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Cartoon: the climate contrarian guide to managing risk | TheGuardian.com

Cartoon: the climate contrarian guide to managing risk | TheGuardian.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Climate change is fundamentally a risk management problem. Whether or not you agree with the 97 percent expert consensus on human-caused global warming, there is an undeniable risk that the consensus is correct and that we're causing dangerously rapid climate change.


Frequently, climate contrarians argue against taking action to mitigate that risk by claiming the uncertainties are too large. One of the most visible figures to make this argument is climate scientist Judith Curry, who said in 2013,


"I can't say myself that [doing nothing] isn't the best solution."


This argument represents a failure to grasp the principles of basic risk management, as illustrated in a cartoon.


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World Broadcasting Unions unite against TV spectrum release | Advanced-Television.com

The World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) – the coordinating body for broadcasting unions who represent broadcaster networks across the globe – has released an official joint position on radio spectrum allocation, stating their support to maintain the allocation of UHF frequencies (470 to 694 MHz) currently used for terrestrial TV broadcasting.


The WBU says that broadcasters from all over the world are resolved about the importance of the UHF band because it provides the only set of air waves which are globally available for digital terrestrial broadcasting. “Long-term certainty about the availability of the UHF band is also necessary to ensure continued investment and innovation by broadcasters. Whether or not 4K television will be available to the general public will, for example, heavily depend on the sufficient availability of radio spectrum for television broadcasting,” it advises.


The WBU statement also outlines support for the preservation of the C-band frequencies (3.7 to 4.2 GHz), which is used for fixed satellite services essential to broadcasters’ operations around the world.


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is one of eight broadcasting unions that make up the WBU. Regional differences on the use of spectrum can make agreeing on a common position difficult, but the unions are united in this statement in the run up to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) World Radio Conference in 2015.


The WBU’s Technical Committee has already expressed concerns that the release of more TV broadcasting spectrum to mobile operators will cause serious problems for many broadcasters, limiting both the content and quality of transmission. Additionally, there could be unwanted social and economic consequences if free-to-air broadcasting becomes severely limited.


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Apple “inadvertently admitted” to iOS backdoor: forensics expert | John Cox | NetworkWorld.com

Apple “inadvertently admitted” to iOS backdoor: forensics expert | John Cox | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Apple has “inadvertently admitted” to creating a “backdoor” in iOS, according to a new post by a forensics scientist, iOS author and former hacker, who this week created a stir when he posted a presentation laying out his case.


Apple has created “several services and mechanisms” that let Apple -- and, potentially, government agencies or malicious third parties -- extract lots of personal data from iOS devices, says Jonathan Zdziarski. There is, he says, no way to shut off this data leakage and there is no explicit consent granted by endusers.


He made his case in a talk, "Identifying back doors, attack points, and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices,” [available in PDF] at the annual HOPE X hackers conference last week in New York City. The talk was based on a paper published in the March issue of “Digital Investigation,” which can be ordered online.


Essentially, Zdziarski says that Apple over time has deliberately added several “undocumented high-value forensic services” in iOS, along with “suspicious design omissions…that make collection easier.” The result is these services can copy a wide range of a user's personal data, and bypass Apple's backup encryption. That gives Apple, and potentially government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, or just bad people intent on exploiting these service, the ability to extract personal data without the user knowing this is happening.


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Under their own power: District energy systems enable self-reliant, resilient communities | DistrictEnergy.org

Under their own power: District energy systems enable self-reliant, resilient communities | DistrictEnergy.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The world is in a period of growing energy insecurity, and municipal and business leaders are focusing attention on improving the energy resiliency of their towns and cities.


Compact communities that integrate a diversity of land uses, densities, and urban forms enhance the opportunity for district energy. Interestingly, these characteristics are also foundations of great planning, providing the density to support sound public transit investments and reduce suburban sprawl. A diverse and compact community provides residential, civic, retail, cultural, and entertainment facilities, all within easy, walkable distances.


Together, with community-based energy systems like a district energy network, municipalities can create high-quality and attractive places to live and work. Energy can be a significant driver for the health and welfare of residents, the growth of business, and the energy stability for communities of all sizes.


