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Greed is Subtle
The morning alarm woke up Ghen. With an annoyed sigh, he stretched out his arm and silenced the foul-sounding chirps. Slowly sitting up in bed, he let out a deep yawn and got to his feet. Running a couple of chitinous fingers along his antennae to stimulate them to life, he made his bed and then went to his closet. Today was a work day, so he needed his suit. Once the pants were on, he stretched out his wings so that he could button up the shirt, then relaxing them once all the buttons were secured. Dressing for the day was done, now for the morning meal. Entering his kitchen, he took out the chilled leftovers of the evening meal last night and popped it into the radiator, first defrosting and then slightly cooking it. During that process, he also fished out a ceramic cup and placed it in his brewer, serving himself some synthesized caffeine. His idle thought led him to being amused that, when eaten directly off a plant, it has a concentration that could kill him three times over. But after going through some refinement and roasting, all it does is make him hyper. Once the meal was put together, his plate of heated leftovers and a cup of almost-piping-hot cup of Xia's, he took his time to enjoy it. His communicator vibrated. When he looked, he found it was from his boss. "Hello?" Ghen answered. "Ghen, the meeting's been moved up to a few minutes from now." His boss, Xkik, announced. "Apparently higher up has something important they want to say. We have a terminal ready for you, I'll message the login details." "Wha-, what's so important?" Ghen asked in bewilderment. "Did a water line rupture or something?" "No, nothing like that." Xkik replied with a slight chuckle. "It's actually about the rumors we've been hearing. That human corporation wanting to acquire us? That's what they're talking about." Ghen could feel everything inside his thorax drop to the floor. "That must mean it's true then, right? Did we get sold off by the Queen to this company then?" "Show up to the meeting and you'll get your answer." Xkik said simply. When he finished, Ghen got the notification on his communicator. There's the login details, allowing him to remotely attend the meeting. "They're about to start, hurry up." Once Xkik disconnected, Ghen worked fast to login and set up the remote viewing. Once everything was done, his screen started transmitting the meeting room. It was already packed. And off by the main board, he saw his answer. There was a human, resting against the wall on his two legs. Standing right in the center of everyone's view was the coordinator, Tizx, watching the clock periodically. As soon as the meeting's start time was reached, the coordinator began. "Alright everyone. I realize that this was rather short notice, so I want to say how appreciative I am that you made it. Now then, let's just get right to it. For some time now, many of you have been hearing rumors that a human corporation has been interested in us. Why? We never really knew. We're just an organization responsible for finding, extracting and providing water to the colony here all under the direction of the Queen herself. Well, as of now, I have the answer for you. Why don't I let Ryan say that?" Stepping back, Tizx motioned for the human, Ryan, to take over. With a nod, Ryan practically bounced over and then took the position. "Good morning to you all. I hope my Zazk is passable, heh. Anyways, the answer to those rumors, is yes. Terran Galactic Company is indeed interested in you all. Which now leads to me. I'm here to announce that, effective yesterday evening, this water company is now a subsidiary of Terran Galactic Company, under the name of Zilia Water Delivery." Many other sub-coordinators broke into hushed conversation, no doubt speaking their thoughts with each other about this move. Ghen could only wonder if this was even a good thing. What will the humans do? Will he still have his job? Will he have to learn how to deal with the ruthless humans? "Now, I am well aware this is quite the...uh, change." Ryan continued. "That's why I'm happy to inform you that, no, nothing negative or detrimental will happen to you. You just have new people to answer to. Operations will continue as normal, everybody here will still keep their jobs. The only real change any of you will personally experience is that Coordinator Tizx here will now report to someone else. On behalf of the Terran Galactic Company, we are extremely excited and are looking forward to working with you all. Thank you for your time." A week later. At least Ryan wasn't lying. After the initial shock wore off, things went back as they normally did. There were no terminations, no reductions in annual pay or anything. Nothing really changed. At least until this new meeting was called. Ghen was at the worksite this time, so he took his seat and watched as, once again, Ryan led the meeting. "Hello again, everyone!" He said cheerfully, his Zazk noticeably improved. "I hope I didn't end up looking like a liar, right? Everything's still normal, all that?" All the zazk in the room confirmed, providing comments to their pleasant surprise as well as lingering thoughts. "Awesome! Awesome." Ryan said jubilantly, his fleshy mouth revealing his bone-white teeth. "Now then, you're probably wondering why I'm here again, right? Well, I got another fantastic piece of news for you all! Two, actually. I'll start with the first: Zilia Water Delivery has just completed its IPO. The company is now publicly traded!" Ghen and the others voiced their confusion, having no idea what in the name of the Queen Ryan was talking about. What was Ryan talking about? What's an IPO? And why exactly is being publicly traded such a significant thing? "Oh, you guys don't know any of that?" Ryan asked in surprised confusion. After everybody confirmed, he let out a quick huff as he began his explanation. "Well, to begin, IPO is short for Initial Public Offering. Basically what that means is that, before today, Zilia was privately held. Only certain individuals could buy and sell shares here. But now that we're public? Literally anyone can buy and sell shares in the company, hence us being publicly traded." "Uh, what's a share?" Ghen asked, still completely lost. "Oh, boy..." Ryan muttered under his breath before returning to his peppy image. "To simply put it, a share is short for having a share of ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you're buying a piece of ownership, and when you sell, you're selling that amount." "So wait...if someone buys a share, they're a co-owner then?" One of the other team coordinators asked. "If they get enough, yeah." Ryan nodded. "You need a lot though, and that really depends on the company. If I had to give an answer though? I'd say usually you need to have a lot more shares than a lot of people combined to be officially a co-owner, but we call that being a majority shareholder." "And how do we do that?" Ghen asked, now growing curious but still not understanding why such a concept exists. "Simple. Buy shares." Ryan said simply. "And that leads into the second piece of awesome news. Zilia's corporate has a product in mind, a premium-package of water delivery. Instead of the usual water that you pump out, filter and ensure its potable before delivery, with the premium package, not only will you get that, but you'll also get all of the required nutrients and vitamins the zazk body requires! And they feel you guys have the best expertise and understanding to pull it off! So, here's what we're offering as a good-faith bonus: A 25% increase to your annual salary as well as being given stock options." Ghen wasn't sure about the second part, but the salary definitely got his attention, as well as everyone else's. Although his job was considered to have a good pay, Ghen isn't going to say no to a higher salary. In fact, he's been focusing his work on getting a promotion so he can come home with even more credits in pocket. "What do you mean by stock options?" Ghen asked after some time. Ryan let out that smile again, the one that revealed his teeth. "If you choose to transfer over to the new group, you'll be provided 50,000 shares in Zilia itself. Why's that awesome? Let me walk you through it. Right now, our last closing price per share was 3.02 credits. And if you have 50,000 shares during that time, you're sitting on 151,000 credits, if you cash it out immediately." "And why shouldn't we?" One of the coordinators demanded in an ambiguous tone. "Because the price per share changes a lot." Ryan explained promptly. "When we got done with the IPO? It closed at 2.73 a share. Right now? My money's on the closing price being 2.99 a share. However, we are extremely confident in this premium package being successful. If it does? Well, my bet is that the share price will skyrocket to 3.12 a share. If you hold those shares and the price gets to what my bet was? You'll instead get 156,000 credits. Just by holding onto them, you just made an additional 5,000 credits!" "And what if we have more shares?" Ghen questioned, now getting excited at the prospect of free money. "Even more money!" Ryan laughed a bit. "And don't forget about dividends, but that's for another time. The premium group is gearing up right now, we just need the workforce. If any of you wants in, I'll be back tomorrow with all the forms needed to make it official. Take the day and tonight to think it over, yeah?" Everything else melted into a blur. Ghen was practically on autopilot that whole day. Was this the secret to the humans' incredibly massive economy? How so many of them have amassed so much money out of nowhere? All you had to do was just buy this share out of a company and you get more money without even working? As soon as he got home, Ghen knew what he was going to do during the night. After feverishly looking through the galnet, now having the human race connected to it, he looked and gathered up as many books that were translated into zazk as he could find, all talking about the human economic system. The last time he undertook such an intensive study was during his primary education phase. And during his search, he even found forums on the galnet that were completely dedicated to the human's economy. All of them talking about strategies on what company, or stock, to pick. How to analyze a company's performance to determine if it was worth the money, or it had potential to grow over time. And that was when he discovered the humans found another method to the extremely simple buying and selling process. There were humans and some other immigrated aliens who made five times what Ghen could receive over a simple month just by watching the share prices during trading hours, and then buying and selling them at the proper times. Ghen's mind was just absolutely flabbergasted. He thought it was just some strange concept only aliens could make, but no, not with the humans. They've practically made their economy into an art or a science. No, not even their economy. Everything. If humans can see a way to make money off of it, they'll do it. And if there isn't, they'll look for a way. Healthcare was monetized. Galnet services, transportation, shopping at the store, they even made all of their utilities into profit-oriented companies. And it was there that Ghen paused, the realization slamming into him. Everything was monetized. Which means, if you don't have the money for it, you're not getting it. Right? Are the humans truly that ruthless? So obsessed with making money? To the point that they're willing to deprive their own people of the absolute necessities if it's a source of credits? Ghen let out a scoff. There's no way. Nobody is that cruel and callous. He's never been to the United Nations. He can't rely on what a bunch of random people on the galnet says. He decided that from here on out, he'll only go as far as saying that humans are a little obsessed with credits, nothing more. ... There he was. Ryan, sitting in the office provided to him. And there was a rather large line leading to him. Looks like word got around. Although, the line wasn't as large as he expected it to be. Maybe the others thought it was just a ruse? That there's no such thing as making free money by spending it on such a made-up concept? Ghen only knows that, if it is a ruse, it's an extremely elaborate one, where all of the humans are in on it. And he believes that's just extremely ridiculous. At the end, if he's unsure, he'll just take the transfer for the very real increase in his very real salary. And although he spent a very good chunk of the night reading up on how humans do things, he's still going to play it smart. He'll leave his 50,000 shares alone and see where it goes from there. "Good morning sir." Ryan greeted warmly once Ghen took his seat. "Now, name please?" "Ghen." He answered, barely keeping his nerves down. "Alright...and what's your position at this location?" Ryan questioned after scribbling on his form. "I monitor the pumping stations near the extraction sites." Ghen explained, staying on point. "To be more specific, I check to see if they're in need of maintenance, as well as reading the flow rate that's determined by the calculators installed there. If there's too little for what's needed, I pump out more. And if there's too much, I pull it back a little." "Nice...and how long have you been doing it for?" Ryan complimented with a nod. "As of tomorrow, ten years." Ghen replied, voice quickly changing to minor awe once he realized that fact. "Excellent. Do you have anyone in mind you'd like to replace you here?" Ryan questioned after another scribble. "If you don't have anyone, you're free to say so." Ghen took a moment to think it over. A bunch of names went through his mind, but one stuck with him. "Tilik. He's just been accepted here, but he's learned quickly. Very attentive and he always catches something subtle. I think he'll do really well in my position, even better actually." "Tilik, really?" Ryan questioned with a little shock, going through his completed forms. Ghen felt a short sense of panic in him. Did something happen, or was Tilik actually transferring? His answer didn't take long to reveal itself. "Right, Tilik was actually one of the first people to want to transfer here. He's actually requested to be part of the testing teams specifically. Do you have a second choice?" "Um...no, actually." Ghen replied, feeling a little ashamed. "Tilik was my only choice, to be honest." "Hey, don't worry." Ryan said assuringly with his hands raised. "Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there's just nobody up to snuff, right? 'Kay, so, last question. Is there anything specific you'd like to do when given the transfer?" "If you need someone monitoring new pumps, I'd be happy to do that." Ghen stated. "So basically same job but with better payoff, am I right?" Ryan grinned. "I hear you. Sometimes, we're just not paid enough for what we're doing. I know I think that sometimes. Uh, our secret, yeah?" "Yeah, our secret." Ghen nodded, thinking it'd be better to have friendly relations with the human, just in case. "Awesome. Back on topic, that's it." Ryan announced, placing the form on his pile. "We'll give you a call when you're accepted." "Oh, uh, that's it?" Ghen questioned with a shrug in shocked surprise. "What, expecting a question like, why do you want to transfer?" Ryan chuckled a bit as he leaned in his seat. "You can bullshit all you want, but we both know the answer. Sweet money and stock options. Not saying that's a bad answer of course, just that it's pretty obvious." "I suppose it is." Ghen commented, realizing the point. "Also, you mentioned this...dividend? Is that for Zilia shares?" Ryan laughed a little bit before nodding. "Yep, announced before I came here. About 0.43 per share. Want to know why that's awesome? Instead of waiting for the proper price to cash out your shares, now? The company pays you for each share you hold." "A...Are you serious?" Ghen demanded, flabbergasted. Ryan nodded with his now-trademark grin. "Dead serious. If you get the transfer, and get those 50,000 shares? A little head math...right, if you hold onto those, in addition to your salary, you'll now annually be paid 21,500 credits, if you keep it at 50,000 shares. Only you can decide to sell or buy shares." Ghen just stood there silent and motionless, no idea of whether to believe it or not, to which Ryan just laughed. Once he walked out of the room, he managed to snap back to reality. Again, just focus on the very real pay-raise. He'll deal with the other parts later. After he returned to his spot, he spotted Tizx approaching by his desk. The coordinator seems to be as casual as always. "I saw you in that line a bit ago, Ghen." He said as he leaned on the desk. "Guess you're really taking that human's word?" "I mean, I don't know about all this share business or what not." Ghen began with a shrug, his tone sounding a little defensive. "But I mean, having a bigger salary? Course I'm going for it when I can. And if all this magic credits turn out to be real? You realize we can live like the royal servants, right? Get the best cars, the nicest food and all that?" "I'd be very careful, Ghen." Tizx warned in a sudden shift in tone. "Don't trust those humans. The way they just...obsess over money? Come up with more and more insane ways of getting credits? I don't know, it just makes my wings twitch." "You think this is a bad idea?" Ghen asked with a little surprise at the change-in-demeanor. "I think you should be careful, with the humans, and with what you're saying." Tizx replied, straightening his posture. "I wouldn't put it past those Earthmen to backstab you if it gets them a few more credits. And we all know how the royal servants get if any of us lowly commoners start thinking