What is Bitcoin? The debate rages on - Times of India
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Kick Boxing & Bitcoin panel debate (with live stream) from London's O2 Arena tomorrow. Register for free.
CoinScrum London, the world's largest Bitcoin networking group, will be hosting a panel debate prior to the world's first Kick-Boxing championship with a bitcoin prize at London's O2 Arena on Saturday 5th April. Register for free here: Details of the live stream will be posted to our registered members tomorrow. Before Max Keiser enters the ring to kick off the evening's entertainment, there will be a "Battle of the minds" taking place with panellists from both sides of the fence (and Atlantic!) laying bare Bitcoin's strengths and weaknesses. How Bitcoin Can Fight Back Against the Hackers and recent set backs! Is Bitcoin just a mind virus infecting the intelligent people waiting to get rich on a capital appreciation? Or can Bitcoin honeybadger its way back by showing the same resilience of the past 5 years? To thrash it out in an adversarial philosophical debate we have: Chris Ellis, Bitcoin enthusiast, entrepreneur and chair of the debate. Regular guest on the Bitcoin Group and co-founder Feathercoin Chris' super power is relentlessly seeking the truth by asking the hard questions everyone else is afraid of. Ben Dyson, Founder of Positive Money. A Bitcoin skeptic he believes Bitcoin was just a prototype and is full of design flaws. This could be good! Greg Davies, from Barclays (I know, I know) will be joining us to bring his expertise on behavioural economics and will tackle the incentive structure of the Bitcoin protocol. Gautam Dhillon founder of the Treasury Outsourcing Company who has also worked at Lloyds & JP Morgan is able to bring a perspective from inside the world of finance. Joining us live from New York Michele Seven, lifelong freedom advocate Michele is going to be chairing the debate from New York City ahead of the Inside Bitcoin Conference. Kristov Atlas, philosopher, computer scientist researching Bitcoin security. Checkout his Book Anonymous Bitcoin. Josh Walker, is all about Combinatorics, graph theory, game theory. Applied mathematics, rigorous logical analysis, and true Socratic dialogue. This will be followed by plenty of opportunity to network. You can sign up now for free for the panel discussion and networking event /////////////////////////// *Max Keiser vs 'Jamie Diamond'! * Then as if that weren't enough, at 6pm the doors will open to the world's first Bitcoin Sporting Event featuring Max Keiser in a celebrity bout with someone that might resemble a well known banking type : ) The kick boxing event will be ticketed but we are pleased to announce we will be featuring exclusive £15 half price tickets for CoinScrum members purchased on the day. This will give you entry to an fast paced 8 Man kick boxing tournament and the after party in the VIP lounge from around 10:30 until late.
Popcorn Time takes its inspiration from Netflix, boasting a clean outlook with thumbnails and categories - And streams pirated copies of movies and shows to your computer or smartphone
Editors note: There are many fake versions of Popcorn Time. This article primarily use Reddit as its source to recommend and link to the official, well regarded, version of the app. When you think of movie streaming, services like Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix usually come to mind. However, there is another streaming platform that is particularly popular for streaming pirated movies: Popcorn Time. This streaming platform allows you to watch torrented and pirated movies without paying anything. All you need to do is install it on your PC/smartphone/tablet, search for a film, and click play. However, there are piracy and safety concerns when it comes to using Popcorn Time. This is how it works.
What Exactly is Popcorn Time?
How it Works
How to Install Popcorn Time
Which version is legit?
Where does popcorn time store movies?
Popcorn Time APK for Android
Is Popcorn Time available on iOS?
Is it Illegal to Use Popcorn Time?
How does the developers make money?
Popcorn Time alternatives
What Exactly is Popcorn Time?
Popcorn Time is an open-source, multi-platform BitTorrent software application with a stylish and attractive media player. It was initially released in March 2014 by a team of developers in Argentina. They wanted to create a software that allows users to stream video content from torrent. Popcorn Time takes its inspiration from Netflix, boasting a clean outlook with thumbnails and categories. It uses sequential downloading and uploading to play movies, hence allowing you to stream pirated movies instantly. Popcorn Time on the Mac
How it Works
Popcorn Time is a torrent based streaming tool and the way it works is simple enough. Let’s say you want to watch Tenet (it's not out as of this writing). You use the interface provided by the platform to find and click that title, and the tool then navigates through existing BitTorrent titles automatically from come from two well known torrent sites. YTS for movies and eztv for tv-shows. Then, Tenet is streamed directly to your computer from that pre-existing BitTorrent source. So, while you watch the film, Popcorn Times acts as a torrent client and continues to leech and seed it from other people. That means you'll be forced to share the content you watch.
How to Install Popcorn Time?
In order to use Popcorn Time to stream pirated movies, you will need to download and install the software on your computer or smartphone. The app is available for variety of operating systems, including Android, Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.
Download Popcorn Time from popcorntime.app which hosts Mac, Windows and Android.
There are no specific installation requirements as it is installed just like any other app.
However, keep in mind that its usage has been banned in many regions. So, you cannot download it from Apple’s Apple Store or Google Play Store. In some countries popcorntime.app has been blocked and you need a VPN to hide your real IP. You might want to use VPN software to keep your own information private and anonymous when running the app as well.
Which version is legit, and real?
There are many clones out there, some of which will install other apps, using your computer as a bitcoin miner. The legit, and most supported version according to Reddit, is popcorntime.app (formerly known as popcorntime.sh)
Where does popcorn time store movies?
On your computer or device. Using torrents the app stream the files, while they are being downloaded. So it's just like when you download a torrent, except it starts the video during the download.
Yes. But it's not as easy as downloading an app from the App store.The iPhone version of Popcorn Time is unstable and requires a jailbroken iPhone. Since jailbreaking your iPhone in 2020 is difficult and time consuming, it isn't an option for most. If you still want to try, there is Antique's version. You can follow his updates and links on Twitter. There is also a version which allegedly works with the alternative, non-jailbreak required, but much debated, altstore. For more information, see its Github home.
Is it Illegal to Use Popcorn Time?
In most cases, yes. Most, if not all, TV shows and movies which appear on Popcorn Time are pirated, and you may be wondering about the legality of it all. First of all, downloading any copyrighted file is illegal in most countries. However, torrents themselves are a valid means to share and download files. So without sounding too confusing, it is typically not illegal to download Popcorn Time. It's when you stream or download the movies and tv-shows themselves it gets risky. But depending on where you live this might not be the case. Copyright infringement is illegal in Germany while in India, there are no restrictions of using Popcorn Time to steam movies as long as you don’t redistribute them. Of course, laws change. That’s why it is recommended that you do your research to understand the risks.
How does the developers make money?
The Popcorn time version we recommend has affiliate links to VPN services. How much money this actually is, or if its funding hardware costs, is unknown. But it proves that money is being generated from the app.
Are there any alternatives?
There are a lot of alternatives, most of which are unstable or shady. However, here are a few alternatives recommended on Reddit. Note that they all come with their own positive and negatives aspects when compared to Popcorn Time.
Stremio - Open source project which lets you add your own sources, such as 1337 or Pirate Bay. It also uses official streams from YouTube, HBO and more. Has been reported as unstable but still the best Popcorn alternative.
Media Box HD - A MacOS app with 4K streams. Is known to be unstable for some.
Leonfix - A Popcorn Time Windows app which doesn't use torrents. Currently in beta.
ShowBox - Android alternative which doesn't use torrents. Unstable and currently in beta.
Radarr - Which automatically downloads shows and films.
Despite the concerns about whether or not using Popcorn Time is illegal, there is no denying that the tool is very impressive. The ability to download and stream torrent content in a seamless and hassle-free way is quite brilliant. Not to mention the platform has a much larger library of content with no restrictions whatsoever. So, it’s not surprising why many consider it a better alternative to regular torrents or a Disney+ subscription. Feedback and corrections are more than welcome! Originally written for Where You Watch.
Fanboyism, maximalism, interoperabilty, working with others and division of time transcript
Hi everybody, this is Charles Hoskinson broadcasting live from warm sunny Colorado. I wanted to make a video about division of time. I've been recently making a lot of commentary on the ETC ecosystem. I've also reached out to other ecosystems like the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem, the Litecoin ecosystem for a variety of reasons and I noticed that there are some people in the comments and then telegram and twitter and other places say "oh no" focus 100% of your effort on Cardano! Why are you talking to ETC, why are you doing this and doing that? So first off I run a big company. I we have over 250 people. About half of those people wake up every day and they're involved in Cardano. The other half are not so. As the CEO of a company where you have that kind of division there's non-Cardano things I do. Cardano's our largest project, we're heavily involved in it and obviously we wake up every day and we want Cardano to be successful and have billions of users and this is why we are following the process we're following. We're building the technology we're building. It's why we work very hard trying to commercialize it. Every deal we do in Africa, every deal we do in eastern Europe, every deal we do in Asia, we have a Cardano first policy of deploying those deals on that platform and we built that platform to service those deals and as that platform evolves you'll see more use and utility from our sales channels in that respect. That said, one of the pillars of a third generation cryptocurrency is interoperability. It's kind of a silly thing to be a maximalist but then also talk about interoperability. What the hell is the point that? Either you want one chain to rule them all and therefore you don't care at all about talking to other systems or you put your money where your mouth is and you work on those other systems. You build expertise in those systems, you affect changes in those systems so that those systems can partner with our systems and work with our systems. You know the Samsung CEO? He has a division that every day gets up and works with Apple and they work on the motherboards of the iPhone and build memory for them. Do all kinds of cool things and Samsung's division knows what the iPhone is going to look like before any of us knows. At the same time, there's another division at Samsung that wakes up every day and works on phones like the Galaxy to compete with the iPhone. Great companies have the capacity to do these things and we are a great company in that respect we have different and dedicated teams for different products and projects. Now, we will never work on overlapping systems. It's not the case that we're going to have developers go and work on Cardano and something that's a direct competitor of Cardano because it makes no competitive sense for that to happen and I do not view ETC as a competitor of Cardano. It's a proof-of-work system, not a proof-of-stake system. It's a code-is-law system, not a world-financial operating system. It's a system that will always have a smaller group of people in it and always have a smaller set of things to do so time spent there with a completely separate team has no bearing or impact on our ability to deliver things with Cardano. I can't accelerate things above and beyond what the teams can do, for example, today. I'm waiting for Daedalus flight to come out. There is nothing I can do. I can't pick up the phone and call the engineers and say can you ship it 15 minutes faster. The plan, it's been set, the release manager is there, the QA, team's there, everybody knows what to do. There's consensus amongst that team. They're going off to the mountain top, get it done and when it's done they'll let me know and then I'll tweet "new Daedalus is out guys" go play with it and it gives me some work to do of course but until they finish their job there's nothing to do in that respect. The Cardano plans we have are well set , we know exactly what we need to do. Those teams are working hard and I do everything in my power to accelerate things where and when it's safe to do so and everything in my power to get things done. Shelley, for example. We worked so hard to get that out on July 29th, we had almost unlimited overtime. Everyone worked the weekend. Some people worked over 40 days straight to get that release done. Meanwhile half of the company was doing other things in other capacities and working on those projects. None of their work or the other cryptocurrencies we tend to work with had any bearing or impact on our ability to accelerate or decelerate the Shelley work stream. I just want to make sure everybody understands that and for people who have developed a maximalist mindset to get out of that maximalist mindset. There's a place for maximalism, it's called Bitcoin maximalism. If you live there, go there, okay and go believe in that project, in that chain but this is the Cardano ecosystem. It's going to literally work with hundreds if not thousands of different standards over its life. From central banks to other cryptocurrencies to legacy financial operators from the Chases of the world to the Goldman Sachs' of the world. Provisions will be made to build special hooks for these systems including interoperability with permission systems. It's very likely in the next 24 months Cardano will be talking to an instance of Hyperledger Fabric from IBM. Very likely that that's going to happen. It's very likely that we'll consult on a project that does that and no way does this diminish the road map or somehow make Cardano less competitive. It's actually quite the opposite. The fact that we can work with those systems, the fact that we can do things with those systems means that the platform as a whole is intrinsically more valuable. It's easier to sell to Fortune 500 companies. It's easier to get use utility and adoption because people understand that they're not being led down the road of vendor lock-in and regressing back to the old days of internet explorer or what ConsenSys is trying to do with Ethereum, trying to lock everybody into one standard, one system, rather the value proposition we offer. Is true interoperability the ability to move in and out? Furthermore, when you create partnerships with other ecosystems then their success is our success. For example, if the treasury system proposal succeeds in ETC they will be in the market for a permanent treasury system in 2021. We as a community can make the case that we've constructed with Voltaire is a great choice for them and of course we'll try to make that case and if it's successful we provide mutual value and benefit more volume and transactions and activity on the Cardano network, and for ETC they have a best-in-class treasury system that meets the values of that community. The exact same argument can be made for Litecoin, or for Bitcoin cash or for other systems and if you want to see the wrapped Litecoin video that I did earlier in the year it gives a great road map for a potential push there. Furthermore, what if we turn Daedalus into a multi-currency wallet? That's already going to happen because we have a multi-asset standard and so when people issue tokens on Cardano Daedalus will support those tokens sometime in the future. It would be very easy for us to pull Ethereum classic and Litecoin and Bitcoin cash and other ecosystems into the Daedalus wallet. What does that mean? It means that people who live in that ecosystem will be using our technology as their day-to-day experience in hosting for their token! What does that mean if we have a DEX built into that thing? It potentially could create more adoption in use and utility for ada and this is the point we accomplish so much more working together than beating each other down. I am damn tired of the cryptocurrency