Margin Loans - Fidelity

Educate Yourself Before Using Robinhood

TL;DR: Robinhood is a great way to get into investing, but the market is volatile, even the professionals lose to pure randomness, and so will you. The time-tested strategy is boring, low-cost index funds like VOO that you hold until you die. And you should concentrate on tax-advantaged accounts like your 401K and IRA before any of that.
Edit: I don't mean this to come off as outrage, or imply that Roosterteeth shouldn't be advertising Robinhood. Robinhood is amazing, I personally have had some great success with it, and was even a little excited to see Roosterteeth advertising it. I have also seen plenty of people see its simplicity, assume that's all there is to investing, and make fatal mistakes, often by buying shit options, or assuming Robinhood Gold is free money. I just want to be a quick buffer between that.
I want to start this off by saying that I am in no way a financial expert. I'm an amateur investor who considers themselves reasonably well informed when it comes to finances and investments. I submit this as an introduction to educating yourself, and will list far more quality resources to learn from at the end.
My Concern
Roosterteeth, Funhaus, and other podcasts I listen to have recently been advertising for Robinhood as a simple way to get into investing, with the implication being that investing is what smart, responsible, rich people do, and you should too. But there's some stipulations to this, and I feel Robinhood and Roosterteeth are both a little flippant about the risks involved, especially when introducing large, inexperienced audiences to the investment world. That being said, investing is important to your long-term prosperity, and Robinhood is great with 0 fees, and its simplification of investments that typically sound far more complicated than they are. But it's important to identify your tolerance to risk, and use this to know what investments you're making, and exactly how risky they are. Below I want to give a basic overview of what exactly stocks and options are, how risky they are, and some general advice surrounding them.
What are Stocks?
When a company wants to raise money quickly, but doesn't want to take out loans, they typically decide to go public. This means they split the company up into shares of stock, each of which represents a small piece of the company. These shares each cost a certain amount of money to buy called their share price. At the time of writing, Apple (AAPL) stock is at $207.48, and there are currently 4,829,926,000 shares of Apple out there. Meaning that $207.48 will buy you 1 / 4,829,926,000 of Apple. This also means that Apple as a company is currently worth 4,829,926,000 * $207.48 = $1,002,113,000,000. This price is dictated largely by how confident people are in the future of the company. If a report comes out that Apple is doing really well, the stock price will likely go up, and vice versa.
What are Options?
Options are another security (security is a largely general term used for investments you can buy) that are not stocks themselves, but are contracts regarding what you can do with stocks. They're more complicated than just buying and selling stocks, and can be far more risky. There's a lot to them, but the basic idea is that you are buying the option to buy or sell a stock at a certain price, by a certain time. There are two basic types of options, put and call options. A call option is where you believe that the stock price will go up, a put option is where you believe a stock price will go down. I'll leave Khan Academy to explain the specifics as they can do far better than I. The short and skinny of it being that options are more complicated, riskier, and you should take some serious caution before jumping into this space. Options are where I simultaneously love and hate Robinhood, as they make it very easy for people to understand them, but simultaneously make it far too easy for people who shouldn't be investing in them, to do so.
How Does Robinhood Fit Into This?
Robinhood is a brokerage, which is effectively a store through which you can buy stocks and options. There are tons of brokerages, some popular ones being Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade. They all offer different services and products at different prices. The one point we'll focus on is commission fees. A commission fee is how much you are charged for the privilege of buying a stock or option, which is typically around $8 per trade. So if I bought 1 share of Apple for $200, it would usually cost me $208. Robinhood is unique in that it charges $0 per trade. It's also unique in that it's primarily a simple mobile app, while other brokerages are far more complicated.
Robinhood Gold
My immediate advice, do not touch this. My main criticism with Robinhood is not really explaining what this is. It is a loan that you are effectively gambling with. If you are a professional (which means you've gone to school, and gotten a job doing this stuff, not that you've made $1000 on lucky trades) this can be useful. But even the pros get absolutely wrecked by using this kind of stuff, and I absolutely urge you to not touch this. Using Robinhood Gold (otherwise known as margin) in the investing world exposes you to far more risk.
Cool, How Do I Get Rich?
Slowly. There's tons of cases of people making it big with Bitcoin, some bullshit penny stock, or a lucky options trade that makes them millions in a matter of days. These are the exception, not the rule. Smart investing is typically a slow and boring process. Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of all time, espouses the idea of long-term investments in good companies. This has made him one of the richest people in the world, making him someone you want to listen to on the topic. His advice? Don't bother with Robinhood. Use your company's 401K to its fullest extent, and buy boring, stable ETFs. ETFs are a large collection of stocks that track the general direction of the stock market. Over 10, 20, 30 years, these consistently make money. They're not sexy, and won't make you rich in a few days, but will reliably make you comfortable far in the future. These are the responsible thing to do, and will ensure you spend retirement without a lot of stress. Check out /investing's wiki which has a lot of great info on this.
But I Want to be Rich Now!
You won't. Or rather, it's statistically unlikely that you will. The odds are better than if you were buying lottery tickets, but they still aren't great. If however, you've got a gambler's penchant, and are totally fine with losing 100% of your investment in a matter of hours, you can try actively trading options. Once you are done looking through /investing's wiki and have done the responsible thing, I authorize you to do the dumb shit and expose yourself to the whims of luck. A community attempting this path is /wallstreetbets, and they openly joke about how stupid they are for attempting this. They're extremely crass, and exhibit every symptom of a gambling addiction. If you decide to go down this route, you should absolutely only use money you are willing to lose. Treat it like a casino, where you know that eventually, you will absolutely lose all of that money. You're just paying for the hope that you won't.
Further Reading
There's plenty of resources out there, here's a collection of my favorites.
Through the Internet
At your Library
Never pay for investing clubs, or those YouTube channels that have hosts with ferraris telling you they can make you rich. You're buying them the ferraris, when you could have bought a book that will be far more valuable for a fraction of the price.
submitted by watchinggodbleed to roosterteeth [link] [comments]

$28k/month with an automation tool for developers [built it myself]

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Joel Griffith (u/mrskitch) of Browserless, a brand that makes automated web browsers
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hey folks! I’m Joel Griffith, founder and sole entrepreneur for a business called browserless.
browserless is one of those newfangled “SaaS” businesses (software-as-a-service), and lets users automate all the stuff you’d normally have to do manually with a web browser. This can be as simple as taking screenshots of your page, perusing the internet for data, or even generating PDFs of a cool dashboard on your site.
I’ve been building the company over the last two years, and this September we did about $28,000 in sales.
image
Used our service to generate this screenshot

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

It’s a bit of a curvy road in how we got here. Like a lot of businesses out there, browserless was something I stumbled upon while building other things. Kind of like how alchemy was back in the Medieval ages: I was trying to make gold but instead discovered plutonium, if you follow my metaphor.
More specifically I was building a wishlist app for my family to use to create birthdays, weddings and holiday lists. The core idea was to gather items from across the internet into one place, as opposed to the way it works now where a single site pretty much “owns” your list. Anyways, while working on this I ran into frequent issues where certain sites didn’t have any product details available via programmatic means. Most of the time this is pretty easy to work around: you simply “get” the site’s contents and parse out the parts you care about. However, certain sites explicitly don’t have this information in their site’s content. You have to have a web browser actually load the page, execute all the code before the data you care about is even there!
This sounds like a problem most folks will think isn’t really a problem. But, as a developer, I can tell you with pretty good certainty that it still is a problem, and the solutions at the time were extremely costly, don’t work well, and use pretty unsophisticated technology that’s brittle. They were also hard to use for certain cases like pages that required you to login or are only available via your corporate intranet. What I really wanted was a way to control what the browser was doing with high-fidelity, and on-demand (another pitfall with other solutions).
After taking a tough look at what I was building, and the clear lack in the market for a tool I already needed, I decided it was time to pivot into this new business.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

image
My first version of the site
Since the product is purely a software service there wasn’t any manufacturing or designing that needed to be done. Building software with recurring revenue is a particularly great business model as there’s generally low or no upfront costs. Since I’m a software engineer by trade this made it possible for me to self-fund. To put it quite simply: I spent no money whatsoever to get started, just a lot of time.
I knew roughly how the product looked like and worked: a cloud-based service where users (mostly developers) could connect to a headless browser and tell it what to do. However, I didn’t know how to charge for it and spent a good deal of time trying to come up with a model wherein I wasn’t left holding a huge bill. In a lot of cloud-services providers simply over-buy compute to ensure there’s enough supply to go around. This is fine for them: they can recoup their expenses via margins or simply eat-it as they’re in growth-mode and living on borrowed money. I didn’t have either of these comforts, so I naturally came to an on-demand model where I buy no infrastructure until someone signs up. It’s then, and only then, does my software go and provision for a new account. When I originally started I think I had a baseline cost of around $40/ in order to keep things running, which is nothing when you think about it.
image
My “first office” where I wrote the original code
image
My “new” office now that it generates revenue
Putting these two things together, I decided it was time to trial the service and all its technology. I was able to build up a small list of potential users through a landing page, and even garnished a few more folks from various issues they troubleshooting across the web. This process lasted about a month or so, and after things stabilized I opened the service for anyone to sign-up on.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The process of launching was, in my opinion, entirely underwhelming. After spending months building and testing the product I was hopeful that we’d have gotten a few customers on day one. However, it turns out that the old “if you build it they will come” adage doesn’t really work out that way. You have to go out and meet your customers where they’re at in order to start gaining any sort of traction. So, for the first week or so, we literally had no one sign-up or even contact us. As a matter of fact, the first few months were painfully slow since the product was so new, and I didn’t have any sort of prior social following.
What eventually worked was when I started blogging about the product, how it works and what it can do, which eventually led to our first few real users. Early on I was mostly writing about best-practices and how to make things easier -- all the stuff that I knew people were searching for because I was searching for it as well! I even wrote a few times about running the business itself. Things like good habits, how to provide good service, and how to tackle the hard stuff. Surprisingly it’s nothing you probably don’t already know, however saying the same thing a different way can often produce different results. You don’t really know until you try, and trying new strategies was how we found what worked.
All this cost me was time and improving my writing skills, and after a few posts got some traffic from bigger sites then we started to get some real momentum. It’s quite different than a lot of the success stories you hear, where most folks launch with something and it sells out like crazy or they can’t even meet initial demand. While I do think those types of events occur they are in no case the norm. Sometimes the thing you just built won’t have an audience for a while or is just ahead of the demand curve. If you give up right away you’ll never know.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We tried a lot of things, including paid marketing, which unfortunately didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. I sort of naively assumed that since we had some recognition amongst developers that paid ads would be like throwing gas on the fire. After running ads for a few months I don’t believe we got a single sign-up for it, so I pulled the plug.
As boring as it is, the things that have helped attract users and retain them are is our support and content. I do a lot of work on our blog, helping users on other sites, and even helping our customers one-on-one where I can. Normally you’d have to charge for stuff like this, and we definitely do for bigger projects, but I feel it’s really important to win over fans versus build a user-base, especially when you’re not spending money on marketing. It also depends heavily on the market you’re after, and whether or not those people even respond to advertising. My guess is that most of our target users are running ad-blockers, so I’d doubt we’d even be showing stuff to the right people at the right time.
image
One of our most-referenced blog posts
As an example, one of our most trafficked blog-posts is just a simple guide on how to get better performance out of puppeteer. Since we’ve got over 600 users doing puppeteer work daily, we have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. This actually helps us in two ways: it’s great SEO content that new users will find at the start of their journey, and it helps get these folks set up for success. That last part is really key: setting expectations early on, and even getting more performance than you anticipated, makes for “fans” of your service that will go tell others. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful if it’s the good kind!
Another example is a post with details on scaling out your headless work on your own and what you can expect. This doesn’t necessarily convert that great, but it does establish some good-faith feelings. It also serves as a mechanism to build up browserless as a domain expert on running headless browsers, which is a great non-tangible thing to “offer” in away. Wouldn’t you want the expert in the field helping you out to get started?
The other big thing that has helped is being open-source. You can try out our code, on your own computer, for absolutely no cost whatsoever. This gives you a lot of time trying out the service and sees if it fits without spending a dime. This also saves us the hassle of supporting, securing, and (in the end) chaperoning free accounts so that they’re not abused. I’d imagine we lose some monthly cost, but it helps a lot in retention: the users already know the product and have possibly read the source. It’s something I value personally, and since I happen to also be a developer it gives me a glance at how our users feel as well.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

image
The greatest thing is that we’ve been profitable since the first user signed up. I’ve never had to bring aboard to make trivial decisions and the monetization model is already in place, so all of the business stuff is done which is something I think late-stage startups can run into issues with.
Our margins are doing pretty well, hovering around 80%, and we don’t really spend money on ads or anything else aside from infrastructure. Almost all of our sales are self-serve, though we do occasionally get questions. I generally prefer higher-touch sales as it builds a better overall relationship, which can last longer than the business itself.
I’m keen to get more involved with enterprise users, which have a lot more restrictions and barriers to entry. Having been an engineer in many enterprise companies, the challenges they face are quite large and harder to scale. Having a product that can be more easily adopted in their scenarios will help us tremendously, so I’m looking forward to that.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Hahaha, there’s* so* much to talk about it’s almost hard to know where to get started! The first thing I’d say, without question, is getting better at writing. Since most of our customer acquisition is via content, and that’s where a lot of our users find us, having a good first-impression there is critical. It also helps immensely in emails and the sales cycle, as the more concise and poignant you are the more deals you will close.
That segways nicely into the next one: sales. I hated the thought of doing sales, but because I had the wrong definition of what sales actually is. Originally, I correlated sales as “selling as much as possible” to everyone, but the reality is quite different. A good salesman will end things early if they know it’s not going to be a good fit, versus pushing a solution that doesn’t work. Actually, a lot of the time my sales cycle is purely just listening to what folks are trying to do and working back from that to see if browserless can do what they need it to. Obviously, it’s great if it works: we build a nice relationship and they solve a problem they’re having. If it doesn’t then no sweat, we both move on. The worst thing that can happen is if you over-sell to people that don’t need the product, which can show up in metrics like churn and retention.
The last thing I’d say is dealing with the roller coaster of software. You’ll have someone sign-up one day for a multi-thousand dollar plan, and lose your #2 customer the next. Now, this obviously isn’t every day, but it can and does happen and it takes you on an emotional roller coaster. Learning to cope with the highs and lows will definitely keep you in the game longer. There’s definitely a reason why most people don’t strike-out on their own: you really have to be the right kind of crazy.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I’m super old-school in the tools I use, which probably flies in contrast to being a tech startup! We use Stripe for doing all the really hard parts (billing and payment settling), Sendgrid for transactional emails, and DigitalOcean for all of our infrastructure. Since most of our users are self-initiating we don’t yet utilize CRMs, however, I probably over-utilize Gmail to force it to be a CRM.
What I mean by that is that I do the whole “inbox-zero” setup. If I have an email in my account then something terribly wrong has gone on! What this means, pretty simply, is when an email comes in I label it, set a reminder on it, and generally write the person back pretty quickly. If I can answer it right then and there I generally do so, however, if it’s going to take some time I’ll let them know that I’m on it but will get back in touch.
The last thing I’ll say is that I write a lot of my own tools, being a developer and all! They’re pretty business-specific, so I’m not sure they’re entirely useful outside of browserless, but I’m sure there’s another business hiding in there potentially!

