Archive for the 'Environment' 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.”

“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.

Erhöhte Ruthenium-Werte – kein Unfall in einem Kernkraftwerk

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Deutsche Welle: Französischer Bericht über Nuklear-Vorfall: Erhöhte Radioaktivität kam aus Russland oder Kasachstan. “Ende September hatten Wetterstationen in Westeuropa erhöhte Werte von radioaktivem Ruthenium-106 gemessen. Pariser Experten glauben nun eine Erklärung gefunden zu haben.”

Bericht vom 09.10.2017: Was ist Ruthenium-106? “Seit Tagen werden in Europa winzige Mengen Radioaktivität in der Luft gemessen. Das Ruthenium-106 soll irgendwo aus dem Ural stammen. Einen Atomunfall schließen Experten aus. Es soll harmlos sein. Und sonst?”

Näheres zu Ruthenium und der Immission im September/Oktober bei Wikipedia.

Hintergrund:

Die Zeit: Ruthenium: Leicht erhöhte Radioaktivität aus dem Ural. “Rätselhaft, aber wohl harmlos. Seit Tagen werden in Europa winzige Mengen Radioaktivität gemessen. Strahlenexperten vermuten, dass das Ruthenium-106 aus dem Ural kommt.” Meldung vom 08.10.2017.

“Von den Partikeln gehe keine Gefahr aus. Ihre Konzentration in der Luft sei sehr gering. “Selbst bei konstanter Einatmung über den Zeitraum von einer Woche ergibt sich daraus eine Dosis, die niedriger ist als die, die durch die natürliche Umgebungsstrahlung in einer Stunde aufgenommen wird”, heißt es in einer Mitteilung des Umweltministeriums. Die gemessene Dosis ist 100.000 mal kleiner als jene, ab der Maßnahmen zum Schutz der Bevölkerung notwendig seien.”

“Extremely likely” means a probability between 95 and 100%

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

If baffles me that there are still people denying the human influence on climate even though many studies show that it is extremely likely. I mean, if it is extremely likely that you will sustain serious injuries or die when jumping out of a third floor window, would you take the chances and jump?!

Part of the problem seems to be that many people don’t know enough about statistics, and that some politicians don’t trust the scientific method.

NPR The Two-Way: Massive Government Report Says Climate Is Warming And Humans Are The Cause.

“It is “extremely likely” that human activities are the “dominant cause” of global warming, according to the the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers.

The climate report, obtained by NPR, notes that the past 115 years are “the warmest in the history of modern civilization.” The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degree Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are by far the biggest contributor to warming.

The findings contradict statements by President Trump and many of his Cabinet members, who have openly questioned the role humans play in changing the climate.

“I believe that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in an interview earlier this year. “There’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact.”

That is not consistent with the conclusions of the 600-plus page Climate Science Special Report, which is part of an even larger scientific review known as the fourth National Climate Assessment.
[…]
The report states that the global climate will continue to warm. How much, it says, “will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally.” Without major reductions in emissions, it says, the increase in annual average global temperature could reach 9 degrees Fahrenheit relative to pre-industrial times. Efforts to reduce emissions, it says, would slow the rate of warming.
[…]
The report has been submitted to the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. Trump has yet to choose anyone to run that office; it remains one of the last unfilled senior positions in the White House staff.”

Ecology meets Art

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology”. He was heavily influenced by Alexander von Humboldt, about whom I recently read a book called The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (highly recommended, by the way).

Haeckel is most well-known for his incredibly detailed and beautiful drawings of radiolarians and other Kunstformen der Natur (art forms in nature). Recently, a new book with his drawings was published:

The Guardian: Ernst Haeckel: the art of evolution – in pictures.

“The influential evolutionary scientist, who coined such terms as ‘stem cell’ and ‘ecology’, was also a virtuoso illustrator. The editor of a new book celebrating this work introduces some highlights.”

Creative Review: Feast your eyes on the art of Ernst Haeckel. “A new book from Taschen compiles 450 drawings, watercolours and sketches of living organisms by artist and biologist Ernst Haeckel.”

The book is fairly costly, but if you prefer a cheaper, sort of do-it-yourself version, there’s always the Art Forms in Nature: Coloring Book. 😉

Und für Menschen, die der deutschen Sprache mächtig sind, existiert eine HTML-Version von Kunstformen der Natur (vollständige elektronische Faksimile-Ausgabe). Dort kann man sich einzelne Tafeln anschauen oder zum Ausdrucken herunterladen. Es gibt auch eine tar-Datei mit allen Tafeln (16MB) sowie das komplette Buch als PDF (272MB).

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