100. Elon Floats New Social Media, Converting Excess Gas to Bitcoin, Geothermal Unlocking Vast Mineral Supplies

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Summary: News <p><a href="https://twitchy.com/dougp-3137/2022/03/26/elon-musk-floats-idea-for-new-social-media-platform-following-yesterdays-free-speech-poll/">Elon Musk floats idea for new social media platform</a>  | Twitchy (01:45)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Elon Musk, you know the dude by now, posted a Twitter poll this past Friday (March 25th) asking the <a href="https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1507259709224632344?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1507259709224632344%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitchy.com%2Fdougp-3137%2F2022%2F03%2F26%2Felon-musk-floats-idea-for-new-social-media-platform-following-yesterdays-free-speech-poll%2F">question</a>: “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">With the caveat that “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">With over 2 million votes 70% of people responded with “No.”</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">After the poll concluded the next day he <a href="https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1507777913042571267?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1507777913042571267%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitchy.com%2Fdougp-3137%2F2022%2F03%2F26%2Felon-musk-floats-idea-for-new-social-media-platform-following-yesterdays-free-speech-poll%2F">responded with</a>, “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.  What should be done? … Is a new platform needed?”</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">This has led to plenty of speculation that Elon could be contemplating building his own platform, while others just want him to purchase Twitter and fix it.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">What is the best route? Not sure, Twitter has the user base already there, but there is a lot of built in “rot” so to speak. </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Then to further cement the idea he is considering building a new platform, a twitter user @PPathole <a href="https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1507907130124222471">asked</a>: <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">“Would you consider building a new social media platform? … One that would consist of an open source algorithm, one where free speech and adhering to free speech is given top priority, one where propaganda is very minimal. I think that kind of a platform is needed.”</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Elon simply responded with: “Am giving serious thought to this”</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Just to throw it out there that some people were thinking of name ideas for Elon’s new social media platform and here is my favorite from @<a href="https://twitter.com/RealSteveAyer/status/1507562136213590019">RealSteveAyer</a>:<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">MySpaceX</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://newatlas.com/medical/heart-attack-ai-algorithm-predict-coronary-ct-scan/">AI algorithm accurately predicts risk of heart attack within 5 years</a> | New Atlas (08:47)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">A new AI tool developed by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center can accurately measure plaque deposits in coronary arteries and predict a patient’s risk of suffering a heart attack within five years.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">A scan known as <a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/computed-tomography-angiography-cta">computed tomography angiography (CTA</a>) is one of the best tools doctors currently have at their disposal to evaluate heart disease patients.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">By imaging plaque deposits within coronary arteries</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Damini Dey, senior author on the study, talks on the speed improvement with utilizing this new automated AI tool:<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">“Coronary plaque is often not measured because there is not a fully automated way to do it … When it is measured, it takes an expert at least 25 to 30 minutes, but now we can use this program to quantify plaque from CTA images in five to six seconds."</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Creating the tool: <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Two Categories: high and low risk.</li> </ul> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">First, trained the algorithm to recognize plaque deposits using a dataset of CTA images from 921 patients.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Validated the results with the “human expert readers.”</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Utilizing a plaque amount threshold, they trained the algorithm to place separate images based on risk of having a heart attack within five years of CTA imaging:</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The new study is an exciting demonstration of the possible future of medicine. A future where AI tools can swiftly analyze diagnostic imaging to deliver immediate risk reports to patients. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">It is early days for the technology. Larger studies will be required to better train the algorithms on diverse patient populations and figure out how they could make the tech accessible &amp; cheap.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://interestingengineering.com/exxon-mobil-excess-gas-bitcoin">Exxon Mobil has a pilot project for using excess gas to mine Bitcoin</a> | Interesting Engineering (14:50)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">What do you do with excess natural gas if you are one of the world's biggest providers of energy sources?<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Exxon Mobil has come up with an inventive solution.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">It's taking the excess natural gas that would otherwise be burned off from North Dakota oil wells and using it to power <a href="http://investopedia.com/terms/b/bitcoin-mining.asp">cryptocurrency mining operations</a>.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Bitcoin Mining: the process of creating new bitcoin by solving puzzles. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The first bitcoin miner to solve the puzzle is rewarded with bitcoin.