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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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Thanks to Instagram, photographers are showing us what climate change looks like across the globe | Susan Cosier | onEarth.org

Thanks to Instagram, photographers are showing us what climate change looks like across the globe | Susan Cosier | onEarth.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A boy sitting amid a flooded Jakarta, a Peruvian glacier's final ice harvester, a Nigerian girl walking among heaps of burning garbage, a southwestern pier jutting out into the open air, no water in sight. This is what a warming planet looks like—and the images can all be found on Instagram. Photographer James Whitlow Delano started a social media project called Everydayclimatechange this month, and everyone's invited to check it out and join in.

Photographers on five continents are documenting the causes and consequences of global warming, capturing everything from floods to coal mining to deforestation to drought, reminding us that climate change is haunting, captivating, real, and, well, happening everywhere. Want to share your own warming corner of the globe? Just tag it #EveryDayClimateChange.


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Mitch McConnell Cut Off Keystone XL Debate So Republicans Can Meet With The Koch Brothers | Jason Easley | PoliticusUSA

Mitch McConnell Cut Off Keystone XL Debate So Republicans Can Meet With The Koch Brothers | Jason Easley | PoliticusUSA | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Outraged Senate Democrats are livid because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly cut off debate on the Keystone XL bill so that Republicans could attend a weekend conference with the Koch brothers.

Video of McConnell cutting off debate:


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PA: Separate train incidents injure one person, spill ‘frac sand’ | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PA: Separate train incidents injure one person, spill ‘frac sand’ | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The railroads around southwestern Pennsylvania were a train wreck Thursday. Literally.

A train collided with a delivery truck in Baldwin Borough on Thursday morning, hours after a train derailed in Uniontown, spilling seven carloads of “frac sand.”

In the two incidents, only the truck driver in the Baldwin Borough wreck was injured, and his injuries were minor, officials said. He was taken to UPMC Mercy as a precaution.

When cars from the derailed train in Uniontown toppled, one landed 6 feet from a nearby house, spilling the sand around it. The train was traveling from Scottdale to Smithfield in Fayette County.

Frac sand is used during the hydraulic fracturing process to “produce petroleum fluids, such as oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids from rock units that lack adequate pore space for these fluids to flow,” according to geology.com.

The material could be hazardous if breathed into the lungs over a long period, according to Bernard Goldstein, former dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

“We worry about it mostly from a chronic exposure for workers,” he said.

However, Dr. Goldstein added, if he lived in the house that was immediately next to the site, he might consider moving.

The cleanup in Uniontown was expected to take hours. Vacuum trucks were waiting to empty each of the cars that tipped over before they could be pulled upright onto the tracks and moved away. Several utility poles that were sheared off along the tracks also must be repaired before train traffic returns to normal.


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Italy: Govt discusses EUR4bn broadband incentive; Metroweb gauges merger interest | TeleGeography.com

The Italian government met this week to explore a EUR4.0 billion (USD4.6 billion), six-year incentive programme designed to encourage the country’s major telecoms operators to expand their fibre-optic networks, Bloomberg reports.


Around half of the total is expected to be used for network expansion in rural areas, although as much as EUR2.4 billion in additional funding may be drawn from European regional development funds.

In other news, Italian fibre wholesaler Metroweb has reportedly sent out letters of invitation to a number of leading banking firms requesting advisory services over its possible merger with either Telecom Italia (TI) or Vodafone Italy.


According to local media reports, letters were sent to Lazard, HSBC, Rothschild and Leonardo & Co, with responses expected by the end of next week.


TI and Vodafone have both expressed an interest in bidding for control of Milan-based Metroweb, but infrastructure fund F2i, which owns an indirect stake in the firm, is not expected to make a decision on the future of the company until the two interested parties reveal their investment plans.


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Greenland: Independence on ice | The Economist

Greenland: Independence on ice | The Economist | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

THE collapsing price of crude over the past six months has been a boon for oil-importing countries and a curse for oil-exporting ones. But in one corner of the north Atlantic, it is frustrating hopes of becoming an independent nation at all. Greenland, formerly a Danish colony, has secured significant self-rule in recent decades, and now terms itself an autonomous country.


But areas including justice, defence and foreign affairs remain under Copenhagen’s thumb. Some Greenlanders are satisfied with this, but others want full independence, and their recent leaders have tended to promise it to them, while keeping the timing vague.

When Cairn Energy, a British petrochemicals company, discovered traces of oil beneath Greenland’s territorial waters in 2010, it seemed the secessionists’ prayers had been answered. Oil and other minerals including aluminium and gold, it was hoped, would give the territory of just 56,200 inhabitants the financial clout to go it alone.


Nuuk, Greenland’s tiny capital, has resembled an Arctic Klondike for the past few years, with oil executives in suits pouring out of the airport, and hotels and restaurants stuffed to capacity. Fishermen and tradesmen have developed lucrative side jobs as fixers for the visitors. One local hotel owner caused consternation with ambitions to open a brothel to service the 2,000 Chinese workers expected at a planned smelting works in Maniitsoq, a small town on the west coast.

