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Re: End of HIT MEN thread

Sandy Sandfort writes:

> I'm stymied.  I keep arguing the real world, and everyone
> responds as though this were a MUD game.

> Who is signing off this thread.  What's coming is coming, no
> matter what we do or say.  History will have the last word.

I'm sorry that you're signing off this thread, particularly since
it was you that challenged others to "disprove" your scenarios.

After considerable struggle, I have finally succeeded in coming up with
a mechanism through which the hiring party and the murderer-for-hire
can make a contract through the escrow service in such a way that the
escrow service doesn't know that the contract is for murder.  Of course,
it requires some additional assumptions -- none of them outrageous IMO.
Since you have lost patience with the thread, I won't bother to post
the details.

This much I will say: I believe that *IF* there is a way to prove to
the satisfaction of an unbiased third party that the intended victim is
in fact dead [I'm not at all sure of this -- and this is where my
additional assumptions come in], *THEN* the contract can be structured
in such a way that the knowledge of the contract details are hidden
from the escrow service who's overseeing the performance of the contract.
So, in your scenario ONE, the escrow service would not know the contract
is a hit, and therefore would not cheat.  And, it would be completely
vulnerable to the accusation if it did so.

You say you are arguing the real world.  Yet you are proposing or 
discussing scenarios which are clearly not possible today.  So in some
sense, you are asking the rest of us to assume some set of future
conditions which are predicted to hold -- without any assurance that
they will.  I did in fact view this as a game which is why I felt free
to invent other pieces of infrastructure which didn't seem outrageously

You and Tim (and others) have argued over whether or to what extent an
ordinary escrow service will tolerate contracts for illegal and immoral
services.  My own opinion is closer to yours, but if, as I believe, the
knowledge of the contract details can be kept from the escrow service,
this all becomes academic anyway.  As you say, history will judge.

To me, it seems that the hard problem here is how (or whether) a real
world event, such as the death of an individual, could ever be "proved"
to an impartial observer via the net.  As you pointed out, digitized
images alone will not fill the bill, which is why I invented the 
on-line coroner's service.

Anyway, it was fun.

-- Jeff