The growing cost of traditional energy arrangements, the risk of increasingly volatile and frequent weather events, and the need to incorporate a variety of fuel sources are focusing attention onto local energy opportunities. Cities are continually competing in a globalized economic arena for high-quality employers and the ability to attract and retain intellectual capital. Recent extreme weather events in Calgary and Toronto have highlighted the costs associated with business interruption, and employers are seeking more reliable and resilient energy systems to hedge against these risks.


District energy consists of a network of underground pipes carrying hot water, steam, or chilled water from a central plant to the buildings using the service. Many established district heating projects in Canada use steam as the carrying medium, while new developments tend to use hot water. There are pros and cons to each approach, which are typically determined by local conditions. The heat supplied to buildings can be employed for space heating or domestic hot water, or converted to chilled water for cooling.


District energy networks offer a complementary infrastructure to other energy networks. They can utilize a variety of fuel sources, both fossil and renewable, such as natural gas, oil, biomass, geothermal, large-scale solar thermal, and waste-to-energy. In many cases, this can be leveraged to keep energy dollars in the local community.


These networks are also able to capture and distribute surplus heat from industrial processes and power generation that would otherwise be wasted. Heat networks aggregate the thermal demand of multiple buildings to a scale that enables the use of technologies with higher efficiencies, or ones that may not be economical to deploy at the individual building level, such as biomass, waste-to-energy, or combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration.


While natural gas has been, and is likely to remain, the preferred fuel choice in Canadian urban areas due to increased availability and favorable emissions profiles, many CHP plants can operate on a variety of renewable fuels, such as municipal waste, landfill gas, and digester gas. For rural communities, the local availability of bio-derived fuels has made these fuels the principal choice.


A major part of the cost of a district energy system is the distribution system and the pipes needed to carry the thermal energy. The shorter the distance energy has to travel, the lower the cost. The more densely packed the buildings, and the greater the demand for heating or cooling, the more efficient and viable the network is likely to be.


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US needs to restore trust following NSA revelations, tech groups say | ComputerWorld.com

US needs to restore trust following NSA revelations, tech groups say | ComputerWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The U.S government can take action to slow the calls in other countries to abandon U.S. tech vendors following revelations about widespread National Security Agency surveillance, some tech representatives said Friday.


Decisions by other governments to move their residents' data away from the U.S. are hurting tech vendors, but Congress can take steps to "rebuild the trust" in the U.S. as a responsible Internet leader, said Kevin Bankston, policy director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute.


Still, other governments will continue to try to use the NSA revelations by former agency contractor Edward Snowden to their advantage, said panelists at a Congressional Internet Caucus discussion on the effect of NSA surveillance on U.S. businesses.


"What we have here is an inflection point -- a moment for other countries, other companies, to close the gap and to use this as an opportunity to really catch up to the IT industry in the U.S.," added Chris Hopfensperger, policy director with software trade group BSA.


BSA is hearing "anecdotal" evidence of foreign governments turning away U.S. tech vendors because of NSA surveillance, Hopfensperger said. He noted news reports last month of the German government dropping a contract with Verizon Communications because of spying.


Hopfensperger called on U.S. policymakers to actively address worldwide concerns about NSA surveillance, instead of waiting to see what the impact on the U.S. tech industry will be. "There's a very large focus on what is the dollar impact on this," he said. "The problem with looking at the numbers of what has happened is, by the time you have a real dollar amount, that business is lost, and it's not coming back to the U.S."


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ISPs Reporting That UK's Web Filters Being Activated By Less Than 10% Of New Customers | Techdirt.com

ISPs Reporting That UK's Web Filters Being Activated By Less Than 10% Of New Customers | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

To call the UK's institution of ISP-level web filters "stupid" isn't just being blithely dismissive. For one, they don't work. They block the wrong stuff. They let offensive stuff in. They're easily circumvented. They're advance scouts for government censorship. The only people who think web filtering is a good thing are those with the power to turn pet projects into national laws.

Add one more to the list: they're hugely unpopular.


Broadband customers are overwhelmingly choosing not to use parental-control systems foisted on ISPs by the government - with take-up in the single digits for three of the four major broadband providers…

Only 5% of new BT customers signed up, 8% opted in for Sky and 4% for Virgin Media. TalkTalk rolled out a parental-control system two years before the government required it and has had much better take-up of its offering, with 36% of customers signing up for it.

