Researchers: Bitcoin mining is unsustainable from an environmental point of view

Bitcoin mining would have environmental implications comparable more to the impact of the extraction and refining of crude oil rather than that of gold. According to researchers from the University of New Mexico according to their most recent study published in Scientific Reports. For this reason, Bitcoins should be compared to energy-intensive activities.

“We find no evidence that Bitcoin mining is becoming more sustainable over time,” said Benjamin A. Jones, professor at UNM Economics. “Rather, our findings suggest otherwise: Bitcoin mining is becoming more damaging to the climate. In short, Bitcoin’s environmental footprint is moving in the wrong direction. “

Bitcoin

As of December 2021, Bitcoin had a market capitalization of around US $ 960 billion with a market share among cryptocurrencies of around 41%. It is not possible to accurately determine the environmental impacts deriving from the energy consumption necessary for Bitcoin mining, but it can be defined as an energy-intensive activity.

According to the new study, in 2020 Bitcoin mining required 75.4 terawatt hours of electricity (TWh), a higher electricity consumption than that of the whole of Austria (69.9 TWh) or Portugal (48, 4 TWh) in that year. “Globally, mining or manufacturing Bitcoin uses huge amounts of electricity, which is produced mainly from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. This is leading to air pollution and carbon emissions, which negatively impact our global climate and environment. our health, “Jones said.

The authors also stated that according to their studies, the equivalent CO2 emissions caused by the production of the electricity required for mining increased 126 times from 0.9 tons for each cryptocurrency “mined” in 2016 to 113 tons in 2021. The damage caused by Bitcoin mining in the period from 2016 to 2021 is estimated at about 12 billion dollars.

“Our focus is on those cryptocurrencies that rely on Proof of Work (POW) techniques, which can be energy-intensive,” said Regents economics professor Robert Berrens. “As part of broader efforts to mitigate climate change, the political challenge is to create governance mechanisms for an emerging, decentralized industry that regulates energy-intensive POW cryptocurrencies. We need empirical data relating to potentially unsustainable climate damage to be expressed in monetary terms ”.

White House: first legislation for cryptocurrency regulation

On Friday, September 16, the White House published a new framework with directives on greater control of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, with the aim of framing them within a new regulatory framework.

The Biden administration is concerned about increasing volatility and, in particular, the recent decline in cryptocurrencies which has led to problems across the finance landscape. The framework, the first of its kind targeting cryptocurrencies, specifically focuses on measures that could be taken to change the financial services industry, make transactions easier and crack down on fraud.

“Digital assets pose significant risks to consumers, investors and businesses. The prices of these assets can be highly volatile,” says the Biden administration. The current global market capitalization of cryptocurrencies is around one third of the peak in November 2021 ″.

The new guidelines will be updated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC): therefore no new authorities will be established. In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission are called upon to redouble their efforts to monitor consumer complaints and to enforce unfair, deceptive or abusive practices. However, no warrants have yet been issued, with the framework lacking effectiveness and clarity, according to some.

Biden also reserves the right to consider whether to invite Congress to amend the Bank Secrecy Act by extending laws against the transmission of unlicensed money to digital asset service providers. According to a White House fact sheet, the opportunity to include digital asset exchanges and non-fungible token platforms (NFTs) is also being considered.

Ultimately, the aim will be to intensify investigations into digital asset market misconduct and redouble enforcement efforts by strengthening coordination between agencies.

Samantha Cristoforetti will be commander of the International Space Station: it’s official

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency (ESA) will soon be commander of the International Space Station.

It makes it the same ESA. To pass the baton will be the Russian commander Oleg Artemyev and AstroSamantha will be the first European woman to have this role.

“I am honored by my appointment as commander,” said Samantha Critoforetti. “I can’t wait – he added – to draw on the experience I have acquired in space and on Earth to lead a very capable team in orbit”.

The handover, informs ESA, is scheduled for 28 September and the period in which Samantha Cristoforetti will be in command should be short, although at the moment there are no elements to make estimates.

To decide the role of commander of the Space Station are jointly all five ISS partners, namely the space agencies of the United States (NASA), Russia (Roscosmos), Europe (ESA), Japan (Jaxa) and Canada (CSA).

Since the beginning of the Minerva mission, last April, Samantha Cristoforetti has been in command of the western segment of the ISS, called the United States Orbital Segment (Usos), which includes the American, European, Japanese and Canadian parts of the Space Station.

