BitVote Grant Application

A penny for your thoughts.  A quarter for your good ideas.

BitVote Application for Knight Foundation Grant Call
by Aaron Bale and Lynne Flynn

1 What is your project? *

Image a world where each day, a person automatically generated $50 to use on the things they needed or wanted, when anything and everything was at their disposal. One could use these automatic dollars to contribute politically, socially, better their own circumstances, or improve the world, or even save them up and put them toward something they really want to invest in on a larger scale. People would use this money, and not be apathetic to its existence, as they can control its use and direct its spending as they desire. Now, imagine this world, but change the monetary feature to one that expresses and promotes ideas, changes political landscapes, and makes control of the social and economic environments a type of control that each of us can take part in on a fundamental level. BitVote is that world. BitVote is a decentralized, uncensored tool to give each and every person a voice in all facets of their own world, as well as in the broader society. It can be used to place policy, and if put into effect, could implement change as far reaching as being the one tool for a truly democratic voting system.

2 What assumptions will you test?

We assume that the majority of people want to be able to express their opinions and ideas on issues in a way that will have impact for themselves and for society as a whole. We assume that, given the opportunity, people prefer to charter their lives, as opposed to having the social and political landscapes carved out for them and then having to accept what is given, or only being given limited options to choose from. We assume that if people can effect change in ways that advantageous to society, they will participate in a thoughtful and responsible manner. As has recently been proven, people will respond more openly and more willingly under the protective cloak of anonymity. We can use that fact in conjunction with our assumptions to test this theory. Given a chance, people will participate and promote a system which effectually gives them the opportunity to be part of the decision making in matters that currently they are not party to, but that have a great effect on them personally. We will test the assumption that this can be utilized in a large number of fields, such as marketing, social networking, activism, politics, and many others.

3 Who is the audience/user of this project? How will they be impacted? *

Initially, this project will be adopted by tech gurus, website owners, polling and survey sites, etc, as it will eliminate multiple accounts per user and give a more pure, actual result for any demographic. Thereafter, it will be picked up for use as an essential small and large business tool to determine marketing trends, customer care and satisfaction, and likely even corporate environmental and social policy. It, ideally, will give a real and measurable voice to every consumer, every activist, and every voter. The impact of BitVote is profound. Not only can it assure consumers that their purchases reflect their interest in environmental and similar issues, it can also ensure that even political issues, such as the ACTA, SOPA, TPP, CISPA, etc. are not barnstormed through Congress or written into an Executive Order against the will of the majority of citizens. With American citizens voting turn out at an all time low, this will end the frustration that being politically voiceless has created, and intelligent people will once again participate in the democratic process. Not only can the United States benefit, this can be utilized everywhere, throughout the world.
4 Who is on your team? *
Aaron Bale: Founder, instrumental in affecting SOPA Blackout of 2012, special interest in cognitive orthotics, CDSMP, and advocate at the Narcolepsy Network.
Education: Neuroscience University of Louisville

ETHDEV ( Ethereum Development) Members also on our team-
Jasper den Ouden: Lead Code Developer, named Head of HR Satair Group, Product Designer & Co-Founder @Strakzat · Oud-Beijerland, the Netherlands. Education:
(unfinished) Master Particle Physics at Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Bachelor Physics & Astronomy Utrecht Universiteit
HBO Propedeuse(first year) Technische Natuurkunde Fontys Eindhoven(nl)
HAVO Natuur & Techniek Christiaan Huygens, Eindhoven

Vitalek Buterin: programmer, writer, founder of Ethereum, the decentralized web 3.0 publishing platform,co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine. In 2014 won the World Technology Award for the co-creation and invention of Ethereum.

Vlad Zamfir: co-inventor Cryptoswartz, Cryptoeconomics expert and keynote speaker.

PR Team:
Leah Chase: public relations, marketing and beta testing. Education: Nursing degree.
Christine Hogg: writing, journalism, interviews, editing, web content, newsletters and press releases.. Education: BA in Film and Media Production from The University of Cape Town
Lynne Flynn: research and creative writing, management, editing, marketing, sales, HTML and networking. Education: Criminal Justice, Graphic Design, and General Studies.

Legal / Funding Advisor:
Sue Basko: Lawyer for Independent Media, licensed in California and Illinois

5 What progress, if any, have you made on this project? *
After seeing the effect of the SOPA Blackout, and seeing the output of time and energy to reach 'critical mass' (when things are adopted by the majority), it was obvious that there was a need for a better template to achieve success in similar operations on such a massive scale. Aaron then came up with the BitVote idea as the one feasible means to accomplish this. After time and discussion with a think tank of technical experts, the social engineering aspect was polished. It was then tested among actual voters in random surveys to assess voter reaction, and any possible pitfalls. Around this time, Aaron met Leah Chase and enlisted her skills for the BitVote team. Leah successfully pitched the project to the Ethereum team. After meeting with their approval, several members of Etherium joined ranks with BitVote, as well, to translate the concept in a technical manner using their programming skills and expertise. After that was accomplished there remained the problem of OnePerID – ensuring that no one person could have more than one account – to ensure accuracy and honesty in the results. To date, this has been solved in theory, but will need A/B testing to ensure effectiveness.

6 Visual Media. Acceptable file types: pdf, jpg, gif, mp4, png, mov, xls, ppt, pptx, avi, mpg.

Project Highlight_ BitVote.mp4

Biggest Online Security Factor

Biggest Online Security Factor
by Sue Basko, Esq.

