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Tuesday 25th of May 2021
 
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Africa

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09-MAY-2021 :: The Lotos-eaters
Misc.



"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, "This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon." 

In the afternoon they came unto a land In which it seemed always afternoon.


All round the coast the languid air did swoon, Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.
Then some one said, "We will return no more"; 

And all at once they sang, "Our island home Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam."




There is sweet music here that softer falls 

Than petals from blown roses on the grass, 

Or night-dews on still waters between walls Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass; 

Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,

Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes;

Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies. Here are cool mosses deep,

And thro' the moss the ivies creep,

And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,

And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep."


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My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Misc.




Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. 

Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare. 

The lone and level sands stretch far away.




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From Its Myriad Tips Francis Gooding @LRB
Misc.


Try to imagine what it is like to be a fungus. Not a mushroom, pushing up through damp soil overnight or delicately forcing itself out through the bark of a rotting log: that would be like imagining the grape rather than the vine. 

Instead try to think your way into the main part of a fungus, the mycelium, a proliferating network of tiny white threads known as hyphae. 

Decentralised, inquisitive, exploratory and voracious, a mycelial network ranges through soil in search of food. 

It tangles itself in an intimate scrawl with the roots of plants, exchanging nutrients and sugars with them; it meets with the hyphae of other networks and has mycelial sex; messages from its myriad tips are reported rapidly across the whole network by mysterious means, perhaps chemical, perhaps electrical. 

For food, it prefers wood, but with practice it can learn to eat novel substances, including toxic chemicals, plastics and oil. 

Is it somehow sentient? As its thousands of hyphae simultaneously but independently rove through the soil, is the mycelium behaving as an individual or a swarm? What is it like to be this way?

Merlin Sheldrake has tried imagining it:


I found myself underground, surrounded by growing tips surging across one another. Schools of globular animals grazing – plant roots and their hustle – the Wild West of the soil – all those bandits, brigands, loners, crap shooters. 

The soil was a horizonless external gut – digestion and salvage everywhere – flocks of bacteria surfing on waves of electrical charge – chemical weather systems – subterranean highways – slimy infective embrace – seething intimate contact on all sides.

Sheldrake is reporting the results of an experiment. He had been dosed with LSD (a compound originally synthesised from ergot, a fungus that affects rye), as part of a study investigating whether scientists might gain unexpected insights by thinking about their work while tripping. 

Sheldrake’s work was on mycorrhizal fungi, which form mutually beneficial relationships with plants via their roots. 

He wanted to understand how and why they had learned to do this, and how in turn some plants, known as mycoheterotrophs, have developed such powerful relationships with fungi that they no longer need to bother with photosynthesis. 

Almost all plants require mycorrhizal partners to be healthy – more than 90 per cent of plants rely on them, Sheldrake says, making fungal partners a ‘more fundamental part of planthood than fruit, flowers, leaves, wood or even roots’ – but mycoheterotrophs can sustain themselves exclusively on the energy provided by their fungal consociates. 

These plants have substituted out the sun as their source of power, and as a result have lost their chlorophyll and are no longer green. 

Some have evolved new colours, like the flaming crimson Sarcodes sanguinea; some have lost colour altogether, like the ghostpipe, Monotropa uniflora, with its pallid white stalks and flowers.

Sheldrake took a particular interest in Voyria tenella, a delicate, blue-flowered forest gentian that grows in South and Central American rainforests. 

Voyria’s reliance on its mycorrhizal partners is so complete that its roots struggle to absorb water and minerals on their own. 

The fungus may also be extracting sugars and lipids from other nearby plants, further servicing the flower’s needs. 

Voyria clearly has a good thing going, but what’s in it for the fungus? 

Does the flower give its fungal partner something in exchange, or is it a true parasite, using its mycorrhizal companion to hack into the energy resources of the forest?

Lab grade acid dropped, Sheldrake laughed and dreamed his way to some hypotheses about the fungus that were ‘at best plausible, and at worst delirious nonsense’. 

There is no solution yet to the problem of Voyria. Much of fungal behaviour is mysterious; this is one of the central themes of Entangled Life. 

Though they seem familiar from woodland walk and supermarket punnet, fungi are strange and challenging organisms. A biological kingdom unto themselves, they do not behave like plants or like animals. 

They habitually form intimate partnerships with other species, changeable and volatile relationships which slide ambiguously beyond the bounds of the more familiar symbiosis or parasitism. 

