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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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UK: Virgin Media leads broadband pack as UK's average speed hits 17.8Mbps | TheInquirer.net

UK: Virgin Media leads broadband pack as UK's average speed hits 17.8Mbps | TheInquirer.net | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

UK TELECOMS WATCHDOG Ofcom has announced that the UK's average broadband speed is now 17.8Mbps, with Virgin Media leading the pack.


Ofcom's latest broadband report reveals that the UK's average broadband speed rose to 17.8Mbps as of November 2013, an increase of 3Mbps in just six months. In the five years since Ofcom released its first such report, the UK's average speeds have risen from 3.6Mbps in 2008.


However, while this is a huge increase, Ofcom claims that more needs to be done, saying that the benefits of these higher broadband speeds are not shared evenly across the country.


Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, "The growth in superfast broadband and the rise in average speeds is testament to the investment in the sector. But the benefits are not shared evenly across the UK. There is more work needed to deliver wider availability of broadband and superfast broadband, particularly in rural communities but also in some locations within cities to enable wider access to fast internet."


In rural areas, average speeds increased from 9.9Mbps to 11.3Mbps between May and November 2013. While this is a bump, Ofcom is still not happy, and it bemoaned the fact that so-called 'superfast' broadband is still limited in such areas, with some having to rely on copper wire ADSL networks.


Virgin Media was quick to speak out about this too, and has launched the Very Megafast Snail Association (VMSA) to protest against such ageing technologies, as demonstrated in the image above.


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It’s Official – Russia Completely Bans GMOs | Collective-Evolution.com

It’s Official – Russia Completely Bans GMOs | Collective-Evolution.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently announced that Russia will no longer import GMO products, stating that the nation has enough space, and enough resources to produce organic food.


If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” – Medvedev


Russia has been considering joining the long list (and continually growing) of anti-GMO countries  for quite some time now. It does so after a group of Russian scientists urged the government to consider at least a 10-year moratorium on GMOs to thoroughly study their influence on human health.


“It is necessary to ban GMOs, to impose moratorium (on) it for 10 years. While GMOs will be prohibited, we can plan experiments, tests, or maybe even new methods of research could be developed. It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop it from spreading. ” – Irina Ermakova, VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety


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Bitcoin 2.0: Unleash The Sidechains | TechCrunch.com

Bitcoin 2.0: Unleash The Sidechains | TechCrunch.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

“Cryptocurrencies will create a fifth protocol layer powering the next generation of the Internet,” says Naval Ravikant. “Our 2014 fund will be built during the blockchain cycle,” concurs Fred Wilson. And Andreessen Horowitz have very visibly doubled down on Bitcoin.


Even if you don’t believe in Bitcoin as a currency, and I’ll grant there’s plenty to be skeptical about, you should be thinking: huh, a lot of extremely smart and successful people think that its underlying technology is a pretty big deal. But as I wrote myself just a few weeks ago, there’s a big difference between blockchain technology and Bitcoin itself, right?


…Maybe not.


A brief technical refresher: “blockchains” are the distributed-consensus technology introduced to the world by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, wherein a peer-to-peer network is used to codify and cryptographically verify transactions, without any central authority. What’s more, transactions can be orchestrated by programmable contracts.


Bitcoin is both the first and most successful blockchain application, but there are many, many other “cryptocurrencies,” known as “altcoins.” What’s more, there are numerous other, non-currency applications being built on new blockchains, notably Namecoin and Ethereum, and several proposals for expanding and evolving Bitcoin itself, eg ZeroCoin, MasterCoin, Colored Coins, etc.


I realize this all sounds like abstruse hair-splitting to those not yet mentally invested in cryptocurrencies; but as Ravikant put it at TC Disrupt seven months ago:


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The energy revolution is in reverse | Climate News Network

The energy revolution is in reverse | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Keeping the rise in global average temperatures to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels will not be prohibitively expensive, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says, though it won’t be easy.


There’s just one problem: the atmospheric facts show that the world is not simply ignoring the IPCC. It’s moving smartly away from the clean energy future that the Panel says is attainable towards an inexorably hotter and more risky future.


Reaching the target will mean cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70% over 2010 levels by mid-century, the IPCC report says. Yet what is happening at the moment is the exact opposite: average global emissions rose by a billion tonnes a year between 2000 and 2010, faster than ever before.


