Bits and stuff: illumination, finance and Eminem – Oct 12, 2017

The silence of the past couple of weeks was an unexpected but needed break – some big issues got thrust to the fore, both personal (my mother had a stroke) and professional (a big decision that was once clear is now decidedly less so).

My mother pulled through (what she lacks in size she more than makes up for in force of personality). The part of the NHS deck that we got dealt was impressive – lovely doctors and nurses, and an incongruously pleasant hospital. We were so lucky, and are deeply grateful.

I had no idea that relief could be so exhausting.

And, as for the professional decisions, some news coming up (although I still don’t know what it will be).

I’ve heard this said before, and I can confirm that it’s true: the worst weeks of your life can also be the most illuminating.

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A good friend suggested that, to cope with the anxiety, I follow Hillary Clinton’s example. She swears by alternate nasal breathing. I’m pretty sure I could do the swearing part.

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the mountain version of "the floor is lava"? - photo by Eivor Kuchta, via MyModernMet
the mountain version of “the floor is lava”? – photo by Eivor Kuchta, via MyModernMet

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Keeping with the personal tone of this post (don’t get used to it), Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me #1: I like Eminem’s music.

Notice how I don’t say that I’m a fan of Eminem, because I don’t know him personally. But his music? One of my favourite Spotify playlists. Top fave this week: Beautiful.

So, his Trump rap blew me away. While entertainers appear to be getting increasingly politicized across the spectrum (with uneven distribution), this is Eminem, people, the entertainer that to my over-educated, liberal-elite eye most represents the demographic that voted for the current president.

But, he yet again showed me that I was wrong, with guts:

“Any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his / I’m drawing in the sand a line.”

Hats off.

Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic puts it beautifully:

“If Eminem feels a need to object, if Eminem can easily seize the moral high ground from the president of the United States, and if it now falls to Eminem of all people to defend core civic values, what does that say about us?”

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Anyway, stuff has been careening along in blockchain in my absence. I was at a conference in Dublin last week: the very well-organized Blockchain for Finance. I’m often reminded of the saying “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”, and there I was definitely in the right room. Great people, too-short conversations and some interesting anecdotes.

The main takeaway for me is that there is more going on “under the hood” than we realise. I’ll elaborate more another time, but we should brace ourselves for a flurry of real-world applications early 2018.

It’s getting exciting, and my head spins when I start thinking about what the next steps will be. I would have written screenfuls more on this, but see Section 1 of this post.

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