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Minecraft Economics: How the Nether Update uses the Subjective Theory of Value

What is an emerald worth in Minecraft?


An emerald is the currency used in the popular game Minecraft for trading with NPCs called villagers and wandering traders. Emerald ore is an extremely rare resource in the sandbox world, yet every employed villager has quite a few to trade with the player. However, players have wondered how the emerald compares with real world currency. One YouTube Video by GameTheory tried to find this answer. First, they tried to convert it by comparing the USD cost of bread with the cost of bread in the game, but found that conversion does not translate to other goods. Next they used the labor theory of value to try to determine the USD to emerald conversion, but again came up with a nonsensical conversion. Finally, they tried to assume emeralds have an inherent value in real life and work backwards to determine the in-game USD cost. After using all of these methods, they come to the accurate conclusion that it's not really possible to convert emeralds i…

Drone Tech for Anarchists




I am back-flipping excited about drones and the possibilities new innovation in both drone technology and all surrounding areas. This article is a general outline of my thoughts on where we are heading and how you can benefit from it in a practical sense, and how to profit from it in an actual sense.

We are at a threshold where things are getting really, really interesting in the realm of counter-economics and more tools gets added every day towards a world were the individual gets more liberty. The rapid development of mainstream drones and the accompanying Do-it-yourself-scene as a grass root support pillar moves us forward towards.

Of course, the government wouldn't be governing correctly without adding rules, road blocks and regulations to new cool tech - Even though Norway and Sweden isn't as restrictive in this regard as, for example, United States are, there is plenty of stuff that you need to abide by. I'm not going to go into that here, just making sure you understand that the State isn't going to accept you having fun or profiting from without getting itself involved, directly or indirectly. [1] I didn't even know there was so many rules in regards to unmanned flying objects (hehe) until I took the time to read up on it last year, three months after I got into the hobby. But, that's boring, let us dig in on the fun stuff!



Surveillance, Counter-surveillance, and Security.

The most common use of drones is to make sweet films  on a low budget. Plenty of prominent social media personalities use drone films to spice up their YouTube-videos and supplement their visuals with overhead films. Casey Neistat is perhaps the most famous content creator using drones, often test driving new ones he's getting from sponsors and make beautiful film-clips with his army of flying machines.


Camera-equipped drones that can move in any direction is golden for anyone that want to secure their property to and not only for  video-bloggers on social media. If you think about it, having a camera that you can command around is perfect for security measures. You can program it to take a specific loop around your house at specific times, park it in a new spot every 15 minutes and really make it hard for any intruder not to get caught on camera. Through the magic of the internet you can control the drone remotely, via a "controller" (laptop or what have you) and stream the security feed to your phone when you are far away from your home. 

You can also use it for counter-surveillance purposes, which the Swedish police is in tears over right now - Criminals using drones to track the police movements gives them an upper hand in the war of information. [2] If big tech and the government want to play around with facial-recognition software, just wait until the resistance get hold of it and start using it against them, with the helpful hand of drones. A tool can be used in many ways, so to speak. 

There is a lot of kinks to iron out in this department: Your network connection needs to be pristine (a lagging internet and your drone might end up in your wall, smashed to pieces), many drones have problems flying indoors and so on. But none that is impossible to fix, adjust or tinker with. If you are only doing outdoorsy surveillance stuff with lots of margins for error, cheaper models like the $30 Hubsan 4X can be used just fine, with some software to go with it. [3] For every problem, there is a solution. 

Decentralized, Anonymous Transportation of Goods.

Imagine if you could deliver your homegrown food to any ones balcony or front door? You don't have to imagine, you can do that. Today! Where we are currently on this is debatable and there are more problems that need to be solved along the way on this sort of project than the simple security system I talked about above. Most drones are built as lightweight as possible for more airtime and adding any sort of load  will severely hamper the drones flying ability: Especially load that is heavy and uneven enough to tilt the drone delivering stuff in a direction you didn't intend it to go!


Amazon is testing drone-delivery in England with lots of open spaces and well-mapped areas. Urban environments has plenty of stuff a drone can drive into, making it quite a nightmare for planning routes. One open window too many along the way and you are going out shopping for replacement parts.

For now, its expensive [4] and requires a lot of planning to pull off. You can off-set the bad flight time because of the load, by using a chain of drone-stations, whereas the delivery gets handed off by one drone to the next. I'm not sure if that is ideal, but its one possible solution - But rather impractical, since you need to secure several locations throughout a city and will only solved the flight-time problem (not the others, like a dynamic environment the drone might end up crashing against). 

Manufacturers with deeper pockets are in the works on shortening the checklist of problems though, to our advantage. [5] If big companies do all the R&D and the hobbyists reverse-engineer it (or straight up pirate the software and hardware), the technology will come faster into the hands of any anarchist that is looking for a way to "smuggle" goods anonymously. Meantime, there is plenty of micro solutions to consider. If you have a sturdy drone that can take some load, but don't have a way to hang it on the drone without duct tape? Drone clips with 300 feet range is available. If you got an extra $5000 in your pocket you can get a DJI Matrice 600 that can carry 34lb. Hardly profitable though for those of us that considers delivering less expensive things, but its there.

Tying all of it Together.

There is a ton of stuff to consider when it comes to drones and these two area of use I presented in this article is just the tip of the iceberg of why I am excited about the future of using drones for furthering liberty. 

The drones ties everything together neatly: With a 3D-printer you can produce goods to sell and even make spare parts for your flying machine (be your own mechanic) and let the drone be the transportation method for you. Via online media libraries and open source communities everyone can teach each other how to build, program and pilot the drones. Payments in crypto makes everything under the radar and off the books.

If you are interested in delving further in this wonderland, I recommend these sub-Reddits: DIY Drones, Multicopter and Counter-Economics (not drone specific, but come hang out with us free market anarchists!). As far as podcasts go, I've only subscribed to one and that is Ask Drone U which is superb - As a bonus they go into the business side of things as well, which is highly interesting to anyone that is looking for a side-gig.


Do you have a drone? Let us know in the comments below what you got! Are you developing either software or hardware for drones and want to have a chat about it? Let me know by dropping an email to utopiumstimulant@gmail.com!
-- Alex Utopium. Editor for Utopium.blog. Lives on a healthy dose of Bitcoin.


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[1]. Drone rules for your reading "pleasure": Norwegian, American (FAA). As a rule of thumb, it is better to be prepared for how the state is going to combat your flying than not be.

[2]. You can read about that here (news article in Swedish).

[3]. The open source community is developing a lot of interesting software for drones. LibrePilot is for controlling multiple drones at once and Dronecode is sort of an umbrella for several nice projects, just to name two that I've familiarized myself with.

[4]. Youtuber Karl-Emil Storm did a functioning delivery drone for about $700 so it doesn't have to be expensive, depending on your technical know-how, but in general, its going to cost a pile of money.

[5] Boeing presented a prototype that carries 500lb of goods, Kroger started unmanned delivery services in Arizona. California, on the other hand, loves to squish good ideas completely via legislation.


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