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Attention, Walmart shoppers: We've created a futuristic transport truck | GizMag.com

Attention, Walmart shoppers: We've created a futuristic transport truck | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

According to a report in Truck News, Walmart plans on doubling the fuel efficiency of its trucking fleet by next year. In order to show that it's not kidding around, the retailer has collaborated with Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers, and Capstone Turbine to create a concept "truck of tomorrow" known as the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience – or WAVE.


The vehicle features what Walmart describes as a "prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain (or microturbine-hybrid powertrain) combined with an electric motor and battery storage system." It can reportedly run on diesel, natural gas, biodiesel "and probably other fuels still to be developed."


Additionally, it is said to be 20 percent more aerodynamic than the company's existing trucks.


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Underwater robot provides first detailed, high-resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice | Richard Moss | GizMag.com

Underwater robot provides first detailed, high-resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice | Richard Moss | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Antarctic scientists have combined measurements provided by an underwater robot with existing satellite data to show that Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought. Their first-of-a-kind high-resolution 3D maps cover over 500,000 square meters (5.4 million sq ft) in the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica, and they reveal heavy deformation in all three near-coastal regions that produces mean sea-ice draft (thickness of the submerged part of the ice) far in excess of ice drilling and ship-based measurements. This is a big leap forward in our ability to understand why and how the ice is changing on both small and large scales.

The 2-m (6 ft) long, 200 kg (440 lb) SeaBED autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) swam 20-30 m (65-100 ft) below the ice to previously-inaccessible areas on two separate expeditions, first in 2010 and then again in 2012. It moved in a "lawnmower" grid pattern at a rate of around 30 cm/s (12 in/s) as it mapped the complex topography of the underside of the ice in 400 by 400 meter (1,312 by 1,312 ft) chunks, with multi-beam (and upward-pointing) sonar that was compiled and converted into 3D maps of the surface beneath the ice floes.

These maps reveal large variability in ice thickness, more akin to inverted mountain ranges than the undulating plains you might expect. The mean thickness ranged from 1.4 to 5.5 m (4.6-18 ft), with the thickest point measuring 16 meters (52.5 ft) and an average of 76 percent of the ice volume displaying deformity.


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Blu-ray discs could help make better solar cells | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com

Blu-ray discs could help make better solar cells | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Blu-ray discs have proven themselves superior to DVDs as storage media in light of their high capacity, high definition, and higher transfer rate. Now researchers claim that Blu-ray discs have one more advantage over DVDs: they also have the ability to help markedly improve the efficiency of solar cells, when their etched information patterns are repurposed for use as light concentrators.

According to new research from a team at Northwestern University, Illinois, it has been discovered that the scattering effect on light shone through the arrangement of data etched on a Blu-ray disc improves energy absorption across the spectrum of light used by solar cells.

"We had a hunch that Blu-ray discs might work for improving solar cells, and, to our delight, we found the existing patterns are already very good," said Associate Professor Jiaxing Huang, of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern. "It’s as if electrical engineers and computer scientists developing the Blu-ray technology have been subconsciously doing our jobs, too."

The quasi-random pattern applied to Blu-ray discs – formed as part of the development of their higher-density makeup – has proven to be of the right texture to significantly improve the scattering effect of light when applied to the surface of solar cells. That is, the arrangement of troughs and peaks (zeroes and ones) etched into the surface are sized at between 150 and 525 nanometers, making them ideal for improved light-trapping and concentration.

In fact, the researchers claim, the overall broadband absorption improvement of a solar cell with its surface etched with a Blu-ray pattern was around 21.8 percent; much greater than a standard solar cell.


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Aegis Renewable Energy installs largest single rooftop solar array in Vermont | VTDigger

Aegis Renewable Energy installed the largest single rooftop solar array in the state at Ayers Brook Goat Dairy in Randolph, VT owned by Vermont Creamery. Generating 200,000 kWh of electricity per year, the array will power the farm and send excess energy through the GMP-Green Mountain Power regional grid to offset electricity used at the Creamery’s cheese making facility.


Vermont farms are increasingly investing in long-term sustainable and renewable energy like solar and wind power to reduce operating costs and support environmental and sustainability goals. More than 50 Vermont farms have installed renewable energy systems to offset their electricity usage and source their energy locally.

“In developing this project with Vermont Creamery we were able to find the best solutions to offset their electrical load and dramatically reduce their electric bill by installing a complete solar array on their new barn,” said Nils Behn, CEO of Aegis. “Keeping prime agricultural land open is a driving factor in our designs and we are proud that this project had zero impact on land usability. Vermont Creamery’s genuine commitment to the environment and social responsibility, while also being one of Vermont’s most successful agricultural based businesses, has been inspirational.”

The 181kW roof top solar array was installed on a newly constructed 21,000 square foot barn at Ayers Brook Farm and includes 572 solar panels.


