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Flooding and Fracking in Colorado: Double Disaster | Politics News | Rolling Stone

Flooding and Fracking in Colorado: Double Disaster | Politics News | Rolling Stone | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Cliff Willmeng was filming from the banks of the raging St. Vrain River in Colorado when he heard a sound like guitar strings being plucked. He looked around for the source and spotted, in the rapids near him, an electrical pole leaning at 45 degrees. "To be honest, it was probably dangerous, what I was doing," he admits. "[But] the more unsafe the travel became, the more important the work became."


Willmeng, a trauma nurse who lives in Lafayette, Colorado, wasn't documenting the devastation of the Front Range's 1000-year flood for thrills. For years, he's been involved in trying to ban the controversial drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from Colorado communities. As the flooding began to reach what the National Weather Service called "biblical" proportions, he realized that floodwater was headed straight for some of Colorado's most developed oil and gas drilling areas.


Concerned about how drilling sites would withstand the flooding – and what chemicals might end up in the water – Willmeng grabbed his camera. He headed towards neighboring Weld County, one of the nation's most productive agricultural counties and home to thousands of fracked wells.


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Professors plead with greens to accept nuclear power | Paul Brown | Climate News Network

Professors plead with greens to accept nuclear power | Paul Brown | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Seventy-five professors from the world’s leading universities have signed a letter urging environmentalists to re-think their attitude to nuclear power as a way to save the planet from climate change and preserve its animals, plants and fish.

Ironically, it is two Australian academics who came up with the research. They come from a country whose government has repudiated the Kyoto Protocol, reversed measures to cut climate change, is one of the world’s biggest coal exporters, and has no nuclear power. Australia has just recorded the hottest spring since records began 100 years ago.

The two professors are Barry W. Brook, Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania, and Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute. Their backers include many leading experts on ecology, biodiversity, evolution and geography from the US, UK, China and India.

The letter is significant because previous pleas for a role for nuclear power have mostly come from physics professors, who could reasonably be said to love the technology for its own sake.

But this group has no stake in nuclear power, and their argument is based purely on the need to save the planet and its species from overheating and excess use of valuable land for renewables. Professors Brook and Bradshaw have had a paper published in the magazine Conservation Biology, in which they evaluated all possible forms of energy generation. Wind and nuclear power had the highest “benefit-to-cost ratio”.


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Despite Persecution, Guardian of Lake Tai Spotlights China’s Polluters | Andrew Jacobs | NYTimes.com

Despite Persecution, Guardian of Lake Tai Spotlights China’s Polluters | Andrew Jacobs | NYTimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

By autumn, the stench of Lake Tai and the freakish green glow of its waters usually fade with the ebbing of the summer heat, but this year is different. Standing on a concrete embankment overlooking a fetid, floating array of plastic bottles, foam takeout containers, flip-flops and the occasional dead fish, Wu Lihong, the lake’s unofficial guardian, shook his head in disgust.

“If you jumped into this water, you’d shed a layer of skin,” he said one recent afternoon. “The government claims they are cleaning up the lake, but as you can see, it’s just not true.”

Seven years after a toxic algae bloom forced millions of people who depended on the lake to find alternative sources of drinking water, Lake Tai, which straddles two provinces in the Yangtze River delta, remains a pungent symbol of China’s inability to tackle some of its most serious environmental problems.

Since the 2007 crisis, which drew widespread domestic news media coverage and prompted a special meeting of the cabinet, the government has spent billions of dollars cleaning up the lake, the country’s third-largest freshwater body. But environmentalists say it has little to show for the money. Hundreds of chemical plants, textile mills and ceramics workshops continue to dump their noxious effluent into the waterways that feed into Lake Tai.


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Elon Musk: The new Tesla Roadster can travel some 400 miles on a single charge | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Elon Musk: The new Tesla Roadster can travel some 400 miles on a single charge | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Car nerds, you just got an extra present under the tree.

Elon Musk has confirmed an upgrade for the Tesla Roadster, the electric car company's convertible model, and says that the new features significantly boost its range -- beyond what many traditional cars can get on a tank of gasoline.

There are three retrofits coming to the Roadster, according to Tesla. First is a battery upgrade that marks a 31-percent increase in capacity, letting the vehicle roll further on a single charge. Next is an "aero kit" that'll alter the car's profile slightly, producing a 15-percent reduction in drag due to wind resistance. Finally, the company said in a blog post Friday, the Roadster will be getting new, more efficient tires.

