25 - A week in Antwerp

25 - A week in Antwerp

At last we are able to "enjoy" some warmer weather here in Europe.  The difference with summer in Northern Ireland is quite apparent.  It was hot in Antwerp till Sunday evening and overnight thunder led to a rather pleasant week.

We have had a full mix of weather this week - including cooler and generally pleasant days and even rain midweek!

Sunday evening, we had a family get-together for first time in a long time and dinner outside with friends courtesy of Ecokot Antwerpen.  We also had some good discussion on, and hand-on experience with, Lightning and Bitcoin - good for the younger generation to be so on the ball!  If you are interested to get started yourself with Bitcoin and Lightning, go back and check Issue 14 - the steps are quite straightforward and I am happy to help - just ask!

Other unexpectedly positive experience of the week was dealing with Stad Antwerpen.  I do have recollections of having to queue up early-morning in the rain to get a number so that you come back later in the day to wait more for your appointment at the "bevolking".  Things have progressed quite a bit and it was easy to make an appointment online and I must say that the facilities in the building at Harmonie Park are just fantastic.  The staff were super friendly and helpful.  Go figure!  To be honest this is a two-edged sword - they are surprisingly well-connected in many of their electronic records...

It was nice to meet up with some friends from back when I lived in Antwerp - good discussions - I am still here for a few more days so if you want to meet up while we are in Belgium do reach out!

Fun Find:  If you hate the adverts in youtube videos you really should be using Brave Browser as your default browser in combination with the uBlock origin extension.  Try it and you will thank me!

📚 Book of the week

This week I have been re-reading Why we sleep by Matthew Walker.  If you have not already read this - you must!

❓ Can you recall the last time you woke up without an alarm clock feeling refreshed, not needing caffeine? If the answer is “no,” you are not alone.

💤 Two-thirds of adults fail to obtain the recommended 8 hours of nightly sleep. You may be surprised and alarmed by the consequences!  In the book he  describes not only the good things that happen when you get sleep but also the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don’t get enough. He discusses the brain (learning, memory aging, Alzheimer’s disease, education), and highlights disease-related consequences in the body (cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease).

💪. The take-home: Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset the health of our brains and bodies - it is your super-power!

From the book you will learn:

  • how sleep works: non-REM and REM sleep and the purpose of each of these including how the desirable quantities and ratios vary throughout your life - womb to grave!
  • the negative effects of not sleeping enough or with sufficient quality - you will be amazed at the number and variety of examples that he cites with supporting research
  • since sleep takes up about 1/3 of your life you should not be surprised that it impacts many dimensions of your health and wellness.  Just as there is no single result from the 2/3 of the time you spend awake, so also sleeping serves many purposes and pretty much all of them are important.
  • how your daily cycle of sleep/wake works and things that impact it positively and negatively
  • there are "early birds" and "night owls" and this is genetically inherited but western society favours the early birds and you will be surprised how much early school negatively impacts children!
  • how bi-phasic sleep is likely the evolutionary preference - either before and after midnight or overnight with afternoon nap!
  • you will be amazed at the statistics on how tiredness when driving is more dangerous than driving with alcohol
  • you likely do already know (but do not want to consider) the impact of alcohol on sleep quality and also reading/watching mobile devices in the evening
  • the impact of caffeine on your sleep and you might be surprised how bad it it can be - even if you do not notice it - due to the decrease in sleep quality
  • quite a few areas where sleep quality measurements may be predictive of future health - you can imagine why that is interesting...  Encouraging is that making improvements, however late in life, does give positive effects - so don't wait!
  • dreaming - how it works and what is known about the purpose.  Intriguing that Lucid Dreaming might be an evolutionary advantage!
  • plenty of tips on how to improve your sleep quality - up to you

You may also enjoy his Talk at Google - the interviewer did a good job!
Also The Matt Walker Podcast offers many interesting insights.

😴 Experimenting - why not?

Related to Matt's book I have recently been experimenting again with Lucid Dreaming.  I have managed to achieve Lucidity a few times in the past; be aware that it only works when you are getting plenty of quality sleep and you can focus with intent.  The experience is remarkable and once you have achieved Lucidity you will certainly want more.  Matt does speculate that being able to do this may be an evolutionary advantage - so why would you not?

Plenty of advice around on how to do this - eg Zach: I Tried Lucid Dreaming for 30 Days and My Life Will Never Be The Same

The seminal book on the topic is Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge

The techniques that I have found most useful are: dream journal and WBTB & MILD, reality check and having conscious intent - (explained in Zach's video)

BTW - this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is much more to say and consider here but that will be for subsequent updates - do share your own experience - in Telegram here

🛠 Update on my projects

Website conversations and interactions

Small update on the website - there is now a Telegram group for easier discussion on the newsletter and any questions you want to ask - click the link here to join the Telegram group.  I updated all the pages to point to this since it is easier to use than the Matix forum.

📰 Newsletters - have them read to you

Thanks to one of my my ardent subscribers (you know who you are) I was delighted to find that you can now have your iPhone/iPad or Mac read this newsletter to you!  I suspect that Android and Windoze users have similar capabilities at their disposal but I have no direct experience on these yet - feel free to share tips and tricks in Telegram if you know!

For your iOS devices, just turn on the Accessibility feature "Spoken Content - Speak Screen" and you are in business!  I left everything else on default settings - but you might want to go through and enable a different voice (sorry Samantha!).   My settings are below - a quick explainer video is here.  

