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China Atop Renewable Energy Ranks As Shale Gas Changes The Game | Clean Technica

China Atop Renewable Energy Ranks As Shale Gas Changes The Game | Clean Technica | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – renewable energy technologiesface global challenges from fossil fuels and a lack of public subsidies, but new financing mechanisms and government mandates may be key to their continued growth.

 What’s different now, according to Ernst & Young’s (E&Y) latest “Renewable energy country attractiveness indices,” is how shale gas development and crashing public financing are changing the way renewable energy is funded across the globe. Click headline to read more-- 
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Glacier loss raises high concern over water supplies | Tim Radford | Climate News Network

Glacier loss raises high concern over water supplies | Tim Radford | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The glaciers of the Everest region of the Himalayan massif – home to the highest peak of all – could lose between 70% and 99% of their volume as a result of global warming.

Asia’s mountain ranges contain the greatest thickness of ice beyond the polar regions. But new research predicts that, by 2100, the world’s highest waters – on which billions of people depend for their water supply – could be at their lowest ebb because of the ice loss.

Many of the continent’s great rivers begin up in the snows, fed by melting ice in high-peak regions such as the Hindu Kush, the Pamir and the Himalayas.

Joseph Shea, a glacial hydrologist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in Kathmandu, Nepal, and French and Dutch colleagues report in The Cryosphere journal that they used more than 50 years of climate data and sophisticated computer models of predicted climate change to study the pattern of snowpack and seasonal melt in the Everest region.


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Ocean lovers raise pollution awareness via social media | AOL.com

Ocean lovers raise pollution awareness via social media | AOL.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

World leaders descend on Lisbon, Portugal, today for the annual World Ocean Council meeting with the goal of engaging the ocean business community in strategies for driving both economic development and environmental protection.

Top of mind issues are expected to include marine debris, illegal fishing, and developing new technology that will allow for sustainable growth of businesses that rely on the sea. As the 250 global leaders debate policies, economic conditions, and legal parameters, private citizens around the world continue their outcry on social media against the poor treatment of oceans in today's growing climate.

Trending hashtags including #banthebag, #take3forthesea, and #marinedebris capture global anger with different types of ocean pollution, plastic and otherwise. These hashtags lend a hand in enabling ocean lovers to share the problems with ocean pollution via social media.

Today's World Ocean Summit gives these economists the opportunity to open more Twitter discussions about their concerns. By including #OceanSummit in their tweets, economists have started a new social media trend bringing awareness to the issues at hand.


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New SUSTAIN wind-wave research center creates roaring indoor hurricanes | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com

New SUSTAIN wind-wave research center creates roaring indoor hurricanes | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scientific curiosity around how air interacts with the ocean in the event of powerful storms has inspired a number of wind-emulating facilities around the world, from a high-speed wind-wave tank at Kyoto University to the Hydrodynamics Laboratory at Imperial College London. But just as hurricane season kicks off in the US, a team at the University of Miami is looking to step things up a notch. A freshly built indoor tank designed to study category five storms is now open for business, and as the only one of its kind in the world, is hoped to offer a new understanding of these destructive superstorms.

The University of Miami oceanographers have used a smaller version of this system to study waves in the past. The earlier model measured one meter (3.3 ft) wide and was capable of simulating wind speeds equal to what you'd find in a category three storm.

Located at the university's School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the new US$15 million tank, known as a SUrge-STructure-Atmosphere-INteraction Facility (SUSTAIN), measures 20 m (65 ft) long and 6 m (20 ft) wide. It is claimed to be the only wind-wave facility in the world with the capacity to reproduce gales worthy of category five storms, in which winds reach speeds in excess of 252 km/h (156 mph).


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The 606: Converted Chicago railway line becomes park in the sky | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

The 606: Converted Chicago railway line becomes park in the sky | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A new public park and trail system will open in the US city of Chicago this weekend. The 606, so-called because of the Chicago ZIP code prefix, is built on the former route of the Bloomingdale Line railway track. Its centerpiece is a 2.7-mi (4.3 km) elevated recreation and culture trail.

There are, of course, similarities between The 606 and the New York's well-known High Line. Despite the High Line having been opened before The 606, though, it is thought the idea for The 606 was conceived earlier.

