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Tired Of ‘Writing Obituaries For Coral Reefs,’ Surfing Scientists Find Ways To Save Them

Tired Of ‘Writing Obituaries For Coral Reefs,’ Surfing Scientists Find Ways To Save Them

Tired Of ‘Writing Obituaries For Coral Reefs,’ Surfing Scientists Find Ways To Save Them2020-05-24PopularResistance.Orghttps://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2020/05/ci_43766044_large-e1590338347960.jpg200px200px

Above photo: A coral reef in Timor Leste © Cristina Mittermeier/sealegacy.

Grim reports and unsettling headlines paint a bleak future for Earth’s coral reefs, which are projected to be wiped out by the end of the century due to climate change and pollution.

But a new study shows that this future can be prevented — and outlines the relatively small steps humanity can take to ensure coral reefs’ long-term protection and productivity.

Building off of previous work, a group of marine scientists — all of them ardent surfers — identified the criteria that make a coral reef receptive to conservation.

This research found that conservation efforts should focus on areas with low-to-medium human impacts on coral reefs, according to Jack Kittinger, a member of the research group and head of Conservation International’s global fisheries and aquaculture work. Conservation News spoke to Kittinger about the steps that local communities and governments must take to save the world’s coral reefs — what he calls “the rainforests of the sea.”

Question: Tell me more about this group of surfing scientists.

Answer: More than a decade ago, a few marine researchers formed a group known by the acronym SERFSUP DUDE (Social-Ecological Research Frontiers: Solutions to Unsustainable Practices from Deeper Understanding of Development and Environment) as a way to bridge social and ecological sciences, with a focus on coral reefs. We convene once a year — typically in a beach community with a good surf break — to ask the really tough questions about how to save the world’s coral reefs. By taking an open-minded and interdisciplinary approach, we then find answers to these questions with data and rigorous analytical methods.

Q: What did SERFSUP DUDE set out to discover with this study?

A: My colleagues and I are tired of writing obituaries for coral reefs — so the group is always focused on finding solutions. In the past we identified “bright spots” in reefs — where they are healthier than they should technically be — which pointed us toward some specific conditions and factors responsible for these outliers. Then, we researched further to understand the social factors responsible for those bright spots, and their opposites — the places really doing poorly (“dark spots”).

This new paper builds off that research by exploring which strategies are most effective to protect coral reefs. To do this, we examined the success rates of marine protected areas and fishing restrictions laws in reefs of different sizes, locations and social contexts.

Q: What did you find? 

A: After assessing 1,800 coral reefs across the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, we discovered that the effectiveness of a coral reef conservation initiative really depends on the initial health of a reef — and how much pressure the reef faces due to human activities such as overfishing or pollution.

Think about coral reefs as a spectrum, with the reefs on one end of the spectrum are in excellent shape and the reefs on the other end are severely degraded. Where a reef is on that spectrum will determine how much it can benefit from the most common conservation efforts, such as establishing a marine protected area or putting in new fishery regulations.

Essentially, to save coral reefs, we have to be proactive and stop them from becoming too degraded. Otherwise, it will be too late.

Q: Are there enough coral reefs on the good end of that spectrum?

A: Well, it’s a mixed bag. Only 5 percent of reefs globally are really healthy. We call these the “A-listers,” the reefs that have barely been touched by humans. Then there are the “B-listers,” reefs that have been somewhat impacted by human activities but are still productive. There are still a lot of B-listers left in the world.

Q: Which reefs can still be saved?

A: Our data shows us that “healing” a highly degraded reef is really difficult, since your recovery options become much more limited and much less effective — we can’t have much impact in these reefs even if we use every tool in the ocean conservation toolbox that we have.

The majority of investments in coral reefs conservation should go toward the B-listers because these reefs still have a fighting chance — if humans put conservation tools such as marine protected areas and restricted fishing zones in place to help protect them. In fact, in many areas, relatively small changes in the management of reefs can have massive benefits. There are several million hectares of reefs in this category that exist all over the tropics in waters throughout the Indo-Pacific, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Q: Now we know which coral reefs to protect. How we do that?