Internet security experts and infosec wannabes write articles, hold seminars, run conferences, and sell services designed to give greater online security.  They gush forth with their knowledge of VPNs, proxies, tor, pgp, php, SSL, phish, exploits, malware, and on and on.  However, they tend to sidestep the one biggest online security factor.  There is one security factor that can make any other system fail.  What is it?  People.  Or usually, a person.  

Security is often broken by people getting sloppy, but more often, by people chatting too much.  Let me give some real life examples I have experienced.

Let's start with one of the most notorious online personas, the Jester, aka @th3j35t3r.  The Jester is a twitter character who presents himself as being anti-Jihadi.  For a few years, he would regularly brag about sending some website or other "tango down" using his own patented website-zapping device. Much of his online presence is involved in self-congratulatory rhetoric. I enjoy him and find him interesting, hard-working, and real, despite the bragging.

Unlike most people, I know the real identity of the Jester.  How did I find this out? I took the information he told about his patented device, did a quick patent search, and found his identity.  The identity matched easily with other factors about him that he had also revealed.  My "doxing" of him took me under 2 hours total, much of which time was spent reading other interesting tidbits.  

I identified the Jester over 2 years ago.  Am I going to out him or post his identity? No.  

Look at how I found out the identity of the Jester. He himself posted or spoke the information that made it possible for me to easily identify him.  Now, granted, I know how to do a patent search, which is not a skill everyone has.   Ultimately, it does not matter, as the Jester is just a persona, like Batman.  I searched for his identity just for the fun of the hunt, like geocaching or a scavenger hunt.  I felt accomplished when I identified him, but ultimately, it is a useless bit of trivia.

The Jester is an example of a person telling too much about himself, if his aim was to keep his identity unknown.  However, the things he did tell were part of his creation of the Jester persona, and that is okay.  He has his fans, he seems to be doing some cool things, and he has a good nose for sniffing out real-life dangerous jihadi nonsense.  If the Jester were an actual spy in the wild and he went blabbing details about himself, his cover would soon be broken.  Bragging is one sure way to be found out.

Another type of security breach is when a second party is not trustworthy and betrays confidences by revealing info.  I have experienced this a few times in recent years.  A few times, I have experienced having unconscionable people publicly post my private emails to them online.  I don't know why they bother revealing their character flaws and destroying their own reputations, since my emails are not particularly interesting.   One person who did so was an internet radio show host who claimed the emails were hacked and within minutes, the emails were posted publicly online by a group of known stalker trolls.  This let me (and everyone) know that possibly the radio host, and definitely those who posted the emails, were not trustworthy people.  If this truly was hacking, the radio show host should have contacted me and agreed to participate in police and FBI complaints against the hackers.  The identities of those posting the emails was known. Those hacking and posting the emails, or purchasing and posting the emails, are treacherous and utterly untrustworthy people.  They revealed their own ethical and legal shortcomings to the world.  

Another example is of a lawyer in Florida who lured me in to email with her about a young man that I was assisting in his job search.  This lawyer also claimed to be assisting the young man, but that was just a ruse.  That Florida lawyer colluded with another lawyer in Ventura, California, to post my private emails online.  I do not know what their purpose was in this, but the main net effect is that this is a sure sign that neither of the two lawyers is trustworthy for any purpose.  If I ever notice, even years from now, that either of them is applying for any type of job requiring any level of security clearance, I will bring forth the evidence of them publicly posting my private emails.  The way they treated me is the way they will treat any person or any entity.  

Those two lawyers put  on a show of  "We can invade your privacy," and in doing so, they both told the world that neither one of them is to be trusted for any purpose by anyone.  It is inarguable: if you publicly post an email someone sent you and the sender has not given you explicit permission to do so, you are not trustworthy.   That is quite a loss to the personal and professional status of the two lawyers  for whatever minimal gain or thrill they got out of it.  Who did they harm by posting my private emails?  I should think they mostly harmed their own reputations, permanently.   

The main way to identify whether a person is trustworthy is what they do with others.  If a person is hacking others, or posting private materials, or stalking and harassing people - they will do the exact same to you.  If a person feels compelled to tell what they know, in order to get some type of popularity points with other nitwits online, they will do the same to you.  

WHO can you trust online?  That is a good question.  If you read the Wired story about Silk Road, you can see that DPR, allegedly Ross Ulbricht, put a lot of trust in Nob, who was supposedly a cartel drug dealer named Elazadio Guzman.  Nob was actually DEA Agent, Carl Force.  Should DPR have trusted him?  Should anyone trust someone that says they are the head of a drug cartel?  No, of course not.  Either the person actually is the head of a drug cartel, in which case they are involved in god only knows what, or the person is an undercover agent.  In neither case is the person operating on the level.  

The point here is that you can use the best VPN or tor to try to protect your privacy and security, but if you are communicating with an untrustworthy person, the security is illusory.    

Camping for Music Festivals: Creating a Campground

Camping for Music Festivals: Creating a Campground
by Sue Basko, Esq.

If you want to create a campground to go with a concert or festival, there are many factors to consider.  Below is a list to get you started in planning.  There are so many details. If you're going to do this right, you need to be extremely detail-oriented.  It can be best to work with someone who has done it before. 

Some of the most basic needs are drinking water, portapotties, hand washing stations, and showers.  These can all be rented.

There are companies that will send a big truck filled with potable water that can be used for drinking and showers.  "Potable" means the water is clean and safe for drinking.  It is safest to also use potable water for showers and misters, so there is no risk of bacterial infections in the water mist.