What distinguishes The 606 from the High Line and other similar projects like the Sydney Goods Line and the Miami Underline is its integration with other community destinations. In addition to connecting four neighborhoods in the city, the trail will link six neighborhood parks at ground level.

The aim of the 606 is to provide Chicagoans with an alternative transportation corridor, a living work of art and new green space. it is designed for use by casual visitors, walkers, joggers and cyclists and will feature art installations and event spaces.


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Italy: Vodafone and Wind partner with Metroweb on fibre rollout | TeleGeography.com

Italian alternative operators Vodafone Italy and Wind Telecomunicazioni have signed a letter of intent with shareholders of the Milan-based broadband network owner Metroweb to roll out joint fibre infrastructure across Italy.


A statement released on Friday says that the partnership, should it come to fruition, would be open to other operators and investors. Further details were not given on the extent of Metroweb’s planned network rollout or the size of the investment to be made by the two telcos.

Metroweb is part state-owned, and there has been much speculation over the company’s role in the government’s planned EUR12 billion (USD13 billion) project to deploy broadband services to every Italian home by 2020.


Both Vodafone and Vimpelcom-backed Wind have made it known that they are interested in acquiring a stake in Metroweb, while incumbent operator Telecom Italia (TI) has had its own takeover moves rebuffed.

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Cameroon: Nexttel mobile subs reach 2m | TeleGeography.com

Mobile operator Viettel Cameroon, which operates under the brand Nexttel, claims that it has already signed up around two million customers since its launch in September last year, writes Business in Cameroon.


Nexttel, which is majority-owned by Vietnamese telecoms firm Viettel Group, was awarded its mobile licence in December 2012, fighting off rival bids from the likes of Maroc Telecom and Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel after pledging to invest nearly XAF200 billion (USD334 million) in the rollout of a mobile network that would cover 81% of Cameroon’s territory from launch, notes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.


After encountering a number of setbacks, the cellco eventually went on to launch commercial 2G and the country’s first UMTS services on 18 September 2014.

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Data breach costs now average $154 per record | Maria Korolov | ComputerWorld.com

Data breach costs now average $154 per record | Maria Korolov | ComputerWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The per-record cost of a data breach reached $154 this year, up 12 percent from last year's $145, according to a report released by IBM and the Ponemon Institute,

In addition, the average total cost of a single data breach rose 23 percent to $3.79 million.

Loss of business was a significant, and growing, part of the total cost of a data breach. Higher customer turnover, increased customer acquisition costs, and a hit to reputations and goodwill added up to $1.57 million per company, up from $1.33 million the previous years, said Ponemon Institute chairman and founder Larry Ponemon.

Ponemon analyzed results from 350 companies in 11 countries, each of which had suffered a breach over the past year.

Data breach costs varied dramatically by industry and by geography.

The U.S. had the highest per-record cost, at $217, followed by Germany at $211. India was lowest at $56 per record.

Sorted by industry, the highest costs were in the healthcare industry, at an average of $363 per record.

The reason, said Caleb Barlow, vice president at IBM Security, is because the information in a medical record has a much longer shelf life than that of, say, a credit card number.


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Global Apollo programme seeks to make clean energy cheaper than coal | Damian Carrington | The Guardian

Global Apollo programme seeks to make clean energy cheaper than coal | Damian Carrington | The Guardian | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A plan to tackle climate change by emulating the race to put a man on the moon is launched on Tuesday, aiming to channel billions of dollars in research that will give renewable energy commercial lift off.

The Global Apollo Programme aims to make the cost of clean electricity lower than that from coal-fired power stations across the world within 10 years. It calls for £15bn a year of spending on research, development and demonstration of green energy and energy storage, the same funding in today’s money that the US Apollo programme spent in putting astronauts on the moon.

The plan is the brainchild of a group of eminent UK scientists, economists and businessmen including Sir David King, currently the UK’s climate change envoy, Lord Nicholas Stern, Lord Adair Turner and ex-BP chief Lord John Browne.

King said green energy already had advantages over fossil fuel power in cutting deadly air pollution and reducing the carbon emissions that drive global warming. But he said making clean energy cheaper was important too: “Once we get to that point, we are winning in all the battles.”