Lichens, for instance, whose existence is often glossed as a symbiosis between plant and fungus, are such compressed bundles of life that it might be better to think of them as miniature ecosystems in themselves, comprising numerous different tiny plants and fungi in dense and inseparable embrace.

Lichens are some of the hardiest beings on earth, thriving in the most extreme environments. There are lichens that are impervious to radiation, to burning heat, to freezing cold. 

Some can happily survive periods in space, unprotected from solar radiation – evidence, for some, of the plausibility of panspermia, the idea that life arrived from outer space. 

Perhaps it was tiny lichenous ecosystems, dormant for thousands of years on chunks of spinning rock smashed out of distant planetary collisions, that crossed the abyss between worlds to seed the cosmos with life. 

Fungi certainly seem to have been one of the first complex living things on earth: fossils of what look like mycelium have been found in rocks 2.4 billion years old. 

It was only through fungal assistance that the first rootless plants were able to colonise the land at all; on the barren rocks of the early earth, fungi were already thriving when the first algae began to leave the sea. 

And for fifty million years, fungi did all the work of roots for the first land-dwelling plants. It’s possible that roots evolved in order to house them.

Lichens are an extreme case in their propensity to form partnerships, but with fungi, even the seemingly singular are many: fungal genomes are so promiscuous and multiple that some scholars have proposed abandoning the attempt to categorise them using the Linnaean system. 

They are everywhere, all the time: coursing through soil and seabed, ‘along coral reefs, through plant and animal bodies both alive and dead, in rubbish dumps, carpets, floorboards, old books in libraries, specks of house dust, and in the canvases of old master paintings hanging in museums’. 

If the mycelial threads in just a teaspoon of soil were unravelled and laid out, they might stretch anywhere from ‘a hundred metres to ten kilometres’. Mycelium is a continuous mesh that envelops the earth – strangely, differently, alive and alert.

Modern research into fungi’s differentness has only increased our uncertainty as to what kind of organism they really are. 

In the conventional account, animals move around, do things, and are sentient; plants are sessile, typically move only very slowly by growing, and aren’t really sentient. 

That schematic distinction between the two great kingdoms of complex living things has turned out to be naive and limited, especially when it comes to plants, to which fungi were considered akin – the guidebooks used to call them ‘flowerless plants’. 

But the lives of fungi don’t seem to be very much like the lives of plants at all, and in some ways they behave more like animals.

Take the proficiency of fungi at problem-solving. Fungi are used to searching out food by exploring complex three-dimensional environments such as soil, so maybe it’s no surprise that fungal mycelium solves maze puzzles so accurately

It is also very good at finding the most economical route between points of interest. 

The mycologist Lynne Boddy once made a scale model of Britain out of soil, placing blocks of fungus-colonised wood at the points of the major cities; the blocks were sized proportionately to the places they represented. 

Mycelial networks quickly grew between the blocks: the web they created reproduced the pattern of the UK’s motorways (‘You could see the M5, M4, M1, M6’)

Other researchers have set slime mould loose on tiny scale-models of Tokyo with food placed at the major hubs (in a single day they reproduced the form of the subway system) and on maps of Ikea (they found the exit, more efficiently than the scientists who set the task). 

Slime moulds are so good at this kind of puzzle that researchers are now using them to plan urban transport networks and fire-escape routes for large buildings.

Mycelium not only grows into economical networks, it also reshapes itself in response to its environment. From a block of colonised wood, teeming hyphae initially grow out in all directions in search of more food. 

But when one part of the network finds something new to consume – another block of wood, for instance – the rest of the mycelium stops searching, withdraws from fruitless areas and begins thickening the links to the new food source. 

What’s more, if the hyphae that connect the original block of wood to the newly discovered one are stripped away, and the two blocks are placed in a new container to prevent the re-establishment of old pathways, the regrowing mycelium will nevertheless start out of the original block in the direction of the other one: 

it appears to ‘possess a directional memory, although the basis of this memory is unknown’.


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From Its Myriad Tips Francis Gooding @LRB [continued]
Misc.




‘Solving mazes and complex routing problems are non-trivial exercises,’ Sheldrake writes

‘This is why mazes have long been used to assess the problem-solving abilities of many organisms, from octopuses to bees to humans.’ 

Fungi ace these puzzles because ‘solving spatial and geometrical problems is what they have evolved to do.’ 

They are diffuse, plastic beings: they reform themselves around the problem at hand. ‘Mycelium’, says Sheldrake, is a body without limits: ‘a body without a plan’.

