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Siemens Canada opens smart grid centre of competence in Fredericton, New Brunswick | Electric Light & Power

New Brunswick Premier David Alward, NB Power CEO Gäetan Thomas and Siemens Canada CEO Robert Hardt were among those in attendance today at the official opening of Siemens' newest home in Fredericton, NB. The location will house both a smart grid centre of competence (COC) and a research & development (R&D) centre and is a milestone in Siemens' multi-year partnership with NB Power, announced in the summer of 2012.

 

The collaboration between Siemens and NB Power, involving a comprehensive Smart Grid Reduce and Shift Demand (RASD) modernization plan, will invest in technology and engage customers, offering business and residents more choice and control over their energy consumption. Using Smart Grid Compass methodology, Siemens will support NB Power in developing an energy road map for the next decade and beyond. Design and rollout of smart grid software will take place at the new Fredericton facility, located at 40 Crowther Lane, Knowledge Park 4.

 

Approximately 23 employees have been hired at the facility to-date, of which 15 are R&D hires. Invest NB has committed to support the hiring of a total of 25 R&D employees. The majority of new employees are local hires, aligning with Siemens' strategy to bring the best of global smart grid knowledge together with local expertise from New Brunswick's impressive talent pool.

 

Siemens' plans for 2013 include additional hiring, working with NB Power to further develop its RASD plan and implement base IT systems for smart grid applications, as well as develop partnerships with local universities.

 

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US: GPS is Tracking West’s Vanishing Water, Scientists Surprised to Learn | Michelle Nijhuis | NationalGeographic.com

US: GPS is Tracking West’s Vanishing Water, Scientists Surprised to Learn | Michelle Nijhuis | NationalGeographic.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Throughout the western United States, a network of Global Positioning System (GPS) stations has been monitoring tiny movements in the Earth's crust, collecting data that can warn of developing earthquakes.


To their surprise, researchers have discovered that the GPS network has also been recording an entirely different phenomenon: the massive drying of the landscape caused by the drought that has intensified over much of the region since last year.


Geophysicist Adrian Borsa of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and his colleagues report in this week's Science that, based on the GPS measurements, the loss of water from lakes, streams, snowpack, and groundwater totals some 240 billion metric tons—equivalent, they say, to a four-inch-deep layer of water covering the entire western U.S. from the Rockies to the Pacific. (Related: "Water's Hidden Crisis"


The principle behind the new measurements is simple. The weight of surface water and groundwater deforms Earth's elastic crust, much as a sleeper's body deforms a mattress. Remove the water, and the crust rebounds.


As the amount of water varies cyclically with the seasons, the crust moves up and down imperceptibly, by fractions of an inch—but GPS can measure such small shifts. (Related: "California Snowpack Measure Shows No End in Sight for Drought")


Borsa knew all this when he started to study the GPS data. He wasn't interested in the water cycle at first, and for him the seasonal fluctuations it produced in the data were just noise: They obscured the much longer-term geological changes he wanted to study, such as the rise of mountain ranges.


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Finland: DNA and Sonera unveil plan to cooperate on joint network rollout in northern, eastern areas | TeleGeography.com

Finnish mobile network operators DNA and TeliaSonera Finland have inked a major cooperation agreement under which they will construct a joint network in the northern and eastern parts of the country.


Announcing the development in a press release, DNA has claimed that the agreement will allow both operators to provide customers in these areas with ‘more comprehensive, high-quality high-speed telecommunications connections’.


To undertake the project, DNA and Sonera will establish a new company, Suomen Yhteisverkko Oy, which will take responsibility for constructing a new 2G/3G/4G joint network, which will cover approximately 50% of the geographical area of the country, and around 15% of the population.


It was also specifically noted that the two operators will combine their respective Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable spectrum in the 800MHz band ‘to enable higher speeds and better service standards’. With DNA taking a 49% stake in this new company, Sonera will hold the remaining 51%, and the JV is expected to launch ‘as soon as possible’.