A: With the help of communities.

Coral reefs are often considered the “rainforests of the sea” because they are home to a wealth of different species. They also support livelihoods for more than 6 million reef fishers in 99 countries and territories worldwide, while providing food security, coastal protection and ecotourism for coastal communities. In areas with low-to-medium human impacts on coral reefs, we’ll get the biggest conservation gains by implementing no-take marine protected areas that prohibit all human activities. Local management of MPAs and restricted fisheries that leverage best practices are also among the best conservation tools for most communities to increase reef resilience.

At a global level, Conservation International and international policymakers are currently working with world leaders to secure a global target of protecting 30 percent of land and sea in the next decade. The results of this study could help governments prioritize the most effective strategies and places to support these goals.

The science shows that we still have the time — and strategies — to save the planet’s coral reefs. That’s cause for optimism and, more importantly, for action.

Jack Kittinger is the senior director of the Global Fisheries and Aquaculture Program in Conservation International’s Center for Oceans. Raul Quintana is a senior writer at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

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News RT

Moscow says it was US that violated Open Skies Treaty, still willing to save pact essential to European security — RT World News

Russia will do everything in its power to salvage the Open Skies Treaty (OST) after the US signaled its intention to withdraw from one of the few remaining arms-control pillars, Moscow said, rejecting claims it violated the pact.

“If the US exits the Treaty, a blow will be dealt to a rather fragile balance of interests of its parties. As a result, not only the OST will suffer, but also the European security framework as a whole,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, after US President Donald Trump announced he would be withdrawing from the agreement that allows reconnaissance planes to overfly the territory of its signatories.

In force since 2002, the treaty currently involves 35 states, including Russia and the US, and is considered to be one of the cornerstones of the global arms control mechanism, aimed at reducing the possibility of a military conflict breaking out due to the lack of transparency.




Also on rt.com
Trump says US will withdraw from Open Skies Treaty, blames Russia



The ministry said that Russia is poised to try to resuscitate the treaty through negotiations with the US, noting that such talks should also address Russia’s own concerns over Washington not holding up its end of the bargain.

“Russia is doing everything possible to keep the treaty intact and believes it’s necessary to reconcile the existing differences through negotiations within The Open Skies Consultative Commission, taking into account concerns expressed by all parties, including problems with the US and their allies’ implementation of the treaty,” the ministry said.

Announcing the US’ intention to pull out of the agreement, Trump pointed a finger at Russia, accusing it of failing to abide by its provisions – an allegation which Moscow has categorically denied.

Recurrent talk in Washington about ditching the treaty over the pretext of alleged Russian “violations” has prompted “serious concerns” in Moscow, the ministry went on, arguing that Russia’s moves to restrict some of the flights were either a tit-for-tat response to similar restrictions imposed by US allies, or were provided for by the treaty itself.

The US is yet to send an official note to Moscow about its intent to leave the treaty. Trump administration officials who briefed the media on the reasoning behind the US move cited Russia’s restricting flights over Moscow, the republic of Chechnya, as well as near Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia recognized both as independent states in 2008, after they came under attack by the government in Tbilisi, while the US still considers them Georgian territory.




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Dangerous narcissism: REAL reason Trump ditched Open Skies is dislike for any treaties that don’t bear HIS signature



Responding to the accusation, the ministry said that while it has indeed barred observation flights within 10 kilometers of the border of the two Caucasian republics, it did so after Georgia – which is also party of the treaty – refused to heed its obligations, denying the flyover of Russian reconnaissance missions over its own territory.

Limiting the altitude of surveillance flights over the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad was done within the scope of the OST, to ensure that the region is not subject to the “more effective level of surveillance than the rest of Russia, as well as the territories of the other parties to the treaty, such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia,” the ministry said.

The ministry denied allegations that it flouted the agreement by preventing the US and Canada from carrying on with a scheduled flight near the Center-2019 drills, which were held in southern Russia and Central Asia in September 2019 and involved around 128,000 troops and more than 20,000 pieces of hardware.