With a decentralised body that grows independently at every extremity, how does a fungus know when to change itself? 

When a hyphal tip discovers a tasty block of wood, how is this information conveyed to the rest of the network-body? Through chemical transport, perhaps? 

Fungi are known to produce and respond to chemicals that can act as cues, and mycelial networks transport water and nutrients rapidly through their hyphae in ‘micro-tubules’, which function hydraulically and are highly pressure-sensitive. 

They can also direct the flow towards particular areas: when it is time to produce a mushroom, for instance, the mycelium propels water into the growing fruit, sometimes under great pressure. 

A fruiting stinkhorn mushroom can crack through asphalt, exerting a force sufficient to lift about 130 kg.

However, as methods of communication go, chemical plumes and microflows of pressurised liquid aren’t very fast – and the mycelium of some fungi can extend for kilometres. 

Would electricity fit the bill? In the 1990s, the Swedish mycologist Stefan Olsson began to investigate. 

Adapting techniques used to research the brains of insects, he inserted glass microelectrodes into the body of the honey fungus, a species that creates huge mycelial networks. 

Sure enough, the mycelium was producing electrical impulses ‘at a rate very close to that of animals’ sensory neurons’, which travelled through the network along the hyphae. 

When a block of wood – a food source – was placed in contact with the wired-up mycelium, the rate of firing doubled; it returned to normal when the wood was removed. 

Controls with a plastic block of similar size showed that the fungus was identifying the wood, rather than merely responding to weight or contact. 

Olsson repeated the experiment with other species of fungi, obtaining the same results: he concluded that fungi use electrical signals for internal communication, reporting on what the hyphae find or what is happening around them. 

They are, Sheldrake writes, ‘fantastically complex networks of electrically excitable cells’.

Some researchers compare mycelial networks to brains, others to computers. 

Both images are seductive: the first suggests fantastical beings, extending themselves in contemplative ingestion through forest and field; the second invites speculation that mycelium’s ability to sample and report on its surroundings might somehow be harnessed as a kind of ‘biocomputing’, capable of providing finely textured real-time reports on the health of the environment

Sheldrake cautions that neither metaphor truly gets close to the reality of mycelial lives, but he seems quite taken with them nonetheless. 

Likewise, Olsson dismisses the brain analogy, yet when observing that hyphal branching creates junctions that could act as ‘decision gates’ to integrate the streams of impulses from the foraging tips, he can’t resist wondering if mycelium might indeed act like ‘a “brain” that could learn and remember’.

Whether or not mycelium in fact behaves like a neural network, fungi certainly seem to have a highly evolved interest in the brains and nervous systems of others. 

The psychoactive effects that psilocybin-producing mushrooms have on humans are well known (though seriously under-researched), but the most virtuosic feats of mind alteration – if that is the right way to describe it – are performed by the numerous species of fungus that can control the minds and bodies of insects. 

These are sometimes called ‘zombie fungi’, and they act with what Sheldrake describes as ‘exquisite precision’. 

The fungus Ophiocordyceps infects carpenter ants. Inside the body of an infected ant, it begins to develop a mycelial network. Hyphae travel through the ant’s body cavities, into its limbs and organs: an infected insect becomes about 40 per cent fungus. 

Once this fungal growth is complete, the normally ground-dwelling ant leaves its nest and climbs the nearest plant. 

At a height of around 25 centimetres – ‘a zone with just the right temperature and humidity to allow the fungus to fruit’ – it orients itself towards the sun; at high noon, it clamps its jaws round a leaf vein, in a ‘death grip’. 

Mycelium grows out of the ant’s feet, plastering it to the leaf. Sutured into place, jaws rigid, the ant’s body is then digested by the fungus: a small mushroom grows out of the ant’s head, releasing spores which drift down onto the ants passing below, beginning the cycle again.

Massospora, a species completely unrelated to Ophiocordyceps, infects cicadas: it rots away the abdomen of an infected insect, leaving it tipped with a yellowish plug of spores that looks like a mass of pollen. 

Infected cicadas are not incapacitated or ill: in fact they become ‘hyperactive and hypersexual despite the fact that their genitals have long since crumbled away’. 

Rushing between mates, they become ‘flying salt-shakers of death’, dusting other cicadas with Massospora’s spores.

It’s unclear how such exact behavioural changes are effected. Ophiocordyceps fills an ant’s body with hyphae and takes control of its actions, but it doesn’t invade the ant’s brain, which is left intact; 

Massospora confines itself pretty much to the cicada’s abdomen, leaving the rest of the body alone, in order that the insect can continue to move around and attempt to mate while the fungus completes its life-cycle. 