To avoid the worst impacts of climate change as cheaply as possible, the report urges an energy revolution to end the dominance of fossil fuels. The IPCC says  investments in renewable energy need to triple, with subsidies to fossil fuels declining and a switch to natural gas to help countries to get rid of coal.


The path to lower emissions may cost the energy giants dear, the IPCC acknowledges. “Mitigation policy could devalue fossil fuel assets and reduce revenues for fossil fuel exporters,” Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, which produced the report, told a public meeting here. “To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual.”


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Fiber-to-the-Antenna and LTE Deployments Strengthen Business Case for Fiber Optic Test Equipment Globally | Frost & Sullivan

The future of fiber optics is being shaped by the need for higher bandwidth, signal rates, and on-chip connections. Technologies like fiber-to-the-antenna (FTTA), long term evolution (LTE) deployments along with 100 and 400 gigabyte installations are therefore bolstering the global fiber optic test equipment market. Integrated or platform-based test products, in particular, are gaining momentum for their ability to perform more than one type of test using the same test equipment.


New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Global Fiber Optic Test Equipment Market, finds that the market earned revenue of $603.8 million in 2013 and estimates this to reach $884.9 million in 2020. The fiber inspection probe is an emerging product that accounted for approximately $45 million in sales during 2013 and continues to grow at a significant pace.


For complimentary access to more information on this research, please visit:  http://bit.ly/1jIK66J.


Fiber penetration is increasing in the broadband and access space with significant roll-outs in mobility through FTTA, fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT), distributed antenna systems (DAS), and cloud or centralized-radio access networks (CRAN). Companies are employing fiber cable assemblies that cater to FTTA, while service providers are installing this technology where thousands of assemblies are generated in a week. All these factors contribute to the uptake of fiber optic test equipment.


"The proliferation of electronics and reduction in chip sizes will also augment the demand for innovative test technologies," said Frost & Sullivan Measurement and Instrumentation Program Manager Sujan Sami. "One such potential opportunity lies in micro structure fiber and hollow fiber with higher non-linear limits."


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West Virginia, Still Home | Vimeo.com

McDowell County, situated in the coalfields of West Virginia, has experienced a great boom-and-bust since 1950.


But despite the economic decline and population loss, many still call it home and feel a great sense of purpose among the mountains.


Residents speak about their connection to this place and the meaning of "home."


Featured as an Op-Doc for The New York Times.


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Singapore Solar-Powered Supertrees Made to Collect Rainwater | Natural Health Warriors

Singapore Solar-Powered Supertrees Made to Collect Rainwater | Natural Health Warriors | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

They might look like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie, but believe it or not, these crazy structures actually exist, and have been standing tall in Singapore for well over a year now.


Supertree Grove is part of Singapore’s Gardens By the Bay – a massive tract of reclaimed land that the government has transformed into a giant garden. It’s part of a larger effort to eventually turn Singapore from a “garden city” to a “city in a garden;”  with the goal to raise its residents’ quality of life by enhancing the city’s greenery.


The Supertrees are a stunning example of green architecture, and are much more than just gigantic tree-shaped edifices. In addition to serving as vertical gardens, they’re also designed to mimic the ecological functions of real trees.


Each structure is outfitted with an array of photovoltaic cells that collect and store solar energy throughout the day – power that’s used to illuminate the garden when the sun goes down each night. Thanks to their unique shape, the trees also serve as rainwater collectors, and help funnel water to fountain displays and irrigation systems.


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EU approves alien species blacklist | BBC News

EU approves alien species blacklist | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The European Parliament has approved new legislation to stem the spread of invasive species such as "killer" shrimp or Japanese knotweed.


There will be a ban on the possession, transport, selling or growing of species deemed as of "Union Concern".


The list was going to be restricted to 50, but will now have no limit. It is not clear which species will be banned.


A deal between EU member states effectively means the bill will become law within a few months.


It came on the day that British MPs slammed current government policy on controlling alien species as "not fit for purpose".


The economic and ecological damage caused by non-native species such as the so-called killer shrimp and demon shrimp originally from the Black Sea, the Asian Harlequin ladybird or Japanese knotweed are estimated to cost Europe some 12bn euros every year.


