from the world's big
How Bitcoin consumes more energy than 159 individual countries
By 2020, Bitcoin mining will consume more energy than the world currently produces
This map doesn't deal with the phenomenal rise in value of Bitcoin, nor the cryptocurrency's coming crash, which some financial experts say is as inevitable as that of any pyramid scheme. But it does provide another angle on the digital currency, which has shot up in value from $1,000 to more than $10,000 within this year.
The growth of Bitcoin has also led to an exponential increase in 'Bitcoin mining': the computer processing power required to keep the blockchain – the decentralised, encrypted records upon which the value of Bitcoin depends – consistent and unaltered.
According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index (BECI) maintained by Digiconomist, every individual Bitcoin transaction eats up 275 kWh of electricity, and the latest estimate of Bitcoin's total annual energy consumption is in the vicinity of 29.05 TWh (1).
That is the equivalent of 0.13% of the entire world's annual energy consumption. And that is more than the individual energy consumption of 159 of the world's countries. That's the orange on this map: each of those countries uses less electricity per year than it takes to power Bitcoin. In fact, if Bitcoin were a country, it'd rank 61st in the world in terms of electricity consumption.
As the map shows, Bitcoin consumes more energy on an annual basis than all but three of the 54 countries in Africa. Only Algeria, Egypt and South Africa out-consume the virtual currency. But not otherwise large and important countries like Nigeria, DR Congo or Kenya.
In the Americas, all Caribbean nations (includeing Cuba) use less electricity than Bitcoin, as do Suriname and Guyana, Uruguay and Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador, and each of the six Central American nations (Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala).
Bitcoin uses up more electricity than Ireland, and several other European nations. Tiny ones like the Vatican, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Malta and Luxembourg; and not-so-tiny ones, like Slovakia, Hungary and Albania, all the ex-Yugoslav states (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia), Cyprus, the three Baltics (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), and the three Transcaucasian republics (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan).
In the Middle East, Bitcoin's electricity consumption is bigger than that of Syria and Jordan, Yemen, Oman and Bahrain. Further in Asia, there's Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kirgizstan; Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka; Burma, Laos and Cambodia; Brunei Mongolia and Papua New Guinea; and (perhaps unsurprisingly; see #218) – North Korea.
The U.S. is the world's #1 electricity-consuming nation, and Bitcoin uses only 0.74% of the electricity America needs in a year. But quite a few states fall below the Bitcoin threshold: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island in the northeast; Delaware and DC in the Mid-Atlantic region; Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and the Dakotas in the Plains, and New Mexico in the southwest. And Alaska and Hawaii.
Alaska is the state with the lowest energy consumption in the U.S. Annual Bitcoin mining equals 472% of Alaska's annual electricity needs.
BECI estimates that Bitcoin mining costs about $1.5 billion annually – but only if we assume that the mining occurs where electricity is cheap (some areas of China, for example). At average U.S. electricity prices, the cost would be just over $3 billion. However, with estimated annual revenues of Bitcoin mining currently at $7.2 billion, it remains a very profitable endeavour.
The amount of electricity consumed by Bitcoin mining is already huge, but is still rising fast. In a 30-day period from past October to November, it increased by just under 30%. At this rate (and assuming no new energy-generating capacity is added), Bitcoin mining will require all the electricity produced in the U.S. by July 2019, and all the electricity produced in the entire world by February 2020.
Strange Maps #872
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(1) A watt-hour (Wh) is a unit of energy equal to one watt of power sustained for one hour. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a thousand of those units. It can power a 100-watt lightbulb for 10 hours, or a 250-watt flatscreen TV for 4 hours. And a terawatt-hour (TWh) is a billion kilowatt-hours, which is the energy equivalent of 590,000 barrels of oil.
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti get stuck in an infinite wedding time loop.
- Two wedding guests discover they're trapped in an infinite time loop, waking up in Palm Springs over and over and over.
- As the reality of their situation sets in, Nyles and Sarah decide to enjoy the repetitive awakenings.
- The film is perfectly timed for a world sheltering at home during a pandemic.
China moves to Russia and India takes over Canada. The Swiss get Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi India. And the U.S.? It stays where it is.
What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?
A recent analysis of a 76-million-year-old Centrosaurus apertus fibula confirmed that dinosaurs suffered from cancer, too.
- The fibula was originally discovered in 1989, though at the time scientists believed the damaged bone had been fractured.
- After reanalyzing the bone, and comparing it with fibulas from a human and another dinosaur, a team of scientists confirmed that the dinosaur suffered from the bone cancer osteosarcoma.
- The study shows how modern techniques can help scientists learn about the ancient origins of diseases.
Centrosaurus apertus fibula
Royal Ontario Museum<p>In the recent study, the team used a combination of techniques to analyze the fibula, including taking CT scans, casting the bone and studying thin slices of it under a microscope. The analysis suggested that the dinosaur likely suffered from osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that affects modern humans, typically young adults.</p><p>For further evidence, the team compared the damaged fibula to a healthy fibula from a dinosaur of the same species, and also to a fibula that belonged to a 19-year-old human who suffered from osteosarcoma. Both comparisons supported the osteosarcoma diagnosis.</p>
Evans et al.<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The shin bone shows aggressive cancer at an advanced stage," Evans said in a <a href="https://www.rom.on.ca/en/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/rare-malignant-cancer-diagnosed-in-a-dinosaur" target="_blank">press release</a>. "The cancer would have had crippling effects on the individual and made it very vulnerable to the formidable tyrannosaur predators of the time."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The fact that this plant-eating dinosaur lived in a large, protective herd may have allowed it to survive longer than it normally would have with such a devastating disease."</p><p>The fossilized fibula was originally unearthed in a bonebed alongside the remains of dozens of other <em>Centrosaurus </em><em>apertus</em>, suggesting the dinosaur didn't die from cancer, but from a flood that swept it away with its herd.</p>
Dinosaur fibula; the tumor mass is depicted in yellow.
Royal Ontario Museum/McMaster University<p>The new study highlights how modern techniques can help scientists learn more about the evolutionary origins of modern diseases, like cancer. It also shows that dinosaurs suffered through some of the same terrestrial afflictions humans face today.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Dinosaurs can seem like mythical creatures, but they were living, breathing animals that suffered through horrible injuries and diseases," Evans said, "and this discovery certainly makes them more real and helps bring them to life in that respect."</p>
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