It is possible that the control is achieved by means of minutely precise pharmacological interventions in the brains of the hosts: 

Massospora manufactures both psilocybin and cathinone, a stimulant related to the recreational drug mephedrone, which is otherwise found only in plants such as khat (Catha edulis, whose leaves are chewed widely in East Africa and beyond)

So the fungus is perhaps administering both amphetamines and psychedelics to its cicada. But nobody really understands quite how this would work. 

The mechanism by which Ophiocordyceps produces exact and perfectly timed bodily actions in an infected ant is also a profound mystery, except that it most probably involves ‘fine-tuning’ the ant’s ‘chemical secretions in real time’.

Precise and complex effects of this sort are far beyond the reach of human medical pharmacology; Sheldrake compares the way these fungi command their hosts to phenomena such as spirit possession or the speech of mediums. 

Like an incorporeal spirit, the fungus does not have a body, instead entering and possessing something else’s. 

The ascent up the plant and the death grip are not the behaviour of the carpenter ant but of the fungus, which is using the insect as a kind of exo-suit: 

‘For part of its life, Ophiocordyceps must wear an ant’s body.’ How rapidly, how finely must the network be communicating and acting to puppeteer the central nervous system of a living creature, to measure distance and conditions, to determine direction and time of day? 

The question of fungal sentience hovers in the background, like the ambiguous ghosts of spirit photography.

These ideas spill over into a discussion of the effects of psilocybin on humans. 

Sheldrake’s parents were friends with Terence McKenna, the ethnobotanist, renegade philosopher and advocate of psychedelics, and it was on a visit to McKenna’s Hawaiian home – whose grounds were a sort of Wonka Factory of psychoactive plants – that the young Merlin first learned that ‘humans can alter their minds by eating other organisms.’ 

McKenna speculated that psilocybin mushrooms lay at the root of human cultural development: it was consuming them which spurred the creation of art, culture, religion and even language. 

But he also believed that by means of a big enough dose of psilocybin, mushroom consciousness could manifest inside a human partner, and even communicate to the outside world: 

‘With psilocybin as a chemical messenger,’ fungi could ‘borrow a human body, and use its brain and senses to speak and think through.’

‘Do psilocybin fungi wear our minds, as Ophiocordyceps and Massospora wear insect bodies?’ Sheldrake asks. It’s a marvellous, disorientating notion. But his answer is a qualified ‘no’: science has not found any evidence of a long-term evolutionary advantage for fungi in using psilocybin to form a symbiotic relationship with humans or their minds. 

Our eating them doesn’t appear to help them in evolutionary terms; the timescales of human intervention are too short, and psilocybin-producing fungi have been around too long to care much about people. 

More likely, the compound developed to interfere with other beings, probably fungivorous insects.

But then again, Sheldrake writes, ‘perhaps we shouldn’t be too hasty’ in giving up McKenna’s notion. Sheldrake may, one suspects, have taken too many shrooms with too much fascination and joy to surrender the prospect that psilocybin might give us genuine insight into, or even a proxy experience of, fungal lives. 

Tripping on mushrooms is just too mushroom-y, too psychomycelial, to be set aside when trying to think about what fungi are up to. 

In the human brain, psilocybin suppresses what is called the ‘default mode network’, the interconnected brain areas responsible for self-reflection and self-consciousness, thinking about past and future, and for regulating other cerebral processes. 

The DMN, Sheldrake says, keeps a kind of order: ‘a schoolteacher in a chaotic classroom’. 

In neural terms, psilocybin and LSD let the brain ‘off the leash. Cerebral connectivity explodes, and a tumult of new neuronal pathways arise. Networks of activity previously distant from one another link up.’ 

The experience of this for the user involves all the stereotypical (but reliably real) sensations: mystical gnosis, the revelation of the interconnectedness of all things, and so on.

Put like that, the patterns of thought experienced by someone taking psilocybin seem strikingly analogous to its neurological effects. 

And both seem profoundly similar to what we know of mycelium and its habits. 

The explosive growth of interconnections, the development of flexible new relationships, the filling of spaces with a tangle of new pathways, novel and powerful exchanges and flows of information coursing through an electrically excitable network: 

what else but this would a fungus do if it really did seize hold of your mind? And if a fungus were sentient or somehow like a brain, isn’t this perhaps just how it would think – in an entanglement of intimate, sudden, pulsing, fresh connections between the things around it?


