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China Plans To Expand 4M Broadband Coverage To 70% Of Its Internet Users | TechCrunch

China Plans To Expand 4M Broadband Coverage To 70% Of Its Internet Users  | TechCrunch | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) minister Miao Wei announced yesterday (link via Google Translate) that the Chinese government plans to increase the number of households with broadband access, with more than 70 percent of China’s Internet users getting 4M broadband service by the end of 2013. The initiative is part of the 2013 Broadband China project, which aims to increase FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) coverage by more than 35 million households this year. In 2012, the number of households with FTTH increased 49 percent to 94 million, the MIIT said. The government also plans to add 1.3 million wireless hotspots this year, Miao said.

 

MIIT’s latest update on its Broadband China project follows an earlier one in September (link via Google Translate), when the Ministry said it plans to have broadband coverage in China hit 250 million users by the end of 2015.

 

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Lockheed Martin's new Compact Fusion Reactor might change humanity forever | Umer Abrar | Physics-Astronomy.com

Lockheed Martin's new Compact Fusion Reactor might change humanity forever | Umer Abrar | Physics-Astronomy.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

This is an invention that might possibly modify the civilization as we know it: A compact fusion reactor presented by Skunk Works, the stealth experimental technology section of Lockheed Martin. It's about the size of a jet engine and it can power airplanes, most likely spaceships, and cities. Skunk Works state that it will be operational in 10 years.


Aviation Week had complete access to their stealthy workshops and spoke to Dr. Thomas McGuire, the leader of Skunk Work's Revolutionary Technology section. And ground-breaking it is, certainly: Instead of utilizing the similar strategy that everyone else is using— the Soviet-derived tokamak, a torus in which magnetic fields limit the fusion reaction with a enormous energy cost and thus tiny energy production abilities—Skunk Works' Compact Fusion Reactor has a fundamentally different methodology to anything people have tried before.


The crucial point in the Skunk Works arrangement is their tube-like design, which permits them to avoid one of the boundaries of usual fusion reactor designs, which are very restricted in the sum of plasma they can sustain, which makes them giant in size—like the gigantic International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. According to McGuire:


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China defends cybersecurity demands, amid complaints from U.S. | Michael Kan | NetworkWorld.com

China defends cybersecurity demands, amid complaints from U.S. | Michael Kan | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

President Barack Obama isn’t happy with new rules from China that would require U.S. tech companies to abide by strict cybersecurity measures, but on Tuesday the country was quick to defend the proposed regulations.

“All countries are paying attention to and taking measures to safeguard their own information security. This is beyond reproach,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying in a news briefing.

She made the statement after Obama criticized a proposed anti-terror law that he said could stifle U.S. tech business in China. The legislation would require companies to hand over encryption keys to the country’s government, and create “back doors” into their systems to give the Chinese government surveillance access.

“This is something that I’ve raised directly with President Xi,” Obama said in an interview with Reuters on Monday. “We have made it very clear to them that this is something they are going to have to change if they are to do business with the United States.”

U.S. trade groups are also against another set of proposed regulations that would require vendors selling to China’s telecommunication and banking sector to hand over sensitive intellectual property to the country’s government.

Although China hasn’t approved the proposed regulations, the country has made cybersecurity a national priority over the past year. This came after leaks from U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden alleged that the U.S. had been secretly spying on Chinese companies and schools through cyber surveillance.

On Tuesday, China signaled that there was a clear need to protect the country from cyber espionage. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua pointed to recent reports alleging that the U.S. and the U.K. had hacked into a SIM card maker for surveillance purposes as an example.


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Google sees success with balloon, airplane Internet | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com

Google sees success with balloon, airplane Internet | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Google’s ambitious efforts to bring balloon and aircraft-borne connectivity to underserved areas of the globe are pushing past some key milestones and the company expects a public launch in a few years.

Both projects have captured the imagination of many for their ability to beam Internet signals from platforms high up in the sky to areas without cellular networks, but represent significant engineering challenges for Google—just the kind of thing the company likes, said Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president at Google, speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The oldest and perhaps best known of the two projects, Project Loon, seeks to use balloons flying around 20 kilometers (65,000 feet) above the Earth to deliver Internet signals. The company’s first experiments used a proprietary WiFi signal but that’s since changed to LTE cellular signals.