Meanwhile, both companies have confirmed they will continue to compete independently with regard to their products and pricing models in the areas involved.


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NASA’s green rocket fuel set for major space test | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

NASA’s green rocket fuel set for major space test | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

NASA said today it would launch a spacecraft that would for the first time test fire green propellant technology in space.


NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) will use a small satellite using a Hydroxyl Ammonium Nitrate fuel/oxidizer mix, developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, is also is known as AF-M315E propellant. This fuel may replace the highly toxic hydrazine and complex bi-propellant systems in-use today, NASA said.


The green propulsion system will fly aboard a Ball Aerospace & Technologies Configurable Platform 100 satellite and is slated for launch on a Space X rocket in 2016.


Developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory the green propellant is less harmful to the environment, increases fuel efficiency, and diminishes operational hazards. The propellant offers nearly 50% higher performance for a given propellant tank volume compared to a conventional hydrazine system and will feature a catalyst technology, pioneered by Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA stated.


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Antibacterial soap exposes health workers to high triclosan levels | MedicalExpress.com

Antibacterial soap exposes health workers to high triclosan levels | MedicalExpress.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Handwashing with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan, a widely-used chemical currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a study led by researchers from UC San Francisco.


Triclosan, a synthetic antibacterial agent, is found in thousands of consumer products, including soaps, cosmetics, acne creams and some brands of toothpaste. The FDA is reviewing its safety based on a growing body of research indicating that it can interfere with the action of hormones, potentially causing developmental problems in fetuses and newborns, among other health concerns.


In the current study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers analyzed urine samples from two groups of 38 doctors and nurses – three fourths of them women – at two hospitals, identified as Hospital 1 and Hospital 2. Hospital 1 used an antibacterial soap containing 0.3 percent triclosan, while Hospital 2 used plain soap and water.


Workers at Hospital 1 had significantly higher levels of triclosan in their urine than workers at Hospital 2.


The scientists also asked the study participants if they used a popular commercial toothpaste containing triclosan. While those who did had higher triclosan levels than those who did not, the researchers found that washing with antibacterial soap accounted for even higher triclosan levels than did brushing with the toothpaste.


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The Next New Media: Typewriters and Handwritten Letters | Paul Budd | CircleID

The Next New Media: Typewriters and Handwritten Letters | Paul Budd | CircleID | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Who would have thought that typewriters and handwritten letters would ever be back in fashion? But back in 2013 it was reported that Russia was buying large quantities of typewriters. When this was further investigated the country denied that this was for security reasons.


Since the Snowden revelations there has been a further rush on typewriters, both by government officials and by a range of, mainly corporate, businesses. In general they are used for confidential information — rather than being sent electronically it is posted, couriered or hand delivered.


Those with reasonable handwriting have also gone back to this form of communication; American Presidents have been among the most prolific users of handwritten letters and notes — obviously restricted to the group of contacts that they trust. That is not to say, of course, that those letters and notes won't pop up in the intriguing world of political and big business.


But certainly handwritten communications very significantly reduce the potential for snooping by others, such as the various national spy agents.


But even in these senior government and corporate circles this can only be used for communications that are classified as being of the highest level of confidentiality, as it is impractical to deploy typewriters and hand written communication at any larger scale within organisations.


At the same time, as we reported shortly after the Snowden revelations, billions of dollars have been spent on internal security audits, and on further security improvements, mainly with encryption technologies (cryptography). But not just technologies are scrutinised, internal security systems — or the lack of them — have also been audited.


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Busting the Bureau of Land Management’s Frackopoly | Wenonah Hauter | EcoWatch.com

Busting the Bureau of Land Management’s Frackopoly | Wenonah Hauter | EcoWatch.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Even without looking at a photo album, I can picture in my mind’s eye a vacation photo from the gorgeous BLM-managed (Bureau of Land Management) land near Moab, Utah. That image of my family and friends on a bicycle trip in the red rock lands, perfectly faded by time, carefully preserved for posterity. Nowhere in that photo does a fracking rig, or any telltale signs of industrial activity appear. But skip ahead fifteen or twenty years into the future, and this photo could be telling an entirely different story.