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While India's reported cases in the 2nd wave seemed to have peaked, the reported deaths have not peaked even after 18 days. @RijoMJohn
Misc.






This is a bit unusual & unlike the previous peak wherein deaths had peaked 3 days after cases.


It casts a shadow on the peak of reported cases.



 

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09-MAY-2021 :: Benito Modi whose hyper incompetence even the Die Hard BJP ''Deadenders'' are finding it impossible to defend
Law & Politics


Benito Modi whose hyper incompetence even the Die Hard BJP ''Deadenders'' are finding it impossible to defend positively aided and abetted the “Kumbh Mela [which] may end up being the biggest super spreader event in the history of this pandemic.” Professor Ashish Jha

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States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”
Law & Politics



Ibn Khaldun explained the intrinsic relationship between political leadership and the management of pandemics in the pre-colonial period in his book Muqaddimah 

Historically, such pandemics had the capacity to overtake “the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration” and, in the process, challenged their “power and curtailed their [rulers’] influence...” 

Rulers who are only concerned with the well-being of their “inner circle and their parties” are an incurable “disease”. 

States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”

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In retrospect it is now crystal clear from the demonetization & vaccination disasters, that Modi is not only a wishful thinker, but also a reckless risk taker @sonaliranade
Misc.


In retrospect it is now crystal clear from the demonetization & vaccination disasters, that Modi is not only a wishful thinker, but also a reckless risk taker, capable of high risk gambling with economy, peoples’ lives, jobs and much else. 
It is a difficult habit to correct.

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The nine new billionaires spawned from Covid-19 vaccines with combined wealth greater than the cost of vaccinating world's poorest countries, "The nine new billionaires have a combined net wealth of $19.3 billion" @AFP
Africa



The nine new billionaires spawned from Covid-19 vaccines with combined wealth greater than the cost of vaccinating world's poorest countries, according to The People's Vaccine Alliance: "The nine new billionaires have a combined net wealth of $19.3 billion"




Conclusions



The Vaccine Economy 




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09-MAY-2021 The Markets The Lotos-eaters
World Of Finance



On 8th March when the Bears had gotten hold of the US 10 Year, I wrote that I expected the 10 Year to target 1.45% well we got real close on Friday before the market reversed 

Ten- year yields initially plunged to a more than two-month low of 1.46%, then reversed to end the day at 1.58%. However, I am resetting my target Yield to 1.25% now.

Given the volume of money Printing and the extraordinary stimulusI have to say that the US Recovery is actually really weak and I believe it will be very short lived and the Penny will drop soon with the Bond Market and the Shorts will be forced to cover.

The Consensus View appears to be that the Global economy is going to accelerate big time and that its going to BOOM! 

I beg to differ

Furthermore The Central Banks are in a corner. 

They have fired a lot of bullets and even if there was a meaningful bounce they cannot raise rates.

Here is why central banks are trapped and cannot raise rates even if inflation rises: @dlacalle_IA Feb 2 

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.2256

Dollar Index 89..949

Japan Yen 108.62

Swiss Franc 0.8946

Pound 1.4196

Aussie 0.7772

India Rupee 72.789

South Korea Won 1121.355

Brazil Real 5.3208

Egypt Pound 15.66

South Africa Rand 13.8539

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8 JAN 18 :: The Crypto Avocado Millenial Economy.
World Of Finance


The ‘’Zeitgeist’’ of a time is its defining spirit or its mood. Capturing the ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Now is not an easy thing because we are living in a dizzyingly fluid moment.

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As I write this on the 3rd of January 2021 $BTC has touched 35,000.00 in a parabolic shift higher
World Currencies



Conclusions



Markets when they retreat always fall much much further than expectations.

I recall Russian Prins falling from 60+ to 6.

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It was the second wave that killed the dip buyers the most @sunchartist
World Of Finance


Crypto Dip being bought is not much different from the Asian financial crisis (central govt raising rates to protect currency)  and the pre-GFC selloff (the entire subprime was $600 bln small in the scheme of things)

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What the Heck Is Hodl? Bitcoin Lingo for Crypto Noobs
World Of Finance




So what does HODLing connotate? What’s FUD? Or, if you’re not sure what a debate between “hodlers” and “weak hands” means, or have forgotten, here’s a guide or refresher:



Diamond Hands

It’s a popular mantra -- as seen on Reddit and Twitter posts -- that roughly means bullish gumption, or a call to hold tight to an investment even during a plunge in prices or an onslaught of headwinds. Traders will frequently use diamond and hand emoji in conjunction when posting about it online.

