42.1

Anatoli Babenia
10 min readMay 25, 2017

It is again Thursday. I need to write. Not because I want to, but because
I set myself to write again two weeks ago for another 12 hours straight.

It was hard. Hard to look at this little green heart in the corner of a
Medium with a small number 1 on it. Somebody read 42. Perhaps he or she
left a comment. I did’t want to know what that persn knows about me know
or what he or she thinks. But really, why I was so afraid to click it if
it didn’t matter?

I could not bear with living with fear of facing with some public attack
over the text that I wrote. Text that would not meet expectations of
people who are reading much more better text, the literature, than that 42
stuff that I wrote. Why is it so important to me? Didn’t I set the goal to
just write whatever bothers me or comes to my head and be free of any
obstacles that I set for myself? Why I can’t escape this endless cycle of
seeking approval. Why I am afraid to write that I seriously think that AI
neural networks are capable to write texts much better than any of us, who
specialize in something else than writing texts? Am I afraid that there
will be no people anymore behind other side of the screen? Not sure. It is
so much easier to write to someone, your ideal model of someone, who will
never even get your letter, but will appreciate your thoughts, laught at
them, understand them. That’s why it is so easy to write to yourself.

I am writing to myself. The one behind the screen, lost somewhere deep in
the internet, unable to logout. I am afraid to open links that respond to
my writings to read a message from from his relatives or friends that he,
myself, is dead. They say accepting fears makes you stronger. But does
stronger also means that it makes you more emotionally dull. Can you
relate to things if you’re not feeling emotions, such as fear?

@LittleFears was the name of that lightgreen heart glowing in the top
corner. The name meant something. Something to care little about — and
that’s are fears. Is it really easy to live without fears, is it fun,
interesting? Living in a world with no monsters to sneak on you from any
corner, no lifts ready to stuck, no car that can forget that you’re
crossing the street in front of them? Isn’t that boring? If you could have
an ability to choose a world based on the fears that present them — would
you chose monsters that keep you thankful every second day that you’re
alive — or a world where it safe on streets, but people are gloomy and
need substances to smile, because when they are sober — there is this big
cloud of fear that is called FAILURE that haunts the every person from
inside. SUCCESS is the remedy that doesn’t exists in this world, but
everybody tries to charge for it seeking approvals from their peers.

Seeking success for yourself. Is it the same as seeking failure for
others?

41 minute passed since I started writing this. 42 ticked when I pressed
the dot in the last sentence. A reminder that this is a 42 post, and not
a tale to educate people or make them feel worse by pouring a “knowledge”,
an idea that there is an important thing called BALANCE, and that BALANCE
means that if somebody is extremely reach, then there is somebody who is
extremely poor. I am rich that I had those 3 years of nothing. I checked -
March 2014 was my last contract. I am poor that there are no savings to
keep me going. I am rich to have parents and friends to care about me, and
poor in strenght to just keep up with them. Why it is so suddenly again
all about me?.. Explanation will be boring and obvious, so let’s skip it.

I am not important. I mean that, of course, for myself, I am, but there
are more interesting things outside than inside of me that make me feel
good. I am looking through a windows at the sunny shadow of a bird who is
sitting on the roof of my nine-storied building. Living on the last floor
I see the clear blue sky and a little of those light orange blocks that
sit on top of the last floor to make enough space to cool down those last
floors a little. There are also some communication wires and space for
lift machinery. It is loud, so architect probably tried to isolate it in
this extra space. Our guests sometimes tell that us that they can hear
the lift and they don’t understand how can we live here with it. Well, I
am pretty used to it and I don’t hear it if I don’t specifically
concentrate on that. During my life those sounds had recorded into my
“safety zone” and I won’t need to bother about them much. Until now. Now
I will start thinking about lift sounds over and over. No. That’s boring.
There are more interesting thing to do, so I just stop it.

An hour and 4kB are there. 4693 bytes to be clear. You can copy this text
up to the previous dot and check it. If the size if different, then I
probably edited the text. Or Medium reformatted something, or something
was lost when copying it from the page. But if that was a plain text, this
check will work 100%. If I added text, you would know that, if I removed
it, you could tell this too. Length check. There is another check that is
more reliable that length check. Checksum. Every letter has a number. a is
the first in abc, b is the second and so on, so if you just replace all
letters with number and sum them, you will get a checksum. If will be
different not only when I add more text or remove it, but also when I swap
one letter for another. Lenght check will be the same for abc, abb and
aaa, but checksum will be different. You can use them to sign your texts
and people can check if text matches with the signature you wrote. That’s
right — it is that digital signature. It is digital. It is signature. What
else do you need from it? Well, it is pretty much useless. Even checksum
is a poor instrument to control that text was not modified. abc, bca, cab
- the checksum is the same for them. If a is 1, b=2 and c 3, then the
checksum is 6. aabb is also 6, so length check from abc will fail, but
checksum test will pass. Quite unreliable. Even if you use both.

Bird shadow had gone. I don’t know if the bird is still there heating its
feathers. The sun climbs up and pushes roof shadow down to the basement,
where rats, cats and occassional hobos live in a world of handlights,
warm steam, low ceilings with packs of running bare electic wires and cool
earthern ground. There is a constant live there in the basement and — it
changes from one quiet corner with nothing except rays of bright sunlight
cutting the darkness through the holes in metal sheet guarding the
entrance — to the narrow corridors noisy from with steam that through the
crack in the water pipes makes the air so dense with water droplets that
handlight dim in in few foots in front of your nose. Electric wires above
your head feel especially alive and deadly in their rusty boxes that come
from nowhere to nowhere. Quite a setting for a game about service works,
and not at all about so popular horror genre. That would be a cliche.

