Archive for December, 2019

Xi Jinping Thinks You're Stupid

Sunday, December 22nd, 2019

I have so far two unpublished translations of Chinese articles related to Bitcoin. One is left unpublished due to me not knowing exactly what to do with it. There is nothing new to me in it about Bitcoin per se, and although it is interesting to see a not terrible run down of Bitcoin that was both produced and consumed within China, there are no either intelligent or retarded arguments that I haven't already seen countless times in Western media. Not to mention the quality of the English version is low. I could go through and correct the grammar mistakes, but I don't know if this is the right thing to do given my current skill level in Chinese. That leaves me with something that is both a pain to read for my readers, and also uninformative.

The other is unpublished due to being, well, not what I wanted. There was some kerfluffle a while back about Xi Jinping endorsing "crypto" and I wanted to find out exactly what he said. It turns out that, unless you were physically there at the party meeting, or whatever they call it, there is no way to know. The only texts that Mia could find were not direct quotes, but summaries by no one I ever heard of of what he said.

After seeing these, I explained that I really wanted to know exactly what he said, and asked her if she could maybe find a video of the event. Now, she did find a video of the event, but there was no audio of Xi Jinping, just a voice over by, again, someone I've never heard of, "summarizing" what Xi Jinping "said."

This obfuscation has to be intentional. This technique of only providing summaries of what Xi Jinping said by other people who no one ever heard of allows Xi Jinping never to have to say anything stupid or wrong, because if it turns out that whoever summarized what he said said something wrong, that's on him, not Xi Jinping.

So, although I consider these two translations to be negative results, perhaps there is still some value to them. The first thing I have learned is perhaps a question to ask, rather than some new information: "How do you best work with a translator that knows Chinese better than English?" The second thing I have learned is (although I always suspected this to be true) not only that English language news about "crypto" coming out of China is total trash, but specifically why, which is that until I see some counter evidence I must assume that all news articles are based on summaries in Chinese by no names, and that it cannot be assumed that these summaries are sourced from original content by anyone with any sort of reputation.

I am left, at this point, with no great desire to continue digging through the dung heap remotely. As for what's next, I am considering having Mia try to attend a Bitcoin meetup near where she's located and write up a report, or going to China myself and attending one.


Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

For the past 2 months I've had some kind of sinus infection/congestion. It's been weighing on my mind a lot and draining my energy and kept me from making any new commitments or doing anything more than I have to to get by (and recently that's been a lot, including successfully obtaining my Costa Rican residency card as well as opening a new bank account in Costa Rica to allow me to meet the requirements of my residency visa). Meanwhile I've been continuing to execute on my fiat contract work.

I went to a doctor yesterday and she prescribed me some antibiotics and allergy medications. I hope this will resolve my infection/congestion within the next 10 days.

I am aware of the similarities between myself and phf in this situation, although I would in no way compare myself to him in terms of ability nor the seriousness of my ailment. I do want to avoid his fate if possible, and so I'm asking for some time to recover from this illness before I either jump back into confronting the painful things I have to confront in #ossasepia or get negrated.

Surfing in Tamarindo with Will

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

I didn't know what Will would look like, having only seen his tiny comment icon on my blog. But I knew he had hair, and lots of it, and that's how I knew it was him when I arrived at the Surf Culture surf shop. He had already procured a board for me, and, donning the white man's burden1, we made our way to the beach.

At the beach, Will showed me how to get up for a wave. He demonstrated by quickly bringing his left foot and then right foot forward, with knees bent, and both feet on the center line. I practiced this several times, and when I felt like I had it down, we went into the surf. When a good wave came, Will would give my board a push at just the right moment, and so I was able to catch multiple waves and stand up on the board before either falling or jumping off as I got too close to the shore.

Rather than discussing the details of our conversation, I will say that Will listened very closely to what I said, and responded to that, and that to my detriment I probably talked too much about myself and did not ask him about himself as much as I should have. I also regret not having read more of his blog. When I last checked it prior to the trip I only saw 4 or 5 of his most recent articles, but now I know there are many more going back a few years, which I look forward to reading.

For me it was great to meet someone who had, with interest, read my blog. I was somewhat taken aback that anyone would find it interesting since either a) the topics discussed are a non-starter for most of the population or b) for the log-reading population it's nothing new.

It was also interesting to try to have a serious discussion outside of IRC. I was frustrated by my inability to remember things I had written myself.

After surfing, we went to get my girl2, who we found about to cross the street in between the hotel lobby and the rest of the hotel buildings going back up the hill, and tried to decide where to eat. The girl wasn't up for anything exotic3 like sushi, so we ended up going to an Argentinian place with standard Argentinian fare. I had the Neapoliton chicken Milanesa, Will had a gigantic steak, and the girl had ... I forget.

We still had some time, so we decided to go to the casino, which turned out to be almost completely empty except for ourselves and a few employees. I am not a gambler, but the girl was so she went about losing some money while the conversation continued. What I remember most from this part of the discussion was that we touched on morality - whether there is right and wrong and I believe Will's stance was that for most people it is too complicated to figure out. I was woefully unprepared to support my stance that there is indeed an ought, which I regret. Perhaps we can discuss it more next time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole afternoon and evening and look forward to the next opportunity we have to get together.

Here are some photos from Tamarindo, where the whole thing took place.

  1. sun screen []
  2. She was from Honduras, and was friend of a girl I met on one of my previous trips []
  3. I found out later she didn't know about for example sailboats or how the worked, but fortunately for me she was an expert in Spanish as it is spoken in Central America []