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The one I highly, highly recommend is IndieHackers if you’re looking to do a more software/hardware business. There’s a lot of new folks and seasoned veterans there, so you’re likely to find someone in your position and someone a step or two ahead. Having both is super helpful so you can get reassurance on where you’re at, and know what’s ahead.
I also enjoy the How I Built This podcast as well, but more for the inspiring stories than the execution-ary part. It helps to have a goal to work towards, however sometimes seeing how well others are doing can be depressing, and I’ve found “How I Built This” to be a good balance since they give you the good and the bad.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Learn to write, validate, and execute as cheaply and quickly as possible. Nothing’s worse than learning the idea has no merit and you’ve wasted a year even getting the thing off the ground. Find new communities and place to post what you’re working on, and definitely don’t let no always be a final answer. It takes some time to learn when to press or when to throw in the towel, and there’s no hard and fast rule, so be ready to get uncomfortable and test the boundaries.
The final thing I’ll say is that it’s incredibly freeing to know you’re not made of glass. Test yourself: make the call you wouldn’t normally, go out of the way to help someone who’s possibly angry at you, and practice saying yes more than no. Being pushed outside of your comfort zone is when the biggest changes can come about, but getting there is incredibly challenging, so get used to not always being in control!

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
submitted by youngrichntasteless to Business_Ideas [link] [comments]

$28k/month with an automation tool for developers [built it myself]

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Joel Griffith (u/mrskitch) of Browserless, a brand that makes automated web browsers
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hey folks! I’m Joel Griffith, founder and sole entrepreneur for a business called browserless.
browserless is one of those newfangled “SaaS” businesses (software-as-a-service), and lets users automate all the stuff you’d normally have to do manually with a web browser. This can be as simple as taking screenshots of your page, perusing the internet for data, or even generating PDFs of a cool dashboard on your site.
I’ve been building the company over the last two years, and this September we did about $28,000 in sales.
image
Used our service to generate this screenshot

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

It’s a bit of a curvy road in how we got here. Like a lot of businesses out there, browserless was something I stumbled upon while building other things. Kind of like how alchemy was back in the Medieval ages: I was trying to make gold but instead discovered plutonium, if you follow my metaphor.
More specifically I was building a wishlist app for my family to use to create birthdays, weddings and holiday lists. The core idea was to gather items from across the internet into one place, as opposed to the way it works now where a single site pretty much “owns” your list. Anyways, while working on this I ran into frequent issues where certain sites didn’t have any product details available via programmatic means. Most of the time this is pretty easy to work around: you simply “get” the site’s contents and parse out the parts you care about. However, certain sites explicitly don’t have this information in their site’s content. You have to have a web browser actually load the page, execute all the code before the data you care about is even there!
This sounds like a problem most folks will think isn’t really a problem. But, as a developer, I can tell you with pretty good certainty that it still is a problem, and the solutions at the time were extremely costly, don’t work well, and use pretty unsophisticated technology that’s brittle. They were also hard to use for certain cases like pages that required you to login or are only available via your corporate intranet. What I really wanted was a way to control what the browser was doing with high-fidelity, and on-demand (another pitfall with other solutions).
After taking a tough look at what I was building, and the clear lack in the market for a tool I already needed, I decided it was time to pivot into this new business.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

image
My first version of the site
Since the product is purely a software service there wasn’t any manufacturing or designing that needed to be done. Building software with recurring revenue is a particularly great business model as there’s generally low or no upfront costs. Since I’m a software engineer by trade this made it possible for me to self-fund. To put it quite simply: I spent no money whatsoever to get started, just a lot of time.
I knew roughly how the product looked like and worked: a cloud-based service where users (mostly developers) could connect to a headless browser and tell it what to do. However, I didn’t know how to charge for it and spent a good deal of time trying to come up with a model wherein I wasn’t left holding a huge bill. In a lot of cloud-services providers simply over-buy compute to ensure there’s enough supply to go around. This is fine for them: they can recoup their expenses via margins or simply eat-it as they’re in growth-mode and living on borrowed money. I didn’t have either of these comforts, so I naturally came to an on-demand model where I buy no infrastructure until someone signs up. It’s then, and only then, does my software go and provision for a new account. When I originally started I think I had a baseline cost of around $40/ in order to keep things running, which is nothing when you think about it.
image
My “first office” where I wrote the original code
image
My “new” office now that it generates revenue
Putting these two things together, I decided it was time to trial the service and all its technology. I was able to build up a small list of potential users through a landing page, and even garnished a few more folks from various issues they troubleshooting across the web. This process lasted about a month or so, and after things stabilized I opened the service for anyone to sign-up on.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The process of launching was, in my opinion, entirely underwhelming. After spending months building and testing the product I was hopeful that we’d have gotten a few customers on day one. However, it turns out that the old “if you build it they will come” adage doesn’t really work out that way. You have to go out and meet your customers where they’re at in order to start gaining any sort of traction. So, for the first week or so, we literally had no one sign-up or even contact us. As a matter of fact, the first few months were painfully slow since the product was so new, and I didn’t have any sort of prior social following.
What eventually worked was when I started blogging about the product, how it works and what it can do, which eventually led to our first few real users. Early on I was mostly writing about best-practices and how to make things easier -- all the stuff that I knew people were searching for because I was searching for it as well! I even wrote a few times about running the business itself. Things like good habits, how to provide good service, and how to tackle the hard stuff. Surprisingly it’s nothing you probably don’t already know, however saying the same thing a different way can often produce different results. You don’t really know until you try, and trying new strategies was how we found what worked.
All this cost me was time and improving my writing skills, and after a few posts got some traffic from bigger sites then we started to get some real momentum. It’s quite different than a lot of the success stories you hear, where most folks launch with something and it sells out like crazy or they can’t even meet initial demand. While I do think those types of events occur they are in no case the norm. Sometimes the thing you just built won’t have an audience for a while or is just ahead of the demand curve. If you give up right away you’ll never know.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We tried a lot of things, including paid marketing, which unfortunately didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. I sort of naively assumed that since we had some recognition amongst developers that paid ads would be like throwing gas on the fire. After running ads for a few months I don’t believe we got a single sign-up for it, so I pulled the plug.
As boring as it is, the things that have helped attract users and retain them are is our support and content. I do a lot of work on our blog, helping users on other sites, and even helping our customers one-on-one where I can. Normally you’d have to charge for stuff like this, and we definitely do for bigger projects, but I feel it’s really important to win over fans versus build a user-base, especially when you’re not spending money on marketing. It also depends heavily on the market you’re after, and whether or not those people even respond to advertising. My guess is that most of our target users are running ad-blockers, so I’d doubt we’d even be showing stuff to the right people at the right time.
image
One of our most-referenced blog posts
As an example, one of our most trafficked blog-posts is just a simple guide on how to get better performance out of puppeteer. Since we’ve got over 600 users doing puppeteer work daily, we have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. This actually helps us in two ways: it’s great SEO content that new users will find at the start of their journey, and it helps get these folks set up for success. That last part is really key: setting expectations early on, and even getting more performance than you anticipated, makes for “fans” of your service that will go tell others. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful if it’s the good kind!
Another example is a post with details on scaling out your headless work on your own and what you can expect. This doesn’t necessarily convert that great, but it does establish some good-faith feelings. It also serves as a mechanism to build up browserless as a domain expert on running headless browsers, which is a great non-tangible thing to “offer” in away. Wouldn’t you want the expert in the field helping you out to get started?
The other big thing that has helped is being open-source. You can try out our code, on your own computer, for absolutely no cost whatsoever. This gives you a lot of time trying out the service and sees if it fits without spending a dime. This also saves us the hassle of supporting, securing, and (in the end) chaperoning free accounts so that they’re not abused. I’d imagine we lose some monthly cost, but it helps a lot in retention: the users already know the product and have possibly read the source. It’s something I value personally, and since I happen to also be a developer it gives me a glance at how our users feel as well.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

image
The greatest thing is that we’ve been profitable since the first user signed up. I’ve never had to bring aboard to make trivial decisions and the monetization model is already in place, so all of the business stuff is done which is something I think late-stage startups can run into issues with.
Our margins are doing pretty well, hovering around 80%, and we don’t really spend money on ads or anything else aside from infrastructure. Almost all of our sales are self-serve, though we do occasionally get questions. I generally prefer higher-touch sales as it builds a better overall relationship, which can last longer than the business itself.
I’m keen to get more involved with enterprise users, which have a lot more restrictions and barriers to entry. Having been an engineer in many enterprise companies, the challenges they face are quite large and harder to scale. Having a product that can be more easily adopted in their scenarios will help us tremendously, so I’m looking forward to that.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Hahaha, there’s* so* much to talk about it’s almost hard to know where to get started! The first thing I’d say, without question, is getting better at writing. Since most of our customer acquisition is via content, and that’s where a lot of our users find us, having a good first-impression there is critical. It also helps immensely in emails and the sales cycle, as the more concise and poignant you are the more deals you will close.
That segways nicely into the next one: sales. I hated the thought of doing sales, but because I had the wrong definition of what sales actually is. Originally, I correlated sales as “selling as much as possible” to everyone, but the reality is quite different. A good salesman will end things early if they know it’s not going to be a good fit, versus pushing a solution that doesn’t work. Actually, a lot of the time my sales cycle is purely just listening to what folks are trying to do and working back from that to see if browserless can do what they need it to. Obviously, it’s great if it works: we build a nice relationship and they solve a problem they’re having. If it doesn’t then no sweat, we both move on. The worst thing that can happen is if you over-sell to people that don’t need the product, which can show up in metrics like churn and retention.
The last thing I’d say is dealing with the roller coaster of software. You’ll have someone sign-up one day for a multi-thousand dollar plan, and lose your #2 customer the next. Now, this obviously isn’t every day, but it can and does happen and it takes you on an emotional roller coaster. Learning to cope with the highs and lows will definitely keep you in the game longer. There’s definitely a reason why most people don’t strike-out on their own: you really have to be the right kind of crazy.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I’m super old-school in the tools I use, which probably flies in contrast to being a tech startup! We use Stripe for doing all the really hard parts (billing and payment settling), Sendgrid for transactional emails, and DigitalOcean for all of our infrastructure. Since most of our users are self-initiating we don’t yet utilize CRMs, however, I probably over-utilize Gmail to force it to be a CRM.
What I mean by that is that I do the whole “inbox-zero” setup. If I have an email in my account then something terribly wrong has gone on! What this means, pretty simply, is when an email comes in I label it, set a reminder on it, and generally write the person back pretty quickly. If I can answer it right then and there I generally do so, however, if it’s going to take some time I’ll let them know that I’m on it but will get back in touch.
The last thing I’ll say is that I write a lot of my own tools, being a developer and all! They’re pretty business-specific, so I’m not sure they’re entirely useful outside of browserless, but I’m sure there’s another business hiding in there potentially!

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The one I highly, highly recommend is IndieHackers if you’re looking to do a more software/hardware business. There’s a lot of new folks and seasoned veterans there, so you’re likely to find someone in your position and someone a step or two ahead. Having both is super helpful so you can get reassurance on where you’re at, and know what’s ahead.
I also enjoy the How I Built This podcast as well, but more for the inspiring stories than the execution-ary part. It helps to have a goal to work towards, however sometimes seeing how well others are doing can be depressing, and I’ve found “How I Built This” to be a good balance since they give you the good and the bad.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Learn to write, validate, and execute as cheaply and quickly as possible. Nothing’s worse than learning the idea has no merit and you’ve wasted a year even getting the thing off the ground. Find new communities and place to post what you’re working on, and definitely don’t let no always be a final answer. It takes some time to learn when to press or when to throw in the towel, and there’s no hard and fast rule, so be ready to get uncomfortable and test the boundaries.
The final thing I’ll say is that it’s incredibly freeing to know you’re not made of glass. Test yourself: make the call you wouldn’t normally, go out of the way to help someone who’s possibly angry at you, and practice saying yes more than no. Being pushed outside of your comfort zone is when the biggest changes can come about, but getting there is incredibly challenging, so get used to not always being in control!

