Did You Know?

Wireless communication via WiFi can be affected by microwave ovens.

Large-scale data centers (collections of computers) generate so much heat that cooling is an important concern in where to place them. Locations in cold climates are favored, and people are starting to work seriously on putting them in the ocean.

“Bits to Bitcoin” was partly inspired by the professional textbook “Principles of Computer Systems Design” by Jerry Saltzer and Frans Kaashoek.

Bitcoin depends on a kind of “computational treadmill” that repeatedly solves hard puzzles.

The total energy spent on Bitcoin puzzle-solving is constantly growing. Bitcoin’s energy consumption is already estimated to be larger than the total energy consumption of Chile.

The Internet is composed of many different networks, each with different ownership and control. The “seams” between these networks are usually not visible to ordinary users.

Relationships between networks in the Internet are like relationships between nation states. The relationships are negotiated between the networks, and are primarily enforced by the participants.

In general, a digital representation is more robust than a corresponding analog representation against low levels of interference and noise.

As noise worsens, analog systems typically have a noticeable transition into “noisy” operation before they stop working. In similar circumstances, digital systems generally make sharper — and possibly more surprising — transitions from “working” to “not working,” with little warning.