Those pushing for filters would have you believe it's something the public has been clamoring for to help them protect their children from the many evils of the internet. In reality, hardly anyone appears to care all that deeply about hooking up to a pre-censored connection.

There's more than simply unpopularity going on here. The numbers skew low for several reasons. At this point, the rollout isn't 100% complete and isn't being offered to every new customer (something that becomes a requirement in 2015). Virgin Media (somewhat ironically) has been hooking customers up with the filthiest internet. Techs for that company have only been presenting the "unavoidable choice" to a little over a third of its new signups. Other ISPs techs have been more thorough, presenting new customers with the option nearly every time.

Many service providers say it's also possible the filtering has been activated post-installation (Ofcom's report only tracks filtering enabled at the time of install) or that customers are already using device-based filters.


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Tor Project working to fix weakness that can unmask users | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Tor Project working to fix weakness that can unmask users | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Developers of Tor software believe they’ve identified a weakness that was scheduled to be revealed at the Black Hat security conference next month that could be used to de-anonymize Tor users.


The Black Hat organizers recently announced that a talk entitled “You Don’t Have to be the NSA to Break Tor: Deanonymizing Users on a Budget” by researchers Alexander Volynkin and Michael McCord from Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) was canceled at the request of the legal counsel of the university’s Software Engineering Institute because it had not been approved for public release.


“In our analysis, we’ve discovered that a persistent adversary with a handful of powerful servers and a couple gigabit links can de-anonymize hundreds of thousands Tor clients and thousands of hidden services within a couple of months,” the CERT researchers had written in the abstract of their presentation. “The total investment cost? Just under $3,000.”


In a message sent Monday to the Tor public mailing list, Tor project leader Roger Dingledine said that his organization did not ask Black Hat or CERT to cancel the talk. Tor’s developers had been shown some materials about the research in an informal manner, but they never received details about the actual content of the planned presentation, he said. The presentation was supposed to include “real-world de-anonymization case studies.”


Despite the lack of details, Dingledine believes that he has figured out the issue found by CERT and how to fix it. “We’ve been trying to find delicate ways to explain that we think we know what they did, but also it sure would have been smoother if they’d opted to tell us everything,” he said in a subsequent message on the mailing list.


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"World’s largest" hybrid renewable energy project unveiled in Jamaica | GizMag.com

"World’s largest" hybrid renewable energy project unveiled in Jamaica | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Generating renewable electricity at home or in commercial buildings is becoming increasingly viable. WindStream Technologies has installed what it says is the world's largest wind-solar hybrid array on an office roof in Kingston, Jamaica. The array is expected to generate over 106,000 kWh annually.


The increasing trends towards renewable and distributed energy generation are reflected by other recent "world's largest" projects. In January, the world's largest solar bridge was completed in London, the world's largest solar-thermal plant became fully operational the following month, and Jaguar finished installing the world's largest rooftop solar array in April.


WindStream Technologies produces wind and sun generation equipment aimed at municipalities, commercial buildings and homeowners. It was successful in competing for the contract, tendered by law firm Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, having been able to demonstrate an ability to maximize energy production and return on investment, whilst working with limited roof space.


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Salt water-powered Quant e-Sportlimousine gets European approval | GizMag.com

Salt water-powered Quant e-Sportlimousine gets European approval | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

After making a debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Quant e-Sportlimousine has received approval from Germany's TÜV Süd. The car, which uses an electrolyte flow cell power system, is now certified for use on German and European roads.


As I stood around waiting for NanoFlowcell's Geneva Motor Show press conference in March, my eyes bounced back and forth between the exotic curves of the concept car at center dais, the oddly punctuated letters of the make and model and the bubbling tanks of water that looked like they were ripped off the wall of an after-hours lounge. Then Nunzio La Vecchia sauntered out, wearing his best jet black pompadour, and made a bunch of bold claims about the 912-hp, gull-winged 2x2 and its bleeding-edge flow cell technology.


Everything about the scene suggested that it might very well have been the last we heard of the NanoFlowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine. Promises of a magic bullet of energy storage, made by a three-month-old company, packaged with outlandish numbers like 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 236 mph (380 km/h), hinted, rather strongly, that this car's technology and performance would only exist on paper. Given that a similarly outlandish Quant car, centered in a similar black-walled booth, introduced by a very different Nunzio La Vecchia company, had vaporized years earlier, it seemed a responsible assumption that the e-Sportlimousine would do the same.


