Check out: Mission: to live in a world where you can learn university-level mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and engineering from perfect free open source books that anyone can write to get famous. Further information: Section ""
My life's goal is to bring hardcore university-level STEM open educational content to all ages. Sponsor me at starting from 1$/month so I can work full time on it. Further information: Section "Sponsor Ciro Santilli's work on". 100k USD = I quit me job and work on it one year full time. Achieving what I call "free gifted education" is my Nirvana.
Besides that, I'm also a freedom of speech slacktivist and recreational cyclist. Tax the rich. Opinions are my own, but they could be yours too.
I offer:
My approach is to learn the material with the student(s), and publish any missing tutorials as freely licensed tutorials online. I have a proven track of explaining complex concepts in an interesting and useful way. I work for the learner. Teaching statement at: Section "How to teach". Pricing to be discussed. Contact details at: Section "How to contact Ciro Santilli".
This website is written in OurBigBook Markup, and it is published on both (static website) and (multi-user OurBigBook Web instance). Its source code is located at: and it is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.
To contact Ciro, see: Section "How to contact Ciro Santilli". I like to talk with random people of the Internet.
Figure 1. Ciro Santilli's amazing Stack Overflow profile. Ciro contributes almost exclusively by answering question he Googles into out of his own need, and never by refreshing the newest question of big tags for low hanging fruit! More information at: Section "Ciro Santilli's Stack Overflow contributions".
Video 1. OurBigBook Web topics demo. Source. This is one of the intended killer features of OurBigBook Web. More information at:
Video 2. OurBigBook dynamic article tree demo. Source. More information at:
Video 3. OurBigBook local editing and publishing demo. Source. More information at:
Video 4. Top Down 2D Continuous Game with Urho3D C++ SDL and Box2D for Reinforcement learning by Ciro Santilli (2018) Source. More information: Section "Ciro's 2D reinforcement learning games". This is Ciro's underwhelming stab at the fundamental question: Can AGI be trained in simulations?. This project could be taken much further.
Figure 2. Lenovo ThinkPad T430 running a BIOS hello world. Source code: Ciro's Linux Kernel Module Cheat is a closely related and much more important project that covers the Linux kernel and assembly language.
|  Force of Will               3 U U  |
|  ---------------------------------  |
| |                  ////////////   | |
| |                ////() ()\////\  | |
| |               ///_\ (--) \///\  | |
| |        )      ////  \_____///\\ | |
| |       ) \      /   /   /    /   | |
| |    ) /   \     |   |  /   _/    | |
| |   ) \  (  (   /   / /   / \     | |
| |  / ) ( )  / (    )/(    )  \    | |
| |  \(_)/(_)/  /UUUU \  \\\/   |   | |
| .---------------------------------. |
| Interrupt                           |
| ,---------------------------------, |
| | You may pay 1 life and remove a | |
| | blue card in your hand from the | |
| | game instead of paying Force of | |
| | Will's casting cost.  Effects   | |
| | that prevent or redirect damage | |
| | cannot be used to counter this  | |
| | loss of life.                   | |
| | Counter target spell.           | |
| `---------------------------------` |
|                                     l
| Illus.  Terese Nelsen               |
Code 1. ASCII art of Force of Will Magic: The Gathering card inscribed in the Bitcoin blockchain.
Artist unknown, uploaded December 2014. Part of Section "Cool data embedded in the Bitcoin blockchain" where Ciro Santilli maintains a curated list of such interesting inscriptions.
This was a small project done by Ciro for artistic purposes that received some attention due to the incredible hype surrounding cryptocurrencies at the time. Ciro Santilli's views on cryptocurrencies are summarized at: Section "Are cryptocurrencies useful?".
Figure 3. A Star Wars-themed website used as one of the CIA 2010 covert communication websites. Ciro Santilli had some naughty OSINT fun finding some of the websites of the defunct network after he heard about the 2022 Reuters report on the matter, which gave away only 7 of the websites out of a claimed 885 total found.
A quick 2D continuous AI game prototype for reinforcement learning written in Matter.js, you can view it on a separate page at This is a for-fun-only prototype for Ciro's 2D reinforcement learning games, C++ or maybe Python (for the deep learning ecosystem) seems inevitable for a serious version of such a project. But it is cute how much you can do with a few lines of Matter.js!
HTML snippet:
<iframe src="_raw/js/matterjs/examples.html#top-down-asdw-fixed-viewport" width="1000" height="850"></iframe>
Ciro Santilli is a male human software engineer and activist born in Brazil, Earth in 1989 AD.
Quick facts:
Other people with the same name are listed at Section "Ciro Santilli's homonyms".
Figure 1. 19th century illustration of the Journey to the West protagonist Sun Wukong. Source.
Sun Wukong (孙悟空) is a playful and obscenely powerful monkey Journey to the West. He protects Buddhist monk Tang Sanzang, and likes eating fruit, just like Ciro. Oh, and Goku from Dragon Ball is based on him. His japanese name is "Sun Wukong" (same Chinese characters with different Japanese pronunciation) for the love. His given name "Wukong" means literally "the one who mastered the void", which is clearly a Dharma name and fucking awesome in multiple ways. This is another sad instance of a Chinese thing better known in the West as Japanese.
It is worth noting however that although Wukong is extremely charming, Ciro's favorite novel of the Four Great Classic Novels is Water Margin. Journey to the West is just a Monster of the Week for kids, but Water Margin is a fight for justice saga. Sorry Wukong!
Figure 2. Ciro Santilli playing with a pipette at the University of Cambridge circa 2017.
The photo was taken in an open event organized by the awesome Cambridge Synthetic Biology outreach group, more or less the same people who organize: and who helped organize Section "How to use an Oxford Nanopore MinION to extract DNA from river water and determine which bacteria live in it".
Taking part in such activities is what Ciro tries to do to overcome his lifelong regret of not having done more experimental stuff at university. Would he have had the patience to handle all the bullshit of the physical word without going back to the informational sciences? Maybe, maybe not. But now he will probably never know?!
Notice the orange high visibility cycling jersey under the lab coat, from someone who had just ridden in from work as fast as possible as part of his "lunch break". It is more fun when it is hard.
Figure 3. Scribe Jean Miélot, 15th century.
Ciro Santilli fantasises that he would have make a good scribe in the middle ages, partly due to his self diagnosed graphomania, but also appreciation for foreign languages, and his mild obsession with the natural sciences. is Ciro's view of a modern day scriptorium, except that now the illuminations are YouTube videos.
Chill and eat your bread in peace comes to mind. A scribe, in a library, reading and writing the entire day in peace and quiet. The life!
The job of a Internet-age scribe is basically that of making knowledge more open, legally extracting it from closed copyrighted sources, and explaining your understanding of it to the wider world under Creative Commons licenses on the web. And in the process of greater openess, given a well organized system, we are able combine the knowledge of many diffferent people, and thus make things more understandable than any single/few creator closed source source could ever achieve.
Ciro once saw some cartoon on Wikipedia help pages of a turtle with a book in one hand, and typing into Wikipedia on its computer, TODO find it. That cartoon summarizes well the modern scribe life.
Another analogous version of this fantasy more in touch with Ciro's sinophily is the ideal of the Chinese scholar, notably including their stereotypical attributes such as mastery of the Four arts.
Ciro Santilli is actively looking for donations and contracts so he can continue to work full time on sustainably, and develop free hardcore university-level STEM education for all ages!
Ways to give:
  • monthly subscriptions of 1$/month or more on either:
    Even if you chose a symbolic 1 dollar/month donation, that is extremely welcome to signal your interest! This way if a certain critical mass of sponsors is ever reached (~100?), Ciro can start to more actively asking slightly higher amounts to really try to achieve full time self sufficiency.
  • one time donations: for amounts of the order of up to 100 USD, consider a 1 USD monthly subscriptions instead: 100 USD doesn't change much short term, and is generally more powerful as a 1 Dollar/month over 8 years of signaling interest. But if you prefer one time, no problem, Ciro will still gladly take your money:
    • PayPal: Note that dots in Gmail address are ignored, and it is perfectly normal if the email you see has some extra dots in it. Fees: 2.9% + 0.30 GBP[ref].
    • cryptocurrency: note that Ciro is not a regular crypto user, so you might want to make a smaller test donation and confirm that it worked by contacting Ciro before going for colossal amounts (one can dream):
      • Bitcoin address: 3KRk7f2JgekF6x7QBqPHdZ3pPDuMdY3eWR. This is a Coinbase wallet, off-chain transactions with no transaction fees accepted from other Coinbase users. This method has been tested, I have been able to receive funds from this address in 2023. Fees: 2% withdrawal fee on top of any Bitcoin network for on-chain transactions[ref]
      • Monero address: 84yNhReik1g5jhK4ymwUzXhbqyh49swSF6qE4HCq4SbBCZkSabiZSx7JEKt5225WbkbQaWRY9R3LnAkKDay7aWYSTJcspK3. This is a Binance wallet, off-chain transactions without transaction fees accepted from other Binance users. But of course, that kind of defeats the privacy goal of Monero.
