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The age of curation: From abundance to discovery | Bain & Company

The age of curation: From abundance to discovery | Bain & Company | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

This year, as in years past, Bain & Company has conducted a global survey measuring how people consume culture in the form of digital media—video, music, e-books and video games. By surveying more than 6,000 consumers in Europe, the US and the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, we learned about changing preferences for how they watch, listen, read and play.


The survey results highlighted three key trends in 2013:


  • The rise of individual and social consumption driven by smartphones and tablets
  • The end of content scarcity as digital distribution achieves ubiquity
  • A shift away from ownership enabled by "always-on" networks


These changes occur against a backdrop of the persistent culture clash between the creative and digital worlds. Last year we noted the innovative power of digital platforms over the past seven years: iTunes is synonymous with music downloads, YouTube with streaming video, Kindle with e-books. But the rise of giants creates unease. Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook make headlines as much for the business, regulatory and cultural controversies they generate as for the new behaviors they have fostered.


The rise of digital platforms also highlights the evolving role of curation, as consumers look for better ways to find the culture they want the most. As power shifts to consumers—who can program their own content using powerful technology and simple interfaces—curation moves out of the hands of professionals and into communities, platforms and algorithms. This creates a real danger of a “tyranny of demand,” as indicated by the prevalence of franchises over original creation in increasingly risk-averse industries. Nevertheless, media players that can offer the right content—that is, not only what consumers want today, but what will surprise them tomorrow—are likely to prevail.


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Cambodia: Telecoms operators concerned over new draft law that separates conduit from content | TeleGeography.com

Cambodia’s telecoms operators have allegedly voiced opposition to a draft law from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Cambodia (MPTC) which states that no company can operate infrastructure assets and also provide retail services.


According to a report by the Phnom Penh Post, if the draft legislation is approved, telecoms operators that choose to retain their retail operations will be forced to sell off their network assets and rely on government-controlled infrastructure providers.


The draft law also reportedly states that all telecom licences will be reassessed on new criteria, and some companies could be forced to hand back their existing permits.


In addition, the Post cites a section of the draft law as saying that ‘to ensure the effective security, national stability and public order, the minister of the MPTC has the right to order operators to transfer their systems, which control their telecom operations, to the Ministry.’


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France: Arcep launches public consultation on use of open spectrum | TeleGeography.com

French telecoms watchdog, the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep), has opened a public consultation on the use of ‘free frequencies’ (not requiring prior authorisation) by short-range devices (SRDs), including Wi-Fi and radio frequency identification (RFID) systems.


The regulator has noted that the move was prompted by a report by Joelle Toledano, titled ‘Dynamic Spectrum Management to Bolster Innovation and Growth’, which was submitted to the French government on 1 July 2014.


As such, Arcep has outlined new spectrum available for use by SRDs in the 2.6GHz-2.7GHz and 5.7GHz-5.8GHz frequency bands; the regulator seeks to assess the future requirements of these frequencies, with a particular focus on Wi-Fi, and machine-to-machine (M2M)/Internet of Things (IoT) developments.


All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by 15 October 2014.

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Exposing Monsanto: Herbicide Linked to Birth Defects - the Vitamin A Connection | Truth-Out.org

Exposing Monsanto: Herbicide Linked to Birth Defects - the Vitamin A Connection | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, with glyphosate as the primary ingredient, has recently been linked to a fatal kidney disease epidemic ravaging parts of Central America, India and Sri Lanka. A leading theory hypothesizes that complexes of glyphosate and heavy metals poison the kidney tubules. El Salvador and Sri Lanka have adopted the precautionary principle and taken action to ban the herbicide. In the United States, glyphosate is coming up for review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in late 2014. Monsanto claims a low risk to human health, but the research is showing something very different. Will these health concerns be enough for the EPA to put restrictions on the herbicide - or to ban it altogether?


Thus far, Monsanto has been successful in portraying Roundup as a safe and effective herbicide. The Monsanto website claims:


"Glyphosate binds tightly to most types of soil so it is not available for uptake by roots of nearby plants. It works by disrupting a plant enzyme involved in the production of amino acids that are essential to plant growth. The enzyme, EPSP synthase, is not present in humans or animals, contributing to the low risk to human health from the use of glyphosate according to label directions."