The result is an electric vehicle that can reliably travel about 350 miles before needing a recharge. That's pretty similar — or even better — compared to many conventional gasoline-powered cars. The University of Michigan estimates that the average fuel economy of a new car in 2014 was about 25 miles per gallon. With a 12- or 13-gallon tank, that gets you about 325 miles on a single fill-up.

"There is a set of speeds and driving conditions," said Tesla, "where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles."


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New electrolyte to enable cheaper, less toxic magnesium-sulfur-based batteries | Eric Mack | GizMag.com

New electrolyte to enable cheaper, less toxic magnesium-sulfur-based batteries | Eric Mack | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

There's another promising contender in the race to supplant the dominance of lithium-ion and metal-hydride based batteries in the world of energy storage. New research from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's (KIT's) Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) details the development of an electrolyte that can be used in new magnesium-sulfur battery cells that would be more efficient and inexpensive than the dominant types of batteries in use today.

In the past year alone, we've seen research into water-based batteries, fast-charging "dual carbon" batteries, performance enhancing sand-based anodes, an aluminum-air EV battery, and even a nanodot-based smartphone battery that can recharge in 30 seconds.

Like all these, KIT's new electrolyte and the magnesium-based batteries it could enable come with their own list of benefits. The electrolyte's electrochemical window hits the sweet spot in terms of stability, a key characteristic desirable in materials used in batteries. It also plays well in various solvents and at high concentrations and works with a sulfur cathode, a material that is cheap and efficient when it comes to discharging maximum voltage.


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British Telecom Joins Complaints on AT&T Special Access Monopoly | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

British Telecom Joins Complaints on AT&T Special Access Monopoly | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Competing carriers for years have complained about AT&T and Verizon's more than 85% market dominance of the special access market -- or the fiber lines that help feed and connect cellular towers.


Add British Telecom to the list of companies lobbying for changes on that front; the UK company visited the FCC this week to protect its business services, complaining that AT&T and Verizon are charging "five or six times what it should cost" for companies to move from legacy TDM networks such as T1s to faster technology.


The complaints come at the same time BT is facing a fresh round of anti-competitive monopoly allegations across the pond.


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Vodafone Ireland to roll out ‘superfast 4G+’ | TeleGeography.com

Vodafone’s Irish unit has announced the rollout of ‘4G+’ LTE technology, offering mobile speeds of ‘up to 150Mbps’ to customers living in the cities of Waterford, Dublin, Cork and Limerick.


The operator, which launched first generation LTE in October 2013, says its new 4G+ service is ‘twice as fast’ as its predecessor and is available from 1 December in Waterford, followed by Cork, Dublin and Limerick by the end of the year, before coverage expands to other areas.


4G+ is accessible on Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge phones and free of additional charge to subscribers of Vodafone’s Red Extra and Red Super plans until April.


Vodafone Ireland explained in a press release that its new 4G+ speeds are delivered by combining two 4G bandwidths, known as carrier aggregation (CA), a key feature of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology evolution, although the cellco did not officially confirm if the Irish network is now classed as LTE-A standard.

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Singapore: M1 launches nationwide LTE-A network | TeleGeography.com

Singapore mobile operator M1 has launched 4G+ Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) technology island-wide, offering subscribers a peak 300Mbps download speed – double that available on 4G LTE platforms.


Open to both existing customers and new users, M1 says its LTE-A service is available in more than 95% of indoor areas and most outdoors areas at launch. A spokesperson for the carrier confirmed that the company intends to ‘review and enhance’ its network, with a specific focus on high traffic demand areas such as Mass Rapid Transit stations and tunnels.


However, rival StarHub was quick to point out that in order to benefit from the new service, users will require an LTE-A compatible handset – something that will not come on-stream until early in 2015.


A spokesperson for StarHub said its own LTE-A upgrade will be available nationwide next year, while SingTel Mobile said it was on track to reach outdoor coverage of 85%-90% early next year.

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Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives | Ellen Brown | Truthdig.com

Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives | Ellen Brown | Truthdig.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia. The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and depositors and taxpayers could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act signed into law on December 16th.

