Bitcoin is expected to consume enough energy to power Austria by the end of 2018

May 18, 2018 by  
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Though bitcoin ‘s value may rise and fall dramatically, the energy required to produce bitcoins seems to be ever on the rise. Researchers estimate that the bitcoin network may consume as much as 7.7 gigawatts of energy , the equivalent of the electricity required to power Austria. If the value of bitcoin continues to rise, the entire bitcoin network may one day consume up to five percent of the world’s energy. A new study published in the journal   Joule  predicts that bitcoins use up to half a percent of the world’s total energy supply. Critics question the study’s assumptions and claim a lack of sufficient evidence to determine future bitcoin energy consumption with such precision. Regardless, bitcoin’s rising price could come with significant environmental costs. The bitcoin network primarily consumes energy through “mining” of the cryptocurrency, which occurs by running a computer program and time-stamping bitcoin transactions. These transactions take place on the blockchain, the networked account system behind cryptocurrencies. “The main problem is that the energy consumption primarily relates to how agreement on the underlying blockchain is reached,” blockchain specialist and study author Alex de Vries  told Gizmodo . “Mining makes it a big competitive lottery where the winner — every 10 minutes — gets to create the next block for the blockchain. The built-in reward for this process is fixed, so it motivates participants to constantly add new machines to the network to get a bigger slice of the pie — the more computational power, the more you win.” Related: Bitcoin mining powers Canadian man’s innovative aquaponic garden In his study, de Vries focused on determining the cost of maintaining the network after bitcoin mining becomes unprofitable. “In essence I’m taking an economic point of view to figure out where energy consumption is heading. Previous work typically looked at available hardware, and produced results that only said something about the current consumption,” de Vries said. “My findings were based on the current conditions, so bitcoin doesn’t need to increase in value for the conclusion to hold.” Some experts disagree with de Vries’ methods and conclusions. “A major limitation of de Vries’ model is that it depends on guessing bitcoin’s future price as well as the cost of electricity to miners,” bitcoin investor  Marc Bevand told Gizmodo . “In the paper he assumes bitcoin maintains its current level at approximately $8,000 and electricity costs $0.05 per kWh. If either bitcoin goes up or electricity costs plummet, the energy consumption should increase, and vice versa.” Though the endeavor to determine the future of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continues, it seems clear that the environmental impact of bitcoin may be steep. Via Gizmodo Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Bitcoin is expected to consume enough energy to power Austria by the end of 2018

Australia is investing over $377 million to protect and restore the Great Barrier Reef

May 1, 2018 by  
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The Great Barrier Reef provides $6.4 billion AUD to the economies of Australia and the Australian state Queensland a year — and now the Australian government aims to protect that asset with what they say is the largest ever single investment in the reef . They’ll pour over $500 million AUD, or around $377 million, into “the planet’s greatest living wonder” — which is at risk. The Australian government is investing millions in the Great Barrier Reef to “protect thousands of jobs, improve water quality, tackle coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish and implement scientific reef restoration.” NPR reported just over 11 percent of this money will go to marine park and federal agencies, with $444 million AUD, or around $335 million, going to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation . Related: Rising ocean temperatures are cooking the Great Barrier Reef to death $40 million AUD of the money for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will go towards reef health monitoring, $45 million AUD to other work including coastal clean-ups and community engagement like indigenous traditional knowledge, and $58 million AUD to fighting the starfish. $100 million AUD will go towards “harnessing the best science to implement reef restoration” as well as funding research supporting adaptation and resilience. $201 million AUD will go towards improving water quality, starting on land: with farming practices like lowered fertilizer use and “adopting new technologies and land management practices.” The Great Barrier Reef is in trouble. It suffered from coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Since 2016, around half of the reef has died, according to Forbes . The waters around the Reef warmed due to El Niño and climate change , and corals have perished. Heat stress from global warming (right) killed 30% of corals in 8 months (left). In the north, 50% died. Then it happened again in 2017. To save the #GreatBarrierReef , WE NEED TO TACKLE GLOBAL WARMING. https://t.co/YeW6ymNDok pic.twitter.com/m5GGgWWxS9 — Terry Hughes (@ProfTerryHughes) April 29, 2018 Surprise – not a single mention of #climatechange nor the massive coal mines that are driving the destruction of the Reef in this PR blurb for the government! https://t.co/axBhiHcNx7 — Christopher Wright (@ChristopherWr11) April 29, 2018 Government that wants to put public money into coal mines and coal power plants announces Reef package for all the factors harming the reef other than the ocean warming that will kill it https://t.co/tcl1n0PrHn — Tom Swann (@TOM_SWANN) April 29, 2018 Will the investment be enough to save the reef? Business Insider said experts have criticized the plans for their failure to address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, seen as the root cause of the reef’s struggles. + Great Barrier Reef Foundation Via NPR , Forbes , and Business Insider Images via Depositphotos and Matt Kieffer on Flickr