markets as they are. The fanboys, the trolls, the FUD, the maximalism, the relentless allegations that people you disagree with or hold different tokens are scammers or criminals or bad human beings. It's time we as an industry set this aside and grow up. Just grow up or else what's the point? Why would anybody looking from the outside at all of this chaos and noise and insanity and maximalism want to come play in this pool? It's like you're about to enter a bar and you see a bar fight. Do you keep going in or you turn around and walk away and say I don't want that trouble. I'm going to go down the street somewhere else that's safer and so how will we ever get mainstream adoption, how will we ever make the argument to governments that they should trust their elections, their property, perhaps even the money of their people on our systems if we're incapable of entertaining other ideas, other philosophies and other ecosystems? We don't deserve the right for that responsibility if we're not mature enough to have differences of opinion and be able to welcome other ecosystems into our own. So this video is a call against maximalism first and foremost and second it's a realization that the duties of an executive officer are extensive meaning that there are days I wake up and there are Ethereum days and, by the way, working in that ecosystem gives me and my company exhaustive knowledge on how Ethereum works which allows me then to build a better product than they have and understand where all the bodies are buried: all the flaws in the protocols, the security issues, the performance issues, the smart contract development experience. That intimacy is extremely important to be able to predict, react and also plan a competitive strategy that can take you in a different and better direction. You just don't live in a mono-culture. It's a bad deal, that's the second point. You have many projects. When you have a larger company, some of those projects are completely separate from each other. Some of those projects may have a bit of overlap. We have a philosophy that we don't work on competing products. For example we have done work with horizon (Horizon2020?) and as a consequence of doing work with them we're probably not going to work on zcash at the same time. As long as we have that relationship there we, for example, work on Cardano so we're not going to go work on another proof-of-stake system that wants to be a financial operating system. That would be a direct competitor. For example, Tezos would be happy to jointly author papers and coordinate collaboration but there needs to be a Cardano benefit in that relationship whereas ETC as I've mentioned is a totally different system and it's something that we have as a company historically worked on for years. We started our participation in 2016. We built a full client in that process. Did that have any impact on our ability to deliver Cardano? We had a completely separate engineering team. That team was actually sourced from external companies. Scalac and Atix Labs to begin with and then we built on top of it and it had different product and project management and it was completely written with a different group. So it might as well have been a different company for that matter and I just talked to the team but the Cardano team was doing its own thing so I I think we need to just cut it out. Cut out the maximalism, cut out this idea that there is only one truth. We live in a nuanced world and we live in a world of interoperability. We have to embrace that if we wish to be successful and let us be the adults in the room. Let's be the place where this isn't the bar fight and let's be the place that welcomes everybody. Furthermore, I've noticed some criticism from my own community. When people criticize us and they go to the politics of destruction or personal attacks or yield on criticizing people's intelligence or whatever have you... Cut that out too. Let's be a better community. I repeatedly call upon the Tezos foundation to tell its community to stop criticizing Cardano and calling it's "a scam project". So, I'll call upon my own community, I have seen things that shouldn't have happened. Certain members of Cardano community replying to people over twitter, replying to people who criticize us have resorted to personal attacks and so forth. Again, just ignore them , mute, let's embrace unity, let's embrace being better, yes, occasionally you got to kick people in the teeth especially when people are lying and what you do is you call them out on the lies that they've made. You specifically point out where they have done things that are a bit crazy or disingenuous and dishonest. For example, we had a meeting today with Ethereum classic and it was blatantly apparent to me that this process has been set up to fail and be exclusive and prevent alternative ideas from a certain power structure from being held. So, I made a 30-minute whiteboard video where I not only called it out but I proposed an alternative and said this is how we're going to transcend that process and get to a much more productive way of doing things. Some of the criticism we have is justified because of product delays or because people don't fully understand who we are and what we're trying to do and obviously there's history there. So, first and foremost, let's reply with facts. First and foremost let's reply with dignity and respect and empathy for the other person's position and you know what? If they continue to push forward then you kick him in the teeth and you say it's obvious you don't want to have a conversation. You're a troll, but to my community please do this and please have this level of respect and dignity with others and with each other. For example, we right now have a lot of debates with small stake pools versus large stake pools, there's plenty of people floating around with differences of opinion and our mantra should always be disagree without being disagreeable. People are going to have other values people, are gonna have differences of opinion and people are gonna have different perspectives. You can't change that reality nor should you. We all have the right to think and have differences of opinion but we also should expect a dialog that's fair and has empathy in it and so I call upon everybody to preserve that decorum as we move forward and also understand that some days we wake up we have to do things that are non-Cardano related in order for us all to be successful because not all the world will ever be Cardano related. We always need partners whether it be great pieces of hardware like Ledger and Trezor or exchanges to work with different wallets and sometimes those partners do stuff with us and sometimes those partners do things with other people. We have friends, we have projects we admire and respect. For example, I've expressed repeatedly great admiration for the Algorand project. I think they're doing a phenomenal job and they have great leadership with Silvio Micali. I think the research and the engineering there is top notch. I personally believe Cardano is better. That's because we built it and that's because we think we have a better strategy to market and ultimately the market's going to decide which standards to go with and whether it's going to be many standards or a consolidation. That's not my decision. I just have to wake up every day and fight for the things I believe in. That said, never once have we ever criticized Algorand because they are in essence the model of empathy and dignity and good communication and being very proactive at focusing on solutions when they make announcements. They make announcements about new things that they're doing and new partners that they have and never once have they ever criticized another project or engaged in fanboyism. That's a great community, that's a great project and it's a model for where the space should go and I admire that deeply and greatly especially when you contrast it with other projects that have been less empathetic in their history. We all have our problems, we all have our issues. I know that we all can be better and so that's my final point. Let's do that. Let's be better as an industry. Let's be a bit friendlier and let's invest the time and effort necessary to really understand and listen to each other because ultimately I think that's going to get us where we need to go and be able to get us to a point where we have that adoption of millions and billions of people and fundamentally change the fabric of society. Otherwise we will be victims of our own success and descend into tribalism and descend into sectarian violence and then ultimately destroy the entire industry because it will become co-opted by large companies who use a surface-level marketing to take the brand, take the notion of a blockchain but then install centralized authorities behind them and in which case we've lost. I don't want that to happen I want the movement to succeed. I want us to understand each other and I enjoy having great competitors sometimes working with them sometimes fighting them in the battle of the markets, in the markets of ideas and ultimately I think we as a community have a chance to also be a model for everyone else. So, let's do that. Thank you... Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXQrm18XhQ8
*New Story* Do autonomous trucks dream of CW McCall?
I've got some serial stories I'd like to tell about living with (and in) technology and the industry. Do autonomous trucks dream of CW McCall? Falstaff’s story “For a bright shining moment, we added a lot of shareholder value”. Falstaff had a comic with that caption in his double sized cubicle, the kind reserved for senior engineers. For a while he thought it showed that he didn’t fully buy into the corporate line, but that he’d still do as he was told as long as he had a shot at the big payout. RSUs, the big acquisition. The end of year bonus. That was the deal in the before time, when things mostly worked out for most people it seemed. Falstaff knew he wasn’t the smartest, but he didn’t complain, didn’t pick fights and lived pretty well. His bad habits didn’t impact his work life and he still might hit it big enough to quit and try something else. To have options. Then everything happened at once. The fires. The diseases. The chaos. Nobody knew who was in charge for a year or so. Things came back. A few years passed and the wealthy parts of the coastal cities looked shiny again. Most people called it normal. To the casual eye, it was. You could still get sushi delivered to the office late at night, ski in the Rockies if you could take the time off. Things were pretty good if you stayed where you belonged and kept your metrics up. Things fell off as you went East or to the not-so-quaint rural areas that couldn’t swing a music festival or good photo opportunities for social media. Go far enough and you found the places where the Feds just walked away. Not our problem any more. That’s how Falstaff saw the world and his place in it. He had’nt had much sleep. Drugs, risky behavior and the self-loathing kept him occupied, making his morning commute that much less pleasant. He stopped staring at the RVs and tents parked on the land next to the on-ramp as he got on the 101. He jabbed the infotainment system to find some noise to sooth or at least distract him. “Today, the Department of Energy announced that repairs have been completed ahead of schedule for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Radiation levels are now below acceptable levels for the first time in three years” Click. “We’ve got an autonomous truck accident with a car by Exit 6 on the 280 Eastbound, so expect delays while CHP and a support team from Freightliner gets that cleaned up” Click. It didn’t work. He still felt adrift and unhappy in the morning commute, so he silenced the radio and drove to the office. The office was uneventful. Park, security checkpoint, a long walk to his building, a coffee on the way to his cubicle. He pulled the privacy screen closed behind him and sat down. A quick scan of his eyes and there was his project- a payment processing application that would cut out another payment application for a small percentage of a massive stream of money. He looked over last night’s chatter, split the tasks into ‘do the work’ and ‘show that I’m adding value’ categories. The fear and sadness caught up with him. He wasn’t ever going to get out. If he ran as fast as he could, he’d stay exactly where he was until his rent outpaced his income. His stock options would vest just fast enough to keep him going, but he’d never get out. The morning dragged. Tweak this, report this to someone else. The bureaucratic minutiae and make-work washed over him until lunch. He looked forward to lunch with Tran, hoping that might get him out of his funk. Tran wasn’t so much a friend as one of the few people who admitted how screwed up everything was, so there wasn’t any danger of speaking the obvious and getting a negative reputation. Tran was out today, so Falstaff ate leftovers and instant noodles in his cubicle. His phone buzzed. There was a message on MomTalk, a chat for wealthy mothers to discuss brunch, day drinking and their children. An engineer friend of Falstaff’s set it up as a joke to lampoon the women she couldn’t stand and her friends played along, adopting over the top personae and complaining about nonexistent spouses and domestic staff. After things came back, it was a way to talk freely, if in code. Heather: Hey. I’m in deep trouble. The Nanny’s unhappy and I need someone to pick up the kids. Falstaff sighed. Tran must need something. Sheila: Missed you for lunch. Not feeling well? Heather: Serious. My kid is stuck under my desk and I need him to come home. UNDERSTAND? NOW! Sheila:kk. He got up, took his brown cardboard biodegradable instant noodle container and walked a few rows over to Tran’s cubicle. Where Falstaff’s cube was disorganized and well worn, Tran’s was sparse with better furniture. Falstaff felt under the desk and noticed a decal with one end loose. A quick pull and the label peeled off into his hand, along with a small flash memory card, the size of a fingernail. He stood up and quickly looked up and down the aisle between the cubicles. Nobody noticed. Nobody really paid much attention to him on a good day unless they needed something from him anyway. Back in his own cubicle, he went back to the chat: Sheila: How urgent is this? Chip can have dinner with us or we can drop him off on the way to fencing class. Heather:NO TIME. FAMILY’S HERE AND THINGS ARE TENSE. Heather:RUN. GET OUT NOW. Heather:REALLY. Falstaff was concerned. Tran didn’t make jokes. Laughing at Falstaff’s attempts at humor was enough. He had figured that Tran’s talk of ‘having gangsters in his family’ was an attempt to seem dangerous despite being a cubicle denizen, the way middle aged men bought loud motorcycles that they never rode. He folded the decal over the card, pressed the sides together and dropped it in the instant noodle cup, then pushed it down with the corn-plastic chopsticks. The background chatter got quiet and multiple employees raised their heads prairie-dog like. Several members of the company security detail were looking through Tran’s cubicle. Geoff, the brush-cut ex-cop security guard for this building was standing in the aisle attempting to look like he mattered to the operation as the more polished and definitely better paid detail carefully boxed the contents of Tran’s cubicle. Falstaff picked up his phone and noodle container and started walking towards an exit away from the commotion. Geoff noticed and walked briskly after him. As Falstaff walked out of the building, Geoff called out his real name, then jogged behind him, puffing his half a size too small corporate logo’d golf shirt. Ironed golf shirt. Falstaff heard Geoff behind him, but decided to ignore him. Geoff was a blue-badged contractor, safely ignored. Normally. Geoff ran in front of him and blocked his path to the parking garage. “You wouldn’t happen to know where Tran is, would you? I’ve seen you with him ” Falstaff tapped on his white badge. “You’re not my real dad. You can’t tell me what to do” Falstaff squeezed past him into the parking garage’s doorway. Geoff glared at him while Falstaff got in his car and put the noodle carton in the fancy retracting cupholder. He started his car and drove off as calmly as he could manage. Despite his attempt at seeming indifferent, his mind was racing. He attempted to make good time without getting attention. Luckily, silver Porsches were a cliché and therefore almost invisible in the Valley. Twenty minutes later, he was in his mid-grade two bedroom apartment overlooking the parking lot. His cat, Hank, greeted him with a raised head and half open eyes. Falstaff gave the cat some perfunctory petting, while trying to sequence the next few tasks. He went to the refrigerator in the kitchen, carrying the ramen cup in one hand. He selected a can of energy drink and thought for a second. His smartwatch and phone went in the freezer. Fishing the wrapped memory card out of the cup, he picked up the can and walked to his couch, where a bestickered high end laptop rested. Debating between speed and security, he turned off networking on his laptop, then inserted the card into the laptop gingerly, mounting it read-only in case Tran left something aggressive on the card. Huh. A couple really large encrypted files. And seven smaller files