we can break into their circle." "I hear you, I'll be on my guard, promise." Ghen stated with a nod. With a confirming nod of his own, Tizx returned back to his duty, walking past Ghen's desk. Several weeks later. Everything became so much better. Ghen got the transfer. He didn't need to relocate to a new residence either. And after he was walked through into learning how to manage his stock account, and seeing that new form of payment in his hands, he already felt as though he made the best decision. But it was only when he decided to take those shares more seriously that he became privy to what he was given. After receiving the dividend payment, and actually seeing it was real, valid credits after transferring it to his main bank account, all he could describe was the most powerful high he ever felt. While his first thoughts were to buy himself a royalty-class car, some nicer furnishings for his home, or even a better home entirely, he ended up going the smarter route. After going back to his stock account, he discovered that Zilia's shares rose to about 3.22 credits in price. Knowing that this was the easiest money he could ever make, he took all of his dividend earnings and bought more shares in Zilia, bringing him to owning 56,891. And from his new regional coordinator, a human named Dylan, tomorrow is the grand release of the premium package. For just a monthly rate of 14.99 credits, the tap water will now include a sizeable portion of all nutrients and vitamins required in the zazk physiology. Still, Ghen has to admit. He's not entirely sure why anybody would want such a thing, if they'd even go for it. But, as long as he's practically swimming in easy credits, he won't pay much attention to it. And just like when he was intensively studying the basics of how the human economy worked, he barely got any sleep. His mind was constantly thinking about the things he would buy. Or rather, what other stocks to put his credits into. Even now he can still hardly believe it. Just spend your money on some, make-believe thing and, if you wait long enough and picked the right stock, you'll get more than you spent back? His mind even wandered onto what human colonies, or even their homeworld, Earth, was like. If everybody was making so much money, what kind of things would they offer? What kind of ridiculous service or product or item can you get? He's even debating on joining some forum and just asking around. Explain how he's new to how humans do things and was wondering what he should expect if he's successful. By the time he felt like he can go to sleep, the binary-stars of the system were rising from the horizon. After getting out of his bed and changing to clean clothes, his mind returned onto what-ifs. What if he bought better clothes? He's had his eye on that human brand of luxury clothes, Tessuti di Venezia, that's been all the rage amongst the royal servants. Or maybe he can go on vacation and just check out Earth for real? It was a short ride to his workplace from his home. After getting stuff his stuff and preparing to walk through the doors, he heard the roar of a car grow louder. When he looked, he saw the sleekest and quite possibly the coolest looking car he's ever seen. Each time the engine revved it would startle him, both from how harsh it sounded as well as just how intense it sounded. And after it parked, he saw the doors pop out and then slide along the body back. And there, he saw Tilik, the seat literally turning and extending out a bit before he got off. As soon as he saw Ghen staring, he struck a rather prideful pose after putting on his lab coat and then sauntered over to Ghen. "What do you think?" Tilik said, without any doubt inviting praise or compliments. "D...Did you actually buy that?" Ghen asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the car. "You're Queens-damn right I did!" Tilik laughed happily. "Thing takes off like a starship, has temperature-controlled seating, all-in-one center console, barely any bouncing on rough roads. Hoof, best decision I've ever made!" "How much did that thing cost?" Ghen asked after letting out an incredulous laugh. "Five million credits." Tilik replied, earning an absolutely shocked stare from Ghen. "And thanks to the incredible salary I have, in addition to all these shares and dividends, I'll pay back the credits I borrowed in no time!" Ghen needed a few moments before he could speak again. "All I've been doing is buying more shares." Tilik laughed and then patted the now-envious monitor's back. "Smart man. I got a little carried away, yeah, but not anymore. Any spending credits I got, going right back to investing. That's what it's called right, investing?" "Yeah, it is." Ghen nodded, feeling a fire light up in his thorax. "And also? Today's the day that the premium water thing is being released. Here's hoping it starts out well, right?" "Oh it will, trust me." Tilik chuckled as they both began making their way inside the workplace. "Lots of research, lots of study. By the Queen, so much of it...it'll make your head spin." And after hearing that, Ghen had a moment of realization. "Hey, Tilik? How did you get such a nice position anyways? Weren't you just studying under me before the humans came along?" Tilik let out a sigh after opening the door. "I'll be honest, I never wanted your job. Not because it's boring or terrible, just...I didn't suffer so many sleepless nights in the science academy just to be a glorified button pusher. This is what I've always wanted. Doing science, solving problems rather than just applying the solution, you know?" "Wait, you got an academic certificate?" Ghen questioned, completely floored. "How did you end up beneath me then? I should've been answering to you!" "Simple." Tilik gave a heavier sigh. "A royal servant was asking for the same job I was. Take a guess at who got it." "Ouch. Good thing the humans came along when they did, yeah?" Ghen was taken aback. He never heard anything about a servant taking a job at his place. "Looks like you're proving yourself to be well suited." "By the Queen, of course I am." Tilik nodded. "Like I said, I nearly broke my wings through so many nights, got certified top of my class, all just to get pushed to the dirt because someone who was born into a particular family wanted the same thing I did? I know I'm smarter than any of those empty-skull servants back in the Center. I know that, whatever, uh...corporate? Yeah, whatever corporate wants out of science, I will xeek give it to them." "Well, let me know how things go in the lab." Ghen said, admiring his drive as they neared the main office floor. "Because this is where the button pusher needs to go." Tilik let out a laugh as he nodded. "Hey, how about we meet up at Queen's Fine Eatery tonight. I'll pay, yeah?" Ghen, at first, wanted to admonish him for choosing such an outrageously expensive place to go. But he quickly realized that, he truly is good for it, thanks to the humans. "Well, hey, if you're paying for it." ... It was a fantastic opening. After being told what news sites to keep in mind for stocks, he first heard it from Dylan, and then got more detail on Business Today. There was such a massive demand right from the start that Zilia needs to increase extraction just to meet it. But what really got his attention was the effect it had. Zilia Water Delivery's share price just blasted off. After seemingly holding steady at about 3.15, by the time he got home and logged onto his account, it already reached 7.04 a share. The calculator on his account told him that he got a value-gain of 54.26%. Never in his entire life had he felt such...joy. With all of the shares he currently has? He's sitting at 400,512.64 credits. He knows that it is woefully pathetic compared to what the royal servants have just in their pockets, but the fact that he has such money, just by owning some intangible concept? Why even work at Zilia? Why doesn't he just sit at home, figure out what companies to invest in and make his money that way? What's even the point in working a real job, getting a pathetic pay when you can just take the money you have, determine where to spend it, and get triple back? All just sitting on your wings at home, researching? He was so wrapped up in his excited high that he completely forgot he was going to meet Tilik at Queen's. After quickly and haphazardly putting on his nicer clothes, he got to the place only a few minutes late. Tilik was there by the guide, no doubt having been waiting for him. As soon as he strode up, Tilik's wings stiffned out some. No doubt he must've seen the numbers as well. "I can see your wings, Ghen." Tilik began with an excited chuckle. "Made some serious credits?" Ghen let out an incredulous scoff, struggling to find the words for a moment. "Incredible. All I'm going to say." "Likewise." Tilik chortled some before nodding to the table guide. "All here. Table please?" "Right this way, sir." The guide said politely. It was a short walk, travelling between round tables. The vast majority were populated by zazk, but Ghen was surprised at seeing a few humans here as well. No doubt corporate workers checking out the local food. He did spot them having bowls filled with some kind of mass. Some were brown, others white with what looks to be black specks on them. They arrived at their table. A rather nice one, affording a view out the windows into the busy colony streets. Once Tilik and Ghen settled in, the guide handed out the menus. "May I suggest our rather popular option for tonight?" The guide began. "Human ice-cream. Ingredients sourced from Earth itself. Very cold, but incredibly sweet, and coming in many flavors. The most popular amongst us is called vanilla-bean. The vanilla itself soaks in the cream for much of the process, and then the innards sprinkled on top of it near the end. Rumor has it that the Queen herself has demanded personal shipments of such a treat straight from the home of vanilla, an island on Earth named Madagascar." Ghen didn't even spare a single thought. "Vanilla bean ice cream then, please." "Same." Tilik seconded when the guide glanced to him. With a slight bow, the guide proceeded to ferry their orders to the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a short wait before the guide returned, carrying a large plate containing bowls of ice cream. Ghen could feel the saliva on his mandibles as the bowl was placed before them. He could just feel the cold air around that glistening mass of sugary goodness. The white snow decorated with the black dots of vanilla bean. Once the guide left them, Tilik and Ghen both dived in at the same time. As soon as the ice cream entered his mouth, touched his tongue, he exploded in incomprehensible bliss. The sweetness, the smooth and creamy mass, even the taste of vanilla he wasn't sure about was just absolutely delightful. It was so overwhelming that his entire body limped, slumping in his seat as he was forced to ride on the surging tide of joy and happiness sweeping over him. Tilik was no different. He too was taken completely by the effects of the ice cream, his wings fluttering some against the seat. Ghen could hear some noise. It was the humans they passed by. They were chuckling, grinning, and glancing over at them discreetly. Unlike the two zazk, the humans seemingly just enjoyed the ice cream as if it was just another nice dessert to them. Or perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to succumb to the high? And as soon as the wave of indescribable bliss and happiness subsided, Ghen knew. He just knew. This was the life. He wanted this. The ice cream was just the beginning. So many things denied because he didn't have the credits, or worse, not the blood. Because he was just a drone in the great Collective, even if he had the credits, he wasn't allowed because of what caste he was born in. That fire that sparked in him when he saw Tilik's new car? It exploded into a raging firestorm. And when looking into Tilik's eyes, Ghen could see the same. He was on the same page as Ghen was. Both of them were sold. They have the credits. And the humans? If you can pay for it, they'll never discriminate. All they cared about is if you have the money. And by the Queen, Ghen and Tilik will endeavor to amass as much credits as physically possible. The rest of the night faded into a blur. A blur that evokes only one thing. Bliss. It was only when he walked through the door of his pathetic hut that Ghen's mind snapped back to focus. His mandibles felt sticky. And he felt a weight in his stomach. How much ice cream did he eat? Whatever it was, he ate such volume that the lower-section of his throax extended and rounded out, visible even under his shirt. He felt something odd in his pocket. It was a receipt. 43,000 credits for ten bowls of vanilla bean ice cream. Was that ten bowls for both of them? Or individually? Ghen didn't care. He's good for it. Returning back to his calculator, he acted upon the decision that he had made at that eatery. He's acquiring as many books about investing and stock trading as he could find, frequent and study all the discussions and arguments presented by other like-minded individuals such as he, all to ensure he can live the good life. And he had a very good feeling Tilik was doing the exact same thing. Well, first, the gurgling in his stomach, as well as the feeling of something rising demanded his attention. Looks like he'll need to take the night off to let his stomach get back to normal. Three Years Later. Ghen looked out beyond the horizon, seeing the colony that he grew up in. On the far side was where his old house was. With only a simple robe on, made from the finest silk from Earth's nation-state of China, he relaxed in his seat. It was a long road. Stockpiling credits from pre-existing investments and from subsequent pays, he and Tilik made it. From having only half a million in assets and cash, now transformed to over eight-hundred million. And now, his call contracts on American Interstellar? They've just announced a breakthrough in their next generation of warp drives, reducing the speed coefficient even further, resulting in far faster travel. And with that, their stock price climbed sharply. Another hundred million credits in the bank. Soon, very soon, he and Tilik are about to become the galaxy's first zazk billionares. But that's not enough. There are many humans who are billionares. Only those he can count on one hand are considered trillionares. He's going to break into that circle. He and Tilik. Looking beyond the colony, he saw the abandoned building of the workplace he transferred to when the humans arrived. Turns out, the reason for such a high demand was that the humans also slipped in sugar to the tap water. As soon as that broke, many influential royal servants demanded investigations and outright banning of Terran Galactic Company's influence over the former government division. Zilia's stock price plummeted. But thanks to an advance tip from his human coordinator, Dylan, he and Tilik made a put contract. And that's where they struck gold, as the human saying goes. Dylan warned that if they were citizens of the United Nations, they'd be investigated and convicted for insider trading. But, since they weren't, and the Collective were only just introduced to capitalism, there's no risk at all. Now the colony is going through a withdrawal phase, Zilia has been dissolved and reformed back as a government division and are currently at work re-establishing the standard, plain water delivery. "Well, shit." Tilik muttered as he walked up to Ghen's side, taking well to human speech. "Looks like you win. American Interstellar's announcement really was a good thing. There goes a million credits. Ah well, the Royal Shipyards will make it back for me soon." "Oh? Did they just go corporate?" Ghen asked curiously, glancing to Tilik. "Hell yeah they did." Tilik chuckled, sitting down. "Queen and her retard servants fought it hard, but Royal Shipyards is now officially a human-style corporation. And, to a surprise to all the xenophobes in the galaxy, they're already being offered contracts for ship production. That'll raise the stock price pretty good." "What's that human word...?" Ghen muttered, already having a reply in mind. "Dick? Yeah, calls or suck my dick, Tilik." Tilik roared in laughter. "Already made them. Forty credits a share by this day next month." "I have half a mind to go thirty." Ghen chuckled. "Either way, until then, I heard from Dylan that he knows a guy who knows several prime human women who happen to be into zazk." "You're interested in women?" Tilik said as his wings fluttered. "With how often you tell me to suck you off, I'd have thought differently." "Oh, I always thought it was you who was into men." Ghen responded dryly. "Just wanted to be a good friend, you know? Considering how you never seem to make it past, Hey sweet thing, I'm rich you know." "Oh, go fuck yourself." Tilik countered with a little laugh. After he stopped, wings stiffened, he looked to Ghen. "So, know any royal servants we can put the squeeze on for more revenue streams?" "I got just the one." Ghen nodded, sitting up. "Fzik. He's been fighting to control the ice cream trade. Worried it's a corrupting influence. Got done talking with the human CEO of Nestle earlier. If we clear the way, he'll know how to squeeze a little more gains in stock price when he makes the announcement." Tilik's wings stiffened even more, signaling his approval. "Alright, time to throw some credits around, yeah?" AN: Sorry for the period of no updates. College is starting up, lots of stuff to clear and work out. Not sure why but I just got a bug up my butt about incorporating money and the stock market into a short. Here it is. Sorry if it seems abrupt, character limit fast approaching. Let me know how you guys think about it!
CMV: Proportional Representation (PR) is the Superior System
It is more fair
I was inspired by the American elections on this one. That's because hearing Trump complain about election fraud seems rich considering he would not have come close to beating Hilary or Biden in the last two elections without the Electoral College system (in both instances he lost the popular vote). Of course, the Electoral College system is law, so gerrymandering cannot legally be "fraud" but come on - if a candidate wins the popular vote they should, morally speaking, win the presidency. The Electoral College system is even worse than British First Past the Post (FPTP) it seems, as a party that wins the Electoral Colleges still does not necessarily have control over the senate.
It reflects the voting majority better
Here in UK recently we had an election where the Prime Minister won an 80 seat majority the size of which he would never have gotten with proportional representation. While Johnson would have always stayed on as PM, he would not have had a "democratic" mandate to push through the policies he wants to: a hard Brexit, Americanising the Supreme Court, questionable Civil Service reforms (Cummings) and the Internal Markets Bill to name a few. That's because a stronger Opposition under PR would have opposed a lot of this.
You get more local representatives that may reflect your point of view
I have heard it said that FPTP returns you a constituent politician that can dedicate themselves to representing local issues. But with PR there may be several local representatives in population dense areas that reflect different political perspectives. So if you have an issue you think a socialist would understand better you can contact them, or if it was a conservative or a liberal you wanted to talk to, you'd be more likely to have those options as well. Obviously in some communities, you might find there wasn't as broad an array of representatives. However you'd have a better shot at that under PR as well as a wider choice of representatives to talk to even if they are from the same party.
It is just as "stable", if not more so
First, I disagree with the premise that opponents to PR subscribe to that a constitution is stable if it does not require a coalition government and government can more easily enact policies in accordance with their voting base (and get those through parliament). Firstly, "more stuff done" is not better: quality, not quantity. When we had a minority conservative government before 2019 I actually thought parliament were doing a good job of scrutinising and making amendments to Brexit legislation so that the country could come to a positive consensus on what would be a stable result. Being able to rush stuff through parliament just leads to chaotic mistakes like the Iraq war, where Blair was able to rush a decision to go to war even though the decision was very popular among the public at large. Would he have been able to do this under a proportionally representative parliament? Also would Cummings have as much sway in bullying his vision for the country if parliament was proportionally representative? Neither of these seem likely. The other objection related to the point about is that FPTP means the largest group can get their voice heard whereas with a coalition government the negotiations result in a compromise that represent no particular group. But actually PR just treats what the majority want a lot differently. For example if 40% of people want a No Deal Brexit but 60% of people are divided between Remain and Soft Brexit, sure the largest minority group wants a hard break from the EU. But it would seem that the majority of people (60%) would prefer to at least remain in a customs union with Europe. So FPTP has a twisted idea of what it means to represent the majority. The idea that it would be less stable and more democratic to force a vision through parliament that most people don't want because ideology exists as a spectrum rather than a binary categorisation seems perverse. If a National Unity Government was strong enough - necessary in fact - to face Hitler, it seems that coalition governments should be able to fare well enough during times of lesser crisis.
It won't particularly lead to racist parties forming, or it might but it is not that substantial
So, with the vote split between two large parties partially "left" or "right to the Overton window people will generally vote for centrist governments, or centre-right if you consider UK and America are to the right of most other countries. This doesn't really give much breathing space for racist parties in general as racist parties tend to have radical ideologies that deviate far from the centre-ground. But with proportional representation, people no longer consider voting for a party that deviates too far from centre a "wasted vote" since those parties now have a legitimate shot to either get into power, or simply to veto government. Whereas before, they would be stealing votes from a mainstream party closest too them, enabling the party you hate most to get in, now that doesn't matter because your favourite party can form a coalition with the enemy of your friend (whether in power or opposition). Or they can form a coalition with your enemy, softening the blows and impacts of that party's policy making. This can lead to authoritarian and racist parties forming, some say. But the thing is firstly, racist parties can get in power even with FPTP. For example, when the Reformed National Party won most of the seats in the 1948 FPTP election leading to apartheid South Africa (1). The Nazi Party had actually arrested all of the Communist deputies and changed the rules to make it easier to pass the Enabling Act in 1933 (1), thus making the system less proportionally representative. Meanwhile, Karl Popper has this to say about tolerating (or not tolerating) intolerance in modern democracies:
Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.
More relevantly to my argument, he says:
as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise.
I extend an interpretation of this (my words, not Popper's) to mean that it could be prudent, even on a political level to occasionally hand the racists a platform so that we can debate and repudiate their ideas. Whereas complete suppression can occasionally lend credence to the idea that a person's logic is "irrefutable" and that is why their expression has been muted. Letting the racist party's a small portion of politic representation to refute their ideas can quash such a notion. And besides, we can defeat racist parties through legal mechanisms to defeat or obstruct them when their policies become too extreme. For example, the British National Party (BNP) "gained all the borough council seats in parts of Burnley despite getting nowhere near a majority of the vote" (1). However, the BNP were also obstructed by legal democratic mechanisms when a court ruled the party was legally required to allow ethnic minorities membership in the party, thus morphing the whole focus. Popper sort of makes a similar argument to this as well though neither of us have outright claimed racist or anti-democratic authoritarian parties should be banned entirely:
[W]e should claim the right to suppress [those who are intolerant] if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.
I'm not saying that there is no threat from racist parties under PR as quite a few European proportionally representative democracies have them. I am just saying that the threat is firstly exaggerated and secondly we are not exactly protected from them by FPTP either. Could you imagine how bad it would be if a country were facing the same instability, economic depression and racial divisions as a country like Germany during the Weimar Republic but instead of a PR democracy, a racist anti-democratic government were able to gerrymander constituencies to their benefit through FPTP? (1) ___________________________________________
(1) Electoral Reform Website: "Did Proportional Representation put the Nazis in power?"
Sympathy for the Drow - De-Vilifying the Dark Elves
The "Evil" races in DnD have always rubbed me kinda the wrong way. Partly once I learned that a lot of them come from racist stereotypes (Orcs, Drow, and Goblins in particular) and also just because it doesn't make sense to me. Even Nazi Germany had variation and dissenters and it only lasted for 12 years. Why would a clearly evil society never change over hundreds of years? In my opinion, a story is only as good as it's villains. So, I've set out to try and make the traditionally evil races slightly more believable and even sympathetic in places. Now, I've not been a DM very long, only like three years. But the first campaign I ever ran was through Curse of Strahd which paints the Vistani (an itinerant society heavily based on the real world Romani) as a conniving group of thieves, murders, and vampire-worshipers. Thankfully, I found through reddit and other sites how to steer away from the racists depictions of the Vistani and making them seem like, at worst, opportunists. So, I hope to be able to do that with some other of the classic DnD antagonist races. I've read some other phenomenal post on here about evil races that totally inspired me as well. There's a great twopart post about Decolonizing D&D which I adore. The post about alignment is easily my favorite. There's a couple great ones on Orcs and Yuan-Ti too so if some of my ideas are lifted from them, I hope y'all consider it flattery instead of theft. So, here are some primer notes before I get into it. For creating the Dark Elves, I tried to keep as much as I could from the books. Obviously some stuff has to get thrown out the window though. I also tried to standardize calling them Dark Elves instead of Drow partly because I feel like Drow has a much nastier sound to it and calling them Dark Elves follows the naming convention with the High and Wood Elves. I tried to model them after real-life matriarchal societies like the Mosuo people of China and their pantheon after real deities like the Greeks, Romans, and Norse. I also quickly realized that building a society is inseparable from geography. Where a people are from effects their language, values, mythology, history, and family structure. I've tried to outline details I think are necessary to making this society realistic while leaving it open ended enough to be place-able in different worlds with relative ease. All that aside, lets get into the meat of it.
The Dark Elves: Elven Outcasts
The Elves are a varied and magical people that come from many planes and many environments within them. But none are met with more distrust and fear than the Dark Elves. Easily set apart from their cousins by their charcoal or pitch-black skin, pink-red eyes, hair of grays and whites, and shorter stature, these people have earned a reputation as killers, thieves, demon worshipers, and liars. But history is a cruel mistress, something the Dark Elves know better than most.
The Divine Divide
As the legends go, when the world was still young, Corellon Larethian lived on the Plane of Arvandor with his fellow Primal Elves. They were wild and mutable, emotional and free in all things. They changed shapes at will, gave and took freely to and from the world, and never stayed in any location too long. They wandered to and fro, scattering their peoples across almost every plane. However, this unbridled freedom was not without a price. Arguments, feuds, and small scale wars were incredibly common between them. Some elves would find themselves stranded on far off planes after most of their companions impulsively decided to leave. Their self serving impulses drove them to often completely disregard the needs or wants of others if they went against their own desires. And their reckless revelry was wreaking havoc on the natural world with Elven parties decimating whole planes of edible plants, wild game, and drinkable water. One such Primal Elf began to see the destruction of their ways and talked to other elves about their actions. Slowly, this Elf by the name of Lolth amassed a small following of devotees that saw the negative ramifications of their inconsiderate freedom. Lolth and her followers agreed to take on fixed forms to show recognition of the dangers that impulsivity could bring. Lolth led this small group of devotees to Corellon to ask for his support. Now, Corellon did not lead these Primal Elves: he was just as wild as the best of them and did not take kindly to others telling him what to do. But he was the First Elf ever born and was universally respected amongst the Primal Elves and if Lolth could convince him, others would surely follow. Corellon listened to her proposition and agreed that they should change to prevent more destruction and conflict, but refused to order his kinsfolk into any action. He was an Elf, same as all of them, and he wouldn’t dare order around his family. He balked when Lolth asked him to take a concrete form as a show of solidarity and brushed her off as a killjoy. Lolth was unsatisfied with this outcome and her following set out to convince each Elf to change their ways to preserve the beauty of the worlds. However, without the support of Corellon, many elves refused her offer. Her anger grew with each failure and her opinion of Corellon turned sour, something she made no attempt to hide from her Elven siblings. Now, Corellon is a proud god and once he caught wind that Lolth was bad mouthing him in an attempt to win over others, he became enraged. He railed against Lolth calling her a snake-tongued thief and Lolth called him incompetent and cruel. Their tempers flared and all the elves chose sides between Corellon’s freedom and Lolth’s stability. During this great debate, the Primal Elves turned to violence. The Dark Elves maintain that Corellon’s side threw the first blow, while the High Elves claim that it came from Lolth’s side. No matter the source, this violent outburst soured relations between Lolth and Corellon forever after. He cast her and her followers out of Arvandor and barred her from ever returning. He also cast all but his most trusted kin from Arvandor, forcing them all to live lives on other worlds out of fear of another perceived insurrection. Thus, the Seldarine remain in Arvandor to judge the souls of Corellon’s faithful when they die and Lolth takes refuge in Arcadia with her pantheon where she minds the souls of the Drow. Corellon’s faithful call her pantheon the Dark Seldarine, while her faithful call it the Myrkalfar.
Myrkalfar: The Spider Mother’s House
Lolth the Spider Queen is the unquestioned head of the Myrkalfar, with all other deities seen as her divine family. Lolth is considered at times to be fickle or even cruel, but her ire is never gained without good reason. A very involved deity, her followers constantly search for signs of her favor or scorn in everyday life. When a Dark Elf contemplates a risky or controversial decision, they consult priestesses or perform their own rites which often gives them direct and succinct answers. She serves as an example to matriarchs of Drow families as demanding yet understanding, punishing yet guiding. She asks for a lot of her priestesses, demanding they be an unflinching example of everything a strong leader should be. The Myrkalfar is often presented as a divine household, with Lolth as the matron. Keptolo is the consort of Lolth and considered to be the ideal of what a male should be. Beautiful and kind, strong and hard working, he helps Lolth in everything she does. Sometimes he serves as a messenger, other times as an agent of redemption, sometimes as a divine healer. When a Dark Elf is tasked with a divine charge, he is usually the one to deliver the message and guide them through their charge. He serves also as a fertility deity and is often worshiped by women or men seeking a child. Outsiders see him as a weak and subservient husband to Lolth, but his faithfulness to his matron is considered a virtue and his status as a “husband” is relatively alien to the Dark Elves as they have no binding marriage in their society. If Keptolo is the agent of Lolth’s mercy, Kiaransalee is the agent of her vengeance. She is the eldest daughter of Lolth and Keptolo and one that Dark Elves pray to when they feel wronged. Only the most binding and serious contracts are signed under her name. To break an oath made under her name is sure to bring destruction. She is also the governor of the dead, judging the souls of those passed in the afterlife. She opposes the mindless undead created by mortals, but spirits and revenants that return to finish unresolved business amongst the living are considered under her protection. Should a Dark Elf encounter a returned spirit that is seeking vengeance, it’s their duty to leave them on their way and pray that the spirit isn’t there for them. This reverence of certain undead is something many outsiders consider downright evil. Selvetarm is the Dark Elven warrior goddess and youngest daughter of Lolth. Often depicted with eight arms, she represents the pinnacle of hand to hand martial prowess, but often is without restraint. She serves as both an inspiration for warriors, and a warning. Vhaeraun is the eldest son of Lolth and governs ambition and stealth. Both of these traits are not necessarily vilified, but worship of him is highly scrutinized. Haughty and rash, tales of him often include deceiving his fellow gods for good and ill and more often than not are cautionary ones. He’s depicted as wearing a mask, either as some punishment for endangering Lolth and her family or to hide his identity for various schemes, possibly both. Malyk is Lolth’s youngest son and a youthful deity of change and growth. He’s often seen as a bouncing young boy that Lolth and her family have to reign in from wild misadventures. His freedom and curiosity is often seen as a double edged sword, both gaining him great riches but also putting him in tremendous peril. He has strong ties to sorcerers and when a child is born with innate magical talent, he is often the one thanked for it. He serves as an outlet for a Dark Elves youthful chaotic nature, but also warns them of the ramifications of their actions. Ghaunadur is a strange figure in the pantheon. Their place in the family is a bit of a mystery, sometimes called the sibling of Lolth, or her child, or even as Lolth’s parent. What makes them truly unique is that they are a formless deity, something that Lolth once warred with Corellon over. The legends go that when Ghaunadur joined Lolth, they refused to give up their changeable nature. When questioned, Ghaunadur pointed to the slimes, oozes, and formless creatures of the world and said that they wished to protect them from the Elves and the Elves from them. Lolth agreed, cementing their position as the deity of the changing forms of nature. Their favored creature is the ooze, but they govern all natural creatures. Dark Elves often pray to Ghaunadur to protect them from the creatures that lurk in the depths of the forest. Zinzerena is Lolth’s sister and is the goddess of poisons, illusions, and magic. Viewed as an elderly and patient figure, she often serves as council to Lolth in desperate times. She’s said to be the mother of all poisons and venoms and her teachings are all about finding the wisest solution to a problem. Zinzerena teaches that even though the spider is small, it’s bite can still fell a panther. Despite her perceived age, she’s considered the younger sister of Lolth and is thought to be incredibly quick and nimble: a reminder that not everything is as it seems. Eilistraee is Lolth’s niece and daughter of Zinzerena. Considered the black sheep of the pantheon, she serves as a goddess of redemption and moonlight. Dark Elves that turn their back on their family or scorn traditions will sometimes find themselves turned to Driders, half-spider half-Dark Elf creatures shunned by all. Eilistraee is said to watch over these creatures and if they are repentant, offer them challenges that they could complete to redeem themselves. Lolth often views her with contempt or mistrust, but never hates her and maintains her place in the pantheon. Dark Elven faithful rarely worship her as the others. She’s also one of the only deities of the Myrkalfar to claim no animosity toward the Seldarine and their faithful. Spiders are the sacred animal of Lolth and are often used as an example of social order and the importance of family bonds. Each strand of silk serves the web as whole. More literally, the giant spiders of the Underdark are multifaceted and incredibly useful creatures. Serving as beasts of burden, war steeds, meat producers, household guardians, and silk producers, they are present in almost every facet of society. Their silks are used in everything from wound dressings to armor to architecture. To kill or steal another family's spider is considered akin to stealing a member of the family. Smaller and more poisonous spiders are often kept in temples and their webs are used as divining tools for priestesses.
The recorded history of the Dark Elves is full of contradictions from High Elf and Dark Elf sources. What historians can agree on is when the Elves of the Prime Material arrived, the followers of Lolth secluded from their Wood and High cousins and retreated into the Azelarien, also known as the Green Sea in Common. A massive forest, nearly 1 million square miles of dense and vibrant trees, that grows denser and darker the farther in one ventures. For countless eons, the High, Wood, and Dark Elves lived in relative harmony in their own corner of the world. High Elves lived near the forests in towns and villages, the Wood Elves lived in the lightly forested outlands of the Green Sea, and the Dark Elves lived deep in the central forests which was so dense that very little light reached the forest floor. As time passed and their villages turned to cities, the High Elves began expanding into the forest, chopping some down to build homes and heat their furnaces. This began pushing into the territory of the Wood Elves and eventually the Dark Elves as well. These two peoples formed a shaky alliance to push back the expansive tide of the far larger High Elven armies. This alliance proved successful however and the High Elven forces began losing ground. What happened next is a matter of some debate. High Elven historians attest that the Dark Elven armies used Wood Elven soldiers as unwitting bait to lure the High Elven armies into a trap, thus causing a schism between them. Dark Elven historians state that the Wood Elven armies turned on them after the Wood Elves met in secret with High Elven leaders and bargained for their independence. Some Wood Elven historians claim that after a brutal defeat on the field, they were met by High Elven dignitaries that offered them clemency if they turned on their allies. They initially refused, but after the dignitaries threatened to make the same offer to the Dark Elves, they had no choice but to accept. No matter the cause, the histories agree that the Wood Elves turned on their erstwhile allies and helped push the Dark Elves into a rapid loss of ground. Facing the might of the two armies with their own relatively small one, the Dark Elves were beaten into a hasty retreat into their own territory. Losing every open encounter, the Dark Elf matrons developed a new strategy of combat. The armies switched from training as many as quickly as they could, to training only a select few in multiple different forms of combat and magic. As the High and Wood Elves advanced into their territory, they quickly found their supply lines cut out from under them, their soldiers ambushed while sleeping, their scouts captured, and their leaders assassinated. And even if they would make it to a Dark Elf settlement, they would find it abandoned and booby-trapped, warned by their fast and silent scouts. If the Dark Elves couldn’t face their enemies head-on, they would weaken them with quick and decisive strikes. Eventually, the war ground to a stalemate. The High Elves couldn’t push into the Dark Elf territory far enough to capture any cities of note without taking severe casualties and the Dark Elves were only managing to hold the invading armies back and couldn’t muster a force strong enough to push back to the enemy capital. Thus, the war cooled into a tense peace. The leaders came together to draw borders, but neither side fully forgave nor forgot one another’s actions. High and Wood Elves viewed the change in tactics by the Dark Elves as an unethical violation of the standards of war. The Dark Elves felt a particular animosity toward the Wood Elves, considering them backstabbers in their darkest hour.
Dark Elf Families: Matrons of Order
The Dark Elf society, to an outsider, looks like an oppressive and cruel society of slave traders and backstabbers. But the truth is more subtle. The Dark Elves value tradition and filial piety above almost all else. To a Dark Elven citizen, their family name is their most valuable possession and they are taught from a very young age that to look after their parents and their younger siblings is the highest virtue. Ancestors that have achieved great things often have shrines in a household alongside the gods themselves. A Dark Elf going against the will of their family is considered one of the highest taboos and often causes them to be outcast from Dark Elven society as a whole. Dark Elf society is matrilineal meaning that the eldest woman in each family is revered as the household leader and receives great respect from her family and society. This also means that the males of the society don’t inherit wealth as frequently as the females. Dark Elven families are quite large, often with multiple generations along with aunts, uncles, and cousins living in the same household. New children almost always reside with their mother. Males of the society are expected to care not for their own biological children, but for the children born to their sisters, aunts, or nieces. This results in a striking amount of sexual freedom for both men and women, but is often viewed from the outside as promiscuity. The Dark Elves do not marry in the traditional sense, instead favoring long term partners with one another that can end at any time with no concerns to material wealth or ownership. However, to become a member of a Dark Elf family is not entirely a matter of heritage. When a family that cannot support another child has one, they are often adopted by more well to do families and raised as one of their own. These adopted children are considered just as legitimate as if they were born into the family. Also, should a family lose all their heirs or become destitute, they often ask to become assimilated into other families for their own safety. The latter is considered a morose ceremony as the members of the smaller family forsake their surnames. To take in such a family is both an extreme honor and grim burden, as it means ending another family's line. The borders of Dark Elven civilization only goes so far as there are trees so many newer up and coming families have expanded underground, a difficult and slow endeavor. This has put multiple houses at odds with one another for territory. However, Dark Elves do not tolerate open hostility between families as they have a very strong sense of collective identity. Dark Elves do not war against fellow Dark Elves, same as a spider does not fight its own web. This leads to many tensions and conflicts needing to be resolved in other ways. Most families will attempt a diplomatic solution, but when that isn’t an option, sabotage and coercion is the favored outlet. Murder is considered a bridge too far by most houses, but subterfuge in almost every other facet is, while not accepted, tolerated. Legends of Lolth’s rebellion and the tension of their enclosed territory have imbued the Dark Elves with a strong sense of symbiosis with nature and conservancy. Sustainable living is the cornerstone of Dark Elf society. In the wild, no creature is killed or plant destroyed unless it’s a matter of self defense or necessary to survival.
Dark Elven Sex and Gender
As with many Elven peoples, sexuality is seen as a fluid and non-binary matter. Same sex relationships are usually seen as just as acceptable as male-female relationships. Since Dark Elves have no marriage structure, same sex life partners are common and widely accepted. Inheritance is passed along by the family as a whole, not linearly, meaning some houses may have matrons with no direct biological descendants while still serving at the elder matron. Power dynamics in relationships are still a factor, with the elder female in a gay relationship considered slightly above their partner socially and is seen as the inheritor in cases of property or genealogy. Male same sex relationships are accepted with little controversy. Since children are passed down their mothers line, the males have no social obligation to sire an heir as with other societies. Transgender and transexual Dark Elves are met with slightly more controversy. Lolth’s rejection of the Primal Elves mutable forms is sometimes cited against transgender and transexual Dark Elves. Ghaunadur, however, is considered the patron god of these people and teaches that just as they are part of nature, they can change their forms. Many of these people join the religious order of Ghaunadur, serving in various roles both in religious ceremonies and as forest guides. Some even consider them to be blessed by Ghaunadur and are highly sought after in forays into the forests for protection. Children born to transgender Dark Elves are still expected to be a part of their eldest mother’s family or eldest father if no woman is part of the union.
Slavery Amongst the Dark Elves
While the Dark Elves do take slaves, their slavery doesn’t look the same as many other societies. When a family becomes indebted to another and they cannot pay off the debt, a member of their family, usually male, will be sent to work for the owed family. They give him room and board and are expected to care for him as if he were one of their own. He’ll work for them for an agreed upon amount of time before returning to his native family. Injury or misuse of this person is often grounds for them to leave and the debt to be nullified. Children born to servant fathers needn’t worry about inheriting their father’s status since they’re considered to be their mother’s child. On the rare occasion that a female servant has a child while in servitude, the child is returned to the mother’s family to be raised by her family while she works off the remaining debt. Some trade of servants does occur between houses, with indentured servants being traded for goods or services or even other servants of special skills, but the family of the servant reserves the right to veto such a trade for any reason. During their frequent clashes with external armies, the Dark Elves do sometimes take prisoners of war, though very rarely are they used for slave labor. They never bring them back to major settlements, often keeping them on the outskirts of their territory to prevent them from learning critical knowledge of their territory. Most prisoners are held as bargaining chips to be traded for passage, supplies, or captured Dark Elves. Captured military leaders are sometimes brought to Dark Elven cities to be tried for their crimes against their people.
Dark Elven Government: Independent Houses
Unlike many other cultures, the Dark Elves lack a centralized government. Societal etiquette govern the standard for how certain crimes and disagreements should be handled, but each family unit acts as its own governing body. Disagreements within families are thus resolved internally. Inter-family disputes are resolved in multiple different ways. Most often, the two matrons of the family will meet and agree on terms to fairly compensate both sides. In cases when these talks deteriorate, the High Priestess of Lolth is often called to serve as the mediator and serves as the ruling body between disputes. Her rulings are final and indisputable, as she is considered the mouthpiece of Lolth’s will. In times of crisis, historically the many houses of the Dark Elves have convened to discuss threats to all of Dark Elven society. This is uncommon as it’s difficult logistically to gather all the matrons in the same place at the same time, so often houses are represented by either the second eldest woman of the family or the eldest daughter of the matron. The High Priestess of Lolth often resides over these meetings as an arbiter in the event of split decisions or in delivering guidance from Lolth herself. There's my take on the Dark Elves. Any comments, suggestions, questions, outrages, and critiques are welcomed. This is my first comprehensive look at a whole race so if I've missed things, I'll try and patch them up. I'd like to do similar things for Orcs, Goblinoids, Kobolds, and others so those might be seen soon. Thanks!
Power REIT -- Stock analysis and Value Investors Club application
This is my Value Investors Club application on Power REIT. Tell me what you think. Power REIT is a real estate trust with investments in solar, railroad, and newly in medical cannabis greenhouses. Thesis:Power REIT (PW) is the best way to invest in the cannabis area without the traditionally binary hit or miss nature of emerging industries.PW is anchored by a portfolio of traditional properties allowing it to more safely and at lower cost invest in cannabis assets.PW earns a return on invested capital (ROIC) in great excess of the cost of capital. Return of 12%-19% in new properties, recently issued bonds at 4.62%.PW is under valued despite a seemingly rich market price because of probable massive increase in revenue, earnings, and funds from operation (FFO).The margin of safety is significant. Significant Assets:6 Controlled Environment Agriculture greenhouse facilities aggregating over 131,00 square feet7 solar farm ground leases totaling 601 acres112 miles of railroad propertyApprox. $10 mil. cash Significant Liabilities:Approx. $24 mil. Long term debt at interest rates less than or equal to 5%Major debt: $15,500,000 at 4.62% fully amortizing, maturing in 2054Maturities as follows:2021 $635,5022022 $675,3742023 $1,168,2972024 $715,7772025+ $21,208,698Preferred stock: 144,636 shares of 7.75% Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Stock, at $25. General info:Power REIT is currently pursuing investment in what they call controlled environment agriculture or CEA, essentially greenhouses. PW seeks out strictly medical cannabis producers who for whatever reason need additional financing, they then purchase the real estate they own and lease it back to them, and at times help with financing of construction. PW is one of the few ways for cannabis producing companies to get any sort of financing as federally it is still illegal and banks are weary. This gives PW lots of negotiating power in deal making, and that is why they can for example, buy and finance a 5.2 acre CEA property in southern Colorado for around $1 Mil. and get a straight lined rent of $192,000 equating to around a 19% FFO yield. These properties and tenants are of greater quality than the typical cannabis operation, remember they require tenants to maintain a medical cannabis producers license in the lease. That is a key for PW, this is not a speculative cannabis play that is dependent on federal legalization, on the contrary, a lease they have in a Maine property includes the clause that states that "After the deferred-rent period, rent is structured to provide a 12.9% return based on the original invested capital amount with annual rent increases of 3% rate per annum. At any time after year six, if cannabis is legalized at the federal level, the rent will be readjusted down to an amount equal to a 9% return on the original invested capital amount and will increase at a 3% rate per annum based on a starting date of the start of year seven." PW is partly a play against the federal legalization. On the topic of debt:A company with a market cap of under $50 mil with about $24 mil in debt might seem a little risky, but here is where the stability from the solar and rail assets comes in. Their existing FFO from those two asset classes is a little over $1 mil while the debt payments with exception of 2023 don't exceed $1 mil for the foreseeable future. So as long as they don't issue new debt in an uncharacteristically bad way PW will have no solvency issues. Management:Management is skill-full. The CEO David Lesser is pretty much for all intents and purposes the whole company, he is the sole full time employee. He is excellent in terms of real estate expertise. It is very clear he knows his stuff. He has a long history in real estate and more specifically in renewable/clean energy real estate. Lesser is also the chairman of the board, and the largest shareholder. He gets paid exclusively in various forms of equity. His interests are aligned with owners interests. Insider ownership is around 30%, very high for a REIT. Lesser is also key on avoiding share dilution as stated, and in practice unlike many REITs. There have been no share dilutions besides management's compensation plan. The major recent financing was the 2019 bond issuance. Relative PricingFor this section I will refer to Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR) another publicly listed REIT that invests in cannabis assets. IIPR invests in a wider range of assets like retail not just CEA. I am much more suspicious of IIPR's real estate and management. There have been many questions raised about the quality of real estate and solvency of tenants. The CEO seems sleazy and they constantly dilute shareholders. I think PW is superior in terms of intangibles and tangibles. IIPR is PW only publicly traded comparable. IIPR has grown FFO per share 133% for the MRQ YoY. PW has grown FFO per share 107% over the same time. PW only started investing in high return CEA in late 2019, and engage in more conservative financing, so the difference in growth rates is marginal. IIPR is currently being priced at around 19.1 times forward 12 months FFO.PW is priced at only 14 times forward 12 months FFO. (If management's most basic expectations are met)In terms of relative price PW, if it sold at the 19.1 multiple it would be selling for $32.4 which I still think could yield an above market rate of return over time. ValuationI believe PW to be the type of business that the market undervalues because of high uncertainty but low risk. The high uncertainty comes from not knowing how much management will want to grow and raise capital, will management continue to use safe amounts of leverage, will new financing options become available to cannabis companies etc. The low risk comes from the fact that PW has very low risk of going to 0 or even decreasing substantially in share price because of the current safety in investment return and diversification. I'll put a floor as to what I think a low risk price is. Let's say base case scenario over the next year PW invests the existing $10 mil. in cash at a yield of 12.5% (below the usual yield of around 18%), doesn't raise any additional capital, and lease payments are collected and debts paid as scheduled. PW FFO per share would be about $0.45 per quarter. If they trade at an P/FFO multiple of 20 (PW currently trades at 27) that makes the price $36 per share. However, I do think capital will be raised, management has expressed interest in doing so. In that case the strong ROIC and high cash flow would give PW a high ceiling to grow as far as macroeconomic and market conditions allow.
Share price increases when new real estate acquisitions are announced. Eventual dividend. PW currently pays no dividend because the preferred has satisfied the REIT return of capital requirement recently, however with income rising 100%. It is likely a dividend will be coming soon and that will attract more attention. Continued performance and time. Edit: as a disclaimer, I am Obviously long PW
FutureICX AMA with nblaze (Midos) and the ICON Pilipinas Community
Hello ICONists! Today we’re happy to outline and highlight the intricate components of FutureICX, our vision for the dapp’s future and the reason for its creation through this AMA with ICON Pilipinas. Many community members have highlighted questions they’d like answered and were happy to discuss the foundations of our project, our ideas and how FutureICX differentiates itself from other gamified trading applications within the blockchain sphere! We look forward to answering all of your questions! nblaze: Hey everyone! As most of you probably know I’m nblaze from ICON P-Rep team Midos and together with the P-Rep team Sharpn we have built the FutureICX.io app, which was released earlier this week. This has been quite a long and exciting journey which started almost a year ago and we are all very excited that we have finally been able to achieve such a successful app release with so much positive feedback coming in our direction. Jenny: How did you come up with the idea for FutureICX and how was this project started? nblaze: Well, as a long-term holder of ICX, I have always been fascinated by ICON’s system and was looking into ways to contribute to it. I began extensive research surrounding the best P-Rep teams to delegate my ICX to, but somehow this did not feel enough, and I wanted to do more for the chain (and respectively for my investment). After jumping through a lot of different plans and ideas, including lotteries, raffles, games, payment systems etc., I noticed that a lot of people in the trading channels love to make predictions; long story short, approximately half a year later I partnered with the Sharpn P-Rep team. We’re extremely grateful for a Grant that the ICON Foundation and the ICONation teams provided us and we continue to press forward with amazing results. Jay: Throughout the entire development journey, there's sure to be plenty of ups and downs experienced. What's one particular fond memory that stands out to you the most? nblaze: Oh, I would need to go all the way back to the planning phase of FutureICX. I had gone to bed pretty late one night as I was very excited about the Dapp idea, but somehow, I constantly kept hitting a brick wall in trying to figure out how it would work. No matter what I thought of, several hours of planning later I have thought of something critical that would be a major issue. That night I was tired and honestly becoming a bit discouraged that I would never find a system that would work. After going to sleep, I woke up approximately an hour later with a clear idea about the system that I would like to use for FutureICX. I had no sleep from this moment onwards, just got to my computer and worked on it all night. It was really an ‘Eureka’ moment that I'm quite fond of. Jenny: What are your plans, either near-term or longer-term now that FutureICX has been released? nblaze: Of course, we are still working on FutureICX’s current state and are making sure that everything is running well. The app is stable, and players are happy with it. We have already started making plans for our next development stage through and although I cannot share very much, I can tell you that we are aiming for 3 additional original trading games, additional trading pair predictions and maybe even different crypto payment options. Hopefully everything will go well, and we would be able to reach those targets (and who knows, maybe more). Twitter and Telegram follower questions theanerz: What is the Mission and Vision of FutureICX? nblaze: I like this question as it is simple and yet very complicated to answer. FutureICX is aiming to be a multi-purpose platform that could be used by a wide range of players. It could be used as a mean to get additional gains from trading, as a learning tool, as a proof-of-skill or even as a fun app that you can have fun and gamble on. It is also very beneficial to the ICON chain as it not only creates transactions, it could also be a replacement of the ‘exchange’ trading in which no ICX are leaving the system (thus reducing sell pressure and increasing the price of ICX) and finally as a tool which can reduce the circulating supply as the ICX tokens placed in predictions are locked until the outcome is processed. I wrote an article a few days ago about this exact topic – what has inspired us to make the app and what are the benefits of using it. Anyone interested can find it at this link: https://forum.icon.community/t/futureicx-io-vs-conventional-trading-article/1069 ricnnobre: FutureICX is a platform for traders and therefore a minimum of knowledge in technical analysis is needed to predict where the value of ICX is going. Doesn't that restrict the audience that will use the platform? nblaze: True, the platform is for the most part aimed at traders, however most people that trade in it are not professionals. This allows for beginner traders to have a tool where they can compete with a lot of similar skilled traders instead of professionals, whales and institutional traders and this makes FutureICX a good learning tool to use. The prediction times are also fixed so this eliminates second-guessing and reacting emotionally on a trade that you have already set. As you are not competing against the bank, this also gives the players the opportunity to progress with their prediction sizes as they get better and even potentially make a living out of this if they are good enough and hit their predictions on a regular basis. It can of course also be used as a fun gambling tool as a lot of traders seem to be using the exchanges for that anyway. RGerburt: DApps in which users spend money without obtaining any benefit causes loss of interest over time. Does FutureICX have any form of reward for traders who fail to succeed in their predictions? How to maintain the loyalty of users, mainly those who are not good traders? nblaze: We have put in great efforts in trying to be helpful to such players. FutureICX offers dividend returns (each 1 icx that you spend gives you 1 dividend point and the dividend points respectively give you a % of the dividend pool, which is 10% of the amount of ICX that all players spend, at the end of the week – you can see details of that on top of the main screen and in the ‘help’ section, which is the place where our system’s theory is located). One of our awards also gives returns to the player that has spent the most. If that doesn’t work, you can always go for an ‘influencer’ strategy and have your friends and followers generate dividends for you (every 1 icx spent by someone that registered via your affiliate link gives you 0.5 dividend points) lavicrep69: They call us Betlords of the Icon Pilipinas we are one of many supporters of FutureICX. I just would like to know, because for us statistics and achievements are really a big deal. I saw the "Tropies (Sniper, Marksman, Cannoneer, Monthly) and the ICX reward" that you will get from consistent playing/predicting. I’m just wondering if you have global ranking of top players on each trophy or tier like a data base link on blockchain that we can always check to improve our standing? And will we have a "copy prediction options?” I’m sure it will be a good idea coz we can follow players and see their statistics. nblaze: There are such options, but we are planning to expand on those. In your ‘Profile’ page you can see how many awards you have earned, the most recent ones and how much you have earned through them. The monthly awards are also giving a monthly ranking of the top 10 players and giving them rewards for it. However, we do understand that we will need to and will improve even more in this direction nhene00: The market today has a lot of development projects on the blockchain platform. One of the factors that makes the platform appealing to many users is its special features. So, what are the outstanding features and advantages of FutureICX to attract users and investors? nblaze: We truly believe that our app was designed in a really unique way. You have the exchanges, binary options and futures on one hand, you have the raffles, lotteries, casinos and games on the other. We try to be none of those and to provide a new experience to our players. We also think that we offer a unique system, created from scratch, that benefits a lot of different types of players and strategies. As every other platform though, we would need the users/community’s support and feedback in order to progress even further. We do not believe that this will be an issue with ICON’s community though. ThomaXMiller: How will the dividends/point system work? When will the $3000 Pool be distributed? nblaze: You earn dividend points with every prediction that you and your affiliates make, and you get a % of all prediction amounts respectively to the amount of points that you have at the end of the week CHARLoTTE9o: If it’s less risky and much more profitable for traders, how will you and the whole team benefit from this? nblaze: The app has built in 5% commission, that is how we profit (you can see the full details in the 'help' page of the app). It is also not much more profitable for all traders of course; it simply provides better opportunities (according to our own deductions of course) than a normal exchange would. Ketz23: DeFi is one of the hottest topics in the blockchain space right now. Can $ICX share your opinions on DeFi with us? Do you think that DeFi will disrupt the existing financial system? What is Unification approach towards the DeFi sector? nblaze: I don’t think that I’m qualified enough to give such comprehensive opinion in Defi in general I’m afraid. willydavec1: You mentioned earlier about gambling, more games to play, In this era where there are tons of cryptocurrency gambling addicts, do you have any plans to minimize their addiction? A good project needs to care for its users/gamblers/players. Do you have any plans for them, any limitations? For example, 1000 USD worth of loss, they must be restricted for a few hours, something like that. nblaze: I believe that it would be hard to get addicted to our app - its 1 prediction/day or week, that is not a major concern imo. Also please keep in mind that this is no gambling application - you are not playing against the house and you can easily be profitable long term. So, an 'addiction' could mean improving your trading skills and making a living out of this. Neajmik: The hardest thing about any business is not building a product. What is often the hardest is getting people to use the product. How will FUTUREICX team resolve this to make your project become mass adopted and be more attractive in investotraders eyes? nblaze: True, we are doing our best from the app's side - getting feedback, building a product that our players like, promoting it to the best of our abilities. I think that the rest is up to the actual players: if they like it, they will naturally promote the product. I also think that the affiliate system would help a lot with that as a player could earn by being a 'promoter' and not even playing a single game (although not playing would limit his potential gains). SiliLovers: How does it feel after the first daily prediction was resolved earlier? nblaze: Amazing. 2500 ICX placed in predictions on the first day, quite a bit of positive feedback, happy winners all around. I love it! lavicrep69: If I am an ICONist and use d’apps like ICONbet how will you convince me to play FutureICX if it was my first time? nblaze: We wouldn’t. We believe that ICONBet has their own player market and we have ours. The activities on both platforms are completely different so there will be no need to pull players from one to the other. ICONists could play easily play on both and be equally happy with their experience Neajmik: What are the ways that FUTUREICX generates profits to maintain your project and how can it benefit both investotraders and your project simultaneously? nblaze: We have a 5% commission for that, so we don’t actually aim to benefit from the players' losses, on the contrary, we try to limit them for the less experienced traders. That is why each prediction amount is split into: 80% into the selected reward period pool, 5% towards the weekly/monthly awards, 10% towards the dividends and 5% to our team so we can keep improving the Dapp. That gives players opportunities to gain, even if their prediction did not come true HiImGroot: What are your plans for global expansion; is FutureICX focusing on only trading at this time or are you focused on building and developing your Dapp for more quality experience with users? nblaze: We’re hoping that with the second phase of our app we will be able to go into different crypto markets as well. This is still a long shot of a plan and requires a lot of variables to piece together but if we are able to do this, that would generate ICX transactions (as our Dapp is fully based on the ICON chain) while we are processing predictions that are payed with other cryptocurrencies. matT325: Where do you see FutureICX 2 or 3 years from now? nblaze: As a large gamified trading platform with a lot of players, many more trading games and options and working with a lot of different chains and projects while generating icx transactions in the process. LadyCrows: To advertise a project, you need to provide benefits and features, security aspects of the project. How does FutureICX differ from other decentralized trading applications? nblaze: There are quite a bit, so I’m not sure that I can list all of them in one short message. We have multiple gain channels, tiered rewards, dividends, awards, independent affiliate gains, our Dapp is fully decentralized (so every transaction is secure and verifiable), we are using a decentralized oracle for results (fairness and security), our tx process time is short and recorded on the chain thanks to ICON as well. ThePredator11: Why did you choose this platform name "FutureICX? nblaze: This was entirely a team Sharpn contribution. I picked Midos as an app name - they suggested FutureICX and we went with it and kept Midos as the name of my P-Rep instead. CryptoHodler22: If you put in an amount of $ICX for a long term prediction you can't stake them. Is there a form of divided for long-term wages? nblaze: That is absolutely correct – you would not receive any staking rewards for the duration of the prediction and that is the main reason that we have not set up a ‘monthly’ prediction or something like that. FutureICX is not aimed to make long-term holders to unstake their bags and come play. It is focused on the circulating ICX that instead of going to the exchanges, can come to ICX and have greater benefits from that. In terms of if the players are not losing from locking their ICX into a prediction on FutureICX, instead of staking them, the staking rewards for 10 days are around 0.2% - with FutureICX the rewards start from 120% and you could earn up to 450%/day if you know what you are doing I think that as with anything else, you have to balance your targets and decide what would be the best strategy for your money Ramle13747634: What is the greatest risk that you've taken before you do the first move of making the FutureICX that was released recently? Is it worth it to take the risk? nblaze: I think that building FutureICX was a very large risk in itself for me as in order for the project to see the light of day, I have personally spent almost an year working on it without any payment so far (while financing some parts of the app’s development out of my own pocket) and without any guarantees that I would be able to finish it. However I think that it was worth the risk and I would definitely do it again – I have not done this app to make money and have no delusions that it will make me rich or something. Im just happy that Im seeing it live and players loving it so far. This motivates me to develop FutureICX even further and provide even more fun experiences for the Iconists Neajmik: You received a lot of questions related to utilities and technology, future vision etc. So now I want to ask what do you want to receive from the community? nblaze: The greatest support that we can receive from the community is spreading the word about our app, about your opinion of it (good or bad it doesn’t matter – you are entitled of your own). At the end of the day, we have designed the app to be attractive to newcomers and to reward properly the proactive players assisting us with that task (via the affiliate bonuses), however our PR resources are limited and we would appreciate any help that we could get. So if I have to summarize – talk with people, brag, show off, discuss, even rant about FutureICX to people, it will all be of help to us and will also earn you extra gains 😉.
Reason for Hindutva (Request the Mods to pin this if they wish to)
Big long post coming up. Okay. This is a reply to one person's comment about Hindutva in this sub, and I felt that anybody who is looking for the reason for Hindutva should read this, hence I'm posting this as a separate post here. Any changes to my post are welcomed and I apologize beforehand for the looong post and any mistake/error that may have crept in. Please suggest changes if any needed. There is a direct comparison between Indian conservatives and (usually) American/Western RW. Thus, Western definitions and interpretations of social & political issues (binaries like Left Wing vs Right Wing, secular vs communal, etc.) are mapped directly onto India with little to no understanding of either the dynamics of Indian society, or its history. Let's talk about one: Islamophobia. In countries like America, Islam is a micro-minority that is growing slowly, and because of the appearance of being harassed by Right Wing Americans for over two decades (and the general perception of Muslims, their unnecessary harassment at the hands of law enforcement & general public), there exists sympathy for their community from the "inclusive Left", just like there's sympathy for the Black community ( bec. of higher levels of poverty, ghettoisation, etc.). This exists for Brown skinned Hindus too. There's an appearance of their community being 'otherised' in society over the last 20 years, and because of diversity, inclusion, & identity politics, Muslim community has found a new supporter in the Left Wing (SJW, Democrats, etc.). Other than 9/11 and a few other isolated terror incidents, Islamic terrorism has not impacted America to the level White supremacist & police shootings/killings have, and the vast majority of deaths have not happened at the hands of Muslims. There are jihādi nutjobs in the Muslim community, and I'm sure the FBI is tracking every single one of them down to keep America safe. Then there's the case of RW White supremacists who are literally "phobic" about Muslims and Islam, thinking that all Muslims (in America) are terrorists by default, and want to halt immigration to Muslim countries, and want to send Muslims back to their home countries. The majoritarian Christian community has the (relatively) large American conservative population in a tight grip, so the question of Islamic proselytism, and the establishment of a Shari'a state simply doesn't exist as a major threat to America right now. Let's just say that there's currently no major threat from their community to America as a whole (I don't think the govt and intel agencies would allow that to happen). Islam is a slightly different flavour in America than in India. Let's walk (fly?) over to India. The Muslim community is the second largest majority. Their population in India is nearly 3/4th the population of America. ~200 million Muslims live in India. India is surrounded by 2-3 Muslim countries (Pak, Afg, Bang). The history of the relationship between Hindus and Muslims is NOT peaceful. Muslims ruled tyrannically over the Hindus for over 500 years, oppressed them, destroyed thousands (>30000) of holy sites & temples and then just as a Hindu empire was being re-established, the British swooped in to lord over India for ~150 years. India is probably the only major failure of Islam, since they were unable to convert majority Hindus to Islam. Countries like Syria, Jordan and Israel/Palestine, which were Christian & Jewish lands were fully occupied by Islamic forces. Powerful empires in ancient & medieval Iraq - Iran fell to Islamic forces, who gave the locals two options: convert or die. To save their lives, the entire stretch from Turkey and Israel/Palestine to Iran converted to Islam. Millions of non Muslim pagans have died at the hands of Muslims. Buddhist majority countries like Afghanistan fell to Islamic invaders and Central Asia was also taken over by them. Over the centuries there was a forceful adoption and integration of Islam in these societies and historic native pagan and non Muslim religious sites were systematically destroyed and mosques established atop them. Simply put, Central, West and South West Asia converted to Islam under the sword. Not due to choice. Islam is an extremely regressive faith that refuses to evolve. Coming back to India. In 1947, an entire country was ripped apart from the motherland India and was formed on religious lines (Pakistan and later, Bangladesh). Now, every nation from Turkey in the West to Afghanistan & Pakistan in the east was one large Muslim bloc. East of India, countries like Malaysia and Indonesia became Muslim, China was atheist and Myanmar and Sri Lanka were/are far too weak to stand up with India to counter these foreign invading Islamic (& Christian) forces. After Independence, the government tried to establish a secular state (again, trying to copy paste from the West), with no real understanding of the real India, or what it meant for the average Indian to be part of the Dharmic faiths (Hinduism and it's daughtesister religions). Separation of Church and State is a very Western concept, and shouldn't have been implemented in India. The British had divided Hindus to such an extent that there was no real identity for Hindus to mould or shape their community, and start fresh. On the other hand, Muslims did have a model to look up to: Saudi Arabia version of Sunni Islam, the medieval Indian Islam, and Iran's Shia Islam. Now, successive governments slowly began to appease Muslims for their vote, because the Muslim community was less fragmented than the Hindu community, and tended to vote as a bloc for certain political parties. The Hindu community on the other hand, was broken up into several small caste based fragments, and regional political parties rose to represent may of these individual communities. Hindus tended to vote as a caste instead of as a religion. Politicians being politicians, and with ample amounts of interference from foreign actors, Hindu community has never been united as a single bloc in the last 70 years. Add to this the shift of the Hindu populace towards the left (socialist, non religious) post-independence, and the majority Hindu community slowly lost touch with its faith, religion and Hindu social & religious issues. Coming back to the topic of Muslim invaders: as I stated earlier, Islamic invaders brought in their own tribalistic culture, and negatively influenced India's own historically superior society. For many Indian Muslims today, they see this Islamic rule as a kind of "Golden past" and the means to establish Islamic rule over India. However, for us Hindus, it is a matter of life and death and most importantly, self-preservation of the native culture and ideologies. Check out the Kashmir issue, and the cultural genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Pandit community from Kashmir at the hands of Islamists. There has been a slow but constant deracination in Kashmir, to establish it as a Muslim country following Shari'a law. 5000 villages and town names in Kashmir were changed to Islamic names from their historic Hindu/Buddhist names in the last 50 years. Hindu nationalism arose because of an anger of the Hindu population verily against this. "Hindutva is Hinduism that resists": Hindutva merely resists such attempts to erase Hindu and associated Dharmic faith history, it is a movement for Hindus to stand up for themselves and establish a Hindu state along Hindu Dharmic principles. It is a movement that resists the Muslim & Christian conversion activities in Indian states like Kerala, Kashmir, Assam and West Bengal (and their goal to establish a Islamic state very much like Kashmir, to drive out non Muslim 'kafirs'). This is a concerted campaign, bankrolled by foreign state actors like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan towards Islam, and Western countries like UK, France, and US for Christianity. Thus, Islamophobia cannot exist in India, because the term has no meaning here. Hindus are not irrationally scared of Muslims. The fear is justified in more ways than one. There is a brutal bloody history of Hindu oppression at the hands of Muslims (and even to this date it continues in Muslim countries), and there is a visual live evidence of what goes if India becomes a Muslim country. In countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, religious minorities do not have any rights, and women are traded and sold like slaves. Hindu and Sikh women are kidnapped, forcefully converted to Islam and married off to men much older than them. In India, a similar practice is going on: i. Love Jihad - Muslim men take on Hindu names and prey on gullible girls from the Hindu faith and forcefully convert them to Islam after marriage. ii. Little girls as young as 7-8 years old are kidnapped and sold in Arab countries to rich sheikhs. Both of these have an overwhelming amount of evidence and reportage. Hindutva is a self respect political movement for the Hindus. The whole of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is Islamic, so many South American and European countries are state Christian, and some South East Asian countries are Buddhist too. There doesn't exist one single Hindu country for the self preservation and development of Hindus. Heck, a global minority religion like Judaism has a home state in Israel. And just to clarify, no, the establishment of a Hindu state does not mean Muslims or other minorities cannot live in India, or cannot practice their religion. A Hindu state would allow Muslims and Christians to practice their faiths without impinging and infringing on local faiths, without exploiting the natives, especially the poor and sub altern communities. A Hindu state would truly be a model for multi religious, multi cultural, diverse society because the nature of Hinduism itself is to accept and tolerate a multitude of diverse opinions and thoughts. Islam and Christianity have a history of killing alternative opinions and heterodox schools, while Hinduism accepts them, or at the least, tolerated their presence. If religions like Sikhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism (Parsi), native tribal faiths, Buddhism, Jainism and even atheism can live in peace with Hindusz for over 1000 years of history, why cannot Muslims? Why can't Christians? End.
Hello. There have been both positive and negative comments about IM Academy. Some people believe it's a pyramid scheme while others believe it's the real deal. I'm here to give my thoughts on what I have experienced since joining IM Academy. Since day one, there has been nothing but support and motivation from every individual I have come in contact with. In our group, we have over 2000 members. I am learning A LOT about FOREX, HFX, DCX, how to be an IBO (Independent Business Owner) and more! Do they promote? YES, they do promote the EDUCATION, the SKILL SET, the TRAININGS, the WEBINARS, SUPPORTING not just your team, but others, they promote having a positive MIND SET and reaching out to your MENTORS! They encourage you to inform others of these opportunities in the same way you would inform others of your favorite TV Show, restaurant, sports team, your favorite drink, etc. Do you HAVE to inform others of this life changing skill set that can possibly enhance not only your finances, but your way of life? NO, you do NOT HAVE to say one word about it. The only difference between them encouraging you to tell others about the Academy, the MILLIONAIRE skills you LEARN as you EARN vs. talking about your favorite eatery is that in doing so you have the opportunity to gain residual income. For those who do not know what Residual Income is: simply put, you are able to have an additional stream of income. Who would not want to have an additional stream of income just by simply telling others what you do and they decide to join your team? All you are doing is telling someone about the opportunity to join IM Academy to learn the same skills used by Millionaires! It's up them to decide if they would like to take advantage of the opportunity or not. There are several individuals who are making 6, 7 and even 8 figures by using the skill set and/or telling someone else of this opportunity. Some of these individuals are just like you and me and some are the Educators which we do have over 100 of. They offer LIVE TRAININGS where you can ask them questions right then and there if need be. I have read some comments about how you can find this information on YouTube or other online platforms. Maybe you can, BUT it will NOT be well put together, it may not be as accurate and will you have access to Mentors including Millionaire mentors whenever you need help with something like you do with IM Academy? I've also heard people have said, if you only invest $50 into your account once you get started, it will be gone in no time. More than likely, people who make these comments did NOT attend the trainings and they did NOT use proper risk management. We have SEVERAL trainings through the week and one of the most important training is called the TRADING Plan! This plan teaches you exactly how NOT to over leverage your account. It also teaches you how much to risk for your account size, knowing this will let you know how many trades per a day you can take. If you do exactly what you are taught, your account will not go negative and you would not be posting angry comments about how IM Academy is not what it says it is. Not only do we have trainings by our peers that teach you this, but we also learn this in the Academy Education with the Educators. Simple Run Down: Have you ever opened a Bank Account and they had you filled out all these forms that had a bunch of big fancy terminology on them? Well, that fancy terminology means, you are agreeing to allow the banks to invest YOUR money for you. In turn they give you 1% or LESS within a certain amount of MONTHS or even YEARS! You see, what they are doing is investing YOUR money in the FOREX market. They basically flip YOUR funds into profit within a matter of a few days to a few MINUTES and give you the PENNIES of what they made from YOUR money. Did you know according toglassdoor.com, the national average for a FOREX Trader at a BANK makes around $92,327 a year. To most people that is a LOT of money, but what if I told you they have actually learned a skill that can allow them to make that in a MONTH or LESS? How would YOU like to learn how to do the SAME THING! This is a financially life changing skill that you can learn to possibly have a better life! You Do NOT need to have experience. You DO NOT need to talk to other people to join YOUR team. This is NOT a SCAM, it is not a GET RICH QUICK solution, but you can become wealthy if you learn and put those skills to use. ANYONE can do this! I do NOT care if you did not graduate High School, if you are a Janitorial Custodian, an Exotic Dancer or a Multi-Millionaire who is looking to gain even more income. You are NOT ALONE with IM Academy. WE are in this together! What is FOREX? It is simple the Foreign Exchange Market. It is much bigger than the Stock Market, as FOREX is worldwide and trades over $5 Trillion daily! Yes, you read that right, over $5 TRILLION daily! I think there is enough for you to get a piece of the pie. What is HFX? HFX stands for High Frequency Forex also known as Binary Options. You can buy and sell within a matter of minutes. Which means you can gain profits or lose within 1 to 30 minutes on average. YES, that's right! You do have the possibility of increasing your funds with HFX in as little as 1 minute! BUT, DISCLAIMER: We do NOT recommend you doing this type of trade on your own. With our Academy we have highly skilled Educators who will teach you THEIR technique. Yes, that's right, we have Millionaire Educators who created their own program and will teach you how to use it in order to get significant profits with HFX. What is DCX? DCX is Cryptocurrency, such as your Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple and more! Remember, the guy who purchased a home with Bitcoin several years ago? Well, today it's becoming a lot more popular. People are able to purchase several types of assets using Cryptocurrency, especially since over 10,000 retailers are now accepting Cryptocurrency as payment. Oh, did I forget to mention The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a "hypothetical" digital currency platform. Now, ask yourself, why would the Federal Reserve Bank "hypothetically" create a digital currency platform? Why would they "hypothetical" spend MILLIONS of dollars in creating a "hypothetical" anything? Bottom line for me is, our world has and is continuing to change. When I was a child, I only saw self driving cars, smart homes, weird types of currencies being used in movies. Look around, what do you see in real life today? I am not trying to convince you to join me and my team so that I can have residual income. I am giving you vital information to possible help secure your future. FOREX is exchanging over $5 Trillion dollars EVERY SINGLE DAY! Me, YOU, YOUR families, YOUR friends have the opportunity to get in NOW on skills that eventually everyone will have to learn at some point in their lives. You might as well do it NOW, go at your own pace, so you do NOT have to rush to figure it out later. I sure hope this answered your questions. If you have more questions or would like to know more information, PLEASE respond to me here or send me an e-mail, [email protected].
So how’s your quarantine going? I’ve been playing a fair amount of C:S lately and thought I might speculate on what could be improved in Cities: Skylines 2. Besides, it’s not like I have anything better to do. What C:S gets right and wrong Besides great modability and post-release support, C:S combines an agent based economy with a sense of scale. It also has the kind of road design tools that SC4 veterans would have killed for. District based city planning for things like universities was one of the best innovations in the genre in years, and the introduction of industry supply chains, while clunky and tacked on, brought much needed depth to the game. C:S suffers most notably from a lack of revisit rate to previously constructed things. Build a power plant: forget about it. Build a port: forget about it. Build a downtown: forget about it. The player isn’t incentivized to revisit old parts of the city to upgrade and improve them. The district system for universities and industry was a fantastic innovation that demonstrated how to do this concept well, and consequently they are some of the most fun and engaging parts of the game. The biggest criticism of C:S, despite its powerful design tools, is that it feels like a city painter. The systems feel rich at first, but become very formulaic after a few hours. There are no hard trade-offs. Providing every inch of your city with maximum services will not bankrupt you, nor will an economy of nothing but the rich and well-educated collapse from a lack of unskilled labor. In the end, every city dies of boredom once the player exhausts the game’s relatively shallow well of novelty. The biggest areas for Improvement
Balancing Competing Interests
A real city has not only doctors and engineers, but clerks and factory workers. Consider a system that requires balancing the needs of different economic strata to make a thriving city. Here's one example:
Poverty - Working Class - Middle Class - Professional - Elite
Working class are the backbone of the economy, but they need affordable housing and good public transit. Without adequate care though, they slide into poverty causing spikes in crime and declining health. Middle class and professional workers bring in higher taxes and work in better quality jobs, but if property values go too high, your city can attract too many elites--which consume prime real estate, have excessive demands, and are needed in scant few industries.
Providing good services for all citizens should be a real challenge, requiring thoughtful choices on how to provide them efficiently. Balancing for different economic strata also incentivizes building areas with different character. City’s need low-income tenements, middle class suburbs, and high-income downtowns.
C:S was meant to be played on an 81-tile map. It is a drastic improvement over the cramped origami-like vanilla experience. Small towns start to make sense to support farming and mining communities and the urban core acts as a natural hub for manufacturing and logistics. In short, the city begins to look and feel much more natural.
Systems have gotten a lot more powerful since C:S was first released, and a redesign with better multi-core support and a larger map should be a priority. A larger region map recontextualizes the experience from city-builder to region builder. A four-times larger map could fit several urban cores, expansive farmlands, quaint mining towns, and national parks. Most importantly, it provides the appropriate scale to implement a more complex economy.
The industries DLC, despite being simple and clunky, did a lot of things right in improving economic complexity. CIties aren’t just where people live; they make stuff. A key decision for the player as they design their city should be “what does my city do?” A region with plentiful iron could make for a thriving mining town, and a city with steel and auto industries. Beaches and national parks could make for a tourism industry. A well-educated population could attract a banking and finance industry, or maybe make for a national capital with legions of bureaucrats.
The government systems could also use a bit more depth. Where is the city hall? How does a law enforcement system work without a courthouse or an education system without a board of education? These should have some role to play. City halls could define the various municipalities of a region (growing more grandiose as the city grows) while other government buildings could define the police/fire/school districts of a region.
One of my biggest gripes with C:S is the repeat frequency of tall buildings. While each asset is creatively designed, the effect is ruined by seeing two of the same assets in close proximity. This can be addressed one of a few ways besides simply making more. First, tall buildings should be very few in number, difficult to achieve, and a reward for good stewardship. SC4 doesn't suffer from this problem as much mainly because getting more than a handful of skyscrapers is quite an achievement. Additionally, procedural generation is a clear next-gen feature for city-builders. Some seriously impressive work has been done in this area.
Architecture is also an extremely important element in the aesthetic of a city and should be a key tool available to the player. C:S has a modern style, which tends to feel sterile and lacks a sense of place. Paris without Parisian architecture doesn’t feel like Paris. Ideally, the player should be given the option to select architectural standards to apply to growables and city buildings within a given district. There’s endless fodder for DLC. 1930s New York City, DC Neoclassical, 1900s San Francisco, Parisian, Victorian, East Asian Traditional, Neo-futurism, etc.
The square based zoning system is obsolete and does not take advantage of the free-form road design tool. Imagine instead a zoning system that, coupled with procedural building generation, could produce results like this.
Also, the spectrum between rural farmhouses and high-rise apartments doesn’t fit well into the current low/high density binary, making the lack of medium density zoning kind of an odd choice that should be remedied.
Utilities should be an opportunity for creativity and problem solving. C:S utilities are just drudgery. Power and water distribution is a rote task that isn't interesting or challenging. Power systems are complex, with boilers, turbine halls, switchyards, transformers, and substations. Even a light implementation of this would improve upon the old two step formula of:
1) see low power notification 2) place a new power plant.
Instead a “power plant district” could be defined where turbines, water intakes, and resource depots are placed. More turbines could be added or upgraded to alternate energy sources (coal > gas > nuclear) as the city expands. The plant itself becomes an opportunity for creative expression that grows as the city grows.
Power distribution could be made more interesting by adding two elements: switchyards and substations. Switchyards distribute high voltage lines to substations and substations service local areas. The city-builder Workers and Resources has an interesting, if overcomplicated implementation of this concept. Designing a renewable energy grid to deal with cyclical power generation would also make for an interesting challenge.
Water grids could follow a similar formula, with a water extraction/treatment “district” and a network of reservoirs (water towers, underground cisterns, etc.) and pumping stations to maintain pressure. The combination of both these systems would also make for a more interesting underground as sustaining large urban areas would require a fair amount of planning and space management.
Each transit station should have a “configure” option. This could include aesthetic options such as choosing architectural styles (modern, traditional, neoclassical, etc.) and more practical options such as fitting a station along a curved road, adding new platforms, or connections to other transit types. Ideally a single “transit station” option could be turned into everything from a rural railroad platform to a grand central station with bus, tram, and metro connections. Transport Fever 2 has a great implementation of this concept.
Keeping with the philosophy of drawing the player’s attention back to developed areas of the city, logistic hubs (ports, railyards, and airports) should be highly configurable as well and be shaped over time by growing demand. For instance, a regional airport should be accessible early on, but gradually turn into an international hub. The same should apply to ports and railyards that expand in realistic ways due to the practical need for expanded capacity.
Planning tools (place stuff down in “ghost” form and tweak it before actually paying for it)
More powerful tools to build/tweak junctions and intersections (move-it, NEXT, CSUR, etc.)
Vehicle choices for mass transit lines
Bridge stacking / customization
Paintable town squares/parks/markets (good luck fitting anything into a triangular city block currently)
More interesting terrain (marsh, forest, jungle, mountains, etc.)
Power REIT -- Deep dive analysis Power REIT is a real estate trust with investments in solar, rail road, and newly in medical cannabis greenhouses.Thesis:Power REIT (PW) is the best way to invest in the cannabis area without the traditionally binary hit or miss nature of emerging industries.PW is anchored by a portfolio of traditional properties allowing it to more safely and at lower cost invest in cannabis assets.PW earns a return on invested capital (ROIC) in great excess of the cost of capital. Return of 12%-19% in new properties, recently issued bonds at 4.62%.PW is under valued despite a seemingly rich market price because of probable massive increase in revenue, earnings, and funds from operation (FFO).The margin of safety is significant.Significant Assets:6 Controlled Environment Agriculture greenhouse facilities aggregating over 131,00 square feet7 solar farm ground leases totaling 601 acres112 miles of railroad propertyApprox. $10 mil. cashSignificant Liabilities:Approx. $24 mil. Long term debt at interest rates less than or equal to 5%Major debt: $15,500,000 at 4.62% fully amortizing, maturing in 2054Maturities as follows:2021 $635,5022022 $675,3742023 $1,168,2972024 $715,7772025+ $21,208,698Preferred stock: 144,636 shares of 7.75% Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Stock, at $25.General info:Power REIT is currently pursuing investment in what they call controlled environment agriculture or CEA, essentially greenhouses. PW seeks out strictly medical cannabis producers who for whatever reason need additional financing, they then purchase the real estate they own and lease it back to them, and at times help with financing of construction. PW is one of the few ways for cannabis producing companies to get any sort of financing as federally it is still illegal and banks are weary. This gives PW lots of negotiating power in deal making, and that is why they can for example, buy and finance a 5.2 acre CEA property in southern Colorado for around $1 Mil. and get a straight lined rent of $192,000 equating to around a 19% FFO yield.These properties and tenants are of greater quality than the typical cannabis operation, remember they require tenants to maintain a medical cannabis producers license in the lease. That is a key for PW, this is not a speculative cannabis play that is dependent on federal legalization, on the contrary, a lease they have in a Maine property includes the clause that states that "After the deferred-rent period, rent is structured to provide a 12.9% return based on the original invested capital amount with annual rent increases of 3% rate per annum. At any time after year six, if cannabis is legalized at the federal level, the rent will be readjusted down to an amount equal to a 9% return on the original invested capital amount and will increase at a 3% rate per annum based on a starting date of the start of year seven." PW is partly a play against the federal legalization.On the topic of debt.A company with a market cap of under $50 mil with about $24 mil in debt might seem a little risky, but here is where the stability from the solar and rail assets comes in. Their existing FFO from those two asset classes is a little over $1 mil while the debt payments with exception of 2023 don't exceed $1 mil for the foreseeable future. So as long as they don't issue new debt in an uncharacteristically bad way PW will have no solvency issues.Management.Management is skill-full. The CEO David Lesser is pretty much for all intents and purposes the whole company, he is the sole full time employee. He is excellent in terms of real estate expertise. It is very clear he knows his stuff. He has a long history in real estate and more specifically in renewable/clean energy real estate. Lesser is also the chairman of the board, and the largest shareholder. He gets paid exclusively in various forms of equity. His interests are aligned with owners interests. Insider ownership is around 30%, very high for a REIT.Lesser is also key on avoiding share dilution as stated, and in practice unlike many REITs. There have been no share dilutions besides management's compensation plan. The major recent financing was the 2019 bond issuance.Relative PricingFor this section I will refer to Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR) another publicly listed REIT that invests in cannabis assets. IIPR invests in a wider range of assets like retail not just CEA. I am much more suspicious of IIPR's real estate and management. There have been many questions raised about the quality of real estate and solvency of tenants. The CEO seems sleazy and they constantly dilute shareholders. I think PW is superior in terms of intangibles and tangibles. IIPR is PW only publicly traded comparable.IIPR has grown FFO per share 133% for the MRQ YoY. PW has grown FFO per share 107% over the same time. PW only started investing in high return CEA in late 2019, and engage in more conservative financing, so the difference in growth rates is marginal.IIPR is currently being priced at around 19.1 times forward 12 months FFO.PW is priced at only 14 times forward 12 months FFO. (If management's most basic expectations are met)In terms of relative price PW, if it sold at the 19.1 multiple it would be selling for $32.4 which I still think could yield an above market rate of return over time.ValuationI believe PW to be the type of business that the market undervalues because of high uncertainty but low risk. The high uncertainty comes from not knowing how much management will want to grow and raise capital, will management continue to use safe amounts of leverage, will new financing options become available to cannabis companies etc. The low risk comes from the fact that PW has very low risk of going to 0 or even decreasing substantially in share price because of the current safety in investment return and diversification. I'll put a floor as to what I think a low risk price is. Let's say base case scenario over the next year PW invests the existing $10 mil. in cash at a yield of 12.5% (below the usual yield of around 18%), doesn't raise any additional capital, and lease payments are collected and debts paid as scheduled. PW FFO per share would be about $0.45 per quarter. If they trade at an P/FFO multiple of 20 (PW currently trades at 27) that makes the price $36 per share. However, I do think capital will be raised, management has expressed interest in doing so. In that case the strong ROIC and high cash flow would give PW a high ceiling to grow as far as macroeconomic and market conditions allow.CatalystShare price increases when new real estate acquisitions are announced.Eventual dividend. PW currently pays no dividend because the preferred has satisfied the REIT return of capital requirement recently, however with income rising 100%. It is likely a dividend will be coming soon and that will attract more attention.Continued performance and time. Submitted August 11, 2020 at 11:37PM
Stock: Square (SQ) - 48.30$ Direction: Neutral Bullish Price Target:50$ Type: Short Put Fundamental: Nothing in Square’s formula has changed since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. There is a note that due to the closure of many SMBs, Square’s transaction count will be significantly affected. Square’s price fell from about 85$ to about 49$ in the span of the first Coronavirus slide, bottoming out at 32$, which was quickly brought up to about the 40$ average. Since then, it has grown alongside the rest of the market. Square will face very little growth for the foreseeable future, but can be a great candidate for covered calls. Technical: Priced below 20, 50, 200 day moving average. MACD slight shows bullish convergence. RSI shows around 40, coming up from oversold. Options sentiments are bullish in volume and Bearish open interest. Implied movement is a whopping 12.1% or about 5.85$ Short interest is at 7.83%, with 5.2 days to cover. Support at ~41$, with 52w high being 87.25$. Sentimental: Square is a company that will not die. While the valuation was rich, Square was primely in the growth category, with its consistent revenue and EPS increases. The current coronavirus selloff has affected every stock on the market and Square was no exception. In addition, the recent purchase of Honey, alongside essentially halted SMBs, leaves SQ exposed to large risks. Analyst revisions have been entirely negative, as the outlook looks very grim. Typically in an elevated IV environment, sell-side earnings play becomes less effective. In addition, because of the current volatile macro environment, the binary event’s sway over price points becomes mitigated as well, making earnings movement even less predictable. I believe the bottom line here is if SQ moves against you, it can be beneficial long term to absorb the shares and sell covered calls as a way to generate cash-flow. While this leaves many smaller trades on the sidelines, extraordinary times and risk management dictates safer plays. Sell SQ - 4/03 $40 Puts 4 of 5, Highly risky
[LONG] My Story of Disillusionment with and Disappointment in the World and Myself
Intro. This might be a long one. I hope someone reads the thing, I put like 3 hours into writing it. A brief story of my life and how it all led up to this moment, where I am disillusioned with my self-image, my life choices, and certain aspects of the world, and have no idea what to do next. Warning: this whole thing might be a little depressing to read. Childhood. I am a 20yo Russian male. During my childhood, I was made to believe that I am capable of doing something great and doing better than anyone. At the same time I developed a very non-conformist life stance and very often rejected things and ideas simply because they were too popular for my taste, and I couldn't feel special whilst enjoying them. Of course, in turn, society rejected me, as it does with anyone who doesn't play by the rules. Oh well. My only redeeming quality was that I considered myself pretty smart. Which is even easier to assume, when at the same time you think that you're different from everyone else. Now, I know that to some extent, I was indeed smarter than most people in certain areas. Unlike most people I knew back then, often with bare minimum efforts I was able to maintain near perfect grades at school. I was also enjoying learning new things and reading more than an average person. So, let's just say, I had a basis to assume I was a smart dude. I wasn't happy and content with my life, though. I never had real friends, because I only hung out with people when they were my classmates/roommates/co-workers, and after we parted ways, I rarely if ever contacted them afterwards. I always enjoyed doing things you usually do in solitude more, because when I was alone, I wouldn't be afraid that someone could hurt me for being different. Because of that, I was never in a romantic relationship. High School. Still, life was going okay. By the end of school, I kind of accepted my social deficiency and I wanted to focus on improving the world and become a successful person - for myself. I was facing a dilemma, though. Despite the fact that I was doing great in school, the idea of having to invest four years of my time into studying something really specific, and then having to work another 20-30 years on the same job was terrifying, because I had no idea what I liked to do! Nothing seemed interesting to me, I didn't have a passion for doing anything... Thanks to my video game addiction, which made me lazy as fuck, probably. I also needed to meet my criteria for success with my future job, which included being financially successful. I grew up in top 1% income family, so... I always felt the pressure to outperform or at least match my parents' income. Enter trading. My dad discovered investing several years ago (we don't live in US, so most of the people aren't as financially savvy, so he never thought about investing before then). I was always curious about financial independence and markets, but now I was seeing it all done in front of me, I realized that it might be a good opportunity to make a lot of money and become successful without being socially adept, which is something absolutely required in business or politics. So, I asked my father to open a brokerage account for me in the US, and started swing trading (trading in weekly/monthly time frames). I could only trade slow and small because of the trade restrictions put on accounts <$25k and <21yo in the US. Still, it was going well, but in hindsight I was just lucky to be there during a great bull market. Even before I thought trading and more importantly investing were the ways smart people make money. I thought simply because I was conventionally smart, I had a talent or an innate ability to pick innovative stocks and do venture investing when I grow some capital. I truly believed in that long before I was introduced to financial markets, I believed that my surface level understanding of multiple areas of cutting edge and emerging technology would give me an edge compared to all the other investors. US Community College and Return Back. In the end, I've decided I want to go to a US community college and study finance and become a trader and later an investor, but I didn't want to work for a fund or something like that (lazy ass). I wanted to use my knowledge and skill and my own money to grow my net worth and make a living. I didn't really like the process of trading, I just needed the money to live by while I was trying to figure out what else to do with my life. Because I thought I were smart, I thought this would come easily to me. Boy was I wrong. From the nicest of conditions in my hometown, I was suddenly moved into a foreign setting, on the other side of the planet away form my family and mates, with a video game addiction and laziness that ruined my daily routine and studying as well. The fact that I didn't like my major was not helping. My grades fell from A- in the first quarter to C+ in the last. I gained +30% from my normal weight. I was stressed out, not going outside and sitting at my computer desk for days at a time, skipping all the classes I could if they were not absolutely essential for my grades, living on prepared foods. I never got out of my shell and barely talked to anyone in English, all of my friends were Russian speaking. I wasted an opportunity to improve my speaking, although aside from that my English skills satisfy me. By the end of community college, last summer, I was left with B grades that wouldn't let me transfer anywhere decent, and the extreme stress that I put myself through started taking a toll on my mental health. I was planning to take a break and go back to Russia for several months, and transfer back to a US uni this winter. Needless to say, you can't run from yourself. It didn't really become much better after a few months in Russia. I didn't want to study finance anymore, because it was boring and I was exhausted. I still had the video game addiction, still was lazy and gained some more extra pounds of weight. I was not sleeping at all, extremely sleep deprived for months. Because of this and lack of mental stimulation I started to become dumber. And all that was happening where I didn't really have to do anything: not study or work, just sit around the house and do whatever I wanted. Turns out, these conditions didn't help me to get out of the incoming depression. Finally, around November, when I already sent out all of my transfer applications and already got some positive answers from several universities, I knew I didn't have much time left at home, and I had to leave soon. But I really, really didn't want to go back. It was scarier than the first time. I was afraid of new changes, I just wanted for the time to stop and letting me relax, heal... I was having suicidal thoughts and talked about it with my family and my therapist. They were all supportive and helped me as much as they could. But I was the only person who could really help myself. If I wanted to breathe freely, I had to admit defeat and not go back to the US to continue my education. It was extremely hard at first, but then I just let go. I decided to find a temporary job as an English tutor and give myself time to think. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of money in my trading account. I still thought that I was pretty smart, despite failing college, so I figured, why not try move it to Russian brokers who don't have trading restrictions, and do it full time? Which is exactly what I did. And I started to study trading all by myself at a fast pace. I was now trading full time and it was going sideways: +10% in December, -20% in January. Then, something incredible happened. I was already in a shitty place in life, but I still had some hope for my future. Things were about to get much worse. I'm in the late January, and I discovered for myself that the whole financial industry of the world was a fraud. Brief Explanation of My Discoveries. In the image of the financial industry, there are several levels of perceived credibility. In the bottom tier, there is pure gambling. In my country, there were periods when binary options trading and unreliable Forex brokers were popular among common folk, but these were obvious and unsophisticated fraudsters who were one step away from being prosecuted. There are also cryptocurrencies that don't hold any value and are also used only for speculation/redistribution of wealth. There is also a wonderful gambling subreddit wallstreetbets where most users don't even try to hide the fact that what they are doing is pure gambling. I love it. But the thing is, this is trading/investing for the people who have no idea what it is, and most people discredit it as a fraud, which it, indeed, is. These examples are 99% marketing/public image and 1% finance. But these offer x10-1000 returns in the shortest time span. Typical get-rich-quick schemes, but they attract attention. Then, there is trading tier. You can have multiple sub levels here, in the bottom of this tier we would probably have complex technical analysis (indicators) and daily trading/scalping. I was doing this in the DecembeJanuary. At the top would be people who do fundamental analysis (study financial reports) and position trade (monthly time frames). Now, there is constant debate in the trading community whether technical analysis or fundamental analysis is better. I have a solid answer to the question. They work in the same way. Or rather, they don't work at all. You'd ask: "Why you didn't discover this earlier? You were in this financial thing for several years now!" Well, you see, unlike on the previous level, here millions of people say that they actually believe trading works and there is a way to use the available tools to have great returns. Some of these people actually know that trading doesn't work, but they benefit from other traders believing in it, because they can sell them courses or take brokerage fees from them. Still, when there are millions around you telling you that it works, even a non-conformist like me would budge. Not that many people actually participate in the markets, so I thought that by being in this minority made me smart and protected from fraudsters. Lol. All it took for me to discover the truth is to accidentally discover that some technical indicators give random results, do a few google searches, reach some scientific studies which are freely available and prove that technical and fundamental analysis don't work. It was always in front of me, but the fucking trading community plugged my ears and closed my eyes shut so I wasn't able to see it. Trading usually promises 3-15% gain a month. A huge shock, but surely there was still a way for me to work this out? Active investing it is! The next level, active investing, is different from trading. You aim for 15-50% yearly returns, but you don't have to do as much work. You hold on to stocks of your choice for years at a time, once in a while you study the markets, re balance your portfolio, etc. Or you invest your money in a fund, that will select the stocks of their choice and manage their and your portfolio for you. For a small fee of course. All of these actions are aimed at trying to outperform the gain the market made as a whole, and so called index funds, which invest in basically everything and follow the market returns - about 7-10% a year. And if I ever had any doubts in trading, I firmly believed that active investing works since I was a little kid (yes I knew about it back then). And this is where the real fraud comes in. The whole Wall Street and every broker, every stock exchange in the world are a part of a big fraud. Only about 10-20% of professional fund managers outperform the market in any 15 year period. If you take 30 years, this dwindles to almost nothing, which means that no one can predict the markets. These people have no idea what they are doing. Jim Cramer is pure show-business and has no idea what's going on. Warren Buffet gained his fortune with pure luck, and for every Buffet there are some people who made only a million bucks and countless folks who lost everything. Wall Street. They have trillions of dollars and use all that money and power and marketing to convince you that there is a way to predict where the stocks are going without being a legal insider or somehow abusing the law. They will make you think you can somehow learn from them where to invest your money on your own or they will make you believe that you should just give it to them and they will manage it for you, because they know how everything works and they can predict the future using past data. They won't. They don't. They can't. There are studies and statistics to prove it countless times over the span of a 100 years. But they will still charge you exchange fees, brokerage fees and management fees anyway. And they also manipulate certain studies, lobby where and when they need it, and spread misinformation on an unprecedented scale, creating a positive image of themselves. And everyone falls for that. Billions of people around the globe still think it's all legit. Passive index investing is the last level. You just put your money in the market and wait. Markets will go up at a predetermined rate. If there's a crisis, in 10 years no one will even remember. Markets always go up in the end. But passive index investing can only give you only 7% inflation-adjusted returns a year. Not enough to stop working or even retire early, unless you have a high-paying job in a first-world country. I don't. Despite all that, to put it simply, this is the only type of investing that works and doesn't involve any kind of fraud or gambling. It's the type of investing that will give you the most money. If you want to know why it is like that and how to do it, just go to financialindependence. They know this stuff better than any other sub. Better than investing, trading or any other sub where non-passive-index investing is still discussed as viable strategy. Back to me. My whole being was fucked over, my hopes and dreams and understanding of success and how this world works were shattered. I realized, I had no future in financial industry, because only middlemen make money in there, and I quit college needed to get there. Frankly, I wouldn't want to work there even if I had the opportunity. The pay is good, but the job is boring and I wouldn't want to be a part of this giant scheme anyway. But even if I wanted to go back, I also couldn't. Russia is in a worsening crisis and my parents could no longer afford a US university and now with coronavirus it's even worse. Good thing I quit before it all happened. I learned a valuable lesson and didn't lose that much money for it (only about 10% of my savings). God knows where it would lead me if I continued to be delusional. But now that my last temporary plans for the future were scrapped, I had no idea what to do next. The future. With the reality hitting me, I would lie if I say it didn't all come full circle and connect to my past. I realized that I was stupid and not intelligent, because I was living in a made-up world for years now. But even if I were intelligent, pure wit would not give me the success and fortune that I was craving, because trading and active investing were a no-go for me, and business/politics require a very different, extroverted mindset, different education and interest from my own. My only redeeming quality in a hopeless introvert world, my perceived intelligence was taken away from me and rendered useless at the same time. Besides, failing at that one thing made me insecure about everything and now I think of myself as an average individual. So, if 8 out of 10 businesses fail, I shouldn't start one because I will probably fail. And if most politicians don't get anywhere, why should I bother? If average salary in my country is X, I shouldn't hope for more. I stopped believing in my ability to achieve something. First, I failed at education and now I failed... Professionally? I don't know how to describe it, but my life recently was just an emotional roller coaster. I just feel like a very old person and all I want calmness and stability in my life. I was very lazy before just because, but now I feel like I also don't want to do anything because I feel I would just fail. It feels better now I don't have to worry about trading anymore and I got rid of that load... But I am still miserable and perhaps worse than ever, maybe I just don't understand and feel it because I've become slow and numb. The only positive thing that happened to me recently, is that I finally started losing weight and about 1/4 of the way back to my normal weight. As for my future, am looking at several possibilities here. So far the parents are allowing my miserable life to continue and they let me live with them and buy me food. I don't need anything else right now. But it can't go on like this forever. The thought of having a mundane low-paying job in this shithole of a country depresses me. I will probably temporarily do English tutoring if there's demand for such work. My old school friends want me to help them in their business and my dad wants me to help him in his, I and probably should, but I feel useless, pathetic and incapable of doing anything of value. And business just seems boring, difficult and too stressful for me right now. Just not my cup of tea. I am also looking at creative work. I love video games, music, films and other forms of art. I love the games most though, so I am looking into game dev. I don't really like programming, I have learned some during school years, but the pay would probably be higher for a programmer than an creator of any kind of art. However, I think I would enjoy art creation much more, but I don't have any experience in drawing and only some limited experience in music production. And I am not one of these kids who always had a scrapbook with them at school. Having to make another life choice paralyzes me. I am leaning towards art. I don't feel confident in my ability to learn this skill from scratch, but I think it's my best shot at finding a job that would make me happy. So perhaps, when this whole pandemic is over, I'll go to Europe and get my degree, get a job there and stay. American Dream is dead to me, and Europe is cheaper, closer, safe and comfortable. Just the thing for a person who feels like they are thrice their real age. Outro. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. Special thanks if you read the whole thing, it means a whole lot to me, an internet stranger. But even if no one reads it, feels good to get this off my chest. I actually cried during writing some parts. Holy shit, this might be the longest and smartest looking thing my dumbed down head could manage to generate since college. I hope that you're having a great day. Stay healthy and be careful during this fucking pandemic. All the best.
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Can You Get Rich Trading Binary Options: Learn How To ...
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