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Monday, June 20

  1. page Gold edited GOLD "No State shall... make anything but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debt…

    "No State shall... make anything but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts..."
    U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1
    "All my life I have been in love with gold. I love its colour, its brilliance, its divine heaviness. I love the texture of gold, and the warm tang it exudes when I melt it down into a true golden syrup. But, above all, I love the power that gold alone gives to its owner. I have worked all my life for gold and, in return, gold has worked for me and for those enterprises that I have espoused. I ask you, is there any other substance on earth that so rewards its owner?"
    Auric Goldfinger
    Gold, having both artistic and functional uses and being scarce, has always been considered a luxury good. It is durable, portable, homogeneous, divisible, and, therefore, has significant advantages over all other media of exchange. Since the beginning of Would War I, it has been virtually the sole international standard of exchange.
    Alan Greenspan, "Gold and Economic Freedom" 1966
    {gold_assay_cert.jpg} A private 1 oz gold bar from Pamp Suisse, a reputable private source of gold. Some holders of gold prefer privately struck gold, as long as it is from a reputable source and comes with an assay card.
    Gold is money. It has always been money since the first time man realized this soft, inert metal kept stays shiny for all eternity and would allow him to build tools and devices to raise him above the status of a common animal. Many claim that the "invention" of money is a crowning achievement of human society, rather, a crowning achievement that pre-dates society, as it allowed man to settle into an exchange-based barter system and coexist peacefully with his fellow humans. This is simply not the case, as many animals and insects use forms of barter, be it food in exchange for staying on one's mating ground, or the advanced tribute and tax system of ants, which coincidentally resembles our current Federal Reserve System... More on that later. Man's real triumph of the mind was not inventing money- the idea of inventing the concept of a mutually beneficial exchange between two consenting partners is hardly new in the biological world- man's triumph was in finding the BEST form of money, a miraculous metal he could pull out of the ground and use for his great benefit. Gold is compact, anonymous, and highly valuable (not to mention passes through national borders with ease). But enough on why drug dealers stupid enough to turn down gold in favor of numbered and trackable slips of paper worth no more than their cotton-silk blend deserve to get caught.
    The best gold to own is that which is struck by a reliable government, such as the United States, Canada or Australia.

