"We are literally changing the planet bit by bit, and it is an invisible crisis."
- IBM estimates that humans produce 2.5 quintillion digital data bytes daily.
- We'll one day reach a point where the number of bits we store outnumber the entirety of atoms on Earth.
- In the most severe scenario, it takes just 130 years for all the power generated on Earth to be sucked up by digital data creation and storage.
Will data do us in? <p><br></p><p>If we do get lucky enough to survive and steer clear of any other likely, apocalyptic scenario, say a thermonuclear war, the eruption of a <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/supervolcano-wipe-out-united-states-kill-billions?rebelltitem=1" target="_blank">supervolcano </a>or an enormous <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/07/here-s-how-world-could-end-and-what-we-can-do-about-it" target="_blank">asteroid </a>slamming into the Earth, we'll have about<a href="https://www.universetoday.com/18847/life-of-the-sun/" target="_blank"> five billion years</a> until the sun runs out of fuel. But between now and the death of our sun, there's another issue scientists weren't even aware of, until now. Information itself could thwart humankind. It isn't data per se but storing it. As societies increasingly rely on digital information and there's more and more of it, we'll one day reach a point where the number of bits being stored will <a href="https://publishing.aip.org/publications/latest-content/digital-content-on-track-to-equal-half-earths-mass-by-2245/" target="_blank">outnumber the atoms that make up our planet</a>. That's according to theoretical physicist and Senior Lecturer <a href="https://www.port.ac.uk/about-us/structure-and-governance/our-people/our-staff/melvin-vopson" target="_blank">Melvin Vopson</a> at the University of Portsmouth in the UK. A peer‐reviewed paper on his theory, called "The Information Catastrophe," was recently published in the journal <a href="https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0019941" target="_blank">AIP Advances</a>.</p><p>"Currently, we produce ∼1021 digital bits of information annually on Earth," Vopson begins. This is based on an IBM estimate that humans produce 2.5 quintillion digital data bytes daily. With an assumed 20 percent growth rate, the number of bits we produce will outnumber the entirety of atoms on the planet in around 350 years. In a <a href="https://publishing.aip.org/publications/latest-content/digital-content-on-track-to-equal-half-earths-mass-by-2245/" target="_blank">press release</a>, Vopson said, "We are literally changing the planet bit by bit, and it is an invisible crisis."</p><p>There are a lot of variables to consider. For instance, the number of bits produced each year, data storage capacity, energy production and the size of the bit compared to the atom (mass distribution). There are human‐centered factors too, such as population growth and the rate of access to information technology in developing countries. "If we assume a more realistic growth rates of 5%, 20%, and 50%," the paper states, "the total number of bits created will equal the total number of atoms on Earth after ∼1,200 years, ∼340 years, and ∼150 years, respectively."</p>
It could be worse than predicted<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="951cfbbb0298c36758141a8fe63d162f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/C2Ag1iQKWeM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In the most severe case, the 150‐year scenario, it would take approximately 130 years until all the power generated on Earth is sucked up by digital data creation and storage. In this version, by 2245, digital information's mass would equal half that of the Earth's. IBM states that 90 percent of the digital information we have today was only produced in the last ten years. "The growth of digital information seems truly unstoppable," Vopson said.</p><p>What's more, he believes his rates are conservative. He told me via email: "If we look only at the magnetic data storage density, it doubled every year for over 50 years." Not only might the generation of data increase at a faster clip, the estimate uses the thermodynamic energy limit for bit creation. This is the ideal case, the maximum possible efficiency, which we are miles away from, meaning the issue may arrive far sooner.</p><p>Dr. Vopson did offer one solution, using "non‐material media" to store information. He does not hold out hope for this, however. "I am more optimistic about the energy aspects as we will most likely master better ways of extracting energy from fusion (and) solar PVs to close to 100% efficiency." Quantum computing wouldn't be the answer, as quantum bits or q‐bits (bits in quantum superposition states) don't store data. Instead, storage happens using digital bits and classical computing.</p><p>Besides this theory, Vopson is the progenitor of the mass‐energy‐information equivalence, which states that information is an essential building block of the universe and it has mass. In this theory mass, energy, and information are all interconnected. Dark matter doesn't exist. Instead, the "missing" matter in the universe is the mass information itself contains.</p>
Breakthrough technology uses multiplexing entanglement to make an ultra-secure quantum internet.