9:41. Waiting for 42. Bingo. Just as a I wrote 4 less than 2 seconds
passed and it is ticket. So this must be important. I wanted to stop, but
something is pushing me to continue, because from the last time I know
that it is not me who makes me appear all of the sudden in front of the
fridge looking for food. It is not me who promised to write the text for
8 hours in a row and then suddenly finds himself with a TV remote in hand,
it is not me, but then — who is that in front of the mirror if not me. So
before I took myself to the fridge or inside TV, or into another activity,
or, rather, before that another me inside who is just all about eating
foods and watching TVs takes over, I need to finish this. I need to tell
you about the hash.

You know how to calculate sum, length for making checks. There is also a
better way to check that document was not modified. It is to calculate the
hash — just any complicated formula that you apply to your every letter
number of you document and that gives you some number with fixed amount of
digits. Formula should be so complicated that nobody should understand how
to create the document that will fit the resulting number. The more
complicated the formula — the better, so if you don’t understand how it
works — that’s fine, because most likely that nobody understands it, and
that’s just how it is supposed to be used. As long as formula managed to
produce this long number with fixed amount of digits and make this number
unique for every different document — it is fine. That number is called
hash, and the formula — hash function. 20 minutes to describe hash
function. 20 minutes ago it was 9:42 and I came back here after writing
the next paragraph to fill missing link to it. 42 was the link.

42 is about digits. Right. Universal hash of question about life, universe
and anything. Not the answer, but effect. Effect of me writing this, of me
living life and asking questions. Of me writing this text and the the next
moment finding himself stretching in front of a fridge ready to make a
predatator sneak attack on the white squaere prey. 42 is a hash with the
length of 2. It takes 2 to write this article. Not because it is
impossible to write this alone, but because there are two writing this and
because 1 who is writing also needs 1 who is reading. It took 2 hours to
write up to this point. 9325 bytes up to that point and
a678adedf13014028ebbcf12e92554fabd36bd7e is the sha-1 hash for text up to
that point. sha-1 is the name of formula. The long number is the hash. The
number is so long that people decide to use letters to write such numbers.
a is 10, b=11, up to f 15. 16 signs in total with 0. The power of 2 or
2**4.

Nearly escaped from myself. Got myself back. There are 33 letters in
Russian. The letter Я — which means I as a word — is the last one. Thrown
away, it is 32 letters. The power of 2 or (2**4)*2. 2**5. Math people like
those things. Makes brain run in the loops. Hash functions are like those
- make the brain run in the loops, trying to find an answer. The Imitation
Game, if you’ve seen the movie, is probably about it. A Beautiful Mind is
definitely about it.

Switched off. Stretched up. Pulled in plug again. Every 20 minutes there
is a ditraction. Every 20 minutes a paragraph. I am a robot writing
machine. I don’t need to eat, to stretch, to check mail of anything. I am
to myself. Of course I am. Maybe not always in the same state, or maybe
always on both states. Like a qbit — that thing that makes brains of those
people who call themself scientists running in loops. And many others. A
final frontier — an attempt to cheat, to lie to those guys who hoarded all
the money in the world and get a piece of that wealth for new toys. Or
just pump some meat into that white cold square monster that we battle
with several times a day. Maybe scientist are not lying. Maybe they are
honestly telling us that they don’t understand all this stuff. But I think
that some of them definitely understand, but make those things needlessly
complicated. Because you can’t uncomplicate the things with your brain
runnning in loops. In circles. Chasing its tail of thought. There is so
little daily space in our rooftops that nothing fits there and you never
know how long is that chain of letters hidden behind a corner and where it
leads. That’s why scientists need to draw. A pity that everything they can
draw are those formulas. They looping brain think that they are on top of
on top of on top with their maths drawing. But what is the maths is not
the bast way to write down that long line of letters that is hiding behind
the corner. That Python that sneaks on eating you up from behind while you
are holding its long and interwined tail.

Python is programming language. It can calculate hashes for you much
better that maths. You still need maths to calculate formulas, but Python
does that for you. It may not fit into your brain, but at least it can
occupy a nearby room and make you favors.

Hashes are good for making brains run in loops. Write text down, calculate
the hash, write that hash number under the text and you can calculate the
hash again. Isn’t that cool? Not as cool as these white cool square food
source that is waiting for me to deal with it. Calculate hash from text,
then from text+hash, then out of text+hash+hash, until there is long chain
of hashes. Chain. Ouch. It is 10:48. So I’ve missed 6 minutes. Perhaps the
paragraph about Python was unnecessary extra. But it is 42 article, and
that’s okay. Running brain in loops is fun. but taking hash of text+hash+
hash+hash is no fun. It comes more interesting for humans to read texts
than hashes, so probably hash of text+hash+text is more interesting.
Nobody can modify the text without making hash over that text fail, and if
you’ve take existing text+hash and add yours text+hash — everybody can
check that your text (a comment, perhaps) was attached to that specific
text and nobody can take it out-of-the-context without destroying your
hash. They can calculate the their own hash if they know the text of your
comment. But that will be their chain. Not yours chain of blocks. You’ve
got this, right. Blockchain. It is that.

It is 11:15. Thinking about such things is hard, and the Hyde inside is
taking over. I will take an easy morning today and stop it. 3 hours is
enough and I can feel that other me inside screaming and jumping of joy
that this writing excercise if over, but let me assure him that it is not.
Because it seems that I have a job to do, and this job is about blockchain
and money.

 by the author.

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