That’s because parcels of BLM-managed land like the ones near Moab Valley, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and so many others in the U.S., may be at risk from nearby fracking. President Obama’s BLM controls access to more than 700 million acres of federally owned mineral rights, some of which sit adjacent to public parks.


Some 38 million acres of that land is currently leased, and over the past three years, the oil and gas industry has drilled over three thousand new wells, 90 percent of which have been (or will be) fracked. In fact, existing and proposed drilling and fracking operations overseen by the BLM threaten public lands, nearby watersheds, air quality and the health and safety of surrounding communities in 27 states.


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Germany: Uber Back Online In Berlin And Hamburg After Court Suspends Earlier Ban | TechCrunch.com

Germany: Uber Back Online In Berlin And Hamburg After Court Suspends Earlier Ban | TechCrunch.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Four days after being banned in Berlin by local taxi regulators on safety grounds, Uber is back on track in both that city and Hamburg. The company just released a statement confirming the news after the presiding judge of the Berlin Administrative Court today suspended the regulator’s ban on Uber “until further notice”. The ruling said Uber can continue its business in Berlin and follows a similar suspension granted recently in the city of Hamburg.


Fabien Nestmann, GM for Germany said in a statement:


“This is good news for the great people of Berlin and the thousands of German citizens already benefitting from Uber’s great services. We’re delighted to continue to bring our fresh and new ride-sharing service UberPOP plus our licensed limo service, UberBlack to Berlin and other cities in Germany, as we challenge the old policies that were written before the smartphone was even invented. Uber’s number one priority is safety and we would like to underline that every driver on the Uber platform is insured. Today’s news supports freedom of choice and progress, as Uber seeks to bring better, safer and cheaper transport options to everyone.”


Last Thursday Berlin officials said the U.S. company, which operates in over 150 cities around the world, was not doing enough to protect its passengers from unlicensed drivers and had also failed to provide adequate insurance for its drivers or their passengers in accidents. Thus, they said it was in breach of the Public Transport Act.


Uber appealed the ban, saying the Senate’s decision was “anything but progressive,” and it was “seeking to limit consumer choice for all the wrong reasons.” Uber says it does not operate a taxi service.


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Mexico files complaint against mine in acid spill | Houston Chronicle

Mexico files complaint against mine in acid spill | Houston Chronicle | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Environmental authorities filed a criminal complaint Monday against a copper mine that spilled 10 million gallons (40,000 cubic meters) of acids into two rivers that supply water to tens of thousands of people in northern Mexico.


The Attorney General for Environmental Protection said in a statement that it filed the complaint against the Buena Vista del Cobre mining company, which runs the Grupo Mexico-owned mine in Sonora state.


The office said it has also ordered an inspection of all Buena Vista del Cobre's properties to verify the company is complying with environmental laws.


Authorities have said the spill near the U.S. border was caused by defects in newly constructed leaching ponds, which hold the overflow of acids used to separate metal from crushed rock.

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Ireland: Viatel to invest USD167m in major fibre expansion | TeleGeography.com

Viatel, the Dublin-based pan-European full-service telecommunications provider, has announced a major EUR125 million (USD167.3 million) investment to expand its fibre infrastructure, cloud services and data centres in the country.


The firm’s chief executive Colm Piercy says Viatel also plans to make several acquisitions, supported by newly announced funding partner Proventus Capital Partners. Commenting on the plans, Piercy said: ‘While we already connect 150 data centres and thousands of multinational enterprises and organisations across western Europe, this investment will now enable us to enhance our services and to extend our reach further and deeper within Europe, and to connect new locations in the USA, Canada, the Middle East and Asia.’


As part of the expansion, Viatel will also bolster its sales, technical support, product development and delivery teams in London, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.