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Global warming could change the oceans more in 85 years than nature did in 3 million | Brian Palmer | onEarth.org

Global warming could change the oceans more in 85 years than nature did in 3 million | Brian Palmer | onEarth.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

One of the challenges in communicating the urgency of climate change is that our yardsticks aren’t grabby enough. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations higher than 500 parts per million are impalpable to even humans with super-sensitive respiratory systems. Conceptualizing a two-degree increase in global average mean temperature is only slightly less challenging.

This is not one of those yardsticks: If we continue on the current emissions path, the oceans will experience greater changes in biodiversity in the next 85 years than in the previous 3 million years. According to a study released today in the journal Nature Climate Change, we are changing the state of life in our oceans—not just extinctions but also species invasions and relocations—at a rate unknown to science.

The authors of the study, an international team of geoscientists and oceanographers based in France, the United Kingdom, and Monaco, built a computer model of the ocean and populated it with pseudo species that created their own pseudo communities. It sounds eggheaded and theoretical, but the technique was designed to avoid a major obstacle to this kind of research—most of the oceans in the real world remain mysterious to scientists. We have a very poor understanding of what species occupy which ocean zones and at what levels of abundance. A model allowed the scientists to observe the effects of temperature changes without being thwarted by the limitations of existing data.


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Massachusetts Attorney General backs lifting cap on solar projects | Gintautas Dumcius | The Berkshire Eagle

Massachusetts Attorney General backs lifting cap on solar projects | Gintautas Dumcius | The Berkshire Eagle | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Attorney General Maura Healey said Monday she backs an immediate lifting of the cap on solar production in Massachusetts.

In written testimony to the chairmen of the Legislature's energy committee ahead of a hearing slated for Tuesday, Healey said public and private net metering caps have been reached in National Grid's territory, putting solar projects in 171 communities at risk as development slows.

Net metering allows electricity customers to offset their bills by receiving the retail rate for excess energy produced by solar panels.

"Increased market constraints can drive up costs, and reduce investment in the clean energy sector, to the detriment of customers, the clean-tech economy, and the Commonwealth's energy and environmental policy goals," Healey wrote in her testimony. "A limited cap increase will help avert this market boom-bust that would adversely impact 1,400 Massachusetts solar companies and place jobs at risk."

Caps exist for government-owned and private net metering solar projects, while residential projects or projects under 25 kilowatts aren't subject to a cap.

Solar industry advocates have pushed for a cap lift, while utilities have opposed it, saying customers without solar panels will be hit with higher bills. Gov. Charlie Baker's administration has said it opposes raising the net metering caps without a long-term solution.
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The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, chaired by Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, and Rep. Thomas Golden, D-Lowell, is holding a hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday on 13 solar energy bills and a net metering task force report.

Baker's energy and environmental affairs secretary, Matthew Beaton, has said Baker backs the previous administration's push for installing at least 1,600 megawatts of solar energy by 2020, but has also said the framework and incentives need to be reviewed.

Healey, who does not plan to attend the hearing, did not back a specific bill, and instead outlined elements of legislation she could support.

According to the two-page letter, the elements include lifting the cap and providing "relief" until an "open and transparent" study of the value of solar and distribution costs is published; directing the state Department of Public Utilities to decide the "appropriate rate mechanism for solar"; and reforming current solar incentive programs to "ensure that our solar industries continue to mature and ultimately thrive independent of policies that have helped launch their success."


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Hong Kong Shakes Its Head At Telephone Companies Still Wasting Time & Money With Copper Wiring | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Hong Kong Shakes Its Head At Telephone Companies Still Wasting Time & Money With Copper Wiring | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Hong Kong Telecom Group (HKT) chief technical officer Paul Berriman believes copper phone wiring is a thing of the past and is nonplussed by efforts to wring a few more years of life out of infrastructure that cannot reliably support high-speed Internet and is costly to maintain. The only solution that makes sense is to get rid of the copper and replace it with fiber optic wiring.

While America talks about 1Gbps limited rollouts, he is thinking about speeds ten times faster with his announcement Hong Kong Telecom is preparing to launch 10 gigabit service across the territory and was continuing its efforts to tear out obsolete copper wiring.

The man partly responsible for ensuring Hong Kong’s broadband future is a fast and reliable one says HKT has 1.6 million broadband customers — 530,000 on fiber to the home service and 200,000 on less-desirable VDSL2 with vectoring, which still relies in part on copper wiring. He is not happy with copper wiring’s performance and support costs and wants it out of his network. His minimum target speed is 100Mbps and if he finds a building that for any reason does not deliver more than 30Mbps at all times, he instructs engineers to immediately tear out the copper and replace it with fiber.


