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Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund | The Global Mechanism

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund is a private sector fund for enterprise innovation hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

 

To achieve sustainable development through innovation in the rural economies of Africa.

 

Private sector entities operating in the field of energy and agribusiness. Companies can be based anywhere in the world; however, the business idea must be implemented in Africa. Only for-profit companies starting new ventures are eligible to receive funding.

 

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Our Global Future in the 21st Century is based on "The Third Industrial Revolution" which finally connects our new ICT infrastructure with distributed energy sources that are both renewable and sustainable
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This civil engineer is building houses to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes | Ana Sofia Knauf | Grist.org

This civil engineer is building houses to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes | Ana Sofia Knauf | Grist.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Concrete might as well be part of Elizabeth Hausler Strand’s blood.

Alongside her father, a masonry company owner, she spent her high school and college summer breaks in Chicago learning how to build houses. Then, in 2004, she founded Build Change, a nonprofit that retrofits and builds permanent housing in the wake of natural disasters. She was inspired to start the organization while finishing up a civil engineering masters program at the University of California Berkeley — after seeing the devastation that followed a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Gujarat, India, which killed more than 20,000 people.

“I look at housing as a basic human right — everyone has the right to a safe house that can protect them from natural disasters [including] earthquakes, typhoons, and wind storms,” she says. “I felt that is an engineering challenge that I could help to solve.”

Hausler Strand launched Build Change’s first project in Indonesia after the Indian Ocean tsunami leveled the northern part of the country in 2005. Ten years later, the organization still has a hub in the Southeast Asian nation and has since started projects in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, the Philippines, and, most recently, Nepal. In these communities, the organization partners with homeowners and local construction workers to teach safer building standards. Homeowners continue to receive grant money and technical assistance from Build Change as long as their home is constructed in compliance with the organization’s safety standards.


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Thomas Piketty Interview: “Germany has never repaid.” | Gavin Schalliol | Medium.com

Thomas Piketty Interview: “Germany has never repaid.” | Gavin Schalliol | Medium.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In a forceful interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, the star economist Thomas Piketty calls for a major conference on debt. Germany, in particular, should not withhold help from Greece.

This interview has been translated from the original German.

Since his successful book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the Frenchman Thomas Piketty has been considered one of the most influential economists in the world. His argument for the redistribution of income and wealth launched a worldwide discussion. In a interview with Georg Blume of DIE ZEIT, he gives his clear opinions on the European debt debate.


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Coal investment is the most urgent climate threat | Alex Kirby | Climate News Network

Coal investment is the most urgent climate threat | Alex Kirby | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The future of coal has come under scrutiny from a perhaps unlikely source – the head of the organisation representing wealthy nations that relied on coal for 32% of electricity generation last year.

Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said the scale of new investments in “unabated” coal-fired electricity generation − where greenhouse gases are emitted directly to the atmosphere − posed the most urgent threat to the Earth’s climate.

Speaking in London, he said governments should be sceptical about the benefits of coal for their citizens. They should rethink the role of coal in energy supply, and conduct a more rigorous evaluation of its true costs.


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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, July 5, 6:30 PM

Without new mitigation measures, coal generation is projected to emit more than 500 billion tonnes of CO2 between now and 2050 − eating up around half the remaining carbon budget that scientists say is consistent with keeping a global temperature rise below 2°C.

In any case, Dr Gurría said, countries’ contributions to emissions reductions after 2020 are not consistent with a 2°C pathway. He said the carbon clock was ticking and the Paris COP21 climate conference must give a clear and credible signal that governments are determined to go for a higher level of ambition.

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Growing Underground farms greens in forgotten tunnels below London | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

Growing Underground farms greens in forgotten tunnels below London | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The "world’s first underground urban farm" is set to start selling herbs and salads grown 33 m (108 ft) below the streets of London. Growing Underground is based in disused World War II tunnels. At less than two miles from the city-center, it promises farm-to-fork produce in less than four hours.