 In hot weather, cooling stations are needed to keep campers from getting heat stroke.  Misters are often used.  A mister is a length of hose or piping with small holes in it, attached to a clean water source,  that emits a fine mist.  Usually the misters are mounted above head height, so people can stand under them. Sometimes misters are fronted with  a fan, to spread the cooling mist. Other cooling stations are a dome or tent that has air conditioning.

 Here are some links to companies that rent misters, portable showers, potable water trucks, portable toilets, etc.  These are links to get you started so you can get an idea of what is available, space needed, and costs involved.   Most of these sites have good photos of the equipment that is for rent and some even provide layout diagrams.  Keep in mind, you have to use a company that delivers to the location of your event.

  Misting/ Cooling:

  Potable Water, Showers, Restrooms:

 Another main need for any festival or campground is electricity. If there is not adequate on-site electricity (and there rarely is), you need to rent a generator.  Here are some generator rental companies to get you started on understanding what is available and costs involved:

  Electricity Generators:

 The links above are not recommendations, they are simply examples of companies you can explore to get started in finding what you need.  Your choice of a company should include such factors as location, price and add-on prices, availability, reputation, customer service.   Most such companies will be able to give you a lot of information.  For example, if you tell a company that you will have a 2 day festival with 200 people present all day and night, the company can tell you how many toilets you will need, etc.

Here is a basic checklist to get you started in planning a concert or festival campground: (These are numbered for convenience, but all items are important.)
  1. Zoning 
  2. Permits
  3. Local laws
  4. Inspections required 
  5. Campground temporary - can you get a permit for that?
  6. Is the ground surface suitable to tents?
  7. What must be done to the ground surface to make it suited for tents?
  8. Surface cushioning, leveling, drainage
  9. Flood plain areas?
  10. Electric wires overhead?
  11. Lighting danger?
  12. Sewage and water run-off? 
  13. Presence of wildlife
  14. Presence of mosquitoes, ants, mice, etc. 
  15. Presence of any endangered species
  16. Insurance - how much and can you get it?
  17. Water sources
  18. Water for drinking.
  19. Showers - are there any?
  20. Toilets - can you rent portapotties?  How many will be needed legally? Price them out.
  21. Hand-washing stations
  22. Servicing of portapotties, Cleaning several times per day
  23. Toilet paper, paper towels, soap 
  24. Electricity
  25. Basic Lighting
  26. Trash bins and collection
  27. Recycling
  28.  Clean-up during and afterwards
  29. Security and safety
  30. Layout done accurately to scale
  31. Plotting the space, marking the space
  32. Temporary fencing for exterior perimeter 
  33. Fencing to demark roads, areas, toilet area, etc.
  34. Layout marked or fenced, "street" signs and space signs made and posted
  35. Signage
  36. Car Parking
  37. Car parking layout – must follow recommended sizes
  38. Parking accommodations for handicapped
  39. In and out allowed? How many times per day?
  40. Alcohol allowed in?
  41. Layout to accommodate cars and camping; should not mix or dangerous 
  42. Picnic benches, tables, chairs?
  43. Preparations for possible severe weather conditions
  44. Having a central fire pit and shelter/ tent/ dome
  45. Not allowing campfires 
  46. Propane and cook stoves allowed or not? 
  47. Establishing a business entity for accepting payments
  48. Establishing a reservation system
  49. Establishing reservation and refund policies
  50. Camping price per car? per tent? Per person?
  51. Campers should have ticket to event, show it to reserve campsite
  52. Plan to have any “glamping” sites, that is glamorous camping with nice tents, furniture, etc, provided? (These rent for higher prices) 
  53. Noise ordinances, drug ordinances, drinking, guns, weapons, fireworks, glass
  54. Working with local sheriff (you don't want them coming on property)
  55. Emergency Medical Techs on location at all times
  56. Preparation for medical emergencies such as overdoses.
  57. Advance prep for med helicopter, ambulance, etc.
  58. Children, babies – allowed or not?
  59. Camping 18 and up only?
  60. Waivers of liability
  61. Rules stated on website before purchase of camping spot
  62. Dogs, cats, snakes and other pets brought by campers?
  63. Handicapped accessibility? Ramps, portapotties
  64. Availability of phone service, radio, wifi
  65. Need to run phone line for campsite business/ emergency contact within camp and to the outside? Buy/ rent satellite phones/ radios? (This can be especially true in a ravine, cave, mountain valley, deep forest area)
  66. Note: some ticketing systems depend on availability of phone service/ wifi to check authenticity of tickets.
  67. Food vendors
  68. Food vendor licensing, permits, health department inspections
  69. Presence of potable water for kitchens
  70. Source of electricity for kitchens 
  71. Other vendors - sunscreen, insect repellent, flashlights, etc.
  72. Possible entertainment on site 
  73. Cleanup, Damages, Repairs, Restitution, Trash, Recycling
  74. Set-up Time needed in advance (How many days/ weeks?)
  75. Break down / clean-up time needed after? (How many days?)
  76. Tire treads, ground damage, resurfacing (especially if it rains)
  77. Hiring people for entry gate security, layout, set up, security all day and night, EMTs, recycling, toilet maintenance, trash pickup.

Words Not Mine: Autism

Words Not Mine: Autism 
by Susan Basko, Esq

I have been the victim of smear artists for quite some time.  I have mostly kept quiet about this, thinking that the malicious people doing this would be spurred on to further hateful behaviors against me if I spoke up.  Finally, I have decided that I do need to speak up to correct the public record.  The smear artists I will mention are all irresponsible and vicious; one cannot simply email their websites and ask them to remove their lies and defamation.  Complaining to them results in them posting more of their lies and hate.   But I have decided for myself and my clients, it is mandatory to me to try to correct the record in some way.  I hope you have found this online.

