In recent years, the tide of public opinion has slowly but surely turned against the intrusive actions of Big Tech companies. People are tired of corporations mining their personal information and censoring or manipulating their content online and, as a result, the biggest social networks, like Facebook and YouTube, are beginning to see a noticeable exodus of users.
Until recently, fleeing users had nowhere else to go. But the advent of decentralized, encrypted technologies has ushered in a new generation of social platforms that prioritize privacy, transparency, and free speech, allowing users more control over their posts and content. There are now dozens of social applications operating on peer-to-peer or blockchain-based networks.
Here are five good starting points in your journey away from Facebook:
Minds – Minds is the oldest network on this list and has slowly cultivated an impassioned legion of users who consider it the heir apparent to Facebook. But Minds is vastly different than Facebook: it is open source, meaning that anyone can help improve the site’s design; it is decentralized and encrypted, which means that corporate data miners can’t poach user data and governments can’t monitor the site’s messaging app; and the site allows its users to earn money through their posts.
Founder Bill Ottman, who launched Minds in 2011 with an innovative model of “hybrid” investing that tapped both tokens and VCs, described the site’s origins: “We started Minds in my basement after being disillusioned by user abuse on Facebook and other big tech services. We saw spying, data mining, algorithm manipulation, and no revenue sharing,” he said. “To us, it’s inevitable that an open source social network becomes dominant, as was the case with Wikipedia and proprietary encyclopedias.”
Minds now has millions of active users. The mission for “Internet freedom” has only grown, underscored in 2018 when hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese users joined the site after their country passed a draconian cybersecurity law that restricted free speech.
Steemit – Steemit is up there with Minds when it comes to popularity and, like Minds, it has a devoted core of users. Steemit’s design and architecture can best be compared to Reddit; however, unlike Reddit, Steemit users earn money when their posts are upvoted. And unlike Minds, Steemit uses a blockchain technology, which supports the site’s cryptocurrency, Steem. There are many ways to earn Steem—posting, voting, curating, purchasing, interest, etc.—and though there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the language of the mechanics, the result is a thriving community in which some users make a living through their site activities.
Like Minds, Steemit is the playground of a robust diversity of ideas—some of them controversial—and attracts a good share of anarchists and counter-economic activists. Though it has close to half a million active users, Steemit devotees still dream of bringing this blockchain-based social network to the mainstream.
LBRY – LBRY is a mix between a social network and digital marketplace for content creators. According to its creators, it is the first digital marketplace to be wholly community-run and controlled by its participants instead of a corporation or third party. Unlike Apple, Amazon, or YouTube, for example, LBRY is a peer-to-peer, decentralized, and distributed network; it is both protocol and service.
In 2018 the alternative news website Anti-Media—which had recently been deplatformed by Facebook during a widespread purge of anti-establishment pages—migrated its articles onto LBRY “to build a decentralized content delivery system for [their] website and an uncensorable hub.” This is the perfect example of how a blockchain-based network, which is impervious to censorship, can play a crucial role in the future of liberated media and content delivery. You can support and follow Anti-Media by signing up!
Nexus Social – Nexus is another decentralized social media application fueled by blockchain and a passionate advocacy for anonymity. Nexus is a bit different than the others on this list because it is largely an ecommerce and ad platform community. Imagine a mix between eBay, Amazon, and Google AdSense except without a centralized server (plans call for a combo of Storj and BigchainDB blockchains instead). The Nexus platform, powered by the native cryptocurrency Social (SCL), facilitates a marketplace where users can “make deals or exchange value through cryptographically-signed and executed contracts.”
Founder Jade Mulholland says the goal is to “eliminate all invasion of privacy that large corporations are currently performing.” Mulholland adds that “Social, our cryptocurrency, can be used to do many things on the social network, such as buying and selling in the marketplace, purchasing ad space, and donating to crowdfunding campaigns.”
Obsidian – Obsidian is a good option for people who don’t necessarily post on Facebook a lot but use its Messenger app. Obsidian’s Secure Messaging app is based on the Stratis blockchain, a proof-of-stake system that protects user data from “cookies” and outside surveillance. Obsidian is probably the youngest entry on the list and is still in its public alpha phase. As an open source application, Obsidian keeps a publicly available repository of its code on GitHub.
SpaceX Will Help Launch A Remote-Controlled Car Race On The Moon
SpaceX with its Falcon 9 rocket will be involved in sending 5.5 pounds of remotely-controlled race cars to the lunar surface, aiding the first-ever remote car race on the Moon!
If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9 rocket will deliver the remote-controlled vehicles to the moon’s surface by October 2021, New Atlas reported.
The interstellar race is being organized by a company called Moon Mark, a multimedia and education content business, which partnered with Intuitive Machines, a Houston-based aerospace company.
Intuitive Machines believes it could soon become “the first private aerospace company to land on the Moon,” according to a recent press release. But SpaceX, a company headed by Elon Musk, one of the world’s most bizarre CEO’s, won’t just allow that to happen without his company’s own involvement.
The SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will assist Intuitive Machines in getting its Nova-C lander onto the moon to deploy the race cars.
The cars will race around the sandy dunes of Oceanus Procellarum, a plain near the western edge of the Moon.
The track will be designed by Formula One racecar track designer Herman Tilke. While McLaren P1 designer Frank Stephenson is involved in designing the cars, along with High School kids.
