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India: IBM completes Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor tech plan | Economic Times

India: IBM completes Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor tech plan | Economic Times | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Technology giant IBM today said it has completed the digital plan for Dighi Port Industrial Area, Maharashtra under its partnership with Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC).

The Integrated Communication Technology ( ICT) Master Plan provides a technology roadmap for Dighi Port Industrial Area to deliver services to business and citizens like monitoring energy consumption, traffic visualisation, improved water management and enhanced public safety.

As a business consulting partner, IBM is working with DMICDC to develop new industrial cities as 'Smart Cities' spanning across six states in India.

DMICDC had selected IBM last year to provide seamless digital connectivity among townships.

This master plan developed by IBM incorporates the management of clean water, energy, transportation, public safety, education, and healthcare, allowing the essential services of the city to be managed more effectively using smart devices, sensors and intelligent communications.

The data streaming from these devices will be connected to a Central Command Centre where city administrators can record and respond to events quickly and in a more coordinated manner.


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Iceland: The Pirate Party's 'Poetician' Plans to Make Iceland a Data Haven | Ben Valentine | Motherboard

Iceland: The Pirate Party's 'Poetician' Plans to Make Iceland a Data Haven | Ben Valentine | Motherboard | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In July 2008, John Perry Barlow, the veteran digital activist and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, delivered a speech at the Icelandic Digital Freedom Conference that contained a radical proposal. Iceland, he urged, must become an island where information could be safely and permanently hosted, visible to anyone around the world.

“My dream for this country is that it could become like the Switzerland of bits,” Barlow said. Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a poet and digital activist, was in the audience, and remembers Barlow's call as a turning point, a provocation that would help forge Iceland into a political home for a new generation of internet-enabled activists. Barlow, she said, issued a fervent appeal: "I would call upon you to do everything you can to give people the right to know."

A few months after Barlow's speech, Iceland’s economy collapsed. The per capita share of the national debt exceeded $400,000, a financial devastation that was virtually unprecedented in world history given the relative size of the country’s economy. Systemic malpractice by three of Iceland's largest private banks, and a lack of transparency and oversight of the banks was the cause.

Feeling betrayed by their banks and government, Icelanders demanded an early election; after extended protesting, one was scheduled. Jónsdóttir decided to run for Parliament as a candidate of a party called "The Movement,” formed in the wake of the crisis, with a platform focused on transparency as well as government and corporate accountability.

Even though the party was created mere weeks before the elections, Jónsdóttir, a newcomer to the world of professional politics, earned seven percent of the vote, and was elected to Parliament on April 2009. Icelanders were looking for a change and Jónsdóttir’s open loathing of politicians and power, it seems, was exactly what they wanted.

Jónsdóttir was also arguably the most wired politician Iceland had ever seen. At 22, she had published her first book of poetry with a highly respected Icelandic publishing house, but her perspective shifted after being introduced to the World Wide Web in 1995. Jónsdóttir was then working for an online advertising agency and volunteering for an arts fair when she fell in love with a nascent web: “I dove into the internet and haven’t been out of there since," she told me recently at her office in Reykjavik.

Her rise coincided with a much larger battle over information. As the shadowy world of mass surveillance, extralegal global renditions, and military black-ops has grown, journalists have struggled to keep up. Platforms like WikiLeaks, Global Leaks, and The Intercept have risen as formidable counters to long-held state and corporate-approved communication. If not for WikiLeaks and Chelsea Manning, 15,000 Iraqi civilian deaths may never have been known. If not for Edward Snowden, we may never have known about the extra-legal systems of mass surveillance and encryption-breaking tools the NSA has come to use on US citizens and others.

But as journalists, activists and other defenders of free speech face extraordinary pressure from governments and companies, this tiny country of just over 320,000 people is seeking to become their de facto safe house, and largely because of Jónsdóttir.


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Tropical storm Odile moves towards US state of Arizona | BBC News

Tropical storm Odile moves towards US state of Arizona | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Tropical storm Odile is moving up the Gulf of California, bringing with it heavy rains and the threat of mudslides and flash floods.

Forecasters expect the storm to continue weakening as it moves towards the US state of Arizona.

Odile made landfall on Sunday in northern Mexico as a category three hurricane, damaging homes.

