Thursday, December 29, 2022

Vitalik Buterin: The Ezra Klein Show

Ethereum’s Founder on What Crypto Can — and Can’t — Do Vitalik Buterin explains digital currency’s potential to transform our world. .

there’s this other side too, this more idealistic side, the side of crypto that is not just interested in, but truly obsessed with blockchains and protocols as a way of bringing governance and community into the digital era, as a way of unlocking new forms of cooperation. ........ there’s this other side of crypto that is really important to why the ecosystem has been so vibrant for so long through so many crashes. .......... They obsess over quadratic voting mechanisms, and coins tied to city governance, and decentralized autonomous organizations. .......... The central figure on the set of crypto is Vitalik Buterin. Buterin co-founded Ethereum. He wrote the white paper for the ideas behind it when he was just a teenager. And his insight — and it was a big one — was that, if you could program a currency like Bitcoin that cut out the need for a central authority, then you could use that same cryptographic technology to make almost a programming language that could then program any kind of digital agreement or contract and bind anybody who agreed to it in almost any digital way. .........

Bitcoin can be digital money, but Ethereum can be digital infrastructure. It can be the structure — a binding structure — of how people cooperate online. And Ethereum took off.

........... He’s Ethereum’s benevolent dictator, and he’s become something like the philosopher king of crypto. ......... He’s a digital nomad who lives out of a backpack and seems to think about really nothing but blockchains and what can be built on them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022


A New Chat Bot Is a ‘Code Red’ for Google’s Search Business . A new wave of chat bots like ChatGPT use artificial intelligence that could reinvent or even replace the traditional internet search engine. ......... Over the past three decades, a handful of products like Netscape’s web browser, Google’s search engine and Apple’s iPhone have truly upended the tech industry and made what came before them look like lumbering dinosaurs. ....... Three weeks ago, an experimental chat bot called ChatGPT made its case to be the industry’s next big disrupter. ......... It can serve up information in clear, simple sentences, rather than just a list of internet links. It can explain concepts in ways people can easily understand. It can even generate ideas from scratch, including business strategies, Christmas gift suggestions, blog topics and vacation plans. ....... its release led Google’s management to declare a “code red.” .......... For more than 20 years, the Google search engine has served as the world’s primary gateway to the internet. But with a new kind of chat bot technology poised to reinvent or even replace traditional search engines, Google could face the first serious threat to its main search business. ........ Google has already built a chat bot that could rival ChatGPT. In fact, the technology at the heart of OpenAI’s chat bot was developed by researchers at Google. ......... Google may be reluctant to deploy this new tech as a replacement for online search, however, because it is not suited to delivering digital ads, which accounted for more than 80 percent of the company’s revenue last year. ......... For companies that have become extraordinarily successful doing one market-defining thing, it is hard to have a second act with something entirely different.” .......... Because these new chat bots learn their skills by analyzing huge amounts of data posted to the internet, they have a way of blending fiction with fact. They deliver information that can be biased against women and people of color. They can generate toxic language, including hate speech. ............. Even if Google perfects chat bots, it must tackle another issue: Does this technology cannibalize the company’s lucrative search ads? If a chat bot is responding to queries with tight sentences, there is less reason for people to click on advertising links. ........... “Google has a business model issue ..... If Google gives you the perfect answer to each query, you won’t click on any ads.” ........... Google must decide whether it will overhaul its search engine and make a full-fledged chat bot the face of its flagship service. .......... Google has been reluctant to share its technology broadly because, like ChatGPT and similar systems, it can generate false, toxic and biased information. ......... Five years ago, Microsoft released a chat bot, called Tay, that spewed racist, xenophobic and otherwise filthy language and was forced to immediately remove it from the internet — never to return. In recent weeks, Meta took down a newer chat bot for many of the same reasons. .......... the technology could produce false or offensive statements. Since its release on the last day of November, ChatGPT — which can produce similarly toxic material — has been used by over a million people. ......... as OpenAI and other companies improve their chat bots — working to solve problems with toxicity and bias — this could become a viable replacement for today’s search engines. Whoever gets there first could be the winner. ........... “Last year, I was despondent that it was so hard to dislodge the iron grip of Google,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, who previously oversaw advertising for Google, including Search ads, and now runs Neeva. “But technological moments like this create an opportunity for more competition.” .