It was impossible to ensure security of the joint US-Canadian mission at the time due to the rapidly changing situation during the active phase of the large-scale war games, the ministry explained. When offered an alternative timeframe for the flight, Washington and Ottawa refused to proceed.




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‘We’ll spend you into oblivion’: US nuclear envoy reveals ‘negotiating’ tactic for New START, last arms control deal with Russia



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Coindesk News

‘Dismantle the Euro to Save Europe’ Featuring Tuomas Malinen

The coronavirus pandemic is putting more pressure than ever before on the already structurally weakened European economic and political landscape.

The European Union and the euro are part of the most ambitious political and economic experiment of the 21st century. The COVID-19 crisis, however, has exacerbated growing questions of political will and political legitimacy and led some to wonder if the eurozone can survive. 

Tuomas Malinen is the CEO of GnS Economics, a macroeconomic advisory firm, and Adj. Professor of Economics at the University of Helsinki. In this interview, he and NLW discuss:

Disclosure Read More

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Coindesk News

‘Dismantle the Euro to Save Europe’ Featuring Tuomas Malinen

The coronavirus pandemic is putting more pressure than ever before on the already structurally weakened European economic and political landscape.

The European Union and the euro are part of the most ambitious political and economic experiment of the 21st century. The COVID-19 crisis, however, has exacerbated growing questions of political will and political legitimacy and led some to wonder if the eurozone can survive. 

Tuomas Malinen is the CEO of GnS Economics, a macroeconomic advisory firm, and Adj. Professor of Economics at the University of Helsinki. In this interview, he and NLW discuss:

Disclosure Read More

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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News Popular Resistance

‘No Mow May’ Campaign Asks Us To Leave The Lawn Alone To Help Save Bees

‘No Mow May’ Campaign Asks Us To Leave The Lawn Alone To Help Save Bees

‘No Mow May’ Campaign Asks Us To Leave The Lawn Alone To Help Save Bees2020-05-18PopularResistance.Orghttps://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2020/05/wild-flower-lawn-sussex-768×513-e1589819727306.jpg200px200px

Above photo: Wildflower lawn Sussex.

Not mowing in May results in more flowers and nectar all summer long for struggling pollinators.

Wildlife organization urges us to leave lawnmowers locked up until June.

April showers bring May flowers, and if you like food, you should leave those flowers alone.

Not mowing in May results in greater diversity and a number of flowers throughout the summer, a British wildlife organization called Plantlife claims.

The organization conducted an experiment in last year in which hundreds of homeowners agreed not to mow their lawns until June. Participants’ lawns produced a much wider variety of flower species and enough nectar to feed 10 times as many bees as normal lawns.

The longer your grass grows, the greater the diversity of flower species you get, Plantlife found.

Because of this, the organization recommends mowing only once a month at most all summer.

If you can’t wait that long – maybe you want a place to tan or for the kids to play – mow in sections or chunks. Make a cool pattern if you wish. Plantlife suggests a mohawk! Just leave plenty of long patches for the pollinators.

Plantlife botanist Trevor Dines explains why longer lawns breed more diversity:

“We’ve discovered that plants like a daisy, white clover, and bird’s-foot trefoil are superbly adapted to growing in shorter swards. This short-grass, ‘mower-ducking’ plants stay low down with stems well out of the way of the mower blades, but continually produce large numbers of flowers every few weeks. If these flowers are cut off by mowing, it just stimulates the plants to produce yet more flowers, boosting nectar production.”

“In contrast, tall-grass species like oxeye daisy, red clover, field scabious, and knapweed grow upright and take longer to reach flowering size. They can’t cope with being cut off regularly, so only bloom in grass that’s not been mown for several months or more. Our results show these unmown long-grass areas are home to a greater range of wildflower species, complimenting the narrower range found in short-grass areas.”

If your neighbors complain, get one of these cool “Certified Wildlife Habitat” signs to stick in your yard.

