As nogradient interim editors, we would like to apologize for letting down the nogradient community, as well as Dick Lucas himself (aka Richard, aka Lakkis, aka Buzzy), who left us in charge of his legacy while he was away. It’s inexcusable, and we vow to make Dick proud over the next week before he returns to civilization.
A lot has happened in the last four months, from the carousel of Brexit to the resurgence of Bitcoin. Since we failed to cover any of those events as they happened, here are a few of the things Dick would have written about, or at least retweeted if he weren’t orienteering his way up the west coast. (More to come on his exact whereabouts for the last four months when he returns.)
Bitcoin was just beginning its resurgence when Dick left. On May 20, one bitcoin traded for just under $8,000 and rose as high as $11,800 before dropping back to $10,300 at the time of this writing. While cryptocurrencies remain extremely volatile, these price swings alone don’t tell the whole story. Demand for the Ethereum network continues to climb as demonstrated by Ethereum “gas” usage reaching all time highs. Gas is the fee charged to execute a smart contract on the Ethereum platform and is usually represented in Ether (ETH), so the increase in gas usage is directly correlated to transaction volume. The fact that gas usage continues to climb is a more positive sign for the long term staying power of cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based applications in general than the speculation that drove crypto prices to record levels in 2018.
A LOT has changed with the Brexit situation over the last few months; On May 20, Theresa May was still Britain’s Prime Minister and would remain so until her resignation took effect on June 7th. Her replacement, Boris Johnson, has done little to improve Brexit’s outlook. After promising that the UK would leave the European Union by October 31, with or without a deal, despite Parliament already voting against a no-deal Brexit. In an effort to prevent British Members of Parliament from blocking a no-deal Brexit, Johnson moved to suspend Parliament until October 14. On September 11, Scottish courts ruled that the move was unlawful, setting up an appeal in the UK Supreme Court. As of now, it would be almost impossible to speculate on how all of this turns out. Johnson is accused of deliberately misleading the Queen regarding his reasons for suspending Parliament and even compared himself to the Hulk when saying that he would defy Parliament if they tried to block a no-deal Brexit. Meanwhile, the Brexit deadline looms only a month and a half away…
In June, citizens of Hong Kong began protesting a proposed extradition bill that would allow any country’s government (including mainland China), to request the extradition of wanted criminals regardless of whether or not an extradition treaty is in place. If the bill passed, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, would evaluate each on a case-by-case basis. While the Hong Kong government stated that the bill would prevent wanted criminals from seeking refuge in the city-state, citizens saw it as an erosion of their independence from Beijing, as it would allow the Chinese government to request extradition of political dissidents and critics of the Communist Party. After several months of demonstrations, during which Hong Kong police brutally attacked protesters, the Hong Kong government withdrew the bill on September 4th in an effort to put an end to the violence. However, violence erupted on both sides after Hong Kong police tried to ban public demonstrations, with police firing water cannons and tear gas as protesters hurled Molotov cocktails. In addition to the withdrawal of the extradition bill, protestors are calling for Lam’s resignation, an inquiry into police brutality and the right to democratic elections.
Andrew Yang is running for President on a platform that would provide a stipend of $1,000 per month to every American citizen over the age of 18 that is not incarcerated. The stipend is intended to fight the impacts of automation and artificial intelligence, which Yang claims are destroying millions of jobs. While he is a long-shot to win the Democratic nomination, he has gained a cult following and polled well enough to participate in the Democratic debates. Before his rise to national prominence, Yang’s campaign tried to raise funding via cryptocurrency donations, a process which Dick previously documented as wholly insecure.
With Dick coming back in a week, nogradient patrons can expect a return to the regular cadence of tweets, posts, podcasts and predictions that they’ve become accustomed to. Given the performance of the interim editors during his absence, we honestly aren’t sure whether Dick will continue to retain our services or release us for gross negligence and conduct detrimental to the site. Whatever happens, it has been an honor to serve you all.