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Elon Musk Says Cryptocurrency Will Be Used On Mars

The economy on Mars will likely run on cryptocurrency.

Justin MacLachlan

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SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated that any future economy on Mars will likely be cryptocurrency-based.

The tech billionaire, who is also one of the co-founders of online payments giant PayPal which originally strived for a system like Bitcoin, has said in the past that he hopes to send the first humans to Mars as early 2024, with the ultimate aim of setting up a “self-sustaining city on Mars as soon as possible”.

Now, while responding to a Twitter thread started by AI researcher Lex Fridman, Musk stated that a “Mars economy will run on crypto”, suggesting it could be with the novelty cryptocurrency dogecoin which made him the unofficial CEO or a crypto asset named Marscoin.

Although Musk may have been making a joke, the Marscoin project actually exists. Marscoin was founded in 2014 and saw a brief surge in popularity during the cryptocurrency market bull run in late 2017 but its volume has died down. The altcoin currently has a market cap of less than $100,000, according to CoinMarketCap at the time of this report.

In comparison Dogecoin started as a meme is currently sitting at a market cap of $580,928,809 according to Coingecko.

Dogecoin, the project that Musk is the former CEO of, could be a more likely candidate to use. This is given its popularity and that it shares many of the same decentralized properties as Bitcoin.

The SpaceX founder has regularly spoken about his life goal to travel to Mars and earlier this year ordered employees to accelerate the development of the next-generation rocket.

SpaceX has previously stated that it would not recognize international law on Mars, instead, they said they would set up “self-governing principles”.

According to the Terms of Service of SpaceX’s Starlink internet project that TMU reported on, any future settlements on the Red Planet would “recognize Mars as a free planet”, adding that “no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities.”

The terms stated: “Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.” Interestingly enough, this is something that could be achieved through blockchain technology and smart contracts.

“It would be people voting directly on issues,” Musk previously said in a 2016 interview. “The potential for corruption is substantially diminished in a direct versus a representative democracy.”

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Exotic “Blue Jet” Lightning Shooting From Electrical Storm Captured by Space Station

Elias Marat

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State-of-the-art equipment on the International Space Station (ISS) has captured a brilliant view of a thunderstorm from above, including a clear view of a strange type of lightning known as a blue jet.

The footage could help us better understand how lighting originates and even how storms distribute greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, offering important pointers on weather systems in general.

However, the footage also offers a damned cool perspective of electrical storms that we’ve never enjoyed until now.

In video released by the European Space Agency that was captured in February 2019, blue-colored lightning bolts can be seen shooting upwards from storm clouds over the Pacific island of Nauru into the highest reaches of the stratosphere.

Blue jets are types of lightning that shoot upwards from thunderclouds into the stratosphere, striking altitudes exceeding 30 miles (50 km) in under a second. While our typical lightning interacts with a mixture of gases in the lower atmosphere to create glowing white bolts, blue jets excite stratospheric nitrogen to create a luminous blue hue.

While the phenomenon has long been observed from aircraft and ground-level vantage points, the European Space Agency’s Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) at the ISS, which is about 250 miles (400 km) above the Earth, have enabled researchers to get the best glimpse yet of a blue jet arising from a sudden burst of electricity emanating from the top of a thundercloud, according to research published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

“Elves,” or rapidly-expanding rings of optical and UV emissions, were also generated by the flash. The emissions, which took place at the bottom of the ionosphere, were a result of the interaction between electrons, radio waves, and the atmosphere.

Blue jets and elves, like other upper-atmospheric phenomena such as mythological-sounding sprites, are important to our understanding of how radio waves travel through the air, with potential ramifications on our communications technologies as well as the more fundamental questions of how lightning is initiated in our clouds and how greenhouse gases are concentrated in the atmosphere.

However, spotting these brilliant light shows has been difficult for earthbound observers. Yet the highly sensitive tools installed on the Space Station in 2018 – including photometers, optical cameras, and an X- and gamma-ray detector –were able to capture the elusive phenomena.

The knowledge gleaned from the footage could prove crucial to researchers finally making sense of the processes unfolding in the upper atmosphere.

“This paper is an impressive highlight of the many new phenomena ASIM is observing above thunderstorms and shows that we still have so much to discover and learn about our Universe,” said Astrid Orr, the Physical Sciences Coordinator for human and robotic spaceflight at the European Space Agency.

“Congratulations to all the scientists and university teams that made this happen as well as the engineers that built the observatory and the support teams on ground operating ASIM—a true international collaboration that has led to amazing discoveries,” Orr added.

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Authorities Using Facial Recognition, Social Media, GPS Tracking to Locate Rioters

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After rioters flooded the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, there was an immediate call for those who overran officers on the scene and swarmed the House and Senate floors, as well as congressional members’ personal offices, to be identified, arrested and prosecuted. The coordinated law enforcement response to this incident is massive.

As researchers who study criminal justice, we see that law enforcement agencies are accessing large amounts of information via technological sources to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol building. High-definition security cameras, facial recognition technology, location services acquired from cellphones and third-party apps, and accessing archival evidence on social media are all used to identify perpetrators of crimes and tie them to specific places and times.

While watchdog groups have raised legitimate concerns about the use of government and private-sector surveillance technology to identify people who might commit violent acts at some future point, there is much less concern raised about the use of technology to identify, arrest and prosecute individuals once these crimes have occurred.

Facial Recognition Technology

In the days since the breaching of the Capitol, information has flowed continuously to law enforcement with names and/or images of suspected participants in the unrest. Facial recognition technology can be used to compare images obtained by law enforcement – particularly those images taken from the network of security cameras within and outside the Capitol complex – to positively identify persons of interest.

Facial recognition systems work by matching a face in a video or photo with a face in a database that is associated with a person’s name and other identifying information. Beyond using public records, law enforcement agencies have been turning to private companies to access large databases of identified faces. A growing body of evidence shows the large amount of data some companies have been collecting from social media and other publicly available sources, as well as from CCTV systems in public spaces around the globe. Law enforcement agencies can simply purchase the services of these companies.

The technology exists to identify individuals participating in violent encounters in public spaces in real time using the soon-to-be-completed national ID database. This could result in some extremist groups going off the grid to avoid identification.

Sourcing Information From Social Media

Investigators are being aided by many of the participants in the events of Jan. 6 themselves who posted accounts of their activities on social networks. In addition to the participants who breached the barricades of the Capitol, many bystanders documented the happenings. Social media companies are assisting law enforcement in accessing content that may be useful to locate and prosecute specific individuals.

Some of the earliest subjects who were arrested after the events of Jan. 6 were previously known to law enforcement agencies around the nation, their involvement confirmed by social media postings. Reports have emerged that individuals and groups already under surveillance by law enforcement agencies nationwide via their activity on social media, including suspected white supremacists on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist, were contacted by officers before the individuals traveled to Washington to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally.

Information from social media is also assisting authorities in determining the extent of planning among individuals and groups that were involved.

There is some disagreement within the law enforcement community about the pros and cons of restricting the ability of extremists to communicate on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Parler. The benefit of restricting extremists’ access is hindering communication in the hopes of preventing similar attacks. There is emerging evidence that extremist groups are moving their social media conversations to password-protected sites and to the darknet, where an individual’s anonymity is protected. This migration might hinder extremist groups in recruiting and propaganda efforts, but it’s not clear if it has an effect on the groups’ organizing.

The downside of driving extremists to less-visible online platforms is that it makes it difficult for law enforcement to gather information needed to bring cases against those who participate in criminal incidents. Their virtual footprints become harder to follow.

Identifying a person – particularly someone not previously known to law enforcement – is just one piece of evidence needed to issue an arrest warrant. Empirical information that puts the suspect at the location of a crime when that crime occurred often provides the corroboration courts need to issue a warrant.

