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Thread: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

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    Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    This Dispatches episode barely scratches the surface of what's happening, it doesn't go anywhere near the depth I would have liked, but it does highlight how much people are using the Internet now vs say 15 years ago and the rise of the datacentre.

    Dispatches - Online Habits Killing The Planet:
    Quote Originally Posted by C4
    Sophie Morgan investigates the carbon footprint of the tech industry, as she discovers some shocking truths about the hidden cost of our online habits
    First shown: 16 Nov 2020
    https://www.channel4.com/programmes/...mand/71182-001
    ^ Available in UK only


    Interestingly enough Microsoft were testing datacentres at the bottom of the ocean between 2018 - 2020.

    https://news.microsoft.com/innovatio...er-datacenter/


    Would you (or have you) change your habits, or prefer to put pressure on businesses to act?

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    I can't say anything about the programme itself as I haven't watched it, but I think it's safe to say that all of the coin mining is a problem, given that it does nothing to actually help anyone and thus is a complete waste of energy in pursuit of trying to get rich quick.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    ^^ Yep, last time I checked coin mining was larger than several countries, including Argentina... and it's getting worse. Also the recent NFT trend will increase this power usage.

    I haven't watch the doc either but all this blaming Joe Public is just scaremongering (I guess we don't have powerful lobbies like the actual polluters!)... I saw a doc last year about recycling and where our recycling goes... and a lot of it gets burnt or dumped somewhere. Not a lot of it ACTUALLY gets recycled. But guess Councils need to do performative actions to trick us!

    In the same vein, what's the solution? Unplug the internet? I mean, mine and your power use is nada. And the internet is pretty much a Utility at this point.

    The majority of damage to the environment are done by Corporations... but they have money and lobbyists to pay politicians to turn a blind eye. I have seen it happen personally, not going to elaborate, but it was a joke what was happening and the excuses given.
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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by Output View Post
    I can't say anything about the programme itself as I haven't watched it, but I think it's safe to say that all of the coin mining is a problem, given that it does nothing to actually help anyone and thus is a complete waste of energy in pursuit of trying to get rich quick.
    A number of issues with this. It is helping everyone to take power away from the central banking system. Which itself requires a lot of man hours and energy to process transactions and maintain security. And the energy is more often than not renewable, and disposed of in advantageous ways i.e. in places where the resulting heat is used to replace heating systems.

    Blaming joe public would indeed be scaremongering, particularly when the US military and the top 20 multinational corporations use something absurd like 95% of the energy produced to serve their own needs. The idea that you or I browsing the internet could be responsible for enough emissions to call it 'killing the planet' is pure propaganda. Unnecessary car journeys, food waste, food miles, etc etc etc, are all far more of a cause for global climate change and species loss than running a 200w pc system.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    It was a pretty poor documentary, although there were some interesting stats like: In 2012 there were 500,000 data centres globally. Now there are 8 million.

    It's impossible to answer some of the questions they were asking. They did at least show Dr Bashroush trying to explain there's too many variables to answer "When you post a photograph online, how much energy does that require?".
    What really showed the poor balance, was how Despacito could use "up to 900GWh". That's just provably false with basic sanity checking.
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/despa...bih-bashroush/
    https://www.iea.org/commentaries/the...-the-headlines

    They didn't really talk about how datacentres are more efficient than they were. Smartphones use very little power. Laptops, which have gained popularity over desktops, generally use less power than desktops.

    It also didn't put the power consumption into context. Domestic heating and transport are vastly bigger users of energy than IT. Accelerating electric car and heat pumps adoption would make a much bigger difference than telling people to watch less youtube. So watch this video about heat pumps instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J52mDjZzto

    Think about how long it takes to build a datacentre, and how quickly internet usage increased in 2020. There's capacity in the system, and additional traffic on networking equipment makes little difference to power consumption. So you can't calculate the energy usage of the networking when streaming a video, if it would have been the same if you didn't watch it.

    Reminds me of people making a fuss about plastic straws and plastic carrier bags. Maybe they're a problem, but by focusing on the small problems, you're distracting from the big problems.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Production is where a lot of the energy and pollution costs of electronics are,and the transport from the far flung factories of various parts and raw materials via shipping. The move towards making electronics harder to repair and upgrade,and then chucking away most of it,is actually increasing pollution longterm. Re-use,repair,etc is actually more important than the relatively minor energy saving during usage of products. Even the latter has people using stuff in inefficient ways.