On December 11th, Senator Elizabeth Warren charged Citigroup with “holding government funding hostage to ram through its government bailout provision.” At issue was a section in the omnibus budget bill repealing the Lincoln Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act, which protected depositor funds by requiring the largest banks to push out a portion of their derivatives business into non-FDIC-insured subsidiaries.

Warren and Representative Maxine Waters came close to killing the spending bill because of this provision. But the tide turned, according to Waters, when not only Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, but President Obama himself lobbied lawmakers to vote for the bill.

It was not only a notable about-face for the president but represented an apparent shift in position for the banks. Before Jamie Dimon intervened, it had been reported that the bailout provision was not a big deal for the banks and that they were not lobbying heavily for it, because it covered only a small portion of their derivatives. As explained in Time:


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South Korea Threatens To Put Uber's CEO In Prison For Offering An 'Illegal' Taxi Service | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

South Korea Threatens To Put Uber's CEO In Prison For Offering An 'Illegal' Taxi Service | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Uber, the "hail a ride from your phone" company, has faced quite a few challenges lately, many of which it's brought on itself. Questions raised about its practices, its approach to privacy and its way of dealing with the competition are all worth exploring. Frankly, some of the criticism seems well-deserved, while other parts are clearly blown way out of proportion. Many of the problems seem to stem from the fact that Uber is a company that grew insanely fast and hasn't quite realized that people no longer view it as the scrappy startup it was not too long ago.

As we've pointed out for years, one of Uber's best marketing strategies was to enter a market -- have regulators freak out -- and then use the controversy as a marketing opportunity to drum up interest, and create enough public support to get regulators to fix the laws, allowing a useful service to thrive. And, in fact, most of the time, the regulations that Uber runs up against are really silly. They're often much more focused on limiting competition and keeping taxi fees inflated, rather than things like consumer safety.

However, while this tactic worked really well when it was small and scrappy, as a giant company (with a variety of scandals, overblown or not), it seems this strategy is having some trouble these days. Regulators have been pushing back much more strongly -- such as with new lawsuits, and it appears that regulators in other countries are taking the fight to a different level. Over in South Korea, prosecutors have now indicted Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick for "operating an illegal taxi service."


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EU: Google has now ‘forgotten’ more than a quarter-million URLs | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com

EU: Google has now ‘forgotten’ more than a quarter-million URLs | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A European court's so-called Right to Be Forgotten ruling in May has resulted in the scrubbing of hundreds of thousands of Google search results, according to data released by Google on Monday as part of its regular transparency reports on government requests for information removal.

Google, it turns out, has agreed to about 40 percent of the requested URL removals that it has received in the months since the European Union's Court of Justice issued its ruling that empowered citizens of the EU to have search results unlinked from their names online.

Google doesn't delete any content from its search records archives completely. It simply breaks the links between searches on an individual's name and the offending results. That gives complainants the opportunity to use Google to shape their online identity while leaving the content behind those search results intact. According to the new data, Google has removed some 227,000 of those connections since it began, reluctantly, enforcing the ruling.

The citizens of some countries were more successful than others in their requests. About half of the requests for URL removes from France were honored, but only about a quarter of those coming from Italy were granted.

Google is offering a bit of insight into the kinds of deletion requests it's getting and how it's responding to them. In Italy, for example, a woman asked Google to delete search results that connected her name to the murder of her husband. Google complied. Google also agreed to scrub links to an article on a Belgian man's participation in a contest as a minor.

But when a media figure in the United Kingdom asked for the removal of his name from search results on "embarrassing content he posted to the Internet," Google said no.


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Greenland loses its luster as the Arctic warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet | Susan Cosier | onEarth.org

Greenland loses its luster as the Arctic warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet | Susan Cosier | onEarth.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Greenland is becoming duller. The place is still exciting (perhaps, too exciting...); its icy landscape is just not as reflective as it used to be. Since August 2000, the island’s reflectivity has decreased nearly 6 percent, according to NOAA’s newly released Arctic Report Card 2014. Warmer air temperatures cause snow and ice crystals to lump together, forming smoother edges that don’t bounce back as much sunlight into the atmosphere. In other words, slush isn't so shiny.

The loss of reflectivity causes a feedback loop as more of the sun's energy reaches the earth and raises temperatures, which, in turn, make sparkling ice lose its shimmer—or worse, expose dark spots of ocean and land that absorb even more heat. All in all, the report found that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Too exciting, indeed.


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Google’s self-driving car now has some new features. Like headlights. | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

Google’s self-driving car now has some new features. Like headlights. | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Google announced it's taken another step toward solving all of our traffic problems, showing off the first "real build" of its concept for the self-driving car.


The tech giant first displayed the first prototype of its bubble-bodied, steering wheel-free car in May. But the vehicle it announced Monday in a Google+ post from its self-driving car project has progressed by leaps and bounds.


For example: this car has real headlights, unlike its mocked-up predecessor.


In addition to getting some lightbulbs,the firm said that it's spent the past several months working on improving the car's steering and braking systems as well as its array of sensors that help keep the autonomous car alert while on the road.

Google said that it will be keeping the manual controls on its vehicles for a "while longer" for safety while its continues testing.

So when can you get one?


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ExxonMobil slammed with $2.3 million fine for fracking-related water pollution | Lindsay Abrams | Salon.com

ExxonMobil slammed with $2.3 million fine for fracking-related water pollution | Lindsay Abrams | Salon.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The EPA just hit XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil and the nation’s largest natural gas company, with a cool $2.3 million fine for Clean Water Act violations related to its fracking activities in West Virginia.

This is big: you rarely hear about frackers being held federally accountable for polluting water supplies, thanks to Bush-era legislation commonly known as the “Halliburton Loophole.” Basically, it ensures that fracking is exempted from the portions of the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act that would typically make it accountable to federal oversight; as such, the EPA is mostly prevented from regulating both the process and the chemicals it injects into the ground.

The EPA’s approach is a clever workaround of those restrictions. As CleanTechnica’s Tina Casey explains, the pollution targeted by the EPA wasn’t caused by fracking itself, but instead by other, ordinary violations committed by XTO: the company, it charges, dumped sand, dirt, rocks and other dirty fill materials into streams and wetlands without a permit, in violation of the Clean Water Act.

In total, the company damaged 5,300 linear feet of streams and 3.38 acres of wetland — making the $2.3 million fine comparatively large, particularly when you consider the extra $3 million it agreed to pay in restoration costs.


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NYC: APF’s Class B building joins elite Club | Linda Flanagan | Real Estate Weekly

NYC: APF’s Class B building joins elite Club | Linda Flanagan | Real Estate Weekly | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Three years of work polishing a rough diamond in midtown has earned APF Properties a gold star.

The company announced earlier this month that its Club Row Building at 28 West 44th Street has become just the third Class B office property in New York City to achieve LEED-Existing Building (EB) Gold Certification.

A $9 million retrofit that included $1.5 million in improvements that can be directly or indirectly linked to energy and water savings has elevated the building to a select group that includes 1440 Broadway, 498 Seventh Avenue and 345 Hudson Street.

And while the investment might not immediately translate to higher rents for APF, principal Berndt Perl said he’s in no doubt it was the right thing to do.

“Sustainability is in our DNA as owners and managers,” said Perl. “We believe it is the right approach to take for the environment, as well as for the comfort of our tenants, and to preserve and enhance the long-term value of the portfolio. APF Properties has proven expertise in creating efficiency in older building stock and we are focused on executing plans to achieve a more sustainable portfolio.”

Perl said the retrofit at 28 West 44th has yet to attract more and higher paying tenants, however the green upgrades within its A Class portfolio has resulted in “better retainage" of existing tenants.


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MA: Boston’s first LEED Platinum building to become energy positive | StuRobarts | GizMag.com

MA: Boston’s first LEED Platinum building to become energy positive | StuRobarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A high-sustainability design has been released for an expanded building in the US. Behnisch Architekten says that Boston's EpiCenter will become the largest energy-positive commercial building in New England and perhaps on the East Coast. The building will house youth charity Artists for Humanity.

Behnisch specializes in sustainable architecture and featured in the AIA's 2014 top ten green buildings in the US. The firm's design for the John and Frances Angelos Law Center maximizes natural ventilation and daylight, as well as collecting water for re-use. The EpiCenter Expansion will also make use of natural ventilation and daylight, along with a variety of other innovative technologies.