how can i best increase my social media reach

There are several strategies you can use to increase your social media reach:
  1. Use relevant hashtags: Using relevant hashtags in your social media posts can help make your content discoverable to a wider audience.
  2. Collaborate with influencers or other businesses: Partnering with influencers or other businesses can help expose your content to their followers and increase your reach.
  3. Create shareable content: Try to create content that is interesting and engaging, as this will encourage your followers to share your posts with their own followers.
  4. Engage with your audience: Make an effort to respond to comments and messages from your followers, as this can help build a sense of community and encourage more engagement with your content.
  5. Use paid promotion: Many social media platforms offer paid promotion options that can help increase the visibility of your posts to a targeted audience.
  6. Utilize the features of each platform: Each social media platform has its own unique features that can help increase the reach of your content. For example, you can use Instagram Stories or Facebook Live to create content that disappears after a certain amount of time, which can increase the urgency for users to view and share your content.

how will the world know jesus is back as promised

According to Christian belief, Jesus will return at the end of the world to judge all people and bring about the end of the age. The Bible does not provide a specific description of how Jesus' return will be perceived or announced. Some Christians believe that Jesus' return will be a visible and dramatic event that will be witnessed by all people, while others believe that it will be a more subtle and private event. Ultimately, it is believed that Jesus' return will be evident to those who are looking for it and have faith in him.

Attempt 2:
There are many different beliefs about the return of Jesus, and it is not within the scope of this service to discuss or promote any particular belief or interpretation of religious texts. As an artificial intelligence, I do not have the ability to predict the future or know when or how Jesus might return. It is important to respect the beliefs of others and engage in respectful dialogue about differing viewpoints.

A Coming-Out Party for Generative A.I., Silicon Valley’s New Craze A celebration for Stability AI, the start-up behind the controversial Stable Diffusion image generator, represents the arrival of a new A.I. boom......... In Silicon Valley, crypto and the metaverse are out. Generative A.I. is in. ......... generative A.I. — the wonky umbrella term for A.I. that doesn’t just analyze existing data but creates new text, images, videos, code snippets and more. ........ DALL-E 2, the image generator that OpenAI released this spring, has more than 1.5 million users creating more than two million images every day ........... Sequoia Capital, the venture capital firm, recently said in a blog post that it thought generative A.I. could create “trillions of dollars of economic value.” ......... widespread concern that the company’s lax rules could lead to a flood of violent imagery, nonconsensual nudity, and A.I.-generated propaganda and misinformation. .......... Already, Stable Diffusion and its open-source offshoots have been used to create plenty of offensive images (including, judging by a quick scan of Twitter, a truly astonishing amount of anime pornography). ........ In recent days, several Reddit forums have been shut down after being inundated with nonconsensual nude images, largely made with Stable Diffusion. The company tried to rein in the chaos, telling users not to “generate anything you’d be ashamed to show your mother,” but has stopped short of setting up stricter filters. ............. people had created graphic images of “violently beaten Asian women” using Stable Diffusion. ........... He argues that radical freedom is necessary to achieve his vision of a democratized A.I. that is untethered from corporate influence. .............. “We trust people, and we trust the community,” he said, “as opposed to having a centralized, unelected entity controlling the most powerful technology in the world.” ........... He is a British former hedge fund manager who spent much of the past decade trading oil and advising companies and governments on Middle East strategy and the threat of Islamic extremism. More recently, he organized an alliance of think tanks and technology groups that tried to use big data to help governments make better decisions about Covid-19. .......... Mr. Mostaque, who initially funded Stability AI himself, has quickly become a polarizing figure within the A.I. community. ........ He took plenty of veiled shots at tech giants like Google and OpenAI, which has received funding from Microsoft. He denounced targeted advertising, the core of Google’s and Facebook’s business models, as “manipulative technology,” and he said that, unlike those companies, Stability AI would not build a “panopticon” that spied on its users. (That one drew a groan from Mr. Brin.) .......... the computer the company uses to train its A.I. models, which has more than 5,000 high-powered graphics cards and is already one of the largest supercomputers in the world, would grow to five or 10 times its current size within the next year. That firepower would allow the company to expand beyond A.I.-generated images into video, audio and other formats, as well as make it easy for users around the world to operate their own, localized versions of its algorithms. ........... Mostaque believes that putting generative A.I. into the hands of billions of people will lead to an explosion of new opportunities. ...........