  • larger grants/contracts from filthy rich individuals or organizations: contact Ciro as mentioned at: Section "How to contact Ciro Santilli" to discuss.
    Ciro Santilli wants to try and for every 100k USD "net donations" amassed (gains minus running costs) to quit his current job and work full time for a year on hist projects. One can dream. He cannot promise this, but he will really really try. The balance is being kept at: Budget transparency.
    Ciro is interested in contracts/voluntary work that would be compatible/synergic with the project. Some possibilities include:
    • interacting directly with classes of university students to help them learn the class subject, while at the same time spreading the university knowledge outside of the university walls
    • one-to-one mentoring of individuals of any age that are looking to make an impact in the world, and not just pass their exams
    • fixing specific bugs in related projects Ciro has experience in. These could be either via one-off contracts, or on platforms such as:
    For grants, think of amounts of the order of 100k USD / year, i.e. an OK tech worker salary in a tech hub of a developed country. 1 year salary in my account now means I quit my job immediately and do these projects full time for a year.
    Something like 2000 USD/month after tax (~30%) would likely the minimal somewhat sustainable long term amount. 4000 USD/month after tax is a good tech worker salary.
    The nature of taxation depends on how the transaction is characterized. I'm in the United Kingdom:
And if you have a different preferred payment mechanism not listed above, please contact Ciro, and he will set it up.
Ciro's current ambitions require him to remain in developed countries, because Ciro wants to document advanced science and technology by liaising with top universities, and there is not nearly as much high technology in poor countries. Remaining in developed countries is also a required due to family reasons.
If you would like public acknowledgement for your support, Ciro will very gladly give it, just let Ciro know how you'd prefer it. Due to Ciro Santilli's campaign for freedom of speech in China, many supporters have chosen to be anonyomous, and that is totally fine, not everyone is interested in politics, or has a situation where going public is acceptable, so we don't have a standard setup yet, let's build it together. A acknowledgement section at the bottom of this page would be a minimum, but I for larger donations we could add a your advertisement in a locations such as:
So that he can work full time on and revolutionize advanced university-level science, technology, engineering, and mathematics eduction for all ages.
Donating to Ciro is the most effective donation per dollar that you can make to:
Ciro's goal in life is to help kids as young as possible to reach, and the push, the frontiers of natural sciences human knowledge, linking it to applications that might be the the next big thing as early as possible. Because nothing is more motivating to students than that feeling of:
Hey, I can actually do something in this area that has never been done before!
rather than repeating the same crap that everyone is already learning.
To do this, Ciro wants to work in parallel both on:
Ciro believes that this rare combination of both:produces a virtuous circle, because Ciro:
  • wants to learn and teach, so he starts to create content
  • then he notices the teaching tools are crap
  • and since he has the ability to actually improve them, he does
As explained at and high flying bird scientist, Ciro is most excited to make contributions at the "missing middle level of specialization" that lies around later undergrad and lower grad education:
  • at lower undergrad level, there is already a lot of free material out there to learn stuff
  • at upper graduate level and beyond, too few people know about each specific subject, that it becomes hard to factor things out
But on that middle sweet spot, Ciro believes that something can be done, in such as way that delivers:
  • beauty
  • power
in a way that is:
  • in your face, without requiring you to study for a year
  • but also giving enough precision to allow you to truly appreciate the beauty of the subject
    Ciro's programming skills can also be used to create educational, or actually more production-like, simulations and illustrations.
Ciro believes that today's society just keep saying over and over: "STEM is good", "STEM is good", "STEM is good" as a religious mantra, but fails miserably at providing free learning material and interaction opportunities for people to actually learn it at a deep enough level to truly appreciate why "STEM is good". This is what he wants to fix.
The following quote is ripped from Gwern Branwen's Patreon page, and it perfectly synthesizes how Ciro feels as well:
Quote 1. Omar Khayyam's chill out quote.
Omar Khayyam also came to the Vizier... but not to ask for title or office. 'The greatest boon you can confer on me,' he said, 'is to let me live in a corner under the shadow of your fortune, to spread wide the advantages of Science, and pray for your long life and prosperity.'
In addition to all of this, financial support also helps Ciro continue his general community support activities:
A provisional budget of donations and spendings is being maintained at: sponsor/budget.js.
That is being done as an exercise only for now, since the amounts are trivial, but if amounts ever start getting larger, we will actually start generating more proper accounting.
Ciro Santilli wants to make sure that you get clear highlights of what your donation money is going into.
Besides the budget transparency, he is trying to give clear and summarized details of development milestones.
The following channels are being used:
  • Ciro's secondary Twitter has a small stream of smaller updates, usually one or two a week, both project specific, but also of "the project led me to answer this Stack Overflow question" nature, as well as short China updates.
    Major milestones will also appear under the primary twitter:
  • Ciro's Edit: Ciro has been sending update emails entitled "Ciro's Edict" to his sponsors. These include information more or less similar to the Twitter, but in a more cohesive form not limited to 140 character paragraphs.
    When emails would get too large, Ciro is creating separate pages for them, see e.g.: ciro's Edict #4. This does reduce the exclusive priviledge of the sponsors a little bit, but better have clearer communication in the first place.
  • the more hardcore coders amongst you can also of course have a quick look at the commit log. Ciro has been trying to keep it relatively clean and meaningful, to varying degrees of success.
Ciro Santilli has sometimes wasted time with low impact projects such as those listed at Ciro Santilli's minor projects instead of doing higher impact projects such as those mentioned at: Section "The most important projects Ciro Santilli wants to do".
But maybe "Everything you did brought you where you are now." applies, maybe it is during the "low impact activities" that one gets the inspiration and experience required for the "high impact ones".
Mission: to live in a world where you can learn university-level mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and engineering from perfect free books that anyone can write to get famous.
Live website:
Further information and rationale: Section ""
The project's mission is one of, or perhaps the most important, life objective of Ciro Santilli. Reproductive goals aside. These two types of goal are incommensurable. This is one of the great challenges of life.
This is ongoing project.
Ciro's goals in advertising this half done project are is partly to obtain some feedback, and partly to give the idea to someone else who might help push it further, be it in this stack or not.
Better editing support is a must, likely WYSIWYG.
But besides that, it is already in broad strokes the best approach Ciro Santilli can come up with to try and reach the mission statement only with technical advances, i.e. without large amounts of money or political influence which Ciro Santilli does not have.
Maybe that website isn't enough of a technical advance to reach its mission. Maybe there is some further not yet imagined technical insight that would push it into viability. Maybe not. But one must try. Only God can know the answer to these questions.
As of 2022, Ciro has spent about 2.5 years full time working on this project. First he spent about 1 year in 2014 on the first iteration:, a GitLab fork, but then decided it was not the way to go.
Then around 2021 he put in some more 1.5 year of full time work, now with a possibly overly complicated (or perhaps just insane/immature) Next.js/Sequelize from scratch website stack.
It makes Ciro a bit ashamed to see that "so little user visible stuff was achieved in so much time". It is partly because he and many people underestimate the difficulty of web development. Perhaps there were some bad stack/usless feature choices issues. And a good dose of indulging in studying the natural sciences to bootstrap content and have fun. But really trying is the only way to learn.
This is the most important technical tutorial project that Ciro Santilli has done in his life so far as of 2019.
The scope is insane and unprecedented, and goes beyond Linux kernel-land alone, which is where it started.
It ended up eating every system programming content Ciro had previously written! Including:
so that that repo would better be called "System Programming Cheat". But "Linux Kernel Module Cheat" sounds more hardcore ;-)
Other major things that could be added there as well in the future are:
Due to this project, some have considered Ciro to be (archive):
some kind of Linux kernel god.
which made Ciro smile, although "Linux kernel documenter God" would have been more precise.
[    1.451857] input: AT Translated Set 2 keyboard as /devices/platform/i8042/s1│loading @0xffffffffc0000000: ../kernel_modules-1.0//timer.ko
[    1.454310] ledtrig-cpu: registered to indicate activity on CPUs             │(gdb) b lkmc_timer_callback
[    1.455621] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbhid                  │Breakpoint 1 at 0xffffffffc0000000: file /home/ciro/bak/git/linux-kernel-module
[    1.455811] usbhid: USB HID core driver                                      │-cheat/out/x86_64/buildroot/build/kernel_modules-1.0/./timer.c, line 28.
[    1.462044] NET: Registered protocol family 10                               │(gdb) c
[    1.467911] Segment Routing with IPv6                                        │Continuing.
