Chinwag w/c 17May21
I read so many articles during the week and find it challenging to decide what is interesting or relevant to me.
These weekly chinwags are a way for me to articulate my thoughts better and share what I have learned or just random bits of information.
So imagine you are sitting in my living room drinking coffee, tea or whisky with me. These are the things I’d share with you.
Psycho-Cybernetics — A new way to get more living out of life: CM and I were talking about self perception and what methods we can use to improve how we think about ourselves.
She mentioned this book and I quickly promoted it to the top of my TBR list.
Maxwell Maltz was a cosmetic surgeon who had the theory that to discontinue a pattern of limiting beliefs, an individual should spend time creating an accurate and positive view of who they are before setting goals for themselves.
My favourite quote so far is “Positive thinking cannot be used effectively as a patch or a crutch to the same self image.”
Crime Show: In this episode, Andrew Therrien was a victim of a telephone scammer but not in the sense that he lost money; his personal details were sold to a fake debt collection agency who contacted his family and threatened to rape his wife. He sorted things out but discovered that this scam preyed on people who take out payday loans because they tend not to keep track.
Andrew took it upon himself to be the patron saint of people whose personal information and debts have been sold to these unscrupulous elements. He shares how he meticulously kept records of these fraudsters in a spreadsheet called “Scums.xls”.
I had read about Andrew’s story in a Bloomberg article in 2017 and hearing him narrate it is as satisfying as it is intriguing.
The Vaping Fix: This series tells the inside story of Juul and how it was responsible for teenage crises of tobacco addiction with its deceptive marketing to minors. Founded by James Monsees and Adam Bowen, they had the idea when they were at Stanford and tired of being ostracised as smokers.
In this episode, Laura Beil narrates the story of the founders and how they started Juul by identifying that the problem with smoking was not the nicotine but the way it was burned.
With that realisation, they started working on this thesis over a period of time until it developed from a simple idea called Ploom to what we now know as the cool and fashionable device called Juul.
It was interesting to hear that the name is a pun: joule for a unit of energy and jewel (a valuable gem).
Fave quote — “Even if you want to change the world, you have to start with something scopable.”
The Knowledge Project: In this episode, Shane Parrish and Angela Duckworth discuss predictable v. situational behaviour where you identify whether a behaviour is context based or that’s how the person is.
This is something I have been interested in because when a loved one acts a fool, it’s important for me to remember that they are not bad people; they are just going through bad situations.
How consistent is our behaviour across situations? She shares Walter Mischel’s theory and I have added his book, Personality and Assessment, to my TBR.
Duckworth educates us on the “big 5” personality factors — extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experiences and emotional stability. It raises the question: does personality change a situation?
She explores the idea that you can modify your situation instead of staying passive about life.
Favourite quote : “You have agency to change your situation.”
Code Global Challenge: IBM has opened its “Call for Code” initiative where participants stand a chance of winning $200k when they use their skills to tackle climate change concerns.
NCSC Resources: During CYBERUK2021, the National Cyber Security Centre shared resources on how to understand and mitigate cyber threats. Reading through the resources, I am impressed as they are succinct with their 10 steps to Cyber Security.
Google I/O 2021: So many announcements and I’ll highlight a few of my faves:
a. Project Starline — A video conferencing tool that makes you feel you are speaking to your loved one as if they are right in front of you. I like the fact that it is relevant in these days where social distancing and travel bans have become the norm. What will it cost to have a set up like this?
b. Android 12 and its new privacy dashboard that I am yet to understand
c. Improvements to camera including reproducing skin tones more accurately and cinematic moments in Google Photos where you can create moving images
d. The ability to change a site password from the Chrome password manager
e. Ability to unlock your car with your phone (only on select Pixel and Samsung phones)
Death to IE: After months and months of speculation, Microsoft has officially announced the end of life date for Internet Explorer as June 15, 2022. Time to upgrade everyone to Edge if your organisation relies heavily on IE, especially if legacy apps are heavily dependent on it.
Uptime: Chad Hurley (Youtube Co-founder) invested in the education app in their £2.1m round. The app launched in February and it has fast become my favourite knowledge app. I use it to find summaries of concepts and topics I don’t understand.
