44 - What a year that was...

44 - What a year that was...
One year on - back at the same spot... Check back to Issue 4 of the newsletter

🇭🇰 We are finishing up 2022 back in HK - where we were a year ago but quite a lot has changed in between.  It's good to review and reflect and to use that as input for what to do and do differently in 2023.  Recall too our thoughts on arriving back in HK.

We had a week of good weather - cool and sunny all week - so I got in lots of hiking and was able to listen to quite a few podcasts and audio books!   I also got to go out to a couple of Hong Kong's "outlying islands".  It's always fun to go there and meet up with friends - including some who had travelled from Thailand where we last met up!

During the week we had the announcement of the scrapping of all "pandemic" restrictions apart from the most stupid one.  You will understand that this one remains to keep people "on their toes" and to ensure that a climate of fear and uncertainty persists; it is also obedience training and test.  Without this people would quickly move on with their lives.  

In January and beyond I do rather expect that HK (and many places) will be inundated by our northern neighbours looking to get out and about and away from what they have been subject to for so long.  There are pros and cons to this sudden exodus.   On the positive side, HK certainly needs extra business and with the restriction above other tourists will not come.   As for the concerns recall what happened when the bridge to/from Macao opened (especially in Tung Chung); in the current climate of destabilisation and proxy-wars, I would not be surprised to see flare-ups in many of the previous trusty hot-spots (including outside HK).

Apart from (and considering) that we have been busy sorting out our apartment and making plans for the coming months - the "new normal"...   We have the plan in place for the coming 6 months and I hope that we can stick with it.  

How is your planning going?  How do you feel about the year past (grammar check!) and what are you planning to do or do differently in 2023?   Do comment below.

2022 - the year in review

One year on and I am glad that I started with the website project.  It really did force me to think about and document what is going on in the world and how it impacts us - along with wisdom and insights that can help understand and make sense of things.

From time to time I go back and re-read my newsletters from throughout the year.   Back in July I did my review as video walk-through for the first half of the year - I may do more in similar format from time to time - do let me know what would be most interesting or useful.  Click below to watch.

Click to watch the review - January through July

Click below for my review of the second half of the year - July through December

Click to watch the review - July through December

So - indeed it was quite a year and we could hardly have envisaged doing what we did at the outset but I am glad that we did.   You only live once and this is not a drill.   I do keep going back to Steve Jobs'  Commencement address.

Book of the week

This week I finally got round to reading Nik Bhatia's "Layered Money".  The book provides a new paradigm with which to view the concept of money.   Step by step, the book explains progressive layers, starting with non-layered monetary systems (ie, gold coins) before advancing to the first forms of layered money (ie, bills of exchange backed by gold and silver).   You may well be surprised to learn of the importance of Antwerp and Amsterdam and developments that emerged in these two places!

Click to see the book on Goodreads - more reviews there too

The layered money framework is then applied to more complicated monetary systems, from the first gold-backed central banks to the mind-numbingly complicated system that dominates the world today.

All forms of money are not the same.  You will see the monetary pyramid extending from US treasury notes to money market funds, to physical dollar bills and everything in between and understand how each layer of the money pyramid relates to the other layers, and how the Federal Reserve, commercial banks and everyday citizens interact with these layers.

You are taken on a journey through various economic collapses, showing how each collapse led to an expansion in the reach and power of the Federal Reserve, taking it from a brand-new government entity to perhaps the most powerful entity on earth in less than 100 years.

The second half of the book dives into Bitcoin and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).  You will learn about about Bitcoin from the ground up, starting with Satoshi Nakamoto and the Cryptography Mailing List as well as the primary use cases of Bitcoin, along with its inherent limitations and the potential solutions to these limitations.

Finally, “Layered Money”answers the most important questions with respect to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs): Why are central banks attracted to the idea? How might CBDCs be implemented? And how might CBDCs interact with Bitcoin going forward?

