If you have doubts about cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and web3 in general and need some more convincing, you might find these arguments helpful. If you’re a true believer, these are the arguments you’ll have to counter. Either way, enjoy!
The “You’ll be running with a crowd of terrible human beings” argument
The article Bitcoin Goes to War in The New Republic has a subtitle that explains its thesis a little better: “For some crypto holders, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an opportunity—and a validation of their increasingly radical beliefs.”
However, I feel that the best summary comes from a sentence in the middle of the article, which reads “For some right-wing libertarian-minded coiners, the right to freely trade crypto takes precedence over opposing a Russian invasion of a sovereign nation.”
Nothing drives this point home better than investor Mike Alfred’s Twitter response to Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, who asked:
Alfred’s response? This gem, which will someday be cited regularly in ethics courses under the “don’t be this guy” category:
The computer science argument
UC Berkeley professor Nicholas Weaver dedicated one lecture of the Computer Security 161 course to material that would not be on the exam, but simply to help “immunize you from crap”. The topic is cryptocurrency, and luckily for us, he posted it on YouTube!
Here’s Weaver’s opening slide:
He also talks about the excuses that crypto-fans make for its massive power consumption…
…how easy it is to steal or grift from other people…
…that it just created a new business model for VCs…
…the dubious economics…
…and the incredible inefficiency:
It’s an amazing lecture that’s well worth viewing, even if you’re a crypto believer — just so you know the arguments against your thing.
The layperson’s argument
If you (or someone you know) has heard of cryptocurrency and NFTs but doesn’t know much about them or why they’re getting a lot of hype, Dan Olson’s Line Goes Up — The Problem with NFTs explains everything quite well.
Don’t let the 2-hour 18-minute runtime scare you off — it’s broken into chapters and presents its material so well that you won’t even notice the time passing.
Here’s its table of contents:
- 00:00:00 Preface
- 00:01:12 0. In 2008 The Economy Collapsed
- 00:07:09 1. Bitcoin
- 00:18:18 2. Ethereum
- 00:24:34 3. The Machine
- 00:39:07 4. NFTs Exist To Get You To Buy Crypto
- 00:57:54 5. The Unbearable Cringe Of Crypto
- 01:11:46 6. A Self-Organizing High Control Group
- 01:16:57 7. Crypto Reality
- 01:25:36 8. There Is No Privacy On The Chain
- 01:32:52 9. If This “Looks Like Scam” Then Every NFT Room I’m In Looks Like Scam LOL
- 01:38:29 10. Play To Earn Exists To Get You To Buy Crypto
- 01:46:39 11. We’re All Gonna Make It And By “We” I Mean “Us” Not You
- 01:56:08 12. DAOs Exist To Get You To Buy Crypto
- 02:13:21 13. I Know It’s Rigged, But It’s The Only Game In Town
The artsy English-accented argument
English Youtuber and musician Georgina “munecat” Taylor does a wonderful takedown of the entire Web 3.0 scene, and while the video clock in at over an hour and forty minutes, it’s a very entertaining and informative watch.
The “Fucked Company” argument
If you were around during the dot-com bubble’s burst, you might remember a website called Fucked Company (whose name s a pardoy of Fast Company) that chronicled the ongoing failures of dot-coms with maximum snark.
There’s now a Web3 version: Web3 is going just great, and it’s part of my daily cautionary reading. Check it out.
In case it’s not clear: Don’t do this.
Here’s the list of tech, entrepreneur, and nerd events for Tampa Bay and surrounding areas for the week of Monday, March 7 through Sunday, March 13, 2022.
This list is a weekly service from Tampa Bay’s tech blog, Global Nerdy! For almost five years, I’ve been compiling a list of tech, entrepreneur, and nerd events happening in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. There’s a lot going on in our scene here in “The Other Bay Area, on the Other West Coast”!
As far as event types go, this list casts a rather wide net. It includes events that would be of interest to techies, nerds, and entrepreneurs. It includes (but isn’t limited to) events that fall under the category of:
- Programming, DevOps, systems administration, and testing
- Tech project management / agile processes
- Video, board, and role-playing games
- Book, philosophy, and discussion clubs
- Tech, business, and entrepreneur networking events
- Toastmasters (because nerds really need to up their presentation game)
- Sci-fi, fantasy, and other genre fandoms
- Anything I deem geeky
By “Tampa Bay and surrounding areas”, this list covers events that originate or are aimed at the area within 100 miles of the Port of Tampa. At the very least, that includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, but as far north as Ocala, as far south as Fort Myers, and includes Orlando and its surrounding cities.
This week’s events
I try to keep this list up-to-date. I add new events as soon as I hear about them, so be sure to check this list’s page on Global Nerdy often!