In the UK the bill is at least £1.7bn.


Experts say such insects, plants and animals are one of the major causes of biodiversity loss and species extinction.


They can also spread disease and cause health problems such as asthma, dermatitis and allergies.


The new law will require member states to analyse how troublesome species enter the country and to improve surveillance systems.


Official checks at EU borders will be stepped up. Action plans on how to manage established invasive species also have to be developed.


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Heartbleed: Security experts reality-check the 3 most hysterical fears | NetworkWorld.com

Heartbleed: Security experts reality-check the 3 most hysterical fears | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Heartbleed has dominated tech headlines for a week now. News outlets, citizen bloggers, and even late-night TV hosts have jumped on the story, each amping up the alarm a little more than the last one. But while it's true Heartbleed is a critical flaw with widespread implications, several security experts we've spoken with believe the sky-is-falling tone of the reporting is a bit melodramatic.


"While this is technically a big deal,' the exposure that this has received by the media is overblown," says Greg Foss, senior security research engineer for LogRhythm, "especially when compared to other serious vulnerabilities that are responsibly disclosed every day, which few outside of the security community ever hear about."


So what do you need to worry about? Read on for the hype and the reality behind three of the most common claims to come out of the heartbleed hysteria.


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Putin told Edward Snowden that Russia doesn’t use mass surveillance on its citizens. Here’s a reality check | WashPost.com

Putin told Edward Snowden that Russia doesn’t use mass surveillance on its citizens. Here’s a reality check | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

One of the more surreal moments of today's installment in Vladimir Putin's series of reliably surreal call-ins with the Russian nation was when NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden appeared, and asked the former KGB spy about surveillance.


Snowden, currently in hiding in Russia, asked Putin whether the Russian state used the tactics of mass surveillance he had helped to uncover in the United States. Putin, apparently happy to talk spy craft with another former member of the intelligence community, had a firm answer: No, we don't do that.


“You have to get court permission to stalk a particular person,” he said. “Certainly, we do not take liberty of such a vast scale, an uncontrolled scale. [...] Thank God, our special services are strictly controlled by the state and society and their activity is regulated by law."


Putin seemed confident in his answer, but let's take a step back here: Is this actually true? Not exactly, says Andrei Soldatov, editor of Agentura.Ru and one of the most prominent experts of Russia's surveillance culture.


In fact, Soldatov says, Russia even has its own version of PRISM, the clandestine mass electronic surveillance program that Snowden uncovered. It's called SORM, and has been around since 1995. During Putin's 14 years in Russian leadership, the scope of SORM has been expanded numerous times.


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Sunshades Bloom to Protect These Towers from the Brutal Desert Sun | Gizmodo.com

Sunshades Bloom to Protect These Towers from the Brutal Desert Sun | Gizmodo.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

When the sun comes up, the flowers come out. Inspired by the design of Arabic windows known as mashrabiya, these 45-foot wide, flower-shaped sunshades "blossom" in minutes to cover the facades of these twin towers designed for two (anonymous!) Middle Eastern media companies.


New York-based architecture firm REX drew up these plans for the conjoined headquarters of the two companies. Both the eastern and western faces are equipped with the blooming sunshades, which unfurl and retract as the sun moves across the sky. Inside, the headquarters include space for offices, as well as common areas such as cafeterias and theaters. Studios, which require permanent blackout, are tucked in the basement levels.


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Broadband Speeds Around The World | CloudTweaks.com

Broadband Speeds Around The World | CloudTweaks.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

If you have you ever wondered who has the world’s fastest internet, and whether speeds differ by country or by provider, the latest State of the Internet report from Akamai provides some answers, says Peter Lawson, marketing manager at iiNet, Australia’s second-largest DSL Internet provider.

Akamai,” he states, “gathers data from the Akamai Intelligent Platform and puts it all together in a handy report at the end of each quarter. The Akamai Intelligent Platform is made up of a distributed network of servers and intelligent software and delivers over two trillion interactions daily. It constantly monitors the Internet conditions to identify and block security threats, and provide optimization advice based on its extensive reach and data.

Lawson points out that according to Akamai’s latest report, in the third quarter of 2013 the global average connection speed increased 10% to 3.6 Mbps, while the global average peak connection speed decreased 5.2% to 17.9 Mbps.