When Google first began launching the balloons two years ago, it couldn’t manage to keep them up for more than about 5 days at a time, but now they are in the sky for as long as six months, delivering LTE signals directly to handsets on the ground. The range it can achieve with each balloon has quadrupled, he said.

“We think the model is really beginning to work,” he said.

Google is working on tests of the technology with Vodafone in New Zealand, Telstra in Australia and Telefonica in Latin America.

A newer project called Titan is at the stage Loon was a couple of years ago, said Pichai.


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Constitution Pipeline: 'The Keystone Pipeline of Natural Gas' | Ted Glick | EcoWatch

Constitution Pipeline: 'The Keystone Pipeline of Natural Gas' | Ted Glick | EcoWatch | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A popular movement is building against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), for its outrageous rubber-stamping of permits for expansion of the gas industry. Kennedy’s powerful indictment of FERC on national television last week was the latest manifestation of this hopeful, much-needed development.

Kennedy was speaking about the Constitution pipeline, one of about eight interstate pipelines originating in or going through Pennsylvania (ground zero for fracking in the Northeast) that are currently in some stage of getting approval from FERC, which interstate gas pipelines need to do. And the approval process is essentially pro-forma. In the two and a half or so years that I’ve been actively involved with this movement, I know of none proposed that have been rejected. It’s the same with proposed export terminals. At a federal Court of Appeals hearing last year in Washington, DC it was stated in open court that 95 percent or more of such proposed pipelines are approved, with no disagreement from the FERC lawyers present.

Some of the other pipelines which FERC will likely approve—barring the kind of organized people’s uprising we have seen around the Keystone XL pipeline—are: Penn East, Mariner East 2, Atlantic Sunrise, Atlantic Coast, Algonquin Incremental Market and Northeast Energy Direct.

Virtually all of these pipelines are being built, in part, to ship fracked gas from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and possibly elsewhere in the Marcellus Shale region to gas export terminals that are being built or projects that are proposed, including in Nova Scotia, off the coast of NY/NJ and Cove Point in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay.

The leadership of FERC knows that they’ve got a problem. Here is how FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur put it at the National Press Club on Jan. 27:


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Zero-day in Seagate NAS allows attacker to remotely get unauthorized root access | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

Zero-day in Seagate NAS allows attacker to remotely get unauthorized root access | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Thousands of Seagate Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are defenseless against a zero-day remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability. Back in October, security researcher OJ Reeves attempted to responsibly disclose the hole in Seagate’s Business Storage 2-Bay NAS products, which ironically use a tagline of “deadlines happen. Be ready.” But Seagate still hasn’t issued a firmware fix, so Reeves has now publicly disclosed the bug.

“Products in this line that run firmware versions up to and including version 2014.00319 were found to be vulnerable to a number of issues that allow for remote code execution under the context of the root user,” Reeves wrote on Beyond Binary. “These vulnerabilities are exploitable without requiring any form of authorization on the device.” Reeves believes all previous firmware versions “are highly likely to contain the same vulnerabilities.”

“It’s basically a ‘push button, receive bacon’ situation,” Reeves told iDigitalTimes. By using Shodan, he found over 2,500 publicly exposed and vulnerable boxes on the web waiting to be popped.

Regarding responsible disclosure, Reeves said he tried starting on Oct. 7, but it was both time-consuming and unproductive; Seagate’s “front-line support team repeatedly failed to direct the query to the relevant point of contact.” He later bypassed the oxymoron "support" staff and dealt with a security contact who seemed concerned in the “early stages.” Yet Seagate still took no action and had no timeline for a fix. So today, March 1, Reeves went public with the zero-day.


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How the warming Arctic might be behind Boston's deep freeze | Peter Thompson | PRI's The World

How the warming Arctic might be behind Boston's deep freeze | Peter Thompson | PRI's The World | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The massive dumps of snow here this winter have been bad enough, but it's the cold that's really done us in, an unbroken stretch of frigid weather that’s made Massachusetts feel more like Montreal — or Anchorage.

And Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis has a counterintuitive explanation for all the cold: It's the warming Arctic.

