[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 2/2)
Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum?
No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
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That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims?
That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft?
Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
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Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids?
I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up.
Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness?
Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird?
there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More?
It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about
I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends?
Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms ￼ The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals ￼ People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN ON THE DARK WEB?
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn ￼ Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think?
Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines?
There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods.
If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web?
I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web?
A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web?
It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
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How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs?
I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
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Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks!
I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them....
I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
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Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in?
Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat?
OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
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I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤
he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web?
There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web?
Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive?
I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
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1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety?
I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret?
We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work.
Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help?
Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help?
I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
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Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome.
I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
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Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line.
Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash?
I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all.
Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare?
No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies?
I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it.
Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account.
No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series
Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon?
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia?
The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon?
Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk)
No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR?
I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply!
Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke?
I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped?
The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts!
Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents?
I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business?
Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is?
Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
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Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible?
It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
the below is another reply to the original answer
Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it??
Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way?
I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code.
It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity?
I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature?
Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking
thedailybeast.com | Sep. 20, 2020. The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more. In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States. Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000. DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain. While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO. Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud. On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams. His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund. Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity. You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race? I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned. I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated. Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well? Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse. Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump. In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly? Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.” We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was. You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business? All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups. were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that? Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases. Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case. You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not? Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn. You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN? I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles. In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad? I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses. Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there? My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information. [Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”] What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer?[Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.] I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak? I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored. What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein? I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality? I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right? [Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.] Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy. You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean? “Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it. I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice. Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests? I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests. My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality. Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that? I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability. [Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.] You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that. Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa. I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people. You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City? I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future. You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship? No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions. What do you think the investigation will find? I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad. [Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”] But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details. [Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.] We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that? I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert? You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room. Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here. She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time? Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job. During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart? I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans. Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election? Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention. Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material? Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.” [Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.] So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser. Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is? We all are Satoshi Nakamoto. You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man? I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend. OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
Attention incoming interns! Here's a list of TIPS I WISH I KNEW starting my intern year, some things you can start working on now and some less commonly discussed but very important parts of your job
It’s that time of year and yet again I’ve seen plenty of incoming interns asking what they can do to prepare. I wrote this post to share some tips for all of the not-exactly-medical stuff I wish I knew before I started intern year and to share a few things that interns can do before they start to feel like they’re well prepared for the long white coat. As a quick background, I was a surgery intern in the first half of the 2010s and much of this is informed by my notes and memories from that time in addition to everything I’ve learned since, particularly about professionalism both in medicine and in the business world with work I’ve done in the healthcare startup arena. I’m also not perfect and very much a work in progress myself and, outside the intern-specific items here, I try to do most of these things myself—sometimes more successfully than others. So take what you think are good ideas here, leave what you don’t think would be useful, and if anyone else has anything to add, please feel free to chime in. TL;DR: Intern year is hard. Here are some not-so-commonly-disucussed tips that may help.
1. Being an effective intern is, at its core, about being responsible, effective and reliable.
Your day to day responsibilities are nearly always dominated by the need to get things done and to do so in a manner that lets your other team members focus on their own roles and responsibilities. What about learning clinical medicine? You'll learn plenty and fast. Don't worry. When reading through these tips below, view them from an angle of “would this help me develop an effective system for making sure everything gets done and nothing falls through the cracks?”
2. For your in-the-hospital life as well as your outside-the-hospital life, remember this one thing: you will forget.
You will be busy and have responsibilities in a way you likely have never experienced before. This will naturally make the day-to-day things in life more difficult than you’re used to so developing ways to outsmart your forgetful brain will pay off.
3. You are a professional now. This is your career. You’re in it.
It’s easy to view your life as a trainee as a sort of advanced student or something in between a student and a “real doctor”. But that’s not true. View yourself as a professional building your career. Your intern year is just the first step of that career. You’re a real doctor as much as any other now.
4. One of the hardest things about being an intern or resident is dealing with feelings of isolation. It will take work to actively manage and overcome those feelings.
Imposter syndrome, feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing or that you don’t belong, feeling like you’re not the person you used to be, that you don’t have time to do all the “normal” things that other people do, thinking your co-residents or attendings think you’re dumb, feeling that you don’t have time for friends/family/hobbies, ruminating on “what if I screw this up and hurt a patient?”, or “this doesn’t matter -- the patient is going to XX or YY anyway” etc are all common feelings and they all share the same undercurrent of feeling isolated in one way or another. You need to actively work to find ways to confront and overcome these feelings or else they will control you. When they control you, you’re burned out. It may not seem like it at first, but nearly every single tip below is geared towards avoiding feelings of isolation. Feeling like you’re not in control of your finances will make you feel isolated. Feeling like you’re losing a handle on your relationships will make you feel isolated. Feeling like you’re behind on your email and haven’t done all the little things in life you need to do will make you feel isolated. Read these tips through that lens.
What you can do before you start
1. Organize and update your contacts. Seriously.
Here are some ways it can help you maintain and grow your relationships.
Use the ‘Notes’ feature in your contacts for everyone important in your life and all the new people meet.
You will forget your friends’ kids names and ages. Every time you get a birth announcement or see a post on social media, go to your friend’s contact, edit the notes and put in the info. Then, when you reach out to your friends, ask about their kids...by name.
You will forget your friends’ boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/partner’s name, especially if you’ve never met them or haven’t seen them for a long time. Put their name in your friends’ card with a note like “Started seeing Sam in June 2020, he/she’s a software engineer”. Someone you know gets married? Add their wedding date to their card.
You will forget how you knew people in your contacts. Met at a conference? Was a medical student on your heme onc service? Friend-of-a-friend you met at a wedding? Someone shares an interest you have? Make a note in their contact card. Tip: these notes are for you, not them. So if someone reminds you of an actor, or didn’t stop talking about bitcoin, make a note. It will help because you will forget.
Tag your contacts or add them to lists and use those tags/lists to your advantage.
Make lists or tags for your family, your medical school friends, your undergrad friends, your coresidents, your attendings, your medical students, the hospitals you’ll be working at, etc. Put those lists or tags to use like this:
You will forget to stay in touch with people important to you. Set reminders in your phone for every week / two weeks / month, etc to pull up a list (family, medical school friends, etc), pick someone on that list you haven’t chatted with in a while and text them and ask them how they’re doing. Aim to start a conversation, ask about what’s happening in their life. Texts are more personal and meaningful than liking a post on social media or sharing a meme. Initiating conversations with your friends and family will help you feel connected and will increase the likelihood they reach out to you.
Don’t label your medical students like “MS3 Laura” or “Sub-I Juan”, etc. Label them with their full name and treat them like the colleagues they are. Put them on a list, clear it out next year if you want, but don’t treat them as “MS3 XXX“ or “MS4 YYY”. I’m sure you remember feeling like a nameless/faceless medical student at times in school and I’m sure you didn’t love it. So don’t repeat that behavior. Add a note or two about them while you’re at it. Take enough interest in your medical students to treat them well. You never know when or how you’ll cross paths with them again.
If you rotate through different hospitals, you will forget which “ED” or “PACU” or “nursing station 3rd floor” numbers are which. Tag them or put them on a list. It’ll make finding them when you need them much easier.
2. Use a good note taking app and a good task manager app to help with both your in-hospital life and your outside-of-the-hospital life.
Here are some ways to use a notes app.
Make a note for each rotation you’re on. Add in any unstructured tips as they come up, like “Send all of Dr. X’s patients home with Y”, “Use the call room in the basement outside of the locker room, passcode 1234”, “Park in the X lot on the weekends”, “Dr. A likes to manage Z with Y”, “The case manager, NAME, usually sits at the computer behind the 2nd floor nurses station”, etc. Don't overthink them, just write them down when they come up. Review those notes the next time you rotate through because you will forget all those little things and they will help you in the future.
Create a master grocery list of all things you typically get at the grocery store. Share it with a roommate/partner so they can keep it updated too. That way if you ever stop to pick something up, you can review the list to make sure there’s nothing you’ll forget.
Make master lists for other things in your life too like “packing for a conference”, “packing for a family trip”, “Target/Wal-Mart household master list” so you can quickly review anytime something comes up so you minimize the chance of forgetting something
Make notes for all of the other stuff you have to manage in your life like your car, your apartment/house, your loans, etc and update them every time you work on that thing. Change your loan repayment? Add it to the note. Have to get your brakes fixed? Add to the note where you got it done, how much it cost, etc. Talk to your landlord about fixing the shower? Add it to the note. Have to call the medical board to sort something out with a license? Add it to the note.
I like two note apps on iOS: Bear for personal notes since it’s fast and has great tagging and Apple’s Notes app for shared notes
Pick a good task manager app and use it for all the things in your life that aren’t your day-to-day work
Cousin getting married and you can go to the wedding? Make tasks to ensure your time off, book your travel, buy a gift, rent a hotel room, etc. Then put all the relevant info into your note because...you will forget.
