Oct. 8, 2021

Critical Thinking, Cryptocurrency, and a Space Hotel

Nicolas Ng, Hang Ngo, and Ellen Stevens examine the details of how HackerNoon is controlling the social media empires, the specs of the Facebook whistleblower video, how the rise and fall of the Soviet Union lead to a crypto-obsessed population. Also, wh...

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Nicolas Ng, Hang Ngo, and Ellen Stevens examine the details of how HackerNoon is controlling the social media empires, the specs of the Facebook whistleblower video, how the rise and fall of the Soviet Union lead to a crypto-obsessed population. Also, why we plan to host our conferences in a space hotel. Hope you join us!


  • Gen Z does NOT use Facebook! (04:29) 😵
  • How frequently do you actually see hateful content on Facebook? (08:03) 🤔
  • Do you think allegations should be treated as facts? (8:46) 🤔
  • How much responsibility should private companies have for the things that people choose to do? (12:52) 🤔
  • Why you should quit social media permanently! (17:06) **😂
  • Why are Ukrainians among the top adopters of cryptocurrency in the World? (18:00) 🤟🏻
  • Would Nicolas stay in a space hotel even? (28:28) 🤗





[00:00:00] Ellen: Hello world. And welcome to this week on planet internet. My name is Ellen Stevens and I'm the editor and community advocate here at hacker noon. And today I will be playing the role of your host. I'm joined today by two stunning guests. On one side of the planet located in Colorado USA. We have the intelligent hung, who is our business analyst, superhero.

Hello welcome. And on the other side of the planet in literally London, England, we have Mr. Nicholas, who is one of our star junior editors. Welcome.

[00:00:40] Nicholas: Hello, thanks for having me on the show.

Oh God, might you have to point that out.

[00:00:50] Hang: I like calling people out.

[00:00:54] Ellen: Great. Okay. So today we have a hard hitting episode prepared for listeners and viewers that will examine space hotels, the historic collapse of the Soviet union. And how it contributed to mass crypto adoption in the Ukraine as well as what is going on with Facebook. And then whistleblower to start us off, we will examine the complexity of the latest Facebook saga.

What are the accusations against them? And does third shutdown have anything to do with the allegation? So I have an article here from the guardian, so she'd start sharing screen.


So we have an article here titled a Facebook whistleblower accused his firm of seriously misleading over safety. So hung could you briefly describe what the article is about and your thoughts on what stood out for you?


[00:02:35] Hang: so on over the weekend and on Monday, and I'm sorry from the background noise, because that's what Denver is. That's how devil is. So on Monday. There's this 60 minutes interview. That's a killer, literally. First of all, of a lot of like complaints and accusation against Facebook and. Insert as the Achille's fable of knowingly to pills, choosing to permit police, political misinformation and contest Desmond along with his fish and mental health issue in teenagers against like to where his to what is user.

So it was a complaint against fable. Alan, could you scroll down a little bit?

Yes. So it was a complaint against federal, his approach to his parish finished mental health, human trafficking, his parish preferential treatment again tour VIP people. I didn't even know Facebook has VIP users. What do they do? Like it, Donald Trump, a VIP user. Yeah. Failed to, and it also failed to inform investors about declining user base is demography.

So it's, people as the age of 23 and under, as they see a declining number of users in Facebook, which I agree, I'd be like Amazon. I'm pretty sure Nick is also as empty. And like our friends don't really use Facebook anymore. Just to have an account, so yeah. What do you think, what'd you think of the acquisition?

[00:04:20] Ellen: Yeah. So I think that they're definitely pretty serious. I think that we can agree generally speaking, that all of these things, if true they're not ideal for society for sure. What about what about Nicholas? Do you have a Facebook account?

[00:04:37] Nicholas: Yeah, like Hong said, I do technically have a Facebook account, but I haven't touched it in six years.

I kinda log into to see which spammer is trying to add me to my friends, add themselves into my friends list and all that. But I don't actually know anyone my age who seriously uses Facebook off their own volition. And I think that this is like confirmation, that really is a decline because a Facebook never really addresses that.

But I think we all knew it was happening. The fact that they've been playing it down is a it's a bit damning.

[00:05:10] Hang: Yeah. It's not like I play it out. I think that it's hard to misled the investor like overrules, the user base of Facebook is still going up because if you don't use it I'm pretty sure our parents, our grandparents do this.