    Big companies like Apple have a lot to answer for,for making their electronics harder and harder to upgrade and repair. It means the effective lifespan of electronics is shortened meaning you need to make more replacements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonatron View Post
    Reminds me of people making a fuss about plastic straws and plastic carrier bags. Maybe they're a problem, but by focusing on the small problems, you're distracting from the big problems.
    Even when it comes to transport,look at what is concentrated on?? Ships? Nope. Road Haulage? Nope. Cars? Nope. Long distance air travel. Yes! Yet look at the pollution of long distance air travel(even compared to short haul flying) or ships,road haulage or cars - its really small in comparison ESPECIALLY if you take away business travel. Yet lots of poorer countries are very dependent on tourism,so will disproportionately get affected(as seen what is happening now).


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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    @CAT-THE-FIFTH you're so right about re-use and repair. I remember when I was a teen in the 90's how many TV repair stores there were. When our TV or VCR had an issue, my dad used to take it to the repair store, and it's fixed and working for a good while. Same with a lot of other products, electronic and otherwise. I was also just thinking about the Red Letter Media's VCR repair store...

    But these days, they WANT you to dispose off Tablets etc.... I've had around 25+ Kindle Fire tablets of different sizes and costs in our house to date, since the first one came out, both of which broke their screens and became totally non-functional (think it was glass! and one side stopped working when a crack appeared). A lot of them broke when the kids dropped them... but I've had at least 6 fail because the USB connector, a display connector or something else failed... a couple I think had battery issues in that they won't hold charge... MOST of these technical errors happen just outside the 1 year warranty window.... and for me it's cheaper to replace a broken tablet than getting it repaired! I mean the repair shop probably charges the price of 2 tablets to possibly repair 1!

    Again, what others have said above me are right. It's not our fault as consumers that these waste are happening... it's the companies that are making the product with planned obsolescence.

    Also desktops these days are NOT that power hungry either. My gaming PC pulls about 450-500W... while the electric radiator we use in winter uses 1200W. And my PC is not on 24/7... just when I use it. I'm going to say it again. Blaming Joe Public is just strawmanning and disingenuous.
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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by Scryder View Post
    A lot of them broke when the kids dropped them... but I've had at least 6 fail because the USB connector,
    If you have a tablet that is trashed, then there is nothing to lose by pulling it apart and having a go at repair. Youtube is full of instructional videos, and often you don't need much in the way of tools. I regularly replace batteries and screens on the family devices. I got into electronics from trying to repair and upgrade devices I had on a tight budget back when I was a teenager.

    USB connector at least should be perfectly repairable.

    https://www.instructables.com/How-to...on-Kindle-Fir/

    Display replacement is probably easier, a panel with digitiser is about £20 off ebay plus a fiver for a toolkit and a few quid for some B-7000 glue to stick it all back together again.

    A repair shop with experience pulling tablets apart and a proper hot air soldering station should be able to knock that out quite fast. There was a fad for "makerspaces" for people to use 3d printers etc, we could do with repairspaces really.
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 02-05-2021 at 02:46 PM.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    A number of issues with this. It is helping everyone to take power away from the central banking system. Which itself requires a lot of man hours and energy to process transactions and maintain security.
    I wish people would actually take a moment to consider such false pro-crypto statements before echoing them. This one is fundamentally broken argument when you actually consider how much energy PoW systems like BTC actually use *per transaction* vs conventional banking. The whole "take the power back" concept is cringeworthy and unfounded. Take back what power? From whom? To whom? And for what actual benefit?

    Note this compares ONE BTC transaction to ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND VISA transactions. The scale of energy consumption isn't even on the same planet, let alone comparable or justifiable. A SINGLE bitcoin transaction uses around the same amount of electricity as an average UK household does in THREE MONTHS!