[    1.468407] sit: IPv6, IPv4 and MPLS over IPv4 tunneling driver              │
[    1.470859] NET: Registered protocol family 17                               │Breakpoint 1, lkmc_timer_callback (data=0xffffffffc0002000 <mytimer>)
[    1.472017] 9pnet: Installing 9P2000 support                                 │    at /linux-kernel-module-cheat//out/x86_64/buildroot/build/
[    1.475461] sched_clock: Marking stable (1473574872, 0)->(1554017593, -80442)│kernel_modules-1.0/./timer.c:28
[    1.479419] ALSA device list:                                                │28      {
[    1.479567]   No soundcards found.                                           │(gdb) c
[    1.619187] ata2.00: ATAPI: QEMU DVD-ROM, 2.5+, max UDMA/100                 │Continuing.
[    1.622954] ata2.00: configured for MWDMA2                                   │
[    1.644048] scsi 1:0:0:0: CD-ROM            QEMU     QEMU DVD-ROM     2.5+ P5│Breakpoint 1, lkmc_timer_callback (data=0xffffffffc0002000 <mytimer>)
[    1.741966] tsc: Refined TSC clocksource calibration: 2904.010 MHz           │    at /linux-kernel-module-cheat//out/x86_64/buildroot/build/
[    1.742796] clocksource: tsc: mask: 0xffffffffffffffff max_cycles: 0x29dc0f4s│kernel_modules-1.0/./timer.c:28
[    1.743648] clocksource: Switched to clocksource tsc                         │28      {
[    2.072945] input: ImExPS/2 Generic Explorer Mouse as /devices/platform/i8043│(gdb) bt
[    2.078641] EXT4-fs (vda): couldn't mount as ext3 due to feature incompatibis│#0  lkmc_timer_callback (data=0xffffffffc0002000 <mytimer>)
[    2.080350] EXT4-fs (vda): mounting ext2 file system using the ext4 subsystem│    at /linux-kernel-module-cheat//out/x86_64/buildroot/build/
[    2.088978] EXT4-fs (vda): mounted filesystem without journal. Opts: (null)  │kernel_modules-1.0/./timer.c:28
[    2.089872] VFS: Mounted root (ext2 filesystem) readonly on device 254:0.    │#1  0xffffffff810ab494 in call_timer_fn (timer=0xffffffffc0002000 <mytimer>,
[    2.097168] devtmpfs: mounted                                                │    fn=0xffffffffc0000000 <lkmc_timer_callback>) at kernel/time/timer.c:1326
[    2.126472] Freeing unused kernel memory: 1264K                              │#2  0xffffffff810ab71f in expire_timers (head=<optimized out>,
[    2.126706] Write protecting the kernel read-only data: 16384k               │    base=<optimized out>) at kernel/time/timer.c:1363
[    2.129388] Freeing unused kernel memory: 2024K                              │#3  __run_timers (base=<optimized out>) at kernel/time/timer.c:1666
[    2.139370] Freeing unused kernel memory: 1284K                              │#4  run_timer_softirq (h=<optimized out>) at kernel/time/timer.c:1692
[    2.246231] EXT4-fs (vda): warning: mounting unchecked fs, running e2fsck isd│#5  0xffffffff81a000cc in __do_softirq () at kernel/softirq.c:285
[    2.259574] EXT4-fs (vda): re-mounted. Opts: block_validity,barrier,user_xatr│#6  0xffffffff810577cc in invoke_softirq () at kernel/softirq.c:365
hello S98                                                                       │#7  irq_exit () at kernel/softirq.c:405
                                                                                │#8  0xffffffff818021ba in exiting_irq () at ./arch/x86/include/asm/apic.h:541
Apr 15 23:59:23 login[49]: root login on 'console'                              │#9  smp_apic_timer_interrupt (regs=<optimized out>)
hello /root/.profile                                                            │    at arch/x86/kernel/apic/apic.c:1052
# insmod /timer.ko                                                              │#10 0xffffffff8180190f in apic_timer_interrupt ()
[    6.791945] timer: loading out-of-tree module taints kernel.                 │    at arch/x86/entry/entry_64.S:857
# [    7.821621] 4294894248                                                     │#11 0xffffffff82003df8 in init_thread_union ()
[    8.851385] 4294894504                                                       │#12 0x0000000000000000 in ?? ()
Code 1. Terminal dump of a LKMC session with two tmux panes with QEMU on left and GDB on right showing a backtrace of the Linux kernel code currently being under QEMU.
Ciro Santilli's Stack Overflow contributions have, unsurprisingly, centered around the subjects he has worked with: systems programming and web development, and necessary tooling to get those done, such as Git, Python, Bash and Ubuntu.
His best answers are listed at: Section "The best articles by Ciro Santilli".
Stack Overflow has been the initial centerpiece of Ciro Santilli's campaign for freedom of speech in China, until Ciro noticed that GitHub might be potentially even more effective for it.
In Stack Overflow Ciro likes to:
  • answer important questions found through Google which he needs to solve an actual problem he has right now, and for which none of the existing answers satisfied him, and close duplicates.
  • monitor less known tags which very few people know a lot about and where the knowledge sharing desperately lacking, but in which Ciro specializes and therefore has some uncommon knowledge to share
In practice it also happens that Ciro:
When he gets an upvote on one of his more obscure answers, Ciro often re-reads it, and often finds improvements to be made and makes them.
He doesn't like to refresh the homepage looking for easy reputation on widely known subjects. See also: online forums that lock threads after some time are evil.
The result is that Ciro ends up getting relatively a lot of reputation without much work! The term passive income, much beloved by fake investment gurus, comes to mind. But now it's "passive reputation"! And it is useless! Yay!
For this reason, Necromancer is Ciro's favorite badge (get 5 upvotes on a question older than 60 days), and as of July 2019, he became the #1 user with the most of this badge. Announcement on Twitter.
The number two at the time was VonC (see also: Section "Epic Stack Overflow users"), who had about 16 times more answers than Ciro in total! From this query: it can be seen that as of July 2019, 1216 out of his 1329 answers were answered 60 days after the questions and constitute potential necromancers! Compare that to VonC's 1643 potential necromancers out of 21767 answers!
VonC evetually took back the lead in 2022, dude's a machine!!!
Someone at Ciro's work once said something along:
The more patents a research project generates, the less actually working products it produces.
and this does ring true in Stack Overflow as well. When you are answering stuff, it means that you either didn't know, or that the information wasn't well available, and so your specific application is progressing slowly because of that. Once the generic prerequisites are well solved and answered, you will spend much more time on your business specific things rather than anything else that can be factored out across projects, and so you will get more "directly useful work" done, and less Stack Overflow answers. Of course, without the prior research in place, you can't get the final product done either.
In terms of per year reputation ranks, Ciro was in the top 100 in of the 2018 ranking with 38,710 reputation gained in that year: (archive). He reached top 50 in 2022. Note that daily reputation is mostly capped to 200 per day, leading to a maximum 73000 per year. It is possible to overcome this limit either with bounties or accepts, and Ciro finds it amazing that some people actually break the 73k limit by far with accepts, e.g. Gordon Linoff reached 135k in 2018 (archive)! However, this is something that Ciro will never do, because it implies answering thousands and thousands of useless semi duplicate questions as fast as possible to get the accept. Ciro's reputation comes purely from upvotes on important question, and is therefore sustainable without any extra effort once achieved. Interestingly, Ciro appeared on top of the quarter SE rankings around 2019-11: but it was just a bug ;-)
There is no joy like answering an old question, and watching your better answer go up little by little until it dominates all others.
Stack Overflow reputation is of course, in itself, meaningless. People who contribute to popular subjects like web development will always have infinitely more reputation than those that contribute to low level subjects.
What happens on the specialized topics though is that you end up getting to know all the 5 users who contribute 95% of the content pretty soon as you study those subjects.
Like everything that man does, the majority of Ciro's answers are more or less superficial subjects that many people know but few have the patience to explain well, or they are updates to important questions reflecting upstream developments. But as long as they save 15 minutes from someone's life, that's fine.
There is great beauty when you are involved in a programming problem, and you suddenly remember: wait, I answered something related a few years ago! And especially so when you can go back and improve your old answer with new insight. This has great value, because when you were more newbie, you would have typed different words into Google Search than you would now. So by updating posts from when you were a newbie, you are helping other newbies more, as they are more likely to be also searching for those keywords. It is also very nice to have some head start on the answer's upvote count and not have to bootstrap yet another answer from 0 upvotes and have to go through all the competition!
For example, Ciro's most upvoted answer as of July 2019 is was written when he spent his first week playing with NodeJS (he was having a look at Overleaf, later merged into Overleaf, for education), which he didn't touch again for several years, and still hasn't "mastered" as of 2019! This did teach a concrete life lesson to Ciro however: it is impossible to know what is the most useful thing you can do right now very precisely. The best bet is to follow your instincts and do as much awesome stuff as you can, and then, with some luck, some of those attempts will cover an use case.
