A Data Visualization Newsletter
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Our Favorite Stuff
The Real-World Costs of the Digital Race for Bitcoin Environment $ (Possible Paywall)
Once mainly concentrated in China, Bitcoin mining has quietly become a major drain on the U.S. power grid. An investigation by The New York Times identified 34 large-scale operations in Texas, New York, Georgia, and other states that are causing electricity bills and carbon pollution to skyrocket. The largest Bitcoin mine — Riot Platforms in Rockdale, Texas — uses about the same amount of energy as the nearest 300,000 homes.
While Bitcoin mining pushes carbon emissions up, other efforts are underway to push them down. Many U.S. school districts are eager to electrify their bus fleets, as a way to cut their climate footprint and limit children’s exposure to carcinogens. While billions of dollars from the EPA and Congress are being poured into the effort, electric school buses still represent only 1% of the fleet on U.S. roads.
In what comes as no surprise to those who watched the TikTok hearings last month, the U.S. Congress is getting older. The median senator is now 65 years old, a record high, and median representative is 58. FiveThirtyEight walks us through the reasons for this shift — an aging population, a preference for more experienced politicians — and its implications.
National Geographic Society World Water Map Environment
Demand for water has soared globally over the past century, as we use more and more water in our kitchens, showers, and factories. The result is a “water gap” in a growing number of places: humans use more water than the natural water cycle can provide, and so we tap non-renewable water sources to manage. This tool from NatGeo tracks the water gap hotspots around the world and how they’ve changed over time.
The Physics of a Bicycle Science
Sure, you may have learned to ride a bike when you were younger. But do you really know how a bicycle works? Dust off your high school physics textbook and dive into this interactive explainer from Bartosz Ciechanowski, which explores the delicate interplay between the forces that act on a bike while you’re riding it. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, check out the archives of Bartosz’s blog for other explainers.