there are still hurtcore sites to this day on the dark web. The one hopeful thing is that there are international task forces that seem to work together really well (unlike when it comes to drugs and every law enforcement agency wants to take the lead and they all withhold info from each other). There are a lot of resources allocated to identifying predators and their victims. Sometimes this has involved some very controversial tactics, such as taking over the sites and letting them run, so that they can use social engineering techniques to identify those who are using the sites and who are actually abusing children
the below is another reply to the original answer
So daisy's destruction is real? Was it referred to by that name court? I always thought it was a myth
Yes, Daisy's Destruction is real, it was referred to by name in court and the judge had to watch the 12 minutes of it that were hosted on Hurt2theCore.
The "myth" part is that it shows a murder. The toddler, Daisy, lived, though she suffered such horrific injuries she will never be able to bear children. Hopefully she was young enough that she will grow up without the memory.
However, Scully did murder at least one child, whose body was found under the floorboards of his house. it is not known whether he filmed her murder as no video evidence of it has come to light.
the below is a reply to the above
Thanks for answering. I actually watched a really good video on Hurt2theCore on youtube once, I think it was by a guy called Nexpo. It was really detailed and informative about the whole case - I forgot those details. Thanks again for replying, this AMA is really informative!
I think I recall that one, it was from a few years ago.
An excellent podcast that came out recently is "Hunting Warhead", highly recommend a listen. It is a tough listen, but exceptionally well-told and respectfully handled
How do you detach yourself from your work? I'm an investigator for a law firm and I've had a lot of difficult working on wrongful death cases recently. Also, how did you first end up getting published? Any tips for people interested in that field? Thanks!
I don't detach. When I was researching hurtcore, it was harrowing and affected me deeply. Writing that part of the book was a very slow process because I just couldn't be in that headspace for very long at a time. Once the book was written I didn't go back there.
I already had a reputation as a blogger and a freelance journalist when i pitched my book on Silk Road. I got an agent and it was auctioned off, with Pan MacMillan getting the rights. At the time, Silk Road was still going strong, and the book I wrote was about this new frontier of drug dealing that was changing the world. I was writing it "from the inside" as I had been an active part of the community for two years. However, right as I submitted the final manuscript to my publisher, Silk Road was busted and Ross Ulbricht arrested, so i had to quickly change the narrative to a "Rise and Fall" thing!
How many times have you approached law enforcement with information and how many times has the approach resulted in action? and... are there times where you know something nefarious is happening but history and the evidence at hand tells you it's not worth the effort?
There is no point in approaching law enforcement to say "I have come across this site". If I've found it, you can guarantee law enforcement has found it as well.
The only time I've approached law enforcement was when I had information that they did not, which was when a friendly hacker provided me with a back door into the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire site. I got to see all the messages and orders etc. Of course LE knew about the site, but they did not have the details of the people who had hits taken out on them. We tried desperately to tell police in several countries that real people had paid real money to have other real people killed, but they just weren't interested. We sounded like crazy people talking about dark web hitmen, who were scams anyway and nobody was dead, so why should they be interested? They became much more engaged when one of the people WE HAD PREVIOUSLY TOLD THEM ABOUT later turned up dead
the below is a reply to the above
By law enforcement, do you mean only local or else the big agencies? I feel like I wouldn't tell my local police department because they wouldn't really know what to do. It would have to the the bigger agencies.
FBI in US. NCA in UK. AFP in Australia. Nobody was very interested, although the FBI did visit at least one of the targets to let her know she was a target. She still wound up dead
What are some of the most prevalent uses of the dark web that AREN'T all shady and nefarious?
We might be getting into semantics here, but people use Tor, which is the most possible darknet that is used to access the dark web, just for private browsing and ensuring that commercial interests aren't following them everywhere to bombard them with ads for some thing they looked up.
Some of the news organizations have a dark web presence so that whistleblowers can upload information safely. Even the CIA has a site on the dark web so that people can anonymously tip off matters of national security.
Other than that, there are just forums, where you don't have to worry that every single stupid thing you post will be saved in posterity forever, to be trotted out years later when you run for congress or something
After everything you've seen, does anything surprise you anymore or are you just numb to it at this point? Do you think there should be more education/exposure about the dark web than there is now or would that just be counter-productive as people would just find another place to hide? I'm curious to hear any favourite stories about the Psychonauts.
I am not numb and I hope I never become numb. I really don't visit the horrible dark places very often, unless I'm researching something specific, and even then I don't look at pictures or videos. Most of the crime is pretty benign - I'm not fazed by people wanting a safer way to buy drugs.
I think there needs to be ongoing discussions about online activity and its misuse in general, but most crime still happens on the clearnet. The dark web is not nearly as large or prevalent as people fear.
For a long time, a dealer provided free LSD to anyone who wanted it for personal use (ie not sale) and to any organizations who were doing psychedelic therapy.
One psychonaut got busted and spent time in prison... only he still had bitcoin in a wallet and by the time he was released he was a millionaire. He would have just spent it on drugs otherwise :)
I know law enforcement has to delve into the predator side of the dark web. With what you've seen do you think it should be mandatory or an industry standard that law enforcement officials seek professional help? I couldn't imagine investigating that daily and not thinking less of humanity at some point.
I'm pretty sure they do. I worked for Legal Aid for a while, and i know there were pretty strict rules in place for the lawyers who had to defend child abusers.
When I was at the trial for Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, I met a cop whose job it was to watch all the videos and befriend the predators in an attempt to get them to slip up and reveal something of themselves. She said she had a little filing cabinet in her brain where she put all that stuff, and that making an arrest made it all worthwhile. She had made several arrests personally. She was a sex offender's worst nightmare :)
What’s one of your personal favorite investigations and what made it unique for you?
By far the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire case. What made it unique was that, first, I was provided a back door into the Besa Mafia site by a friendly hacker, so i had information that nobody else had. But then I became "friends" for want of a better word with the owner of the site, Yura. Besa Mafia, of course, was not killing anyone, but Yura made a LOT of money scamming would-be murderers out of their money. We entered into a weird relationship over the years where i would report on his activities and he would try every trick under the sun to stop me from doing so, so that he could keep scamming people. He even offered me a job, helping him, because he had become so busy. He also provided me with names and details of people who had hits taken out on them so I could pass them on to law enforcement.
It all became horribly real when one of the people who had a hit put out of them wound up dead. It wasn't Yura of course, but the guy had paid him $13K before giving up on the site and doing it himself. The thing was WE HAD TOLD THE FBI about the hit and the $13K and they visited the victim, but then put it into the too-hard basket when she couldn't think who might have paid that much to kill her.
the below is a reply to the above
Wow. That’s actually pretty cool. Reminds me of an old saying. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
It's a seriously bizarre relationship. When I was hired as a consultant by CBS for a 48 Hours expose on dark web hitmen, he actually agreed to meet me in London. But he thought that CBS was going to advertise his site as the real deal and he got excited and sent them details of two people who had hits put out on them. CBS sent them straight to the police and very shortly after two arrests were made and it was all over the news, where they called his site a scam. Yura got so pissed about it, he never turned up to our meeting. They had even hired an Academy Award-nominated master of disguise makeup artist to disguise him!
are "red rooms" actually a prevalent thing, or just a widespread misconception or rumor? I ask in part because it's very easy to see, for instance, Mexican cartels dismembering people alive, etc, just on the clearnet. Hell, a couple days ago I saw a video posted of a cartel member cutting out a dude's heart while the guy was alive, and he ATE it. He fucking ATE it. So it seems plausible...
The most popular myth of all is Red Rooms, where people – usually women – are tortured to death live on camera while those who have paid to watch type in torture commands in a chat box. Think the movie Hostel, with webcams. In this sense these have never been proven to exist. I get where you are coming from with the cartels, and the recent news item where they found those shipping containers set up with torture rooms freaked me out and made me wonder!
