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Bitcoin miners revived a dying coal plant – then CO2 emissions soared.

Cryptocurrencies are regularly criticised for their energy waste and climate impact. In this case, bitcoin is directly burning coal. A Bitcoin mining company bought a powerstation to fuel their mining.

In a deal struck in late 2020, Marathon, a bitcoin “mining” company, became the sole recipient of the power station’s electricity. It established an elongated data center on 20 acres of land beside the facility that is packed with more than 30,000 Antminer S19 units, a specialized computer that mines for bitcoin. Such thirst for power is common in crypto – globally bitcoin mining consumes more electricity than Norway, a country of 5.3 million people.
Linked on the 27th of February, 2022 Details

A Novelist Invented a Fake Startup, investors want to fund it.

Not The Onion:

When Tahmima Anam set out to write her popular new novel The Startup Wife, she created a world for its characters to live in, including a secretive incubator called Utopia and the fictional startups it helped launch, complete with website. One of those fake companies has captured the imagination of VCs and other investors who don't know it's a fake -- and are interested in funding it.
Linked on the 27th of February, 2022 Details

A shrine to toast

Yes, some people really have too much time on their hands. Laurie McLelland presents her Shrine to Toast [archive]. It works, I have a sudden craving for toast and marmalade. Damn you Laurie!

Linked on the 22nd of February, 2022 Details

The new pornographers.

A long read, but worth it, on how technology reviews have pretty much turned into design fetishism rather than proper evaluation of functionality. It's true that bad reviews have become exceedingly rare.

This report argues that consumer technology reviewers have failed their basic nominal purpose of critiquing tools. Instead, inspired by values introduced by Apple in the late 1990s, the tech review industry prioritizes aesthetic lust as the primary critical factor for evaluating objects. The reification of these values in their scoring system is transmitted to consumers and manufacturers alike. Like other prurient things, the objects designed within this paradigm are optimized not for usefulness but for photogenic and telegenic properties, a framework that finds its fullest realization in YouTube reviews and unboxing videos.
Linked on the 16th of February, 2022 Details

The forgotten history of the blinking cursor.

The ubiquitous blinking cursor that we all see without seeing has a long history. It's probably one of the oldest remnants of historical computing that's still there today.

Linked on the 15th of February, 2022 Details

Susy Thunder. The notorious phone phreaker that vanished.

A fascinating look at the story of Susy Thunder, a phone phreaker, social engineer and many other things.

In the early ’80s, Susan and her friends pulled increasingly elaborate phone scams until they nearly shut down phone service for the entire city. As two of her friends, Kevin Mitnick and Lewis DePayne, were being convicted for cybercrime, she made an appearance on 20/20, demonstrating their tradecraft to Geraldo Rivera. Riding her celebrity, she went briefly legit, testifying before the US Senate and making appearances at security conventions, spouting technobabble in cowboy boots and tie-dye. Then, without a trace, she left the world behind.
Linked on the 29th of January, 2022 Details