According to Behnisch, the EpiCenter was Boston’s first LEED Platinum building when it opened in 2004. Ten years on, a major renovation will see the building's footprint rise from 23,500 sq ft (2,200 sq m) to 87,000 sq ft (8,100 sq m). New facilities will include space for more more youth artists, more gallery space and new studios. Also planned, with a view to their opening onto a new 1.5 acre (6,070 sq m) public park, are a retail store and a café.


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The Commons: Inside Australia's most sustainable apartment building | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com

The Commons: Inside Australia's most sustainable apartment building | Nick Lavars | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Throughout the traditionally working class suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne's inner north, apartment developments are popping up everywhere as urbanites scramble for their own slice of inner-city living. These buildings are modern and comfortable, though many are cut from the same commercially oriented architectural cloth. But among them stands a beacon of green and thoughtful design. The Commons by local firm Breathe Architecture is a beautiful five-story apartment block with sustainability emanating from every square foot, from the bicycle rack to the communal veggie garden on its roof.

Around seven years ago, Jeremy McLeod, who started Breathe Architecture in 2001, had grand plans of creating Australia's flagship sustainable apartment building. But the onset of the global financial crisis didn't exactly make things easy, as he had trouble securing a loan and finding a developer with whom his priorities aligned.

"It started with a big dream," McLeod tells Gizmag, resting against the wall outside apartment 101, the home he shares with his partner. "As is usually the case with such a big plan, parts of this was stripped away over time, but I still think we came away with something epic."


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Quantum memory storage to help quantum communications go the distance | Colin Jeffery | GizMag.com

Quantum memory storage to help quantum communications go the distance | Colin Jeffery | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The technologies made possible by breakthroughs in quantum physics have already provided the means of quantum cryptography, and are gradually paving the way toward powerful, practical, everyday quantum computers, and even quantum teleportation.


Unfortunately, without corresponding atomic memories to appropriately store quantum-specific information, the myriad possibilities of these technologies are becoming increasingly difficult to advance. To help address this problem, scientists from the University of Warsaw (FUW) claim to have developed an atomic memory that has both exceptional memory properties and a construction elegant in its simplicity.

The FUW researchers from the Institute of Experimental Physics claim that the new, fully-functioning atomic memory has numerous potential applications, especially in telecommunications where the transmission of quantum information over long distances is not as straightforward as the transmission of simple electronic data encoded on laser light and traveling through optical fiber.

This is because quantum information can't simply be amplified every so often along its path of travel as information digitally encoded on a laser beam can be. Instead, it is essential that the quantum information itself remain absolutely preserved in its original form to maintain its inherent security, and boosting the signal risks disrupting the quantum state and immediately rendering the transmission useless and unusable.

In this vein, the new memory may prove useful in providing a means to bring into reality the DLCZ quantum transmission protocol (DLCZ being the initials of the physicists from the University of Innsbruck and Harvard University who proposed it; Duan, Lukin, Cirac, and Zoller), enabling quantum information to be sent across long distances.

As an essential requirement for this protocol to work, quantum information transmitted must be stored at various relay points along the channel of communication. Up until now, the physical capabilities to realize the DLCZ protocol have been unavailable, but this new atomic memory may help solve that problem.


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South Africa: Cape Town scraps Wi-Fi-to-the-home plans | TeleGeography.com

Cape Town’s city council has scrapped its plans to install access points to create a wireless network capable of providing Wi-Fi to each home, as the project was deemed ‘too costly and complex’, BusinessTech reports.


Although the initial plan envisioned Wi-Fi internet access directly into homes, following a technical feasibility proofing and a trial phase in selected locations throughout the city, the city’s telecoms team established that boosters would need to be fitted to each house to deliver the planned results.


Patricia de Lille, Cape Town’s executive mayor, said: ‘This would not only have been costly to install, it would have also been complex to manage owing to a range of structural factors, as well as weather-related constraints and safety issues … It was also found that custom-building household access networks in this way results in a low number of users per access point. In addition, the deployment of such a network would be complex and too slow. The network would in time have become redundant, given the gradual proliferation of commercial mobile internet services.’


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Tele2 Russia introduces mobile TV service | TeleGeography.com

Alexander Provorotov, the general director of Tele2 Russia, has confirmed that the company has launched a mobile TV service as it looks to play catch-up with the so-called ‘Big Three’ which already offer it on their networks.


Provorotov says that as a result of the launch, Tele2 Russia 3G customers in St Petersburg will be able to receive the service, while elsewhere, customers on either 3G or 4G will be provided with mobile TV.