with long filenames of seemingly random numbers and letters. He ejected the card and gingerly placed it on the arm of the couch. The file names were bitcoin addressses. A lookup showed a total value of almost $600 million in value there. The files themselves were encrypted. Falstaff stared at the wall for a minute or two, then realized that Tran had decided to quit and take an unauthorized retirement bonus from their shared employer. Enough money to kill for. Who knew about this, and more importantly, who knew Falstaff had the key? Tran did. Perhaps his gangster friends knew. He pulled his phone out of the freezer. A few project related emails and three MomTalk direct messages. Heather:??? Heather:Where y’at? Heather:I have investors. They’re quite insistent. They’re on their way to you. It was time to go. Now. Falstaff put the laptop down and ran to his bedroom. He pawed through a closet and pulled out the giant duffel he used to carry two week’s laundry from his grad student apartment to the cheaper off-campus laundromat. He quickly shoved a variety of clothes, some scuffed hiking boots and some corporate branded technical outdoors gear into it. Behind a shelf, he found a long, antiquated Russian bolt-action rifle and a few paper-wrapped boxes of bullets. It wasn’t the firearm someone on the run would want, but it’s what he had. It went into the duffle bag, which he dragged into the living room. Hank jumped down and inspected the bag. “Hank, I’ll hook you up in a second” A quick scour of the kitchen and Falstaff had two thick trashbags and a box of water jugs with his current employer’s old logo on them, which he emptied into the sink and turned on the faucet. As the sink filled, he filled the trashbags with whatever looked useful- tools, hobby electronics, his laptop and cat food. He pulled out a fat stack of cash from the bottom of his drug stash box. He contemplated forced sobriety, then carefully closed the box and put it in the bag, along with the cash. Don’t change everything at once, he thought. Now isn’t the time to risk sobriety. Falstaff rummaged around in the hall closet and dug out a bright pink cat carrier and stuffed Hank into it, then turned to the overflowing sink in his kitchen. He opened and filled the bottles in what he hoped was an efficient use of time, then pushed them back into the box. His phone buzzed again. He contemplated throwing it back in the freezer, then thought better of it, shoving it and the watch back in his pocket. Hank started meowing. “We’re not going to the vet today, dude. Shut it for now” Falstaff looked out his window. Typical traffic. Typical parking lot. A few charging stations, a fence and tents on the other side. He opened the window and threw the bags into the bushes below. He picked up Hank’s carrier, his laptop and looked at the box of water bottles. Wait. Stop. Think. Breathe. Tran’s card. A minute of searching found where he left it on the couch. He stuck that in his pocket, then ran out of his apartment. He considered the elevator, then decided on the stairs as they were closer to the bags and his car. A few minutes of pushing and shoving had the trash bags in the front trunk , the oversized duffle in the passenger seat and Hank’s carrier seat belted in the tiny back seat. He spun the tires and entered the flow of traffic, such as it was. He looked at his phone. More people seemed to want a response. Ignoring them, he found the closest florist’s shop and fifteen minutes later, pulled into the strip mall that contained it. A few minutes later, he was in possession of three “Birthday Balloon Extravaganzas”, finishing off the shop’s tank of helium and a bit of Falstaff’s cash. He tied the strings around his smartwatch and let it rise and drift past the confines of the parking lot. The hastily constructed wad of tape and ribbon connecting his phone to the other two Extravaganzas generated a more labored flight, but eventually it drifted away. He looked into the shop’s camera and flipped it the bird as he left and jumped back in his car. Soon he was back on the road, relaxing with his elbow out the window. Despite the stop and go traffic, he felt safe enough to relax and make longer range plans. Even Hank had settled down for the moment. The hot air felt less oppressive somehow. He contemplated the right set of music for an escape from civilization, trying on a few genres to decide. The screen also showed that the freeway was less than a quarter mile on the right and traffic would be light. Good. Then he looked again at the screen and thought about antennas. His radio talked to the cell tower, which talked to the Internet. Every application knew where he was. Which meant Tran’s investors or their ex-employer could know as well. One hand on the wheel, he looked around for something to pull the radio out of the dashboard. Hank meowed. “You have an idea? No? Please be quiet” Rummaging around in the glove box, he noticed an old folding knife. Falstaff slowly pried the radio from the dashboard while occasionally looking up at the tailgate of a modern SUV ahead of him. Realizing there was a rear-facing camera on the SUV staring at him, he slid down below the dash as best he could. A few more stop and go cycles and the radio was free of the dash. He unplugged cables by feel, but one took his attention away from the road while he pried at it with his knife He was distracted by a horn blast by his ear. Another SUV was forcing itself into his lane while the driver gesticulated at him. Falstaff reciprocated by waving angrily at him, knife still in hand. The driver of the SUV held the horn down, angering Falstaff enough to open the window and throw the now free radio at the noise. Feeling the embarrassment, he jerked the wheel to the right and accelerated into the bicycle lane with a chirp of tires and howl from the engine behind him. A minute later, he was on the highway, quickly leaving Silicon Valley. He hoped to make the Nevada line before anyone figured out what he was doing.
From Conspiracy to Fact: An analysis of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Information Control, and the New World Order (Appendix includes hundreds of citations) - PART 1
UPDATE: This article is now available as a printable PDF with embedded hyperlinks for navigation through sources. This link will be valid thru July 9: https://ufile.io/4mpkg4x6
PLEASE NOTE: This article may be updated periodically with new information and links as they become available. All referenced information and a whole lot more is indexed and linked in the relatedappendix posts.Please feel free to crosspost, share, and take from my ideas to build your own. Namaste. Part 1 | Part 2 | Appendix A | Appendix B Hello. My name is Chris. I am nobody, really. An average citizen. I am an overweight 42 year old white male from the Midwestern suburbs of the US who has been fortunate enough to live a pretty comfortable life. I used to be a freelance graphic designer with a focus on small businesses, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that that career and part of my life is more than likely over in light of current events. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. I've always been concerned about social injustice and tried to stay politically informed, even dabbling in some activism here and there. At times I've stepped away from paying attention for my own mental health, or due to laziness, defeatism, whatever. But I've never stopped caring, or trying, to fight the good fight and do the right thing. The news recently has of course swept us all up, and touched all our lives in some way or another. The world has never seen anything like the "Coronavirus Pandemic," and it's clear that our society will be changed forever when we finally come out the other end of this mess. But I've had the luxury of time recently, and in reading the news about things that were going on, I couldn't help but notice the patterns, and that a lot of stuff didn't exactly make sense. So, here we go, with the "conspiracy theory." I hate that term, because although it's technically accurate, it's been demonized and weaponized by the media and society at large to take on a bad connotation. Tinfoil hats, alien abductions, crazy people muttering to themselves, etc. You've no doubt got a lot of images in your mind of a conspiracy theorist. And make no mistake, what I'm going to tell you here is all currently very popular conspiracy theory. However, I think that by removing opinions and conjecture from it, and focusing on facts and things that have already happened, I can present this huge amount of overwhelming, disparate information in a way that makes it less a "theory" and more a "research project." And so that is how I have approached this. I have spent the last week doing little else besides reading every news and opinion article I could find, saving and organizing hundreds of links, and assembling a coherent, logical outline to organize and present these theories, and more importantly, facts. There are a lot of less-than-reputable sites and publications out there, and I have tried when at all possible to provide sources from verifiable news sites, with a wide range of slants and focuses, to illustrate that what is happening is not part of any one particular political agenda. I hope that you take the time to check the links, really look into the information presented here, and form your own opinions. Please do not just take my word for it. To that end, there are also a few links mixed in that are labeled as having come from conspiracy. These are well-written and well-reasoned posts from other concerned citizens that I think are worth reading, and relevant to the discussion here. One last thing - If you are new to most of these ideas, the information presented here is more than likely going to seem overwhelming at first. I encourage you now, and always, to take mental health breaks for yourself, and put down your phone or turn off your computer. The information will be here when you come back. And as you'll soon understand, what is happening is an unstoppable tide, truly a force of nature at this point, and there is nothing you can do to fight it, so try your hardest to relax, put on some chill music, hug your dog, and most of all... BREATHE. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - If you start researching conspiracy theory, you're going to find a lot of information. Some much better or worse presented than others, and some much more plausible or unbelievable than others. Despite the seeming ridiculousness of some things you might read, I encourage you to always approach new information with an open mind. That said though, I have one main principle that guides all my beliefs about conspiracy theories, and that is the "Filter of Likelihood." Essentially, you have to ask yourself how possible, how likely, and how feasible a piece of information is. Furthermore, you need to ask yourself what the motivation would be. In many cases, it's quite easy to see how something makes a lot of sense based on other known info, whereas some theories seem rather implausible no matter how you look at it. I am interested only in the plausible, and where possible, the already actualized. Additionally, there's a lot to be said, and a lot that has already been written on many of these topics, so I will focus on current events and simple concepts. I will also ask you to open your mind to possibility. Please consider this as you evaluate new information:
Do you believe there are things going on in the world that you don't know about yet?
Do you believe that there is technology and science you've never heard of?
Do you believe that society is progressing at an increasing rate?
Do you believe that as populations grow, we require new societal strategies?
Do you believe that those with power and money want to retain their power and money?
Of course you believe all these things, and none of these are wild or unusual concepts. Rather, these are very basic concepts that apply to everyone, and always have. They are all part of our shared human experience, and undeniable facts of life. Populations grow, societies evolve, technology advances, and the world changes. And most important to our discussion here, people, families, and empires constantly jockey for power and control, while fighting for resources, power, fame, and... MONEY. We all hate TicketMaster, right? Who do they think they are, what the hell is this bullshit "service fee," etc. It's something everyone can get behind. But did you know that TicketMaster willingly cultivates that image? That venues, teams, and artists, in their pursuit of more money, raise fees and then let TicketMaster be the bad guy and take the heat so their reputations remain intact? There are many more people, organizations, and other entities in the world playing that same role for those who really have the money, who really call the shots. And those who call the shots work very hard and spend absolutely unfathomable amounts of money, time, and blood, to make sure that you don't ever realize who's actually taking your money. They do this in the simplest, easiest way. If you simply control information from the top down, and disseminate it when and where you see fit, you can effect great societal change without lifting a finger. Please imagine... really, try to imagine... You just read an article, saw a video, whatever, from a very, very reputable source. And it just informed you that an asteroid was 83% likely to impact the Earth next month. What would you do? What would happen in the world? Hopefully an asteroid will not hit next month, but it's important to really imagine what would happen and why, and how. Because a huge amount of information would be generated and published, people would panic, society would crumble, and the world as you know it would change forever in an instant, the moment you read that headline. Control of information is one of the most powerful tools known to mankind today. A person living in 2020 can easily encounter as much information in a day as someone in Medieval times might have encountered in a lifetime. And it comes at you from all angles, in all forms, non-stop, 24/7. Much like the water in the pipe, the information is always there, and one needs but turn it on. Disseminating the information then becomes a practice all its own, and to be sure, information processing accounts for more than half of the US GDP. And the rate at which it's spread, and way it is handled makes a huge difference in the societal repercussions. So a few different techniques are used:
The "Slow Walk" - If a large, unexpected piece of information is given suddenly, people tend to react poorly and irrationally. Also known as "letting them down easily," this technique restricts the flow of information to prevent the audience from balking or being overwhelmed
The "Steady Drip" - This technique involves keeping your audience subjected to a constant stream of the desired information, so that they become accustomed to it and it becomes "normalized"
The "Firehose" - A deluge of information flying out at full blast, designed to overwhelm the audience so that they cannot focus on anything else
It might be the greatest understatement of all time to say that there has been a lot of information passed around about COVID-19, the "Coronavirus," recently. In fact, there has never been anything like what we are currently experiencing in all of human history, and not by a long shot. And this unprecedented turn of events has caused a lot of people to react in a lot of ways, and say and do a lot of things, for better or for worse. Full disclosure: In particular, if you look up conspiracy theory, you'll see a lot of stuff suggesting that the "Coronavirus is a hoax." (You'll also find a lot of poorly-written rambling) I want to be clear that I DO NOT believe that. I am 100% sure that there is a Coronavirus, that it is making people sick, that a lot of people are dying, and that our medical professionals and many other undervalued workers are overwhelmed, and breaking their backs every day to do their best to keep their friends, families, and loved ones safe. I am extraordinarily grateful for them and admire the resolve and bravery that so many have shown in the face of this disaster. I do not think it is a hoax at all. However, I think that literally everything else that is happening surrounding the "pandemic" is. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The Pandemic In the first week of January this year, I got sick. Really sick. I know when I got it and who I got it from, and honestly the exact moment I got it (I only was in proximity of the dude for a few minutes). He had warned me that he was really sick, and I blew it off. I started feeling sick a day or two later, and a day or two after that I felt like I was dying. Fever, chills, aches, extraordinary fatigue. And literal, nonstop, 24/7 coughing. I had every single symptom of what we now know as COVID-19. I commented to anyone who would listen that I didn't recall ever feeling that sick before in my entire life. The most memorable part of it though was that after a couple days, I completely lost my sense of smell and taste. Joked a lot about how you could feed me onions and soap cause I'd have no idea. I try to have a good attitude about being sick. I spent a week sleeping on the couch before I finally went to the doctor. She gave me a Prednisolone steroid pack (which has worked well for me in the past), some Trazodone to knock me out, and Benzonatotate for my cough. As soon as I took the first dose of steroids I started to feel pretty fucking great, and it was more or less a non-issue after that. I spoke to a lot of people about it then and after, and man, I can't tell you how many stories I personally heard from people I know that said the exact same thing. Then I started reading the same story over and over again on Reddit:
