Weekly Recap #7

Technological Development I’ve been Following – Starlink Sattelite Internet Test. For those who don’t know, Starlink is a project being developed by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company. The goal of the endeavour is to grid the planet with thousands of orbiting satellites, which together, can provide very fast internet to any location on the globe (except Antarctica). All you would need on the ground is a 500$ antenna and router to capture the information from the satellites. The obvious benefit of such an internet is the ability to connect the most remote locations on the globe with a relatively minuscule investment. Currently, this can only be achieved thanks to underground, and even underwater cables.

Starlink just ran a public Beta to test their system. SpaceX has been launching their satellites since 2016, and has approximately 800 in orbit.

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Artist Living in my Ears – Fela Kuti. Born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti in Nigeria, Fela Kuti was no typical man. Known to the world as a musician, he is known in Africa as a force of nature that used his music as a tool with which he attacked warlords, lead the Pan-African movement, and challenged the traditions of Africa. You may never have heard of him, but over 1 million people attended his funeral in 1997. Kuti spent his life in the pursuit of his goals, and he has inspired many to do the same.

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Video I’ve been Watching Over and Over – How the Economic Machine Works, by Ray Dalio.  In this video, famous hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, provides us with his view on how an economy works.  The video is 31 minutes long, and it is dense.  I had to watch certain parts of it over and over again until I got the general idea.  However, if any part of you has ever been frustrated at the fact that you didn’t understand ideas such as Government Debt, or what happens to newly printed money, or any other general question about the economy as whole, this is the video for you. 

Now of course, this is Ray Dalio’s version of how the economic machine works, and he’s very proud of it; I’ve heard him answer a question during an interview by stating that every notion that he has which is of use is in the video. In it, he presents a rather classical view of the system, with certain insights that I found very useful. But I found that there were things missing from his description, and it’s not a complete picture, but it’s a far more complete picture than I’ve ever been able to acquire in one single place in just 30 minutes, and so I recommend this video! I do not understand economics enough to say anything else about it, only that it will set anyone on the right path to understanding the big picture. It won’t answer all the questions, but it will provide a framework with which to observe the world’s financial sector, and begin making sense of that byzantine machine which our lives feed every day.

The Movie you Must Watch This Year – Borat Subsequent Film. When the first movie released in 2006, Borat took America by storm. Now, he is back, after having spent 13 years being punished in a Kazak Gulag for embarrassing Kazakstan in his first film. His mission: to present a gift to President Trump on behalf of the Kazak government.

Borat is known for pulling outrageous pranks on unsuspecting Americans. While there are many prank shows, those created by Sasha Baron Cohen stand apart. He has a special ability to use his pranks to test the threshold of humanity in genuinely interesting ways (at-least, to me). Borat, and many of Cohen’s other outrageous characters consistently illuminate hidden truths about us and our society through their ability to remain convincing to those people that they interact with. They are insane, crazy, syncretic caricatures that bring out humanity’s worst qualities; we find it funny because we’re in on it, but people who bump into Borat really believed that he was Borat. They took him seriously, and their responses to Borat’s behavior provided comedy, but also often forces us to reflect. The first movie was mainly interested in showing us how far Cohen was willing to take his pranks, but this one struck me as a serious attempt at social and political commentary. It was far more story driven than the first movie, where the plot was just an accessory. The Subsequent Film seemed to be trying to say something.

I recommend this film for the raunchy and taboo comedy, for the underlying commentary it provides on our society, and for its absolute relevance. It seems as though they finished filming it the day before it was released, and I’ve personally never experienced something like this before. I think the entire film takes place in the year 2020. Borat is there when America shut down its borders and sent people into quarantine. He is there during the protests, and he is there on the campaign trail with the American election. Perhaps the real geniuses on this movie were its editors. 

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