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The mining process also confirms transactions on the cryptocurrency's network and makes them trustworthy. </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">According to anonymous sources, the oil giant has started a pilot project in cooperation with Crusoe Energy Systems Inc. to take gas from an oil well pad in the Bakken shale basin to power Bitcoin mining servers.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">The initiative began back in January 2021.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">It is estimated that the project makes use of up to 18 million cubic feet of gas per month that would have otherwise been wasted due to a lack of pipelines.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">This process does not reduce the emissions of Exxon Mobil's activities but it does ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are not simply created as waste. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Methane emissions from natural gas range from <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/environmental-impacts-natural-gas#references">1 to 9 percent of total life cycle emissions</a> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Just to point out since I feel like people lump them all together but shouldn’t, a natural gas plant emits 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) compared with emissions from a typical new coal plant.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://scitechdaily.com/leap-forward-in-genetic-sequencing-will-lead-to-improved-personalized-medicine-and-understanding-of-evolution/">Leap Forward in Genetic Sequencing Will Lead to Improved Personalized Medicine and Understanding of Evolution</a> | SciTechDaily (19:28)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Researchers at the University of California, Irvine revealed new details about a key enzyme that makes DNA sequencing possible.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">A leap forward into the era of personalized medicine when doctors will be able to design treatments based on the genomes of individual patients.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The molecule the UCI-led team studied is an enzyme called Taq, a name derived from the microorganism it was first discovered in, Thermos aquaticus. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Taq helps make new copies of DNA in an unexpected way</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">According to UCI professor, Greg Weiss, “Instead of carefully selecting each piece to add to the DNA chain, [Taq] grabs dozens of misfits for each piece added successfully … Like a shopper checking items off a shopping list, the enzyme tests each part against the DNA sequence it’s trying to replicate.”<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Taq rejects any wrong items that land into its proverbial shopping cart in a very inefficient way as well</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">But understanding this enzyme is an important step because if scientists understand how Taq functions, then they can better understand just how accurate a person’s sequenced genome truly is.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Philip Collins, a UCI professor, touches on the variety of genome out there:<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">“Every single person has a slightly different genome … with different mutations in different places. Some of those are responsible for diseases, and others are responsible for absolutely nothing. To really get at whether these differences are important for healthcare – for properly prescribing medicines – you need to know the differences accurately.”</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://singularityhub.com/2022/03/23/how-geothermal-plants-could-solve-americas-lithium-supply-crunch-boost-ev-battery-industry/">How Geothermal Plants Could Unlock Vast Supplies of Lithium in the American West</a> | SingularityHub (23:28)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Geothermal technologies are on the verge of unlocking vast quantities of lithium from naturally-occurring hot brines beneath places like California’s Salton Sea, a two-hour drive from San Diego.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Lithium is essential for lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles and energy storage.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Demand for these batteries is quickly rising, but the US is currently heavily reliant on lithium imports from <a href="https://pubs.usgs.gov/periodicals/mcs2022/mcs2022-lithium.pdf">other countries</a>. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Most of the nation’s lithium supply comes from Argentina, Chile, Russia, and China. </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">According to the article, this technology can bolster the nation’s critical minerals supply chain at a time when concerns about the supply chain’s security are rising.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">So how would we get it?<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Let’s start with what a Geothermal power plant does: it uses heat from the Earth to generate a constant supply of steam to run turbines that produce electricity. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The plants operate by bringing up a complex saline solution (the brine) located far underground, where it absorbs heat and is enriched with minerals such as lithium, manganese, zinc, potassium, and boron.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">These brines are the concentrated liquid left over after heat and steam are extracted at a geothermal plant. It contains high concentrations (about 30 percent) of dissolved solids.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Test Projects are now underway to see how much lithium and other minerals could be extracted from this brine. The 11 existing geothermal plants along the Salton Sea alone could have the potential to produce enough lithium metal to provide about 10 times the current US demand.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">About 20,000 metric tons of lithium metal per year, which equates to a market value of $5 billion at current prices.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Adding the production of critical metals like lithium, manganese, and zinc from geothermal brines could provide geothermal electrical power operators a new competitive advantage and help geothermal technology boom.</li> </ul> <p> </p>