But pretty soon, it’ll be the cool thing to do.

It’s already catching on, with some American cities now announcing they will no longer enforce long-grass ordinances until mid-June and others offering to pay citizens not to mow!

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Daily Beast News

NewsGuild-CWA, America’s Largest Media Union, Launches Historic Advocacy Campaign to Save Industry

The top media union in North America is launching a historic advocacy campaign in a desperate effort to gin up political support to help stave off the economic crunch on the news industry.

The effort being undertaken by the 30,000-plus member NewsGuild-CWA will involve a six-figure digital ad campaign, direct lobbying on Capitol Hill, and a new website where—among other things—laid off and furloughed journalists will chronicle the industry’s plights. The goal is both immediate and long term: to get Congress to OK giving direct grants to workers at news outlets; to expand access to the small business lending program so that newspaper chains can tap those funds; to persuade the federal government to start using its existing ad budgets to bolster struggling media entities; and, ultimately, to put an industry that has shed tens of thousands of jobs in recent months on stabler ground.

“The window isn’t closed,” said Jon Schleuss, the president of NewsGuild-CWA. “But it has gotten worse [in just the last month] and it is going to get worse every day.” 

The campaign, bluntly titled “Save the News,” is unlike anything that NewsGuild-CWA has done in decades, officials say. And it puts the union in delicate territory: asking for direct assistance from the very political entities and officials that it covers. Schleuss acknowledged the discomfort that can come when an industry premised on telling other people’s stories of suffering now is being forced to chronicle and promote its own. But with newspapers hit hard by slash-and-cut-minded ownership and ad revenues being lost because of the economic downturn caused by the spread of the coronavirus, there are, simply put, few remaining options. 

“It has been a challenge for our industry in marketing ourselves that we aren’t telling the stories that what we have done has positively impacted communities,” Schleuss said.

As part of the “Save the News” campaign, NewsGuild-CWA is planning to, in Schleuss’ words, “build out a mini newsroom atop the union” to essentially report out the turns of the media industry. The union will turn to some of the journalists who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 to help with that task.

The ad campaign—which is being funded by a grant from the parent union, Communications Workers for America—is going to target areas “where  there is bipartisan need for local news.” And the Hill advocacy efforts will be focused on building support from all corners to ensure that some form of industry aid is included in the fourth package of COVID economic relief that lawmakers are currently cobbling together. The union has already looked into hiring a Republican-leaning lobbying firm to help shore up support on the Hill. 

The hurdles are not small, and not just because there is historically little appetite among Republicans for spending taxpayer money shoring up the fourth estate. Already prone to launching broadsides on the press, President Donald Trump has only amplified those attacks as the pandemic has lingered, and his surrogates (including his son Eric this weekend) have gone so far as to accuse members of the media of manufacturing the crisis as a means of hurting Trump’s 2020 prospects. 

Having portrayed the press corps as political actors and not, fundamentally, an industry that employs human beings, Trump seems almost predestined to oppose economic measures benefiting the media outlets. The one silver lining may be that not all Republicans feel the same. Some have signaled willingness to support measures to economically support local newspapers. And others have gone further: making the proactive case that having robust news operations at the local and state level is fundamentally good for democratic stability. 

“At the end of the day,” said Schleuss, “I think a lot of these Republicans realize that they don’t want the last paper in the country to be The New York Times.”

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News RT

EU bungled 1st response to Covid-19 but in comic book featuring an EERILY FAMILIAR virus fiction, Eurocrats SAVE THE DAY — RT World News

A pandemic has claimed a million lives despite a vaccine sent from the future, yet EU officials are patting themselves on the back for a good job and mull even more bureaucracy. That is how a comic book published by the EU ends.

While there is no shortage of epidemic fiction out there, some titles are more obscure than others. The comic book “Infected” by French writer Jean-David Morvan is not an international bestseller, yet it surely stands out. For one, despite being released in 2012, it features some of the hot-button elements of the real Covid-19 pandemic we are living through today. And it was also published by the EU, so you may guess who the ultimate “good guys” in it are.

