DPayments on the DWeb now possible? Math breakthrough

One of the goals of a new World Wide Web: the Decentralized Web was to help people make money by publishing on the web. There are approaches to this such as Coil, but the vision in the paper has not been done. The idea was to be able to post a file to the DWeb and then have people pay for it and then unlock it, all without a central authority. Decentralized payments on the decentralized web. Not only has it not been done, it may not be possible… until now (maybe).

Here is the scenario I could not figure out: Can my son make a decentralized website for his new album where one of the songs is free, but the others cost something? Sounds easy– you post the first song unencrypted, and the others encrypted. Then if you put a bit of bitcoin or ether or something in a slot, then you get a key to the encrypted files. Yes, you could then unencrypt the files and then post them again, thus making a black market for the files, but that is hard to avoid without DRM and that has its own problems.

An existing way to do this is to host your files on iTunes or Amazon and they will deliver unencrypted copies to those that pay. This works, but it puts lots of power into the hands of those websites. In fact, those companies have gotten very rich doing this service for people.

Can we have a decentralized way to distribute keys based on some event on a blockchain? This has been frustrating, but the answer, so far, seems to be No. The reasoning is that in a centralized system, one would go to a website, make a payment or prove you made a payment and the website would send you a key to unlock the files. The website would makes sure the payment was made, and send one and only one key based on that payment to the purchaser. Ok, some of these pieces are understandable how to do in a decentralized way. It is possible to post the payment on a blockchain with a public key of the purchaser, so the vendor could the use the public key to protect the decoding key so only the purchaser gets it. So far so good. But, there has to be a vendor that can issue the key, therefore the vendor has a secret that should only be shared or used when issuing a key.

This works when the secret is in one place. But if the code for issuing the key were on a contract-based blockchain such as Ethereum, then anyone could see the code and get the key without paying. You could even have the secret in several places, and ones that are distinct from vendor– think escrow agents, but that is klunky work-around.

So you say, what is the breakthrough? Well, I read a piece about some cryptologists having discovered the “Crown Jewel of Cryptography” that may make this possible.

For example, suppose you have a program that carries out some task related to your bank account, but the program contains your unencrypted password, making you vulnerable to anyone who gets hold of the program.

Computer Scientists Achieve ‘Crown Jewel’ of Cryptography

Their system allows that program to be distributed with an encrypted version of the password to be used in all ways like the one with the unencrypted password, thus solving the problem.

To put in the our example: the program that issues keys to the music files can be distributed to anyone and they can not find the internal secret because it is encrypted. But, you say, then anyone can run that program and generate the keys to unlock the music files so people do not need to pay. But this is where I hope the contract systems in blockchain systems comes in (but I could have this wrong). I am hoping that the program also has a test to check for an event happening on the blockchain, such as a payment is made, then when the program is triggered and proceeds to encrypt the music decoder key with the purchaser’s public key. The purchaser can then use their private key to unlock the message and get the music decoding key. The purchaser rocks out to the music and my son gets paid.

I do need help in understanding if this if contracts can do this: when an event happens on the block chain, then a piece of code is triggered to run successfully. If that event did not happen on the blockchain, then the program would not run successfully.

If I understand these two pieces, the “Crown Jewel” and blockchain contracts, then we can make DPayments on the DWeb work.

And that is a major step forward!

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Hiring Americans is hard for distributed organizations: How the federal and state governments can Fix It

The Internet Archive has over 90 employees in the United States, but they reside in 17 different states and even more counties. While distributed workforces are becoming common, it has become so painful to deal with the federal, state, and county regulations that we will soon be paying to outsource the headache.  We are not the only ones straining under the burden, but there are some possible fixes.

Hiring in Canada is easier and less expensive than in the United States, meaning that the federal government, each state and many counties should make changes to become competitive.  

The real reason the US and states should make changes is to make a better home for their residents, but some will be motivated by making it a better home for businesses.  Luckily, changes would benefit both businesses and individuals.

The rules might have made sense at a different time when companies hired many people in one location. But they do not make sense now– now that more organizations are becoming distributed. The non-profit organizations I work with are struggling with this issue and many are looking to outsourcing organizations of different flavors to deal with our governments.

The problems start with a lack of universal healthcare. If we did not put this administrative burden on companies and nonprofits, it would greatly ease hiring employees. It is not just the expense for the insurance– it is all the administration, yearly rebidding, managing many plans, and across the whole United States. Many people that do not want universal healthcare say they are “pro-business,” but in fact it is hurting United States businesses and families. It is hard for me to understand.