- Scientists devise the largest-ever quantum communications network.
- The technology is much cheaper than previous attempts and promises to be hacker-proof.
- The 'multiplexing' system devised by the researchers splits light particles that carry information.
Quantum network in operation.
Credit: Siddarth K. Joshi
Artist's drawing of the quantum network, with the glowing lines showing quantum entanglement shared by 8 users.
Credit: Holly Caskie
Businesses have learned how to mend the weak spots in free trial marketing.
- Free trials are an excellent marketing tool but people can take advantage of the system by using disposable emails, jumping from one free trial to the next.
- You can use free trial marketing to great effect if you know how to protect your business against those who want to take advantage.
- Here are 3 ways to identify email addresses that will never lead to a genuine sale and remove them from your lists.
Limit registration to non-disposable email address users<p>Protection against freemium abuse begins upon signup. Limiting registration to only those who don't use disposable email addresses is one way to do that. You can integrate a bulk email verification API into your registration page or use a disposable email domains database like the one provided <a href="https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/disposable-email-domains?mc=bigthink.com" target="_self">by WhoisXML API</a> to automatically check if the email address a subscriber provided is disposable or not. A useful bulk email validation tool would tell your administrator immediately that the address is disposable, and so it's likely you're dealing with someone who might try to abuse a free trial.</p><a href="https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/disposable-email-domains?mc=bigthink.com" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzYzMjkwMy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUzMzE1OX0.RvfSCPLh2llBsT1ru98sLnwab0WNh-1JBqH4IhhOrw8/img.png?width=980" id="9a871" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="624ead3c30dd034e8a3e58ada443cfc6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Bulk email verification tool" /></a>
Make sure the email address is contactable<p>Not all freemium abusers use disposable email addresses. Some can just as easily use personal email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo, or other free services. A lot of people keep extra email addresses to direct email marketing or newsletters to. It's one way to keep their primary personal inboxes less crowded.</p><p>Since these secondary email addresses probably get tons of marketing collateral each day, they're likely full, and so messages will sooner or later bounce. That's not good for any company as it translates to a high bounce rate, which can adversely affect its email deliverability and domain reputation.</p><p>A robust <a href="https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/bulk-api?mc=bigthink" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bulk email validation API</a> can instantly let you know if all the email addresses in your contact database are accessible. It tells you if every address is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)-enabled and, therefore, able to receive messages. So, if you, for instance, have the email address firstname.lastname@example.org in your database, which has an email verification result that says it isn't SMTP-reachable, it may be best to take it off your distribution list to lower your bounce rate.</p><p>Taking the email address that's probably no longer in use off your subscription list is also advisable. That way, your chances of dealing with a freemium abuser is reduced as well.<br></p><a href="https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/bulk-api?mc=bigthink" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzYzMzAyMy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzA0MDI2MH0.GGDQJnOedW6yB9cq0qmrfPwTthcnB2xpi4pRnSLMomw/img.png?width=980" id="90d00" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="edb0bfce366c8fe0e86fa9874a1acbba" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="bulk email validation API tool" /></a>
Keep your distribution list in tip-top shape<p>The more unreachable email addresses in your distribution list, the higher the chances of ending up in someone's blacklist. It is, after all, not uncommon for spammers or cybercriminals to use the shotgun approach in attacks. Sending messages to as many inboxes as possible, after all, increases their chances of success. Using their tactic for a legitimate business, however, is unacceptable either. Organizations are not allowed to send emails to just about anyone without their consent.</p> <p>And so companies that want to stay off blacklists should make it a point to keep their distribution lists updated at all times. But we also know that over time, contact lists can grow to a massive size, making cleanup tedious and time-consuming. The quickest way to keep email databases in tip-top condition is to use a bulk email validation solution. It lets you check up to 50,000 email addresses in one go to make sure that they won't do your domain reputation any harm and cause you to end up on a dreaded blacklist.</p> <p>Bulk Email Verification API/Lookup can confirm if each email address:</p> <ul><li>Has the correct syntax or follows established Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards</li><li>Is not disposable by checking its domain against those of known disposable email providers that include Mailinator, GuerrillaMail, and more than 2,000 others</li><li>Has a corresponding mail server evidenced by properly configured mail exchanger (MX) records</li><li>Points to a valid inbox that lessens your chances of dealing with suspicious users</li><li>Is not associated with a catch-all mailbox that isn't assigned to any particular user and so may not add value to your distribution list</li></ul>
Creators can now control every aspect of their business.