Thousands of stranded tourists were also being airlifted out of the Los Cabos resort area.

Mexico's interior ministry said military and commercial planes were transporting them from Los Cabos international airport, which is closed to commercial flights because of damage from the storm.

Although the airport is strewn with debris, officials say that the runway is usable and work has nearly been completed to get the control tower working again.

The tourists were being taken to airports in Tijuana, Mazatlan, Guadalajara and Mexico City to catch connecting flights and if necessary receive consular assistance.


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Netflix Is Under Pressure To Ban VPN Use | Ian Morris | Forbes.com

Netflix Is Under Pressure To Ban VPN Use | Ian Morris | Forbes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

According to Torrentfreak and CNET, the Australian rights holders of US-produced shows and movies are trying to put a stop to the use of Netflix via VPNs. Virtual Private Networks allow users to access services by using a server based in the US to make it appear that they are physically located there. This is important to Australian users, because Netflix has not officially launched in that country yet.

Banning all VPN access is, however, totally impossible. Netflix could, if it wanted, stop people connecting from IPs known to be associated with VPN services. Hulu has recently done something similar, in a move that apparently affects US users of its service too. Additionally, cutting out VPN use will also block US subscribers who travel for work and like to watch their local version of Netflix. While this might not be strictly allowed, it’s a harmless process that’s totally different to a resident of a non-US region accessing the US service.

More than that though, there is no way to prevent people from accessing their own server on US soil and using that as a VPN. Shared VPS (virtual private server) boxes are incredibly cheap these days, and allow a vaguely competent user to build their own VPN with free software. This would allow you to freely access any geo-locked US service, as if you were in the States yourself. Of course, you’d need to be pretty dedicated to the cause of streaming TV and movies to bother with this, but there are plenty who are, and many who would do it just for the challenge.


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Mexico: Researcher Raises Alert About Environmental Dangers of Wind Farms | Renata Bessi | Truth-Out.org

Mexico: Researcher Raises Alert About Environmental Dangers of Wind Farms | Renata Bessi | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Tehuantepec Isthmus, a southern region of Mexico that includes the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco and Veracruz, holds the highest concentration of wind farms in Latin America. The Isthmus, measuring a mere 200 kilometers between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, is the third narrowest strip of land on the continent, following Nicaragua and the Panama Canal. A total of 28 wind farms have been planned for construction, 15 of which have already been completed.


The region is ideal for the construction of wind farms since high wind speeds are constant throughout the year. "The southern Andes converge at the Tehuantepec Isthmus, creating a kind of tunnel effect the same width as the land strip. This ensures that the winds gain great strength and reach a high velocity," explains Patricia Mora, a research professor in coastal ecology and fisheries science at the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Comprehensive Regional Development, Oaxaca Unit (CIIDIR Oaxaca), at the National Institute of Technology.


An environmental impact study conducted by the URS Corporation Mexico at the request of Natural Gas Fenosa, which was used to justify the construction of the Biino Hioxo park in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, concluded that the development of a wind farm "in this area of the state of Oaxaca is a clear example of sustainable development" and that "the project is environmentally viable as it utilizes renewable resources and does not generate significant environmental impacts."


But while environmental impact reports tend to support the construction of these wind farm parks, local communities and environmentalists are raising concerns that local flora and fauna are being affected. The cases of the Barra Santa Theresa in Alvaro Obregon and San Vicente Beach in Juchitán de Zaragoza are of particular interest. "This is the meeting point of various intimately related aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, known as 'ecotones.' What occurs in each distinct ecosystem affects the dynamic on a larger scale, placing the existence of the adjoining ecosystems in danger," Mora said.


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China clamps down on dirtiest coal to curb pollution | Environment | New Scientist

China clamps down on dirtiest coal to curb pollution | Environment | New Scientist | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

CHINA is having a clean-up. The world's largest consumer of coal has announced radical restrictions on the importing and use of the stuff, in a bid to curb air pollution.


Across the country, the transport, mining and importing of coal with an ash content higher than 40 per cent and sulphur content higher than 3 per cent is banned, effectively ending the use of the poorest-quality coal.


Tighter restrictions will also apply to coal being transported more than 600 kilometres across the country. Such coal must now be less than 30 per cent ash and less than 2 per cent sulphur. The most stringent rules apply to coal burned in coastal and northern cities, where air pollution is at its worst. That must now be at most 16 per cent ash and 1 per cent sulphur.