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Kosovo: Vala launches 3G; Vala/IPKO unveil 4G plans | TeleGeography.com

Vala, the wireless arm of state-backed incumbent Post and Telecommunications Kosovo (PTK), has launched 3G services and unveiled plans to activate 4G in January 2015.


Vala’s 3G network covers Pristina and the surrounding area, including Pristina International Airport, although the cellco is working on expanding the system towards Vushtrri, Mitrovice, Ferizaj and Gjilan, whilst launches are also planned in Prizren, Gjakova and Suva Reka.


In order to support the new 3G network and the upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform, PTK is planning to invest in expanding the reach of its fibre-optic networks. The operator notes that the fibre routes are based on gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology, and that the expansion programme will be focused on seven key areas.


PTK’s total CAPEX for 2014 and 2015 will exceed EUR100 million (USD124.4 million), the telco added.


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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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Third Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium will keep pitch at 26 degrees Celsius | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com

Third Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium will keep pitch at 26 degrees Celsius | Stu Robarts | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

With the Al Wakrah and Al Bayt stadium designs already announced, a third design has now been unveiled for use at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The existing Khalifa International Stadium will be renovated to bring it up to current FIFA standards, and also have air cooling features fitted.

Located in Al Rayyan, the Khalifa International Stadium was built in 1976 and was renovated for the 2006 Asian games. The stadium has also previously played host to the Asian Cup (1988, 2011) and the FIFA World Youth Championships (1995). It is expected to be the first of Qatar's proposed World Cup stadiums to be completed, in 2016, and will host the IAAF Athletics World Championships in 2019.

Following the renovation, the stadium will have a seating capacity of 40,000. A new single undulating roof will be added that will cover all the seating within the stadium. In addition to providing shade for fans, the roof will help with another means of keeping those inside cool.


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Renewable energy companies use new clout in statehouses | TribLive.com

Renewable energy companies use new clout in statehouses | TribLive.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, Ohio became the first state to freeze a scheduled increase in the amount of electricity that must be generated by wind, solar and other renewable sources. The move gave advocates of repealing states' mandatory green energy standards a rare victory after defeats the last two years.

But the Ohio victory may have been an aberration: Green energy industries have become mainstream businesses with the political clout to match the fossil fuel industry and big electric utilities in many statehouses, and they are using that influence to defend the renewable energy standards in place in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

Green industry is creating jobs, providing lease payments to landowners and taxes for local government in many states. Companies like Siemens and GE are highly invested in green energy. And many state lawmakers don't want to see the economic benefits shrink or disappear.

Wind represents about $118 billion in private investment in the U.S. economy and sustains about 73,000 jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association. About $17.3 billion a year is invested in new wind farms.

The solar industry, meanwhile, employs about 143,000 people and pumps nearly $20 billion a year into the economy, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The economic impact of the fossil fuel industry is much larger, but Tom Plant of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University noted that green energy has “become mainstream . and a pretty significant component of economies of the states.”

Nevertheless, Ohio's action gave hope to repeal advocates like John Eick of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that other states will follow this coming year and slow or modify the mandates, if not repeal them outright.


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Australia: Telstra extends LTE-A coverage to Melbourne | TeleGeography.com

With Australia’s Telstra having announced the launch of commercial LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) services under the ‘4GX’ banner earlier this month, it has now expanded coverage to Melbourne.


Initially access to the increased download speeds will be available in parts of Melbourne’s central business district (CBD) and surrounding suburbs including in St Kilda, Windsor, Albert Park, South Yarra, South Melbourne, Docklands, West Melbourne, North Melbourne, Collingwood, Fitzroy, East Melbourne, Parkville, Elsternwick, Cremorne.


Looking ahead, Telstra has said that by January 2015 its 4GX services will cover an area spanning three kilometres of the Melbourne GPO, a shopping arcade situated inside the former Victorian-era Melbourne General Post Office.


Further, it has said that the introduction of 4GX services will mean increased capacity for the Melbourne mobile network, giving subscribers both improved and more consistent data speeds.


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Lithuania: Omnitel claims 100% 3G coverage | TeleGeography.com

Omnitel, Lithuania’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, has said in a press release on its website that coverage of its 3G network now reaches 100% of the country’s territory. Citing data from the Communications Regulatory Authority (RRT), the TeliaSonera-owned company states that indoor 3G coverage is available across 40%-50% of Lithuania.


As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Omnitel earlier this year completed the upgrade of its wireless network under an extensive modernisation project that began in 2011. The work saw all existing 2G and 3G base stations upgraded and an additional 686 new 3G cell sites installed, significantly boosting data coverage across the whole country.


The entire 3.5G network is now capable of delivering maximum download speeds of 42Mbps. Omnitel’s 4G LTE network, meanwhile, covers 70% of Lithuanians, and earlier this month the cellco carried out tests of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology in cooperation with Huawei Technologies.

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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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