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10 Big Questions About the Smart Grid | Government Technology

10 Big Questions About the Smart Grid | Government Technology | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

At a very young age, Massoud Amin, director of the Technological Leadership Institute, realized that electricity was vital to modern society. Growing up and traveling in Iran in the 1960s, he saw how access to electricity transformed society — from farming, schools, businesses and medical facilities.

 

As a teen visiting New York City, lightning caused a 24-hour blackout, during which Amin observed that the world depends on reliable electricity to support economies and quality of life. The experience reinforced his passion for electrical infrastructure, was and he’s been committed since then to helping improve the grid.

 

Amin is a senior member of IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a professional organization dedicated to technology innovation, and chairman of the IEEE Smart Grid Newsletter.

 

In a recent interview with Government Technology, Amin talks about IEEE ( pronounced I-triple-E) and the smart grid — its complexities, governance and broadband implications.

 

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FL: Battery maker may create 1,000 new jobs in Palm Bay | Rick Neale | Florida Today

FL: Battery maker may create 1,000 new jobs in Palm Bay | Rick Neale | Florida Today | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Oakridge Global Energy Solutions, a Melbourne lithium battery manufacturer, proposes to invest $270 million in Palm Bay facilities and create 1,000 new jobs with average wages of $50,075.

This once-secret business expansion is dubbed "Project Charge2" in Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast documents.

If all goes according to plan, the company will boost its workforce from 25 to 1,000 employees by the end of 2018.

The target battery-plant site is the former MC Assembly facility on Kirby Circle Northeast. MC Assembly moved last summer to North Drive in Melbourne.

"This is a big win for South Brevard on the manufacturing front. To get something on this scale with this kind of technology is what we've been looking for not only in Palm Bay, but across the Space Coast," said Andy Anderson, Palm Bay economic development administrator.

"It's a big deal for Palm Bay and for Brevard County," he said.


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World's first 3D-printed office building to go up layer by layer in Dubai | Darren Quick | Gizmag.com

World's first 3D-printed office building to go up layer by layer in Dubai | Darren Quick | Gizmag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Already home to numerous architectural wonders, including the world's tallest building, Dubai is set to add the world's first 3D-printed office building to its streets. It will be printed layer by layer by a 3D printer standing 20 ft (6 m) tall, with the layers to be assembled on site to produce a building covering approximately 2,000 sq ft (186 sq m) in a process that is set to take a matter of weeks.

The office building, which wouldn't look out of place in a 1970's science fiction show set in the present day, will serve as a temporary headquarters for staff of the nearby "Museum of the Future" that launched earlier this year. As such, it won't be quite as intricate as some other 3D-printed architecture we've seen, but will feature a flexible open plan to accommodate a range of uses and team sizes. It will also house a small digital fabrication facility and 3D printing exhibition space, with all interior furniture, detailing and structural components to be produced using 3D printing technology.

The project is the Museum's first major initiative and part of a partnership between Dubai and WinSun Global, which is a joint venture between Chinese 3D printing technology company WinSun and international investors. WinSun is also the company responsible for constructing 10 small houses in one day last year using a 22-ft (6.6-m) tall 3D printer. The Museum claims the office building will be the most advanced 3D-printed structure ever built, and the first to be put to actual use.


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Japan: DOCOMO unveils 5G launch details and looks to ‘5G+’ | TeleGeography.com

Japan’s NTT DOCOMO used the forum of the LTE World Summit 2015 to announce more details of its planned 5G launch, starting from 2020, which it says will be delivered in two key phases – dubbed 5G and 5G+.


Mobile World Live quotes Takehiro Nakamura, VP and director of RAN for the company, as saying that to meet the deadline its first-phase deployment will focus on enhancing its existing LTE 4G coverage alongside the development of some new radio access technologies, noting that: ‘In 2020 it will be very difficult to use the higher spectrum bands. So maybe below 6GHz is the main target.’


Nakamura acknowledges that the timeline will be affected by the ‘availability of higher frequency spectrum assigned for mobile use’, decisions on which are unlikely to take place until after the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019.