We didn't start really hearing about the Coronavirus in the media until the beginning of March, and we didn't hear about the "Pandemic" until just a couple weeks ago. And what a couple weeks it's been since then. But I am quite certain that it's been around for a lot longer and that I, and a lot of other people I know, had it - and DID NOT DIE FROM IT - way back in January. We now know that the first documented case in the US was on January 19th, but that word "documented" is so, so important here. That means that we had identified the virus, developed a test, and tested a person with the symptoms that day. It does NOT mean that was when the virus reached the United States. How sick do you have to be before you take a day off work? Before you go to the doctor? With America's healthcare system or lack thereof, it's almost certain that many people had this virus before we determined what it was, and how infectious it really was. There is also the matter of the statistics of severity vs the regular flu. This is a highly contentious topic and I am no medical expert, and do not wish to make any assertions. However, what I can tell you from my personal experience is this: I had a horrible "flu" in January, got basic medicine, got better. So, either I had the flu, or perhaps I did indeed have the Coronavirus. We will never know because I was never tested. But the important thing is that it doesn't matter. Either I (and many others) had the Coronavirus and it did not kill us (calling into question the severity of the infection) or we just had a bad cold or flu, but it had the exact same symptoms as COVID-19 (calling into question the extent of Coronavirus diagnoses). But logically, one of those two statements is true. Furthermore, the data keeps changing, and I don't mean increasing on a daily basis. I mean up and down, back and forth, it is deadly or maybe it isn't, etc. On January 14 the WHO told you it couldn't spread from human to human. But then on Jan 19 we saw the first case of Coronavirus in the United States. Then it turns out that the Wuhan market outbreak began earlier in December. And then it's an "epidemic," but most people will only get mild symptoms. What are you supposed to believe? And it sure does seem to come at you as a firehose, and it's hard to even think about anything because OHMYGODTHECORONAVIRUS! But let's stop and look a couple basic facts. As a matter of fact, I'm going to let Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi explain this one to you. This is a very informative 10 minute video, watch it: Sucharit Bhakdi - Very clear math showing that the COVID statistics are being manipulated So 80% of people only experience mild symptoms, and we're crashing the economy for this? The statistics aren't any more extreme than many other illnesses we've had over time, and we're crashing the economy for this? It doesn't make sense until you consider that there are other factors besides just the virus at play. Wolfgang Wodard - Explaining how the statistics are being manipulated to cause panic The media, and society at large is inundating you with terrifying information about the Coronavirus. But if it's not as bad as we originally thought, then why? We don't freak out about every illness that comes along, and we've certainly never in the history of civilization had over 1/3 of the global population locked down under mandatory quarantine. And then there's the debate about where the virus came from. We believe it came from a meat market in China, under unsanitary conditions. The science behind a coronavirus making the leap from one species to another is well-established and researched, and it is a very likely scenario. There are also conspiracy theories that state that China released it on its people intentionally, or even that the US military released it in China. Again, we will never know exactly where this Coronavirus came from. It may be natural, it may be man made, and there are very plausible paths for both. I don't know what to believe myself. So here I ask you to make your own judgement based on likelihood. What we do know though is that the state of the world this virus has been unleashed on has played a major factor in its spread. In 1950 the global population was 2.5 billion, and that has exploded to almost 8 billion people in 2020. As a matter of fact, population growth has been exponential since about the time of the Industrial Revolution. With all these people on the planet there are sure to be many disagreements and conflicts, and there indeed have been. As a matter of fact, 2019 saw global protests on an unprecedented scale, in Hong Kong, France, Syria, and many other countries. Citizens have literally been fighting police and military with rocks, clubs, arrows, and molotov cocktails. Did you know that? Despite my seeing headlines and pictures every day of the riots in Hong Kong, I have been shocked to learn that multiple of my close friends, intelligent and aware people, had no knowledge whatsoever of the protests even existing. But that is far from a coincidence; rather, it is quite by design. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Billionaires and Coincidences Another major talking point over the last 5 to 10 years has been the "1%" - the handful of super-rich individuals who posess and control the vast majority of the Earth's wealth and resources. Where it used to just be a numerical term, "Billionaire" is now a dirty word, and one of the nastiest. We all hate billionaires. They are evil, and profit off the exploitation of the rest of the world. The "Illuminati" we call them, in pursuit of a "New World Order." Crazy stuff, right? Mysterious symbols and people in black robes doing nefarious things in secret meetings, and running the world from behind the scenes. We love the Illuminati, it's a huge pop culture thing now. The subject of endless speculation, they are made fun of in the media, movies, and now Taco Bell commercials. It's so far fetched it could never really be true. And the fact that you think that is by design as well. So, we don't know where the Coronavirus came from, but it's certainly here, and there are lot of other things unfolding in the world around it. Many different current events from all different places and fields of study. Some of it seems a little too coincidental. It is certainly very coincidental that this economically destructive Coronavirus entered the world right as there were global uprisings, protests in the street, and a growing public hatred for billionaires. Well, here are a few other coincidences: Hundreds of CEOs of major companies stepped down from their positions in recent months. Multiple US Senators sold stock right before the market crashed. Even the boss of the New York Stock Exchange sold his own stock right before the crash. Did they know something they weren't telling us? Here's another coincidence. In 2010, The Rockefeller Foundation published a selection of future-predicting scenarios in the name of "exploring the ways that technology and development could co-evolve." One of these four scenarios, entitled "Lock Step," eerily predicts a global viral pandemic and the resulting hypothetical consequences, which almost exactly mirrors the COVID-19 pandemic we are in the midst of today. Also coincidental: The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China on November 17th, 2019. Literally one month earlier, The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. In this exercise, they discuss the potential implications and consequences of a novel Coronavirus, including an economic crash, martial law, and of particular interest, the control of information. (You can view some published highlights here) The World Economic Forum is comprised of the richest of the rich. The 1%. The Billionaires. CEO's, politicians, business owners, and many other powerful and influential figures. They meet regularly to discuss topics of global concern, and strongly control the dissemination of information. And of primary concern to many of them is maintaining their wealth and power in a rapidly-changing world. And finally, here's one more coincidence: At the exact same time as the Event 201 exercise, The World Military Games was held in Wuhan, China, Oct 18-27, 2019. It was the largest military sports event ever to be held in China, with nearly 10,000 athletes from over 100 countries competing in 27 sports. Wuhan China was, as we now believe, the source of our current global COVID-19 outbreak. Whether you think it is a "conspiracy" or not, that is all certainly coincidental, to say the least. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - "Why didn't I hear about any of this?" That's an excellent question, and one that likely has multiple answers. For starters, how much do you really pay attention? Where do you get your news from? Do you research things you hear or just accept them on hearsay? Critical thinking skills are paramount in making sense of the chaos unfolding all around us. As I mentioned before, I can tell you that I personally know multiple people who had no clue whatsoever about the riots in Hong Kong last year. As you read this, you may be one of them. And it may seem like something that is happening far away, and "could never happen here." Or you may have been aware of it but just that it was happening. But please, consider for a moment: millions of average citizens risked their lives and safety in the streets of Hong Kong for months on end, fighting police and military, and transforming the city they lived in into a warzone. WHY? Why would people do something like that? Regardless of their motivations, that many people were banding together to fight for something they believed in. And that is worth considering. It's not really your fault though that you may not catch wind of all this news. The "mainstream media" that you hear about all the time deliberately controls information - downplaying threats and overreacting to silly things - in order to make sure that you hear the version of the news that they want you to hear. Did you know that only 6 corporations control 90% of the media In America? That number is reduced from 50 companies in the 80's. And literally all the news you see on TV, at the very least, is 100% owned and controlled by these companies. Lately, distrust is growing for cable news networks, and many people turn to their local hometown station for trusted news. The problem with that though is that your hometown station is probably owned by Sinclair Media, one of the most powerful broadcast networks in the country that you've never heard of. Please watch this very brief video, illustrating the chokehold that Sinclair Media maintains over your nightly local news broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI Of course, not every piece of news is pre-programmed but a lot is. The real news is out there, but sometimes you have to look a little deeper than the infographics on TV news. Even if information is being directed from the top down, the boots on the ground tend to be passionate people with a variety of interests and agendas, and they are still doing their best to do real journalism despite corporate oversight. Think of those who are directing the information as steering an impossibly massive ship with a rudder. You can slowly adjust the course of direction, however it is slow to react. If you want to stop, you have to start thinking about stopping wayyy ahead of time. And similarly, once it gets underway, it is then influenced by an inertia all its own. Micro controls and adjustments aren't really possible. Our society is this giant ship. There are 8 billion people on this earth - that is 8000 million. An incomprehensible number that grows rapidly every day. As civilization grows and advances, so does our medicine, our technology, our cultural norms. These are all natural processes that are necessary to manage an increasing number of societies all around the globe. And many of the advances we're making have exciting potential benefits for humanity, although as with all tools, they also inherently possess the potential for abuse. Here are some other things happening in society right now, some you may be aware of and many you may not:
RealID - The Real ID law requires people to show security-enhanced IDs to pass through airport security checkpoints or to enter certain federal facilities.
Traffic Cameras - Most people know that there are traffic cameras in an increasing number of areas, some of which can assess your speed and issue you a ticket automatically.
Automation Everywhere - Beyond assembly lines, robots are continually performing more types of tasks from ever more companies, replacing human employees at an increasing rate.
Automated Trucks - Autonomous trucks are coming soon that can see forward over a half mile, farther than any other autonomous system in the world, and run during the day, the night and even in the rain.
Global Satellite Internet - Elon Musk's SpaceX recently launched its fourth batch of internet-beaming satellites, as the company builds a broadband internet business by deploying thousands of satellites into orbit
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency - As digital payments become more and more prevalent, digital currency uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions as well as to control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency.
Voluntary Nanochipping - People are having microchips implanted into their bodies so that they don't need to carry key cards, IDs, and even train tickets.
Programmable Viruses - As antibiotic-resistant bacteria becomes a greater problem, viruses are being engineered to fight the bacteria in targeted ways
Facial Recognition Technology - Airports are using facial-recognition cameras to confirm passenger identity. Mobile phone makers are using face recognition for biometric security. Retailers are using it to prevent violence and crime, and for advertising.
Thermal Scanners - Airports, casinos, and grocery stores are screening passengers for sickness. In China, this data is being used to control traffic.
ID2020 - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is developing human-implantable capsules that have ‘digital certificates’ which can contain financial data, medical records, tracking tech, and more.
There is an interesting chicken or egg relationship between science fiction and real world science. Sci-fi writers are inspired by the real science of the day, then they apply their creativity to imagine what might be in the future. Young scientists encounter these fantastical ideas and think they are worth pursuing, and then set about to make them a reality, and the cycle continues. Futuristic concepts are then preempted and introduced through the media to the conscious mind, as we include them in books, movies, TV, video games, and more. Eventually we start seeing headlines of these new technologies and developments happening in other places, usually Japan and China first due to their prevalence in the industrial and technological sectors of our global economy. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
16 Apps That Will Earn You Passive Cash Back (Best Passive Saving Apps 2020)
This is the updated 2020 Q1/Q2 version of this post. If you remember reading the previous iteration of this post, there are several changes to the list this time around. Some new additions, and some removals. Note: Most of these apps will be US only, with a minimum age requirement of 18. Having said that, let's get right into it.
Pei is an automatic cash back app. When you sign up, you'll link a debit/credit card and you'll then automatically start earning cash back as you shop at certain Pei merchants (listed just below). There are so many merchants with Pei that you'll likely find yourself accidentally earning cash back on the app, without even knowing it. Pei is an app that you can really just link a card and then check back weeks later and surprise yourself with the money you've earned. Pei deserves the top spot in this post because of how consistent it is, and just how many places you can earn cash back with it. You can cash out instantly as soon as you reach $25 in your account. If you sign up with a referral code, you'll get a $2.50 bonus once you spend at a Pei merchant. You can use the referral code found on the most common Beermoney Sites thread here.
Pros of Pei:
Cash Back at a lot of locations, and more are added frequently.
Cash out via PayPal, Bitcoin, or Prepaid Visa.
So with all of that being said, let's talk about the stores you can find on Pei. Just note that these are only stores that are local to me, so if I don't have a certain store near me that Pei offers, I won't have it on this list. Additionally, Pei actually offers so many stores at this point that there's no way for me to actually keep this list up to date at all. There have been countless times where I've shopped somewhere that doesn't even come up as an option to earn with Pei but I'll see cash back listed on the app. It's really quite impressive.
