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Counterflows: Issue #79
A nomadic writer's guide to borderless living.
Hi folks 👋
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I published a Counterflows post: Coronavirus is a driving force for global innovation. I received lots of emails from readers then telling me they appreciated the solutions lens at a time of such unprecedented international distress.
Given the past week, I want to offer you something similar in response to the crisis in Ukraine. Things feel scary and out of control right now, but from the wreckage and devastation of war, a new global narrative is beginning to emerge; one based on our common humanity.
Here are some of the ways people, networks, and companies are responding in solidarity with their fellow humans in Ukraine:
Remote has partnered with the Portuguese government to help Ukrainian refugees start a new life abroad.
Pieter Levels has fast-tracked Rebase applications for Ukrainians, providing access to expedited immigration processes.
Airbnb will offer free, short-term housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees forced to flee their country.
Reddit users are booking virtual stays in Ukrainian homes, to help provide hosts impacted by war with extra income (Airbnb has waived all fees).
Redditors are also leaving Google and TripAdvisor reviews to share messages and images to help alert Russians to the reality on the ground in Ukraine.
Bolt will donate around €5 million (5% of every order in Europe for two weeks) to Ukraine.
Russia tried to shut down Ukraine’s internet, so Elon Musk activated his internet service, Starlink, and sent terminals to help people stay connected.
Hacktivist network Anonymous declared cyberwar on Putin—shutting down government websites, hacking state TV channels, intercepting military communications, and taking over the Russian Space Agency’s control centre.
If you or someone you know needs practical information or you’re looking to donate, take a look at the resources page my team at SafetyWing has published. We’re updating it daily, and crowdsourced contributions are very welcome—hit reply to share links and I’ll pass them along.
This detailed documentary (~30 mins) looks at the impact of El Salvador’s decision to legalise Bitcoin last year. Made by my old pal Uptin, an independent journalist and YouTuber, and featuring my other pal John Dennehy, who you’ll remember from the last edition of Counterflows. (via Uptin)
Thanks to a collaboration between policymakers, businesses, local people, and nomad visitors, the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira has become a so-called “digital nomad village”. This piece looks at whether nomads are integrating with host communities or creating parallel social circles that ultimately won’t hold. (via Sifted)
Many knowledge workers made the decision to relocate far away from their offices during the pandemic. So, what happens next—when their bosses say they have to return to the physical workplace? (via Bloomberg)
The old wisdom of the internet continues to ring true: If you want a glimpse of the future, take a look at what’s happening in the sex industry. This reported article looks at what the porn-meets-influencer platform OnlyFans signals about the wider future of work. (via TIME)
Critical thinking can be learned, but it’s difficult to teach. Nevertheless, this post lists actionable guidance to help you become a better thinker. The TLDR is basically that you have to spend more time thinking if you want to improve your ability to do it well. Who would’ve thought it?! (via Farnham Street)
✍️ 📚 What Joan Didion Saw
Whether you’re a die-hard Joan Didion fan or somebody who has never read anything she wrote, this reflective piece from Nathan Heller offers up a sharp and insightful lens on her importance as a writer, cultural commentator, and relentlessly curious human. (via New Yorker)