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    And the energy is more often than not renewable, and disposed of in advantageous ways i.e. in places where the resulting heat is used to replace heating systems.
    Another completely incorrect statement - it might be repeated by the crypto parasites ad nauseum but it doesn't make it true. I've explained in other threads, but it's based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how power grids actually work. Take an electricity grid like China (where most of the mining takes place) - were it not for the crypto farms devouring enormous amounts of energy then that energy would be used elsewhere in the country, displacing fossil fuel generation - the location of a consumer on a grid is almost totally irrelevant. Renewables operate as baseload which means they always get used to the fullest extent possible. Load following supply, which tracks with load, is typically fossil fuel based. I.e. more load on the grid = more fossil fuels consumed.

    Or put as simply as possible, more mining farms, even in areas claimed to be 'supplied with renewable power', leads directly to an increase in use of fossil fuels and therefore carbon emissions.

    There might be a couple of farming locations that use the waste heat for building heating but that is very rare, and even then is still a very wasteful way of producing heat. Burning gas locally or using heat pumps for electrical power are both substantially more efficient. The act of turning coal into electricity is generally around 33% efficient. I.e. where coal is the source of electricity (which it basically is for crypto in countries like China), you have to burn around three *times* as much coal to generate a given amount of heat as you would if you just burned the fuel locally, especially after you factor transmission losses into account.

    There is really no sensible way of looking at mining operations in a way where they can be convincingly portrayed as 'green', because they are horrifically far from being green.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    I wish people would actually take a moment to consider such false pro-crypto statements before echoing them. This one is fundamentally broken argument when you actually consider how much energy PoW systems like BTC actually use *per transaction* vs conventional banking. The whole "take the power back" concept is cringeworthy and unfounded. Take back what power? From whom? To whom? And for what actual benefit?

    Note this compares ONE BTC transaction to ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND VISA transactions. The scale of energy consumption isn't even on the same planet, let alone comparable or justifiable. A SINGLE bitcoin transaction uses around the same amount of electricity as an average UK household does in THREE MONTHS!


    Another completely incorrect statement - it might be repeated by the crypto parasites ad nauseum but it doesn't make it true. I've explained in other threads, but it's based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how power grids actually work. Take an electricity grid like China (where most of the mining takes place) - were it not for the crypto farms devouring enormous amounts of energy then that energy would be used elsewhere in the country, displacing fossil fuel generation - the location of a consumer on a grid is almost totally irrelevant. Renewables operate as baseload which means they always get used to the fullest extent possible. Load following supply, which tracks with load, is typically fossil fuel based. I.e. more load on the grid = more fossil fuels consumed.

    Or put as simply as possible, more mining farms, even in areas claimed to be 'supplied with renewable power', leads directly to an increase in use of fossil fuels and therefore carbon emissions.

    There might be a couple of farming locations that use the waste heat for building heating but that is very rare, and even then is still a very wasteful way of producing heat. Burning gas locally or using heat pumps for electrical power are both substantially more efficient. The act of turning coal into electricity is generally around 33% efficient. I.e. where coal is the source of electricity (which it basically is for crypto in countries like China), you have to burn around three *times* as much coal to generate a given amount of heat as you would if you just burned the fuel locally, especially after you factor transmission losses into account.

    There is really no sensible way of looking at mining operations in a way where they can be convincingly portrayed as 'green', because they are horrifically far from being green.
    I'm not presenting them as green, I'm saying they're not as bad as the anti-crypto propagandists claim.

    100,000 visa transactions costing less energy than 1 btc transaction is a bit of a red herring. the btc transactions require no manpower - no hr for that manpower, no lighting for the offices, no transport costs for that staff, etc etc.

    If you want to pull me up on the 'more often than not' i'd give you a bit more credibility - I didn't justify that more than half, as I implied, of all the energy is renewable. And you can claim that I fundamentally misunderstand how power grids work - you'll have to give me some reason to respect your authority on the matter rather than just implying you have all the authority and more knowledge than me - but I get what a closed system is. Yes, if a renewable energy power station is built, and then a mining operation then chooses a nearby location, you have minimal benefit, as you explained, but the collision of heating needs and choosing green locations is such that governments and power companies are more incentivised to build renewable energy stations if they know that a decent chunk of it is going to be used on, for example, heating. Hence a lot of operations go to cold places with renewable energy, e.g. Iceland.