Target - 1%
Uber - 1%
Lyft - 1%
Chipotle - 1.2%
Chick-Fil-A - 1%
Panda Express - 1.5%
Petco - 1%
PetSmart - 1%
Sephora - 1%
Banana Republic - 1%
American Eagle Outfitters - 1%
Gap - 1%
Old Navy - 1%
Taco Bell - 2%
Dominos Pizza - 1.5%
CVS - 1%
Starbucks - 1%
AMC - 2%
GameStop - 1.2%
Subway - 1.5%
7-Eleven - 1%
Dunkin' Donuts - 1.5%
Walgreens - 0.5%
Nordstrom - 1%
Supercuts - 2%
ZARA - 1.2%
Express - 1%
H&M - 1.2%
Urban Outfitters - 1%
+ Local locations - ~5%
In addition to receiving cash back at many locations, Pei also has a 'loyalty bonus' where if you shop at a certain store 5x you'll earn a bonus of up to $100 (but usually way less). Pei Also just released a new feature called "Party Cash". Basically with Party Cash if you ever go shopping somewhere with your friends who also have Pei, you can start a party, and for each friend you shop with, each person will get a +1% bonus. For example, if I go shopping at Target with 2 other friends and we all start a Party Cash on Pei, we'll each get 1% (for usual cash back) plus 2% cash back from Party Cash, for a total of 3% cash back. Most stores do have a $5 daily/weekly earning limit, so do be aware that if you spend more than ~$500, you'll likely reach an earning cap.
Dosh is one fastest growing cash back apps on this list. Similar to Pei, it's a card linked program where you'll automatically earn cash back when you shop at several local and national brands. On average you'll earn 3-5% cash back when you shop at the brands featured on Dosh. As soon as you hit $25 in your balance, you can cash out to PayPal. The biggest downfall of Dosh is that the offers in the app change frequently, and the offers are targeted, meaning that not everyone will see the same offers. Below are some of the current offers for instant cash back that you might find on Dosh. Note that only instant cash back offers found on the app will earn you cash back automatically when you spend with your card.
Sam's Club - 5%
Walmart Grocery - 2%
Dunkin' - 4%
Wendy's - 3%
Uber - ?%
Papa John's 3%
Many local places - 5%
More that I'm not targeted for
Dosh also does have a generous referral program where you'll get $5 when you sign up and link a card, and so will the referrer. If you'd like to, you can enter my code, KJK6 or use my referral link (nonref) BTW, If you've heard of Dosh before, that might make sense. If you use Venmo and have the Venmo debit card, they recently introduced Venmo Rewards, which is powered by Dosh.
HOOCH has earned the number 3 spot on this list this time around because of all the programs on this list, it has remained consistent. HOOCH will automatically earn you cash back when you link a credit/debit card whenever you shop at several national brands. If you understand how Pei or Dosh above works, there's not really much more to say about HOOCH's cash back system. You'll instantly earn 1% cash back at the following national brands:
In addition to 1% cash back at the national brands, here are some other ways you'll earn with HOOCH:
Connecting your first card ($5 bonus)
Drink at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
Book a Hotel (5%)
Dine at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
HOOCH started a long while back as a subscription app where you'll buy a subscription and you'll get a free drink at a HOOCH venue every day. The venues are extremely limited, so a majority of the people reading this won't find any value in that plan. Dining is just as rare. Their referral system appears to be pretty generous. They're currently offering a $5 bonus for signing up, as well as $1 for the referrer, as well as a 20% bonus on their earnings for life.Here's my referral link, and a nonref link :) Here's the downfall of HOOCH: You can only cash out for gift cards, and the minimum is $25. For most people, this is a really big disadvantage of this app. Assuming that most people will only be earning through the 1% cash back brands, the minimum you'll need to spend in order to his the cash out minimum is $2500, which would likely take most people a really long time, since the brand options are not places where you're likely to spend a lot of money frequently...like, for example, a grocery store. But still, you could probably earn yourself a few free gift cards every once in a while for a totally passive app.
Bumped is an investing app, when you really boil it down. When you sign up you'll select one brand in each category (there are a lot of categories, you'll see below), and each time you shop at the selected brand, you'll earn the certain specified purchase back in the form of company stock. This is unique to all of the other apps on this list, because you're actually receiving company stock. Also, because of this, I think it's very important to note that in order to sign up for Bumped you'll need to enter your SSN since you will be opening up a brokerage account. As of posting, the following are the category options that you can choose from: I've bolded the brands I selected. Obviously you should pick a brand that you can find yourself using the most. Do note that if you pick a brand that you might want to change later, you'll get the opportunity to change your brands 3 times a year, at least 30 days in between.
3% at Jack in the Box
3% at McDonald's
3% at Wendy's
2% at Dunkin' Donuts
2% at Starbucks
2% at CVS
1% at Walgreens
2% at Applebees
2% at Chili's
2% at Olive Garden
2% at Red Robin
1% at Kroger Family of Stores
0.5% at The Home Depot
2% at Chipotle Mexican Grill
2% at Taco Bell
1% at Pandora
5% at Spotify
1% at Domino's
5% at Papa John's
2% at Pizza Hut
0.5% at Lyft
0.5% at Uber
1% at Target
1% at Walmart
0.5% at AT&T
0.5% at T-Mobile
0.5% at Verizon Wireless
1% at Netflix
5% at Sling TV
1% at Willamette Valley Vineyards
One thing that is listed on the app is that if you want to move your way up on the waitlist you can refer your friends to join the waitlist as well.
Bits (of stock) is very similar to Bumped. It's better in some ways, but worse in most. Similar to Bumped, there's a waitlist. Note that Bits is currently only available on iOS, but they have teased a version for Android will be coming. So, here's the issue with Bits... There's no brokerage accounts set up. If you're not sure what that means, basically in order for you to actually own and trade stocks, you'll need to do it through a brokerage account. For example, if you use Robinhood, you own a brokerage account at Robinhood. If you use TD Ameritrade, you'll have a brokerage account at TD Ameritrade. So basically the app will say that you're getting stock back as you spend, but there's no way to actually sell your stock. Basically what I'm saying is that until the brokerage account is added, you're really just receiving play money. Bits has been extremely silent about the release of the brokerage accounts... I asked them back in December and they said they were aiming to release it "next month". Three months have passed since then, so I asked last week and they again said the same thing.. the goal is a release next month (April). We'll just have to wait and see. The point here is -- assume you're not earning anything with Bits until they add the brokerage accounts. This post will be updated once the accounts are added. So, as for the actual cash back from Bits, you're able to choose 15 brands (that you can change at any time). I'll list the brands you can choose from below. What's interesting is that when the app first launched, all of the brands offered a 2% CB rate (which is unsustainably high). The rates have since come down to 0.5% for all brands. To save characters, here's a recording of me scrolling through the brands offered. If you don't want to watch that video, just know that there are a lot of brands to choose from.
Ibottais a cash back app that has been around for years, but this is its first time being added to this list. When the app originally launched, you would earn on the app by selecting cash back products that you could purchase and receive a rebate. Once you selected products you wanted to purchase, you would then scan the products after purchasing them to confirm your purchase, and then submit a photo of your receipt. That doesn't sound too passive, now, does it? Well, over the last little while, the app has come a very long way. In most cases you no longer need to select rebates you want to purchase, and in most cases you don't even need to scan a receipt, if you're shopping somewhere where you can link a rewards membership. For example, I shop at Meijer and Target primarily for groceries. Both of these stores allow me to link my accounts with the stores, so for Target any time I shop and spend using a credit card that is linked to my Target account, I'll get cash back automatically. Same thin for Meijer. As soon as I enter my mPerks phone number, I'll get cash back. What's great is that you don't even have to select offers anymore. So this is one of those cases where you might accidentally get cash back. Also, just to clarify, you're getting cash back for the products you purchase, not the place that you're shopping... which is different than most of the other apps featured on this list. Even if you don't purchase a product that qualifies for a rebate, you'll probably find yourself earning cash back almost every time you shop because Ibotta has several "Any" offers, meaning any time you buy "any" kind of a product, say.. blinker fluid, for example, you'll earn cash back for your blinker fluid purchase regardless of the brand. These offers are optimal for cash back. I personally went a whole couple months without opening Ibotta and I showed up to $50 in cash back from purchases I didn't even know I was getting cash back for. Another newer feature of the app (which isn't passive) is Ibotta Pay. Ibotta Pay is basically just a glorified way of purchasing gift cards and receiving cash back for the gift card purchase. In addition to this cash back, you'll also find several bonuses where if you redeem x offers, you'll get a certain $ boost. For example, I currently have an offer for a $10 bonus if I redeem 14 offers before the bonus expires in just a few days. I've redeemed 2 so far, so I'm not sure if I'll be getting there in time. (BTW, if you're ever cutting it close, just note that Ibotta Pay will work where each gift card purchase will qualify for a completed offer ;)) Ibotta also does have a generous referral program. They do referral offers very frequently where you can earn bonuses, but the current offer is $4 for each friend you invite. Please consider using the referral link found in the Most Common Beermoney Sites thread.
Uber Visa Local Offers
Shop or dine out, get Uber credits back.
Use your Visa card next time you dine out or go on a shopping spree at a featured store and earn Uber credits toward future rides. To join, go to settings in your Uber app and tap on Visa Local Offers.
Whenever you shop out at certain places you'll instantly receive uber credits to your account. It's really simple, and yes, this does stack with all of the other cash back apps you might be a part of. The brands they offer do change semi-frequently, so you should check them from time to time. In the past there have been 100% cash back offers for streaming services, and 10-20% cash back at Sam's Club. Considering that these offers do stack, there is some really great potential if you find any value in uber credit. If you're interested in activating the Visa local offers, you'll need to make sure you have a visa card linked to your Uber account first, and then you should see "activate local offers" in the app settings or payment settings of Uber. There's really not much to say about Visa Local Offers, but if you're looking for some FAQ/Terms, feel free to check them all out here.
For those if you who don't know what Cash App is, Cash App is an app by Square that lets you send and receive payments. They've also expanded their app to support bitcoin purchases, and they'll also let you use the app as a checking account. With the cash app you can also sign up to receive the Cash Card, which is a debit card that is funded with your cash app balance. If you have not used Cash App before, they do have a fancy referral program where when you sign up and send $50 you'll receive $5 and so will I. I do want to make this very clear: Cash App referrals can see the full name of the person who refers you, and the person who refers you will have your full name shown to them. If you're really private about personal information, be careful whose referral link you use. If you trust me, here's my referral link. Please note that if you want to use the cash app boosts that I'm talking about, you'll need to be 18 years old and have the cash card (which is free, don't worry)! Cash App announced that their cash card will be seeing 'boosts'. Boosts are their fancy way of saying that when you use our card at certain locations you'll receive a discount. Once you have the cash card, you'll notice on the app below your card you'll be able to select your boost. The following are my personal boost options, as of posting. The boosts change frequently,
$5 Off One Order on DoorDash
10% Off One Visit at Any Grocery Store
10% Off One Visit at Dollar Tree
10% Off One Visit at Walgreens
10% Off One Visit at Nike
10% Off One Visit at Walmart
$5 Off One Ride at Lyft
10% Off Each Visit at Bath & Body Works
10% Off Each Visit at Playstation Network
10% Off Each Visit at Xbox
10% off Each Visit at Chick-Fil-A
10% Off Each Visit at Taco Bell
10% Off Each Visit at Dominos
10% Off Each Visit at Portillo's.
Boosts tend to change every Friday, but several boosts will remain for a long period of time. The longest lasting boost, which just went away in the last week is the $1 off Any Coffee Shop. It stuck around for almost 2 years, and anyone who had that boost applied would automatically save $1 every time they shop at any coffee shop, without any interaction. So there are quite a few things I want to say & clear up.
You can use a boost every 1 hour.
You must select the boost that you'd like to use prior to the purchase. You're able to swap which boost you want to use as often as you'd like. So when you walk into Chick-Fil-A, just check and make sure your boost is set to CFA. If not, swap it.
In order to apply the boost, you must pay with the Cash Card. It's automatic. If your total is $6 and you're saving 10%, you'll only need a Cash app balance of $5.4 for the transaction. Cash App will cover the other $0.60.
If you link your Cash Card to Apple Pay, you can pay with it that way and the boosts will still be applied.
Do realize that just because you have the Cash Card on the app, you won't see the boosts. You need to have the physical Cash Card in your possession for the boosts to show up. I've been really enjoying using the Cash Card for purchases. Especially at CFA & Chipotle. It's really not a hassle. When I'm standing in line at Chipotle I'll open the app and make sure my cash app balance is enough and if not I'll just add funds right away. The boost is applied immediately which makes you feel good. It's like the guac is free at Chipotle after you use the cash card. The only downside to using the Cash Card is that you won't be able to stack discounts with anything else on this list... Unless you find a way to link the Cash Card to any of the things on this list. Regardless, 10% off at Chipotle is the best I have found.
Venmo recently announced Venmo Rewards. Take what you know about Cash App's boosts and then apply something similar to Venmo's debit card. Venmo Rewards is actually a bit easier than Cash App's boosts because it truly requires no input from you whatsoever. The tradeoff is that the cash back rates are lower. If Cash App's average discount would get you 10% off, Venmo would be about 4%. So here's how Venmo Rewards works:
Simply use your Venmo card at participating merchants—stores you know and love— to earn rewards. Zero setup required. See list of participating merchants in the app.
Get a Venmo card Learn More
Swipe your card at participating merchants
Automatically earn cashback straight to your Venmo balance. (Seriously. That’s it.)