The “deployment mechanism” used to deposit the 5.5 lb cars on the lunar surface will weigh a further 6.6 lbs. That’s a total of 17.6 lb combined weight being sent into space to our moon.
“Moon Mark’s Mission 1 competition will include six diverse teams of high school students selected from across the United States,” reads a press release, “who will compete in a series of qualifying challenges that include unique demands, such as drone and autonomous vehicle racing, e-gaming, and a space commercialization entrepreneurship contest. The two top teams from the qualifying rounds will win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build and race two vehicles on the Moon. The vehicles will be loaded onto Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C Lunar Lander, launched from Earth on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, and land in 2021. Competitors will then race their rovers remotely, navigating through harsh terrain, racing around a sphere of cameras, which will capture every aspect.”
Lets hope that 2021 is a better year than 2020 was, with space racecars we definitely have something to look forward to.
Humans May Have Found a Way To Not Only Stop Aging – But To Reverse It as Well
Humans have long to reverse the effects of aging and prolong their lives. Whether this was due to a love of power, a love of wealth or simple human anxiety about the loss of youth, tales about immortality can be found in the folk tales of countless cultures.
And while aging is a wholly natural process, humans have always struggled to fight against it – be it through science and medicine or through the search for supposed cures such as the mythical Fountain of Youth.
And now, Israeli scientists have claimed to have figured out a solution not only to the process of biological aging – but to reverse it as well, simply by administering pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.
In a study published Nov. 18 in the peer-reviewed journal Aging, the scientists claim to have showed how aging could be reversed in two key biological clocks in humans related to aging and illness by administering high-pressure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.
When humans grow olders and their cells divide, the sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes – known as telomeres – grow shorter with time. After the telomeres become too short, the cell is unable to replicate and eventually dies.
While telomere shortening can keep rogue cancerous cells from multiplying rapidly, this also results in genetic aging. As a result, geriatric cells that aren’t able to divide – also known as senescent cells – accumulate throughout our lives, and are one of the key causes of aging.
In the clinical study, 35 people aged 64 or older were given hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) for 90 minutes a day, five times a week over the course of three months. Blood samples were collected from subjects prior to the treatment, after after the first and second months of the trial, and two weeks after the trial ended.
The patients didn’t have any lifestyle, diet, or medication changes during the study. However, their blood revealed major increases in the telomere length of their cells and a decrease in the number of their senescent cells.
For the researchers, the results of the study offered proof that the process of aging is reversible.
“Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this, proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level.”
The groundbreak study, he added, “gives hope and opens the door for a lot of young scientists to target aging as a reversible disease.”
The oxygen treatment also improved subjects’ attention, ability to process information, as well as subjects’ executive functions, the researchers said.
While attempts to halt aging through modifying one’s lifestyle or intensively exercising can provide “some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening”, the hyperbaric oxygen treatment is more effective, said Efrati’s partner at the Shamir Medical Center, Chief Medical Research Officer Amir Hadanny.
“In our study, only three months of HBOT were able to elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications,” Hadanny said.
The study could open the door to a radical new approach to medical problems and medicine in general.
“Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “We are not [just] slowing the decline – we are going backwards in time.”
Scientists: The Human Brain And the Entire Universe Have Odd Similarities
An astrophysicist at the University of Bologna and a neurosurgeon at the University of Verona have claimed that the brain resembles the universe. The two Italian researchers came up with the galaxy-brain theory that is out of this world: The structures of the perceptible universe, they say, are astonishingly comparable to the neuronal networks of the human brain.
University of Bologna astrophysicist Franco Vazza and University of Verona neurosurgeon Alberto Feletti document the extraordinary similarities between the cosmic network of galaxies and the complex web of neurons in the human brain. The detailed study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physics showcasing the human brain has roughly 27 orders of magnitude separated in scale, while similarly, the composition of the cosmic web shows comparable levels of complexity and self-organization, according to the researchers.
The brain itself contains an estimated 69 billion neurons, while the visible universe is comprised of at least 100 billion galaxies, strung together like a mesh network. Even more intriguing both galaxies and neurons only account for about 30 percent of the total masses of the universe and brain. Further, both galaxies and neurons arrange themselves like pearls on a long string.
Beginning from the shared features of the two systems, the two researchers examined a simulation of the network of galaxies in comparison to sections of the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. Their purpose was to inspect how matter variations propagate.
In the case of galaxies, the remaining 70 percent of mass is dark energy. The equivalent in the human brain, the pair said was water.
“We calculated the spectral density of both systems,” Vazza said in a statement about the experiment. “This is a technique often employed in cosmology for studying the spatial distribution of galaxies. Our analysis showed that the distribution of the fluctuation within the cerebellum neuronal network on a scale from 1 micrometer to 0.1 millimeters follows the same progression of the distribution of matter in the cosmic web,” he added, “but, of course, on a larger scale that goes from 5 million to 500 million light-years.”
The amount of interwoven connections originating from each node also were strangely alike sparking further interest to the researchers.
“Once again, structural parameters have identified unexpected agreement levels,” Feletti said in the statement. “Probably, the connectivity within the two networks evolves following similar physical principles, despite the striking and obvious difference between the physical powers regulating galaxies and neurons.”
The team is anticipating that their preliminary research could lead to new analysis procedures advancing knowledge about both cosmology and neurosurgery. Which would enable scientists to better comprehend how these compositions have developed over time.
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