50 - Valentine's Day soon

50 - Valentine's Day soon
Ongang Street art - Canal Walking Street

🇹🇭 Another week here in Bangkok.  We had wonderful cool weather over the weekend with morning temperatures around 19 degrees and only getting up to 26 or 27 in the afternoon.  All now back to normal again with daily range 28 to 35 but at least it is not raining and, unlike Hong Kong, not humid!

Being closer to the equator than HK the daytime is pretty consistent here with sunrise just before 7am - I do enjoy sitting on our East-facing terrace in the morning with my tea and coffee reading, doing Words with Friends, Sudoku and catching up on the overnight feeds.  From there it is short walk up to the swimming pool - very handy.   Sunset is currently around 1820 or so and it's also nice to sit up on the roof and soak it in.

We had a good week, fitting occasional outings into our daily schedule - along with my project work, Bitcoin meetings and yoga.  We do make a point of taking public transport to get around - it's great with the BTS and the MRT now expanded and also connecting with city-trains.  Bangkok really is a huge city and you appreciate that when you go around; it's not just Sukhumvit and Asoke!

The past weekend we had a big Japan Festival in Bangkok outside CentralwOrld - supposedly the biggest in Asia.  True, it was on a grand scale with cosplayers everywhere.  Here in Bangkok you can get plenty of authentic Japanese food and no shortage of all other sorts as well - we do like Korean and Thai food.

Over the past month the Christmas decorations disappeared then Chinese New Year Rabbits (and much more) appeared everywhere only to disappear overnight and be displaced by Valentine's day roses ahead of the 14th!   We also got a head start and had our own Valentine's evening out already to avoid the rush!

🤔 A strange thing happened in the MRT

We were standing in the usual crowd on the MRT when an Asian girl beside us just collapsed and fell on the floor.  She was immediately helped by people around and when the train stopped at the next station there was a security guard with walkie-takie who came onboard to check; train proceeded to the next station and a full medical crew came onboard to help.   This was our stop so I do not know how things ended but you ought to be asking yourself why these things happen increasingly and why there have been defibrillators appearing everywhere in public spaces in the last couple of  years...   You ought to have many other good questions too - the answers ought to be obvious if you think abut it.

😱 Elsewhere

Also this week someone, otherwise completely healthy, just dropped dead in Pure Gym - HK.  Also one of my subscribers told me that one of his relatives (also previously healthy) just "died suddenly" - and I personally know of several other similar cases in recent months.  Add these too to your list of questions needing a proper answer.   How many strange things like this are you aware of recently?

Read on for more in this issue:

  • Photo memories from around Bangkok this past week
  • Podcast of the week - who knew?  And some practical suggestions.
  • Updates on my projects - quite a lot going on
  • Quite an interesting set of links for you to read, listen and learn from
  • Something to make you think

🎙️ Podcast of the week

This is interesting and thought provoking - it is certainly not the first time that I have heard this (and similar arguments with respect to the US situation) but it is interesting that it surfaces again and with supporting documentation and resources.  It may well be a useful element in the way forward.

Making arguments with reference to Constitutional Law and holding Government accountable is certainly something that everyone can (and should) do in a Democracy.    More on this below - see what's planned this weekend in Belfast.

Listen and take action

Material that you can use to help raise awareness at this link below:

Memes - CommonLawConstitution.org
Memes - CommonLawConstitution.org
Click - and share these to raise awareness

James Corbett has also discussed how people can and should more usefully express their views and dissatisfaction with Government.  It includes many practical suggestions that have worked in previous instances of Governmental over-reach (yes these are more frequent that you might have been told).

Disobey: Drawing Your Line in the Sand - The Corbett Report
Choices. We are living in world-historic times, and, like it or not, the choices that we make over the next few years will have profound implications for the future of the human species. Whether or not to wear the mask. Whether or not to take the vaccine. Whether or not to get the health app.
Click to read and many references

🛠️ Project update

This week has been most interesting on the project front.  I have discovered and worked on quite a few interesting things that form part of a rapidly growing infrastructure and environment.  I have been mainly testing and building things, trying to get better understanding of how they all work and to refresh my somewhat atrophied coding skills.  Some of the things include:

  • Tailscale - zero-configuration VPN.  This is a remarkably useful discovery and it is very well documented.  As one who has often struggled by being "on the road" and having to access internet using routers in hotels and airBnB that I do not control, a VPN is essential.  The challenge however is when you want to reach back to a server (local or remote server) - until now this has required complicated setup, usually with OpenVPN with firewall configuration and port forwarding issues to solve.  Tailscale solves all this and it is open source; the only thing that makes me slightly uncomfortable is the authentication services that you need to use; obviously you need strong authentication but these services do allow for unwanted tracking and potentially blocking of access in future - so DYOR.  An in-depth explainer is here and deep dive here.  See also Headscale that may well help address that one concern!  The joy of FOSS!
  • The Nostr environment grows daily, now with hundreds of developers contributing and a plethora of new clients applications and services appearing.  There is strong dynamic in the community and this is now lubricated by the easy ability to pay tips, micropayments and even larger amounts using Lightning.   Watch this space...   Late breaking news is that Nostr is now available on Umbrel - and this works with Tailscale!   We have discussed how easy-to-use and useful Umbrel is and they keep adding more useful components.   Happy to report that several of my subscribers are also working on/with Nostr - one even has a blog post up on his impressions.  I do rather feel that Nostr is likely to become increasingly important - especially given some of the issues and rumours around the main Social (credit) Media systems that we have today.
  • Onboarding more people to use Lightning for transacting peer-to-peer.  I do this opportunistically when I meet people if they are interested.  The software of choice that is easiest for beginners is Wallet of Satoshi - just give it a try and let me know what you think.  Reach out and ask if you need help.  I am also testing receiving lightning payments via the website and an example of an interesting development here is scrib from Marty Bent that integrates with Ghost (the platform used for this newsletter), allowing pay per article, tips and subscriptions.  A useful contribution to the  value-for-value economy.
  • ChatGPT - this warrants a separate discussion but there seems to be almost nowhere that it cannot be used.  You can use it to summarise any book or article, asking questions to refine/expand/sharpen the summary as needed; you can use it to help learn programming languages, syntax and design patterns and it can even help debug your code when you are stuck!  Those are the positives - if you think deeper you can see many potential negative consequences of AI being at this level and it is growing exponentially.
  • @callebtc is an interesting developer to follow.  He is working on Cashu as well as LN-Tips and related e-cash using Chaumian Mint.  This is truly fascinating technology and has the potential to go far, fast.

