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Human Activity Threatens Conservation

Human activity like urbanization, mining and road building, threatens conservation areas. Also, an ancient human bus stop, the evolution of music and the energy use of bitcoin.

A third of protected nature reserves around the world are under threat from intense human activities like road building, grazing of animals and urbanization, according to a new study. Professor James Watson from the Wildlife Conservation Society explains that only 10% of lands were completely free of human activity. However, most of these regions are in remote areas in places such as Russia and Canada defeating the idea of creating conservation areas, as too much human activity is endangering the species that should be protected.

Ancient Human “Bus Stop”
When humans first started migrating out of Africa 70-100 000 years ago, it is thought there was a regular ‘stopping point’ on Ethiopia’s River Shinfa at the head of the Blue Nile. The University of Texas’s John Kappelman has been investigating archaeological finds there and tells Roland more of what he has discovered.

Evolution of Music
How have the trends in music changed over recent years? Natalia Komarova has tapped into databases online to discover what characteristics make a song ‘successful’. Her study, which uses machine learning to try to predict the success of songs, shows that the ‘happiness’ of songs is slowly declining, while the ‘danceability’ has increased.

Bitcoin
Alex de Vries explains how bitcoin works, and how there is a limit to bitcoin production. Increased processing power increases your chances of winning bitcoin, but this requires greater energy. Alex predicts that at some point soon mining bitcoins will cost more than they are worth. His calculations suggest that bitcoin electricity usage will soon be almost the same as the consumption of Ireland and discusses the comparison of this with other forms of currencies such as gold.

Picture: Niassa, Mozambique. Credit: JB Deffontaines

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

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27 minutes

Last on

Mon 21 May 2018 00:32GMT

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