Venezuela is in crisis. The South American country has been a sore festered with political turmoil and socioeconomic woes for years now. Unemployment is a pandemic in the country and, thanks to the devaluation of their currency, what little food can be had there, is largely unaffordable by the nation's people. As a result of these conditions, crime has become rampant, countless businesses in the country have shuttered and shortages of the staples we take for granted have become commonplace. Reuters reports that the shortages have begun to effect an unexpected, exclusive group of Venezuelans: organ transplant recipients.
According to Reuters, there are around 3,500 organ transplant recipients living in Venezuela today. Thanks to modern medicine, theses recipients have been able to lead largely normal lives. But as the country's ability to afford medicines made in other countries, make their own drugs or pay medical personnel diminishes, the lives of its organ transplant recipients are being put at risk. The drugs needed to keep their new organs from being rejected by their bodies have run out. So far, at least seven of the country's citizens have died as a result, with 35 additional transplant recipients reporting that their new organs are now being rejected by their bodies.
The suck doesn't stop there: thanks to the fact that only around half of Venezuela's dialysis machines are operating, tens of thousands of people waiting for lifesaving surgeries are at risk of dying as their blood can't be cleaned of toxins. The doctors who are still working to keep people alive in the country are exhausted and frustrated by the conditions they're now forced to work in:
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"It's incredibly stressful.
Joshuah Bearman wrote an epic story about the rise and fall of the black market commerce site Silk Road. He dug deep to produce a fantastic, enthralling story. Here's what he told me about it:
This was a challenging story to write, because it was an ongoing federal investigation, with a pending trial, but I (rather luckily) managed to get inside both the Silk Road, the various law enforcement agencies trying to bring it down, and people close to Ross, to understand him more. It was always a good story, but as it unfurled just got more layered and exciting. The piece is 20,000 words! Longest thing Wired has ever published. And in two-parts, which they've never done. I wrote this thing like a non-fiction novella, and people seem to be responding to it well, even the cliffhanger and waiting for Part 2.
The Rise and Fall of Silk Road, Part 1
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[Video Link] HighExistence reports on Atlantis, a "new and improved virtual black market" that offers "cheaper rates, advanced features, ease-of-use, Litecoin and Bitcoin support, and encrypted chat."
A turf war is on. Silk Road has enjoyed a near monopoly on the digital drug business since its inception in 2011, but its tenure is over. The new competition is great for consumers–various black markets will vie for market share by offering more features and a better user experience. In an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit, the CEO explains that compared to Silk Road, Atlantis takes lower commissions, has less downtime, has a more “modern” interface, has a feedback system for rating buyers as well as sellers, and supports built-in message encryption.
Also, Andy Greenberg of Forbes bought weed from the top three online black markets (Silk Road, Black Market Reloaded, and Atlantis) and found Atlantis offered the best consumer experience. (Here's a video interview with Greenberg about online black markets.)
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Okay, which of you all just got busted for smuggling narwhal tusks? Fess up. It was either one of you, somebody from Reddit, or both, right?
Image: N is for narwhal - finished, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from notahipster's photostream Read the rest