One of the worst smear artists I have run across is a persona named "Liz Ditz."  As far as I can tell, this is not a real person, but a persona who engages in years-long campaigns of highly destructive defamation against her victims.  I will refer to "Liz Ditz" as if she is a she and also a real person.  She might just as well be a man or a team of smear artists, or a company that hires freelancers to smear others.

 Liz Ditz posted her hate and strange ideas toward autistic people and attributed her own hateful ideas to me. I never spoke with Liz Ditz about anything, let along about autism.  She concocted her own ideas, which reflect her own thinking. These have absolutely nothing to do with me or my ideas.

Liz Ditz has never spoken with me.   She did not interview me for any article.  No such thing happened.  She has not removed her filth off the internet.  She is not interested in truth or reality.  She is a smear artist.  Lying and smearing are her goals.

Why Liz Ditz's hateful lies about autism must be challenged:  I do a lot of work with people with autism. I have given thousands of hours of my time to try to give effective legal assistance and practical support to people with autism who have found themselves in legal trouble. It has been extremely difficult to get people or organizations to assist.  Is it because they are unwilling, or is it becasue they have seen Liz Ditz's hate on the internet?  We will never know.  But, even the grandparents of a young autistic man I have spent hundreds of hours assisting, and for whom I put my life on the line, mentioned that they saw my name connected with Liz Ditz's twisted writings.   Years after Liz Ditz created her filth and put my name to it, her filth lives on, on the internet.  She is a success at what she does best: Create lies, create smears, harm others, stops the good work of others.  She is an extremely destructive person.

Liz Ditz is a serial professional smear artist.  Her smear campaigns are carefully orchestrated and spread with ferocity.  After Liz Ditz began posting her lies about me, I started googling. I found a man that said Liz Ditz had smeared his business for 6 years. I knew it was true, because I recalled seeing Liz Ditz's smear campaign of this man's heroic business where he rescued people.  I recalled seeing disgusting emails being spread about.  I remember getting several of the emails in my inbox and wondering why such targeted hate and misinformation was being spread. I wondered who was behind it and who was financing  the smear campaign against that man.    I knew what the man was saying was true because I had witnessed it:   Liz Ditz,  harmed this man's very important work with her irresponsible and hateful smear campaign. Liz Ditz destroyed that man's business, his income, and his life.  He was left totally bereft.  The whole world was also harmed by Liz Ditz because this man's good work was brought to a halt by her massive smear campaign against him.

When the man told me about the horrors he had experienced at the hands of Liz Ditz, I recalled receiving emails from Liz Ditz six years prior.  I did not know Liz Ditz, but she was engaging in a massive email campaign to spread her smear of this man and his work.  Liz Ditz's efforts were like spamming in how massively she spread her nonsense.  Who paid for all that?  Who funds the smear campaigns conducted by Liz Ditz?  I'd like to know since I have been a victim.

The man described to me how Liz Ditz spread her stories about him through a network of irresponsible repeaters - people who repeat things without checking the source.  People who spread lies, deception, misinformation and hate.   I had this same experience.  No one asked me; no one emailed or called me to verify.  Granted, most of the repeaters were also very troubled individuals; several seemed to be mentally ill or socially very sick people using blogs to spread hate.  My thought is that no one who is normal or healthy would retweet or pass along any blog or email written by Liz Ditz.  Her writings are so obviously deceptive and sick and twisted.  She is an obvious smear artist.

Having smear artists such as Liz Ditz allowed on the internet is part of the way the internet works.  She is not a journalist.  She is not a professional.    She is irresponsible, unethical, a liar, filled with hate and self-loathing with which she tries to harm others who do good work.  She is harmful to society.   She is a menace to her victims.

And most shockingly of all, Liz Ditz may not even exist.  I looked pretty hard to track her down.  Everything came up as a false front.  "Liz Ditz" appears to be a front for a paid, professional smear campaign artist.   "She" is so irresponsible, so reckless, so devoid of any decency, and yet she is an unknown.  There was an  online credit of her supposedly on the board of a school;  there was  no evidence that the school was real.  My conclusion is that Liz Ditz is a name for a front for a smear artist. In other words, "Liz Ditz" appears to be a sock puppet, an alias,  a mask behind which lies a person, or perhaps a company or network dedicated to harming others.    

When "Liz Ditz" was smearing me, she claimed to be some sort of expert about autism. When she was smearing her other long-term victim that I located, she put herself forth as expert in construction.  I have dug and have found Liz Ditz to have no verifiable credentials of any sort.   This is the mark of a smear artist.
I won't let "Liz Ditz" and "her monstrous behavior destroy or end my work with autistic people.  I have continued on.  But I want her name connected with what she does -- smear others.  I remember how happy I was to find the name of one of her other victims.  I contacted that man and he was so happy to hear from me.  We commiserated and compared notes of Liz Ditz's methodology in how she makes up lies and smears and spreads them.  That man begged me for help in righting the wrongs.     He wanted to sue Liz Ditz for her smears that destroyed his business,  his livelihood, his life.   I don't handle such things, and it was too far past the statute of limitations.    The man was dying and has likely since died, gone to his death without being able to publicly address the horrors foisted on him by Liz Ditz.  His wife told me how happy her husband was to speak with me, it meant so much for him to be able to commiserate. He believed Liz Ditz is a real person.   He was so deeply hurt by the horrors of what Liz Ditz did to him.  She harassed him for 6 long years.  Six years.  That is a hell of a long campaign of hate and destruction.   The man saw me as salvation, as the only other person he had spoken with who had experienced the unfathomably deep well of deception known as Liz Ditz.