Growing Underground is the brainchild of West Country entrepreneurs Richard Ballard and Steven Dring and has been developed in partnership with Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr. It was conceived as a means of producing local and environmentally-friendly high-quality produce, with the disused tunnels providing the ideal location.

The tunnels are located below London's Northern Line underground rail link in the Clapham area of the city and were previously used as a bomb shelter for residents. The site currently being used was able to accommodate 8,000 people when needed. Now it provides a steady and controllable environment for Ballard and Dring to grow their crops.

The location allows for all year round urban farming, as it's unaffected by weather and seasonal changes. It is a pesticide-free environment and the hydroponics system employed is said to use 70 percent less water than traditional open-field farming. Likewise, the lighting and irrigation systems mean the crops can be grown with very little energy. What energy is used is sourced only from green suppliers.


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New York City: The Town Shrink | Robert Sullivan | NYTimes.com

New York City: The Town Shrink | Robert Sullivan | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

High Bridge, spanning the Harlem River and connecting Manhattan to the Bronx, is the oldest bridge in New York City. It is also an aqueduct, or used to be. Built in the 1840s, when public health officials across the country were battling cholera, it carried clean water from upstate to a growing urban population.


In just a few decades, planners would build not just aqueducts but the so-called sanitary greens that today we call parks, including Highbridge Park, on the Manhattan side of the bridge.


A side benefit of High Bridge was the walkway above the aqueduct that allowed Bronx pedestrians to reach Manhattan. By the 1960s, though, the aqueduct was no longer in use, and city planners, working to fight what was then called urban blight, decided to disconnect the boroughs. The Parks Department closed the old bridge, cutting off an artery.

In June, the Parks Department reopened High Bridge to pedestrians, not just resuming the flow of foot traffic but also connecting it to a more recent innovation in public health, called the Giraffe Path, which was spearheaded by Mindy Thompson Fullilove, a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.


Fullilove has spent the past 30 years investigating how broken connections between various parts of cities harm public health and, more recently, exploring ways to reconnect them.


The Giraffe Path, a six-mile trail that runs from Central Park to the Cloisters, is designed to do just that, providing links between communities that have, by Fullilove’s analysis, undergone systematic disinvestment, resulting in numerous public health crises: AIDS epidemics, crack addiction, asthma, post-traumatic stress and obesity.

The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health is a sponsor of the trail initiative, called City Life Is Moving Bodies, or Climb, along with the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, a local nonprofit.


This year, after more than a decade of community meetings with the Parks Department, local college students who started hiking the Giraffe Path when they were kids at last saw their route extended, as the gates on High Bridge were opened, a victory for the city’s entire circulatory system.


‘‘People have a pretty easy time accepting the analogy between the body and the city,’’ Fullilove says. Indeed, when considering the health of the city as a whole, metaphor and reality neatly align. Rule No. 1 for long life: Stay active, keep the blood flowing. Rule No. 1 for urban planning: Never close an artery.


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Lebanon: Minister unveils 2020 fibre, 4G, 5G plans | TeleGeography.com

Lebanon’s telecoms minister Boutros Harb has revealed a five-year plan to deploy high speed fibre-optic broadband infrastructure across the country by 2020. Harb announced on Wednesday: ‘Fibre-optic networks will be installed in Lebanon progressively over five years and the country will be totally connected through this technology by the year 2020.’


As reported by local newspaper The Daily Star, the minister added that 4G LTE mobile services – currently covering ‘around 16%’ of the territory – will be expanded to cover the whole country in two years, in preparation for 5G launches around 2020. He continued: ‘We have been receiving a lot of complaints regarding the malfunction of the internet connectivity. This is why we need to work hard on developing this project … The project will cost over USD600 million but it will be fully covered by the budget of the Telecommunications Ministry.’


Harb stressed that the cost of implementing the five-year plan would be less than the losses incurred by Lebanon in the absence of such important technology. ‘This project will attract foreign investments to Lebanon while providing new job opportunities,’ he added.