Contrary to the company's claims of safety, a virtual avalanche of scientific studies on animals, including some funded by Monsanto itself, show alarming incidences of fetal deaths and birth defects. The record also shows that Monsanto has known since the 1980s that glyphosate in high doses causes malformations in experimental animals. Since 1993, the company has been aware that even middle and low doses can cause these malformations. These malformations include absent kidneys and lungs, enlarged hearts, extra ribs, and missing and abnormally formed bones of the limbs, ribs, sternum, spine and skull.


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Two new mysterious giant holes found in Siberia, scientists puzzled | Gizmodo.com

Two new mysterious giant holes found in Siberia, scientists puzzled | Gizmodo.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scientists have found two new mysterious giant holes in Siberia, like the one that appeared in Siberia two weeks ago.


The new craters are smaller than the first but they share a similar structure.


Scientists are still puzzled by the origin of these formations.


Here are all the details:


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DailyDirt: There's No Such Thing As Free Water | Techdirt.com

DailyDirt: There's No Such Thing As Free Water | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Americans drink billions of gallons of bottled water each year. Despite a significant fraction of bottled water being simply re-packaged tap water, consumers still buy water is relatively expensive bottles when potable water in generally available for free (or at subsidized prices).


Studies have shown that, in blind taste tests, people can't really tell the difference between tap and bottled water. (Wine drinkers have also failed similar kinds of taste tests over inexpensive versus expensive wines.)


So here are just a few links on the curious phenomenon of drinking bottled water when equally healthy tap water is widely available.


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Vivood retreat can be assembled within a day | GizMag.com

Vivood retreat can be assembled within a day | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Spanish architectural collective Vivood recently produced an eponymous shelter that could serve as glamping retreat, guesthouse, or basic tiny house. The prefabricated structure is delivered in "easy-to-fit" modular sections that have the electrics and plumbing already installed, and it can be assembled within a day by a small group of people.


Vivood is sparsely finished compared to many other similar models, like the ÁPH80, for example. It also appears better suited to an undemanding climate, but with the company offering its smallest unit from €6,800 (around US$9,160), can be considered a relatively inexpensive option.


The shelter is constructed from sustainably-sourced wood, and several sizes are on offer, ranging from 14.35 sq m (154.5 sq ft) to 33.1 sq m (356 sq ft). The small interior layout features one living space, with room for a bed, couch, and books, but little else.


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B-And-Bee shelter looks to comfort festival goers | GizMag.com

B-And-Bee shelter looks to comfort festival goers | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Each year, millions of people head to their festival of choice with tent and sleeping bag in hand. Belgian company Achilles Design aims to bring those festival goers a little extra comfort – and save space too – with its honeycomb-shaped B-And-Bee shelter.


Bearing some resemblance to the Japanese Capsule Hotels we covered back in 2011, the B-And-Bee features a modular, stackable design that takes up a relatively small physical footprint when compared to a large number of tents. The company also states that it's easily transported and assembled.


Access is gained via metal steps and a roll-up canvas sheet serves as a zip-up door. There's a king-size bed inside that converts to seating, and the snug interior also sports luggage storage, a locker, light, and a power supply.


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DIY Solar Pocket Factory Machine Can Print a Solar Panel Every 15 Seconds! | Inhabitat.com

DIY Solar Pocket Factory Machine Can Print a Solar Panel Every 15 Seconds! | Inhabitat.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Inventors Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein are looking to revolutionize the business of small-scale solar panels with The Solar Pocket Factory, a backyard photovoltaic panel printing system. Successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the two have placed themselves at the forefront of the micro solar movement, which aims to cheaply and quickly produce small PV panels.


Enthusiastic about all things solar, inventors Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein have built everything from lights to USB distribution grids. Through the process of designing and manufacturing their products, they found that the micro solar panels they used to power their devices were brittle, expensive, and poorly made.


Taking matters into their own hands, they traveled the world and spent months researching current models. They found that half of the cost of conventional panels lay in their assembly, as many parts of the body are pieced and soldered by hand. They also observed that 15% of panels contained flaws from imperfect soldering, and in many cases, the materials used were cut-rate and disintegrated over the period of a few years.


