07 February 2021

Welcome back to the Week That Was series where we highlighting things from the interwebs which are interesting, noteworthy and/or probably worth your time.

Articles📝, Tweet(s)📱, Videos🎥, Charts 📈 all fair game with or without attendant commentary.


📦⛓️ Henry Box Brown

In 1849, Henry “Box” Brown was a slave who mailed himself in a wooden crate to freedom from Richmond, Virginia to the Anti Slavery Office in Philadelphia. The delivery took 26 hours and he later became a public speaker and slave abolitionist.

Box Brown



🏦💱 Arthur Hayes & BitMEX

Very well-written and balanced look at BitMEX cofounder Arthur Hayes, the merry band he led and selective justice in markets and political economy.

Arthur Hayes

The BitMEX cofounder created a cryptocurrency exchange that has traded trillions. Now he’s wanted by U.S. authorities, and insiders wonder whether he and his partners are villains—or victims of a two-tiered justice system that favors big banks over brash outsiders.

(Vanity Fair) 📝The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin Billionaire Arthur Hayes


🤑💰 Naked Emperors

Some good (and contrarian) thoughts from Ben Hunt’s Epsilon Theory on the last fortnight of Gamestop shenanigans.

📝Hunger Games

The article (and 🎧subsequent podcast discussion) boils down to two observations:

  1. “This is what Stevie Cohen and all the hedge fund masters of the universe know that you don’t”: The bets ARE the game.

Naked Emperors


  1. “This is what Ken Griffin and all the market maker masters of the universe know that you don’t”: Market makers OWN the game.

Naked Emperors 2


His thesis has some legs, at least the part about what was always in the background being brought sharply to the fore - as evidenced by one curious Redditor:

Citadel paid $88 million to Robinhood in Q3 2020 for “order flow”, making up nearly half of Robinhood’s revenue. Citadel is an investor in funds betting against GME share price. This week, Robinhood prevented customers from purchasing GME shares. 🤔



🚰💵 Water Costs

From a 📝Flowater blogpost on the true costs of bottled water:

Bottled water cost is astounding when you think of how much you’re paying for production and distribution compared to the water itself. It’s even more shocking when you consider the detrimental effects it has on the environment at every stage of its existence. From the amount of energy that’s needed for plastic bottle production to the landfill waste that continues to pile up without decomposition, bottled water is costly.



🧠 DSM–5

Every Mental Disorder Diagnosis in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical [Manual of Mental Disorders])


Credit: @barelymaps


📜📷 Then and Now

Town square in Uelzen, Lower Saxony, Germany- during the Battle of the Rhine, April 1945 and 20

Then and Now


🗺️🌎 Historic Borders

Fascinating map application using the data from this public repo to show civilisational borders from 2000 BC to the 1994.

Historic Borders

Not sure I’ve seen everything from Meroë and Great Zimbabwe to the Carolingian Empire and Sui Dynasty in one construct before.



Historic Borders

Historic Borders 2

Historic Borders 3

A separate and interesting chronological map project: 🖱️https://chronmaps.com/world


🗾 Bushido

Quality interview from the 🎧WritLarge podcast with Harvard Prof David Howell (Japanese History &the Chair of the East Asian Languages and Civilizations Dept.).

Nitobe Inazō wanted to explain Japan to Westerners, particularly morality as it is taught in Japanese society. He was born a Samurai in 1862. In his book Bushido: The Soul of Japan, Inazō Nitobe explains the moral foundations of traditional Japanese society to a Western audience through “the way of the warrior,” Bushido.

I was reminded of a Martin Scorcese passion project called 🎞️Silence which I happened to catch on a plane (when we used to that sort of thing…😒) about the incessant struggles of early Jesuits trying to introduce Christianity to the Island - which interrogates the morality of the entire enterprise.

Good flick… contemplative slow-burn.


💉🦠🧼🖐💦⚕ Greenzone


Vaccine stats

Vaccine Stats



The long-arc of antivax.

Edward Jenner vaccinating patients in the Smallpox and Inoculation Hospital at St. Pancras. Afterwards the patients develop features of cows. Not 5G tracking devices but cow features. J. Gillray, 1802.


From wellcomecollection



Disappointingly: “The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine does not appear to offer protection against mild and moderate disease caused by the variant first identified in South Africa” according to 📚a study seen by the 📰Financial Times.”

SA Variant



📰The Economist looks at how the pandemic and the responses to it, threaten to undermine decades of progress on the continent.

African Progress


Some have pointed out how we appear to be back in the trough stage of The Economist’s African coverage - which oscillates between “Africa Rising” and “The Hopeless Continent” narratives. While this may well be the case, the unfortunate facts remain.

Africa Coverage

As such, given the ultra-low propagation of vaccines across the continent, it’s becoming clearer that for even self-interested reasons from a developed nation perspective (hence UK being the #1 donor) - programs like COVAX need more funding and better rollout plans soonest. No doubt another fact vulnerable to… narratives.

(twitter link dead)



Open air church service in San Francisco during the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic.

Church Service


😌💭 Quotes

Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

― Nyogen Senzaki, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings (1957)


🚀 SN9

What Musk and the crew are attempting to do.

Step 7 and 8 are at the very edge of what our current engineering is capable of



Not easy; another hard landing on Feb 2

The prize


🎨👟 Shoo


Shoo, u/artcyll, Digital Painting, 2020


☀️✈️ The Sun

From James McCarthy:

By complete accident I captured a plane crossing in front of our sun. I was able to figure out exactly which flight it was and got connected with the pilot, who was thrilled.

The Sun


🐸🤺 Oh…and one more thing

Frogs taxidermy found inside French mansion that had been sealed for 100 years. This satirical piece, unofficially named “Battle of the Frogs” by National Geographic was found in the Time Capsule Museum in Paris, France.



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