Then there are state regulations– if we want to hire a person in a new state, or someone wants to move to another state, then we have to register to do business there. Every state has a different unemployment rate as well as a different base rate to be taxed on. We also have to do seemingly endless forms and audits for workers compensation and taxes. And some counties or burroughs have their own regulations and taxes. A national payroll service helps (which is costly, by the way) but the screams of agony from the HR department for other administrative tasks have been growing over the years.  We often do not hire someone because they lived in a state where we did not already have an employee.

Then there are some bizarre regulations, like the definition of employee versus contractor. We may want to hire someone to work a few hours, but this can be too hard in California because of the expansive rules. This is being debated now in the case of Uber and Lyft, but let me give a different, recent, and real example.

I help support a five-person arts organization that pays teachers to teach specialized crafts. Some of  these teachers work only a few hours a year. At first they were contractors, but then one of the teachers applied for unemployment to the state of California which then launched a disruptive investigation and found every one of these teachers were employees in their eyes and fined the organization tens of thousands of dollars. The level of paperwork now required to have someone work for 2-3 hours per year is absurd. And many of the teachers were mad because they did not think of themselves as employees nor want to be. Lets figure out the benefit we are trying to achieve and go straight for it rather than the catch-all system that often does not fit our current environment.

Another bizarre regulation is that a nonprofit has to register to raise money in each and every state if they put a donate button on a website. Each state is bizarrely different. There are firms that outsource this registration function which is a tax on our non-profits. This is dumb. States should not penalize nonprofits in this way.

What should the United States do?  Universal Health Care.  Universal Retirement Accounts that are not attached to companies.  In general, stop assuming we are living in factory towns with employment for life, and therefore change the regulations to reflect our current world.

What should states do? How about uniform regulations for companies with fewer than 50 employees in a state before jumping in with non-standard regulations? One uniform regulation for all small businesses could be defined and state legislatures could adopt. Then states would have the incentive to adopt the uniform rules for small businesses in order to be attractive to small businesses which are becoming increasingly distributed.

Distributed organizations are becoming more common– lets not penalize those that want to hire United States residents.

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Uber…. but Decentralized?

What would it take to make an app that would work like Uber, but without the corporate entity?  And without the high percentage that goes to Uber.  Hum…   Let’s take some of the needed parts…

  1. Hailing a driver: a rider wants to know the driver is safe, closest, and the price. 
  • On the safety issue, let’s suppose a really good reputation system (see below).
  • “Closest” can be done by integrating a good map app (see below). 
  • And a price– this could be as simple as a set function of per-ride, per mile, and per minute. 
  1. Paying a driver: could be as easy as crypto/bitcoin being paid part as the ride starts and the rest as it ends. But there could be more complicated parts of this where there is a 3rd party that takes a bit, that may pay the app developer (see below).   If there is a 3rd party, don’t we have Uber?  Maybe, but could be much lighter weight.  There are also contracts in ethereum that could help with arbitration in the case of disputes.
  1. A reputation system: Seems we need a strong reputation system.  Yelp, it has been said, has been corrupted, and it is difficult to avoid this. Reddit? Slashdot?  Maybe a mixture of up-vote/down-votes from anyone, and mixing in social network to favor your friends, or maybe subscribing to aggregators of reputations…  
  1. Map App: Google has nailed this, but I bet a rideshare app puts lots of load on it.  We might need a per-ride payment to go to the map provider.
  1. Price and payment: could be one price per ride, and this has advantages.   What if a rider could pre-tip, or a driver could pre-discount?  That might help those that do not have good reputations yet.  Does a rider pick between drivers, and vice versa? Since  bitcoin is not widely used yet… how about google/apple pay?  Venmo? Paypal?  Some of these have evolved pretty anonymous payments.
  1. Evolving the app: what if there were many apps competing for the riders and drivers– what if it evolved into a system where the apps were somewhat compatible so a driver could run many apps at once and they would compete for her business.  Then the apps would need reputations as well, and they could evolve different algorithms.  Does the app provider get a piece of the action?

If this could work, it could mean rapidly evolving ecosystem with many players at every level. 

It could go very wrong– a great movie that shows this is Nerve (worth watching).  It could be used for escort services and other match-making functions.