I still think Liz Ditz is a name for a front of an organized hate-smear machine; I have seen no evidence that points otherwise.   Sure, I'd like to know who it is propping up the hate machine that uses the name Liz Ditz, but realize that professional smear campaigns are orchestrated very carefully and they do not reveal their true identity or who their client is.  

I have kept mostly silent about this. Since the internet is such that it keeps a smear campaign forever, I must speak out.

HOW MANY people have backed off or refused to assist someone with autism because of Liz Ditz and her followers?  Anyone taking one look at her horrifying attacks on me would likely refuse to help.  Liz Ditz is vicious and her "followers" are gullible and repeat her nonsense.  She has created such a terrifying environment for anyone who might want to help. She has done such a huge disservice to people with autism and to those who dare to assist them.    

30 Ideas on Raising Children

The apple does not fall far from the tree.
30 Ideas on Raising Children
by Sue Basko

As a little Christmas gift, I want to share my tips on raising children.  I raised children into happy adults.     Unlike most people, I sat down with a pen and notebook at the start of my child-raising career and made a list of how I wanted to do it.  And this, I share with you:

1. Think of raising your children as a career or job.  You are there to do a good job. To do that, you need to be in good shape physically and mentally.  You need to be ever-conscious of the goals, the process, and the success (or lack thereof) of your techniques.

2. Give your best to your family.  Use your best manners on your family.  Give your best efforts to your family.  Use your best furniture and dishes on your family.  Invest your money and time in your family.    Home should not be where you slack off and give your least; it is where you should be on your best and give your best.  Please, thank you, respecting privacy and property.

3. Don't tolerate a degradation of the family or home environment from anyone, including yourself.  "Sorry, we don't do that in our family" is legit.

4. Be sober and sane and healthy.  Drinking, using drugs, unchecked depression or mental problems, obesity --  all these are incompatible with parenting.  To be a good parent, you need to be in great shape physically and mentally.   Think of parenting like being a Marine or astronaut (or some such thing).  It takes all you've got to do the job right.

5. Every child is different.  They have different temperaments, different interests, different gifts. This is because God makes each person unique so we have a full society.  No child is made "wrong."  Your job is to watch and see what are your child's unique gifts, and then nurture those.   The things that a person is good at and that they enjoy are the things they are meant to do.

6. The more time and attention you put in while your child is a baby and preschool age, the easier your job is later.  Laying that solid foundation really pays off later. 

7. Think in terms of giving your children skills and experiences that will last a lifetime, rather than giving your child things.   Make a list of skills you want to help your child acquire: Play a musical instrument, sing, cook, hike, jumping rope, sew, draw, swim, doing math.   And so forth. Your child should leave home with a set of skills sufficiently developed that she or he could teach those skills to someone else.

8. Prepare your children to be independent.  When my children were young, I made a list of skills I wanted to teach them so they would be able to leave the nest and be independent.   With each skill, I showed the children and then made them do it at least once.  That is enough for a skill set that lasts a lifetime.  I made a list and checked off each item as the lesson was completed.  The list included such skills as:

  • Making basic meals with simple foods, such as grilled cheese sandwich, an omelet, a casserole, bake a cake, bake a loaf of bread.
  • Sew by hand with a needle and thread.
  • Sew on a button.
  • Iron a shirt.
  • Clean a bathroom.
  • Wash a window.
  • Use basic handtools: screwdrivers, drill, hammer, saw, sandpaper.
  • How to shop for food: how to shop the perimeter, how to choose produce, how to pay.
  • How to do laundry at a laundromat.
  • How to write a thank you note.
  • How to use public transportation: reading maps and schedules, planning times and routes, paying, being alert.
  • How to fix a bike tire.   

I got some good laughs when my son called me from his first college apartment to say, "Apparently, I am the only person my age in all of New York who knows how to clean a bathroom."

9. Think of toys in terms of their play potential.  Spend more of your money on things with a lot of play potential.  How many hours of play will come from this?  Things with a lot of play potential include Legos, art supplies, a computer, a camera, a bike, a skateboard.  Things with little play potential include action figures, gag gifts, single-purpose toys.  Of course, if a child has a dream toy and it is affordable and reasonable, you want to try to fulfill that dream.

Children do not need new toys every week.  It is perfectly reasonable to have gift-giving limited to birthdays and holidays.  Children who are given toys with a lot of play potential can always do something new with those toys. Children who are given toys with little or no play potential will always want new toys, since there is nothing to do with their toys other than possess them.  Such a pattern of toy ownership sets kids up for a lifetime of dissatisfaction with what they own.

10. What goes into our heads manifests itself in attitudes and actions.  Thus, we did not watch any violent or horror movies or television shows.  Actually, we did not watch any TV until the children were about 10 years old, and then only 2 hours one evening a week.  Teach your kids that they control what they put into their heads and that what goes in is important.  What manifests from a brain filled with violence and horror?  There are now many families that avoid TV and carefully choose movies and video games.  It feels joyful to consciously pick good entertainment.

11. Eat healthily.  Plan and make good meals with high nutritional content.  That means you are not buying junk food.  Just don't have it in your home.  If you don't buy it, you can't eat it.  Skip the soda, sugared "fruit" drinks, candy, chips, cheetos, white bread, fried foods.  Almost anything that comes in a package or can is not going to be as healthy as something from the fresh aisles of a grocery.  Childhood obesity is rampant and those foods cause it.  Raise healthy kids.

