17 January 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.
🔇 On Censorship
Make of it what you will. The text says:
“One alone out of 2000 Million humans on earth is not allowed to speak in Germany”
Poster of Hitler with tape on his mouth claiming he is being censored. A fairly common theme in National Socialist propaganda between 1933 - 1939
Austrian-British philosopher, academic and social commentator Karl Popper’s take on how best to deal with intolerance still seems relevant today.
Motherboard’s 🎧CYBER podcast explores some of the fallout of recent widespread bans on sitting US President Donald Trump’s accounts and the rise (and astounding implosion of) services like Parler.
🗺️🏞️ African Rivers
All of the rivers and waterways in Africa, coloured according to the major hydrological basins they are part of.
₿📈📉 Tethered Froth?
With the dominant cryptocurrency maintaining it’s current nosebleed levels, Bloomberg react to the completely novel performance of this nascent asset:
“While the jury is still out on whether Bitcoin is a bubble, one thing is certain: it’s unlike any other bubble we’ve seen.”
“Previous speculative asset-inflation episodes were either a one-off, like tulip mania in the 17th century, or the boom-doom cycle took many years, like gold. Bitcoin, by comparison, has survived three peak-to-trough drawdowns of over 80% in less than 10 years. The cryptocurrency surged past $40,000 last week to set an all time high. It has fallen more than 15% since then.”
“Every time a Bitcoin bubble bursts, another grows back to replace it,” Man Group’s analysts wrote in a note dated Jan. 12. “This very frequency makes the Bitcoin narrative somewhat atypical relative to the great bubbles of the past.”
While mainstream financial journalists continue to wrangle with BTC, a fascinating deep-dive was anonymously published on Medium purporting to show even more evidence of potential nefarious activity at the very core of the BTC ecosystem - mainly facilitated by the allegedly uncollateralised stablecoin Tether.
This is the story of a Bitcoin trade — the most financially impactful trade I’ve ever made in my life. It’s also the story of the deep-yet-frantic investigation of the crypto ecosystem that led me to make that trade. And it’s the story of what’s really going on in crypto — and what we should do about it.
If you own meaningful amounts of cryptocurrency or you’re considering buying some, you’re the reason I wrote this. Please do read to the end.
There’ve been interesting rebuttals by some in the ecosystem - two threads below.
This article is making the rounds. It’s well-written and makes a good case. And I should say up front that I have zero info about whether Tether really has 100% backing of every USDT.— balajis.com (@balajis) January 16, 2021
However, a few thoughts. 🧵https://t.co/AVC1OaCNv8
Some thoughts on this super inaccurate piece.— David Fauchier (@dfauchier) January 17, 2021
tl;dr: this is not a defence of Tether/ iFinex, who I would like nothing more than to see disappear into irrelevance. However, most of the conclusions here show zero understanding of crypto market structure.https://t.co/FeO1B8pkjV
📈 Net Worth Changes
On the continued theme of covid’s incredibly split outcomes, net worth comparison of the top 10 richest person in the world in March 2020 and January 2021.
🎼 1001 Albums
One random album every weekday.
All taken from the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
🗳️↔️ Progressive — Conservative Spectrum
A (necessarily over-simplified but useful) political framework from WaitButWhy’s Blog
📱⚔️ Conflict & Algorithms
Per Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias:
Mark Zuckerberg is so smart that I honestly don’t know of anyone who’s better-explained the basic problem with Facebook than this chart he made
From 📝Zuck’s Nov 18 post outlining the service’s content governance & enforcement policy.
In a fascinating reaction to the backlash, Whatsapp has since decided to 📰postpone the deadline for accepting the new terms of service to May 15.
🌎💰 Elon brrrr
Countries that have lower wealth** than Elon Musk
Sahil Bloom put together a decent thread on the Dunning-Kruger effect - ultimately boiling down to two life-rules:
- Being an expert at ONE THING does not make you an expert at ALL THINGS.
- You probably aren’t an expert at anything, so work harder (but if you are, see Rule #1).
Dunning-Kruger Effect 101— Sahil Bloom (@SahilBloom) January 15, 2021
In a year when the markets have minted many new self-proclaimed geniuses, it is worth remembering the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
But what is the Dunning-Kruger Effect and how does it work?
Here's Dunning-Kruger Effect 101!
Plato weighs in
Great look at the vaccine revolution and mRNA technology’s disruptive potential by veteran editor and biographer Walter Isaacson.
Update on vaccine propagation worldwide
Periodic reminder - 📝COVID-19 is not influenza (Lancet): > In-hospital mortality was 16,9% with COVID-19 and 5,8% with influenza. Mortality was ten-times higher in children aged 11–17 years with COVID-19 than in patients in the same age group with influenza.
Spanish Flu - WW II - Covid
With the data for the year published, it's now clear that 2020 saw the third-largest proportional increase in deaths of any year, running back to at least 1850. Only two years were more deadly: 1918 and 1940, the Spanish Flu and the Blitz. pic.twitter.com/FskXZW4v8D— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) January 12, 2021
Superspreader, Maxoy,Digital, 2021
Locomotive, watercolor and white ink, 2020
“Our planet is to information what a black hole is to matter and what a star is to energy. Our planet is where information lives, grows, and hides in an otherwise mostly barren universe.” ― César Hidalgo
🌌 Phoenix Aurora
📸: Hallgrimur P. Helgason, constellation overlay by @SpaceGeck
🇬🇧 Oh…and one more thing
What would the UK flag look like if it represented its constituent nations proportionally
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