Anyway, I like the mental excersize of ______ but decentralized, where _____ is your favorite cool thing. Google Docs, Tesla, Slack, WordPress, Internet Archive…

(and has this already been done?)

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Libraries vs Bookstores? No, False dichotomy. They are different Animals

Internet Archive in San Francisco
Barnes and Noble Booksellers

There is a recent written attack on libraries that I find odd and somewhat dangerous– libraries overlap too much with new-book bookstores. At first I thought it was trolling, but I now believe it is sincere. More worrisome is that anti-library lobbying is generally growing in strength but their attacks on the concept of libraries have been more implied and disguised, until recently. Maybe it is time to think a bit about what a library is and what they are for.

First of all, there are lots of types of bookstores and lots of types of libraries, so a short post will not be comprehensive, but hopefully illustrative.

I love bookstores, and I am fond of online and offline bookstores, used bookstores, quirky bookstores, bookstores of bestsellers. Basically, I love books, I buy lots of them. Lots.

I love the book arts, where the form of the book is the art. My wife, Mary Austin, helped start the San Francisco Center for the Book. If you are unfamiliar with book arts, it is a treat– I suggest you dive in and create your book.

And I love libraries– academic and public, subscription libraries (yes, there are 21 of them in the United States– you should join one or many), digital libraries and special libraries. Ever been in a “special library”? Yes it is a thing. They are really fun, for instance the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri.

A bookseller of new books wants their customer to find the right new book to buy, bring home, and read.

A library is all about context, a library helps their patrons come up with new ideas and connections whether by reading a whole book or a few pages of lots of books– new and old. Libraries offer historical newspapers and new newspapers, and from distant lands and opposing points of view. And libraries have experts on tap: reference librarians.

To do all this, librarians work hard at “information about information”, or metadata, to provide context. Libraries strive for comprehensive collections in their areas of expertise not just the popular– they keep old editions because they can be important context. Libraries typically offer many types of media: books, recordings, moving images, archives. 

In this way, a library helps people come up with ideas and connections, and if the ideas and connections are novel, and then get recorded, then they can be added to the library. Libraries help readers, many of whom become writers, whose works can then be made accessible, forever, in libraries.  The great circle of knowledge creation and preservation.

As Jim Gray said “Libraries are engines of research.” They are not the research, they power the research. To research something, a person does not need to buy all the books on the subject, new and old– rather, there is a more efficient way– they can go to the library.

Booksellers offer books for sale, and thank goodness books are still for sale (don’t get me started on restrictive licenses on ebooks).

Librarians offer access and preservation.

Both are valuable, both are necessary, and they are different.

Digital Librarian
Internet Archive

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10 years trying 7 approaches to providing affordable housing for non-profit workers, here are the results so far

San Francisco Scanning Center with stimulus support

The Great Recession started in 2008 and everyone suffered– the Internet Archive hired 146 out-of-work parents, leveraging an Obama stimulus welfare-to-work program to scan books  for the visually impaired.   I had employees polled as to how they were doing financially, and the answer was… Bad.

This was the kicker:  30-60% of their income went to rent.  Yikes, and turns out to be typical across the country.  So I set out to find a way to fix this, at least for non-profit workers. I read Graeber’s book Debt (fabulous, must read book), and started on experiments.

Over the last 10 years, I have personally tried 6 approaches, and seen another, here are the short versions:

Foundation House for non-profit workers in San Francisco

1. Foundation Housing:  this is permanently affordable employee apartments– about $900-$1000 a month which is about 1/2-1/3 of market based rent in San Francisco. The way we did this is to have it be permanently debt-free (no mortgage), and have the fee to live in an apartment covering all other costs. Since this is like faculty housing or a monastery, people leave the housing as they leave the non-profit sector. We bought an apartment building (as a form of endowment) in San Francisco with 11 units, trying it out.  Three out of 11 apartments now have non-profit workers.  It is working pretty well, but not saving the Archive much money but giving security to people.  On the other hand, one employee said they felt a bit trapped because they can not afford to move out and stay in San Francisco.  Most employees don’t want to move in because they already have apartments they are happy with, so it is not serving a huge need.  But still, I think we should do more of these. It can be done with a careful investment strategy so it does not cost much to buy the buildings. News report.

2. Silent loan: lent someone enough money so they could make a down payment, and I changed no interest.  There was no paperwork, and was in their bank account for years before they found their house.  So it helped them out, and they are thankful but it is not scalable.

