I’m pretty angry right now. Our government seems to think that it is doing the right thing by throwing money around willy-nilly and telling us to wash out hands. It isn’t. It has a long way to go and we will all suffer for their lack of decisive action.
It’s not that the community doesn’t need support, or that we shouldn’t wash our hands – both those measures are hugely important, but they are the equivalent of handing the Black Knight of Monty Python fame a bandaid and telling him to run home. It’s just not enough.
What we need is lockdown. Two weeks of pure stay at home. We need it yesterday. All people, all industries. We then need to test everyone. We start with those who operate in critical industries – health workers, people in the supply chains that support our food and pharmaceutical industries, scientific researchers, and we tie the test results to a national identification number – our Medicare Number, we all have one, so that requires no additional work. This can be tracked and traced easily, and easily checked. It might take a few final days to prepare for this, but it is essential.
Right now, tests can take 2 to 3 days to provide a result, and that result is only then fed into the “results pool”. That is a joke. Currently, like most nations, we are on around a 30% per day increase in infections based on the numbers released. That means that the _true_ number of infected people is at least double that which has been reported. And thats if you can get a test. Tests themselves are hard to come by and even if you stand in line at one of the pop-up clinics, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be tested. The decision not to test everyone is in and of itself a very bad one and leads to infected people being returned to the community.
The Covid-19 novel coronavirus is here. It is in our communities now and we need to protect ourselves and our families.
There needs to be a change in the thinking about the approach and response. The approach can not be based on fiscal stimulus, (although that is needed), it needs to be health focussed first and foremost.
1 – Test everyone 2 – Lockdown everyone 3 – Contain, isolate and control infection and clusters 4 – Provide a universal basic income to provide community certainty 5 – Focus on wellbeing of the community 6 – Once the community is safe and risk reduced, then and only then look at the economic impact.
We must change our thinking about the way we interact with each other and the way we approach our day to day lives. This pandemic will change our lives as much as if not more than the attacks of September 11 2001.
This is World War III. We have to respond accordingly.
Ok – confession time, I do play Pokemon Go and have found that it is quirky and fun. I also play Ingress, so when PG came out, I knew where all the Pokemon Gyms and Pokestops were in our local area (and near work…) so that was quite useful. Before that though, I had been Geocaching and whilst I enjoy Pokemon Go, I have found that caching is better in a number of substantial ways. Let me share them.
1 – GC makes you get out and about
For the last couple of weeks, certain areas have had a vastly increased number of cars parked strategically. Just so they can get close enough to that Gym without leaving the confines of the vehicle. PG players have devised all sorts of ways to hatch their eggs without having to do any real walking. It is true that many more dogs are being walked more often over the past couple of weeks, but geocaching is all about getting out and about.
It is physically impossible to find a logbook and sign same log from the confines of your vehicle. That _is_ part of the fun after all – the hunt. What’s the point when all you have to do is leave the app open on your desk at work and wait for the Pokemon to come to you?
2 – Exploration
Geocaching is all about the adventure and getting out and about. There are many quirky places which I have been to and found purely as a result of Geocaching. Once you have found something once, (with a couple of exceptions) you have found them. The challenge for that cache is over, however you have achieved something and most likely gone somewhere you would not have otherwise.
It is true that some exploration is done with Pokemon Go, but other than a (usually out of date) photo of what might have been near to that Pokestop 4 years ago, there isn’t really anything new about where you would go. Usually local and only where say 3 pokestop areas intersect so you can place some lures…
So many interesting things to learn and it doesn’t stop there – if there is a topic you know about, or want to know about, then there is probably a cache relating to it. These are real-world useful and interesting information tidbits.
Pokemon Go on the other hand, can not be said to deliver the same level of intellectual stimulation. You might find out that a Jolteon can fry a Flareon nice and easily, but is that really useful in the real world?… I don’t think so either.
4 – Organised, stable and long running.
Geocaching has been running almost 16 years, where Pokemon Go has been running, well, if the servers are up currently, maybe for 5 minutes? Perhaps that’s a little unkind, but you know what I mean I am certain!
Geocaching HQ (where the main Groundspeak offices are) provides a centralised place for all sorts of management. Servers, resolutions and achievements or anything cache related comes from here. HQ is responsive, and did I mention stability yet?
Whilst I am certain that things will get better over time of PG, the Geocaching network is “reality based” rather than “augmented reality based” so its stability is always going to be greater.
5 – You don’t have to be “connected”
Playing Pokemon Go requires an active internet connection so you can download all you need and so the battles can be fought and central servers updated. The challenge of this for the servers is substantial, but even for the end users, ensuring connectivity is maintained can be problematic to say the least.
Geocaching however does not have this limitation to require connectivity to the telecommunications network. Use of a non-connected GPS device where all you have to do is to be able to receive the signals from GPS satellites is all it takes. Exploring the outback and climbing far away mountains in search of adventure is possible for Geocachers. Not so much so for Goers.
6 – Locations are reviewed and sensible
Locating a Geocache can be a tricky thing. That is of course part of the fun, but where you can place them is governed by an extensive set of rules. These rules explain how the game is played and what needs to be done. Rules exist about how far apart each cache must be (1/10 mile / 161 metres) so there is always some distance between points and rules exist about where caches can be placed.
For example, there is a guideline which clearly states not to place caches directly outside schools. People mysteriously loitering outside a school might be misconstrued. There are also reasonability rules regarding the placements when it comes to other places which might be considered less than desirable. Particularly for children…
As the locations for Pokemon Gyms and Pokestops were taken from Ingress, no such control or oversight was initiated. Whilst some stops were thinned out so as to not be crazy (as many Ingress portal locations are) there has been no review of them as to appropriateness for a Pokemon based game.
7 – Geocaching is an all ages activity
Caching is for anyone 5-105 (and probably younger and older respectively!). Anyone can have an account.
Initially, Pokemon Go was only able to be linked to a Gmail account which you cannot have if you’re under 13. My 11yo was devastated. This has since been rectified, but there is now a specific database which Niantic / Google and whoever owns which in the main has the contact details of thousands of young children. Hmmm – nothing is going to go wrong there…
Have you asked your average 50+ individual what a Psyduck is recently? Or a Jolteon? It’s not likely that they will have too much idea, or care that much either. Caching bridges this age barrier and appeals to many. It is not something that has to be done quickly or at any pace – it can be planned and executed without the frenetic finger swiping and tapping required by Pokemon Go.
8 – You get to find _REAL_ stuff
One of the great things about Geocaching is that there is a physical real container at the end of your search. When you get to that 1L cache tucked away and you open it to reveal a trove of goodies – that’s when the fun begins. You can swap materials in and out, perhaps find a gem or something which you’ve never expected. The kids love it too – take away trinkets are memories of a particular caching moment, or even made into travel bugs. Even finding travel bugs or geocoins is a great fun thing to do in and of itself – see where they have come from and help them on their way.
By contrast, the virtual world of Pokemon Go gives you nothing in the real world but a flat phone battery… You might take solace in the occasional random sighting of a Pikachu, and when you catch one, I have seen the happiness and fist pumping joy that gives you, but for what? It has a CP of 25 and you’ll never be able to use it…
9 – It’s not competitive by nature
So which faction are you – Mystic, Valor or Instinct? There are some benefits in terms of the ultimate Legendary Pokemon you may be able to get, and their attributes, but it is all about the competition. Taking over a gym, competing time and time again, fighting with your pocket monsters until they faint or are exhausted. Pokemon is all about the fight. Level up, compete, WIN WIN WIN! Grow that gym prestige! ENOUGH!
Geocaching is a peace loving pastime – it doesn’t have to be competitive, it doesn’t have to be a race. It’s about the journey, the search, the clever hides, the loot and the fun. There’s more than enough adrenalin to go around, and even that DNF you get – that one Eagle Rock cache that you will never find – well, that’s part of the fun too.
There is more than enough conflict in society and the world in general without pseudo reality games taking the fights to the streets as well as the virtual world. It doesn’t have to be this way…
10 – FTFs.
But whilst not being competitive, there are the FTFs – being the First To Find a new geocache when it is published.
There are two reasons this makes Geocaching better than Pokemon Go. First, as I will admit, there is a rush being the first person to write your name on that fresh piece of parchment. Being the first is always a fun thing. Usually it is only in your local area, but even when you DNF on that darn Atsmug cache at 12:30am, trying to be the first can be a lot of fun.
This is also where a great many caching conversations are held – there are always the first ones trying to find the elusive ones, the difficult ones and you can have many people gathered, many teams all searching together at once for that final challenge cache. There are always war stories to share and conversations to be had, and always in a good natured way. Those who have raced against the Bananas will know the challenge all too well, and then the thrill of the fresh logsheet. There is nothing quite like it in Pokemon Go.
The very fact that an FTF opportunity popped up whilst I was writing this piece reminded me of the joy that these can bring. For the record, it was a cypher puzzle, and I got there first! Oh the Joy!
11 – It engages your brain.
Caching is not just about finding things – there are mystery caches which truly engage your cerebral cortex. Make you use your brainpower and challenge you to think outside the box. Other than knowing that you need an Ice Type to fry that Dragonite, there’s not much to know. It’s all just an elaborate system of Paper / Scissors / Rock (Lizard / Spock).
There are caches which require cypher solving, glyph recognition and even ancient writing. There are maths or accounting problems to solve, complex genetic condons and pattern matching. Number systems, fibonacci sequencing and so many more. Puzzle caches can very much provide a challenge to you which engages your brain. Some people like them, some people do prefer just the hide and seek of the traditional cache, but even that takes a little brainpower.
12 – Geocaching is not driven by greed and the desire to get money.
Pokemon Go economics is tricky and convoluted, but at the end of the day you are encouraged to earn pokecoins each day so you can buy things to help you in game. These might be more lures, more lucky eggs, more incense or more poke balls because you just ran out! And it’s not just that this is expensive, the way that the “pricing” is structured is done so as to encourage you to buy more than you would because buying just one lot of 1200 coins is just not enough to get 8 lures for 1250 coins… It’s very cheeky the way it is structured and guess what – it is driven by that greed.
Yes, it cost a lot to set up, and the licensing fees are no doubt substantial, however Pokemon Go is designed by its nature to drain our wallets as much as it does our devices battery.
Geocaching on the other hand can allow you to find so much for relatively so little. Yes, as premium member there is a cost – this is to get access to premium caches, but versus given the world that this opens up is huge, substantial and global.
13 – Value for money
This is a lay down misère. Again, I draw your attention to the Full Pokeshop here on the right. Lets look at 1 year of playing geocaching, with access to millions of geocaches – USD $29.99 which is about AUD $40. For this you could purchase around 3000 pokécoins.
For that you could purchase 16 lures, 8 incense and 25 lucky eggs, or something like that – I’ve never paid them anything (yet), but lets face it – it is not a lot of stuff.
Lures get you 30 minutes of fun on 1 Pokestop so if you’re sitting in a place trying to attract the little blighters, then perhaps you have 2-3 hours of “fun” collecting Pokemon, but then only the ones which are attracted to your level and in that area will come. If you’re in the wrong area, you will get nothing but Pidgeys and Zubats. Not what I would call “value”.
And you’re always encouraged by the system to spend more. Say you buy 1200 Pokecoins. You can only buy one lot of 8 lures, because they’re priced at 680 for eight. Tantalisingly out of reach, so either you go for the 2500 coin package or just suck it up. Even then, if you go for the 2500 coins, then you might be able to get 4 lots of 8 lures – but wait – that’s 2720 coins! So perhaps the next lot up is better – 16 lures – that’s 5440 Pokecoins – just more than the $63 package!!! ARGH I have to get best value for money here – I need to get the top value – 14500 coins – Noooo it just doesn’t work! Getting that pokenomic sweet spot is frustrating to say the least. Give up and go caching – at least there’s no temptation to spend hundreds of dollars in a couple of clicks.
14 – Geocaching is not just a fad
Will Pokemon Go just be a fad? It’s hard to tell, but the early indicators are yes.
We love the nostalgia, and there’s the “new” factor right now, but over time, the gyms are getting fuller of higher level Pokemon as people play and play and play. The likely time to get to level 40 (the highest level you can reach) is likely to take between 6 and 12 months of pretty hard playing.
The hardcore players will keep at it, but you will lose many if not most along the way simply as it is such a rinse and repeat game dynamic. It will most likely be around for the next 2 or 3 years, and a few legendary Pokemon will be added to keep people guessing. It will most likely fizzle after that as the barriers to new entrants will be so high and require such an investment in time and effort so as to be off-putting. This is even now starting to occur – who can be bothered taking on a Level 23 player with a 2088 CP Exeggutor when all you have is a CP 27 Magikarp…
Geocaching has been around for more than 15 years now and once a cache is placed it is usually there for a long period. It needs to be maintained, yes, and this is done by the cache owners regularly. Until the military decide to turn off the GPS satellite network, or a solar EMP knocks them all out, they’re not going anywhere.
15 – Geocaching has no Zubats.
Nothing more to be said really…
When all is said and done…
Geocaching is about people sharing experiences and the fun of discovery with each other. I have made some great new friends through caching, discovered current friends and acquaintances who enjoy caching and even have rekindled long left behind friendships – it is a very small world after all. I have seen a great many amazing places and will see many more in years to come. I have enjoyed creating puzzles and challenges for people and educating them along the way with historical notes and interesting to visit places.
Pokemon Go has been fun so far but is becoming monotonous and repetitive. There are only so many times you can take down the Jolteon across the road before it gets, well, old. I’ll be stuffed if I’m paying any money to that cause.
But, whatever you do, enjoy it. Whilst I certainly believe geocaching is better value, more fun, more educational and overall a much better reason to get outside than Pokemon Go, if the dog gets an extra walk or 20, then that’s a good thing right?
So what is acceptance really? To start with, it means acknowledging the value that Bitcoin intrinsically has. A currency is something that can be used to exchange the value of work between two parties. Historically, this has been able to be represented by anything from bags of salt, to rum, to shells, to gold and other precious metals.
The concept of Barter is not new, however bitcoin introduces a new way to barter, digitally. The blockchain, and the work (aka energy) required to mine bitcoin, provide a foundation for valuing that work, valuing that energy. Indeed, much of the valuation of bitcoin is based in the amount of work and investment in hardware required to mine it. As “The Halving” approaches, the work required to earn each bitcoin will be doubled. The value therefore is more than likely to increase.
So, the first acknowledgement or acceptance which we need to make is that if we have a way of representing work which can be exchanged freely between parties, then we have the basis for a currency. This may seem self evident to some, and indeed with the government of Japan now officially recognising bitcoin as a currency, there are still pockets of resistance.
Australia is an interesting case in point.
The Australian government has recognised that there is value in bitcoin, however the government has chosen here to see it as a commodity rather than a currency. In an effort therefore to try and regulate, the government deemed bitcoin to also have GST applied to it. When this happened in mid 2015, it saw an exodus of technology companies and bitcoin startups relocate overseas to more reasoned jurisdictions. Bitcoin users have in the main thus far been geeks, speculators and libertarians. This userbase is changing however.
2 – Bitcoin is Global
Fiat currency, and it’s vagaries are generally local. Many people wish to recognise that the US dollar is a global currency, however of any of the international work-value exchange mechanisms, this is possibly one of the most flawed. Quantitative easing has seen the US Federal reserve create Trillions of dollars out of thin air in order to support their economy. Absorb that for a moment – out of thin air. No basis of work exchange, just “because they wanted to” and because they needed a way to fool the rest of the world into believing that the was still value in their economy.
Largely, they were successful unfortunately, and most of these funds now sit overseas with the likes of the Chinese government or in IOUs to other third parties…
Bitcoin, whilst it needs to have a Fiat currency equivalency in order to have that work value equivalence, is something that can be independently exchanged between parties wih ease, and speed.
The global nature of the bitcoin network and the blockchain more generally make bitcoin in fact the best way to exchange work value – more so even than fiat currency transfers. There is minimal cost to exchange data between 2 nodes. Where these nodes are physically located is irrelevant – they could be physically adjacent, or at the North and South poles respectively. It just doesn’t matter.
Some would say there problem therefore is that bitcoin doesn’t respect borders. I take this one step further and say that it doesn’t recognise borders because there are, in reality no such things as borders. Any border is an artificial construct of human intervention based on political or historical conquest based actions. Bitcoin doesn’t have any borders. There is a lot society on general could learn from this concept…
3 – bitcoin is transparent
Many bitcoin naysayers (and there are quite a few of them) say that bitcoin is the realm of villains and scoundrels because of the anonymity it provides. To an extent, whilst bitcoin addresses can provide discrete anonymity by refusing to link identifiable personal information pertaining to a party with that address, fundamentally bitcoin is valuable because of its openness and transparency.
Every single bitcoin transaction which has taken place, and which ever will take place, is open and visible to everyone. There is no hiding a bitcoin transaction – no cash under the table so to speak – it is out there.
Like all things technical, it is possible to obfuscate, but it is possible to track as well.
4 – bitcoin is not able to be controlled
This is where some of the real intrinsic value of bitcoin resides. It has a work equivalence value, but it is not able to be physically controlled by old money or big money. This is the very capital – L Libertarian point of view, and it should be said that this has an attraction tom many.
If we take a broader picture look at the concept of “wealth” and “power”, all it really means is that somewhere along the line you have been able to control something or someone and exchange a larger value for that than the individual puts on it themselves. Exploitation is what some would call this, and it has been going on for as long as sentient humans have existed.
We have been convinced that there is value in certain things and that it is desirous to control those things. But what is that value? Really, the value which exists and which we have is based in our health, our ability to work (either physically or mentally, or both), in energy (which enables the former) and in our ability to transfer that energy, and in food and crops, again energy transfer.
Big Money (banks and moneylenders) seeks to control the flow of money and the transfer of fiat currency, playing with the value of work of others and scraping, scraping, scraping to generate their profits. Little if any work or value is really generated by Big Money. They have however found a way to control the mechanism by which the rest of society exchanges work value.
Bitcoin can’t be controlled by them and they can’t scrape scrape scrape, so it is a threat to their existence. I see that as a good thing… it’s the main reason Big Money is trying to suppress Bitcoin.
5 – bitcoin is here for the long haul
But is it really all going to keep working? The answer is yes.
The technology on which the platform has been built is robust, and the deflationary mechanisms which have been built into it will ensure that over time as work value is decreased, Bitcoin value will be increased. We are unlikely to see a complete failure of the planetary network infrastructure any time soon – parts of it perhaps, due to EMP, solar flares or some other catastrophic global disaster, but somewhere the blockchain will survive. It can be rebuilt, and it could even be built into all future computing devices so it exists in and of itself. Perhaps a network of geostationary satellites can be deployed to cover off any planetary disasters – this would indeed perhaps make sense.
As we come to accept that there is a value in having a global, transparent, currency which is independent of greedy vested interests this will indeed become more important. It is only a matter of time before we see this.
So, welcome to the emergence of the fourth type of bitcoin user, the general populace. The geeks, the speculators and the libertarians have had it to themselves thus far – it’s about time we all saw the value in bitcoin and accepted that it is here to stay.
As with many challenges, this one proved to be just that.
Not just one due to the long list of puzzles and multis required, but even at the final stage.
So when doing any multi I have 2 recommendations.
1 – read each of the clues carefully and ensure that you are CORRECT with the figures.
2 – set yourself a time limit on your search in case of being incorrect with the figures.
You see, I had a final set of coordinates which was very plausible, albeit somewhat distant and requiring a short walk, but that’s very reasonable for this sort of challenge… And there I was, searching and searching. Getting more and more frustrated with my inability to locate such a substantially sized cache. The area I went into also was planted out some years ago, and still had the remnants of black plastic bagging around the base of the trees. This bagging looked suspiciously like snake skin and so there were more than one or two startling moments as I searched. Luckily no Jo Blakes, but no cache either.
I did however set a time limit, and once it had passed, I reluctantly left the area. A DNF is of course part of the game – I reckon around 1 in 10 or so; but this one was frustrating as so many before me had successfully reached the goal.
After further ponderance and a coupe of messages, I discovered that indeed I was mistaken and so I made some recalculations based on correct information and suddenly it all fell into place.
A quick drive up this morning left me with the substantial bounty in hand and an ability to finally get a smiley.
Thanks kmace for the encouragement – indeed everything is well with the cache (although the Geo-cookie tag is not here…) My puzzle/multi cache listing requirement is below.
I also dropped one of the recent TBs which travelled back from NZ with me so the next winner can take it on its journey.
As always, TFTC.
Mystery Cache Luck Dogs Possum Hunt by LuckDogsCrew and maintained by Long John Silva | GC13R2Y | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Hooked on Books 6 – ????? by GJMMelb | GC252Q8 | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Magic eye – Sight by atsmug | GC522AJ | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Co-Ordinated Kaos by TeamGeoPlesk & LinearZZ | GC1DPPF | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache ESP – The Sixth Sense by atsmug | GC522BD | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Eltham Swim School by Pa_i_ge maaddii.otoole | GC4ZTR4 | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Research Football Ground by Pa_i_ge maaddii.otoole | GC4ZTQE | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache KMBS – Taste by atsmug | GC5229B | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Paris’ Park by LinearZZ | GC15D4F | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Keeta – Smell by atsmug | GC50HJ1 | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Touch by atsmug | GC5118M | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Mullum Mullum End by Franklj | GCZ8CD | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Ancestors – St. Katherine’s Church by stagetree | GC26RW2 | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Gone Westerfolds by Coffee and Cache | GC1REPJ | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache It Seemed Like A Good Idea… 2 by Long John Silva | GC52TY9 | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Jungle Book #39 by Team Yarra | GC46BCF | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Numismatists by stagetree | GC2NVPM | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache (a) Quirky Reality by Biggles Bear | GC18QER | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache The red flower. #53 by Team Yarra | GC467XX | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Testudines by LouiseAnn | GC4RQTB | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Butterfly 2 by Jacimarble | GC5CKVP | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Companion Commemoration by CJ-Curry | GC4TADG | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Don’t Box Me In by dak’s Emu Mob(Adopted by The Rebel Alliance) | GCKP9P | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Meet The Simpsons by team_coxy | GC3HECF | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache The Ants go marching 7 by Jacimarble | GC41HRD | Victoria, Australia
Mystery Cache Popol Vuh by drjim7 | GC35W5C | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Rhyme Time by Muzza | GCGD9D | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Lincoln Mills by Alsume | GC2ZP3C | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache Be it Ever so Humble ……….#3 The Doll’s House by Alansee | GC17PDX | Victoria, Australia
Multi-cache The Jewell In Our Crown by digitalformula | GC2MZE9 | Victoria, Australia