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
submitted by youngrichntasteless to EntrepreneurRideAlong [link] [comments]

ELI22: Personal finance tips for older young adults (US)

Yes, it's me....back with a second installment in our series, ELI22. This assumes you read ELI18 ( even the links...you'll learn 10X more from the links!) and have done things pertaining to your situation.
The "22" here means you're done with full-time education, have a career with meaningful income, and are responsible for your own support. Some people start this at 18, some at 26; age is not important. Specifics pertain to the US in some cases. This assumes you are a single childless renter employee; ELI30 will cover marriage, home ownership, and children.
You have money now, congratulations! Read this excellent summary of how to handle it. Here's a ginormous flowchart showing what to do first: bills? loans? investments? Good self-study! We'll highlight three Big Ideas to get you started.
Got the the Big Ideas now? Good! Let's see how we combine them for some meaningful benefits for your ~22-year-old self.
OK. That was a lot of information! Ready to repay student loans? Let's find out:
Enough about student loans. Let's wrap up with a few other topics of general interest to 22 year olds:
Whew! That was a long one. I think that does it for this week. ELI 30 next week: marriage, children, home ownership, life insurance, job changes.
submitted by yes_its_him to personalfinance [link] [comments]

Looking back 18 months.

I was going through old emails today and came across this one I sent out to family on January 4, 2018. It was a reflection on the 2017 crypto bull market and where I saw it heading, as well as some general advice on crypto, investment, and being safe about how you handle yourself in cryptoland.
I feel that we are on the cusp of a new bull market right now, so I thought that I would put this out for at least a few people to see *before* the next bull run, not after. While the details have changed, I don't see a thing in this email that I fundamentally wouldn't say again, although I'd also probably insist that people get a Yubikey and use that for all 2FA where it is supported.
Happy reading, and sorry for some of the formatting weirdness -- I cleaned it up pretty well from the original email formatting, but I love lists and indents and Reddit has limitations... :-/
Also, don't laught at my token picks from January 2018! It was a long time ago and (luckliy) I took my own advice about moving a bunch into USD shortly after I sent this. I didn't hit the top, and I came back in too early in the summer of 2018, but I got lucky in many respects.
----------------------------------------------------------------------- Jan-4, 2018
Hey all!
I woke up this morning to ETH at a solid $1000 and decided to put some thoughts together on what I think crypto has done and what I think it will do. *******, if you could share this to your kids I’d appreciate it -- I don’t have e-mail addresses, and it’s a bit unwieldy for FB Messenger… Hopefully they’ll at least find it thought-provoking. If not, they can use it as further evidence that I’m a nutjob. 😉
Some history before I head into the future.
I first mined some BTC in 2011 or 2012 (Can’t remember exactly, but it was around the Christmas holidays when I started because I had time off from work to get it set up and running.) I kept it up through the start of summer in 2012, but stopped because it made my PC run hot and as it was no longer winter, ********** didn’t appreciate the sound of the fans blowing that hot air into the room any more. I’ve always said that the first BTC I mined was at $1, but looking back at it now, that’s not true – It was around $2. Here’s a link to BTC price history.
In the summer of 2013 I got a new PC and moved my programs and files over before scrapping the old one. I hadn’t touched my BTC mining folder for a year then, and I didn’t even think about salvaging those wallet files. They are now gone forever, including the 9-10BTC that were in them. While I can intellectually justify the loss, it was sloppy and underlines a key thing about cryptocurrency that I believe will limit its widespread adoption by the general public until it is addressed and solved: In cryptoland, you are your own bank, and if you lose your password or account number, there is no person or organization that can help you reset it so that you can get access back. Your money is gone forever.
On April 12, 2014 I bought my first BTC through Coinbase. BTC had spiked to $1000 and been in the news, at least in Japan. This made me remember my old wallet and freak out for a couple of months trying to find it and reclaim the coins. I then FOMO’d (Fear Of Missing Out”) and bought $100 worth of BTC. I was actually very lucky in my timing and bought at around $430. Even so, except for a brief 50% swing up almost immediately afterwards that made me check prices 5 times a day, BTC fell below my purchase price by the end of September and I didn’t get back to even until the end of 2015.
In May 2015 I bought my first ETH at around $1. I sent some guy on bitcointalk ~$100 worth of BTC and he sent me 100 ETH – all on trust because the amounts were small and this was a small group of people. BTC was down in the $250 range at that point, so I had lost 30-40% of my initial investment. This was of the $100 invested, so not that much in real terms, but huge in percentages. It also meant that I had to buy another $100 of BTC on Coinbase to send to this guy. A few months after I purchased my ETH, BTC had doubled and ETH had gone down to $0.50, halving the value of my ETH holdings. I was even on the first BTC purchase finally, but was now down 50% on the ETH I had bought.
The good news was that this made me start to look at things more seriously. Where I had skimmed white papers and gotten a superficial understanding of the technology before FOMO’ing, I started to act as an investor, not a speculator. Let me define how I see those two different types of activity:
So what has been my experience as an investor? After sitting out the rest of 2015 because I needed to understand the market better, I bought into ETH quite heavily, with my initial big purchases being in March-April of 2016. Those purchases were in the $11-$14 range. ETH, of course, dropped immediately to under $10, then came back and bounced around my purchase range for a while until December of 2016, when I purchased a lot more at around $8.
I also purchased my first ICO in August of 2016, HEAT. I bought 25ETH worth. Those tokens are now worth about half of their ICO price, so about 12.5ETH or $12500 instead of the $25000 they would be worth if I had just kept ETH. There are some other things with HEAT that mean I’ve done quite a bit better than those numbers would suggest, but the fact is that the single best thing I could have done is to hold ETH and not spend the effort/time/cost of working with HEAT. That holds true for about every top-25 token on the market when compared to ETH. It certainly holds true for the many, many tokens I tried to trade in Q1-Q2 of 2017. In almost every single case I would have done better and slept better had I just held ETH instead of trying to be smarter than Mr. Market.
But, I made money on all of them except one because the crypto market went up more in USD terms than any individual coin went down in ETH or BTC terms. This underlines something that I read somewhere and that I take to heart: A rising market makes everyone seem like a genius. A monkey throwing darts at a list of the top 100 cryptocurrencies last year would have doubled his money. Here’s a chart from September that shows 2017 year-to-date returns for the top 10 cryptocurrencies, and all of them went up a *lot* more between then and December. A monkey throwing darts at this list there would have quintupled his money.
When evaluating performance, then, you have to beat the monkey, and preferably you should try to beat a Wall Street monkey. I couldn’t, so I stopped trying around July 2017. My benchmark was the BLX, a DAA (Digital Asset Array – think fund like a Fidelity fund) created by ICONOMI. I wasn’t even close to beating the BLX returns, so I did several things.
  1. I went from holding about 25 different tokens to holding 10 now. More on that in a bit.
  2. I used those funds to buy ETH and BLX. ETH has done crazy-good since then and BLX has beaten BTC handily, although it hasn’t done as well as ETH.
  3. I used some of those funds to set up an arbitrage operation.
The arbitrage operation is why I kept the 11 tokens that I have now. All but a couple are used in an ETH/token pair for arbitrage, and each one of them except for one special case is part of BLX. Why did I do that? I did that because ICONOMI did a better job of picking long-term holds than I did, and in arbitrage the only speculative thing you must do is pick the pairs to trade. My pairs are (No particular order):
I also hold PLU, PLBT, and ART. These two are multi-year holds for me. I have not purchased BTC once since my initial $200, except for a few cases where BTC was the only way to go to/from an altcoin that didn’t trade against ETH yet. Right now I hold about the same 0.3BTC that I held after my first $100 purchase, so I don’t really count it.
Looking forward to this year, I am positioning myself as follows:
Looking at my notes, I have two other things that I wanted to work into this email that I didn’t get to, so here they are:
  1. Just like with free apps and other software, if you are getting something of value and you didn’t pay anything for it, you need to ask why this is. With apps, the phrase is “If you didn’t pay for the product, you are the product”, and this works for things such as pump groups, tips, and even technical analysis. Here’s how I see it.
    1. People don’t give tips on stocks or crypto that they don’t already own that stock or token. Why would they, since if they convince anyone to buy it, the price only goes up as a result, making it more expensive for them to buy in? Sure, you will have friends and family that may do this, but people in a crypto club, your local cryptocurrency meetup, or online are generally not your friends. They are there to make money, and if they can get you to help them make money, they will do it. Pump groups are the worst of these, and no matter how enticing it may look, stay as far away as possible from these scams. I even go so far as to report them when I see them advertise on FB or Twitter, because they are violating the terms of use.
    2. Technical analysis (TA) is something that has been argued about for longer than I’ve been alive, but I think that it falls into the same boat. In short, TA argues that there are patterns in trading that can be read and acted upon to signal when one must buy or sell. It has been used forever in the stock and foreign exchange markets, and people use it in crypto as well. Let’s break down these assumptions a bit.
i. First, if crypto were like the stock or forex markets we’d all be happy with 5-7% gains per year rather than easily seeing that in a day. For TA to work the same way in crypto as it does in stocks and foreign exchange, the signals would have to be *much* stronger and faster-reacting than they work in the traditional market, but people use them in exactly the same way.
ii. Another area where crypto is very different than the stock and forex markets centers around market efficiency theory. This theory says that markets are efficient and that the price reflects all the available information at any given time. This is why gold in New York is similar in price to gold in London or Shanghai, and why arbitrage margins are easily <0.1% in those markets compared to cryptoland where I can easily get 10x that. Crypto simply has too much speculation and not enough professional traders in it yet to operate as an efficient market. That fundamentally changes the way that the market behaves and should make any TA patterns from traditional markets irrelevant in crypto.
iii. There are services, both free and paid that claim to put out signals based on TA for when one should buy and sell. If you think for even a second that they are not front-running (Placing orders ahead of yours to profit.) you and the other people using the service, you’re naïve.
iv. Likewise, if you don’t think that there are people that have but together computerized systems to get ahead of people doing manual TA, you’re naïve. The guys that I have programming my arbitrage bots have offered to build me a TA bot and set up a service to sell signals once our position is taken. I said no, but I am sure that they will do it themselves or sell that to someone else. Basically they look at TA as a tip machine where when a certain pattern is seen, people act on that “tip”. They use software to see that “tip” faster and take a position on it so that when slower participants come in they either have to sell lower or buy higher than the TA bot did. Remember, if you are getting a tip for free, you’re the product. In TA I see a system when people are all acting on free preset “tips” and getting played by the more sophisticated market participants. Again, you have to beat that Wall Street monkey.
  1. If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus, think about it this way: If TA was real, Wall Street would have figured it out decades ago and we would have TA funds that would be beating the market. We don’t.
  2. If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus and that its real and well, proven, then you must think that all smart traders use them. Now follow that logic forward and think about what would happen if every smart trader pushing big money followed TA. The signals would only last for a split second and would then be overwhelmed by people acting on them, making them impossible to leverage. This is essentially what the efficient market theory postulates for all information, including TA.
OK, the one last item. Read this weekly newsletter – You can sign up at the bottom. It is free, so they’re selling something, right? 😉 From what I can tell, though, Evan is a straight-up guy who posts links and almost zero editorial comments.
Happy 2018.
submitted by uetani to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Educate Yourself Before Using Robinhood (X-Post RoosterTeeth)

