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@The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy
Our Global Future in the 21st Century is based on "The Third Industrial Revolution" which finally connects our new ICT infrastructure with distributed energy sources that are both renewable and sustainable
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UK: Plan calls for fast internet for Yapton | Bognor Regis Observer

UK: Plan calls for fast internet for Yapton | Bognor Regis Observer | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Faster broadband is one of the policies for the future of Yapton on show this weekend.


Residents will have the chance to have their say about possible housing sites at the drop-in day on Saturday (November 30).


It is being held from midday-6pm at Yapton Village Hall to enable villagers to see the draft neighbourhood plan.


MP Nick Gibb will be attending the event at the opening.


The plan has been produced by a group of residents to guide the area through the challenges of the next 15 years.


Deborah Robinson, the group’s chairman, said: “We are delighted to be able to present the first draft of our neighbourhood plan to the village.


“Community engagement has been a fundamental part of the process.

“All of our previous consultation has been poured into this document. We hope as many villagers as possible will come along to tell us what they think.


“Our neighbourhood plan is being put together by local people for local people. So, have your say on how we shape the final version of it.”


The plan can also be viewed on the group’s website at www.ynp.org.uk


It proposes several sites for small-scale development, the preservation of the village boundaries and the establishment of better broadband internet connections.


They are among the proposals which establish a vision for the evolution and long-term sustainability of the village for the next ten to 15 years.


Once the draft version is finalised, people living and working in the village will be invited to go to the polls and vote on its contents in a referendum.


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Japan loves coal: Consumption jumps 26% in October | Mining.com

Japan loves coal: Consumption jumps 26% in October | Mining.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Japan's coal consumption jumped 26% in October, compared to the same month last year. As the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), this could have implications for the sector.


According to Reuters, the country's 10 main utilities consumed nearly 16% more coal in the first 10 months of the year compared with the same period last year. Two new power stations are expected to start producing next month, adding 3.7 million tonnes per year to demand.


Japan is the world's second-largest coal importer and the third-largest oil consumer. A major surge in the country's coal consumption could raise global prices which are down nearly 9% for the year.


After the Fukushima meltdown, Japan began shutting nuclear reactors and had to make a sudden switch to oil to meet energy demands.


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Daihatsu introduces fuel cell mini-truck concept | GizMag.com

Daihatsu introduces fuel cell mini-truck concept | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it


Japan's oldest automaker, Daihatsu, raised some eyebrows a couple of years ago when it unveiled its FC ShoCase vehicle. Along with being funny-looking, it was powered by a prototype fuel cell (first announced in 2007) that was said to overcome some of the key limitations of traditional hydrogen fuel cells. At this year's Tokyo Motor Show, a new FC concept vehicle has been presented – the FC Deco Deck mini-truck.


A detailed description of the fuel cell can be found in our previous article on the ShoCase, but here's an overview of what makes it special.


In a conventional fuel cell, platinum must be used as the electrode catalyst, as its excellent corrosion-resistance keeps it from being eaten away by the cell's acidic polymer electrolyte membrane. Daihatsu's cell, by contrast, utilizes a much more innocuous alkaline anion exchange membrane. This means that expensive platinum isn't required for the electrode catalyst, which can instead be made from cheaper metals such as nickel or cobalt.


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New Snowden docs show U.S. spied during G20 in Toronto | CBC.ca

New Snowden docs show U.S. spied during G20 in Toronto | CBC.ca | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Top secret documents retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden show that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government allowed the largest American spy agency to conduct widespread surveillance in Canada during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits.


The documents are being reported exclusively by CBC News.


The briefing notes, stamped "Top Secret," show the U.S. turned its Ottawa embassy into a security command post during a six-day spying operation by the National Security Agency while U.S. President Barack Obama and 25 other foreign heads of government were on Canadian soil in June of 2010.


The covert U.S. operation was no secret to Canadian authorities.


An NSA briefing note describes the American agency's operational plans at the Toronto summit meeting and notes they were "closely co-ordinated with the Canadian partner."


The NSA and its Canadian "partner," the Communications Security Establishment Canada, gather foreign intelligence for their respective governments by covertly intercepting phone calls and hacking into computer systems around the world.


The secret documents do not reveal the precise targets of so much espionage by the NSA — and possibly its Canadian partner — during the Toronto summit.


But both the U.S. and Canadian intelligence agencies have been implicated with their British counterpart in hacking the phone calls and emails of foreign politicians and diplomats attending the G20 summit in London in 2009 — a scant few months before the Toronto gathering of the same world leaders.


Notably, the secret NSA briefing document describes part of the U.S. eavesdropping agency's mandate at the Toronto summit as "providing support to policymakers."


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NSA spreading malware to further goals for more power | NetworkWorld.com

NSA spreading malware to further goals for more power | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Over the weekend, NRC Handelsblad, a Dutch newspaper, reported that the NSA has infected more than 50,000 networks with malware globally. This report was followed by one in the New York Times, detailing the lengths the NSA is willing to go to in order to obtain more power.


On Saturday, the NRC published a heavily redacted slide, taken from information released by Edward Snowden, that shows the scope of the NSA's Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) efforts. According to slide, more than 50,000 networks worldwide are infected with the agency's malware. However, given that the slide dates to 2012, it's possible that the numbers are actually higher.


Additional proof that the data in the slide is legitimate, the NRC said, comes from the reports earlier this summer when Belgacom announced that the GCHQ (the British partner of the NSA) has infected their network and installed malware. The GCHQ was able to do this by infecting the systems used by employees as they visited a fake LinkedIn page.


According to the NRC report, supporting claims from the Washington Post as well as reports from Foreign Policy, the NSA's malware campaign was assigned to TAO (Tailored Access Operations), a department within the agency that employs more than 1,000 hackers. According to the Washington Post, CNE-operations such as the ones recently confirmed have been going on since 1998.


The NSA declined to comment on the NRC's story, or questions related to the redacted slide. Experts who have speculated on the story say that based on the numbers and the data within the slide, it appears that the NSA is targeting Telcos, banks, and ISPs.


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Bitcoin payments with a simple tap? Multi-purpose nio Card gets added functionality | GigaOM Tech News

Bitcoin payments with a simple tap? Multi-purpose nio Card gets added functionality | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A British startup called Bluenio has revealed what it claims is the world’s first Bitcoin payment smartcard – or at least it will be if no others have popped up by the time it ships in March.


Bluenio is already in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign for the nio Card, which was initially pitched as a security chain for helping to cut down on the loss of smartphones and wallets. It still does that – it does a few things, actually — but on Friday the company said it would also function as a Bitcoin wallet-slash-payment-card that can transfer money “in a single tap” using near-field communication (NFC) technology.


“It’s a cool way to provide secure Bitcoin payments in a way you currently can’t do,” Bluenio co-founder Ben Hounsell told me. “The way of making a Bitcoin payment right now can be a little bit convoluted, or certainly not as easy as making a traditional chip-and-PIN payment or a tap. You have to scan a QR code, read it in, validate the payment, enter private keys… it can be quite irritating.”


“Having a card where you tap to make a payment securely bring s [Bitcoin] in line with more conventional ways of making payments.”


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Attacks on scientific consensus on climate change mirror tactics of tobacco industry | SkepticalScience.com

Attacks on scientific consensus on climate change mirror tactics of tobacco industry | SkepticalScience.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The importance of public perception of scientific consensus has been established in a number of studies (e.g., here, here and here). Perhaps nothing underscores its importance more than the strenuous efforts that opponents of climate action have exerted in attacking consensus. For over two decades, fossil fuel interests and right-wing ideologues have sought to cast doubt on the consensus:


Consequently, it comes as no surprise that our paper Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature has come under intense attack. Since published 6 months ago, nearly 200 articles have been published online attacking our paper. The attacks have come in the form of blog posts, Youtube videos, cartoons, papers, reports and conspiracy theories. The most entertaining conspiracy theories are Christopher Monckton's suggestion that the high-impact journal Environmental Research Letters was created for the purpose of publishing our paper and Anthony Watts' accusation that Dana Nuccitelli has vested interests in oil.