    To explain the 'take the power back' line, well, that's something slightly different from what I mean. The banking system is corrupt as hell. It is meant to be something that provides liquidity to the system. What it actually does (amongst many other things, some good, some bad) is transfer wealth and power from the many to the few. It is a key cog in the system - perhaps, if you take the analogy of the car, it is the actual wheels. You can see the way our society is moving away from cash - for understandable reasons, governments want to be able to keep tabs on their citizens. The libertarian stance on crypto is that it's stopping that process. I'm no libertarian, mind, what I class as government overreach is different from what the average crypto permabull does, but nonetheless, I see the appeal. Any movement away from central bank control of our funds is a good one. You can call it cringeworthy if you like - that's a personal opinion - but unfounded it is not. There is lots of legitimate political philosophy behind cryptocurrency.

    Lastly, even if none of the above were true, without having crunched the numbers myself, or seen a source confirming it, I wouldn't be surprised if the amount of energy that crypto uses is a rounding error compared to that used by the american military alone, for example. If you or anyone else has a source that would confirm or deny it, I'd be interested to read about it.

    Personally, I wish people would take a second to question whether just because someone appears to have the opposite view to them, that means that automatically they just read things that suit their agenda and echo them without thinking critically about them.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    100,000 visa transactions costing less energy than 1 btc transaction is a bit of a red herring. the btc transactions require no manpower - no hr for that manpower, no lighting for the offices, no transport costs for that staff, etc etc.
    If the transaction energies were even close to being of the same magnitude then ballparking might not be accurate enough. As it happens, they're so ridiculously far apart that it really doesn't matter. To add some more numbers into the mix, the entire bitcoin network handles around 260k transactions daily. There are around 40M card payments per day in the UK alone. Even if you compared Bitcoin energy against the energy consumption of an entire country, the figures are still miles off (and the banking system obviously does not consume all of a country's electricity - that's just to show how ridiculous the comparison is).

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    And you can claim that I fundamentally misunderstand how power grids work - you'll have to give me some reason to respect your authority on the matter rather than just implying you have all the authority and more knowledge than me
    I never made any authoritative claim, and indeed arguments based on "I work at x so know better than you" are almost invariably rubbish arguments anyway. But it's really not that complicated how power grids work, so it doesn't take much effort to call out BS when I see it. I also briefly explained why the argument is broken.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    Hence a lot of operations go to cold places with renewable energy, e.g. Iceland.
    Mining goes where electricity is cheap, because it's parasitic and profits matter above all else. If that happens to be an area where the existing energy grid happens to be largely renewable-based then miners don't get to claim the moral high-ground for it. Some of the mining has ended up in places like Iceland but most is still in countries like China where it is undeniably not coming from renewable energy.

    And in countries like Iceland, it creates a real problem where you suddenly have large additions to the existing electrical grid, requiring expansion of existing plant (including more materials, perhaps terrain changes where hydro or geothermal are involved), raised energy prices because the change in the supply market, and in the event crypto crashes (again) you have another problem where you have a ton of unused capacity leaving energy companies or public utilities in a position where they may struggle to recoup their investment. Much like the "Nvidia don't care who they sell to" fallacy, crypto is a very volatile and disloyal market to be a supplier to, making it very hard to plan for without risking bankruptcy if you miscalculate. The "Nvidia should just M4K£ MOAR CARDZ!!1" stance being broken for the same basic reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    To explain the 'take the power back' line, well, that's something slightly different from what I mean. The banking system is corrupt as hell. It is meant to be something that provides liquidity to the system. What it actually does (amongst many other things, some good, some bad) is transfer wealth and power from the many to the few. It is a key cog in the system - perhaps, if you take the analogy of the car, it is the actual wheels. You can see the way our society is moving away from cash - for understandable reasons, governments want to be able to keep tabs on their citizens. The libertarian stance on crypto is that it's stopping that process. I'm no libertarian, mind, what I class as government overreach is different from what the average crypto permabull does, but nonetheless, I see the appeal. Any movement away from central bank control of our funds is a good one. You can call it cringeworthy if you like - that's a personal opinion - but unfounded it is not. There is lots of legitimate political philosophy behind cryptocurrency.
    Without meaning to sound dismissive, that just reads as rhetoric, not an actual explanation of how it helps. I understand people have issues with the banking system, and that's not what I'm disputing. I'm asking how people think Bitcoin actually solves that and benefits individuals once you factor in the huge transaction fees, no fraud/theft protection, insane volatility, no method of recovery if you forget your wallet password or lose your wallet (the "that's your fault" stance is also silly - not everyone is comfortable with computers, and if the suggestion is to let a company manage that for you, then you're back at traditional banking). Philosophy and implementation are two very different things.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    Lastly, even if none of the above were true, without having crunched the numbers myself, or seen a source confirming it, I wouldn't be surprised if the amount of energy that crypto uses is a rounding error compared to that used by the american military alone, for example. If you or anyone else has a source that would confirm or deny it, I'd be interested to read about it.
    So the ever-increasing energy consumption, e-waste and market disruption is justifiable because some other entity uses more? I guess we should roll back all of our carbon-cutting policies, start building coal fired power stations again and get some deforestation under way to make way for industry then eh? Why not, other countries are worse than us, so why bother?