Lastly, the main Bitcoin chatter this week was on Ordinals and Inscriptions - this is an interesting discussion on how you can run into unintended consequences even years after the event; to see how this does eventually pan out!

Did Taproot ruin Bitcoin with NFT inscriptions of monkey jpegs?
The unintended use of the Taproot upgrade has revived debate about saving large amounts of non-financial data on Bitcoin’s blockchain.
Click to read

If you prefer to have someone explain it to you and discuss the implications of all sides of the arguments - listen here - fascinating!

During the week with plenty of time on public transport I got to listen to quite a few informative podcasts that give insights to the evil that is ongoing and what is coming unless we the public (you included) choose to push back.  Recall that you do have a Real Vote that counts.

If you had any doubts about how disfunction and dystopian things can get read here what the EU is planning - in addition to the Vaccine/"health" passports.

Stop the proposal on mass surveillance of the EU - Blog | Mullvad VPN
The European Commission is currently in the process of enacting a law called Chat control. If the law goes into effect, it will mean that all EU citizens’ communications will be monitored and listened to.
Dystopia ahead - the EU is increasingly Totalitarian

In case you need a simple(r) video explanation - Steve explains here

Be in no doubt - the UK and many other countries are not far behind on this and, like we discussed with the Bali G20 Leaders Declaration, they will impose this on others through those "international guidelines".  Happy to hear that many in Belfast are waking up - maybe you can join in and make useful contacts who also  understand  what the media and government is not telling you.

You might want to go back and re-read Issue 8 from February last year - you can see how much has already been implemented and what is still coming if you do nothing to stop it.  Do read to the bottom - it should be fairly clear now with hindsight.  Individually you cannot solve it but together you/we have the power.

🤔 Closing thoughts

You may have seen this picture before - this is a coloured version of a famous Woodcut - the Flammarion engraving called “Universum”.

Click for source

Recently I have been re-reading and thinking about what the ancient Greeks told us - recall my review of Mythos by Stephen Fry.  Interesting too is that I heard similar stories from the local people when I visited Myanmar back in 2004.

In Greek mythology, the gods were often portrayed as playing with humans for their own amusement. This can be seen in several different myths and legends, including the stories of the gods on Mount Olympus. In these tales, the gods would intervene in human affairs, either directly or indirectly, for their own enjoyment or to further their own purposes.

One notable example of this is the myth of Io, in which the god Zeus transforms the mortal woman into a cow to hide her from his jealous wife, Hera. Hera eventually discovers the truth, and as punishment for Zeus's infidelity, she sends the insect-god Argus to watch over Io. The god Hermes, who is a messenger of the gods, is then sent by Zeus to slay Argus and free Io from her captivity. This story is often seen as an example of the gods playing with the lives of mortals for their own amusement.

Another example is the myth of King Midas, in which the god Dionysus offers the king a wish in return for his hospitality. King Midas asks for the ability to turn anything he touches into gold, but soon realises that this is a curse, as he can no longer touch his wife or daughter, or even eat or drink. The gods are portrayed as playing a trick on King Midas for their own amusement.

Other examples include:

  1. The myth of Pygmalion and Galatea - In this story, the sculptor Pygmalion creates a statue of a beautiful woman and falls in love with it. The goddess Aphrodite, who is known for her power over love, takes pity on Pygmalion and brings the statue to life, allowing him to marry his creation.
  2. The myth of Narcissus - In this story, the handsome youth Narcissus falls in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and is unable to look away. The gods, who are amused by his vanity, condemn him to remain staring at his own image for the rest of his life.
  3. The myth of Daedalus and Icarus - In this story, the inventor Daedalus constructs wings made of feathers and wax for himself and his son, Icarus, so that they can escape from their island prison. However, Icarus becomes overconfident and flies too close to the sun, causing the wax to melt and sending him plummeting to his death.
  4. The myth of Arachne - In this story, the mortal weaver Arachne boasts that her weaving skills are greater than those of the goddess Athena. Athena takes on the challenge and weaves a tapestry that depicts the gods' power over mortals. Arachne weaves a tapestry that is also magnificent, but it portrays the gods as cruel and unjust. Athena is so angry at Arachne's audacity that she transforms her into a spider, condemning her to spin webs for all eternity.

These myths and others like them reflect the ancient Greek belief that the gods were not always benevolent and that they could be capricious and unpredictable in their dealings with mortals.  

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