3. 20% mortgage helper: I am on the board of a non-profit that has done this program where $1m was set aside to help people with getting a mortgage on a house within biking range of the office– the 20% help is 0 interest while they work there, but then it goes up to market rate when they leave the non-profit. When they leave, they are expected to pay it back by refinancing.  It has worked out well as housing prices have gone up.  Unknown when things go down. When it started there was great enthusiasm as it allowed many to buy in San Francisco and feel supported.  Recently there has been grumbles about it, not sure why.

Internet Credit Union before it was closed by NCUA

4. Made a credit union to make a bank “that doesn’t suck.”  (that was our original unofficial motto) and to help finance sustainable housing. Well, we worked at it for 5 years, one and a half years to get the initial charter through the system, and then the regulators spent three and half years crushing us out of existenceThey really really do not want new credit unions or new ideas in the banking area.  The National Credit Union Association should be shut down– the US credit union industry blossomed and grew before the NCUA was started in 1972. NYtimes report.

5. Build a building next to the Internet Archive.  We have the empty lot to do it in and we hired an architect but it came out to cost so much we postponed.

6. Co-owning a house– this is different from a loan, it is more like a share of ownership and sharing the risk and reward. Up to half of the appraised value, in cash, is given to the owner so they continue to afford to be in the area. When they eventually sell, then that proportion of the proceeds is returned. This has been tried with a couple of close friends and they used it to pay off their mortgage, so they own their half outright. This is working well so far, but have not had any sell their house yet. This is more secure for the resident owner than a mortgage in the case of the value of the house declining, or if they lose the ability to pay the loan, in this co-owning case they do not have a mortgage so they do not get foreclosed on and have to leave their house. But there is financial risk to me in doing this approach.

7. Remote work.  The Internet Archive actively recruits outside of the bay area and encourages people to not relocate. Many San Francisco employees have now moved away but kept their jobs.  This has worked more often than not.  We have been hiring remote workers for the last 3 years and now a majority of people are not in the Bay Area.  And with the covid pandemic, we are going “remote first” so we are all remote, and the exception is the ones that are in San Francisco.  We have been adapting to remote management, which is not easy.

Of all the approaches, the one working the best is #7: Remote Work.  Get good at it, and we won’t have the housing stresses of San Francisco.

I expect others are trying different approaches– please share them– we need to find ways to keep non-profit workers happy, productive and financially secure.

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Zone trip #5? Inventing a Desirable Physical World in Pandemic — August, 2020

Wedding photo, 1992 Black Rock

San Francisco is best when it is inventing utopias (executing on it sometimes goes astray, but stay with me).

In our Covid/Pandemic world we are all pushed into virtual classes, virtual work, virtual relations.  Lets face it, we can only stretch virtual so far.

Let’s invent a physical world, and a desirable fabulous sharing wonderful world, in the age of Pandemic.   Together.

Burning Man is cancelled this year.  But it was an inspiration– I went in 1990, the first year in the desert– 80 people. It was called Zone Trip #4 in the paragraph in the Rough Draft physical newsletter– show up, be it, no spectators.  No tickets, no city planning, no directions, no rangers, no sherpas.   Make it happen, we were it.   It was so great that Mary and I invited our friends there to be our wedding in 1992 when there were 400 people and getting married at Burning Man was not a thing, nor would it be for years.

Ephemerisle has same “lets invent the world we want to live in” feel– 400 people on the delta trying to stay afloat, literally.  Inventive, dangerous, and wonderful.

Both early Burning Man, and Ephemerisle are all about adapting to a difficult environment, and with panache.

So…   how about Zone Trip #5: Pandemic?   In this case we start with a large chunk of desert, and then we invent a temporary utopia that works in the age of Pandemic– staying safe and loving it.  

With lots of inventors.   Everyone an inventor.

  • Maybe someone brings a traincar of rice, a truckload of beans.   
  • Maybe someone figures out what a school is, what a school means, what a school teaches.   
  • Maybe there is a glass-cube restaurant.
  • Maybe pandemic fashion takes a positive turn– a full-length clear isolation tube-dress 3ft in diameter.
  • Romancing while social distancing?
  • Virus free camp.
  • Recovered camp.

What could you add to the world?

Cacophony newletter entry for Zone Trip 4, first Burning Man in the desert.

