“When is moon?”: It’s Time to Start Spending Your Cryptocurrencies

I like Twitter. It’s a great medium for expressing opinions in edible, bite-sized chunks.

However, if you’ve spent more than 5 minutes reading what crypto-enthusiasts are tweeting, you’ll be struck with a sad realization: most people are just trying to make a quick buck. This isn’t anything new, nor is it necessarily bad, but it is damaging cryptocurrencies’ prospects of dethroning traditional, centralized monetary systems.

The solution to this problem is unsurprising: the cryptocurrency community needs to start paying for things with cryptocurrency. Once merchants begin witnessing real adoption and utilization of crypto, they’ll be much more eager to accept it is a valid form of payment.

Most businesses don’t have the luxury to gamble with their bottomline, which is exactly what they’d be doing by accepting cryptocurrency as payment right now due to the volatility. In order to tame volatility, we need the business community to believe that we want to pay for things in crypto, not just convert it back into fiat once a profit has been secured.

We are still a ways off from widespread adoption. In order to hasten progress towards this goal, stop thinking of cryptocurrency as an investment and, instead, think of it as a currency. Spend it. Can you pay your kids’ allowance in crypto? Can you convince a freelancer to accept crypto as payment? Can you buy that rug you’ve been meaning to get from Overstock in crypto? What can you do to be proud to be a part of this movement?

We all want the buying power of our currencies to go up, whether it be the US dollar, Japanese Yen, Icelandic Króna, Bitcoin, ZenCash or Litecoin – but currencies don’t have power unless they’re used to transact.

It takes a while to get to the moon, so make sure to buy a few things along the way.

On Moral Hypocrisy and Empathy

Moral hypocrisy is perplexing only when we examine it in others. When we consider our own hypocrisy, we find means by which to justify or exempt whatever the particular offense may be.

It’s only by believing in the concept of an ideal that we can depart from it. In the opposite direction we find Nihilism, a philosophy that abandons the ideal in favor of the somewhat oxymoronic term “absolute relativism,” that is, the notion that ideas matter only in relation to one another rather than some ideal.

Imagine an apple. Unless you’re unaware of what an apple actual is, you can mentally conjure up an image of an apple. In fact, you can imagine a nearly infinite configurations of an apple: small, large, red, green, slightly bruised, misshaped, stemless. Despite the varying characteristics, however, there are inalterable properties that define what an apple is. You could not simply imagine an orange and correctly believe it’s an apple because an orange has characteristics outside the bounds that define an apple.

Like apples, morals also have an ideal (the absolute definition) and approximates forms (the real-world definition). Unlike the ideal, the approximate form exists within an imperfect system (reality) that imposes external factors upon it.

To offer a metaphor, imagine a red ball in a vacuum (ideal) and then imagine that same red ball floating in the ocean (approximate form). The concept of the ball does not change but the real-world conditions force us to consider its characteristics within a system rather than within a vacuum.

Morality should not be allowed to escape this logic even though we are dealing with concepts rather than physical objects. In fact, viewing morals as divine, idealistic properties has only served to divide humanity rather than unite us. Moral empathy (understanding the decisions an individual makes in light of their worldview) should outweigh judgements made based on one’s personal morals.

There is an extremely important caveat: humans are susceptible to irrational beliefs. Irrational beliefs, despite their claims to holy origins, cannot constitute the basis for human morality. This is why orthodox religion is so dangerous: it asserts only idealistic morals and does not tolerate deviance.

Of course, most people do deviate from these ideal morals even if they consider themselves religious. Why? Because they understand that humans can only ever hope to approximate moral perfection as it isn’t actually achievable. The bible even admits as such, stating: “And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” etc., etc.

Is it any wonder that it’s so difficult to create a universal theory or morality? We’ll probably discover the universal theory of everything before we agree on morals. In the meantime, we should concentrate on empathetically understanding another’s position rather than immediately lambasting it for being different than our own.


