Project Meshnet looks to evolve internet into encrypted decentralized network

Our objective is to create a versatile, decentralized network built on secure protocols for routing traffic over private mesh or public internetworks independent of a central supporting infrastructure.

Recent events around the world have demonstrated the importance of the free flow of information in regards to human rights and the free exercise thereof. Unfortunately, existing infrastructure is susceptible to a number of critical flaws that render it vulnerable to disruption. This project hopes to supplement the current infrastructure to create a secure, independent network that can operate under any condition including natural disaster or general failure of existing infrastructure.

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Across the planet, new technologies and business models are decentralizing power and placing it in the hands of communities and individuals. 

"We are seeing technology-driven networks replacing bureacratically-driven hierarchies," says VC and futurist Fred Wilson.

Some that stood out to me:

  • Open Garden, a product of the Open Garden Foundation, provides mesh networking through an app that creates a wireless mesh network, enabling everyone to have faster downloads, and stronger and cheaper connectivity.
  • Commotion Router is free, open source software that allows for communities to build their own mesh networks.
  • Twister is a peer-to-peer alternative social network operating on a decentralized framework, designed in a way that prevents other users from knowing too much about your whereabouts and online habits. 
  • BitCloud is only a concept for now, but it’s basically a proposal to replace the entire internet with a decentralized system.
  • WunderBar is a starter kit for developers, hackers and makers looking to test out ideas and contribute to the Internet of Things.
  • Smart Contracts: What if contracts could enforce themselves, obviating the need for contract law and lawyers? The idea of smart contracts was introduced by Nick Szabo in the 1990s, but recent advancements in cryptography may be moving the idea closer to reality.
  • Peer to Peer Payments: Services like Square CashVenMo and Dwolla are cutting out the bank by creating a platform and framework for online payments between peers.
  • Peer to Peer Lending: Services like Lending ClubZopa, and Prosper are cutting out institutional lenders and big banks by enabling people to make loans directly to each other. Over $2.4 billion in peer-to-peer loans were issued in 2013.
  • Crowdsourcing Civic Engagement: What if getting your city planner’s attention was as easy as tacking a note to a digital bulletin board? With crowdsourcing platforms like Dear City, citizens can do just that, and others can up-vote or down-vote the concern. 
  • Civic Crowdfunding: With public budgets slashed, urban planners and community groups are turning to sites likeCitizinvestorZenFunder and neighbor.ly to pay for civic projects and infrastructure.
  • Decentralized Urban Farming: Services like BK FarmyardsLandSharehyperlocavore and Sharing Backyards use social media and Google maps to connect urban landowners with urban farmers. But this is just scratching the surface, an entire alternative agriculture system is emerging that’s based on local production, processing, and distribution.
  • Online Learning Platforms: Technology-based decentralization of education promises to be a game-changing, disruptive force for the future. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) have the potential to be great equalizers, decentralizing education to the extent that college become accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford it, while online learning communities like Duolingo and CodeAcademy have established peer networks to help people learn from each other.

Resistance is fertile!

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KANO Computer Kit. Steve Wozniak just backed a DIY computer on Kickstarter—and so have 12,000 others

The creators of Kano, a kit to assemble your own mini-computer, asked for $100,000 on Kickstarter. One day short of the end of the company’s campaign, they’ve raised $1.35 million from nearly 12,000 backers including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. Alex Klein, one of the three creators of Kano, says people from 44 countries have chipped in (though the majority—some 40%—are American).

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A Low-Cost, Low-Power DIY Cellular Data Network

A new, free, open and resourceful method of communication. OpenBTS.

…flexible off-the grid deployment due to low power requirements that enable local generation via solar or wind; explicit support for local services within the village that can be autonomous relative to a national carrier; novel power/coverage trade-offs based on intermittency that can provide bursts of wider coverage; and a portfolio of data and voice services (not just GSM).

YaCy is a free search engine that anyone can use to build a search portal for their intranet or to help search the public internet. When contributing to the world-wide peer network, the scale of YaCy is limited only by the number of users in the world and can index billions of web pages. It is fully decentralized, all users of the search engine network are equal, the network does not store user search requests and it is not possible for anyone to censor the content of the shared index. We want to achieve freedom of information through a free, distributed web search which is powered by the world’s users.

