Crypto-Current update

To all those who have noticed that Crypto-Current has yet to emerge from its lair, your interest is appreciated. The amount of broken promises attending the publication schedule of this work can be considered a practical lesson in trustlessness.

Presently aiming to keep it to under 100,000 words (without huge confidence).

Beside the theoretical reconstruction of distributed crypto-systems as implementations of critique, several demanding philosophical tasks are imposing themselves. Of these, the most substantial include:
1) An adequate formulation of diagonal argument as the principle of critique.
2) A transcendental deduction of money (as that which makes price possible), from which its traditionally-accepted qualities acquire categorical order.
3) A philosophical re-foundation of the concept of property, on a cryptographic basis.

Realistically, I suspect a mid-year deadline is doable. If things seem to be working out by the end of March, I’ll harden this up to a firm commitment (please don’t laugh). I want the damn thing to be done even more than you do, and most probably, a lot more.

So back to the workface …

Pipeline notes (#3)

Finished Chasm an hour ago. Still needs a final sift through, and some work on the appendices. It’s going up on Amazon tonight — which means it will be available within a few days. I’ll add an announcement when that happens.

It’s something over 26,000 words (with another couples of thousand extra in the ‘apparatus’). Genre is hyper-formulaic abstract horror.


Crypto-Current is tantalizingly close to completion (but no cigar). North of 80,000 words, at this point, with far more hacking into philosophical jungles than anticipated. Given my record over over-promising on schedules, to date, I’m tempted to go conservative, and say end February for completion, since Winter interruptions are now going to slow things down. Apologies for the sluggish delivery.


Game-design time:

With Human Revolution, DeMarle and the narrative team had a bit of breathing room because the game was set so far before the original Deus Ex. There was time and space to build something totally new within the existing universe. But with Mankind Divided, and any other sequels that may follow, that space is shrinking. “With the sequel, we now have to stay true to what we were building,” she says, “but we also have to be aware that we’re getting closer and closer to the established future.”

Underlinings (#27)

Peter Galison on Einstein and Poincaré (from Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time, 2003):

Yet despite their differences, both were grappling with the same extraordinary insight into electrocoordinated time, and in so doing both men stood at the crossing of two great movements. On one side lay the vast modern technological infrastructure of trains, shipping, and telegraphs that joined under the signs of clocks and maps. On the other, a new sense of the mission of knowledge was emerging, one that would define time by pragmatism and conventionality, not by eternal truths and theological sanction. Technological time, metaphysical time, and philosophical time crossed in Einstein’s and Poincaré’s electrically synchronized clocks. Time coordination stood, unequaled, at that intersection: the modern junction of knowledge and power.

(Tracking this techno-cultural lineage forward into Bitcoin is illuminating.)

Underlinings (#26)


If we discover the ultimate nature of time, this will answer many of the most exciting open questions facing physics today. Did time have some sort of beginning before our Big Bang? Will it ultimately end? Did it emerge out of some sort of timeless quantum fuzz into which it will eventually dissolve? We physicists haven’t found the mathematical theory of quantum gravity required to convincingly answer these questions, but whatever this “theory of everything” turns out to be, time will be the key to unlocking its mysteries.


A sensible introduction. A snippet:

The assumption of effects running back in time is not only consistent with the experimental results, but also simplifies the physical description of electron-photon interactions. … Feynman posed however the question if effects running back in time could also be a possible mode of interaction. He thought specifically about incoming, so-called “advanced” waves, that converge simultaneously from all sides ending up as if by magic in the center. They represent the time-reversed version of the outgoing, so-called “retarded” waves, that we know from our everyday experience, for example in the form of radio or water waves. He found out that the effects of advanced and retarded waves compensate each other so that the overall effect corresponds exactly to the observable phenomenons [sic]. More precisely, Feynman’s analysis revealed that they compensate each other almost completely. The difference results in an increased resistance opposing the electron acceleration that is actually measurable. There is no convincing alternative explanation for this increased resistance to the present day.

Some compressed background discussion and references here.

Into Anomaly

The abstract of a peculiar paper:

In 1928, the late Francis Wayland Thurston published a scandalous manuscript in purport of warning the world of a global conspiracy of occultists. Among the documents he gathered to support his thesis was the personal account of a sailor by the name of Gustaf Johansen, describing an encounter with an extraordinary island. Johansen’s descriptions of his adventures upon the island are fantastic, and are often considered the most enigmatic (and therefore the highlight) of Thurston’s collection of documents.
We contend that all of the credible phenomena which Johansen described may be explained as being the observable consequences of a localized bubble of spacetime curvature. Many of his most incomprehensible statements (involving the geometry of the architecture, and variability of the location of the horizon) can therefore be said to have a unified underlying cause.
We propose a simplified example of such a geometry, and show using numerical computation that Johansen’s descriptions were, for the most part, not simply the ravings of a lunatic. Rather, they are the nontechnical observations of an intelligent man who did not understand how to describe what he was seeing. Conversely, it seems to us improbable that Johansen should have unwittingly given such a precise description of the consequences of spacetime curvature, if the details of this story were merely the dregs of some half remembered fever dream.
We calculate the type of matter which would be required to generate such exotic spacetime curvature. Unfortunately, we determine that the required matter is quite unphysical, and possess a nature which is entirely alien to all of the experiences of human science. Indeed, any civilization with mastery over such matter would be able to construct warp drives, cloaking devices, and other exotic geometries required to conveniently travel through the cosmos.

(It delivers.)

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