As mentioned above in the section about Dosh, Venmo Rewards is powered by Dosh, and similar to Dosh, the cash back options are targeted. I personally can't use Venmo so I don't have the current list that most people will be seeing as far as opportunities go, but Venmo Rewards originally launched (in November 2019) with the following CB opportunities:
4% Sam’s Club
5% Papa John’s
Evan on DoC commented earlier this month with their updated CB opportunities: Dunkin Donuts 4%, Sephora 5%, Macy’s 4%, JCPenney 5%, Sam’s Club 4%, 1-800-flowers.com 15%, Papa Johns 5%, Forever 21 4%, Frank and Oak 5%)
4% Walmart & Walmart Grocery
4% Sam's Club
5% Papa John's
4% Forever 21
5% Frank and Oak
What I can make from this is that the options have not changed much, and have actually expanded, with a couple exceptions. If you're a Venmo user, I think this is a pretty decent reason to get the debit card. The 4% at Sam's Club and Walmart is a pretty good deal for most people, especially if there are no limits to the cash back you can earn.
I've listed this as "Empyr Apps" because all of these apps are basically just the same thing. I'll take the example of Swagbucks Local since that's what most of you reading this will already be using. If you paid attention in the Visa Local Offers section of this post, you'll find that the Empyr apps are actually very similar to those visa local offers. When you shop at a certain store/restaurant, you'll earn with the empyr app you have linked. It's actually really not that special. Here's a list of some/most of the current Empyr powered apps:
IMPORTANT NOTE: You're only allowed to use one Empyr app at a time! As soon as you link up with another Empyr app, you'll be disqualified from another until you link back up. I do want to go into this list a bit this time around since there seem to be more and more Empyr apps popping up. Swagbucks Local will always be popular among Swagbucks users. What's really nice about Swagbucks Local is that the payouts are always instantly converted to Swagbucks, which can help you cash out sooner. You'll also likely get a slot in the Swago board filled out, which might be beneficial to you. RetailMeNot is a newer one on this list and it's the only one here that I feel like I recommend you go on/off with. RetailMeNot has recently been doing a lot of "Spend $X, get $Y" deals at a lot of the stores they offer. For example, they are currently offering $5 Cash back for in Store purchases of $30+ at Staples. This is a really good deal for an Empyr app, and would probably be my pick for that transaction, but not most of the time since they don't have very many stores as options.
Alright, so Drop has gone through a lot of changes since the last time this post was updated. Drop used to be the best passive cash back app without any debate. It was also one of the first apps to offer a card link cash back program. Over the last several months (and years), their card link program has seen several devaluations. First they removed brands you could pick from to receive cash back (for example, when I first joined, you could choose to earn cash back each time you shopped at Amazon, but new users would later not see Amazon as an option). They later lowered the cash back rate. For example, Target went from 1%, to 0.2%. And finally they limited new users to pick from 5 brands to receive cash back at to just 3. In February 2020 Drop announced a change to the way their card linked cash back would work.. They since have removed their 'power offers' (the offers where you automatically earn cash back at brands), and have replaced it with card link 'Challenges'. These challenges have just recently launched, so it's hard to tell whether or not these will be passive or worthwhile altogether. I currently have one ongoing challenge where if I spend $10+ at Target with a linked card, I'll get 250 points ($0.25), which is pretty insignificant. As far as I can tell, they seem to have ditched all other forms of card linked cash back from their app. If the challenges turn out to have nothing passive about them, or have no proof of being worthwhile, Drop will likely not even be on this list the next time around. So let's talk about some features of Drop since we're on the topic. Drop has clearly moved away from passive cash back, and has focused more on becoming a cash back app in the form of portal earnings and specific offers. Several of these offers are unique to drop, which is good, but when it comes to portal cash back, the rates are often on par or slightly below the offerings you could find on Cashback Monitor. Another thing about Drop that people are (rightfully) upset about is the change that now requires you to save up $25 worth of points (25,000) in order to cash out. The minimum previously was just $5. The only feature about Drop that hasn't been nerfed to the ground is their referral program. When you refer your friends you'll earn $5 once they link a card, and they'll get $5 as well. Overall I'm not too hopeful that Drop will remain passive at all, so this might be the app's last appearance on this list for the foreseeable future.
I've refrained from listing credit cards on this post for a long time. Maybe because I thought it was too obvious, or maybe it was unnecessary, but since the number of younger people using this subreddit has been increasing I feel like I'd be doing a disservice to entirely disclude a blurb about credit cards. If you have a credit card and you don't really care to learn more about credit cards, just skip this section. If you're reading this post and you're 18+ (or if you're about to turn 18) and you don't have a credit card or don't know much about credit cards, I think it's a good idea to look into them. I'm not going to tell you exactly what a credit card is since that's an easy google search, but I will tell you about some benefits, especially about those that pertain to the benefits of this post. Credit cards are great because you can essentially spend money just like you normally would*, but you'll also earn cash back on all/almost all of the purchases you make with them. Additionally, especially if you're young, getting a credit card is a really great because it will start helping you build credit. I'm currently looking into renting a house next year with two housemates and I'm shocked to see that neither of them have any credit. They quite honestly couldn't possibly live in a house without me, since I'm the only one who has credit. *Make sure you're paying off your credit card every month (or however often you need)... Don't let yourself get into debt. I'd argue if you think you're going to get into debt with a credit card, I'd personally suggest you don't get a credit card. While you need to be 18 years old to get your own credit card, if you're under 18, you can still start gaining credit. Most major credit card companies will allow your parents to add you as an authorized signer on their credit card (which basically just means that you'll get permission to use their cards). An effect of this is that you'll start gaining credit. If you're looking to build up credit but you don't think you're ready for a credit card, I'd really recommend you ask your parents about becoming an authorized signer. It's a good conversation to have with your parents. Anyways, let's talk about the cash back benefits, since that's what this post is about, after all. There's a lot of credit cards. This post isn't going to list them all out. This isn't really even the right subreddit for credit card discussion. Nerdwallet has a great list of credit cards, so you might want to check it out here, but I'm going to share my own personal situation and recommend that for anyone who might relate, since the average age on this subreddit is around the 18-25 range. My first credit card was the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. I actually still use this credit card very frequently since it's a pretty balanced card. A couple years back on my 18th birthday I went into my local chase branch and physically had to beg for this card (it's a really beginner card, trust me). After getting denied both in bank and online, I finally found a rep who would give me a calm $500 credit limit for the card. Note: I had no credit before hand. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with the card... so when you think about it, I'd previously been spending $100 at Chipotle every month with my debit card, but with the Freedom Unlimited card, I would now be getting 1.5% cash back ($1.50) back on those purchases. It's just an easy way to save money on everything. If you use the other apps I suggest in this post, you'll likely earn cash back passively from them on certain brands that are featured, but stacking a credit card cash back on top of all the other bonuses is the absolute best way to earn passive cash back since it's usually 1-5% cash back on your purchases.
ReceiptPal is an app that allows you to upload your receipts from almost anywhere that you go shopping. It's actually a really simple process. When you sign up you'll be presented with almost little scratch cards which contains 4 spaces. Each space is filled with a receipt that you upload. Once you reach 4 receipts, you'll earn 100 points. 300/400 points = $1, so basically every 16 receipts you upload you'll receive ~$1. "So, mr Fishering, how is this passive!?" Unlike most receipt apps, ReceiptPal allows you to link your emails and amazon account and they'll automatically upload receipts for you. I actually let this app alone for several months and came back to thousands of points and cashed out instantly. If you make purchases online, you'll essentially be earning ~$0.07 for every purchase you make if you have your email linked. They'll automatically find receipts and submit them, so it's 100% passive earnings. If you also shop IRL you can submit physical receipts as well. You can cash out instantly for $5 minimum in the form of a gift card. I'd recommend saving up at least 7,500 points for a $25 gift card, since it'll value points at 300/$1.
Paribus is not your typical cash back site. Once you sign up you can link your different accounts (such as your amazon account) and it will automatically track your shopping. Paribus doesn't directly earn you cash back... it acts more like Walmart's saving catcher if you've ever heard of that. If an item you buy somewhere goes on sale shortly after or if there's any other discounts/promotions you may have missed when you originally bought something, they'll quietly get you a rebate on whatever you purchased. It can be very hit or miss. The catch is that they do take a cut of your savings. I believe it is 30% for all new users, but for each member you refer you can cut the cut by 5%. If you save $10, they'll charge you $3 to whatever card you have linked. Personally I've found it to be really hit or miss, but I've found some incredible savings. I bought a gopro and I got $15 saved with Paribus, and I also got $50 back from some really nice headphones I picked up on amazon from Amazon. What's weird is I bought the headphones like 6 months prior to the rebate. Was shocking to see it, but I've really had some good luck with Paribus.
After the last post, I noticed a lot of people enjoyed Paribus, so I figured it'd be good to add some alternatives in this post. So, here's Sift. Sift is a similar site to Paribus, and its key focus is on enforcing credit card benefits that many people don't know about. It's actually pretty nice. It'll let you pick your credit card and it'll tell you pretty much everything about your card. I have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, and I was actually shocked to hear some of the benefits my card has that I have never been taking advantage of. From Sift's site:
We automatically comb through your credit card policies to show you all your benefits in one place. For every purchase we let you know what benefits you are eligible for. We streamline the claim process to make it as simple as possible to get your money back.
You can link your emails as well as your amazon account as well and they'll make it really easy for you. I have not actually used Sift much myself, so I cannot attest to how well it works, but the app store reviews are generally positive for Sift.
Trim is similar to Paribus and Sift, but there's a certain void that it's trying to fill that the other two don't really seem to be filling. Trim's main selling point is its bill negotiations. Instead of trying to save you money when a price drops, they're going to try and just nip it right in the bud and try to get your bills lower. Right now they're mainly trying to negotiate with cell providers, internet providers, and cable providers. Here's how the process goes:
Submit Your Bill: Submit your most recent cell phone, cable or internet bill to get started.
Trim Negotiates: Trim negotiates with your provider to get you discounts on your bill.
You Save Money: Trim takes 25% of annualized savings, but only on success—otherwise, it's free!
So, similar to Paribus, Trim does charge a fee. In a sense, I guess that's a good thing because it gives them an incentive to make sure to get some sort of bill decrease for you so they'll make some money too. Their rate is currently 25% of your bill negotiation. Of course, if they're not able to negotiate your bill for you, you won't pay them anything. Trim does also monitor your bank account for you and they'll notify you of account changes (that you can set). For example, if they see a transaction worth $xxx, they'll notify me that I've made a large transaction. If there weren't already so many other sites/apps that could do that, I'd say that's a great feature that Trim offers.
Hopefully there's some new apps/sites you found out about in this post. If you sign up for some/all of these programs listed, you should probably find yourself earning some pretty decent cash back, depending on where/how much you spend. These apps are very satisfying to watch your balances build up on, and after a while it's very rewarding to cash out and treat yourself. In this update I added some really great additions like Ibotta, Venmo Rewards, and Bits, but I am very sad to see the turn that Drop has taken. I have been tipped off to some upcoming passive cash back opportunities that will be coming very soon, and I can't wait to share those and hopefully add them to this list in the near future. As always if you have any questions please do leave a comment or send me a PM! Thanks for reading!
P-REP Proposal; ICON, 20% exposure in top crypto event of 2020, reach 100+ universities/corporate partners (BETTER THAN SLICED BREAD), organized by MouseBelt.
Summary: Event site:https://www.ri2020.io/ Event date: May 18th, 2020 P-PREP Commitment Date: April 30th, 2020 Telegram:u/markusreisner We believe we have a strong proposition to market ICON in a meaningful way to some of the largest communities in crypto. The MouseBelt team has the largest global network of over 100+ universities in 20+ countries. Over the last few months, 10+ university blockchain events we were working with got canceled for obvious reasons. Due to that fact, and our understanding of our reach we decided to launch a virtual conference. Since April 10th here is what happened:
We have enrolled over 100+ partners and universities
With BlockTV’s distribution (we are taking over the site for 1+ months) and our post-conference strategy, this content will reach 5+ million views
Over 5000 people have registered between Eventbrite and Facebook (with 21 days to go, we expect 20,000 people registered)
We have invested $70,000 to professionally produce this 72-hour event with BlockTV
We believe we have surpassed Cointelegraph and Consensus in reach and production quality.
We believe this is the #1 conference in crypto currently.
MouseBelt will invest over $70k+ into this event. We would like to have fellow P-Reps invest $20k (this will go 100% to BlockTV production cost). The benefit to the ICON community will be:
Owning 20% of the conference “screen time” at a 50% discount
Increased exposure to over 100+ top universities working on blockchain
Partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Coca Cola for one of our hackathon events (or similar).