Renewing Let’s Encrypt for Nginx with Flask on Ubuntu 16.04

If you’re running into an issue renewing your SSL certificate with letsencrypt renew, you’ll need to manually renew the cert.

WARNING:letsencrypt.cli:Attempting to renew cert from /etc/letsencrypt/renewal/example.com.conf produced an unexpected error: The requested nginx plugin does not appear to be installed. Skipping.

First, make sure you have a wildcard route set up to serve the verification files that are uploaded when you request a certificate.

You should be able to use the exact code below:

This route will serve anything it finds in the .well-known directory, which you’ll want to add within your templates folder.

You can place a test file in there to make sure it’s working. For example, templates/.well-known/test.html. Go to to verify that it’s working.

Once you’ve pushed this to your server, you’ll simply run the letsencrypt script with the webroot plugin: sudo letsencrypt certonly --webroot -w /path/to/flask/templates -d example.com

You may be prompted to either (1) keep the existing certificate or (2) renew and replace the certificate. Select the second option.

If all goes well, you’ll get a confirmation of the new certificate along with the expiration date. Make sure to set a reminder to run the script again as the expiration date approaches. (Due to rate limiting, you may not be able to set up a cron job to run this script.)

Finally, restart nginx: sudo service nginx restart


Everyone must recognize their strengths and weaknesses. It is reckless to leave these unacknowledged, for, at some point, you must muster up the courage to confront your own beliefs and recognize how some of them are parasitic.

At times, we sit in agony dwelling over the conditions we “find” ourselves in, as though our past behavior somehow led us here inexplicably. These moment, though difficult, provide the best opportunity to confront the patterns of thought that led us astray.

People attempt and fail to change their lives all the time. We’re good at recognizing the symptoms but rarely understand the underlying causes. We commit to “eating better” or “working out” or “drinking less” or “working harder” or “quitting cold-turkey” or “getting up earlier” or whatever. We use simple solutions to delay the pain of really examining ourselves.

What if we were to use these inflection points as leverage? We don’t commit to change often. It’s only when we can no longer bear the accumulated effects of parasitic thoughts that we lower our guard and welcome change. But we must go further. We must sit with the pain, with eyes closed, feel it, and ask which of our beliefs led us here? Sometimes they are obvious. Other times, we must untangle a web of malicious, interconnected ideas.

When you’re experiencing true agony, it feels as though you’re behind a veil: you experience the world but you get nothing from it. This is because nothing external can help you. Your mind is telling you to turn inwards, to stop thinking and to merely confront what you fear. The only thing you find are thoughts. It isn’t until you sit with these thoughts that you can begin to heal.

Life can change in a moment. Once you recognize the false beliefs that are dormant in your subconscious mind, you change. In retrospect, you see everything play out in the context of these false beliefs and it’s as though you were someone else. Well, you were.

As our society becomes increasingly dominated by appearance, we must at least be honest with ourselves. The facade you put up on social media doesn’t represent you. Don’t be lured in by the ease at which you can mask yourself. We are all in limbo between our strengths and our weaknesses.

But change, it’s not going to be easy. Don’t wait for convenience or serendipity. Be at peace with the pain of progress, and realize that we’re all alone, together.

Side Projects Unlock Career Success

Despite what click-bait media would have us believe, there is no list of 10 secrets that produce success. Reality is much messier than that.

However, there does seem to be a consistent theme with those who find career success: side projects.

A “side project,” as defined in this article, is any project that helps develop skills in one’s chosen industry. Simply put, if you’re trying to double your income in the next five years, the most efficient way to do this is to work on a project outside of work that challenges you to develop new skills.

Side projects increase your income potential in one of three ways:

1. New, demonstrable skills allow you to request a pay increase from your current employer.

Once you’re comfortable and confident with what you’ve learned from your side project, force your employer to make a decision between keeping you, your skill set and your ambition, or attempting to find an adequate replacement. This is the preferred approach if you like your job and the company you’re working for.

2. Side projects demonstrate proficiency better than work you do within an organization, so you become more attractive to potential employers.

