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 ”.

WhatsApp: links for calls arrive! Here’s how the new feature works

WhatsApp: links for calls arrive
Nuove funzioni di WhatsApp

Among the various improvements in the pipeline for WhatsApp in this period, as well as for voice there are also for calls and video calls.

The latest beta of WhatsApp for Android, 2.22.5.4, contains “” under the skin “, that is hidden in the code, an addition that always concerns calls and video calls, although this time not from a visual point of view, but functional The datamining of the beta conducted by WABetainfo has in fact made it possible to discover a function that already exists in the code, even if it is still dormant, and therefore not yet accessible to users: we are talking about the possibility of creating links for calls and video calls.

The screenshot above clearly shows an unprecedented option to invite WhatsApp users to join a call, namely the creation of a link. Nothing revolutionary, but it is still an important addition, since it allows you to invite more people without them being present in your contact list: it will be enough to generate a call link and then share it.

The function can, in some ways, remember the integration with Messenger Rooms through a link, then removed: but if on the Messenger Room anyone can enter a session, even without having a Facebook account, with the new link it will still be necessary to have a WhatsApp account to take part in a call, which will then be protected by end-to-end encryption.

In short, it is a feature that aims to extend and simplify the scenarios of use of calls and video calls beyond today’s borders, but always remaining within a certain perimeter of protection. At the moment, however, we do not know when this feature will be introduced at least in beta, but the works are in progress and seem already well defined: to the eye it shouldn’t take long.

Grand Theft Auto 6: Rockstar confirmed content theft

The source codes and many preview videos of the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto game have been stolen. It seems like a play on words or a mocking coincidence but it is reality.
Rockstar Games has confirmed that it has suffered a security breach on the servers on which it stored various content related to the development of the future Grand Theft Auto 6. Information and confidential content have been downloaded and made public on the network, including these images and videos, as well as a part of the source code. In a message published via its official Twitter profile, as expected Rockstar said that it was “footage from an early development version” and was quick to point out that the leak will not affect the development process of GTA. 6. Furthermore, it is added that the game will be released “when it is ready”, which highlights that there is still a long way to go until development is complete. Officially, in fact, Rockstar has not yet disclosed any media or the possible release date of GTA 6. But according to some, the game would be released approximately between 2024 and 2025.

for more info:

https://www.gabrieleromano.org/pages/articles/gta6-theft-hacker.html

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.

Netflix and subscriptions with advertising: you cannot download content to watch offline

Netflix, as you know, is working to prepare a subscription plan at a reduced price but supported by advertisements. We now learn this subscription plan could be affected by an important limitation: the inability to download content for offline viewing.

Bloomberg divulges the news, having discovered that in the code of the Netflix app for iOS devices there is still, not operational, this restriction intended for plans with advertisements. This alone is not a sufficient element that this is actually the case, but it must nevertheless be considered as an important indication and a probable possibility.

It was the same co-CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, in the past months that the company is working on the introduction of a more convenient subscription plan aimed at those users who want to face a lower economic outlay and, at the same time, not have no problem putting up with some advertisements. In the current state of things, there is still no precise information on the characteristics of this piano, but the company in the past has provided some general indications, explaining for example that the ads cannot be skipped and that the user will not have the controls available. Netflix also indicated that some content may contain “restricted” statuses in the plan with advertising, which somehow dovetails with Bloomberg’s findings.

Another unknown element is the price of this piano. Currently Netflix offers – we are referring to the US market, also because it is not given whether the plan with advertising will also arrive in Italy and with what timing – a basic subscription at a price of $ 9.99 with 480p streaming and a “Standard” subscription with resolution FullHD at $ 15.49. At $ 19.99 a month there is the Premium plan which includes streaming in 4K HDR. We can choose that for the plan with Netflix advertisements it could at least initially use the cheapest subscription as a starting point and perhaps in the future experiment with other offers.

The company decided to work on an ad-supported subscription plan in response to the decline in subscribers and revenue it experienced in the first half of the year, when for the first time in 10 years it had to acknowledge a decline in number of registered users. However, this strategy also includes the repressive action towards the practice of sharing subscriptions. Netflix says some 222 million “paying households” have their subscription with another 100 million households and in the future it aims to include a more effective monetization mechanism for subscription sharing, with some testing underway in select countries.

Ad-supported subscriptions won’t see the light until early 2023, so in the next few months to learn more detailed information and details as Netflix finalizes its plans.

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.

Metaverse: there is the first student who graduated virtually and is Italian!

In the Metaverse you can also graduate and the first to do so was Edoardo di Pietra, a young student from Colle Val D’Elsa in the province of Siena, who decided to discuss his thesis in front of the University of Turin commission for the Communication, ICT and Media course which included live presence but also in virtual version directly in the Metaverse with an avatar created ad hoc for the occasion.

“When you are the first to do something, you are the precursor of everything that will come after you. So you have responsibilities. In short: you become a standard of the future” these are the words of the young graduate of La Stampa.

You can even graduate in the Metaverse!
In Italy it was the first and it could also be on a global level. A step forward that makes us understand how important universities are also ready for this type of innovation and how, with a minimum commitment, we can keep up with the times and with the technological changes that afflict the world every day.

Edoardo Di Pietro prepared his thesis in one year of work. “As a gamer I had already heard of the Metaverse, also because I was unknowingly in precursor games, such as Minecraft”. Tomorrow will certainly be a revolution in graduation debates “but also for the future – underlines a different distance, with greater presence and greater interactivity to the classic video calls on the platforms used to give lessons during the period of restrictions. due to the Covid pandemic “.

For the 25-year-old Tuscan, “Metaverso is a kind of teleportation”. But there are not only the merits. “The biggest flaw to point out is that we don’t have to detach ourselves too much from reality,” he says. “Beautiful technology, beautiful innovation, but we always live in this world. In science fiction novels and films or in the common imagination, we see the Metaverse as that thing that will make us sit all day in an armchair with a tube attached to the back of the neck, thus feeding us. Here the Metaverse doesn’t even have to touch upon that idea. It must be something more to increase and simplify reality “.

The thesis supervisor will be Professor Michele Cornetto. “The idea was born about a half ago. A first experiment developed on Minecraft for the Christmas party at the end of the year to overcome Covid. Since then I have started thinking of promoting this topic also to students who asked for projects of That of Edoardo goes in the direction: it is a first step to understand what and how many perspectives there will be for this one, he explores the future “.

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.