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Algeria: Djezzy signs up 60,000 3G subscribers in two weeks | TeleGeography.com

Viccenzo Nesci, the president and CEO of Algerian cellco Djezzy GSM, has revealed that the operator has signed up a total of 60,000 3G subscribers in the two weeks since the service was introduced on 5 July, Agence Ecofin reports.


The executive divulged the information at a press conference on 17 July, also noting that Djezzy’s management team took its cues from sister company Wind Italy, in order to gain sufficient expertise for the 3G rollout.


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Australia: Telstra to launch commercial trial of 700MHz LTE and LTE-Advanced in six locations | TeleGeography.com

Australia’s largest cellco by subscribers Telstra has announced that, in a similar fashion to rival Optus, it has launched commercial trials of LTE-based services using the 700MHz band.


In a press release the company has confirmed that it will conduct the trials using 20MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band at customers in six locations, those being: Perth, Fremantle, Esperance, Mildura, Mt Isa and Griffith. Looking ahead, Telstra then expects to roll out 4G 700MHz services in a ‘range of cities and regional centres’ from January 2015.


Commenting on the benefits of offering LTE using the 700MHz band, Mike Wright, Telstra Group Managing Director Networks, noted: ‘This spectrum operates at a lower frequency that will give our customers better 4G coverage in buildings, lifts and car parks … Our superior spectrum holding is significant and as customers take part in this commercial trial, they will experience faster speeds compared with other services in this band.’


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NHL Warns Climate Change Could Put Hockey in Penalty Box | ForeignPolicy.com

NHL Warns Climate Change Could Put Hockey in Penalty Box | ForeignPolicy.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Climate change threatens plenty of things, from polar bears to coral reefs. Now the National Hockey League says the sport could be endangered too.


On Monday, the NHL released its first sustainability report, part of the league's effort to get a handle on the energy and environmental aspects of pro hockey. One of the conclusions? By leading to shorter winters, thinner ice, and truncated outdoor skating seasons, global warming could choke the game's future lifeline and keep potential Gretzkys and Lemieuxs cooling their heels.


"Before many of our players took their first stride on NHL ice, they honed their skills on the frozen lakes and ponds of North America and Europe," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in the report. "Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect opportunities for hockey players of all ages to learn and play the game outdoors."


The link between climate change and hockey's future has been steadily strengthening. In 2009, the Nuclear Energy Institute inked a sponsorship deal with the Washington Capitals largely meant to promote nuclear power (which has no greenhouse gas emissions) to beltway power players. Pointing to melting lakes and ponds, the nuclear lobby said climate change potentially threatened the game's development.


Six years ago, the NHL and other professional sports leagues started working with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, to implement more sustainable business practices. In baseball, for instance, that translates to fewer high-wattage stadiums, fuel-efficient vehicles to ferry scouts around the country, and an aggressive recycling campaign.


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Rain-fed farms are common, but India is unique in letting bad rains wreak economic havoc | Quartz

Rain-fed farms are common, but India is unique in letting bad rains wreak economic havoc | Quartz | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Last week’s rains helped dispel some of the gathering economic clouds‎. Though the storm has yet not passed, there is a collective sigh of relief, because poor rains would have meant higher inflation, lower GDP, commodity price swings and widespread human misery among India’s vast number of farmers and farm hands.


India might nurse delusions of becoming an economic superpower, but monsoons are still the final arbiter of our GDP. With all the progress in technology and weather forecasting in the last few decades, we seem to be still just as helpless as our grandfathers when it comes to rains.


India is not alone in being unable to control rainfall; nobody can. And India is not unique in being dependent on rainfall. Almost three-quarters of the world’s grain is grown on rain-fed farms. Majority of the farms in USA, Canada, and the EU—the agricultural giants of the developed world—are watered solely by rain. China and Brazil grow bulk of their crops without irrigation. Yet their farmers are prosperous. Their yields are several times higher than our irrigated farms. Their droughts do not result in human suffering.


What is India doing wrong?


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Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block | ProPublica.org

Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block | ProPublica.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Update: A YouPorn.com spokesperson said that the website was "completely unaware that AddThis contained a tracking software that had the potential to jeopardize the privacy of our users." After this article was published, YouPorn removed AddThis technology from its website.