More specifically, Francis thinks the warming Arctic is causing the jet stream to slow down and get a lot more loopy, which lets big masses of frigid air slip south.

The jet stream is that powerful, high-altitude circulation system that carries weather around the Northern Hemisphere. The main fuel behind it is the difference in temperature between the Arctic and the warmer regions to the south.

“When the Arctic is warming so fast, that means there's less fuel driving the jet stream,” Francis says. “When the jet stream has less fuel it flows more slowly, and it tends to take these big north-south dips.”

The northeastern US just happens to be in the path of one of those big dips this year, she says, “and that’s when we get our cold winters."

But she also thinks there’s a lot more going on than just a lot of cold and snow in New England. “You have to step back and look at what the jet stream is doing all around the northern hemisphere,” Francis says.


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LTE can mooch off of Wi-Fi spectrum with new Qualcomm chipset | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

LTE can mooch off of Wi-Fi spectrum with new Qualcomm chipset | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A chipset Qualcomm is introducing at Mobile World Congress next week is likely to make mobile operators happy and some Wi-Fi fans nervous.

Amid a scramble for spectrum among cellular carriers, Qualcomm will demonstrate a chipset that lets LTE cells operate in a radio band used by Wi-Fi networks. The new silicon could double the amount of spectrum subscribers can use in certain areas, and it’s just the first in a family of chipsets that may eventually tap into five times as much.

The FSM 99xx chipset for small cells, along with a matching transceiver that will go into mobile devices, are among the first products coming for so-called Licensed Assisted Access. LAA, sometimes called LTE-Unlicensed, is one of several emerging techniques to take advantage of the large amount of spectrum available in unlicensed bands used by Wi-Fi. Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and SK Telecom all have shown interest in using LAA. Combining unlicensed spectrum with traditional carrier frequencies will be a major trend on display at MWC.

The benefit of unlicensed spectrum is that it’s free for anyone to use, so carriers can tap into it without paying billions in an auction or going through a long licensing process. But that’s also what makes it risky, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance. The industry group fears that without the right safeguards, LTE networks could hurt Wi-Fi performance. It’s working with the 3GPP cellular standards group on future rules to prevent interference.

Qualcomm says its product is ready to be a good neighbor. Tests at Qualcomm showed that putting up a cellular base station built with the new chipset won’t affect nearby Wi-Fi users any more than adding another Wi-Fi access point would, said Mazen Chmaytelli, senior director of business development at Qualcomm. It plans to offer products with future safeguards once they’re finished but says they aren’t needed to keep Wi-Fi safe.


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UK: London Underground hums with better data on tracks | Joab Jackson | CIO.com

UK: London Underground hums with better data on tracks | Joab Jackson | CIO.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Most London Underground riders probably never heard of linear asset management, though they might be glad it exists, if it gets them to their destinations with fewer delays in the future.

The London Underground public rapid transit system has deployed linear asset management software from IBM to improve the efficiency of its track maintenance.

The approach could result in fewer delays and increased safety for the commuter rail system, said James Foley, director of asset management and engineering for London Underground support contractor Enterprise AMS, speaking Wednesday at the IBM InterConnect conference in Las Vegas.

Many organizations keep tabs on costly physical assets such as vehicle fleets by using asset management applications. Fewer organizations know of a subset of this practice called linear asset management, though they might benefit from the software, Foley said.

Linear assets differ from standard assets, or discrete assets, in that they are physical things that stretch over a considerable length, and change in notable ways over the course of that length. Think oil pipelines, telecommunication conduits, highways.

Railroad tracks are linear assets. A railroad line needs to be maintained to a very high standard throughout, though its components may vary over the distance, such as the quality of the roadbed, the speed limits for the trains, and the heaviness of the rails.

Such information is vital to maintaining a system as busy as the London Underground, which has 402 kilometers (250 miles) of track and is used by over 1.2 billion riders a year. Linear asset management provides all the details about the state of the track precisely at the location where the work needs to be done.

For the London Underground, track maintenance is typically confined to a four-hour window late at night when trains don’t run. The linear asset management software can provide the crew with all the specific data about a location beforehand, so they don’t waste time on site inspections to determine what materials and tools would be needed to complete the job.


