50 independent states, a federal government, all held together by a distributed transparent legal document called the Constitution. 1/3 of the federal government is represented by the independent state lawmakers. And those state lawmakers are the only ones with power to change the Constitution. The Executive and Judiciary have no say.
That's a decentralized form of government, even if we don't think of it like that. And it's brilliant.
The transparent legal document over the x-axis (time) has distributed freedom relentlessly for 234 years. If you don't believe that, consider when the Constitution was ratified in 1790, slavery existed, women couldn't vote, native Americans were not citizens, judicial review hadn't been established, property rights... What happened over time however, is legal precedent built on top of legal precedent, as people asserted those transparent rights, and anybody standing in their way was essentially obliterated. The same thing will happen to anyone standing in the way of trans persons, like it or not, a repeat of 90s gay rights victories. Scientology couldn't even be stopped from a religious tax-free designation in 1993 for godssake. Or gun rights. Check this out, the first map is concealed carry state licensing from 1986. It's quite surprising to see Texas and so many red states as no-issue right?
The second map is today. Not a state that doesn't issue concealed carry permits, and most states are now fully unrestricted!
It's important to note that gun rights were not particularly well protected early-mid in this country's history, and are stronger today than at any other point by far. That PoW legal precedent...
Not a single word of our Constitution (Bill of Rights) has changed in 234 years, going through 46 presidencies, 118 different congresses, a civil war, unfathomable economic and cultural changes.
I feel bitcoin's design pattern is quite similar to all this; and what America did for decentralizing government and separating powers is what bitcoin aims for with money — globally. This isn't some manifest destiny nationalist bend I'm on either, rather, it's just what time has revealed to me, so far as government praxis and data go.
Thomas Jefferson was the first Secretary of State (this coincided with the French Revolution making it an important post) and his letters at the time read like monologues, talking through the necessity of government decentralization writ large, and specifically, the need for the monarchy and religious authority of France to be deprecated.
The problem isn't government design I feel. Perhaps controversially, I posit government design is for the foreseeable future solved, as explained above. We have the nonce for that. There are of course problems, but conceding anecdotal time frames, and anecdotal events, and considering the whole of America as a two-century experiment, it's mind-boggling how much success we've had in all ways contending, and it isn't by accident, but by design. Life relatively, has never been better for most humans. And as an aside, I've lost patience for crisis narratives in any political or tech corner. If subject matter bottoms with:
  • impending doom
  • a mass casualty event
  • extinction
then it's likely ideological, and not objective. If this is you (it's been me), crack a window, take a deep breath, and listen for the birds singing amongst the green contrasts.
🌳
Anyway, it's the money that's the directional problem, not the government design. The 1%, cantillionaires, mindless consumerism, wars, all the golden oldies DarthCoin reminds us of. Money isn't part of the constitution though, it's a discrete addendum, given to oversight of a quasi-independent central bank.
Now regarding bitcoin, mathematical inquiry informs us bitcoin was never designed to scale globally in a self-custodial way to individuals on L1. There are 10 minute blocks, of 1MB size, 4MB weight, maxing at 3000 tx's per block — excepting segwit multi-outputs. Thusly, we reach around 158M tx's per year. But 8 billion people live on this round island floating through space.
Bitcoin's layers can scale bitcoin globally quite easily — in a centralized way, just like what we're doing on StackerNews now—which is smooth as butter; or what we do amongst peers on CashApp which has some 60M users.
My wonder is how nation states, island state tax havens, and large businesses, scale in self-custodially
Here's a fascinating tidbit: bitcoin already has more annual settlement volume in USD than Visa does transaction settlement in USD. Then when you ask the hypothetical question, how much value can you fit in a single bitcoin block?, things get interesting. An astronomical amount is the answer. Which brings me to recent mining musings: Blackrock buying ownership in large public miners; El Salvador starting their own independent pool; Iran national pool ambitions, Russia... This doesn't seem to be a game of let's try and beat the mining economy of scale to profit. 92% of BTC has already been mined. The potential profits from mining are insignificant to most nation state budgets, even major businesses, even if bitcoin was say $1M per. If we're being honest, most large publicly listed miners don't turn a profit and don't even consistently add to their BTC treasuries. Mining seems significantly more valuable as a censorship resistance tool for nation state value settlements, when single blocks can fit however much value needs to fit, because when you mine, you can add whatever tx's you want to your block after sniping a nonce. Tx fees are more or less what you choose them to be.