FOMO

The fear of missing out is a powerful force in all markets, but is especially potent in a field where there’s no such thing as fundamental value. Crypto fans often cite FOMO as one of the reasons investors might buy cryptocurrencies when they’re in the midst of a rally.

FUD

Fear, uncertainty and doubt. Another term used in other investing contexts, it was adopted by the crypto community to denounce what supporters see as the intentional spread of misinformation. Skeptics see it used as a way to brush off anything negative.

Halving

This is sometimes referred to as halvening -- a planned reduction in rewards miners receive (the term is mentioned in Bitcoin’s code). Halvings happen once every four years or so -- more precisely, every 210,000 blocks of transactions. 

As the name suggests, each one cuts the amount of Bitcoin miners receive per block reward in half. The practice serves to maintain scarcity. This year, Bitcoin’s halving was followed by a steady rise in its price over the subsequent weeks.

Hodl

“Hold” as misspelled by a frenzied Bitcoin trader on an online forum in 2013. It’s become the mantra of cryptocurrency believers during market routs, meant to reassure nervous traders that they should ride out any given slump because of what they see is Bitcoin’s long-run advantages. 

Anyone willing to stomach the volatility is thought to be hodling.

Weak hands

This phrase is used to describe cryptocurrency newbies who, instead of hodling, nervously panic-sell their coins in response to market jitters or negative headlines that wouldn’t faze experienced traders. 

Some weak hands bail out of Bitcoin in favor of so-called alt coins, cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. 

There are more than 9,000 digital tokens, according to CoinMarketCap.com. Many tend to take their cues from Bitcoin, oftentimes rising or falling in tandem.

Whale

In a wide range of markets, whales are investors whose holdings are so large that their every trade makes waves. 

It’s a term that comes with a suspicion of market manipulation. So, too with Bitcoin whales, or people who hold a lot of Bitcoin. 

Some estimates show just a handful control a large percentage of the market, so they have the power to move prices. 

About 2% of the anonymous ownership accounts that can be tracked on the cryptocurrency’s blockchain control 95% of the digital asset, according to researcher Flipside Crypto.


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''Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro."
World Of Finance



GameKyuubi posted "I AM HODLING," a drunk, semi-coherent, typo-laden rant about his poor trading skills and determination to simply hold his bitcoin from that point on.

"I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time. Still wrong. w/e," he wrote in reference to the now-famous misspelling of "holding." 

"WHY AM I HOLDING? I'LL TELL YOU WHY," he continued. 

"It's because I'm a bad trader and I KNOW I'M A BAD TRADER.  Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro."

He concluded that the best course was to hold, since "You only sell in a bear market if you are a good day trader or an illusioned noob.  The people inbetween hold. In a zero-sum game such as this, traders can only take your money if you sell." 

He then confessed he'd had some whiskey and briefly mused about the spelling of whisk(e)y.  [HODL Definition | Investopedia]

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27 NOV 17 :: "Wow! What a Ride!"
World Of Finance



The parabola was described thus by Thomas Pynchon,

“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably.It's The Parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused to believe- that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chance, no return.’’



My investment thesis at the start of the year was that Bitcoin was going to get main-streamed in 2017. It has main-streamed beyond my wildest dreams, therefore, I am now sidelined.



Let me leave you with Hunter S. Thompson, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

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Bloomberg Opinion colleague Jim Bianco that the crash was a big win for cryptocurrencies.
World Currencies





This is counterintuitve, to put it mildly, but he bases his argument on decentralization. It should be no surprise that the same platforms that fail investors with conventional assets were also unable to deal with heavy volume in crypto, he contends. 

But the decentralized venues that are arguably the whole point of bitcoin survived fine:

Recognizing that most are not familiar with decentralized finance, or DeFi, details are in order. DeFi does not use an order book like regulated exchanges. 

Instead, it has over 72,000 liquidity pools. Anyone can be a liquidity provider to these pools or even start one and earn interest (more coins) for their effort. 

Traders use these liquidity pools to trade cryptos. The entire protocol is run by computer code called an automatic market maker. No humans are involved in the trading on these exchanges.



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$BTC Bitcoin’s Claim of Rivaling Gold as Portfolio Hedge Loses Luster @markets @crypto
Commodities




Bitcoin’s 60-day realized volatility is far higher than that of gold
 and currently pulling away. 