Can you believe it? Both my grandparents. Has a Facebook account. My parents are active

[00:05:33] Ellen: Facebook user. I

[00:05:34] Hang: don't understand. So I know more about Facebook than myself and for me, I I only have Facebook because. I need to update my family in Vietnam, how I'm doing and to make sure like I'm still alive, but I can confirm from also even my friends, we don't use Facebook a lot anymore.

And niche. I'm curious. What is your tired? What is your main social media?

[00:06:01] Nicholas: Technically read it, but from actually communicating with my friends. It's Instagram.

[00:06:05] Hang: Yeah. Sam. It's still a part of this Facebook empire. So so when Facebook talk to the investor about the base, they may or may not.

I haven't followed Facebook, like quite a reveal. Earning cold for two quarters now, because I don't care

[00:06:26] Ellen: animals. So just to jump in here a little bit so when you guys have used Facebook or any other such platform that's associated with them, do you find a lot of hateful content or do you find that it's largely like family photos and silly memes and stuff like that?

[00:06:42] Nicholas: Personally, it's the latter. I don't really. I don't really engage in things outside of the bare minimum social like interactions. So I wouldn't really find hate mail hate speech, but I think if say someone's parents are more invested on the platform, spend more time there than there would definitely encounter hate speech before.

[00:07:01] Hang: I, if Jill follows the vaccinations status in the us, a lot of people refused to get Laci native, right. Based on those states you are in. So we'll have like app to tell people like, Hey, yo, go get vaccinated. And below you can find a lot of comments. Like you don't know what in the or like vaccinated people as to something like stuff.

I don't consider it a hateful comment, but because I'm never on Facebook as much mush. I don't know if they are still like, oh, tank for Instagram. I never really had. His pitch because all my friends. What was this? The silly contents.

[00:07:47] Ellen: Yeah, that's what I was thinking about because I do use Facebook on a regular basis and very seldom do I see hate content?

There might be silly content. There might be. Quirky content, but none of it, I think I would identify as being necessarily hateful. W what I do see though, is Facebook removing, if a joke may be, is a little bit too edgy, it gets removed. And there's a lot of complaints actually that there's a bit of overregulation happening with.

So I do. I do wonder about these allegations. Branching off that, do you think allegations should be treated as fact? Nicholas could take that one.

[00:08:27] Nicholas: Broadly speaking, I would say no, unless it's proven in a court of law because we generally operate on the principle of innocent unless different is proven.

So not immediately, but this, but in this instance, we are looking at a whistleblower who is. Bringing evidence. So it's not more concrete than a simple accusation. I think she has the she has the information and evidence to backup her claims. So I think

[00:08:52] Ellen: so I'm glad you brought that up. So actually I have a quote here from the guardian, from that article, and it does say that our anonymous client is disclosing original.

Showing that Facebook. So I do wonder who did these studies allegedly? Because if I hired someone, they want to remain anonymous, they looked at maybe. I dunno, like only a smidge of the content that Facebook uses analyze that said I'm an anonymous. And then, presented it as a research paper that, that's not necessarily really good evidence.

So I definitely wonder about the The quality and, the alleged research that was done by Facebook about this. So again, that'll be for the courts to decide it did make me it did make me wonder, especially that line and anonymous. An anonymous client. So by the point that this article was published, like that woman was already public.

I do wonder who who provided this original evidence. So I am a little bit curious with respect to that.

[00:09:59] Hang: I'm sorry. Assuming here. Israel, I'm making accusations against such a big empower life. Facebook. Do you want to let yourself. Did you want to go forward?

It's hi, my name is Ellen. I have, I'm happy to, I guess Facebook and grids are like, Facebook's sewing you or like the whole fabric legal team sewing you,

[00:10:19] Ellen: so I think normally My perspective, at least I usually these people are sometimes threatened or bribed or, whatever else, maybe they do.

They have an allegiance to a particular party. So sometimes. That person, maybe they don't even want to see these things, but they're forced into it. I do wonder a little bit about that. I wonder what the motive, I wonder what the relationship with Facebook this person has.

So she was part of a group that was, assigned to monitor the election and then that group was dissipated. And so I don't know if her job was. Like, I don't know exactly the circumstances of what happened, but it did make me question some of these allegations it's up to the courts to see if it's in fact true.