The top 20 fastest Internet speeds according to average peak connection are:

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The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge - a Product of Climate Change? | ClimateCrocks.com

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge - a Product of Climate Change? | ClimateCrocks.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Dr. Joe Romm reports on a new study that provides more detail on  the drying of the western US, this winter’s Polar Vortex, and the “Warm Arctic, Cold Continents” paradox.


As readers here know, the hottest debate in atmospheric science is not whether man is causing climate change – that was settled decades ago. The debate is, HOW is that change going to manifest, as increasing global heat content drives changes to circulation patterns that have been consistent for millennia.  This past winter’s “ridiculously resilient ridge”, which brought drought to the west, and arctic cold to the eastern US, is looking more and more as if it is at least partially a product of climate change.


Joe Romm in ClimateProgress:


Natural variability alone cannot explain the extreme weather pattern that has driven both the record-setting California drought and the cooler weather seen in the Midwest and East this winter, a major new study finds.


We’ve reported before that climate scientists had predicted a decade ago that warming-driven Arctic ice loss would lead to worsening drought in California. In particular, they predicted it would lead to a “blocking pattern” that would shift the jet stream (and the rain it could bring) away from the state — in this case a “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” of high pressure.


My recent video on the California Drought featured interviews with key scientists observing the “Ridiculous Ridge” phenomenon.


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TrueCrypt audit finds “no evidence of backdoors” or malicious code | Ars Technica

TrueCrypt audit finds “no evidence of backdoors” or malicious code | Ars Technica | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

On Monday, after seven months of discussion and planning, the first phase of a two-part audit of TrueCrypt was released.


The results? iSEC, the company contracted to review the bootloader and Windows kernel driver for any backdoor or related security issue, concluded (PDF) that TrueCrypt has: “no evidence of backdoors or otherwise intentionally malicious code in the assessed areas.”


While the team did find some minor vulnerabilities in the code itself, iSEC labeled them as appearing to be “unintentional, introduced as the result of bugs rather than malice.”


Since September 2013, a handful of cryptographers have been discussing new problems and alternatives to the popular security application. By February 2014, the Open Crypto Audit Project—a new organization based in North Carolina that seeks formal 501(c)3 non-profit status—raised around $80,000 toward this goal on various online fundraising sites.


"[The results] don't panic me,” Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins cryptography professor who has been one of the people leading this effort, told Ars. “I think the code quality is not as high as it should be, but on the other hand, nothing terrible is in there, so that's reassuring.”


Green said that the second phase was now to perform a “detailed crypto review and make sure that there’s no bug in the encryption.”


Specifically, the report continued:


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WORLD BANK WANTS WATER PRIVATIZED, DESPITE RISKS | We Are Change

WORLD BANK WANTS WATER PRIVATIZED, DESPITE RISKS | We Are Change | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Humans can survive weeks without food, but only days without water — in some conditions, only hours. It may sound clichéd, but it’s no hyperbole: Water is life. So what happens when private companies control the spigot? Evidence from water privatization projects around the world paints a pretty clear picture — public health is at stake.


In the run-up to its annual spring meeting this month, the World Bank Group, which offers loans, advice and other resources to developing countries, held four days of dialogues in Washington, D.C. Civil society groups from around the world and World Bank Group staff convened to discuss many topics. Water was high on the list.It’s hard to think of a more important topic.


We face a global water crisis, made worse by the warming temperatures of climate change. A quarter of the world’s people don’t have sufficient access to clean drinking water, and more people die every year from waterborne illnesses — such as cholera and typhoid fever — than from all forms of violence, including war, combined. Every hour, the United Nations estimates, 240 babies die from unsafe water.


The World Bank Group pushes privatization as a key solution to the water crisis. It is the largest funder of water management in the developing world, with loans and financing channeled through the group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). Since the 1980s, the IFC has been promoting these water projects as part of a broader set of privatization policies, with loans and financing tied to enacting austerity measures designed to shrink the state, from the telecom industry to water utilities.


But international advocacy and civil society groups point to the pockmarked record of private-sector water projects and are calling on the World Bank Group to end support for private water.