When he assumes command of the entire ISS, including the Russian segment, AstroSamantha will become the fifth European astronaut to have this position and the second Italian, after Luca Parmitano. The other Europeans to have the lead were Frank De Winne, Alexander Gerst, and Thomas Pesquet.

As commander of the Space Station, AstroSamantha will be responsible for the performance and well-being of the crew in orbit, will be responsible for communicating with the control center on Earth and will have to coordinate the crew in case of any emergency situation. As Samantha Cristoforetti will take over for a short time, one of her duties will be to organize the complete handover to the next crew.

Artemis I: NASA SLS launch postponed at least to late September, possibly October

After the first failed attempt to launch NASA SLS for the first time for the Artemis I mission on August 29, there appears to be good prospects for the second attempt in early September. After postponing the launch from September 2 to 3, preparations were underway when the agency once again had to shut down operations to resolve an issue.

The good news this time is that it is not the Space Launch System rocket or the Orion capsule that caused the final block of the launch attempt but rather a refueling structure (according to what emerged from the first investigations on the incident). However, this means postponing the launch of Artemis I at least until the end of September or even the end of October. Bill Nelson (NASA administrator) has however confirmed that, despite the postponement, the agency intends to launch the Artemis II mission in 2024 while the Artemis III moon landing is still expected in 2025. However, these are provisional estimates that could be revised in the future (and almost certainly will be).

NASA SLS launch for Artemis I postponed for a few weeks
During the conference that was held yesterday evening, after the announcement of the postponement of the launch by the space agency, the first information on what happened was given. The executives present however stated that the analyzes are still in progress and therefore more details will be released shortly. The situation is therefore evolving both as regards the examination of the problems and the timing of the launch of Artemis I.

While some of the problems that plagued NASA SLS seem to always involve the same component, in reality they are different parts. In the last launch attempt yesterday evening (Italian time) it was a leak of liquid hydrogen from a quick release fitting that feeds the central stadium. Despite the attempts of the ground crews (from repositioning the fitting to using helium under pressure after closing a valve or heating and cooling the section), it was not possible to re-seal the fitting, thus leading to the premature end of operations.

The extreme heat blocks nuclear power plants in France and Switzerland

Nuclear power plants need the continuous cooling of the reactors, which usually takes place through water drawn from rivers, lakes or seas that are close to the power plants themselves. The record temperatures we are witnessing these days, among other things, are also posing serious obstacles to the cooling process of nuclear power plants, especially in France.

According to Bloomberg, France’s nuclear reactors were brought to 46% of their capacity on Friday, after another contraction in operating regimes was introduced earlier in the week. Not without repercussions for the French economy, which usually benefits from the export of energy abroad and which in this case, for the first time, is forced to import.

Bloomberg prices in France

The reduction of the energy output of the French plants is wanted by the local authorities. Normally, in fact, the water used to cool the reactors, which has now risen to considerable temperatures, is sent back to the rivers or streams from which it was originally drawn. This can create a further rise in temperatures, and unpleasant consequences for the fauna and flora.

The rise in temperatures on the Garonne will force to further reduce the output of two power plants on the Rhone River in the coming days, when a further increase in temperatures is expected, or in any case a maintenance compared to the levels of the last few days. EDF, the largest French energy company, has in fact announced further cuts for the next few weeks.

The rise in temperatures is only one of the factors that is leading to the increase in the cost of energy, already high due to the war in Ukraine and the blocking of supplies from Russia. In the last week alone, the cost of energy has increased by 18% to around 500 € / MWh (in 2021 the cost was less than 100 € per MWh). We are at an all-time high while, according to the EDF style, 2022 will be the worst year in terms of energy produced compared to the last 30 years.

The French reactors already had corrosion problems in the first part of the year, which led to the temporary closure of a large number of them, and the consequent reduction in electricity production. Corrosion problems are increasing and increasingly require a large-scale plan lasting several years to ensure normal nuclear power generation schemes in France.

In addition, local authorities are also taking similar decisions in Switzerland. In particular, the Beznau plant uses the Aare river as it is done in France on the Garonne and, for the same reasons, it was decided to limit the production capacity of the two reactors, which normally produce around 6000 gigawatt hours of electricity per year. Production at the Beznau plant was “adjusted throughout the day to the current Aare temperature so that the requirements are always met,” a plant spokesperson said according to CNBC.

