[This is a fun video and don’t miss the No 1 creature on the video! Freaking awesome science! I really enjoyed this little video. This is where I learned about the 52 hertz whale. Jan]
The ocean is without doubt the most fascinating place on this planet. This quote pretty much sums it up…. “Earth Should be Named Planet Ocean, Not Planet Earth”. That couldn’t be more true. We are surrounded by ocean, yet for the most part, we have no idea what creatures are sharing the planet with us. In this video you will see five truly awesome underwater creatures that prove the ocean has far more to offer than what we think. So, from an enormous deep sea shark, to a mysterious alien like creature that was washed up on a beach. Sit back & enjoy this video!
The mummified body of a Russian climber who went missing 31 years ago on Europe’s highest mountain has been found. Elena Bazykina reportedly looked like a “wax doll” as her body was pulled from Mount Elbrus in southern Russia.
The mountaineer was 36 when she died alongside another six of her friends after they were hit by an avalanche back in 1987.
The body of the woman was found encased in ice by a group of tourists at an altitude of about 4,000 meters (over 13,000 feet). Her USSR passport was found on the remains, as well as her Aeroflot air ticket from Moscow, dated 10 April 1987.
Footage released by Russian authorities show rescue teams trying to free the mummified body, which was still clad in a thick winter jacket and bearing climbing gear when it was discovered.
Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported that Bazykina – who was unmarried and without children when she perished – worked at the Moscow Scientific Institute. Mountains were “the biggest love of her life.”
Both of Elena’s parents have died, and a search for surviving loved ones was not looking promising, when her cousin saw the Komsomolskaya Pravda article and contacted the paper.
All this time, the family thought that maybe Elena was still alive, he said. “We have been waiting for Elena for 30 years.”
“We tried to guess what could have happened to her – and feared perhaps that she was kidnapped or kept hostage somewhere. It is such a dangerous region,” he said.
Soviet emergency workers had failed to find Bazykina or any of her six companions – all from the Lenin Tourist Club in Moscow – when they were first reported missing.
“The rescue operation was begun immediately, but it brought no result in 1987,” said Aleksey Yaroshevsky, vice-president of the Sports Tourism Federation of Russia. “We continued searching for them the following year but again we had no luck. Elena is the first from this group to be found.”
It is still unclear whether the discovery of Bazykina means her friends will be found soon as well.
Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, has captured the interest of everyone from Facebook to Microsoft. One of the biggest investors in the technology has been Mastercard, holding nearly thirty blockchain patents to its name.
What does a company like Mastercard want to do with all that blockchain tech? It wants to make the future of money look a bit more like Bitcoin.
STOPPING THE SKIMMERS
According to the ATM Industry Association, two billion in losses from credit card “skimming” occur each year around the world. Using a skimming device at places like gas stations and ATMs, thieves can easily steal credit card information from those who previously used it. While chip cards have done a lot to solve that problem, companies like Mastercard always need to stay one step ahead of hackers.
“Every year, billions of dollars are stolen through identity theft and skimming credit cards,” said Arran Stewart, an expert on blockchain from Job.com, told Digital Trends. “Utilizing blockchain technology, Mastercard will be able to eradicate many of the fraudulent activities that happen through the abuse of their card services.”
Stewart is the co-owner of the recruitment platform Job.com, which implements a smart contract on the blockchain to facilitate private information, not unlike how Mastercard proposes to do it.
Mastercard’s patent would put credit cards on a publicly-accessible blockchain, which can then verify payments in a secured fashion. Stewart explained that Mastercard could remedy the problem by encoding an image of a payment card to the blockchain and then encrypt it with a public and private key. Once the payment is finished, the system decrypts the card image using those private keys.
Despite blockchain’s many demonstrated use cases, its application in finances have always been important. It’s the backbone of how a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin functions — a public database that allows the currency to exist without direct oversight from a single entity, known as a “distributed ledger.”
However, Mastercard’s interest in blockchain goes far beyond this single patent. In fact, the company is one of the largest holders of blockchain-related patents in the world.
In the last few months, Mastercard has created a program that allows developers to build new applications on top of its own set of APIs. That helps Mastercard work closer with companies like PayPal and Apple and opens interesting new opportunities that take blockchain even further.
Consider the tourism and hospitality industry. Mastercard has developed a platform that would let travelers to plans and personal information privately, and then reap the reward of finding the best deals for their trip.
