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Darknet drug markets kept alive by great customer service.

In 1972, long before eBay or Amazon, students from Stanford University in California and MIT in Massachusetts conducted the first ever ecommerce transaction. Using the "Arpa-net" account at their artificial intelligence lab, the Stanford students sold their counterparts a small amount of marijuana. Ever since, the net has turned over a steady but small trade in illicit narcotics. But last year approximately 20 per cent of UK drug users scored online. The majority of them went to one place: the dark net markets. [more inside]
posted by bookman117 on Aug 24, 2014 - 36 comments

FOR SALE: 29,656.51306529 bitcoins

The US Marshals Service is auctioning off the bitcoins seized from the servers of the Silk Road online drug marketplace last year, in lots of 3000 coins. You have until June 23rd register as a bidder and wire your $200,000 deposit. (Silk Road previously)
posted by silby on Jun 12, 2014 - 79 comments

aka: The Rise and Fall of the Nod Empire

The final confessions of a Silk Road kingpin Patrick O'Neill recently undertook an astonishingly open set of interviews with Nod, a major black-tar heroin and cocaine dealer who traded on Silk Road. By our third phone call, Steven Lloyd Sadler was a fugitive. Facing federal charges for drug trafficking and distribution, Sadler decided he'd rather skip the trial and jail sentence altogether. He was pulling away from Seattle, where he was charged, and we talked for hours. He began that particular conversation on speakerphone, attempting to circumvent the state’s law prohibiting the use of cellphones while driving, but noisy interference forced him to pick up the call. [...] "They'll be pretty pissed off at me," he said, referring to his federal public defenders.
posted by jaduncan on Jan 24, 2014 - 28 comments

Silk Road shut down, owner indicted

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation has seized the domain of the popular online black market site Silk Road (previously), and indicted the site's owner, Ross Ulbricht, better known as Dread Pirate Roberts (previously).
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 2, 2013 - 291 comments

The battle for the Web’s drug corner is on

Meet the Dread Pirate Roberts - the man behind booming black market drug website Silk Road
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 28, 2013 - 67 comments

"Untamed Humans" on the Roof of the World

"Moving is what nomads do. For the Kyrgyz of Afghanistan, it’s from two to four times a year, depending on the weather and the availability of grass for the animals. They call their homeland Bam-e Dunya, which means “roof of the world.” This might sound poetic and beautiful—it is undeniably beautiful—but it’s also an environment at the very cusp of human survivability. Their land consists of two long, glacier-carved valleys, called pamirs, stashed deep within the great mountains of Central Asia. Much of it is above 14,000 feet. The wind is furious; crops are impossible to grow. The temperature can drop below freezing 340 days a year. Many Kyrgyz have never seen a tree." Welcome to life at the upper altitudes of the Wakhan Corridor, above the tree line and on the roof of the world. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Jan 21, 2013 - 28 comments

"Look 'round thee now on Samarcand, is she not queen of earth?"

In the first years of the Fifteenth Century Henry III of Castile sent Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo as his ambassador to Samarkand. His journey introduced him to giraffes and many other sights unknown to Europeans of the time. Samarkand was then the center of the largest empire in the world, that of Tamerlane the Great (a.k.a Timur), the last of the nomad conquerors. His capital began as a city of the Sogdians, which became an important center of culture and trade, as is recorded in these 7th Century wall paintings. Samarkand was refashioned by Timur and his descendants, the most famous being the astronomer Ulugh Beg, and the Timurid legacy is still visible in Samarkand. After Timur's death, his empire disintegrated, and soon fell into decline, but left enough of a mark to inspire both Christopher Marlowe and Edgar Allan Poe. The Russian Empire conquered Samarkand in 1868, and the city was documented in the early 20th Century in color photograhs by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii (this one's a favorite) and remained an out of the way place in the Soviet era.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 27, 2012 - 15 comments

Monetarists Anonymous

Three Years In, Bitcoin Gains Momentum [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 14, 2012 - 64 comments

No longer do you need to go to the corner for a fix...

The Silk Road, an anonymous way to buy and sell drugs With conversation previously of bitcoin you can now order anything under the sun.
posted by handbanana on Jun 1, 2011 - 160 comments

A Minute and 100 Metres Down the Road

A Minute and 100 Metres Down the Road. The soldier outside the station had one hand on the barrel and the other on the butt of his shotgun. There were two military trucks by the bus stop and two soldiers in the back-right seats of every bus leaving Urumqi station... I arrived via long-haul train, 40 hours and just under 4000km in a hard-seat, from Beijing, where rumours were circulating about the extent of the military presence, needle attacks, Uighur and Han street gangs, and the validity of the reports coming out of Xinjiang. After four days I left with more doubts about why ethnic tensions in Urumqi arose and how they could be resolved. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jun 27, 2010 - 2 comments

Choosing Central Asia for a bride

Fascinated by the Orient An exhibition of the letters, photographs and maps bequeathed to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences by the great explorer, archaeologist, geographer and Sanskritist Sir Marc Aurel Stein. Journeyer in the footsteps of Alexander, explorer of Central Asia and West China, surveyor of the antiquities of India and Iran; after a long life of journeying through and studying central Asia, Aurel Stein found his final rest in Kabul. He is also remembered for rediscovering the oldest dated printed book still in existence, a copy of the Diamond Sutra in the caves at Mogao. That the latter and many thousands of other manuscripts collected by Stein now reside in the British Library is of course, like his other 'treasure hunting', not without controversy.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 4, 2010 - 4 comments

Axis of ChiRan

Multi - polarity in Eurasia. Pepe Escobar on Iran, China and the New Silk Road 1 & 2
Iran and China just signed a $3 bn. deal for China to help develop Iran's refinery capacity in Abadan and the Gulf. ( previous )
posted by adamvasco on Aug 10, 2009 - 16 comments

The lotus-cross

When Jesus met Buddha. "Something remarkable happened when evangelists for two great religions crossed paths more than 1,000 years ago: they got along." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 19, 2008 - 51 comments

The Caves of Dunhuang

Buddha’s Caves: The Caves of Dunhuang.
posted by homunculus on Jul 6, 2008 - 7 comments

The Door to Hell

The Burning Crater of Darvaza. [Via.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 26, 2008 - 31 comments

Silk Road: "West of Yang Gate there'll be no old friends."

Silk Road links: Silk Road Seattle, The Silkroad Foundation, The British Library's Silk Road site, The Ancient Way of Trading, Lost Cities of the Silk Road and some pictures
posted by Kattullus on Jun 9, 2007 - 23 comments

Multiplicity along the Silk Road

Chinese Jews and the Silk Road. Maps. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jul 25, 2006 - 26 comments

The International Dunhuang Project,

The International Dunhuang Project, developed jointly by the British Library and the National Library of China, makes thousands manuscripts and paintings from ancient caves and temples along the Silk Road viewable to the public. The artifacts were found in the Dunhuang cave in China in 1900 and dispersed to museums around the world, but now they have been brought together on the web. And if you want some appropriate music to go with it, check out Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Project.
posted by homunculus on Nov 12, 2002 - 5 comments

Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project

Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project sets out to explore the heritage of the cultures of the Silk Road through artistic performances, cultural festivals and educational programs. The Silk Road Ensemble, led by Ma, performs new and traditional musical compositions from the various cultures of the Silk Road and have recently released their first CD. There is an article about it all in today's NYT.
posted by homunculus on Apr 28, 2002 - 3 comments

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