TL;DR: Robinhood is a great way to get into investing, but the market is volatile, even the professionals lose to pure randomness, and so will you. The time-tested strategy is boring, low-cost index funds like VOO that you hold until you die. And you should concentrate on tax-advantaged accounts like your 401K and IRA before any of that.
Edit: I don't mean this to come off as outrage, or imply that Roosterteeth shouldn't be advertising Robinhood. Robinhood is amazing, I personally have had some great success with it, and was even a little excited to see Roosterteeth advertising it. I have also seen plenty of people see its simplicity, assume that's all there is to investing, and make fatal mistakes, often by buying shit options, or assuming Robinhood Gold is free money. I just want to be a quick buffer between that.
I want to start this off by saying that I am in no way a financial expert. I'm an amateur investor who considers themselves reasonably well informed when it comes to finances and investments. I submit this as an introduction to educating yourself, and will list far more quality resources to learn from at the end.
My Concern
Roosterteeth, Funhaus, and other podcasts I listen to have recently been advertising for Robinhood as a simple way to get into investing, with the implication being that investing is what smart, responsible, rich people do, and you should too. But there's some stipulations to this, and I feel Robinhood and Roosterteeth are both a little flippant about the risks involved, especially when introducing large, inexperienced audiences to the investment world. That being said, investing is important to your long-term prosperity, and Robinhood is great with 0 fees, and its simplification of investments that typically sound far more complicated than they are. But it's important to identify your tolerance to risk, and use this to know what investments you're making, and exactly how risky they are. Below I want to give a basic overview of what exactly stocks and options are, how risky they are, and some general advice surrounding them.
What are Stocks?
When a company wants to raise money quickly, but doesn't want to take out loans, they typically decide to go public. This means they split the company up into shares of stock, each of which represents a small piece of the company. These shares each cost a certain amount of money to buy called their share price. At the time of writing, Apple (AAPL) stock is at $207.48, and there are currently 4,829,926,000 shares of Apple out there. Meaning that $207.48 will buy you 1 / 4,829,926,000 of Apple. This also means that Apple as a company is currently worth 4,829,926,000 * $207.48 = $1,002,113,000,000. This price is dictated largely by how confident people are in the future of the company. If a report comes out that Apple is doing really well, the stock price will likely go up, and vice versa.
What are Options?
Options are another security (security is a largely general term used for investments you can buy) that are not stocks themselves, but are contracts regarding what you can do with stocks. They're more complicated than just buying and selling stocks, and can be far more risky. There's a lot to them, but the basic idea is that you are buying the option to buy or sell a stock at a certain price, by a certain time. There are two basic types of options, put and call options. A call option is where you believe that the stock price will go up, a put option is where you believe a stock price will go down. I'll leave Khan Academy to explain the specifics as they can do far better than I. The short and skinny of it being that options are more complicated, riskier, and you should take some serious caution before jumping into this space. Options are where I simultaneously love and hate Robinhood, as they make it very easy for people to understand them, but simultaneously make it far too easy for people who shouldn't be investing in them, to do so.
How Does Robinhood Fit Into This?
Robinhood is a brokerage, which is effectively a store through which you can buy stocks and options. There are tons of brokerages, some popular ones being Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade. They all offer different services and products at different prices. The one point we'll focus on is commission fees. A commission fee is how much you are charged for the privilege of buying a stock or option, which is typically around $8 per trade. So if I bought 1 share of Apple for $200, it would usually cost me $208. Robinhood is unique in that it charges $0 per trade. It's also unique in that it's primarily a simple mobile app, while other brokerages are far more complicated.
Robinhood Gold
My immediate advice, do not touch this. My main criticism with Robinhood is not really explaining what this is. It is a loan that you are effectively gambling with. If you are a professional (which means you've gone to school, and gotten a job doing this stuff, not that you've made $1000 on lucky trades) this can be useful. But even the pros get absolutely wrecked by using this kind of stuff, and I absolutely urge you to not touch this. Using Robinhood Gold (otherwise known as margin) in the investing world exposes you to far more risk.
Cool, How Do I Get Rich?
Slowly. There's tons of cases of people making it big with Bitcoin, some bullshit penny stock, or a lucky options trade that makes them millions in a matter of days. These are the exception, not the rule. Smart investing is typically a slow and boring process. Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of all time, espouses the idea of long-term investments in good companies. This has made him one of the richest people in the world, making him someone you want to listen to on the topic. His advice? Don't bother with Robinhood. Use your company's 401K to its fullest extent, and buy boring, stable ETFs. ETFs are a large collection of stocks that track the general direction of the stock market. Over 10, 20, 30 years, these consistently make money. They're not sexy, and won't make you rich in a few days, but will reliably make you comfortable far in the future. These are the responsible thing to do, and will ensure you spend retirement without a lot of stress. Check out /investing's wiki which has a lot of great info on this.
But I Want to be Rich Now!
You won't. Or rather, it's statistically unlikely that you will. The odds are better than if you were buying lottery tickets, but they still aren't great. If however, you've got a gambler's penchant, and are totally fine with losing 100% of your investment in a matter of hours, you can try actively trading options. Once you are done looking through /investing's wiki and have done the responsible thing, I authorize you to do the dumb shit and expose yourself to the whims of luck. A community attempting this path is /wallstreetbets, and they openly joke about how stupid they are for attempting this. They're extremely crass, and exhibit every symptom of a gambling addiction. If you decide to go down this route, you should absolutely only use money you are willing to lose. Treat it like a casino, where you know that eventually, you will absolutely lose all of that money. You're just paying for the hope that you won't.
Further Reading
There's plenty of resources out there, here's a collection of my favorites.
Through the Internet
At your Library
Never pay for investing clubs, or those YouTube channels that have hosts with ferraris telling you they can make you rich. You're buying them the ferraris, when you could have bought a book that will be far more valuable for a fraction of the price.
submitted by watchinggodbleed to funhaus [link] [comments]

Fallout 4 Lore inconsistencies and the future of Fallout.

Listen, Fallout 4 is pretty much a good game. Ambitious, great atmosphere, pleasant gameplay, nice graphics, big map, etc, etc. I've had good times playing it, great times, even. The exploration is nice, some mods truly add something, the crafting system is well done etc. There are a few problems, sure, like for any other game... But there is a major flaw that cannot be skipped and that makes me wonder about the seriousness of the studio's writing team.
 
We already know the weaknesses of the main storyline and how it falls flat in its core elements (no choice at all, no consequences and forced, awkward emotion moments that didn't work well). Writers are supposed to be familiar with storytelling structures that can avoid these kinds of immersion breaking moments. I'd suggest to read "hero's journey" by Vogler, the various studies from Joseph Campbell or "Story" by Robert Mckee. But beyond the storytelling, we should be worried about the lore breaking elements.
 
Now, what is lore ? (baby don't hurt me) it's a series of facts, an established timeline, a recurring theme and a story structure introduced by the first game. Adding things to them is fine, it's actually what we wish a new episode has. But removing, ignoring or changing these core elements is what makes a lore breaking moment.
 
1 : The Institute is made of the greatest minds of the wasteland Contradiction with : the whole franchise What exactly has the Institute accomplished ?
 
-They say that their motto is « humanity redifined ». Alright. But West Tek made it two centuries before with embedding DNA with FEV, allowing mutation and evolution to happen way, way faster. Even the master's scientists debunked this idea, because humans WERE evolving ultra fast to match the fauna and flora that West Tek infected.
-An synthetic army ? Assaultrons and Securitrons are way deadlier than any of the Institute's synths, they don't show any dysfunctionality like a conscience and they are two centuries old. And still kicking.
-Cyborgs ? It was working perfectly well. Improved lifespan, made people stronger, smarter etc. Shaun cancelled this program for no reason.
-Synths ? The biggest invention of mankind indeed, used as slaves or mediocre soldiers. On the other hand, the big MT acknowledged sentience in synthetic organisms and actually gave life to inanimate objects just because they could.
-Synthetic gorillas in the commonwealth ? Utterly useless.
-Synth children ? A perpetually 10 year old android. Useless.
-Teleportation ? Pretty cool, except that big MT discovered this technology long before the institute and it worked way, way better.
-Weapons ? Which are worse than laser weapons invented two centuries before them.
-Agriculture ? Food replicators were invented two centuries before the events of the game, as per the GECK. And they were powered by portable cold fusion reactors, a technology our real life scientists only dream of while the Institute has trouble paying its energy bills.
-About the energy. The Institute's greatest accomplishment is a 1942 technology : a nuclear reactor.
-FEV ? Cancelled. Despite the fact that FEV turned people into cancer immune organisms two centuries before the events of Fallout 4, where the institute's own president is dying of cancer.
-Bioscience ? They infiltrate farms and that's it. On the other hand, Curie outsmarted the entire Institute by developping a cure for every disease, despite being a mark I Mrs.Nanny whose design was already half a century old by the time the bombs fell. The Shi's bioscience in San Francisco is way better than the Institute, because they actually made a plant that eats radiation and scrubs the land to make it livable. They can make synthetic oil out of seaweed and are on the verge of building their own nuclear reactors.
-Oh, the institute can cure Super Mutants. Great. West Tek already had the same cure back in 2077. In Fallout 1, Zax even says that anyone who keeps a sample of their original DNA can be turned back into a human. In other words, the institute took two centuries to discover something that West Tek figured out in one year.
-The Institute even gets outsmarted by one of their own fellow student, Mr.House, who managed to achieve immortality by himself, with makeshift technology. A technology he intends to sell to the NCR, with whom he makes business.
-Artificial Intelligence ? Invented and sold to the military two centuries ago, as proven by Skynet in the Sierra Army Depot.
 
2 : Jet is presented as a pre-war drug, shipped to vault 95 before it was sealed. Contradiction with : Fallout 2.
In F2, you get to meet Myron, who created the Jet almost two centuries after the apocalypse. He clearly states how he made it (with Brahmin's excrements), how many slaves died during the tests, who ordered the drugs (The Mordinos) and why (to seize control of Redding). "He could have lied, or he could have been inspired by an old drug", would you say. True indeed. However, every chemist is inspired by old drugs at some point. Doesn't mean that the creations share this nature. Also, Myron was a chemist genius, able to build chems at will, and never lied to the player about it. Confronted with his skills or the recipes of chems, you never see him talking nonsense, he actually proves that he has a great knowledge on the production process. "Derivatives of lysergics acid diethylamide and psilocybin" is an actual line from Myron, if your science skill is high enough to talk about chemistry with him.
The boy was also begging you to spare him when you first met him. So he was a coward. So can you imagine him lying to Big Jesus Mordino's face ? Remember how the man has a surprisingly good empathy and actually murders the player, a rough tribal wastelander, at the second he notices chit chat or insolence. Here, this is Myron we talk about. A skinny kid. Finally, the said kid killed between 100 and 200 slaves to get the jet "working". Now, let's do the math.
When you meet Metzger, the ruler of the slaver's guild, he sells Vic for 1000 dollars. An old, crippled, useless repairman. Not a young male tribal warrior in his prime, no, no.
Metzger buys Sulik for 1200 dollars, and pays each slaver 800 dollars for a run. Which means that a man like Sulik must be sold between 4000 and 5000 dollars for Metzger to make a profit. Now, look : the Mordinos, intelligent, drug knowing warlords who wouldn't spend a cap for nothing, bought 100 to 200 slaves so that Myron can kill them, and it's no big deal. Do you think that they would have spent such a fortune if Jet was actually a pre-war drug that any chemist could remake ? Remember how advanced was Myron's lab ? No matter how you put it, Jet is not a pre war drug. Maybe it's inspired by pre war chems, but it's not one of them. And it couldn't possibly be an easy to make drug, as per the Mordinos' investments. It's not a big deal, but when you manage a huge franchise which was defined by its details, you can't just ignore the little things which make the whole hold together.
 
3 : Again, Super Mutants are all idiots (except for Virgil). Contradiction with : Fallout 1, 2, tactics.
First of all, why are super mutants even agressive ? F1, F2, Ftactics' super mutants were agressive because they were brainwashed by the children of the cathedral to see humanity as the enemy. And yet, hundreds of them were already starting to see their errors and integrated themselves into society. FEV doesn't turn people into racists for no reason. Yeah, except Vault 87's for some reason, but F4's super mutants aren't from there. Is there even a reason for them being so aggressive and not simply try to form a society, like all the super mutants who weren't brainwashed ?
Now, about their intelligence. I know that there are three types of super mutants. Now, about their individual intelligence : Most of the first californian super mutants were indeed imbeciles (even though, remember the Lieutenant ? A smart guy, indeed. Still... just a lieutenant, a low ranked officer, if the unity's army followed a traditional chain of command) but most of these died during their wars against the different brotherhood chapters. What remained was the operative core of the Master's army, in which you could find : Marcus, Zaius, Gamorrin, and enough super mutants to actually form Broken Hills. A community ruled by social contract, business, production, diplomacy, justice and even scientific research. Vault City guide for travelers actually states that there are several hundreds of super mutants in town, and from what he see of it, most of them are sociable. Some even form families. They don't look down on Ghouls and they welcome human-ruled private firms, such as caravans and shops.
Even the super mutants warriors of the midwest are actually smart. Brutal, yes, but smart enough to actually enroll in various BoS tactical squads. So, core super mutants are actually able to be pretty smart. Not everyone is soaking rads, in Fallout, and finding relatively unaffected people shouldn't be too much of a problem anyway. Some would say "hey ! Wasn't Fallout 1's main quest revolving around the fact that the Master couldn't raise smart mutants ?" Well, people, that's actually more open to interpretations than most believe. Now, I'm not saying that my perception is the good one, but it leads to a conclusion we can all agree on.
First of all, the Master was well aware that the FEV wouldn't necesseraly turn vault residents into super mutants. Sorry, Vault 87, but we sometimes forget that the Master had already made a dipping with a previous vault 13's vault dweller named Talius, and it turned him into an Harold like monster, not a super mutant. As for the rest, the master only talks about creating a "master race" through "unity", but he never actually specifies "super mutants". For all we know, he could be indeed referring to super mutants... Or to himself, as the first member of this race, hence his nickname. He is definetely a superior being, judging by his psychic abilities he obtained thanks to what ? Unity. The very precise word for the process he intends to use. In other words, the intelligence of the super mutants may have been a big issue, true, but it wasn't much of an issue when you take the Master's plans, the actual composition of his army and broken hills population in account. So that's why only seeing dumb mutants is not only unoriginal, it could actually be lore breaking.
What about the Institute's ? They are all dumbs.
What about Vault 87's ? They are all dumbs.
As for the institute super mutants, they are also lore breaking. The institute is supposed to be smart. Yet, they'd release their own creatures, potentially aware of the location of the secret base, run free and try to overrun Diamond City ? What if they actually succeeded ? The whole institute's plan would fall flat. Such stupidity from the "most brilliant minds" is, by itself, lore breaking.
 
4 : why is Sanctuary empty ? People live litteraly minutes away from Sanctuary, living in shacks, exposed to danger. Someone built a workshop in Sanctuary some time ago, yet nobody built anything there for more than two centuries. How does that makes any sense?
 