Greenland's politicians were emboldened by the prospect of petrodollars. Aleqa Hammond, who served as her country’s first female prime minister between April 2013 and September 2014 (when a corruption scandal drove her from office), said independence was possible “within her lifetime”.


Dispassionate observers were more circumspect. A study commissioned by the universities of Copenhagen and Nuuk concluded in January 2014 that Greenland would remain dependent on Danish money for at least 25 years, if not longer.

One year later, the political rhetoric has dropped a few tones.


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Vienna, Austria: MVRDV designs a tower with a twist | Adam Williams | GizMag.com

Vienna, Austria: MVRDV designs a tower with a twist | Adam Williams | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

MVRDV has good form for producing visually-interesting architecture (take the Glass Farm and Rotterdam Markthal, for example). The Dutch firm is set to continue this trend with a new tower in Vienna that twists dramatically, to produce an almost hourglass-like shape.

The mixed-use building features a steel and glass facade and appears to be named Turm Mit Talle (which Google Translate tells us is Tower With Metals) – though this may prove a working title. It will be located in vicinity of Vienna's historic Gasometers, and rise to a total height of 110 m (360 ft).

The interior comprises 35,000 sq m (375,000 sq ft) of floor space, split between a mixture of high-end apartments and office spaces, in addition to a retail space, restaurants, and cafes. The interior of the lower 10 floors twists with the building's shape, while the 20 remaining floors of the tower are laid out in a square shape. Operable windows and French doors will encourage natural ventilation, and external stairs offer access to outdoor areas.


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Increasing coastal resilience to storms and flooding | PHYS.org

Increasing coastal resilience to storms and flooding | PHYS.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

EU researchers are developing an online tool kit to help different coastal regions predict – and prepare for – floods and storms.


Coastal storms, sea level rises and flooding present a very real physical and economic threat that must be addressed in the EU. With this in mind, the FP7-funded RISC-KIT project has made accurately forecasting and predicting coastal storms – and optimising measures to prevent disasters from occurring – its key objectives. Now, in order to spread the message as widely as possible, new shorter versions of a RISC-KIT policy brief have been made available in Bulgarian, French, Spanish, Swedish, Dutch and German, in addition to English.

These briefs outline the importance of developing disaster risk reduction strategies as a means of increasing coastal resilience. They contain information at the national and local scale and provide tangible examples from coastal areas where project findings are currently implemented. These documents should be of real benefit to forecasting and civil protection agencies, coastal managers, local government, community members, NGOs, the general public and scientists.


One third of the EU population lives within 50 km of the coast, where an estimated 30 % of total EU Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated. The economic value of coastal areas within 500 metres of European seas is estimated to be between EUR 500 - 1000 billion alone.


Indeed, the cost of inaction in the face of coastal storms, sea level rises and flooding has been put at EUR 6 billion by 2020, which is significantly higher than the annual cost of taking precautionary and adaptation measures. Conversely, up to EUR 4.2 billion in net benefits could be created if action is taken.

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Germany's Infamous Copyright Warning Letters May Be Reined In -- In A Few Years' Time | Glyn Moody | Techdirt

Germany's Infamous Copyright Warning Letters May Be Reined In -- In A Few Years' Time | Glyn Moody | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Germany has figured on Techdirt on a number of occasions because of the widespread use of warning letters there, sent out in large numbers in connection with alleged copyright infringement, and usually including a demand for money. Back in April 2013, the German digital rights group Digitale Gesellschaft (Digiges) contacted the European Commission in order to draw its attention to the misuse of warning letters, which it said were in contravention of safeguards contained in the relevant European legislation. Here's the background, as explained by the digital rights association EDRi:

Digiges pointed out that in Germany, IPRED [the EU's Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive] had led to a situation which allowed rightsholders to acquire personal data of the users directly from the providers. All they needed for that was the IP-address of an alleged infringer and an application to a court that would order the provider to hand over the requested information. While this option was originally meant to facilitate the realisation of damages and injunctive relief, the whole process in fact became more and more automated over time. The requests from rightsholders usually comprised between 15 and 3 500 IP-addresses at a time. In one single case in October 2009, the number even reached a breathtaking 11 000. Given the fact that the court proceedings in these cases are always summary or expedited ones, it becomes clear that there is hardly any chance for a judge to thoroughly check the validity and accuracy of the "evidence" presented by the rightsholder.

In its letter, Digiges argued that the situation created by the German implementation of IPRED violates EU law, and asked the European Commission to do something about it. It did: in October 2013, it invited representatives to Brussels to explain their case further. After further correspondence with Digiges, more than one and a half years after the initial letter was sent, the Commission has finally decided to take the first step towards an infringement procedure against Germany:


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South Africa: Vodacom to deploy M-Pesa linked prepaid EMV cards | Myolisi Sikupela | memeburn.com

South Africa: Vodacom to deploy M-Pesa linked prepaid EMV cards | Myolisi Sikupela | memeburn.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Digital security company Gelmato has announced that it is going to deploy prepaid EMV banking cards to complement Vodacom’s m-pesa mobile wallet service in South Africa.