In a nutshell, the comic is about a man who travels from the future to our time to prevent a devastating global infection with the help of a hot Chinese assistant to the UN’s top epidemic expert.

The reader witnesses bewildering events at a Chinese P4 biosafety level lab, an attempt to steal the cure and sell it to the Big Pharma, a scene of an animal-to-human virus transmission at a crowded Asian wet market, and even a self-congratulatory session at the EU Parliament building in Brussels.

In the fictional reality the authorities stop the killer virus in just six weeks after unrolling mass production of serum and vaccine from samples brought by the time-traveling man – and before that, the pandemic is notably “out of control.” At the end of the book, the bureaucrats declare losing less than a million lives as a job well done. The US Secretary of State and UN Secretary General readily agree via a video link, while China, Russia and others have, seemingly, not been invited.

Sprinkled with in-jokes about Brussels’ abundance of top officials, there are four cringeworthy pages in which the Eurocrats deliver to the public a bold plan for future pandemics: “a comprehensive approach to health based on new and better collaboration between the sectors that are directly or indirectly related to animal and human health” that, most importantly, will not require any additional taxation. Yawn.

Quite an underwhelming response to a plague that was supposed to kill a billion and transform the world into a dictatorship inhabited by permanently depressed solitary clones.

But while we may not have a time-traveling hero aiding us in the ongoing pandemic, there are parts of this fictional story that sound frighteningly familiar. Take, for instance, the efficiency with which the real-life pencil-pushers in Brussels acted in the early days of Covid-19.As the coronavirus found its way to Italy and Spain, governments in Europe went into an everyone-for-himself mode, banning foreign trade in crucial medical equipment, blocking borders and taking other unilateral steps as the EU faltered with a unified response. Weeks later, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen would be writing public apologies to Italians for leaving them in the cold when it mattered most.




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Solidarity (in)action: EU Commission head apologizes to Italy, pledges €100bn Covid-19 relief fund… which may not happen



Now that European nations are relaxing their restrictions, there is no coherent pan-EU approach in place either. French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, for example, recently scolded the Italian government for reopening its border to tourists, which was too soon for Paris’ taste.

The EU-published comic book may lack in originality, as any fan of science fiction like “12 Monkeys” would attest, but it’s hardly a point to complain about. After all, it was meant to sneak information about important real issues in between an elevator fight scene and grim images of bubo-covered children.

But once you analyze the plot, “Infected” seems more like a tongue-in-cheek comment on bureaucratic failures than an explanation of why the EU is needed. Knowing everything about the fictional super-contagious treatable virus virtually from day one, the authorities still failed to stop all global traffic or keep everyone at home to nip the infection in the bud. In that the imaginary reality interlocks with ours, it seems.




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‘Questioning EU’s ability’: Eurocrat accuses Russian media of spreading Covid-19 ‘CONSPIRACIES,’ offers no examples



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News Popular Resistance

Rally: End Sanctions, Save Lives! No US Sponsored Attacks On Venezuela!

Rally: End Sanctions, Save Lives! No US Sponsored Attacks On Venezuela!

By Emily Greene and Yoav Elinevsky, Popular Resistance.

Rally: End Sanctions, Save Lives! No US Sponsored Attacks On Venezuela!2020-05-17PopularResistance.Orghttps://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2020/05/img_5508-e1589734802646.jpg200px200px

Saturday, a group of activists from the Latin America Solidarity Coalition of WMASS, Green Rainbow Party Pioneer Valley Chapter, Western
Massachusetts Codepink, and Massachusetts Peace Action demonstrated on the Coolidge Bridge in Northampton calling for an end to US the
sanctions against Venezuela, and an end to US-sponsored coup d’états and mercenaries attacks of Venezuela in an attempt to assassinate President Maduro.