5 : The institute's main defense is its position and its secrecy. It's an enclave far under the surface, with no enter, no exit. You can only enter via teleportation. Contradiction with : Fallout 4 itself.
 
Well, the institute is inside the Massachusetts INSTITUTE of technology. Any raider who isn't dumbed by chems would have guessed the location in a matter of hours (as a matter of fact, I didn't understand that people did not know the location of their boogeyman for more than sixty years. I only had to watch the trailer to link the Institute with the MIT and I'm neither American nor particulary smart. I have a very abstract idea of the place and yet, it was enough to find the link before the trailer even ended. And the whole commonwealth, dealing with the Institute for half a century, couldn't make that educated guess ? Come on !)
 
All it takes to get in is a hole in the ground and remember : super mutants and raiders have fat mans. A couple of MedX before getting into the sewers' tunnels could also do the trick. So, I'm all for the suspension of disbelief. Maybe I could imagine that people didn't find the institute for a year, maybe five if they have other problems to deal with in priority. But we are talking about sixty years, here. Sixty years after the Institute litteraly made an act of war towards the whole commonwealth, at the provisional government incident. "Wait, no ! The institute couldn't be found at the MIT" would say the scavengers. True indeed. But they sealed the undeground entrances of one of the most advanced technological places of the area. In a matter of only a few months, dozen of scavengers would raise red flags, as they'd realize that something about this Institute's last known place is wrong. "These scavengers could be replaced by synths and tell everyone that everything is fine". Good point indeed... but let's look at the chronology, and we'll come to the conclusion that the scavengers would have been there decades before a gen3 synth prototype even gets made. So, there is an obvious problem, here.
 
May I remind you that this happens 30 years before the brotherhood of steel sends a whole chapter to protect a DJ and a water purifier machine which is not needed, and which doesn't work yet. And yet, the Institute operates almost right in the open, completely safe. It may sound like poor writing, but it's actually conflicting with the game's own lore, which presents them as a dark, powerful and smart threat.
 
Also, they kidnap people in secret, right ? Acting in the shadows and all that. Now, tell me. Which NPC doesn't actually know about the kidnappings ? Everyone's aware. The "broken mask" incident happened 58 years before the story begins, and at this point, the Institute had already declared war on the commonwealth by killing its representatives. Funny how people went "meh" and agreed to leave them in peace. Now, let's be honest : the institute may be the boogeyman, but it is neither secretive, nor protective. They are basically wreckless, awkward Hubologists flexing their muscle to the whole country, telling "come at me, bro!" to any faction actually able to destroy them without a sweat. Which actually happens and did not require more than 10 minutemen. Really, any mercenary organisation could have get the job done.
 
 
6 : Why does Virgil hides in the glowing sea ?
Virgil, despite being a cool and interesting character, hides in the glowing sea in order to make sure that the institute won't go after him. Except that robots, Gen1 and gen2 Synths are immune to radiation, as per Valentine's comments on the glowing sea and as per Codsworth's chit chat about radiations.
Yeah, there are dangerous predators in the glowing sea.
Predators.
Predators attack in order to eat. Tell me again which part of a full metal and plastic robot can be eaten ?
Let's remember that in Fallout's universe, synthetic organisms use vacuum tubes instead of micro-transistors, which makes them more resistant to EMPs. So, the glowing sea is probably the worst place to hide from a robotic army, because it's the only place where they can actually deal with their business without raising any suspicion anywhere. The fact that Virgil is still in the commonwealth makes sense for the gameplay, but storywise, it makes no sense.
 
7 : The base money is caps. Contradiction with : Fallout 2. Caps were only used during the first years after the war, as "farmer's money", as a currency indexed on the water value : one cap = one bottle of water. Yeah, yeah, I know, caps were on the west coast, Fallout 4 takes place in the east coast, things can be different etc. I know, bear with me :
Diamond City is a trading hub, which means that there are caravans stopping by. Caravans from places where there are other currencies (their diversity is quite well established in all the previous titles) These caravan employers want their share on the transactions, for obvious reasons. And by share, I don't mean barter of goods, I mean cash. Money. So, for Diamond City to actually exist as a city, there needs to be an exchange currency, aka, a bank. Baseball cards, game tickets, printed money... PRINTED money ? Now, that would give Piper way more importance, given the fact that she holds the printing machine. Her conflict with the mayor would have another dimension, as we'd witness not only a clash of convictions, but of pure, raw, political power. The game actually tries to take that direction, but falls flat on it. And here's a perfect example of a current, in-game dramatic situation that would have been greatly enhanced by a more serious approach on the established lore. Realism wouldn't change the current setting and drama, it would actually enhance it.
 
« No, no, you can't touch caps, they are a part to Fallout's identity » some might say. Wrong. Fallout 1 may had caps, but Fallout 2 had NCR Dollars backed on Redding's gold, issued by the Republic Reserve located in Angel's Boneyard. Mining communities use mine scrips. The Mojave accepts another currency, the Sunset Sasparilla caps. The whole midwest tribes uses ring pulls and Brotherhood printed scrips. The Legion's turf, which is insanely huge, uses Denarius and Aureus.
How exactly does it make sense for the east coast to use a Californian money abandonned since almost a century, and was backed by water in an arid environment, especially considering that there are six other kind of currencies between the HUB and the Commonwealth ? Considering that there is water EVERYWHERE in the commonwealth, and yet, caps have the exact same value as thousands of miles away, where it was used in an arid, desertic setting a century ago. Now, how long after the black plague did the European banks started to make loans and make money, again ?
 
Fallout's lore established a realistic economy, as part of its main thematic : "how do new societies deal with the errors of the past ?" removing any part of that, even for fun, nostalgia or fanservice, is removing a part of the central thematic. In other words, it's breaking the lore. There are numerous ways to keep the lore up and kicking, yet still inventing new, original concepts. Among them, let's imagine... I don't know, let's imagine that the BoS wishes to extend his power through political and economical management. They'd basically turn into medieval templars (the bank templars, not the assassin's creed gymnasts), which would be as lore friendly as original. After all, they control the water purifier, and for many years, the currency was indexed on the water prices. What if they tried to extend that currency to the commonwealth, and encounter a suspiciously lawless state, with a shadow government opposing this new foreign currency ? Wouldn't that be the first hint of the institute's motives ? Wouldn't this economical takeover be a way to enhance the actual, current arrival of the Prydwen ? When you know that the BoS not only comes for the institute, but also to implement their power in this new land, that's double the intimidation potential of the scene.
Listen, I'm a random idiot, not a writer. And here are already two basic ideas to justify an economical situation that would fit the lore and the current storyline. Any competent writer could find dozens of other, better scenarios. And as proven, realism and lore fidelity wouldn't require to rewrite the game from scratch. It can enhance the current storyline and setting, which is actually good and wouldn't need a lot of duct tape to actually hold still.
 
8 : The institute's goals are... er... incoherent at most.
-Build a better future, underground, and be left in peace. But when a synth goes rogue, the Institute sends a courser who straight up murders entire platoons of gunners in plain sight instead of trying subtelty and stealth. That's one way to draw attention on the institute by merc groups powerful enough to have their own fleet of vertibirds, and who have their HQ only a few miles away. They also want to be a part of the politics of the commonwealth by infiltrating Diamond City. They also infiltrate Sanctuary for no reason.
-Help humanity with synths, admitting that they feel emotions, trying hard to make them closer to humans and having father considering synth Shaun as a « person ». But also stating that they are only soulless machines incapable of free will, despite having an entire BUREAU dedicated to track down the Synths who DECIDED to betray the Institute. Alright then.
-Saving humanity while stating that it is doomed and deserves to disappear. Stating that the surface will eventually die out (why exactly would it disappear ? There's zero evidence pointing that the surface population is declining. There are farms, settlements, children. People are rebuilding. Unless a plague or another nuclear incident happens, the surface will eventually be fully populated again. We don't know why Shaun thinks the contrary.)
-Redefining humanity... while cancelling the Cyborg program, which actually redefined humanity pretty well.
-Work peacefully with the surface. Right. This is probably why they sent a malfunctioning Synth to represent their interests at the most important political meeting of the commonwealth, which ended in a massacre by their fault.
 
9 : The institute doesn't rule the Commonwealth and manages to lose against the Minutemen/Brotherhood/Railroad. Contradiction with : itself. You know that gen3 Synths were available since 58 years? From what we know and see from the institute, let's do the math. They can make, let's say, 20 synths per day, considering their power restrictions. Let's think wide and imagine that there is a 20% margin of non work days. The Institute would have, exactly 338 720 fully operational gen3 synths during the events of Fallout 4. Now, we all know it's impossible. That's enough to fill the ranks of most of modern countries's armies. Plus, the institute gets defeated by Ewok... cough, cough, Minutemen/Railroad/BOS, which, well, couldn't possibly defeat such a wide army. So, this leaves room for only one conclusion : somebody messed up its own lore when providing the dates, numbers and objectives of the institute. As presented in the game, the Institute could have overrun the entire continent in a matter of decades without much problem.
 
10 : Shaun has cancer. Contradiction with : Fallout 1, New Vegas & Fallout 4. At this point, Shaun is basically a CEO of a meds industry who refuses to get vaccines because the voices in his head told him not to. In Fallout 1, we learn that the Super Mutants are immune to cancer, thanks to their regenerative cells. It is actually a VERY important point in the Fallout universe, since it's one of the reasons why the master actually considers his army worthy of conquering the world, despite the intelligence issue of a lot of them. That was a century before Fallout 4. The institute grows its own super mutants, which means that, just like Richard Moreau before them, they hold the "vaccine to cancer" in their labs. You won't make me believe that the Institute's leader suffers from Cancer with that. Also, remember, folks : Mr.House was an institute student. Not its president, but a regular student. Before he turned 30, two centuries before F4, he had already unlocked the secret to immortality. He maintained it with the raw power of useless, worthless money, inapt robots and stupid tribes. And Shaun, the boss of the INSTITUTE, a transhumanist through and through, is dying from a cell boo-boo ? I don't buy it. It doesn't fit in the continuity. Finally, let's not forget Kellogg. He's not the Institute's president, he's a replacable thug. Yet, 150 years and still kicking, thanks to the institute's technology. Three times, Fallout 4's lore contradict itself. This is a problem.
 
11 : The Californian Brotherhood of steel approved Maxson's rise to power. Contradiction with : fallout bible, Fallout 2, Van Buren, Fallout New Vegas. When Fallout 4 takes place, the Californian Brotherhood doesn't "exist" anymore. It has been annhilated, smashed, destroyed, and everything in between... NCR kicked them when they were down, just like John Wayne would have done. The BoS is currently making a last stand to defend Maxson's State underground, and are getting ready to face the invasion of the NCR force, that CANNOT lose at this point. Even the Mojave Chapter cannot get in touch with HQ, so how would the elders approve Maxson's rise to power ?
 
12 : Liberty Prime liberated Anchorage, if we believe Cambridge's robots. Contradiction with : Fallout 3. Liberty Prime wasn't even completed when the battle of Anchorage happened. It has never been deployed on the battlefield until the events of Fallout 3. But yeah, robots could be spreading propaganda. Point taken.
 
13 : The BOS blows up the Institute. Contradiction with : all of Fallout's lore. Now, let's imagine a medieval knight. Brotherhood soldiers are basically that, in sci fi.
Would a knight kill a heretic holding the Graal ? Sure.
So, the BOS would destroy the members of the institute and their synths.
But then, would the knight melt the Graal and pretend he did some good work ? Hell no!
So why would the BOS nuke their Graal, their cathedral, their biggest resource of technology (something that they actually worship and swear to PROTECT) ?
Just look at all the technology inside the Institute. Microscopes. Bulletproof glass. Speakers and security cameras. LED lights. Automated doors which suggests the presence of pneumatic or hydraulic engines. A functional nuclear reactor. Computers. Digging machines somewhere. Humidifiers. Carbon filters in the ventilation systems. Functional coffee machines. Thousands of energy cells used by the synths which would be VERY usefl for the brotherhood soldiers in constant needs of supplies. Ovens, microwaves, circuit boards, wielding machines, washing machines, industrial arms, UV lamps to grow food underground. Water purifiers. Whatever technology used to make synthetic food.
« The brotherhood doesn't care about post war technologies », you might say. Except that they totally are pre war technology. 75% of the institute's gizmoes exist in our real world, including the nuclear reactor. Also, nobody ever said that the Brotherhood only focuses on pre war technology. Ever. It's a common myth backed by litteraly nobody in the games. Sure, they MOSTLY hoard pre war tech in order to preserve it, but they never limited themselves to that. Every single Fallout title shows the brotherhood having interest in post war tech.
In Fallout 1, the brotherhood clearly uses weapons manufactured by the gun runners, such as the ripper. Doctor Lorri enhances soldiers with bionic implants, turning them into cyborgs, which are clearly post war technology.
In Fallout 2, the brotherhood asks you to find the blueprints of vertibirds so that they can make their own. Vertibirds are post war technology. The chapter also uses ACE, which is an artificial intelligence who became self aware after the war.
In Fallout tactics, Paladin Dos is a cyborg. Post war technology. Several endings of Fallout tactics feature the brotherhood relying on an self aware AI to establish themselves in the midwest. These endings are noncanonical, sure, but still.
In Fallout 3, the Citadel's terminals mention the lead scribe building a post war technology called an « Accelerated Vector Fusion module » to take control of Liberty Prime's artificial intelligence.
In Fallout 4, the Prydwen itself is a post war technology and it serves as the brotherhood HQ. And Proctor Ingram uses bionic implants to cope with the loss of her legs.
Remind me again : what use do the BOS scribes have ? Studying the ashes left behind by the paladins ? Fallout 4's writer seems to think that the answer is yes.
 