There is some truth to this rumour, but the execution is not like you see in the movies. Most notably, because it involves children, not adults abused on demand for paying pedophiles, but not to the point of death
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The news about those shipping containers really made me speculate, since for every one person who gets caught doing something evil, there must be at least several more people who are very honed in their 'profession' doing the same evil deeds and worse, yet who evade being captured for decades. Anyway, based on morbid things I've seen, karma comes around eventually...
I know, right? It really freaked me out, and then when I read that they already had intended victims for them but the police got to them first and put them in protected custody.. IMAGINE SEEING THOSE PICTURES AND KNOWING YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THEM!! I would retire to a deserted island somewhere
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Your line of work could easily result in something like C-PTSD down the road a little ways. I have a morbid curiosity, and have seen worse than those shipping containers had to offer. I'm sure you have as well. So one more question from you, if you don't mind: what are some proactive approaches to mental health you take to safeguard your sanity?
A lot of wine. Cuddle my dog
Hi, there! This has been fascinating to read; thank you so much for sharing! I'm curious: why do you think so many people who don't want to engage with disgusting and illegal content like hurtcore find it so interesting to read about? Do you have any insight into your readership and the ethics associated with reading about these kind of topics?
I think morbid fascination with the dark is exceedingly common - just look at how many people can't get enough about serial killers! In some ways it is probably a self-defense mechanism - the vast majority of true-crime readers are women. People like to be armed with knowledge. We also like to be spooked and scared.
As for my books, I don't really go into much gory detail, but the horror still shines through
Out of all 9-5 jobs out there, why this? What’s your motive?
I got disenchanted by being a lawyer and I had wanted to be an author since childhood. The lawyering put me in a strong enough financial position that I could quit to do a uni course for a couple of years. My plan was to become a best-selling novelist, but my first chick-lit novel was nothing special. However, during the course, I found I did really well at journalism and was soon making a living as a freelance journo before I finished the course. My first major feature was on the Silk Road drugs market, which I had discovered thanks to a friend who was using it. Once I got in there I became fascinated by everything about it and started contacting the owner, users, vendors etc asking for stories (I was upfront about who I was). I began the first serious dark web blog - allthingsvice.com - and also became the go-to freelancer for Australian dark web stories. Then I pitched my first book and got a healthy advance for it.
I like working for myself, working from home and delving into things. Right now I have my dream job (though it wouldn't hurt to pay a bit more. I'm certainly not making anywhere near what I used to make lawyering, but I make enough to get by and I live pretty simply)
Did you ever do any writing on Brian Farrell and his role in Silk Road 2.0? I was Brian's cellmate for all of 2017 at Sheridan Federal Prison and heard all of his crazy stories. Was just curious as to the validity of them all.
DoctorClu! I did write briefly about him in Silk Road, but it wasn't all positive. I remember being frustrated by the shitshow that was Silk Road 2.0 in the beginning, right after SR1 shut and when DPR2 took off and Defcon got all dramatic. It settled down after a bit and lasted a year, when it was revealed THEY HAD A FUCKING UNDERCOVER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICER ON STAFF THE WHOLE TIME. But yeah, anyhow, they are probably true. I'd love to hear them :)
Was there ever something on the dark web that made you surprised ( in a good way) and smile ?
So many things. Back in the day of the original Silk Road, I became obsessed with the forums, the people behind it, the intelligent discourse about the War on Drugs and philosophy. I found it amusing that drug dealers ran sales and giveaways. There were book clubs and movie clubs.
One of the most important people from that era was Dr Fernando Cauevilla, who became a member of Silk Road as "DoctorX". He was a real doctor who provided genuine, free, non-judgmental advice about drug use to the members of the site. It was quite an amazing time.
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Did Ulbricht get taken down the way we were told in the news? What happened to all the Bitcoins?
His arrest went down the way we were told in the news. How they located the server has never been disclosed (other than a fanciful explanation that NOBODY could believe). This explanation may be tested if Variety Jones runs a Fourth Amendment argument at his trial
The bitcoin in the wallet on Ross' computer was auctioned off by the Feds. He may have other bitcoin wallets stashed somewhere but nobody knows
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Book/movie clubs on the silk road?
Yeah, they would set reading and then everyone would come back and discuss the book, or they would have a time when everyone watched the same movie at the same time and chatted about it in real time
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Haha that's amazing! I don't suppose you remember any of the books in question?
They used to be a lot of philosophy books, especially on agorism. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men was one of the books. I remember V for Vendetta on a movie night
You don't seem to be pushing your most recent project and you're actually answering all the questions people ask, so I've got ask...are you some sort of government plant meant to destabilize reddit? This isn't how AMAs are supposed to work. You come in, you half ass a few questions, hawk whatever you're here to hawk, and then leave after 20 minutes. That's how it's done.
lol I'm a genuine redditor from way back, and I love talking about the stuff I do. I did find that after I answered a question in an AskReddit thread a while back that blew up, the sales followed. But that was organic and I don't think you can force it to happen - Reddit can spot that a mile awy
What are some of the best things about the dark web? And can anyone get on it? Things you can buy that you can’t buy normally online?
I really enjoy some of the forums, especially the psychonaut forums where people who like to trip on psychedelics get together and talk drugs and philosophy. There's a real "be kind to one another" vibe.
Getting on the dark web is easy, but not getting scammed when buying things takes a lot of homework. Yes, you can buy most things, but the most popular things are drugs and digital goods, i.e. things that depend on repeat custom and are easily transferable from seller to buyer
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You're doing the Good Work my man. I'd give you one of those awards if i knew how
What would you define the word "Safe" when it come to the internet (both www and dark web) world and are there any tips that I should follow to keep myself safe?
It really depends on what YOU mean by safe. Tor, which is the darknet that provides access to the dark web will keep you safe from prying eyes and surveillance.
If you mean keep your information safe, the old-fashioned advice is to never reuse your password and to enable 2-Factor authentication wherever you can. Your information is quite likely somewhere on the dark web thanks to high-profile hacks of major organizations, but provided you don't re-use usernames and passwords, you really don't have to worry too much about it.
If you mean keeping yourself and/or any kid safe from predators, the only thing is to ensure you are educated about the approaches and methods they use.
Has Covid affected the Dark Web in any real way? Also I just read through all of the post comments, what incredible story’s. I would totally buy a book about the Silk Road or Yaru!
re covid on the dark web, here's some notes I made for an interview I did recently:
* when Trump first hyped hydroxychloroquine as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, drug dealers on the dark web seized on the claim.
* Listings quickly popped up on the most popular darknet markets
* A vendor on Whitehouse Market sells 100 Pills for $90, calling it a “Miracle Drug For Coronavirus” and suggesting buyers purchase in bulk to sell at a mark-up locally.
* Another makes the dubious claim “This drug will help people to beat Corona Virus” There are 11 listings on Empire Market currently, although more than half are from the one seller, who is a well-known and trusted vendor on the site.
* There were also people claiming to be selling infected blood or plasma of recovered COVID victims
* The infected blood stuff is just bullshit IMO Just because something is listed doesn’t mean it is genuinely for sale
* There's been some claims to be selling vaccines
* At the beginning there were also loads of listings for PPE
* some just used it as a marketing tactic - “fight off the virus with edible cannabis” or “relax with Xanax” and others as an excuse to raise their prices
* However, sales are low compared to sales of other drugs on the site, so it is difficult to say whether it’s something that will really catch on
* It didn’t take long for complaints to come in and market owners to clamp down on anything claiming to be a miracle cure or vaccine
* users were discouraging other users from profiting off the pandemic and requested markets provide health and safety information
* All the major markets forbid anything being sold as a cure for COVID. They flagged keywords and vendors would be told to take any listings down. They also put out PSAs telling people not to buy
* Monopoly: threatened to ban and.. “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet - under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle already questionable goods”
* It was a business decision. They don’t want anything that will attract attention or that might cause desperate people who wouldn’t normally use the DNMs to find their way there
* The idea behind DNMs generally is educated and responsible drug use. They really don’t want people dying - bad publicity and no repeat custom
* However the dark web is rife with scammers and people willing to prey on the desperate so there are still scams out there
* The only way I could ever see it becoming a thing is if there is a well-known potential cure/vaccine that is not being made widely available and could plausibly find its way onto the black market
Hi Eileen :) My question is about how you construct your Casefile episodes - I assume there is an extensive amount of outlining but do you write the final draft like a script specifically thinking about his voice? And about how long are they as far as - for example - does one hour equal 50-60 pages? Thank you.