France and Switzerland are not the only countries that have suffered consequences for energy production due to temperatures: something very similar is happening in Texas.

Emoji: Here are all the new smilies coming soon.

The emojis are updated more and more often and the latest update coming in the coming months will allow users to use new smileys that are more and more fun but also unique and original. The 15.0 update of the Unicode consortium foresees up to 31 new smileys arriving on all platforms within the year. Compared to past years, the number of new images is much smaller but there are some smilies and drawings that are already going viral such as the smiley shaking his head.

Not only because there are also new colors for the heart and the outstretched hand to the right or left which in the original idea should be used to possibly give a virtual five during a conversation, but which could also represent an invitation to remain calm. There is no shortage of animals, plants and symbols of various kinds, let’s make a summary of the possible new emojis.

Probably not all 31 could actually be active later in 2023. Yes, because these have actually passed the penultimate skimming but we know that before actually arriving on the smartphones and user platforms they will still have to pass the grand final. Usually the process is to make them appear in the summer and then make their debut at the turn of the new year on Android or iPhone smartphones, but also on computers with Windows, macOS and Linux and in various applications.

Last year, the 14.0 update had always arrived in mid-July with smilies used today as the one that melts or the dotted one without forgetting the famous pregnant man or the lips that bite. For the record, last year the finalist emojis were 112 while in 2020 they were even 334. This year, however, they are only 31.

Among the new emojis, therefore, we have said that we find a smiley that shakes the head but also a part of the body with color variations or the hand extended to the right or left. There are three colored hearts of blue, gray and pink, animals like the elk, the crow and the jellyfish, but also foods like ginger and the pod with peas and the hyacinth flower. Also nice are other objects such as the comb, the fan and musical instruments such as the maracas and the flute to close with the symbol of wi-fi and the Khanda, the symbol of Sikhism.

When will we be able to use the new emojis in Update 15.0? The latest finalist selection will be announced in September by the Unicode Consortium and we do not know if this number of new emojis could still decrease as well as some graphics or colors could have changed.

Nikon will stop making SLR cameras

On Wednesday, many international newspapers reported the news that the famous Japanese camera brand Nikon will stop producing single-lens reflex cameras, the ones that for decades have made the company a vanguard in professional photography and beyond. The news was given by the reliable Japanese newspaper Nikkei, but a few hours later Nikon published a hasty denial, according to which the company “is continuing the production, sale and service of digital SLRs”. A phrase that does not contain reassurances on the development of new models, and which therefore could literally mean that the company will only produce and sell the old ones.

It is not clear what will happen, but the reasons why Nikon may have made or want to make such a choice are there and are not negligible. One of these is the spread of mirrorless camera models, that is, without the internal mirror that shows what is framed by the lens in the reflex viewfinder. They have a more practical and lighter structure and give results now comparable to those of reflex cameras, at least of the non-high-end ones, but Nikon has never managed to establish itself in this segment like other companies.

The other reason, and perhaps even more inexorable, is the sharp downsizing of the camera market due to the now widespread use of smartphones with increasingly sophisticated cameras.

Nikon began producing cameras after World War II and in 1959 released the Nikon F, which was not the first SLR in history but was considered the most sophisticated and innovative. Nikon’s first digital SLR arrived decades later, in 1999: compared to film cameras, digital ones were easier to produce and Nikon was able to intercept the potential of this technology, so much so that Nikon’s digital models had an enormous diffusion in the early 2000s. Today, the company effectively shares a large part of the digital SLR market with Canon.

In 2009 Olympus released the EP-1, the first mirrorless digital camera in history. Mirrorless cameras do not have a mirror like reflex cameras: the image is collected by the lens and shown directly on the display and, without the mirror, also in the viewfinder, which can be optical or electronic. This reduces the size of the camera and shutter speeds, and increases accuracy and durability.

In the transition from SLR to mirrorless Nikon was not as fast as it had been with the transition to digital and was anticipated by brands like Sony. Nikkei explains that the reason Nikon lagged behind was that mirrorless cameras needed an adapter to be compatible with the lenses Nikon had sold for SLRs up to that point: the company feared that this step would not be appreciated by the consumers and for this reason it took a long time to invest in this new technology.