14 : There's the Enclave armor in the wild, untouched for centuries and rusty : Contradiction with : Fallout 2 The Enclave Armor was developped by the Enclave on the Poseidon Oil Rig AFTER the war and would have NEVER found its way in this basement. Ever. Also... Is that rust on it ? But... But the X-01 is made of advanced polywers and not of METAL, which makes it lighter than its counterparts.
 
15 : The synths uprising There's a problem with the synths. I'm told that they may be preparing an uprising. This is a problem... Except that it's not. At all. The institute has speakers and synths can be desactivated using a safe word. An uprising would be dealt with in a matter of one minute, by shutting down the synths. I don't even see why this element is treated as a threat.
 
16 : A ghoul stays locked in a fridge for two centuries, without food or water. Contradiction with : every fallout. If radiation is all it takes to keep a Ghoul kicking, then why did Necropolis Ghouls died of thirst if you took their water chip, in Fallout 1 ? This is a major, important plot element of the story, since it defines the hero's journey as morally grey, as communities are ruined to save vault 13. Why do Harland in New Vegas clearly states that he had to eat radroaches and drink water from the condensation on the pipes not to die of hunger and thirst ? Why do Slog Ghouls even grow food ? For money ? Come on. They are so broke they can't even pay attention.
 
17 : Ghouls can run/charge. Contradiction with : Fallout 1 and 2. In Fallout's lore, there are three « races » of Ghouls : Crazies, Scavengers and Mindless Ones. The only ones who went feral were the Mindless Ones or "Zombies" and they were frail, they were few, slow, they were weak and the only place I remember ever seeing them was around Necropolis. I don't even remember seeing any in Fallout 2. Why's that? Cause they've long since died off. Why? Darwinism, that's why. Survival of the fittest. And they disappeared while being protected by the crazies and scavengers, because they knew they needed protection and couldn't survive on their own longer than a single generation.
A single charge, and they'd break their legs. For how long would they be crippled ? All their life. So, logically, they don't run. It's actually a pretty important plot element in Fallout 2, as demonstrated by Lenny.
He, a medic ghoul (not a redneck zombie but an educated doctor) clearly states that Ghouls can't run. This is actually why he feels so sorry for himself and joins Fallout 2's hero, as an atonement act : he couldn't run after the hero's ancestor and help him with his quest. FO1 and 2 made a big deal of showing that Ghouls are easily scared by danger and stay away from trouble because of their fragility... they have advanced atrophy and a skeletal structure that is quite bad at even holding things in place - as we learn from the dialogue in FO2 talking with Harold, and in Fallout Tactics dialogs with the Ghouls who seek the protection of the Midwest Brotherhood of Steel. The bravest Ghouls actually enlist in the brotherhood ranks, but their agility is limited to six points and they can't run. They can only do an awkward, twisted trot.
In Fallout 4, Ferals are rotting corpses who have survived 200 years in a hostile/racist environment, without any protection, some of them without even eating anything, and they are able to run faster than humans, LITTERALY avoid bullets, charge and inflict massive damages. You can see the problem here.
 
18 : There are super mutants at Boston. Contradiction with : all fallouts. Fallout 1 ends with the destruction of the FEV base, which was used to create mutants... And let me tell this again : pure, raw FEV doesn't produce super mutants, but monsters like Harold or the master. To engineer Super Mutants, the greatest mind of the wasteland had to grow psychic powers, unite itself with a computer and spend years of failures before even making his first super mutant. The destruction of his labs mean only one thing : that this knowledge is lost, possibly forever. There isn't a single plausible, lore-friendly scenario that explains how dumby dumb super mutants could create new soldiers on their own. Fallout 2, which happens many decades after, actually confirms that the super mutants are almost all dead. Fallout Tactics sees the midwest brotherhood stop the lat Super Mutants wave pretty easily. Depending on the ending, they end up enlisting for the Brotherhood of steel or exterminated in camps. Fallout 3 ends with the Brotherhood seizing Washington D.C., Liberty Prime, Enclave technology and choppers. If there are still super mutants in the perimeter six months after that (logically, there shouldn't have been any in the first place, but well), then it would mean that the Brotherhood has officially retreated from the east coast. Which it hasn't.
 
19 : Piper leaves her business Contradiction with : common freaking sense I get ready to search for this Valentine guy when Piper says that she wants to travel with me. Unsollicited. Out of nowhere. Ready to abandon her only family and her business to travel with a stranger, just after the mayor threatened her sister and said that her printing machine would be scrapped for parts. He even tries to literally kill her just a few minutes before that, by leaving her exposed to raiders, radiations and super mutants and denying her entry to safety. I mean... What if he actually closes the press ? Piper loses her business, her family and her home. For what ? Travelling with a random stranger, hoping to witness events for her journal which no longer exists ?
 
20 : Robots have personalities. Contradiction with : all fallout games. Speaking about Codsworth, why does he has a conscience ? Listen, I love codsworth just as the next guy. He's a really cool character, probably one of my favorite. I wouldn't mind if he was a broken toaster randomly blattering nonsense and movie quotes like he did in the pre war intro. But it's one thing to have a personable toaster. It's a different matter all together when my toaster starts to pass moral judgments, like when Codsworth « Likes » or « dislikes » my actions or start crying about his boredom, developing loyalty towards Paladin Danse or expressing grief for my family. Or even straight up hating me.
Listen, he's a prewar domestic robot, made available to the middle class. He's not exactly the definition of an advanced, military AI, right ? Well, that's a shame, because military AIs are the only ones who developed a personality, in Fallout's history, and this process only took place years AFTER the war. And let's look at them : they're huge. We are talking about a building sized terminal using a ridiculously powerful CPU to even function. If an IA needs to move, it needs a human brain to do so. A human brain. You know, a CPU so powerful that even our own engineers cannot even imagine a computer that would come close to it.
These intelligent machines are ZAX 1.2, a huge computer located in the glow who plays chess with himself. There is Skynet in the Sierra Army Depot, whose personality is very cold and limited. There are the robobrains and the Think Tank variants, who use human brains to feel emotions. And there's John Henry Eden in Fallout 3. And that's it. These are the only machines with a personality in the entire Fallout universe. Even the calculator, which is the most advanced robot of the whole pre war era, has the mind of an excel sheet.
And yet, a domestic, cheap robot, has developed WAY more sentience and personality than anyone of these artificial intelligence. Does Codsworth use a human brain ? No. Does his CPU has the size of a building ? No. Does his OS is as advanced as a military IA ? No. Then how has he become sentient enough to develop a moral compass and emotions ?
« Eyebots » were sentient too, you may say. Remember how Ed-E showed grief in Lonesome Road everytime you mention its creator. True enough. And true, eyebots were indeed a pre-war invention. But Ed-E was a post-war prototype, which, unlike its little floating comrades, was built using transistors, a technology that didn't exist when Codsworth was made, and the very POST WAR engineers were ASTONISHED at Ed-E having a personality. Which means that even the greatest minds of the post war Enclave viewed an intelligent robot as something rare, extraordinary and unexpected. How to explain that, if a domestic, cheap butler was way more « sentient » than Ed-E before the war ?
 
21 : the Institute needed pure DNA Is Shaun's DNA pure ? Hell no. The boy was in his mother's arms, in sight of a freaking nuclear explosion before he was frozen. Now, let's remind us of some basic notions of physics : gamma radiations travel at the speed of light. At the very second you see the flash of a nuclear bomb, your body is ALREADY bathing in Gamma Radiations, which are responsible for causing DNA mutations. So, if anything, Shaun is more irradiated than most of the survivors who managed to hide underground when the bomb exploded. Especially when you see the glowing sea and realize how dirty this bomb was. And let's not forget that Shaun was fed by a robot powered by an atomic battery, who regulary changed his diaper and made his food, mostly made with highly dangerous isotopes. The whole thing, surrounded by nuclear cars. The whole thing, while being born from a guy who was on the front of a war that used massive chemical weapons, fat mans etc. Too bad for the Institute's experiments, I guess.
 
22 : Synth can't remember the Institute, because security protocols wipe these memory out. Sure thing. Except for Glory, right ? She remembers the Institute very well. Except for Harkness, too ? You just have to tell him he's a Synth to remember everything about his past. Now, you're telling me than in sixty years, not a single synth was captured and tortured to give the Institute's location ?
submitted by oraclexeon to fo4 [link] [comments]