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Japan: MIC looks to commercialise 5G services by 2020 Olympics | TeleGeography.com

The Japanese government is looking to have commercial fifth-generation (5G) services in operation in time for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, The Yomiuri Shimbun reports.


The paper says that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) intends to include research and development (R&D) in its budget request for fiscal 2015. Further, by the end of this year the ministry will create a new committee comprising mobile operators, equipment makers and academics tasked with promoting R&D of 5G systems which will deliver speeds at 100 times those of LTE.


Japan’s biggest mobile operator by subscribers, NTT DOCOMO, intends to trial the 5G platform in cooperation with six major manufacturers from Japan and overseas, including Fujitsu.


The MIC will also participate in the ITU’s work to standardise 5G technology so that Japanese-related industries will have an edge over their foreign rivals, the sources claim. Under the MIC’s outline strategy, visitors to the Tokyo Olympics will be able to experience 5G communication at the venue, with DOCOMO also on record as saying it will have launched the new technology commercially in a number of cities by that date.


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Germany: Nationwide DSL expansion could cost EUR25bn, DT says | TeleGeography.com

German telecoms company Deutsche Telekom (DT) has said it could cost up to EUR10 billion (USD13.4 billion) in government funding to increase coverage of its high speed DSL network to 90% of the population.


In an interview with German news magazine Focus, Niek Jan van Damme, managing director of the firm’s domestic unit Telekom Deutschland, said that a further EUR15 billion would be required to cover the remaining 10% of Germans with speeds of up to 50Mbps.


He added that DT is considering acquisitions of smaller cable operators, stating that the Bonn-based telco was closely monitoring the cable TV market and keeping its buying options open.

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Nigeria: Ogoni - a Paradise Raped and Neglected | AllAfrica.com

Nigeria: Ogoni - a Paradise Raped and Neglected | AllAfrica.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It's been three years since the United Nations Environmental Programme asked Royal Dutch Shell, an Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company, and the Nigerian government to clean up the oil spill in Ogoniland, but that has not happened for a surprisingly long time. Adeola Akinremi and Solomon Elusoji visited Ogoniland and report that its people are a living sacrifice amid a barren landscape of devastated forest and farmland, ruined livelihoods of farmers and fishermen amidst the massive damage to the environment


In Goi, a Niger Delta community in Ogoniland, the air carries the whiff of death. It's a desolate place and its inhabitants have long deserted their homes. They became sick of pain and struggle for existence. They deserted their homeland just because Shell and the government conspired to leave them fluttered.


Really, it is not uncommon for visitors to the community to choke at the chest and be assailed by bouts of headache, nausea and stomach trouble on breathing in the deadly particles flowing freely and invisibly in the atmosphere. And while the villagers have all fled for dear life, the nature itself has faltered, tottering with weak steps. A riverine area where the water once bubbled with varied sea creatures and the soil produced bountiful harvest, Goi is now a barren land with a canopy of tragedy hanging over it ominously like a bleak firmament. "This is as a result of the spilled crude oil on our land," said Chief Tomi, the crown head of the coastal communities in Gokana, and an indigene of Goi.


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Government Control Over Internet Governance: Proposal Would Give the GAC Increased Power over ICANN Board Decisions | Michael Geist Blog

Government Control Over Internet Governance: Proposal Would Give the GAC Increased Power over ICANN Board Decisions | Michael Geist Blog | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The debate over Internet governance for much of the past decade has often come down to a battle between ICANN and the ITU (a UN body), which in turn is characterized as a choice between a private-sector led, bottoms-up, consensus model (ICANN) or a governmental-controlled approach. The reality has always been far more complicated. The U.S. still maintains contractual control over ICANN, while all governments exert considerable power within the ICANN model through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).