Ciro tends to take most pride on his systems programming answers, which is a subject that truly relatively few people know about. He likes it when he goes insanely deep into a subject, way beyond what OP had in mind, exposing full root causes and broader causes, see e.g.:
Ciro also derives great joy from his "media related answers" (3D graphics, audio, video), which are immensely fun to write, and sometimes borderline art, see answers such as those under "OpenGL" and "Media" under the best articles by Ciro Santillis or even simpler answers such as:
There is something of greater value in perfectly presented technical knowledge, that goes beyond than simply getting something done. The pleasure of understanding and mastering something, and perhaps of the explanation itself. Sometimes when answering, Ciro feels like a tailor, where ASCII is his cloth. See also: Section "The art of programming", Section "Physics and the illusion of life".
Ciro's deep understanding of Stack Overflow mechanisms and its shortcomings also helped shape his ideas for: So it is a bit funny to think that after all time Ciro spent on the website, he actually wants to destroy it and replace it with something better. There can be no innovation without some damage. It also led to Ciro's creation of Stack Overflow Vote Fraud Script.
After answering so many questions, he ended up converging to a more or less consistent style, which he formalized at:
Like any other style guide, this answer style guide, once fully incorporated and memorized, allows Ciro to write answers faster, without thinking about formatting issues.
Ciro also made a question title style guide: but for some reason the Stack Overflow community prefers their semi-defined title meta-language to proper English. Go figure.
Ciro started contributing to Stack Overflow in 2012 when he was at École Polytechnique.
Like all things that end up shaping the course of one's life, Ciro started contributing without thinking too much about it.
His first answer was to the LaTeX question: Standalone diagrams with TikZ?, which reflects the fact that this happened while Ciro was reaching his Ciro Santilli's Open Source Enlightenment.
When he started contributing, Ciro was still a newbie. One early event he will never forget was when someone mentioned a "man page", and Ciro commented saying that there was a typo!
When Ciro reached 15 points and gained the ability to upvote, it felt like a major milestone, he even took a screenshot of the browser! 1k, 10k and 100k were also particularly exciting. When the 100k cup (archive) arrived in 2018, Ciro made a show-off Facebook post (archive). At some point though, your brain stops caring, and automatically filters out any upvotes you get except on the answers that you are really proud of and which don't yet have lots of upvotes. The last remaining useless gamed achievement that Ciro looked forward to was legendary (archive), and which he achieved on 2021-02-16.
Figure 3. Ciro Santilli with his Stack Overflow 100k reputation cup.
From the start, Ciro's motivations for contributing to Stack Overflow have been a virtuous circle of:
  • save the world through free education
  • It feels especially amazing when people in the real world start taking note of you, and either close friends tell you straight out that you're a Stack Overflow God, or as you slowly and indirectly find out that less close know or came to you due to your amazing contributions.
It is also amazing when you start having a repertoire of answers, and as you are writing a new answer, you remember: "hey, the knowledge of that answer would be so welcome here", and so you link to the other answer as well at the perfect point. This somewhat achieves does what aims to do: for each small section of a tutorial, gather the best answers by multiple people.
Ciro feels that his Stack Overflow alter ego is the user kenorb, which has a surprisingly similar contribution pattern (one of the top necromancers) and subjects (Python, Bash). Ciro tried to contact him to say hi, but it was hard to find a contact. kenorb, feel free to send Ciro a hi one of those days. His GitHub gives name Rafal W. and links to some trading stuff:, especially compatible with his stated location of London. Rafal is Rafael in Polish:ł It would normally have the l with a stroke, but ASCII. LinkedIn: Ah, so R3 he works at is actually a blockchain company:, FOREX appears to be his on-the-side.
Another one is Aaron Hall, who is also very high on the necromancer list, answers in Python which is a topic Ciro cares about, and states on his profile:
Follow me on Twitter and tell me what canonical questions you would like me to respond to!
so another necromancer.
Way to go.
Ciro also asks some questions on a ratio of about 1 question per 10 answers. But Ciro's questions tend to be about extremely niche that no one knows/cares about, and a high percentage of them ends up getting self answered either at asking time or after later research.
Since 2015 Ciro Santilli has carried out a campaign to promote freedom of speech in China.
The campaign has centered around publishing censored keywords on his Stack Overflow username, thus using his considerable Stack Overflow presence to sabotage the website in China. Here is an early web archive.
Figure 1. Chrysanthemum Xi Jinping with 六四 spice added by Ciro Santilli.
This was one of the profile pictures that Ciro Santilli used as part of his campaign.
Ciro later went on to prefer the "unmodified" Xi Jinping photo cover of some edition Xi Jinping Though, which also reminds Ciro very much of religious devotional pictures, e.g. those of Li Hongzhi.
Ciro understood that the best propaganda against a dictatorial enemy is recontextualized unmodified propaganda produced by the enemy itself. Their propaganda speaks for itself.
Like most people in the West, Ciro has always been for political freedom of speech, and therefore against the Chinese government's policies.
However, the seriousness of the matter only fully dawned on him in 2015 when, his mother-in-law, a then a 63-year-old lady, was put into jail for 15 days for doing Falun Gong.
And all of this was made 100 times worse because Ciro deeply loves several aspects of China, such as food, language, art and culture, and saw it all being destroyed by the Communists:
The rationale of this is to force the Chinese government to either:
  • leave things as they are, and let censored keywords appear on Stack Overflow (most likely scenario)
  • block Stack Overflow, and lose billions of dollars with worse IT technology
  • disable the Great Firewall
In the beginning, this generated some commotion, but activity reduced as novelty wore off, and as he collected the reply to all possible comments at:
This campaign has led him to have an insane profile view/reputation ratio, since many people pause to look at his profile. He is point "A" at the top right corner of Figure 2. "Scatter plot of Stack Overflow user reputation vs profile views in March 2019 with Ciro Santilli marked as A":
Figure 2. Scatter plot of Stack Overflow user reputation vs profile views in March 2019 with Ciro Santilli marked as A. The A is towards the top right corner.
Ciro feels that the view count started increasing more slowly since 2020 compared to his reputation, likely every single Chinese user has already viewed the profile.
Figure 3. Ciro Santilli with a stone carved Budai in the Feilai Feng caves near the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou taken during his legendary 2012 touristic trip to China. Will he ever be able to go to China again to re-experience such marvelous locations?
Video 1. Water Margin tribute to Chinese dissidents by Ciro Santilli (2022) Source. More information:
These are some smaller projects that Ciro Santilli carried out. They are all either for fun, or misguided use of his time done by an younger self:
They are sorted in order of "most likely to get done first".
Actual section at: Section ""
Video 1. Top Down 2D Continuous Game with Urho3D C++ SDL and Box2D for Reinforcement learning by Ciro Santilli (2018) Source. Source code at:
Figure 1. Screenshot of the basketball stage of Ciro's 2D continuous game. Source code at: Big kudos to for the sprites.
Video 2. Top Down 2D Discrete Tile Based Game with C++ SDL and Boost R-Tree for Reinforcement Learning by Ciro Santilli (2017) Source.
The goal of this project is to reach artificial general intelligence.
A few initiatives have created reasonable sets of robotics-like games for the purposes of AI development, most notably: OpenAI and DeepMind.
However, all projects so far have only created sets of unrelated games, or worse: focused on closed games designed for humans!
What is really needed is to create a single cohesive game world, designed specifically for this purpose, and with a very large number of game mechanics.
Notably, by "game mechanic" is meant "a magic aspect of the game world, which cannot be explained by object's location and inertia alone" in order to test the the missing link between continuous and discrete AI.
Much in the spirit of gvgai, we have to do the following loop:
  • create an initial game that a human can solve
  • find an AI that beats it well
  • study the AI, and add a new mechanic that breaks the AI, but does not break a human!
The question then becomes: do we have enough computational power to simulation a game worlds that is analogous enough to the real world, so that our AI algorithms will also apply to the real world?
To reduce computation requirements, it is better to focus on a 2D world at first. Such world with the right mechanics can break any AI, while still being faster to simulate than a 3D world.
The initial prototype uses the Urho3D open source game engine, and that is a reasonable project, but a raw Simple DirectMedia Layer + Box2D + OpenGL solution from scratch would be faster to develop for this use case, since Urho3D has a lot of human-gaming features that are not needed, and because 2019 Urho3D lead developers disagree with the China censored keyword attack.
Simulations such as these can be viewed as a form of synthetic data generation procedure, where the goal is to use computer worlds to reduce the costs of experiments and to improve reproducibility.
Ciro has always had a feeling that AI research in the 2020's is too unambitious. How many teams are actually aiming for AGI? When he then read Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom (2014) it said the same. AGI research has become a taboo in the early 21st century.