But it did have another another thing to ask you guys is

[00:11:14] Hang: Do you think that

[00:11:15] Ellen: so let's assume so they're accused of knowing about trafficking, for example, which is very bad. But it's, trafficking unfortunately happens with with like people will get. I done those shipping containers, for example.

So should we stop all trade? Because there is a fringe of society doing really horrible things. And how much can private companies, really be responsible for the things that you know, people choose to do? That is a question that I have because when you're servicing such a large.

Population of users sometimes things are gonna are going to happen and you try and ban those accounts. But this, again, I really question. We all know, for example, that bad things happen on ships and shipping containers, but, we don't stop trade. So I do, does anyone have, maybe an input input on that?

Statement, tongue,

[00:12:12] Hang: neck, and the things you say about this, honestly also Ellen by private company. Do you mean public company? Because federal is certainly not private at all.

[00:12:22] Ellen: Sure. It's not a government entity, or, so

[00:12:25] Hang: like Jimmy, like the social media who I service such a large population of people and I don't know.

So this is Korea, not three other normal users are not responsible for whatever. Let's just say the backyard is still, like this, I understand this is inevitable because life, we will serve by building the people in the world. So where's the accusation is us. It's not like it's just stop OSHA as for, not if they don't know it, if Facebook don't know it, I, for some reasons they miss us this they can't do anything about it because they don't even know about it because this here is as Facebook lives about it and they just chose to let it happen.

Because yeah, allegedly it says the acquisition here is. So if that's a very bad case for Facebook, because human trafficking is always a big crowd in the war and. Is a real things I have nothing to do here. Pivot will be in a, like a heel scandal, but yeah, I don't know. This is an acquisition.

So if your question is to me just stop using all the social media or Using even just charge your back also be there in general. I just say no, because it was a way that is still a way for people to connect life. For example, my family is all the way in getting out, so I still need some kind of some trust in the media to connect with them, but we have the right to choose what kind of content.

He is that he posts on the social media. Like for me, if I have a small, a very various. To chill in the house. I would never post that pictures, his or her pictures also media, because I have a very crazy story about like people stalk you and then try to like kidnap the system or not your brother.

And I never want that to happen to my family. That makes sense. I hope that answered the

[00:14:17] Ellen: questions. Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that's a really smart just, before we, we move actually. Yeah. I, it is questionable to me. Sometimes people very publicly post, photos.

[00:14:30] Hang: They want to share the happy and it was a word I just choose not to do it.

That's no adjustment. Okay.

[00:14:38] Ellen: That's you know, I think that was a great and balance discussion there. Oh

[00:14:43] Hang: another one following all the accusation on Monday. Facebook Instagram in Gwoza when under a sick, our global outage, nobody could get assessed to them as this is the longest practice since 2008, just, I don't think it kind of stuff, but muscles Torres.

If from configuration change is a backroom backs, one router. So it's always the engineering problem.

[00:15:10] Ellen: So I, what really happened I don't know if everyone was following, but at, around that time, hacker noon published an article called why you should quit social media permanently. And it was an article talking about how quitting social media allows you to have more time with real friends, more time in general more spontaneity.

Politics and attentiveness to the world around you and then Facebook went down. So crazy coincidence. So just to relay one final element on this mark Zuckerberg does deny the claims. And that they don't really make a very much logical sense. So we'll see how that plays out.

But I did want to move on to to the next article that we have here. And it is about Ukrainians and how they are the talk doctors of cryptocurrency. In the world. Do you guys see the article range? Yes. I didn't see that. Okay. Perfect. And I think our star Nicholas here reviewed the article so briefly describe what w what it was about and your thoughts on the article.

[00:16:21] Nicholas: Sure. So in brief, this article is covering basically the effects of Ukraine's parliament passing legislation that. Essentially acknowledges and defines cryptocurrency legally in the country. It's not really setting up Bitcoin. It's like a legal tender, and don't really going out in the streets, pinged with it, but it is it is the start of, it could be the start of such a system it's laying down the framework for integrating cryptocurrency a little bit more.

And it's just interesting in general to read about how you create is how you create joining a host of other countries in. In acknowledging cryptocurrency as a currency, but I think some things I found very interesting about the article is that it confirms that this continuing a trend that developing countries are using crypto as a way of dealing with with corrupt banks.