The DOCOMO official points out that: ‘Below 6GHz there is a risk that we can’t use enough spectrum. If we cannot have enough spectrum, we have to consider use of the unlicensed band, with the ongoing discussion of LAA [licence assisted access technologies].’


Nevertheless, once new spectrum bands come on-stream after 2020 – what the cellco is labelling 5G+ – DOCOMO is confident it will be able to commercialise a ‘full package of 5G’ by 2022 or 2023.

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How Cisco brings communications to disaster relief efforts | Zeus Kerravala | NetworkWorld.com

How Cisco brings communications to disaster relief efforts | Zeus Kerravala | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Although Cisco Live 2015 is in the books now, the memories of it certainly lives on. Each event I attend is different and gives me a better understanding of how Cisco operates as a company. I've written many posts over the years on Cisco's ability to be innovative to capture market transitions and drive the company's growth.


One of the things I've liked about Cisco over the years is the philanthropic side to the company that resonates from CEO John Chambers down to all of the employees. I've heard Mr. Chambers talk on more than one occasion about corporate social responsibility and how important that is to the Cisco culture.

One of the more interesting discussions I had around this topic at Cisco Live was with Sue-Lynn Hinson, who manages what Cisco calls the Tactical Operations (TacOps) team. The goal of this group isn't to drive sales or to market the latest and greatest product.


Sue-Lynn never goes on sales calls and she and her team have no quota to fill. Instead, the TacOps team spends its time travelling the globe to establish emergency IP-based communications to first responders, government agencies, relief organizations, and others in times of emergency caused by disasters or other incidents.

The TacOps team has at their disposal a number of custom-built emergency response solutions to establish communications in disaster areas. For example, the Cisco Network Emergency Response Vehicle (NERV) is a mobile communication center that is designed to establish communications in emergency situations.

The NERV can be up and going in 15 minutes and can run for up to four days without requiring any resources, which is essential in situations that are already likely to be resource-constrained. The NERV provides a number of services to disaster workers such as:


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China tightens grip over the Internet with new security law | Michael Kan | NetworkWorld

China tightens grip over the Internet with new security law | Michael Kan | NetworkWorld | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

China has adopted a new security law that gives the government control over its Internet infrastructure, along with any critical data.


On Wednesday, China’s legislature passed the national security law, which covers a wide range of areas including military defense, food safety, and the technology sector.

A full text of the law’s final draft has yet to be released, but it calls for better cybersecurity, according to a report from China’s state-controlled Xinhua News Agency. The country’s key information systems and data will also be made “secure and controllable” under the law.

Previous drafts of the legislation don’t state in detail what that control might mean, exactly. But U.S. trade groups have expressed ongoing concern that China’s security policies are going too far, and could push foreign businesses out of the country.

Earlier this year, China’s anti-terror legislation drew complaints because it could require U.S. tech companies to hand over encryption keys to the country’s government. U.S. President Obama even weighed in and has asked China to change the legislation.

In recent years, however, China has made cybersecurity a priority, following leaks from security contractor Edward Snowden that claim the U.S. had been secretly spying on Chinese companies. The Chinese government has even said it would block IT products from being sold in the country, if they failed an upcoming “vetting system.”

The policy changes in China probably won’t bode well for U.S. tech companies, especially for those who supply IT products to the government or state-owned companies, according to analysts. Already, China heavily censors its Internet, and has blocked many U.S. sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.


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CETA Isn't Dead, But Its Corporate Sovereignty Chapter Is Still A Huge, Unresolved Problem | Glyn Moody |Techdirt

CETA Isn't Dead, But Its Corporate Sovereignty Chapter Is Still A Huge, Unresolved Problem | Glyn Moody |Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It's been a while since we last wrote about CETA, the trade deal between Canada and the European Union. Back in March, we noted that the French Secretary of State for External Commerce, Matthias Fekl, said that France would not ratify CETA unless the corporate sovereignty, or investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), provisions were removed or replaced by something completely different.