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  2. page Exchange edited In the invented worlds of many science-fiction authors, money seems like an awkward issue. The sci…
    In the invented worlds of many science-fiction authors, money seems like an awkward issue. The science-fiction reader sometimes struggles to believe that the system of payments the author describes, and despite the dizzying array of other unexplained technology this reader will allow, will focus in on the unrealistic nature of their imagined money. Some authors describe whimsical situations in which families’ wealth is measured by their ability to own a wild animal, while other authors, such as Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash, describe a system in which competing currencies operate alongside one another in harmony. These fantasy moneys, however, are far from imagined, and their authors deserve a fair amount of credit for the historical accuracy with which they sometimes capture with the written word the essence of money’s history. {IMG_0827.JPG} "The hard stuff, the old stuff, libertyheaded dollars and Roosevelt dimes,"
    {IMG_0836.JPG} How many Kongbucks? For the American reader of Stephenson’s Snow Crash, the money system navigated daily by Hiro Protagonist and Y.T. is not only complicated and dizzying, but unrealistic due to its overwhelming nature. However, this reader would be surprised to know that, despite some very superficial differences, the United States of America utilized a mixed system of competing currencies for over a century of its existence. More surprising is that despite Stephenson’s description of the frustrating ordeals faced by a customer with a quadrillion dollar bill attempting to purchase goods in Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong, Americans during this time period utilized a variety of money with relative ease and familiarity. In the decades following the formation of the United States into one nation under the Federal Constitution, Americans spent and earned silver dollars recently struck by the United States Treasury along with copper pennies and other small coinage. For saving, however, Americans generally favored Spanish silver dollars, despite the fact that these tended to be older and more heavily worn due to their making it across the Atlantic Ocean and having circulated their way into the United States from Spanish colonies hundreds of miles south. This preference can only be explained by some dim, if not unspoken perception among American citizens, that the silver coinage struck by the Spanish empire was somehow more pure, and thus less likely to be debased by less valuable copper, than the fresh and shiny coinage of the fledgling United States. This situation is mirrored in Snow Crash, albeit to hyperbole, when consumers find it easier to deal in Kongbucks, due to its wider acceptability, than dollars, whose hyperinflated stock and absolute lack of demand makes it an almost worthless currency. Kongbucks, however, do not derive their value from any measure of intrinsic value that makes them preferable to dollars. Rather, their value is based on their acceptance and ability to purchase goods and services within Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong and a variety of burbclaves, a similar situation to the United States of the late 19th century, during which gold coins, silver coins, Federal Treasury notes, gold certificates, silver certificates, and private bank notes all circulated across the United States, but their acceptance and subsequent value was often ranked into an order in which physical gold came out at the top and Federal Treasury notes came out last. The passage of legal tender laws in the United States, which legally compel nationwide acceptance of {IMG_0847.JPG} What good is a promise? the currency defined by the Federal government, has had a dampening affect on the dynamic range of currency options in this country, by imposing the currency of the Federal Reserve Bank onto Americans. While valueless, due to a lack of gold or silver backing their stated amount, Federal Reserve Notes did enjoy a period of monopolistic dominance in the United States for personal transactions. The introduction of the credit and debit card, however, sounded the death bell for this form of American currency. Even more dynamic options, such as networked electronic payment through PayPal, or GoldMoney, which facilitates online commerce priced in gold, are edging out the physical Federal Reserve Note as the best representation of value in the great American currency race. How long do we have to go until we reach Stephenson’s vision of a free market in money, or monetary anarchism? The answer is that not only are we already there, but it is not unknown territory, even to our oldest ancestors. Paper, whose value is only as good as a promise from the Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, will likely last no longer than the Federal government’s ability to maintain a large and dominant military capable of conquering other nations and influencing economic outcomes worldwide.
    {IMG_0860.JPG} {IMG_0853.JPG}
    The perceived value of currency, and its subsequent link to public perception of its issuers strength and financial solvency, is not the only measure of the effectiveness of a currency. Money can have intrinsic value as well, a concept that is addressed briefly in Gibson’s “Dogfight.” In Deke’s first foray into the the simulation “Dogfight,” gamblers place bets with “the hard stuff.” Deke’s reference to the “Liberty-headed dollar,” was probably intended to describe the American “Peace Dollar” which was struck from 1921 until 1928, and contained ounces of pure silver. The silver Roosevelt dimes used by the gamblers contain about 1/10 the amount of silver in the average Peace dollar, or about .07 ounces of silver. In the vagueness of Gibson’s description of Deke’s world, it is hard to determine what the exact state of the United States government is, but it is clear from the characters’ faith in older forms of currency, with guaranteed silver content and thus, intrinsic value, that the past is preferable to the present. The intrinsic value of the silver in the change alone is what encourages their use and acceptance by the Dogfight gamblers, making them so highly prized that they are placed into a separate category and defined as “the hard stuff.”
    {IMG_0834.JPG} {IMG_0865.JPG}
    My photo set attempts to show the reader the various forms of money that have been used through the ages, ranging from the earliest conceptions of money to one of the most recognizable and widely used forms of exchange in modern history. Barter, or direct exchange, is the lowest form of money. However, items used in barter can often be exchanged for a wide variety of goods and services, as long as it is divisible and widely recognized. Thus, the four products that I display have intrinsic value and are somewhat divisible. The intrinsic value of all four goods makes them compelling items to own, for the tobacco can be smoked, the salt used to cure meat, the incense used in religious ceremonies or to freshen the home, and the knife used to cook or in medical procedures. Additionally, all f {IMG_0866.JPG} our items can be divided, although with varying degrees of effectiveness. The steel knife, for example could be separated into its blade component, which could still be used for cutting, and its heavy handle could be employed in a scale that measures other commodities such as salt and tobacco. All four of these items have served as money in past civilizations, but silver has soundly defeated them as the monetary unit of choice for many centuries.
    Silver, while not as exclusive as gold, remains nonetheless a luxury good. Its brilliant white luster, its malleability, and its relative scarcity make it perfectly suited to serve as a store of value in advanced societies. However, what is to stop someone from claiming that a common piece of steel is simply a tarnished piece of silver, and use it as money. Again, the issuer of the monetary unit defines everything. The pictures include a variety of types of monetary silver, ranging from American silver change with a composition of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper, to privately minted bars by Johnson and Matthey silver refiners of 99.95 percent fineness, to modern American Silver Eagles, each containing one troy ounce of 99.9 percent pure silver.
    This photo essay has attempted to illustrate various forms of money that have been used throughout history, while drawing comparisons to the currency systems portrayed by various writers. The nature of the money that appears in the various forms of fiction I have read is not as whimsical as it may seem when one realizes that history is replete with examples of all types of monetary systems, and that no form of money is new under the sun.
    {IMG_0854.JPG} {IMG_0832.JPG}
    {IMG_0868.JPG} Measured by other moneys than the Federal Reserve Note, inflation really has not occured,in the sense that prices of common goods have not risen. For example, in 1956m, the year in which this silver Washington quarter was struck, it could purchase a pack of cigarettes at full retail price. Its silver value, approximately $3.40, could still purchase a pack of cigarettes in Virginia today.