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Farms of the Future Will Use Drones, Robots and GPS | Alex Thomasson | Drone 360 | Discover Magazine

Farms of the Future Will Use Drones, Robots and GPS | Alex Thomasson | Drone 360 | Discover Magazine | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Today’s agriculture has transformed into a high-tech enterprise that most 20th-century farmers might barely recognize.

After all, it was only around 100 years ago that farming in the US transitioned from animal power to combustion engines. Over the past 20 years the global positioning system (GPS), electronic sensors and other new tools have moved farming even further into a technological wonderland.

Beyond the now de rigeur air conditioning and stereo system, a modern large tractor’s enclosed cabin includes computer displays indicating machine performance, field position and operating characteristics of attached machinery like seed planters.

And as amazing as today’s technologies are, they’re just the beginning. Self-driving machinery and flying robots able to automatically survey and treat crops will become commonplace on farms that practice what’s come to be called precision agriculture.

The ultimate purpose of all this high-tech gadgetry is optimization, from both an economic and an environmental standpoint. We only want to apply the optimal amount of any input (water, fertilizer, pesticide, fuel, labor) when and where it’s needed to efficiently produce high crop yields.


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Biodegradable computer chips made almost entirely from wood | Ben Coxworth | GizMag.com

Biodegradable computer chips made almost entirely from wood | Ben Coxworth | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

As electronic devices are becoming outdated at an increasingly fast pace, e-waste continues to be a huge problem. That's why scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have started producing "wooden" semiconductor chips that could almost entirely biodegrade once left in a landfill. As an added bonus, the chips are also flexible, making them prime candidates for use in flexible electronics.

Although it would be neat to see a chip made from rich mahogany or knotty pine, the substrate of the UW-Madison chips is actually made of a translucent material known as Cellulose NanoFibrils (CNF) – it's also called nanofibrillated cellulose.

As outlined in a previous Gizmag article on CNF, the material is typically made by adding water to cellulose-containing materials (usually wood waste, as would be found at paper or lumber mills) then using high-pressure homogenizers, grinders or microfluidizers to rip the wood fibers into much smaller cellulose nanofibers. This results in a gel which is subsequently freeze-dried to remove the water, leaving the long, interconnected nanofibers behind.

Working with the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Products Library, the researchers added an epoxy coating to the CNF. This made the substrate smooth enough for application of the non-CNF circuitry (which makes up only a small part of the total chip), plus it kept the material from expanding or contracting by taking on or releasing moisture.


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Deepwater Horizon: jury selection begins for BP exec charged in oil spill | Dominic Rushe | The Guardian

Deepwater Horizon: jury selection begins for BP exec charged in oil spill | Dominic Rushe | The Guardian | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Jury selection began on Monday for the trial of the most senior BP executive charged in connection with 2010’s fatal Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

David Rainey, BP’s former vice president for exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, will stand trial in New Orleans, charged with obstructing a congressional investigation in the weeks after the oil spill, the largest in US history.

Prosecutors allege he deliberately withheld information about how much oil was being pumped into the Gulf following the explosion at the BP well.

Rainey is the most senior of a handful of individuals facing charges over the Deepwater disaster, which claimed 11 lives. Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, BP’s top two supervisors on the rig, face involuntary manslaughter and other charges. BP engineer Kurt Mix still faces accusations that he deleted texts about the amount of oil flowing from the blown-out well. Mix’s first trial ended in mistrial.

Rainey was the second in command at BP’s “unified command center” in Robert, Louisiana, where cleanup and response efforts were coordinated.

A geologist by training, Rainey had no experience determining flow rates. According to the Justice Department, he “surfed the internet for information about how to conduct oil-spill-volume estimates”. Despite this lack of expertise, Rainey became a central figure in informing US authorities about the size of the spill and submitted a lengthy memo to the House subcommittee investigating the spill.

Initially BP estimated 1,000 barrels of oil a day were spilling out of the well. But many onlookers – including experts assessing BP’s “spill cam” – cast doubt on the oil company’s figures. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) early estimates put the number at closer to 5,000 barrels a day but qualified the estimate as “highly unreliable”.