Location Tracking

The vast majority of participants in the Capitol unrest carried mobile devices with them and had them powered on, which makes it possible for law enforcement agencies to determine the movements of the cellphone’s owner. Even if users have location services, cellular data and Wi-Fi disabled, law enforcement has access to technology that can determine the location of a device at a specified time.

But location data is useful only when coupled with other evidence of a subject’s involvement in a criminal incident, such as photos and video. For instance, it is doubtful whether simply being in the vicinity of the Capitol during the unrest is sufficient. Location data may not be precise enough to discern whether a device was on someone’s person behind previously established barricades outside the Capitol building or if that device was inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s private office, particularly with thousands of mobile devices clustered in one small geographic space inside structures that can obscure signals.

Tips From the Public

One aspect of criminal investigations that has not changed with the rise of technological surveillance is the value of information provided by eyewitnesses and associates of individuals suspected of perpetrating crimes. In the days since the storming of the Capitol, many tips have come into law enforcement from friends, relatives, ex-spouses, neighbors, co-workers and others who indicated they either saw images of someone they knew participating in the unrest on television or on social media, heard them boast of their exploits or heard from a third-party that they had participated.

The FBI, especially, took advantage of the constant media attention on the unrest at the Capitol to ask the public for tips and information, and had established a hotline to gather this information within hours of the incident. It certainly helps criminal investigations when perpetrators are willing to be recorded and photographed, and when they provide their names, ages and hometowns to reporters.

Technology expands the reach of law enforcement investigations, and, combined with tips from the public, makes it more difficult for participants in mob actions to become lost in the crowd. However, these technologies raise the question of whether they can and should be used in the future to prevent these types of large-scale violent incidents from occurring in the first place.

Republished from TheConversation.com under Creative Commons

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Report: Electric Cars Could Be Cheaper Than Gas Cars in Just 2 Years

Justin MacLachlan

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According to a new report by energy research firm BloombergNEF, electric cars are getting cheaper and cheaper each passing year. The research firm found that in just two to three years, electric cars are on track to become cheaper than gasoline-powered vehicles.

According to the report, the market average for Lithium-ion batteries will become just $101 per kWh by 2023. This means that the overall price of the electric vehicle will go down, as the most expensive part of these cars is the battery pack itself.

The report states that Lithium-ion battery pack prices were above $1,100 per kilowatt-hour in 2010. However, they have since gone way down in price as much as 89% in real terms to $137/kWh in 2020.

A survey by BNEF’s 2020 Battery Price Survey, which considers passenger EVs, e-buses, commercial EVs and stationary storage, foretells that by 2023 the average pack price for the batteries will be $101/kWh. The report says that “its at around this price point where automakers should be able to produce and sell mass market EVs at the same price as internal combustion vehicles in some markets.”

The researchers concluded that the prices of electric cars have dropped considerably this year due to “increasing order sizes, growth in [battery electric vehicle] sales and the introduction of new pack designs,” according to the report. New technologies and falling manufacturing costs, it predicts, could drive prices down even lower.

There’s also the chance that next-generation solid-state batteries “could be manufactured at 40% of the cost of current lithium-ion batteries,” according to the report, “when produced at scale.”

The report further predicts that the average prices of battery packs could become as cheap as just $58 per kWh by 2030 if these new solid state batteries were to be utilized resulted from lower manufacturing cost.

James Frith, BNEF’s head of energy storage research and lead author of the report, stated: “It is a historic milestone to see pack prices of less than $100/kWh reported. Within just a few years we will see the average price in the industry pass this point. What’s more, our analysis shows that even if prices for raw materials were to return to the highs seen in 2018, it would only delay average prices reaching $100/kWh by two years – rather than completely derailing the industry. The industry is becoming increasingly resilient to changing raw material prices, with leading battery manufacturers moving up the value chain and investing in cathode production or even mines.”

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