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  3. page Which is Darker? edited The worlds of both Snow Crash and "The Matrix" contain elements that terrify the modern …
    The worlds of both Snow Crash and "The Matrix" contain elements that terrify the modern reader or viewer. The main thrust of their dystopian vision for me is the lack of individual free will. In Snow Crash, the capitalism that was supposed to set man free has instead enslaved him, by creating a classification system in which paying customers enjoy the unlimited right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of the happiness they can afford. The non-paying customers, however, experience a dismal and bleak life at the bottom, in a U-Stor It unit, or as a corporate wage slave whose body is claimed as property by the employer. The future in "The Matrix," however, employs humans as slaves in a much less subtle fashion, for they are physically harvested for the fruits of their bodies. The chemical reactions that humans produce are used as food, and, like cattle, humans' only contribution to the lives of the machines is their output. Because man is enslaved more like a farm animal in "The Matrix" than in Snow Crash, there is not a single consideration given to his enjoyment or comfort. The total domination that the machines have achieved over humankind means that from the cradle to the grave, humans live in servitude, without any real enjoyment or knowledge of life. This is almost the case in Snow Crash, but for one crucial difference. The corporations that own the various parts of the future United States operate on a profit motive, which is achieved through (mostly) consensual business transactions, which is the foundation of anarcho-capitalism. While these businesses use every manipulative tactic to score more customers and keep them hooked, such as the thirty-minute pizza delivery guarantee, there is, at the base of most transactions, a willing decision to enter into that arrangement. The pods in which human babies are nursed into fully energy productive adults in "The Matrix" are certainly not a consensual arrangement, despite the minor consolation offered by the vast illusion of everyday life inside the Matrix itself. Thus, I believe that on the margin, the future depicted in "The Matrix" is darker than that of Stephenson's Snow Crash because of the simple fact that some of the transactions in Stephenson's world are consensual, at least on the surface, whereas the slavery of the Matrix is visible and outright.
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  4. page Dan Letovsky edited Money What is Money? Not many can argue that money does not play the most significant role in d…