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Bad weather forces Solar Impulse to land in Japan | Paul Ridden | GizMag.com

Bad weather forces Solar Impulse to land in Japan | Paul Ridden | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Solar Impulse team reports that the aircraft is making an unscheduled stopover in Nagoya, Japan. The plan was to cross a weather front just before Hawaii on solar day 5, but the latest forecasts looked grim so the decision was made to land and wait for better weather conditions.

Solar Impulse took off from Nanjing Lukou Airport in China on the latest leg of its round the world flight on May 30. But the weather window near Hawaii has deteriorated to such a degree that, more than 36 hours into what was to be a 6 day journey, the tough call was made to divert to Japan and wait for clearer skies above the pacific.

"The cold front is too dangerous to cross, so we have decided to land in Nagoya Airfield, also known as Komaki Airport, and wait for better weather conditions in order to continue," says the team. "The pilot and the aircraft are safe, and safety is the priority. For the next few hours André will continue to fly at a high altitude, the batteries are full and we have very good conditions for an evening landing; we could even hold for a couple of hours for clearance to land.


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Coated polymer stack promises to keep your roof cool in summer | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com

Coated polymer stack promises to keep your roof cool in summer | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Of all the scenarios you'd want to find yourself in a heatwave, being barefoot on a hot tin roof would be toward the bottom of the list. These exposed surfaces soak up sunlight to slowly but surely transform into corrugated hotplates, compounding the sweltering ambient temperatures and warming the living space below. But a team of Sydney-based scientists has developed a new material that's claimed capable of keeping a rooftop cooler than the air that surrounds it, saving energy and sweating residents in the process.

Led by Dr Angus Gentle and Professor Geoff Smith from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the research team used a mixture of commercially available polyesters and a silver layer to build what it describes as a coated polymer stack. It says these materials could be appropriate for use on basic roofing, and could help mitigate the heating effect that can see roofs rise in temperature by as much as nine to 12 degrees Celsius.

The team says the new material holds promise as it absorbs only three percent of incident sunlight, while also radiating heat at infrared wavelengths. In testing the material, the researchers installed it on top of their faculty's building with no obstructions between it and the sun. When comparing it to a nearby state-of-the-art white roof, they found it stayed 11 degrees Celsius cooler.


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Bahrain: Viva, BT announce launch of ‘region’s first’ GIPX hub | TeleGeography.com

Saudi Telecom-backed Viva Bahrain has announced the launch of what it claims is ‘the region’s first Global IP Exchange (GIPX) interoperability hub’, in partnership with UK-based BT Group. According to a company press release, Viva will deliver hosting and connectivity services while enabling BT to extend its GIPX footprint to the Middle East.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the firms signed an agreement to establish the hub back in April 2014, in a move aimed at providing end-users in the Middle East and beyond with more choice, better service and higher quality communication services.


The new GIPX hub is expected to be of particular interest to mobile and fixed service providers across countries such as Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt who need to terminate international voice traffic to other countries.

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Ugandan judge declares mobile money services ‘illegal’ | TeleGeography.com

A judge at Kampala’s Commercial Court has ruled that the country’s mobile money services are being conducted on an illegal basis, although he said that he had no jurisdiction to enforce any changes to the current system.


According to a report from local newspaper New Vision, Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu filed a petition calling for mobile money services to be regulated under the Financial Institutions Act.


Justice Christopher Madrama ruled that telcos MTN, Warid, Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL), Airtel and Africell are operating outside the remit of their licences by offering financial services, but he dismissed Katuntu’s case, saying that the matter would have to be raised via a tribunal at the Uganda Communications Commission.

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Japan: Fraud campaign installs rogue app on non-jailbroken iPhones | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Japan: Fraud campaign installs rogue app on non-jailbroken iPhones | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Cybercriminals in Japan are targeting iPhone users with an online scam that tricks them into installing a malicious application when they attempt to view porn videos.

This type of attack, known as one-click fraud, is not new and has been used for years against Windows, Mac and Android users. However, what’s interesting in this particular case is that it works even against non-jailbroken iPhones.

Apple tightly controls how iOS apps are distributed to users by forcing developers to publish them on the official App Store where they are subject to Apple’s review procedures. However, there are exceptions to this rule in the form of special development programs for which participants have to pay extra.