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    Personally, I wish people would take a second to question whether just because someone appears to have the opposite view to them, that means that automatically they just read things that suit their agenda and echo them without thinking critically about them.
    I don't have an issue with difference of opinion. I take issue with demonstrably wrong statements echoed without consideration.
    Last edited by watercooled; 02-05-2021 at 05:49 PM.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    What it actually does (amongst many other things, some good, some bad) is transfer wealth and power from the many to the few.
    Now I would say that is exactly what crypto is doing. Bitcoin is dominated by a few people in China. A ton of money has been made by a handful of people on this, and some don't seem very nice people at that.

    , governments want to be able to keep tabs on their citizens. The libertarian stance on crypto is that it's stopping that process.
    This bit I *really* don't get. China is the first to move on creating a national digital currency. Are they doing it for the freedom and anonymity of their population? Heck no, with all transactions in a public ledger they can see everything going on. They are clearly happy that they can trace supposedly anonymous crypto wallet addresses back to their users. So yeah, perhaps Visa are handing my financial data over to the government, but with Bitcoin *I* am handing it over to all governments.

    Personally, I wish people would take a second to question whether just because someone appears to have the opposite view to them, that means that automatically they just read things that suit their agenda and echo them without thinking critically about them.
    Opposite view should be fine if it is just an opinion, but having worked in traditional payments I know how automated things like Visa transactions are. I know the regulations in place to protect your data. I also have worked on a project with Visa, and at no point met a person who was corrupt. They were all just trying to process transactions they best they could.

    In terms of manpower, if you do look at something like Eth mining which is still done by a lot of home users, then that is quite a few thousand people dedicating time to crypto. Easily on par I'm sure with the manpower involved in traditional payments, just as amateurs they won't be doing a very efficient job of what they are doing.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post

    Opposite view should be fine if it is just an opinion, but having worked in traditional payments I know how automated things like Visa transactions are. I know the regulations in place to protect your data. I also have worked on a project with Visa, and at no point met a person who was corrupt. They were all just trying to process transactions they best they could.
    Not very many individuals would be corrupt, certainly not at the level you were operating at, but rather it's the system that's corrupted. Most people are fundamentally good, but that doesn't mean they can't be part of a bad system.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Not quite sure how you guys multiquote without cutting and pasting all the stuff within the brackets each time? Seems like a palaver.

    So are you claiming that all my statements are demonstrably wrong and echoed without consideration? Does it really feel like I've read some articles, left it at that and just said 'ok crypto is good, I'll just say whatever the crypto guys are saying and not consider it any more deeply than that because they happen to agree with me'? What's stopping me from thinking the same thing about you?

    Of course it's rhetoric; it's a pretty damn hard thing to quantify without delving into particular works by Thomas Piketty etc etc. Rhetoric means arguments in speech. I believe. What else could this be?