“So much of the world is creatively constipated, and we’re going to make it so that they can poop rainbows,” he said.

............ transparency, not top-down control, is what will keep generative A.I. from becoming a dangerous force.

Generative A.I. Is Here. Who Should Control It? Emad Mostaque, the founder of Stability AI, says his Stable Diffusion image generator is the key to unlocking creativity. His critics say it’s a potential threat. .

Generative AI: A Creative New World A powerful new class of large language models is making it possible for machines to write, code, draw and create with credible and sometimes superhuman results. ........... Humans are good at analyzing things. Machines are even better. Machines can analyze a set of data and find patterns in it for a multitude of use cases, whether it’s fraud or spam detection, forecasting the ETA of your delivery or predicting which TikTok video to show you next. They are getting smarter at these tasks. This is called “Analytical AI,” or traditional AI. ........ Up until recently, machines had no chance of competing with humans at creative work—they were relegated to analysis and rote cognitive labor. But machines are just starting to get good at creating sensical and beautiful things. This new category is called “Generative AI,” meaning the machine is generating something new rather than analyzing something that already exists. ............. Generative AI is well on the way to becoming not just faster and cheaper, but better in some cases than what humans create by hand. Every industry that requires humans to create original work—from social media to gaming, advertising to architecture, coding to graphic design, product design to law, marketing to sales—is up for reinvention. ..........

generative AI should unlock better, faster and cheaper creation across a wide range of end markets

.............. generative AI brings the marginal cost of creation and knowledge work down towards zero, generating vast labor productivity and economic value—and commensurate market cap. ........... The fields that generative AI addresses—knowledge work and creative work—comprise billions of workers. Generative AI can make these workers at least 10% more efficient and/or creative: they become not only faster and more efficient, but more capable than before. Therefore, Generative AI has the potential to generate trillions of dollars of economic value. ............ as the models get bigger and bigger, they begin to deliver human-level, and then superhuman results. Between 2015 and 2020, the compute used to train these models increases by 6 orders of magnitude and their results surpass human performance benchmarks in handwriting, speech and image recognition, reading comprehension and language understanding. OpenAI’s GPT-3 stands out: the model’s performance is a giant leap over GPT-2 and delivers tantalizing Twitter demos on tasks from code generation to snarky joke writing. .......... Just as mobile unleashed new types of applications through new capabilities like GPS, cameras and on-the-go connectivity, we expect these large models to motivate a new wave of generative AI applications. And just as the inflection point of mobile created a market opening for a handful of killer apps a decade ago, we expect killer apps to emerge for Generative AI. The race is on. ............ If we allow ourselves to dream multiple decades out, then it’s easy to imagine a future where Generative AI is deeply embedded in how we work, create and play: memos that write themselves; 3D print anything you can imagine; go from text to Pixar film; Roblox-like gaming experiences that generate rich worlds as quickly as we can dream them up. While these experiences may seem like science fiction today, the rate of progress is incredibly high—we have gone from narrow language models to code auto-complete in several years—and if we continue along this rate of change and follow a “Large Model Moore’s Law,” then these far-fetched scenarios may just enter the realm of the possible.

8 Podcasts for the Spiritual Searcher Even as organized religion loses adherents, Americans continue to seek higher meaning in their lives. .

17 Great Podcasts For The Spiritually Curious Time to clear up some space on your cell phones.
35 Best Religious Podcasts
Most popular podcasts about religion and spirituality
Top 10 Religion & Spirituality Podcasts

How Is Everyone Making Those A.I. Selfies? Images generated with Lensa AI are all over social media, but at what cost? ....... “If most of the images you fed the system were of white faces, then it’s not surprising that when it tries to make an image that looks supposedly ‘better,’ it just makes it whiter” ........ “As cinema didn’t kill theater and accounting software hasn’t eradicated the profession, AI won’t replace artists but can become a great assisting tool.” .

