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Monday, Oct 28, 2019 - 23:10 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Short Diwali Breather

Me: That was a good few months for the firm of H.L. Ham, yes; that's one final big swing trade from the double top of July concluded, from about US$11k to the target of US$7.5k, for a gain in crypto of about 40% - and with the Bitcoin price now settling around US$9.5k after its biggest single-day gain of some US$3k since it was worth like ten bucks in 2011, it's paid off in dirty fiat too. More or less as expected.

Mr. Ham: Under my fine leadership, no less.

Me: Anyway, that's why I like talking with you hamsters, you know. Often, try to be accurate about realities - not even right, mind you, just accurate - and people get all upset. Which wouldn't be so bad, if they didn't moan about the anticipated outcome afterwards. No, Mr. Robo here is as reasonable and rationally-minded as they come, while you, Mr. Ham, are an asshole possessed of an entirely-unwarranted and yet utterly-unshakeable self-belief. Basically, you're unoffendable since any criticism slides off your bulletproof fur.

Mr. Ham: Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Mr. Robo: About the ridiculous boom in crypto prices, some have pinpointed it as being caused by President Xi's endorsement of blockchain on Friday, alongside the People's Bank of China seemingly planning to implement a digital yuan. We have analyzed this scenario in our AGM of January 2018, recall, with the conclusion that state currency blockchains offer next to no additional value proposition over existing digital solutions. They would likely wind up as official Tether-like stablecoin services, though probably with additional mandatory reporting requirements and transfer limitations that essentially defeat the whole purpose. The fundamental tradeoff remains: ban crypto outright and lose the new financial sector, or accept crypto but lose some control over capital movements. It's taken awhile, but I expect that China's technocrats have finally figured that not even they can afford to sit this one out.

On the other hand, it could be argued that China has certain qualities that are a good fit for crypto, which had us wondering as to why they were legislating away their own strengths in mining. In particular, a developed crypto-based alternative monetary system would break the American stranglehold over cross-border money transfers - consider how SWIFT was weaponized against Iran, for instance. Indeed, as the challenging power, China would more naturally seek to establish an alternative financial ecosystem, even if they are unable to fully control it. On the contrary, America as the defending hegemon would seek to maintain its deathgrip on money flows, thus the continued scrutiny over Facebook's Libra, with Zuckerberg again summoned before Congress.

Almost feels like nothing's impossible with A.I. now,
least of all a retiring Jack Ma pwning kungfu masters

[N.B. where "retiring" means handing power over to the CCP]

Me: Leaving further Bitcoin discussion for the next AGM, it was perhaps no coincidence that our DPM was in China a couple of weeks back as Singapore continues to try and triangulate between them and the U.S., but as previously explained in detail, I doubt it'll count for much, what with the resulting pacts all seeming rather vague and inconsequential - and from our own and Duterte's experience, the actual benefits are up in the air. Meanwhile, the recent security spat involving an Indian national has reopened debate as to how ordinary Singaporeans are benefitting from the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, what with India threatening to refer us to the WTO for allowing just two hundred thousand of their workers in. Honestly, the EDMW set has a point here.

Continuing on questionable governmental decisions, the automated bicycle storage facility highlighted in June as not making any sense, will indeed cease operations by the end of the year due to low take-up. How low? Well, only three of its 500 lots were used daily through its lifetime, but given the unrealistic pricing, we can only show a shocked Pikachu face. Apropos from the national subreddit on the S$4.7 million white elephant, "I bet huge money that who ever came up with the idea has already been promote up to another position... the kah gias left behind need to shutdown this project which all knew is a bad idea from start... Scholar-generals are like a F15 plane.... Come in hard and fast and high and loud... Drop a big fucking load of bomb.... And then they are out and away."

We can only hope that more common sense will be involved in the designation of the entire western part of Singapore as a test ground. Despite the deluge of personal mobility device incidents, both on the road and off, I'd gather that their enduring popularity relates to the organic suitability of their design as a transport solution for the masses. While I had originally envisaged bare-bones kart-like vehicles, that niche appears to have been taken up by seated mobility scooters for the elderly, with the able-bodied largely going for the standing type. And, let's face it, I can hardly believe any contraption will be significantly more energy-efficient or compact than a foldable e-scooter. With proper regulation and dedicated road lanes, they could well be a plausible public transport solution - one of those things the political elite should be very concerned about.

What else was there... United finally won just their third league match of the season, and sometimes I question why I even bother watching, but I suppose it's become a habit. Oh, and archived all those ancient Yahoo Groups from two decades back, given that they'll all be deleted by December. Oh, and the Utopia webgame from that era has also been revived, not that I've the time to get into it.

Might as well list out some of the long-overdue forthcoming content too, then:

  • On A.I. Hype
  • U.S.-China Geopolitics
  • Democratic Debates Thus Far
  • No, Haven't Forgotten The Hong Kong/Hawaii/Kenya/UAE Travel Notes
  • The Hong Kong Situation (Separate From Travels)
  • Recaps Of All Those Linguistic Modules
...with the A.I. piece scheduled next.

Mr. Ham: Kiang tu ho, mai keh kiang.

Me: Excuse me?

Mr. Ham: That's what you do, no? Keh kiang? Literally, artificial intelligence?

Me: ...

Mr. Robo: ...he's accurate, you know.

Me: Yup, very well done, Mr. Ham. Original joke there for once. No flatten you today.

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Next: Pleasant Diversions

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