I initially write them as if I'm writing an article or book, but then go back and edit them to be read out and yes, when I do that, I do have his voice in my head lol. One episode is usually around 12,000 words. It then goes to another editor who edits the episode to be even more "casefileaa' before it finally goes to Casey
Have you been exposed to things in your investigations that have made you second-guess what you do? If so, what has made you keep going back?
i've definitely had days where I question everything, but to be honest, I don't really hang around the horrible really dark places much. I did delve into the child predator forums when I was writing The Darkest Web, but I don't make it a habit to go there. The psychonauts are much more friendly
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To continue with that- have you clicked images, links that make you a suspect in certain scenarios?
Oh absolutely. Sometimes I go to a "Fresh Onion" site, which is a site that crawls all the .onion addresses (dark web URLs end in .onion rather than .com, org etc) and alerts you to any new ones. Sometimes they don't have any description, so you take a big risk clicking on any of those. The most dangerous button on the dark web is the "Random Onion" button, so I avoid that.
I'm pretty careful about what I click, but the moment something looks questionable I nope the fuck right out of there
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Have you ever felt that you may be a suspect whether it be ok a drug site, a pedo site, etc. Have you ever been contacted by someone regarding your surfing habits?
Well my actual surfing habits are protected by Tor, which means they are hidden from prying eyes, so no I haven't been contacted about them. I am very open on the dark web about who I am and what I'm doing there - I use the name OzFreelancer on all of the markets and forums. I don't go to the sites that host child abuse images - you can't un-see that shit and I don't need it in my head.
As noted in another reply, I was contacted by Homeland Security on one of my visits to the US and taken for a "friendly" lunch.
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Psychonauts are more friendly than most people. Something about regular mind altering experiences makes you want to be less of a cunt.
Yeah, I call The Majestic Garden a little corner of sunshine and rainbows on the dark web :)
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More about The Majestic Garden please? What is grown there?
It's a place where people talk about and source psychedelics - most notably LSD, the 2C family, DMT and MDMA. Talk about and sourcing harder drugs is forbidden. In fact the admins snuck in an autocorrect so that any time someone wrote the word "cocaine" it would post as "a raging hardon" :D
Do you fear that seeing all this stuff might turn you emotionally blunt? I'm not watching any of this stuff on purpose (even the clearnet stuff), because I fear that the more you see of it, the more normal it gets, and ultimately, the more it will fuck you up. To quote the movie 8mm... "If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you."
No, I can't even watch "3 Guys 1 Hammer" in its entirety, let alone look at the really dark materials on the dark web. When I was researching The Darkest Web, going into the predator forums did the opposite of making me blunt. It was the shortest section of the book but took the longest to write because it was so emotionally draining
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I have to ask, what is "3 Guys 1 Hammer"?
It's a video of two teenagers murdering an innocent man with a hammer that went viral on the gore sites of the regular internet. It's truly horrible.
The teens killed over 20 people. I wrote about them in my book Psycho.com (excuse the plug)
I heard somewhere that you foster dogs. Is that something you do to counter all the terrible humans you encounter in your research - everyone knows how dogs are better than people. How many dogs have you fostered and which one was your favourite?
After my dog died I knew I didn't want to have another dog as I wanted to travel more. So I thought fostering dogs would be the answer as you give them love for a few weeks and then they go to their forever home. My first foster, Roy, was a big fat failure and now he lives here and sleeps in our bed and is the most spoiled dog alive
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Did you then just decide to quit travelling? I don't know anything about Roy, but I already think I love him.
Nah, he has family he can stay with when I go away, but any major travelling has been thwarted by COVID for now anyway. I'm in a hard lockdown city.
And I'm sure Roy would love you too, u/suckmyhugedong
Given how much you know about the dark web, what kind of crazy awful nightmares have you had? This could be a really good one. Thank you
Probably the worst thing was delving into the forums where child predators gathered. I never looked at any videos or photos, but just seeing their discussions sickened me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me came out of the sentencing hearing that I attended of Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, considered the most heinous website in history. In court they read out a conversation between him and an abuser who made videos of torture of the mute disabled child in his care. They were joking "at least she won't be able to tell anyone" . the abuser wasn't caught, at least by that stage
As an indie author, how have you sourced freelancers? Did you seek out those that have specific expertise or did you work with editors from your time as a traditionally published author?
I learned to do everything myself before I started outsourcing.
I work with a professional editor who happens to be a friend of mine from back when we did a writing course together. I've been doing my own covers, but now that I have some royalties coming in, I've engaged a professional cover artist from Reedsy to develop a brand and more professional-looking covers for me. It is the hardest thing to find people you really want to work with and who are in budget.
I still haven't got the hang of email lists, newsletters or a website - they are all in a total mess at the moment and I'd love to find someone who can do them, but again it is that problem of finding the right person who is within budget
is it true that most of the internet is in the "dark web"? if so about how much percent is it?
By far the biggest myth is that it 10x larger than the Internet. I mean, this should be common sense anyway, but it gets propagated by tabloid media all the time. It stems a lot from people using the terms "deep web" and "dark web" interchangably when they are different things.
The statement that 90% (or thereabouts) of the internet is hidden is true, and it is called the deep web (not the dark web). The 90% that is hidden is all those pages you won’t get to using google or any other search engines. There’s nothing scary about that – in fact it works in your favour.
The easiest example is your bank. The bank’s major page is available to anyone who searches the web (part of the 10%, also known as the “clearweb”). But once you log in, all those pages you can access that contain your personal details? Not searchable on google. Each one of those pages is part of the 90% of the deep web. Business and government intranets also make up part of the deep web. Honestly, it’s nothing to worry about.
The dark web – the hidden services available through Tor and other anonymising programs – makes up a tiny fraction of the deep web. A really, really tiny fraction. It is infinitely smaller than the clearweb.
Do you think human trafficking happens on the dark web? Last year (I think) there was a really bizarre story here in the UK about a model who was supposedly kidnapped to order, drugged and transported overseas by a group called "Black Death". The official story is that BD doesn't exist, and the kidnapper was a fantasist. Is it likely that humans are bought and sold into slavery over the dark web?
There are no slick websites with auctions for slaves on the dark web, but I have no doubt that human traffickers use dark web encryption to communicate.
(here comes the second plug for the thread) - I wrote about the kidnap of Chloe Ayling and the Black Death Group in Murder on the Dark Web
What ever happened to the plural of mongoose storyline? it seems like after he was arrested in the united states, his case just fizzled away. did you ever find out any more information about yuri after he cancelled the interview with a news program? what happened with peter scully's case? i read that there was a fire where a lot of evidence against him was held and it all went up in smoke. are there any character and/or personality storylines that you feel haven't been told or are still a complete mystery? eg. tony76
1. He is still in the MCC in NY and awaiting trial. It has taken a long time because he had terrabytes of information to go through and things would have slowed down due to covid. I understand he is running the Fouth Amendment argument that Ulbricht probably should have run in the first place
2. I last heard from Yura just a few weeks ago. He is still scamming. There are some more programs in the works about him
3. Yes there was a very convenient fire, but he still got sentenced to life and i hope he rots in hell
4. I am madly curious to know what is happening with the extradition of James Ellingson, aka “MarijuanaIsMyMuse”, aka "redandwhite", MAYBE aka Tony76. I would LOVE to know that full story!
