Urbit is a clean-slate reimplementation of the whole system software stack. On the bottom it's a replacement of the lambda calculus, in the middle it's a new functional programming language, on top it's a purely functional network operating system in which address space is property.
Tlon owns approximately half of the entire address-space on the Urbit network.
I have met MM. We had an extensive discussion, first in person and then via email, about a programming language he was (maybe still is) designing called Watt. He seemed to me to be reinventing many wheels, and doing it badly. But what struck me most was that he actually seemed to take pride in his ignorance. Here's a relevant excerpt from our correspondence:
"Therefore, the M-FCCN [metacircular functional content-centric network - Ed] problem is if nothing else an interesting excuse to revisit the foundations of programming languages with an extreme emphasis on precision and simplicity. I felt it would be a big mistake to start this effort by learning either a Lisp or one of the "PL theory" languages, like Haskell, as it would sacrifice the enormous advantage of not knowing either. I found it much more interesting to recreate functional programming from scratch in more or less a clean room."
I think he approaches economics and politics with the same philosophy. It kinda drives me nuts that he attracts so many followers.
Curtis and I were in the same tiny cohort at Berkeley, as graduate students in Computer Science. We all called him "Bicycle Helmet Man" because he never took off his bike helmet, even in class. Strange, strange guy.
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