For example, they don't have a lot of trust in their banking system. And Yeah. And it also adds a bit more legitimate legitimacy to cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in general, because another government is recognizing it and trying to lay the groundwork to integrating it properly with their banking sector.

And. I believe that was a small part about nuclear reactors or them producing excess energy being used to generate two to produce Bitcoin. I think that's also something that's very interesting to look at because there are significant energy implications to farming Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, but they have found a way to do it without worsening.

The impact on the climate by using a sustainable resource and nuclear energy to do it. So I think the article covers a lot of stuff that is very interesting, and I think this good reason to be optimistic to it, the future of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

[00:18:02] Ellen: Great. Wow. That's a, yeah, that you definitely got the main points there.

Did you have a chance to review and what are your thoughts on the.

[00:18:13] Hang: I did very interesting and this clever. Okay. Just clever to listen. Okay. This is not a code for you to go and buy Bitcoin or materials. We have nothing with invest investment of cryptocurrency. So I think it's a very interesting is there a story about the adoption.

We call it in cryptocurrency in general, in like many developing country, especially I think I read about Venezuela also, like trying to adopt cryptocurrency because I was the inflation is there is a money and you mean This is a critical and say sketching, mobilizations, or as the word and the future of banking and finance.

The child is no banking. Financial ends of Fayette. Monday is in questions, a slit in the developing country, stuff like that. What I can tell from skimming the articles, I don't really like reading in details. I can't like I can't really eat until I make, because well, But

[00:19:18] Ellen: yeah, I think yeah, so it is an interesting, so both of you touched upon this trend of developing countries adopting Bitcoin.

And I think that is fascinating because I think we were on a previous podcast before with . Who had mentioned that sometimes countries they have sanctions and other things like that from, countries with a lot more money, I in those countries will not necessarily let the smaller countries borrow a certain amount of money.

And so this cryptocurrency allows them to gain. Sort of independence and access to greater wealth than they might otherwise. So what's interesting about the relationship between Ukraine and Russia is that, Russia has been like the big brother situation and they've invaded Ukrainian.

A number of times. And part of the adoption has to do a little bit with that. So I think in about 2014, they so here's what it says. I don't know if I'll find it down here, but basically what it's saying is after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 Ukraine's economy took a nose dive and Ukraine's national currency.

Could we could even I think lost 70% of its value against the dollar. That's not funny. I was just laughing at my own pronunciation. This further undermine the savings and spending power of the public. Now the average person. Smaller savings will often hide their money at home and won't bother storing it at the bank.

So that's that's an important element. And so it goes on further to say, actually that even before this pattern of nefarious behavior, the Ukrainian banking industry did not develop the same way as it did in the west. After the collapse of the Soviet union, the process of transferring funds was problem.

Due to a lack of infrastructure with high degrees of corruption in the government business and banking sectors, unlawful assets, seizures by Corp corrupt politicians and the collapse of several Ukraine's prominent banks. It is the only, it is only reasonable that the decentralized nature of Bitcoin appeals to the people.

So I think the energy element is one thing, but yeah. I also think the political climate, which has been relatively unstable in a country like Ukraine is actually one of the driving factors for the population being really open to cryptocurrency. And I find that interesting from, a governance perspective.

I find that. Just a result of what happens when you have a system, like the Soviet union, where there's too much centralized power with the government. So I believe they had a socialist socialist system. That's what the Soviet union. So this idea of decentralization is actually, progressive in a lot of different ways because when you have too much power in a centralized location sometimes that can have negative results.

[00:22:24] Hang: So

[00:22:25] Ellen: that was our little, does anyone else have anything to add with respect to. The Ukraine then Ukraine article. No, I think,

[00:22:38] Hang: yeah, I think very interesting.

[00:22:40] Ellen: Yeah.

[00:22:41] Hang: Yeah. I'm good. I'm sorry.

[00:22:44] Ellen: Go ahead, Nick. No, I was just thinking it is very interesting. Like you keep talking,

[00:22:49] Hang: looking for. Then they look like life first class country, like America or Canada actually adopt cryptocurrency is like the main, like an official way too late for transactions.

That would be

[00:23:03] Ellen: very interesting. Yeah. I think banks are starting to examine how to make that happen because they, if you can't beat them, join them, so banks don't don't want to lose power. They're adopting crypto, but there's a bit of there's a bit of irony with respect to that.