Pandemic is over and you get to present a poster at a conference? Make tasks to review your draft with your coauthors, print your poster, book your travel, submit your reimbursement, etc. Then put all the relevant info into a note. Otherwise, you’ll forget.
I like Things and have also liked OmniFocus. There is a ton of content on how to set one of these things up for productivity so review it and use it YouTube search
3. Take charge of your finances
When I was an intern, I figured all I had to do was pay my loans and not go into more debt. I wish I had done the following instead:
Read these two books: The White Coat Investor and I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Both are very good and have different strengths. The WCI is directly applicable to you and will help educate you in ways medical school didn’t about your financial future. IWTYTBR is much more of a “millennial” book but it’s very good for explaining big concepts and for providing a system to set yourself up for success. They’re both easy and relatively quick reads and don’t require any financial background. WCI is fine as an e-book but IWTY has a bunch of dialog boxes that make the e-book a poor experience, get a physical new or used copy.
Set up a budget. I use and swear by You Need A Budget. It’s the best money I spend every year. Their system is easy and straightforward and it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
4. Update your CV now and keep it updated regularly
You will no doubt have to share your CV with someone at some point whether it’s for fellowship or a research project or any number of things. The time to work on it is not when someone says “can you share your CV?” -- that’s a recipe for omissions, typos and mistakes. The only thing you should be doing every time you share your CV is giving it a quick once-over to make sure you don’t spot any mistakes and to make sure it’s up to date There are plenty of templates online and your training institution may even have a preferred format somewhere on their website. Your ERAS application will give you a good head start but most of your medical school CV lines will either be condensed or removed all together unless something was particularly notable. You can almost always find example CVs online from senior people in your department or institution with a quick web search -- use a few as a guide Set a reminder / task to update your CV at regular intervals. Quarterly is good, yearly at least. Save new versions of it each time so you can refer to the old ones if you need to and name them in a way to let you know you’re always sharing the most recent version, e.g., LASTNAME_FIRST NAME_CV_2020-06. You will forget if the one marked “CV” only is the right one you want to share.
5. Subscribe to a couple of newsletters to stay up to date with the world outside of your hospital
For general news, your preferred newspaper probably has a daily email briefing. Otherwise, Axios AM/PM and Politico’s Playbook are both very good quick reads to stay up to date with current events.
Keep up with healthcare news so you know what’s going on in the healthcare system broadly
Politico’s Pulse and Morning eHealth are both very good and have quick facts at the beginning if you just want to skim
Rock Health’s Rock Weekly is a decent summary of each week in the healthcare startup and technology world
Pick a few of these and aim to get through them each day. If you can’t get through them, unsubscribe to the ones you think are least relevant to you so you never feel “behind” in staying up with the news. You can breeze through the few you pick in a few minutes here and there throughout the day -- don’t make it any harder than that to feel like you’re “up to date” on the news.
General tips for maintaining relationships
For any romantic relationship, do these things if you don’t already:
1. Make a rule: no phones at the table. * Don’t put your phone on the table face-up. Don’t put your phone on the table face-down. Keep your phone off the table and set to silent. * Focus on the person in front of you and show them you care about them by paying attention to them. We all know what it feels like to be with someone more interested in their screen than in interacting with you. If you’re on call, say “sorry, I’m on call, I may have to check something here and there”, apologize if you do check it and then put your phone away. 2. Make another rule: no phones in bed * Same principle as at the table. Want to feel like two strangers just passing through life who just so happen to share the same bed? Wake up, reach for your phone and scroll through your feeds like a zombie before getting out of bed. Same idea before bed. Your phone can wait. 3. If you’re at the point where you share finances, set a regular meeting to review how you’re doing. * Ideally, this is a “red, yellow or green” meeting and should only take a few minutes. Money can be a big conflict issue for relationships and avoiding talking about money is a surefire way to eventually turn to conflict. If you have a budget and shared goals, this should be quick. * A monthly check-in is good. Create a recurring calendar event, attach the shared notes or spreadsheet document you use, add your goals for the meeting and honor the meeting when it comes around.
Eat with people who are important to you, if you can.
There’s something about sharing a meal that’s special in human nature. Friends who are important to you? Partners? Mentors you’re looking to get to know better after you’ve had a few chats? Try to eat with them when you can. And keep your phone off the table.
The same idea works with your coresidents and teams in the hospital. Eat with them if you can. Eating with others builds, strengthens and maintains relationships. Keep your phone off the table if you can.
Think about it this way: who would you consider a better mentor, the person you’ve met with a few times in their office where they sit behind their desk and you in front of them while they glance at their computer screen every time it pings or the person who’s invited you to get coffee or food and they kept their phone away the whole time? Now turn that around and realize the power of the message you can send to people you care about by trying to eat with them and show them they have your full attention.
1. Learn to think about tasks as a continuum from start to finish instead of as a binary 'done/not done'.
Let’s say you have to order a CT for a patient of yours.
Instead of marking the task as complete the second you place the order for the CT, recognize that the whole task is not just placing the order, but also knowing when your patient is going down to the scanner, when they’re back, when the CT is up in the system, when the report is up and also that you’ve looked at the CT yourself and have read the report.
When your senior or attending asks you, “Did patient X get their CT?”, a not-so-great answer is “Yes” or “No”. A better answer is “they’re down at the scanner now” or “the scan’s done but it hasn’t been read yet. Want to look at it?” or “Yes, it’s negative for XXX but did show YYY”.
Whatever system you eventually adopt for your day-to-day task management in the hospital, whether it’s a list or index cards or a printed signout sheet, make sure you’re tracking both when orders go in, when they’re complete, when they’re cancelled, etc. Just marking things as complete once you place the order isn’t enough.
2. Signout is taken, not given.
What I mean by this is that when you take signout, that means you’re accepting responsibility for those patients. They might be your patients, you might be cross-covering, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that when those patients are your responsibility, it’s your responsibility to get what you need to know to take care of them. Is someone signing out to you in a hurry and not giving you what you need? Ask them for that relevant past medical history, those exam findings, and so on. It’s not enough for the person handing off to say “we’re worried about x or y”, you’ve got to follow that up with “in case of x or y, is there a plan for what the team wants me to do?”. Get the answers you need. A lot of covering patients on call is playing defense whereas the primary team generally plays offense. But that doesn’t mean you can play defense in isolation. The last thing you want is for the primary team to feel surprised by your choices.
* Here’s two ways for the above example to go when turning the patients you were covering back over the next day or whatever: 1. You: “For patient so-and-so, you said you were worried about x or y. Y happened.” Them: “What did you do?”. You: “Z”. Them: “Shit, my attending’s not gonna like that”. 2. You “Y happened so I did A like you said, it went fine and here’s the current status”. Them: “Great, thanks” * See the difference?
Along the lines of taking responsibility for those patients, that means that if you couldn’t get the information you needed at signout then you have to go and see those patients and get the information you need yourself.
You’ll hear this idea said a bunch of different ways like “trust but verify”, “trust no one” and your comfort level will change over the year as you become more confident and comfortable. But always error on the side of going to see the patient and getting your own information at the start.
3. If you will be miserable without something when you’re in the hospital, bring it with you. You won’t reliably be able to find it at the hospital every time you need it.
Need coffee otherwise you turn into a demon? Bring it with you. You never know when you’ll get caught doing something and won’t be able to run to the cafeteria for your fix.
On call overnight and know you need food so you don’t go insane? Bring it with you. Here’s a hospital food rule: never rely on the hospital's ability to feed you. The hospital will let you down sooner or later, I guarantee it.
Know you always get cold on call? The day you forget your jacket/sweatshirt is the day you won’t be able to find a spare blanket in the hospital to save your life. Put a backup in your locker (if your hospital respects you enough to give you one).
Miscellaneous productivity, professionalism and lifestyle tips
1. Aim to “touch” everything only once
Example: your physical mail. You know, the stuff made of dead trees that accumulates in that box you check every once in a while. For every piece of mail you get, you should either trash it, file it, or act on it. Don’t touch it until you’re ready to do one of those things.
Example: your email. Either delete it, archive it, reply to it or do the thing it’s telling you to do right away. Don’t fall into the trap of using your inbox as a to-do list -- that’s a recipe to get burned. Use a task manager for your to-do list and aim to keep your inbox at zero. Realize that email’s true power is communication and use it as a communication tool and nothing else.
I’ll use the example of going to a wedding again as something to “touch once”. Aim to accomplish all the tasks at once or at least create tasks and reminders to complete those tasks all in one go. Respond to the RSVP, create the calendar invite with all the information from the invitation, share the calendar event with your date, book your travel, book your hotel, book your rental car, buy your gift from the registry and set a reminder to get your suit/dress cleaned a few weeks ahead, etc.
2. Lean to use your calendar as a tool
Professionals in the “real world” tend to live and die by their calendars. Some people, especially many senior people in medicine, don’t manage their own calendars. But you manage yours. With it you can:
Make sure all events—even small ones like dates or errands you want to run—have locations so all you have to do is click the location for directions
Send invites to friends / family / coworkers for anything you talk about doing that has the relevant info
Make reminders for yourself to prepare for upcoming events, i.e.., don’t count on seeing your parents’/spouses’/whomever’s birthday “coming up” to remind you to get a gift or send a card. Create an event two weeks before their birthday that says “Buy Mom a birthday card”, set it to repeat yearly and buy a card when it comes up, send it a few days later and don’t worry that it won’t get there in time.
3. Learn to use email well
Ever get an email from someone and feel their tone was terse, condescending or rude? Don’t be that person. Error on the side being polite and professional and writing in complete sentences without textspeak. It’s not hard — you type fast, even with your thumbs, I’m sure of it.
Learn to communicate effectively. Keep it short but not terse. State why you’re writing to someone, be clear if you’re asking a question, and think about it this way: “How am I making it as easy as possible for this person to understand why I’m emailing them and do what I’m asking them to do?
Don’t use a canned salutation like “Best, NAME” or even worse: “Best, INITIALS”. Use your salutation to continue to communicate your message and remember that politeness and professionalism extend through your signature.
I don’t know why “Best,” is so common in medicine but it’s meaningless, unthoughtful, inherently passive aggressive and I seriously read it as if the person writing it were signing off by saying “Go f*ck yourself,”. Same thing for “Regards,” and its ilk, any abbreviation like “vr,” or any form of cutesy quote.
Write your salutation fresh each time. Did you ask someone for something? Say “Thank you for your help”. Are you writing someone senior to you and want to sound somewhat formal? “Sincerely,” never goes out of style. Are you sharing information and essentially writing a memo? Use “Please let me know if you have any questions”. Your salutation is communication, treat it that way.
Sign with your name, not your initials. Signing with initials is a common way senior people will try to remind you they’re senior to you. If you do it, it’s like you’re trying to prove you’re a Cool Guy Big Shot too. It never comes across well -- even for those senior people. Initials are terse. Lowercase initials are even terser. Although they may look different at first glance, all initial signatures functionally come across as ‘FU’. Write your name.
If it’s a few rounds back and forth of email, it’s normal drop salutations and signatures and treat email more like texting. Keep using complete sentences without textspeak, though. I promise you’ll come across better that way.
Use the ‘signature’ feature of your email client to share your professional details and contact information
Your institution (not department) will hopefully have a format for this that’s standardized and includes minimal or no graphics. If it doesn't, then I feel sorry for all the inevitable IT headaches you will eventually endure at your institution since they clearly underfund and undervalue contemporary IT and professional services. It’s the wild west out there so find some good examples of clean, professional signature formats and make one for yourself.
Note: this signature lives below your salutation and sign off. It’s essentially the letterhead for your email that lets your recipient fill in the details you may not otherwise provide like your department, mailing address or fax number. It’s not a replacement for signing off of your communication professionally.
Never use bold, italics, underlines or different font sizes in your emails. They only make emails harder to read and jumble your message.
If you want to highlight something, put it in a numbered or bulleted list.
If you can’t communicate what you want with 2-3 bulleted points, then email is not the right medium to use. Do you like reading long emails? Of course you don’t. Write a memo, attach it as a PDF or shared doc and use the email to tell your recipients to review the attachment.
You will eventually, in some way or another, ask someone to introduce you to one of their contacts and or refer you for something. Learn how to write a good forwardable email that utilizes the double opt-in concept and how to make it easy on the person doing you the favor. Read more here, here and here.
While you’re at it, understand the power of using CC and BCC to communicate effectively.
Aim to answer all emails written directly to you within 24 hours.
If you can’t respond fully right away, respond briefly saying you got the note and that you’ll work on it and get back to them. Set a reminder or create a task to do or review the thing and get back to them once you’ve done it.
Do you hate being left on read in text? You do it in email every time you don’t respond to someone in a timely fashion. It’s better to share a quick, “I got it and I’m working on it message” then not replying until days or weeks later.
4. Don’t let someone else’s negative energy and/or anxiety transfer to you
You will frequently experience things like this in the hospital:
A co-resident disagrees with a management decision made at rounds and mentions that so-and-so is an idiot. So-and-so probably isn’t an idiot. Your co-resident probably isn’t an idiot either. Form your own opinions from your own experiences.
A nurse pages you with a tone that says “THIS IS REALLY BAD”. It might be, go and see. And on your way, stay calm and go over the steps in your head of what you’d do if it is, in fact, REALLY BAD. But don’t freak yourself out before you even get to the room. You won’t be able to make decisions with a clear head if you’re already worked up.
You’re a surgery intern and all your patients are normally on the med-surg floor. Every once in a while, one goes somewhere like heme-onc if the med-surg floor is full. Someone on your team says something like “great, now they’re going to screw up our patient”. Recognize that that floor isn’t full of terrible nurses and may just have less experiences with lines and drains and that the best thing you can do is go down there, talk to the nurse and say “here’s what we want to be called about” and “this thing may look bad but it usually isn’t and we don’t need to be called, here’s why”, and so on. Doing things like this will mean you get fewer calls. Fewer calls are good.
Your attending is having a bad day and you’re not enjoying your interactions with them. Don’t let that make you have a bad day too. Medicine is hard enough as it is, stick to your own bad days instead adopting other people’s. Then pull up your friend list, text a buddy and feel better.
5. Don’t neglect your physical health. Trying to eat well and stay active are even more important when you’re insanely busy.
The #1 thing you can do to help your waistline is cook your own food and pack your own meals. It doesn’t matter what you cook or how good of a cook you are, as long as you’re aiming to pack meals that an adult would eat, it will be healthier than takeout and cafeteria food. It’s better for portion control, you control all the ingredients and you get a sense of satisfaction for being on the ball. It’s better in every way. I know it’s not realistic to always prep and pack your own food on the busiest of services but you should try to hit at least a percentage like 25% or 50% of your meals. There are no lost causes in your own health. It will be hard to exercise and work out. You should still try to do it anyway. You will go long stretches without exercising at times. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Every day is a chance to do the thing you want to do so get back out there.
6. If your social profiles are private, consider doing some housekeeping and making them public.
Instead of thinking about them as a liability to be that needs to be hidden, think about them as a narrative you can control. Nothing is private on the internet. Even your private profile. You never know who knows someone you know or what may get screenshotted and shared down the line. It’s natural to run a web search on anyone you’re meeting for a date, interviewing with for a job, or researching in general. When you search your own name, what comes up? What do you think when you’re searching for someone and they have a private page? Do you ever click on a few links to see professional stuff from LinkedIn, and then some social pages to see what else you learn? So does everyone else. Use your social pages to put forward a version of you that shows who you are, shows some interests true to yourself, makes you seem like a totally normal and reliable person (which is exactly what any potential date, partner, fellowship director or hiring manager is asking themselves about you) and doesn’t share enough information to let a patient show up at your door. Medicine lags behind other industries with people still commonly hiding behind private pages. In the tech world, it’s more strange to not have a public page. A private page says more about you that you might want to hide red flags whereas a public page says “go ahead and look, you won’t find any red flags”. One is much more powerful than the other.
Closing and something to read
When you view your professional life, it’s natural to view your professional relationships as being a binary one between patient and physician. That’s certainly essential and certainly important, but as a professional you now have relationships to consider with so many more types of people: co-residents, faculty in your department, faculty in other departments, administrators, support staff, medical students, and so on. Just as you had to learn how to work with patients, you will have to learn to work with all of the other people in your professional life. Truly effective professionals will treat all interactions importantly and give thought and consideration to each one. All these interactions and relationships will all affect your day-to-day experience, your well-being and, ultimately, your professional experience. You will find yourself being not just responsible for your patients, but also for yourself, your career and your relationships. It takes effort to succeed in all of those areas. And even with effort, sometimes you’ll be winning in an area and losing in others. And in a few months it will be different -- that’s just life. I want you to consider looking outside of books and resources written specifically for physicians when you’re trying to tackle these issues inside the hospital and out. Medicine is a much-smaller-than-you-realize bubble with a long history of personality-driven examples of “that’s just the way we do it” or “that’s how we’ve always done it”. There are good books about medicine out there, to be sure, but you’ll benefit more professionally by learning from the wide world outside of hospitals since there are quite simply many more successful and accomplished people who’ve written great resources for all aspects of professional life that medicine tends to ignore. I’d recommend you start with this book: Andy Grove’s High Output Management (a review by another Valley titan here). Andy escaped communist Hungary, taught himself English and rose to be CEO of Intel and went on to be a sage of Silicon Valley before he passed. This book is a how-to guide for how to be an effective professional in an organization (hint: you're now a professional in an organization) and if you’ve enjoyed this post at all, you’ll love this book. You may think that this book applies to ‘managers’ and ‘business’ and not medicine but you couldn’t be more wrong. Although it was probably written around the time you were born, nearly everything in this book is a lesson that directly applies to your professional life in medicine and when you start seeing it, you’ll feel like you’re in The Matrix. Congratulations! You've worked hard to get here. Be proud of yourself, your degree, your long white coat and be the best doctor you can be.
