Take a look at some of the lakes in California that have been swallowed up by the ‘megadrought’

California drought
  • California has been hit by a “megadrought” that has dried up key reservoirs in the state.
  • Entire lakes have shrunk exponentially, leaving yachts and docks beached on dry land.
  • Nearly 95% of the state is experiencing “severe drought” and is susceptible to wild fires.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

California is facing its worst drought in over four years.

Over 37 million people have already been impacted by the “megadrought” and nearly 95% of the state has been classified as experiencing “Severe Drought,” which puts the land in significant danger of wildfires, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).

Last year, California land was consumed by over 8,200 wildfires – a number double the state’s previous record. This year, scorching weather has dried out reservoirs and made the state even more susceptible to breakout wildfires than the record 2020 season. NIDIS analysts call the outlook for the land “grim.”

california wildfire
October 15, 2017.

Water levels of California’s over 1,500 reservoirs are 50% lower than they should be at this time of year, Jay Lund, co-director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC-Davis told the Associated Press.

In April, scorching weather turned the San Gabriel reservoir lake bed to dust. The reservoir is not expected to see rain fall until the end of the year.

The drought turned the San Gabriel reservoir lake bed to dust
The drought turned the San Gabriel reservoir lake bed to dust

On Wednesday, the drought dried up a lake so much that it potentially exposed a decades old mystery, allowing officials to find a plane that had crashed in 1965.

A composite image showing Folsom Lake, California, at drought levels in 2017, and a sonar image of a plane underwater there.
Folsom Lake, California, under drought conditions in 2017 (L), and the sonar image of a plane there taken by Seafloor Systems (R)

The California drought has been caused by climate change which has pushed temperatures an average of about 2 degrees hotter, drying out soil and melting Sierra snow rivers, which causes less water to soak into the ground, as well as flow through rivers and reservoirs. The state also endured two unusually dry winters that didn’t bring needed storms to the area.

Officials are predicting the water level of Lake Oroville – a primary body of water that helps the state generate energy through hydroelectric power plants – will hit a record low in August. If that happens, they would need to shut down a major hydroelectric power plant, putting extra strain on the electrical grid during the hottest part of the summer.

Earlier this month, about 130 houseboats had to be hauled out of the lake as its water levels hit 38% capacity. The water levels are only at about 45% of average June levels, according to California Department of Water Resources.

House boats pulled out of Lake Orovill

It’s going to be a rough summer for boat owners in the state.

Pictures from the Associated Press show massive lakes have run dry, leaving boats and docks completely beached

Boats at Fulsom Lake

Experts say the drought could devastate local wildlife populations, as well as California’s tourism industry.

California drought

In April, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference in the dried up waterbed of Lake Mendocino. Where he stood there should have been about 40 feet of water.

“This is without precedent,” Newsom said. “Oftentimes we overstate the word historic, but this is indeed an historic moment.”

California drought

The month before, the California Department of Water Resources reduced farmers and growers to 5% of their expected water allocation in March. A move that has farmers leaving large portions of their land unseeded, while other have been forced to purchase supplemental water, which comes at a hefty cost. Supplemental water was priced at $1,500 to $2,000 per acre-foot in mid-May, according to a report from California Farm Bureau.

It has also made it difficult for ranchers to feed and water their livestock

California drought

As California temperatures continue to rise while water reservoirs fall, the state could be in for a devastating summer. From increased fears for wildfires to the impact on state agriculture and tourism, California residents are bracing for the worst drought season since 2014.

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How to use BitClout to bet on the popularity of influencers like Elon Musk on the world’s first crypto social network

Elon Musk's profile on BitClout
  • BitClout allows users to invest in celebrity fame by buying tokens that increase in value as the creators gain popularity.
  • The site traded over $225 million within a month of its launch and is continuing to grow.
  • Here’s what you need to know to get started on investing in creators on BitClout.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

BitClout, a cryptocurrency platform designed to operate as a social network, has already drawn in celebrities and investors from billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya to YouTuber Jake Paul.

The site has traded over $225 million within a month of its launch and is worth about $1 billion, according to a recent report from New York Magazine.

BitClout is designed to let people bet on the popularity of public figures by buying tokens associated with people’s profiles. Users can use BitClout coins to buy a Creator’s Coin and watch its value change based on the creator’s popularity on the site. The site started with 15,000 creator accounts preloaded from the most popular Twitter profiles.

At the moment, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has the most expensive Creator Coin, coming in at nearly $70,000. The Creator Coins gain or lose value depending on how many people buy coins associated with the profile, as there are between 100 to 1,500 coins in existence for each profile.

Individuals included in the 15,000 preloaded Twitter profiles can claim their account by tweeting their BitClout public key, found under the profile section, alongside #bitclout. The creator then receives a blue check mark next to their account name and can begin earning a percentage of the profits from the Creator Coins associated with their name.