Every interview involves rehashing your experience from a previous employer. The problem is that this constrains your “experience” to whatever your previous employer’s objectives were. Side projects allow you to pick a specific problem to solve, which allows you to define your previous experience. This is the preferred approach if you’re looking to make big leaps quickly, but it also requires a more substantial effort on your part.

3. Turn your side project into a side business.

Nothing is more rewarding than a side project that makes a profit. In order to do this, however, you have to create something valuable and sustainable. This is far more work but it comes with the added benefit of increasing your income on top of either of the other two options. The most important thing to remember with this approach is that it’ll likely take a few “failed” side projects before you find something that has a viable business model.


During my last few years of college, I worked on a website that was intended to be a directory of “things to do” in my college town. Ultimately, the project fell apart. What was left in its wake, however, were a number of lessons that I couldn’t have learned in school. In fact, it laid the foundation for my career in web development, which wasn’t what I went to school for.

In the four and a half years since graduating, I’ve worked for 5 employers and started a side business. I’ve used side projects as a compass for navigating my career path rather than allowing employers to define it for me.

In order to do this, I’ve found that you need to redefine your relationship with “entertainment.” If you’re inclined to just chill out and watch TV at the end of the workday, try dedicating two nights per week to a side project. You don’t want to get burnt out or frustrated. You’re aiming for a combination of enjoyment, challenge and progress. These ingredients feed off one another, and you may begin to find that you’re more interested in your side project than your TV.

As I stated at the outset, this can be a messy process. No one is there to guide you; you’re the one deciding the outcome. However, this can be an enjoyable process, so long as you remember it’s a learning process. The goal is to build confidence in your decision making and to define your own career path. And, maybe, you can build a little muse business on the side, too.

Rediscovering Minimalism

We live in an era in which an individual’s material wealth is truly astonishing. Nearly anything that you “need” can be shipped to you within a few days. And, yet, the more we possess, the less satisfied we appear to be with our possessions.

Apart from objects of utility, most of what we own is clutter. I have a “storage room” full of containers that I haven’t opened since I moved. One of these contains some camping gear, but, otherwise, I can’t recall their contents. Do any of those items matter? My life seems fine without them.

Yet, it isn’t simply the unknown contents of a few boxes that bothers me: it’s the fact that I own things in plain sight that contribute nothing to my life. For example, I bought a turntable and some vinyls a few months ago. I initially used it a few times per week, but now it’s been a month and its novelty has warn out. Although I thought it would mean something special to me, what’s actually cherished is the music itself.

In early 2016, I traveled around Nicaragua for 6 weeks. All I brought was a 40L backpack. It contained clothes, my laptop, toiletries, a first aid kit and some small miscellaneous items. Prior to leaving, I was sure that I had forgotten to pack things that I’d need. Upon arriving, however, I felt I had everything I needed – and nothing more.

There are only so many things you can get rid of before you begin to feel compromised. But, perhaps we should think of it in reverse: how many things must we gain before we feel encumbered? If there is a clear border between compromised and encumbered, why don’t we strive to live at its seam?

I have been a fan of minimalism for a long time. I’ve envied those who were able to live with so little. How freeing it must be, I thought, to be satisfied, to be content. What I hadn’t realized was that minimalist acquire just as much as anyone else, it’s simply in the form of space, experience and time.

It’s a trope, but it’s true: those who have the most have the most to lose… and, not only to lose but to guard, to anguish over, to maintain, or to pay down (if the “ownership” is in the form of debt.) And, after soaking up our valuable attention, most of it is disposed of anyway.

I won’t judge others based on their aspirations. If you own a lot or aspire to someday, so be it. But I would caution against finding an elevated sense of self-worth in these things. Nobody likes you for what you own. Instead, what you’re appreciated for are the intangible characteristics that you possess.

I don’t plan to give away all my things, but I do intend to ask myself “Do I really need this?” before adding another object to my life. It’s an experiment. It may not last forever, but I’m sure I’ll learn some things along the way.