Archive for September, 2019

Past TMSR Work, Potential Future TMSR Work

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

My contributions to the republic, while having spent years twiddling my thumbs reading the logs, are as follow:

1. 5 Qntra posts, found here: 1

My first post was an inside perspective of MIT's "blockchain" curriculum. It confirmed what the republic already knew, namely that there was no interesting work going on at MIT re bitcoin, and any "work" being done there was hostile towards republican interests. Two other posts were tabloidal, making fun of pantsuitism. And the last two posts were reports on Coinbase shenanagins during the bitcoin cash hard fork.

2. Setting up my own trb bitcoin node. (failed)

There was naivety in my attempts to setup a running bitcoin node. When I first attempted to setup a node, I tried to get it goig on an old unused laptop. One mistake was believing that 2gb of ram is enough to get a timely block sync. I had thought at the time that the only bottleneck to getting a node up to speed was downloading the blocks, and I did not intuit the time it takes to locally verify all the blocks along the way2 I later attempted to sync a node on a dedicated machine hosted by dreamhost.com,3 paying a little over $100 usd per month. I can't quite recall what happened, but I think around block 350,000 it got stuck. Later, without trying to reboot bitcoind, I decided to cut my expense with dreamhost and gave up on running a full node.

3. Researching how many bitcoins are tied up in P2SH4 (failed)

The goal was getting an upper bound of how many coins are in anyone-can-spend scripts in order to answer the question: how many coins are in addresses related to segwit?

To do this, I first used ben_vulpes's block explorer5 to grab sexprs containing the data for every block. This was obtained by looping from 0...max_block_height and running
wget -0 http://mimisbrunnr.cascadianhacker.com/blocks/blk{n}
where {n} was the block number. While I was running a loop performing this task I noticed that occasionally ben's block explorer would give me some malformed file - and I had to simply re-wget the same url until i got back a properly formatted sexpr. It took a while to download all the blocks from Ben (even though I was not verifying them) and so I paid for a digitalocean droplet to run my scraper script on.6

Once I had blocks 0..n, I ran a script7 that would go through a chunk of blocks and keep an ongoing hashmap mapping "(txn hash, output number) -> num_satoshis_sent_to_output" for all the outputs in the block that were sent to non-trb conforming addresses. For each new block, the script would first iterate through the txns in the block to see if any of them spent the coins in the ongoing hashmap obtained from all the previous blocks. If a txn in the new block consumed one of the P2SH UTXOs that was being stored, that UTXO would be deleted from the ongoing hashmap. Once the purge of transaction outputs that had just been spent was completed, the script reiterated through the new block's txns to add any txn outputs that were directed to non-trb P2SH's to the ongoing hashmap. After iterating through all the blocks, one could calculate how many satoshis were in non-trb addresses by summig up all the values in the obtained hashmap.

I don't recall at what point/why I just faded away and stopped working on this tool. It may have been because I hit a problem with running out of memory for storing all the segwit UTXOs. It was an interesting investigation and perhaps the republic would still find a counter of coins that are contained in non-trb addresses useful. Which brings us to part two of this post:

Potential Future TMSR Work

diana_coman: whaack_pura_vida: that8 is obsolete so not a lot of help in itself; nobody is going to make the list ready for you to pick and choose, wtf.
diana_coman: whaack_pura_vida: publish what you figure out by Sunday together with *how you went about* the figuring out

My initial internal response to diana_coman was " (1) why is that a ridiculous expectation since there previously was a list of entry points? and (2) how is that list obsolete if a young hand such as shrysr is digesting V, which is more or less a task on that list?"

The best answer I can come up with to my own questions are "Yes, a list was once generously made, but doesn't mean that lords have time to keep an up to date task list for noobs. That post was THREE YEARS AGO and now there are new tasks to do - which you must find yourself. The current task list may or may not coincide with the three year old post, you have to have read the logs to find out."

With that being said, and keeping with the "how you went about figuring out", here is a list of potential tasks, with an annotation denoting how/why I came to choose that task.

1. Creating my own V9
2. Related to 1, taking up the task of maintaining a vpatch viewer10
3. Creating a new trb block explorer11
4. Continuing fighting the war on Segwit, first by completing the task of sizing up the coins held in P2SH. 12
5. Learning ADA and completing Stan's FFA series.13

Tasks (3) and (4) seems the most interesting to me, but I believe the v-related tasks (1) and (2) should be my starting point.