Okay. I wanted to start off our next segment with respect to things that are just. Amazing around the internet to lead us into the final and the final bits of the podcast here with some fun or quirky or strange news that's entertaining. And the first article that I'd like to present here is a space hotel concept.

So I am really obsessed with this because I find it fascinating. So I it's the world's the article was on CNN and Or is on CNN and it's called the world's first space hotel is scheduled to open in 2027. So basically a California and new company called the gateway foundation released plans for a cruise ship style hotel that could one day float above the Earth's atmosphere.

Then. So it's got a very futuristic concept because it turns they mimic the illusion of gravity. And yeah, I was wondering what you guys thought would you stay in such a hotel? Nick, would you Nick. Would you be afraid? Would you want hacker noon to have a conference up there?

What's what are your thoughts?

[00:24:44] Nicholas: I'm generally apprehensive about going to space in general because of the Kessler effect and the fact that there is no atmosphere in space. So if something does happen to the station, I'll be in a bit of trouble. I don't really like that. But it's very interesting.

I would love to go at some point, if it was safe somehow more safer than it already is. It will definitely be like a number. And how can you in whatever conference and where to offer free tickets, I'll definitely want to go. But I think only under those conditions, I don't expect to be able to afford that in my life.

[00:25:17] Ellen: Okay you heard that here at David and bling. We would like to go to space when it's available. So thank you. And hung. How do you feel, would you go to this hotel? Only. Yeah. Only if it's paid for, by someone out. Yeah. Very fair. Yeah. I actually, I think it would be out of this world to have an experience like that, but

[00:25:42] Hang: that's so early.

[00:25:44] Ellen: I do question the asteroid element. So if the hotel is floating with the hotel, also have the ability to move itself. So if an asteroid, cause there's a lot of them, they float in space. Potentially one could hit us at any time, which is, fun to. I think about so yeah that's my one concern hopefully the Astro cause it's, it's like a circle.

I don't know if you guys, so hopefully the asteroid would float through the V, that might be taking a bit of a risk arrange. So I think we still have a little bit of time, so I. I think hung, you wanted to maybe talk about squid game or not. Okay. So Nicholas, you reviewed an article about the floating cities and how that's the future.

What could you tell us a little bit about that?

[00:26:34] Nicholas: There was a article that I read this week about how the Netherlands experimenting of floating cities and some of a, it was a very interesting piece. It touched on something that logistical challenges of having a floating town, but also.

You mentioned a is it's about like the logistics and sustainability of such a building and some of the, and the fact that we've done it before, like as a species state, hundreds of years ago, I think it's pretty interesting because the ocean levels are rising. I'm from Singapore and we're threatened by that.

So I always found the idea of a floating city. Very interesting when when growing up, especially in lake Saifai properties. So just reading about the fact that someone's actually gone and done, it was really interesting. Yeah. And hopefully we don't need to build more. We probably do, but it would be nice to see how it goes in the future.

And maybe I would want to stay that because that's only the risk of drowning and

[00:27:31] Ellen: it's very, I feel it's

[00:27:32] Hang: going to be very aesthetically pleasing. Like I do every time, like people talk about like floating city, I think of asker, like Taurus.

[00:27:45] Nicholas: I think so.

[00:27:45] Hang: Those are somehow related, but whatever, but yeah, like I'm from Vietnam. So apart of it now it's also as a risk of drowning and as the sea level is rising in like in a part of Vietnam to Yeah, just for the shock of not drowning and AFIS nation, we do need some floating cities in some part of the world, but like I hope to happen.

[00:28:10] Ellen: Yeah. I agree because oh, if the water, if the sea levels continue rising then, especially the the cities that are closer to the year And the edges of the water. What's the official the, yeah. So you know, that are closer to, they have a large risk of ending up underwater.

So making them float is quite quite clever in my opinion. Okay. Yeah, so I do wonder, the sea levels rising and And yeah. But then there's the thing of everything drawing up. So I wonder, exactly how that will unfold. Okay.

So I think I think this is probably the end of our podcast here, unless anyone has any urgent, spiels or, product placement elements. Okay. So I thank you very much for listening. I hope this is your. For today, Ellen Stephens and I was joined by my wonderful guests and this podcast is produced by Alex.

So thank you and have a wonderful day or a great week. Have a great week.

[00:29:24] Hang: Okay.