Baby steps forward for e-Residents

It was Chris Hernon who first pointed me at the news I knew would come sooner or later.

Its becoming one step easier to setup a business in Estonia under the e-residency programme. A programme I signed up for and got the go ahead for just recently.

One of the biggest issues was having a bank account in another country which you are not formally a part of. I understand the reasons but as the e-residency is a real digital identity and banking (Fintech) goes through changes its self; it makes sense that the two trends will create something new and exciting

Business banking is radically transforming for almost everyone on Earth. Estonia’s e-Residency programme has now partnered with the Finnish fintech company Holvi to provide borderless business banking to the borderless digital nation. This means a complete EU company with complete EU business banking (& a payment card) can be established entirely online.

Although I’m not planning to setup a business in Estonia anytime soon, this is exciting news and I look forward to hearing what comes next.

I almost feel like a quote from the Hacker manifesto is almost apt here.

Mozfest retreat in Tallinn?

Tallinn Mozretreat

Mozfest the festival I have been in involved with for the last 6 years; is a collaborative event and of course there is some overhead to the collaboration. But Mozilla have ways to work through the usual issues with collaboration; be it collaborative tools first or subverting github to manage the open calls. Its quite amazing…

But sometimes you need to bring people together across the many different timezones we inhabit. 2 years ago it was Scotland, last year it was Berlin and this year its Tallinn.

Of course I was wondering like many others. I heard some great things about the place but it wasn’t hot on my list of places to go. But some more research has turned up some great stuff including the e-resident which I first heard about from Alex DS.

Ahead of Brexit, statistics reveal that almost 1,000 Brits have now applied to be e-residents of Estonia. Applications from the UK are being made twice as frequently as before the referendum, following an initial surge from three to 51 applications per week. More than half of all applications from the UK, 534, have arrived since the vote, while 231 arrived in the same period beforehand. Based on current trends, it is likely the 1,000th British application for e-residency will arrive this week, as Article 50 is due to be triggered.

Elsewhere, a website has been set up by the e-residency programme for British entrepreneurs called howtostayin.eu which explains how startups, established businesses and freelancers can use Estonian e-residency to continue their operations in the EU without leaving the UK.

I wish I had done it earlier, as I’ll be doing this for sure now

Interestingly I also found the p0rnhub insights for estonia while searching, which was fancinating but slightly #nsfw, so you were warned! I was going to send it around to some of the Mozfest orginaisers but couldn’t find a way to explain why it was interesting or relavent.

Government’s response to the second referendum

 

Brexit
I fianlly got to see the orginial in Bristol just recently

 

I signed the much talked about petition,“EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum;” a while ago and finally it was debated…

The response is…

The European Union Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015, receiving overwhelming support from Parliament. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.

The EU Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015. The Act was scrutinised and debated in Parliament during its passage and agreed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Act set out the terms under which the referendum would take place, including provisions for setting the date, franchise and the question that would appear on the ballot paper. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.

As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say. The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.

So that’s it… it’s looking even less possible that the EU ref will be undone.

The nightmare is real.

The dream is real

We opened Pandora’s box and now have to deal with the negative consequences which will come in one form or another… Very fitting is the annaology of panadora box with the EU Referendum, I feel.

Today the phrase “to open Pandora’s box” means to perform an action that may seem small or innocent, but that turns out to have severely detrimental and far-reaching negative consequences.

 

Nostalgia is the enemy of progress?

Nostalgia: Nostalgia Shelf

I first heard this on the psytech podcast, as I’ve been thinking about the reasoning behind family members decision to leave the EU. As you’d expect its been said many times before and it seems Steve Jobs certainly wasn’t a fan.

Don’t get me wrong nostalgia has its place, but starting to wonder if its has a lot to blame for a lot of the ills of the world? Without saying so, I realise my argument following the study of how men prefer women who are not smarter than themselves; is entwined with this.

I understand, it’s very comfortable and it clearly makes people feel better in a forever changing world; conjuring up positive memory and providing that boost of positivity.

participants who were induced to feel nostalgic also expressed more optimism of the future.  This optimism is related to two other factors.  First, nostalgia makes people feel more socially connected to others.  This social connection boosts people’s positive feelings about themselves.  That increase in self-esteem then increases feelings of optimism.