The token tumbled 31% on Wednesday before rising by about the same percentage that day. For the week, it’s down some 10%

Gold, meanwhile, is heading for a third weekly gain, bolstered by a weaker dollar and wavering Treasury yields, which boost the allure of non-interest-bearing bullion. 

It’s also benefiting from the crypto crash, according to Brian Lan, managing director of Singapore-based dealer GoldSilver Central Pte.

For some commentators, Bitcoin is still evolving as an asset, making a rush to judgment premature. 

Its capped supply -- at 21 million tokens -- is among the features it shares with bullion, said David Lightfoot, chief executive officer of Sydney-based xbullion, a precious metal tokenization platform.

Bitcoin is still “finding its value” as a revolutionary new asset class, and similar volatility was seen after the discovery of oil as the world began to understand its impact and future worth, he said.


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It was in 30-DEC-2016 :: [I wrote] My Optimal Portfolio at this moment looks like this 1. Long BITCOIN. 2. Long BITCOIN short Gold on a Spread
World Of Finance


I never imagined the Trend would run over 4 years. It has now reversed and tis reversal is going to get violent 

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Moody's EM Summit Panel on Debt Sustainability: @emmuser
Emerging Markets




→ Debt levels entering into realm of unsustainability

→  Recovery will be uneven - Asia likely to lead and Middle East/Africa will lag

→ DSSI provided moderate liquidity relief

→  6 sov defaults in 2020 but no massive wave


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#COVID19 in South Africa Daily test positivity rate in SA breaches 10% level today (10.2%) - 1st time back above 10% since 5th Feb 2021 @rid1tweets
Africa



1st time back above 10% since 5th Feb 2021, as SA was exiting 2nd wave 

Previous time SA breached 10% on an upward trajectory was 17th Nov 2020

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With Highest Covid Rate, Maldives to Lengthen 12-Hour Curfew @business
Africa




Maldives, which has the world’s fastest growing Covid-19 epidemic, plans to extend a 12-hour curfew in its capital in a bid to slow down the outbreak.

The Indian Ocean archipelago, which depends on luxury tourism for much of its income, has the highest number of infections per million people over the last 7 and 14 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The initial restrictions have had an impact on the curve,” Mohamed Mabrook Azeez, spokesman for the president’s office, said in an interview on Monday. 

“We feel that more measures are needed to further slow down the number of positive cases.”

The country had already extended the curfew by nine hours as well as imposing other restrictions in the capital of Male and surrounding districts as cases surge even though 42% of its population has had two doses of vaccine. 

The situation mirrors that of the Seychelles, another Indian ocean nation where cases have surged even though 64% of the population, the most in the world, has been fully vaccinated. 

So far, the reasons for the surge in both countries isn’t clear.

The new restrictions will be imposed from May 26, Azeez said.


The Maldives confirmed 1,559 new cases on Sunday with 1,135 in the Greater Male area. Total active cases were 23,464 in the country of about 391,000 people. 

The total number of deaths reached 134 on Monday , according to data from the government’s Health Protection Agency, which notifies the nation on Twitter whenever a Maldivian dies of the disease.


The outbreak isn’t affecting tourism areas significantly, Azeez said.


In the tourism-dependent economy, 97% of resort employees have received a first vaccine dose and 56% are fully inoculated. Of all tourism arrivals, less than 0.2% were positive, Azeez said.

Maldives has been using vaccines from Sinopharm, AstraZeneca Plc. Seychelles has used Sinopharm and Astrazeneca vaccines.



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Ethiopia's foreign ministry said that if the U.S. restrictions continued, Addis Ababa "will be forced to reassess its relations with the United States, which might have implications beyond our bilateral relationship."
Africa



"The attempt by the U.S. administration to meddle in its [Ethiopia's] internal affairs, is not only inappropriate but also completely unacceptable," the statement from the foreign affairs ministry added
.

"What is even more saddening is the tendency by the U.S. administration to treat the Ethiopian government on an equal footing with the TPLF, which was designated as a terrorist organisation ... two weeks ago."

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Military detain Mali's president, prime minister and defence minister @Reuters
Africa





Military officers in Mali detained the president, prime minister and defence minister of the interim government on Monday, deepening political chaos just months after a military coup ousted the previous president, multiple sources told Reuters.