They figured that if they could automate the production, they could eliminate 25% of the price tag and reducing the number of defects.


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holly-berkowitz@mchsi.com's curator insight, July 28, 5:40 AM

Wow!  Impressive!  Clean, safe, affordable, healthy 100% Renewable Energy Economy for US soon!

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Argentina: Buenos Aires new lighting can be monitored and controlled from a browser | GizMag.com

Argentina: Buenos Aires new lighting can be monitored and controlled from a browser | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

LED lighting offers a host of benefits for cities, such as reduced energy usage and costs. For Buenos Aires, which is in the process of having its lighting infrastructure upgraded, one of the benefits is the increased level of control it provides. Gizmag took a look at technology being used.


It was announced towards the end of last year that Philips had been selected to replace 91,000 street lights across Buenos Aires with LED lighting. That's more than 70 percent of the city's lighting. Philips says that it is the biggest city deployment of its kind. A total of 28,000 lights have now been replaced and are already being controlled remotely.


Once deployed, the lighting infrastructure is controlled by Philips CityTouch. CityTouch is a management console that provides a level of control and usage data not possible with traditional city lighting.


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Tokyo, Japan: BioSkin defies urban heat island effect to help keep buildings cool | GizMag.com

Tokyo, Japan: BioSkin defies urban heat island effect to help keep buildings cool | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The urban heat island effect, whereby the high concentration of heat-retaining concrete and bitumen causes metropolitan centers to be significantly warmer than the rural areas surrounding them, is a common problem around the world. The phenomenon is particularly prevalent in Tokyo, Japan, but among the sea of towering structures stands one beacon of hope. The BioSkin that coats the NBF Osaki Building integrates evaporative cooling to keep its surface temperature down and could inspire new solutions to rising city temperatures across the globe.


The 25-story NBF Osaki Building was completed in March, 2011 and is the first structure to use the BioSkin system. The urban facade is inspired by traditional Japanese air-cooling systems, such as the water-spraying Uchimizu and bamboo blinds known as Sudare. Using these methods as a foundation, researchers at the Nikken Sekkei architecture firm conceived BioSkin with the seemingly counter intuitive aim of improving the local environment through building large-scale architecture.


Rainwater is collected on the roof of the building and drained to a subsurface storage tank to be filtered and sterilized. It is then pumped through a network of special porous ceramic pipes which act as a sprinkler system. As the water evaporates, it reduces the surface temperature of the pipes and the air that surrounds them, with excess water is fed to the soil below. Solar panels are also fixed to the south side of the building, acting as shades and helping to reduce overall energy costs.


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The next big front for cloud competition: Location, location, location | GigaOM Tech News

The next big front for cloud competition: Location, location, location | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Now that we’re seeing intense competition in the cloud infrastructure market, each of the vendors is looking for as many ways to differentiate itself as possible.


Big wallets are required to build the infrastructure and picking the right locations to deploy that capital is becoming an important choice.


Cloud vendors can be innovative on a product or technical level, but location is just as important — which geographies does your cloud vendor have data centers in and why does that matter?


There are a number of reasons why a diverse range of locations is important:


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Canadian court forces Google to remove search results worldwide, as fears of "memory hole" grow | GigaOM Tech News

Canadian court forces Google to remove search results worldwide, as fears of "memory hole" grow | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A Canadian court took the unprecedented step this week of maintaining  global jurisdiction over Google and forcing it to delete search results not just for “google.ca” but for “google.com” as well. The move comes as lawmakers in Europe pressure Google to censor more pages under a controversial “right-to-be-forgotten” law, and could accelerate a recent trend of disappearing online information.


In the Canadian case, Google had urged a judge in Vancouver to suspend an earlier ruling that required it to remove any search links related to an e-commerce vendor accused of selling knock-off internet equipment. That ruling, which came out in June and gave Google 14 days to remove the results, is now in force after the judge concluded that applying the worldwide ruling would not create “irreparable harm.”