skyblock is in fact a dire representation of the insane and unfair state of our capitalist society
skyblock is in fact a dire representation of the insane and unfair state of our capitalist society. many times for days on end, the commoners grind senselessly in the dragon's nest, the spruce forests, and more. the rich zoom along at 500% speed, leaving the poor and hungry in their shadows, demonstrating the cruel and harsh reality of the meritocratic ladder. some poor lads must withstand the pain and monotony of the physical labour of pearl spamming, often being paid the bare minimum by their tycoon employers, profiting double off the menial work of their employees. in the auction house and bazaar, the unforgiving concept of the market is displayed in its finest. billions of items are transacted daily through it, allowing the cogs of the skyblock society to turn, much as it allows the cogs of ours. alas, the slightest change in the fates can make it or break it for your product. as an alarming and chilling example, the recent "pets v2" update caused the price of chicken and end stone to soar, and the price of lapis and summoning eyes to drop. how similar this is to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, with crude oil prices bottoming out and the premium of healthcare increasing many fold. is it possible to forsee these events, and swap 15 lapis 5 minions to end stone? perhaps, but the prohibitive initial cost spooks many from daring to switch loyalties. it's almost metaphorical for the intense and risky world of business, where the value of the product you market can drop and you can do nothing about it, and few dare to venture into multiple fields where the cost of failure can be fatal and final. criminals, dirty scum which only desire to leech and game the system to get ahead; they are present in many forms, both in skyblock and in the real world. a great and mind-blowing representation of the real criminal problem in skyblock is "14pots god splash alch 50 pots 90k entry fee /visit pewdiepie". the 14pots god splash alch 50 pots is a cryptocurrency, an up-and-coming investment. will it be bitcoin, the most value off of a single risky investment you will ever witness, or will it be schlatt coin, a sneaky exit scam to swindle your money, which most likely was made off of hours of hard work? reflect upon this, dear reader: how different is "quitting skyblock, type /coopadd NickedYoutuber to receive my gear (superior armor, 50m midas)" to "congratulations! you have won a prize of free iphone x worth $1000. click here to claim"? you are safe from the sneaky and scummy criminal practice neither in the real world nor in skyblock. in conclusion, skyblock shares a deep and chilling message about the potential consequences and effects our harsh capitalist and meritocratic world could bring upon the human race. the similarities drawn are a warning about our profit-driven, heartless nature which will only result in the downfall of humanity.
Some very important points that most people do not understand about Bitcoin
Point 1) Most people do not understand that you can't send money over internet, but only information. Bitcoin is the first digital settlement layer. When I send a picture to someone on Facebook messenger, I don't actually send a picture. I send information about the pictures structure, and the picture gets restructured on the client side (the cellphone) of the user I send it to. Copy of the information is being sent, not the picture itself. So you can't send money over internet, it is not possible, only information. If I have a bank account at some bank, and I send $50 dollars to another person in the same bank by using the banks website, then a transaction happens between two people within the same infrastructure, which is the banks back-end system and database. So the banks system just subtracts $50 dollars from one person and adds $50 dollars to another person. But no money has moved, only information has been edited. But if I send money to someone that uses another Bank, then this bank has its own infrastructure which is independent of the first. So Bank1 tells Bank2 that they have a user that wants to send money to a user of the other bank. So Bank1 subtracts $50 from User1, and Bank2 adds $50 to User2, but now Bank1 owes Bank2 $50, why? Because you can't send money over internet. So they have to settle the difference between them with some kind of a settlement system, (cash, gold or a third party like a central bank). This difference can be the result of many transactions between many users and can be millions of dollars of worth, the settlement can be done periodically for example every 6 months. With Bitcoin, because of how the system works, it is almost as if you can send value over internet for the first time, even though you don't really send value, you still send information, but since the infrastructure is global, it is like the first example, it is as if the world has (one large bank infrastructure), that is fully automated and which no one controls. This alone makes Bitcoin extremely valuable, because it is a trust less digital settlement layer which is extremely secure and not dependent on one particular nation or organisation. Point 2) There can never be more than 21 million Bitcoin. This is very hard for people to grasp. Because what do you mean there can never be more than 21 million bitcoin? It sounds like a game, such a scam... People do not understand that Bitcoin is not normal software. In normal software the developers can change the code as they want and publish the code when they want. They do not understand that Bitcoin is a software that is not like a normal software. You can't actually change the number even if the number is programmed in. Which of-course most people will deny, because it makes no sense for most people. They do not understand that even though it is theoretically possible to change it, it is practically almost impossible. It is theoretically possible for me to convince half of Sweden to burn half of their money, but practically impossible. Just because something is theoretically possible, doesn't mean that it will happen within a time frame, or even in your lifetime. In order for the 21 million supply to change, most people in the Bitcoin community needs to agree on it, which is practically impossible. Miners have to change to the new protocol and so on. Not going to happen. When gold treasures were lost in the past, someone else could find them. Gold practically never completely disappears, it is a chemical element. With Bitcoin, once it is lost it is practically lost forever (put aside quantum computing for now and other theoretical unforeseeable events). 21 million is only the upper theoretical limit. Bitcoin will be more and more scarce as time goes by. Gold is not like this. Gold has an inflation rate of 1,5% every year. The reason it is constant is because even if the stock gets bigger, the flow into the stock also gets bigger because of better mining capabilities, so you can look at it as constant inflation of 1.5% every year. With Bitcoin, not only do the stock to flow ratio go up every halvening, and the flow into bitcoin not only decreases with time, but almost goes into negative because of lost coins every year. This is completely insane and people do not understand this. If you combine this almost deflationary nature of Bitcoin with extreme bullish market sentiment then you will realize that no one knows what is going to happen in the future because wrapping your head around all this and to come to a conclusion about the Bitcoin price will make you sound absolutely delusional to most people. Point 3) People think that $100,000 bitcoin is wishful thinking and that there is not enough money in the world for Bitcoin to be worth millions of dollars. Which I can assure you is false. Bitcoin can even be worth $50 million dollars per coin, which would make 2 satoshi 1 dollar. Even if one Bitcoin transaction would cost 10 000 Satoshi. You might say, that's not possible, whats the point if one transaction is so expensive. Again, you don't need to actually do a transfer of money, as in the first example of point 1, virtual transactions on bank level can happen, or on Coinbase. You can send 100 satoshi to someone and pay 1 satoshi in fee "on the bank level", not on chain, banks or exchanges then will settle the difference as they want. At least with Bitcoin you have the option to be you own bank, even if that will cost you more, you still have the option. This is already happening in front of your eyes. Banks like Dutch ING, Deutsche bank, are already working on custody services for cryptocurrencies. And even exchanges want to operate as banks and exchanges like Coinbase are working to get license for this. This is already happening and it is the correct move forwards, a mix between the legacy banking system and cryptocurrencies. You can already spend your Bitcoin with Coinbase Visa Card or similar services. Most people are too lazy and stupid to operate like us with their own wallets, it is a fact well known. In terms of the price, money inflow is not the same as market cap. Take for instance the following simple scenario. I own 100% of the shares of my own company and I decide to sell 10% of the company for 1 million USD, which will value my whole company at 10 million USD, so 1 million flow into my company leads to 10x market cap of 10 million USD. For Bitcoin to have 21 trillion market cap, Bitcoin does not need 21 trillion of money inflow. Bitcoin price is dependent on market sentiment, if the market sentiment is such that very few people want to sell their coins because the price keeps going up then you might have 100x market cap of the money inflow. So 1 billion USD in money inflow translates to 100 billion USD in market cap. The multiplier can be 10x, 2x or 50x, all depends on market sentiment and time period. So an inflow of 10 trillion USD in 10 years might lead to 100 trillion USD market cap of BTC and 5 million USD per Bitcoin. Bitcoin value have no roof, the price might actually just keep going up and up and up and up and up. We have never had something that is absolutely scarce, and global, and seen as an alternative form of money, when the rest of the world keeps bubbling up. There is no limit on the BTC price because the whole