In a statement to the press the organizers of the demonstration said:
On May 3, 2020, more than 100 heavily armed mercenaries employed by an American contractor, a US Green Berets veteran, landed in several locations on the Venezuelan coast. The mercenaries arrived in heavily armed boats from Colombia where they had been training for the past five months. They planned to kidnap the Venezuelan president, fly him to the US, and collect the $15 million dollar award promised by the US government to anyone who could achieve this objective.

How would we feel if Venezuelan mercenaries came from a neighboring country to the US to kidnap our president and fly him to Venezuela to collect $15 million dollars awarded by the Venezuelan government for carrying out this unprovoked and illegal aggression against our country?

The US government has spent at least $1 billion in the past twenty years on numerous subversive activities to bring down the president of
Venezuela because his government is dedicated to supporting the needs of the poor who constitute the vast majority of the population.
We demand an end to these policies and the expenditure of our tax dollars to destroy the Venezuelan revolution and gain control of
Venezuela’s vast natural resources.

Furthermore, we demand that our government respect international law by ending the sanctions on Venezuela, stopping all activities to change the government in Venezuela through the use of force, returning stolen Venezuelan assets such as CITGO to Venezuela, and establishing friendly relations between our two countries.

A local news outlet Channel 22 of Springfield reported on the demonstration:
https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/hampshire-county/rally-in-northampton-calls-for-new-u-s-policy-towards-venezuela/

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Coindesk News

Blockchain Bites: Last Day of Consensus, Will Crypto Save the Internet?

Top Shelf

Consensus: Distributed ended on a high note with a keynote address from Juan Benet, founder of Protocol Labs, who granted a rare interview as he closed out the week-long virtual conference. 

Speaking widely on the topics of decentralization and Web 3.0, Benet said, “the internet has become dramatically more important to us.” Over a 50-year time span, computing has gone from an idea to a “species altering technology.” 

You’re reading Blockchain Bites: Consensus Edition a twice daily roundup of all the notable news out of Consensus: Distributed. You can sign up for this, and all of CoinDesk’s newsletters here.

But the internet’s present configuration is a huge problem. The underlying principles of an open and permissionless web, as originally intended, have become distorted by monolithic, centralized service providers, and given way to surveillance capitalism, data encroachment, hacking and content siloing. 

Many of these problems were examined in an earlier session dedicated to current and coming models for media distribution – from newsmaking to music. “We are all creating and consuming content at a frantic pace, and using tech all the time to do so,” Lance Koonce, the workshop’s moderator said, by way of framing the conversation. 

Different media have different revenue streams, said Chris Tse, founding director of Cardstack.
And all of them are broken. The issue at hand is technology has claimed not only the media type, but also the audience and distribution. 

Crypto and blockchain could contribute to a solution, though most of the featured guests were skeptical. 

Speaking on the topic of misinformation, Kathryn Harrison, founder of the DeepTrust Alliance, cited a recent survey that found three-quarters of adults aren’t sure they can accurately recognize fake news. And a plurality said misinformation impacts their trust in governments. 

There’s no cryptographic solution, or new law, that could fix what is essentially a human problem, said Nadine Strossen, professor at New York Law School.  But media literacy, fact checking and common sense are critical parts of any solution. 

Tech works best if it can solve a small issue first, and then scale, said GiantSteps Media’s Bill Rosenblatt. Quoting Jeffrey Moore, a tech market strategist, he said “you need to solve a niche pain point problem for someone before you can go on and boil the ocean.” 

“This ownership thing is a solution in search of a problem,” Rosenblatt said, speaking about wide-ranging identity solutions intended to revamp the web. Like Juan Benet’s.

“Web 3 is about creating a platform that is decentralized, that puts human rights foremost, and can build a much freer and open internet and lock it in place,” Benet said. 

The core principles of Web 3.0 are about ensuring freedom of speech and assembly, data ownership and self-sovereignty. If you sacrifice on these at the outset, give way just a bit on the vision, it cascades down into what will be built. 

Blockchain and cryptocurrency have already “changed the underlying guts and rails of major industries,” Benet said. For instance, fleek is allowing people to spin up decentralized websites, while Audius is reshaping music streaming while maintaining a “Web 2.0 quality user experience.” 