12. Eat meals together.  Set the table nicely every day, with napkins, flowers, candles.  TV, radio, or phones should not be at your meal.  It is time for you to be together.

13. Communicate.  Talk with your kids. Listen.  Listen. Listen. Be trustworthy.  Don't repeat to others what your children say.  Respect the communications.  If your kids are not sharing with you, it may be that you have not respected or valued their communications in the past.

14.  Don't snoop.  Period.  Of course, be aware and take action if your child seems to be acquiring weapons, drugs, stolen goods, etc.  But other than the obvious, don't snoop.  Respect your child's privacy and rely on communication with them.

15. Don't be afraid to tell your children that you have expectations.   Tell them you expect them to do well in school, keep out of trouble, go to college.  Or whatever you expect.  Tell them why you don't want them to do certain things or hang around with certain people.  Tell your children fact-specific things to do to handle certain situations.  For example, one of my children had some friends who were into shoplifting.  I told my child I would prefer he not hang around with those people, but that if he was going to be with them anyway, if they started to shoplift when he was with them, to immediately walk out of the store and leave them behind.  Do not discuss with them, just leave.  Not long after I explained this to him, he had the occasion to leave a store when his friends started shoplifting, and then to watch his friends taken out in handcuffs and put in a police car.  Whew, what a sad lesson.

16.  Share your faith and beliefs.  Wherever it is you draw your strength, share that with your children. I have a prayer-based faith, so I prayed with my children every day.   I also take a lot of joy and strength in nature and wanted to share that, too.  We often visited the beach, listening to the surf as the sun set.  We went hiking in the woods, pretending to be little Native children, trying to be silent in our footsteps.  Whatever is your source of strength, share it with your children.

17. Value education.  Spend your time and efforts helping your children learn.  Get them to bed on time so they have enough rest.  Give them a good breakfast and send them to school ready to learn.  Participate in the parent groups.  Get your kids plenty of books from the library or book store or yard sales.  Keep your home clean, non-chaotic, and quiet, so your kids have time and place to learn.  Bring your kids to museums, galleries, parks, plays, concerts, and other cultural activities.

18. Sing together.  Sing together as a family.  Make holiday videos or perform a family show where you sing together.  Nicer still if your family plays musical instruments.  Dance together.

19. Tell your children, "I love you," every day. Or several times each day.

20. Praise your children every day.  Tell your children they are good, smart, pretty, handsome, good artists, clever, good cooks, handy.  Laugh at their jokes, listen to their stories, tell them thank you.

21.  Be grateful and teach your children to be grateful.  Talk about how you are lucky to have each other, to have a home, food to eat, health.  Thank people. Teach your children to say "Thank you."  Thank your children.

22. If you are ever feeling bossy or on a power trip, stop and calculate the time until your child turns 18 and can be on her own and do whatever she pleases. The purpose of raising children is to let them learn how to make decisions for themselves.  A 16 or 17 year old should be making all their decisions on their own, with you there as guidance.  If not, how will they be ready to be 18?  A child should be allowed to make some of their own decisions, from a very early age.  Give children choices, where each choice is acceptable.  A 14 year old should be able to pick their own classes and activities, choose their own meals, choose their own friends, do their own schoolwork, choose their own clothes and hair style, set their own schedule.  If you want to control those things for your child, then don't be surprised if your child is not "ready to launch" when it is time.  Learning comes from making some mistakes.

23. Teach your children compassion. Teach them not to bully, to be kind to the underdog, to respect people of all races and religions. Take them on cultural excursions to meet different kinds of people and share in different cultures.

24. Teach your kids to be part of a community.  Take them with you as you volunteer.  Bring them with you while you give food to the homeless, go to protests, work on a community garden.  Teach your kids how to pass a petition, form an organization, stand up for what is right.

25. Let kids play outside.  Every day.

26. Teach your kids how to choose friends and how to be a friend.  When one of my children started at a big high school in seventh grade, he was concerned about having friends.  He had the lead role in the school play, so he was popular, but needed close friends at this new school.  I told him to look for people who shared his same interests and values and to make best friends with those people. I told him that anyone that has one or two best friends is automatically popular because they feel happy and secure.  Others will gather around that core of two or three close friends.

27. Laugh a lot.  Joyful laughter, not mean laughter.  Don't mock, tease, or taunt.  Have a lot of fun laughing with your kids.  Have family in-jokes.   We had a joke that ran for many years, where whenever we just missed a bus or train, we would say we did not miss "our bus," that the next one was "our bus." This extended to anything we missed: it was not ours, ours was the next one.

28. Teach your kids about sex. Teach them that their bodies are sacred. Teach them to respect others. Don't sexualize your children.  Dress your kids as kids, not as sexy little adults.  Give your kids a simple rule: Don't have sex till they are in college.  In California, it is illegal for anyone under age 18 to have sex.  That makes this an easy rule to explain and insist upon.  The legal age is lower in some states, but it is rarely conducive to getting an education and good start in life to have sex younger than age 18.

29. Have open communication with your children about the internet.  Talk to them about sexting, revenge porn, bullying.  Let them know the internet is wonderful, but is also a playground for predators.  Teach them that not everything is as it seems.  Teach your children to respect others on the internet, and not to engage in hacking, bullying, or posting sex photos.  Teach them to keep their computer cameras covered, except when in use. Teach them never to agree to meet anyone from the internet unless they run it by you.  Tell them that many sex predators meet victims this way.  Yes, this means you need to explain to your kids about sex predators.