Monday, March 7
|Rafael Stuchiner||Blockchain, Bitcoin, Crypto! What’s all the Fuss?~~~Tampa, FL|
|RGANetwork.net||South Tampa Professionals Networking Lunch Wrights Deli|
|Orlando Power BI User Group||Power BI Summit 2022||8:00 AM|
|Low Light Photography Group||Photo Drop off at the MPAC March 7th||9:00 AM|
|Tampa Cybersecurity Training||Tampa Bay’s Job Seeker Coffee Talks||9:00 AM|
|Thinkful Tampa||Thinkful Webinar || Intro to Data Analytics: SQL Fundamentals||10:00 AM to 11:30 AM EST|
|Option Trading Strategies (Tampa Bay area) Meetup Group||Option Trading Strategies Meetup (Online)||11:00 AM|
|Orlando Photo + Design Meetup||Virtual Event: Adobe Photoshop – Skin Retouching||11:00 AM|
|Entrepreneurs & Business Owners of Sarasota & Bradenton||Virtual Networking Lunch Monday||11:30 AM|
|Young Professionals of Tampa Bay Networking Group||South Tampa Referrals||11:30 AM|
|Christian Professionals Network Tampa Bay||Live Online Connection Meeting- Monday||11:30 AM|
|Tampa / St Pete Business Connections||South Tampa Professional Networking Lunch||11:30 AM|
|Professional Business Networking with RGAnetwork.net||South Tampa Business Networking Lunch||11:30 AM|
|Professional Business Networking with RGAnetwork.net||St. Pete Networking Lunch! Fords Garage! Monday’s||11:30 AM|
|Entrepreneurs’ Empowerment Empire||Office Hour||12:00 PM|
|Orlando Digital Media Design Meetup||Virtual Event: Adobe Design Coach||3:00 PM|
|West Orange Comics & Video Games||Magic Mondays||5:00 PM|
|Thinkful Tampa||Thinkful Webinar || What Tech Career Is Right For Me?||5:00 PM to 6:30 PM EST|
|Entrepreneurs & Startups – Bradenton Networking & Education||March Founder’s Event – Jason & Katie Close||5:30 PM|
|The Tampa Chapter of the Society for the Exploration of Play||Critical Hit Games: Board Game Night||5:30 PM|
|New Wealth CoLab||New Wealth CoLab for Real Estate Investors Meet & Greet||6:00 PM|
|Beginning Web Development||Weekly Learning Session||6:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay Gaming: RPG’s, Board Games & more!||Casual Pokemon League at Nerdy Needs||6:00 PM|
|Orlando Adventurer’s Guild||[FR] Waterdeep: Dragon Heist – DM Carson (Tier 1)||6:00 PM|
|We Write Here Black and Women of Color Writing Group||Virtual Writing Get Downs||6:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay Tabletoppers||Monday Feast & Game Night||6:00 PM|
|Critical Hit Games||MTG: Commander Open Play||6:00 PM|
|Board Game Meetup: Board Game Boxcar||Weekly Game Night! (Lazy Moon Location)||6:00 PM|
|Toastmasters District 48||North Port Toastmasters Meets Online!!||6:30 PM|
|Tampa – Sarasota – Venice Trivia & Quiz Meetup||Trivia Night – Off the Wagon Kitchen & Brewery Smartphone Trivia Game Show||6:30 PM|
|New Port Richey True Crime Meetup||Truecrime||6:30 PM|
|Toastmasters District 48||Time to Take Speaking Your Passion to the Next Level at South Tampa TM!||7:00 PM|
|Polk County BiggerPockets Members Networking Group||Polk County Bigger Pockets Meetup||7:00 PM|
|Tampa Flutter Meetup Group||In-Person Meetup||7:00 PM|
|Orlando Stoics||ONLINE: “Stoicism and Christianity” Part 2 (Similarities)||7:00 PM|
|Tampa Hackerspace||Intro to the Babylock Embroidery Machine (Members Only)||7:00 PM|
|Toastmasters Division E||Lakeland (FL) Toastmasters Club #2262||7:00 PM|
|South Florida Poker, Music & Entertainment Group||FREE Texas Holdem Poker Tournaments at Fireside Lounge & Billiards 7 PM Start||7:00 PM|
|Florida Center for Creative Photography||FREE Lightroom Study Group||7:00 PM|
|Toastmasters District 48||Sharpen Your Presentations at South Tampa TM Before Going Live!||7:00 PM|
|Central Florida AD&D (1st ed.) Grognards Guild||World of Greyhawk: 1E One-Shots||7:30 PM|
|North Florida Stock Investing Education||North Florida Chapter Model Investment Club||7:30 PM|
|Thinkful Tampa||Thinkful Webinar || Intro to HTML & CSS: Build Your Own Website||8:00 PM to 9:30 PM EST|
Tuesday, March 8
Wednesday, March 9
Thursday, March 10
Friday, March 11
Saturday, March 12
Sunday, March 13
Do you have any events or announcements that you’d like to see on this list?
Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Join the mailing list!
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As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, you’re increasingly likely to hear the name “Bellingcat”. It’s the name of an independent group of researchers, investigators, and citizen journalists who practice open source intelligence (OSINT). Here’s a quick primer about Bellingcat and open source intelligence, plus a whole lot of videos about Bellingcat’s work and their reporting on aggression by Russia’s government and armed forces.
Bellingcat get their name from Aesop’s fable, Belling the Cat. In the fable, the youngest of a group of mice who were terrorized by a cat suggests that they put a bell on the cat, which would act as an early warning system. While the suggestion was warmly received, one of the elder mice brought up a serious challenge to the plan: “Who will bell the cat?”
Eliot Higgins founded Bellingcat in 2012 after being laid off from an administrative job. He started doing independent research on the civil war in Syria by collecting and analyzing publicly available photos and footage, and cross-referencing them with reports. Since then, he’s grown the organization, who’ve gone on to apply their open source intelligence skills to stories including:
- the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (Russian forces are believed responsible),
- the poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Alexei Navalny, and other people on Putin’s enemies list,
- Russia’s attacks on eastern Ukraine,
- the Christchurch mosque shootings,
- the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and more.
Open source intelligence
Open source intelligence, often referred to as OSINT, is a term meaning any information that can be gathered from freely-available, publicly-available sources. It’s most often used to referred to information gathered online — the kind that anyone with an internet connection would be able to access. This information could be available free of charge, or it could be acquired for a fee (e.g. a subscription to a news organization, data source, or API).
It also applies to non-online/non-digital information from books, newspapers, magazines, academic journals and papers, FOIA requests and their equivalents, and so on.
It could be in text form, but it also applies to video, photographs, sound recordings, data files, and databases.
Giancarlo Fiorella, a senior Bellingcat investigator based in Toronto, makes it clear that OSINT is not “hacking” (as in accessing computer systems or information illegally), stealing, or spying. It’s about gathering data and doing the research.
Bellingcat contribute to the Russia-Ukraine monitor map
You may have read about the Russia-Ukraine Monitor Map on my personal blog, but if you haven’t, it’s a a public resource for mapping, documenting, and verifying significant incidents that happen in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Bellingcat are a primary contributor of information to this resource.
Videos about Bellingcat
Here’s a collection of YouTube videos on Bellingcat for those of you who’d like to know more about them or about OSINT.
Insights from Bellingcat on Russia’s Ukraine Ambitions (March 2, 2022 – Reuters Institute)
This is a Zoom interview with Christo Grozev, Bellingcat’s lead Russia investigator.
Researchers create open-source map tracking incidents in Ukraine (February 28, 2022 – CBC)
Fact-checkers on the front line of Russian propaganda machine (February 25, 2022 – CBC)
Inept Info-Wars: Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins on Putin’s Problems with Reality (February 24, 2022 – Foreign Press Association USA)
Open-source Intelligence (OSINT) by Giancarlo Fiorella, Investigator and Trainer at Bellingcat (December 2021 – Asian College of Journalism)
This features a presentation by senior Bellingcat investigator Giancarlo Fiorella about Bellingcat, open source investigations and how they’re conducted. He goes into detail about investigating the Mahbere Dego massacres and the ethical issues and challenges in open source research.
We Are Bellingcat: An Intelligence Agency for the People (May 2021 – Talks at Google)
Ethical Matters: Bellingcat – The Citizen Intelligence Agency (April 2021 – Conway Hall)
Putin’s Assassins Exposed: An Evening w/ Bellingcat Founder Eliot Higgins (March 2021 – Renew Democracy Initiative)
I Exposed a Russian Assassination Squad (March 2021 – Vice’s “Super Users” series)
Discussion with Bellingcat Founder Eliot Higgins (March 2021 – Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress)
How Bellingcat tracked a missile system in Ukraine (February 2020 – 60 Minutes Overtime)
Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World (2018 documentary film)
You may have seen the news about Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky ’s announcement that they’re suspending all operations in Russia and its puppet state Belarus, but you may not be aware of the other Airbnb activism: making bookings as a way to directly give money to Ukrainians!
People have reasoned out that Airbnb can be used as a way to find people in a specific area and send them money. It’s simple — you just book a room or house in Ukraine without actually staying:
I found about this novel approach to crowdfunding from the Facebook account of Christopher “Christophe the Insultor” Buehlman, a comedian and writer whom I know through his insult comedy show at Tampa Bay’s Bay Area Renaissance Festival.
I’ve also read posts where people are giving money to Airbnb hosts in neighboring countries who are taking in refugees.
I’m going to do the same.
Find out more here: