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Rawanda: Public Officials Need ICT Training, Not Just Sensitization | AllAfrica.com

Rawanda: Public Officials Need ICT Training, Not Just Sensitization | AllAfrica.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

"There is no one here who can convince me that he uses more than 20% of the potential of his mobile or iPad," was the challenge launched by ICT Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana, talking last week at Police headquarters where he kicked of a campaign to increase and improve the use of ICT in the public sector, which is part of a wider drive to raise awareness on technology among the general population.

 

In all likelihood, the Minister is right. While the country has a vision of becoming a regional and African information hub, and mobile telephone penetration is increasing rapidly, a lot still needs to be done to make good use of the available technology.

 

Even in Nsengimana's audience, consisting of mainly senior security officers, some were still taking notes with the good old pen and paper (as our picture on page 1 shows). Luckily, they were a minority, and most of the officials were equipped with tablets.

 

It is a different story, though, when you go down the hierarchical ladder. In most imidugudu, whenever an assembly of the people is planned, it is still common practice to send someone around the neighborhood with a megaphone to make the announcement. In this age of mobile phones and SMS, that is a medieval practice.

 

That is not to blame the local leaders. In the end, they are only common people, not ICT specialists or geeks who have the latest gadget and know every function of it. What is more, even if they would have a sophisticated smartphone, that doesn't help in compiling a list of phone numbers of all the inhabitants of the area and then sending a bulk SMS to inform them of the gathering.

 

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Russia Threatens To Block Access To Facebook, Google And Twitter Unless They Obey New Bloggers Law | Glyn Moody | Techdirt

Russia Threatens To Block Access To Facebook, Google And Twitter Unless They Obey New Bloggers Law | Glyn Moody | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Last year, Techdirt wrote about yet another of Russia's new laws aimed at taming the troublesome internet world. Its most striking feature was that bloggers with more than 3,000 visitors a day were required to register on a special list, and to abide by general mass media restrictions. We noted then that blogs located overseas were not covered by the new law. But according to this report in The Guardian, based on a story in Izvestia, it seems that the law is now being applied to foreign service providers too: Facebook, Google and Twitter are all being threatened with fines or even bans for non-compliance:

The [Russian communications agency's] deputy director, Maksim Ksenzov, had issued a warning to the three companies on 6 May, telling them they were in violation of the bloggers law because they had not provided requested data on the number of daily visitors to several users' pages, as well as information allowing the authorities to identify the owners of accounts with more than 3,000 daily visitors

The companies are threatened with fines, but these are relatively modest: up to 300,000 roubles ($6,000) for the first offense. Subsequent infringements lead to bigger fines or a ban on the website for up to 30 days. As The Guardian points out:


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Identity theft going viral in Southeast Asia | Edwin Seo | Enterprise Innovation

Identity theft going viral in Southeast Asia | Edwin Seo | Enterprise Innovation | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

According to a Symantec report, in Singapore alone, cybercrime cost the average victim S$1,448 ($1,056) in 2013, three-and-a-half times the global average of $298. By 2020, the overall impact of cyberattacks on the global economy is estimated to be as high as $3 trillion.

The continued rise in these figures is driven by several key trends: more people spending more time online, thanks to the proliferation of broadband connectivity; an increase in financial transactions online, including e-commerce; and rapid adoption of mobile devices, often with fewer security measures in place than traditional computers. Trend Micro’s report The Invisible Becomes Visible anticipates that in 2015 data breaches will more frequently hit the mobile devices that carry consumer data, and the companies that store it.

Southeast Asia is a nexus of all of these developments – which is why we can expect identity theft to explode in the region in the coming few years. Smartphone and tablet penetration is skyrocketing there, bringing online millions of new users; 62 percent of Internet users in Indonesia and 41 percent in Thailand use only a smartphone to connect, compared with 11 percent and 6 percent in the US and UK, respectively. And 37 percent of Singaporeans and 32 percent of Malaysians made their latest purchase online, beating out the 29 percent in the US (Google Consumer Barometer).