More recently, this has been joined by a general crisis in the non-professional photography market due to the spread of smartphones with increasingly sophisticated cameras. Phones have in fact replaced compact digital cameras, products that in the early 2000s made up about 80 percent of the industry’s value. But not only: with the spread of social networks, the quality of the images has become less important in the common perception than the possibility of publishing photos instantly.

In recent years Nikon has scaled down its beginner catalog, focusing on the market for products for professionals and enthusiasts. But he still had big losses: in 2019 he had to close two factories in Japan and lay off staff in foreign branches and in 2020 he closed the fiscal year in negative.

2020 was also the year in which the sale of mirrorless cameras surpassed that of SLRs and in which Nikon unveiled its latest model of SLR, the D6 which, if what Nikkei says is true, will be the last. of its history.

FCC sanctioned TikTok: “Apple and Google remove it from stores”

The Federal Communications Commission of the United States of America sent a notice to Apple and Google in recent days asking them to remove the TikTok app from their stores due to its data management practices that are not exactly transparent.

FCC commissioner Brendan Carr sent the request to the two Silicon Valley giants after it emerged, thanks to a BuzzFeed News investigation, that TikTok staff in China had the ability to access US user data despite the company statements indicated otherwise.

“As you know, TikTok is an app available to millions of Americans via your app stores and collects vast amounts of sensitive data about US users. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, a company linked to the Chinese Communist Party and which responds to Chinese law by complying with government surveillance demands, “wrote Carr in a letter addressed to Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook, the two CEOs of Google and Apple.

“It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable risk to national security due to the vast amount of data it collects coupled with Beijing’s seemingly uncontrolled access to that sensitive data,” the FCC commissioner specified, according to TechCrunch.

It is not new that concerns are raised about the confidentiality of information collected by TikTok, which in the past has repeatedly replied that US user data is stored in the US and not in China. However, according to BuzzFeed News, TikTok staff in China had access to US user data as late as January of this year.

BuzzFeed’s claim is in contrast to a sworn testimony a TikTok executive gave in a US Senate hearing in October last year, stating then that it is “a renowned security team. based in the United States “to decide who can gain access to US user data.

TikTok’s response to BuzzFeed’s response was not long in coming: the company said it currently uses servers located in the US and Singapore for backup, but plans to delete US users’ private data from datacenters in the future ( in China) and fully switch to Oracle’s cloud servers located in the US. The company also stated that it is working to make operational changes and to set up a US-based department that can exclusively manage US user data.

Netflix breakthrough: advertising confirmed on the platform on the cheapest subscription

During the Cannes Lions International Festival, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos confirmed that the world’s most popular streaming platform is seriously considering introducing a new ad-supported plan. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, this could mean the arrival of a new subscription that is cheaper than the current one, with the only difference being the implementation of advertising while watching content.

Netflix may soon launch a separate ad-supported plan
The introduction of an adversiting-supported subscription is not a new theme within the company, and it could soon become a reality, with the aim of countering the decline in subscribers seen last quarter, the first time in the company’s history.

“We’ve left a large segment of customers off the table, namely people who say, ‘Hey, Netflix is ​​too expensive for me and I don’t mind advertising. We’re adding an advertising layer; we’re not adding ads to Netflix as you know it today. We’re adding an ad layer for people who say, “Hey, I want a lower price and I’ll watch the ads,” Sarandos said.

Sarandos said they are already in contact with potential partners such as Google and Comcast. The date, the countries and the prices of the possible new subscription have not been communicated, but for sure Netflix has taken the matter seriously and we could soon see it become a reality

The first floating city in the world will be built on the Maldives Islands, hosting 20,000 inhabitants.

It will be called Maldives Floating City will have a coral shape and will be completed by 2027, but some residents will start moving as early as 2024. The project, created by real estate developer Dutch Docklands and the Maldives government, has a much more useful and profound goal. compared to that of the simple futuristic experiment.

Maldives: a floating city to combat rising waters
In detail, the area where the Maldives archipelago rises – made up of 1,190 low islands – is among the most exposed and vulnerable to climate change. Consequently, the construction of a large floating city is conceived as a “must-have” and practical solution to combat rising ocean water levels.

“This project can demonstrate that there are affordable housing, large communities and normal cities on the water that are also safe. They (the Maldivians) will move from climate refugees to climate innovators,” Koen Olthuis, founder of Waterstudio, told CNN. .

Inside the floating island will be built houses, schools and shops that will be fixed by stabilizers that support it against the waves while keeping the buildings and structures safe against the current.