Of course, it's hard not to be sceptical about these statements, since politicians like to grandstand, and are happy to change their positions every few months. But not, it seems, Matthias Fekl. According to a report on the French site Le Devoir (original in French), he's still of the same opinion:

For the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Matthias Fekl, who expresses the official position of France, it is not only a question of principle but a fact of life today. If negotiators do not rewrite Article 33 of the [CETA] Treaty which deals with dispute resolution, there will be no ratification.

And it's not just France that has a problem here. According to the article, Fekl said:

Look, this [refusal to accept the corporate sovereignty provisions in CETA] will also be the case in other countries. This isn't meant as a threat. But as far as this chapter is concerned, things must definitely move.

The EU Commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström, is well aware of the issues here -- not least because 145,000 people told her in the ISDS consultation last year -- and has presented a concept paper entitled "Investment in TTIP and beyond – the path for reform" (pdf). These are quite similar to proposals made by Fekl for the creation of a new European court to settle trade disputes. But there are two big problems with following that path.


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This Guy Figured Out How To Fix Greece AND Tell Big Banks To Go F*ck Themselves | Elizabeth Parker | ReverbPress

This Guy Figured Out How To Fix Greece AND Tell Big Banks To Go F*ck Themselves | Elizabeth Parker | ReverbPress | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
Meet Thom Feeney, a young man who’s figured out a brilliant way to save Greece and give the Greek people a way to tell the Big Banks to take their “austerity” bullsh*t and shove it. The 29-year-old from London crunched some numbers and figured that if everyone in the European Union chipped in roughly what they spend each day on coffee (€3 or $3.35) or on lunch (€6 or $6.69), we could save Greece.

And that was the start of Feeney’s Greek Bailout Fund page on IndieGogo.

Decided to solve the Greek Debt Crisis via crowdfund. All I need is for everyone in EU to buy a Feta and Olive salad https://t.co/vOXKyBOJhZ

— Thom Feeney (@ThomFeeney) June 28, 2015

Before you laugh, think: Our small donations to Feeney’s Greek Bailout Fund could save the Greek people from immense suffering caused by brutal austerity measures forced upon them by the big banks. Plus, our donations will send a strong message out to the world that we’re fed up with bailouts for the rich and austerity for the poor.


The fact is, Greece’s financial problems — like many of the issues we face here in the U.S. — were not caused by ordinary people, but by their nation’s greedy and corrupt one-percenters (as explained here at ReverbPress by Eric W. Severson).


Yet the Big Banks and the European Union are trying to force Greece’s senior citizens, working people and children to pay the price for the excesses of their elites. Mark Belisle from ReverbPress also points out that “the Greek people are given an impossible choice.” In a July 5 referendum, they can “Vote No and face exile from the Eurozone; [or] vote Yes and accept the poison of crushing austerity.”


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Economists Krugman and Stiglitz on Why Greeks Should Vote ‘No’ on the Referendum | Roisin Davis | Truthdig.com

Economists Krugman and Stiglitz on Why Greeks Should Vote ‘No’ on the Referendum | Roisin Davis | Truthdig.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Now that Greece has become the first advanced nation to fall into arrears with the International Monetary Fund, the nation has reached a crucial crossroads: Should it concede to the demands of the “troika” — the institutions representing creditor interests—or continue to reject austerity and prepare to ditch the euro?

Amid mass protests, tumbling markets and bank closures, Greece will hold a referendum Sunday to decide.

Recent opinion pieces by Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman maintain that Greece must keep going it alone and vote no.


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EU Moves To Create Internet Fast Lanes, Pretends It's Net Neutrality By Redefining Basic Words | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

EU Moves To Create Internet Fast Lanes, Pretends It's Net Neutrality By Redefining Basic Words | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In 2014, it really looked like Europe was moving towards strong net neutrality, while the US was going to allow for special fast lanes on the internet. In 2015... everything has gone the other way. The US passed real net neutrality rules, while Europe has not only decided to kill net neutrality, but has done so in a way where they pretend that they're actually supporting net neutrality.