The operator has already launched 3G in St Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Chelyabinsk, and in Tula it has launched a 4G network as it holds no third-generation frequencies. It also plans to roll out 3G and 4G networks in Moscow in 2015, he confirmed.

Tele2 Russia’s mobile TV app lets Android subscribers watch both domestic and foreign TV channels on their device; it intends to add an iOS version in the near future. Users are charged a subscription fee of RUB10 (USD0.19) per day to access mobile TV.

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UK: EE to roll out micro networks in rural communities from early 2015 | TeleGeography.com

EE, the UK’s largest cellco by subscribers, has outlined a commitment to connect more than 1,500 rural communities across the country within three years by investing in what it has termed a ‘unique micro network technology that provides coverage to remote areas with no need for broadband or cables’.

From early next year the operator aims to make voice services, as well as 3G/4G mobile broadband, available in communities which currently have no reliable mobile or high speed broadband access. To achieve this EE has said it will construct new micro networks that wirelessly connect small mobile antennas to a suitable nearby macro site, without the need for cabling.


An initial trial of the technology is already underway in the small village of Sebergham, in Cumbria, which is located in a deep valley and comprises just 129 dwellings with a total of 347 residents.

Comparing its technology to similar rival products, EE has been keen to highlight the fact that its rural micro network solution –which is based on technology designed by Parallel Wireless – does not require any fixed broadband to connect into the wider network, meaning it can be deployed in more remote areas.


The operator claims such micro networks can connect communities comprising 100-150 premises, across an area of 0.5 square miles, with just three or four small antennas.


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What we know about North Korea's cyberarmy | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com

What we know about North Korea's cyberarmy | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The attack on Sony Pictures has put North Korea’s cyberwarfare program in the spotlight. Like most of the internal workings of the country, not much is known but snippets of information have come out over the years, often through defectors and intelligence leaks.

Here’s a summary of what we know:

North Korea’s governing structure is split between the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and the National Defense Commission (NDC).

North Korea’s main cyberoperations run under the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), which itself falls under the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces that is in turn part of the NDC. The RGB has been operational for years in traditional espionage and clandestine operations and formed two cyberdivisions several years ago called Unit 121 and Office 91.

Office 91 is thought to be the headquarters of North Korea’s hacking operation although the bulk of the hackers and hacking and infiltration into networks is done from Unit 121, which operates out of North Korea and has satellite offices overseas, particularly in Chinese cities that are near the North Korean border. One such outpost is reportedly the Chilbosan Hotel in Shenyang, a major city about 150 miles from the border. A third operation, called Lab 110, participates in much the same work.

There are also several cyberunits under North Korea’s other arm of government, the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Unit 35 is responsible for training cyberagents and is understood to handle domestic cyber investigations and operations. Unit 204 takes part in online espionage and psychological warfare and Office 225 trains agents for missions in South Korea that can sometimes have a cyber component.


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Gov. Inslee Wants To Cap And Tax Emissions From Washington State’s Major Polluters | Katie Valentine | Think Progress

Gov. Inslee Wants To Cap And Tax Emissions From Washington State’s Major Polluters | Katie Valentine | Think Progress | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has big plans for carbon reductions in his state, as outlined in climate change and transportation proposals announced by the governor’s office this week.

On Tuesday, Inslee announced a proposed tax on the carbon emissions for Washington’s major polluters. The proposal, which is part of Inslee’s transportation plan, would force major polluters in the state’s oil and gas industry to pay for the carbon they emit. The revenue gathered from the carbon tax, according to Inslee’s office, would total about $4.8 billion over the next 12 years — about the same amount as would be raised by a 12-cent increase in the state’s gas tax.

As part of the plan, the state’s major polluters — the “relatively small number of businesses” that, according to the governor’s office, are responsible for 85 percent of the state’s emissions — would have their emissions capped. Over time, that cap will be lowered, as a way to prod the businesses to transition to cleaner, more efficient energy sources.

While some of the revenue from the carbon tax would go toward maintaining roads, it would also be used for transportation-related sustainability initiatives in the state, including grants for transit systems and incentives for electric cars. Other transportation projects in the state, such as highway and ferry updates, would be mainly paid for by sources such as gas taxes, tolls and vehicle fees.