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Most efficient solar energy dish in the world uses engine developed in 1816 | Matthew Humphries | Geek.com

Most efficient solar energy dish in the world uses engine developed in 1816 |  Matthew Humphries | Geek.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Swedish company Ripasso Energy has created a new, state-of-the-art solar energy dish, which it believes is the most efficient in the world. One of the key elements of Ripasso’s system is an engine originally thought up nearly 200 years ago in 1816.

Ripasso’s CSP system works by combining a parabolic mirror with a Stirling engine. The 12 meter diameter mirror dish looks like a typical satellite dish, but its job is to focus the sun’s energy on a “tiny hot point” that then drives the Stirling engine.


Unlike other, similar systems, Ripasso’s uses no water to produce electricity. The Stirling engine is a closed-cycle regenerative heat engine that uses an enclosed gas to drive pistons and turn a flywheel. The large dish constantly turns to ensure optimal solar energy capture from the sun, the hot point powers the Stirling engine, and electricity is produced.


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China, India partner on climate change | Timothy Cama | The Hill

China, India partner on climate change | Timothy Cama | The Hill | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The leaders of China and India decided Friday to form a united front in the fight against climate change in a rare joint statement from the two countries.

China, the world’s No. 1 greenhouse gas emitter, and India, the No. 3, said wealthier countries need to help the climate fight by providing the technology, financing and expertise to help developing countries like China and India cut emissions and cope with the effects of global warming.

“The two sides urged the developed countries to raise their pre-2020 emission reduction targets and honor their commitment to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to developing countries,” the countries wrote Friday in a joint statement following a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China.

The countries did not make any new commitments to fight climate change or reduce their greenhouse gases, but they did pledge to submit their commitments for the United Nations climate pact summit in Paris before the December meeting.

India has been under international pressure to cut its emissions, especially since last year, when the United States and China — the top two emitters — made a joint pledge to take certain steps to stop emissions growth.

Modi has thus far refused to make a commitment, although he has pledged to increase India’s renewable energy use five-fold by 2022.

The joint China-India statements said the countries will cooperate in areas like renewable energy, technology and energy efficiency.


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Australia and New Zealand To Invest $6.8 Billion In Smart Grid Infrastructure Between 2015 and 2025 | Smart Grid Observer

Australia and New Zealand have among the best performing power sectors in the world. The two countries have been aggressive in investing in smart grid infrastructure to modernize their grids and offer benefits to their electricity customers. New Zealand is reaching near full market penetration of smart meters (AMI) and will shift to investment in distribution automation over the next decade. In Australia, the state of Victoria is wrapping up its smart meter deployment, but there is still significant opportunity in other states, according to a new study published recently by Northeast Group, LLC.

"The Oceania region has a very well developed power sector that has already achieved a high degree of grid modernization," said Ben Gardner, President of Northeast Group. "In some geographies, notably New Zealand and the state of Victoria in Australia, investment is now shifting from smart metering to other smart grid segments such as distribution automation and home energy management."

The Oceania region has just over 15 million electricity meters, with Australia representing the vast majority of the market. Electricity prices, per-capita consumption and operational costs are all among the highest in the world, making the region ripe for smart grid investment.

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Countries pick sides in global fight for the Internet | Cory Bennett | The Hill

The world is choosing sides in a fight over what the Internet will look like in the years to come.

In recent months, countries have rushed to sign cybersecurity pacts that not only secure cyberspace allies, but also promote their vision of the global Internet.

“It’s kind of indicating how the battle lines are being drawn,” said Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst for security consulting firm IT-Harvest.

While a coalition of nations, including the U.S., is pushing to turn the Internet into a borderless global entity, others such as Russia and China are pressing to give local governments more control over the flow of data.

How the competing visions play out is “a huge question,” Chris Finan, a former military intelligence officer and adviser to the Obama administration on cybersecurity policy. “We don’t know the answer to that yet.”

Over the past four weeks, the U.S. has inked cyber deals with Japan, South Korea and the Gulf states.

Some were standalone cyber pacts, others part of broader security agreements. All pledged to share more data on hacking threats, exchange military cyber tactics and establish international cyberspace standards.

Meanwhile, in what some saw as a response to the spate of U.S. deals, Russia and China unveiled their own wide-ranging cyber pact. The two — seen as the United States’ two main cyber adversaries — vowed not to hack each other and jointly work to repel technology that can “disturb public order” or “interfere with affairs of the state.”