Letter to My Dad about Russiagate

Dear Dad,
You are the person who made me into a progressive. We’ve had rich talks about politics since I was a teen, and I love you for that. Right now, though, we see things differently viz. Trump and Russiagate. I understand and respect your thinking on all this, but I feel like I need to carefully write down my own thoughts to give you my perspective. Please pardon typos or factual inaccuracies (which are hopefully minor).
I’ll start with the leaks that have come out since Comey’s firing. They suggest that: (1) Comey was tightening the noose with the Russia investigation (this is possibly true, but the “noose” is more likely around Flynn, Manafort and/or Page, not Trump); (2) Comey was seeking money from Congress to expand the Russia investigation (apparently the Justice Department now says this was NOT the case); (3) Trump was furious with Comey for his Congressional testimony about being “mildly nauseous” about tipping the election to Trump; (4) Trump was also furious with Comey for not making a serious investigation of the leaks that have undermined him, and instead putting the Russia investigation first.
None of it proves that Trump is in Putin’s pocket (you and I agree on this). It’s political theater. Trump certainly looks like he fired Comey to impede the Russia investigation, but there’s no evidence of that. He had other reasons to fire Comey.
Be that as it may, what I want to point out is that the people at the center of the swirl, Flynn, Manafort, and Page—shady characters all—are only symptoms of a much larger problem that festers in our party, too. They are being made into scapegoats, if you will. Our media and Democratic leaders portray them as sui generis examples of “treason,” when more likely they are just representative of a rampant corruption that has nothing specifically to do with Russia or even Trump.
First, let me rehearse my understanding of the charges against Flynn: (1) he allegedly spoke about Obama’s sanctions in his phone call with the Russian ambassador in December, before Trump took office, presumably telling the ambassador that he would see to it that sanctions were lifted. Perhaps, too, he was stupid enough to thank the ambassador for Russian hacking, or perhaps said he didn’t give a damn about the hacking allegations and that he’d advise Trump not to investigate; (2) he took $45,000 from Russia to attend an RT event, where he sat at a table with Putin; (3) he did not properly register as a representative/agent of a foreign government (Russia and Turkey both).
According to Sally Yates, former acting attorney general, whom the NSA supplied with a transcript of Flynn’s call, Russia could have used Flynn’s words to blackmail him. I don’t see it. Whatever Flynn said viz. Russia and sanctions was probably technically illegal, since he wasn’t yet part of the administration, but not treasonous, nor vulnerable to blackmail. My guess is that Yates was legally and factually correct in her actions and assumptions (except for the blackmail part), but prosecutorial in her representations of them. I could be wrong ... Flynn might have said something even more egregious. He does seem to be the biggest fool in the administration apart from Bannon and Trump himself. Nevertheless, I reserve judgment until the facts are available.
As for the charges against Paul Manafort and Carter Page: Page was supposedly recruited by Russia agents … this came out in a court case in 2013 in which Page was called to testify. Page was never charged with wrongdoing, but did have Russian friends, and was a pro-Russia lobbyist, basically. Page, like Flynn, it seems, should have registered as a representative/agent of a foreign government, but didn’t. He technically violated the law, but was he actually in Russia’s pay to act as a secret agent? I haven’t heard any evidence of that, though maybe the FBI has turned up some. Still, he is small potatoes. At best he could have advised the Trump administration to be friendly toward Russia. He had no power.
Manafort had been head of a Ppolitical agency working with Ukraine’s pro-Russian president. He, too, should have registered as a representative/agent of a foreign government, but didn’t. But was he in Russia’s pay to do Putin’s secret bidding? So far, there’s no evidence of that, though again, perhaps the FBI has turned up something. More likely, Manafort simply had business ties to Russia and was more than willing to push the administration to favor Russia, but wasn’t an actual spy. Or, maybe the lines between being a spy and being someone who is pro-Russian, and who does business with Russians, is so blurry that it’s impossible to tell the difference. In the present state of things, however, the blurriness might well be replaced by accusations of treason, just like in the McCarthy era.
My question to the U.S. media and powers-that-be would be: is it unheard of, until now, for powerful people in government and/or industry to work on a contractual basis for foreign governments and/or take money for services, e.g., speaking at an event in that country? (The Clintons certainly come to mind in this regard). Is it unheard of, until now, for foreign governments to curry favor with U.S. political and financial elites by paying them for services, or by paying them to serve in a public relations capacity? Is it unusual, until now, for our own U.S. corporations to curry favor, moreover, with U.S. elites or with foreign elites in these very same ways?
I doubt that any of it is unheard of, or even rare. It’s wrong and unethical, but my guess is that such behavior only comes to light when someone is very very mad about a “stolen election.” At other times, it goes under the media’s radar, mostly. In fact even, now, most of it is going under the radar. In focusing narrowly on a Russia-Trump scandal, our media fails to give us a fuller view of the corruption endemic to our system, of which Flynn, Page, and Manafort are minor examples.
I’ll point out that the press did almost no investigation into ties between the Clinton campaign and staff members affiliated with, say, Ukraine, or Israel (though we did get a smattering of reporting on nations like Saudi Arabia and Norway that contributed to the Clinton Foundation specifically to curry favor). Are we therefore to assume that powerful Israelis, and/or the Israeli government, or powerful Saudis, do not curry favor with powerful Americans in the same way that the Russians do? Do powerful Ukrainians, and/or the Ukrainian government, not curry favor with powerful Americans—including people in Clinton’s campaign—the same way the Russians do? Maybe not. But can we say definitively no, they don’t? Or can we only say that journalists and the FBI haven’t investigated these ties, though they have investigated ties between Trump people and Russians due to the current climate of anger at Russia’s alleged election interference? (By the way, what ever happened to the FBI’s supposed investigation into the Clinton Foundation … the press barely mentioned it during the campaign, and hasn’t mentioned it since the election at all, so far as I know.)
Manafort, Page, and Flynn may well have broken the law by not registering as spokesmen/agents for a foreign nation, but the same can probably be said for dozens or hundreds of others who never get investigated. Not to mention the fact that American politics is organized around legalized bribery by American corporations that hire former “public servants” as lobbyists, or pay them for giving speeches, etc. etc. Is Flynn’s taking $45,000 to speak at an RT event qualitatively different from Hillary Clinton taking hundreds of thousands from Wall Street to give speeches? Or Bill Clinton taking huge payments to give speeches in foreign nations, when his wife was planning to run for president? And what about the hundreds of millions of dollars that pro-Israel Americans put into presidential, Senate, and House campaigns specifically in order to elect leaders favorable to Israel (Hillary Clinton is today dining with Haim Saban, her biggest donor, I believe, who said something like “I’m a single issue guy, and my issue is Israel”)? Are those donors not working on behalf of a foreign government? Such contributions, I might add, dwarf any remuneration Russia has given to its alleged operatives associated with Trump.
On Deep State: Some reporters and Democrats are now telling us that “there is no Deep State”; there’s only Trump paranoia, or left-wing paranoia, causing us to imagine one. The CIA, NSA, and FBI happily work for the American people, we are told. Those agencies don’t pursue their own agendas over and above the agendas of elected officials. Thus we have no reason to be suspicious of our intelligence agencies’ assertion that Russia interfered in the election, or that Trump administration underlings were/are working on behalf of Putin. And yet there is a Deep State, and we have many examples of it. For one: James Clapper, the former head of the NSA, lied to Congress in 2013 testimony about the nature of the NSA’s data collection programs, telling Congress that the NSA does not gather data from U.S. citizens. Part of what Edward Snowden leaked proved that Clapper had been telling a lie—the NSA was indeed collecting massive data from U.S. citizens—but no action was taken against Clapper (in fact, he was promoted). The CIA, moreover, has a long and documented history of lying to Congress and the American public, stretching from the Bay of Pigs to the present. Glenn Greenwald at has a fine article detailing the numerous instances of the CIA and/or NSA lying to the public over the past four decades. https://theintercept.com/2016/12/10/anonymous-leaks-to-the-washpost-about-the-cias-russia-beliefs-are-no-substitute-for-evidence/
Snowden’s reward for his whistleblowing was exile in Russia. The CIA and its allies (McCain, Graham, etc.) have meanwhile tarred him as a Russian agent. They are now trying to shut down Assange and Wikileaks (the Trump administration itself is doing this, partly no doubt to respond to the Russia-done-it hysteria). How very convenient for Deep State that Democrats—traditionally defenders of civil liberties, free speech, and whistleblowers—are now frothing at the mouth to jail Assange, and Snowden, too, if they get the chance (and what a wonderful legal precedent they’ll set for any journalist who leaks information damaging to Deep State in the future). By the way, the case for Snowden being a Russian agent is based on a debunked story about his time at a Hong Kong hotel, where he turned over his information and allowed himself to be interviewed by American journalists. Supposedly there was a multi-day period that was unaccounted for, during which time he was huddled with Russian operatives. The Intercept and others have debunked that story, but NSA/CIA and their water-carriers are still telling people, without evidence, that Snowden was a Russian spy.
Both the CIA and NSA meanwhile are deeply invested in protecting Ukraine and the Baltic states from Russia. Both agencies are also deeply invested in protecting the EU from Russian “interference.” Both agencies have deep and profound ties to NATO, which has itself been long dedicated to isolating Russia from the rest of Europe. The CIA, if not the NSA, meanwhile has a long history of interfering in elections in other nations—including European nations—whether through mere propaganda, or “fake news,” or through actual coups (among the most recent being the overthrow of the elected, pro-Russian president of Ukraine in 2014. I’m not sure what role the CIA played, but the State Department did approve the coup and helped organize the new government). CIA and NSA high-ups will presumably work against any U.S. administration sympathetic to Russia’s attempts to control—or even influence—Ukraine or the Baltic. In short, the Democrats who claim “there is no Deep State” are fooling themselves. There is a Deep State, and it can and does work against elected U.S. leaders when it perceives itself and its goals threatened.
Regarding a question that both of us wonder about: Do we know for certain that Russia hacked DNC and Podesta documents/emails and fed them to Wikileaks?
The “evidence” given to the American public shows that (1) the hackers had IP addresses correlating with Moscow’s time zone (a time zone that also includes Ukraine and Israel, among other nations); (2) that one of the hackers left behind the “signature” of the founder of one of Russia’s modern intelligence agency (why would a Russian hacker do that? Seems highly unlikely); (3) that the hackers seem to have worked during normal Russian business hours (which of course would be normal Ukraine and normal Israeli business hours, too. Moreover, would real Russian hackers, who presumably don’t want to be discovered, work only during normal business hours?); (4) that the hackers used tools and IP addresses associated with “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear,” which are simply names invented by an American cybersecurity firm (CrowdStryke) to identify specific hacking patterns, as revealed by IP addresses, hacking tools, and targets (in other words, the actual hackers … or who they work for … is unknown, though the larger pattern of WHO they hack seems to suggest that they work for Russia. On the other hand, experts have suggested that those same hacking patterns could suggest that they work for other organizations, too).
The problem is that CrowdStryke, like other cybersecurity firms, works backwards in its investigations, first determining the probable malefactor, then seeking evidence to prove the malefactor guilty. Too, since CrowdStryke was the only organization that investigated the DNC servers, we have only their word to go on. In other words, whatever information the government put forward in its public report did not come from its own investigation of DNC servers, but came from CrowdStryke. Behind that information lies whatever secret, classified information that the NSA and CIA have collected, but the public can’t assess that information unless it’s declassified. The NSA, I should add, does apparently have the power to track hacking on its own—without actually investigating the hacked server—but still presumably can be duped by false IP addresses, etc. Too, the official report issued by the Obama administration to prove Russian guilt included no contrarian facts or arguments, even though plenty of cybersecurity experts have posited both. The mainstream media, however, is so certain that Deep State is telling the truth that they don’t bother to investigate contrary theories. They don’t take them seriously. Not only is this because they trust Deep State, but it’s also because they were deeply attached to Clinton’s candidacy, deeply angered that she lost, and angered still further by Trump’s attacks on the media. Instead of doing their job like Edward Murrow, we have people like Maddow mimicking Glenn Beck in putting forward vast conspiracy theories. Some of those theories even insist, without a shred of evidence, that the Russians are assassinating people to keep the full hacking story from coming out.
I should add that I do NOT think Deep State is out-and-out lying or conspiring to hide the truth. I think they believe Russia did it. But their longstanding and deeply held political biases might well cloud their judgment. At the least, the U.S. needs a special commission comprised of experts without any axe to grind who can assess the data and give the public its opinion of whether our intelligence agencies are correct. Bill Moyers said just that when the Russia story broke, but it fell on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post has put a new motto on its masthead, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” which is pompous and fatuous, and false, given WaPo’s eagerness to print PropOrNot’s McCarthyite crap unfiltered (more on this later), not to mention the false story about Russians hacking Vermont’s grid, not to mention WaPo’s publication of 16 anti-Sanders stories in a 24-hour period during the primaries. I suppose it’s true that Democracy Dies in Darkness, but who’s creating the darkness?
Getting back to the hacking: Can a hacker use an IP address from another nation? Yes, this is easy. They simply hack a computer in another time zone/nation and use it as a robot. This is done constantly as a way to throw off cybersecurity. Can a hacker emulate another hacking group’s pattern? Yes. In particular, a state-sponsored hacker would have the ability to do that.
Were the hacking tools used to gain access to DNC emails available to non-Russian state hackers? Yes, once hackers use a specific tool, it gets released into the larger cyber world. It can get replicated and made available for “open source” upload (which is precisely what happened in this case). Moreover, the tool used by Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear was NOT a modern version. The tool had been updated many times (new versions created), yet these supposedly elite Russian hackers used an old version for some odd and unexplained reason. As for the Podesta emails, the hackers simply used a phishing scam (in other words, they sent an email to Podesta that posed as something official, and which asked him to supply his login and password. He was fooled, and complied, partly because one of his own staff confirmed to him, mistakenly, that the email was authentic and not a scam. The staff member says he accidentally typed “authentic” instead of “inauthentic,” and is now deeply embarrassed by his typo, of course. Phishing scams are ubiquitous. I get phishing emails every single day (which I ignore, or which our own institution’s cybersecurity people catch before they get to my inbox). Phishing is not something that only a Deep State Russian actor can do.
By the way, Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear supposedly represent the two different Russian spy agencies, GRU and FSB (I think it’s FSB). From everything I can glean, U.S. intelligence was not in the least surprised that they hacked into the DNC and/or Podesta. Our intelligence agencies do the same stuff, and do it all the time. Every intelligence agency in the developed world does this. The surprise was that the hackers fed their trove to Wikileaks. The problem is, even if the U.S. can conclusively determine that Russians did the hacking, they can’t be sure that other agencies didn’t also hack the same documents, and that Russians were for certain the actors who supplied Wikileaks. Others have pointed out, moreover, that Russia would be unlikely to give documents to Wikileaks, given that Clinton was overwhelming favored in the election. They surely knew that the U.S. would track the hacks, or try to do so. Why take the risk that Clinton, once president, would even be more anti-Russia and more pro-Ukraine than she already was?
Finally, the Obama administration announced that “all 17” U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that the Russians had hacked the DNC and Podesta emails. That claim in itself deserved profound scrutiny from the media. As journalist Seymour Hersh immediately asked, did the Coast Guard and the Air Force sign off? What would they know about it? In his most recent testimony before Congress, James Clapper admitted that only three agencies produced the report: the NSA, CIA, and FBI. The Obama administration asked the others to rubber stamp it to make the administration’s assertion appear more powerful, and to deter press scrutiny and pushback. Too, the NSA only said that they were “moderately confident” that the Russians conducted the hacks. I think they have since upgraded that to “highly confident,” but not sure. I’m still not convinced.
Another key point: after the DNC found out it had been hacked, it reported the hack to the FBI but refused to let the FBI examine its servers. Instead, it turned to CrowdStryke, a cybersecurity firm with strong ties to the Democratic party and to Ukrainian nationalists. One of CrowdStryke’s two owners/founders is Dimiti Alperovitch, a Russian émigré who also sits on the board of an organization dedicated to defending Ukraine. Alperovitch and his company had in the past asserted that Russia had used cyberwar to destroy 80% of Ukraine’s artillery, an assertion that was proven completely false. No Ukrainian artillery was destroyed by Russian cyberwar, zero (Alperovitch was recently forced to retract this claim). He had also claimed that Russia had launched a vast cyberwar against Georgia during the Russian-Georgian War, another claim that has been debunked (Russians, or at least Russian hackers unaffiliated with the state--but who were doing the state’s bidding anyway—did wage amateurish and ineffectual cyber-war against Georgia. They succeeded at shutting down the public webpages of Georgia’s utilities websites, but not in altering the actual software that controlled the utilities).
Immediately after the illustrious Washington Post wrongly claimed that the Russians had to tried to hack a Vermont utility, our illustrious former CIA chief, James Woolsey, repeated Alperovitch’s claim about Russia’s supposed cyber-attack on Georgian utilities. Woolsey claimed that the Vermont incident was “exactly what the Russians did to Georgia.” But nothing of the sort had happened in Georgia, nor did anything of the sort happen to the Vermont utility. The Vermont utility simply discovered an inert hacking tool on a computer, a tool that had nothing to do with altering the grid. The hacking tool was indeed manufactured in Russia, but was not a tool that only Russians possess … it had been widely disseminated, and is used by hackers all over the world (along with who knows how many other tools manufactured here, or in Russia, or many other nations). How could Woolsey—a former CIA director—jump to a conclusion so demonstrably and profoundly wrong? Doesn’t make him look competent. Yet the press never questioned Woolsey’s misstatement because they were so focused on the Russia-done-it meme.
What the scanty U.S. official report on Russian hacking additionally claimed as evidence was that the Russians had been using their RT network to undermine American democratic institutions. RT’s specifically named sins involved holding debates between third-party candidates (I guess Stein and Johnson) and giving voice to left-wing critics who question whether the U.S. really is a democracy, given the power of money to dictate political outcomes. What I take from this is that the elite CIA/NSA/FBI people making the report assume automatically that the American left (not the establishment Clinton left, but the left represented by Sanders and others) is anti-American, and that any media venue that gives the left a voice is trying to poison the waters of democracy. This was also the conclusion of PropOrNot, the organization that suckered the Washington Post into printing its conclusions on the stolen election, in which it listed virtually every single independent left-wing media outlet as a “dupe” or a knowing instrument of Russian propaganda … because, after all, they were reporting on the Wikileaks material, plus calling attention to the dominance of money in American politics.
This is pure Cold War-think. Yet the American public—particularly those who lived through the Cold War—are receptive to this sort of thinking, and assume that RT is indeed an instrument of Russian propaganda … and that its intent is to undermine American democracy. Sure, Putin might have used RT to divide the left and get Trump elected, but if so, he was only able to do that because the true left is already marginalized by the U.S. corporate-owned media (even so-called “public” radio and television, NPR and PBS, are mere shadows, partly thanks to the basic centrism of their reporters and editors, partly thanks to their paranoia about being abolished, and partly thanks to the fact that they’re no longer public at all, but mostly privately funded by corporate donors and wealthy individuals). And beyond that, assuming Putin really was behind the Wikileaks stuff, what Wikileaks published was nevertheless authentic. The DNC people were indeed feeding anti-Sanders stories to the press; organizing the debate schedule to favor Clinton; giving Clinton debate questions in advance; etc. I don’t think the DNC “stole” the election, as some Bernie people think—nor do I think that electronic voting machines were hacked—but it is abundantly clear that the DNC was pro-Clinton, not neutral. The DNC, in other words, gave Putin the wherewithal to make his evil plan succeed, yet Democrats blame only Putin, not the DNC.
So long as the DNC and the Democratic elites who fund and staff it are unapologetic, I can’t get very mad at Putin, even if he did sponsor the hacking.
Like many other progressives, what I see here is a McCarthyism … not self-conscious McCarthyism, and not on the scale of 1950s McCarthyism, but nevertheless an attempt to tarnish and marginalize the admittedly abysmal and dangerous Trumpites and, in the bargain, the left-wing press, by associating them with Russia and with Putin, who is now considered the most malevolent, diabolical figure on earth. Angry Clinton voters, who should know better, are buying all this stuff, hook, line, and sinker, because the pro-Clinton media (Maddow especially, but lots of others) are feeding it to them, and driving up ratings to all-time highs in the doing. Glenn Beck must be angry that they stole his secret formula. Already they’ve driven a deep wedge between Trump and Russia, thus helping stir up a new cold war, not to mention improve the odds greatly for American involvement in Syria, which could lead to war with Russia.
Sanders, fortunately, is too smart to question the Russia hysteria, which would only get him labeled a dupe. He’s been cool as a cucumber, thank God.
That said, I have no doubt that RT does, to an extent, sponsor programming that tends to help Russian government goals. As I said, they may even have given voice to left-wing American voices in order to divide the left and help Trump win. But the fact is, our own corporate-owned media refuses to give the left a voice, making it impossible to gain a hearing unless through alternative media (whether self-funded online efforts like The Young Turks network, or Democracy Now (a fantastic organization), or RT. Certainly RT is no more given to promoting left-wing points of view than Democracy Now or The Young Turks, which have no Russian connections … but which are alternative outlets that critique mainstream media.
And I’ll add that the mainstream media richly deserves critique. The New York Times is dedicated (mostly) to Clinton’s neoliberal message on domestic policy, neoconservative foreign policy, and was guilty above all others of getting us into the Iraq War by printing Judith Miller’s WMD stories. Unfortunately, that sin wasn’t a one-off mistake; the real problem lies with the centrist, hawkish, pro-Likud, pro-austerity, neoliberal editorial board and owners. They’re all Democrats, I’m sure, but they’re hawkish centrists. These and other members of the elite media and donor class are the people who influenced Hillary Clinton and other Democrats to vote for the Iraq War in 2002, and who continue to influence our Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Iraq policies, not to mention our party’s policies viz. free trade bills, taxation (keep it low!), and health care (no single payer!).
The support that our mainstream media immediately gave to Trump’s Syria strike is telling. The big-time reporters are almost all liberals (conservatives are correct in that assumption), but they’re establishment liberals who are paid unseemly amounts of money, and who support belligerent foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, and who don’t see wealth inequality as a major issue. They’re members of the investor class, after all, unlike the great reporters of Murrow’s generation, or Cronkite’s generation. Maddow gets $30,000 a day, and I’m sure the others on MSNBC aren’t far behind. Yet much of the reporting she has done of late is fabulist, melodramatic crap. Same goes for the Washington Post. Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Post, has a $600 million contract with the CIA; he bought the Post for a mere $250 million. He doesn’t control the editorial board, but they know damn well who they work for. No surprise that they printed the PropOrNot tripe when no other big media outlet would touch it (PropOrNot is an org. with a secret membership comprised of retired intelligence staffers … hardly surprising that they’d tar the left-wing independent press as dupes of Russians).
In short, both the major national print outlets and the major networks are dominated by neo-liberal editorial boards who serve billionaire corporate owners, while their reporters are for the most part careerist, group-think, centrist liberals (for genuine perspective on the issues, I go to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone; Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept; Robert Parry of Consortium News; Norman Solomon of Common Dreams; Robert Scheer of Truthdig; and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now … several of them are Pulitzer winners, and all of them work outside the mainstream, and I’d hazard a guess that not one of my friends, including my colleagues, as well as X, X, and X, ever read them. They confine themselves to venues they consider authoritative: the Washington Post and NYT, along with MSNBC and NPPBS, though they also read the occasion piece from ever-centrist, anti-Sanders Vox and/or The Daily Beast). MSNBC, incidentally, deliberately chose to make itself more conservative in the last couple of years. They’re still liberal, of course, but their stars (like Maddow and Reid) tend to put identity politics over and above all else. So far as I can tell, their talking heads are basically okay with neoliberal economics, or at least don’t consider the various free trade deals a major problem. Joy Anne Reid has said just that, as I recall. She and others suggest that Sanders, with his economic message, is simply catering to the white working class and abandoning people of color, which is ridiculous and divisive crap.
Long and short is that I’m not fully convinced that the Russians did hack the DNC and Podesta. Deep State might have damning evidence that Russia did it, but it has not shared that evidence. They say it’s classified, which I can accept. But until it’s declassified and vetted, I don’t think Democrats should be cheerleading for Russia-gate allegations and prosecutions. The biggest sin of Flynn and Page and Manafort is probably that they were sympathetic to Russia and willing to advise Trump accordingly (and Trump himself is sympathetic to Russia for his own reasons, some of which are perfectly legitimate, and others are deeply self-serving). But we’re treating them as if they’re uniquely treasonous, as if no one else takes foreign money (or corporate money) and then seeks to shape policy to favor their benefactors. But in fact, everyone in Washington is doing that. Obama taking $400,000 from a Wall Street firm to give a one-hour talk is a symptom of a system gone completely awry. What a tawdry thing for ex-presidents, or ex-secretaries of state, to do, let alone people who yet hope to become president. Neither Truman nor Carter did it, thankfully. But everyone else thinks its fine, and some “liberals” (Noah Trevor, e.g., and others) have the gall to out-and-out attack anyone who says otherwise. After all, a black ex-president should not be denied the goodies that a white ex-president gets. As if the tawdry examples of Clinton and Bush are universal and admirable, whereas Truman and Carter are irrelevant.
Finally, how can Democrats be so incensed at Russian hacking of the DNC when they nominated a woman who set up her own home-brew server in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York, with one person to do all the maintenance and security? It is said that Colin Powell and Condi Rice did the same because they used personal email accounts, but that was completely different. It’s stupefying to me that a person as savvy about tech as my lifelong best friend, X, can tell me “they all did it.” Powell and Rice set up private email accounts with major providers (e.g., Google or Microsoft or maybe AOL) that employ whole armies of cybersecurity people. Too, they used their private emails under exceptional circumstances, not for all official business (as did Clinton); turned over their emails for record-keeping without being forced to do so; and, most important, used the private email accounts before the State Department imposed a rule forbidding that practice. From the time she arrived, Clinton was briefed about NOT using a private email account, yet she not only did that, but set up her own homebrew server. Of course the FBI concluded her server was indeed breached by foreign hackers. How could it not have been breached? It was nothing but a little homebrew setup with no real security in place. And we’re now beside ourselves that Russia hacked the DNC? And Comey is investigating Russian hacking, but he was just fine with letting Clinton off the hook for setting up a homebrew server that was open to any half-ass hacker in the world? And somehow we Democrats were hellbent on nominating someone who understood flat zero about cybersecurity; who didn’t take it seriously when she was told about it; and who set up her private server solely and selfishly to protect herself from FOIA requests re the Clinton Foundation.
Frankly, she was right to worry about the conflicts of interest involving the Clinton Foundation. Anyone half smart should have known that those conflicts would dog her in a general election. She was lucky enough to face Trump, who is himself the most corrupt man to ever run for president. But unfortunately, her conflicts of interest (along with Bill’s womanizing and her own Wall Street loyalties) inoculated him against the charge that his character disqualified him for the presidency. Plus, Clinton refused to listen to Bernie Sanders, or even to her own husband, about the necessity of campaigning in the Upper Midwest on economic issues. Why on earth did Obama and every other leading Democrat think it was a great idea to nominate Hillary Clinton, and clear the entire field of serious competitors, including Biden, in order to do so? Her shelf-life had expired in 2008, and yet you couldn’t say anything negative about her in 2016 without getting your head chewed off on the blogs (the Hillbots were every bit as nasty as any Bernie bro). It was like the Democratic Party was caught in some weird time warp.
This is why I feel no sympathy for Hillary Clinton, victim of everyone except her own flaws. She can blame Comey’s Oct. 28 letter for giving Trump the presidency, but it’s not like that letter appeared out of nowhere (and moreover, her slide in the polls had begun three days earlier). Comey had promised Congress, under oath, that he would notify them if the case were re-opened, which is exactly what happened after the discovery of the emails on Weiner’s laptop. He was obliged to send the letter. Democrats are furious that he didn’t also notify anyone that he was also investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, but that was a completely different investigation, and he was under no obligation to Congress to reveal any of it, and no one knows whether or not Trump himself was a target of the investigation anyway.
Yet Hillary Clinton goes around blaming Comey and Putin and Sanders, the great misogynist trio, thus keeping Democrats divided and angry. I’m proud of Bernie Sanders when I think of how different his post-election actions have been from hers. He has expressed almost no bitterness or blaming at all about Clinton and the DNC, despite their use of lies to defeat his candidacy, e.g., “he’ll take away your health care!” or “he opposed the auto bailout!” or “he endorsed Fidel Castro!” or “he only cares about the white working class!” I agree with you strongly that Democrats will do well in 2018 midterms, but that won’t mean the party is unified except in opposition to Trump. It just means there’s a temporary lull while we vote for Congress. The big fight will be in 2020, and Hillary Clinton will be on the wrong side of it, as, in all probability, will 95% of my friends and colleagues.
This is why I just can’t look at any more Facebook posts from X, X, and X about Russiagate or Hillary Clinton. What I most hate about this thing is that it alienates me from my closest friends and family. But it’s too stressful to hear or see Russiagate blather, then get into a flame-war, or, just as bad, force myself to be quiet about it.
submitted by docdurango to Kossacks_for_Sanders [link] [comments]

