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December links: Web3 and the third law of motion

Interesting stuff from Early December 2021
December links: Web3 and the third law of motion
Comes from an amazing aviation photo collection I discovered via this Reddit post. Many thanks to "BaconBad"!

Good morning from Salt Lake City. Fiona and I made our winter pilgrimage out here to visit my parents and enjoy actual seasons, which starkly contrast with San Francisco's year-round 60-degree fog. However, the promised snow has yet to materialize. My cozy tea, mug, and slippers are on strip alert.

This edition's rabbit-hole: Web3 and its reactionaries

"Web3" is the hot new term for the recent wave of decentralized-everything coined by one of the cofounders of Ethereum, Gavin Wood. He runs the Web3 Foundation out of Switzerland and his view is basically that blockchain is an inherently political movement against the "centralized internet," or the 2.0-ers. Quick recap of the internet generations:

  • Web 1.0: Mid-1990s. The Wild West. Static pages. Geocities. Golden age of cyberpunk. People handwriting lots of html and using...yuck...tables to move content around on pages. Yahoo hires professional "surfers" to index the internet. No algorithmic search engines. The idea of using websites on a phone is still like Star Trek.
  • Web 2.0: Late 1990s through to about...now? People realize that writing html all the time is a pain in the ass. Blogging platforms emerge. Google explodes onto the scene with a new and really good search engine that crawls the internet automatically and indexes sites that match particular queries. Social media comes alive. People start ditching personalized websites and message-board-style forums for Facebook. People figure out that a really good way to make money on the internet is through advertising. A few companies figure out how to do content management and money-making really well and accrue immense amounts of power and wealth. We get the FANG stocks. By the mid-2010s, user data is the new oil. MOBILE FIRST. Privacy starts to become a concern. A few big companies get hacked and people's personal info gets leaked to the public. Someone invents re-targeting. People start becoming pretty darn suspicious of this whole advertising thing. All big internet companies start talking about privacy in their marketing materials as a way to make people feel better about handing over every piece of information in their lives.
  • Web 3.0: 2014ish - now. It's not totally clear what the universally-agreed-upon definition is because Web3 is being debated in the present moment. But, generally: AI! Machine learning! Blockchain! Bitcoin! Ethereum! NFTs! First, it's just the drug dealer at your high school who has Bitcoin. Bitcoin is really unique because there's no one person who has control over the money system and it's really hard to tell who is paying who and for what and so it's nice and private. It's cool too because it doesn't evaporate in value with inflation like US dollars. But it's stored on janky digital wallets in the beginning. Some of these early cryptocurrency exchanges are shady and run away with people's money. Entrepreneurs realize there's an audience for Bitcoin/blockchain but the protocols are fairly hard to use and they invent better wallets and more trustworthy exchanges. Mainstream, non-drug-dealer people start to like the privacy and decentralized aspects of blockchain. Big companies and investment firms start getting into crypto. Everyone starts talking about fucking NFTs even though they're not super well-understood and maybe kind of dumb. As we get to the present moment, a whole philosophical movement takes shape, as Gavin Wood claims, aimed against the internet hegemony of the Googles, Apples, Facebooks (ahem..sorry, Meta--which just frankly sounds more sinister and better to rally against), etc. here's a good explainer:
What Is Web3, Anyway?
Gavin Wood, who coined the term Web3 in 2014, believes decentralized technologies are the only hope of preserving liberal democracy.

But, now Newton's Third Law of Motion, the equal and opposite reaction:

Keep the Web Free, Say No to Web3
A look at what is wrong with Web3.

Yesterweb.org is interesting because they're Web 1.0 marxists who seem to be against the profit-motive in all forms and think that Web3-ers are just the newest generation of snakeoil salesmen. Their online zine is pretty interesting if for nothing else than the nostalgia and creativity. I don't subscribe to the idea that making money online is bad in all forms and that we should revert the entire internet to a socialist regime of Web 1.0 servers where everyone has a right to a shitty Geocities site for free forever.

Moving on, anti-Web3-ers right-click and download other people's NFTs with no recourse:

Right-clickers vs. the monkey JPG owners
Read to the end for a really good supercut

And finally, why do some Web3 people seem like zealous cultists who want to build coin-shaped cities on Volcanos?

Model City Monday 12/6/21
How sinister do you have to be before you get to call your volcano-based structure a “volcano lair”?

I'm probably going to write a whole article on Web3 and its trends soon.


Some of the work of Naval Ravikant, one of the most interesting technologist-turned-thinkers I follow.

Ideas Are the New Oil
Humans have a history of conquest because we fight for the same exact resources, but even in human history the first explorers were traders. They were going out there to find spices, gold, silk, new plants to domesticate, new animals. They weren’t going out there necessarily to conquer the land. Ev…
A collection of all my episodes on happiness. Live Long Enough and You’ll Become a Philosopher This podcast is a practical philosophy of health, wealth and happiness Let’s talk about why we’re doing this podcast. It’s really a discussion of highly practical philosophy. Philosophy, as we normally…

Foreign policy

More stuff about China...and the weird stuff happening in Ukraine. Would highly recommend checking out the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) podcast. I've been listening to them on my runs and I think they're generally terrific.

Taiwan commissions advanced new F-16s as China threat grows
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen lauded military cooperation with Washington on Thursday as she commissioned the first combat wing of F-16 fighters upgraded with U.S. help to bolster the island’s defences during rising tensions between Taipei and Beijing.
‎Western Way of War: Sam Cranny Evans: Chinese Ground Forces on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Western Way of War, Ep Sam Cranny Evans: Chinese Ground Forces - Nov 25, 2021
EXPLAINER: What’s behind Russia-Ukraine tensions? | AP News
MOSCOW (AP) — Ukrainian and Western officials are worried that a Russian military buildup near Ukraine could signal plans by Moscow to invade its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Aviation: The sixth generation

What is it? No one is super sure yet. Do they even have pilots? Some programs seem like they will, others don't.

Sixth-generation fighter - Wikipedia

The Italian-UK collab version:

BAE Systems Tempest - Wikipedia

The US version:

The US Air Force’s radical plan for a future fighter could field a jet in 5 years
The U.S. Air Force is seeking rapid-fire plane production as it tries to surpass the capabilities of near-peer competitors like Russia and China.

The Russian version ("In an interview for Russia Today, the Director General of RSK MiG, Ilya Tarasenko, speculated that it would be a new construction capable of Mach number 4–4.3, equipped with an anti-missile laser"):

Mikoyan PAK DP - Wikipedia


I affectionately remember these kinds of cheesy Lord of the Rings collectibles from the days of Skymall on the plane.

The Mace of Sauron And The One Ring
Get the massive powerful Lord of the Rings Mace of Sauron - Free Shipping with $149 order

Good things from YouTube

Good old Utah.

Meal worms seem like the kind of horrifying and efficient things that would survive the apocalypse and consume the bodies everything else that died and end up the dominant life-form on Earth.

Stay healthy,