Attacks on any scientific consensus, whether it be human-caused global warming or the link between smoking and cancer, exhibit five characteristics of science denial. Similarly, the attacks against our paper have exhibited the same five characteristics. Some of these characteristics are on offer in an opinion piece by Anthony Cox published in the Newcastle Herald. I was granted the opportunity to publish a response in the Newcastle Herald, which was published today:


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Coal Politics: Big Win in a Small Town | The Washington Spectator

Coal is a hard sell in the United States. The Obama administration has ratcheted up environmental restrictions on coal-fired utility plants, with more regulations to come, and fracking has flooded the market with cheap, cleaner, and abundant natural gas. Across the county, electric utilities are switching from coal to natural gas.


Outside the U.S., coal, the dirtiest carbon fuel, is outstripping demand for cleaner fuels. So Big Coal is following the path of Big Tobacco, selling a toxic product in foreign markets beyond the reach of U.S. regulatory agencies.


But coal is a heavier lift than tobacco. To move coal from mines in Montana and Wyoming to Asian markets, producers like Peabody Energy (which trades as "BTU" on the New York Stock Exchange) and coal shippers like the BNSF Railroad (which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company) need export terminals—huge transshipment facilities that receive and store mountains of coal, then load it onto huge seagoing bulk carriers.


This coal-rail combine started out with 10 prospective West Coast export sites, but a coalition of local, regional, and national environmental groups determined to stop the export of U.S. coal are engaged in a campaign that has reduced that list to three or four viable sites.


Until early this month, their best bet was the Gateway Pacific Terminal, which if permitted and built will export almost 50 million tons of coal per year from a site 20 miles north of Bellingham, Washington.


The Gateway project requires multiple permits from state and federal agencies. But because it is located in Whatcom County, it requires a permit from the seven-member Whatcom County Council.


Four council seats were on November’s ballot. When I was in Bellingham in September, reporting on the coal terminal, several environmental activists I talked predicted a flood of corporate contributions that would support a pro-coal council slate.


In fact, BNSF had already made one $20,000 contribution to the state Republican Party, which in turn made four $5,000 contributions to candidates assumed to be supporting the export terminal. (Candidates did not take public positions on the coal terminal because the council is a quasi-judicial body.)


"The big money will be spent late," campaign-finance watchdog Lisa McShane told me in September. No one, she said, wanted to show their hand too early on the Washington Public Disclosure Commission website.


The outside money did come in late: $836,843 to fund a campaign on which $6,723 was spent when the same four seats were on the ballot in 2009.


But Big Green outspent Big Coal.


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US taxpayers foot bill for climate inaction | Climate News Network

US taxpayers foot bill for climate inaction | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Such losses, says Ceres, a US-based non-profit organization which promotes environmentally sustainable business practices, are set to rise considerably in the years ahead as a result of climate change, imposing an ever bigger burden on the US taxpayer.


Federal and state disaster relief payouts last year alone are estimated to have cost every person in the US more than $300.


Yet according to a new report by Ceres, Inaction on climate change: the cost to taxpayers, the US administration, its agencies and state bodies are still not facing up to the grave financial implications of a warming world.


“Part of the reason for our collective shortsightedness is that the issue of climate change, and what to do about it, has become politicised in the US”, it says.


The report says there have been at least 200 weather-related natural catastrophes annually in North America in recent years, compared to around 50 a year in the early 1980s.


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CO: Governor Hickenlooper's new oil and gas regulations: Real substance or fracking greenwash? | BoulderWeekly.com

CO: Governor Hickenlooper's new oil and gas regulations: Real substance or fracking greenwash? | BoulderWeekly.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The oil and gas industry and Gov. John Hickenlooper’s “plan A” was easy enough to spot when it came to their shared desire to increase oil and gas development in Colorado. For its part, the industry spent millions of dollars on advertising to convince the public that fracking is as American as apple pie.

As for our oil and gas geologist-turned-governor, his mission was to use the power of the state to provide the threat of filing economically devastating lawsuits against municipalities that dared to try to stop fracking within their communities. But as we saw in 2012 and again during this November’s elections, “plan A” is failing badly.

Longmont passed a fracking ban last year and is currently being sued by the state and the oil and gas industry. But in the most recent elections, despite Longmont’s travails, Lafayette passed a fracking ban and Boulder and Fort Collins each passed five-year moratoriums on the controversial extraction practice that uses a mixture of water, sand and more than 500 chemicals, many of which are known or suspected carcinogens, to extract oil and gas from shale formations.