Related projects:
Video 3. DeepMind Has A Superhuman Level Quake 3 AI Team by Two Minute Papers (2018) Source. Commentary of DeepMind's 2019 Capture the Flag paper. DeepMind does some similar simulations to what Ciro wants, but TODO do they publish source code for all of them? If not Ciro calls bullshit on non-reproducible research. Does this repo contain everything?
Video 4. OpenAI Plays Hide and Seek... and Breaks The Game! by Two Minute Papers (2019) Source. Commentary of OpenAi's 2019 hide and seek paper. OpenAI does some similar simulations to what Ciro wants, but TODO do they publish source code for all of them? If not Ciro calls bullshit on non-reproducible research, and even worse due to the fake "Open" in the name. Does this repo contain everything?
Video 5. Much bigger simulation, AIs learn Phalanx by Pezzza's Work (2022) Source. 2d agents with vision. Simple prey/predator scenario.
It is unbelievable that you can't find easily on YouTube recreations of many of the key physics/chemistry experiments and of common laboratory techniques.
Experiments, the techniques required to to them, and the history of how they were first achieved, are the heart of the natural sciences. Without them, there is no motivation, no beauty, no nothing.
School gives too much emphasis on the formulas. This is bad. Much more important is to understand how the experiments are done in greater detail.
The videos must be completely reproducible, indicating the exact model of every experimental element used, and how the experiment is setup.
A bit like what Ciro Santilli does in his Stack Overflow contributions but with computers, by indicating precise versions of his operating system, software stack, and hardware whenever they may matter.
It is understandable that some experiments are just to complex and expensive to re-create. As an extreme example, say, a precise description of the Large Hadron Collider anyone? But experiments up to the mid-20th century before "big science"? We should have all of those nailed down.
We should strive to achieve the cheapest most reproducible setup possible with currently available materials: recreating the original historic setup is cute, but not a priority.
Furthermore, it is also desirable to reproduce the original setups whenever possible in addition to having the most convenient modern setup.
Lists of good experiments to cover be found at: the most important physics experiments.
This project is to a large extent a political endeavour.
Someone with enough access to labs has to step up and make a name for themselves through the huge effort of creating a baseline of amazing content without yet being famous.
Until it reaches a point that this person is actively sought to create new material for others, and things snowball out of control. Maybe, if the Gods allow it, that person could be Ciro.
Tutorials with a gazillion photos and short videos are also equally good or even better than videos, see for example Ciro's How to use an Oxford Nanopore MinION to extract DNA from river water and determine which bacteria live in its for an example that goes toward that level of perfection.
The Applied Science does well in that direction.
This project is one step that could be taken towards improving the replication crisis of science. It's a bit what wants to do really. But that website is useless, just use and create videos instead :-)
We're maintaining a list of experiments for which we could not find decent videos at: Section "Physics experiment without a decent modern video".
Ciro Santilli visited the teaching labs of a large European university in the early 2020's. They had a few large rooms filled with mostly ready to run versions of several key experiments, many/most from "modern physics", e.g. Stern-Gerlach experiment, Quantum Hall effect, etc.. These included booklets with detailed descriptions of how to operate the apparatus, what you'd expect to see, and the theory behind them. With a fat copyright notice at the bottom. If only such universities aimed to actually serve the public for free rather than hoarding resources to get more tuition fees, university level education would already have been solved a long time ago!
When Ciro Santilli first learnt the old Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory and the idea of formal proofs, his teenager mind was completely blown.
Finally, there it was: a proper and precise definition of mathematics, including a definition of integers, reals and limits!
Theorems are strings, proofs are string manipulations, and axioms are the initial strings that you can use.
Once proved, press a button on your computer, and the proof is automatically verified. No messy complicated "group of savants" reading it for 4 years and looking for flaws!
There are a few proof assistant systems with several theorems in their Git tracked standard library. The hottest ones circa 2020 are:
And here are some more interesting links:
However, as expressed by the QED manifesto, is unbelievable that there isn't one awesome and dominating website, that hosts all those proofs, possibly an on the browser editor, and which all mathematicians in the world use as the one golden reference of mathematics to rule them all!
Just imagine the impact.
Standard library maintainers don't have to deal with the impossible question of what is "beautiful" or "useful" enough mathematics to deserve merged: users just push content to the online database, and star what they like!
We then just use GitHub-like namespaces for each person's theorem, e.g. "cirosantilli/fundmaental-theorem-of-calculus" or "johndoe/fundmaental-theorem-of-calculus" so that each person owns their own preferred definition IDs, which others can reuse.
No more endless bikeshedding over what insane level of generality do your analysis theorems need to be (Ciro Santilli attended at talk about lean where the speaker mentioned this was a problem)!
This would move things more out of the "pull request and Git tracked code" approach, into a more "database with entries" version of things.
Furthermore, it is just a matter of time until the "single standard library" approach starts to break down, as the git clone becomes impossibly large. At this point, people have to start publishing separate packages. And when this happens, you would need to retest every package that you add to your project. This is why a centralized database is just inevitable at some point, it just scales better.
Interested in a conjecture? No problem: just subscribe to its formal statement + all known equivalents, and get an email on your inbox when it gets proved!
Are you a garage mathematician and have managed to prove a hard theorem, but no "real" mathematician will read your proof because your unknown? Fuck that, just publish it on the system and let it get auto verified. Overnight fame awaits.
Notation incompatibility hell? A thing of the past, just automatically convert to your preferred representation.
Such a system would be the perfect companion to Just like computer code offers the backbone of Linux Kernel Module Cheat Linux kernel tutorials, a formal proof system website would be the backbone of mathematics tutorials! You know what, if becomes insanely successful, Ciro is going to add this to it later on.
Furthermore, it would not be too hard to achieve this system!
All we would need would be something analogous to a package registry like PyPI or NodeJS' registry.
Then, each person can publish packages containing proofs.
Packages can rely on other packages that contain pre-requisites definition or theorem.
Packages are just regular git repos, with some metadata. One notable metadata would be a human readable description of the theorems the package provides.
The package registry would then in addition to most package registries have a CI server in it, that checks the correctness of all proofs, generates a web-page showing each theorem.
All proofs can be conditional: the package registry simply shows clearly what axiom set a theorem is based on.
This is a close as we can get to Erdős' book.
Maybe Ciro will just stuff this into once that takes over the world.
This project could be seen as a more automated/less moderated version of ProofWiki.
If you are going to live, you might as well chase one of them.
You might not achieve them in your lifetime, but you never know. At some point, the pieces just "fall into place", and they happen.
And they will all come from deep tech.
Ciro Santilli would like to contribute to them. but this is a bit less realistic than software projects.
But who knows? Maybe he can code some stuff in those areas.
And one can at least have some fun by learning deeply about those subjects.
As of 2019, the silicon industry is ending, and molecular biology technology is one of the most promising and growing field of engineering.
Figure 1. 42 years of microprocessor trend data by Karl Rupp. Source. Only transistor count increases, which also pushes core counts up. But what you gonna do when atomic limits are reached? The separation between two silicon atoms is 0.23nm and 2019 technology is at 5nm scale.
Such advances could one day lead to both biological super-AGI and immortality.
Ciro Santilli is especially excited about DNA-related technologies, because DNA is the centerpiece of biology, and it is programmable.
First, during the 2000's, the cost of DNA sequencing fell to about 1000 USD per genome in the end of the 2010's: Figure 2. "Cost per genome vs Moore's law from 2000 to 2019", largely due to "Illumina's" technology.
The medical consequences of this revolution are still trickling down towards medical applications of 2019, inevitably, but somewhat slowly due to tight privacy control of medical records.
Figure 2. Cost per genome vs Moore's law from 2000 to 2019. Source.
Ciro Santilli predicts that when the 100 dollar mark is reached, every person of the First world will have their genome sequenced, and then medical applications will be closer at hand than ever.
But even 100 dollars is not enough. Sequencing power is like computing power: humankind can never have enough. Sequencing is not a one per person thing. For example, as of 2019 tumors are already being sequenced to help understand and treat them, and scientists/doctors will sequence as many tumor cells as budget allows.
Then, in the 2010's, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing started opening up the way to actually modifying the genome that we could now see through sequencing.
What's next?
Ciro believes that the next step in the revolution could be could be: de novo DNA synthesis.
This technology could be the key to the one of the ultimate dream of biologists: cheap programmable biology with push-button organism bootstrap!
Just imagine this: at the comfort of your own garage, you take some model organism of interest, maybe start humble with Escherichia coli. Then you modify its DNA to your liking, and upload it to a 3D printer sized machine on your workbench, which automatically synthesizes the DNA, and injects into a bootstrapped cell.
You then make experiments to check if the modified cell achieves your desired new properties, e.g. production of some protein, and if not reiterate, just like a software engineer.