You have to look at things comparatively. Look at the US next to the Sudan. Is there really ‘poverty’ in the US? I don’t think so.
—  Economics professor, because poverty doesn’t really count until no one has it worse than you; submitted by alec-bings

This news story seamlessly combines quite a few of my favorite things in the world:

The world’s largest and most resilient BitTorrent site plans to redefine “cloud computing” with a plan to move at least some of its servers onto unmanned drones miles above Sweden. 

In a Sunday blog post, The Pirate Bay announced new “Low Orbit Server Stations” that will house the site’s servers and files on unmanned, GPS-controlled, aircraft drones.

One of the sites administrators, MrSpock, said with the advent of miniature computers such as the Raspberry Pi, a $35 micro computer the size of a thumb drive that includes a WiFi and SD card slot for storage, the site can take its servers far from any law enforcement.

“We’re going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air,” MrSpock wrote. “This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.”

It’s not quite “internet in space,” but it’s getting there. I also love that they’re hip to the RasPi. Not to mention the poetry of using unmanned drones to piss off American lawmakers.

If it seems far-fetched to imagine millions of Americans becoming mini energy producers, just look at Germany, where 51 percent of the country’s clean energy production is owned by individuals or farmers, while major utilities control just 6.5 percent of it.
— 

A short paragraph from a recent New York Times article, ‘Crowdfunding Clean Energy’.

(Photo source: Inc.com)

But if we’re going to talk about sexism against women, we need to talk about sexism against men. And affirmative action; isn’t that racist against white people?
—  Junior Business major (and straight “ally” president of the GSA); submitted by anonymous

Diaspora* is a completely decentralized network which, by its nature, consists of many small servers exchanging posts and messages. There is no central server, and there is therefore no way for the project’s core team to manipulate or remove contents from a particular node in the network (which we call a “pod”). This may be one of the reasons which attracted IS activists to our network.

A project to create the first decentralized Bitcoin mining pool, P2Pool, appears to be making headway.

P2Pool mining nodes work on a chain of shares similar to Bitcoin’s blockchain.  There is no central point of failure and thus P2Pool becomes DoS resistant.

P2Pool works different from existing mining pool technologies — each node works on a block that includes payouts to the previous shares’ owners and the node itself.  99% of the block reward is distributed evenly to miners based on work done recently.  An additional 0.5% is awarded to the node which solves the block.

A P2Pool node process is run locally and the miner daemon is then configured to connect to that local P2Pool node.

Because P2Pool’s long polling is incompatible with how other pool servers operate, not all miner daemons will support mining against P2Pool just yet.  At this time, CGMiner is the only miner to work against P2Pool without requiring any changes.

Forked versions of DiabloMiner and Poclbm which include the patch necessary for the long polling issue are available on the project’s forum thread on the Bitcoin forum.

The project’s author, Forrestv, is continuing to make optimizations to help with one of P2Pool’s constraints that cause work to be invalidated within an average of 5 seconds.  This will cause an overall higher level of shares to be stale.  With P2Pool’s unique approach though as long as the rate of stales is equal among participants, a higher overall level of stales doesn’t cause losses to those mining.

Though the pool has been in testing against mainnet for a number of days now, the miner variants with the long polling fix have just finally become available.  The pool has not yet found any blocks but miners up until now have only been participating for testing and the pool wasn’t expected to have found a block by now.

This still is an early release of this pool.  Mining against this pool does have a learning curve and there is a higher level of administration required for a while longer yet.

There could be unknown issues arising yet as well including what impact differences in network latency will bring, for example.

Those seeking the benefits that a decentralized pool will bring though may deem the effort to be well worth it.

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That’s goofy. You can’t police preference. I’m ginger and want to marry ginger, is that evil?
—  Shit People Respond With, derailing and purposely misreading a conversation about the socialization of attraction through internalization (media, representation) and that preferences should be critically examined, to claim we’re policing preference or that you can’t have them
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