The announcement will affect coal-mining globally.


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Intel teams with Indian firm to launch 'Eddy' tablet for children | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com

Intel teams with Indian firm to launch 'Eddy' tablet for children | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Intel has teamed with Indian education startup Metis Learning on an Android tablet that aims to keep children away from violent TV content and games on their parents’ smartphones.


Targeted at children aged 2-10 years, Eddy is priced at Indian rupees 9999 (US$163), and comes with over 160 apps selected by educators and experts to accelerate a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development, Intel said.


All content on the tablet is violence free, Intel said. The children’s market in India is seen as a large opportunity as most makers of tablets and other devices, targeting the education segment, have so far focused on higher education, said Bharat Gulia, co-founder of Metis.


Eddy is initially targeted at children from middle and upper-middle class homes, with knowledge of English, but the plan is to also look at content in Indian languages.


India’s tablet market was 860,000 units in the second quarter of this year, according to IDC. Android was the preferred operating system with close to 90 percent share.


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DOJ Proposal Would Let FBI Hack Into Computers Overseas With Little Oversight | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

DOJ Proposal Would Let FBI Hack Into Computers Overseas With Little Oversight | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Ahmed Ghappour, over at JustSecurity, alerts us to a rather frightening proposal from the Justice Department that would enable law enforcement to hack into the computers of people who are trying to be anonymous online.


At issue is that current rules basically would extend the powers granted for terrorism investigations to everyday criminal investigations, concerning specifically the DOJ/FBI's ability to hack into computers. In the past, judges could issue warrants for such computer hacking if the target was known to be located in the same district.


But the proposed change would wipe out that limitation, and basically give the DOJ/FBI the power to get approval for hacking into a much broader range of computers. Without the geographical limitation, there's concern about just how broadly this new power would be (ab)used:


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MA: After delays, Worcester ‘smart grid’ now plugging along | Livia Gershon | WBJournal.com

After years of preparation and delays, National Grid's smart grid pilot program took a big step forward in February when the utility completed the installation of 14,800 smart meters in homes and businesses in Worcester.


Now, the next step is making sure customers know what the meters are all about. National Grid has begun sending information to pilot program participants about the meters, which provide much more detailed information on their energy-usage patterns than a monthly bill does, and about additional technology that can make the meters even more useful.


The participants will be able to get free delivery and installation of units that will allow them to more easily adjust their energy usage. That could mean a device that lets a homeowner turn off an appliance they mistakenly left on remotely with a smartphone app, or an add-on to climate control systems that automatically turns the air conditioning down a bit on hot days when the grid is getting maxed out.


"If you give more information to customers, customers will be more sensitive," said Carlos Nouel, director of customer strategy for the pilot program.


The plan is to get customers used to the technology before October, when National Grid will formally begin a two-year test to see if raising prices on high-load days can bring demand down.


The pilot program is the product of the state's 2008 Green Communities Act, which called for all utilities to experiment with ways to modernize electric grids. David W. Cash, commissioner at the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), said that even reducing demand just a little on the hottest summer days could have a big effect. That's because the total amount of generation capacity needed for the region's electricity system depends on how much is used on the hot summer days when demand peaks.


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UK: Virgin Media Sets 1-Gig Test | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

UK: Virgin Media Sets 1-Gig Test | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Virgin Media, the largest cable operator in the U.K., is tossing its hat into the 1-Gig ring via a small trial that will try out a new trenching technique that, it claims, can reduce deployment costs by 33%.

 

Virgin Media, a unit of Liberty Global, said it will use the technique – called “narrow-trenching” -- to bring 1-Gig speeds to about 100 households in the Cambridgeshire village of Papworth. According to the MSO, narrow-trenching reduces the width of the trench used to lay fiber from 40 centimeters to about 10 centimeters, enabling engineers to cover up to 100 meters per day, about twice as fast as current methods.

 

John Henry Group, a construction services company based in Cambridge, is teaming with the operator on the narrow-trenching project in Papworth.