“There is a good way, instead of just using taxes to build a bridge, why not use a charge on pollution to build not only a bridge, but also clean air so kids can breathe. You get a twofer,” Inslee said last week, before the proposal was formally announced. “That’s what we’re going to do.”


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The day that changed tsunami science | Rececca Jacobson | PBS NewsHour

The day that changed tsunami science | Rececca Jacobson | PBS NewsHour | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It was 3:00 p.m. on Christmas day, 2004 when Stuart Weinstein’s pager buzzed in the operations room at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii. Seismic waves from an earthquake off the coast of northern Sumatra had activated a seismometer in Australia. Initial readings said magnitude 8.0.


His colleague Barry Hirshorn, a geophysicist, rushed into the control room. His pager had gone off too. Together, they scrambled to locate the epicenter of the quake. In the Indian Ocean, it was early morning, December 26.


“We were flying blind in the sense that we could not determine if a tsunami had been generated,” said Weinstein the center’s assistant director.


Fifteen minutes later, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued its first bulletin. There had been an earthquake, but there was no tsunami threat to the Pacific Basin, where the center is based, it read. When an updated reading showed the magnitude at 8.5, they sent out a second bulletin. There is a possibility of a tsunami near the epicenter, this one said.


They were missing important information. With no real-time sea level data, they had no way of knowing that the violent movement of tectonic plates — specifically, the India plate sliding underneath the Burma plate – had displaced enormous amounts of water, sending out shock waves and triggering what would become a devastating tsunami.

Some four hours later, the tsunami waves had crashed over Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, destroying buildings, uprooting trees and claiming an estimated 230,000 lives. News of the tsunami reached Weinstein, and soon after, he received an email from Harvard seismologists, upgrading the earthquake’s magnitude again to an 8.9. That was when he realized the rest of the Indian Ocean was in danger.

“Those two pieces of information together told us that a basin-wide destructive tsunami was in progress across the Indian Ocean,” Weinstein said.

Tsunami science was a small field in 2004, with only a hundred or so experts around the world, said Eddie Bernard, who was the director of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory at the time. NOAA had established the tsunami warning center for the Pacific Basin, but there was no warning system for Indonesia, Thailand, the Maldives and Sri Lanka in 2004.


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New Zealand Supreme Court Says Raid On Dotcom's Home Legal Enough To Get A Pass | Mike Macnick | Techdirt

New Zealand Supreme Court Says Raid On Dotcom's Home Legal Enough To Get A Pass | Mike Macnick | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

While a lower court had found that New Zealand police had violated the law in its poorly written warrant to raid Kim Dotcom's rented mansion, the Supreme Court has now decided that it was legal enough. They admit that while the warrant was probably more vague than the law says it should be, that was okay

"While the search warrants did not specify that the offences were against United States law, or that the offences were punishable by two or more years' imprisonment, this did not cause any significant prejudice to the appellants."

Justices John McGrath, William Young, Susan Glazebrook and Terence Arnold agreed that the warrants for the raid were not unreasonably vague and general.

"Undoubtedly they could have been drafted rather more precisely," they said in their written decision.

"We agree with the Court of Appeal that the appellants were reasonably able to understand what the warrants related to and that the police were adequately informed of what they should be looking for.

"Any issues relating to matters such as the way the search of the computers was conducted or the handling of irrelevant material should be addressed through other processes."

Basically, yeah, sure the warrants didn't technically comply, but everyone sorta understood what was going on, so it's okay. That seems like a fairly slippery slope of reasoning for allowing something that was illegal to proceed because people want it to proceed. The Chief Justice, Sian Elias, didn't agree with her colleagues, and was much more clear in the dissent:


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Rapid increase in Arctic temperature is spreading south | Alex Kirby | Climate News Network

Rapid increase in Arctic temperature is spreading south | Alex Kirby | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Climate scientists are confident that the Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as any other part of the planet, but now comes evidence from researchers in Finland that the rising temperatures are being felt further south than the polar regions.

Most governments have agreed that the global temperature should not be allowed to rise more than 2°C above its pre-industrial level in order to prevent the onset of dangerous climate change. Finland’s experience shows how fast this threshold may be reached.

The marked rise is reported in a study by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, published in the journal Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment. They say their study “exhibits a statistically significant trend, which is consistent with human-induced global warming”.


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