The idea that started with Bitcoin, of establishing financial freedoms, has extended to all kinds of other industries, reshaping the possibilities of a shared computing platform.

But there’s a lot of work left to do. 

And with that, we bid you adieu. Thanks for attending and reading. 

The CoinDesk 50

coindesk 50
The CoinDesk 50 are the most innovative and influential organizations in the crypto and blockchain industry.

The CoinDesk 50 is an annual list celebrating the most important organizations in crypto. We’ve been announcing five nominees per day, and have highlighted BinanceCosmosBraveBitmainMakerDAOBesu,  Silvergate BankBitcoin and the People’s Bank of China as particularly noteworthy. Read the full list here. 

Money Reimagined

Earlier this week Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers claimed one of the problems with the current monetary system is “too much privacy,” at Consensus: Distributed. In his latest Money Reimagined newsletter, CoinDesk’s Chief Content Officer Michael Casey riffs on this theme. 

“Despite [the current] surveillance system, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that between $800 billion and $2 trillion, or 2%-5% of global gross domestic product, is laundered annually worldwide. The Panama Papers case shows how the rich and powerful easily use lawyers, shell companies, tax havens and transaction obfuscation to get around surveillance. The poor are just excluded from the system,” he writes. 
Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are likely to only exacerbate surveillance into our financial lives. Unless they’re built using protocols and cryptographic tools that enable both privacy and security. 

“Self-sovereign identity models and zero-knowledge proofs, for example, grant control over data to the individuals who generate it, allowing them to provide sufficient proof of a clean record without revealing sensitive personal information. But such innovations aren’t getting nearly enough attention,” Casey said. 

You can read his full take here, or get it in your inbox by subscribing here

Best Brella Background

Screenshot of Protocol Lab's Juan Benet's closing keynote address for Consensus: Distributed
Juan Benet, Protocol Labs

Consensus Magazine

Excerpted from The Men Who Stare at Charts, Ben Munster’s exploration of technical analysis and the people who promote it:

Charts tracking the price of bitcoin dominate six buzzing monitors in the third-floor office of a rotting, centuries-old tower block in the heart of Kiev. A pattern emerges among the shifting forms and shapes, and Brian – a 33-year-old trader who asks we use only his first name – reacts swiftly, punching his extemporaneous analysis into a chatbox on the messenger app Telegram. He has identified the distinctive downward twist of a “falling wedge formation.” To those in the know, that means: The price is going down at a diminishing rate, and should presently head moooooonwards. Get the full story

Jess Klein dives into Generation Crypto, an ageless, country-less and class-less augment cohort aligned by a belief in decentralization and skepticism of received wisdom. This excerpt from her eight part series follows Jesse Grushack – The Burner – co-founder of Ujo Music, the Ethereal festival and one of the main organizers of Node Republik, a Burning Man camp for ConsenSys workers and Ethereum enthusiasts. Read the series.

Jesse Grushack started mining bitcoin in 2010, using all of his computer power over the course of three days to come up with 1/200th of a penny. Despite the discouraging start, Grushack’s interest in cryptocurrency didn’t wane; when he learned about a company called ConsenSys in 2015 via the New York City Tech Slack channel, he got in touch and got a job. “It was just a black website with the one-line description, ‘A decentralized venture studio building applications primarily on Ethereum,’” he recalls, “and I was like, wow, that means nothing.” Read on.

Jeff Wilser profiles David Birch, in The Man Who Forecast a Currency Cold War, excerpted below.

Fintech guru David Birch, a consultant and prolific speaker on the blockchain conference circuit, wrote “The Currency Cold War: Cash and Cryptography, Hash Rates and Hegemony,” just in time for our global pandemic. He nailed the timing. For years Birch had his own pet theories about a clash of digital currencies. But “that was just me, just some guy talking about it,” he tells me in his British accent, which seems always on the verge of a sly joke. “And who cares, you know?”