Binance (I'm no fan) is an example. They're an exchange AND a mining pool, boasting about 3.5% of BTC hashpower (down from 8% yoy), which equates to roughly bagging 5 sniped nonce per day.
They add their exchange's own transactions to their pool's block temp, most of these tx's seated way back in the mempool with insignificant fees. That's the power of vertical integration in mining, being able to add whatever tx's you want to your own blocks. This power was instrumental in Binance's money laundering game that the DOJ is coming after them for. We don't know the scope of it.
It feels the often discussed block subsidy and tx fee issue is irrelevant in this hypothetical reality I'm having fun riffing here. And as a ratio of the tx value arranged into these blocks, fees will fall. For individuals, fees today are already too high for most in the world anyway. $14 per tx is more money than 3rd world denizens save in a month.
Embracing bitcoin minimalism, bitcoin already scales, it works, has a community of maintainers, and is boringly dependable. It's a robust tool, with L1 there whenever you're willing to pay for, and need its fixed liberties. Even indie mining is still manageable for some. We did it. Hurray.
Embracing bitcoin maximalism however — that base layer global money thing — I feel L1 will necessarily become the domain of nation states and business if successful, mining will coalesce around that, and it will bring a leveled playing field (same rules), censorship resistance that benefits everyone, pooling cooperations, and a dramatic aligning of global incentives. The transparent distributed ledger is quite powerful in this case. Below all that, the renewable energy transition with decentralized input sourcing, microgrids, HVDC interconnectors and international grids levering demand, time zones, and storage will align incentives and cooperation further amongst countries. When renewable energy infrastructure becomes sufficient enough in capacity to produce all the infrastructure for more renewable energy, it'll be like a high-rez 3D printer that can print a copy of itself. Subsidies will slowly shrink. And since the biggest dictators will all be beyond the statistical age of death early next decade, I think all of the untenable disruption, friction, and cost they add to the world currently, will dissipate. And since oil is rapidly on its way out, the bloodlines determining who you are in the countries where anti-trust never happened will be checked.
A great peace. 🕊️
A world capable of building a bitcoin standard in the decades thereafter, replete with fusion, photonics, where the BTC quote price (USD) yields right of way. Commodity money loves abundance. It soaks up that value.
At least that's the most frictionless way I can imagine it going down. Nobody's prepared for that world. You'll have to be born into it. Many will misidentify it, fight it.
But none of this fantasy really deals with layer 2, scaling, nodes, our domain. Who knows, I needed to make my return to Stacker and stretch my fingers. Feels good. Great site updates since I was here last btw. Let the image talk:
578 sats \ 1 reply \ @freetx 8 Feb
Interestingly I've always thought of the bitcoin community similar to "3 branches of government" model of checks / balances.
  • Wallet (nodes) and Wallet users
  • Devs
  • Miners
No one group can actually force the other group to its desires, but all need each other.
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Yes this!
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Bravo, as always!
Would love you to dive deeper into this:
Commodity money loves abundance. It soaks up that value.
I think I understand the picture sketched out, but would be great to see you finish it. Based on what you have shared, I’m seeing a golden age of capital deployment once we’re on the other side of this transition.
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I agree with that, golden age of capital deployment. Well said, especially with an overabundance of cheap (free?) energy. I think the 20s could have some more friction for us, but the other side 🌈
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👊 glad we’re on the same page. I wrote about some aspects in a fictional SN post on Bitcoin having a lost decade during the 40s.
Under those circumstances I think it’s pretty likely as an investment Bitcoin would experience headwinds in an environment. Massive exuberant structures & innovative infrastructure will make a comeback.
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397 sats \ 9 replies \ @Fabs 8 Feb
I demand a TL;DR.
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806 sats \ 1 reply \ @davidw 8 Feb
Read it 👈
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420 sats \ 0 replies \ @kr 8 Feb
🫡
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223 sats \ 2 replies \ @Fabs 8 Feb
Should've included a trigger warning, for it looks like it's pretty triggering to some. Too bad.
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213 sats \ 1 reply \ @davidw 8 Feb
I sensed the sarcasm, you’re good
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478 sats \ 0 replies \ @Fabs 8 Feb
Often underestimated, seldom appreciated; gnawing at the fundament of my being, my soul...
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214 sats \ 3 replies \ @kytt 8 Feb
You don't have 3 minutes to spare?