In some way, this isn't a surprise. EU Digital Commissioner Gunther Oettinger recently mocked net neutrality and its supporters, saying they had turned it into a "Taliban-like" issue. Then a month ago, rumors started to fly that the weekly "trialogue" meetings between the EU Commission, the Council of the EU and the EU Parliament was looking to ditch net neutrality altogether. Instead, it appears that the final solution was actually to redefine net neutrality to pretend they were offering it, while really killing it. And, as a consolation prize, they're killing off roaming charges around Europe (which can be pretty extreme). But that is little consolation for the fact that they're actually destroying net neutrality in the process.

The little trick being pulled by politicians who apparently think the public is too stupid to understand this is to redefine net neutrality. First, they claim that the "open internet" is really important and they won't allow paid prioritization. This part all sounds good:


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Graphene takes on a new dimension | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com

Graphene takes on a new dimension | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Graphene is the modern go-to material for scientists and engineers looking to create all manner of new electronic devices. From ultra-frugal light bulbs (both big and small), to super-efficient solar cells, flexible displays and much more, graphene is a multi-tasking marvel. However, in all of these instances, graphene in its original form of atom-thin, flat sheets has had to be used with peripheral supports and structures because it lacks a solid shape and form of its own. Now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have come up with a way of creating 3D objects out of graphene that opens up the possibility of fashioning a whole new range of innovative electronic devices.

To create 3D shapes in graphene, the researchers first had to ensure that their approach was sufficient to maintain the structural integrity of the material when it was subjected to deformation. As such, the team used an underlying substrate former over which they laid a film of graphene that had been soaked in solvent to make it swell and become malleable. Once overlaid on the former, the solvent then evaporated over time, leaving behind a layer of graphene that had taken on the shape of the underlying structure. In this way the team was able to produce a range of relatively intricate shapes.


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China Announces New Long-Term Commitment to Curb Climate Change | Jake Thompson | NRDC.org

China Announces New Long-Term Commitment to Curb Climate Change | Jake Thompson | NRDC.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

BEIJING (June 30, 2015) – China announced today a new long-term commitment to reduce its carbon intensity by 60-65 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. As the world’s largest carbon emitter and renewable energy market, this post-2020 climate commitment is intended to solidify China’s engagement at the Paris climate conference this December.

This commitment comes on the heels of the joint US-China climate announcement last November, in which China committed to peaking its carbon emissions by 2030 or earlier while increasing clean energy to 20 percent of total energy consumption by 2030. This also builds on China’s 40-45 percent carbon intensity reduction target for 2020 and its efforts develop a national carbon cap and trade program by 2017.


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Toshiba readies scorpion-like robot for Fukushima nuclear plant | Tim Hornyak | CIO.com

Toshiba readies scorpion-like robot for Fukushima nuclear plant | Tim Hornyak | CIO.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In the ongoing battle to clean up Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Toshiba is deploying a novel robot that’s a bit like a scorpion.

Developed with the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID), the cylindrical machine is designed to enter the primary containment vessel (PCV) of the Unit 2 reactor at the plant, which was heavily damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. The catastrophe sparked a nuclear emergency and long-term evacuations.

Toshiba wants to deploy the device to help determine the condition and location of melted-down fuel in the reactor, which is too dangerous for workers to enter. The effort is part of decommissioning work at the plant that’s expected to take decades.

The robot is 54 centimeters long, and can put itself right-side up if it topples over. It has a joint near its middle that allows it to raise its tail like a scorpion, bringing a camera and LED lights to bear on its environment, complementing another camera and LEDs in its nose section.

The video feed will be used by operators using devices resembling PlayStation game controllers. Control signals are sent to the robot through a wire. The 5 kilogram machine also has a thermometer and a dosimeter. It can withstand about 100 Sieverts per hour of radiation for 10 hours.

The robot could get hit by as much as 70 Sieverts per hour of radiation in the No. 2 reactor, which would be about seven times that encountered by robots that ventured into the No. 1 reactor, a Toshiba spokeswoman said.

In April, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power sent shape-shifting, snake-like robots developed by IRID and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy into the No. 1 reactor. One machine got stuck, but another helped provide a detailed look at the inside of the PCV.