This story was co-published with Mashable.


A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.com.


First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it.


Like other tracking tools, canvas fingerprints are used to build profiles of users based on the websites they visit — profiles that shape which ads, news articles, or other types of content are displayed to them.


But fingerprints are unusually hard to block: They can’t be prevented by using standard Web browser privacy settings or using anti-tracking tools such as AdBlock Plus.


The researchers found canvas fingerprinting computer code, primarily written by a company called AddThis, on 5 percent of the top 100,000 websites. Most of the code was on websites that use AddThis’ social media sharing tools. Other fingerprinters include the German digital marketer Ligatus and the Canadian dating site Plentyoffish. (A list of all the websites on which researchers found the code is here).


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New England: Proposed transmission projects aim to tap Canadian hydroelectricity | The Boston Globe

New England: Proposed transmission projects aim to tap Canadian hydroelectricity | The Boston Globe | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Across the Canadian border, massive dams generate a seeminglyendless supply of hydroelectricity — a source of power that could help New England replace its closing coal and nuclear plants while cutting greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. But there’s a big problem: getting it here.


At least five major transmission projects — some estimated to cost more than $1 billion to build — have been proposed to connect New England to this plentiful power source to the north. The projects, however, are not only spurring opposition in the communities where the lines would cross but also a broader debate about the region’s energy policy and the role hydroelectricity should play.


That debate flared again last week as New England governors met with the leaders of eastern Canadian provinces in New Hampshire to discuss energy and economic issues. Opponents of a hydro transmission project that would cross wilderness areas in New Hampshire, the so-called Northern Pass, staged protests; so did opponents of a proposed pipeline to transport natural gas from shale fields in Pennsylvania and other nearby states across Massachusetts.


These protests underscored the challenges policy makers face as they try to balance growing demand for energy against increased urgency to slow the pace of climate change, which scientists attribute to the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. While solar, wind, and other renewables are certain to play larger roles in the region’s energy mix, they remain intermittent power sources without the scale to easily replace the more than 4,000 megawatts of generating capacity, or enough to power 4 million homes, that will be lost over the next few years with the shutdown or planned shutdown of three coal-fired plants in Massachusetts, a nuclear plant in Vermont, and other facilities in New England.


With ISO New England, the region’s grid operator, forecasting potential shortages by 2017, policy makers are looking to Canadian hydro — and so are utilities hoping to profit by transporting the power south. The proposed transmission projects include:


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German Government Tries To Censor Publication Of Its List Of Censored Websites | Techdirt.com

German Government Tries To Censor Publication Of Its List Of Censored Websites | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago, an anonymous internet user was able to acquire and subsequently extract a website blacklist used by Germany's Federal Department of Media Harmful to Young Children (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien [BPjM]). This un-hashed list was posted to the user's Neocities blog, along with some analysis of the blacklist's contents and a rundown on the minimal protective efforts used for the list.

The actual blacklist is much more extensive than what's published here. In fact, as is noted in the post, a majority of the list is publicly viewable.


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India moves into the post-iPhone era | NetworkWorld.com

India moves into the post-iPhone era | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Xiaomi’s flagship Mi3 smartphone went on sale today on Flipkart, India’s online megastore and largest ecommerce company, beating Google’s sub-$100 Android One to the punch as its Indian supply chain partners get ready to scale. The push into India is part of Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun’s drive to deliver a fivefold boost in sales, up to 100 million units next year.


Flipkart announced in a press release that Xiaomi’s “Mi3 stock was sold out in 38 minutes and 50 seconds.”


A glance at the smartphone pricing chart of India tells the story. Xiaomi (pronounced show me) has a reputation for creating high-quality smartphone designs that sell for $250 and below, competing with 80% of the devices sold in India. So does Google’s Android One, which will be sold in India by indigenous manufacturers Micromax, Karbonn, Spice, Celkon and Intex.


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Google rival slams EU Commission over antitrust settlement proposals | ComputerWorld.com

Google rival slams EU Commission over antitrust settlement proposals | ComputerWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

One of the complainants in an antitrust case against Google has slammed the European Commission for apparently adopting wholesale Google's proposal to settle the case, while giving complainants no fair chance to express their views on the settlement. Meanwhile, the Commission is considering revising the terms of the settlement, according to media reports.


