New paper says Bitcoin network uses as much energy as Ireland, but not all agree
A new paper estimates the low and high end of total electricity consumption by the Bitcoin network, but not all agree with the methodology.
It takes a lot electricity to power the computers that maintain the Bitcoin network. How much, exactly?
A new paper from Dutch researcher Alex de Vries estimates the Bitcoin network consumes roughly as much electricity as the entire country of Ireland. But some experts are questioning his methodology.
De Vries estimates that Bitcoin miners consume “at least 2.55 gigawatts of electricity currently, and potentially 7.67 gigawatts in the future.” He argues we can reasonably assume his 2.55 gigawatts calculation is correct because we know the current total computing power of the Bitcoin network, which is 30 million trillion SHA-256 hashes per second as of May 2018.
With that number, de Vries calculates the least amount of electricity all that computing would consume by assuming that every miner is using the most energy-efficient computer hardware available.
(Mining, by the way, is the process by which computers generate and add coins to a blockchain ledger. You can read more about it here.)
However, not all mining operations are perfectly efficient, considering miners use a wide variety of hardware, and each mining “rig” can differ greatly in its electricity consumption. It’s because of this and the speculative economic models de Vries uses in his paper that have caused some to question the accuracy of the upper bound of his estimates.
In his paper, de Vries assumes that electricity costs account for 60 percent of the total cost of mining Bitcoin, and that the average cost of electricity around the world is 5 cents per KWh.
Cryptocurrency mining rig. Public domain
“The worry is that those are two numbers that are picked out of the air,” Jonathan Koomey, a Stanford University research fellow who pioneered studies of electricity usage from IT equipment, told NBC News. “There may be some basis for them, but it’s a very unreliable way to do these kinds of calculations, and nobody who does this for a living would do it like that. It’s odd that someone would.”
The main problem in calculating the total energy consumption of the Bitcoin network is the lack of data. Simply none exist, and no participant on the decentralized blockchain is obligated to share any. This makes any calculations on the total amount of electricity consumed by the Bitcoin network necessarily speculative.
“The only people with good data on this are the miners, so you need that data to understand the electricity consumption,” Christian Catalina, an assistant professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, told NBC News. “The main challenge is that this gear is scattered across the globe and faces different prices.”
De Vries says he hopes his paper serves as a foundation for further research.
It’s worth noting that not all cryptocurrencies require as much energy as Bitcoin. Ethereum, for example, is moving toward a new method for how consensus is reached on the blockchain called proof-of-stake. It would be significantly more energy-efficient than Bitcoin mining, and could eventually give it an edge on cryptocurrency’s flagship coin.
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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