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Wow, this shit is a blast from the past. I used to love following the darknetmarket drama. Did you write about PoM and tony76 in one of your books? Ever since reddit shut down /darknetmarket I've been out of the loop.
I was in touch with PoM/Mongoose when he went on a posting rampage on MyPlanetGanja, then visited him in Bangkok prison several times. Wrote all about it :)
This may have been answered by a previous post pertaining to native language barriers to specific sites on the dark web, but in your investigations, did you come across content/pages/forums from warzones? Middle East, Burma, Afghanistan, etc? If yes, what was the most memorable bit?
There are loads of sites in foreign languages, but it is too difficult for me (a one-language numpty) to attempt to translate through AI, and it is not worth hiring a translator when they could just turn out to be Cat Facts
Do you think cryptocurrency paved way to reemergence of privacy advocates?
Years ago, I kept hearing supposed security executives claim that privacy is dead. It was in one of those turntable style talks w/ old school security executives and the general public in which they answer basic questions like, "What keeps you up at night?". Nowadays, I am hearing more and more people talking about how privacy is going to become better than ever as a result of the ever growing cyberpunk movement and the standards that cryptos like Bitcoin have brought to the general public. You now see whistleblower sites and places like WikiLeaks having accepted BTC for donations. You see the same type of cryptographic hashing utilized in SHA256 PoW being used in many open and closed ended communication schemes. Even talks of post-Quantum encryption became more popular because of cryptocurrency. My question is do you think cryptocurrency is paving the way of a reemergence of modern day privacy advocates?
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Some have argued that neoconservativism has been influenced by Schmitt Most notably the legal opinions offered by Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo et al. by invoking the unitary executive theory to justify highly controversial policies in the war on terror—such as introducing unlawful combatant status which purportedly would eliminate protection by the Geneva Conventions torture, NSA electronic surveillance program—mimic his writings.Professor David Luban said in 2011 that "[a] Lexis search reveals five law review references to Schmitt between 1980 and 1990; 114 between 1990 and 2000; and 420 since 2000, with almost twice as many in the last five years as the previous five"
Realpolitik World Order, by Henry Kissinger Liberalism/Social Democracy A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls Right-Wing Libertarianism Anarchy, State, Utopia by Robert Nozick Technocracy Zero to One, by Peter Thiel Marxism-Leninism Left-Wing Communism, and Infantile Disorder by Vladimir Lenin Recommended books: Israel/Palestine and the Middle East: Start off with: The Iron Wall by Avi Shlaim ★ Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom by Norman Finkelstein Also Great ★ Fateful Triangle by Noam Chomsky Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948 by Tanya Reinhart The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities by Simha Flapan Between the Lines: Israel, the Palestinians, and the U.S. War on Terror by Tikva Honig-Parnass The Holocaust Industry: Norman Finkelstein Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel's Security and Foreign Policy by Zeev Maoz Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom by Norman Finkelstein The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid by Roane Carey, Alison Weir, and others The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah American Foreign Policy: Start off with: ★ ★ ★ Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II by William Blum Also Great: Defeat: Why America and Britain Lost Iraq by Jonathon Steele A Different Kind of War: The Un Sanctions Regime in Iraq by Hans. C. Von Sponeck Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror by Jason Burke How America Gets Away with Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage and Crimes Against Humanity by Michael Mandel The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars by John Turnam Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists by Scott Atran The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade by Alfred W. McCoy Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights by James Peck War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination by Howard Bruce Franklin Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan by Nick Turse Tomorrow's Battlefield : U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa by Nick Turse The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II by John Dower Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser The Hungry World: America's Cold War Battle Against Poverty in Asia by Nick Cullather Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba by Keith Bolender The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg Tinderbox: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Roots of Terrorism by Stephen Zunes One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs Kill Chain: Drones and The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia by David Gibbs The Management of Savagery by Max Blumenthal Media and Propaganda: Start off with: Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky Propaganda by Edward Bernays The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy by Richard A. Falk Also Great: The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda by Edward Herman The Politics of Genocide by Edward Herman Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty by Alex Carey American History and Culture: Start off with: ★ A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn Also Great: Political Repression in Modern America: FROM 1870 TO 1976 by Robert Justin Goldstein No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein The Industrial Worker, 1840-1860: The Reaction of American Industrial Society to the Advance of the Industrial Revolution by Norman Ware Voices of a People's History of the United States by Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq by William R. Polk ★ With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward Baptist The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings The Politics of War: Allied Diplomacy and the World Crisis of 1943-1945 by Gabriel Kolko Labor History: The Fall of the House of Labor by David Montgomery Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945-60 by Elizabeth A. Fones-Wolf The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 by Charles Grier Sellers Sociopathic Society: A People’s Sociology of the United States by Charles Derber On the Rojava Experiment: Revolution in Rojava Struggles for Autonomy in Kurdistan A Small Key Can Open a Large Door Rojava: An Alternative to Imperialism, Nationalism, and Islamism in the Middle East Coming Down the Mountains To Dare Imagining: Rojava Revolution ★ Ocalan’s Prison Writings Anarchism, Socialism, Philosophy, and Science: Start off with: ★ Government In The Future(Talk) by Noam Chomsky Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell On Anarchism by Mikhail Bakunin The Limits of State Action by Wilhelm von Humboldt Also Great Progress Without People: In Defense of Luddism by David F. Noble Granny Made Me an Anarchist: General Franco, The Angry Brigade and Me by Stuart Christie Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science by Alan Sokal Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture by Alan Sokal A Theory of Power by Jeff Vail Workers' Councils by Anton Pannekoek The State: Its Origin and Function by William Paul On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky The Anarchist Collectives: Workers' Self-Management in the Spanish Revolution 1936-39 by Sam Dolgoff Anarchism by Daniel Guerin The Ancestors Tale by Richard Dawkins Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan Memory and the Computational Brain: Why Cognitive Science WIll Transform Neuroscience by Randy Gallistel and Adam Philip King Vision: A Computational Investigation Into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information by David Marr Economics: Start off with: ★ ★ Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang ★ Making Globalization Work by Joseph Stiglitz Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty Adam Smith and His Legacy for Modern Capitalism by Patricia H. Werhane Also Great: Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism by Richard Wolff Das Kapital by Karl Marx Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America by Martin Gilens America Beyond Capitalism by Gar Alperovitz The ABCs of Political Economy: A Modern Approach by Robert Hahnel ★ ★ Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems by Thomas Ferguson The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer by Dean Baker Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer by Dean Baker Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age by Larry M. Bartels Understanding Capitalism: Critical Analysis From Karl Marx to Amartya Sen by Douglas Down Whose Crisis, Whose Future?: Towards a Greener, Fairer, Richer World by Susan George Business as Usual: The Economic Crisis and the Failure of Capitalism by Paul Mattock Jr. Greening the Global Economy by Robert Pollin Capitalism: A Ghost Story by Arundhati Roy Political Economy and Laissez Faire by Rajani Kannepalli Kanth The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time by Karl Polanyi Miscellaneous: ★ Discipline and Punish, by Michel Foucault Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari Controlling the Dangerous Classes by Randall G. Shelden Pedagogy of the Opressed by Paulo Freire The Verso Book of Dissent: From Spartacus to the Shoe-Thrower of Baghdad by Andrew Hsiao Don't Mourn, Balkanize!: Essays After Yugoslavia by Andrej Grubačić ★ Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers by Arundhati Roy Voices from the Plain of Jars: Life under an Air War by Fred Branfman We by Yevgeny Zamyatin In Praise of Barbarians by Mike Davis Damming the Flood by Peter Hallward Hope and Folly: The United States and UNESCO, 1945-1985 by Edward Herman and Herbert Schiller Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village by William Hinton The Egyptians: A Radical Story by Jack Shenker Welcome to the Revolution: Universalizing Resistance for Social Justice and Democracy in Perilous Times by Charles Derber Sociopathic Society: A People’s Sociology of the United States by Charles Derber The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James Dark Money by Jane Meyers King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild Recommended YouTubers/Creators/Channels(with a linked video to get you started): Political Contrapoints | America: Still Racist ★ Philosophy Tube | The Philosophy of Antifa Existential Comics ★ ★ Chomsky’s Philosophy | Bakunin's Predictions HBomber Guy | Soy Boys: A Measured Response Shaun | How Privatisation Fails: Railways Badmouse Productions | Argument ad Venezuelum Three Arrows | Who is actually at fault for the refugee crisis? Gravesend Films (with Norman Finkelstein) | The Idea Of Utopia The Intercept | Greenwald and Risen debate Russiagate Non Political Lindsay Ellis - Film Criticism | The Ideology of the First Order The Great War - History | The Run For The Baku Oil Fields History Civilis - History | The Constitution Of The Spartans Numberphile - Mathematics | Perplexing Paperclips Computerphile - Technology | The Bitcoin Power Problem Vihart - Mathematics | Hexaflexagons 3Blue1Brown - Mathematics | How Cryptocurrencies Work PBS SpaceTime - Astronomy, Physics | The Blackhole Information Paradox Will Schoder - Video Essays | The Problem with Irony and Postmodernism Assorted Documentaries to get you started: ★ Manufacturing Consent - The seminal work on how the population is controlled in democratic societies ★ ★ Citizenfour - Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in a Hong Kong Room. ★ ★ Risk - A deep look at Wikileaks - from the inside the embassy. The Murder of Fred Hampton - How the FBI brazenly assassinated an American citizen without any warrant or due process Weiner - An incredible look at how political campaigns function from the inside. The Corporation - What are corporations? The Shock Doctrine - Lectures by Naomi Klein, news-reel footage and analysis to explain the connection between politics and economics. ★ Hypernormalization - Explains not only why chaotic events happen - but also why we, and politicians, cannot understand them. Inside Job - A look at the cause for the financial crisis Podcasts Start off with: ★ ★ ★ Citations Needed Also Great: Intercepted Current Affairs Podcast Chapo Trap House Moderate Rebels Economic Update Protect Yourself: PrivacyToolsIO, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Project Zyphr and Project Pogo I’d love for anyone to disassemble this conspiracy theory through both validation and scrutiny. I’ve copied this from a comment on the round table thread. In the YT videos about these projects, Goldberg’s memos (based on intel from WHI—a White House Insider) mentions “targeted virus,” and “viral virus” aside from goals of depopulation. Before all this goes down, Donald Trump, who will be the final POTUS, must declare himself King of Israel, which he already has done in a tweet several months ago. Yesterday (I think), he reiterated a line from titanic in a press briefing “I am King of the world!” Goldbergs also conveys ideas of ID2020 as TTID “Target-Track-&-ID” and unveils the US’s plan to link A.I to the grid. The TTID involves “ancestral DNA used for IDing races for later viral outbreaks.” He lists the plan in the following order: 1) Targeted Virus 2) Bank and Land Seizures 3) Elimination 4) Executions The memos also suggest that Quantum Computing will be the next big thing and will be the fall of blockchain technology. He references a lot to BitcoinQ.org, which is a password protected site (maybe someone can penetrate it for info?) His videos came out several months before the pandemic and his friends’ YT channel “The Friends of Goldberg” has been purged for a while now. Most of the videos about this topic are continuously deleted, so on YT, sort by “upload date.” Duck duck go will show more accessible information about this. Some have argued that Goldberg does not exist, or that the name is an alias and that the guy isn’t dead. Regardless of who Goldberg is or isn’t, the information presented is eerily relevant to today, so I’d like for us to investigate the source’s creditability and the projects’ plausibility of being real.
DJIA Rallies POWELL on Sixty Minutes Set-up Rally Today’s market was strong all night with Jay Powell speaking on Sixty Minutes last night, and it’s well beyond me what they took as so bullish. But clearly, they did. The Bonds losses were the market’s gains as stocks ran up and bonds were down over $2 1/2 right back to the bottom of the 8-week range. If you have anything in your name that sounds like labs, or pharma. Or therapeutics you were on the plus side of todays action. Forget all that stuff about real testing, get 8 people together and give them something and report it as a “trial.” That’s not to denigrate the results from several of the better names, but really folks, if it was so easy to find the right combination of drug, safety, and efficacy, 100,000 people wouldn’t be dead here by June 1. Yet, the DJIA was +1023 at the high and finished +911.95 (3.85%), NASDAQ +220.27 (2.44%), S&P 500 +90.21 (3.15%) and the Russell +76.70 (6.1%). Market internals were 8:1 on NYSE and 4:1 on NASDAQ, and volume was mediocre for a 900-point day. The DJIA was 29:1 with only MRK lower and BA the biggest gainer adding 140 DPs to the average. Pretty interesting since most airline executives say they don’t see things getting back to even 50% of normal for 2 years or more. Oh, yeah, then there’s that pesky issue with their 737 MAX being grounded already 3 times longer than they projected and still no realistic date in sight. Our “open forum” on Discord, which allows me to interact with subscribers and others to allow direct questions and chart opinions on just about any stock, continues to grow with more participants every day. It is informative and allows me to share insights as the market is open and moving. The link is: https://discord.gg/ATvC7YZ and I will be there and active from before the open and all day. It’s a great place to share ideas and gain some insights, and we’ve grown to almost 1900 members. I also did this video titled “How to survive being an options trader and not blow up your account,” over the long weekend. I think it’s very informative as a guide to stock selection and option choices. The link is https://youtu.be/Y7H9RpWfLlo Enjoy!! Tonight’s closing comment video https://youtu.be/TJReOfFcLFU SECTORS: The news was all about COVID-19 cures and vaccines and tests today. You would think by some of the moves that the cure was here, tested, approved, and distributed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The size of the “trials” at some of these newsworthy companies are as small as 8 participants. While it’s great that they are taking place and are showing some promise, the end is out in the distance. Today’s rally bears no reality to what the economy still has in front of it, or what the end result of testing and treatment will make the public more comfortable enough to take any kind of public transportation or spend any time in a restaurant, bar, or movie theater. On the “more good news from UBER,” the stock was higher today closing $33.62 +1.15 (3.5%) and all they had to do was fire another (3700 last week) 3000 workers. FOOD SUPPLY: was HIGHER with TSN +2.69, BGS -.49, FLO +.71, CAG -.16, MDLZ +1.07, KHC +1.56, CALM -.04, JJSF +5.86, SAFM +7.05, LANC +2.81 and GO +.85. BIOPHARMA was HIGHER with BIIB -.70, ABBV +.84, REGN -16.44, ISRG +18.00, GILD -1.56, MYL +1.34, TEVA +.59, VRTX -3.69, BHC +1.73, INCY +.34, ICPT +1.39, LABU +4.39 and IBB $133.20 +.95 (.72%). CANNABIS: This group was HIGHER with TLRY +.35, CGC +.69, CRON +.11, GWPH +3.98, ACB +7.80, PYX +.08, NBEV +.08, CURLF +.64, KERN +.71 and MJ $12.94 +.95 (7.92%). DEFENSE: was HIGHER with LMT +16.61, GD +8.55, TXT +3.41, NOC +17.15, BWXT +2.74, TDY +15.11, RTX +5.18 and ITA $151.38 +10.68 (7.59%). RETAIL was HIGHER with M +.12, JWN +.28, KSS +1.50, DDS +.75, JCP -.054 (23), WMT +3.44, TGT +5.34, TJX +3.02, RL +4.55, UAA+.68, LULU +8.61, TPR +1.30, CPRI +1.92, and XRT $38.52 +1.57 (4.25%. FAANG and Big Cap: were HIGHER with GOOGL +11.44, AMZN +13.26, AAPL +7.99, FB +2.71, NFLX -1.64, NVDA +10.40, TSLA +12.33, BABA +12.67, BIDU +16.52, CMG +29.92, CAT +7.22, BA +16.00, DIS +7.70, and XLK $95.76 +2.29 (2.45%). FINANCIALS were HIGHER with GS +10.61, JPM +5.14, BAC +1.56, MS +3.06, C +3.83, PNC +7.30, AIG +1.97, TRV +3.91, AXP +6.58, V +7.98 and XLF $22.31 +1.08 (5.13%). OIL, $31.65 +2.13. Oil was higher today with the close right on the falling 50-day moving average. I thought that the most recent downside break occurred from just under $29.00 and may stop this move too, but as we saw, it went right through that level. All the stocks on my list were higher with XLE $39.19 +3.20 (8.89%). METALS, GOLD: $1,734.40 -21.90. After breaking the downtrend line around $17.27 we continued higher hitting $1746 before closing strong. Today’s trade up to 1,775 was a failure and we finished down on the day, we sold our long NEM. BITCOIN: closed $9,745 +350. After breaking out over $7500 we have moved as high as just over $10,000 before gapping down overnight to trade as low as $8,400 earlier this week. We continue to recover higher prices and today broke above the $10030 close from which we gapped down on Monday. We added 350 shares of GBTC Wednesday @ $10.02 to our position of 400 @ $8.06, bringing our average price to $8.97. GBTC closed $11.41 + .36 today. Tomorrow is another day. CAM
You do not understand Ethereum. You think you do? So, tell me, what is the first thing you say when someone asks you what Ethereum is? A blockchain with smart contracts? DApps? DeFi? Then you do not understand Ethereum. There is one, and only one, valid answer to this question. Ethereum is the first decentralized currency in the world. Period. "But the first was Bitcoin..." No. It is not. And it is a widespread overly damaging myth that Bitcoin is decentralized. And I'm not talking about mining centralization or similar (equally stupid) complaints. I'm talking about the objective fact that Bitcoin is not a complete solution to the purely technical problem of implementing a decentralized currency. This is absolutely obvious, yet it seems like everyone ignores this blatant, inconvenient true. You don't agree? So, please, answer this very simple question: if Bitcoin is decentralized, how do I leave an inheritance for my children without involving a third party? As in, if I don't login for 2 months, I want my money to be transferred for my kids. Please, tell me, how do I do it? Answer is: I can't. There is no way to do so without sending my coins or giving my key for someone else to perform the transaction when I'm dead. How can a currency be decentralized when you can't do something as simple as inheriting your fortune without trusting a third party? It can't. I do not understand how so many ignore this glaringly obvious fact. Isn't that enough? So, please, tell me how do I gamble with my Bitcoin money without sending it to a centralized manager which I must trust? I can't. It is impossible. How do I trade my Bitcoin for other digital assets without giving my coins to a centralized exchange? I can't. It is impossible. How do I literally buy anything with Bitcoin that doesn't require trusting someone? Please, answer this question: name one, just one, product that I can buy with Bitcoin that I'm 100% guaranteed to receive. You can't, because in every single purchase you make with Bitcoin, there is a non-zero risk that you'll be scammed if the seller doesn't send the purchased good. There is literally nothing you can buy with Bitcoin that doesn't involve trust. So, how can a currency that I can't inherit without trusting a third party, that I can't gamble without trusting a third party, that I can't exchange without trusting a third party, that there isn't even a single good I can buy without trusting a third party, be considered a decentralized form of money? It can't, and calling so is a stretch. As clever as Satoshi was, from a purely technical point of view, Bitcoin is an incomplete solution to the technical problem of constructing a purely digital form of money because every single transaction demands implicit trust that the other party will deliver the promised goods. Ethereum is, thus, quite literally, the first actual solution to the problem proposed by Satoshi. Ether was the first form of money which can be used to buy digital goods with no trust involved at all. You can exchange your Ether for domains, no humans involved. You can exchange your Ether for cards in Gods Unchained, no trust involved. You can gamble with your Ether, no trust involved. You can easily leave an inheritance for your kids without needing to trust any human at all. With Ethereum, we can finally execute all sorts of transactions with a purely digital money, in such a way that the purchased goods are guaranteed to arrive. And let me be very clear, it is the first project in the world that actually accomplished that. Note I'm not hating on Bitcoin. Quite the opposite, I absolutely adore the project and think it will be forever valuable as a collector asset, sort of like a semi-decentralized digital gold. But when it comes to solving the actual problem of constructing a decentralized, purely digital form of money, Bitcoin isn't a solution, in a very cold, technical sense. Please, stop spreading that Bitcoin is digital money, because it isn't. Stop spreading that it solves the problem, because it didn't. It was, like its predecessors, a partial solution and a huge step forward, but the first complete solution to the problem of constructing a purely digital money was Ethereum. And that is what it is.
In 2012 a Possessed Couch Told Me To Murder My Friends
Part 1, Part 2 As I walked through the IKEA showroom I felt distressed. I wanted to sit down, I needed to sit down, but all of the couches around me looked like they would cause me severe back pain. They were lit up with fancy lights and smelled faintly of disinfectant, the whole showroom felt like the world’s fanciest hospital. I desperately searched among the rows for something that would make me comfortable, but my search seemed hopeless. I walked around aimlessly, until, as if by divine intervention, I noticed a maintenance room in the corner of the showroom. As I opened the door a cloud of smoke escaped the abyss that hid beyond. The darkness before me beckoned, ‘Come here Tiger,’ it whispered. I walked into the hallway. The door behind me closed. As I journeyed through the corridor the smoke grew more intense, but so did my certainty that I would find what I was looking for. At first it was only my footsteps that echoed through the darkness, but as I walked on I could hear a far off radio playing. A familiar song by the Stones grew louder as I approached a room at the end of the hall. Yet the music was soon joined by sobs. Someone was crying. A fluorescent light bulb crackled in and out of life, yet it was strong enough to illuminate the small room. A dark haired man in a worker’s uniform sat by the edge of a familiar couch as he finished off stitching the last bits of its flowery upholstery. He wept as he pulled out the thread and needle. His face was caked in grime, but the tears created two clear lines down his cheeks. When he saw me he wiped away his tears and got up. The man composed himself, lit a cigarette and walked over to me. He gave the couch one last look, but it wasn’t a look of sorrow, it was a look of pride. The man looked back at the couch as if he had just walked his daughter down the isle. Then he motioned towards it. ‘Come here Tiger, I’ve been waiting for you,’ the couch growled with sex in its tone. I stepped towards the couch. The electricity in the air was back and stronger than before. ‘I can make your wildest dreams come true Tiger. I can make you believe in a heaven. All you have to do is fuck me.’ I reached out for the couch, all of my nerve endings tingled with anticipation. I was millimeters away from nirvana. The universe had its gaze set on me and was about to reveal all of its secrets but then- My hand started to shake. It was gentle at first but soon the convulsions spread through my arm. Within moments I was down on the floor, my body throwing itself from side to side uncontrollably. The light bulb grew bright with a deafening scream. The world was crumbling at its axis. POP! The room was plunged into darkness. “James? James, wake up,” Karl’s shadow stood above me. It was early morning; the room was still dim with dawn. Karl held two cigarettes in his hands, “We should go have a cigarette, friend.” I was horribly dazed; his words didn’t make a lick of sense. The only thing that seemed understandable was the voice in the back of my head, ‘Don’t listen to him Tiger, he wants to take me away from you. Don’t let him get between our love.’ I stirred on the couch. My fingers were deep in the upholstery. “I don’t feel like smoking right now Karl.” Karl didn’t move. “James, we have to take the couch outside. It doesn’t belong in this house anymore. You and me should also have a cigarette, we need to talk.” ‘He wants to hurt me Tiger, don’t let him hurt me, do something. He has to be stopped.’ I yawned and tried to look as sleepy as possible but Karl’s eyes stayed on me. “Mind if I nap for like fifteen more minutes?” I asked. “James,” he started. His voice was cold, “We need to take the couch outside. We need to talk.” I waited for the voice in my head to tell me what to do but it fell quiet. I was abandoned. “Okay, fine, no better way to start a morning than a bit of furniture moving and a smoke.” I lumbered off of the couch, put on my pants and reached for one end of the couch. “What’s wrong with your hand?” Karl asked. I looked down. My fingers were covered in a thick layer of red, as if I had spent the whole night eating Cheetos. They were also bloated; my nails looked comically small nestled in between thick puffs of red flesh. I waited for the couch to tell me what to do, but it still kept quiet. “I dunno, spent a good amount of time outside without gloves,” I finally said. Karl looked over at my other hand, my perfectly normal hand that didn’t spend the night inside of the couch, but he didn’t say anything. We carried the couch outside in silence. It was oddly warm outside. There were still small piles of snow spread through the yard but the neighborhood looked more like a muddy war zone rather than a winter wonderland. The couch remained silent until we dropped it off in the middle of the backyard. ‘There’s a knife in the kitchen, Tiger,’ it whispered. Karl lit up his cigarette and offered me the lighter. “I forgot my coat, give me a sec,” I said. I walked back into the apartment to fetch it. I went past the kitchen. When I walked out of the apartment Karl was standing far off from the couch. He didn’t register me walking out; his attention was purely focused on the mysterious furniture. Something was going on behind those small eyes of his. My bloated hand was shoved deep into the coat of my pocket. ‘You know what to do Tiger,’ the voice whispered, ‘He wants to take me away from you, but you can stop him. Be my hero Tiger, be my hero and I will bring you incomprehensible pleasure.’ I walked towards Karl. I was shaking. “Want to sit?” I finally asked, dragging his attention away from the couch. Karl motioned towards the lawn chair, “You can sit if you want to.” He lit up my cigarette. ‘One clean cut Tiger, he won’t see it coming, one clean cut through his throat.’ I didn’t sit. Karl’s eyes drifted back towards the couch. “There is something wrong with that couch James,” he started. “I was nervous yesterday. Maarja’s parents have always been very critical of me. They think I am strange. Whenever I meet them they talk to me like I have escaped from a mental asylum, like there is something wrong with me. But yesterday was different James. Yesterday they made an effort. Maarja’s mother complimented me on my tie and her father was willing to look in my eyes while we talked. During lunch he asked me about my financial plans. I told him about Bitcoin,” Karl smiled, “Maarja’s father became very excited. He heard about crypto-currency from his coworkers, but he did not understand it. I explained it to him. He was so impressed that he asked to see how everything works. He invited himself over to our apartment. Things were going well. I saw him smile. I thought things would continue going well.” Karl paused, his eyes drifted back to the couch. “Things did not go well.” “When we arrived at the apartment Maarja and her mom stayed outside for a cigarette. I went inside with Maarja’s father to show him the computer rig. He has heard enough about crypto to know that it is going to lift off. I wanted him to see that in a couple of years I would be able to provide for a family. I wanted to ask him if he would… You know…” Karl’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Let me marry his daughter.” He took another puff and shook his head, “But we didn’t get past the living room.” “As soon as he saw the couch he stopped. He stood there, frozen, looking at the furniture. I tried talking to him but it was as if he didn’t hear me. For almost a minute he stared at the couch and then he jumped on it and started…” Karl trailed off; he looked back at the couch. An expression of utter disbelief danced around his face but he struck it down. Karl looked square into my eyes, “Maarja’s father jumped on the couch and started to hump it.” Even through the numbness of my fingers I could feel the pointed edge of the kitchen knife. ‘Do it Tiger, do it for me. Don’t let him tell you his lies. Kill the freak. One clean cut. The loud whore inside is still asleep; she’ll be easier to get rid of. Do it Tiger, do it so we can be together forever.’ I cleared my throat, “Humping?” I asked? “Humping,” Karl replied, “He humped the couch with all his energy. I tried to get him to stop but he wouldn’t listen to a word I said. He just kept on pressing himself against the couch like it was some long lost lover. I left when he started to take off his pants. “I went outside to get Maarja and her mom. I told them something was wrong with Maarja’s dad and that they needed to come inside right away. At first they didn’t understand, they kept on asking questions. Could they not finish their cigarettes? What was specifically wrong? Why was I so panicked? They were oblivious, but as soon as I mentioned the couch. James, as soon as I mentioned the couch something sparked in Maarja’s mom’s eyes. She ran inside of the apartment, cigarette still in her hand and dragged him out. “Remember how angry she was when she caught you and Saale the night after the party? Remember how we would joke about how crazy she was about the couch? James, the anger I saw yesterday was nothing compared to that. Maarja’s mother was furious. She slapped and hit Maarja’s dad until he was out of the apartment. She threatened him with divorce. She kicked and punched the man and then locked the door on him so he couldn’t come back. “She said that Maarja’s dad was obsessed with the couch when they started dating, that the scars on his face are from rubbing against the cushioning. The only way that Maarja’s mom and her grandma managed to get her dad back to normal was by hiding the couch while he went out to do his military service. After he came back he kept on searching for it, he kept on demanding that the couch be returned, but over the years he gave up. That’s why Maarja’s mom wanted us to burn the couch when she saw it. That’s why she demands we burn it now. “There’s something wrong with that couch James. I sat on it last night while you and Maarja were talking outside. There is something horribly rotten about that couch. As I sat there I could feel it probing in my brain, trying to grab onto something, it was as if the couch was trying to find pain that it could use; pain that it could feed off of. We have to burn it.” ‘SLIT HIS THROAT!’ The voice boomed in my head, ‘SLIT HIS THROAT AND THEN SLIT HER THROAT AND THEN COME TO ME!’ I could feel my arm getting ready. I could already see the blood streaming through his beard. I kept on trying to remind myself that Karl is my friend, that I didn’t want to hurt him, but every fiber of my being was being dragged towards murder. I took a step back. “Can… Can we burn it after New Years?” “Are you okay?” Karl’s face suddenly turned concerned, “You look pale James.” I took another step backward. ‘A SINGLE SLICE TIGER, HE WON’T SEE IT COMING.’ “I…” my legs turned to jelly, I leaned up against the wall. I wanted to take my hand off the knife, I desperately wanted to be as far away from a weapon as I could be, but my hands refused. Murder jumbled my mind, images of death and pleasure and the couch filled my vision. “I don’t think I’m okay.” Karl took a step forward. He planted his hand on my shoulder. ‘JUST DO IT YOU COWARD, JUST DO IT! DON’T LET HIM GET IN THE WAY OF OUR LOVE!’ He sighed, “Is this about Saale?” “Yes,” I found myself saying, “The couch smells like her. I… I’m such a mess Karl. I don’t know how to get over this. I just want to be back. I want to be in high-school again and I want the four of us to be together again and I want to drink every night and…” I realized I was crying again. ‘Coward,’ the voice whispered. Karl looked at me, visibly feeling awkward. His brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what to say. “We can still drink every night,” he finally said, offering up a weak smile. I couldn’t even manage a smile back. He frowned and thought for a bit more before he spoke again. “James, life is sometimes bad and sometimes it is good. Things will not change, Saale will not come back, but if you wait long enough things will get better. You will forget, you will feel better. I am not good with words, but I am good with waiting. Me and Maarja will wait with you until you are better.” My hand slipped out of my pocket. It was empty. “Thank you Karl,” I said. ‘You’re a coward,’ the voice reminded me. The pieces started to fall together. The voice, the rat, the dreams, Maarja’s dad; there was something wrong with that couch. It needed to go. Yet there was still a part of me that couldn’t handle seeing it burn. I needed time to prepare. “You’re right about the couch. There’s something off about it but… Could we wait until after midnight to burn it?” Karl studied me. “Why?” “It’s silly, I know, but I think getting rid of the place where me and Saale had our first night would be a good start to the New Year, like a way to let things go.” Karl considered this idea for a bit and then nodded. It felt like a burden was lifted. Maarja joined us outside after a couple of minutes with coffee. The warmth of the cup felt soothing on my irritated skin. Being with the two of them felt soothing to my irritated soul. Suddenly things started to brighten. Saale and me would never be back together, hell, maybe I would never see her again, and that thought stung but while I was in the company of Karl and Maarja it felt manageable. We set up plans for the rest of the day; by the looks of it our last day of 2012 would be filled with walks through old places, kebabs and booze. We sat down in the kitchen for some pre-drinking. I put the knife where it belonged when no one was looking. The time that it had spent in my pocket felt like a fever dream. Anything related to the couch felt like a distant memory. The whole morning the voice had been silent, as if it had just satiated itself with calling me a coward and decided to abandon me. I returned the favor; even though it was right outside of the window I didn’t look at the couch a single time the entire morning. It was dead to me. In fact, I started to doubt whether it was ever alive to begin with. Yet as we headed out to town I couldn’t help myself. I looked back at the couch. It stood defiantly in the middle of the backyard, snow and mud all around it. This was not the same dusty couch Karl and me had dragged out of the garage. It was comfy looking, clean, even sleek. As Karl and Maarja walked on I could see the upholstery rumple into a wink. ‘We’re not done Tiger,’ the voice faintly whispered in my mind, ‘Not by a long shot.’ I ignored it and went out with my friends. We traced through our high-school drinking holes. Tallinn’s nightlife was always shifting around. Waiters and bartenders from Australia would sit at home, save up their money and run into the Baltics to buy a bar. The bar would be a financial trash fire and in under a year they would go broke. Yet the money that the expats blew on their dreams burnt bright, the names and owners of the bars might have changed but the memories that we made within those walls stayed. We went through the shisha bar where I would always celebrate my birthdays, the Karaoke place where Karl blew all of our minds, the hole-in-the-wall where our band had its first gig. We hoped from memory to memory until we ended up in the grand melting pot: Hellhunt park. By day Hellhunt was a pub with a park terrace. By night Hellhunt was a pub with an adjoining noise complaint. As soon as the terrace closed down teens from every corner of the city would crowd the benches of the park and drink. Even though most of our drinking began at Maarja’s place we would often stumble through here. Hellhunt was the place where our social circle would stretch. “They will be closing it down soon,” Karl said, looking at the mingling crowd of underage drunks. “Neighbors are complaining about the noise.” “Screw the neighbors!” Maarja drunkenly yelled at the windows. She was outpacing both of us, it wasn’t even ten o’clock and she was already drunk enough to forget the whole night. “If you don’t like the noise just come outside! Come drink with us!” Maarja yelled her offer to the windows. No one paid attention to her. Yelling was a regular occurrence in Hellhunt. Maarja stumbled her way over to the bench where Karl and me were sitting and collapsed between us. “You guys hear about Tinder?” That night was the drunkest I had ever seen her. “Tinder?” I asked. “It is an application for your phone where you choose strangers to have sex with,” Karl said. Maarja scoffed so hard she fell on my shoulder. “It’s a love app! It’s where strangers, strangers like James here, find love! What an exciting time to be single, you’re just given a list of people and you go ‘Beep! Boop!’ Next thing you know you’re married!” Maarja lifted her head. She looked in my eyes as an air of utter seriousness and rum drifted off her, “But I swear to god James, if you get married before me I’ll slit your throat.” She burst out into a stream of giggles, managing to spill her drink in the process. “Whoops! Looks like momma needs more jet-fuel.” Maarja staggered up to her feet and started falling down in the direction of the pub. Karl got up and managed to catch her before she fell over, “I will come with you. James? You want anything?” I still had half a plastic cup of vodka sprite. The two lovebirds went into the pub and left me alone with the crowd. I started to think about that Tinder thing that Maarja was talking about. Maybe she was right, maybe it was a good time to be single. I was in the country with the highest models per capita, I was a foreigner, I haven’t been in a serious relationship for six months. There was something about having two breakdowns in the past two days that flooded the obsession out of me. I started searching the crowd for someone I would have swiped right on. That’s when I saw her. She was standing at the edge of a circle of people. Some dude with dreadlocks was telling some story and she was listening. Her hazel eyes drifted around. They caught mine. For a split second we held each other’s gaze. Then Saale broke into a sprint. I ran after her. The Old Town of Tallinn is a lot less beautiful when you sprint through it. You can’t appreciate the medieval buildings when you’re in a mad dash, the cobbled streets definitely don’t help either. I ran after Saale as the city turned into a blur around me. My head spun as I ran past the buildings; old school field trips, karaoke, drunken trips to McDonalds, all those thoughts rumbled about. Yet above all of them there was one solitary thought that reigned supreme; I had to catch Saale. She ran with comical intensity, bumping into drunken crowds as she tried to get away from. It was as if an animal was chasing her. Seeing that panic in her face whenever she looked behind to see if I was gaining on her started to crack something in me. We ran out from the old town towards the two big malls. Crossing the road Saale nearly got hit by a tram. Something in me broke. I stopped. The absurdity of it all hit me at once. I was literally chasing her. She didn’t want to talk to me. She wouldn’t talk to me. For a couple minutes I stood still, letting the celebrating crowds walk past me like I was a lamppost. I was wavering between rage and despair. I chose the latter and trudged my way back to Hellhunt. Karl and Maarja were still sitting on the same bench. He was nursing another beer whilst Maarja was chugging on water insisting that she is just getting hydrated to do more drinking later on. It wasn’t rare to lose your friends at Hellhunt for thirty minutes; they didn’t ask where I disappeared to. They could tell something was off though. I tried to act cool, pretend that everything was fine but it wasn’t. I couldn’t stay there. I needed to go back to Maarja’s and just be alone. “What? You can’t leaveeee! It’s New Years eveee!” Maarja groaned, she kept on touching my face as if that would put me in a more festive mood. “Do you want us to come home too? I am sure we can see the fireworks from the back yard,” Karl finally said, “I think Maarja might benefit from lying down.” Maarja protested. She was basically sober after all. “No I think I need to be alone right now.” Karl studied me for a bit but finally nodded. “We will be back after the fireworks. There are some games on my computer if you get bored.” I appreciated the sentiment but I wasn’t in a mood for videogames. Karl gave me the keys and I made my way back to Maarja’s place. I moved past the crowds heading towards the center. I prayed I wouldn’t bump into Saale again. I rushed past the couch sitting in the backyard. I know couches don’t have eyes but I knew it was watching me. It was silently waiting for me to slip. There was a half drank bottle of moonshine on the living room floor from our pre-drinking. Just like any nineteen-year-old European boy the prospect of booze to dull my sadness leaped out at me. I tried to wash out the sting of rejection with the alcohol and for a while it helped, it dulled the pain, but the drunker I got the more my eyes started to slide towards the window. The couch just sat out there in the backyard, mud all around it, awaiting execution. ‘I told you we weren’t done’ it whispered, ‘Come outside Tiger.’ I took another pull of moonshine. I realized I needed a cigarette. -MJL (Final part)
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