We are open to adding as many additional benefits as possible as we are a part of the ICON community
Background: MouseBelt is a popular blockchain ecosystem consisting of multiple parts:
Top 3 global blockchain accelerator, investing into early to mid-stage blockchain projects
MouseBelt as ICON developers: Our engineering team has implemented token assets on ZenSports (SPORTS), the first STO on the ICON network, and GrowYourBase, the #1 IRC2 application token in market capitalization on the ICON network. Currently, we are developing the Balanced network in concert with ICX_Station, PARROT9, and Iconosphere. Balanced will bring synthetic assets backed by ICX to the ICON network, as well as tokenized staked ICX. This can assist with both a stable asset for payments, and a base for other DeFi applications MouseBelt as a P-Rep: We have been a Main P-Rep most of the time since decentralization of the network and so far had utilized our funds for student education. Such as the “ICON in a box” workshops and the Milwaukee Blockchain Conference, which we sponsored in a direct ICX payment and the second annual payment for UCLA’s blockchain engineering course. REIMAGINE2020, Conference details: Conferences have always been an integral part of the blockchain space to promote projects in the industry. With recent evolutions around the globe, things have changed. They either got canceled or delayed. We have created REIMAGINE2020, a virtual conference. Shared by the ICON Foundation on April 18. We can effectively and efficiently promote ICON to the world through Reiamgine2020 | BlockTV. The driving force behind the conference is: highest quality of Content matched with the best production quality for Video. The funds will allow MouseBelt to promote ICON logo/branding throughout the conference/programming for straight 72 hr of live streaming. Additionally, we have the opportunity to properly place ICON logo/branding in highly favorable on-screen placements (tickers/commercials/plugs and continuous branding) reaching 5M viewers globally. ICX Station is providing a Keynote to drive global interest. Confirmed partners
Influencers we are reaching out to: Chamath Palihapitiya, Adam Back, Ray Dalio, Andreessen Horowitz, Michael Novogratz, Naval Ravikant, Balaji S. Srinivasan, Su Zhu, Charlie Lee, Nick Szabo, Riccardo Spagni, Fred Wilson, Max Keiser, Winklevoss, Air Paul, Michael Arrington, Peter Schiff, Paolo Adroino, Elizabeth Stark, Marc Andreessen, A. Pompliano, Patrick Byrne, Brock Pierce, CZ, Vitalik, Andreas M. Antonopoulos
3. As far as hard data for "attendees" we have two signals:
5000+ attendees on Facebook and Eventbrite, with 3 weeks to go (13X MORE than Virtual Blockchain Week!)
Attendee list includes a mix of media, university representatives, C-level executives, developers, and startup founders
I've reached the extent that I think I can tell this story. This is my experience with the cult
Introduction I am hesitant to begin writing about these memories, and for two reasons. The first is out of fear - fear of retaliation. You see, I was taken advantage of by a cult that I escaped a few years ago in the summer of 2018. I wasn’t involved for long - ten months - but that wasn’t the end of the cult’s influence on me, as they cleverly had a previously unaffiliated visitor contact me and try to bring me back during the period afterwards. I believe they are still keeping tabs on be covertly, but this may just be my paranoid nature. For nearly the entire first year afterwards, I was always looking over my shoulder to see if I was being followed. They definitely have an interest in roping me back into the fold, as you will see how sociopathic these people are. I’m still traumatized, and although I have healed a great deal from these trials, there is still lingering conditioning that causes me panic attacks and anxiety, which exemplifies my schizoaffective disorder. I attribute much of the reason I’m houseless now to the combination of my mental health and trauma caused by this group. The second reason I am hesitant to begin writing is also out of fear, but this is instead a fear of not being able to deliver on my promise to expose this cult. I know I have the ability to write about my account, but will it be good enough? Will I be throwing these words into the electronic ocean like so many others with little effect on the world? I feel that no matter how hard I try, I will be unable to capture the cult’s devious acts in such a way to convey what it was like for me, a vulnerable individual, to be slowly turned into an obedient slave. Inadequacy. This is an important piece of my psychology. After watching my mother decay and die for the first nine years of my life, followed by being raised by an abusive, narcissistic father, I have a profound feeling of inadequacy ruling me. I never feel like I am good enough; that I have to self-sacrifice - to the point where I believed I had to be as good as Jesus Christ - in order to achieve a passable level of human adequacy. The cult took advantage of these feelings in spades and left me a shell of who I was previously. Fortunately, the period of houselessness that has extended the last year or so of my life has been a radically transformative period where I feel able to step out from barriers that previously trapped me. I feel freer than I ever have been, and to be honest, I owe a lot to the cult for pushing me to my breaking point and learning where my boundaries are. In fact, I don’t believe I could have stepped away from the denial of having a feminine side if it weren’t for the ridiculousness of how far I was pushed. Now, I stand strong, ready to accomplish this mission life has presented me. It is my basic civic duty to tell my story and warn the public about this group and others who prey on vulnerable individuals in an unstable socioeconomic period. They deliberately attract people who are vulnerable for personal or financial reasons. For instance, there was a flat-earther from Belgium who was here illegally that got roped into our group by being attracted to the messages of sovereignty and their abundance of kooky new age beliefs. They even tried to get me to recruit more members using the same strategies they hooked me with - which is standard cult behavior. This leads right into how I got involved with the cult in the first place. Part of it is my fault, as I was young and naive. I still am, but now I have the wisdom to not throw myself out there for any group to start manipulating. There are many people who can be drawn into their preying behavior, and it is important that I elaborate on how easy it is to get duped, so others don’t follow in my footsteps. As you will see, the group was bizarre in many ways. I want to start off by saying that I did not join an organization of pee-drinkers who practiced blood-magick on the side of Main Street. Instead, I started working for a nonprofit that promised to change the world, and appeared to have the ability to do that. The weirdness grew exponentially over time, gradually as they conditioned us to accept their way of life. On my own end, I wanted to join an intentional community; one where everyone involved works towards a singular end as one unit. I longed for the camaraderie and an alternate way of life. I wanted something different than what - as the cult called the common culture - “The Matrix,” or “Babylon” offered. There are such communities, but because of devious groups like this, everyone needs to be cautious when attempting to find them. I still seek to find or create an alternative lifestyle for myself where I can live amongst my brothers and sisters away from the mass-produced consumer culture of the world. It’s been a hell of a journey, but I am happy where I am now. If anything, the group taught me that self-love is our first love; if the gardener does not take care of themselves, then who takes care of the garden? With my efforts to find such a community as I wanted, it was inevitable that some group would have sunk their teeth into me. I am grateful that I was able to recognize the far-flung insanity that I was trapped in and escape. Now I just need to focus on recovering and helping others who may be searching for the same things I am. Chapter 1 It all started early in 2017. I was working on reverse networking, like trying to place a letter on someone’s shoes to let them know I exist. I was hoping to find a project I could use my skills as a writer and juggler by broadcasting who I was on our small online community, The Shrug Life Syndicate, on Reddit. I was so desperate to find such a community that fit my ideals and goals that I didn’t even conceive that someone could be watching in order to learn about me. They first posted a link to their site on our community’s board, when they were still going by the Awakening Sovereignty Collective. To best understand how I perceived them initially, you have to understand that I was lost in what we at the Shrug Life Syndicate call the synchronicity slip stream. An aspect of my schizoaffective disorder, I often get lost in various series of synchronicities that form a coherent narrative that compels me to behave differently than I otherwise would. It is an amazing feature of my mental health for creativity and finding alternative solutions to problems, but it can be debilitating when trying to fit in to the normal world. When the ASC posted, I believed applying on their website was the obvious thing I should do in order to accomplish my cosmic mission. Well, nothing happened at first, and I forgot about them until several months later until I received an email stating I was hired. This came after a series of strange tasks from anonymous accounts that seemed to be tests to see if I was as capable of a writer as I portrayed myself as being. I remember one test was to see if I could write a sales pitch for “Unicorn Poop,” an edible snack with a humorous twist. I don’t have any proof that these two events are connected, but it definitely tripped my radar as odd that they happened one after another, and nothing ever came from the sales tasks. Having passed their tests, I began working with them online. It was a slow process, as there wasn’t a lot of work right out the gate, but there was a lot to learn. Their websites were many in number and often confusing. I had difficulty navigating them and almost quit trying within days of getting started. I remember crumbling back into my addictive nature one night as the wailing cries of depression came roaring back with my initial perceived failure. If I were not partially psychotic, believing the universe was guiding me to the salvation I sought, then that would have been the end of it. Many other people seemed to have given up while I was still new to working for them. If I were to guess, I would say that this was deliberate on their part in order to weed out only people like me, who were in some way desperate to be a part of the group. With only a small number of desperate people finding their way into the clutches of these people, it must be easier to control them as well. The ASC promised a new way of life for anyone seeking it. They claimed to be a planetary alliance that was helping ecovillages, nonprofits, conscious businesses, and individual change agents. They were working on a cryptocurrency and software suite that would help communities better serve the world. This was at the peak of the bitcoin bubble, where many people unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies were trying to get in on the hype. They touted a number of figures and claims which ultimately turned out to be false or otherwise misrepresentative of the truth, but in the moment I believed everything they were shoveling. It was easy for them to sell the idea and project as they were all natural sales personalities. I attended a lot of meetings, particularly with the writer’s team, and started to get to know the people behind the project. In the moment, they appeared to be down-to-Earth and relatable, but highly conscious individuals who really cared about the world and were motivated to do the work necessary to make the changes needed for the planet. In hindsight, they really only cared about money, and were playing a part to catch people like me. The leader was named Dakota, if that was his real name (I believe most of the main group had adopted a second name to hide who they really were). He was a young man claiming to have graduated high school at ten, and he founded a company known as STADA which was facilitating much if not all of the software needs of the ASC. He was brilliant, but I believe most of his brilliance was self-generated through his ability to sell himself as more than he really was. He always acted like a millionaire who was going to change the world, which made it easy for him to sell the project to people like me. The co-leader was named Lila. She was a cheerful person who always had something positive to add to the conversation. While working with her, I found this to be a powerful part of her personality. It was hard to say no to her, as she had a motherly vibe and she strategically would ask you to do things that left you feeling compelled to help her, for the good of the project. She first won me over by claiming to run a retreat center for circus skills. I only heard of this in the beginning of my journey with the group, so I believe it may have been a bogus means to shift my opinion of them. The leader of the writer’s team was named Teahna, who was beautiful and knew how to use her womanly charm to influence others. She seemed to be new to the project as well, having recently written her first book, and my time working with her online seemed to be a learning experience for both of us. I believe this was also planned, so that I would have some support learning what I was supposed to be doing on the various websites that seemed to pile up more and more as time went on. The work was easy at first. There were no assignments or anything like that. It was all pile work - as in, just grab a shovel and get paid for what you move. As a writer, I naturally gravitated to the writers team’s tasks, but I also helped with the education team and the core tasks of the group. Mostly I wrote articles and website content for them, but I also wrote fake twitter bios, social media posts, and began working on their constitution/manifesto before arriving at their headquarters. I was making good money, both in real dollars and their own cryptocurrency, Equality Keys. They claimed we could trade their currency for real money at any time, which turned out to be a lie. They often only let us exchange it at certain times at a reduced value. But, I was naive enough to believe that the numbers on my screen were real and meant I was doing good. It wasn’t long before I earned upwards of thousands of dollars worth of their currency, which was promised to rise in value as the project continued to grow and evolve. After a few weeks working with them, they began toying with a name change to Earth Nation. I believe this is a key part of their method of staying under the radar. By changing names and projects frequently, they never gather enough clout to be exposed as the charlatans that they are. They would later create a new project known as Earth Cycle, and there was a tentacle organization we got hooked into after our stay with the main group called Lovecycle. In regards to the latter, I will never forget the name Lovecycle, as that is when the bulk of bizarre and traumatic events occured. This is around the same time that my girlfriend at the time began helping out as well. We worked together as a writer and artist combo, and they were initially excited to have another person joining to help. There was some friction though, such as bluntly being told they had no need for an artist at this time after they welcomed her onboard, and there were moments where it seemed like they did not want her to be a part of the project. As they turned her and I against each other much later in our odyssey with them, I think this must have been deliberate to sow the seeds of conflict between us. Again, this is classic cult behavior. I regret bringing her into the whole thing, as she is no doubt as traumatized as I am. What really allowed me to lose myself in the hope of the project was the possibility to do exactly as I dreamed: travel with a caravan, juggle at festivals, help sell whatever my girlfriend and others made, and write gonzo journalism about what Earth Nation was doing. One of the main draws of the group was that they advertised in the meetings about how they had a proposal system, where anyone could come with their plan and it could be voted on to be given resources. They were interested in my idea (how much of that was just gaslighting me to believe I’ve found the perfect gig, I don’t know), and wanted me to do some journalism about my experiences moving to their headquarters just outside Eugene, Oregon - on the other side of the country. My girlfriend and I were ecstatic at the idea of starting a new life on the west coast. It was the dream we both shared, to abandon the broken world we knew and join something better. We began preparing for the move, sold all of our stuff, and eventually took off from the airport with only three bags to our name. It was a leap of faith, and we were never happier to embrace our dreams and begin to live a much more interesting life. Chapter 2 We left on October 25th, about a couple months after I first began working for the ASC. It was an amazing trip that we thought would represent our rebirth. I remember arriving at the airport feeling as though I was leaving a part of my past behind. I felt a wave of solemn emptiness and fear over this, but I have since learned such feelings are common with change of this magnitude. Mostly, I felt joy that a new chapter of my life was unfolding before my eyes. It was a time where it seemed like we had infinite potential right at our fingertips. Who knew what would actually go down over the coming months? We were grateful for the opportunity and happy about the change. My girlfriend even changed her name to Awen to start over fresh as a new person. I still stuck with my birth name, Gregory, but eventually I would start going by the name Rory after having been pressured to by the group. I remember looking out the window while Awen took pictures of everything we flew over. It was a trip in itself to see the world from such an angle. I was amazed at the number of wind farms in the middle of the country. Likewise, the closer we got to our destination, the more mountainous the ground beneath us became. The change in scenery would pale in comparison with the change in the culture of the west coast - one of the main reasons I now consider Portland my new home. Landing in Eugene’s airport, we were regaled with Ducks memorabilia. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had forgotten that this was where an old hero from my track days, Steve Prefontaine, used to run. This made me feel hopeful while waiting for Teahna and Prism, the leader of the educational team. I remember pacing the entrance hall of the airport with a giddy smile stretching from ear to ear. This was it, I told myself: I had finally found my new home. After a long day of airline travel, we were eventually picked up in Prism’s van. We were met with hugs and smiles, which rejuvenated us after the natural stress of the trip. We chatted the entire way back to Triangle Lake, where their headquarters supposedly was. Both Awen and I were antsy while being shaken back and forth while sitting on Prism’s bed for the duration of the drive. I distinctly remember the beautiful colors of the autumn trees as we drove past. This last little bit of our trip took roughly forty-five minutes, but it felt like we were pulling up to the headquarters in an instant. I caught a glimpse of a sign as we pulled into the long driveway: Circle of Children. This would be where we stayed for the first two months. The area was gorgeous. Giant trees covered in green moss extended as far as the eye could see. With the abundance of fern-life, it reminded me of a Jurassic paradise. Out the cracked window of the van, I could hear tree frogs chirping in harmony. It was certainly something out of another world compared to the east coast. We stopped in front of the main office - the only building with wifi. If I were to graph the amount of access to the internet we had across the ten months we were involved, it would have a steady, negative slope. Of course, while being conditioned by the group, it was barely noticed, as we grew less dependent on the internet as time went on. We were never barred from the outside world - in fact we interacted with it regularly - but the idea of leaving was made so impossibly far outside the bounds of possible choices through a long series of scripted events. Which is why the entire beginning of our stay at the Triangle Lake Convention Center seemed like something out of a fantasy paradise. Everything, from the overarching narrative we were fed, to the day-to-day interactions, was designed to win us over, gaslight us, and manipulate us emotionally by using our traumas against us. In the aftermath of the whole escapade, I learned that this is the type of manipulation that cults use to prevent members from seeing reason while keeping them docile, obedient work horses for the greater project, whatever it may be. It is clear to me now that Earth Nation and all tentacle organizations are a purely criminal enterprise - a money-making machine for those at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Even though we were supposedly a DAO - a decentralized autonomous organization - there were clearly people who were centralized leaders profiting from everything the group did. And everybody played their roles well upon our arrival. We were greeted with another barrage of hugs as we got out of the van. Everybody was excited to finally meet us in person, as were we to meet them. We chatted with Dakota and Lila for some time outside of the office. They were the exact same as their online personas. In the moment, this gave us a sense that these people were genuine, but in hindsight it serves as a reminder that anyone can create a convincing character and play them whenever they want - even if they choose to never take their deceptive masks off. We were then shown where we would be staying. Up the hill and to the left we drove until we were in front of Carmen Hall. It was a quaint dorm-style lodging with a large common area and a small kitchenette. Many nights were spent in the common room with the others who were staying in the building. Because we were a couple, we were given the largest room with its own bathroom. That’s another thing that changed in a downward slope: our living quarters. Over the course of the ten months we were with them, we were downgraded from having our own space, to sharing space, to living in a tent. And again, because of the conditioning, we were fine with the change. Sometime during the early evening, we went back down to the dining hall and kitchen which was across the way from the main office. Here, we met a variety of characters, including Tuva, a humble appearing guy with a large social network he brought with him to the project, and Daniella, who would turn out to be mommy dearest as she was the sole woman controlling us for the majority of our adventure on the west coast. A Brazillian native, she was as good of a manipulator as she was a cook, and we all enjoyed a wonderful meal on our first night in Oregon. Before the night was up, we went behind the kitchen to smoke with a man named Grizzly; a wild looking man who mostly kept quiet but had a mouth to use if he needed it. It was the first time we smoked in Oregon and it felt liberating to finally be in a legal state. But, as freeing and fun as being able to smoke whenever we wanted, I believe the abundance of weed we were constantly fed was a means to keep us docile. Daniella always made sure we had some weed, and would frequently smoke with us. I feel I would have been able to say something as things changed if I were not dependent on the constant stream of marijuana. Afterwards, we went back to Carmen Hall with a couple of members who also stayed there, and Daniella performed a pendulum reading for me and my girlfriend. Holding a crystal on a chain, she “read” the direction it spun as she brought it up in alignment with our chakras. She was spot on and I wanted to say that she had excellent observation skills, but I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to offend anyone’s beliefs, especially my girlfriend who considered herself a mystic and bought into the act. That night we cuddled in our room, smiling as wide as our mouths could. We had done it - we successfully started our new lives and were going to be a part of something we still had yet to fully comprehend. Everything was new and exciting, and while we were overjoyed, we were glad we had each other because things were still scary. If only we had known then how scary things would become. Chapter 3 The next morning, we showered, dressed, and went down to the kitchen. There was a slight fog in the air, and we saw a family of deer in a clearing off the road. We would see this family of deer several times during out stay at Triangle Lake, which greatly enthused my girlfriend. She said they were a symbol of wisdom, and must be a good sign as we continued to be indoctrinated by the new age beliefs of the group. We were early, as our daily meetings were at ten and that is when most people started to show up at the office. But Grizzly was there, as he stayed at the nurses station that sat next to the main office. He offered us some dabs, which just further enforced our belief that this was a great group to be a part of. He also offered me a metal six-shooter pipe, which proved to be the main piece I would smoke out of for the entirety of our adventure. Breakfast consisted of whatever we could scrounge up. There was a huge walk-in freezer in the kitchen that hosted tons of food when we first got there. There were also a wide selection of dry foods such as figs and nuts. That whole selection would dwindle over time, as the group got everything as donations, usually by soliciting the local food pantries and the Eugene mission and much was close to their expiration dates. It was common to open the freezer and find something moldy. This was the first time I really interacted with Doran. Doran looked a lot like me - complete with similar beard and glasses - but had shorter, curlier, and darker hair. It was joked that “I was another you.” He appeared to be a really kind-hearted person, and we frequently went to him with problems. This is likely planned as well, to have someone to vent the frustrations we were experiencing as the project transitioned to something different than what we signed up for. I opened up to him before I did with other members, even asking for relationship advice as they tried turning Awen and I against each other between, and received what I now consider a long-standing act of being a good ear with standard advice from the group. Still, he was funny and I enjoyed making strange mixtures of food with him. As it neared ten, we shuffled to the office to have our meeting. The office had two rooms, and we were all huddled in a circle in one of them. This was nice during the coming months as it was also the only room with the heater. These meetings proved to be a main means to program us, as there were many exchanges that could have only been scripted. We would often talk about one thing, but there would be a subtopic that was teased that would change the meaning of the whole meeting in the context that I heard it. Often there would be some crosstalk in the kitchen beforehand, or something during the day that warped my understanding of what was said We were required to work thirty hours a week in order to receive our basic income of two hundred dollars a month, as per our agreements before moving to the headquarters. However, it wasn’t long before they duped us by saying the basic income would be used to cover our time staying at Triangle Lake. We weren’t able to fight it, because our tongues were tied by the desire to fit in and be accepted by the group. The ways that they changed things were gradual and deliberate, so that you would never really feel like you were getting taken advantage of. It was just a change, which was alright, because there was a world to save and we were the group who was going to get it done. That was one of the major ways they were able to get away with a lot of the back-pedaling of agreements - they would always have new, unexpected surprises waiting for us. It was gradual, but they introduced several new elements of communal living that required us to sacrifice more of our money and autonomy. They did this by having so-and-so nonchalantly bringing up these concerns in the meetings, then downplaying the resulting effects as something that should be expected, then agreeing with Dakota or Lila. Keeping track of my hours was a joke. For everything I did, I was told I should have taken less time in order to do. The criticism I received came tongue-in-cheek and constructive at first, but steadily devolved into a series of harsh critiques that would leave me distraught and unable to think clearly. I was still unmedicated back then, and my emotional state was as turbulent as a hurricane. They did similar things to my girlfriend, as Lila took her under her wing, treating her as her child in order to take advantage of her own trauma she had with her mother. If there was one thing these people really excelled at it is control. They figured us out quickly and efficiently and then used our traumas against us. Our second night there consisted of an informal group of the residents who stayed at Carmen Hall staring into each other’s eyes and then saying out loud what we felt at that moment. I remember staring at Daniella, who was a silhouette with the lamp directly behind her, and asking for healing. Something about the way she stared at me seemed to provoke a sense of trust and I felt that she would be able to help with a lot of the problems. That’s one way they won over us and got us to do whatever they wanted. They are experts at gaining people’s trust and then they take advantage of that fact. Through these scripted and planned events they were able to warp our realities to the point where we were already robotic slaves right off the bat. We certainly were eager to earn their approval and work our way to a position where we were seen as valuable members of the project. One of these planned events was Kukui’s birthday, which was just a few days after we got there. Kukui was a groundskeeper who had previously lived in Hawaii and was joked as being a ginger Jesus. He was an incredible person who really cared about the Earth. I have no idea if he was part of the manipulation or if he was there on similar beliefs that this was a group doing immense good in the world. Early on during the night’s preparation, Dakota and Lila walked up to us and asked if we wanted to go out to eat with them. This struck us as odd that they would abandon Kukui on his birthday, but we didn’t see it as too weird at the time. We struck up a conversation, where it was revealed that Dakota had two EBT cards from different states. One big hook they sunk into us was the idea that it was us versus the government. They managed to convince us that the institutions of the world were parasitic - which they usually are - but did it in such a way that made us feel like we were in a spiritual war against the bad boogie men of the world. And they managed this by gradually exposing us to more and more deliberate acts of defiance, in order to manifest our own sovereignty against the parasitic government. It’s what led to us accepting some of their more diabolic schemes. For instance, there was talk about building a village in Ava, Missouri, moving all their people in, and then taking over the mayorship. They chose Missouri for this plan due to the different building codes of the state. In the moment, this seemed like a brilliant plan for expanding the influence of Earth Nation, but in hindsight appears to be a dystopian means to increase their power and continue taking advantage of people. These were little seeds they planted that made us more comfortable with doing certain things that we otherwise wouldn’t. Awen was particularly uncomfortable with many of the things we did, but eventually they did get her to help out with their schemes. By keeping us under fear and gradually conditioning us, they were able to make us obedient as we were always looking out for our immediate survival. Fear. That is an emotion I am now excessively familiar with as a result of this cult. While I have battled paranoia all my life, they took those primal emotions and twisted them to the point that I had no idea which way was up. Each day gradually became a battle while being on high alert, as I constantly scrambled to overcome whatever artificial set-backs were planted in my way and keep up with the workload that was presented to me. My first exposure to this form of emotional manipulation came during Halloween. The night began jovially as Doran wore a plastic bag as a costume and invented a new dance that we all participated in. Daniella was preparing a large meal in the kitchen while we helped and played in rhythm to one another. The dinner we shared was only part of the night’s events that would change my life completely. After dinner, Awen and I went back to our room and talked about what we wanted to do that night. The rest of the group was still down at the dining hall and preparing for a fun night of festivities. Awen was not opposed to me going, but she was and still is a pagan and wanted to celebrate her ancestors as per the tradition of Samhain. I debated spending the night with her, but the opportunity to spend time with these new people in our life made me curious as to what they would be doing. I will also admit that I was much more controlled by my addictive nature and was excited to drink with them. So down I went. As I entered the dining hall, I saw that they were drinking tequila and generally having a great time. Naturally, I joined in and took a shot. Jovial times were had, and some time later I was offered another shot, but I did not see them pour this one. This turned out to be a crucial mistake on my part as I would find out that there was something else, something with psychedelic qualities, in the drink. It was not LSD, as I am familiar with the effects of that drug, so I am at a loss for what it could have been. As the night went on I began to feel funny. It wasn’t until we were in a smoke circle that I began to notice something was wrong. I had trouble forming words and when Grizzly asked me a question all I could muster was a “hi!” This tripped me up and I went inside to go sit down. This is where my memory starts to get fuzzy. I was mostly left alone as I sat cross-legged on a mat on the floor, but eventually there were three other people sitting around me, with a bottle placed in the center of us. I remember Prism and Josh, a carpenter who was doing some work on the buildings at Triangle Lake, were two of the people surrounding me, but I don’t remember any of the conversation they were having. I just remember getting really spooked at that time and tried to leave. I don’t know how long it took me to get back to Awen, but I do remember the headlights of a vehicle coming down the hill as I was going up. It was late by the time I made it back in into Carmen Hall, which suggests that I have no memory of what happened after the apparent spin-the-bottle episode. My memory starts to get better as I remember lying there with Awen trying to articulate what was going on, but my words just spiraled into incomprehensible nonsense. She was worried for me, just as I was worried for myself. The next morning continued on as if nothing ever happened, but I was emotionally jostled for the next few days. Nothing was ever said about what happened the night before, and a part of me was terrified that something happened Because my mother had AIDS, and that is a terror I still battle to this day, I obsessed over the idea that Prism, who was HIV positive, may have done something with me. I’ve since been tested and everything’s fine, but for a while I was terrified that I was raped. Was that a rational or irrational fear? I’ll never know. What I do know is that they took advantage of my perturbed state by subtly twisting the knife in the following days with their synchronous set-ups, making me feel guilty that I did not choose to spend time with Awen that night, and thus making me work harder than ever before. Chapter 4 in comments
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