  1. These were edited by BingoBoingo, and one was improperly formatted wthen sent to him. So these contributions may have even been net negative depending on how much time BingoBoingo had to spend to correcret my mistakes. []
  2. My intuition was likely skewed because my first experience with running a bitcoin node was using power ranger software which used SPV, effectively making my computer search for the longest chain instead of the longest valid chain. []
  3. Originally I had thought, what help is it to run a node on someone else's iron? I still believe it is not that useful, you are only temporarily increasing the redundancy of the bitcoin network, but at any moment the enemy can flip a switch and you go offline. Adding a node to pizarro also has dubious utility, because from my understanding the republic already has a few nodes there at 161.0.121.248 and 161.0.121.250. []
  4. pay to script hash []
  5. dead at time of writing []
  6. This was also discontinued when I did some cleaning out of expenses. And I wiped everything off the droplet without first taking a local copy. []
  7. A lot of CL weird and sloppy code. Some of it is copy and pasted from code Ben was using to analyze his own block explorer. []
  8. http://trilema.com/2016/how-to-participate-in-the-affairs-of-the-most-serene-republic/ []
  9. The initial idea was planted by the trilema post of entry to affairs. That being said, V seems a natural starting point for working with republican code. It demonstrates understanding of the tool required to publish and use any code in the republic []
  10. per the suggestion of trinque. []
  11. Found this may be useful by going through old tasks and noting that Ben's old block explorer mimisbrunnr had died. []
  12. I figure that the lords best spend their time fortifying their castle walls rather than going out to fight against nonsense like Segwit. But perhaps a noob could prove his worth by taking on this neglected task. []
  13. This task seems a useful start for the same reason the V tasks seem useful: to prepare a young hand by learning the tools used to contribute to the republic. In addition, from my understanding only a few have gone through any of Stan's series. But apart from the additional proofread, this is a personal development goal rather than a contribution. []

Differences Between English-Spanish Pronunciation Part 2 - The Five Main Vowels

Friday, September 13th, 2019

This post is my notes from a more detailed write up from the "Mimic Method" which comes with visual and audio aids. This only contains information on monophthongs - details of diphthongs and triphthongs and will come in a future part in this series.

There are five vowel sounds, and the alphabetic letters are the same as their corresponding phonetic letter [a] [e] [i] [o] [u].

One of the main differences between the Spanish vowels and their English equivalents is that the Spanish vowels are "short and crisp." They do not glide/change to a different sound as you say them. If you put your lips/mouth in the correction position, hold them there, and then perform a voiced sound1, you will get the right sound without having to alter the initial articulation. This is in contrast to some English vowels, like the o in "no" which glides something like a "w" as you say it.

A - The tongue is low and center, lips unrounded. You need to draw your tongue/jaw lower than when you make the ah sound in English words (like pot)

E - The tongue is at middle height and forward, lips unrounded. Be careful not to glide it to a y as we do in many English words such as "hey" and "bay".

I - The tongue is high and forward, lips unrounded. It is pronounced like the e's in the English word see.

O - The tongue is back and center, lips rounded.2

U - The tongue is back and high, lips rounded. Once again make sure not to curl the lips while saying the vowel.

Common Gringo Mistakes:

1. Closing/reducing/changing vowels: A, O, E. Each of the five (lone) vowels sound the same no matter where they are located in a word. When a gringo says nada they may say nah-duh. But the correct pronunciation has the A vowel the same both before and after the d.

2. Gliding vowels. Vowels (by themselves) in Spanish are never diphthongs. They are short sounds with an articulation that remains constant.

3. Lip rounding of vowels. Don't have your o's and u's morph to w's, like they do in the English for the words "no" and "Sue".

  1. release air through your lungs while "vibrating" your throat, as one always does when making a vowel. []
  2. The lips being rounded is not all that important since the vowel is defined by the tongue position. You certainly shouldn't have your lips rounding as you say the word, as mentioned before with the word "no" []

Differences Between English-Spanish Pronunciation Part 1 - Differences in stops d k t p

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

This is part 1 of a series that goes through all of the major differences of pronunciation between Spanish and English. It assumes the reader knows a little bit of knowledge of phonetic1 lingo and knows some very basic Spanish pronunciation - like that i is pronounced ee as in see and that ll is pronounced like an English y. To begin:

d and t:

In English, d and t are both stops2 that are created by placing the tongue on the alveolar ridge.3 In Spanish, d and t are also stops, but they have a less forceful explosion of air, and the tongue blocks the airflow by being placed on the upper teeth instead of on the alveolar ridge. Relatedly, the stops in Spanish are not aspirated as they are in English.4 So in English we say tea [thi] en español se dice ti [ti].

p and /k/ (k or hard c):

p and /k/ have the same oral articulation in Spanish as they do in English. The difference is that -once again- in Spanish there is the release of air at the end of the stops is gentle and the stops are not aspirated.

  1. If you know nothing about phonetics or the IPA system I recommend A Practical Introduction to Phonetics by Catford - The book contains a series of exercises that helps you learn how to make sounds found in languages/accents from all over the world []
  2. A stop is a consonant where the sound is created by blocking airflow and then releasing upon pressure build up. In English, p and b are stops that block airflow via the lips, while k,t, and d block airflow with the tongue. []
  3. If you don't know what the alveolar ridge is, take a minute to gain some anatomy awareness by slowly dragging your tongue from your top teeth up to the roof of your mouth back and forth. Do this a few times to get the feel for the shape of your mouth. Then start again from the top teeth. Just as you pass the gums you will find your tongue along a ridge like shape. This is the alveolar ridge. You can also find the alveolar ridge by silently thinking and mouthing the word dad while paying attention to where your tongue is. []
  4. Aspiration is when there is a pause between the explosion of the stop and the onset of the vibration of the following vowel. To test if you are aspirating your ti in Spanish, do the following exercise: rest your finger gently on your adam's apple and say the English Tea. Notice the delay between when you hear the T and when your throat starts vibrating for the vowel i. Now do the same for the Spanish ti. You should have no delay between the t and the i []