The ruling already appears to be rippling beyond Canada’s borders. For instance, when I searched in the U.S. for a product called “GW-1000,” Google shows that it has censored at least four webpages:


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A Toxic Tour: Violations, Lies, and Dangers of the Shale Gas Industry | Inhabitat.com

A Toxic Tour: Violations, Lies, and Dangers of the Shale Gas Industry | Inhabitat.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

“They say I’m not to be trusted,” said Vera Scroggins, a local fracking activist from Montrose, PA. Vera has recently been targeted by the industry for speaking out against shale gas extraction. She often leads groups through Dimock and Montrose on a ‘Toxic Tour,” explaining the history of drilling and fracking in the County. Since drilling began in Northeast PA, negative health and environmental effects have been increasing, and although it’s hard to find statistics for some of the resulting problems, Vera Scroggins is the best primary source.


Vera was speaking to a group of college students with Eco Practicum; an environmental education group that “take[s] a wide approach to understanding systems that guide societal decisions regarding food, animals, energy, and land.” Most of the members were underclassmen, preparing for their next semester in environmental-related majors, many of them unaware of the true horrors of fracking.


“The gas industry has advertisements to indicate how good they are, but they never mention “water buffaloes“, violations, and the water filtration systems they provide to families whose water they contaminate,” Vera said. “And then they attack those who oppose them. The gas companies then insist that they themselves are not a danger.”


“We were a rural community before the gas companies came,” Vera explained. “The land men who came in to obtain the leases said, ‘oh you’ll have one well in Dimock… don’t worry.’ Now there are over 950 and they want 100,000 [according to Fox News.] We’ve got compressor stations every two to four miles. And they say the economy will be better and we’ll have a whole bunch of gas, but 90% or more of the gas is leavingthe county to go to other areas. This is not what we want in rural Pennsylvania.”

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Algeria: Algerie Telecom to deploy 20,000km of fibre by end-2015 | TeleGeography.com

Mehmel Azouaou, CEO of Algerian fixed line incumbent Algerie Telecom (AT), has announced that the company is planning to deploy an additional 20,000km worth of fibre-optic cables by the end of 2015, Agence Ecofin reports.


The executive also revealed that the company has already deployed around 57,000km of fibre; further, Algerie Telecom has received funding from the government in order to proceed with its goals of improving its quality of service (QoS) and reducing costs.


As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the operator recently revealed that it faced major challenges in deploying fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) cabling, due to ‘a lack of qualified civil engineering companies’.


As a result, AT’s previous aim to connect towns with more than 1,000 inhabitants with fibre broadband was not met; a total of 20,000km of fibre cabling was earmarked for deployment in 2013/2014, but only 20% of it had been rolled out by mid-May.

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Spain: Jazztel issues update on FTTH network deployment | TeleGeography.com

Alternative Spanish broadband provider Jazz Telecom (Jazztel) has announced that it expects to have passed a total of 2.2 million households with its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network by the end of this month.


With the company noting that its rollout programme remains in line with its previously stated aim of reaching three million premises by the end of 2014, it has now said that it is working on an additional deployment plan which would see coverage boosted to a total of seven million premises.


Further information regarding such plans, it noted, is expected to be provided ‘before the end of the year’.

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Ireland announces review of radio frequency spectrum policy | TeleGeography.com

Ireland’s Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has published a spectrum policy consultation paper, marking the first step in a comprehensive review of the country’s radio frequency spectrum policy and a further step in meeting the commitments made in the National Broadband Plan.


The Department is responsible for the development of effective policies for the regulation and optimum use of Ireland’s national radio frequency spectrum, underpinned by an appropriate legislative framework.


According to the Department, the current Spectrum Policy Statement was published in September 2010 and needs to be revisited ‘in light of the rapid technological changes and the increased demands on this limited and valuable resource’.


The purpose of the consultation is to assist the Department in its consideration of spectrum policy issues and the development of updated legislation in this area; the implementation of those national policies then rests with the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).


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Oil drilling in North Dakota raises concerns about radioactive waste | LATimes.com

Oil drilling in North Dakota raises concerns about radioactive waste | LATimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Every weekday, about a dozen large garbage trucks peel away from the oil boom that has spread through western North Dakota to bump along a gravel road to the McKenzie County landfill.


The trucks drive up to a scale flanked by something seldom found in rural dumps — two 8-foot-tall yellow panels that essentially form a giant Geiger counter.