The deals were received as “mainly symbolic,” said Steven Weber, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information and an expert on international politics and cybersecurity.

But the symbolic markers are an indication the Internet is splintering.


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The US House just passed a bill about space mining. The future is here. | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

The US House just passed a bill about space mining. The future is here. | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

For as long as we've existed, humans have looked up at the stars — and wondered. What is up there? Who is out there?

Now, to that list of questions we can add: And CAN I HAVE IT?

The United States has already shown its penchant for claiming ownership of space-based things. There are not one, not two, but six U.S. flags on the moon, in case any of you other nations start getting ideas. (Never mind that the flags have all faded to a stateless white by now.)

So it only makes sense that American lawmakers would seek to guarantee property rights for U.S. space corporations. Under the SPACE Act, which just passed the House, businesses that do asteroid mining will be able to keep whatever they dig up:


Any asteroid resources obtained in outer space are the property of the entity that obtained such resources, which shall be entitled to all property rights thereto, consistent with applicable provisions of Federal law.


This is how we know commercial space exploration is serious. The opportunity here is so vast that businesses are demanding federal protections for huge, floating objects they haven't even surveyed yet.


But it's actually important that we're talking about this now, because we don't want to wind up in a situation where multiple companies are fighting for the same patch of rock without having a way to resolve it. There are two key questions at stake: Who should regulate commercial space activity? And what rules should apply?


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Solar Impulse awaits 'moment of truth' | Jonathan Amos | BBC News

Solar Impulse awaits 'moment of truth' | Jonathan Amos | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It will be a test of man and machine. The Solar Impulse project is waiting to undertake its greatest challenge yet: flying non-stop from Nanjing in China to Hawaii in the Central Pacific.


For a passenger airliner, the 8,000km could be completed in 10 hours or so. But for this solar-powered, prop-driven, experimental aircraft, it could take 5-6 days and nights of continuous flight.

The plane will need the weather on its side, which is why the team is currently sitting tight in Nanjing, looking out for a sizeable, favourable window.

So far on its epic round-the-world quest to promote clean technologies, Solar Impulse has been restricted to short hops of about 20 hours' maximum duration.

To complete this seventh leg will involve smashing several aviation records - not least the longest-duration journey for a single-seater plane.

The Swiss entrepreneur and engineer Andre Borschberg, who will be at the controls, has supreme confidence in the technology, but he is in no doubt how tough the coming mission will be.


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ESA's CryoSat detects heavy Antarctic ice loss | Chris Wood | GizMag.com

ESA's CryoSat detects heavy Antarctic ice loss | Chris Wood | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The ESA CryoSat mission has detected significant ice loss in a usually stable Antarctic region. The data recorded by the satellite revealed how multiple glaciers along the Southern Antarctic Peninsula started shedding ice in the 2009, with no prior warning.

The findings were made by researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK. While studying the data captured by the ESA's ice mission, the team found that the glaciers have been losing ice at a rate of around 60 cubic km (14.4 cubic miles) per year. That makes them one of the largest contributors to sea level rise in Antarctica, depositing some 300 cubic km (72 cubic miles) of water into the ocean over the last six years.

Furthermore, data from NASA's GRACE mission revealed that the ice loss in the region is so significant that it has caused small changes in the planet's gravitational field.


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Ricoh develops energy-generating rubber | David Szondy | GizMag.com

Ricoh develops energy-generating rubber | David Szondy | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

As digital technology becomes more ubiquitous and the Internet of Things takes shape, the question of how to power it all becomes more pressing. Japanese technology firm Ricoh is looking at its new "energy-generating rubber" as one solution. According the company, the new piezoelectric polymer converts pressure and vibration into electric energy with high efficiency, yet is extremely flexible and durable.

Piezoelectric materials come in two major forms; ceramics and polymers. Both are based on the principle of using mechanical strain to generate electricity and are used in electronics to provide power in specialized applications, such as vibration and pressure sensors. Unfortunately, both have their downsides. Ceramics convert vibration to energy with high efficiency, but they’re heavy, fragile, and often include toxic lead, while polymers are lighter, more flexible, and more durable, but not very efficient.