Did the Tesla Story Ever Make Sense? Tesla and Bitcoin may have more in common than you think. ......... Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and the reputational self-immolation that followed ......... Tesla sales have surely depended at least in part on the perception that Musk himself is a cool guy ........ I’m familiar with the phenomenon of people who are genuinely brilliant in some areas but utter fools in other domains. For all I know, Musk is or was a highly effective leader at Tesla and SpaceX. .......... we more or less understand the durability of the dominance of Apple and Microsoft, and it’s hard to see how Tesla could ever achieve something similar, no matter how brilliant its leadership. ......... Both Apple and Microsoft benefit from strong network externalities — loosely speaking, everyone uses their products because everyone else uses their products. ........ These days Microsoft has a better reputation than it used to, but as far as I can tell its market strength still reflects comfort a ........ I can attest from personal experience that once you’re in the iPhone/iPad/MacBook ecosystem, you won’t give up on its convenience unless offered something a lot better. .......... Electric cars may well be the future of personal transportation. In fact, they had better be, since electrification of everything, powered by renewable energy, is the only plausible way to avoid climate catastrophe. But it’s hard to see what would give Tesla a long-term lock on the electric vehicle business. ......... investors fell in love with a story line about a brilliant, cool innovator, despite the absence of a good argument about how this guy, even if he really was who he appeared to be, could found a long-lived money machine. .......... nobody has yet managed to find any serious use for cryptocurrency other than money laundering ........ I definitely won’t trust Elon Musk with my cat.

GPT-3 points to a future in which we are even less sure if what we are reading is real or fake. That goes for tweets, online conversations, even long-form prose. ........... At the end of July, Liam Porr, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, generated several blog posts with GPT-3 and posted them on the internet, where they were read by 26,000 people. Sixty viewers were inspired to subscribe to the blog, and only a few suspected that the posts were written by a machine. ......... One of the blog posts — which argued that you can increase your productivity if you avoid thinking too much about everything you do — rose to the top of the leader board on Hacker News, a site where seasoned Silicon Valley programmers, engineers and entrepreneurs rate news articles and other online content. (“In order to get something done, maybe we need to think less,” the post begins. “Seems counterintuitive, but I believe sometimes our thoughts can get in the way of the creative process.”) ............ “People get sucked in,” he said, “even if they know they are being sucked in.” .........

In practice, the system fails about as often as it succeeds.

.......... its talent for conversation breaks down after a few exchanges, when it cannot “remember” what it said just a few seconds before. ........ Processing all of that internet data requires a specialized supercomputer running for months on end, an undertaking that is enormously expensive. When asked if such a project ran into the millions of dollars, Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief executive, said the costs were actually “higher,” running into the tens of millions.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

20: Trump, Twitter, Elon

Ukraine’s 15,000-Mile Lifeline How the country’s vast rail system has helped it withstand an invasion. ......... .

Friday, November 18, 2022

18: Twitter

How Nepal Grew Back Its Forests An effort decades in the making is showing results in Nepal, a rare success story in a world of cascading climate disasters and despair. ............ This transformation is visible across Nepal, thanks to a radical policy adopted by the government more than 40 years ago. Large swaths of national forest land were handed to local communities, and millions of volunteers like Mr. Karki were recruited to protect and renew their local forests, an effort that has earned praise from environmentalists around the world. But the success has been accompanied by new challenges — among them addressing the increase in potentially dangerous confrontations between people and wildlife. ........ Community-managed forests now account for more than a third of Nepal’s forest cover, which has grown by about 22 percent since 1988, according to government data. Independent studies also confirm that greenery in Nepal has sprung back, with forests now covering 45 percent of the country’s land. ....... a NASA-funded study that found Nepal’s tree cover had doubled between 1992 and 2016. “Now, you’ve got the community saying, ‘No, you don’t go there!’ So, the trees are coming back.” ......... Back in the early 1980s, the government couldn’t persuade people to stop cutting trees for farmland and for firewood. ........ What followed was an enormous replantation effort that was bolstered by foreign aid. Villagers like Mr. Karki planted seedlings of rosewood and sal on barren hills. ......... For the community foresters, that involves guarding their forests from the timber mafia, poachers and from nature itself. ........ One morning early this year, Chijamaya Sarki, 61, was cutting grass for cattle feed in a forest when she was attacked and killed by a tiger, her family said. “We only received her half-eaten body,” said Shyam Bahadur Majakoti, her son, still visibly in shock and dressed according to a traditional mourning ritual. ......... Hundreds of thousands of Nepali youth migrate each year to other countries in Asia or to the Persian Gulf in search of stable, well-paying jobs, leaving fewer workers at home. Foreign remittances now represent almost a quarter of the country’s economic output, and brought in about $7.35 billion in 2020. ....... The rejuvenated forests have transformed life for the locals here. Floods are less frequent. Rainfall, once intermittent, is now normal. ...... Many people have moved on from subsistence farming, taking up alternatives like beekeeping and growing profitable crops like dragon fruit and strawberries. .......... Keshav Raj Basnet runs a thriving beekeeping business, earning $5,000 a year from 12 hives. ........ Nepal is expecting a $7.4 billion package from a group led by the British government to “build back greener from Covid-19” and about $300 million from Norway, the United States and Britain, among others, for helping reduce global emissions. ......... Sergeant Gurung, 36, who is armed with an M-16 rifle, said that on a recent patrol he was chased by a tiger. “I was so scared that I climbed a tree,” he said. “We are allowed to use our gun to protect ourselves, but I am here to protect the animals,” not shoot them. ........ More than 100 of Mr. Gurung’s peers have died on duty in wildlife attacks since 1974, the Army has said. The army has also had a fraught relationship with some locals, who accuse it of heavy-handedness against ethnic minorities. ......... In July 2020, troops found Raj Kumar Chepang, 24, fishing in the restricted area of the national park. His punishment, a beating from sticks, was so severe that he died a few days later .