Two or three times a day, the radiation detector blares like a squad car, because under tons of refuse someone has stashed yard-long filters clotted with radioactive dirt from drilling sites.


The "socks" are supposed to be shipped to out-of-state processing plants. But some oil field operators, hoping to save tens of thousands of dollars, dump the socks in fields, abandoned buildings and landfills.


"It's a game of cat-and-mouse now," said Rick Schreiber, the landfill's director. "They put the sock in a bag inside a bag inside a bag."


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Boom-or-doom riddle for nuclear industry | Climate News Network

Boom-or-doom riddle for nuclear industry | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The headline figures for 2014 from the nuclear industry describe a worldwide boom in progress, with 73 reactors presently being built and another 481 new ones either planned or approved.


The World Nuclear Association (WNA) official website paints a rosy picture of an industry expected to expand dramatically by 2030. It says that over the period 1996 to 2013 the world retired 66 reactors, and 71 started operation. Between now and 2030, the industry expects another 74 reactors to close, but 272 new ones to come on line.


This represents a much larger net increase in nuclear electricity production than the basic figures suggest because most of the newer power stations have a bigger capacity than those closing down.


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Tallest chimney at Sellafield to be demolished using self-climbing platform | GizMag.com

Tallest chimney at Sellafield to be demolished using self-climbing platform | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Sellafield is Europe's largest nuclear site and although operations including spent fuel management and nuclear waste storage continue on-site, power generation ceased in 2003. As part of the decommissioning process, the site's tallest chimney will now be demolished.


"This is part of a whole program of decommissioning work that is being carried out at Sellafield to clean-up historic nuclear facilities, many of which were built in the 1940s and 1950s in support of the defense industry," explains Ali McKibbin of Sellafield Ltd, the company responsible for delivering the decommissioning, to Gizmag.


The chimney is 61 m (200 ft) tall and sits on top of an 11-story reprocessing plant. The entire structure reaches 122 m (400 ft) above the ground. Its location, atop the reprocessing plant and surround by other nuclear facilities which are still in operation, means that the demolition of the chimney be undertaken without explosives.


"The job of bringing down the stack is going to be a delicate operation to ensure 100 percent safety of all personnel and surrounding nuclear plants," explains project manager Matthew Hodgson. "Because we can’t use explosives, we will use an ingenious self-climbing platform which will [allow us to] bring the chimney down bit by bit in a controlled manner."


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Deeper Dive into EFF's Motion on Backbone Surveillance | EFF.org

Deeper Dive into EFF's Motion on Backbone Surveillance | EFF.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Yesterday we filed a motion for partial summary judgment in our long running Jewel v. NSA case, focusing on the government's admitted seizure and search of communications from the Internet backbone, also called "upstream." We've asked the judge to rule that there are two ways in which this is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment:


  1. The admitted seizure of communications from the Internet backbone, for which we have government admissions plus the evidence we received long ago from Mark Klein.
  2. The government's admitted search of the entire communications stream, including the content of communications.


We're very proud of this motion (especially the infographic), and we're hoping that this shifts the conversation around the world to how the surveillance actually happens, rather than the U.S. government's self-serving word games about it. 


As this motion progresses, here are a few points to keep in mind:


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MIT: New device generates electricity from condensation | GizMag.com

MIT: New device generates electricity from condensation | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

MIT researchers have found a way to generate small amounts of electricity from condensation, by having electrically-charged droplets jump between superhydrophobic (water-repelling) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) metal plates. The advance could be especially useful in remote areas or developing countries, not least because it produces clean water as a side product.


While pulling electricity out of thin air is a physical impossibility, producing it from water droplets in the atmosphere is very much within our reach. We have known for years that droplets are capable of carrying an electric charge, so properly harnessing this phenomenon under controlled conditions could lead to an exciting new source of renewable energy.


Now, a team led by Nenad Miljkovic at MIT seem to have done just that, by finding a way to generate electricity simply by harnessing the humidity in the air.


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Plans for Qatar's second World Cup stadium unveiled | GizMag.com

Plans for Qatar's second World Cup stadium unveiled | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Modeled on a traditional nomadic tent and featuring a removable top tier, the Al Bayt Stadium is the second of 12 new venues Qatar plans to build for the 2022 World Cup.