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I don't have 3 min attention span!
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Yeah, not everyone's blessed with a good one like me, I feel with you, man.
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Frankly mine has waned too, I have trouble sitting through even good movies without some kush.
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Like settling into a warm bath.
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A good long read, worth the time
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450 sats \ 1 reply \ @davidw 8 Feb
That image does do the talking and has me thinking of the metaphor… Bitcoin is our sun or moon.
Unreachable to many directly (on the base layer). Yet perhaps it’s energy, gravitational pull, waves & influence on our “round island” will be felt by and benefit all.
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I love that analogy
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Thanks for this
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420 sats \ 0 replies \ @td 8 Feb
Your point about dictators being above statistical age of death in the next few years something I’d never considered.
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420 sats \ 3 replies \ @kr 8 Feb
Not a single word of our Constitution (Bill of Rights) has changed in 234 years, going through 46 presidencies, 118 different congresses, a civil war, unfathomable economic and cultural changes.
interesting, were there any serious conflicts that almost led to changes in the bill of rights? curious to learn more about how those were navigated.
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There was the civil war where the seceding states drafted their own messy Confederate Constitution, and developed their own fiat money. They tried bolstering it with Confederate Cotton Loan Bonds sold to foreign investors, but northern victories, the naval blockades and targeted burning of cotton warehousing really screwed their plans.
No Constitutional Convention has ever been called by the states though. There have been some weak proposals that got passed over to amend the 2nd amendment and stuff but nothing else.
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480 sats \ 1 reply \ @kr 8 Feb
wow, didn’t realize they went as far as developing their own fiat money
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Oh yeah also, when I say the Constitution, I'm more specifically referring to the Bill of Rights which are the first 10 original amendments. Not the BIPs after.
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deleted by author
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The first three paragraphs represent a highly propagandised view of the US governmental system and, in this particular case, somewhat internally confused (celebrating female suffrage at the same time as the misogynistic trans movement?!). It's false in many ways and the best critics of such propaganda are often US Americans themselves (one of whom I quote below).
The ratification of the present US Constitution actually represented an overthrow of the earlier Constitution for the United States, the Articles of Confederation. The push for the new one was perceived as a counter-revolution by many at the time and was opposed by the 'Anti-Federalists' (a bit of a misnomer). They published many papers criticising the loss of state rights, the creation of an executive President (who they thought would amass greater powers over time) and loss of individual liberties. They lost the struggle against ratification (after the 'Federalists' played some dirty tricks) but succeeded in getting the Bill of Rights passed, which somewhat helped defray the loss of liberties brought about by the new Constitution.
William J. Sidis' commentary on this time :
The Plan for the Overthrow. When the conspirators in Philadelphia adjourned in September, 1787, a complete plan for a new government to overthrow the First Republic came out of the secret session, and was presented to the public. It was not a plan for open dictatorship or monarchy, but compromised by having a form of government which was externally democratic and similar in general appearance to some of the state governments, yet enough power was centralized at a single point to enable one person to take over complete control whenever desired. Even so, three members of the secret session actually refused to sign the document, apparently on the grounds that too much concession to democracy had been made.
The "Federal Constitution," as it was called (in contrast to the existing constitution, known as the "Articles of Confederation") bristled with declarations of authority and bans and prohibitions at every point, especially where the States or Congress were concerned. The Congress of the proposed new government was hamstrung by being divided against itself, in order to make it easy to deadlock whenever the proposed two Houses should disagree on anything. A central executive authority was created, in the hands of a single person, called "President of the United States," after the title of the nominal head of the First Republic; but the difference was that while, in the First Republic, the President was merely a presiding officer with no personal power, under the proposed new system the President, contrary to the implication of the title, would do no presiding but could veto any actions of Congress, had complete control of the army and navy and held the purse-strings of the treasury. While under the First Republic the members of Congress were paid by the States that sent them, thus keeping them representatives of their constituency, under the proposed government to overthrow the First Republic, Congressmen would be paid by the Federal treasury (which was to be controlled by the President) and were not subject to recall during their terms, so that, once elected, they would for their entire terms be dependent on the President rather than on their constituents. One of the two Houses of the new Congress (called the Senate because, in line with the Cincinnati idea of gradual introduction of dictatorship on the lines of the ancient Roman Empire, Roman names were supposed to be in order) was arranged so that it would never change completely at any time, but one-third of the members would go out of office every two years, so that the majority would always be composed of members who were not dependent on the latest elections and whom the executive head (who was in closer contact with them than with the other House, according to the plan) could have reduced more to his will, especially through continued control of the purse-strings. In addition, the President, with an almost complete veto power over Congress, and with the duty of giving them an annual program of recommendations as to what would be expected of them in the way of legislation, would, it was expected by those who drew up this plan, be in a position to force any sort of legislation he wanted, in spite of the mandates of the States or the individual opinions of the members of Congress.