In the decades since the IFC’s initial push, we have seen the results of water privatization: It doesn’t work. Water is not like telecommunications or transportation. You could tolerate crappy phone service, but have faulty pipes connecting to your municipal water and you’re in real trouble. Water is exceptional.


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Shetland Island set for superfast broadband | Scotsman.com

Shetland Island set for superfast broadband | Scotsman.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Shetland is set to be Scotland’s first island community to get superfast fibre optic broadband as part of a £410 million project to improve internet speeds in rural areas across the country.


Homes and businesses in Lerwick, on the Shetland mainland, join Keith in Moray as the latest areas to come online in the Digital Highlands and Islands project. The project will deliver fibre broadband to 84 per cent of premises across the region by 2016.


The project will see fibre broadband services offering speeds of up to 80 megabits per second become available in the autumn, once BT engineers deploy the necessary technology.


Keith and Lerwick will both receive high speed technology for the first time, while additional premises in Nairn, Dingwall and Fort William will also be covered. Around 6,500 premises in total are set to benefit across the locations.


Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband partnership is about rolling out reliable fibre services to our most remote areas. The first live locations in the Highlands and Islands were announced in February and around 10,000 premises can now access fibre broadband as a direct result of the project.”


“This is an important step towards ensuring that Scotland has world-class digital connectivity by 2020. Our investment, and that of our partners in the project, will extend access to superfast broadband across Scotland. This will be a key factor in ensuring Scotland’s long-term economic prosperity.”


The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband initiative consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands area and the other covering the Rest of Scotland.


In total, more than three quarters of a million homes and business premises are expected to benefit from the scheme.


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Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog : California Drought/Polar Vortex Jet Stream Pattern Linked to Global Warming | Weather Underground

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog : California Drought/Polar Vortex Jet Stream Pattern Linked to Global Warming | Weather Underground | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

From November 2013 - January 2014, a remarkably extreme jet stream pattern set up over North America, bringing the infamous "Polar Vortex" of cold air to the Midwest and Eastern U.S., and a "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" of high pressure over California, which brought the worst winter drought conditions ever recorded to that state.


A new study published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, led by Utah State scientist S.-Y. Simon Wang, found that this jet stream pattern was the most extreme on record, and likely could not have grown so extreme without the influence of human-caused global warming.


The study concluded, “there is a traceable anthropogenic warming footprint in the enormous intensity of the anomalous ridge during winter 2013-14, the associated drought and its intensity."


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Science Society Seeks to Shift Dialogue on Climate Change by Showing "What We Know" | ScientificAmerican.com

Science Society Seeks to Shift Dialogue on Climate Change by Showing "What We Know" | ScientificAmerican.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scientific consensus that humans cause climate change is akin to the scientific consensus that smoking causes cancer, says a report released today by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


The report, called "What We Know," marks the kickoff of a new AAAS initiative to increase dialogue on the risks of climate change.


"Opinion polls show that more than half of the American public still think that there is a debate over whether climate change is happening or whether it is human-caused," said James McCarthy, a Harvard University oceanographer and co-chairman of the report.


McCarthy expressed hope that the report, coming from a trusted source -- AAAS publishes the prestigious journal Science -- and written by a group of esteemed American climate scientists, would get across the message that 97 percent of climate scientists are in agreement and that early action is needed on climate change.


"We are speaking in a way that we hope will be heard unambiguously," McCarthy said.


"The people that do question climate science are either for the most part not scientists or scientists who are not informed in this area," he added.


The report offers three key messages on climate change.


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5 Key Barriers to Educational Technology Adoption in the Developing World | EduTechDebate.org

Educational technology will continue to be implemented incrementally in many parts of the developing world.


More rapid uptake and success are unlikely to occur unless five items are addressed – power, Internet connectivity and bandwidth, quality teacher training, respect and better pay for teachers, and the sustainability of implementations.


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Epic Electric American Roadtrip shatters world record, reveals truth about Supercharging | SmartPlanet.com

Epic Electric American Roadtrip shatters world record, reveals truth about Supercharging | SmartPlanet.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Norman Hajjar is a man on a mission--in a Tesla. He’s currently crisscrossing the United States in a 12,000-mile journey to break an electric vehicle (EV) Guinness World Record, while stumping for better charging infrastructure and educating curious onlookers along the way.