30. Take pictures often.  Children grow up quickly.


Selling Beats

Selling Beats

by Sue Basko

 Imagine: You create a beat that sounds like a leaf blower with something stuck in it.   The beat is used to make a bouncy K-Pop song, along with a silly video.  The video and song go viral. Someone is making a lot of money.  Is it you, the beatmaker?  That depends on the underlying contract when you sold the beat.   When you license or sell any beat, the deal should include that you make a small amount more for each copy that is sold or each time it is streamed.  Without such a deal, you might have sold your beat for $10 while someone else gets rich selling the song made from it.

A beat is a short bit of music or sound that is meant to be the hook of a song.  Or it can be the underlying bed over which a rapper or singer or producer creates a song.  Beats differ from loops in that beats are meant to provide a unique focus for a song, while loops are meant to be staples that might be put into many songs.  Loops are noodles; a beat is that fabulous mushroom perched on top of the pile of noodles.  It makes a song what it is.

Many beatmakers like to sell their beats.  Some sell downloads off their own websites, and some sell on websites designed for beat sellers.  On your own site, you will take a higher percentage, but your beat may get more exposure on a group site.   Then again, on group sites, your beats may be buried.

Before you sign up for any beat selling website, have a lawyer read the contract.  Many of these sites have contracts that are contradictory, even senseless.  I just saw one site that says it gives the full beat sales price to the beatmaker, with the buyer paying a small transaction fee. Then it goes on to say that some categories of sellers will be docked with a 40% commission fee paid to the site and others will be docked with an 80% commission fee.  These categories are made to sound special, as if it would be a privilege to be included.  The same site has very confusing and contradictory rules of what the buyer is allowed to do with the beat once purchased.  

My usual thought is that if a website cannot convey in clear simple language what the deal is, then the website owners are probably unclear what the deal is.  And surely, if there were ever a dispute and the contract ended out in a court of law being interpreted by a judge, if the judge cannot figure out the intentions of the website from what is written in the contract, then anything can happen.  Therefore, have a lawyer read over the contract before you join. If the contract is not crystal clear, don't  join.  Go to a website that knows what it is doing and that considers its agreements important enough to hire a lawyer who can write well to craft its contracts.

If you want to create your own beat selling site, there are site layouts you can buy, all set to be placed onto your own website.  You will need site hosting, a domain, and to purchase the layout.  One such pre-made layout is MusicMakerTheme.  This is sold for $37 or $57 via paypal, depending on the features.  

There are 2 basic ways to sell beats: Licensing and Sales.  A license means that you retain the copyright, but you license the buyer to have certain rights.  A sale means the buyer is being assigned the copyright on the beat, and can use it for whatever purposes.  If you sell a beat, you lose all control over it.  If you are selling a beat, you need to be sure you are getting a price for it that will satisfy you, even if the songs created from it go on to earn a good deal of money.  That's why licensing with a good well-written contract is usually best for the beatmaker.  If however, someone famous is offering you a nice chunk of change for a beat, it might be a good bargain. But that is a rarity.

Most beats are licensed. If you are opening up your own beat shop, you should have a music lawyer write up your licenses.  Do not try to do this yourself.  And do not copy licenses off another site, unless you have them checked out first by a lawyer.  Lots of bad licenses get copied and passed around this way.  This can lead to genuine disaster.

The main categories in licensing are nonexclusive and exclusive.  Many beat selling websites have this all mixed up. They will sell a beat as nonexclusive and also exclusive. This truly makes no sense. Either the beat is nonexclusive, and multiple people can license it , or it is exclusive, and only one person can license it.  Some use the term "semi-exclusive," by which they mean they will sell the license for the low nonexclusive price to as many takers as come along, and if someone wants to buy it as a "semi-exclusive" license,  the beatseller will stop licensing it to others from then on.  However, the licenser paying the higher semi-exclusive price may find that those who earlier bought the less expensive nonexclusive beat license have the same rights as they do.  It is hard to create and sell an original hit song if there are already 35 other people making songs with the same beat.

On the other hand, it is hard to refrain from licensing a beat for $10 or $20 many times, hoping someone will come along with more money.

The dream of beatmakers is to be commissioned by someone famous to create exclusive beats for nice high prices.  Such a dream is as much about connections and friendships as it is about beatmaking creativity.  If such an opportunity ever presents itself, make sure you bring in a music lawyer to write or read the contract.  The important thing is you want to make some small royalty on each copy sold or streamed, as well as a small piece of performance royalties.  You don't want to be the beatmaker whose beat is in a song being played on the radio hundreds of times per day, and you're not making a penny from it.  And that is what will happen if you don't have a music lawyer in on the deal.

One of the most important legalities of beats is that they must not contain any loops or samples, unless you have a signed clearance agreement to use the loop or sample.  On this, too, you must have a music lawyer.  The beats you sell must be 100% your own work, or with legal clearance. This means you cannot take any part of any other loop, other beat, and cannot sample any song, any movie, any TV show, etc., even if you remix it, remove parts, change it around, etc.  If you are using any such bit of sound created by anyone else, you must have a contract with them that spells out very clearly what they are giving you the rights to use, how you may you it, and how they will be paid for it. 

If you use a bit of sound belonging to someone else in your beat, without clearance, your beat is poison and so is every song made from it.  The people who licensed your beat with the good faith belief that it was your original work can be sued for copyright infringement by the owner of the sample or sound that you used without permission.  The financial responsibility will come back to you.

Buying a copy of an old record or movie does not give you rights to take samples of the sound and use them in  your beats.  Owning a physical copy is different from owning the underlying intellectual property rights.  If you want to use a snippet of sound from a movie or TV show or old record, you must get clearance.  Sometimes getting clearance is expensive and sometimes the owners refuse to give clearance.  That is their right.  If you have been denied clearance, and you go ahead and use the sample anyway, expect to be sued.