 

The area being targeted by the trial is not an overbuild of Virgin Media’s existing cable plant, but will instead touch homes that are close to the MSO’s network, a spokeswoman said via email. ‘


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MA: Cape Wind signs lease for New Bedford staging area | MassLive.com

MA: Cape Wind signs lease for New Bedford staging area | MassLive.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Announcing a lease deal with Cape Wind, state officials expect the offshore wind farm developers, who are still fighting lawsuits and assembling financing, to begin operations at the South Coast Marine Terminal in New Bedford in January.


The Mass Clean Energy Center on Friday announced that under a two-year lease, Cape Wind will pay $4.5 million in rent to use the 28-acre facility. The lease deal terms include options for two, one-year extensions.


After breaking ground in April 2013 on a terminal designed to meet the heavy machinery needs of wind turbine construction, construction is 80 percent complete and officials expect to be finished in December 2014.


Cape Wind last week filed a "request for modification" of its construction and operations plan with the federal government to allow the use of the New Bedford terminal - the project has long been listing Quonset Point in Rhode Island as its staging area.


Audra Parker, president of the Alliance for Nantucket Sound, which opposes Cape Wind, said the project's federal permits "have always called for staging in Rhode Island" and said the project "must now undergo additional federal review for a move to a New Bedford location," adding to the legal and financial hurdles facing the project.


Project spokesman Mark Rodgers said Cape Wind officials hope to retain Quonset Point as a backup and opted for New Bedford because of confidence that the terminal project will be completed on time.


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NASA taps SpaceX, Boeing to carry astronauts to space | Dara Kerr | CNET.com

NASA taps SpaceX, Boeing to carry astronauts to space | Dara Kerr | CNET.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In a surprise move, NASA picked both Boeing and SpaceX to be the first private companies to shuttle astronauts to the International Space Station. The agency announced Tuesday that the aerospace companies were awarded contracts worth a combined total of $6.8 billion.


"We know going to space is hard," NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager Kathy Lueders said during a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Tuesday. "We are counting on them to deliver our most precious cargo."


Chicago-based Boeing and Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX beat their other competitors for the NASA contract, which entails building space taxis that will take astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit. The new contract is essential since NASA shut down its Space Shuttle program in 2011.


The spacecraft to be used by NASA are Boeing's CST-100 and SpaceX's Dragon V2. Both spacecraft can carry a crew of seven astronauts and launch on a variety of rockets. Boeing will receive $4.2 billion and SpaceX will get $2.6 billion. NASA said the difference in the amount of the contracts is based on the companies' proposals.


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ITV urges UK to implement US-style retransmission scheme | Michelle Clancy | RapidTVNews.com

ITV urges UK to implement US-style retransmission scheme | Michelle Clancy | RapidTVNews.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
In the US, pay-TV companies are required to compensate free-to-air broadcasters to carry their content, in the form of retransmission fees. It’s an important revenue source for the likes of NBC, CBS and FOX in the US, and contributes to their budget for content carriage.



In the UK, ITV is now calling for a replication of the model in its home market, urging regulators to compel major pay-TV platforms to pay UK public service broadcasters fairly for the transmission of their channels.

Research carried out by NERA Economic Consulting concludes that introducing payments to broadcasters for retransmitting their content would end what is effectively a “multi-million pound subsidy to Sky and Virgin".“

In 2013, US free-to-air broadcasters received around $3.3 billion in retransmission payments, NERA noted, also claiming that the fees account for less than 3% of cable operators’ revenues, and “have little or no impact on pay-TV prices".

SNL Kagan meanwhile has found that retransmission consent fees add up to the equivalent of 8.9% of total fees distributors pay for basic-cable and regional-sports networks – and that percentage is expected to rise to just under 13% by 2017.   

The research house also noted that rising retrans fees are a factor in escalating programming costs – others were the additional expense of TV everywhere and digital rights agreements, increasing costs for sports rights and cable network programming, and additional channel launches.   

NERA said that UK public service broadcasters invest around $4.89 billion on programming – with ITV alone spending almost $1.63 billion a year – the vast majority of which is invested in original UK content, it argued.

“Introducing retransmission fees would have clear benefits to the UK creative industries and the wider economy - as well as to viewers right across the UK - by enabling PSBs to continue to invest in the original programming people love to watch,” said Adam Crozier, CEO at ITV.