    I'm not saying that, because the american military (amongst all the other big industries like mining etc) energy use dwarfs that of crypto, that makes it ok; what I'm claiming is that an attack on crypto on the basis of it's energy use is a political propaganda tool to lay the blame for global warming at the hands of those outside of the system, where it's fairly plainly the system itself that's the problem. Of course we should carry on instituting green policies wherever possible; we should also encourage people not to use plastic bags, where possible, not because the net effect of every single person on the planet forsaking plastic would be appreciable, but because it's important for us to know that this is something that requires action. However, the greatest action we should be looking to take, given the effects, is changing the system, because the system doesn't just allow for, or even encourages, it requires gigantic waste, to relatively little benefit and in actual fact huge eventual detriment to the average person.

    I can't really carry on talking about renewable energy usage as I've hit the limits of my useful knowledge and if you're confident that you know more than me you probably do.

    But regarding 100k visa transactions etc, I don't know how you would tot up the actual energy consumption of that many transactions, but the actual bare transaction energy cost like for like comparison is not representative, given all the other work that goes into the maintenance of the banking system.

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    If the transaction energies were even close to being of the same magnitude then ballparking might not be accurate enough. As it happens, they're so ridiculously far apart that it really doesn't matter. To add some more numbers into the mix, the entire bitcoin network handles around 260k transactions daily. There are around 40M card payments per day in the UK alone. Even if you compared Bitcoin energy against the energy consumption of an entire country, the figures are still miles off (and the banking system obviously does not consume all of a country's electricity - that's just to show how ridiculous the comparison is).


    I never made any authoritative claim, and indeed arguments based on "I work at x so know better than you" are almost invariably rubbish arguments anyway. But it's really not that complicated how power grids work, so it doesn't take much effort to call out BS when I see it. I also briefly explained why the argument is broken.


    Mining goes where electricity is cheap, because it's parasitic and profits matter above all else. If that happens to be an area where the existing energy grid happens to be largely renewable-based then miners don't get to claim the moral high-ground for it. Some of the mining has ended up in places like Iceland but most is still in countries like China where it is undeniably not coming from renewable energy.

    And in countries like Iceland, it creates a real problem where you suddenly have large additions to the existing electrical grid, requiring expansion of existing plant (including more materials, perhaps terrain changes where hydro or geothermal are involved), raised energy prices because the change in the supply market, and in the event crypto crashes (again) you have another problem where you have a ton of unused capacity leaving energy companies or public utilities in a position where they may struggle to recoup their investment. Much like the "Nvidia don't care who they sell to" fallacy, crypto is a very volatile and disloyal market to be a supplier to, making it very hard to plan for without risking bankruptcy if you miscalculate. The "Nvidia should just M4K£ MOAR CARDZ!!1" stance being broken for the same basic reason.


    Without meaning to sound dismissive, that just reads as rhetoric, not an actual explanation of how it helps. I understand people have issues with the banking system, and that's not what I'm disputing. I'm asking how people think Bitcoin actually solves that and benefits individuals once you factor in the huge transaction fees, no fraud/theft protection, insane volatility, no method of recovery if you forget your wallet password or lose your wallet (the "that's your fault" stance is also silly - not everyone is comfortable with computers, and if the suggestion is to let a company manage that for you, then you're back at traditional banking). Philosophy and implementation are two very different things.


    So the ever-increasing energy consumption, e-waste and market disruption is justifiable because some other entity uses more? I guess we should roll back all of our carbon-cutting policies, start building coal fired power stations again and get some deforestation under way to make way for industry then eh? Why not, other countries are worse than us, so why bother?


    I don't have an issue with difference of opinion. I take issue with demonstrably wrong statements echoed without consideration.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    Not quite sure how you guys multiquote without cutting and pasting all the stuff within the brackets each time? Seems like a palaver.
    I just copy/paste the square brackets as required. It can be a faff and the posts look huge but it makes it easier to show which point I'm addressing.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    So are you claiming that all my statements are demonstrably wrong and echoed without consideration? Does it really feel like I've read some articles, left it at that and just said 'ok crypto is good, I'll just say whatever the crypto guys are saying and not consider it any more deeply than that because they happen to agree with me'? What's stopping me from thinking the same thing about you?
    All I'm saying is you have presented some of the same unsubstantiated and/or demonstrably wrong pro-crypto arguments I've seen countless times before. It's not about opinion, it's about fact and fiction. I've mostly steered clear of the political aspect of it, my main argument being around direct and straightforward comparisons to what already exists, and metrics such as energy consumption.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    Of course it's rhetoric; it's a pretty damn hard thing to quantify without delving into particular works by Thomas Piketty etc etc. Rhetoric means arguments in speech. I believe. What else could this be?
    My point here is that it's like crypto is good because it sticks it to the man and takes the power back. The issue is, it's greatly lacking in actual detail of how and why.