I am back studying again and this time, I am taking the “Introduction to Mathematical thinking” by Dr. Keith Devlin on Coursera. Although it’s a course to help students graduate from high school mathematics to College Mathematics, it also is a course that will help you think outside the box.
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Week 1 has been interesting and I enjoy the way Keith delivers each lesson. So far, I have learned:
a. What the Banach-Tarski paradox is. I’ll admit it took me several tries to understand it and I had to read this article by @nargaque to simplify the paradox
b. The word “Algebra” comes from the Arabic word “al-jabr” and it was developed so traders could carry out their business transactions more efficiently
c. The development of modern mathematics started with the Egyptian and Babylonian expansion of mathematics to include geometry and trigonometry. Then the Greeks in 500BCE — 300BCE evolved mathematics from a collection of methods to an area of study
d. Recommended Euclid’s “Elements” so it’s now on my TBR list
e. The fact that basic mathematical skills are essential to succeed in the workforce and facilitate the advancement of an industrial society
I am back on Wordfeud playing with strangers. I’ve also played a bit of Mortal Kombat with Reptile, Lin Kuei and Osh-Tekk as my players during faction wars.
Beam Me Up Scotty: Nicki Minaj re-released this album and I had it blasting in the background all week while working on file server migrations.
Magia: I also kept singing Alvaro Soler’s new single, Magia, in the shower. I pity my neighbours.
The Serpent: I had listened to the story of Charles Sobhraj last year on the “Con Artists” podcast
So when I saw this series on Netflix, I knew I will binge watch all 8 episodes.
Tahar Rahim brilliantly plays the role of a French serial killer with Indian & Vietnamese heritage. He methodically takes advantage of tourists on the hippie trail; stealing their identities, robbing them of all they have and in many instances, killing them.
So if you are starting this series, grab a bucket of popcorn and lots of liquid because you are not pausing this. Well, unless you have to use the bathroom.
Yoga with Adriene is still my guide for the week and I practiced deep stretches. I think I am ready to practice more challenging poses next week so watch this space.
Sights and Sounds
I am in Abuja this week and it’s been delightful re-exploring the city I used to call home. So many things have changed but somethings are still the same.
Pepper Grill: This is quite the chill spot to watch football, eat a platter of food and have a natter with strangers.
Today’s Bukka: Smack bang in the middle of Wuse 2, this spot has one of the best customer services in Abuja. I like the decor and noticed there were a lot of delivery bikes so I figured their food will be tasty. It was.
Pret-rol-Manger: I have always been a Pret fan and I know how challenging the lockdown has been to their business. So imagine my surprise when I read they now have an arrangement with Motor Fuel Group (MFG) to open sandwich shops in MFG owned petrol stations. Gives us a better option than your dull petrol shop sarnie.
Novacyt: The Department of Health and Social Care is not renewing its contract with Novacyt for undisclosed reasons. Novacyt is a major supplier of PCR test kits in the UK with the government as their main client — 50% of their revenue comes from DHSC. This may be why their share price plunged 10.63% at market close yesterday.
Six Nations: BBC and ITV have reached an agreement to renew their broadcasting deal with Six Nations to show all Rugby home games free-to-air. This is welcome news for Rugby fans because God forbid the sport goes the way of Football and we are forced to fork out £££ to watch Hamish Watson this Spring.
Asfaw Yemiru: His obituary in The Economist summarises the life and accomplishments of this respected Ethiopian child rights activist and school founder.
LIBOR: Every time I read anything about the London Inter-Bank Offer Rate, my mind drifts to 2012 and the scandal that saw Barclays Bank pay a £290m fine. Now that LIBOR is being phased out, the Financial Conduct Authority is predicting that most LIBOR panels will not exist past the 31st of December 2021. The alternatives, SOFR, SONIA, TONAR, SARON and €STR will now measure the costs of overnight lending.
But will these LIBOR alternatives be as risk free as they are being touted? Regardless, any replacement is better than what LIBOR offered as it is important that borrowing costs are not arbitrarily determined.
From Germany with apologies: Germany has recently admitted that it committed genocide during the slaughter of the Herero and Nama people in Namibia. Compensation talks are in the works but I am wary of these as the mere mention of compensation tends to obviate accountability. The focus will devolve into who needs to pay who what amount and how quickly instead of the fundamental fact that genocide is a crime punishable by death.
Have a fab weekend, my lovelies. x