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Man Dies on Mount Everest Over Crypto Currency?
ASKfm, the site that lets friends ask anonymous questions, decided to launch their own cryptocurrency. To celebrate the launch, they planned an elaborate promotional stunt involving four climbers and the highest mountain in the world. Theysent a team of three crypto enthusiasts on an expedition to climb Mount Everest. At the top, they would bury a small USB drive containing $50,000 worth of ASKT, their new cryptocurrency they have planned an Initial Coin Offering for. Why? They wanted to send their currency “to the moon.” The climbers reached the summit on May 14 and successfully buried the USB. In a Medium post, the company described the expedition and the intentions behind it. “While others try sophisticated marketing techniques, these guys went out there and put themselves right on top of the highest mountain on the planet. An elegant way to boast ideological superiority to every other crypto. A way quite strangely unexplored before. Even memes-wise, think about the closest starting point to reach the moon. It seems so obvious, yet no one has done it.” What the company failed to mention, however, was Lam Baby Sherpa: the Nepalese mountain guide who helped carry gear and lead these otherwise-inexperienced climbers to 29,000 feet. The sherpa, a veteran of three previous Everest climbs, was left behind by the group and is presumed to be dead. One of the climbers was reported as stating: “At the top of Everest the weather was very bad, and then we were coming down. We were going down to Camp 4, which is at about 7900m, and one Sherpa was dying. That’s all we know. He was behind us, so we don’t know what happened to him. We were going fast and the Sherpa wasn’t coming with us. He was coming behind so we didn’t see him.” Upon reaching Camp 4, one of the crypto climbers had developed altitude sickness. They descended to Camp 2, where they called for a helicopter evacuation. As for the $50,000 worth of cryptocurrency? There’s no word as to whether or not it’s been retrieved yet, but with climbing season in full swing and an average of 600 summits each season, it’s sure to turn up soon.
Decentralized Social Networks: Can They Work?
What does "decentralized social media" even mean? LAST YEAR JILLIAN York, a free expression activist, was temporarily booted off Facebook for sharing partially nude images. The offending photos were part of a German breast cancer awareness campaign which featured, well, breasts. Facebook flagged the post as a violation of its Community Standards, which strictly prohibits most types of female nudity. Though the account suspension lasted only 24 hours, it had a powerful impact on York’s ability to get things done. Locked out of Facebook, York was unable to complete her work or post comments on news sites that use Facebook’s commenting tools. And without Facebook credentials, York could not access apps like Spotify and Tinder. Tick off Facebook and you may be unable to work, date, or listen to music. York’s suspension highlights the ever-expanding ways in which we now rely on large private platforms to facilitate our online activities. Over the last 13 years, Facebook has evolved from a lifestyle site for college kids into a cornerstone of civic life. It is one of a handful of very large platforms that dominate our online world. As such platforms have gained traction, the web has transformed from an open space for free expression into a corporate-owned gated community of private platforms. The power of giant platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter leads to problems ranging from the threat of government-ordered censorship to more subtle, algorithmic biases in the curation of content users consume. Moreover, as these platforms expand their reach, the ripple effects of exclusion can have serious consequences for people’s personal and professional lives, and users have no clear path to recourse. The platforms that host and inform our networked public sphere are unelected, unaccountable, and often impossible to audit or oversee. In response, there is a growing movement among free speech advocates to create new technology to address these concerns. Early web pioneers like Brewster Kahle have called for ways we might “lock the web open” with code, enabling peer-to-peer interactions in place of mediated private platforms. The idea is to return to the good old days of the early '90’s web, when users published content directly in a user-friendly decentralized fashion, without the need for corporate intermediaries and their aspirational approach. Communities for users, run only by other users. No companies and giant corporation behind it. Just social networking for the sake of social networking. Now, WIRED makes the argument that they'll never work but I'm not so convinced. I love the idea. What do you think? Can we drop Facebook and find a decentralized way to connect again?