Long read and listen of the week

I have got to recommend this "trilogy" of articles by Alan Farrington.   Click the images below to listen to the articles being read to you or click the link under each one for the article for you to read.

This first article sets the scene.  Look around you today and see how things are unfolding (you might use other words here).  What is happening might not be what you think - we are programmed to recognise past trends and to reject new ideas.  You might do well to stop and think deeper - this article will get you started.

Click to listen - original article here

The most egregious falsehood regarding economic health that is nonetheless widely believed is surely that we ought to measure it by the magnitude of goods and services consumed. This is dangerous nonsense.   Listen to or read article 2 to understand fully - click below.

Click to listen - original article here

It is often commented that Bitcoin is really more an ingenious combination of prior advances in applied cryptography than an invention in its own right. I am quite partial to the romantic idea that Bitcoin was discovered rather than invented. It is a foundation to scale the next great phase of economic progress. Bitcoin is Venice - click below to listen to or read the third article .

Click to listen - original article here

Update on my projects

I am the first to admit that my own personal progress on "getting my hands dirty" on Bitcoin and Lightning development has been less and slower than I had in mind back in July.  However I have been reading extensively and learning lots - the journey is important too.   This "roundtable discussion" is just fascinating and you will see how such Open Source software is being developed and the discussions that influence how the projects evolve.

Click to listen on youtube

The projects and technologies that I am following and will be experimenting with beyond Bitcoin and Lightning include:  Fedimint and Chaumian Mints.  Taro and Slashtags are also likely to play a part in things going forward along with things like Keet, Holepunch and Nostr.   Updates will follow in due course.  Do reach out to me if you are familiar with any of these or looking to collaborate.

Development Environment: re-established

I did spend some time this week to get my software development environment cleaned up and ready for work.   Getting the tools updated and working is just half the battle - there is lots of learning to refresh on all the various tools and techniques.

My main machine is the MacBook Air and I use Xcode/Swift for Mac and iOS development.  When it comes to Android and cross-platform, Visual Studio Code and Flutter is my preference and I am perpetually amazed by what this can do - write in Javascript and it just works on your target devices.

Docker is the next critical component for linux-based work.  It is perhaps even more amazing than Flutter and no-less useful.  So convenient to be able to build, test and run for multiple platforms and great to have all those pesky dependencies simplified.

Underlying all of this is git (and github - although I consider alternatives since I do not trust Microsoft) for change control.  What git does always seems like magic to me and of course this is the foundational tool of Open Source collaboration.

Lastly I did have an old MacBook lying around and I tried formatting and re-installing (internet restore) MacOs (Sierra) but kept getting error 5010f.   This inspired me to install Ubuntu 22.04 LTS on it and....   WHAT FUN!    I now have a physical machine with linux to complement those docker images and it will allow me to run some other linux-based services.    

I think it is important to have and be familiar with real open source linux on physical hardware - I for one do not trust Apple or Microsoft and certainly not Google, especially when it comes to updates that they push out and enforce.   For sure this will become a problem sooner or later - be sure of that.

Among other things, it is fun and instructive to have such a machine and to be familiar with the need for hardening as well as how to manage backup/restore (timeshift) and remote access via ssh (passwordless with PKI) and using xrdp for graphical access.   If you are interested to know more about this - just ask: it was an interesting learning experience and I am quite pleased with the setup.

🎓 Reading, listening and learning

Below are some interesting sources that I came across, or was reminded of, in the past week - for your enjoyment and edification.  I do really enjoy these podcasts and interviews - it feels like you get to visit with and meet some of the world's best thinkers and educators around the world (even if you/I do not always agree with them)!   Listen, enjoy and learn...

