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    And its brought to you by this person (Curtis Yarvin / Mencius Moldbug):



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      That’s baffling. Crazy. Thanks for the links. Was not aware that Curtis Yarvin had such strong opinions about society and where he would like it to be. I was attracted by the technical aspects and the implementation. Feels crazy.

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        After not hearing his name for almost 20 years, Curtis Yarvin has been popping up here and there lately.

        I only remember him as the author of one of the greatest Usenet flames: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/talk.bizarre/nuBi9RpPToY

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          This seems to be a synthesis about Mencius Moldbug: http://pastebin.com/HddnHRcj

          I found this link in a sub-reddit about the Dark Enlightment movement: https://www.reddit.com/r/DarkEnlightenment. Don’t ask me, what this is about - it’s just that I want first to know who is behind Urbit, what are their ideas about the world. This is to make my own judgement before I invest too much time in something that my personal ethics do not approve.

          So far I have to say that I start to get a bit worried. First the technical part of Urbit started to fascinate me - because I like CS. But I definitely do not like that behind it might be some ideological movement.

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            Yah, the “Mouthbreathing Machiavelli’s” article talks about this ‘Dark Enlightenment’ crap a bit. But I just wanted to say – don’t dismiss software because the people who wrote it are ugly, reject it on it’s merits. I mean, we (as a collective) use plenty of work done by people with pretty backward or otherwise ugly views.

            That said, I’m not sure Urbit is all that revolutionary (either as idea or implementation). A networked system like this does have advantages in terms of it’s use, but from a practical perspective, something like Erlang’s OTP will get you 90% of the way there (you don’t have a shell to use or build in DVCS, but all of the parallelism and cloud-friendliness is there). I suspect Urbit could be implemented on top of a much firm foundation, and in a much more useful way, by using Erlang as it’s basis and encoding some of the shell features, DVCS, and trivial connectivity stuff. Further, AFAIR, there exist ways to run a Erlang VM on bare metal, which gets you quite a bit closer to bootstrapping an entirely new OS that has all of the good features of Urbit, and has a much better developed and well understood set of underlying tools driving it. This, however, is based on how much I’ve gleaned through reading the material in this thread and elsewhere about Urbit, so I don’t know precsely how close my conception is to Yarvin’s.

            Frankly, I hope my conception is far off, it worries me that I might be able to occupy the same mental spaces as that person.

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              First, no matter how good Urbit is, it can’t be good enough to want to have those people anywhere near anything I’m part of, or care about.

              Second, there’s a ton of software released everyday in the world, and even more ideas. No one has time to read it all. If someone has devoted a huge amount of their time to ideas as terrible as Yarvin, that’s reason enough to move on to look at something else.

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                My point was only that we actively use tools developed by assholes every day. Some developed by particularly egregious assholes. I don’t disagree that the douche-factor of the author should factor in, and it’s clearly your choice whether or not to use the tool (I choose not to use it for technical and social reasons, it’s not a particularly useful or even novel tool; and the author is a raging buttface). That said, I do think that it’s reasonable to – by default – consider the technical features of a tool, especially a free (as in candy) tool, before considering the social ones. I think the social factor is much more important when it comes to for-pay tools, because at that point I’m actively assisting an asshole to be an asshole, but in general I don’t necessarily think we should simply dismiss a tool because we don’t like the views of the person who wrote it. There are some people like this with clearly egregious piles of stupid lying around, but it opens the door to exclusion of people with less egregious views and I’m not comfortable with that reality either.

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                  Lots of people are jerks. Some are my colleagues, and some are my friends. We certainly shouldn’t kick them out. But there are a lot of smart people in the world, and we don’t need to tolerate Curtis Yarvin.

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            Wow, that’s a fistful of crazy right there.

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            And I thought TempleOS was strange enough already…

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              I can’t tell if it is a joke or not… Too much work put in to be a joke, but come on: ‘As we already know, a name or axis (which of course applies to all nouns, not just cores) is a limb. A list of limbs is a wing.’

              Another example, ‘Nock’s data model is simple: a noun is an atom or a cell. An atom is any natural number. A cell is an ordered pair of any two nouns.’

              So a ordered list of integers? They have to be trolling.

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                Reading in the tutorial for the Hoon programming tutorial (http://doc.urbit.org/doc/hoon/tut/3/) it becomes even stranger. Here some excerpts:

                [..] Think of learning Hoon as learning to program all over again. If nothing else, it’s a sort of eccentric adventure sport. Or even a mystery - can a language be esoteric, yet useful? [..]

                [..] It’s actually worse than that - learning Hoon is learning to read all over again. Again, Hoon is a reserved-word-free language - any text in the program is part of the program.

                So we’ve renamed them:

                 ace  space      gal  <          per  )
                 bar  |          gar  >          sel  [
                 bas  \          hax  #          sem  ;
                 buc  $          hep  -          ser  ]
                 cab  _          kel  {          sig  ~
                 cen  %          ker  }          soq  '
                 col  :          ket  ^          tar  *
                 com  ,          lus  +          tec  `
                 doq  "          pam  &          tis  =
                 dot  .          pat  @          wut  ?
                 fas  /          pel  (          zap  !