According to Ricoh, its new energy-generating rubber combines flexibility and high energy output. It's not only less fragile than ceramics, but it's also more flexible and durable than other polymers; surviving several million uses in testing. In addition, it's sensitive to light loads, yet generates high output under heavier ones.


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Heat and drought pose threat to US power supplies | Tim Radford | Climate News Network

Heat and drought pose threat to US power supplies | Tim Radford | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Climate change could mean that things get really tough for people in the US west in the second half of this century, according to new research.

Higher temperatures and increased intensity of droughts could compromise the electricity grid, while the number of people exposed to extremes of heat is likely to multiply at least fourfold, and perhaps more.

Sustainability scientists Matthew Bartos and Mikhail Chester, of Arizona State University, report in Nature Climate Change that changes in precipitation, air and water temperature, air density and humidity could combine to create problems for electricity generating plant in the western US.

They estimate that around 46% of the generating capacity in 14 US states could experience reductions of up to 3% in the next few decades.


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China counting on energy storage to support clean energy technology | Barbara Lundin | Smart Grid News

China counting on energy storage to support clean energy technology | Barbara Lundin | Smart Grid News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The importance of energy storage for power generation, transmission, distribution, and end-user uses cannot be overstated; however, for the most part, energy storage is still in the early stages of industrialization, or under research.

One area of the world that understands the importance of energy storage is China, where the Chinese government is shifting its policy focus to clean energy technology to create a clean, sustainable future.

As of the end of 2013, China's total installed capacity of power generation had reached 1,250 gigawatts (GW), comprised of 91.4 GW of wind power (7.3 percent) -- the third most popular power source in China following thermal and hydro, according to Research in China.


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Obama drills a hole in his climate policy | Eugene Robinson Opinion | WashPost.com

Obama drills a hole in his climate policy | Eugene Robinson Opinion | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Here are two facts that cannot be reconciled: The planet has experienced the warmest January-through-April on record, and the Obama administration has authorized massive new oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

“Climate change can no longer be denied . . . and action can no longer be delayed,” President Obama said in an Earth Day address in the Everglades. Indeed, Obama has been increasingly forceful in raising the alarm about heat-trapping carbon emissions. “If we don’t act,” he said in Florida, “there may not be an Everglades as we know it.”

Why, then, would the Obama administration give Royal Dutch Shell permission to move ahead with plans for Arctic offshore drilling? Put simply, if the problem is that we’re burning too much oil, why give the green light to a process that could produce another million barrels of the stuff per day, just ready to be set alight?

Please hold the pedantic lectures about how the global oil market works: Demand will be met, if not by oil pumped from beneath the Arctic Ocean, then by oil pumped from somewhere else. By this logic, the administration’s decision is about energy policy — promoting U.S. self-sufficiency and creating jobs — rather than climate policy. The way to reduce carbon emissions, according to this view, is by cutting demand, not by restricting supply.

But we are told by scientists and world leaders, including Obama, that climate change is an urgent crisis. And on the global scale — the only measure that really matters — the demand-only approach isn’t working well enough. More than two decades after the first international summit on climate change, carbon emissions have continued to rise steadily.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is an astounding 40 percent higher than it was at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when large-scale burning of fossil fuels began. Fourteen of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred this century, with 2014 measured as the warmest of all. And NASA announced last week that January through April 2015 were the warmest first four months of the year ever recorded.

It’s not that demand-side efforts are entirely ineffectual against climate change; without them, emissions and temperatures would be rising even faster. But it is hard to argue that the current approach is doing enough.


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The Knowledge Economy in the Arab Region | Sudan Vision Daily

The Knowledge Economy in the Arab Region  | Sudan Vision Daily | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

This paper employs both the descriptive and comparative approaches and uses the definition of knowledge and knowledge indicators used in the literature to examine the existence and development of the knowledge economy in the Arab region. We fill the gap in the Arab literature and present a more comprehensive analysis of the development of knowledge indicators in the Arab region.