Interactive Brokers Margin Requirements Margin Buying Power and Details What is Margin Trading?  Fidelity - YouTube Fidelity now offering four 'zero-fee' mutual funds Fidelity Investments 101: Buying and Selling Stock To ... SureTrader Commission Fee Breakdown  Day Trading Penny Stocks 101

A margin loan from Fidelity is interest-bearing and can be used to gain access to funds for a variety of needs that cover both investment and non-investment needs. Margin borrowing can be used to satisfy short-term liquidity needs similar to how you may use a home equity line of credit or to buy more securities than you could on a cash-only basis. For example, with a 10% margin, you may buy $1,000 worth of shares while putting up just $100. That extra $900 is granted to you in the form of a margin loan, for which you will have to pay interest. Types of Margin . Margin in the futures market is a lot different from margin in equities trading. In futures trading, margin is a deposit made with the broker in order to open a position. The Fidelity does not charge annual fee for regular brokerage individual or joint taxable accounts. The firm also does not have annual IRA fee (except for $25 annual SIMPLE IRA fee). There are no monthly account charges. Fidelity Inactivity and Maintenance Fee Fidelity Investments does not charge account inactivity and maintenance fees. In order to short sell at Fidelity, you must have a margin account. Short selling and margin trading entail greater risk, including, but not limited to, risk of unlimited losses and incurrence of margin interest debt, and are not suitable for all investors.

[index] [94] [12] [321] [9] [214] [328] [95] [123] [283] [176]

Interactive Brokers Margin Requirements Margin Buying Power and Details

Best FX Trading Strategies (THE Top Strategy for Forex Trading) - Duration: 32:00. No Nonsense Forex 1,465,538 views. 32:00. Make money part of your curriculum So maybe you're not majoring in money. We can still help you better understand the basics of your own financial life. To learn more visit www.fidelity.com ... Day Trading Micro E ... Exchanges Binance Coinbase Kraken Charge - Duration: 10:52. RECON Trader 859 views. 10:52 📌Binance Liquidation, Fees & Margin Level Explained #3 Binance ... Trading 101: Online Broker Fees Explained For those of you brand new to trading the stock market, one of the key things you’ll eventually need to understand is how online trading brokers operate ... Have you always wondered what it means to trade on margin? In this video, you’ll learn what margin trading is and if it is a strategy that could help you ach...

#