Then came Jackson Hole. 

In the fall of 2019, at a Jackson Hole, Wy., event Birch describes as a “Burning Man for people who run central banks,” the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said that perhaps it was time for some form of “synthetic hegemonic currency” to deal with what he called the “destabilizing dominance” of the U.S. dollar.

This comment seemed to galvanize Birch. “The Governor of the Bank of England is emphatically not just some guy,” Birch says. He realized the Currency Cold War was not just his own pet theory – it was imminent. It might already be happening. And it has consequences. Which currency would society choose? Would it be one or many? Read the full tale

Virtual View

screen-shot-2020-05-15-at-5-38-01-pm
A meta-VR Meetup in VR

Media Diet

Central Banks Mull Creating a CBDC, but Not on a Blockchain: Survey
Central banks in 46 countries are considering creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC) using a constrained form of distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to a new survey. But they’re leery of blockchain. Though only one unidentified “small African central bank” would consider using a blockchain to support this digital currency “if found to be the best available platform.”

Visa Patent Filing Would Allow Central Banks to Mint Digital Fiat Currencies Using Blockchain
A new patent filing outlines a system that would be able to mint digital fiat currency and keep a tally of all issuances on the blockchain. Managed by a “central entity computer,” the system would also remove physical cash from circulation.

Bequant Launches Crypto Prime Brokerage to Compete for Institutional Money
Digital asset services firm Bequant launched a prime brokerage service for institutional clients to have easier access to liquidity, custody, lending and other products. Prime brokerage refers to a bundle of specialized services offered by investment banks and securities dealers to their hedge fund clients. Tagomi is the largest of the few prime brokers in crypto.

CZ’s Twitter Feed Swayed New CoinMarketCap Ranking That Put Binance on Top
CoinMarketCap’s new metric focuses on web traffic, and eliminates a metric tracking wash trading, and giving its parent firm a perfect score. 

J.K. Rowling Breaks #CryptoTwitter

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Murdering America: COVID Numbers Suppressed by Trump’s Secret Order to Withhold Testing..to Save Stock Market – Veterans Today

Note: “Party faithful” have withheld real numbers of new infection, suppressed numbers of deaths, all done at county level where GOP reigns, all at orders of White House operatives.

COVID numbers may be at 500,000 now.  Study shows surge in deaths covered by “batching” like was done in Vietnam.  COVID victims may well die, numerically, during a Biden presidency.

Daily Beast: President Trump was wary of making preparations for the coronavirus pandemic because he was concerned doing so would sent the stock market into a panic, the Financial Times reports. In a quote attributed to an unnamed Trump confidant who is said to speak to the president frequently, it’s claimed: “Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it…

That advice worked far more powerfully on [Trump] than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate.”

Elsewhere in the FT investigation into Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, an unnamed administration official is reported to have told the paper that trying to advise the president is like “bringing fruits to the volcano… You’re trying to appease a great force that’s impervious to reason.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-feared-testing-too-many-people-for-virus-would-spook-stock-markets-says-report

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Major Story: Jews (mostly) fleeing New York City Primary Source of COVID Outbreak in US (fleeing to save their lives) – Veterans Today

NY Times: New York City’s coronavirus outbreak grew so large by early March that the city became the primary source of new infections in the United States, new research reveals, as thousands of infected people traveled from the city and seeded outbreaks around the country.

The research indicates that a wave of infections swept from New York City through much of the country before the city began setting social distancing limits to stop the growth. That helped to fuel outbreaks in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and as far away as the West Coast.

The findings are drawn from geneticists’ tracking signature mutations of the virus, travel histories of infected people and models of the outbreak by infectious disease experts.

“We now have enough data to feel pretty confident that New York was the primary gateway for the rest of the country,” said Nathan Grubaugh, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.

The central role of New York’s outbreak shows that decisions made by state and federal officials — including waiting to impose distancing measures and to limit international flights — helped shape the trajectory of the outbreak and allowed it to grow in the rest of the country.  Read more at New York Times:

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