While the GAC claims its role is merely to provide “advice” to ICANN, it often seems to take the view that its suggestions can’t be refused. Indeed, late on Friday, ICANN proposed a by-law change that would grant governments even greater control over its decision-making process. At the moment, ICANN looks to various supporting organizations to develop policies designed to represent the views of many different stakeholders, including the GAC. Where the GAC and the ICANN board disagree on a policy issue, the ICANN board decision governs provided that a simple majority of board members vote against the GAC advice and that ICANN provide an explanation for the decision.


ICANN is now proposing that the threshold be increased so that 2/3 of eligible ICANN board members would be required to vote against GAC advice in order to reject it. The by-law change states:


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Colorado Town Sues State, Gov. Hickenlooper and COGA to Protect Right to Ban Fracking | EcoWatch.com

Colorado Town Sues State, Gov. Hickenlooper and COGA to Protect Right to Ban Fracking | EcoWatch.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In a state wracked with clashes over its explosive expansion of fracking, residents of Lafayette, Colorado just outside Boulder, have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the state of Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) from taking away the town’s right to ban the practice.


Citizens in Lafayette, which is a Home Rule Community under Colorado law, voted last November to pass a Community Bill of Rights under its Home Rule Charter that banned fracking and established the right of citizens to a healthy environment. In December COGA sued the city to overturn its Bill of Rights, claiming that while citizens don’t have a right to clean air and water or self-governance, COGA has a constitutional right to frack under the state’s Oil and Gas Act.


Citizens responded by filing a first-of-its-kind class action suit in June, arguing that parts of the Oil and Gas Act violate the right to local self-governance. The preliminary injunction, filed yesterday in the Boulder County District County, would prevent COGA’s lawsuit from moving forward until its own is decided and declare parts of the Oil and Gas Act unconstitutional.


The plaintiffs are part of the Colorado Community Rights Network, a group founded late last year to protect the rights of communities to make decisions locally on issues like fracking. They are represented by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a Pennsylvania-based group that provides affordable representation to communities clashing with deep-pockets corporations. CELDF executive director Thomas Linzey said of the Lafayette lawsuit:


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Facebook says most outbound email is encrypted now | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Facebook says most outbound email is encrypted now | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Nearly all of Facebook’s outbound notification emails are now encrypted while traveling the Internet, a collaborative feat that comes from the technology industry’s push to thwart the NSA’s spying programs.


In May, only 58 percent of the social networking site’s email was encrypted when it was sent since the receiving entity must have the technology, called STARTTLS, enabled, wrote Michael Adkins, a messaging integrity engineer at Facebook, on a company blog.


Since that time, Microsoft, Yahoo and other email providers have enabled STARTTLS, which has pushed the percentage of Facebook’s encrypted messages to 95 percent, he wrote.


Many major technology companies vowed to put stronger defenses in place to protect data after documents leaked by Edward Snowden detailed the depth of the NSA’s surveillance programs.


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Icelandic Volcano Rumbles Raises Eruption Fears | NationalGeographic.com

Icelandic Volcano Rumbles Raises Eruption Fears | NationalGeographic.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Earthquake swarms are shaking up a large ice-capped volcano in Iceland, raising worries of an eruption that could trigger flooding and send ash clouds into the atmosphere.


The 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano triggered floods and ash plumes that halted air travel to Europe. (Related: "Iceland Volcano Erupts Under Ice, Triggers Floods.")


Icelandic officials report that the minor quakes have occurred since Monday near the Bárđarbunga volcano, the country's second highest mountain at 6,560 feet (2,000 meters). It lies in the remote central region of Iceland under the largest glacier, Vatnajökull. The ice above the volcano's central caldera is about 2,300 feet (700 meters) thick. (Related: "Pictures: Iceland Volcano Erupts, Under Ice This Time.")


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UK: Has satellite broadband’s time come? | Bob's Broadband Blog

The last couple of weeks has seen a flurry of activity with councils around the UK lining themselves up for the second round of BDUK funding for Superfast broadband. Assumptions that BT might get an automatic “kick in” of the additional £250m funding look premature.