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'Tiny banker' malware targets US financial institutions | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

'Tiny banker' malware targets US financial institutions | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A banking trojan, known for its small size but powerful capabilities, has expanded the number of financial institutions it can collect data from, according to security vendor Avast.


Tiny Banker, also known as Tinba, was discovered around mid-2012 after it infected thousands of computers in Turkey.


The malware is just 20K in size and can inject HTML fields into websites when it detects a user has navigated to a banking site, asking for a range of sensitive information banks would never request during an online session.


A version analyzed by Avast showed Tiny Banker has been customized to target many new financial institutions, many of which are based in the U.S. such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase, wrote Jaromir Horejsi, an Avast malware analyst.


A screenshot bearing Wells Fargo’s logo showed how Tiny Banker asks for more information when a person logs into their account. It shows a bogus warning about a system update, asking users to provider more information to verify their identity.


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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp: Still Failing To Understand The Internet After 20 Years Of Flops | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp: Still Failing To Understand The Internet After 20 Years Of Flops | Glyn Moody | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has a surprisingly long -- and stunningly unsuccessful -- history of trying to become a major force in the Internet world. This goes all the way back to 1993, when it rather presciently bought an online company called Delphi Internet Services. Unfortunately, after that smart early move, News Corp clearly had no idea how to build on the community that formed around the company, and Delphi was soon completely eclipsed by AOL.

In 2005, News Corp had an even bigger chance to establish itself as the leading Internet company when it bought MySpace. For a while, MySpace was the most popular social networking site in the world, and surpassed Google as the most-visited Web site. But again, News Corp managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory: MySpace was eclipsed by Facebook, and in 2011 News Corp sold the site for $35 million -- rather less than the $580 million it had paid for it six years earlier.

It is against that background of an apparent inability to understand the basic dynamics of the online world, and how to make money there, that we have the following press release from News Corp:

Early last week, in a letter to European Commissioner for Competition Joaquín Almunia, News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson opposed Google's settlement offer with the European Commission, saying the internet giant is "willing to exploit its dominant market position to stifle competition."

Coming from a global media organization that has a dominant market position in several countries, that's a little rich. But it gets better:


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Gore: Fracking won't solve our climate crisis | Mother Jones

Gore: Fracking won't solve our climate crisis | Mother Jones | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Few figures in the climate change debate are as polarizing as former Vice President Al Gore. His fans and his enemies are equally rabid, and his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth is still probably the most-referenced document on climate change in history. In the last few years, Gore's global warming work has mostly been channeled into a nonprofit he oversees called the Climate Reality Project, which organizes rallies and educational events.

This week, that group held its annual "24 Hours of Reality" marathon of live-streamed videos and appearances by Gore and other celebrities to raise funds for climate action. The event took place in New York City, which is gearing up for a series of meetings and protests in advance of the biggest climate summit of the last five years, to take place Tuesday at the United Nations. Gore took a break from the broadcast to chat with Climate Desk's Inquiring Minds podcast, offering his views on everything from President Obama's climate polices and the role of the tea party in US politics to his hopes for a strong international climate treaty.

Gore said that Obama hasn't yet gone far enough in his efforts against climate change, but that he nonetheless admires "what the president has done."


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Climate action and economies can grow together | Kieran Cooke | Climate News Network

Climate action and economies can grow together | Kieran Cooke | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

We can have our cake and eat it. That’s the main message of a new study that says the idea that we have to choose between battling against climate change or promoting growth in the world’s economy is a “false dilemma”.

The report, The New Climate Economy, was produced by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, chaired by Felipe Calderón, the former president of Mexico, and including eminent economist Lord [Nicholas] Stern.

Calderon, addressing what he describes as a “false dilemma”, says: “The message to leaders is clear. We don’t have to choose between economic growth and a safe climate. We can have both.”

Lord Stern, author of the 2006 Stern Review, which comprehensively detailed, for the first time, the economic consequences of not taking action on climate change, says decisions being made now will determine the future of both the economy and the climate.


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Red tide off northwest Florida could hit economy | Jason Dearen | AOL.com

It's like Florida's version of The Blob. Slow moving glops of toxic algae in the northeast Gulf of Mexico are killing sea turtles, sharks and fish, and threatening the waters and beaches that fuel the region's economy.