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Seeing is believing: scientists trace greenhouse effect | Tim Radford | Climate News Network

Seeing is believing: scientists trace greenhouse effect | Tim Radford | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Government scientists in the US say they have directly observed for the first time the greenhouse effect in action, while monitoring the way carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere absorbed increasing amounts of thermal radiation from the surface.

Their measurements, taken over a period of 11 years in Alaska and Oklahoma, confirm predictions made more than 100 years ago, and repeatedly examined: there is a greenhouse effect, and the greenhouse gas that most helps the world warm is carbon dioxide.

The phenomenon is known in climate science shorthand as radiative forcing, which happens when the Earth absorbs more energy from solar radiation than it emits as thermal radiation back into space.

The sun shines through the greenhouse gases as if they were glass, and warms the rocks. The rocks emit infra-red waves, but the transparent gases now keep the heat in, as if they formed the glass roof of a greenhouse.


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San Francisco, CA Becomes The First City to Ban Sale of Plastic Bottles | Global Flare

San Francisco, CA Becomes The First City to Ban Sale of Plastic Bottles | Global Flare | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In a bold move toward pollution control, San Francisco has just become the first city in America to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, a move that is building on a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry.

Over the next four years, the ban will phase out the sales of plastic water bottles that hold 21 ounces or less in public places. Waivers are permissible if an adequate alternative water source is not available.

One of the larges supporters of the proposal was the Think Outside the Bottle campaign, a national effort that encourages restrictions of the “eco-unfriendly product.”

San Francisco’s ban is less strict than the full prohibitions passed in 14 national parks, a number of universities and Concord, Mass.

Violators of the ban would face fines of up to $1,000.


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Ancient landscapes point to dramatic climate change | Tim Radford | Climate News Network

Ancient landscapes point to dramatic climate change | Tim Radford | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Chinese and US scientists have uncovered prehistoric evidence of mass migration triggered by climate change.

Something occurred 4,200 years ago – a collapse of the monsoon system, the sapping of the groundwater, the sudden drainage of a lake – that brought a Neolithic culture to an end and left nothing but sandy landscapes in China’s Inner Mongolia region.

Archaeological evidence has revealed the jade carvings that once marked the Hongshan culture, along with evidence of hunting, fishing and even commercial traffic with Mongolian shepherds. And then the artefacts stop.

There is a 600-year period marked by no evidence of human settlement at all. Where there had once been streams, lakes grassland and forest, and a flourishing new Stone Age culture, only shifting sand dunes remained.


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PA: Wolf Administration To Show How It'll Challenge Gas Industry | CBS Philly

PA: Wolf Administration To Show How It'll Challenge Gas Industry | CBS Philly | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who ran last year with the backing of environmental groups, will soon be giving a first glimpse at how his administration will approach the powerful Marcellus Shale natural gas industry.

Next week, Wolf’s Department of Environmental Protection is preparing to release its plans to update various rules over the drilling industry, including how it must prevent methane leaks and how it must handle toxic wastewater.

Meanwhile, the administration has begun exploring how to track and investigate health and environmental complaints that are blamed on natural gas exploration.

John Quigley, Wolf’s nominee to become secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, said Wolf wants the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania to succeed. But, he said, Wolf, a Democrat, also was elected because he was viewed as the candidate who would respond better to public concerns over the impact of drilling on health and the environment.

“That’s one of the reasons why Tom Wolf is governor today, because the public gets that too,” Quigley said. “The public wants to have their concerns addressed. The governor gets that and it’s all about responsible drilling.”

The three initiatives are early signs of an administration that is expected to push the industry on its environmental commitments. A public health registry is a longer-term project; proposals lacked the support of Wolf’s predecessor, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Administration officials have begun discussing the information technology and data management systems that it will require, and it could demand more money for an agency that has endured among the deepest cuts in state government since the recession.


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Your First Look at Google's Reconfigurable, See-Through HQ | Kyle Vanhemert | WIRED

Your First Look at Google's Reconfigurable, See-Through HQ | Kyle Vanhemert | WIRED | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Apple is building a massive spaceship-like ring around a private eden dotted with apricot trees. Facebook is working on a forest-topped hanger, reportedly with a single room big enough to house 3,400 workers. Now, we have our first glimpse of what Google’s envisioning for its own futuristic headquarters: A series of see-through, tent-like structures, draped in glass, whose interior workspaces can be reconfigured on a massive scale according to the company’s needs.