Of course, even if we were able to do the bootstrap, the debugging process then becomes key, as visibility is the key limitation of biology, maybe we need other cheap technologies to come in at that point.
This a place point we see the beauty of evolution the brightest: evolution does not require observability. But it also implies that if your changes to the organism make it less fit, then your mutation will also likely be lost. This has to be one of the considerations done when designing your organism.
Other cool topic include:
It's weird, cells feel a lot like embedded systems: small, complex, hard to observe, and profound.
Ciro is sad that by the time he dies, humanity won't have understood the human brain, maybe not even a measly Escherichia coli... Heck, even key molecular biology events are not yet fully understood, see e.g. transcription regulation.
One of the most exciting aspects of molecular biology technologies is their relatively low entry cost, compared for example to other areas such as fusion energy and quantum computing.
As of 2020, Ciro Santilli is getting excited about quantum computing, which is a deep tech field.
He's a bit lazy to explain why here, but Googling will be more than enough.
There is a risk it will fizzle and the bubble pop, like any revolution.
But recent developments are making it too exciting to ignore.
This is one of the deep tech bets that Ciro Santilli would put his money in as of 2020.
How hard could it be? You just have to learn the encoding of the neural spine/eyes/ear, add an invasive device that multiplexes it, and then the benefits could be mind blowing.
Interestingly and obviously, the initial advances in the area are happening for people that have hearing or vision difficulties. Since they already have a deficient sense, you don't lose that much by a failed attempt.
Hearing is likely to be the first since it feels the simplest. Ciro heard there are even already clinical applications there. TODO source.
Main section: fusion power.
This is a long haul. But we have to give it a shot.
These are the best articles ever authored by Ciro Santilli, most of them in the format of Stack Overflow answers.
Ciro posts update about new articles on his Twitter accounts.
Some random generally less technical in-tree essays will be present at: Section "Essays by Ciro Santilli".
Ciro Santilli is very happy to meet people with related interests, he really loves his like-minded online friends. Even if you don't have something a specific goal in mind for the contact, please just say hi.
To contact Ciro publicly about any general subject that is not covered in a more specific GitHub repository, including saying hi or suggestions about his website either:
Publicly viewable contact is preferred if possible to more effectively share Ciro's wisdom with the world.
But if you feel more comfortable with private contact, no problem, either:
  • extract Ciro's email from one of his GitHub repositories. It might be of the form lower case first name, followed by a dot (which Google actually ignores), followed by his lower case last name, and under a popular email domain from Google
  • use Telegram: Note that end-to-end encryption is present on secret chats only, which don't have device sync. Ridiculous. Recommend 1 week self-destruct timer.
    Please treat this as email, Ciro might not reply immediately, but he will reply. So write longer complete messages each time.
    Ciro is trying to move more and more to end-to-end encrypted methods as a basic computer security hygiene exercise.
    Telegram is the best such mechanism that Ciro could find for now that does not require sharing cell phone numbers with all contacts.
    The closed sourcedness of the server is however a major point of concern. Signal would be a better choice, but it does not have usernames and so requires users to share cell phone numbers.
    Another major pain point of Telegram is the lack of message sync across devices, which Signal also already solves.
  • use LinkedIn or any other public profile linked to from: accounts controlled by Ciro Santillis
  • Discord ID: cirosantilli#8921
If you are a privacy freak or are going to tell Ciro state secrets Ciro has:
  • this GNU Privacy Guard public key: pubkey.gpg
  • a ProtonMail account which is of form: "Ciro's GitHub username +". Ciro doesn't use this very often, so if you don't get a reply soon, do ping Ciro in some other way telling him to check his protonmail. Ciro aims to maintain very high operations security standards on that account, making it the most secure way to contact Ciro, and the only one with a reasonable chance of plausible deniability:
    • multi-factor authentication
    • unique password not-reused anywhere else, and not saved on any computer or disk (and therefore entered manually on every new session)
    • immediate deletion of received messages after reading. This is further strengthened by Ciro Santilli's bad old event memory
    • one week message expiration on every message sent
    • only opened from trusted devices and when in a private location
    • only accessed through Tor Browser
    • concession: notifications that messages were received in the ProtonMail mailbox are sent an unencrypted mailbox which Ciro views more regularly and which has more free storage. But the message content itself is not. It does not seem that the Android app has a mode where it only notifies you of new messages but requires a password every time to see any messages. Also Android appears to request to remember passwords every time, so you risk clicking yes at some point.
If you have Ciro's phone number (available to closer acquaintances), Ciro's preferred messaging software is Signal. But he basically also runs all other major apps as well. Ciro sets a 1 week disappearing messages timer to all conversations. This is slightly less secure than protonmail as Ciro does not use multi-factor authentication to open the messages every time, but it should be pretty damn good already.
Disqus comments were removed from his website in 2019-05-04, a manual dump is available here, removal rationale at: why Ciro Santilli removed Disqus comments from his website in 2019-05-04.
Ciro Santilli controls the following accounts.
With non-trivial activity:
Other accounts:
Accounts in Chinese websites. These accounts might be banned or altered or offer other limitations, so Ciro only communicates briefly through them. All communication through those channels should obviously be assumed to be compromised:
Accounts in Russian websites:
Dead websites:
Accounts controlled by Ciro Santilli on Twitter:
Welcome to the wonderful world of Cirism!
Followers of Cirism call themselves Cirists, and their primary goal in life is to obtain Cirocoins.
Enlightened Cirists donate money to the cause at: Section "Sponsor Ciro Santilli's work on". It is totally optional of course, your soul will just be eternally damned if you don't.
Ciro Santilli once proclaimed:
Thou shalt eat thy watermelon in the morning, and thy melon in the evening. Thou shalt not eat thy watermelon in the evening, nor shalt thou eat thy melon in the morning.
Unconditional basic income is Ciro Santilli's ultimate non-transhumanist technological dream: to reach a state of technological advancement and distribution of resources so high that everyone gets money for doing nothing, enough for:
  • basic survival needs: food, housing, clothes, hygiene, etc.
  • two children to keep the world going. Or immortality tech, but is harder and borderline transhumanist :-)
  • high speed computer and Internet
Once a person has that, they can "learn, teach" and create whatever they want. Or play video games all day long if they wish.
Ciro Santilli will not live to see this, and is content with helping it happen faster by increasing the efficiency of the world as. And having at least two well educated kids to carry on the project after he dies :-)
Technologies which would help a lot towards unconditional basic income, and might be strictly required required are:
So in the worst case we can just grow brainless bodies and replace the cavity hole with a computer that controls the body, possibly with high level decisions coming from a remote building-sized genetically engineered biological AGI brain.
Of course, it is all about costs. A human costs about 130k 2010 USD/year. So how cheap can we make the AGI / robot human equivalent / year for a given task?
AGI + humanoid robots likely implies AI takeover though. It would then come down to human loving bots vs human hating bots fighting it out. It will be both terrifying and fun to watch.
AGI alone would be very dangerous, in case it can get control of our nuclear arsenals through software zero days or social engineering. Although some claim that is unlikely.
Humanity's best bet to achieve silicon AGI today is to work on: Ciro's 2D reinforcement learning games.
By Charles Bukowski mentioned e.g. at
Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.
Video 1. Easy street by Stan Kenton and June Christy (1945) Source. TODO exact lyrics for copy paste? There seem to be several variants, and I don't have the patience to transcribe. Close enough: Except that with UBI there won't be a:
guy that you can hire to plant trees so you can have shade
because most people will have something better to do. That's where artificial general intelligence comes in!
Figure 1. Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563) Source.
Even the Bible writers already know that multiple languages suck as seen from the Tower of Babel parable
Isn't it incredibly fitting that the building of the European Parliament looks like the Tower of Babel?
The fact that in poor countries a huge number of people do not speak the economically dominating language of the world, the lingua franca, English as of 2020, is a major obstacle to the development of those countries.
Despite us being in the information age, the people in those countries cannot fully benefit from it at all!
Teaching its people English should be the number one priority of any country. Without that, there can be no technological development. Everything else is secondary and can be learnt off the Internet once you know English.
And the most efficient way to do that, is that every country should create amazing free open source English learning material for their own language.
European countries are perhaps the most perfect example of how many languages destroy once powerful countries: Section "European Tower of Babel (Europe is doomed)"
The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis is bullshit outside of poetry, and the ending of Arrival (2016) makes one want to puke, where learning a language changes not only your brain, but also Ciro's precious "laws" of Physics!
Much more likely are To Serve Man/A Small Talent for War events which we have already seen countless times!
Remember that those ideas come from a person who speaks 3.5 languages in 2019, and sees absolutely no practical difference between them.
Of course, like all non-constructed languages, English is not fully optimal in terms of regularity and information density. It could be argued that other languages are better in those aspects.