world works with a bubbly system, and the way Bitcoin is price discovered, is a guaranteed insane BTC price in the future. Even $100 million USD per Bitcoin in 50 years before I am dead is possible. Point 4) Fiat does not need to die, and Bitcoin does not need to take over in order for Bitcoin to have "ridiculous price". No financial crisis is needed. Actually what you want is things to just continue as they have done in the last 10 years. No too extreme events. Just "small events" here and there. You can't change human nature, it is inevitable. Bitcoin is so ingrained into our world that there is no way back. There will be people with whole Bitcoin, and people without. Just like people with gold and stock investments and real estate, and people without those things. No insane events, this is all normal. Point 5) Bitcoin has won as the financial cryptocurrency. No flippening will happen. The only flippening will be with gold and fiat currencies. If I wanted to, I could have developed a system like PayPal in 1 month time, and it would be able to do 5000 transactions per second because I would use MySQL and SSD, but no one would use my service because they would not trust me because they have no idea who I am and what my service is, and there is no one to send money too, so the network is not there. Bitcoin has won because security and network effect is way more important than transactions per second. Transactions per second will be dealt with on bank level, exchange level, or layer 2 solutions. This is already clear to me. Bitcoin has won. Point 6) In order to understand Bitcoin and what will happen in the future, you have to be able to see things that are not in front of you. You can't compare Bitcoin to Tulip mania, or even Gold. Because something like Bitcoin has never existed before and you have to think about it's properties and try to understand it with human nature and with how the world works and how everything keeps increasing, and Bitcoin is the thing that does not increase in supply. You will eventually accept the unnatural thought of Bitcoin never stopping going up in value, which is something that is hard to come to terms with, because it feels unnatural, "and it could not possibly be so". Point 7) The Gini coefficient of Bitcoin is not a big deal. I used to think that it was unfair that some people had 1,000 BTC, 10,000 BTC, or even 50,000 BTC. And I was afraid that they might dump their coins into the market and crash it. I have now realised that these people are smart people and they think like me, and they won't just dump their whole BTC holding on the market as that might be a very bad move for them. It is like when a majority holder of a company, like Jeff Bezos and Amazon, understands that he can't sell all of his shares in one go as that would effect Amazon stock value too much and would not be smart. It is best to sell when the price goes up, but then when they sell the BTC will just be eaten up by other people, and they will be at a loss in the longer term. And the other thing is that perhaps there is no other smart place to put that fiat money, Bitcoin might just be the best place to keep those amounts of money. Someone with a very large holding has two options. He can either sell his BTC, in which case the price would go down but the Bitcoin would be spread out between potentially thousands of new users, or he might decide to never sell. If he decides to never sell, it is as if those Bitcoins are lost forever and that is good for the Bitcoin price and Bitcoin in general. If he decides to sell then Bitcoin will be divided more equally among many users which is also a good thing for Bitcoin because that increases the network effect, and after he sells he no longer has the power to drive the price down, but now he sits on a very large fiat holding, he might even buy back at a higher price and drive the price higher. I know that if I had 10,000 BTC, I would sell 1,000 BTC and buy a house and a car and whatever I wanted, and sell another 1,000 BTC to diversify into some other assets. And keep 8,000 BTC because I don't know of anywhere else to put that kind of money into good work. I believe in Bitcoin so as an investor it makes sense to keep it here. I probably would never sell because I would never need anything else after the initial 1,000 BTC sell. Bitcoin is like a black hole that sucks in the Earths monetary resources over time. Most people that bought really early and were smart enough to hold all the way to these prices will only sell what they need to sell and keep the rest in BTC. Some of them might want to speculate and try to time the ATH, only to buy back in with most of the fiat they sold. Which means that even if money goes out of the market, it only goes out of the market temporarily, only to get back in at hopefully lower prices. And so the market grows, and grows and grows over time. Point 8) Bitcoin has intrinsic value. When people like Peter Schiff say that gold has intrinsic value because gold can be used in electronics and aviation and therefore gold has value but Bitcoin has no value because it has no intrinsic value, you have to take a pause and do some critical thinking. Can you imagine 16th century pirates looking to find a gold treasure worth an insane amount because they knew gold had value because of electronics and aviation? This is clearly absurd. Gold has been used as money for thousands of years and electronics and aviation was not even a thing 150 years ago. Gold has value because it is globally scarce. Bitcoin is absolutely verifiable scarce. Bitcoin has intrinsic value because of it's monetary policy and because you can carry millions of dollars of value by remembering only 24 words in your head, and carry that value wherever you want and no one can stop you, that is intrinsic value. People had a hard time understanding that a website like Facebook could be worth billions of dollars, because it was not physical, it was "just a website". Even a website like Google search is not physical and still it has immense value. It is valuable information and it provides a good service, and that has value, it does not have to be physical and tangible.
MW "WYCO WEDNESDAY" Inventory Update! 10 NEW Cubensis Varieties Added, 2 New Exotics, and Many Long-Time Favorites Restocked Including PE6 and PEU! Over 30 Varieties available and Still Offering FIVE 12ml Syringes for $30 with FREE SHIPPING! Happy Sporantine My Friends!! Mush Love <3
edit: USE COUPON CODES WHEN ORDERING AT www.millywyco.com PLEASE!! This is a discount for your benefit...take advantage of it! WOOOOW!!!! This past week was absolutely INSANE. I made a post last Wednesday with a few new varieties and restocked the shelves for what I usually have in stock. By the time I woke up on Thursday, almost everything in the shop was SOLD OUT! It was a lot of work on my end, but I couldn't be happier to see so many of you getting started (or continuing) with this fantastic hobby. I can't stop smiling at the amount of support I've received this past week, and a special THANK YOU to everyone who helped me network to get some masks and essential supplies to those in need due to COVID-19. While this virus is truly a tragedy worldwide, lets take something positive from this time. Spend some quality time with your family (if they live with you of course), get creative, call your mom, and get started in this hobby! It's all about your mindset...lets all stay positive and uplifted during this challenging time. If anyone needs someone to talk to, please reach out. I'm here for ALL of you and love you dearly. The varieties listed on this post are the varieties I have available at 5PM CST on Wednesday, April 8. I will not be updating this post through the week, but inventory on the site will always be up to date. I've been working non-stop to restock and be able to share with the masses, and thanks to my dear friend Dr. Rot, I've had approximately a shit ton of help with the website. Instead of learning as I go and spending hours trying to change a layout, add a page and whatnot, I was able to spend that precious time this week in the lab to be sure everyone gets a chance at the varieties they love. He has helped me out tremendously, and will continue to make improvements to the site. ALL FEEDBACK IS GREATLY APPRECIATED! If there's something you'd like to see on the site, or any ways to improve, I'm all ears. Please send me a message on Reddit, chat on the website, or email :) While selling out in less than 24 hours is a great feeling with all the love and support from the community, it's not ideal. I have a new system in place to *try* and keep up with inventory. Until further notice, I'll be making a post every Wednesday at 5PM CST, and updating inventory on the site. When a variety runs out, I'll do my best to make sure it is restocked for the following week's "WYCO WEDNESDAY" post. I greatly appreciate everyone's patience and understanding this past week with orders. I've been able to fine tune some of my processes to be sure all orders go out on time, and most importantly, accurate. I felt TERRIBLE this past week when a few orders were not 100% accurate due to an inventory error on the site. Some of you received substitutions with your order, along with a note explaining what was missing, what was included instead, and a promise that I'll have the missing varieties in the mail to you this week. This issue has been corrected, and anyone who didn't have a 100% accurate order will be shipping out tomorrow AM with the rest of my shipments, with a little something extra for the wait. I wanted to get the majority of your shipment out when you ordered so you could get started, and the rest will follow shortly after in a separate box. Thanks for not hating me :) UPDATES: I've added a few new regular cubensis varieties to the site! By popular demand, F+, Texas Orange Cap, Texas Yellow Cap, Mazatapec, S. American, Costa Rican, NorMak, and Mexican have been added, while I also restocked some varieties that were previously posted but sold out. I'm also very excited to announce the addition of 2 NEW EXOTICS, offered for $15 each alone, or $10 if adding to a 5/$30 cubensis pack! Pan Cam Sandoz and Ovoideocystidiata are the recent exotic additions, while I restocked Cyans, Azures, Aztecorum, Allenii, Mexicana Tampanensis, Subaeruninosa, and