Top creator accounts on BitClout
Top creator accounts on BitClout

Even people outside of public figures and celebrities can profit off their own Creator Coins, as well as generate money investing in other accounts. BitClout investor @Sigil told Insider, he invested about $150 Canadian dollars in his BitClout account and made thousands within three days. The 17-year-old was also able to push his own coin’s value from $0 to a market cap over $500,000.

How to set up your BitClout account

BitClout sign up page
BitClout sign up page

The first step to setting up your BitClout account involves keep tracking of a “seed” phrase for your account. The string of non-related words operates as a type of passcode or safety measure for protecting your account.

At this point, it is important to save a picture or write down your seed phrase, as the site will require the phrase whenever you need to log in or out of your account. The site warns that if you lose your seed phrase, your account, along with the money you put into it, will be lost forever.

BitClout seed phrase

The next steps to setting up your account involves providing a phone number and an email address, as well as verifying your phone number.

Once you have officially created your account, you can choose whether to buy BitClout coins immediately, browse Creator Coins to buy, or update your profile information by claiming a username and avatar image.

On your profile you can also set your “Founder Reward Percentage.” The percentage is automatically set at 10%, but can be shifted anywhere from 0% t0 100%. The Founder percentage allows you to keep a certain percentage of your Creator Coins. If a founder sets the percentage too high it can discourage potential buyers, but owning your own coins can also help push the value of your own Creator Coins up.

BitClout profile page

How to buy BitClout coins

The only way to buy BitClout is by using bitcoin. Thus, the first step is to download a digital wallet app or create an account on a desktop and buy bitcoin.

Once the wallet is set up, the next step is to go to the “Buy BitClout” tab on the site. Copy the address under “Send Bitcoin to this address” and go back into the wallet app. In the app, select “Send Crypto to another wallet.” Then, select the amount of money you want to convert into BitClout and hit “Continue.”

When the next page appears on the digital wallet, paste your BitClout address into the “To” field and select the preview button. You will see a preview of the transfer, as well as the network fee. If the amount is an appropriate number, you can hit “Send now” on the digital wallet.

It should only take a few moments, but the amount should then appear on your BitClout account, under “Buy BitClout.” If It does not immediately appear, you can also hit “Refresh” under “Amount Deposited.”

Buy BitClout page

Once the bitcoin has been deposited in your account, you can use the coins to buy BitClout coins. Prices for the coins fluctuate, but were $170 per BitClout on Friday.

Under “Step Two” on the page, type the amount of BitClout you want to buy or convert all the bitcoin by hitting “Max.”

Buy BitClout page

In order to convert to BitClout, you must exchange at least 0.0001 Bitcoin, or about $6.40, according to the current value of BitCoin. Once the number has been entered, you can hit “Buy BitClout.” Then a review of your purchase will pop up on the screen; hit the “OK” button to complete the conversion.

After you hit “OK,” you will get a screen showing your new BitClout balance.

How to use the BitClout site

On the site you can follow other accounts, like, comment and direct message, much like Twitter. The feed is designed to emulate the feel of Twitter, but also uses a creator’s market value to determine which comments are prioritized on accounts. All posts are public on the site’s general feed.

BitClout

Each action requires users to maintain some BitClout coins in order to pay the gas fees for each action which is recorded on the blockchain.

Users can also invest in Creator Coins by searching for the profiles and selecting the “Buy” button, which will be followed by a confirmation page.

While the most expensive Creator Coin on BitClout currently belongs to Musk, BitClout investor @Sigil argues the best way to make money on the site is to invest in accounts that are valued near zero.

“They can only go up and you can help push them up by buying into the account,” @Sigil told Insider.

When you create a profile, there are initially zero coins in existence, which makes the price for the creator’s coins $0. When a user buys into another account, BitClout mints the coins and sells them according to a price curve, making it more and more expensive as more coins are purchased.

BitClout price curve
BitClout price curve

The money you use to buy the coins gets stored in the user’s profile and adds to the value of the account. You can also sell the coins and the profile will buy them back from you, causing the account’s value to go down.

While BitClout has become increasingly popular since it was launched over a month ago, the site is already facing criticism

Many critics of the site have questioned the security of the platform, as well as the anonymity of its creator known only as @diamondhands. BitClout’s bitcoin holdings, which typically are secured on the blockchain, are held privately in servers, NY Mag reported. The site also does not currently have an option to exchange its coins for US dollars.

BitClout responded to doubts about its security on Twitter. “A rumor has been going around that BitClout is insecure,” @Bitclout_ tweeted. “Just wanted to say this is untrue full-stop. The dev community completed multiple audits specifically around seed phrase handling prior to launch, and the nodes have been running since last year without issue.”

@Sigil told Insider he doesn’t see BitClout as any different than bitcoin. When the first decentralized cryptocurrency launched it also did not have a way to directly convert the bitcoins back to US dollars.

For now, users can sell their coins on various Discord servers or via Twitter threads. @Sigil is also working on his own business to solve this problem by building his own trading site called BitSwap, a site that allows people to buy and sell BitClout for Ethereum.

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