India’s Amazing Mission to Mars and Patronizing Commentary from the West

We launched a peace project – not a bomb. We didn’t go around fighting a poor country citing the presence of fake WMDs. We didn’t build a vessel to conquer unsuspecting third worlders. We launched a mission to help humanity and the advancement of science. More importantly, we launched it with our money. We didn’t ask for your money nor help. Who are you to patronise us this way?

These journalists are like the rich bullies who enter a poor man’s house and mock at the books kept by the poor man – “You poor people can’t afford to eat rich food and you can afford to buy more books?”

Balaji Viswanathan

Eight thoughts on Bitcoin

A few things I’ve learned from following Bitcoin:

  • The greatest uses for Bitcoin haven’t been developed yet. Value exchange is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Passwords are important. Security is a lifestyle. Brainwallets are insecure.1
  • Wallets, services, and exchanges that elegantly hide (or offload responsibility of hiding) private keys last longer.2
  • As Bitcoin marches on, changes to the protocol become harder and harder. 3
  • At the end of the day, what’s important? It’s the usefulness, robustness, and flexibility of the protocol as a distributed ledger, not the exchange rate. The exchange rate is useful if you’re interested in the movement of fiat currency into and out of Bitcoin.
  • Money is a human term. Math exists in spite of us. Money is a medium through which humans can exchange value. Bitcoin is the convergence of math and the human idea of a ‘medium of exchange.’ No matter your idea of what money is, what it is not, and what you wish it was, the rules underlying Bitcoin don’t care.
  • The blockchain will continue as long as one miner keeps their computer on.
  • Bitcoin is not like anything that has ever come before, so it is risky to make one-to-one comparisons with old technologies or historical trends.

If you’re following Bitcoin, you might be interested in a news robot I made called Bitcoin Bolt or you can follow along on Twitter: @bitcoinbolt.

Below is a video of Bitcoin being created:

  1. There’s hundreds of stories of people losing their Bitcoin to Brainwallets. Here’s a particularly sad one?
  2. The reason why services like and Coinbase have not been compromised lies in the fact that it is difficult (or impossible, in the case of Coinbase) to expose private keys to wallets without the user explicitly asking for them over an https connection. Wallet seeds, ‘fragmented backups’ and 2 of 3 wallets are some of the ways that private keys are abstracted into human friendly formats.?
  3. In a recent talk, Andreas Antonopoulos brought up the fact that current network infrastructure engineers have been as of yet unable to switch the Internet from IPV4 to IPV6 even though everyone knows it’s necessary. There are far too many routers, devices, and systems that simply make the switch impossible. Similarly, the wallets, exchanges, and systems that use the Bitcoin protocol are becoming increasingly difficult to patch and upgrade in a timely fashion, and engineers working on the core development face huge hurdles getting their patches approved. ?

Secrets and Lies of the Bailout

So what exactly did the bailout accomplish? It built a banking system that discriminates against community banks, makes Too Big to Fail banks even Too Bigger to Failier, increases risk, discourages sound business lending and punishes savings by making it even easier and more profitable to chase high-yield investments than to compete for small depositors. The bailout has also made lying on behalf of our biggest and most corrupt banks the official policy of the United States government. And if any one of those banks fails, it will cause another financial crisis, meaning we’re essentially wedded to that policy for the rest of eternity – or at least until the markets call our bluff, which could happen any minute now.

Other than that, the bailout was a smashing success.

Secrets and Lies of the Bailout by Matt Taibbi


Fort Ross

Fort Ross is one of the coolest places that ever seen. The timelessness of wood construction was a sight to behold. Russians coexisting with norcal Indians:

The Kashaya Treaty between the Fort Ross settlement and the Kashaya Pomo Indians

On September 22, 1817, the Indian chiefs, Chu-gu-an, Amat-tan, Gem-le-le and others, appeared at Fort Ross by invitation. Their greeting, as translated, extended their thanks for the invitation.

Captain Lieutenant Hagemeister expressed gratitude to them in the name of the Russian-American Company for ceding to the Company land for a fort, buildings and enterprises, in regions belonging to Chu-gu-an, [land] which the inhabitants call Med-eny-ny. [Hagemeister] said he hoped they would not have reason to regret having the Russians as neighbors.

“Chu-gu-an and a second, Amattan, whose dwelling was also not far off, replied, “We are very satisfied with the occupation of this place by the Russians, because we now live in safety from other Indians, who formerly would attack us and this security began only from the time of [the Russian] settlement.”

And then:

After the hospitality, when [the Indians] departed from the fort, a one-gun salute was fired in honor of the chief Toion.


Below are a few photos from a recent walk around Fort Ross:

More on the Chapel inside the fort:

The chapel was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The foundation crumbled and the walls were ruined; only the roof and two towers remained intact. Between 1916 and 1918, the Chapel was rebuilt using timbers from both the Officials’ Quarters and the Warehouse. On October 5, 1970 the restored Russian chapel was entirely destroyed in an accidental fire. It was reconstructed in 1973. Following Russian Orthodox tradition, some lumber from the burned building was used. The chapel bell melted in the fire, and was recast in Belgium using a rubbing and metal from the original Russian bell. On the bell is a small inscription in Church Slavonic which reads “Heavenly King, receive all, who glorify Him.” Along the lower edge another inscription reads, “Cast at the foundry of Michael Makar Stukolkin, master founder and merchant at the city of St. Petersburg.” via

fort ross chapel

¡Oye, Mira! at SFAI’s Walter and McBean Galleries

Until June 8th, ¡Oye, Mira! will be up at SFAI:

¡Oye, Mira!: Reflective Approaches in Contemporary Latin American Video Art brings together a selection of artists from Latin America who use video as a tool of reflection and contemplation, exploring relationships of identity to site, history, and memory. These artists play an important role as mediators in the geo-political landscape, seeking to place their work within the context of place/site and the intersection of high culture and daily life. In the featured works, materiality, form, and concept come together in an expression of each artist’s personal values and experience of the world. These range from place-specific issues of social justice and political oppression to the universal concerns of love and family.

Featuring works from Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia, all created in the last 12 years, the exhibition considers a wide range of approaches to production and display, including the use of the “loop,” narrative structures, sculptural installations/environments, and dialogues with complementary two-dimensional works. Audience participation will also be an integral part of the exhibition through an interactive video lounge and café, and live performances and dancing during the opening reception.

Since the early 1970s, the New Genres Department at the San Francisco Art Institute has been a pioneer in performance, moving image, and installation, and a breeding ground for work at the intersection of the three mediums. As one of the first graduates of the New Genre=s program and now Faculty Director of MFA programs at SFAI, curator Tony Labat, a Cuban native, has been an integral part of the development of New Genres since its inception. He continues to explore cross-disciplinary art production through teaching, curating, and his own practice.

Below are a few photos from the opening: