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!
Subreddit News, Tournaments, and some CCU Mythbusting
Greetings Warriors! Now that the (green) smoke has settled from the Y4S2 and the CCU landing, we thought now would be a good time to do a quick subreddit news post, as there are a few things to catch you up on - before Y4S3 arrives and there is more news to take the sticky post slot!
Next, I’d like to welcome two new mods to the team, u/SenpaiKaplan (SenKa) and u/DaniUsagi. I’m sure regular readers will recognise these two, as they are both frequent contributors to the sub, with many interesting tech posts between them. We’ve been seeing a big increase in viewers and posts since the CCU, and their help and expertise will be much appreciated! Please give them a warm welcome!
Poll Posts have been disabled
Since Reddit added the new Poll option on posts, we have seen a big influx of these posts, and unfortunately 90% of them have been very low effort, normally just a title and a binary choice, which we have had to remove. Adding a “no low-effort polls” clause to rule 6 hasn’t helped with that situation, so we have decided to disable the option entirely. If you do still want to do poll the readers here as part of a discussion post, or want to gather data to find opinions on a specific question, you are welcome to include links to external survey sites (like surveymonkey or google forms) in text posts - we are only trying to cut down on low-effort posts, not genuine use of poll for interesting content.
Info Hub Update
The Info Hub has been updated with all the changes from the CCU and the follow-up patches, including the 3 new executions, new punishes, balance information on each character, and an All Attack Properties sheet which allows you to compare attacks across the cast, and contains lots of data that doesn’t fit on the individual character sheets (like hit reactions for example). We are still in the process of revamping the General Info sheet, and an update to the Viability Tables is also in the works, now that there has been a decent amount of time since the CCU for the meta to stabilise. Also planned is addition of frame advantage sections on some moves for which it is particularly relevant. If you spot any errors, outdated info, or have requests for information you’d like to see included in the hub, please let us know by commenting on the hub itself, messaging me or the mod team as a whole, or contacting one of us on discord.
Some CCU Mythbusting
Since the CCU update, I have seen a few persistent bits of misinformation floating about, and I’d like to take this opportunity to bust a few of these myths:
The CCU did NOT remove delayed attacks. The changes to indicator speeds with the CCU made it so that delaying or buffering attacks do not make a difference to the length of animation + indicator shown to the opponent - but it did not remove the ability to delay attacks. You can still delay an attack within the input window, which can be used to give attacks different parry timings, or to better dodge incoming attacks in the case of dodge attacks. The best way to demonstrate this is to go into the training arena as JJ, and do the light -> light chain, first inputting the attacks as fast as you can, and then leaving as big a gap between the lights as possible.
X Hero’s damage has NOT been “gutted”. In particular, Peacekeeper... In the CCU, attack damage has been mostly standardised - based on the speed of the attack, and its position in chain, and very little else. For example, almost every 800ms opener heavy does 24 damage, almost every 400ms chain light does 9 damage, and so on. This means for some characters that previously had greatly overtuned damage, their damage has come down to the average, and for others, their damage has stayed the same or even gone up in places. The one category of attacks that have not had any changes to their damage are bleed attacks, and so, Peacekeeper’s heavies have been reduced so that combined with the guaranteed 1 + 10 bleed from Deep Gouge, they do the standard damage. Yes, it uses a bit more stamina than a regular heavy, and yes, bleed damage has its own downsides (and upsides) compared to immediate damage, but to say that Peacekeeper’s damage has been disproportionately lowered is just false. The frame advantage on Deep Gouge is considerable, so it behaves almost like it chains anyway. If anything, her damage is higher than average, thanks to her GB triple stab punish being unchanged at 38 total damage, which is way higher than the standard GB punish of 24, and closer to the level of OOS punishes.
You get frame advantage after being hit by chain lights and light chain finishers, NOT all light attacks that do not chain. I have seen many people saying that Warmonger “breaks the rules” of frame advantage by having advantage on her bash follow-up, and the same for Warlord. However those attacks are not part of a normal attack chain, and therefore do not fall under the same frame advantage rules. This also makes sense if you step back and think about it - the changes were implemented specifically to weaken “light spam”, and special bash follow-ups cannot be “light spam” because they cannot be used as part of Light->Light chains. There currently is one character who does break the light attack frame advantage rules - and that is Highlander’s chain lights, which do have frame advantage on hit. As of the patch on the 27th, Shugoki’s light attacks no longer have frame advantage on hit - and your light attack will hit before his next one. But the hyperarmour on them does still allow him to trade with your light attack.
And finally, a mention of “light spam” - no, the CCU did NOT “buff light spam”. The CCU has certainly buffed light attacks, but it has also specifically nerfed light attack spam. To be pedantic - “spam” is when someone repeats the same attack over and over, and this is what the devs have taken from the complaints about “light spam”. The CCU has given more tools to allow you to defend against repeated light attacks: dodging out of Light -> Light chains, and granting frame advantage to the defender after light finishers. Additionally, the damage nerfs, and stamina changes have made it so that you will survive for longer against an opponent who is spamming lights. To be honest, I think it is quite impressive that the devs have managed to improve light attacks in general, whilst still nerfing the specific use-case of “spamming” them. The continuing complaints seem to be because for a significant fraction of the community, “spam” just means “doing anything more than once per fight, especially if I lose to it”. And if that’s what you are actually complaining about, honestly, there are no balance changes the devs could ever make that will make you happy, short of your own personal win button. There is still one thing you can do though: Click here
That’s all Warriors, thanks for reading, and see you on the battlefield!
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Since 1983, I have lived, worked and raised a family in a progressive, egalitarian, income-sharing intentional community (or commune) of 100 people in rural Virginia. AMA.
Hello Reddit! My name is Keenan Dakota, I have lived at Twin Oaks, an income-sharing, intentional community in rural Virginia for 36 years, since 1983. I grew up in northern Virginia, my parents worked in government. I went to George Mason University where I studied business management. I joined Twin Oaks when I was 23 because I lost faith in the underpinnings of capitalism and looking for a better model. I have stayed because over time capitalism hasn't looked any better, and its a great place to raise children. While at Twin Oaks, I raised two boys to adulthood, constructed several buildings, managed the building maintenance program, have managed some of the business lines at different times. Proof this is me. A younger photo of me at Twin Oaks.Here is a video interview of me about living at Twin Oaks.Photo of Twin Oaks members at the 50th anniversary. Some things that make life here different from the mainstream:
The labor system - all work is considered equal, whether you are earning income for the community or not. Cooking/cleaning counts the same as planning the annual budget. Also, you don't have to do the same job all week - your day can be a mix of indoor and outdoor work, you have freedom to arrange your day, and you can gain skills in a wide array of tasks and trades.
Non-gender binary, queer and trans people are very welcome at Twin Oaks. People introduce themselves with their pronouns and a significant number of our members go by they/them.
Verbal consent culture is very important here. It is not okay to touch anyone without asking.
Nudity and partial nudity is allowed in some parts of the farm, such as in the sauna, swimming hole, on the hiking trails, etc.
Our social norms prohibit using phones in common areas when other members are present, with the exception of a few cafe-style spaces.
Every day we provide a home-cooked, plant-based lunch and dinner with options for special diets including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and no onions & garlic.
Raising kids here is easier. Some of the time that parents spend raising their children counts towards their labor quota. Many of the kids are home-schooled or "unschooled", and they spend more time outside than in front of a screen. The kids have no problem passing the state's annual standardized test to move onto the next grade level.
We have a shared clothing resource called Commie Clothes, which is like a free thrift store. Borrow something and then return it dirty, and it gets washed and re-hung up.
More about Twin Oaks: Twin Oaks is an intentional community in rural central Virginia, made up of around 90 adult members and 15 children. Since the community's beginning in 1967, our way of life has reflected our values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology. We do not have a group religion; our beliefs are diverse. We do not have a central leader; we govern ourselves by a form of democracy with responsibility shared among various managers, planners, and committees. We are self-supporting economically, and partly self-sufficient. We are income-sharing. Each member works 42 hours a week in the community's business and domestic areas. Each member receives housing, food, healthcare, and personal spending money from the community. We have open-slots and are accepting applications for new members. All prospective new members must participate in a three-week visitor program. Applicants to join must leave for 30 days after their visit while the community decides on their application. We offer a $5 tour on Saturdays of the property, starting in March. More info here. Ask me anything! TL;DR: Opted out of the rat-race and retired at 23 to live in the woods with a bunch of hippies. EDIT: Thanks for all the questions! If you want some photos of the farm, you can check out our instagram. EDIT2: I'm answering new, original questions again today. Sort by new and scroll through the trolls to see more of my responses. EDIT3: We DO have food with onion & garlic! At meals, there is the regular food, PLUS alternative options for vegan/vegetarian/no gluten/no onions & garlic. EDIT4: Some of you have been asking if we are a cult. No, we are not. We don't have a central leader or common religion. Here are characteristics of cults, FYI. Edit: Yikes! Did I mention that I am 60? Reddit is not my native land. I don't understand the hostile, angry and seemingly deliberately obtuse comments on here. And Soooo many people! Anyway, to the angry crowd: Twin Oaks poses no threat to anyone, we are 100 people out of a country of 330 million? Twin Oaks reached its current maximum population about 25 years ago, so not growing fast, or at all. Members come and go from Twin Oaks. There are, my guess is, 800 ex-members of Twin Oaks, so we aren't holding on to everyone who joins—certainly, no one is held against their will. Twin Oaks is in rural Virginia, but we really aren't insular, isolated, gated or scared of the mainstream culture. We have scheduled tours of the whole property. Local government officials, like building inspectors, come to Twin Oaks with some frequency. People at Twin Oaks like to travel and manage to do so. I personally, know lots of people in the area, I am also a runner, so I leave the property probably every day. There are lots of news stories about Twin Oaks over the years. If you are worried about Twin Oaks, maybe you could go read what the mainstream (and alternative) media have to say. Except about equality Twin Oaks is not particularly dogmatic about anything. (I know some people at Twin Oaks will disagree with that statement.) Twin Oaks isn't really hypocritical about Capitalism, Socialism, or Communism, we just don't identify those concepts as something that we are trying to do. Twin Oaks is not trying to DO Communism, we are trying to live a good life with equally empowered citizens—which has led us to try to maintain economic parity among members. Communists also do that. In making decisions in the community I don't remember anyone trying to support or oppose an idea due to excess or insufficient Communism, Socialism, or Capitalism. In most practical senses those words aren't useful and don't mean anything. So, no need to hammer Twin Oaks for being insufficiently pure, or hypocritical. Twin Oaks is very similar to the Kibbutz in Israel. If anyone has concerns or questions about what would happen if places like Twin Oaks suddenly became much larger and more common, read about the history of the Kibbutz, which may have grown to possibly 1% of the population at their largest? There was and is no fight with Capitalism from the kibbutz—or with the State. My point is—not a threat. To the other people who think that the ideas of Twin Oaks are interesting, I want you to know it is possible to live at Twin Oaks (or places like Twin Oaks) and happily live ones entire life. There is no central, critical failing that makes the idea not work. And plenty of upside. But do lots of research first. Twin Oaks maintains a massive web site. (Anyway, it takes a long time to read.) But what I would like to see is more people starting more egalitarian, income-sharing communities. I think that there is a need for a community that is designed and built by families, and who also share income, and provide mutual support with labor and money. If you love this concept, maybe consider gathering together other people and starting your own. Ideologically speaking: -Ecology: the best response to ecological problems is for humans to use fewer resources. The easiest way to use fewer resources is to share resources. Living communally vastly cuts down on resource use without reducing quality of life. -Equality: ideologically speaking, most people accept the idea that all humans have equal rights, but most social structures operate in ways that are fundamentally unequal. If we truly believe in equality then we ought to be willing to put our bodies where our ideology is. In a truly equal world, the issues of sexism and racism and all other forms of discrimination would, essentially, not exist. -Democracy: Twin Oaks uses all manner of decision-making models and tools to try to include everyone and to keep people equally empowered. There is no useful word for this. We do use a majority vote sometimes, as a fallback. But sometimes we use consensus. We sometimes use sociocracy (dynamic governance). The word "Isocracy" (decision-making among equals), would be useful to describe Twin Oaks' decision-making model, but Lev in Australia has written an incomprehensible "definition" on Wikipedia, that he keeps changing back when someone corrects it. -Happiness: The overarching goal of all ideologies is to make people happy, right? I mean, isn't it? Capitalism is based upon the belief that motivation is crucial to human aspiration and success (and therefore more happiness). Under Capitalism, equality is a detriment because it hinders motivation (less fear of failure, or striving for success). Twin Oaks believes that humans are happier when they are equal, and equally empowered. So the place to start up the ladder of happiness is to first make everyone equal. Well, Twin Oaks is mainly still working on that first step. EDIT5: Some have asked about videos - here are links to documentaries about Twin Oaks by BBC, VICE and RT.
What are SPACs? A special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is a company formed solely to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO) for the purpose of acquiring an existing company. SPACs are also called “blank check companies” because they IPO without having any actual business operations. SPACs are generally formed by investors, or sponsors, with expertise in a particular business sector, with the intention of pursuing deals in that area. The founders generally have at least one acquisition target in mind, but they don't identify that target to avoid extensive disclosures during the IPO process. A SPAC generally has two years to complete a deal (by a “reverse merger”) or face liquidation. Companies aiming to go public with this route are typically 1x-5x larger in terms of market cap than the SPAC itself. The SPAC Process The money SPACs raise in an IPO is placed in an interest-bearing trust account. These funds can’t be used except to complete an acquisition or to return the money to investors if the SPAC is liquidated. So, in practice, these companies will typically have a $10 floor on their share price, as that is what must be paid out to holders of shares if the company does not successfully reach a deal. If the deal is not completed in time, the warrants expire worthless and the remaining funds are distributed back to the shareholders. After a SPAC has completed an acquisition the SPAC then trades as any other company listed on an exchange. If you came across a SPAC stock several years after the acquisition, you would likely have no idea it ever started as a SPAC unless you did some research into the company’s history. Finally, the SPAC symbol and name will change to reflect the company that has been purchased. Often the SPAC takes on the name of the new company, but that is not always the case. If you own either common shares or warrants in your brokerage account, those shares will automatically be converted to the new name/symbol. The SPAC is Back SPACs were popular before the financial crisis, but use of SPACs declined following the market meltdown. Recently, though, an excess of capital has led investors to seek out merger and acquisition opportunities more aggressively, and that's led to the return of SPACs. More SPACs went public in 2018 than in any year since 2007, raising more than $10 billion in capital for use in searching for investment opportunities. In 2019, the figure was even higher $13.6 billion —more than four times the $3.2 billion they raised in 2016. SPACs have also now also attracted big-name underwriters such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank, as well as retired or semi-retired senior executives looking for a shorter-term opportunity. Through May 2020, $9.8 billion has been raised in 21 SPAC IPOs. Recent High Profile SPACs Example 1: SPCE. Before it was Virgin Galactic, it was a SPAC trading under the ticker IPOA. Social Capital Hedosophia raised over $650 million in 2017. Example 2: DKNG. Before it was Draft Kings, it was Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. The SPAC originally raised $350 million in May 2019, listing its units under the symbol DEACU, which comprised common shares and 1/3 warrants. When the investors approved the merger, the SPAC's common shares traded at $17.53, a 75% return from the $10 offer price. Example 3: NKLA. Before it was Tesla-killer Nikola, it was VTIQ. VectoIQ Acquisition raised $200 million in a May 2018 IPO. In March 2020, the SPAC agreed to merge with Nikola Corp at an implied enterprise value of about $3.3 billion. The rest is history. Units, Shares and Warrants Units When the IPO occurs, a SPAC generally offers Units – generally at $10 per Unit. These Units are comprised of one share of common stock (Share) and a Warrant (or portion of a warrant) to purchase common stock (generally exercisable at $11.50). Depending on size, prominence/track record of sponsors, and investment bank leading IPO, Units may consist of one Share of common stock plus one full Warrant, ½ of one warrant or ⅓ of one warrant. Shortly after the IPO, the common stock (Shares) and Warrants included in SPAC Units become separable. At that point, the Warrants and Shares trade separately alongside the unseparated Units. Shares SPAC common stock is linked to the SPAC’s secure trust account. SPACs are structured such that the trust account contains at least $10.00 per public share. Liquidity may be limited in the open market for Shares but the defined liquidation term of SPAC common equity can provide for a relatively attractive yield with an option to own a SPAC's future acquisition target. If the SPAC fails to complete a business combination in the required timeframe, all public shares are redeemed for a pro rata portion of the cash held in the trust account. Companies will typically have a $10 floor on their share price, as that is what must be paid out to holders of shares if the company does not successfully reach a deal. Warrants A warrant is like an option but traded like a stock. Warrants provide the owner the right (but not the obligation) to purchase one share of the underlying company at a predetermined price per warrant – typically at $11.50. Almost all SPAC Warrants have a five-year term after any merger has been consummated. However, SPAC warrants, expire worthless if the SPAC can't close a business combination, are thus a binary bet on a five-year warrant on a hypothetical future company. Warrants become exercisable only if the SPAC completes a business combination transaction before the specified outside date. The speculative nature of this Warrants tends to lead to wild price swings. SPAC Tickers SPAC Shares typically trade with a four-character ticker – eg. MNCL The SPAC Units are identified as the Share ticker plus “U” at the end – eg MNCLU Finally, the Warrants are the Share ticker plus “W” at the end – eg MNCLW.
Many people who get interested in guns and start shooting soon find out that there are a number of shooting sports out there. A lot of those shooters wonder whether that kind of shooting is for them. Maybe they’re not good enough? Maybe it’s only for the really hard core shooters? Maybe it’s super expensive? Maybe you have to be invited, or know a member of the club, or be former military? Do you have to be a really competitive person to enjoy it? Should you delay getting into the game until you are “good enough”? This post is intended to answer some of those questions. The short answer is that if you’ve been shooting long enough to safely handle a gun around others, know how to generally operate your firearm(s), and can hit where you are aiming at least some of the time, you can start playing shooting sports. At least in the United States, that is – the barriers can be higher in some other countries. But there are robust competitive shooting communities in a lot of countries around the world, including most of western Europe and other places you might not expect. Let’s run down some of the reasons people delay or avoid trying their hand at a gun game.
• I’m worried I’m not good enough.” Good enough to WHAT? To win? You’re NOT. Not good enough to WIN against people who have been playing these games for years. But that’s OK. Nobody would expect a new guy or gal to show up and win. What competitive shooters care about in terms of the new participant is: safety; attitude; safety; willingness to learn and help; and safety. OK, you get it. By and large, when a new shooter shows up to a match/game/field/whatever, the existing players don’t wonder “how good is he going to be?” They wonder “how safe is he going to be?” If you are a safe gun handler, you’re about 85% of the way home. If you’re interested in learning about the game, generally pleasant to be around, and, if needed, willing to lend a hand to keep the match going, chances are really, really good you will be welcome REGARDLESS of how you shoot. • “I just want to wait until I’m a little better.” Guess what? No matter how long you wait (or practice on your own), you’re probably not going to get good enough to show up and dominate out of the gate. Do you think you’ll get better faster by practicing alone, in isolation, with no learning sources except youtube and a subreddit? Or by meeting lots of really experienced shooters, getting to watch what they do up close, getting to ask questions of them, getting objective feedback on how you’re doing, etc.? Right, the latter. Wherever your shooting skill is right now, if you start competing tomorrow, you’ll be a better shooter this time next year than if you wait and start competing in a year. • “I’m not really a competitive person, and I don’t like super competitive people, trash talking, people trying to wager, etc.” Don’t worry. A lot of people who shoot the gun games do it because they LOVE TO SHOOT and gun games offer the most interesting shooting challenges… not because they feel the need to dominate others. There are actually relatively few intensely competitive people in many of the gun games – and they’re not going to be trying to flex on the new guy or gal. Sometimes you’ll overhear some good natured ribbing among friends, but shooting sports people are overwhelmingly encouraging to others while being very hard on THEMSELVES. There are lots of people who have shot for years and never won a darn thing. But they’ve made a lot of friends, learned a lot, had a lot of good times, etc. Competitive outcomes are secondary for a LOT of people. • “I’m worried it’s too expensive.” OK, this one does have a tiny kernel of truth, depending on the game. There are a small number of gun games where even the entry level gear is pretty expensive, but in most gun games the gear is either not that impactful on outcomes or there are equipment divisions that keep things under control and create some relatively inexpensive options. If you’ve got a service-grade/field-grade gun, chances are good there’s some game you can use it in where you’re not just taking a tricycle to a motocross rally. The more significant aspect is that people who get into gun games tend to shoot a lot. You will find shooting in games is more fun than static range work, so you’ll want to shoot matches. You’ll also want to improve (and you’ll have good ideas and information about how to do it), so you’ll want to practice more. It varies by game, but if you fall down the rabbit hole on, for example, USPSA, you might end up shooting 10,000 rounds in a year and be far from the highest-volume shooter in your immediate circle! But that’s self-directed/driven. If you can afford to shoot 500 rounds a month for the pistol games or the shotgun games, or half or a quarter of that for the accuracy-oriented rifle games, you can play and make progress. But you will end up spending more on ammo. That’s one reason so many competitive shooters take up reloading! • “I’m worried my gear isn’t legal.” Possibly. But it’s probably legal for some game, or can be traded for other gear that is legal. Although plenty of people get into competitive shooting and end up buying specialized competition gear (guns and other stuff), most gun games don’t have a whole lot of crazy rules designed to keep people OUT. Most of the gear rules are to control stuff that would be a competitive advantage, not set some minimum floor of baller-ness. In my preferred game (USPSA), you can rock a Hi-Point if you want… but not a binary trigger. • “Do I have to be invited?” In the United States, generally the answer is no. Most of the more popular games are open to anyone who pays the appropriate match or other fees, agrees to abide by the rules, is legally allowed to possess firearms, etc. That goes even for a lot of matches that are held at otherwise-private, member’s-only facilities. The national governing organization for most of the sports will help you find local matches/events and contact information for the people who run them. You can then easily email, call, or message those local folks, and they’ll be happy to tell you if the match is open to the general public – chances are very, very good it is, and that they will want you to come! • “I’m worried I won’t like anyone, and they won’t like me.” There are no guarantees, but the minute you show up, you’ve got a big plus in your column – you’re also someone interested in guns and maybe the game everyone else there already loves. In most of the gun games, there is quite a bit of standing around and talking, and you’ll get to know people quickly – but because there is a game going on, there’s no painful small talk. You can just talk about the sport! It’s super easy social interaction, even for introverts. “I’m worried it will just make going to the square/lane range kind of boring by comparison.” That one’s true, just like scuba diving the great barrier reef makes swimming laps in the pool kinda boring. So if those are the big reasons for people not to try shooting sports, what are the reasons to try it? • It will make you a better shooter. • It will make you a safer shooter. • You will almost surely make new friends. • It will launch you on a new hobby and journey of discovery. “Eh, I’m still on the fence.” OK. Go watch one of the gun games. Most of the sports are perfectly happy to have people watch a match and talk to participants. These aren’t really big spectator sports, but most of us will gladly explain what’s going on, what gear you need, the basics of the rules, etc., to someone who shows up and is just curious. “OK, that sounds kind of interesting in the abstract… how do I know which game to try?” That’s another post. If people want it, I’ll be happy to post that, too, in a few days.
Sanity check for security/Systems focused schedule. Thank you!
I just wanted to do a quick sanity check and see if I'm hoping for too much. Does anything think this is an realistic/unrealistic schedule?
I've been kind of disappointed with my 1st two classes. But I really enjoyed the projects, specifically project 4 from cyber physical security. The project was buffer overflow. I guess that the upcoming Fall semester could really change my calculations. My 1st two classes took me only about half as much time as omscentral. If that holds, then this might be a realistic schedule. If not, then this is probably unrealistic.
Planing out this far is probably just dreaming. Life could easily throw a wrench in these plans i.e, new job, kids, etc.
Intro to Cyber Physical Systems Security f
Database Systems Concepts & Design f
Intro to Information Security f
Network Security f
Intro to Operating Systems f
Robotics: AI Techniques f
Advanced Operating Systems
Information Security Lab - Binary Exploitation
Machine Learning for Trading f
Intro to Graduate Algorithms f
Information Security Lab - System & Network Defenses
Compilers - Theory and Practice
*AOS is not actually required. One of the following is required though: AOS, Networks, HPCA, SDP. AOS seemed the most interesting. Networks or SDP are probably the easiest of the 4 options.
Report to appropriate authorities - Report the case to the appropriate authorities, for them to be able to have it looked into.
Change your login details - If you are still able to login to your account then follow the normal procedure to reset your password and other security information. Enable two-factor authentication. This should lock the criminal out of the account.
Notify the exchange/provider - If you have purchased or are storing your currency with a service provider then let them know about the breach and the fraudulent transactions. They may be able to retain some information about the transaction that could come in useful in an investigation.
Will I Recover my Stolen Bitcoin? Once your virtual currency has been stolen it is incredibly unlikely that you will be able to recover it. In theory, it’s possible to track your stolen bitcoin by monitoring the blockchain – in practice, however, this is made difficult by both the anonymous nature of the currency and the fact that the thief will most likely use a bitcoin exchange to trade the currency for normal cash straight away. However, money does leave a trail and you may be able to follow it to the identity of the criminal. How to Recover Stolen Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency
Check your devices for malware - It is worth considering that a malicious software infection may have led to the hacker accessing your currency. Scan the devices you use to handle your currency and make sure they are clean. You can follow our guide on checking for and removing malware here.
Call your bank - If the transaction had related costs that hit your bank accounts - such as transaction fees or deposits - then contact your bank immediately and let them know it is an unauthorized/fraudulent transaction.
Follow the money - You can follow the transactions of the wallet address that your funds were scammed into. If you notice the scammer attempt to transfer funds from the wallet to cryptocurrency exchanges to sell for fiat currency, report to the relevant exchanges immediately. An opportunity to catch the scammer is to follow the money trail through blockchain explorers and trace your lost funds. You can use browser-based blockchain exploring software such as https://blockexplorer.com to ‘follow’ the payment through to an end bitcoin address. Once you have this address you can check whether the owners of the end address(es) appear on http://bitcoinwhoswho.com/. In order to trade crypto to regular money on most popular exchanges, the thief would need to submit KYC (Know Your Customer) information, such as names, addresses, and ID information. Contacting the exchanges can potentially help you to track down the scammer’s identity. This is another reason why it is important for you to file a police report as soon as the incident has taken place.
Hire a Verified Recovery Expert - If you are willing to pay a decent amount for the return of your funds there are websites where you can post a bounty. Experienced blockchain searchers will investigate the theft and see if they can recover the funds for a price. Check out the list of verified recovery experts.
How to Avoid your Cryptocurrency Being Stolen in Future
Don’t talk publicly about owning virtual currency - If it is easy to work out that you own a cryptocurrency from your social media activity then you are much more likely to be a target.
Use multi-factor authentication - Ensure that you have multi-factor authentication enabled. Use an authenticator app rather than the SMS option. If the option to disable SMS authentication exists then do it.
Use a new email address and complex password to set up the account - A new, clean email address that you will only use for the virtual currency account is best. This reduces the chance of you being targeted via your email account.
Usea ‘cold-wallet’ - Keep your cryptocurrency off the internet, in a "cold wallet." "Cold wallet" is not a brand, it's a concept of storing bitcoins offline (not connected to the internet) so that it reduces the opportunities for hackers to steal via online techniques.
Spread your investments across exchanges - A number of exchanges have been breached. Spread your investments across exchanges to minimize the impact.
Get secure - Take time to improve your general online security. Use sites like getting Safe Online and Cyber Aware to understand what good security looks like and make changes. I was personally able to recover my lost bitcoin with the help of Express Recovery Pro – expressrecove[email protected]
Immediate Edge Review, Is Immediate Edge SCAM Or Legit Trading App?
Immediate Edge Review: Is This Crypto Robot Legit or Scam Immediate Edge Review and investigation 20twenty. The Immediate Edge app is a crypto, forex and choices trading robot utilized by folks to automatically obtain and sell Bitcoin and create profits. Wanting at the website, many people claim it helped them move from rags-to-riches trading Bitcoin. Further, some claims linked it to Ronaldo and Sir Alex Ferguson https://preview.redd.it/rttn3i4hohm51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=8f0dc345c3ace4032d571d44fabe356f13ff1a33 Is Immediate Edge app legit or scam? Whereas the claims of its linkage to the higher than celebrities are unverifiable, we tend to can verify that the app is not a scam and permits individuals to trade Bitcoin using the Fibonacci strategy with ten minutes time frames The app, that allows people to deposit at least $250 through mastercard and Sofort, scores 88% rate and a 5 stars as a real software Since there are several scam cryptos, forex and options brokers who trick individuals to depositing money, and then they run away with the funds, we have taken time to review this software to determine if it is real or a scam. Is Immediate Edge scam or legit High success rate is reported by users with this software. The Immediate Edge web site provides truthful claims about the service though it will not mean the crypto trading risks are eliminated with its use. Customers should start with the minimum investment and increase it when satisfied with the utilization of the app. Click the link to access Immediate Edge official web site or keep reading to understand more This software will not seem to be a scam and users report that it helped them make real money trading on it.b site What is Immediate Edge App? Immediate Edgecould be a robot or auto-trading software that allows folks to trade forex, crypto and binary choices. A user deploys the algorithm-primarily based bot, which relies on a trading strategy that's automatically executed on a broker trading platform once deployed. The strategy is coded or set like to permit the user to automatically get and sell crypto, stock or choices on the broker platform at favorable prices, to form profits. It can do automatic market analysis by analyzing a vast amount of knowledge from completely different sources, at intervals seconds and with high accuracy, then use the data to predict the costs. It can then come up with a transparent buy or sell tradable signal and then execute it automatically by shopping for and/or selling on the broker platform. The software can, therefore, save a trader thousands of manual hours and labor they might have spent analyzing information to form trading choices and to follow the markets and to position and close trades. You conjointly do not want to understand anything concerning crypto, stock or option trading to use this auto trading app, although it is suggested to possess this information to keep improving on trading. Trading bots will achieve high success rates of more than 90p.c and have been tested to work. You may be searching for Immediate Edge scam but the website can tell you that you can expect to earn between $950 and $a pair of,two hundred per day using the software but that depends on your expertise. As a newbie, you'll not start making that a lot of immediately and conjointly it depends on how a lot of you invest. With an investment of $250, you'll be able to expect to form a lot of lesser although some people claim to own made $12a pair of in a very few hours using this software. That will not mean Immediate Edge is error-free. There still is a heap of unpredictable high volatility in crypto and bots will make mistakes and errors to create losses. Auto trading robots are better employed in combination with manual trading strategies. https://preview.redd.it/1zkt9v3johm51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=85f7e7f5d0e9d6b60b4a8a6e37bb344dbbb8305c Immediate Edge Review How will Immediate Edge work? All a user has to try and do is join up at the Immediate Edge web site, then deposit funds to have access to the robot, when which they can begin trading by switching on the bot. It will would like no control or intervention from humans, beyond beginning and stopping it. You additionally need to stay checking, daily, to observe the performance of the software in doing its job and ensure that it is earning any returns needless to say. From there, you can confirm whether or not to extend or decrease your investment towards crypto, options or stock trading using this robot. You'll be able to also monitor performance to be ready to regulate the trading settings from your dashboard and optimize totally different features of the trading bot for instance set amount of trades or amount to invest in every trade. Founder of Immediate Edge In line with the Immediate Edge website, this trading bot was founded by Edwin James. Reportedly, he created billions with forex, crypto, and binary options trading and still shares his strategies on the way to trade the assets on the app. He founded the app to create it potential for brand spanking new traders to create cash in less than 3 minutes of signing up. How to sign up on Immediate Edge: Registration: Registering or signing up on the website is free but to start trading, you want to deposit no less than $250. You discover a registration type on the top right of the page, on that you type in your email, full names and phone numbers and country code. Create a password to be used for logging in later. Deposit funds: Depositing funds allows you to connect to a robot broker and then you'll begin the bot to start out trading. You'll deposit with Visa, Wire Transfers, Klarna or Skrill. The currencies supported are Swiss Franc, British Pound, US Greenback, and Euro and using a credit or debit card limits deposits to less than $/£/€/?10,00zero in one day and $/£/€/?40,000 in an exceedingly month. Immediate Edgeisn’t licensed to handle your funds, it works with brokers to handle the cash once it's deposited. Demo trading: Relying on the broker you're connected to, you can begin to practice trading with the Immediate Edge software. Some brokers do not have this feature on their platforms. Still, with the latter, you can test their options before you deposit cash to try and do live trading. With the demo options, you'll be able to familiarize yourself with the trading house before beginning to use real money to trade. Trading: Before and when you've got switched on auto-trading, you would like to check the trading settings daily. You'll regulate some things including stop-loss orders and when to try to to them, amount to speculate per trade and how several trades to try to to per day. You'll be able to also choose that cryptocurrencies to trade, and you'll be able to select all the most in style ones together with Bitcoin and Ethereum. You also get to observe the profits/losses and decide if to continue and/or when to prevent. https://preview.redd.it/c9scw5fkohm51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3d127be2887c4c8960023a8cf1b1f55297dbf250 Withdrawals, user verification, cost of using the app and alternative options The payouts or withdrawals are made by filling letter of invitation type on the funds’ management page and it can take two operating days to replicate in your checking account. No fee is charged on withdrawals. You'll withdraw your cash including the capital while not a lot of problem on this app, that is better than several that don't enable withdrawals at any time While some bots need verifications by asking for your ID and statements, this one will not. You are done once uploading your payment details. The bot charges a commission on profit. Besides, you get twenty fouseven client support on Immediate Edge Immediate Edge may be a legit, secure, user-friendly trading application for crypto, stocks, and choices. It has a zealous customer service and reports a high success rate. Another smart robot we have recently reviewed is Bitcoin Professional We tend to hope that this review helped you to make a decision concerning this trading app. Additionally, subscribe to our web site to be invariably notified concerning new software from this industry. For live reviews subscribe to our Youtube Channel or FB Page. https://www.immediateedge.org/ https://www.facebook.com/immediateedge/ https://www.pinterest.co.uk/immediateedge/ https://twitter.com/EdgeImmediate https://www.instagram.com/immediateedge/
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)
Hello, dummies It's your old pal, Fuzzy. As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great. What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. Idomybit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post. That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way. We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps. Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy. TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle. Ready? Let's get started. 1.The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows: Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself. Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part. You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus. That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it. Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets? 2. A Hedging Taxonomy The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now. (i) Swaps A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one. Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered. The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game. I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging. There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested. Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure). (ii) Forwards A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me. Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways. People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances. These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them. (iii) Collars No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray! To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts. (3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years. First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA. Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire. Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking? Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama. Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details. I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here. Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post. *EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
Love May Be Blind, But It Blinded Me to a Problem Player
Act I: The New Girl
It all began back in November of 2019 (feels like it was ages ago). I was running a second pass at my first ever campaign, as the original group I had fell apart due to scheduling conflicts and interpersonal drama. This new group had started playing together in August and well... it was a rough start. I made the beginner mistake of taking in more people than I could manage, and by November 3 of those original players had dropped. Having this many players dropping in such a short time was a little disconcerting for me, and as such I tried to foolishly "recoup my losses". The next person I recruited was a pretty cool guy, but after two weeks he just stopped showing up/responding to messages on Discord. To this day, I have no idea if he was just too overwhelmed by school (we're all college students) or he died. This disappearing player caused my anxiety over the stability of my campaign group to spiral further, causing me to open up my local university's DnD club Discord in desperation. That's when I found her. Let's call her June. June was posting in the general chat, talking about how she was interested in joining a campaign since she had some extra free time. I then sent her a private message, and she expressed interest in joining my game. In this initial exchange, there was the first of many red flags: Red Flag #1:She was incredibly inflexible with her character concept and was rarely willing to meet me halfway on things. The character she had in mind for my game was a Victorian-era Elf noble who hunted vampires. The "vampire-hunting" part happened to line up with the next arc of the campaign, but the "Victorian-era noble" part did not. The continent where everything took place did not have much in the way of "nobility", which was something I made very clear to her. Despite this, she would then proceed to reject any of my compromises for 3 HOURS until we both gave up and settled on something equivalent to a "lukewarm idea" concept-wise. Another thing about the character she pitched to me was that the Elf noble had a retainer who was non-binary. That was totally cool in my book; however, besides the fact they were an alchemist, there was nothing else that was given to me regarding their personality. Remember this, it'll come back up later.
Act II: The Status Quo
After hashing out character details, June then proceeded to tell me that... Red Flag #2:She couldn't make the day/time we met up for our campaign. Due to some other obligations she had, she wasn't able to make our regularly scheduled time. In all of my infinite wisdom I thought no problem, let's just get everyone to reschedule for this girl. Thankfully, this actually ended up working out and our day changed from Tuesday to Monday. After June joined, I had become confident that the "balance" had been reset. June was a fantastic RPer and her character had served to be a great thematic foil to one of the other PCs. Until we all went on hiatus for winter break, things were moving smoothly. But in hindsight, it really wasn't. Red Flag #3/3.5:Constant "below the table" messages and aggressive callouts. During sessions, June would send me Discord DMs constantly asking me questions about the game along with her comments on certain situations. This was highly distracting, and it eventually got to a point where I would ignore them. She would also make comments about encounters, saying stuff along the lines of "this is railroady as hell" or "x monstecheck is bullshit". I also tried my best to ignore these, but at some level, it did get to me. Then there was winter break. That's where things escalated.
Act III: The Incident
On the night of Christmas Eve, I was browsing through Discord and saw on our campaign Discord a message from June. She appeared to be in distress and needed someone to talk to. I quickly responded and messaged her privately. She told me about the situation and I ended up talking to her and keeping her company until 5 A.M. on Christmas morning. Now, the reason I mention this specific incident is that after this point we started talking to each other a lot. Sometimes it was every day for multiple hours at a time. At some point during those conversations, I began to catch feelings for her. This led to me eventually confessing to her in February. What was her response? Well...
Act IV: The Fickle Heart
In regards to my feelings, June told me she knew, giving me what equated to a "non-answer". I took this as rejection and carried on with my life. As for how June acted as a player, now that she had been in the campaign for a couple of months, some things were becoming painfully evident: Red Flag #4:She took wayyyyyyy too long on every single turn of her combat. I get that some people need time to think about their turns, especially if they're playing a spellcaster. However, she was playing a FIGHTER and a BARD. Bard can have some complexity, but most of the fighter is running up and hitting things. She would spend 5 minutes of everyone's time figuring out that her best option was just to run up and hit something or cast an enchantment spell that would end up failing anyway because her bard saves were low. Red Flag #5:She wanted homebrew, but her stubbornness kept me from coming up with anything for her. I tried. I really did. But when we discussed making homebrew modifications to her character or I gave her character a magical item, she would always complain about it. It didn't matter that I had spent literal hours of my time thinking about/discussing it with her: No, if it didn't fit the very exact flavor she wanted, it was bad. At some point, I talked to her about these issues along with the issue of her character's NB retainer having zero defining character traits (besides being non-binary). In regards to my concerns, she genuinely felt bad, realizing that she was failing to respect both my time and position as the DM. As for the retainer, she stated that my characterization of them was "not what she envisioned" and that it was "regrettable" that she had introduced them as only being NB. This was true, but I gave up any further discussion of that due to red flags #1 and #5. Remember that "non-answer" I had mentioned? Well when quarantine hit, I was finally given a response. June told me she had feelings for me and since I was still interested I decided to risk it and had her come over one night. The morning after I went to work, excited at the thought of being in a relationship (after being out of one for two years). However, she then sent me a text while at work telling me how she finally ended her relationship with her ex-GF (whom she was in an open relationship with). Given that I had been cheated on before, this triggered bad memories for me and I ended up breaking up with her right away after that. Even though we remained friends, both our friendship and my campaign started to take a turn for the worse.
Act V: The Fall
Outside of sessions, June and I began to get into fights more and 90% of what we talked about was the fact that she still loved me. She refused to quit my campaign, claiming she was "too invested" and I lacked the courage to kick her out, having just kicked out someone else a few weeks prior. So she stayed in the campaign and I tried my best to weather it out. But then I got a message from one of my other players, Sam, who told me... Red Flag #6:She had a tendency to "hog the spotlight" with her character. Sam expressed frustration at how June's character was "stealing her character's thunder". Sam was playing a full-on bard, but as a person she tended to be quieter and more introverted than June. As a result, many of the chances that Sam could've had to shine as her bard were squashed by June. When I read this, I was pissed. Sam had been with me through the entire campaign: She showed up on time, told me when she was gonna miss a session far in advance, and overall was a wonderful person to play with. I immediately sent messages to June confronting her about this. Jump to the final session of the campaign. This was it! The epic final battle against Orcus was upon my players. With a mega-session to accompany it, I invested all of my efforts into making it the most satisfying session yet. I had spent hours practicing my Orcus voice, recorded a "last time on..."-style audio reel recapping events from the entire campaign and meticulously crafted endings for every NPC that the party held near and dear to their hearts. However, despite all of this, June's actions caused the campaign to end on a sour note. During the Orcus fight, June decided to use an item she had bought from a magic item shop (the Slice of T'pir Weir Isles from TAZ) to try and convince Orcus to trade it for his wand. I told her that Orcus had gotten a natural 20 on his Insight check to tell if it was a good deal or not (which made sense given the fact the party had unanimously refused his previous offers to cooperate with him). She got upset and immediately left the Discord call all of us were on. This sent me into a panic as I frantically messaged her, begging her to come back. You see, I planned on having her character be a key part of the final vignette of the campaign and with no plan B in sight everything felt like it was falling apart. I managed to get her to come back, but her refusal to speak combined with the hostile energy caused me to have a panic attack. June announced to everyone that we should take 5, and I calmed myself down to continue. Then, in a move that nobody could have totally predicted, on June's next turn she said to everyone "my character stabs herself and is now dead." At this point I was tired of it so I just let her be a moody bitch and continued on my way with everyone else. After defeating Orcus in his layer of the Abyss and returning to the Prime Material Plane, I attempted to retcon her suicide by saying that her character was with everybody to which she vehemently replied, "no she's not." I did my best to change the final scenes on the fly and once the session was over she left the call again and began messaging me, saying how she should've left when I kicked the last guy out and how I should've let her do the trade since "I reward people for doing OP shit." I remember sending her a message along the lines of "I'm not gonna put up with this horse shit" and then proceeded to kick her off of the server and block her. TL;DR I fell in love with one of my players, she fell in love with me. After I found out she was still in a relationship, I broke it off, which caused her to be miserable and make my campaign worse for it. Before I confessed to her my desperation to have a new player join my game caused me to ignore all of her red flags as a "problem player" that manifested not only before she joined but ALSO as the campaign went on. Long story short... don't simp.
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
Trading frame perfect inputs as method to make certain TAS-only tricks possible in RTA
I'd like to explain a general but in most games probably at most restrictively applicable method to effectively ''trade frame perfect inputs'' [which may sound strange and questionable at first if one hasn't heard of that concept before, but I'll elaborate on it below] that can be involved in (speedrun) tricks, for the purpose of transforming bio-mechanically (in the sense of the physical and speed related limits to the human hand) impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to perform TAS-only input patterns required for in-game tricks into more realistic or even decently executable new versions of input patterns for those tricks. I guess one could see it as a separate, advanced step in the same direction in which theory crafting goes for constructing setups that calibrate or normalize various parameters to make performing certain tricks easier. The idea for this method is to add a suitable frame perfect input for pausing the game to the execution of a trick in order to allow to either simulate a frame perfect immediate button press release (of another input part of a trick) or to be given more time to switch the held inputs up and buffer them through unpausing the game. If this method can at all be used in a game may depend on the following factors, among others: ° How pausing works in a game: Namely if pressing the pause button halts gameplay instantly or if gameplay is interrupted after a short delay (and in this case what the game's lag behavior is), provided pausing even is an option in the situation or even just in the game in general. ° How the game treats a trick that involves a longer gameplay process when it is interrupted by a pause in the middle of it rather than without a pause (since in some cases the game may react to pausing and continue in terms of game mechanics different than how it would without it, so that pausing doesn't solely delay gameplay). A rather simple but good example for this that was already independently of my own separate theory crafting found in another community would be Wario World Super Jumps ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN6iNne-B7E ), in which normally about 8 frames after initiating a Dash with an input the jump button has to be pressed, then released in the next frame and pressed again (and then can be held) in the next frame of this 60 Hertz game (for NTSC), in order to get the most jump height out of this (rather than lower jump heights with further off input timing). And to make this trick doable in this case, the frame perfect release of the jump button is avoided and instead a frame perfect pause is introduced in the same frame as the first jump press to create a longer time gap between the first and the second jump press. And while this version of doing the trick stays equivalent in terms of the count of frame perfect inputs, the advantage comes from not being forced to move the finger fast enough anymore for the 2nd jump press in relation to the first and the button release in between, but just having to press it at the right time and in isolation from the first jump press; and this ''de-coupling'' of frame perfect inputs in a chain of inputs is the crucial point here. More concrete distinguished situations that may be resolvable with this method might be cases like the following ones: ° Cases where one is required to press a direction button in 1 frame and one has to steer away or press another button to input the complete opposite direction in the very next frame (rather than having the lenience for it to take more frames, or especially in cases where one is using a control stick with ''analogue'' inputs, i.e. a fine input field within which joystick positions are polled, rather than just a binary check for e.g. each of 4 different directions for if the direction is held or not) and is not allowed for the input polling to happen anywhere within the process of moving the control stick from 1 side to the other, resulting in the signal sending a value for an intermediate control stick position. And this also includes cases in which an immediate direction switch has to happen again immediately afterwards. ° Especially cases in games that run at very high frame rates like 60 Hertz or 120 or more Hertz, it can make a big difference to break frame perfect input chains required for a trick up (e.g. in a simple case that may be just two different positions of a control stick with 360° movement freedom in 2 consecutive frames), by turning a situation in which one would