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Some Suggestions For Twitter

Twitter And Voice
Free Speech And Just Society
Should Elon Musk Be Owning All Of Twitter?
The Masses, Not Mars
Musk's 44 Billion Dollar Give To Foolish Fascism

My Twitter experience has not changed. Is that a problem? The guy from Mars took over. But my Twitter experience has not changed.

He is being criticized for having bought a 10 billion dollar company for 40 billion. I don't want to go into that. It is certainly a dip. But if it is a startup, it has nowhere to go but up. Although there are plenty of people saying this is his Waterloo. That is the New York Times hyperbola. It is a dramatic statement to make, but people like Paul Graham do not seem to be buying.

Since the early 2010s, I have looked at Twitter and thought, what a waste! So much potential, so little of it realized.

Could Musk be the break Twitter has needed? Or is this Musk's Truth Social?

I just had to say that. I don't believe it. I think Musk might be able to pull it off.

I quite like Twitter. I have an experience on Twitter that I do not have on any other social media platform. And so you are left wanting more.

What is it about Twitter? The brevity? The text? That 1% feel?

How about letting people verify for free? And instead of using government isued IDs letting people use biometric IDs provided by Twitter itself? A selfie? An iris scan? Fingerprint? And you get a checkmark? If not blue, then green. The bots don't have that.

If you can verify your name also with some sort of official ID, you get an additional checkmark. For free.

You could use an assumed name, but it would say so.

The ability to read 10 or 100 or 1,000 tweets at once. How do you read the sentiment?

Real time search engine. Twitter could be tops.

The Twitter archives are a wasteland. So unnecessary.

Thursday, September 15, 2022


Life Is an Accident of Space and Time
Why the U.S. Is Being Ominously Compared to Hungary and Turkey A conversation with Max Fisher, who covers the decline of democracy around the world.

Opinion: Putin is fooling no one -- certainly not Xi In Samarkand, Putin will undoubtedly keep up his triumphant, self-assured demeanor -- but that will fool no one, certainly not Xi, who must be deeply worried about the astonishing collapse of Russia's forces in northeast Ukraine....... Not only is Russia humiliated, Ukraine exuberant, and the West united, but even China, which still expresses support for the Kremlin, is making statements that embarrass Russia. ........ Russia confirmed Xi and Putin would meet on the sidelines of the summit for "very important" talks. China has confirmed Xi's trip, but its foreign minister on Tuesday declined to confirm a meeting with the Russian president. ........ The relationship between Xi and Putin was never one of equals, but now Putin is encountering Xi during one of the most disastrous moments of his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. He will likely seek more support from Xi, who has been generous with words but much less with deeds. ......... China has been reluctant to break the sanctions, or step in to provide a major boost to Russia's dwindling military supplies. If it had, Putin could have avoided the awkward spectacle of seeking weapons from Iran and North Korea, minor, if aggressive powers. .......... Putin needs Xi much more than Xi needs Putin, and that imbalance has grown far greater since their last meeting. ........ he Russian president's suppression of all criticism about the war has taken an expected turn. Those who opposed the "special military operation," have gone to prison, exile or have mostly fallen silent. But now some of the war's most vocal supporters are fuming, enraged by the military's poor performance. (They even call it a "war" -- a word that could not previously be uttered without some consequence.) ........... A strongman cannot afford to be weak, and Putin knows it. ........ For now, there's no chance that Beijing will discard its unofficial alliance with Moscow, even if Russia is a greatly diminished power. Xi wants to be the leader of a global front opposing the US-led liberal democratic order. To do that, he needs to line up support from nations large and small. And Russia remains an important, nuclear-armed nation. ........... Next month, China's Communist Pary will hold its twice-a-decade party congress. Xi, China's most powerful figure since Mao, is expected to secure an unprecedented third term amid a sharp economic slowdown, made worse by his extreme zero-Covid policy. The possibility of a global recession, heightened by Russia's gas wars against Europe, would hit export-reliant China very hard.