    The definition of rhetoric in this context (emphasis mine):
    language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect, but which is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.
    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    what I'm claiming is that an attack on crypto on the basis of it's energy use is a political propaganda tool
    You're laying a bit of a strawman argument here though (assuming it's directed at me) - what gives you the impression I'm politically anti-crypto? My problem is the unnecessary environmental and economic harm caused by the craze. But excuse me if I also tug on some threads where I see nebulous pro-freedom claims to see what unravels.

    Side note: How many miners do you reckon are actually pro-crypto beyond the fact they can get some free money? How many (individual or large scale) do you honestly think would have any involvement with crypto if mining went belly-up? Rhetorical question BTW. I'm not convinced there are very many.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    to lay the blame for global warming at the hands of those outside of the system, where it's fairly plainly the system itself that's the problem.
    I don't think anyone is claiming crypto mining is single-handedly responsible for global warming, and I'm certainly not. But when the collective energy consumption rivals that of countries and continues to climb at a time when a great deal of effort is being sunk into combatting energy wastage, it leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, no? As you said, collective small actions can lead to overall benefits, and we should be doing what we can to improve efficiency wherever possible, not pursue a system which is by definition designed to waste energy. This seems very much like "the system" you refer to wasting resources.



    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    I can't really carry on talking about renewable energy usage as I've hit the limits of my useful knowledge and if you're confident that you know more than me you probably do.
    My point is just that the very frequently repeated claim that Bitcoin is actually not so bad because of renewable energy usage, is at best a deeply flawed argument for reasons I've already explained.

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    But regarding 100k visa transactions etc, I don't know how you would tot up the actual energy consumption of that many transactions, but the actual bare transaction energy cost like for like comparison is not representative, given all the other work that goes into the maintenance of the banking system.
    There are of course going to be error bars on such a calculation. Hence the point I made about comparing the electricity consumption of an entire country - even if all of that was dedicated to conventional banking (which is obviously ridiculous), you still end up with many orders of magnitude worse efficiency for Bitcoin because of how few transactions are handled on the network vs something like VISA. It's not a sensible comparison, but it gives a ridiculously silly upper-bound on how much energy conventional banking uses. And Bitcoin still loses, horrifically.

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    Re: Online Habits Killing The Planet - Dispatches

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    But regarding 100k visa transactions etc, I don't know how you would tot up the actual energy consumption of that many transactions, but the actual bare transaction energy cost like for like comparison is not representative, given all the other work that goes into the maintenance of the banking system.
    But surely the crypto mining system involves lots of people maintaining it too. Crypto isn't just a few miners and a bunch of nodes. You've got mining pools, gas price checkers, blockchain monitoring sites, mining operating systems getting constant updates, the mining software itself. Those facilities are not appearing by magic, there is already a massive industry around crypto. Again firm numbers are difficult, but I'm sure it is on par with the operations side of the regular banking industry when you tot up all the effort going into it.

    And no it isn't that I don't think you have considered the arguments, just that there seem to be some real fundamentals with Crypto that are just plain wrong. There are thousands of cryptocurrencies out there now some of which are really quite clever and some are quite energy efficient even when based on proof of work. But efficient and fast means lack of scarcity, which means nice cheap transactions, so no mining revenue driven off if costing a small fortune to do a basic transfer of value.

    If the crypto community cared about energy usage, they could fix it tomorrow. It already is fixed, all the pieces are in place, but people don't want to adopt those technologies and keep mining Eth on GPUs.

    Or put it another way, if some mining company adds another 1000 Antminers to their Bitcoin effort, how is the world a better place? It doesn't make transactions go faster, it doesn't help security. Other than burn more energy, what does it do and how is the world a better place for 1000 ASIC miners at 800W a piece?

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