Minister Harb explained that the fibre-optic project involves the creation of an initial fibre network directly connecting to around 15,000 commercial, banking, financial and economic institutions in the first phase, while another direct fibre network will connect homes and offices.


Three pilot projects are in progress to evaluate fibre broadband service quality, including a scheme in Ras Masqa (Koura) providing 100Mbps-plus access speeds to pilot users.


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Greece rejects bailout, could exit euro | Mark Hensch | The Hill

Greece rejects bailout, could exit euro | Mark Hensch | The Hill | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Greece has reportedly rejected Europe’s terms for further bailout from its debt crisis in vote that could see the nation exit the Eurozone.

Greek voters overwhelmingly voted “No” on Sunday in a historic bailout referendum, according to multiple news reports.

Reuters said that 60.4 percent of Greeks voted against a bailout offer from international creditors. The “Yes” option received 40.1 percent of support, the news outlet added.

Ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had said that a “no” would not automatically mean a Greek exit from the euro, but could strengthen Athens’s hand in restructuring its debt.

The Greek government said on Sunday that it is restarting negotiations over the details of a potential debt bailout by global creditors.

“The negotiations which will start must be concluded very soon, even within 48 hours,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said on Greek television. “We will undertake every effort to seal it soon."


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UN hails cooperatives as vehicle to make sustainable development a reality for all | NewKerala.com

UN hails cooperatives as vehicle to make sustainable development a reality for all | NewKerala.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Cooperatives will play an "invaluable role" in the international community's roll-out of a sustainable development goals, said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who today marked the International Day of Cooperatives with an appeal for all to recommit to the business model, which could help make the vision of a sustainable future a reality for everyone.


Inequality is a fundamental obstacle to development, depriving people of basic services and opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their children, the Secretary-General declared in his message for the Day, which is on the theme Choose Cooperatives, Choose Equality.

The cooperative model helps meet this challenge. Cooperatives strive to uphold the principles of equality and democratic participation, says Mr. Ban

According to Cooperatives and Sustainable Development Goals, a recently-produced study by the UNs International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), cooperatives contribute to sustainable development and hold the potential to do much more: from creating employment and enhancing gender equality to providing clean energy and financial inclusion to ensuring food security and extending social protection.

Cooperatives are strongly committed to the communities they serve, Mr. Ban continued.

This business model, built on inclusion and sustainability, offers a pathway toward economic, social and political justice for all.

At the same time, the UN has long noted that the benefits of the cooperative model expand well beyond its contribution towards sustainable development.


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Indiana: Wet farms are 'a total loss' | Lu Ann Franklin | NWITimes.com

Indiana: Wet farms are 'a total loss' | Lu Ann Franklin | NWITimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Crops need water, but the torrential downpours over the last two months have drowned out thousands of acres of corn and soybeans throughout Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Jasper counties, according to area farmers. These counties make up what is known as Northwest Indiana.

Those crops that have survived remain vulnerable, adding up to big losses for farm families.

“We’ve had 17 inches of rain since April 20. We got all our crops planted, but we got too much rain," said Matt Hayden, whose family farms 4,000 acres in Lowell and Hebron. "It’s affected the corn more. Stuff is already ruined.”

This is the second year wet weather has created problems for area farmers, he said, with 6-8 inches of rain destroying crops last year.

During times of drought, corn sends its roots deep into the soil in search of water, making the corn stalks stronger. However, when the ground is wet, corn’s root systems remain shallow. That makes the corn stalks vulnerable to high winds that will topple the plants, Hayden explained.

“We’ve lost about half our crop. Everything else will be about half the size or shape it should be,” he said.

Matt Hayden, whose father, Jerry, started farming in 1975, sells his corn crops to the Cargill plant in Hammond to make corn-based products.

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UK: World's first zero-emission double-decker bus to arrive in London this year | Chris Wood | GizMag.com

UK: World's first zero-emission double-decker bus to arrive in London this year | Chris Wood | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

London's public transport network is about to get a lot greener, with Mayor Boris Johnson announcing that the world's first purpose-built pure electric double-decker bus will hit the city's streets later this year. The announcement was made at the Clean Bus Summit, where 24 cities around the world committed to putting ultra-low emission buses on the road.

Public transport in the UK's biggest city has been inching toward a greener future for years now, announcing its first hybrid buses back in 2009. There are now more than 1,300 of those on the streets of the capital, and it's time for the next big step.

The new all-electric buses were produced in conjunction with BYD, which worked on the tricky problem of fitting enough batteries into the zero emissions vehicles to provide enough power.


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MyRepublic launches Indonesian fibre service | TeleGeography.com

Fibre broadband start-up MyRepublic, based in Singapore and backed by Indonesian telco Sunshine Network and French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel, has announced the launch of fibre internet services in Indonesia.


The newcomer’s Indonesian website is already allowing customers to sign up for services, with prices starting at an uber competitive USD15 per month for the ‘Basic’ plan, up to the most expensive at around USD70 (‘Supernova’) for a 300Mbps connection.


With operations already live in Singapore – where it has set out its stall to disrupt the status quo – and New Zealand (since last October), MyRepublic’s online presence suggests that its fibre broadband is live in nine retail locations in Indonesia, including Bahasa, Palembang and Surabaya.

Last month, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that MyRepublic is also thought to be considering taking its ‘disruptive’ business model to Malaysia.


At the time, MyRepublic chief executive officer Malcolm Rodrigues was quoted as saying that his company welcomes market deregulation in the telecoms space which gives opportunity to newcomers to shake up the market – dependent of course on the Malaysian regulators creating an environment conducive to its business model. ‘Every time you have a deregulation event in the market, from opening up the long-distance market in the United States in the 1980s, to the local loop unbundling [LLU] 15 years ago, also in the states, you can see 30% of the market leaving incumbents in virtually every country,’ he said.


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Greece’s Debt Burden: The Truth Finally Emerges | John Cassidy | The New Yorker

Greece’s Debt Burden: The Truth Finally Emerges | John Cassidy | The New Yorker | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Just when you thought that the Greece saga had run out of plot twists, another one emerged on Thursday—and it was an important one. A few days before a referendum that will probably decide the fate of Greece’s Syriza government, one of the country’s creditors, the International Monetary Fund, came out and acknowledged that the stricken country is unlikely to recover until a good portion of its huge debt load is wiped out.

Echoing the argument that Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s controversial finance minister, has been making for months, the I.M.F. published an internal analysis that described Greece’s debt dynamics as “unsustainable.” At a minimum, the analysis said, the maturity dates of Greece’s loans, which total more than three hundred billion euros, “will need to be extended significantly.” And if Greece doesn’t push through all of the structural and fiscal reforms that the Fund believes are necessary, “haircuts on debt will become necessary.” (A “haircut” is the financial term for reducing the face value of outstanding debt. If you owned a $1,000 bond and it was subjected to a haircut of ten per cent, it would entitle you to collect just $900 when it became due.)

I should stress that these conclusions weren’t based on the assumption that Syriza, or any future Greek government, would fail to carry through the policy reforms that its creditors are calling for, which include a relaxation of labor laws and a cut in pensions. To the contrary, the I.M.F’s analysis assumes that Greece accepts and meets the terms of the latest offer from its creditors, which the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, rejected last weekend. This deal would involve the Greek government running a primary budget surplus of one per cent of G.D.P. this year, two per cent in 2016, three per cent in 2017, and 3.5 per cent thereafter. Even if this were to happen, and the Greek economy were to expand at a rate of 1.5 per cent annually, a fifty-per-cent improvement on its historical trend, Greece’s debts are so large that “further concessions are necessary for debt sustainability,” the report says.

One option the report considers involves extending the terms of Greece’s loans from twenty years to forty years, and doubling, from ten to twenty years, the grace period during which it doesn’t have to make any principal repayments. This, in itself, would amount to a significant hit to creditors. But what if the best Greece can manage over the long haul is to run a primary surplus of 2.5 per cent (rather than the 3.5 per cent called for in the latest offer), which seems a bit more realistic—and the economy grows in line with the historical trend? Then, the report concludes, in addition to doubling the grace period for principal repayments and extending the maturities on Greece’s loans, the country’s creditors would have to write off more than fifty billion euros’ worth of debts.


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Transport sharing boosts health, wealth and climate | Paul Brown | Climate News Network

Transport sharing boosts health, wealth and climate | Paul Brown | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

New research into how people’s habits change shows that everyone benefits from car-sharing schemes − apart from car manufacturers who suffer a loss of sales.

Car sharing is a growing social trend across Europe and North America and is expected to increase by 36% annually to 2020, especially in compact cities where people do not need a car every day but want to use one for family trips and holidays.

In the European Union, 72% of people live in cities and account for 70% of energy consumption, so car sharing could make a big contribution to reducing emissions as well as cutting air pollution. The increasing use of phone apps to locate the nearest vehicle or bicycle in a sharing scheme means organisation has become cheaper and simpler.


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Our view on Greece’s no vote: eight days that shook a continent | Editorial | The Guardian

Our view on Greece’s no vote: eight days that shook a continent | Editorial | The Guardian | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Kicking the can down the road has been the cliche of choice over a slow euro crisis that has steadily strangled the life out of the Greek economy. But at some point Europe was bound to run out of road. That happened on Sunday night, when it emerged that the Greek people had said no to continuing to engage with their creditors on the same suffocating terms.

Just over a week ago, Alexis Tsipras staked his future on forcing this denouement. The eight days that followed his midnight declaration of a plebiscite, to accept or reject the creditors’ terms for the latest slug of overdraft, have witnessed many extraordinary things. The Greek parliament licensed a hasty referendum on a question that had already been overtaken by events. A ballot paper written in jargon posed a ludicrously technical question, opening up a void for emotion to fill.


Mixing talk of “terror” from their partners with haze about what would happen after a no, Mr Tsipras and his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, aimed squarely for the heart rather than the head. Meanwhile, Greeks faced the fiercest financial controls ever seen in modern Europe: bank doors were shut, supplies disrupted, and citizens queued at every cashpoint for their ration of notes. In countries such as Germany, where history engenders suspicion of referendums, it may have looked like a paradigm case of how not to do democracy.

But the response of the creditors was more extraordinary still. The first noises from the council of finance ministers and the European Central Bank sounded so hawkish that they might have been trying to get the vote cancelled. But then came a bit of a rethink: it emerged that the ECB was capping, rather than cutting off, liquidity support, and leaders including Angela Merkel spied an opportunity to rid themselves of a tricksy interlocutor.


They imagined scared voters rallying to yes, trashing Mr Tsipras’s personal authority and perhaps unravelling his loose-knit Syriza alliance. By signalling that voting no would push Greece out of the euro, they broke all the usual protocols by weighing into someone else’s democratic contest. It was an appallingly presumptuous path to go down. Now, after Greece has said no, Mr Tsipras’s future is not the immediate question. It is the fate of the euro itself which is hanging by a thread.

All the eurozone leaders have their own mandates and domestic pressures, but those in the prosperous north should have grasped how much less room for manoeuvre there was for a Greek government presiding over a society which hardship has pushed to the edge of ruin. Having scotched one referendum plan under the altogether more clubbable George Papandreou government, northern leaders seeing the plebiscite resurface in less palatable form should have done a little soul-searching, about whether it is sustainable for Europe to allow itself to be pitted against “the people” in any one state.


Above all, the creditors should have shown humility about the abject failure of five years of imposed austerity, which have not even succeeded in the very narrow terms of making it feasible for Athens to pay its debts.

The messy fallout from the referendum will need to be much more adroitly managed than the campaign. Athens needs to cool the rhetoric, and negotiate with steely calm. It may be economically weak, but the logic of the negotiation could be on its side.


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A Revolutionary Pope Calls for Rethinking the Outdated Criteria That Rule the World | Ellen Brown | Truthdig.com

A Revolutionary Pope Calls for Rethinking the Outdated Criteria That Rule the World | Ellen Brown | Truthdig.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Pope Francis has been called “the revolutionary Pope.” Before he became Pope Francis, he was a Jesuit Cardinal in Argentina named Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the son of a rail worker. Moments after his election, he made history by taking on the name Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi, the leader of a rival order known to have shunned wealth to live in poverty.

Pope Francis’ June 2015 encyclical is called “Praised Be,” a title based on an ancient song attributed to St. Francis. Most papal encyclicals are addressed only to Roman Catholics, but this one is addressed to the world.


And while its main focus is considered to be climate change, its 184 pages cover much more than that. Among other sweeping reforms, it calls for a radical overhaul of the banking system. It states in Section IV:


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Australia: Is Medibank HQ the world's healthiest building to work in? | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

Australia: Is Medibank HQ the world's healthiest building to work in? | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Australia’s largest health insurer, Medibank, recently moved into a new HQ that is claimed to be one of the healthiest workplaces in the world. Medibank Place is located in the Docklands area of Melbourne. It is aimed at embodying what the company says are its preventative health and wellbeing principles.

Conceived by design firm Hassell, the building is said to place the mental and physical health of people at its heart. It is described as being "hard-wired for health."

To begin, employees are able to choose how and where they work. They are kitted out with laptops and mobile phones for mobility – this allows them to move between the 26 different types of work settings on offer at Medbanks Place. These range from indoor quiet spaces and collaborative hubs to Wi-Fi-enabled balconies and places to stand whilst working.

Not only does this sort of choice empower employees and afford them the opportunity of working in more healthy ways (such as standing), but it encourages them to move about more. With this in mind, the building's stairs are designed to be the easiest way to move between floors, again encouraging a more health-centric workplace lifestyle.


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Catherine Devin's curator insight, Today, 3:20 AM

Un des immeubles de bureaux les plus sains au monde pour cette société d'assurance santé Australienne qui a voulu son bâtiment "câblé pour la santé".  

 

Parfaite cohérence entre le projet et le métier, au service de l'image de Medibank, mais aussi démarche potentiellement exemplaire dont les résultats pourraient amener d'autres organisations à adopter des projets similaires.

 

Bien-être et performance au travail ont des composantes multifactorielles, dont certaines en lien direct avec la qualité objective du cadre de travail, des locaux.

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Dutch students reveal solar-powered family car | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

Dutch students reveal solar-powered family car | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Dutch students have developed a new family car that is not only powered by the sun, but generates more energy than it uses. Stella Lux seats up to four people and is designed to be efficient, intelligent and comfortable. It will compete in the World Solar Challenge in Australia later this year.

Stella Lux was developed by Solar Team Eindhoven (STE), a group of 21 students from different faculties of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). The students each put their studies on hold for for a year and a half in order to work on the project, the aim of which is to create "the car of the future."

In 2013, STE developed the precursor to Stella Lux, known simply as Stella, which won the Cruiser Class of the World Solar Challenge that year. The team says that Stella proved it was possible to create a solar-powered family car, and adds its goal now is to show that such a car can also be sexy and user-friendly.

Stella Lux generates electricity via 5.8 sq m (62.4 sq ft) of solar cells and has an additional battery capacity of 15 kWh. A full charge provides a range of over 1,000 km (621 mi) in the Dutch climate or 1,100 km (684 mi) in the Australian climate, and the car has a top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph).


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Our Florida Springs: Nature vs. Nitrates | CMF Public Media

Our Florida Springs: Nature vs. Nitrates | CMF Public Media | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Many of Florida’s springs, including Wekiva Springs in Seminole County, have high levels of nitrate contamination which has stimulated a dangerous growth in algae and water plants.


Scientists Dr. Robert Knight and Dr. Todd Kincaid present their analysis of the problem, and the research that suggests action to protect the Floridan Aquifer and the springs.


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Bernie Sanders Will End the IMF's Economic Violence in Greece and Africa | Robert Naiman | Common Dreams

Bernie Sanders Will End the IMF's Economic Violence in Greece and Africa | Robert Naiman | Common Dreams | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Many people want to know more about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' foreign policy agenda. Yes, they say, we like what Sanders is saying about reducing extreme inequality, about reducing the political power of the billionaire class. But what about U.S. foreign policy? Yes, they say, Bernie voted no on the Iraq war; yes, they acknowledge, Sanders supports the Iran deal. But we're spending more than half of our federal income tax dollars on the Pentagon's empire, money we should be spending on rebuilding our nation's domestic infrastructure. "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death," Dr. King said. What's Bernie going to do about that?

I'm all for pushing Bernie to talk more about downsizing the Pentagon to be an institution focused on actually defending the United States, as opposed to running around the world overthrowing other people's governments - a Pentagon that "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy," as President John Quincy Adams put it.

But we should also take advantage of the new opportunity that now presents itself; it's not only with bombs that U.S. foreign policy kills and injures innocent civilians.

We should recognize and publicize the fact that Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate who is talking about what the IMF is doing to Greece, the only presidential candidate who has a track record of opposing the IMF, the only presidential candidate who, if elected, is likely to do anything to end the economic violence of the IMF.


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India: ‘One nation, one number’ comes into effect | TeleGeography.com

India has launched full national mobile number portability (MNP) – also known as ‘One nation, one number’ – today, allowing mobile subscribers to continue using the same number when they move to any other operator in the country. Previously, India’s MNP system only allowed users to port their number within the same operating area.


Commenting on the project, Rajan Matthews, director general of industry group the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), was quoted by the Economic Times as saying: ‘It has been a very complex exercise with 500,000 towers and switches, two MNP providers and mobile operators, but we’re ready now.’


According to the most recent statistics from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), 3.17 million subscribers submitted MNP requests in April 2015, with 157.01 million using the service since its introduction in 2011. In terms of operating areas, Karnataka has seen the greatest number of MNP requests with 18.09 million, followed by Andhra Pradesh (14.97 million), Rajasthan (14.89 million), Gujarat (12.75 million) and Maharashtra (12.04 million).

As previously noted by CommsUpdate, the launch was delayed by two months from its original deadline of 3 May 2015 to allow for operators to make technical changes to their networks following alterations to the national numbering plan (NNP).

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Why Caterpillar is letting its geek flag fly | Micah Maidenberg | Crain's Chicago Business

Why Caterpillar is letting its geek flag fly | Micah Maidenberg | Crain's Chicago Business | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago, Dale Milton sat at his desk in Caterpillar's fleet monitoring office in downtown Peoria, IL, keeping tabs on a piece of Cat equipment half a world away in a key mining region in western Australia.

From his computer, Milton studied the machine's oil pressure and filters. A condition-monitoring adviser at the equipment behemoth, he could recommend that the owner take some preventive maintenance measures based on analysis of the most recent oil sample on hand and other data points.

The goal was to stay ahead of any unforeseen “events”—that is, when the grind of mining causes a breakdown and idles an expensive piece of equipment. “I'm trying to alert people before events occur on the machine, because events usually drive downtime, unscheduled,” he said.

The monitoring center fields information from about 350,000 Caterpillar machines around the world. How to use such information to drive growth and improve customer performance is high on CEO Doug Oberhelman's to-do list—especially since, with 3.5 million or so pieces of equipment active across the globe, much more data is coming.

Challenged by sluggish sales and salivating over a market that could reach $500 billion in spending by 2020, heavy-equipment manufacturers are racing to figure out how to triangulate streams of information from their machines and use that knowledge to arm customers.


Tokyo-based Komatsu and General Electric kicked off a data partnership in April that allows mining companies to find the most efficient trucking routes and even drive faster on mine sites. Separately, Fairfield, Conn.-based GE has been out front promoting its effort to modernize its products, adding sensors to locomotives, for example, so it can predict when axles are going to break down.