One such program is called the iOS Developer Program and has an annual membership fee of US$99. Developers enrolled in this program can distribute apps over the air, outside of the official App Store, but there are some restrictions. They can only distribute apps in this manner to 100 devices per year and the unique IDs (UDID) of those devices need to be registered in advance.

Another program that’s more flexible, but also more expensive, is called the iOS Developer Enterprise Program. It is intended for companies who develop their own apps and want to install them on their employees’ iOS devices without publishing them on the App Store. Participation in this program costs US$299 per year.

Researchers from antivirus vendor Symantec believe that Japanese cybercriminals are abusing the iOS Developer Enterprise Program in their latest one-click fraud campaign, even though they don’t have confirmation yet.

“They could have either applied for membership on their own or compromised someone else’s account,” the researchers said Tuesday in a blog post.


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How renewable energy in South Africa is quietly stealing a march on coal | Jeffrey Barbee | The Guardian

How renewable energy in South Africa is quietly stealing a march on coal | Jeffrey Barbee | The Guardian | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The howling wind drives the turbines, their blades bent back from the force as they spin in the evening light and send electricity to local villages in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

High up on the top of the turbine, local resident Lungela Vongu, dressed in a safety harness and hard hat leans far out over the 100 meter drop to check that the wind speed detector is working properly. “This wind farm is bringing a lot more jobs into this community for the people, without it there is no future here,” he says.

The Cookhouse wind farm is the biggest wind system built in Africa, with 66 turbines generating 138MW of clean power. It started feeding the grid at the end of 2014 and it is far from unique.

Although still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, South Africa has been quietly creating one of the world’s most progressive alternative energy plans. Solar, biomass and wind energy systems are popping up all over the country and feeding clean energy into the strained electrical grid.

“It is set to completely transform these deep rural communities in terms of healthcare, education, job creation and a raft of other interventions. All this while putting green electricity on the grid at affordable prices,” said Johan van den Berg, director of the South African Wind Energy Association.

Like all the projects in the country a percentage of the equity of the Cookhouse wind farm is held by the Cookhouse community trust. The trustees come from the local community and they funnel the profits of 15% of the sale of the energy into health care, education and job creation.

But it is low price for the electricity that is really making the difference. Wind energy from new projects now costs 5 US cents per kWh, roughly half the cost of new coal.

Renewable energy has a long way to go to overtake South Africa’s reliance on coal though. It is number 11 in the world for total CO2 output from energy use and the fifth largest producer of the climate-changing fossil fuel.


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Bitcoin's first killer app? Bankymoon lets you pay your utility bills in digital currency | Jacques Coetzee | ventureburn

Bitcoin's first killer app? Bankymoon lets you pay your utility bills in digital currency |  Jacques Coetzee | ventureburn | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

We’re living in a world where everything’s being labeled as smart. From our phones to watches and even our cars. But something that’s really being taken for granted is our utility grids — including gas, water and electricity. And while the majority of the world might be migrating onto the so-called smart grids, they are still filled with a lot of dumb problems. The biggest being payments.

South African bitcoin startup Bankymoon is boldly taking on this industry. That’s besides having a killer name for a bitcoin startup.

Presenting its application for the first time recently at the Bitcoin Conference Africa, the startup is enabling people to pay their utility metres in the digital currency. This means more efficiency — very low fees and near instant transfers from anywhere in the world, among other things.

“A grid is something we all interact with everyday of our lives. We don’t even give a second thought to them, but without them civilisation as we know it wouldn’t exist,” explained the founder and CEO of Bankymoon, Lorien Gamaroff.

“You’d think that with all the smartness happening in our grid, that the problems are solved. But in fact this brings us to the most difficult and biggest problem of all, which is payments. Your grid could be as smart as you like but if all customers aren’t paying, it’s worthless and it becomes unsustainable and will collapse.”

Gamaroff, who’ll be presenting at the Bitcoin Conference in Prague next month, reckons that by 2023, 80% of the grids in the US will be smart. Sixty percent in Europe and 45% in the Asia Pacific.

But as smart as these systems are, most of them rely on intermediaries like a municipality which channels utility to its commercial, industrial or residential customers. And more middlemen means higher fees.