PENIS ENVY UNCUT!!!!!! PLEASE USE COUPON CODES ON www.millywyco.com FOR DISCOUNTS!! For a while, some of the coupon codes were not working, and I didn't have the time available to devote to fixing the issue. All should be working now. Please see below: 2PACK - $20 for two cubensis syringes 5PACK - Classic and most popular $30 dealio for 5 cubensis varieties NEEDMORE - 5 cubensis varieties for $30 plus 1 exotic add-on for $10...total $40 NEEDMORE2 - 5 cubensis varieties for $30 plus 2 exotic add-ons for $20...total $50 NEEDMORE3 - 5 cubensis varieties for $30 plus 3 exotic add-ons for $30...total $60 ...and so on. Currently, this is setup for up to 5 exotic add-ons. If you have an order that does not meet these codes, such as adding on more than 5 exotics, getting 7 cubensis varieties, etc. please send me a message and I will build you a coupon code to match your order in a timely manner. WEBSITE ADDITIONS - Calendar added! This is still a work in progress, but here you'll find any contests, promotions, giveaways, and upcoming varieties to look out for! When a variety runs out, I'll post on the calendar which day and time you'll be able to see them restocked. We've also added a fun countdown ticker till the next restock so you can get excited about some of the varieties coming up as I run out. Forum added! To encourage community involvement, we've added a forum section to answer some common questions and help out in the best way we can. PLEASE NOTE the same rules apply on the website as do here on Reddit. That means no discussion of anything cultivation related! Keep it clean :) News and Updates page added! More content will be coming soon on these pages, and I'm suuuuper excited to be able to FINALLY implement some ideas I've had for a long time that I think you'll really like as well :) SHIPPING UPDATE - ALL ORDERS PLACED BY MIDNIGHT will ship out first thing in the AM. My mail is picked up at 10AM every day, so I need to have these ready the night before. I really didn't have a problem running to the post office once a day as my excuse to get out of the house for "essential business", but me being a diabetic has much of my family and friends worried that this virus won't think twice about taking me out. In an effort to reduce stress and anxiety (which surely weakens immune system), I will be shipping from home for the duration of quarantine. Thank you for understanding. Much of the satisfaction I get throughout my day comes from YOU GUYS (and gals), from the positive encouragement, connections made and regular pleasant conversation. Keep sharing the recent positivity in your life, the cat facts, and warmth that's spread through this community. Be persistent, never give up and never stop learning!! I LOVE YOU ALL DEARLY <3 Please check out the updated list of inventory below. I'll make a post when I am able to get my hands on some other requested varieties, and as always, I accept trades! Feel free to send me a message if you have a request for something I do not have in stock. My wish list is your wish list! I'm sure we band together and find it if we try. Shipping in US only at the moment,not available to ID, GA, or CA (yes, really) Spore syringes are for microscopy use only Any reference to cultivation will exclude you from placing an order and we may never speak again. I want to talk to you. Don't do it! There are no exceptions to these rules. You have been warned. PAYMENT METHODS ACCEPTED: Major Credit/Debit cards, Zelle, Cash App, Venmo, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Bitcoin and Amazon gift cards PayPal is NOT available to me at this time. Also, I am the fee master! I get charged fees left and right that I don't pass on to you from shipping and third party payments. If you'd like to throw me a tip, however much it may be, I'd love you forever and it really does make a difference! These types of people have allowed me to share with some who are less fortunate. On the other hand, if times are tough for you right now, let's talk about it! ALL PRICES INCLUDE USPS SHIPPING WITH TRACKING!! I COVER ALL STANDARD SHIPPING COSTS. Please add an additional $5 to any order if you prefer 2-3 day tracked Priority Mail shipping. (90% of my Priority Mail shipments are 2 day. Occasionally, rural areas are 3 day) 1 syringe for $15 2 syringes for $20 5 syringes for $30 Golden Teacher (LIMITED TO 2 PER ORDER!) A classic variety for any mycologist. Pretty standard, easy to work with and almost everyone starts here. Can't go wrong with GT! They go fassst. Currently limited to 2 per order with mix-n-match due to extreme popularity. Albino A+ (AA+) While "true" albino's are just a mutation, this variety gets it's name from the leucistic trait of having less pigment than other varieties, appearing completely white when mature. One of the all time most popular varieties I've had the pleasure of offering! Amazonian Originating from the Amazon rain forest, this variety is known to produce large,dense fruits in the wild, and certainly an interesting study under the scope :) B+ Pronounced "Be Positive"!...Or at least that's what I like to say. The "+" is for the size! Looks a lot like Golden Teacher, only bigger. A favorite among beginning and advances mycologists alike and other than GT, probably the most popular variety. Blue Meanie This is the cubensis variety, not to be confused with Pan Cyan, the original Blue Meanie. One of my most popular varieties when it's in stock! Costa Rican Ecuadorian F+ Fiji Lizard King Mazatapec McKennaii Origin unknown, but holds a special place in my heart, due to being named after the late Terrence McKenna <3 Mexican NorMak PES Amazon With genetics from Pacific Exotica Spora (PES), this variety has a few stories to go along with it. Really interesting study if you care to look them up, but it was originally thought to be a cubensis/azurescens hybrid, accounting for the "A" in PESA. After much controversy, most identify this variety as Amazon or Amazonian. PES Hawaiian One of the wider caps in the species, PES (Pacific Exotica Spora) Hawaiian are uniquely pleasant to look at under the scope. One of the quickest movers on the slide, and easily one of my favorites to study! Rusty Whyte Another leucistic variety, these always look super cool! Red spores and white cap? Hells yeah. S. American Texas Orange Cap Texas Yellow Cap Z-Strain Much like Golden Teacher, but this variety seems to have some great positive characteristics that sets it aside. Very fast and aggressive under the scope, this one will not disappoint! THE FOLLOWING EXOTICS ARE NOT PART OF THE 5/$30 MIX-n-MATCH DEALIO, but can be added to the 5/$30 pack for $10 as an add-on, or $15 each by themselves. These are NOT cubensis, and NOT recommended for beginners. USE COUPON CODE "NEEDMORE" on www.millywyco.com to add ONE EXOTIC on to a 5 pack. Want 2 Exotics? Use code NEEDMORE2 or NEEDMORE3 for 3, etc. Currently this is setup to add a maximum of 5 exotics....if you need more, please message me and I'll create a unique coupon code to enter for your order :) ****Penis Envy #6 (PE6)***\* This actually IS a cubensis variety, but added to exotics list due to rarity and popularity. NOT part of the pick 5. ****Penis Envy Uncut (PEU)***\* This actually IS a cubensis variety, but added to exotics list due to rarity and popularity. NOT part of the pick 5. ****Ps. Azurescens***\* ****Ps. Aztecorum***\* ****Ps. Allenii***\* ****Ps. Mexicana Tampanensis***\* ****Ps. Ovoideocystidiata***\* ****Panaeolus Cambodginiensis-SANDOZ***\* ****Panaeolus Cyanescens***\* All syringes are 12cc/mL and come capped with a sterile tip cap, and also include an 18ga blunt tip needle and alcohol pads. Syringes are made in a lab grade environment and the utmost care and attention is the highest priority to be sure they are sterile. Anything exposed to an open air environment is subject to contamination, but I take every precaution possible to minimize this risk. I cannot "guarantee" they are 100% sterile, but I can guarantee that if you have an issue, I will make it right. I really do love to help, and if something happens, I'd like to know about it so I can fix the issue instead of you getting frustrated or giving up! To ensure equal quantity of spores in each syringe, and for adequate suspension of the spores in the solution, I use a magnetic stir plate. Very often, this does such a good job of breaking up clumps of spores that it will appear to be sparse. THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE! There are still a TON of spores in each syringe, even if you can't see them individually (though most of my syringes appear to have a very good amount of visible spores...even with my horrible eyesight!). You can compare and contrast to see the blackish/purple tint to ensure every syringe is packed with spores. If a spore clump forms during transportation, simply give it a good flick with your finger and vigorously shake to break it up or free it from clinging to the wall of the syringe before examining. Syringes ship in individual bags clearly labeled as to specific variety and born on date, bubble wrapped and shipped through USPS tracked shipping (discreet) within 24 hours of payment. I send tracking info soon after payment and give updates along the (super quick) way. Please PM me with order details, including state shipping to, payment method, and the selected syringes for your order. Any messages referring to spores being used for anything other than microscopy use will be ignored. Don't do it. THANK YOU ALL so much again for your continued support!! I appreciate it more than you know! MUSH LOVE P.S. In no way am I trying to be an imposter. I AM NOT WILLY MYCO. I chose this u/ a while back as sort of a play on words and tribute to a legend most of us recognize, long before I became a spore vendor. I don't want anyone to think I am trying to pass off as him, though I do strive for his level of excellence and dedication to the craft! I appreciate all of the kind words, though, from people saying they learned from "my" videos. I wish I could pass on those notes to RR himself. Cheers and MUSH LOVE! MW
That time I nearly followed my younger brother's footsteps and almost OD'd on an Opioid/Benzo mix! Maybe not the most pleasant experience for one's body, but my mind got altered forever afterward! LONG ASS POST BUT A MUST READ!