                You just have to memorize these names. Sorry. We accept that they are vile, barbaric and loathsome. So is life. [..]

                So they use 33 three-letter artificial names for commonly known symbols to make you be able to spell the programs?! But wait there is even more craziness ..

                [..] But is this at least enough symbols? Alas, nowhere near. ASCII’s glyph supply is not the greatest, but we can make all the squiggles we need by forming digraphs, or runes. For example: bartis, ie, |=. [..]

                [..] Hoon has almost 90 digraphic runes. Worse, “Hoon runes” are inevitably shortened to “hoons” - a ridiculous non-English word due originally to Wallace Stevens, which also has the unique property of reducing Australians to convulsions.

                None of this should scare you. First, 90 symbols is not a lot compared to, say, Chinese. Second, hoons are easier than you’d expect to organize in your head, because the choice of glyph is not random. Third, no one lives in Australia and nobody cares. [..]

                So we have composition for those names, called runes. And so it goes on. I did not read yet further. But I guess it would cost quite an involvement to learn Hoon and you have to learn it completely from scratch, without being able to benefit from whatever languages you have learned before.

                Why did the designer chose to obfuscate it so much?

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                  Why did the designer chose to obfuscate it so much?

                  Making people spend an enormous amount of effort to join a cultcommunity means that once they do, they’re invested enough to not leave.

                  I wouldn’t make that judgement about any programming language, but I would (tentatively) make it about this one, after seeing who’s involved in its creation.

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                    I almost have also the feeling that this might be an attempt to develop a Stockholm syndrome in the followers, but I am not sure though. I went through the Nock tutorial (http://doc.urbit.org/doc/nock/tut/1/) and with some effort was able to follow and understand it. Went on with Hoon and there I will stop, there - it asks too much involvement from me. And I do not know if this is not a wrong investment. However compiling and making the system run was straight forward, just by following the instructions on the github page. So, who knows, they are maybe out for something interesting.

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                  The video (and this document) both have strong smells of Timecube and Poe’s Law on them, but with a distinctly Ayn-Randian twist.

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                  Some context from https://angel.co/tlon :

                  “Tlon is the corporate vehicle of the open-source Urbit software stack (urbit.org). Urbit is a clean-slate reimplementation of the whole system software stack. On the bottom it’s a replacement of the lambda calculus, in the middle it’s a new functional programming language, on top it’s a purely functional network operating system in which address space is property. Tlon owns approximately half of the entire address-space on the Urbit network. The goal is to create a new layer over the Internet the way the Internet layered over the PSTN. This layer can also earn adoption by providing Internet services. On the Internet, your Urbit ship is a general-purpose personal cloud computer which replaces the 47 special-purpose cloud silos you’re currently using.”

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                    A while back I went on a bit of a binge trying to figure out what the heck Urbit actually is. And it led me to these two articles, which, although heavy in metaphor and strange ideas, do bring it down somewhat to the level of mere mortals:

                    http://www.popehat.com/2013/12/06/nock-hoon-etc-for-non-vulcans-why-urbit-matters/ http://moronlab.blogspot.ca/2010/01/urbit-functional-programming-from.html

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                      Neither of those articles are any more sensible than any of the other resources presented in this thread. It seems that Mr. Yarvin is primarily focused on saying as many words as possible while minimizing the total amount of sense those words make. That’s quite frustrating.

                      Since you seem to have gleaned why my mortal mind cannot, can you explain in – say – moderately human terms what the hell this thing is even supposed to do? Near as I can tell, it’s essentially a fairytale-worded version of a glorified LISP shell with some networking components built in. Is that accurate?

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                        As best as I can put it: it’s an experiment to reinvent computing as we know it from the ground-up, in a primarily-distributed way, and it’s starting by piggybacking on the computing systems of today. And it’s doing so while being incredibly bizarre.

                        What is it for? Right now, nothing useful. It’s just an experiment.

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                          Interesting, I suppose. Thanks for clarifying, my brain doesn’t hurt any less, but I appreciate the attempt to salve it.

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                      I am still trying to figure out what it is all about. Digging here and there. Found this demo video that shows off some functionality if you have 10 minutes.

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                        There’s no link in your comment, is that a mistake? Or are you referring to something in the post (I don’t see a video there either)?

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                          Sorry, it was a mistake. Here is the link to the video: http://vimeo.com/75312418 Thanks for pointing out!

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                        I’m… mostly confused. There’s a lot of deep-metaphor that remains unexplained in the video that r31r06 shared. Ships and Submarines and Destroyers – what value does this really provide? It’s a neat concept, sure, but the reality is if I’m going to dive in and learn something, it needs to provide clear benefits that outweigh the costs. So far, it looks like the costs are clear (learning an entirely new ecosystem, language, and philosophy-of-operation), but the benefits are dubious at best (version control being included in the OS is cool, but Nix sort of approximates most of the benefits of that kind of approach). I mean, I’m sure this is meaningful to the author, but I’m not super sure why I should use it.