In a new video released this morning, Google showed off an ambitious proposal for a future North Bayshore campus in Mountain View. The concept was produced by the firms of Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels, two of architecture’s fastest rising stars. Heatherwick Studio, based in the UK, was responsible for the torch at the London Olympics. The Bjarke Ingels Group, based in Denmark, is working on a trash-to-power plant in Copenhagen that will double as a ski slope.


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A billion things are already on the IoT: Verizon | Richard Chirgwin | The Register

A billion things are already on the IoT: Verizon | Richard Chirgwin | The Register | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Verizon reckons the Internet of Things is no longer a “nascent” market, reporting that there are already more than a billion devices out there running business-to-business IoT operations.

In its “state of the market” report (free with registration) covering the IoT in 2015, the company predicts that the B2B IoT space will pass 5 billion devices by 2020.

Among the carrier's enterprise customers, manufacturing leads the way, with a more than four-fold increase in M2M connections on Verizon's network in 2013-2014. Finance (up 128 per cent) and media/entertainment (120 per cent) were also in the vanguard, while laggards were energy and utilities (49 per cent up), “smart cities” (46 per cent) and healthcare (40 per cent).

To pick an example, it's perhaps understandable that the energy sector is conservative, given the sensitivity of its control networks and the persistent vulnerability of SCADA systems. The main traffic driver, it appears, is various government initiatives to encourage or mandate smart meter rollouts.

Interestingly, Verizon places a strong bet for the growth of renewables in the US, saying that by 2025 more than 10 per cent of electricity in that country will be micro-generated by consumers, creating a new IoT traffic source in its network.


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MA: Cape Wind vows to continue work on project | Laura Crimaldi | The Boston Globe

MA: Cape Wind vows to continue work on project | Laura Crimaldi | The Boston Globe | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Cape Wind, whose plans to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm were thrown into upheaval in January when two utilities terminated contracts to buy the project’s power, is not throwing in the towel, the company’s chief executive said Saturday.

In his first extensive comments to the media since the contracts were canceled, Cape Wind president Jim Gordon vowed to press ahead with the $2.5 billion project slated for Nantucket Sound and restore its agreements with National Grid and Eversource Energy, formerly known as Northeast Utilities.

“We will be contacting them soon to talk with them and see if we can amicably resolve the situation so that this important clean energy project that has been under development for the last 14 years can be built,” Gordon said in an interview.

He spoke at a rally on Boston Common attended by a couple of hundred people and organized by Better Future Project in Cambridge, which advocates for clean energy. Craig S. Altemose, the organization’s executive director, said more than 95,000 people have signed a petition asking Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts, to reconsider its agreement with Cape Wind.

“We are not giving up,” Gordon told the crowd, drawing cheers. “We have just begun to fight.”

The utility companies have said they terminated their contracts because Cape Wind failed to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to obtain financing, start construction, or put up financial collateral to extend the agreements.

In letters dated Dec. 31 to both utilities and state regulators, Gordon asked National Grid and Northeast Utilities, as it was known then, to put off terminating the contracts, citing “extended, unprecedented, and relentless litigation.”

Cape Wind has said the lawsuits triggered a clause in the agreement known as force majeure, which extended deadlines for the project. As a result, the utilities improperly terminated and breached the contracts, Gordon said.


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Governor Christie Settles $9 Billion NJ Pollution Case Against Exxon for $250 Million | DailyKos.com

Governor Christie Settles $9 Billion NJ Pollution Case Against Exxon for $250 Million | DailyKos.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

I just caught this on Maddow and found a late-breaking article in The New York Times:

A long-fought legal battle to recover $8.9 billion in damages from Exxon Mobil Corporation for the contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in northern New Jersey has been quietly settled by the state for around $250 million.

The lawsuits, filed by the State Department of Environmental Protection in 2004, had been litigated by the administrations of four New Jersey governors, finally advancing last year to trial. By then, Exxon’s liability was no longer in dispute; the only issue was how much it would pay in damages....

Exxon did contribute $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association in May 2014, when Mr. Christie was serving a one-year term as its chairman; the company has contributed annually to the group since at least 2008, records show....

A spokesman for Mr. Christie referred questions about the settlement to the attorney general’s office. A spokesman for the acting attorney general, John J. Hoffman, said on Thursday that the office had no comment, as was its practice with pending litigation. Exxon also declined to comment on the settlement.

http://www.nytimes.com/...


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California drought: Water shortages a near certainty for this summer as feds announce low deliveries. | Paul Rogers | San Jose Mercury News

California drought: Water shortages a near certainty for this summer as feds announce low deliveries. | Paul Rogers | San Jose Mercury News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In a clear indicator that California is descending into a fourth year of drought, the federal government on Friday announced that the Central Valley Project -- California's largest water delivery system -- will provide no water again this year to most Central Valley farmers and only 25 percent of the contracted amount to urban areas such as Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

The announcement from the Bureau of Reclamation means that farmers in California's main agricultural region will fallow hundreds of thousands of acres, and heavily pump already depleted wells, perhaps faster than last year.

It also increases the likelihood of stricter conservation rules -- including fines for excessive water use -- this summer for millions of residents who receive water from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the East Bay Municipal Utility District and the Contra Costa Water District, all of whom draw a portion of their supply from the Central Valley Project.


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For a speed boost, Alcatel-Lucent says use both cell and Wi-Fi | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

For a speed boost, Alcatel-Lucent says use both cell and Wi-Fi | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

If you have both cellular and Wi-Fi, why not use both? At Mobile World Congress, Alcatel-Lucent is demonstrating a way to do that as part of the same network.

Cellular and Wi-Fi are rubbing shoulders more than ever, even if that can cause friction in some cases. It’s all part of the quest for more mobile capacity for applications like video streaming. Several ways of using them together are on show at MWC.

Like other vendors, Alcatel is pursuing LTE-U, which lets an LTE network use the unlicensed spectrum that powers Wi-Fi. But the French-American company is also demonstrating a technique it calls Wi-Fi boost, where users can upload data to the Internet over cellular and download it using Wi-Fi. The company plans trials of Wi-Fi boost in the second quarter of this year and will start selling it in the second half.

The technology doesn’t make the networks swap spectrum and doesn’t require new cells, access points or mobile devices. It’s all done in software, both in devices and on the back end of the carrier’s network.

Wi-Fi boost is designed for locations where there’s both Wi-Fi and cellular service, such as in homes, enterprises and public hotspots. It can boost download speed by using Wi-Fi’s fatter spectrum band, and because Wi-Fi doesn’t have to handle both download and upload traffic on the same frequencies, it can actually improve performance in both directions, said Mike Schabel, general manager and vice president of small cells at Alcatel-Lucent.

Users could get up to a 70 percent boost on downloads and an order of magnitude increase in upload capacity, the company says. A later version would allow the two networks to combine their download signals, too, leading to an even bigger boost.

To make Wi-Fi boost happen, a mobile operator would update the software that controls its network with the new version that can split up traffic between Wi-Fi and cellular. The capability would also require an OS update for subscribers’ devices. Wi-Fi boost complies with current standards, Schabel said.


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Researchers uncover signs of Superfish-style attacks | Gregg Keizer | CSO Online

Researchers uncover signs of Superfish-style attacks | Gregg Keizer | CSO Online | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Researchers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) yesterday said that they had found evidence that implies attackers have exploited a security vulnerability in the Superfish adware and a slew of other programs.

Superfish, a company that markets a visual search product, made the news last week when Lenovo was found to have pre-loaded the program on its consumer-grade PCs during a four-month span late last year. Lenovo has acknowledged that Superfish poses a security threat to customers, and has released a tool to eradicate the software.

Microsoft, McAfee -- both Lenovo partners -- and Symantec have also issued anti-malware updates that scrub Superfish from PCs.

But the problem extends beyond Superfish, security experts have discovered. Other programs also rely on the same code library -- one created by Israeli company Komodia -- to circumvent Web encryption with a proxy.

Because of the way Komodia's proxy works, the security implications are much more dire than initially thought, when researchers focused only on the weak password used by Superfish's self-signed certificate. The proxy does not properly validate certificates, letting attackers create totally bogus certificates of their own to mimic legitimate ones used by websites, including those of banks' online access.

By hijacking a Web session -- the most common way would be using a "man-in-the-middle" (MITM) attack over a public, insecure Wi-Fi network -- hackers could redirect traffic to their own fake websites ... and the victim's browser would put up neither a warning nor a fuss.


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What the extreme eastern U.S. cold snap looks like on a world map | Andrew Freedman | Mashable.com

What the extreme eastern U.S. cold snap looks like on a world map | Andrew Freedman | Mashable.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The following chart, from the "climate reanalyzer" tool out of the University of Maine, shows forecast temperature departures from average on Friday. The eastern U.S., as well as parts of Canada, sticks out for having the most unusually cold conditions on the planet on Friday.

In fact, much of the rest of North America — including the western U.S., northwest Canada and Alaska — along with most areas of the world, are milder than average. It's as if the North Pole temporarily relocated to Boston, while leaving the door open for the Southern Hemisphere's summer to sneak in and evaporate California's snow pack, while also setting high temperature records all the way into inland Alaska.

During just the past seven days, nearly 1,300 cold temperature records have been set or tied across the lower 48 states, most of them east of the Rocky Mountains.


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Proposed Texas Bills Ban Sustainability Program, Based On A Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory | Emily Atkin | ThinkProgress.org

Proposed Texas Bills Ban Sustainability Program, Based On A Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory | Emily Atkin | ThinkProgress.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Two Texas lawmakers have proposed a pair of bills that would prevent the state from funding programs which attempt to implement the ideas of Agenda 21, a non-binding and voluntary United Nations plan for sustainable development signed by the United States and 178 other governments in 1992.

According to the Texas Tribune, the bills proposed by Republican state lawmakers Rep. Molly White and Sen. Bob Hall would prohibit funds from states, counties, and public universities from going to organizations “accredited by the United Nations to implement a policy that originated in the Agenda 21 plan.” The Agenda 21 plan — signed by President George H. W. Bush — includes recommendations to conserve public lands, rein in air pollution, build more sustainable cities, combat poverty, and strengthen the voices of women, indigenous groups, and farmers.

Because all those recommendations come in the form of a voluntary and non-binding resolution, they might seem pretty harmless. But according to a growing group of mostly conservative and Tea Party-affiliated people across the country, Agenda 21 is just the opposite. To this growing group, Agenda 21 represents a “dangerous threat to American sovereignty” dictated by the United Nations — an attempt to get Americans to lock away usable land that could be developed and compact people into cramped cities. This idea was popularized by Glenn Beck, who wrote a book about the plan in 2012.


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Pepsi’s New Green PET Bottle | Alternative Energy News

Pepsi’s New Green PET Bottle | Alternative Energy News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The latest in PepsiCo’s green efforts is the ‘green’ bottle – manufactured from raw materials which are bio-based like: corn husks, switch grass and pine-barks. Soon bi-products from its own food business, like potato peels, orange peels and oat hulls will be utilized for producing the green bottle. This bottle is entirely plant based, from fully renewable resources and is 100% recyclable. This is identical in looks, feel and function as the petroleum-based PET bottle. After completion of a pilot production in 2012, commercial production will be commenced.

Sourcing raw materials for the green bottle from their own food unit to utilize for their other unit – the beverage unit has made PepsiCo realize their goal of ‘Performance with Purpose’ with a sustainable business model. This is a great example of ‘Power of One’ – matching strategic and innovative internal products against needs. This has won acclaim from As You Sow – a San Francisco-based foundation. It applauded PepsiCo’s corporate social responsibility for reducing carbon footprint and fossil-fuel dependency.
Goals & commitments

Some examples of the billion dollar giant’s environmental concern and green ethics are:


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Samantha Groen's curator insight, Today, 5:12 PM

I was unaware of the way Pepsi has been committing to improving the environment. Coca Cola is a huge marketing competitor that I had no idea Pepsi was even doing anything to improve the environment and that they have been working at it since 2010. Between creating their new bottle that was created from all reused and renewable resources and the new sun chips bag they are trying their best to reduce their carbon footprint.

 

I actually am amazed at what they have done with their bottle innovation. The renewable and sustainable materials that are also recycled and are being put into the bottle are genius. Even thinking of creating a bottle out of orange rinds, corn husks and other ingredients left over from creating their other products takes a brilliant and committed mind, It is an impressive step towards sustainability and it would be very wise to include that in their marketing strategy. I believe Pepsico has the ability to do some really good things with the goals they have in mind. 

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This winter’s deep freeze is turning the Great Lakes into a giant ice rink | Susan Cosier | onEarth.org

This winter’s deep freeze is turning the Great Lakes into a giant ice rink | Susan Cosier | onEarth.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The largest surface freshwater ecosystem in the world is frozen. Since Monday the surface of the lakes that spell “HOMES” (you know, for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior) has been 84 percent popsicle. As frosty air continues to blow in from the north, the Great Lakes may even close in on last year’s max of 92.5 percent ice cover (just below 1979's record of 94.7 percent). And that's great news! No, seriously. This kind of freeze over means good things for the lakes' water level and invasive species problems.

Before last winter, when polar vortex after polar vortex dipped into the Midwest (and beyond), lake levels had been decreasing, thanks to climate change and drops in rainfall. But extensive ice coverage in the winter leads to less overall evaporation for the lakes throughout the year. Ice along the shoreline also helps kill off invasive quagga and zebra mussels. In the words of Mr. Freeze, "Revenge is a dish best served cold."


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Is DC power the way of the future? | Megan Crouse | ECN Magazine

Is DC power the way of the future? | Megan Crouse | ECN Magazine | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The war of the currents still rages ... politely, as ECN gathered panelists earlier this month to talk about AC vs. DC, Tesla vs. Edison, data centers, and the future of power engineering on Engineering Live.

“Power engineering is changing,” said Steven Collier, director of smart grid strategies at Milsoft Utility Solutions. “The power engineers of the future will look more like data analysts than operators of large machinery,” he said. Power grids may change with them.

“It’s an absolutely amazing world of change that we’re coming up on,” said Dr. Karim Wassef, general manager of embedded products at GE Energy. “People are becoming hungrier for content, which requires more power to deliver,” he said.

Dr. Alex Q. Huang, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University, also saw a rising demand for power engineers along with the increased content volume.

How does this contribute to the war of the currents? For large data centers in particular, the choice between AC and DC is significant. Data needs to be readily accessible, so the power has to be reliable. Huang said that a high concentration of power-hungry data sensors without reliable power delivery could be a weak point in the overall infrastructure.

“More and more data centers have given up on the grid,” Collier said, relying partially on the public utility and partially on emergency generators or alternate sources of power, such as solar.

“In the future, as renewable costs and on-site generation goes down, I think we can see more and more integration of on-site generation to offset some of the power,” Huang said.


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Climate change is really bad news if you like oysters, scallops and clams | Puneet Kollipara | WashPost.com

Climate change is really bad news if you like oysters, scallops and clams | Puneet Kollipara | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

When it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, the first environmental problem that comes to mind is climate change. As humans pump more of this greenhouse gas into the air, the Earth gets warmer, and the climate changes in ways that could damage the economy, public health, infrastructure and society.

But along with climate change, these same emissions are causing another pernicious problem in our oceans. Some of the carbon dioxide we emit gets absorbed in sea water, where it turns into carbonic acid in a phenomenon called ocean acidification. As our emissions rise, the oceans will turn more and more acidic, irreparably altering aquatic ecosystems.

Ocean acidification might lack the rhetorical punch that “climate change” and “global warming” have. But as one new study shows, acidification could carry real economic and cultural risks, and we’re only beginning to understand them. Waters off the United States are home to countless oysters, clams, scallops and other shellfish that the seafood industry catches and grows for your dinner. In many of these regions — especially off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico — acidification could harm these creatures enough to deal big blows to local economies and meals, researchers reported Monday in Nature Climate Change.

As humans throw off the delicate water chemistry that shelled seafood species, such as oysters, scallops and clams, are accustomed to, it’ll become harder for them to survive because they’ll struggle to build or maintain their shells.

Still, the oceans are huge, and their conditions vary. So, as is the case with climate change, it’s not easy to forecast, and thus prepare for, acidification’s impacts on the regional level.


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