Heya guys, I wrote about this last Sunday on Facebook simply because the thought popped into my head, the thought that I had never really thought about aside from the moment I managed to put fussy bits and pieces together from what I then experienced as somewhat of a blackout but in the end realized was something entirely much larger than anything I have ever come in contact with prior or since then! I want to share this with you guys. It's maybe a difficult read at first, it going into detail about my near-death experience and one breath away from being an OD, but bear with me, it turns into something so much more if you just hang on and read what I write! This is exactly what I remember happening, how I remember it happening. Me for some reason not remembering this right away but having to work this memory as the biggest, most complex Jigsaw puzzle in the world for maybe around 3 weeks in total inside my mind in order to put everything together into a whole image I can share with you guys! The only thing you guys have to know before you read this is that 22nd November 2016 my younger brother, 18 years old, OD'd on Codeine and Zopiclone, dying an Opioid/Non-Benzo overdose. Me being woken up that morning, walking outside of my room and noticing there being around 10 both cops and EMTs on the scene. I was so confused as to what had happened that I had to see it for myself, and as I walked to the door to his room and turned my head around the corner, I saw him. My sweet baby brother lying there, cold as a popsicle, dead on his floor. My father having tried CPR for the entirety of those 40 minutes it took the ambulance to reach us. That was it. I'm done talking about the hardest day of my entire life, you don't need to know more. Aside maybe from my brother's name, it being Elias. So it basically started in either late December or early January 2017-2018, with me driving some friends around who then picked up some people and before I knew it the friends had departed from my car and I was just surrounded by some people I had no idea who even were. I had recently lost my apartment and was on the streets, just living in my car, for the most part, sometimes my mother supported me with some nights at a hostel, but mostly I slept in my car. After a while, all the people cycle out of my car and I'm left with this one, maybe around 35, dude who for some reason was just a jolly fucking roger and somehow managed to always be pleasant in conversation. Very charming and so fucking nice that I could have brought him home to my parents without being gay and my parent's not even noticing him being a dude so they wouldn't resent me for "coming out of the closet"... He asked if I could take a small car ride with him out of town. I had nothing to do so I just said "Why the fuck not? I don't have any other place to be!" This was very late at night and we drove to some remote place I had never been to and didn't even know existed until just then. He offers some junkies that are waiting for us to enter the car, it being freezing outside, it being like -30°C outside. They handed him a small package of something and he handed them some cash. They counted the cash and left. We stopped a few times in the side of the road after that on our way back to the city, the first time him revealing what it was he was actually buying from those junkies. He opened the box in front of me and pulled out something that looked like a patch or something, him saying that this was a 100µg Fentanyl patch which he then cut just a little piece from and vaped on aluminum foil, sitting there next to me in the car. I had never seen anything like it, that it was possible to ingest some sort of bandaid in this manner. That there were Fentanyl patches going around my town and how absolutely SMASHED he got from inhaling some vapor from that aluminum foil. I didn't think much of it and dropped him at home. A few days later he calls me and asks me to come to the head shop he owned back then and ran alongside his father, who really did all the work, this guy only spending the profits on, apparently, Fentanyl and Oxy and some shit like that. He said he was gonna show me something special. I, again, was homeless, so I just thought to myself: "Where else would I go? At least there I have a roof over my head!" but decided to have one of my best friends back then with me as backup as I didn't know what I was about to walk into. We arrive at his shop and, there being something about this guy, his personality being absolutely one of a kind, we talked and joked some, until he drags up a glass pipe and this package of 5x Fentanyl patches as well. He then gets his scissors and starts cutting these tiny ass pieces off one of the patches he had, puts it in the pipe along with some tobacco and takes a hit. He then offered me and my friend some. Each of us just got in line thinking: "YOLO!!!" And each of us took some hits and I got to experience the single most absolutely gorgeously and best highs of my entire life! It felt amazing just getting a hit from a tiny bit of this patch. The piece he'd put into the pipe each time being so small that if you'd put it on the table, you'd never find it again! But while I felt how amazingly good it felt to breathe this shit in, I also, at the same time, felt how absolutely amazingly dangerous this substance was and how if it wanted to, it could kill me before I passed the pipe back to him if he didn't dose it correctly! It was so dangerous that I wanted to swear to myself to never do it after that night in question, but it being so fucking good as well that I lost that thought before I realized what I was thinking and just took another fucking hit of this best fucking high I've ever felt in my mind, body, and soul! While we're smoking this stuff, my friend had some pills he was constantly offering me. I was in the mindset of a 12-year-old trying Weed for the first time, I just wanted to get the fuck fucked out of my skull. Fuck it, I was homeless, he was giving us hits of one of the most expensive drugs around here, he at least never asked us for any money in return, so what did I have to lose? We partied like there was no tomorrow. At one point him offering us Oxy80 and me purchasing one pill from him, him crushing it down after having removed the film that's always on these pills and me and my friend splitting it, one line each! I didn't really feel that much from it, maybe a little heat sensation in my legs, but nothing more. Our new friend all of a sudden asking if we had any Speed on us, me remembering that I had like 10 grams stored somewhere in my car, so I went outside to get it. I got locked outside for a while but they figured it out in the end and let me in. When I handed him the bag of Speed he reached into some sort of purse and next thing I know he's holding a syringe with a needle on the end and him filling us with some bullshit about him rarely ever shooting shit up, him just needing to get some Stimulants into his arm because he had smoked too much Fentanyl. He starts IV'ing in front of us and can I say and that buddy of mine confirm that seeing it so fucking up close and personal was one of the most horrifying sights I had never thought I would be witnessing at any point in my life. This guy being then the only guy I knew who injected his drugs at some point. After that, he's feeling all better and gets a message from a Weed dealer friend of his and because I'm so fucked out of my skull, I ask my friend if he can drive, him somehow being able to take the wheel no matter how fucking fucked the both of us are and him driving perfectly in that condition. We arrive in another part of town at this apartment block which was like 5 or 6 stories tall and was I told it was a part of the University's dorms that people could rent out if they attended the school, even though the actual school was actually somewhere around 30 kilometers THAT way... I never fully understood if it was correct that it was some sort of dorm for the Uni. Because it'd be a very strange place for that dorm since there were literally 30 kilometers to the University which was exactly in the other side of town, we couldn't have been farther from it, actually! We take the elevator to the top and my friend sneaks me one pill, me just not ever giving it a second thought, just swallowing it whole and moving on. We enter an apartment on the top floor where this insane noise was coming from which sounded like a VERY loud vacuum cleaner but turned out to be an Asic Bitcoin Miner they were mining Bitcoin on for some bizarre ass reason. Upon entering the apartment two guys greet us. I didn't know either of them but after a short while realized that one of them was the guy that had been accused of sexually molesting a friend of mine in her sleep, her going to sleep with her pants on, her waking up next to him with her pants off. I didn't know the whole story but when I met her after that night I told her where he could be found so she could have her goons do some street justice on his face, repeatedly, for having tried to rape a dear friend of mine. Anyway, my friend notices a big glass jar sitting on the dinner table filled to the brim with Weed and probably the biggest fucking bong I have ever seen with my own two eyes sitting on the floor next to it. My friend asks if he can take a hit from it with some of his own Weed and does he get the owner's permission to do so. He takes a hit and then tells me to take a hit. I never having taken a hit from a bong before just try my best and without even a second thought I exhale this HUGE cloud of smoke which, according to my friend, "was the largest bong hit he'd ever seen in his life!!!" him almost thirty, having smoked Weed since he was 12! I instantly feel absolutely smashed. But I still felt as if it wasn't just the Weed causing it, that there was something more at play as I just all of a sudden feel exhausted. I find myself a sofa or a bed or something to sit on and lean my head against the wall. All of a sudden I realize what those pills my friend was always handing me actually were. Of course, had he bought like 50 Diazepam/Valium tablets from one of our friend's mother who was sometimes dealing more than an actual pharmacy would do on a good day. I realize that we were taking Diazepam, which is a Benzo, maybe a soft Benzo but still a Benzo, while we were smoking Fentanyl and snorting Oxy80 and shit. Me knowing for a fact that mixing Opioids and Benzos almost always leading to an overdose and sometimes, more often than not at least, death! I feel like I need to make my friend aware of this little fact but before I knew it, my eyes just seemed to slowly slide shut, without me having to even think about closing them. What I see under my eyelids, which usually is just this black background with this orgy of millions and millions of different colors on it, is all of a sudden just completely different! I see nothing! Absolutely nothing! There was no color, there was no background, there was no anything under my eyelids! I felt as if I was just looking right into the Void! That place where there is nothing and if something happens to go there it becomes nothing as well! Me feeling my breath always getting slower and shorter, a short while being from that moment to the moment I feel insanely dizzy from little to no oxygen entering my lungs at that moment. My breath being so short that I could have counted a 100 Mississippi's in between those few short breaths I knew I had left. I start betting on when my last and absolutely final breath is gonna kiss me goodbye and I'm just gonna die from respiratory depression like I've read about would happen in exactly this situation. I was feeling a little cocky, like I was taunting what I knew what was