Our findings support the first hypothesis that the knowledge economy exists in the Arab region and coincides with a substantial knowledge gap compared to other world regions. Our results corroborate the second hypothesis concerning the variation in knowledge indicators, according to the structure of the economy in the Arab region, and support the third hypothesis concerning the poor and slow progress in the trend of knowledge– related indicators in the Arab region.


Therefore, it is essential for the Arab region to enhance the knowledge economy and indicators to achieve economic development in the Arab region.


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Ocean energy: EU leads in technology development and deployment | EurekAlert.org

New technologies in the last decade have shown slow but steady progress of ocean and sea energy power: about 30 tidal and 45 wave energy companies are currently at an advanced stage of technological development worldwide, many of them nearing pre-commercial array demonstration and others deploying full-scale prototypes in real-sea environment, according to a new JRC ocean energy status report.

The EU is at the forefront of technological development of ocean energy power plants, with more than 50% of tidal energy and 45% of wave energy developers based in the EU, as well as the majority of ocean energy infrastructure. The current pipeline of projects could bring Europe's combined tidal and wave energy capacity up to 66 MW by 2018, a significant step forward for a nascent sector. The first tidal energy array is expected to be deployed in the UK in 2016, becoming the first ocean energy array project worldwide to be completed.

Ocean energy represents one of the few untapped renewable energy sources and its development is attracting the interests of policymakers, utilities and technology developers. In recent years, slow technological progress has hindered technology development and reduced investor confidence in ocean energy. The JRC report analyses the sector, assessing the status of ocean energy technologies, ongoing developments, related policies and markets. In Europe, the highest deployment potential is located along the Atlantic coast, with further localised exploitable potential in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas and in the outermost regions (e.g. Reunion, Curacao).


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China's Revolution In Wind Energy | Niall McCarthy | Forbes.com

China's Revolution In Wind Energy | Niall McCarthy | Forbes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Back in 2010, China became the world’s largest wind energy producer and the boom is continuing unabated, fuelled by government support and ambitious renewable energy targets. Data from the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA) revealed that wind energy surpassed nuclear for the very first time in 2012 to become the country’s third largest source of electricity, after coal and hydro-electric power.

In 2014, wind power production in China stood at 153.4 TWh compared to nuclear’s 130.6 TWh. Even though wind has outpaced nuclear, a lack of energy reform and flexibility in the system means that it will prove difficult to displace coal in the short term. A report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) stated that China will need to reform its grid operation and electricity market to replace large amounts of coal with reliable forms of renewable energy.

According to a forecast from Statista, the future still remains lucrative for Chinese wind turbine manufacturing with operating revenue expected to reach $2.1 billion by 2020. The Gansu Wind Farm Project is currently under construction in western Gansu province and highlights China’s wind energy ambition. When fully completed, it is expected to become the world’s biggest collective windfarm.


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New mobile app extends outreach of SAWBO educational videos | UI @Urbana-Campaign

New mobile app extends outreach of SAWBO educational videos | UI @Urbana-Campaign | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Whether the need is to educate people in West Africa about preventing Ebola or to train farmers in Latin America on preventing postharvest loss, Scientific Animations without Borders has an app - and an animated video - for that.

SAWBO, an initiative out of the University of Illinois that develops animated educational videos, recently released a mobile app for Android devices. The Deployer app enables users to view, download and freely share SAWBO's ever-growing video library over Bluetooth connections.

Covering topics of importance to the global community, such as health and agriculture, SAWBO's videos strive to better the lives of people in developing countries. Developed in collaboration with community outreach workers and relevant experts, the videos communicate information in culturally relevant contexts and local languages so the content is accessible to anyone, regardless of their literacy level.

SAWBO's collection of 2-D and 3-D animations currently spans about 50 topics, and the Deployer app enables users to scroll through and filter the list by topic, language or country. Each video is available in both a high-quality version and a "light" version - an option for users who want a smaller file that downloads faster.


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UK: Smart city "innovators" announced winners of second Cognicity Challenge | Henry Williams | Startups.co.uk

UK: Smart city "innovators" announced winners of second Cognicity Challenge | Henry Williams | Startups.co.uk | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Smart city ”innovators” Demand Logic and SEaB Energy are to pilot their technologies at Canary Wharf after being selected as winners of the second cohort of the Cognicity Challenge.

The smart cities accelerator programme was established to discover and nurture technologies with a positive economic, social and environmental impact across six key sectors: sustainable buildings, integrated transportation, integrated resource management, automated building management, connected home, visual design and construction.

Demand Logic uses big data analytics to discover energy savings and performance improvements for commercial buildings, while SEaB Energy develops Anaerobic Digestion plants which retail, agricultural and hospitality businesses use to transform waste into renewable energy.

The companies have each been awarded £50,000 as well as the opportunity to implement their technology at Canary Wharf. The programme aims to foster relationships between developers, large technology firms and start-ups, and demonstrate how multiple solutions can integrate through big data and the Internet of Things.

The two smart tech firms won the third and fourth streams of the Cognicity Challenge – ‘Integrated Resource Management’ and ‘Automated Building Management’ and were announced at a showcase event at accelerator space Level39, where they and 10 other entrants pitched their idea to a judging panel.


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Antarctic region shows sudden, surprising ice loss | Michael Casey | CBS News

Antarctic region shows sudden, surprising ice loss | Michael Casey | CBS News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A region of Antarctica once thought to be relatively stable has shown a dramatic loss of ice in recent years, raising concerns about how much it could be contributing to rising seas.

Using data from satellites including the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite, which is dedicated to remote-sensing of ice, researchers found that the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up until 2009. But soon after, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750 km (460 miles) in length, started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic km, or about 55 trillion liters of water, each year.

"It appears that sometime around 2009, the ice-shelf thinning and the subsurface melting of the glaciers passed a critical threshold that triggered the sudden ice loss," Bert Wouters, who led the study that appeared in Science this week and is with the Bristol Glaciology Centre at the University of Bristol, said.


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The Latest on weather: 3rd death blamed on weekend storms | News Advance

The Latest on weather: 3rd death blamed on weekend storms | News Advance | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Keli Cain, an Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman, said in a statement Sunday that a 33-year-old woman was killed Saturday in a traffic collision in Tulsa. She didn't release the woman's name.

Claremore, Oklahoma, fire Capt. Jason Farley was killed late Saturday while trying to rescue people trapped by floodwater. He was swept into a drainage ditch and his body was recovered.

Meanwhile, Central Texas authorities say a man's body was recovered from along the swollen Blanco River. Hays County emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith said late Sunday that three people from Wimberley are missing.

The storms have forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 people from their homes in Texas.


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Architecture student imagines moving population of the Maldives onto oil rigs | Adam Williams | GizMag.com

Architecture student imagines moving population of the Maldives onto oil rigs | Adam Williams | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Taking the view that rising sea levels caused by climate change could eventually result in the loss of the low-lying island country of the Maldives, architecture student Mayank Thammalla envisions moving the country's entire population onto existing oil rigs.

Designed for Thammalla's final year Masters of Architecture thesis, Swim or Sink isn't meant to be a final plan ready for implementation, and is best considered food-for-thought as to the role architects might take in mitigating the effects of climate change.

"I was interested in looking at the future of the Maldives because their situation is very unique," explains Thammalla. "They are a nation that can lose their entire identity, a 2,000 year old culture and their geographical position on the planet, due to projected sea level rise within the next 100 years. The Maldivians are talking about purchasing land in Australia, what will the costs be there?

"A loss of their rich culture, a loss of their day to day activities, and a loss of their presence in their natural surrounding oceanic environment. All that said, I am not sure about all the political and economic factors that might possibly be involved."


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UK: Pop Brixton houses local businesses in an upcycled shipping container campus | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

UK: Pop Brixton houses local businesses in an upcycled shipping container campus | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A new pop-up local business campus is set to open in Brixton, London, UK. Pop Brixton will be home to local independent start-ups and small businesses. It will be housed in a temporary shipping container village, but it is the project's ethos that is perhaps its most innovative facet.

The project's aim is to support local jobs, training and enterprise by providing affordable co-working space for start-ups. It will support an estimated 80 entrepreneurs and create around 200 jobs, as well as 12 apprenticeships being paid the London Living Wage.