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Australia is investing over $377 million to protect and restore the Great Barrier Reef

7 transforming mobile homes for adventuring in the great outdoors

May 1, 2018 by  
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The days of stuffing the family and gear into a cramped, dark camper are long gone. Today’s transforming mobile homes are packed with technology that allows them to expand at the push of a button, double (or triple) in size, and conquer the most rugged of landscapes. Read on to check out seven high-tech tiny homes on wheels for nature-loving wanderers. The De Markies Trailer triples in size There are few things we love more than a tiny camper that doubles in size — unless it’s a camper that triples in size. At first glance, the incredible De Markies trailer doesn’t look like much of a camper. It’s a tiny, nondescript box on wheels — until its accordion-like ends are folded out, tripling its interior space. The inside is equipped with collapsible furniture, a full kitchenette with a four-person dinette table and a spacious lounge area that can adjust to be open-air. The De Markies camper was created by Dutch designer Eduard Bohtlingk more than thirty years ago, proving that good, strategic design is timeless. The Air Opus camper inflates in 90 seconds Adventurers know the value of being efficient while on the road — and that’s why the Air Opus is a godsend. The innovative camper is equipped with a self-inflating system that pops up in 90 seconds flat, with just a simple flick of a switch. The added space and saved time are great advantages when setting up camp. When it’s time to hit the road again, the Air Opus has quick-release valves that deflate the camper in 30 seconds. The entire structure can be folded up and ready to go in less than two minutes. The Homie expands in a minute When it comes to the next generation of miniature recreational vehicles, the cute little Homie — designed by Wide Path Camper — is leading the pack. When folded up, the camper measures just 58 inches long, 57 inches high and 39 inches wide. But when the outer shell is rotated back 90 degrees and fastened to the front inner shell, it expands its interior substantially. Its compact size and handy setup make it a great weekend camper. Related: Solar-powered EarthCruiser camper expands at the push of a button Beauer’s camper telescopes to 3X its size Tiny and sleek, the Beauer 3X embodies all there is to love about the modern-day trailer. French company Beauer was inspired by the compact ease that a typical tear drop camper offers, but wanted to increase floor size when parked. Using a “nestled can” design, the Beauer 3X structure expands outward to three times its size in about 20 seconds. The Sealander pulls double duty as a boat Campers often cater to land-loving adventurers, but rarely do we see a design crafted to go on both land and water. The Sealander is an innovative, one-of-a-kind caravan that pulls double duty as a boat. Once on-site, the camper just needs a motor attachment before being eased into the water. A sun roof gives the camper an open-air option while navigating the high seas… or just any old lake. All of its components are corrosion free, so rust will never be a problem. Fiftyten turns any pickup into a tiny home Fiftyten Adventure System can transform most pickup trucks into tiny mobile homes. The camper is comprised of three parts: first, a simple tray with side storage and a pull-out rear drawer provides space for supplies. Second, a large box that fits on the tray can be equipped with a kitchen module. And finally, a pop-up camper on top of the box provides extra space for sleeping, or it can serve as a storage area for bikes, kayaks and other gear. The Doubleback extends 6 feet in an instant At first glance, the Doubleback Van looks like a normal van. However, the vehicle hides a few astonishing secrets within its humble exterior. With just the press of a button, a rear compartment automatically slides outward, doubling the interior space. The top of the van has a roof that can be elevated, revealing space for a drop-down bed and three windows. Inside, there is another fold-out bed, a dining area and a small kitchen. The strategic space-extending features allow the Doubleback Van to comfortably house four people. Images via Eduard Bohtlingk, Opus Campers , Wide Perth Camper, Beauer, Sealander , Fiftyten , and Doubleback Van

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7 transforming mobile homes for adventuring in the great outdoors

Every project on DonorsChoose.org was just funded by a $29 million cryptocurrency donation