🆕❗️ The next thing - translation into your local language

Also in : Dutch, French, German, Serbian, Chinese Traditional & Simplified and Burmese. Enjoy the newsletters in your local language - some examples for my current subscribers:

... an interesting side effect that you can also browse the entire website in your chosen language!   Do try it out and let me know how good the experience is!

💰 Bitcoin

🎈 I must admit my eyes glazed over a bit when I saw yet another "definition of inflation" article but this read by Guy Swann of Steven Lubka's article "Bitcoin and the true meaning of inflation" is well worth a listen.  Obvious only with hindsight!

⚡️Joy and Happiness!  Last week, I mentioned Lyn's long read: A Look At the Lightning Network.  This week Guy Swann is reading it - WOW.  You have to listen and learn (pro-tip listen at 1.8x speed).  You will understand so many things:

  • How and why bitcoin is different from the other proof-of-work currencies having first established the store of value function before a rock-solid exchange system - not to mention Ethereum and all the altcoins (there are other names too!)
  • Why it is normal that bitcoin is hoarded for its store-of-value properties at this stage of the lifecycle in the "developed" countries but is already migrating to unit-of-exchange (via Lightning network) in high-inflation and high-restriction countries - also how this may well play out in conjunction with local, regional and global stablecoins.  It all seems rather reminiscent of how money worked when I first visited Myanmar and Cambodia more than 20 years ago!  Fundamental truths emerge and are being re-discovered...
  • Many examples of how ledger-based fiat systems have always collapsed and how Gresham's Law ensures that low quality money circulates while high quality money gets used as the preferred store-of-value - fascinating example of the oscillations of Gold and Silver in Unites States!
  • How the necessary scaling for bitcoin is enabled through Lightning
  • How (most likely) additional privacy will be added through extensions to Lightning - although Lightning already allows a lot of privacy (for sender) if you use it carefully
  • ....and lot's more - do share your views and feedback/questions in the Telegram Group

⚠️ Ethereum Merge continues to dominate the news

Ethereum and its merge is prompting plenty of discussion: Blockchain wars 2,0 as we discussed last week.  I am still not speculating on the outcome other than extreme volatility ahead on this and likley collateral damage!

  • First a brief explainer on what is planned and how it should roll out - likely in mid September - very clearly presented by Finematics.  Super clearly explained.
  • Tech Lead (quite a character who does blow his own trumpet often and loudly) has fairly clear view on what is happening - he does have the technical skills at least to understand this very well: Ethereum is Dead... Long Live Ethereum 2.0. PROFIT from THE MERGE.
  • CTO Larrson takes a rather more Investor/Speculator view on the situation: Ethereum Merge Price Target
  • Altcoin Daily explains clearly the rebellious miner ETHPoW plans and how this sits vs Vitalik's plans - with analysis and clips from Vitalik's Keynote at the Canadian 2022 Blockchain Futurist Conference.
  • Related to all the above, Tech Lead shares his opinion on Web3 should make you think He does also directly contradict what Vitalik says about ensuring user control and inability to block.  Also of interest is that the Social Recovery topic that Vitalik mentioned is also under development (independently) for Bitcoin and I would trust the bitcoin implementation rather more.
  • For an alternative and rather more intellectual/academic analysis of all of this  read Arthur Hayes latest article ETH-flexive  He concludes that he will BTFD!

🎓 Reading, listening and learning

Below are some more interesting sources that I came across, or was reminded of, in the past week - for your enjoyment and edification:

💰 Macro Economics and Investing

There are clearly conflicting views about what is coming - I am not promoting either side - rather indicate below some informed opinions and supporting data.  As they say - DYOR (do your own research)...

Consider James' new series that he starts weekly on Global Macro Insights.  This week he covers Gaslighting, Oil, Inflation, Energy, Debt Crisis, Real Wages + Productivity James takes something of a medium term view 6-18 months.

I also recommend the interview of Michael Saylor by Daniella Carbone. He explains very clearly his strategy and the actions that he has been taking to educate people.  Do also check out his Saylor Academy - this is the legacy that he wishes to leave.  You may want to go back to Daniella and Michael's previous interview - the Great BTC-Gold debate with Frank Giustra...  Note that Michel is taking the LONG VIEW - 4 years or more.

Something of a contrarian but rather well informed position. - Zoltan Poszar is back with his August article War and Interest Rates.  Even if you do not like his message - he does seem to have been right back in March about Outside and Inside Money. - his article on Bretton Woods 3 - explainer video here

Guy speculates on what may well happen: Housing Market Crash: It's Coming & This is WHY

Guy also does a nice thought experiment: The Perfect Cryptocurrency: This is What It Looks Like

📢 Politics

A rather sad tale from my home country of Northern Ireland - this does seem to typify politics and politicians in many places these days...

🤔 You might want to give this some consideration

You may well have noticed but all is not well in the world these days.  To understand some possible reasons and exacerbators you might want to watch.  It is a click-baity title but there is a lot revealed here:

BTW - this is the reason why I use NetNewswire to follow the sources and creators that I am interested in.  This gives you direct access to their feeds without "the machine" intervening and feeding you  things that you did not ask for.  Check back in Issue 23 for explainer on how to do this.

🤪 That's it!

No one can be told what The Matrix is.
You have to see it for yourself.

Do share this newsletter with any of your friends and family who might be interested.

You can easily ask questions or discuss any topics in the newsletters in our Telegram group  - click the link here to join the group.  
You can also email me at: LetterFrom@rogerprice.me

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