Why it matters: In what could be more bad news for those hoping to see an end to the chip shortage crisis, crypto mining giant Bitmain has reportedly tapped TSMC to create an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) using the Taiwanese firm’s 5nm fabrication process. According to a report from DigiTimes (via Tom’s Hardware ), Bitmain’s 5nm chip orders with TSMC will begin at the start of the third quarter before ramping up substantially in Q1 2022. The improved power-efficiency of the foundry’s N5 process would be well suited for mining, and with Bitcoin and Ethereum prices reaching record highs, demand is likely to remain high for a while. The concern here is that Bitmain’s order could put pressure on other 5nm-based products. Right now, the biggest N5 customer is Apple, which uses the process for its A14 Bionic (iPhone 12, iPad Air) and M1 system-on-chips in the latest Macs and iPad Pros. AMD’s Zen 4 architecture is set to be fabricated on the 5nm process node and is … [Read more...] about Bitmain places orders for 5nm mining chips with TSMC
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Humans haven't always been great to nature. But at least our ancestors may not have killed off island megafauna in the distant past, so that's something. New research , published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, suggests that there's not enough data to say that hominids in the Pleistocene—2.6 million to 11,700 years ago—were responsible for most of the extinctions on the islands they traveled to. Overkill The hypothesis that homo sapiens' distant ancestors killed off the world’s myriad ancient megafauna (not just on islands) dates back to 1966, with geoscientist Paul Martin 's "overkill" proposal. But the idea has been floating around for far longer than the formal proposal. According to Julien Louys—associate professor of paleontology at Griffiths University in Australia and an author of the new research—the question of what caused the death of the world's megafauna dates back to the 19th century. “It has, in certain circles, become very polarized,” … [Read more...] about Did our ancestors kill all the island megafauna?