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New dimensions of quantum information added through hyperentanglement | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com

New dimensions of quantum information added through hyperentanglement | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In quantum cryptography, encoding entangled photons with particular spin states is a technique that ensures data transmitted over fiber networks arrives at its destination without being intercepted or changed. However, as each entangled pair is usually only capable of being encoded with one state (generally the direction of its polarization), the amount of data carried is limited to just one quantum bit per photon. To address this limitation, researchers have now devised a way to "hyperentangle" photons that they say can increase the amount of data carried by a photon pair by as much as 32 times.

In this research, a team led by engineers from UCLA has verified that it is possible to break up and entangle photon pairs into many dimensions using properties such as the photons' energy and spin, with each extra dimension doubling the photons' data carrying capacity. Using this technique, known as "hyperentanglement", each photon pair is able to be programmed with far more data than was previously possible with standard quantum encoding methods.


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Philadelphia to turn disused overhead railway into much-needed parkland | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

Philadelphia to turn disused overhead railway into much-needed parkland | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Philadelphia is hoping to follow in the footsteps of New York and Chicago by converting its defunct overhead railway into public parkland. At 3 mi (4.8 km), the Philadelphia Rail Park would be longer than both the High Line and the 606, and would provide much-needed green space for the area.

Philadelphia has been variously described as having a "severe lack of open, public, green space" (Studio Bryan Hanes) and being "seriously under-parked" (Richard Roark, partner at OLIN Landscape Architecture and Urban Design). Such a project would, therefore, arguably mean more to Philadelphia than to New York or Chicago.

The Rail Park is said to traverse 50 city blocks and connect several neighborhoods, which would help to knit the city together. There is also a cultural linking element to the project, as the route passes close by arts and cultural city institutions including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Barnes Foundation and the Community College of Philadelphia. It also crosses the city's "Avenue of the Arts," Broad Street.

The Rail Park would be created on the Reading Viaduct and City Branch of the former Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. The planned first phase of the project is a quarter-mile stretch up to the Reading Viaduct, which was used to transport people and freight into and out of Philadelphia for almost a century prior to it closing in the 1980s.


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Australia : NBN adds another 200,000 premises to rollout plan | TeleGeogarphy.com

An additional 200,000 premises have been added to the rollout plan for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), according to nbn, the company overseeing the project. Issuing its quarterly construction update, the company said this now covers more than three million premises where work is already underway or in plan to commence before the end December 2016.


Communities added to the plan include: parts of Margaret River in the South West and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia; Buderim on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and Springfield in Greater Brisbane; Port Macquarie on the New South Wales Mid North Coast as well as Ryde, North Sydney and North Manly in Sydney along with Portsea on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and Beaconsfield in Greater Melbourne.

NBN’s chief operating officer Greg Adcock said of the development update: ‘The expansion of the rollout reflects the company’s new multi-technology approach and is an important step toward reaching our goal of connecting eight million premises to the NBN by 2020 … Today, around one in ten homes and businesses can connect to the NBN network. Our recently renegotiated construction contracts give us the confidence to schedule more than double that amount to start construction over the next 18 months.’

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Bulgaria: Max launches LTE in 14 new towns | TeleGeography.com

Bulgarian wireless operator Max (previously Max Telecom) has expanded its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to 14 new towns and seaside resorts.


The company launched its 4G service (which supports maximum theoretical down/uplink speeds of 75Mbps/25Mbps) in twelve seaside resorts along the Black Sea coast, namely Kavarna, Balchik, Obzor, Sunny Beach, Nessebar, Pomorie, Chernomorets, Sozopol, Primorsko, Lozenets, Ahtopol and Tsarevo, in addition to the towns of Elin Pelin and Bozhurishte, located near the capital Sofia.

Following this week’s deployment, Max offers 4G/LTE services in 31 cities/towns, thus covering 50% of the country’s urban population.

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