Saturday 13th May, 2023 - Optimism in a Constantly Deflationary World
Hello and welcome to my newsletter!
Another season 2 instalment…
It’s Friday as I write this. No music this week. It’s been a super tough one. The camera on my mobile device stopped working, I got hit by a gang stalker mega Tsunami, literally hundreds of motorbike / walking drive-by harassment incidents in a single morning, and the rainy season started. It’s the 3rd rainy season of season 2 and the realisation of what is ahead knocked me for six.
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This week I’ve had deflationary economic environments on my mind. What that would look like. Among other things I was contemplating lots of things that are competing / in opposition, such as:
Privacy vs secrecy
Open vs closed
Optimising vs growth
Good bs evil
Freedom vs control
It’s such a complicated world, and we have such a lot to do. Hopefully this little newsletter can play some role in that.
I wrote a blog post about fixing the world’s hunger problem, it’s a bit all over the place, there was a lot going on around me when I wrote it, but maybe / hopefully some of you out there will like it:
Money liquidity and hunger - Having immersed myself somewhat in economics and finance the past few months, I started wondering about money liquidity as it relates to hunger. If we really decided to solve hunger, could we do it? Some thoughts on information I'd like to see available https://markjgsmith.com/blog/2023/05/12/money-liquidity-and-hunger
I’m going to keep the intro short this week. It’s an all podcasts week, lots of very awesome shows.
Kevin Kelly on Advice Travel and Tech (Conversations with Tyler Podcast) - I guess Kevin is promoting his new book as he’s been on several podcasts recently, this episode was great. I like his optimistic mindset. I hope all our modern tech doesn’t squeeze this type of unique way of looking at the world out of us. https://conversationswithtyler.com/episodes/kevin-kelly
Escaping Hyperinflation in a Rolls Royce with Freddie New (What Bitcoin Did Podcast) - Incredibly good story by a bloke who sounds uncannily like a certain person that’s been really into social media recently. Really interesting perspective about how different people’s lives can be across the world, also so many of Peter’s guests have slightly bizarre / cool sounding names. https://www.whatbitcoindid.com/podcast/escaping-hyperinflation-in-a-rolls-royce
The Dawn of Everything (Empire Podcast) - Quite the synchronicity given the title of last week’s newsletter issue, this is the first in a series looking at the history of slavery, a really important topic for people in tech to understand. https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGhvbmUuZm0vZW1waXJlcG9kY2FzdA/episode/ZjU5MTk4MzItZTllOC0xMWVkLTkyOWYtZDc0MTMxNmIzYTBj?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahcKEwjY5YC78-_-AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQNQ
Gold, Bitcoin and Inflation with Lawrence Lepard (What Bitcoin Did Podcast) - Interesting discussion about gold and it’s practicalities, but also about deflationary environments which require efficiency rather than growth. All super relevant topics given the current economic situation. It got me wondering about a lot of things: is the world economy just a large collection of companies that are either growing or optimising? How do you balance that? We can’t all be growing at the same time right? How do you ensure everyone can consistently eat 3 meals a day when you are constantly optimising? How do you avoid optimising too early? What do you do when you have done all the optimising that you can do? When it’s already as good as it gets? How do we avoid turning ourselves into robots, and keep our freedoms? How do you avoid stagnation when optimisation and growth cancel each other out? Or when optimisation is constantly beating down on growth? The more the economy goes off the rails, the harder it is going to be to balance, and the more extremes we are going to face, but we need to ensure people can live. Does Lawrence remind you of anyone? https://www.whatbitcoindid.com/podcast/gold-bitcoin-inflation
Bluesky’s rise and AI’s fall (Vergecast Podcast) - Bluesky continues to be in the spotlight this week, some typically good coverage and analysis from the Vergecast team, they also have an interesting discussion about the AI backlash that is starting to surface in some places https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGhvbmUuZm0vdmVyZ2VjYXN0/episode/NzVhMjQzZmUtMzUwZS0xMWVkLWFjNmUtZDMzMTQ4ZGZlY2Jm?sa=X&ved=0CAYQkfYCahcKEwjY5YC78-_-AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQew
Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in conversation with the besties (All-in Podcast) - Great interview with quality questions as well as thoughtfull answers, such an interesting background given his family history, he’s got some unpopular view points in some areas but he doesn’t force them onto people, and actually when you take the time to listen to what he’s saying, they are based on rather sturdy facts; incidentally a couple of days before listening to this I saw a elderly gentleman that was a total doppleganger of Ron Paul sitting at a bus stop, the world is so bizarre sometimes https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbGxpbmNoYW1hdGhqYXNvbi5saWJzeW4uY29tL3Jzcw/episode/MjZmYTk3YmQtNTk1NS00Nzc4LWE4N2ItNTU5MWFlNmI4MGY0?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahgKEwjY5YC78-_-AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQkQU
(Bonus) @semaforben On The Golden Age of Digital Media And His AMAZING New Book About It (Techmeme Ride Home Podcast) - What’s great about this interview is Brian’s enthusiasm for the whole blogging/web2.0/new media era of the early 2000s really shines through in his questions and the conversation paints a fantastic picture of what that scene was like, I was peripherally aware of it at the time as a reader of many of the websites they mention, sometimes scenes only become totally obvious in retrospect, especially when it comes to the web because everything is being done for the first time https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYXJ0MTkuY29tL3RlY2htZW1lLXJpZGVob21l/episode/Z2lkOi8vYXJ0MTktZXBpc29kZS1sb2NhdG9yL1YwL2VUWlNrYVN2M0JNbm55ODNBOXZyYmtrVVhFQ1pOT1ZidzRwWjdkenhDejQ?sa=X&ved=0CAgQuIEEahgKEwjY5YC78-_-AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQqAY
Can We Get A Little Privacy? (Have a Nice Future Podcast) - Privacy is one of those super important topics that people don’t really like to talk about, it’s totally non obvious why it matters so much, it affects us all, there are so many competing and contradictory things, getting the balance right is very difficult, the guest Meridith is really knowledgeable but considering her dislike for systems that exert control over others she has a very strange sign off at the end of the episode, handled quite diplomatically I think in the after show discussion by Gideon, perhaps she’s just into soccer? Anyway it highlights one of the major difficulties, the people making the rules sometimes are the ones that abuse them the most; worth knowing that a common taunt to homeless people, who have perhaps the least privacy of all, is to simply say “income” to them which, when you think about the catch22 impossibility of it, is horribly mean and cruel. https://www.wired.com/podcast/have-a-nice-future
I leave you with some data. I’ve been collecting it for almost a couple of years now, since January 2022. That’s when things started getting real bad. Until then I had been getting by just about, but like a frog in boiling water the situation slowly deteriorated, in a way that can only be described as feeling very algorithmic.