    What is Money? Not many can argue that money does not play the most significant role in determining their behavior. However, our modern understanding of money is a very abstract and inaccurate one. I shall attempt to examine the various forms of money throughout the ages, from tobacco to silver to large rock wheels. The concept of money, despite the armchair-philosopher's belief that "money is man's greatest invention", is in no way a human creation. Chris McCandless, when he burned his money to deny the validity of American civilization, still accomplished nothing more than setting himself back the power to purchase more food and living supplies. However, criticism and exploration of various literary characters' treatment of money will be addressed later.
    {reverse_toned.jpg} Rich with American history.What we understand to be money today is far from the real nature of money. To attempt to understand this abstract concept of real money, I will take a long view of history. I will examine money's history in the United States, proving that the fundamental tension between individual liberty and unimpeded government-corporate profiteering is the common economic thread through major periods of transformation in the United States, and that gold's role in this debate is central. I will also attempt to make a sociobiological analysis of money in nature, trying to see if exchange economies can exist among other living creatures. Let me be forthright with the bias of this pseudo-scientific experiment from the outset: yes, money can exist among even among the most basic of all living things. These two views of monetary history will be supplemented with connections to the texts and films being read throughout the course of English 216.
    Every text we will expose ourselves to, whether explicitly or implicitly, must address the nature of money in the course of telling its story, and I intend to tease out the message contained within each, and perhaps make presumptuous predictions about the views or depth of understanding of this subject held by the author. At the risk of parroting Ignatius Reilly, peppered throughout this project will also be dire predictions of the consequences of the modern world's wilfull disregard of the true nature of money.
    Gold's Long and Illustrious Career as Money Money as Exchange Dark, Darker, Darkest Shepard's Glorious Moment
    Eng. 216 Syllabus
    Back to Main Invented Worlds Page

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Sunday, April 10

  1. page Laura Noges edited ... I've got a lot of funky, revolutionary, and thoughtful ideas to share... but they usually arri…
    I've got a lot of funky, revolutionary, and thoughtful ideas to share... but they usually arrive sporadically. Thus, I will have many pages on radically different but intrinsically related topics. They are all 100% Laura Noges. In brief, I am a young woman in college trying to make something of myself and my life in this world. My sites are listed in chronological order, so you'll learn more and more about me as you read on. Enjoy delving into a little bit of my mind.
    {Image116.jpg} This is the best life you've ever had, enjoy it!My main ideas focus on the various ways to find yourself. You can travel the world, sit down and deliberately define your values, try new lifestyles, strive to achieve specific goals, or all of the above. Personally, I tend to back away from virtual living and run with my mouth open, tongue out, toward the great outdoors (the jungle of New York City included). What can I say?! I'm from Washington State where you can be outside 365 days a year with full access to both the mountains and the sea. Overall, during your early 20s is the ideal time to define yourself, discover who you are, and fully engage in life. Take the bull by the horns, go ahead.
    of different ideaideas in this
    My wiki also discusses some of my travels in Second Life, relating as best as I could, my real life passions to the cyberworld creating by the Lindens (Adventures of Nyleve Rayna) and (Africa in SL).
    What I have to offer:
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Sunday, September 26

  1. msg Second life names message posted Second life names Whoever looks here visit my page please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Second life names
    Whoever looks here visit my page please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    3:29 pm

Thursday, September 23

  1. msg Great message posted Great Your wiki is great. I just got one at school and it's not so good.
    Your wiki is great. I just got one at school and it's not so good.
    1:50 pm

Sunday, April 4

  1. page home edited ... Matt Lonnquest: Wiki (Iskender Republic) Lostincyberspace Balbozar's What is next? Bhai …
    Matt Lonnquest: Wiki
    (Iskender Republic)
    Lostincyberspace Balbozar's
    What is next?

    Bhai Maruti's Wiki
    Cannon Ninetail's Wiki
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  2. page Tom Borwick (deleted) edited
    6:37 pm
  3. page Santa goes to War (deleted) edited
    6:37 pm