Toshiba, which has produced a lifelike android robot and a line of robot vacuum cleaners, began development of the nuclear probe in 2013. It’s slated to be deployed in the next two months, but the electronics maker doesn’t have a backup unit in case it gets stuck.


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Understanding the Bankers Assault on the Greek People | Daily Kos

Understanding the Bankers Assault on the Greek People | Daily Kos | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

We need to understand the crisis of austerity being imposed by European bankers on Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal, among others. A catastrophe on the scale of the Great Depression has been forced upon Greece for over five years under the deceptive description of a “bailout.”


Lets start with a few basics usually not considered in the corporate media descriptions of the crisis.


What happened ?


1. In 2010 and 2011, mainly German and French banks in pursuit of high profits made massive loans to Greek firms. When the banks recognized that this was a high risk, they were bailed out (not Greece) by transferring the debt from the banks to the public institutions like the European Central Bank and the IMF. Now the ECB and the IMF are trying to force the Greek government to cut pensions, education, salaries, and health care to pay for the bail out of the banks.

These funds were transferred from banks, the ECB, and the IMF to pay back banks, the ECB and the IMF. Few funds were used to assist the Greek people. That is loans are being used to refinance the debt. They are recycled back to Germany, France and other nations’ banks. (Macropolis, http://www.macropolis.gr/...)

2. The German nation owes as much money to the Greek people as Greece owes to Germany and the European Central Bank combined.
But Greece can not collect from Germany. Germany has the political and economic power (and allies such as the U.S.) to enforce debt repayment by starving the Greek economy and forcing the Greek nation into a great depression. (Hallinan, “Greece, Memory and Debt.” (http://www.dsausa.org/...)


3. The current policies are imposing a depression on Greece. Austerity policies have produced a decline in the Greek economy by over 25% since 2010. John Maynard Keynes explained this effect of imposed austerity during a depression way back in the 1930s, but the bankers and the governments they control choose to ignore this reality in part because it is not in their interest.


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Brick-laying robot can build a full-sized house in two days | David Nield | GizMag.com

Brick-laying robot can build a full-sized house in two days | David Nield | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

As robots get smarter, cheaper and more versatile, they're taking on a growing number of challenges – and bricklaying can now be added to the list. Engineers in Perth, Australia, have created a fully working house-building machine that can create the brick framework of a property in just two days, working about 20 times faster than a human bricklayer.

Named Hadrian (after Hadrian's Wall in the UK), the robot has a top laying speed of 1,000 bricks per hour, which works out as the equivalent of about 150 homes a year. Of course there's no need for the machine to sleep, eat or take tea breaks either, giving it another advantage over manual laborers.

At the heart of Hadrian is a 28 m (92 ft) articulated telescopic boom. Though mounted on an excavator in the photo below, the finished version will sit on a truck, allowing it easier movement from place to place. The robot brick-layer uses information fed from a 3D CAD representation of the home for brick placement, with mortar or adhesive delivered under pressure to the head of the boom.


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New Zealand fibre project gets 100,000th subscriber | TeleGeography.com

New Zealand’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) programme has attracted its 100,000th subscriber, with the country’s Communications Minister Amy Adams labelling it ‘a considerable milestone for the project’. Adams added that the rollout programme is ahead of expectations, local news portal Stuff reports, with 13.8% of premises covered by the UFB networks subscribing to its services.


Under the UFB scheme the government is supporting the deployment of high speed fibre-optic networks in a number of areas, with the rollouts being carried out by four Local Fibre Companies (LFCs): Spark (formerly Telecom New Zealand), Northpower Fibre, Ultrafast Fibre and Enable Networks.


Services to end users are then resold by third-party internet service providers (ISPs), including Vodafone, 2degrees, Orcon, Kordia and CallPlus. UFB connections will eventually be offered to 80% of homes and business in New Zealand.

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As Arctic Warms, Shrinking Ice Brings Unwelcome Surprises for Drillers, Shippers | Peter Sinclair | ClimateCrocks.com

As Arctic Warms, Shrinking Ice Brings Unwelcome Surprises for Drillers, Shippers | Peter Sinclair | ClimateCrocks.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

David Barber is a fascinating speaker and great personality in the arctic ice world.