- Editor X is an advanced web creation platform made exclusively for designers and agencies, offering total design flexibility with a unique combination of responsive design capabilities and intuitive drag and drop behavior.
- The platform serves as a full stack solution with integrated business tools like booking systems, marketing resources, e-commerce and more.
- Users can connect to external APIs and write custom code with a built-in IDE to create rich, data-driven websites.
A small proof-of-concept study shows smartphones could help detect drunkenness based on the way you walk.
- The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving in the U.S is 0.08 percent. You can measure your BAC 15 minutes after your first drink and your levels will remain safe if you consume no more than one standard drink per hour.
- Portable breathalyzers can be used to measure BAC, but not many people own these devices.
- A small proof-of-concept study suggests that your smartphone could detect your drunkenness based on the way you walk.
The small study that could mean big things for alcohol testing<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU3OTEzMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTY0MDk0OH0.wFIh9fQoCEd7fGgw59Mn5nyp9c5yjQbCoVXQrx3AnNk/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1307%2C0%2C880&height=700" id="df0bb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7c1e9a4575df74b89d0078c69a3dbd3d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="alcohol impairment by BAC level chart" />
Image by gritsalak karalak on Shutterstock<p> While devices such as portable breath analyzers are available, not many people own them due to how expensive they are and the social stigma surrounding them. <a href="https://www.jsad.com/doi/10.15288/jsad.2020.81.505" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">This 2020 study</a> suggests smartphones could be an alternative. <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/" target="_blank">According to PEW Research</a>, up to 81 percent of people own a smartphone.<span></span> </p><p> <strong>The study</strong> </p><p> For this small-scale study, there were 22 participants who visited the lab to consume a vodka-based drink that would raise their breath alcohol concentration to 0.02 percent. </p><p> Dr. Brian Suffoletto of the Stanford Medical School's Department of Emergency Medicine (and corresponding author of the study) explains to <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/smartphones-measuring-walk-could-detect-drunkenness#Straight-line-walking" target="_blank">Medical News Today</a>: "I lost a close friend to a drinking and driving crash in college," Dr. Suffoletto says. "And as an emergency physician, I have taken care of scores of adults with injuries related to acute alcohol intoxication. Because of this, I have dedicated the past 10 years to testing digital interventions to prevent deaths and injury related to excessive alcohol consumption." </p><p> <strong>How it works:</strong></p><p> Before having the drink, each participant had a smartphone strapped to their back and was asked to walk 10 steps in a straight line and then back again. Every hour for the next 7 hours, the participants repeated this walk. </p><p> The sensors on the smartphone measured each person's acceleration and their movements (both from side to side and up and down). </p><p> <strong>This is not the first study of it's kind.</strong></p><p> Previous research (such as <a href="https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7764559" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">this 2016 study</a>) has used machine learning to determine whether a person was intoxicated. That data, gathered from 34 'intoxicated' participants, generated time and frequency domain features such as sway area and cadence, which were classified using supervised machine learning. </p><p> This 2020 study showed promising results of the smartphone analysis: over 90 percent accuracy. </p><p> Researchers found through analyzing the data that 92.5 percent of the time they were able to determine if a participant had exceeded the legal BAC limit. </p><p> <strong>Of course, the study had some limitations.</strong></p><p> In real life, a person is very unlikely to keep their smartphone strapped to their back. Placing the phone in your pocket (or carrying it) could impact the accuracy. </p><p> This study also measured breath alcohol concentrations, which are on average <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24747668/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">15 percent lower</a> than blood alcohol concentrations. </p><p> <strong>The implications of this small-scale study are exciting.</strong> </p><p> While this was a relatively small study, it is being used as a "proof of concept" marker for further research. Researchers on this project explain that future research would ideally be done in real-world settings with more volunteers. </p><p> Dr. Brian Suffoletto explains to <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/smartphones-measuring-walk-could-detect-drunkenness#Over-90%-accurate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Medical News Today</a>: </p><p> "In 5 years, I would like to imagine a world in which, if people go out with friends and drink at risky levels, they get an alert at the first sign of impairment and are sent strategies to help them stop drinking and protect them from high-risk events, like driving, interpersonal violence, and unprotected sexual encounters." </p>