The Wizard of Oz - revisited again

Recall our discussion over recent weeks on the Wizard of Oz and the interesting synchronisation with Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon as well as the deeper meaning of the book on the Gold Standard.  Imagine my joy to discover yet another insight into the movie this time.   Watch and Listen to Truthstream explain - click below:

Indeed - once seen, some things cannot be unseen.  You may or may not want to skip back to the beginning of this video to view the explanation of The Stanford Prison Experiment - something that is highly relevant to recent times.    This is not entirely unrelated to the Milgram Experiments that we have also discussed - another psychological experiment with similarly horrific conclusion.

This next one was a surprise

This one had been in my queue for a while and I was going through and cleaning out things that I hadn't and likely would not listen to.  Somehow it caught my attention and what an interesting listen it turned out to be.   I'll not spoil the plot other than to say it does a good job of covering all sides of the arguments plus lots more.

Ep 93. Psychedelic Series Pt 2, Medicine or Mierda? With Brandon Quittem & Bitcoin Mechanic (Lex).
What is the most honest use for Psychedelics?- Spiritual, Medicinal, or Hedonism? Welcome to the second Episode of The Psychedelic Series on The Wake Up Podcast.Brandon Quittem & Lex, aka Bitcoin Mechanic join me to discuss a wide range of ideas, both for and against the use of such substances.…

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

On 31st October 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto let the genie out of the bottle. We went from a world where digital cash was just an idea to a world where Bitcoin exists. Not only is the idea here to stay, but with every passing block, Bitcoin reminds us that this idea is now a reality. As we shall see, this new reality is more powerful than one might think at first. It is powerful because it will usher in a new economic paradigm. It is powerful because the time is ripe for it. It is powerful because it can’t be stopped.   Click below to read the article  or here listen to Guy reading it.

Bitcoin Is An Idea | dergigi.com
Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Click to read - or here for Guy reading it

In not-unrelated vein...

This interview of Juraj Bednar by Stephan Livera is fascinating.  It is a Must Listen.   I really like his realistic and pragmatic assessments and he speaks from first-hand experience not only of living under communist regime but also of successfully running Bitcoin-only business for many years.  Listen and learn.

SLP436 Juraj Bednar Bitcoin as Parallel Economy
<p>Juraj Bednar (Author, speaker, co-founder of Paralelni Polis) joins me on the show to chat about:</p> <ul> <li>Cypherpunk and libertarian thought</li> <li>Building out the Bitcoin parallel economy</li> <li>Vekslaks and p2p</li> <li>Tips for onboarding bitcoin and lightning users</li> <li>Lightnin…

What can we learn from "Cause Unknown"

The Midwestern Doctor is most interesting and well-informed - you would do well to click through and read.   You can follow his substack to get updates directly.

What Can We Learn From “Cause Unknown?”
One of my relatives (who is unaware of this blog) excitedly gave me a book yesterday that she told me I had to read. After I read it, I realized it had a few things going for it which necessitated discussing it with an audience that is already well versed in this subject.

Dr John Carlisle has finally abandoned his neutral stance and taken a position

Something to make you think

"The only thing we can be sure of about the future, is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So, if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I will have failed completely."
- Arthur C Clarke.

The science-fiction writer and futurist Arthur C Clarke undertakes that most impossible and unrewarding of tasks - attempting to accurately predict the future. What will the world of tomorrow look like? Will the inhabitants of the future have monkey butlers? Yes, according to Mr Clarke, but only until they unionise...

Clip taken from Horizon, originally broadcast 21 September 1964.

Click to watch

He did get quite a few predictions right - even scarily so.   Who would you look to or trust to be making predictions about the coming 50 years?

❤️  Enjoy this newsletter?

Forward to a friend and let them know where they can subscribe

No one can be told what The Matrix is. No one can be told what The Matrix is.
You have to see it for yourself.
- Morpheus to Neo in The Matrix
Click for Morpheus to explain things to you

You have to see it for yourself.

Anything else?  Feel free to comment below!
You can also email me at: LetterFrom@rogerprice.me

💡Enjoy the newsletters in your own language : Dutch, French, German, Serbian, Chinese Traditional & Simplified and Burmese