His TED talk here dovetails nicely with the Stanford Research on Extreme weather profiled today, and yesterday’s piece on the risks of new Arctic Drilling.

If you are pressed for time, start at 9:14 for a paradoxical surprise – decrease in sea ice coincides with increase in hazards, due to new kinds of very unpredictable ice dynamics. Ironic and very significant for those interested in exploiting the melting Arctic, no?

At 11:05 there is a discussion of arctic effects on global jet stream circulation and weather patterns.

In March, Arctic sea ice reached the lowest maximum extent on record. That in itself is probably not an indicator of what the ice will do this summer. Far too much variability in the arctic system to characterize this early.

The dotted line in the graph represents the course of the record low 2012 season, and you can see that for much of the spring, this year’s ice (blue) has tracked below that, recently poking somewhat higher.

But the melt season is upon us, so I’ll be checking and updating regularly.


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Facebook Privacy Suit Thrown Out By Austrian Court | Pavithra Mohan | Fast Company

Facebook Privacy Suit Thrown Out By Austrian Court | Pavithra Mohan | Fast Company | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In April, Facebook argued that a Vienna court didn't have the jurisdiction to consider charges brought by Austrian activist Max Schrems, who claimed Facebook was breaking European privacy laws. The court has now thrown out the case, citing the fact that Schrems might not qualify as a private individual, and that many of the complaints Schrems has collected come from Facebook users not based in Austria.

Schrems alleges that Facebook is violating E.U. privacy laws by collecting and using individual data without adequate consent, and by tracking its users even outside of the Facebook ecosystem by keeping tabs on their "Like" button activity.

"The court rejected the complaint because the international jurisdiction doesn’t apply," a court spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. This is in part because Facebook's European and global operations are largely centered in Dublin.


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Big Texas Oil and Gas Torpedo a Small City's Effort to Ban Fracking—Bye Bye Local Democracy | Reynard Loki | AlterNet

Big Texas Oil and Gas Torpedo a Small City's Effort to Ban Fracking—Bye Bye Local Democracy | Reynard Loki | AlterNet | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Following litigation from corporate interests including the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) and the Texas General Land Office (GLO), as well as pressure from the Texas legislature, the Denton City Council has repealed a first-of-its-kind voter approved ban on fracking that had been passed through a ballot measure during the November 2014 general election. Drilling operations have resumed, while residents have vowed to uphold the ban.


Just hours after the fracking ban was passed, TXOGA, the oldest and largest trade organization in Texas representing petroleum interests, whose approximately 4,000 members produce in excess of 92 percent of the state's crude oil and natural gas, and the GLO, the state agency responsible for managing lands and mineral rights owned by the state, filed two separate lawsuits against Denton, saying that the ban was arbitrary and unconstitutional.


In voluntarily giving up its local control, the Denton City Council cited HB 40, a GOP-drafted state bill that was signed into law on May 18 by Governor Greg Abbot, conceding that the local fracking ban was unenforceable under a new state law.


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Alaska's glaciers melt faster as climate change speeds up | Tim Radford | Climate News Network

Alaska's glaciers melt faster as climate change speeds up | Tim Radford | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The glaciers of Alaska are melting and retreating: the chief cause is climate change and the loss of ice is unlikely to slow, according to a new study by US scientists.

They calculate that the frozen rivers of the Pacific coast of America’s northernmost state are melting fast enough to cover the whole of Alaska with 30 cms of water every seven years.

Since Alaska is enormous – it covers 1.5 million square kilometres and is the size of California, Texas and Montana put together – this adds up to a significant contribution to sea level rise.

“The Alaska region has long been considered a primary player in the global sea level budget, but the exact details of the drivers and mechanisms of Alaska glacier change have been stubbornly elusive,” said Chris Larsen, a geophysicist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and lead author of a study in Geophysical Research Letters.


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Leap second causes Internet hiccup | Jeremy Kirk | ComputerWorld.com

Leap second causes Internet hiccup | Jeremy Kirk | ComputerWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The addition of a leap second to world clocks on Wednesday caused some networks to crash although most quickly recovered.

