Cargo, Crypto, and Calculations: Day 8’s return to Nicosia

After the fun but long weekend in Paphos, there was something comforting about settling back down in Nicosia. The day started like any other, with breakfast and a bus ride. Once we got to UNIC, we found our seats in the auditorium and listened to the guys from Fleet Management Limited discuss their company. The company manages many different variations of ships for owners by organizing factors such as crew. After, we got lunch at the university cafeteria and then waited a bit until the next presentation. The next two presentations were lectures from UNIC faculty. One focused on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency while the other focused on Data Forecasting. The first presentation was really good for filling in my understanding of Cryptocurrency. I had a very base level knowledge of it before, but now I feel like my overall understanding is much higher. The next presentation, we talked with on of the leading data forecasters in the world, who explained his competitions he runs and what the data forecasting world has learned from them. Finally, we got back to the hotel, and I got dinner later in the night.

Reflections for Fleet Management Limited: I found this presentation to be quite engaging despite its long length. It was interesting to hear a lot of facts about the shipping industry. For instance, Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port but is barely in the top 10. Shanghai is the world’s largest and other Chinese ports are massive in size, too. It just goes to show how much shipping and industry there is in China. Other fun facts were cool as well. For instance the average ship sail 75% of the distance between the earth and the moon and back each year, which is a very long way. The world’s largest ship can hold up to 24,000 TEUs. That’s insane! 24,000 20 foot containers! I thought this presentation really put into perspective the size and importance of the shipping industry.

Reflections for UNIC lectures: The blockchain was chock full of informative points; however, there were some things that I questioned. The presenter seemed to be very supportive of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency, but his account seemed a little one-sided. The regulation that come with some level of centralization are very important. For instance, they stop people from being scammed by pump and dump schemes that currently run rampant in crypto. Also, take for example the Russian Oligarch’s. The centralized European finances allow countries to freeze Russian accounts and impose sanctions, where Bitcoin would allow them to keep their finances and continue supplying Putin’s atrocities. I just think that the cryptocurrency debate needs to take a full account of both the pro and cons, rather than focusing on one like most discussions about it do now The data forecasting presentation was also interesting. It was cool to see how powerful predictive forecasting model have become. With Machine learning and AI there has been huge growth in power predictive accuracy. I did wonder if forecasts could influence people’s actions and if it possible to stop that from happening. For instance, if I released data showing that a recession was incoming, it could actually cause a recession because people would offload their stocks and start saving more, which are both bad things for a deteriorating economy. Either way, the presentation was intriguing and showed me a lot.

Today was a great, more chill day. Tomorrow will be interesting because we cross the Turkish border. Will it be a lot different there? I don’t know yet but it will be cool to see nonetheless.

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