When SmartPlanet spoke to Hajjar, he was somewhere west of Cleveland, Ohio, nearly three weeks into his Epic Electric American Roadtrip, having already traveled 9,253 miles, using 3,278 kwh in the process. (The stats on the site aren't updating correctly.)


That record he’s trying to break? It’s for longest traveled distance in a non-solar electric-powered vehicle and it stood at 3,534 miles. He blew right by it on his eighth day of driving.


Hajjar is managing director for Pluginsights, an EV research firm and the trip is sponsored by its parent company, Recargo Inc, which provides EV software and information services. Hajjar used the Plugshare app to help plan the roadtrip.


In traveling to all four corners of the U.S., Hajjar’s Tesla Model S sedan, powered by an 85kWh battery, has been put to the test by weather. Tire chains were even necessary in Vail, Colorado.

To see photos from his journey, click here


Has he ever been worried he won’t make it to the next Supercharger? No. Hajjar says, “You have to watch the calculations to see what the drain rate is on the battery on a mile to mile basis. You do a bunch of tests as you go to be sure that you’re not going to be in trouble. It’s relatively simple math.”


And what can you do if you notice you're not getting the efficiency level you expected from the battery? You slow down. Hajjar says, "There’s an exponential increase in drag as your speed accelerates north of 50 or 55 miles per hour. When you get up into the mid and high seventies, you’re really feeling the pain on the battery."


According to Hajjar, the three biggest variables affecting battery life are temperature, wind, and elevation.


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Tor anonymity network to shrink as a result of Heartbleed flaw | NetworkWorld.com

Tor anonymity network to shrink as a result of Heartbleed flaw | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Tor Project has flagged 380 Tor relays vulnerable to the critical Heartbleed flaw to be rejected from the Tor anonymity network, reducing the network's entry and exit capacity.


The decision has already been implemented on a Tor directory authority -- a server that maintains a list of Tor relays -- controlled by Roger Dingledine, the Tor Project leader, and is likely to be followed by other directory authority operators.


The 380 relays flagged for rejection are trusted entry relays, also known as guards, and exit relays. As a result, the immediate impact of this decision would be a 12 percent reduction in the network's guard and exit capacity, Dingledine said Wednesday in an email sent to the tor-relays mailing list.


Traffic from clients typically flows through the Tor network in three hops. The first hop is through a guard relay and the final hop, before the traffic is returned on the Internet to reach its intended destination, is through an exit relay.


Twelve percent might not sound like much, but guard and exit relays play an important role on the network and are not easy to replace. Many relays are run by volunteers, but they need to be trusted and need to have enough bandwidth at their disposal to handle traffic from multiple clients.


"I thought for a while about taking away their Valid flag rather than rejecting them outright, but this way they'll get notices in their logs," Dingledine said.


It seems that the ban might be permanent. Dingledine said that he wouldn't want those relays back on the Tor network even if they upgraded their versions of OpenSSL because their operators didn't patch the flaw in a timely manner.


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Israeli start-up, working with GE, out to detect Stuxnet-like attacks | NetworkWorld.com

Israeli start-up, working with GE, out to detect Stuxnet-like attacks | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Stuxnet malware known to have stealthily targeted Iranian nuclear facilities a few years ago was a wake-up call about how vulnerable critical industrial systems can be to cyberattack. Now, an Israeli start-up, with help from General Electric, is testing security technology that would detect Stuxnet-like attacks on critical infrastructure systems used for power production.


Two university professors, Amir Averbuch of Tel Aviv University, and Ronald Coifman of Yale, came up with mathematical algorithms that can be used in network security monitoring to detect stealthy malware targeting industrial systems. The company they founded last year with CEO Mark Gazit is called ThetaRay.


The Tel Aviv-based start-up has developed server-based technology to be used in monitoring of power-production facilities, industrial SCADA systems and other critical infrastructure. Expected to be generally available around September, the technology could also be applied to other industries, such as financial services.


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Oklahoma Will Charge Customers Who Install Their Own Solar Panels | ThinkProgress.org

Oklahoma Will Charge Customers Who Install Their Own Solar Panels | ThinkProgress.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Oklahoma residents who produce their own energy through solar panels or small wind turbines on their property will now be charged an additional fee, the result of a new bill passed by the state legislature and expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R).