Many councils we are talking to have discovered the truth about what final coverage for Phase 1 looks like and are not best pleased. Most are missing the target by at least 10% with the most rural areas being worst hit, also as we predicted.


Some are girding their loins for leaving the framework and doing a complete new procurement and are talking about using local suppliers and smaller projects, all of which makes some sense but comes with its own risks.


So if FTTC has run out of steam which technologies are going to be the big winners? Our prediction is that wireless will win big but that, maybe surprisingly to some people, satellite broadband could pick up significant share. Why is that?


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Map: All the places where the CDC says you can't drink the water | Vox.com

Map: All the places where the CDC says you can't drink the water | Vox.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Centers for Disease Control has opinions on which countries' drinking water is safe, and 5thEye has mapped their advice:


As you can see, the CDC is very cautious, essentially arguing that only the richest countries have safe drinking water. In my personal experience, drinking tap water in Argentina, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Slovakia, Russia, and even the dread Mexico has worked out just fine. But your mileage may vary.


The World Health Organization uses a looser criteria for access to safe water, and by their standards it is a very serious problem in quite a few very poor countries but not many of the middle-income ones on the CDC map.

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Breaking News: Oregon Rejects Key Permit for Coal Export Terminal | EcoWatch.com

Breaking News: Oregon Rejects Key Permit for Coal Export Terminal | EcoWatch.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The state of Oregon stood up to dirty coal exports today by denying a key dock-building permit. This denial is a major victory for residents and climate activists who have waged a huge, high-profile campaign against coal exports. Oregon’s decision today shows that our state leadership values clean air, our climate and healthy salmon runs.


Coal export proponent, Ambre Energy asked the Oregon’s Department of State Lands for permission to build a new loading dock to ship Powder River Basin coal down the Columbia River to ocean-going ships bound for Asia. Oregon said no, saying the coal export project “would unreasonably interfere with the paramount policy of this state to preserve the use of its waters for navigation, fishing and public recreation.”


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Turkey Expresses Outrage at Reports of Routine Spying by Germany, a NATO Ally | NYTimes.com

Turkey Expresses Outrage at Reports of Routine Spying by Germany, a NATO Ally | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

After angrily insisting for months that “friends don’t spy,” the German government struggled Monday to respond to news media reports that its intelligence services routinely spy on Turkey, a NATO ally, and inadvertently captured at least one conversation each involving Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was secretary of state and her successor, John Kerry.


While officials in Berlin sought to play down the reports, Turkey summoned the German ambassador to demand an immediate investigation. “If there is even a bit of truth in these allegations, this is a grave situation that requires an explanation by Germany,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


In a tone of outrage heard repeatedly from politicians in Berlin over the past year when addressing widespread allegations of spying by the United States’ National Security Agency, the Turkish government demanded that German authorities “present an official and satisfactory explanation to the allegations,” adding that “if true, these practices should be terminated at once.”


Turkey remains on a list of countries targeted by Germany’s foreign intelligence service that was drawn up in 2009 and remains relevant today, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Monday, attributing the information to documents leaked to the Central Intelligence Agency. The magazine also reported that the German foreign intelligence service, known by its initials, BND, had captured individual conversations of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kerry while they were in the Middle East.


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Mass. Governor Deval Patrick walks away from accord with other New England governors | Boston Business Journal

Mass. Governor Deval Patrick walks away from accord with other New England governors | Boston Business Journal | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The New England governors’ plan to impose a new tax on our electricity market to pay for natural gas pipeline construction was a bold proposal — one that’s never really been tried before — to solve our region’s natural gas constraint issues.


But without Massachusetts involved, it’s almost impossible to pull off.


Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration has decided to put its support for this massive infrastructure investment on hold. This decision follows the Massachusetts Legislature’s failure to approve Patrick’s “clean energy” bill, a bill that would have allowed utilities in this state to enter into long-term contracts for Canadian hydropower, with a goal of building new power lines into New England.