For example, Ciro does believe that spoken Chinese is a better language than English overall from a purely "ease of learning from scratch point of view" as mentioned at: Chinese writing is completely insane of course, completely out of the question.
However, Ciro just doesn't think that the difference is that great to justify replacing English which is already dominant. How much more efficient can a perfect constructed language be than English? 1.01? 1.001? Such margins don't matter. Once you have learnt it young, it's done, for good.
English-based a posteriori constructed languages that regularize English further are perhaps the only reasonable alternative, like how C++ evolved from C by creating a low cost upgrade path. Although in practice they will never take off unless a dictatorship rules the world:
One interesting anecdote is that Ciro met his wife in French, and talking to her primarily in English feels really weird, so language does matter in love.
Different languages might also good at producing interesting diverse touristic locations, with different diverse and interesting foods. Because that's what tourism is all about. The exotic. The unique. And therefore, also necessarily the inefficient.
People with similar ideas:
Video 1. English spelling - a bit mad, but perhaps the best system around by Lindybeige (2015) Source. To be taken as a semi-joke, but he does mention the interesting point that English insane spelling helps disambiguate reading, like an intermediate between Chinese characters and more regular spelled languages.
What big companies have been created in Europe after World War II, that have not been bought or utterly defeated by American or Japanese companies?
  • International Computers Limited fully bought by Fujitsu in 1998 after a long decline. The Fujitsu Wikipedia entry contains the emblematic image caption:
    The Fujitsu office in Bracknell, United Kingdom, formerly an ICL site and opened by HM the Queen in 1976
    So much for The Queen. This was a prelude to Arm's sale somewhat.
  • Solexa sold to Illumina (American company) for 600M USD in 2007. As of 2020 is still the basis for the dominant DNA sequencing technology in the world
  • CSR sold to Qualcomm (American company) for 2.5B USD in 2015
  • Dotmatics sold to Insightful Science for $690M[ref] in 2021. To add insult to inujury, Insightful changed its brand to Dotmatics later on.
  • Arm sold to Softbank (32B USD in 2016)? ARM being of course the fortunate leftover of Acorn Computers's defeat to the more edible Apple
Because of all these failures, much fanfare was made as Spotify reached a $50B market capitalization in 2020. An art company, so cute!
As of 2023, the LVMH was the most valuable company in Europe by market capitalization[ref]. Luxury goods. An area of industry that borders between the useless and the evil.
Europe has basically become an outsourcing hub for the United States. The fact that its starts are all sold if they become large enough just means that R&D is also outsourced.
ASML, and perhaps more maeaningfully its parent/predecessor ASM International from 1964 is perhaps the biggest exception.
The key problem is that there are so many small countries in Europe, that any startup has to deal with too many incompatible legislation and cannot easily sell to the hole of Europe and scale. So then a larger company from a more uniform country comes and eats it up!
Talent mobility is another issue:
  • people can't generally work remotely from different countries for the same company as regular employees, only as contractors. This is because of fiscal incompatibilities across countries[ref][ref], and has become an increasing problem in the 2020's with the increase in remote work possibilities during/after COVID-19.
  • it is quite rare for people to study at university in different countries than their own, because the entry examinations are in the native language and have local history knowledge components. This also means that people from different countries don't easily recognize which are the best Universities of other countries, making you take a hit if you want to search for jobs elsewhere
So why can't Europe unify its laws?
Because the countries are still essentially walled off by languages. Europe is the perfect example of why having more than one natural language is bad for the world.
There isn't true mobility of people between countries.
You just can't go study or work in any other country (except for the UK, when it was still in the EU) without putting a huge effort into learning its language first.
Without this, there isn't enough mixing to truly make cultures more uniform, and therefore allow the laws to be more uniform.
Europe can't even unify basic things like:
  • a marriage registry
  • the mail system, parcels often getting lost and require you to contact people who may not speak English
  • the train systems:
    This year, I decided to travel from Berlin to #COP26 in Glasgow by train. The journey was expected to cover 4 trains from 4 different railway operators and to last 17 hours. I had planned for at least 30 minutes transfer time in Cologne, Brussels and London.
    Well, as you might have guessed, in reality the trip took 32 hours and I spent one extra night at a hotel in London.
Equally so, it can't force little fiscal paradises who effectively benefit from being in Europe like Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland ("not European", but should that be allowed?) and Cyprus (the EU can't even maintain its territorial integrity, let alone fiscal) to not offer ridiculously low taxes and incentives which make them entry points for foreign companies to rape Europe.
For this reason, Europe will only continue to go downhill with the years, and the United Kingdom will continue to try and endosymbiose into a state of the United States (although at times it seems that it would rather endosymbiose with China instead).
Historically, this disunion is partly due to the European balance of power, whereby countries would form alliances with old enemies to prevent another country from taking over. Also linked are failed military unification attempts by Napoleon and Hitler, though we are likely better off without the latter succeeding!!! Though those also partly failed due to wider balance of power issues involving the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and USA, not only due to internal balance. Of course, none of that matters anymore after World War II, where other more unified Europe-sized potencies rose, first the USA and the Soviet Union, and then China, and now European disunion is nothing but a burden.
Evidence such as those makes it clear that the European Union is a failure.
One thing must be said in favour of Europe's mess however: it favours international collaboration in huge projects as a more neutral middle ground. This can be seen more clearly in the ITER and the fiasco that was the Superconducting Super Collider that was cancelled a couple of billion dollars in partly because it failed to attract any foreign investment, compared to the Large Hadron Collider which went on to find the Higgs boson as mentioned at
Video 1. Why Europe Lost Semiconductors by Asianometry (2023) Source.
!!! Survivorship bias alert !!!
If you want to do something, but you are afraid to do it, then that is likely what you should do.
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.
For example, when Ciro Santilli was deciding what to do in university, he wanted mostly to do pure physics.
But because he was afraid he was going to die poor and unemployed because of that, he picked engineering instead.
That was a mistake.
His family was not even poor. He was young and did not have a family to support. His father even told him: "do whatever the fuck you want, we support your decision".
But he was a coward.
It was also in part because a physicist uncle which he respected suggested that as an engineer Ciro might be able to make useful contributions to tooling required by physics. When Roberto Salmeron died in 2020, Ciro's friends shared this 2013 video interview with the late professor, where he explains he first went to the University of São Paulo to study engineering (like Ciro), but then fell for his passion for physics (like Ciro?), his first task being to build a Geiger counter, thus explaining the likely origin of the uncle's theory. But who knows, maybe he was right. Maybe Ciro's will become huge and help a lot of people, and it might not have had Ciro not done engineering and learnt programming. Destiny operates in weird ways sometimes.
Furthermore, while in University, Ciro learnt about the molecular Sciences Course of the University of São Paulo, a fantastic sounding full time course that any student could transfer to called that teaches various natural sciences topics which Ciro loves (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology) and which students from the entire university can apply to transfer to only after joining the university, with the guarantee that they can go back to their original courses if they didn't adapt to the new course.
But did Ciro do it? Nope, he remained an even larger coward.
Had he studied more sciences, he might have been happier, and might have had greater achievements later in life, in particular when he went to École Polytechnique.
Maybe not, but now this doubt will never leave his mind until the final day.
Similar thoughts crossed his mind when he started his campaign for freedom of speech in China, but this time he had learnt the lesson, and went for it, and it felt very good.
If you have a day job, but also have a dream, and want to keep the day job for a reason, try to reserve the time of the day that your brain works best before or after work for your dream: do one cool thing every day.
Companies can help you grow because you see real problems from within them, but their end goal is to consume you as much as possible. Don't let that happen. Invest part of what you gain, in yourself. The Paradox of Going Outside by James Somers (2012) puts it incredibly well:
I work, for instance, as a Web developer. It's a very good job. Our office is a block south of Union Square, a 12-minute commute from my apartment. We're served breakfast every morning. Our kitchen is stocked with "provisions" of organic beef jerky, coconut water, craft beers, chips, and two restaurant-class espresso machines. We have two ping pong tables and buckets of 3-star ping pong balls. (A new office manager bought "1-stars" once and some of the guys protested by crushing them.) We work on 4-cored Apple Mac computers with dual monitors. We have an unmolested hour for lunch, 10-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon, and a "do not disturb" policy past the working hours. We even have a specific email address where employees can ask for free things: genuine maple syrup, hot chocolate, a $900 chair, a new keyboard. Most of the programmers make six figures, and many of those have only three or four years of experience.
It's impossible to say so without sounding like the spokesperson for Entitlement itself but working there is still sort of soul-crushing. It's soul-crushing in the way that any job that doesn't command your full passionate attention must be. What happens is that I will be in my chair in the early afternoon and I will accidentally step out of myself and all I'll see is time passing, nine-hour parcels of healthy consciousness forever being packed away as the user experience of clerical workers or consumers or whoever gets marginally better; and I'll end up thinking that this enterprise of mine is not so much creative but bureaucratic, that what I've gotten good at is reading the instruction manuals of other people, finding my way around their insignificant warrens. And in those moments the whole business will seem to me like kind of a tragic waste.