On Monday, S.B. 1456 passed the state House 83-5 after no debate. The measure creates a new class of customers: those who install distributed power generation systems like solar panels or small wind turbines on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid. While those with systems already installed won’t be affected, the new class of customers will now be charged a monthly fee — a shift that happened quickly and caught many in the state off guard.


“We knew nothing about it and all of a sudden it’s attached to some other bill,” Ctaci Gary, owner of Sun City Oklahoma, told ThinkProgress. “It just appeared out of nowhere.”


Because the surcharge amount has not been determined, Gary is cautious about predicting the impact it will have on her business. She has already received multiple calls from people asking questions about the bill and wanting to have solar systems installed before the new fee takes effect. “We’re going to use it as a marketing tool,” Gary said. “People deserve to have an opportunity [to install their own solar panels] and not be charged.”


“It is unfortunate that some utilities that enthusiastically support wind power for their own use are promoting a regressive policy that will make it harder for their customers to use wind power on their own,” said Mike Bergey, president & CEO of Bergey Windpower in Norman, Oklahoma, in a statement. “Oklahoma offers tax credits for large wind turbines which are built elsewhere, but wants to penalize small wind which we manufacture here in the state? That makes no sense to me.”


Oklahoma “could be the first complete defeat for solar advocates in their fight against utility efforts to recover costs lost to DG [distributed generation] use,” writes Utility Dive. Net metering survived attacks in Colorado and Kansas and Vermont recently increased its policy in a bipartisan effort. Last year, Arizona added what amounts to a $5 per month surcharge for solar customers, a move that was widely seen as a compromise, particularly after ALEC and other Koch-backed groups got involved.


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Will the Internet of Things Become the Internet of Broken Things? | NetworkWorld.com

Will the Internet of Things Become the Internet of Broken Things? | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Cisco Systems estimates that the number of devices connected to the Internet will reach 50 billion by 2020. This brings promise for users, corporations and vendors but also a major challenge: What happens if this Internet of Things (IoT), all 50 billion of them, morphs into the Internet of broken things?


In other words, how will vendors ensure that these devices are compatible? Who will be responsible for guaranteeing this compatibly? If a device breaks, who will fix it? And does everyone even want total connectivity in the first place?


"Overcoming these challenges to interoperability is somewhat of a double-edged sword," says Ryan Martin, associate analyst at Yankee Group. "On one hand, standardization could further market penetration, as well as the breadth and depth of IoT solutions. On the other, it means relinquishing control and, therefore, leverage over a given ecosystem.


As a result, Martin says, we'll more likely see mergers, acquisitions and partnership activity before we see the influence of cross-industry, technical standards.


Gartner Vice President Hung LeHong agrees, saying it'll be a long time before we reach universal compatibility - if ever. Today's marketplace "competition," he says, centers on delivering middleware, portal and gateway aggregators that can take in multiple types of connections.


A variety of vendors is involved, from telecommunications firms and cloud providers to retailers and hardware and software vendors. ( PTC's acquisition of ThingWorx stands as evidence that software vendors are interested in the Internet of Things.) "No one entity will win all areas," LeHong says.


Maciej Kranz, vice president of the corporate technology group at Cisco, points to security as a top concern as well, especially as assembly lines and oil fields are connected. Three years ago, the Stuxnet virus spread havoc in industrial environments, and cyberattacks on other areas of critical infrastructure are also on the rise.


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A Chinese Company 3-D Printed 10 Houses In A Day | BizInsider.com

A Chinese Company 3-D Printed 10 Houses In A Day | BizInsider.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

There's a lot you can do with a 3-D printer. Now add "building a house in a day" to the list.


Make that 10 houses.


The WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. (link in Chinese) has printed 10 homes in 24 hours out of recycled materials.


This isn't the first attempt at 3-D printing large structures in a short amount of time. Researchers in California are making a printer that can build a house in 24 hours.


In Amsterdam earlier this month, construction of a 3D-printed house began. The house is made out of plastic bricks that fit together like Lego. It's also being printed onsite.


The Chinese houses, on the other hand, weren't built onsite. They were printed in pieces and then put together in Shanghai's Qingpu district.


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