Broomfield also voted on a five-year fracking ban, which for now appears to have passed by 17 votes. However, the margin of victory was so close that it triggered an automatic recount that will not begin until Dec. 2.

So after millions of dollars spent by the industry and an endless stream of threats from the governor, the anti-fracking momentum has done nothing but continue to grow as one community after another votes to restrict the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells within city limits. But it’s far too soon for the citizens of those towns and others around the state who are desirous of similar protections to think victory is at hand. That’s why they call it “plan A.”

Within days of the industry’s recent defeat at the ballot box, “plan B” was rolled out in the form of a new set of air quality regulations proposed by the governor and agreed to by the largest oil and gas producers in the state, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Encana Corporation and Noble Energy.

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China at a crossroads - Robert Samuelson | WashPost.com

China at a crossroads - Robert Samuelson | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It has been only a few years since China was widely regarded as an unstoppable economic colossus. For three decades, its economy grew about 10 percent annually; China seemed to be gliding through the global economic storm.


Well, maybe not. Many economists — Chinese and foreign — think China’s economic model is unworkable. Without a new model, they say, China will someday face a collapse of growth or worse.


The outcome has huge implications for China’s internal stability and its global economic footprint. The precedent of Japan, a highflier laid low, suggests that rapid growth can’t be taken for granted.


First, some background.


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Tilting at Gas Wells: What's the Best Way to Defend Your Community From Fracking? | Truth-Out.org

Tilting at Gas Wells: What's the Best Way to Defend Your Community From Fracking? | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

What kind of community fracking bans make sense?


Federal and state governments largely have embraced the oil-and-gas boom sparked by hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is a key part of Obama's "all of the above" energy strategy. States such as Texas have long touted its economic benefits, while the candidates for governor in Pennsylvania have moved the debate past the question of whether to frack to the question of how to make the most money from it.


But fracking looks different to the places hosting gas wells, pipelines and compressor stations. At the local level, it transforms from a matter of energy policy to a matter of land-use policy as it leaves the abstract realm of commodity and enters the lived place of community. Fracking brings jobs, but it also brings hazardous industrial activities that are uniquely invasive, because they feed on minerals regardless of what lies above them - even when it is neighborhoods, public parks, playgrounds or schools. The fact that the surface estate is subservient to the mineral estate makes it difficult for local governments to protect the health and safety of their citizens and to ensure compatibility of neighboring land uses.


In the face of such challenges, an increasing number of towns and cities have decided to ban fracking. Indeed, municipal bans have become the hottest flash point in the jurisdictional battle over the authority to write the rules for fracking. Much will depend on whether they can survive legal tests of pre-emption and regulatory takings.


Proponents of local bans often justify them on the basis of rights, especially the right of local self-determination. This framing makes intuitive sense - if a well is planned near your home or your child's school, you have a right to be involved in that decision.


But the idea of local self-determination is riddled with quandaries. Modern cities are not that "local" to begin with; they are made possible by materials harvested from around the world. This position of utter dependence makes any appeal to "self-determination" problematic. Can cities in the age of globalization exercise sovereignty over energy systems?


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Australia: Massive Oil Discovery Is Deathblow For Saudis | Oil&EnergyInvestor.com

Australia: Massive Oil Discovery Is Deathblow For Saudis | Oil&EnergyInvestor.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It's the biggest find in 50 years and the media is completely ignoring it...


It is 6 times larger than the Bakken, 17 times the size of the Marcellus formation, and 80 times larger than the Eagle Ford shale.


All told the recent discovery outside a sleepy Australian town contains more black gold than in all of Iran, Iraq, Canada, or Venezuela.


The current estimates of 233 billion barrels are just 30 billion barrels shy of the estimated reserves in all of Saudi Arabia.


Now, one renowned international energy expert predicts the proven reserves will be much bigger.


"The find may land at 300 or 400 billion barrels, making it one of the greatest unconventional oil discoveries any of us will see in our lifetimes," says Dr. Kent Moors and advisor to six of the top 10 oil producers and active consultant to 20 world governments.


"It represents a bona-fide redrawing of the global energy map as we know it," Moors says, "and the mainstream media is completely ignoring it."


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CA: First Rains Flush Plastic Pollution to the Ocean | Leila Monroe's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

CA: First Rains Flush Plastic Pollution to the Ocean | Leila Monroe's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Benjamin Kay is a school teacher from Santa Monica: this week he released a video documenting the disgusting waste – mostly plastic pollution – that flowed into Santa Monica Bay from the “second flush” at the start of California’s rainy season. Benjamin’s goal is to raise the awareness of his students and engage them in protecting the community’s threatened beaches and waters.


Most of California is a very dry state, so when it finally starts to rain the pollution built up over the dry months – whether plastic bags, bottles, or toxins -- washes from inland streets to storm drains and rivers, then out to the ocean.   The first rain of the season in early November was fairly light, so the massive flow of waste didn’t make its way to the ocean until this week’s major downpour.  Now, imagine this scene replaying across the state and all around the world, and you’ll understand why globally, oceans are overwhelmed with plastic waste. 


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NSA leaks: former DPP calls for more scrutiny of UK's security services | TheGuardian.com

NSA leaks: former DPP calls for more scrutiny of UK's security services | TheGuardian.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The parliamentary committee which monitors the security services should be given greater powers to obtain evidence and summon officials, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, has urged.


The intelligence and security committee (ISC), which oversees the work of MI5, MI6 and the monitoring agency GCHQ, should be chaired by a politician from an opposition party and provided with an independent secretariat and legal advice, the Liberal Democrat peer added. The current chair is Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the Conservative former foreign secretary.


In a speech entitled "Secrecy in Justice – Can it Ever be Fair?", Macdonald said more effective parliamentary oversight of intelligence gathering was vital in the wake of revelations about mass surveillance by GCHQ and the expansion of "closed material proceedings" (CMPs) , known as "secret courts".


Macdonald warned that the Justice and Security Act, which introduced both secret hearings into civil courts and partially reformed the ISC, "has, unwittingly or not, actually weakened democratic oversight of the security and intelligence agencies".


He said it had allowed "the introduction of closed hearings into our civil justice system in national security cases, while simultaneously failing to strengthen the structures of direct parliamentary oversight in any meaningful way".


The peer warned that the way the government handled rendition cases, like that of Binyam Mohamed, and programmes like Tempora – the clandestine electronic surveillance programme revealed by leaks from the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden – signalled the need for enhanced public scrutiny.


"The risk they portend is simply a further weakening in democratic and parliamentary oversight – less pressure to behave," the former DPP said. "And this risk will grow unless the courts are vigilant to ensure that secrecy in justice is never be allowed to become a damaging alternative to integrity in these most sensitive areas of our public life.


He warned that the intelligence agencies have the power to "procure legislation" to dominate decision making in their sphere of influence and "even seek to lock its antagonists out of judicial processes".


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Moving cars could be used to measure rainfall | GizMag.com

Moving cars could be used to measure rainfall | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Rain gauges are generally pretty accurate at measuring the amount of precipitation that has fallen at their location, but they can't be everywhere. This means that average rainfall figures for a region could be inaccurate, if considerably more or less rain has been falling in unmonitored areas. Cars, however, are just about everywhere that there are roads. With that in mind, researchers from Germany's University of Hanover are looking at using them to tell us how much water is coming from the sky.


When you're driving and it starts raining, what's the first thing that you do? That's right, you turn on the windshield wipers. The harder it rains, the faster the setting that you select. Scientists with U Hanover's RainCars project postulated that if select cars where outfitted with GPS and wiper speed-monitoring sensors, they could provide real-time data on how much rain was falling in a wide number of locations.


In order to test their theory, they set up an experiment in which a stationary car was placed under a sprinkler system, with a person inside the car. As water flowed from the sprinkler, at known output rates, the person turned up the speed of the wipers in order to maintain their view through the windshield. It turned out that there was a fairly consistent correlation between the speed of the wipers, and the amount of water coming from the sprinkler – in other words, the flow rate of the sprinkler could be roughly determined by measuring wiper speed.


One problem with this approach, however, is that not all drivers are equally fussy about how moisture-free they like their windshield. Therefore, the RainCars team believe that their system would work better on cars with optical sensors that automatically adjust the speed of the wipers – an increasing number of which are already on the roads.


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Argentine threat over Falklands oil operations | BBC.co.uk

Argentine threat over Falklands oil operations | BBC.co.uk | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Argentina's embassy in London said new laws had been passed by the country's congress to clamp down on exploration it claims is in breach of UN decisions.