 If you want a type of sound, usually such samples are easy to create on a program like GarageBand or ProTools.  For example, say you want the sound of a 1940s radio commercial.  Rather than get clearance on such a commercial, you can create your own fictional product and write your own commercial or part of one, record it simply, and add filters to give it that 1940s sound.  A can filter, a limiter, a bit of a crackle or scratch sound, and a small amount of bounce and you'll have a 1940s sound.  With the variety of filters and effects on GarageBand, you can make almost any kind of sound.

How long should your beat be?  Most beats are made in a set of lengths.  If a beat is supposed to be a hook, it will probably be about 3 seconds to 5 seconds long.   A hook beat can be sold in a longer version and cut down, or it can be sold as a set of various lengths.  

A kit of complementary beats that could work together in a song can be sold.  This might also be considered a remix kit.  Such a kit might contain original loops or might contain stem tracks from an existing song being licensed out for remixing.  A remix kit might contain as many as 20 beats and loops ready to be remixed into new creations.  Most contracts that go with a remix kit will state that the elements themselves cannot be changed, other than being shortened.  Other contracts allow for more manipulation of the beats or loops, and this can make for some highly original, exciting sounds.    Most such contracts will also include a provision that a new element must be added, such as unique original vocals.  This provision assures that the end product will not sound too much like the original.  

To sum up, the two main rules in selling beats is to own what you are selling and to have well-written,  contracts that clearly spell out the deal. 

BitVote Intro

BitVote Intro
by Susan Basko, Esq. 

BitVote is a new voting method and program invented by Aaron Bale and in development by some of the finest minds today.  BitVote is an online voting system that promotes Distributed Democracy.   Distributed Democracy harkens back to the days of direct democracy, which is decision making done by the people without representatives.  In smaller organizations, this works.  As a political unit becomes bigger, direct democracy has often been replaced by having elected representatives who then make it their daily work to know about the issues, attend meetings, and vote on the issues and laws.  In the U.S., many people have found that representative democracy results in government that pleases no one and that spends too much money and confers little or no societal benefit on the average person.  The widespread availability of the internet may make direct democracy possible once again. The townhall meetings of yore can take place on the internet, with those interested in a particular topic in attendance, though separated by thousands of miles.

BitVote works by giving a voter one voting unit per each minute of life the person lives after registering as a voter.  That means each voter gets 1,440 votes per day.  The votes are like currency, to be spent on whatever amounts on whichever topics are of interest to that voter.  A voter may save up votes to make a big impact on an issue of great interest to that voter. BitVote is a way of giving value to a person's time and enthusiasm, rather than to one's money.   BitVote makes issues less dichotomal by allowing voters, for example, to allocate 100 votes to one solution and 200 votes to another solution.

The BitVote system is envisaged to be fluid in function.  If the people vote for the system to work in a certain way, and allocate money for this, then the system can be designed to reflect that functionality.  The votes have the meaning assigned by the voters.  For example, voters decide the process on how a certain solution or initiative will be funded or staffed.

BitVote is built on Ethereum, an open platform that works in units called contracts.  The contracts can speak to each other.  Vitalik Buterin  is the founder, owner and lead developer of Ethereum. He is a winner of Theil Award that encourages computer program development.  Ethereum recently issued its own currency or esoteric collateral, called Ether.  Ether and BitVote are but two applications suited to the Ethereum platform.  Over time, Ethereum and its uses will develop.

Aaron Bale came up with the idea for BitVote based on his own life experiences.  Leah Pearl, who is a nursing school graduate, is the BitVote Communications Director.

I personally have been a sounding board for Aaron's ideas and a legal assist. I went from thinking that a voting system where each person gets 525,600 votes per year as a preposterous mess, to thinking of these votes as neat currency in a voting wallet, to be spent to create a better world.  I like the idea that life is valued, and that each person's contribution is valued. - Vote with your Life.

What is BitVote?

BitVote is a universal voting ecosystem for the Internet era. For every minute of your lifetime, you'll automatically earn a "voting minute" that can be cast on any cause of your choice. Voting results are globally available in a transparent and decentralized legend, robustly resistant to manipulation or censorship and fully compatible with any preexisting social network or political system.

Why BitVote?

Remember how you felt when you first discovered the Internet? Remember how empowering and hope inspiring it used to be when we were growing up? How sharply does that contrast with the concerns people have now? Where's the Internet is going to be in five or ten years? Neutrality. Surveillance. Censorship. What if future generations don't have that same type of feeling we have? What if instead of inspiring and empowering them, the internet terrifies and debilitates them? I created BitVote on the hopes hope that we will be able to tip the scales back in our favor and give us a chance to systematically fix whatever it is that is causing this change.

Who is BitVote?

Aaron Bale (@arkbg1) founded BitVote in 2012 during the SOPA Blackout, with support and inspiration from Aaron Swartz (@aaronsw),  Sven Swootleg (@joepie91) and Leah Chase (@leahxpearl). In 2014, BitVote began collaborating with Jasper den Ouden (@o-jasper), Stephan Tual (@stephantual), Joris (@mids106), Ethan Buchman (@ebuchman) and Vlad Zamfir (@vladzamfir) of Ethereum. The project has been developing for over two years through the teamwork of a network of programers, activists, lawyers, advocates, politicians, artists and normal citizens around the world. All the developers have one thing in common: a desire to have the voice of the people heard and heeded.