I think the favourable comparison that the author is trying to make between the highly flawed US governmental system (which has been steadily getting worse and shows no signs of a reversal from that trend) and the brilliant design of Bitcoin, protected by its algorithms and its users and not by law or by force of arms is highly confused and unhelpful. I don't think it would be a view much shared by Bitcoin users outside the U.S. and I also think it would be viewed sceptically by many US Americans too (who, as I said above, have often been the best critics of the US governmental system).
If the 'big blockers' had won in 2017 then we would have experienced the same counter-revolution that the US suffered in 1787/1788, with the ratification of the new Constitution. Fortunately for Bitcoin, the users, the plebs, succeeded this time against an attempted Establishment takeover.
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which has been steadily getting worse and shows no signs of a reversal from that trend
If you could name the year and President when America was at its heights or in a significantly better state of being, I'd like to hear it. I assume you have an idea based on the statement.
If the 'big blockers' had won in 2017...
The 2017 big bockers analogy isn't accurate. It's much more like the Civil War, when the the Confederate secessionists drafted their own messy constitution. They tried, they failed, and to this day some still cry about it. Guess which side acquired all the value?
protected by its algorithms and its users and not by law or by force of arms
My point was how the bitcoin protocol would arrange the global financial system, which I felt looked very much like the US government design pattern. I concede failing in making this point well enough in retrospect. For that I apologize.
The Articles of Confederation fell for a reason. You ever read it? What exactly did we miss out on? Maybe Canada (Article 11). Every state agreed to sign the Constitution for good reason. In 234 years the states have never even called a Constitutional Convention to try and change it. We got it very right, and I think it's fair to say its influence has spread far, wide, and isn't done.
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If you could name the year and President when America was at its heights or in a significantly better state of being,
I never use 'America' as shorthand for the United States of America but presuming you are doing this here then I would give the period 1776 to 1788. This period didn't have an executive president (it did have presidents, but they acted only as presiding officers).
There has never been a good (executive) President of the USA. The position is a corrupt one (corrupts the system of government). There have only been awful Presidents and 'less awful' ones (which continues to be the only choice the people are offered today). The USA has only been on a continual path towards greater corruption and expansionist war-mongering and plundering of weaker powers since the counter-revolution was successfully achieved in 1788. Being asked to name a better US President is like being asked to name a better Roman Emperor (after the fall of the Republic).
And no, I do not agree that the blocksize wars were anything like the US Civil War. The Civil War was a fight against centralised power (in Washington) and an attempt to break free from it. It was a fight against an already centralised power. And that power became centralised after the counter-revolution of 1787/1788 and the ratification of the new Constitution. The Articles of Confederation were consciously drawn up to create a weak central government and to limit the powers of that government, retaining most power in the states. That system was overthrown by the Establishment, which, as ever, wanted power centralised so that they could own it and control it and profit from it. And that is also what the attempt by the 'big blockers' in 2017 was - to centralise power away from Bitcoin's fundamental focus on decentralisation so that the corporate powers behind the attempt could take over Bitcoin and control it.
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There Articles of Confederation were really quite overrated, bombing for good reason. Without a judicial branch you lose checks and balances, and don't have legal precedent that can build on itself. That would be like trying to obtain transaction finality with one confirmation and a difficulty adjustment that never changes. Our views differ quite a bit with the Articles. They failed. The Constitution never did. There wasn't a central government of any relevant standing at the time. Many states rulers liked their fiefdom, and didn't want to decentralize. They didn't want to relinquish any power. Didn't want a country at all really. But in microcosm, people finally realized that wasn't in the nation's interest at large. By the end of the Articles, we got a pretty good idea what the people thought of it after Shay's Rebellion. What's strange is you think that over time, which is all that matters, that these autonomous state governments would've directionally become what? Ideal Austrian communes, bursting with freedom and prosperity. Yeah right, they would've become autocracies of the worst kind, because that's what every man is inside, and it's up to the design pattern of a system or government to limit and sublimate it. . The Civil War and bitcoin hard fork share more similarities than the Article's era. You know that and are just being difficult. Admit it. The Article's era is more similar to the era when the Bitcoin Foundation was running, before it was dissolved.