The UK's Foreign Office insisted the activities were legitimately controlled by the islands' government.


Islanders recently voted overwhelmingly to remain a British overseas territory.


The embassy said legislation "provides for prison sentences for the duration of up to 15 years; fines equivalent to the value of 1.5 million barrels of oil; the banning of individuals and companies from operating in Argentina; and the confiscation of equipment and any hydrocarbons that would have been illegally extracted"


It said in a statement: "The Argentine government has protested against and rejected all of the United Kingdom's attempts to promote and authorize such hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities in the area of the Argentine continental shelf.


"These attempts are manifestly contrary to Resolution 31/49 of the United Nations General Assembly, which requires the UK and Argentina to refrain from taking decisions that would imply introducing unilateral modifications into the situation of the Malvinas Islands while the sovereignty dispute between the two countries is still pending."


In a referendum in March, Falkland Islanders decided by 1,513 votes to three to remain a UK overseas territory but Argentina - which calls the islands the Malvinas - has stepped up its claims to them at the United Nations.


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Broadband firms set to get easier sewer access across Europe in upcoming rule change | GigaOM Tech News

Broadband firms set to get easier sewer access across Europe in upcoming rule change | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Broadband rollouts in parts of Europe are likely to get substantially cheaper and easier, after a committee of the European Parliament backed plans to encourage access to existing infrastructure.


When you’re laying fiber in the ground, it’s a bit of a no-brainer to do it in ducts that already exist – sewage pipes and drainage systems, for example – particularly as most of the cost of a rollout lies in civil works.


Countries such as the UK and France already promote this kind of infrastructure-sharing, but now the same idea seems set to spread across the EU. On Thursday, the European Parliament’s industry committee said it had approved a draft law that would give broadband firms the right to “access ‘promptly’, via a single information point, at least information on the location, route, size, type and current use, name of owner and a contact point for existing infrastructure.”


They will also be able to access better information about upcoming civil works, and information will only be denied if “security or fundamental public or individual interests are at risk.”


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Ireland: Eircom expands fibre target | TeleGeography

Irish incumbent Eircom today announced an increase to its planned national fibre footprint from 1.2 million homes and businesses to 1.4 million homes and businesses across Ireland.


This means that by July 2016, 70% of the country should have access to fibre broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps via the network. Eircom’s fibre rollout programme is currently ahead of schedule and the company is on track to pass 700,000 premises by the end of the year.


Today’s announcement means that an additional 562 communities across all 26 counties will be able to avail of the operator’s ‘eFibre’ high speed service.

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EasyDNS Continues To Fight Bogus Website Seizures By City Of London Police After Verisign Issues 'No Decision' | Techdirt.com

EasyDNS Continues To Fight Bogus Website Seizures By City Of London Police After Verisign Issues 'No Decision' | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Back in October, we wrote about the absolutely ludicrous situation in which the City of London Police ordered registrars to take down a bunch of websites and point them to a page designated by the police (which pointed to some commercial services in London). There was no court order. There was no court involved at all. No one had been charged, sued, tried or anything. Just the City of London Police, their brand new "Intellectual Property Crime Unit" (set up at the urging of the RIAA), and a demand that the website domains be yanked and that the registrars bar them from being transferred out. While some registrars, such as the incredibly misnamed "Public Domain Registry," caved immediately to the completely bogus request, EasyDNS strongly and publicly refused (telling the police to come back with a court order) while also questioning (1) whatever happened to due process and (2) how any registrar could do this when it clearly violated ICANN's policy on transferring domain names.

Given this, EasyDNS went even further and filed a "request for enforcement" against Public Domain Registry, for locking the domains from being transferred out (and to EasyDNS). As EasyDNS notes, PDR's decision to lock the domains, despite being asked to do so by the police, violated ICANN's policies. ICANN's policies are pretty straightforward: the only times a registrar can deny a transfer-out request is in a few specific cases. And "asked by random police" isn't one. Instead there's "court order by a court of competent jurisdiction." But, again, there's been no court order.

Given this, the fact that PDR is denying to transfer the domains to EasyDNS it seems like an open and shut case that PDR is violating the rules. Verisign, which oversees all of this, should have made quick work of this in telling PDR to get on with the transfers. Instead... it totally punted, issuing one of the most bizarre statements you can imagine:


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Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance | Web Of Debt Blog

Control oil and you control nations,” said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s.  ”Control food and you control the people.”


Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.


According to an Acres USA interview of plant pathologist Don Huber, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, two modified traits account for practically all of the genetically modified crops grown in the world today. One involves insect resistance. The other, more disturbing modification involves insensitivity to glyphosate-based herbicides (plant-killing chemicals). Often known as Roundup after the best-selling Monsanto product of that name, glyphosate poisons everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.


Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a “broad-spectrum” herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients.


Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate and the GMO foods incorporating it to pose serious dangers to health. Compounding the risk is the toxicity of “inert” ingredients used to make glyphosate more potent. Researchers have found, for example, that the surfactant POEA can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. But these risks have been conveniently ignored.


The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the world’s healthiest populations. The World Health Organization has ranked the US LAST out of 17 developed nations for overall health.


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Increasing European Moves To Block Access To Websites Accused Of Helping People Infringe Copyrights | Techdirt.com

Increasing European Moves To Block Access To Websites Accused Of Helping People Infringe Copyrights | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In their obsessive war on piracy, the copyright industries have tried various approaches. For a while, the "three strikes and out" was popular, until it became clear that it was completely ineffectual. At the moment, the preferred method is to try to force ISPs to block access to sites holding material that infringes on copyright. The UK led the way, and has now made the whole process pretty routine, as a recent post on the TechnoLlama blog explains:


The blocking order follow a now familiar pattern established in 20th Century Fox v BT: lawyers for the film and/or music industry go to court against UK ISPs to try and obtain an injunction that will block access on those to a specific website. The subject websites are not included as co-defendants, and their guilt tends to be assumed, or dealt with separately. The websites are then blocked at the ISP level, meaning that any person who enters "www.thepiratebay.sx" into their browser will receive a notice stating that the site is not available.


The fact that it is easy to circumvent these blocks doesn't seem to worry the industry much: either the only concern is to make it hard for less tech-savvy users to access a site, or maybe a symbolic victory is all that is required. In any case, the approach is beginning to spread in Europe. For example, Switzerland is currently reviewing the operation of copyright in a digital world, and blocking content is likely to be one of the recommendations from the AGUR12 working group -- following the usual heavy-handed hints by the USTR, as TorrentFreak explains:


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Experts rank the top 10 global trends | PewResearch.org

Experts rank the top 10 global trends | PewResearch.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A new report from the World Economic Forum ranks the 10 most important global trends, based on a poll of 1,592 leaders from academia, business, government, and non-profits.


Here are some data points that compare and contrast the public’s views around the world with the trends identified by the experts.


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British Supermarket Chain Tesco Offers Free Year of Home Broadband | Stop the Cap!

British Supermarket Chain Tesco Offers Free Year of Home Broadband | Stop the Cap! | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Can you drop by your local supermarket and walk out with a year of free home broadband service? In the United Kingdom, Tesco shoppers can.


For several weeks, Tesco shoppers have been offered a “Broadband and Phone Deal” that will return $117 in savings during the first year by waiving the cost of the broadband part of the package.


Tesco Broadband normally runs around $9.75 a month on a one year contract for up to 14Mbps unlimited-use service including free installation and a free wireless modem/router combo. Customers are asked to pay a $24 monthly BT line rental charge, but part of these fees are returned to Tesco shoppers as part of the supermarket chain’s rewards program which supplies vouchers based on the amount spent on Tesco products and services.


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$1,000 Bitcoin: what people are saying | GigaOM Tech News

$1,000 Bitcoin: what people are saying | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In a few short months, Bitcoin has gone from novelty to full-blown mania. In the last month alone, the virtual currency blew through the $400 and $700 mark and charmed Washington DC. Now, it has risen over 6 percent in the last week and cracked $1,000 on a popular exchange. This tweet sums up the price:


Adam Nash

@adamnash Follow


BTC Prices:

1BTC = $1 Feb 2011

1BTC = $10 Jun 2011

1BTC = $100 Apr 2013

1BTC = $1000 Nov 2013 (via @coindesk)


The $1,000 hype has led to a spirited discussion on sites like Hacker News where some people suggest the price is heading ever upwards:


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