Wedding album– inventing a world

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Helping Make Housing Affordable with “Non-Intrusive Joint Ownership”

We have been trying Foundation Housing with an apartment building in San Francisco, and while we like that structure for many reasons, we are now trying something else, this time more personal that others might want to try: joint ownership of a house. The couple times we have tried it with friends and family, they have credited this with allowing them to stay in the expensive Bay Area, so deemed a success. It has also not changed our relationship with these friends and family (as would being their landlord or bank) which has been what we wanted.

We are trying “non-intrusive joint ownership” of houses by owning a stake in a house that others live in. It is non-intrusive since it is a “silent” ownership share. This is distinct from co-signing on a mortgage and reverse mortgages in ways I will touch on later.

Let me explain our current approach, and please, if you have further ideas please comment below.

It could be any % of the house, but we have tried 50%, so I will describe it that way. A lawyer has written the documents to make this work.

It is structured as a “tenancy in common,” where each owns half the house, let’s call one the “Resident Owners,” and the other the “Equity Owner.” The Equity Owner pays the owner (could be the Resident Owner or the seller) one half of the value of the house based on current appraisal, purchase price, or something agreed upon. Then each owns half of the house and this is registered with the deed with the county. We have not tried this, but the Resident Owners could mortgage their half if they wanted to, but the bank would not have a claim on the Equity Owner’s share. We have discouraged mortgages because of how they have gone wrong, but we believe it is possible in this structure.

The Resident Owners uses the whole house and pays all the taxes and upkeep (and is required to keep it up). If there are any additions or improvements, it does not change the half-half share. 

This whole arrangement is unwound when the house is sold and the proceeds are split half-half, or the house can be appraised and the Resident Owner can buy out the Equity Owner’s share. The sale happens when the Resident Owners decide to sell the property, the Resident Owner dies, or, if owned by a couple, when the later of the original Resident Owners dies. Therefore the Equity Owner can not force the Resident Owners to sell, unless, I guess, if the Resident Owners default on their obligations.

To grant it stability to both parties, the Residential Ownership share is not inheritable and is non-transferable and has to be their primary residence. This makes sense to us, as the Equity Owner, since we wanted to help these particular people stay in the Bay Area. In another step towards stability, the Equity Owner’s interest is not transferable either, when the later of my spouse and I die, then the share goes to our family foundation. This non-transferability of the Equity Owner stake is based on my bad experience, decades ago, of my student loan being sold by my town’s savings and loan bank to an aggressive lender.

This has turned out to be non-intrusive, and in fact, pretty invisible: after it is set it up there have not been discussions about it. This is how we have wanted it: to help our friends and family but not change the nature of our relationship.

This differs from co-signing someone’s mortgage as that approach does not decrease payments for the Residential Owner except, perhaps, to make it so they could get an favorable mortgage in the first place. It also differs in that the co-signer takes on the risk of default bringing in an entanglement we wished to avoid.

This differs from reverse mortgages in that it is a share of the house, where a reverse mortgage is a loan that is secured by the house. Loans have interest, and fees, and if you fail to pay, you lose your house. There are many stories of these going wrong. Where this joint ownership structure will surely have ways it goes wrong, we have not found them yet.

If you have experiences with this, or have any questions, please write in a comment below.

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The Game of Oligarchy

You should try this game.

I just invented and played a game today with my family, and it worked great– it was fun and we learned an important lesson. Similar to the game “Monopoly” which shows that one person ends up monopolizing even though you think the rules are “fair,” the game of Oligarchy shows that the “free market” leads inexorably to one person getting all the money and everyone else going broke. And fast.

The reason this is important is that it disproves one basic tenet of the free-market idea– that it is a game with many winners. Rather the free market, without redistribution, puts everyone (except one) in debt bondage, and quickly. We joked that those that were run out of money had to sell organs. Our game broke up into social classes– it was not worth it to the rich to play with the poor. It was all very real for a simple game.

All of this is based on a paper in Scientific American, Is Inequality Inevitable? Wealth naturally trickles up in free-market economies, model suggests, which has been a mind-blower for me: it is so simple and disproves the Libertarian premise.

We played 4 rounds with 6 people in about an hour:

  • each gets a pad of paper and pen and writes $100 at the top, that is their pot of money
  • each gets a coin to flip

Then each player picks another player agrees to gamble on a flip of a coin, they agree on which wins on heads, and tosses. The stake of the gamble is set at 50% of the lesser of the pots of that pair. So in the beginning, when everyone has $100, the gamble is $50.

Then the players pick another player (or the same player) to do another round. This proceeds.

