Archive for the 'Economics' Category

Eine Transaktion die gleiche CO2-Bilanz wie ein einstündiger Flug mit einer Boeing 747

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Deutsche Welle: Die schmutzige Seite des Bitcoin-Booms. “Nur wenige Menschen nutzen Bitcoins, doch alle zahlen den Preis für die Auswirkungen der Kryptowährung auf die Umwelt. Verbraucht das digitale Schürfen der Bitcoins sogar mehr Elektrizität als ein komplettes Land?”

“Für die Goldsucher, die während des Goldrauschs im Kalifornien der 1860er Jahre vom schnellen Reichtum träumten, kam die Umwelt an allerletzter Stelle. […]

150 Jahren danach hinterlassen ihre Nachfahren aus dem Silicon Valley ähnlich schmutzige Spuren. Die neue digitale Währung Bitcoin, die zuletzt mit Rekordkursen von knapp 17.000 Dollar gehandelt wurde, ist immer mehr wegen ihrer exorbitanten Stromkosten ins Gerede gekommen.

Ihre Kritiker nennen die Kryptowährung aus einem ganz einfachen Grund schmutzig. Denn jeder Bitcoin – dieser unter nahezu undurchschaubaren Algorithmen begrabene virtuelle Goldklumpen – benötigt eine immense Computerenergie, um ‘gefördert’ zu werden.

Seit sich der Wert eines Bitcoins im Laufe des Jahres 2017 verzehnfacht hat, beziffert die Analysten-Website Digiconomist seinen jährlichen Energiebedarf auf rund 32 Terawattstunden (TWh). Damit rangiert der Bitcoin in derselben Liga wie kleinere Staaten.”

“Do I know you? Facebook seems to think so.”

Saturday, December 9th, 2017

Gizmodo: How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met. “Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users.”

“Shadow contact information has been a known feature of Facebook for a few years now. But most users remain unaware of its reach and power. Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook’s algorithmic black box, people can’t see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up.”

Quartz: Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled.

“Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed.”

Links via MetaFilter.

“President Trump on Monday drastically scaled back two national monuments established in Utah by his Democratic predecessors”

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

The Washington Post: Trump shrinks two huge national monuments in Utah, drawing praise and protests.

“Trump’s move to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by more than 1.1 million acres and more than 800,000 acres, respectively, immediately sparked an outpouring of praise from conservative lawmakers as well as activists’ protests outside the White House and in Utah. It also plunges the Trump administration into uncharted legal territory since no president has sought to modify monuments established under the 1906 Antiquities Act in more than half a century.

His decision removes about 85 percent of the designation of Bears Ears and nearly 46 percent of that for Grand Staircase-Escalante, land that potentially could now be leased for energy exploration or opened for specific activities such as motorized vehicle use.

Trump told a rally in Salt Lake City that he came to “reverse federal overreach” and took dramatic action “because some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They’re wrong.”

“They don’t know your land, and truly, they don’t care for your land like you do,” he added. “But from now on, that won’t matter.””

Read Garret’s opinion on the matter over at dangerousmeta: Ignore the Administration. Ignore the media.

“I can haz all your votes”

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

The Economist: Once considered a boon to democracy, social media have started to look like its nemesis.. “An economy based on attention is easily gamed.”

“Facebook and Google account for about 40% of America’s digital content consumption, according to Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research, a data provider[.]
Adult Americans who use Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp spend around 20 hours a month on the three services. Overall, Americans touch their smartphones on average more than 2,600 times a day (the heaviest users easily double that). The population of America farts about 3m times a minute. It likes things on Facebook about 4m times a minute.

The average piece of content is looked at for only a few seconds. But it is the overall paying of attention, not the specific information, that matters. The more people use their addictive-by-design social media, the more attention social-media companies can sell to advertisers—and the more data about the users’ behaviour they can collect for themselves. It is an increasingly lucrative business to be in. On November 1st Facebook posted record quarterly profits, up nearly 80% on the same quarter last year. Combined, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, control half the world’s digital advertising.”

Arizona senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association said maintenance costs should fall to Congress, not visitors.

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

CBS News: Grand Canyon, other popular national parks may double fees. (AP)

“The National Park Service is considering a steep increase in entrance fees at 17 of its most popular parks, mostly in the U.S. West, to address a backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects.

Visitors to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and other national parks would be charged $70 per vehicle, up from the fee of $30 for a weekly pass. At others, the hike is nearly triple, from $25 to $70.

A 30-day public comment period opened Tuesday. The Park Service says it expects to raise $70 million a year with the proposal at a time when national parks repeatedly have been breaking visitation records and putting a strain on park resources. Nearly 6 million people visited the Grand Canyon last year.

“We need to have a vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids’ grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement. “Shoring up our parks’ aging infrastructure will do that.””

Link via dangerousmeta.