Discover more from Simply Explained Newsletter
#4: 5G, Bitcoin surveillance, YouTube transcoding chips, Signal's Ad Campaign, Pooplog
Another month has passed, so time for a newsletter.
I once again didn’t publish any new videos on the channel. I’m in the process of repainting 👨🎨 the whole upper floor of our house, and that’s been quite the undertaking. Some videos are in the pipelines, but they require a bit more polish 💎.
But no more excuses. This newsletter is (once again) filled with cool stuff I found on the internet.
Let me know your thoughts by replying to this email. Hopefully, I’ll have a new Simply Explained episode ready for you next time.
Latest content from me
I wrote a few technical blog posts:
Cool Stuff I Found on the Internet
5G: The outsourced elephant in the room
Bert Hubert is back! He was also mentioned in the last newsletter, but this time he talks about 5G and paints a grim picture. Service providers are barely in control of their own networks and have become utterly dependent on external companies, which in turn rely on Chinese companies.
One ISP even said that “running a communication network” is not one of their core competencies. WHAT?
This could pose risks to our privacy, our societies (since we’re so reliant on these networks), and even state security. Taking back control of our networks will be hard.
Bitcoin Is a ‘Boon for Surveillance’, Says Former CIA Director - Decrypt
We’re told that criminals use Bitcoin because it’s untraceable, but that’s far from the truth. Sure, there are no names attached to Bitcoin wallets, but that doesn’t mean funds can’t be traced back to you. Law enforcement agencies have special forensic tools to track the flow of Bitcoin.
A New Threat to New York’s Clean Energy Goals: Bitcoin Mining
Mining Bitcoin consumes a lot of electricity, so big mining operations are always looking for the cheapest rates. This one company takes that a step further: they bought an actual power plant!
This is getting ridiculous. Bitcoin mining uses more energy than Norway, and it almost exceeds that of New York State! We’re in desperate need of a new consensus algorithm that fixes this. (Did some say Proof of Stake?)
Signal Tried to Run the Most Honest Facebook Ad Campaign Ever, Immediately Gets Banned
Private messaging app Signal was blocked from Facebook after running “honest” advertisements. They used Facebook’s data to create highly targeted ads and tell people how they were targeted.
For instance: “You see this ad because you’re a teacher, you’re single, you appear to live in Belgium, and you like comedy movies.”
I must admit, this creeps me out. I’ve doubted to delete my Facebook account. So far, I’m keeping it only for the Simply Explained page.
YouTube is now building its own video-transcoding chips
Google has a big problem on its hands when it comes to YouTube. Every minute, people upload 500 hours worth of video to the site. All those videos have to be transcoded into various codecs and resolutions.
This requires a massive amount of computing power. So much so that Google is now developing special chips to accelerate this task.
Mars Ingenuity helicopter mission extended by Nasa
A helicopter has flown on Mars. Now NASA is extending the little bird’s mission. I’ll fly higher and farther than initially planned.
Interesting side-fact: Ingenuity carries a piece of the Wright brother’s first plane!
10 Years of my Digital Life
Ever thought about capturing your laptop’s battery capacity every minute for 10 years? Nope, me neither. But it provides some cool insights!
It’s a limited dataset, but it seems to indicate that MacBook batteries have gotten better over the years.
Bob Cassette Rewinder: Hacking Detergent DRM for 98.7% Cost Saving
Amazing description of how someone broke the DRM on a dishwasher.
My thoughts: DRM on dishwasher detergent? Really? We seem to be very comfortable with crippling products for the sake of profit. Not to mention the huge environmental impact that this has on our planet. (This, in turn, makes me think about a Veritasium video that explains why light bulb manufacturers started to artificially limit the lifespan of their bulbs)
Internal Combustion Engine – Bartosz Ciechanowski
How does an internal combustion engine work again? Here are some really cool 3D animations that explain the evolution of the engine and things like crankshaft, gears, …
You can even slow the animations down and go through them step by step. Really nice work!
This might be the weirdest link I’ve ever shared…
This guy kept track of his 💩 for an entire year. This is his analysis of that data. A fun read!