March 29, 2018 by  
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DonorsChoose.org helps teachers crowdsource funding for education needs, with over 35,000 open campaigns asking for everything from robotics kits to field trips. At least, there were 35,000 campaigns open last week. But as of earlier this week, there were zero campaigns thanks to an incredible $29 million donation from cryptocurrency startup Ripple that fulfilled every single one. According to DonorsChoose.org, this donation will provide funding for 70k books, 35k computers, 2,300 musical instruments and much more. Ripple contributed $29 million in cryptocurrency to 35,647 open campaigns, funding wishlists from over 28,000 teachers at 16,500 schools. In a joint statement with Ripple’s VP of Marketing Monica Long, DonorsChoose founder Charles Best said “The teachers behind these projects work with more than a million students who are now going to get materials and experiences that they need to learn. I do not believe there has ever been a day when this many classroom dreams came true.” Related: Former Patagonia CEO announces largest land donation in history While it might seem like Ripple and DonorsChoose are very different organizations, both focus on changing the way we fund the world. When Ripple approached Best to see what DonorsChoose needed most, Best made a one-in-a-million request to fund every project on the site. To his surprise, Ripple agreed. If you want to see what all the money is doing for teachers and students, check out the hashtag #bestschoolday on Twitter , where people are sharing what this announcement means for them. If this act of generosity inspires you as much as it does us, you can help out by going to DonorsChoose.org and funding one of the 6,000 projects that have popped up since Ripple donated. @HelmsDLSchool @Ripple #BestSchoolDay My Donors Choose project got funded!!! pic.twitter.com/esFiTJGzhr — Maria Hernandez (@marher2384) March 28, 2018 I logged into my Donor's Choose account and saw that my project was fully funded!!! @Ripple is allowing my students to experience a week-long trip to Atlanta and Alabama to visit HBCUs. I can't believe it. Thank you!! #BestSchoolDay #HBCU — Joe Somerville (@joesomerville) March 28, 2018 Thank you @Ripple for Funding our @DonorsChoose project! You have made the day of so many! #bestschoolday #oneRCE #b212rce3 pic.twitter.com/V0RdynVp2X — RCE 3rd Grade (@RCE3rdGrade) March 28, 2018 + DonorsChoose.org Via Fast Company Images via DonorsChoose.org and Unsplash

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Every project on DonorsChoose.org was just funded by a $29 million cryptocurrency donation

The world’s biggest Arctic lake isn’t as resistant to climate change as scientists thought

March 29, 2018 by  
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Scientists used to think Lake Hazen, located around 560 miles away from the North Pole in Canada , was beyond the reach of human impact. But new research led by geographer Igor Lehnherr of the University of Toronto Mississauga reveals the High Arctic lake is reacting to climate change . Lehnherr said in the university’s statement , “Even in a place so far north, it’s no longer cold enough to prevent the glaciers from shrinking. If this place is no longer conducive for glaciers to grow, there are not many other refuges left on the planet.” Lake Hazen park staff and visitors noticed the lake’s lack of ice in the summer; in the past, it was rare for the ice to melt completely during that time. Their reports sparked this new study, as did the realization that glaciers melted more in summer than they were growing in the winter, according to Lehnherr. Related: The melting Arctic is already changing the ocean’s circulation Scientists drew on research dating back to the 1950s for a study that is “the first to aggregate and analyze massive data sets on Lake Hazen,” according to the university. Lehnherr said on his website , the Environmental and Aquatic Biogeochemistry Laboratory , “What our study shows is that even in the High Arctic, warming is now occurring to such an extent that it is no longer cold enough for glaciers to grow, and lake ice to persist year-round.” Since Lake Hazen is so big, theoretically it should show more resilience to climate change compared to smaller bodies of water or ponds, Lehnherr said in the university’s statement. His website said he and his team had hypothesized Lake Hazen would be “relatively resilient to the impacts of Arctic warming” and the “finding that this was not the case is alarming.” Lehnherr said in the university’s statement, “If this lake is exhibiting signs of climate change, it really shows how pervasive these changes are.” The journal Nature Communications published the research online this week; scientists from institutions in Canada, the United States, and Austria also contributed. + University of Toronto Mississauga + Environmental and Aquatic Biogeochemistry Laboratory + Nature Communications Images via Pieter Aukes and Igor Lehnherr

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The world’s biggest Arctic lake isn’t as resistant to climate change as scientists thought