Known as "red tide," this particular strain called Karenia brevis is present nearly every year off Florida, but large blooms can be particularly devastating. Right now, the algae is collecting in an area about 60 miles wide and 100 miles long, about 5 to 15 miles off St. Petersburg in the south and stretching north to Florida's Big Bend, where the peninsula ends and the Panhandle begins.


Fishermen who make a living off the state's northwest coast are reporting fish kills and reddish water.


"It boils up in the propeller wash like boiled red Georgia clay. It's spooky," said Clearwater fisherman Brad Gorst as he steered the charter fishing boat Gulfstream 2 in waters near Honeymoon Island, where dead fish recently washed ashore.


Red tide kills fish, manatees and other marine life by releasing a toxin that paralyzes their central nervous system. The algae also foul beaches and can be harmful to people who inhale the algae's toxins when winds blow onshore or by crashing waves, particularly those with asthma and other respiratory ailments.


In 2005, a strong red tide killed reefs, made beaches stinky and caused millions in economic damage. A weaker red tide in 2013 killed 276 manatees, state records show, after infecting the grasses eaten by the endangered creatures.


"This red tide ... will likely cause considerable damage to our local fisheries and our tourist economy over the next few months," said Heyward Mathews, an emeritus professor of oceanography at St. Petersburg College who has studied the issue for decades.


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MIT-bred technology would let cars help each other avoid traffic jams | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

MIT-bred technology would let cars help each other avoid traffic jams | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

If you get stuck in traffic a lot, your next car may be able to talk to other vehicles and help keep you off jammed roads.


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used virtual tokens, cellphones and vehicle-to-vehicle wireless LANs to build a system for allocating the limited space available on major thoroughfares. It doesn’t require any physical infrastructure, such as tollbooths, so it could be implemented quickly almost anywhere, they said.


Instead of using cameras or electronic tollbooths by the roadway to detect cars passing a certain point, the MIT system, called RoadRunner, is based on GPS (Global Positioning System) information from the driver’s cellphone in each car. As more cars get connected to the Internet, the system may be able to go into the car itself, according to Jason Gao, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science who developed the system with Professor Li-Shiuan Peh.


RoadRunner is designed to solve the problem of congested roads, with or without a government charging tolls for driving in crowded areas during rush hour. Once it detects that a particular route is crowded, RoadRunner generates driving directions to approaching cars that recommend a different way to go.


At the heart of RoadRunner is a limited set of tokens that the system assigns to vehicles within the affected area. When the road isn’t crowded, every driver entering the zone receives a token, but as it fills up, later arrivals get the alternate driving directions instead. There’s nothing to stop a car from crossing the line without a token, but that action could trigger a fine if law enforcement wanted to impose one.


The system doesn’t track the precise location of each car. Instead, the server only registers whether a car is inside or outside the congestion zone and whether it has a token.


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IN: U.S. Steel scraps coke alternative at Gary Works | Joseph Pete | NWITimes.com

IN: U.S. Steel scraps coke alternative at Gary Works | Joseph Pete | NWITimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The largest steel mill in Northwest Indiana has abandoned a longtime plan to make a cheaper, more-reliably priced alternative to a raw material needed for steelmaking.


U.S. Steel won't pursue any further development of carbon alloy facilities at Gary Works, where it had invested an estimated $210 million over the last three years hoping to produce an alternative to traditional coke used in blast furnaces.


The newly constructed C Module, which would have made a carbon alloy material to be used in place of coke, will be permanently idled. Plans to build a second module at the steel mill have been scrapped altogether.


After a change in leadership last year, the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker has pursued a number of strategies — including laying off non-union managers and supervisors in Northwest Indiana — to improve its financial performance after failing to turn a profit for five years.


U.S. Steel also announced Tuesday its Canadian subsidiary, U.S. Steel Canada, would file for bankruptcy to restructure after losing $2.4 billion over the last half decade. It's also dropping plans to expand an iron ore pellet mining operations in Keewatin, Minn.


U.S. Steel would have needed to invest more than $800 million in Gary and Minnesota to complete the projects, the company estimated.


Since 2011, the steelmaker has been trying to use propriety technology from Texas-based Carbonyx Inc. at Gary Works to produce up to 500,000 tons of a coal-based coke substitute per year, which would have fulfilled about 20 percent of mill's coke needs.


Delays and operating malfunctions beleaguered the project. A U.S. Steel executive said this spring the company was still tinkering with Module C before attempting to get it online, because it was satisfied with what it was paying for traditional coke, which the steelmaker originally wanted to reduce its reliance on because it's subject to the ups and downs of the market. The company also has been trying to burn more natural gas, which is abundant and cheap.


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In Scotland, tech firms fear independence vote | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com

In Scotland, tech firms fear independence vote | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The one sure thing a "yes" vote Thursday for Scottish independence will bring to its high-tech sector is a long period of uncertainty.


Scotland is not a major high-tech employment center, but it has good universities and entrepreneurial energy. About 70,000 people work in IT out of a total workforce of about 2.5 million, or about 3%. By contrast, financial services accounts for about 15% of employment in Scotland.


Scotland has 5.3 million people and is just a little larger than Colorado; in terms of size, it's almost as large as South Carolina.


A separation from the U.K. would be jarring and would bring big problems to solve, including currency and European Union membership issues to settle. Passions are high.


"Honest, I've never been so scared in my life," said Euan Mackenzie about the prospect of separating from the U.K. He runs a 16-employee start-up, 1partCarbon, in Edinburgh, a platform that builds medical systems.


Mackenzie believes that independence will make life "a whole lot harder" for multiple reasons. Capital and people, particularly senior managers in financial services, will relocate. Scotland will lose direct access to European Union markets until it gains EU membership -- and that's not certain. Some countries may veto Scotland's entry into the EU because "they do not want their own secessionist regions to go for independence," he argues.


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As Obama administration orders carbon cuts to fight global warming, it sells coal rights that could increase it | Michael Kranish | The Boston Globe

As Obama administration orders carbon cuts to fight global warming, it sells coal rights that could increase it | Michael Kranish | The Boston Globe | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The desolate stretch of Highway 133 crests a Rocky Mountain pass and settles into a valley where some of the world’s most valuable coal is located — and the landowner is the US taxpayer.


If there is a “war on coal” by President Obama, as his critics say, then this might be a place to wage it. Obama has, after all, approved regulations designed to cut global-warming carbon emissions by nearly one-third, and he is preparing to attend a Sept. 23 United Nations climate summit at which he will renew his call for world action to fight climate change.


But here in the Rockies and across much of the West, Obama may be the coal industry’s critical, if unlikely, ally. The administration has rejected calls to place a moratorium on leasing public land to mining firms — even though such leases account for 40 percent of coal mined in the United States. Nor is the administration much interested in blocking exports of coal from such leases to countries where it could be burned without antipollution controls. Or in significantly raising the price of the billions of tons of publicly owned coal now sold at what critics consider bargain rates.


This is war?


Hardly, said Senator Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who early this year called on the administration to place a moratorium on the coal leases. It is instead, he said, the story of “contradictory energy policies undermining the larger goal of having a reduction of greenhouse gases in America. The American taxpayer is subsidizing the coal industry.”


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All the Ways to Fight Fracking at the People’s Climate March | Linda Capato | 350.org

All the Ways to Fight Fracking at the People’s Climate March | Linda Capato | 350.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In the next 5 days tens of thousands of people around the world will be rallying for climate action from our world leaders.  For those of us who work on fracking, we’re especially excited to see how folks are starting to connect the dots between extreme extraction and climate change.


In California, we’re watching folks here battle a historic drought that’s been inextricably linked to climate change.  While citizens are being asked to curb their water use with shorter showers and not to water their lawn, we’re also watching fracking for oil get the green light.  While this is all happening people like Governor Brown get to ride his own coattails from 20 years ago as a climate champion despite his current actions to give the go ahead to expand extraction.


We know that fracking for gas and oil only makes climate change worse. We know that we’re choosing to frack because we’ve gotten to the end of the line.  Outside of just the climate impacts of fracking, we’re watching communities get sick, lose fresh water, and scramble to get answers from those they elected into power.


That’s why those of us who work to fight fracking are using the People’s Climate March as a rallying space for us to make sure our leaders hear stories from communities.  We want to make sure on the day after the march, people know that climate leaders don’t frack.


There are events all week leading up to the big rally on September 21st that will give you an opportunity to hear from different folks from all around the world about how fracking has impacted them.


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Netflix's secret weapon to conquer Europe: pay TV boxes | Janko Roettgers | GigaOM Tech News

Netflix's secret weapon to conquer Europe: pay TV boxes | Janko Roettgers | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Netflix launched in Germany and Austria on Tuesday after going live in France on Monday, and the company is set to announce launches in three additional European countries later this week. It’s one of Netflix’s most ambitious expansions to date, and it’s coming with a new set of partners: In Germany, Netflix struck an alliance with Deutsche Telekom, and, in France, it teamed up with Bouygues Telecom.


These partnerships could be a key part to Netflix’s expansion in Europe and provide a blueprint for further growth in the U.S. In Germany, Deutsche Telekom is adding Netflix’s app to its Entertain pay TV platform. In France, the app is going to be available on Bouygues Telecom‘s Android-based set-top boxes starting in November.


This isn’t the first time Netflix has struck these kinds of alliances with pay TV operators. However, in the past, cooperations were restricted to operators that were leasing TiVo’s DVR to their customers. Now, Netflix is taking the next step and bringing its app to additional set-top boxes.


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Brazil's Indigenous Seek Out City, End Up in Slums | NYTimes.com

Brazil's Indigenous Seek Out City, End Up in Slums | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

They huddle in a tight circle, shaking seed-filled maracas and shuffling in time to a rhythm that has pulsed through their tribes for generations. The dancers raise their voices in song, conjuring an ancient spirit that vibrates above the traffic roaring from a nearby expressway and the beat of funk music blasting from a neighbor's loudspeaker.


In this Brazilian favela, a dense hodgepodge of humble cinderblock homes filled with some of Rio de Janeiro's poorest residents, the indigenous people whose cultures predate recorded history are struggling to keep their traditions alive in the face of modernity. Seeking jobs and forced out of their native lands by loggers, miners and farmers, an estimated 22,000 Brazilian Indians now call the crowded favelas their home.


Deforestation continues to reshape the Amazon rain forest region that is home to a third of Brazil's indigenous people. The rate of deforestation rose 29 percent last year, compared with a year earlier, the Brazilian government reported last week.


"There are no more forests, no more fish. We've got to survive so we go to the cities. But they're so expensive, where can we live but the favelas?" asked Sandra Benites, a Guarani tribeswoman who moved to Rio's Complexo Sao Carlos slum in 2010 from the neighboring state of Espirito Santo. "Despite the problems, at least in the village you're surrounded by a community. In the city, you're alone."


Benites, a 39-year-old teacher who also uses her tribal name Ara Rete, joined other indigenous urbanites recently to celebrate a traditional ritual in Rio de Janeiro's Mare favela. The gatherings of about a dozen people, from as many tribes, provide a sense of community that helps them endure the "double discrimination" they face.


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Coca Cola, Heinz And Other Major Food Companies Warn Climate Change Threatens Business | Emily Atkin | ThinkProgress.org

Coca Cola, Heinz And Other Major Food Companies Warn Climate Change Threatens Business | Emily Atkin | ThinkProgress.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Back in March, popular burrito chain Chipotle made news when ThinkProgress reported that climate change could threaten its guacamole supply. That report was based on a statement Chipotle made in its annual report to its investors, filed with the Securities Exchange Commission.


Chipotle took issue with the story, noting that its language about how climate change could affect guacamole was routine for annual reports and other SEC filings. The SEC requires companies to tell investors about any business risk they face, no matter how small. Indeed, companies mention things like freak accidents and terrorist attacks in these reports as well. In all, Chipotle just didn’t want its customers to become alarmed about a guacamole shortage (and in fact, guacamole hasn’t budged from the menu).


But as ThinkProgress noted at the time, the real story was not a guacamole shortage, but the emerging reality of doing business in a warming world. While politicians continue to bicker over whether or not climate change exists, companies now have no choice in the matter — they must acknowledge the science and the risk and disclose the reality of that risk to their investors’ pocketbooks. Whether that risk actually manifests itself is another matter, but the fact that companies are increasingly putting climate change on their threat lists speaks volumes to the severity of the problem.


Here are seven other big food companies that disclose to investors that climate change poses a threat to their products and bottom lines.


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