I want to publish it because I want others to see that people are starving and being really badly treated. I know it’s happening because it’s literally happening to me. Whether it’s some evil cabal of enslavers, just some bizarre AI induced emergent behaviour of the modern world, or something in between, or even weirder, it’s happening. It sure as hell looks a lot like the first of those to me a lot of the time. I also have reason to believe it’s happening in many many places, even western countries, in broad daylight, but people are trapped in situations where they aren’t able to talk about it, as I have been.
It’s so weird that often the people doing it might genuinely think they are doing you a favour, like putting you through a kind of training or something, but that might also just be a cover for malice, or a bit if both. There’s no way to tell. It feels like the final stages of a infiniti war played out in a virtual world, which I know sounds a bit, you know, exaggerated, but actually it kind of is and it isn’t. You don’t see it until you do see it, and then you realise it’s literally happening everywhere, almost as if it’s always been like that, no big deal. Life goes on.
As a quick recap, I got stuck here in Vietnam while I was travelling as a digital nomad because of COVID. So many people were dying back home, literally thousands and thousands as reported by the main stream media at the time, and it was relatively safe here so I chose to stay. I had no idea it would go on so long, month after month after month. I ran out of money, media and entertainment, the industry I have been working in my whole life totally shut down.
During the second rainy season my laptop got badly water damaged. It doesn’t turn on anymore. I’ve had it checked out at an apple repair place, the main board needs replacing, but there are other things wrong with it too, and since it’s vintage (~2013) it will cost a huge amount to repair. At one point I nearly had enough to buy a replacement but that’s exactly when things started getting really bad. Things have a tendency to happen like that all the time, like there is an army of devils quietly and precisely planning and orchestrating my decent into oblivion.
I’ve been continuing using my mobile device, which is just about doable for the newsletter, but virtually impossible for web development. I’m able to work on the static site generator remotely via the mobile device, because it’s a CLI tool, testing everything live online. It’s a bit like what I imagine developing with punch cards might have been like. Especially with my progressively worse internet connection issues. I currently stand while I am connected to the internet. My back hurts a lot.
I don’t want to go into too much detail because every time I write about it, things get worse, but things are really really bad currently and I honestly don’t think I’ll make it through the rainy season that’s starting now. I also have reason to believe that the mobile device might start malfunctioning soon. The back facing camera stopped working in very bizarre circumstances. Best for the data to be out in public now rather than not at all. There are nice people that help sometimes but it’s very often followed up by harassment from others. Not to them, but to me. Don’t let that put anyone off helping folks. Your help is massively needed. Anyhow it’s all very much a nightmare, though day to day things can be sort of normal at times.
I’ve had one great web dev job and done a few successful freelancing projects, but I’ve been in tech my whole career. My portfolio is on the website:
With all that in mind here’s the data. The baseline is 3 meals a day. That’s what I figure is normal. Any days where that wasn’t reached, I recorded an entry. So an entry signifies either 0/3 or 1/3 or 2/3 meals happened that day. There’s no way to add tabular data to substack so screenshots instead.
Days of thirst
What I’ve learnt about hunger personally so far is that you don’t ever get used to it. You just hate it even more every single time. It’s truly horrible. And thirst is even worse.
There will be those of you that will say ‘he made it all up’. And I can see how it might look that way. They had a segment on Shop Talk Show recently where they talked about recording data just like this in order to track fire fighting incidents with clients. All I can say to you is that I was just as surprised to hear them talk about that, especially since I was thinking to publish it. When things are going bad, you just keep getting walloped by awful synchronicities like this again and again and again. It really feels like every single person in the universe is against you.
Here’s a photo of me taken last night, probably a good time to do that before the front facing camera dies on me too. I tried taking it several times. I look horrendous. A lot older than I remember, probably due to repeatedly being dehydrated and in the sun. Smiling is difficult. I don’t get to see my face very often. Anyway that’s me.
Let me live world, let me live murderers.
That’s all from me…
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