Drone-Based Tree Planting

Of all the possible uses for a small drone, I confess tree planting did not occur to me - another reason I am not independently wealthy.

Apparently, it works pretty well, costs a fraction of traditional methods and can be carried out on rougher-than-normal terrain if needed.

Since trees appear to be the "lungs" of our world, and we cut down a lot of trees each year both for timber and to make room for other crops, they need to be replaced at a huge rate. 

Currently, there is an estimated annual net loss of 6 billion trees - yes, with a "B" - so it seems anything we can come up with to help would be welcome.
A drone loaded with germinated seeds fires pods into the ground at a rate of one per second, or about 100,000 a day. Scale this up and 60 drone teams could plant 1 billion trees a year.

image courtesy


Sia Coin Got Forked Up!

A little while ago, I posted about dual mining Ethereum and Sia using Claymore's Miner software. At that time, I also switched to a different mining pool, and was getting good results with the Sia mining.

Well, cryptocurrency being what it is, that did not last.  Sia just performed a hard fork and increased the difficulty quite a bit. So I now look to be mining 4 or 5 Sia per day vs 12-14 per day prior to the fork. Ugh.

Sia currently has a low value per coin (way less than a dollar), but the technology behind it is interesting and it seems that Sia is still worth mining and holding on to as a longer-term "investment" (and I use that term loosely in the crypto world).

At this time, Ethereum is still mining well for me, and is profitable on my small scale set up (3 low-to mid-range gpus).


Tractor Beams For . . . Kidney Stones?

The tractor beam, as it appears in science fiction, is usually applied to trapping or towing one spaceship from another (at least that's what they always seemed to do in the Star Trek TV shows). 

However, if we had real tractor beams what might we use them for - since we don't have a lot of space-going starships to muck about with yet?

Well, thinking of a drastic change of scale, how about something that could grab and move (for example) kidney stones inside the body without any breaking of the skin?

Researchers in the UK have a working sonic device that can levitate small styrofoam balls, and one of the applications they can forsee would be something like the above.
[One of the researchers] explains that possible applications include trapping and moving kidney stones with medical imaging machines. Previously this wasn't possible due to the very small wavelengths they use to capture high resolution images. “Now, because we can trap particles larger than half a wavelength, you could use the same machine that is used for imaging for trapping particles,”


Tuesday's Crypto Bloodbath

It figures; I started cryptomining a few weeks ago and now the cryptocurrency market has taken a major dive.

Today, Tuesday 16th, has been particularly "bloody", with a sea of red fonts indicating coins losing value faster than the tickers can keep up.

Why? Probably a couple of reasons as far as my inexperienced eye can see:

1 - the market seemed pretty "bubble-y" and was likely due some kind of correction, although the size of this one was a bit of a shock.

2 - two major Asian countries (China and South Korea) have either already cracked down on cryptomining and/or trading, or are apparently ready to do so. 

Will the market recover? My guess (that's all it is) would be "yes" at least to some degree. The blockchain technology behind most cryptocurrency is interesting and potentially very useful. 

Down the road however, I would not be shocked to see more regulation be applied.

As the whipped cream on this rancid crypto sundae, the "Bitconnect" crypto lending site stopped it's main business today too, ostensibly as a result of legal actions from a couple of US states and also following a two-day DDOS attack on the site.

It never rains, etc...


A Cryptocurrency Mining Update

A posted previously, I recently ventured into the mysterious world of cryptocurrency mining. I have a couple of PCs set up to mine for two types of coins, and I figured it was time for a quick update.

Hardware wise, everything is doing well and both systems are stable and running as hoped. I have one PC in in the garage and one in the basement; I initially set things up in the garage as it's cold in there and I was not sure what kind of heat was going to be involved by the mining process.


Nvidia GeForce Now: Cloudy , With a Chance of Gaming

Game streaming, or "cloud gaming" has been tried before, but this time we have a well-known player (pun intended) in the game - Nvidia, the GPU maker. Their new GeForce Now service promises that you can play cool video games on your lightweight laptop, Macbook, or whatever.

If you have a pretty fast, low latency Internet connection, that is.

The secret sauce is that the games run on cloud hardware and are only streamed to your computer (like Netflix movies) - the game experience should be otherwise "normal" on your end, it's just that you don't need a $1,500 gaming PC to have a decent experience. Just the appropriate pipe to the Internet, as mentioned previously.

I actually see this catching on for a lot of people, as the on-demand vibe seems strong right now. If the games actually play decently (and that remains to be seen with fast-paced shooters and so on) then this could be a viable option for many; just pay a monthly subscription and have at it.