Why the U.S. Is Being Ominously Compared to Hungary and Turkey A conversation with Max Fisher, who covers the decline of democracy around the world. ....... That democracy is declining more or less everywhere now. Not necessarily in every country but in every region, in rich and poor countries, old and new democracies. And the decline is incremental but steady, which means that the scale of the change isn’t necessarily obvious until you start looking at the data. ......... What happens is more like what has occurred in Venezuela, say, or Turkey or Hungary. Elected leaders rise within a democracy promising to defeat some threat within, and in the process end up slowly tearing that democracy down. ......... more democracies are in decline today than at any other point in the last century. .......... The United States fits pretty cleanly into what is now a well-established global pattern of democratic backsliding.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Biden: Middle Out

आफ्नै नेतृत्वको क्रान्तिले जसलाई निल्यो रुसी राष्ट्रपति बरिस येल्तसिनले गोर्बचोवलाई अपमानित गर्न कुनै कसर बाँकी राखेनन् । येल्तसिनको मात्र के कुरा गर्नु, सन् १९९६ मा रुसी राष्ट्रपतिको चुनावमा उठ्दा गोर्बचोवलाई जम्मा ०.५५ प्रतिशत मत दिएर नागरिकले पनि अपमानित गरिदिए ! ....... १९८५ को मार्च १० मा ७३ वर्षीय पार्टी महासचिव कन्स्तान्टिन चेर्नेको निधन भयो । २८ महिनाको अवधिमा लियोनिद ब्रेज्नेभ र युरी आन्द्रोपोभपछि निधन हुने उनी तेस्रो पार्टी महासचिव थिए । नेताले अस्पतालको शय्याबाट सत्ता चलाउनुपर्ने दुश्चक्र तोड्नुपर्ने, पाको र रोगले जीर्ण भैसकेको नेताको सट्टा युवालाई नेतृत्वमा ल्याउनुपर्ने दबाबमा सोभियत कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी थियो । यसैले त पार्टीको पोलिटब्युरो बैठकमा चार घण्टाको छलफलबाटै ५४ वर्षका गोर्बचोव पार्टी महासचिव चुनिए । ....... २८ वर्ष विदेशमन्त्री रहेका र पश्चिमी दुनियाँमा ‘मिस्टर नो’ भनेर चिनिने आन्द्रेई ग्रोमिकोलाई मन्त्रालयबाट बाहिर जाने बाटो देखाइदिएर गोर्बचोवले एडवार्ड सेभेर्दनाद्जेलाई विदेशमन्त्री नियुक्त गरे । क्यानडाका लागि सोभियत राजदूत अलेक्सान्द्र याकोभ्लेवलाई फिर्ता बोलाई सुधारवादी कार्यक्रमको प्रमुख योजनाकार बनाइयो । ........ जीर्ण–शीर्ण भैसकेको सोभियत अर्थतन्त्र ठोकठाके मरम्मतले अघि बढ्ने देखिएन, त्यसले पूरै ‘ओभरहल’ माग गरिरहेको थियो । अनि सन् १९८६ को सत्ताइसौं पार्टी कांग्रेस बैठकमा गोर्बचोवको ‘सिग्नेचर पोलिसी’ घोषणा भयो— ‘पेरेस्त्रोइका र ग्लासनोस्त’ । ........... सन् १९८५ सम्म सोभियत संघमा सबैभन्दा बढी राजस्व संकलन मदिरा उत्पादन र बिक्रीबाट हुने गर्थ्यो । ‘सुक्खा कानुन’ लागू भएपछि मदिरा बिक्रीबाट संकलन हुने राजस्वमा ह्रास आएकाले यसै पनि कमजोर सोभियत अर्थतन्त्र झनै असन्तुलित हुन पुग्यो । मनमौजी भएर मापसे गर्न नपाउँदा रुसीहरू यसै पनि रन्थनिएका थिए । अल्कोहलको सट्टा मिनरल वाटर सेवन गर्नुपरेको झोंकमा गोर्बचोवलाई कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी अफ द सोभियत युनियन (सीपीएसयू) को ‘जेनेरल सेक्रेटरी’ नभनेर ‘मिनरल सेक्रेटरी’ भन्न थाले । यति सबै भैसकेपछि ‘सुक्खा कानुन’ मार्फत एक कदम अघि बढेका गोर्बचोव दुई वर्षपछि नै लेनिनले भनेझैं दुई कदम पछि हटे, सन् १९८७ मा यो अभियान फिर्ता लिइयो । ......... हजारौं सोभियत सैनिक मुजाहिद्दिनसँगको युद्धमा हताहत हुँदा सोभियत नागरिक चरम निराशामा थिए- भियतनाम युद्धले अमेरिकीमा ल्याएको बेचैनीजस्तै । आर्थिक रूपले पनि सोभियत संघलाई यो हस्तक्षेप निकै भारी हुँदै गइराखेको थियो । गोर्बचोवले अफगानिस्तानबाट बिनासर्त सोभियत सेना फिर्ता गर्ने निर्णय गरे । सोभियत संघको राम्रो पकड रहेका हंगेरी, पोल्यान्ड, चेकोस्लोभाकिया र पूर्वी जर्मनीमा रक्तपातरहित भेल्विट कलर रेभोलुसन (मखमली क्रान्ति) सुरु भयो । पहिलेको सोभियत सत्ताले झैं ती देशहरूमा हस्तक्षेप गर्न गोर्बचोव इच्छुक देखिएनन् । .......... ‘सीपीएसयूको महासचिव पदमा चुनिनुअघिसम्म उनले कुनै त्यस्तो योजना वा भिजन अघि सारेकै थिएनन् ।’ हुन पनि त्यसअघिसम्म उद्धृत गर्नलायक उनको कुनै विचार र सिद्धान्त फेला पार्न सकिन्न । यसैले कतिपयले उनलाई भिजनरहित नेताको उपमा पनि दिने गरेका छन् । ‘ताक दाल्से नी पाइद्योत’ अर्थात् यसै गरी अब अघि बढ्न सकिन्न उनको चर्चित नारा थियो । अगाडि जाने कसरी ? त्यसका निम्ति उनको न कुनै अन्तर्दृष्टि देखियो न तयारी नै । सुधार उनी अवश्य चाहन्थे तर गन्तव्यको पहिचान गर्न सकेनन् । उनी कुशल वक्ता थिए, घण्टौं धाराप्रवाह बोल्न सक्थे । तर भाषणहरू बहुधा अस्पष्ट हुन्थे । जसरी देङ स्याओपिङले आर्थिक सुधारमा मात्रै केन्द्रित भई अजंगको जनसंख्या रहेको चीनको व्यवस्थापन गरे, गोर्बचोवले त्यो बाटो पहिल्याउन नसकेकै हुन् । ............ घटनाक्रमले सत्ताबाट बाहिरिएपछि अपमान खेपेर पनि गोर्बचोव पलायन भई अन्यत्र निर्वासित हुन चाहेनन् । सोभियत संघ विघटनको पूर्वसन्ध्या र त्यसपछि पनि रुसी राष्ट्रपति बरिस येल्तसिनले उनलाई ठोसेको ठोस्यै गरे । उनलाई लाजमर्दो हुने गरी पेन्सन भत्ता उपलब्ध गराइयो, जम्मा ४ हजार रुबल । सन् १९९४ को विनिमय दरबमोजिम त्यो रकम केवल १.