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then I would give the period 1776 to 1788. This period didn't have an executive president
Is this the only metric you consider for the state of being of the US?
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No; I mentioned the president there because I was asked "the year and President".
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rockstar, u seem like the type that doesn't like labels, but if you categorized your political stance (not donkeys or elephants) what would u say
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well.thanks.
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👊
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never even thought about government as decentralized like this. so what would a 51% attack on govt be 🤣
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It would probably be something useless like assassinating the President which would have no impact on America's functioning, which is why there's no point in doing it. We don't have a one-person-government that would cause a power vacuum. Kennedy went down and the stock market was up when it reopened. The attempt on Regan. Lincoln went down. Garfield and McKinley went down too. Ticktock, next block type thing.
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420 sats \ 6 replies \ @td 9 Feb
Do you think that’s true? Presidents get murdered because of ideological differences. People, who knows who, different every time, can’t control the direction of the country so resort to extreme measures to keep it on their ideological track. Do you think that’s a fair assessment? Tick tock next block and all that but the course of the nation has been irrevocably altered.
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Do you see irrevocable alteration though, even in the time after the 4 presidents we've lost to assassination? Seems their party platform's goals get fast-tracked. Agree with the ideologues though, who've been responsible for the crimes, even if they're shadowed behind the useful idiot pulling the trigger. The ideologues probably being better than foreign adversaries, which could lead to retaliation. I guess my point is that succession and separation of powers eliminate any chance of chaos, a broken command chain of custody, or power usurping. Thoughts?
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I teeter totter on stuff like this. I can be fully convinced by the logic that the systems grind forward, and even seemingly giant things like assassinations get swept under the rug of history.
And then, wrt things I really understand, or things I witness, I see how a thing happens, or doesn't happen, because of one single person. And that maybe the 'grand sweep of history' is similar to a lot of crazy-making stuff in this space: it seems simple because people don't understand it deeply. When you understand things deeply, nothing is simple. It's like the opposite of that one meme.
Anyway, my current synthesis is that many giant macro things are the result of historical forces, technological determinism, and so are, in some cases, akin to acts of nature. Except that they can be sped up or slowed down by decades and even longer. That's where I think btc is. Maybe inevitable on a tectonic timescale, but not on the scale of one person's life.
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I should've chosen a different analogy other than assassination which popped into my head lol. I'm saying the structure of government itself doesn't change, but you guys are correct, a bunch of other stuff does, including decisions within that government (it's made of representatives after all, we don't have a direct democracy). I wonder in your case, had you been assassinated in 1977 instead of dying peacefully in Graceland, if your music would've taken on a more "serious" quality than it has. Would In the Ghetto be played at protests, used in social awareness films?
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I wonder in your case, had you been assassinated in 1977 instead of dying peacefully in Graceland, if your music would've taken on a more "serious" quality than it has. Would In the Ghetto be played at protests, used in social awareness films?
It's a good question, how people are redeemed by how they ended, and their ends become part of the meaning of their lives. I do wonder what the Vegas era has done for my legacy; the gut reaction is that it's turned me farcical, but I think, upon reflection, it probably added nuance and timbre to it. A tragedy more than a farce. Assassination presumably would have moved it elsewhere.
My current favorite example for this is Basquiat. We'll never know what Untitled sells for minus the overdose, but it ain't $100m.
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Ha, when I clicked on it thought I was going to see Bastiat the Austrian economist for some reason. Forgot about Basquiat's skull. Good points.
200 sats \ 0 replies \ @td 12 Feb
I agree with this idea that technological determinism means certain things really are inevitable, and individuals merely speed up or slow down this tectonic movement.
On this topic I think it is worth pointing to the work of the wonderful author, Stefan Zweig. He was fascinated by the influence individuals can have on the world and tries to drill down into the very moment, the very instant that changed the course of history (at least for the individual in question's lifetime).
From what I can tell this is the original publication, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decisive_Moments_in_History, though there is a modern version readily available here: https://pushkinpress.com/books/shooting-stars/
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Yes yes good 👍
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Yes yes good please send me
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Thank you for sharing this interesting information.
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good info! this^ is a crazy writing style
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