Lead complainant Foundem sent an open letter to competition European Commissioner JoaquAn Almunia on Wednesday, urging him to read a July 11 response the company made to the Commission's plan to adopt Google's settlement proposal in the suit,. That letter concerned Google's treatment in search results of specialized search services that rivalled its own products, among other matters.


The Commission sent complainants a letter in June outlining its reasons for accepting Google's proposals, which Foundem said was its first opportunity to see and respond to the Commission's reasoning. And according to Foundem's open letter on Wednesday, there are many glaring errors, omissions, and inconsistencies in that reasoning.


"Whatever sequence of events led you to accept Google's misleading arguments without displaying any of the healthy scepticism that would normally be applied to 'evidence' from a defendant in a competition case, we trust that the attached comprehensive rebuttal of these arguments will persuade you to think again and change course," Foundem's founders Adam and Shivaun Raff said in the letter sent to Almunia.


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Government reforms will 'probably kill stand-alone solar PV in the UK' | TheEcologist.org

Government reforms will 'probably kill stand-alone solar PV in the UK' | TheEcologist.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

By publishing its 'reform' proposals for the support of large scale solar PV in two separate documents on the same day, the Government managed to conceal its true intent from the industry, writes Chris Goodall. The truth is much worse than anyone realised.


This week the government announced the abrupt end of the current subsidy scheme for large scale solar PV farms.


From early 2015, no PV installation above 5 MW will be entitled to payments under the Renewable Obligation (RO).


The industry was understandably upset but assumed that the next scheme (called Contracts for Difference) would simply replace the RO.


The CFD is a more cumbersome and bureaucratic scheme that would impose extra cost and hassle on the relatively small scale generators that operate in the sector. So far, so bad.


And that's how the story was reported in The Ecologist (see 'Government attacks UK's big solar') - as a negative, unwelcome and unnecessary move, but not a catastrophic one.


But it is just that - the sudden death of an industry.


This seems to be very much the wrong impression. Another DECC document, put out on the same day as the subsidy withdrawal, makes clear that under the new scheme, starting in late 2014, solar will have to fight onshore wind and other cheaper technologies for budget.


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Artists design giant PV-packing floating duck for the city of Copenhagen | GizMag.com

Artists design giant PV-packing floating duck for the city of Copenhagen | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A group of British artists have conceptualized a giant solar harvesting floating duck as part of the 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative Copenhagen design competition. Dubbed Energy Duck, the giant structure has been designed not only to generate clean electricity for the local residents of Copenhagen, but to also provide a unique visitor center.


"Energy Duck is an entertaining iconic sculpture, a renewable energy generator, a habitable tourist destination and a celebration of local wildlife," say its creators, Hareth Pochee, Adam Khan, Louis Leger and Patrick Fryer.


Inspired by the arctic eider duck, Energy Duck not only hopes to offer a unique renewable energy source, but also highlight the impact that climate change has had on the local population and breeding habitats of the eider duck in recent years.


Covered in photovoltaic panels, Energy Duck is designed to harvest solar energy from every inch of its exterior shell, while also taking advantage of the sun’s rays reflected off the water’s surface. Additionally, the facility features hydro turbines which use water pressure to provide stored energy to the grid after sunset and during the evening.


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Experimental diesel/gas engine could give 2009 Saturn a big boost in fuel efficiency | GizMag.com

Experimental diesel/gas engine could give 2009 Saturn a big boost in fuel efficiency | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Five years ago we first heard about a Caterpillar diesel engine located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that had been modified to run on an unlikely-sounding mixture of diesel and gasoline. Not only did the one-cylinder engine work, but it was more efficient than pure-diesel or pure-gas engines at converting the chemical energy of fuel into motion. Sitting in a basement lab, however, isn't the same as experiencing use in the real world. That's why students at UW-Madison, led by Prof. Rolf Reitz, have now put another diesel/gas engine into a 2009 Saturn.


The original Cat engine utilizes a system known as reactivity controlled compression ignition, or RCCI. It uses sensors and a computer system to continuously and instantaneously adjust the ratio of the two fuel types. Diesel is injected to start the engine, as it has a lower ignition temperature than gas. From there, the fuel blend varies depending on real-time operating conditions, with the goal of "exploiting each fuel’s strong points."


