28 - And so, on to Malta

28 - And so, on to Malta
Photo by Mike Nahlii / Unsplash

We have spent quite a few weeks together with family in Northern Ireland and Belgium and have done what we intended and everything what was wanted or needed so it is time for us to move on.   One book that I did re-read over the summer and you may want to as well at some time is: Somebody I used to know by Wendy Mitchel.

It is still not clear when, or even if, we will be able to  go back to our home in Hong Kong.  For sure nothing will change till after the China Party Conference in mid October and it is not encouraging that HK Government has just asked hotels to bid for the ninth(!) cycle of designated hotel quarantine - extending to end Feb 2023 - so much for safe and effective vaccines and 2-weeks to flatten the curve!   Question remains as to whether HK will be liveable after all they have been through recently - for sure it will not be the place that we enjoyed for 10 years.

So, we are starting the next phase with a stay in Malta for a bit.  We are staying in Sliema - just across the harbour from Valetta.  We have a large high-floor apartment with a view of the promenade.   Everything here also seems to be pretty handy, mostly in walking distance and there are loads of buses and ferries so we will be exploring further in due course.

First impressions of Malta are:  it is hot, quite built-up with lots of traffic, plenty of tourists and huge historic buildings everywhere.  It is nice to be back in a warm climate again - we have really missed that; even better not to have the humidity of Hong Kong!

I have not owned a TV or watched one since I left the UK and moved to Belgium back in the mid 1980s.   Obviously I do catch glimpses of TV when visiting friends and family and in public spaces.   From those glimpses (especially of morning TV and the news reports), the propagandising nature is not hard to spot.

Aware of this you can and should be selective in what you watch, especially now with easy access to media and information via multiple high quality independent sources - recall that we discussed the value of RSS Feeds and tools like NetNewsWire.  Like that you do not have to "take what they give you" - rather you can pick and choose what you want to watch and when.  There is an incredible about of interesting and valuable material out there.  Catch it while you can.

The Prisoner

With some time to relax this past week and also during our travels I admit that I binged on watching "The Prisoner" a TV series from 1967-68.  These older TV series are an example of what I mean by quality content; watch one and you will see the difference immediately.

Superficially "The Prisoner" is a about an unnamed British intelligence agent who is abducted and imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village, where his captors designate him as "Number Six" and try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job.  Going deeper you will find many messages and inferences; you will then not be surprised that even The Simpsons picked up on this.

You can go a deep as you like on this - to get you started:

Books of the week - Fiction for a change

Source: https://culturedvultures.com/discworld-wyrd-sisters/

I am continuing to work through Terry Prachett's books.  This week I read Wyrd Sisters book #6 in Discworld series and #2 in Witches.  I have got to recommend it!  Super too is the Animated movie - fabulously close to the book.

Among other things it is a parody of Macbeth, taking place in the kingdom of Lancre, a rather barren place consisting mostly of mountains and forests. The king has recently been murdered by one of his dukes, and three witches are asked to hide his newborn son from the duke's soldiers. They take pity on the child and arrange for him to be adopted by a traveling theater company.

You could then say that the rest of the book is about how the witches conspire to remove the duke from the throne so that the rightful heir can return. And of course... the book is about that too... but really it's mostly about how the witches try to deal with the whole affair.

The fool is an interesting character - with lots of knowledge and wisdom - not least on the Power of Words to control the people and spread misinformation and even to rewrite history.

He convinces the duke to hire a writer to write a play to make the people believe that the old king was really evil - and that the witches were his demonic lackeys - you only have to look up from the pages for a moment to find parallels to today's information war via fake news and social media.

Alice in Wonderland

I also re-read Alice in Wonderland again this past week.  How interesting.  I read this just for enjoyment and was not looking for any deeper meaning (there is plenty of analysis elsewhere on that).  What did strike me was how closely the stories seem like real dream-journal entries.  Indeed (spoiler?) this is what Alice discovers at the end of the book!   From my own experimentation recently with Lucid Dreaming I see many characteristics of things and behaviour of characters in the stories are ones that you will spot too if/when you try.

Source: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/65763/12-absurd-facts-about-alice-wonderland

🛠Update on my Projects

💰 Bitcoin & Lightning

Still in study mode this week.  Peter interviews Lyn about Why Bitcoin is the Best Monetary Network.  The paper they refer to is here: A Look at the Lightning Network.  Read and enjoy!

I have mentioned "mempool.space" before.  This is just the best view on the bitcoin ecosystem - you can see it working in real time and it is free to use.  Being open source you can easily run your own copy or just use the public instance here.  This past week they have introduced a new dashboard that allows you to drill down on the Lightning network - also in real time.

Interesting interview of K3tan by Stephan on the best PCs for Bitcoin and Lighning nodes and options to keep in mind.  Click-baity title but the content is GREAT as ever.  K3tan's website is here: Ministry of Nodes.

🎓 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.  Remember that Brave Browser (with uBlock Origin extension) is the best way to watch youtube videos and I recommend watching at 1.5x or 1.75x speed! You will see no more ads!

🌎 Geopolitics and Current affairs

You may or may not realise that Sunday is the 21st anniversary of 911.  If you want to know what really happened on that day you should check out James Corbett's summary of the official story and then look what many thousands of architects think after having analysed all available data.  More here with Richard Gage and livestream on this coming Sunday.

Turning to Europe - Alf's Macro Compass is required reading and he will read it to you!  Putin vs Europe - The Long War

Related to the above - Mark has quite an interesting analysis - multi-dimensional chess indeed...

You may want to watch and listen to Neil's Walk and Talk from IOM - do you really agree with the unelected and unaccountable politicians that the coming pain is worth it for some indeterminate principles where doublespeak is strongly used?

🤔  Macro Economics and Investing

James: The link between Power, Energy, FIAT and Bitcoin ( Digital Energy)

⚠️ Ethereum Merge - happening next week...

Guy has a short explainer on what to expect and how to sail the waves

🤔 You likely want to give this proper consideration

Max makes some very practical suggestions: Use cash and leave your smartphone at home when you go out - it is that simple - use a Feature Phone if you really must be reachable.   Before you shake your head and say "that's all rubbish", just look around you and think about all the things that have happened in the last two years that you would have said were impossible.  Think back to how you lived in 2019 - has anything changed for you? Why, really?   Recall too front cover of The Economist in December 2018.

🤪  Finishing up on a lighter note

Peter from Bulgaria discusses the advantages of Slow Living and you might want to watch the Netflix explainer the Social Dilemma (also on Lookmovie).

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