This set of studies suggests that nostalgia can play a beneficial role in people’s lives.  When times are tough, it may seem as though things may never get better.  By focusing on positive times from the past, though, people may help themselves to be more connected to others, which can give them the resources to be more optimistic about the future.

Later on we go on to find the numbers not so great and context had a lot to play in this all.

But back to the question, is nostalgia getting in the way of progress? It seems maybe depending on too many factors.

My father likes watching old rerun shows. If it wasn’t for flicking between the news at 6pm and my mother’s enjoyment of soap operas, the TV might stay on ITV3 all the time (for those outside the UK, wikipedia describes ITV3 as a channel mainly aimed at the over-35 audience, and much of its output consists of reruns of older ITV drama series and sitcoms). It does wind and worry me a little. But I understand the nostalgia factor.

However I catch myself doing the same too. How many times have I watched Inception, Trance, Interstellar, etc? It’s not much different really, is it? or is it?

For all the films I do re watch, there’s a ton of films/tv I try to watch. Heck I have given some dog horrible films a try including sextape, tapped outthe do over, pressed, taking stock (although I did find it slightly funny and the stunning Kelly Brook stars in it)… I’ll have to check trakt.tv but the percentage of new to re-watches is quite high, from some rough and bad spreadsheet messing for 30mins on a train…

Out of a pool of 1540 films (going back to 2011!) I watched 1749 films. The average seems to be 0.6666666667? I very much realise my maths skills are pretty rubbish for this stuff, but if I was watching the same thing over and over again, it would be a much higher number. I was actually surprised at the high numbers of new vs re-watched.

Yes this is just media and I guess you could run the same thing with places I go to drink, work in the northern quarter, have brunch, etc, etc… Although most of us think of this as familiarity rather than nostalgia?

Nostalgia creeps in with culture of course. I already wrote about my feelings spending time in Japanese society and many thoughts Sherry Turkle has about the influence of technology in our lives. Its far too easy to say…

Well we use to easier… to get a job for life in the past”

You use to be able to… leave your front door open”

I prefered it when… you could smoke while you worked”

Is this toxic? Its hard to say. But I certainly try to stop myself or caveat what I’m about to say, when I feel it coming up.

But I’m drawn because I’m also very aware we should also look to history to stop making the same mistakes again and again. Remember what a divided europe use to look like?

Control of everything, at what cost to Britain?

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On Friday 24th June I woke up in another universe, one where 51.9% of Britain voted to exit from the European Union. I had gone to bed just as I heard the news Sunderland had voted to leave the EU. There is so many things to say but I want to say…

I reiterate, I am so so so embarrassed and ashamed to be british to all my EU friends and collaborators for the ‪#‎brexit‬ result… Kat says it exactly right

I don’t usually watch much live/broadcast TV but it was on at work, so I watched a bit of coverage. There was quite a bit with people from both sides. What I found really interesting from most of the people who voted leave, was the need to have control. control of our borders, control of our laws, control of immigration, control of our money, control, control…

Or the rather the illusion of control… This is set in motion through Fear. Interestingly Adam Curtis’ Power of Nightmares talks about this…

…fear will not last, and just as the dreams that the politicians once promised turned out to be illusions, so too will the nightmares. And then, our politicians will have to face the fact that they have no visions, either good or bad, to offer us any longer.

Watching the leave campaign talk about what next after the decision was, lacking in vision to say the very least. They got everything they wanted including the head of Cameron.

But back to control… Control seems at odds with collaboration and cooperation. It’s exactly the kind of thing you expect from young children not reasonable adults. This was even clearer watching back some of the panel debates (the world was watching too) on the run up to Thursdays vote, although there’s enough dust kicked up to make both sides look like screaming children.

And it goes much deeper than just the EU.

The vote blew the lid off tensions between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Could stir up trouble between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Threw a series of molotov cocktails at the already growing differences between the lower and middle classes. Then dug a hole the size of the channel tunnel, straight through the baby boomer generation and every generation who followed.

How different would things be if 16-17 year olds could have voted? Heck what about all the other people who made the UK their home from the EU?

There is a slight glimmer of hope as the referendum isn’t legally binding, yet.

The referendum is advisory rather than mandatory. The 2011 referendum on electoral reform did have an obligation on the government to legislate in the event of a “yes” vote (the vote was “no” so this did not matter). But no such provision was included in the EU referendum legislation.