“Mastercard has recognized the value in the travel industry and are providing a platform that allows holidaymakers/travel seekers and others to tell the tourism world where they wish to go privately through blockchain encryption,” said Stewart. “Airlines, travel companies, hotels and many others will be able to bid to offer that user the best possible price and service over other competing bidding providers, all powered on Mastercard’s blockchain.”
It’s a fascinating idea, but tourism is only the tip of the iceberg. Mastercard has a number of applications, from sending money, to setting budgets through voice assistants, paying employees instantly and securely, and, most interestingly, something it calls “proof of provenance.” It’s a way of creating a transparent supply chain that both consumers and wholesalers will have access to. That could help both restaurants and ordinary people keep track of where the food on their plate comes from.
“Transparency in the supply chain has been something that consumers and wholesalers have been looking for since supply goods began,” said Stewart. “Proof of provenance is the future of knowing where and how goods and services reach the hands of the consumer. Blockchain will be the backbone of this and one major example of this being put into practice will be Amazon utilizing this technology to provide evidence of the supply of their goods. This technology will also reduce loss, damage, theft and time to deliver within any supply chain.”
Obviously, Mastercard isn’t the only financial company developing new technology on the blockchain. Competitors like Visa and American Express aren’t far behind, and both have numerous secured patents in the blockchain world. Despite the fact that Mastercard is ahead of the pack, Visa patented a “digital asset network” based in blockchain in August of last year. What it’ll do with these patents is still unclear, but it seems Mastercard won’t be the only player in the game.
While we shouldn’t expect financial institutions to embrace cryptocurrency anytime soon, it’s clear our money is going to function a lot more like Bitcoin than dollar bills in the future.
[Today I discovered that there are big BitCoin “mining companies”, and one of the biggest is found in China. BitCoin is a cryptocurrency. In order to “mine” or “discover” a new Bitcoin, you have to use a complex software algorithm. The complexity is the key to stopping an over-production of BitCoins. Bitcoins are designed to become ever more complex to “discover”. So people even build special computers to process through the numbers ever faster. Bitcoin mining thus becomes ever more expensive. Currently, every day in the world, they discover only 18 Bitcoins! There is some concern over whether newer hardware and software could overcome the Bitcoin algorithm. But so far this has not happened. Bitcoin is the King of cryptocurrencies!]
One of the world’s largest bitcoin mines is located in the SanShangLiang industrial park on the outskirts of the city of Ordos, in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region that’s part of China. It’s 400 miles from China’s capital, Beijing, and 35 miles from the the city of Baotou. The mine is just off the highway, near the intersection of Latitutde 3rd Road and Longitude 3rd Road. It sits amidst abandoned, half-built factories—victims of an earlier coal mining boom that fizzled out, leaving Ordos and its outlying areas littered with the shells of unfinished buildings.
The mine belongs to Bitmain, a Beijing-based company that also makes mining machines that perform billions of calculations per second to try and crack the cryptographic puzzle that yields new bitcoins. Fifty Bitmain staff, many of them local to Ordos, watch over eight buildings crammed with 25,000 machines that are cranking through calculations 24 hours a day. One of the buildings is devoted to mining litecoin, an ascendant cryptocurrency. The staff live on-site in a building with a dormitory, offices, a canteen, and a repair center. For recreation, they play basketball on an unfinished cement court.
Bitcoin mining consumes enormous amounts of electricity, which is why miners seek out locations that offer cheap energy. The Ordos mine was set up in 2014, making it China’s oldest large-scale bitcoin mining facility. Bitmain acquired it in 2015. It’s powered by electricity mostly from coal-fired power plants. Its daily electricity bill amounts to $39,000. Bitmain also operates other mines in China’s remote areas, like the mountainous Yunnan province in the south and the autonomous region of Xinjiang in the west.
Despite the costs, bitcoin mining remains a lucrative industry. At the current bitcoin price of about $4,000 per bitcoin, miners compete for over $7 million in new bitcoins a day. The more processing power a mining operation controls, the higher its chances of winning a chunk of those millions. The Ordos mine accounts for over 4% of the processing power on the bitcoin network—a huge amount for a single facility.
Quartz visited the mine in Ordos on Aug. 11.
Correction (Aug. 21): Xinjiang is in the west of China. A previous version of this story incorrectly said it was in the east.