Other quotes:
Don't be a pussy. Be a Based God
Figure 1. Dilbert "A small brain irrationally puts more weight on a small loss than on a huge opportunity" cartoon (2000) Source.
Figure 2. Jake Likes Onions "Slowly" cartoon. Source. This is what trying to reach a dream part time feels like. The cartoon reads: "The tiger pursues its prey. Slowly. The human pursues its life goals. Slowly. Very slowly.".
Video 1. Excerpt from the documentary film "Steve Jobs: Secrets of Life" (1994) Source.
When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it... Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.
Of course, survivorship bias alert!
Video 2. What Would You Do If Money Were No Object by Alan Watts. Source. Sample transcription:
What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?
Let's suppose, I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, "we're getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do". So I always ask the question, "what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?"
Well, it's so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, we'd like to be painters, we'd like to be poets, we'd like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can't earn any money that way. Or another person says well, I'd like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses. I said you want to teach in a riding school?
Let's go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don't like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
And after all, if you do really like what you're doing, it doesn't matter what it is, you can eventually turn it - you could eventually become a master of it. It's the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you'll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don't worry too much. That's everybody is - somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will.
But it's absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don't like, in order to go on spending things you don't like, doing things you don't like and to teach our children to follow in the same track. See what we are doing, is we're bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lifes we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it's all retch and no vomit. It never gets there. And so, therefore, it's so important to consider this question: What do I desire?
Video 3. Keep Chargin' from a Show of Hands by Victor Wooten (1996). Source.
That's the way I live my life, I give it my all. I think that a person should really make up his mind what he wants to do, and when did made up, he cannot fail at it. The basic rule to sucess I think, is when the going gets tough, that is a positive signal to keep chargin'.
Closely echoes Video 2. "What Would You Do If Money Were No Object by Alan Watts". Survivorship bias? Maybe. Beautiful? Unquestionably. So glad he was allowed to upload it officially to YouTube.
Video 4. Your Life is Your life by Charles Bukowski. Source.
Charles Bukowski is one of the most hardcore don't be a pussy people ever. It's alsmost scary. Beyond Ciro level.
your life is your life
don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the Gods wait to delight
in you.
If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the Gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.
I have one of two choices - stay in the post office and go crazy... or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.
Figure 3. Bukowski kissing his typewriter. Like Ciro Santilli and his computer!
Video 5. All adults are bored scene from an Edward Teller, An Early Time. Source.
Up to the time that I met Klug ([a mathematiciam]), I was sure that all grown ups were people to be pitied. They had to work, they were tired, they were bored with what they were doing. I heard both my parents often complain. Klug was the first man whom I met who most obviously enoyed what he was doing.
But to be fair, being a fucking "genius" might be a requirement to escape that fate!
Figure 4. Modern Sisyphus by Sephko. Source.
Ciro Santilli believes that there is a close link between the ability to create disruptive technology, and the desire to find bugs/exploits in systems.
Both of them destabilize society and enterprises.
Some examples:
  • Jobs and Wozniak's blue box
  • Robert Noyce's stealing a pig for a university party somewhat as a joke. This was actually a felony, but he got away with a compromise by paying the owner and being suspended for 6 months. The law is not blind, and thanks for that sometimes.
    Oh, and apparently he also got a university girlfriend pregnant, and she had an abortion.
  • Mark Zuckerberg's FaceMash
And yes, this sometimes leads into a fine line between legality and illegality:
Ciro Santilli's own naughty projects are listed at: Section "Ciro Santilli's naughty projects".
Ciro feels that this resonates a lot with his
The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked far more interesting.
And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.
Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life.
If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.
Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
You've got to find what you love.
And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking.
Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.
So keep looking until you find it.
Don't settle.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."
It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"
And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Mirror and morning are not required though, a computer screen will do just fine:
And then he quotes form the Whole Earth Catalog, a paper Atlas from the '70s he admired:
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish
Someone who is not a pussy.
Someone once called Ciro Santilli that: It's an overstatement, considering that Ciro's parents have some money. Not infinite. But still. Changes everything. A real Based God is someone like Charles Bukowski, who had to work decades at the post office.
If you are a pussy and work a soul crushing job, this is one way to lie to yourself that your life is still worth living: do one cool thing every day.
Find a time in which your mind hasn't yet been destroyed by useless work, usually in the morning before work, and do one thing you actually like in life.
Work a little less well for you boss, and a little better for yourself. Ross Ulbricht:
I hated working for someone else and trading my time for money with no investment in myself
Selling drugs online is not advisable however.
Even better, try to reach an official agreement with your employer to work 20% less than the standard work week. For example, you could work one day less every week, and do whatever you want on that day. It is not possible to push your passion to weekends, because your brain is too tired. "You keep all non-company-related IP you develop on that time" is a key clause obviously.
On a related note, good employers must allow employees to do whichever the fuck "crazy projects", "needed refactorings or other efficiency gains" and "learn things deeply" at least 20% of their time if employees want that: Employees must choose if they want to do it one day a week or two hours per day. One day per month initiatives are bullshit. Another related name: genius hour.
Video 1. I did it for me, Skyler. Source. Pursuing a dream part time can make you feel afraid and tired. But at least, you will feel alive.
Maybe you will be fired, but long term, having tried, or even succeeded your dream, or a one of its side effects, will be infinitely more satisfying.
The same goes for school, and maybe even more so because your parents can still support you there. Some Gods who actually followed this advice and didn't end up living under a bridge:
  • George M. Church "[We] hope that whatever problems... contributed to your lack of success... at Duke will not keep you from a successful pursuit of a productive career." Lol, as of 2019 the dude is the most famous biotechnologist in the world, those "problems" certainly didn't keep him back.
  • Freeman Dyson proved the equivalence of the three existing versions of quantum electrodynamics theories that were around at his time, and he has always been proud of not having a PhD!
    Video 2. Freeman Dyson - Why I don't like the PhD system (95/157) by Web of Stories (2016) Source.
  • Person that Ciro met personally and shall remain anonymous for now for his privacy: once Ciro was at a bar with work colleagues casually, it was cramped, and an older dude sat next to his group.
    The dude then started a conversation with Ciro, and soon he explained that he was a mathematician and software engineer.
    As a Mathematician, he had contributed to the classification of finite simple groups, and had a short Wiki page because of that.
    He never did a PhD, and said that academia was a waste of time, and that you can get as much done by working part time a decent job and doing your research part time, since you skip all the bullshit of academia like this.
    Yet, he was still invited by collaborating professors to give classes on his research subject in one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Students would call him Doctor X., and he would correct them: Mister X.
    As a software engineer, he had done a lot of hardcore assembly level optimizations for x86 for some mathematical libraries related to his mathematics interests. He started talking microarchitecture with Ciro's colleagues.
    And he currently worked on an awesome open source project backed by a company.
    At last but not least, he said he also fathered 17 children by donating his sperm to lesbian mothers found on a local gay magazine, and that he had met most/all of those children after they were born.
    A God. Possibly the most remarkable person Ciro ever met, and his jaw was truly dropped.
Gandhi TODO source:
You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind
This is one of Ciro Santilli's most important principles.
Steve Jobs has a great quote about this. He's totally right on this one!
You've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can't start with the technology and try to figure out where you're going to sell it.
Video 1. Steve Jobs Insult Response excerpt from the 1997 WWDC. Source. TODO understand the context of the question a bit better. It is something to do with an OpenDoc thing and Java.
Decide your goal first, and then do whatever is needed to how to reach it.
Don't start randomly learning tech, because that means you will waste a lot of time learning useless stuff.
There is of course some level chicken-and-egg paradox in this, as highlighted by Dilbert, since choosing an achievable goal in the first place requires some level of technical understanding.
Figure 1. Dilbert cartoon about designing a nuclear power plant from user requirements (2002) Source.
This cartoon illustrates well how when doing deep tech and fighting against the laws of physics, you can't just start from user requirements, but you also have to also think "what can we actually get done at all with this new technique".
The best research engineers are able to identify what is just on the cusp of the "possible", but which has the greatest value. This is the endless dance between the tech push, and the market/need pull.
However, it is much more common that people will get way too involved in learning useless stuff and lose sight of the useful end goals.
Rather, take an iterative approach:
There is some truth to the counter argument that "but if you don't spend a lot of time learning the basics, you can never find solutions".
However, these people underestimate your brain. The brain is beautiful, and human intuition is capable of generating interest towards the things that are actually useful to reach your goal. When you feel like learning something related to your goal, by all means, give yourself the time to do so. But this still be much more efficient than just learning random things that other people tell you to learn.