What happens next in the event of a vote to leave is therefore a matter of politics not law. It will come down to what is politically expedient and practicable. The UK government could seek to ignore such a vote; to explain it away and characterise it in terms that it has no credibility or binding effect (low turnout may be such an excuse). Or they could say it is now a matter for parliament, and then endeavour to win the parliamentary vote. Or ministers could try to re-negotiate another deal and put that to another referendum. There is, after all, a tradition of EU member states repeating referendums on EU-related matters until voters eventually vote the “right” way.

Theres also a petition with almost 2 million encouraging parliament to step in and debate the legality of the EU referendum. I signed it as something as devastating as leaving the EU must be debated in a rational way, not children paying in the mud that was the previous campaigns. Even if it doesn’t become legally binding some of the damage is already done and there will be collateral damage as a good part of the 51.9% will cry foul, maybe turning to greater supporters, further stiring up troubles?

I cling to the fact I never voted to leave and all the places I’d lived

  • Bristol (61.7%)
  • London Croydon (54.3%)
  • London Bromley (50.6%)
  • London Greenwich (55.6%)
  • Manchester (60.4% )

All voted as a majority to stay.

I am so greatly sorry to be British, in a similar way to how Americans use to have to apologize for George W Bush and the middle east war. Well the shoe is on the other foot now.

My country is acting like spoilt little children, fallen for the lies and needs to get a clue that the future is about collaboration & relationships not control & dominace.

EU referendum last minute thoughts…

Who Will Be Able To Vote EU Referendum?

Its only 35 minutes before I’m actually allowed to write about the EU referendum or Brexit if you prefer. I wasn’t going to post it but decided I should.

Purdah is the pre-election period in the United Kingdom, specifically the time between an announced election and the final election results. The time period prevents central and local government from making announcements about any new or controversial government initiatives (such as modernisation initiatives or administrative and legislative changes) which could be seen to be advantageous to any candidates or parties in the forthcoming election. Where a court determines that actual advantage has been given to a candidate, this may amount to a breach of Section 2 of the Local Government Act 1986.

Its an old law and the government admits it needs updating.

Just over 6 years ago I woke up in hospital after a bleed on a brain, it was right after the national election of 2011. I asked what happened in the election, as I had lost about 3 weeks in between. Someone (my sister or Ross I think) told me the liberal democrats had joined with the conservatives. I honestly thought they were joking or I had slipped into an alternative reality and would wake up at some point.

I am deeply worried, I will wake up on Friday morning and find myself in yet another alternative reality. I can’t believe we are even having this referendum to be honest.

I’ve pretty much stayed out of the debate back and forth and just listened. I even listened to a few German’s talking about the EU referendum at popathon 2016 which was fancinating, listening what our europe friends have to say about it. As you can imagine, being a young progressive type, you know where I might stand on this all.

Having a chat with family and some friend, some are considering voting leaving. When asking why, it seems to come down to gut feeling. This is when I realised this is a asymmetrical debate, one side are arguing with facts from experts and the other are arguing with their gut. It reminds me of the election in america between Bush and Kerry. Bush was arguing for votes based on religon and Kerry something quite different.

There is something which transends some of this, its part of the Maslow hierarchy of needs, cooperative behaviour. Rosie’s blog sums this up.

When you team up with others, it’s because you believe it will be mutually beneficial and for the best overall. That’s not the same as expecting it to be brilliant for you at all times. There will be times of hardship, and you might be called on for help. Then at some point, the favour will be returned. Making a commitment means sticking it out when times get tough, in the knowledge that it will be for the best in the long term.

There is no point joining a partnership if you plan to jump ship at the first perception that things are not currently 100% in your favour.

This is basic game theory. In a repeated game (like living in the world), the best strategy is cooperation. Even if it looks like defecting will give you an immediate advantage, this is short lived and outweighed by the long term advantages of having an alliance.

I said a while that we needed to appeal to the things which that side stand by, I think cooperative behavior may be a start but I heard recently something which seemed to appeal at a much more gut level or basic needs level.

Brits don’t quit… Is this enough?

We shall see

Peanut Allergies are killer, so are baked beans for me

This Video Explains Why Peanut Allergies Are So Dangerous (found via Lifehacker)

Great video and I’m now subscribed to their youtube channel, which has lots of food related tip bits. Love for them to do one about tuna chunks non fish allergy paradox I have.

But watching the video which i’m going to send to anybody who dobhts my allergy or claims i’m just fussy. I dont get that so much now a days, especially since the EU brough in this law, forcing food outlets to take things seriously or get sued!

Which reminded me what I was thinking while reading this thought catalog post, 12 Things People With Nut Allergies Can Relate To.

A hesitation to trust waiters/ waitresses. “Are you sure this doesn’t have nuts in this?” you’ll ask them skeptically (and even after you’ve gotten the green light on your order, you slant your eyes at them). They supply an assuring “I just double- checked with the kitchen and you’re good to go.” You un-tense, and smile, and proceed to inhale your food.

Too many times this has happened in the past, and you are literally on a knifes edge to throw the dice and hope or leave the restaurant. Now in the EU, if anything happens I can clearly state I told them and look what happened! I do feel very happy we

Of course the get out clause is the trace or they can’t count for the cross contamination in the kitchen. But at least its now not down to the waiter/waitress, which is a very good thing! You only have to look at the tragic death what happened in Manchester just as the EU law was coming into effect.

I still remember the story of eating out with friends in the Northern Quarter of Manchester at a recently opened spainish restaurant. I asked the waitress if the desert had nuts and she claimed to have checked. So it came and I believe I put my fork to the desert when the manager grabbed it away from me, saying it does contain nuts. Close shave!

However my lovely thoughtful friends decided to ask whats going to happen to the desert now? Manager says it will go in the bin. Of course they said they would find a home for it. And shared it between them selves, right in front of me, while I sat saying what lovely friends they were, and how I hated them all…

To be fair this is after the EU law as well but lucky the manager stepped in because nuts is certainly the worst of all my allegies. Luckily its been a long time since I’ve had a allergic reaction to nuts but following my last prick test (yes thats what they actually call it) with no less than 14 different pricks in my arm.

CQzSCKnWoAAv0QC

But my reaction to peanut/satay sauce in Tokyo serves as a reminder of what could happen if I get too loose with my allegry. I’m usually ok with trace amounts but as the doctors have said its likely to get worst as I get older. No epi-pen yet, but one day soon…

Till then…

Benadryl is the bomb, and will always be there for you

There is another stellar piece about allergies on thought catalog, which I wanted to share. Some key points…

We are often uncomfortable trying new food.

Please don’t push us to try unfamiliar foods if we are noticeably uncomfortable. We can become especially nervous if the food is from an unknown source, if we aren’t sure of the ingredients, if we are traveling somewhere with much different food than we are accustomed to, or if allergens of concern could be in close proximity. Often times, you’ll find that we don’t have the same curiosity towards new, exotic food as you do.

We know that it sucks.

You know what makes it worse? Constant reminders.

“So, wait, you’re telling me that you’ve NEVER had lobster?! Oh man, that sucks!!!”

I am fully aware that it ‘sucks’. What are you trying to accomplish here? Feelings of guilt? Frustration? FOMO? It’s not as if I can use your remark as inspiration to seek solutions to my lobster-less life. There is no option for self-improvement here. Many of us have come to terms (reluctantly so) with the fact that we will never (ever) be able to eat lobster or oyster or Peanut Butter Cups or [insert allergen here], despite how much it ‘sucks’.

Although to be fair my body treats all my allergies as poisons, especially fish, hummus, smelly nuts such as peanut and the killer baked beans. So I’m actually feeling sorry you all have to eat that stuff. Yes I would like to have sushi but I can have it if I’m very very careful and at a vegan restaurant.

The allergy cards translated to Portuguese worked very well and I had no reaction from memory..

Food allergens warning, EU change will help

homemade-har-gow

I love dimsum, but I always worry whats inside… luckily this is going to change… real soon

Sarah sent me a link to the new Food Standards Agency’s changes. From December 2014, all food businesses will need to provide information about the  allergenic ingredients used in food sold or provided by them.

There are 14 major allergens which need to be declared:

Cereals containing gluten namely wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), barley, rye and  oats
Crustaceans like prawns, crabs, lobster and crayfish etc.
Eggs
Fish
Peanuts
Soybeans
Milk
Nuts namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew,
Macadamia or Queensland nut.
Celery
Mustard
Sesame
Sulphur dioxide or sulphites (where added and is >10mg/kg in the finished product. Often found in dried fruit and wine)
Lupin
Molluscs like clams, scallops, squid, mussels, oysters and snails etc.

How great will this be… another nice solution to add to the allergy cards.