Some 2,000 networks stopped working just after midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis with Dyn, a company that studies global Internet traffic flows.

Nearly 50 percent of those networks were in Brazil, which may indicate that Internet service providers use a common type of router that may not have been prepared for the leap second, he said.

Most of the networks quickly recovered, which may have required just a reboot of a router, Madory said.

The Internet's global routing table, a distributed database of networks and how they connect, contains more than 500,000 networks, so the problems affected less than a half a percent, Madory said.

Just after midnight, the number of changes to the global routing table spiked to as much as 800,000 per 30 seconds, according to Dyn. Changes to connections between networks are announced by providers using BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) and propagate across the Internet to other providers.

Madory said it's not unheard of to see a flurry of new BGP announcements around those levels, but the timing around the leap second and 2,000 networks going offline "can't be a coincidence."

A leap second is added every few years to keep UTC synced with solar time. The difference between the two widens due to the slowing of the Earth's rotation. Since 1971, 26 leap seconds have been added to clocks.


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EU sets June 2017 as date to end mobile roaming charges | Peter Sayer & Loek Essers | ComputerWorld.com

EU sets June 2017 as date to end mobile roaming charges | Peter Sayer & Loek Essers | ComputerWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

European Union citizens will have to wait another couple of years before they are able to use their mobile phones anywhere within the EU without surcharge, after a compromise reached by lawmakers Monday night.

The European Commission and Parliament had agreed on a target of the end of this year to eliminate roaming fees levied by network operators when subscribers use their phones outside their home country.

However, representatives of the EU's member states in the Council of the EU, the bloc's third decision-making body, wanted to wait until mid-2018.

On Monday night, council officials agreed on a compromise text with Parliament representatives, setting on June 2017 as the date to end roaming charges. Despite the additional delay, the Commission welcomed the agreement.

While the abolition of roaming charges has widespread support, the text -- part of a broader reform of telecommunications law -- also includes provisions on net neutrality that are proving more controversial. The Netherlands has already said it will vote against the text because of these provisions, even though they are not yet fully defined.

Although travellers will have to wait two more years for the outright abolition of roaming fees, from next April the rules already in place will set a limit for the difference between roaming fees and domestic call charges. Current rules put absolute caps on roaming costs of €0.19 (21 cents) per minute for calls, €0.06 per text message and €0.20 per megabyte of data. From April, roaming surcharges will be limited to €0.05 per minute, €0.02 per text and €0.05 per megabyte relative to domestic costs.

Setting the rules in this way could have allowed people to choose the cheapest operator not just in their home country, but anywhere in Europe, and then spend all their time roaming. However, under the proposed rules agreed on Monday, providers will be allowed to prevent "abusive use of roaming," including using roaming services for purposes other than periodic travel.


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Solar Impulse makes third attempt at record flight | David Szondy | GizMag.com

Solar Impulse makes third attempt at record flight | David Szondy | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Solar Impulse 2 has resumed the longest leg of its round-the-world flight. After being grounded for almost four weeks, the single-pilot craft rolled out discretely from Nagoya, Japan today in the hope of taking advantage of improved weather conditions over the Pacific Ocean as it heads for Hawaii.

Solar Impulse 2 has been stranded in Nagoya since June 1 when it was forced down due to deteriorating weather along its five-day flight path. After an aborted attempt to resume its circumnavigation on June 23, the Solar Impulse organization was worried that continuing poor conditions, the local rainy season, and shortening days might result in the mission being postponed for another year and the solar-powered craft stored in a Japanese hangar.

But now another attempt is underway.


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China passes 200m subscriber 4G mark | TeleGeography.com

China’s 4G user base passed the 200 million milestone at the end of May, with the nation’s trio of wireless providers adding more than 20 million net new subscriptions in that month alone, according to the latest statistics from sector regulator the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).


4G users totalled 200.774 million at the end of May, up by 22.816 million from end-April, although 3G users slipped by 10.462 million over that period to 455.842 million as customers upgrading to the newer platform outpaced the growth of new 3G users.