The region’s governors, through the New England States Committee on Energy, had proposed a separate electricity tariff to help subsidize those power lines. Now, the future of both tariff proposals is up in the air.


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UK: Superfast Cymru announces exchange milestone for fibre broadband rollout | TeleGeography.com

With the Superfast Cymru programme said to be ‘moving at speed’, it has been announced that 100 telephone exchange areas, serving more than 190,000 premises, are now able to access superfast broadband services.


Superfast Cymru is a partnership between the Welsh Government and British fixed line incumbent BT, and is working to bring fibre broadband to parts of the country not covered by commercial plans, with a view to achieving the Welsh Government’s aim of ensuring such services are available to 96% of homes and businesses by ‘spring 2016’.


Some GBP205 million (USD343 million) in funding has been provided by the Welsh Government, the UK Government and the European Regional Development Fund for the programme, with BT contributing a further GBP220 million to deliver fibre across Wales via its commercial rollout and the Superfast Cymru programme.


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South Africa: MTN SA, City Power to share infrastucture | TeleGeography.com

South African operator MTN has entered into a deal with City Power, Johannesburg’s main electricity supply agency, to begin replacing its streetlight infrastructure with lampposts that double as cellular base transceiver stations (BTS) in areas where its 3G and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage needs improvement, TechCentral reports.


Eben Albertyn, chief technology officer at MTN SA, revealed that the cellco has already deployed two towers in the suburb of Bryanston, with more than 100 BTS to follow in Bryanston, Sandton, Woodmead, Northcliff, Westcliff, Kyalami and Fairland before Christmas.


Further, the executive noted that, following the deal, MTN is entitled to replace approximately 110,000 of City Power’s lampposts throughout greater Johannesburg, which will significantly improve its coverage in the region; the operator is also in discussions with other municipalities with a view to extending the project to other cities.


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Iceland: PTA consults on guidance for local fibre rollouts | TeleGeography.com

Icelandic telecoms regulator, the Post and Telecom Administration (PTA), has launched a public consultation on the proposed technical architecture of local fibre-optic networks.


The regulator pointed out that the Ministry of Interior requested in March 2014 that the agency prepares guidelines for local authorities and other public bodies for the design, construction and operation of local fibre networks.


As such, the PTA has revealed that it has already begun work on the document, and notes that its final report will be published in mid-September 2014.


The watchdog has invited all interested parties to submit their comments on the published draft recommendations by 28 August 2014.

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Unplugging These 6 Gadgets Will Cut Your Electricity Bill | Kiera Butler | Mother Jones

Unplugging These 6 Gadgets Will Cut Your Electricity Bill | Kiera Butler | Mother Jones | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

We all know we're supposed to unplug our technological gadgets when we're not using them, and back in the days when we only had a few home electronics—a TV here, a stereo there—that wasn't so hard to do. But as our devices proliferate (see chart below), this formerly simple task has become increasingly annoying. Who wants to spend an extra 10 minutes every morning stalking around the house and finding phone chargers and cable boxes to unplug like we're on some kind of weird easter egg hunt? And furthermore, would the energy savings from unplugging really be enough to make it worth the effort? I asked a few experts to weigh in.


According to Bruce Nordman, an energy efficiency researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as a general rule of thumb, the bigger—and older—the device, the more power it sucks up while it's off. So it's much more effective to unplug the decade-old TV in your guest bedroom than the phone charger that you bought last year. Another tip: "When you put your hand on the adaptor, if it's hot, it's using energy. If it's not hot, it's probably not using very much energy."


Click headline to view the chart and read the list of devices--

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, August 18, 4:22 PM

"...they're not being used directly. Nationwide, our idle gadgets and appliances suck up 100 billionkilowatt-hours of electricity—enough to power nearly 8.7 million homes—at a cost to consumers of about $11 billion. In addition to reminding me to choose only Energy Star-approved products, she singled out a few of the most power-hungry devices:"