While some of the ambitious ideas floated prior to the success of Qatar's controversial bid to host FIFA's flagship event in 2022 – like the solar powered Lusail Iconic Stadium and the use man-made clouds to provide shade – seem to have, err, evaporated, one thing that you can bet on is the stadiums that are built will be well worth a look.


The 40,000 capacity Al Wakrah stadium, just south of Doha, has already been unveiled with a pearl-inspired design, temperature-cooled climate and targeted Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) 4 Star and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certifications.


The GSAS was launched by the Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD) in 2012 and is aimed at being the the standard for excellence on sustainability in the Middle East and North Africa region. It takes into account eight different areas, including energy, water and materials.


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www.qatarconstructionreview.com 's curator insight, Today, 2:44 AM

Within 10 years Qatar will have one of the most advanced metro systems in the world for sure. The world cup stadiums - if the plans can be well executed, should also deliver new experiences.

 

www.qatarconstructionreview.com | construction companies in Qatar

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Governor Jerry Brown hopes to sell Mexico on following California's green path forward | LATimes.com

Governor Jerry Brown hopes to sell Mexico on following California's green path forward | LATimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

When California launched its most ambitious effort to combat climate change nearly two years ago, there were fears it would cost workers their jobs and handicap businesses with burdensome regulations.

Since then, the state's economy has rebounded from a damaging recession even while operating under tighter restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.


It's a track record Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to highlight when he travels to Mexico on Sunday to begin a high-profile effort to bolster California's relationship with its southern neighbor and encourage the nation's nascent efforts to slash pollution.


The potential for merging economic growth and environmental preservation is a key issue in Mexico, which is facing a balancing act shared by other developing countries, including China and India. With California's assistance, experts say, Mexico has an opportunity to demonstrate a greener path.


"Mexico has to start thinking about the future," said Blas Pérez Henríquez, director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Public Policy. "If there's a place that can help with that, it's California."


Officials in Mexico and California have discussed ways to put cleaner vehicles on the roads, reduce air pollution, link energy grids across the border and jointly urge other countries to take stronger action during upcoming global summits on climate change.


"I'm going to explore, on this trip, all the ways we can work with Mexico," Brown told reporters last week. "There's a lot of things we can do on the whole area of climate change."


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8 Ways Technology Makes You Stupid | Tech News | HuffPost.com

8 Ways Technology Makes You Stupid | Tech News | HuffPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

People assume that iPhones, laptops and Netflix are evidence of progress. In some ways, that's true. A moderate amount of Googling, for instance, can be good for your brain, and there are apps that can boost brain function and activity.


Yet tech advancements also come with some unintended consequences. Our brains being "massively rewired" by tech, says neuroscientist Michael Merzenich in The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, a Pulitzer-nominated 2011 book by Nicholas Carr. Merzenich warns that the effect of technology on human intelligence could be “deadly.”


That got us thinking. How exactly is technology messing up our brains?


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Study: 'Shocking' Water Loss in Western U.S. | CommonDreams.org

Study: 'Shocking' Water Loss in Western U.S. | CommonDreams.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The  drought-stricken Colorado River Basin has experienced rapid and significant groundwater depletion since late 2004, posing a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought, according to a new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine.


The research team used data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin, which is the water source for more than 30 million people and 4 million acres of farmland. The satellites showed the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet (about 17 trillion gallons) of freshwater between 2004-2013 — almost double the volume of the nation's largest reservoir, Nevada's Lake Mead, which itself recently fell to its lowest level since the 1930s. More than three-quarters of the total water loss in the Colorado River Basin was from groundwater. The basin has been experiencing the driest 14-year period in the last 100 years.


"We don't know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don't know when we're going to run out," said Stephanie Castle, a water resources specialist at the UC-Irvine and lead author of the study. "This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking."


Because pumping from underground aquifers is regulated by individual states and is often not well documented, it is difficult to quantify how groundwater reserves are affected by drought. But the NASA/Irvine study, which measured gravitational attraction as a way to assess rising and falling water levels, reveals that a crucial water source for seven basin states and Mexico has been compromised. The study also indicates that declines in the snowpack that feeds the river and population growth could further compound the problem.


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