about to happen, me of course in the mindset that if I'm gonna die right then and there, I'd do so with a smile on my face! Me, of course, being more terrified than I had ever been before in my entire life! Basically counting down to my last breath where I'd suffocate and die without anyone at the party noticing anything being wrong. I then start to see this little white star in the middle of all that nothingness I was looking at under my eyelids, this tiny little star that I somehow felt I was supposed to move my mind closer to. As I start doing so, moving my mind closer and closer to the star, all of a sudden my entire mind goes blank! I'm thinking nothing! I'm feeling nothing! Hearing nothing and I can't feel the fact that I have skin around my bones. I'm completely Depersonalized as I have never experienced before, me being basically a blank slate for some very odd reason. I then start seeing visions of moments I had in the past with my little brother, Elias, before he died on me and left me to fend for myself in this cruel and unjust world we live in. Some of the things I saw were moments we spent together, moments I always remembered about him and loved to death, but others were these strange moments where I wasn't there and the only person able to remember something like that only being Elias himself! I'm always moving closer and closer to the star, until I realize it's not a star but a big while circle! Although I can't hear anything, I can feel my little brother, as if he's talking to me, about Rocket League or some music he was producing or something like that he always used to talk about, it all coming from that white circle which was getting larger and larger by the moment! I then feel just this overwhelming feeling that I'm standing right next to Elias, that I can feel his presence and can almost touch him! Then when the circle is about to become as big as it possibly can, I feel this insane heat all around me, like the most compassion I have ever felt in my life, like anyone has ever felt in anyone's life! And then it happens. Whatever was going on peaked and I feel every sense of my body and mind feeling as though I'm experiencing Elias with every last thread of my existence, me smelling that smell that was always of him, that smell I always connected in my mind to him and his room, that safe haven where I could check on him at any moment during the week and spew whatever nonsense I had to spew over him and he'd always meet me halfway with more understanding than I had ever gotten from anyone else in life! Then there was the taste! I could taste, or it wasn't exactly that I could taste it, it was more an emotion that I could feel in my entire mouth and tongue. I don't know what it was or felt like exactly but there was something about it which lead me to believe that Elias was just around the corner. Me feeling as though I was holding him in my arms, him holding me back, me getting that hug I always wanted to plant on him, that hug I never had the courage to give him when he was alive and was finally getting right there in that moment! As I said, every sense of my being was feeling his presence in some way! Some significant fucking way and was I lead to believe that the big white circle, which was so close to me I could almost smell it, had something to do with my sweet Elias and that he was probably inside that big fucking white circle. Him waiting eagerly to meet me again, me getting ready to kick the door that this circle actually was the fuck down because I was so fucking ready to see my best friend in the whole world again. Me just knowing that if I tore the door down, we'd meet again and spend the rest of time together, in each other's loving embrace! I know what I'm supposed to do! I'm supposed to enter this big ass white circle! And at the exact moment I had, I get pulled the fuck back by some unknown force. I try entering again but the same thing just happens. I get pulled the fuck back! So for the third time, I try and I put everything I have left into it! It resulting in me getting pulled so far back from the circle that it started looking like this white little star again in no time! All of a sudden I stop feeling all those ridiculously strong emotions and sensations, I re-enter reality once more and there it the moment I was betting on before! I just know by how my lungs felt like they had been in a huge vehicular crash that this is the last one! This breath that's coming up is the last fucking breath I'm ever going to breathe! I just know it in every fiber of my being! I'm starting to like the feeling that this is it. That I'm about to leave and never come back! That once and for all, this was how I was gonna die and even though for having tried to off myself a million times in the past, it never appearing to work properly, but it working now and I was finally gonna get a break from all the suffering which is almost the only emotion I have ever felt in my life and was gonna get to see some peace! When something hits me like I'm getting a hit from defibrillators, all of a sudden I just get this intense shock all over my body and feel my body in its entirety jump from that bed or sofa I was sitting on, my eyes finally opening up, me having to open them myself, even though that was the hardest fucking thing I have ever had to do in my entire life, it felt as if there were billions of tons of lead sitting on my eyelids, me barely being able to lift them just enough to see what's going on right in front of me. I just know and feel that I'm standing in my own two feet and am I able to walk out of the apartment, out to the open stairwell where the elevator was located and as I open the door outside I just feel the freezing cold air filling my lungs, both my insanely short breath becoming longer and stronger, along with my heartbeat beating over those two beats per minute I had felt it was doing earlier. For some reason, almost exactly as I feel like I can finally take a deep and good breath again, that I'm not suffocating from the inside, the party is over and do my friend and that Fentanyl guy walk outside and meet me, me having been feeling like I was about to die just moments prior, walking into the elevator and then into my car. The Fentanyl guy asked if he could drive, I was still recovering from the fact that I was just about a nanosecond from dying inside some guy's home I had never met before, so I tried to utter something that he took as a yes and as I layed in the back seat on the way to his headshop again, him driving like he was absolutely retarded, him never having taken any sort of driver's test, me terrified the whole time in the back that I was gonna maybe experience something like I just did again but after a car crash, it being a miracle that there were no cops around because they would have seen by how the car was driven that either he had never driven a car before, someone was drugged out of hist fucking skull under the wheel, or both, which was exactly the case! We get to the headshop and I just pass out on the couch, waking up an hour later with his dad standing over me holding a piece of aluminum foil which had obviously been used as something to vape Fentanyl from and asked me like I just fucked his wife: "WERE YOU GUYS SMOKING FENTANYL IN HERE ALL NIGHT????" Me just trying to say something, trying as hard as I could, in the end just walking out of the shop, realizing that my phone was dead and I didn't have my charger while my car wasn't anywhere to be seen on the parking lot. I was fucked! I had nothing to do, nowhere to go and my apartment had just been stolen! Everything after I almost died from an overdose the night before. I couldn't believe how much of a shit I would have become and promised myself never to reach such a low fucking place, while I cried and bought a new charger at the mobile phone store that was next door to the headshop.... So yeah! That's the story I wanted to tell you! What do you think? Me reaching a new low point in my life, me never having gone so low before and never having gone so low after this happened, thank fucking god!!! To me, all I experienced about my sweet brother Elias, all the emotions, the sensations, the feelings, everything, was my mind realizing that I was about to die and in order to make sure that I didn't suffer as much as I could have, it administered something like a pretty fucking strong DMT trip or something like that to soften the impact that dying would have been! This being very similar to every single story I have ever heard about people who have either died or escaped death by the skin on their ass. It almost being exactly like some stories, life flashing before you, you seeing some loved one's, feeling intense and otherworldly emotions and feeling you didn't think anyone was capable of feeling. Even the "tunnel of light" some people talk about was there in the form of my white circle! I gather that I was about to die, was gonna die, had basically written in hell's guestbook already, but something, probably just my body not accepting this death I was about to experience, it making a break for it in the end, which was what saved me! Even though I sometimes hate my body and even recently got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I must admit that you, body, you're all right! I want this tale to serve as a cautionary tale to anyone and everyone who has thought about mixing Benzos and Opioids! Along with being just me telling anyone and everyone who cares to hear it to stay the fuck away from fucking Fentanyl! Don't do it! I beg you! Don't even think about touching the Fent! Please! Do it for me! I hereby wish you all a happy Friday as writing this whole thing took me like two and a half hours or so, it having been Thursday when I started! Peace and love to you and everyone you care about and love! Sincerely yours, Russel Dunbar!
50 Insane Facts About Bitcoin (Infographic) Next Article --shares; link; Add to Queue Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox. Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! Email. Submit. Will be ... Infographic: 50 Insane Facts About Bitcoin. By. Alex MacDonald - March 7, 2014. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. ReddIt. Email. Print. The very nice people over at NeoMam Studios sent us this infographic today, and it is brilliant. Enjoy! 50 Insane Facts About Bitcoins [Infographic] by the team at Who is Hosting This. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. ReddIt . Email. Print. Previous article Cameron ... 50 Insane facts about Bitcoin [infographic] By Maria Santos Last updated on January 2, 2018 at 00:00 2 Comments. Bitcoin is still a mystery for a lot of us, even for the ones that own some of the world’s most famous cryptocurrency. We can read the news, study the processes and even experiment with the technology, but there will always exist some dark detail we ignore. Until now! Here is the ... 50 Insane Facts About Bitcoin. 3rd Mar 2014 Karibu bitcoin, currency, bitcoin, currency. Did you know that 64% of Bitcoins are sitting in account that haven’t been touched since the currency creation? Or did you know 2140 will be the year the last remaining Bitcoin will be minded? WhoIsHostingThis? have made a nice infrograph on 50 insame facts about Bitcoin that you probably don’t know ... 50 Insane Facts About Bitcoin. by WhoIsHostingThis Team Last updated: September 28, 2020. Disclosure: Your support helps keep the site running! We earn a referral fee for some of the services we recommend on this page. Learn more. Ever since its creation in 2008, virtual currency Bitcoin has been the subject of endless rumor, review, and speculation. But despite a steady stream of naysayers ...
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