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Like many people, Aeden felt helpless when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. He was a 23-year-old based in the UK with no connection to the country, but he was good at open-source intelligence gathering, which involves scouring the web to collect publicly available data. 

So he put his hand up to volunteer for investigation outlet Bellingcat to help authenticate images and videos of possible war crimes being committed in Ukraine. The hope is that the work could lead to eventual prosecutions by the International Criminal Court.

“If we want to have any hope of holding the perpetrators accountable for their actions, we need to make sure we have done the groundwork, and that is what we are doing now,” says Aeden, who asked that his last name not be used to protect his security.

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Since the war started, people around the world have been trying to help refugees and the Ukrainian cause. For those with investigative skills like Aeden, who has volunteered for Bellingcat before, that means using their time and effort to analyze material posted on the web by Ukrainians to document possible war crimes, such as bombing civilian buildings or protected spaces like hospitals, and confirm their exact location.

Skills gained from the January 6 insurrection in the US and subsequent efforts to find the rioters online have translated to online sleuths using those same skills in the war in Ukraine. But whether and how that effort will actually result in admissible evidence for a potential war crimes prosecution is unclear, especially without a universal system to categorize the flood of incoming evidence.

Human rights organizations have already sent professional investigators to Ukraine to collect data of possible war crimes. Rich Weir, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, landed in Kyiv on February 23; the next morning, he woke to news of the invasion. 

“I was supposed to be joined by a colleague in Kyiv, but the airspace got shut down,” he told me from Lviv, where he had transferred. “I was there alone.”

Weir’s work during the first days of the war were tumultuous. He heard about air strikes or attacks from locals and visited sites to investigate damage and civilian casualties, whether it be injuries or deaths. 

In an information war where rumors and disinformation fly rampant, verification is key. It’s not enough to just see a video of an attack or a photo of dead bodies, and with internet communication down in many parts of the country, Weir has had to resort to analog methods to confirm incidents, trekking to locations or talking to refugees to get a firsthand account of what happened.

Archival work has grown more sophisticated with every passing conflict, says Weir, who has spent time in Syria and Myanmar doing similar work. He credits social media and increased access to cell phones with cameras.

“Syria is a very good example where there was a flood of photos and videos documenting what was happening in these possible abuses and violations of international law and human rights,” he points out. And yet, even with all that data, justice has been slow, thus far sparing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from international prosecution.

That’s the risk in this war. Even if the war ended tomorrow, prosecution of Vladimir Putin or any Russian commanders involved in war crimes would take years, if it happens at all. Building a case would require that investigators geolocate and verify all digital evidence.

What could speed this timeline up is the legion of people around the world who are willing and able to do such work, thanks in part to the experience of documenting the events of January 6, 2021, in the US.

“We’ve streamlined our process since the January 6 riot, which was a predecessor to this,” says Giancarlo Fiorella, an investigator with Bellingcat. “Those lessons of working on an event that produced a massive quantity of data are helping us. We’re capturing a greater proportion of data and evidence of potential war crimes.” That’s thanks in no small part to volunteers like Aeden.

It’s been so encouraging to see the open source community organize in the @bellingcat Discord server recently.

Earlier this year, the server was quiet. Today, it’s got 6,500+ members. Dozens of them are active every day, geolocating images from Ukraine.https://t.co/KkW0bJlYJT

— Giancarlo Fiorella (@gianfiorella) March 12, 2022

Aeden has been spending his time geolocating evidence of civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. He will get a photo or video from the internet assigned to him, and he’s tasked with using tools like aerial satellite imagery and street view on Google Maps to verify the location. Once Aeden and a fellow volunteer agree on a location (Aeden says having

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By: Tanya Basu
Title: The online volunteers hunting for war crimes in Ukraine
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/03/16/1047322/ukraine-russia-war-crimes-evidence/
Published Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2022 09:00:00 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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