As a result, the lab-based engine currently has an efficiency of 59.5 percent – regular diesel truck engines manage no more than 52 percent, and the theoretical maximum is 64 percent.


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Philippines: PLDT abandons plans to use Meralco infrastructure for BPL | TeleGeography.com

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has abandoned previously stated plans to offer broadband over power lines (BPL), via a tie-up with Manila Electric Co (Meralco). PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno told InterAksyon: ‘It was not viable at [the] time we did pilot test. It was not economical because of [a] technological issue’.


BPL was one of the potential business synergies that PLDT and Meralco were exploring when the country’s largest telco acquired a majority 49.96% stake in the electricity distribution company, as part of Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, a joint venture with Metro Pacific.


The plan would have involved tapping Meralco’s poles and fibre-optic network to provide internet connectivity directly to the more than five million households that use Meralco’s supply.

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Vodafone Egypt to bolster network with EGP9.5bn investment over three years | TeleGeography.com

Vodafone Egypt will spend approximately EGP9.5 billion (USD1.3 billion) on making improvements to its network over the next three years, Reuters reports, citing the operator’s recently appointed CEO. It is understood that the expenditure will use existing funds, according to Ahmed Essam.


Meanwhile, with Egypt still finalising the details for the unified licence regime which will allow the nation’s telecoms operators to offer both fixed and mobile services, Vodafone Egypt expects that it will costs around EGP100 million to gain access to the fixed line network owned by incumbent Telecom Egypt.


Vodafone Egypt is, however, said to still be studying the possibility of offering landline services, with it understood that it has not yet reached a decision on the matter.

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Despite foot-draggers in Congress, wind turbine company adding 800 jobs to Colorado manufacturing | DailyKos.com

Despite foot-draggers in Congress, wind turbine company adding 800 jobs to Colorado manufacturing | DailyKos.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The United States had a tremendous opportunity in the early 1980s to become the world's premier manufacturer and innovator of wind turbines. Thanks to the Reagan administration's sneering and budget-cutting, that opportunity was squandered and, as a consequence, a one-time Danish appliance company called Vestas became the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer. Currently, 19 percent of global wind turbine capacity has been built by Vestas, totaling 60 gigawatts. Vestas has installed 51,000 turbines in 73 nations.


Many other companies, including the U.S.-based G.E. Energy, have entered the market over the years, and G.E. even managed to outpace Vestas to take the No. 1 position in 2012. But last year Vestas was again the world's biggest supplier, with 13.1 percent of global installations. It has installed 52 percent more wind capacity than the next strongest company.


Its U.S. headquarters are in Portland, Oregon, and Vestas has four manufacturing plants in Colorado, which generated 13.8 percent of its electricity with wind power last year. The company announced Friday that the worldwide boom in wind energy has spurred it to hire more employees in Colorado by the end of 2014:


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China's President Xi Jinping signs Venezuela oil deal | BBC News

China's President Xi Jinping signs Venezuela oil deal | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed a series of oil and mineral deals with Venezuela.


They include a $4bn (£2.34bn) credit line in return for Venezuelan crude and other products.


The agreements came on the latest stop of a four-country visit to Latin America.


Mr Xi has already signed key deals in Argentina and Brazil. He has now departed from Venezuela and will visit Cuba next.


In Argentina the Chinese leader agreed to an $11bn currency swap providing much needed money for the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.


Argentina has been locked out of the international capital markets since a default in 2001.


Mr Xi also helped launch a new development bank alongside the other emerging powers of the Brics group - Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa - at a summit in Brazil.


The new bank is intended to create an alternative to the Western-dominated World Bank.


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Norway: Svalbard’s reindeer thrive as climate warms | Climate News Network

Norway: Svalbard’s reindeer thrive as climate warms | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

There will be winners as well as losers as climate change intensifies, and scientists say they have just found one species that is prospering already.


Far from threatening the reindeer on the Norwegian high Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, rising temperatures appear to be driving a remarkable increase in the animals’ numbers.


Scientists from the University of Manchester, UK, and the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø have found that the numbers of Svalbard reindeer, continuing a trend that has been observed over the last 36 years, increased by 30% in the last year.


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