३ अमेरिकी डलर हुन्थ्यो । उनको कूटनीतिक पासपोर्ट खोसियो । यतिसम्म कि, उनले सुरु गरेको गोर्बचोव फाउन्डेसनलाई समेत येल्तसिनले केही समय प्रतिबन्ध लगाएका थिए । ......... १९९१ को मार्चमा सोभियत संघमा जनमतसंग्रह गराइयो । जनमतसंग्रहमा नयाँ सोभियत संघको अवधारणाअनुरूप राज्यको नाम ‘यूएसएसआर’ नै रहे पनि सोभियत समाजवादी गणतान्त्रिक संघको सट्टा ‘सोभियत सार्वभौम गणतान्त्रिक संघ’ रहने प्रस्तावलाई ७७.५ प्रतिशत जनताले समर्थन गरे । यद्यपि त्यस जनमतसंग्रहलाई १५ वटा सोभियत गणराज्यमध्ये ६ वटा गणराज्य लिथवानिया, लाटभिया, येस्तोनिया, जर्जिया, अर्मेनिया र माल्दोभाले बहिष्कार गरेका थिए । ............. नयाँ संघीय सन्धिमा हस्ताक्षर गरेपछि सोभियत संघको अस्तित्व नै मेटिन्छ भन्ने डरले कट्टरपन्थी गुट सक्रिय हुन थाल्यो । गोर्बचोव छुट्टीबाट फर्केर मस्को आउनुअघि नै उनलाई अपदस्थ गर्न सकेमा सोभियत गणराज्यहरूलाई नयाँ सन्धि गर्नबाट बचाउन सकिन्छ भन्ने सोचले यो समूहले योजना बनाउन थाल्यो । गुटका प्रमुख योजनाकार तत्कालीन केजीबी प्रमुख भ्लादिमिर क्र्युच्कोभ भए पनि उनको योजनालाई समर्थन गर्ने गोर्बचोवनजिकका धेरै मित्र थिए । ............ गोर्बचोव सिकिस्त बिरामी भएका र कार्यभार वहन गर्न नसक्ने अवस्थामा रहेकाले उनलाई पदमुक्त गरी राज्यमा आपत्कालीन अवस्था घोषणा गर्नुपरेको भन्दै गर्दा गेन्नाडी येनाएभले हात कमाएको दृश्य देख्ने जोकोहीले पनि राज्य विप्लवकारीमा दम छैन भन्ने अनुमान गरिसकेका थिए । .......... येल्तसिनको सहयोगमा १९९१ अगस्त २१ का दिन गोर्बचोवलाई क्रिमियाबाट मस्को फिर्ता बोलाइयो । राज्य विप्लव योजना असफल भएपछि योजनाकारमध्येका एक गृहमन्त्री बरिस पुगोले आत्महत्या गरे भने बाँकी विप्लवकारीहरूलाई त्यसै दिन पक्राउ गरियो । यसरी कट्टरपन्थीहरूको राज्य विप्लव योजना ७२ घण्टा पनि नटिक्दै १९९१ अगस्त २१ का दिन पूरै विफल भयो । ...........कट्टरपन्थीहरूको षड्यन्त्र र सुधारवादीहरूको आक्रामक विरोधलाई उनले व्यवस्थित गर्न सकेनन् । येन–केन–प्रकारेण ७४ वर्षसम्म टिकाइएको शासन व्यवस्था भित्रभित्रै मक्किसकेको थियो । सोभियत संघ विघटनका धेरै कारण हुन सक्लान् तर विघटनको प्रमुख कारक सोभियत गणराज्यहरूको स्वायत्त हुन पाउने अधिकार र जातीय रूपमा विभाजन नै हो । ........ पूर्व सोभियत गणराज्य लगायत वार्सा सन्धि संगठनका अधिकांश देश अहिले युरोपियन युनियन र नाटो सैन्य गठबन्धनमा आबद्ध भइसकेका छन् । ........... गोर्बचोव अधिनायकवादी थिएनन्, नरम स्वभावका नेता थिए । पोलिटब्युरो सदस्य येल्तसिनसहितले विद्रोह सुरु गरेपछि सोभियत कम्युनिस्ट पार्टीको साबिक चलन अनुसार उनले पनि विरोधीलाई दमन गर्न सक्थे तर त्यस्तो केही गरेनन् । भिल्न्युस, बाकु, तब्लिसीमा छुटफुट घटना भए पनि सैनिक बलका भरमा विद्रोहीहरूलाई दबाउने प्रयास कहिल्यै गरेनन् । उनी खासमा शान्तिपूर्ण उपायबाट पुरानो शासन प्रणालीलाई व्यवस्थापन गर्न चाहन्थे ।