otherwise need to steer the control stick into another direction at proper angle and inhumanly fast into a situation via pausing the game at the right frame ahead of time or together with the first directional input (depending on how the given game's pause mechanic works, if one can even pause at the time), and then buffering the 2nd directional input through the unpausing process. ° Cases where an input needs to happen for only 1 frame but not longer, and in those cases pausing may allow to cut the active gameplay time off and allow to just press and hold that button input rather than having to release it after pressing it for 1 frame. ° Cases where one has a chain of inputs that need to happen in rapid succession within few frames, where the input chain would be possible to be executed up to some frame but continuing with what follows wouldn't manually be possible when one is forced to execute the 2nd part immediately afterwards; and where one would be able to execute the 2nd part on its own as well, provided one wouldn't be forced to execute the 1st part of it and interruption-less chain that into this 2nd part (because in that case, introducing a buffer time inbetween may be able to resolve this). Disambiguation: The purpose of the method I'm trying to help giving insights into - while it may also be closely related to other useful applications like providing audio cues or visual references for afterwards as side effect - is not about pausing for the purpose of gaining information or feedback from the game (that one then due to the game pause can actually process and react to in time for use of it later) e.g. to get a better orientation on one's position and surroundings while they are frozen in place or to know when (in relation to unpausing) the next inputs should occur, or if one should pause again (e.g. in a bufferable manner when possible) to let 1 or a few frames pass until one can unpause safely to be able to buffer the next input for a trick (outside of maybe the pause button presses involved in the trick, assuming the trick doesn't require pausing in and of itself, if perfect machine-like inputs are provided like in tool-assisted superplays). Neither do I mean to address cases where the pauseless execution of a trick was previously thought to be impossible but later turned out to be possible to be performed by someone else or with more practice, muscle memory, and different cues (without qualitatively changing the manner in which the trick is attempted to be done), or where the difficulty and associated inconsistency of getting a trick was just too high without pausing, for the plain purpose of separating the input chain (rather than for also getting visual or audible cues), which are their own separate cases. But instead, the sole point here is meant to address cases where the trick in question otherwise can manually just not be performed in general, for cases where this is due to the bio-mechanical limits of human hands, for example, where any amount of practice, cues, muscle memory or reaction times may lead to performances that may be close to successfully executing a trick but turn out to be still unsuccessful. This is the kind of ''dead end'' stuck situation I'm having in mind here, with this alternate method of approaching such situations. In particular, while this ''input decoupling'' method, or ''frame perfect input trading for bio-mechanical benefits'' also involves pausing the game, it's purpose is not the same as for what's generally referred to as a plain Pause Buffer: ''Buffering a command out of a paused game. Runners can repeatedly pause a game to find the exact frame they want to execute an input on for frame perfect tricks''. However, I think a method like this also presumably would only be worth considering (in a speedrunning context) for otherwise extremely hard or impossible to in real time execute tricks that at the same time would lead to significant time-saves by making a glitch/trick performable or making an extreme case of a speed-technique doable (like maybe certain backwards longjump setups in Super Mario 64 or something along those lines), e.g. in order to make a short-cut accessible, or to trigger ''game-changing'' effects that allow important new possibilities (like opening up a new category / speedrun branch for a game or making an existing one more extreme, for changes that aren't time-saves but change the category-defining limits of a category). Of course, a pause typically would also cost time and may in speedrunning contexts be part of the trade-off for making a trick possible and/or easier to execute. For the game Super Metroid and a romhack of it there is in total (so far) 2 more situations for which I realized myself that this method can be very useful, and I'll go into one of them as example below: Trick: Saturn Climb (named after a tool-assisted speedrunner): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LLwcB5-WcE Here is a visualization (using the SNES TASing emulator lsnes) of the TAS inputs around the critical part of the trick (for which some of the inputs need to be as shown in the following screenshot, but not all): https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/396448200447361024/737817960244183050/Saturn_Climb_TAS_inputs.png For Super Metroid (running at 60 Hertz) on NTSC there exists this tricky walljump that is highly precise in the vertical and horizontal sub-pixel range for Samus' positioning from where the walljump has to be executed, as well as extraordinarily precise in directional input timing and the rapid changes of that. The critical part that appears to be impossible to perform in this manner are two immediately consecutive required instantaneous direction switches (from holding Right to holding Left within 1 frame and only for 1 frame, and holding Right again immediately after that, as one can see in the screenshot at the frame rows from 49600 to 49602). Now (leaving out some details about previously also required frame perfect inputs which however would only need to happen in isolation from each other), by pressing Start about 1 second ahead of time (since in this game pressing Start doesn't pause it immediately) frame perfectly (which adds/introduces another frame perfect input that is not present normally), 2 new variants of this trick emerge from doing so, which would allow to overcome this rapid input hurdle: (i) Either the earlier Start press makes the game enter the pause menu in the frame 49601, meaning that the gameplay frames relevant to Samus' movement end with frame 49600 (before frame 49601), in which case the first (frame perfect) Right (>) press can be held into the menu (which takes out the otherwise required frame perfect release of the button press), and from there one can buffer Left (<) through unpausing the game and then is only anymore required to instantly switch to pressing and holding Right (>) in the correct frame [which is a type of execution that has been shown to be doable on SNES controllers before]. (ii) Or the earlier Start press makes the game enter the pause menu 1 frame later, namely in frame 49062, and in this case after pressing Right frame perfectly, one would have to instantly switch to pressing Left at frame 49601 and can hold it into the pause menu, followed by being able to buffer holding Right (>) throughout all of the unpausing process in order to continue. Also, when it comes to making precise tricks possible to execute, while games where initiating a pause makes the game stop instantly may in some cases have the advantage that the pause input can be pressed together with another critical input for a trick, so that doing both at the same time may come close to just pressing 1 button frame perfectly; games where initiating a pause happens with a delay may in probably more rare cases have the advantage that a convoluted input pattern doesn't get even more condensed with a pause input having to happen in the middle of it, because the pausing input can happen in isolation beforehand. What I would hope could come from this would be the revisiting of previously as impossible to perform thought of tricks in games that were thoroughly tested for the respective input windows involved in them, for which this approach makes the difference, but also the same for tricks that haven't been looked into yet regarding the actual difficulty of performing them and associated input lenience windows for success, but are known to exist (e.g. from tool-assisted speedruns) already.
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