Trump Administration decides to allow import of elephant trophies after all

March 7, 2018 by  
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The Trump Administration has decided to quietly reverse its ban of imported elephant trophies, instead stating the issue should be decided on a “case-by-case basis.” In November 2017, President Trump decided to publicly oppose the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to lift a ban on imported elephant trophies from certain African countries. Trump later tweeted that others in favor of lifting the ban would “be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal.” Apparently, changing Trump’s mind was not as difficult as he made it out to be. The decision on the big-game trophy import ban is only the latest instance of President Trump changing his mind — without explanation — on an important issue. His positions on immigration and gun control have also wildly oscillated, depending on to whom he had last spoken. Even as recently as late January, Trump defended his decision to maintain the ban. “I didn’t want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into [ the United States ],” said Trump in an interview . “[The decision to reverse the ban] was done by a very high-level government person. As soon as I heard about it, I turned it around.” It is not clear whether Trump once again changed his mind or if his government slipped one past him while the President was distracted. Related: Trump bewilders scientists, says ice caps are “setting records” In a rare moment of agreement, both President Trump and environmentalists have expressed skepticism as to whether the elephant trophy fees raised by countries such as Zimbabwe actually fund the conservation efforts they are intended to support. “A lot of the money has been siphoned away by corruption,” explained Rachel Bale, a wildlife reporter for National Geographic, explained on NPR’s Morning Edition , “so there are serious concerns with hunting management in Zimbabwe.” “In that case, the money was going to a government that was probably taking the money, OK?” said Trump in an interview. Ultimately, that skepticism was not enough to maintain the ban. “The Trump administration is trying to keep these crucial trophy import decisions behind closed doors, and that’s totally unacceptable,” Tanya Sanerib of the Center for Biological Diversity told the AP . “Elephants aren’t meant to be trophies; they’re meant to roam free .” Via NPR Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Trump Administration decides to allow import of elephant trophies after all

This $1.4 million Somerset cottage could be yours for just $14

January 22, 2018 by  
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Feeling lucky? For under $14 you could win this stunning 17-room cottage outside of Bristol. The English manor belongs to UK hat maker Tricia Hamilton , and she’s raffling it off to one lucky winner. The 19th century home measures 8,250 square feet and has a whopping 17 rooms, including 4 bedrooms, spread out over three stories. The picturesque cottage sits on a half-acre plot of land with a vegetable garden and fruit orchard. Hamilton has lived on the property for 20 years and has restored its historic fixtures over the years. As for the odd way of selling such a real estate gem, Hamilton says that the home has been on the market for more than a year. Even after cutting 300,000 from the original listing, she still couldn’t find a buyer. Although the unconventional system of selling the home by raffle may be a little risky (she needs to sell 500,000 tickets to break even), she hopes to use the money to reinvest in her business and move to be closer to family. Related: Magical Cape Cod-style cottage perched on NYC rooftop goes on sale for $3.5M The drawing is scheduled for the 15th of February. The lucky winner will have stamp duty and fees paid for them, and a portion of the proceeds from the drawing will be donated to charity. + Win My House Via The Spaces Images via Win My House

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This $1.4 million Somerset cottage could be yours for just $14

7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet

December 6, 2017 by  
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Laundry is a drain on the modern green household. It … The post 7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet appeared first on Earth911.com.

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7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet

Picturesque Swiss Alps town wants to pay new residents to move there

November 22, 2017 by  
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A two-week vacation in the Alps is great, sure. But what about a 10-year stay where you’ll be paid to sip hot cocoa in a charming chalet settled amongst snow-capped mountains? Indeed, as Travel+Leisure  shares, the tiny Swiss village of Albinen, near Leukerbad in the canton of Valais is offering new residents a hefty annual paycheck—25,000 francs (or $25,200 USD) per adult and 10,000 francs ($10,000 USD) per child to be exact—to live in their dreamy village for at least a decade. Like many small towns across Europe and the U.S., Albinen has seen their population dip over the last few years as residents, particularly families, have left for larger cities. As Swiss site The Local  reports, three families have moved from Albinen recently, including eight children. While these numbers will seem negligible to most of us, the loss forced the local school to close. As it stands, there are just 240 residents remaining and they are demanding officials save the village from demise. As such, the village council proposed the pay-to-stay measure which will be voted on November 30, 2017. Related: Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free Of course, there are several caveats for applicants. First, you must be under 45 years old. Secondly, the property you chose must be valued at no less than 200,000 francs ($201,600 USD). And again, you’ll need to commit at least 10 years to the village and make it your permanent place of residence. If you break the agreement (i.e. leave before your decade is up), you’ll have to repay the town all the money they invested in you. Although modest, Albinen offers clean streets and some nice amenities, including a spa.  The village is also sited near several larger towns. Plus you can’t argue those spectacular views of the Alps. Really, could you ask for a better Instagram shot? Via Travel+Leisure via  The Local Images via WikiCommons and Google Maps

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Picturesque Swiss Alps town wants to pay new residents to move there

The Laws on Plastic Bags: To Ban or Tax?

August 4, 2017 by  
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When it comes to single-use plastic bags, the disposal issue is becoming less about whether they are recycled and more about what some cities are doing to reduce their existence in the first place. If you live in a city near a body of water, it’s…

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The Laws on Plastic Bags: To Ban or Tax?

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