President Bah Ndaw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and defence minister Souleymane Doucoure were all taken to a military base in Kati outside the capital Bamako, hours after two members of the military lost their positions in a government reshuffle, the diplomatic and government sources said.

Their detentions followed the military ouster in August of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. 

The development could exacerbate instability in the West African country where violent Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State control large areas of the desert north.


The United Nations' mission in Mali called for the group's "immediate and unconditional" release and said those who hold the leaders would have to answer for their actions.

A delegation from the top regional decision-making body ECOWAS will visit Bamako on Tuesday to help resolve the "attempted coup", ECOWAS, the U.N., African Union, European Union and several European countries said in a joint statement.

"The international community rejects in advance any act imposed by coercion, including forced resignations," the group said.

The U.S. State Department called in a statement for the "unconditional release of those currently being held".


"The sacking of the pillars of the coup was an enormous misjudgement," a senior former Malian government official told Reuters. "The actions are probably aimed at getting them back in their jobs."

The military's ultimate goal was not immediately clear. One military official in Kati said this was not an arrest. "What they have done is not good," the source said, referring to the cabinet reshuffle. 

"We are letting them know, decisions will be made."

Kati's military base is notorious for ending the rule of Malian leaders. Last August, the military took President Keita to Kati and forced him to resign. A mutiny there helped topple his predecessor Amadou Toumani Toure in 2012.

Mali has been in turmoil ever since. Toure's departure triggered an ethnic Tuareg rebellion to seize the northern two-thirds of the country, which was hijacked by al Qaeda-linked jihadists.

French forces beat the insurgents back in 2013 but they have since regrouped and carry out regular attacks on the army and civilians. They have exported their methods to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger where attacks have skyrocketed since 2017.






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Repeated tremors shook the Congolese city of Goma on Monday, unnerving families still reeling from a volcano eruption at the weekend @Reuters
Africa






A string of small earthquakes has since struck the city, the surrounding region in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and across the border into Rwanda.

One reached a 5.1 magnitude at 10:37 a.m. (0837 GMT) on Monday, according to the Rwanda Seismic Monitor, which is managed by the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board.


Tremors struck every 30 minutes in the city from midday on Sunday. In Rwanda, a Reuters reporter saw several buildings damaged by the tremors.

Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist based in Goma, told Reuters the lava lake in the volcano has refilled, having emptied before the initial eruption on Saturday evening, although its significance was as yet unclear.

"The danger is small at the moment, but the earthquakes are an immediate danger as they could open another fracture, so this is why I'm a little bit worried. We have to be very careful," he said.



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Both S&P and Fitch Ratings affirmed #SouthAfrica’s sovereign credit rating at BB- on May 21. @NKCAfrica
Africa

The ratings agencies were impressed by the improvement in the fiscal accounts in Q1, but raised concerns over the government’s consolidation-drive plan.

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Nigeria’s central bank devalued the naira by 7.6% against the dollar as authorities in Africa’s biggest oil producer migrate toward a single exchange-rate system for the local currency. @markets.
Africa





The Abuja-based Central Bank of Nigeria replaced the fixed rate of 379 naira to a dollar used for official transactions with the nafex or the I&E exchange rate of 410.25 naira per dollar, according to data on its website on Tuesday.

The unification of the two rates will improve the country’s currency-management system and help meet the conditions of the International Monetary Fund and investors for transparency. 

Nigeria had adopted multiple exchange rate regime to avoid an outright devaluation of the naira. 

The nafex, which acts as a spot rate, was introduced in 2017 to improve dollar liquidity and encourage inflows from foreign investors that were exiting the country following the 2016 economic crisis.

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The Story of Zamrock, One of Rock's Brightest Hidden Gems
Africa



Zambia turned out to be one of those seemingly unlikely hotspots, giving birth to a rich psych-rock scene that grew to incorporate elements from Zambian traditional music and language, becoming a glorious movement unlike any other. This is the story of Zamrock.



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Kenya’s trade deficit up 28% in the quarter ended March 2021: [Source: @BD_Africa] @MwangoCapital
Kenyan Economy



- Deficit grew to KES 317.49B up from KES 247.78B

- Imports grew 19% to KES 507.54B

- Exports rose 6.3% to KES 190.05B

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“This was baked into the price. I think it is a bit of a sugar rush, to last a day or two, and then we move back,” @Reuters
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services


Safaricom’s shares rose almost 7% to 42.20 Kenyan shillings ($0.3911) at one point, though one trader had cautioned that the rally could be short-lived.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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May 2021
 
 
 
 
 
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