What is amazing is that even through each toss is “fair” in that it is a 50-50 chance to win a straight amount of money, the results shows one player wins all the money, and really quickly.

Two nephews and their partners, Mary and I played 4 rounds in about an hour and we discovered social classes (we called the broke ones “organ sellers”), feeling of righteous empowerment based on being successful (even though it was completely random), but also that “free market” ended with all-but-one-of-us in a bad situation really quickly.

Try it, it is fun. And read the article, it is startling– free-market without redistribution goes to Oligarchy very very fast. This book on Sumerian and Babylonian economics shows it has always been this way, so people developed peaceful reset mechanisms with debt forgiveness and Julilee: …and Forgive Them Their Debts by Michael Hudson.

[And now you can see it played automatically! http://hackerfactor.com/oligarchy-game.php Go Neal!]

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Slingshotting around the Sun? Grasping the Oberth Effect

A Washington Post article talked about getting to interstellar rocketry by slingshotting around the Sun. I understood the idea of slingshotting required a planet or a moon– something that was orbiting something else because you are taking some of that acceleration of the planet for your rocket. Indeed this is called “Gravity Assist,” so what is this slingshotting around the Sun?  Well, this is where you get the Oberth Effect. The idea is you go really fast by getting close to the sun, burning your fuel, and you will go much faster even after you slow down again having left the proximity of the Sun.

But after reading and rereading the wikipedia article, talking with my mates, watching a youtube video I still did not get an intuitive grasp of it– in fact it seems to break the rule of conservation of energy. How could blasting your fuel while going faster make you go faster?  I think I have an approach to see how it makes sense, in general, but does not bring us to equations.

A rocket works by throwing exhaust out the back at high speed, thus pushing the rocket forward. For a given amount of fuel, you throw it out (relatative to the rocket) at a certain speed and certain weight to become the exhaust thus pushing the rocket forward with a certain amount of force.

Let’s say the fuel is thrown out the back at a certain speed, V. If you do this while standing still, the fuel goes one way at speed almost V and the rocket goes the other. If the rocket is moving at speed V, then throws the burnt fuel out the back (say it does it all at once for simplicity), then exhaust will be standing still and the rocket moving faster than it was.

The first case is like in a swimming pool you push against a floaty to go one way– the floaty goes the other way. The second case can be seen as you are in a swimming pool and you push just as hard, but you are pushing against the wall. The wall goes nowhere, and you go faster across the pool.

You would push against a wall if you could. And by speeding up the rocket you are effectively doing that. Same force, but the floaty goes the other way vs the wall which stays still. When you push against the wall you go faster in the direction you want to go.

In the rocket case, we have to get the rocket to go the speed of the exhaust V, and not take any energy to do that. The way the rocket is speed up is by “borrowing speed” by accelerating towards the sun. The sun accelerates both the rocket and the fuel it will burn equally– this is that tricky thing in high school physics where a feather and a bowling ball fall at the same rate (if there is no air resistance). So the sun pulls both in, the rocket and fuel are going really fast, say V, then the rocket blasts out the rocket fuel leaving it behind, and then decelerates as it leaves the sun. If the rocket got up to speed V, then the net effect is that instead of the rocket throwing its exhaust backwards, it would go nowhere, thus being the wall it pushed against.

The rocket decelerates as it leaves because of the gravity of the sun is pulling it back, but it is getting less force because it weighs less because it burned fuel. Again, this is that tricky bit about the feather and bowling ball. So the Sun applied more force to the rocket+fuel on the way in than on just the rocket on the way out. Another way of seeing how this effect works.

At least this makes sense to me. The effect is caused by the sun accelerating the rocket+fuel, then when the rocket blasts out its spent fuel, the exhaust is not going in the opposite direction as much, thereby offering more of a push to the rocket, even after it is decelerated.

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Lyft took 50% of the fare from the driver this morning

Going to the airport this morning, I took a Lyft for $46. It us usually less, but it was rush hour, and still less than a taxi (usually $65) and more reliable than a taxi. The driver was cheerful, been driving for Lyft/Uber for a year and a half, and it was in a Chevy Bolt, so we were driving an electric car. I got there before it predicted, and all was good.

But I looked at the driver’s phone after we got out and it showed she made $23. Yikes. This does not seem fair.

The driver said that after Uber and Lyft went public, the “take” they were taking from the drivers went up.

50% is too high a fee for Lyft. The only higher fees I know are what book publishers take from authors.

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