Similarly, customers are increasingly shifting to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections, with 85.965 million subscribers using the technology, an increase of 4.002 million compared to end-April, whilst the number of xDSL users fell by 2.985 million to 76.674 million.

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What Does 'Low Dose' Mean When It Comes to Exposure to Toxic Chemicals? | Genna Reed | AlterNet.org

What Does 'Low Dose' Mean When It Comes to Exposure to Toxic Chemicals? | Genna Reed | AlterNet.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The chemicals that we’re exposed to in our daily lives are often approved by the government under the assumption that they’re safe in small doses, even over a long period of time. For years, regulators relied on the old adage “the dose makes the poison” to try to explain their logic. While that might have appeared true for certain chemicals for many years, we now live in a world where exposure to a large variety of chemicals is unavoidable and it’s finally becoming clear that we can’t evaluate these chemicals in isolation.

Think about a simple picnic in a city park. The air you breathe is filled with particulate matter from car exhaust, the landscaping was likely treated with chemical fertilizers and Roundup or another weedkiller, the plastic surrounding your food or drink items might contain BPA or phthalates, your drinks could contain preservatives, the antibacterial spray you use on your hands after eating might contain triclosan and the sunscreen you apply on your skin probably contains nanomaterials. Now extrapolate that scenario to each and every activity you partake in on a daily basis.

The agriculture sector experiences this chemical cocktail at a more extreme level. The inputs that may go onto a farm in a growing season could include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium–filled fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. These chemicals have individual limits to how much can be used in a season, but these limits don’t take into account all of the other chemicals that will be applied throughout the year. Herbicide use has gone up as weeds have become resistant to the most popular herbicide, glyphosate (Roundup), requiring the use of older, more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D and dicamba. In effect, agricultural workers, farmers and surrounding communities are exposed to a mix of chemicals, the combined, or “synergistic,” effects of which have never been studied.

But this month, a study by 174 scientists from 28 countries was released that, for the first time, looked at how low levels of exposure to 85 different chemicals over time could have synergistic impacts on the development of cancer. All of the chemicals were selected because they are ubiquitous in the environment and are not classified as human carcinogens on their own. However, because each of these chemicals disrupts different pathways and mechanisms in people, the authors hypothesized that interactions between different chemicals and pathways could elevate the risk of cancer.

The teams found that 50 out of 85 of the chemicals could impact cancer-causing pathways at low doses that are realistic in the environment. The research is compelling but preliminary, and calls on regulators to change their risk assessments to consider the impacts of chemical mixes and conduct more research on environmental triggers of cancer and on different chemical mixes and their effects on various cancer-related disruptions.


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Eric Larson's curator insight, July 1, 9:14 AM

Not s good way to think about your Fourth of July picnic, 

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New York State Ban On Fracking Made Official | Justin Milulka | DeSmog Blog

New York State Ban On Fracking Made Official | Justin Milulka | DeSmog Blog | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

“After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative.”

Those were the words many activists in New York never expected to hear from Joe Martens, head of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, but they were included in a statement released today as New York made the state’s ban on fracking official.

This step in the process was expected after the release in May of the massive 1,448 page report on fracking that was seven years in the making which also was preceded by the Cuomo administration announcing they planned to ban fracking back in December.

While there had been some mentions in the media that the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on fracking and drinking water contamination might cause trouble for the Cuomo administration, it appears that trouble was limited to predictable Republican statements about Cuomo’s decision being based on “controversial scientific studies.”

As explained in detail in this DeSmog piece by Sharon Kelly, if you read the EPA report and didn’t just rely on headlines in the New York Post to get your information, the report actually provides support for New York’s decision for a fracking ban.

New York now is the only state with known large amounts of shale deposits that has enacted a ban on fracking. In the past week, the state has also released a new energy plan with goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% (below 1990 levels) by 2030 and 80% by 2050 and to produce 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

As the oil industry prepares to roll out fracking technology around the globe, New York has taken an important step in showing the world what a “reasonable alternative” looks like.

As DeSmogBlog concluded in our 2011 report Fracking the Future, the risks to our water, health and climate our simply too great to continue this fossil folly.


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