Tenants at Pop Brixton will primarily be independent businesses chosen not only for their line of work, but for their benefit to the local community. Applicants are rated based on their business plan, their locality and their commitment to supporting the local area and community.

An effort has been made to to ensure that tenants will compliment rather than compete with each other. Furthermore, tenants are obliged to commit a minimum of four hours a month to skill-sharing with other tenants and the local community.

The businesses at Pop Brixton will span food and drink, retail, the creative industries and the arts. Among them will be independent vintage clothing retailer Make Do & Mend. Sarah Bennett, owner of Make Do & Mend, explains that the project has given her the opportunity to establish her business on a full-time basis.


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Factory reset in Android phones leaves sensitive user data behind | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Factory reset in Android phones leaves sensitive user data behind | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It’s common sense to reset an Android phone to its factory state before selling or disposing of it. But beware, researchers recently found that this often fails to properly wipe all sensitive user data from the device.

A test on 21 second-hand smartphones running Android versions between 2.3.x (Gingerbread) and 4.3 (Jelly Bean) revealed that it’s possible to recover emails, text messages, Google access tokens and other sensitive data after the factory reset function had been used.

The study was done by researchers Laurent Simon and Ross Anderson from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. on used devices bought from eBay between January and May 2014. The devices included models from Samsung Electronics, HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola and three from Google’s Nexus line of phones.

In 80 percent of cases the researchers managed to recover the Google master token that could allow an attacker to re-synchronize the device with the previous owner’s Google account, gaining access to the emails, contacts, Wi-Fi passwords and other data backed up to that account.

In some cases they also recovered access tokens from apps such as Facebook, portions of emails, SMS messages and other instant messaging conversations.

“The reasons for failure are complex; new phones are generally better than old ones, and Google’s own brand phones are better than the OEM offerings,” Ross Anderson said in a blog post. “However the vendors need to do a fair bit of work, and users need to take a fair amount of care.”

Encrypting the phone can help mitigate some of the risk, but not completely.


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Next Generation Supercomputing Developments Swarm Around Cities | Nagas Sieslack | The Platform

Next Generation Supercomputing Developments Swarm Around Cities | Nagas Sieslack | The Platform | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In Fukuoka, Japan, a specialized operating system, using graph-theoretic methods and primed for the next generation of exascale systems, is being developed to study extremely complex interdependencies in urban settings.

The InfiniCortex project aims to create a global InfiniBand fabric to connect supercomputers across continents for these tasks and already has nodes in Singapore, Australia, Japan, USA and Poland. The network is expected to include several new partners in Europe and circumnavigate the globe by the end of 2015.

Dr Marek T. Michalewicz, the Chief Executive Officer of A*STAR Computational Resource Centre in Singapore will be overseeing a public presentation on the topic, called “Understanding Urban Development through HPC” on July 13 at the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, but we thought it would be useful to glean more information about the project in advance.


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New Silk Road Could Change Global Economics Forever | Robert Berke | OilPrice.com

New Silk Road Could Change Global Economics Forever | Robert Berke | OilPrice.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Beginning with the marvelous tales of Marco Polo’s travels across Eurasia to China, the Silk Road has never ceased to entrance the world. Now, the ancient cities of Samarkand, Baku, Tashkent, and Bukhara are once again firing the world’s imagination.

China is building the world’s greatest economic development and construction project ever undertaken: The New Silk Road. The project aims at no less than a revolutionary change in the economic map of the world. It is also seen by many as the first shot in a battle between east and west for dominance in Eurasia.

The ambitious vision is to resurrect the ancient Silk Road as a modern transit, trade, and economic corridor that runs from Shanghai to Berlin. The 'Road' will traverse China, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Germany, extending more than 8,000 miles, creating an economic zone that extends over one third the circumference of the earth.

The plan envisions building high-speed railroads, roads and highways, energy transmission and distributions networks, and fiber optic networks. Cities and ports along the route will be targeted for economic development.

An equally essential part of the plan is a sea-based “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR) component, as ambitious as its land-based project, linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia and the Indian Ocean.

When completed, like the ancient Silk Road, it will connect three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa. The chain of infrastructure projects will create the world's largest economic corridor, covering a population of 4.4 billion and an economic output of $21 trillion.


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