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The fossil-fuel industry’s campaign to mislead the American people | Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Op-Ed | WashPost.com

The fossil-fuel industry’s campaign to mislead the American people | Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Op-Ed | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Fossil fuel companies and their allies are funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution.

Their activities are often compared to those of Big Tobacco denying the health dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco’s denial scheme was ultimately found by a federal judge to have amounted to a racketeering enterprise.

The Big Tobacco playbook looked something like this: (1) pay scientists to produce studies defending your product; (2) develop an intricate web of PR experts and front groups to spread doubt about the real science; (3) relentlessly attack your opponents.

Thankfully, the government had a playbook, too: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies and their associated industry groups, alleging that the companies “engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO.”

Tobacco spent millions of dollars and years of litigation fighting the government. But finally, through the discovery process, government lawyers were able to peel back the layers of deceit and denial and see what the tobacco companies really knew all along about cigarettes.

In 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided that the tobacco companies’ fraudulent campaign amounted to a racketeering enterprise. According to the court: “Defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations, scientific, legal, and marketing activity in furtherance of a shared objective — to . . . maximize industry profits by preserving and expanding the market for cigarettes through a scheme to deceive the public.”

The parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking.


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Tough competition ahead as China's Big Three telecoms operators eye red-hot internet of things | George Chen | South China Morning Post

Tough competition ahead as China's Big Three telecoms operators eye red-hot internet of things | George Chen | South China Morning Post | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

One of mainland China's largest mobile network operators is hoping to beat its domestic rivals in expanding into the internet of things, which includes wearable devices, mobile payment and smart cars, a senior executive said on Monday.

Liu Chunyang, general manager in charge of online platforms and corporate partnership at China Mobile IOT Company, said China Mobile would have major advantages to succeed against its domestic rivals – China Unicom and China Telecom – for internet of things (IOT) related business due to the company's wider and more stable mobile data services coverage nationwide.

“In terms of data, messaging and broadband services, I don’t think China Unicom and China Telecom can compete with us because they don’t have the same ability as we do [in those areas],” said Liu at a media briefing on the sidelines of the inaugural Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Asia conference in Shanghai.

China Mobile IOT is a relatively young subsidiary of its parent company, established just about two years ago to meet the growing demand of IOT related services in mainland China, especially among younger and more tech savvy consumers.


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Nokia wants to build data centers for mobile operators | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com

Nokia wants to build data centers for mobile operators | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Nokia wants to help mobile network operators launch new services and cut their costs with a new range of servers, switches and storage they can use to virtualize their networks.

Enterprises have already adopted virtualization and cloud-based IT infrastructures, and now telecommunications operators are looking at doing the same thing. Meanwhile equipment vendors like Nokia are increasingly offering operators the hardware and software to provide telephony, messaging and mobile broadband as virtualized services.

Telecommunications operators instigated the move away from dedicated, proprietary equipment to virtualized hardware. A group including AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile, Orange and Deutsche Telekom proposed a concept called NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), which is now being standardized by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

ETSI’s aim is to help operators build more agile networks that are able to respond dynamically to the traffic and services running over them.


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China: Vincent Callebaut unveils ambitious sustainable mall concept | Adam Williams | GizMag.com

China: Vincent Callebaut unveils ambitious sustainable mall concept | Adam Williams | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Regular readers are likely familiar with Vincent Callebaut's futuristic output by now, and the Belgian architect is at it again with a new project that follows in much the same vein as its predecessors. The Wooden Orchids project envisions a large sustainable shopping mall in Jiangxi Province, China, that boasts solar and wind power, geothermal heating, rainwater recycling, and a design that's part-inspired by the orchid.

Wooden Orchids comprises twin buildings which sit very close together and are joined by multiple footbridges. Located on a plot measuring a total of 20,000 sq m (215,278 sq ft), they sport a total usable floorspace of 30,000 sq m (322,917 sq ft). Each building has three main floors, plus a mezzanine and attic space. It's a remarkably complex concept, and draws inspiration from various sources, including orchids, on account of its proximity to a noted local flower garden.

The northernmost building would include cinemas, a public library, a gym and restaurants, while its counterpart would boast 200 shops which promote organic foods, in addition to a farmers market. Customers would be able to visit flower tea gardens and partake in flower therapy, according to the firm. Though ample bicycle parking is available, cars are relegated to large multi-level carparks hidden underground.


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