The card is certified by the major international payment schemes and accepted at any of the 240 000 EMV-compliant payment terminals and over 27 000 ATMs throughout the country, which will significantly extend the reach of the leading South African operator’s services.

This move makes Vodacom the first mobile operator to initiate the large-scale rollout of an EMV banking card that is accepted anywhere.

“With this new project, Vodacom becomes the first mobile operator to initiate the large-scale rollout of an EMV banking card that is accepted anywhere,” said Thierry Mesnard, Senior Vice President for Africa at Gemalto. “This innovative deployment highlights just how quickly the worlds of banking, retail and mobile communications are changing. Positioned at the very heart of these converging trends and technologies, Gemalto is glad to offer its support to this endeavor aimed at offering greater convenience, security and social inclusion”.


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Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2015 named by Intelligent Community Forum | PRWeb.com

Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2015 named by Intelligent Community Forum | PRWeb.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Intelligent Community Forum announced the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2015 earlier today in an online event hosted by Finland’s former Minister of Communications, Suvi Linden. The Top7 list included cities and towns from five different nations, three communities from the United States, one from Australia, one from Brazil, one from Canada, and one from Taiwan.

In alphabetical order, the 2015 Top7 Intelligent Communities are:



· Arlington County, Virginia, USA

· Columbus, Ohio, USA

· Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

· Mitchell, South Dakota, USA

· New Taipei City, Taiwan

· Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

· Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

According to the New York-based think tank, which has been naming the world’s most Intelligent Community of the Year since it named Singapore in 1999, Canada and Taiwan continue to reach the group’s Top7 regularly. The list also includes two American communities (Columbus and Arlington County), which were on the list in 2014 as well.

“ICF and our Foundation members worldwide congratulate the new Top7. This group represents a range of different approaches and planning strategies,” said ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla. “Each is ‘revolutionary’ in its own way, and each has planned its future in a way that is consistent with its cultural identity, while using universally available digital tools and broadband technology. As we have seen each year, cities, towns and regions that continue to work with these tools and concepts transform themselves from ‘smart’ to ‘intelligent,’ which is how real sustainable growth and investment will arrive."

Following are profiles of the accomplishments for each 2015 Top7 Intelligent Community, as established using the Intelligent Community Forum’s Community Indicators of success:


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Drug-delivery drones are more common than you'd think | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com

Drug-delivery drones are more common than you'd think | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Today, a sure-fire viral news story broke about a drone that crashed in a parking lot near the U.S.-Mexico border while carrying more than six pounds of methamphetamine. These efforts have been spotted before, however, enough times to suggest that drug smugglers have become quite the drone hobbyists themselves.

In November 2013, the Ottawa Sun reported that the prison in Hull, Quebec, increased security after a small drone was spotted flying near the prison walls. The drone was never caught, so it was never determined whether it was carrying any contraband, but the prison staff seemed to have already gotten used to dealing with drug-carrying UAVs.

"This sort of thing happens often in prisons all across Quebec," Stephane Lemaire, president of Quebec's correctional officers' union, told the Sun. "Usually the drones are carrying small packages of drugs or other illicit substances."

In the past year or two, similar cases have been reported around prisons in Melbourne, Australia; Dublin, Ireland; Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Bishopville, South Carolina. The trend even dates as far back as 2011, when Russian authorities busted a plot to deliver 700 grams of heroin to a prison inmate with a remote-controlled helicopter.


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South Korea: SKT facing regulatory investigation over allegations of illegal subsidies at some retailers | TeleGeography.com

South Korea’s mobile market leader SK Telecom (SKT) is facing an investigation by the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) over claims it had been offering illegal subsidies for some of the latest smartphone handsets at some retail outlets last weekend.


According to the Korea Times, the decision to launch the investigation comes in the wake of inspections of retailers conducted by the watchdog, while rival KT Corp had also accused SKT of offering subsidies of more than KRW400,000 (USD368) in cash rebates for handsets such as the Apple iPhone 6, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG G3 Cat.6; under existing legislation operators are limited to offering no more than KRW300,000 for a handset within 15 months of its launch.


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UK: Vodafone names 40 additional locations for coverage under Rural Open Sure Signal programme | TeleGeography.com

Vodafone UK has unveiled a list of 40 additional ‘not-spot’ locations which it said will gain 4G voice and data coverage as part of its ‘Rural Open Sure Signal’ (‘ROSS’) programme, ITPro Portal reports.


This brings to 100 the total number of locations to be covered by the scheme, with the latest named areas including communities in: Argyll & Bute, Borders, Caithness, Cornwall, Co Tyrone, Cumbria, Denbighshire, Fife, Hampshire, Inverness-shire, Outer Hebrides, Ross-shire, Selkirkshire, Shetlands, Suffolk, Warwickshire, Wigtownshire and Yorkshire.


Deployment in all of the areas covered by the ROSS programme is expected to be undertaken over the course of this year and 2016.

Commenting on the development, Vodafone UK chief executive Jeroen Hoencamp was cited as saying: ‘I am delighted to announce that we have now shortlisted all 100 ‘not-spot’ communities who could benefit from Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme … We are pleased to be able to deploy our innovative technologies to deliver 3G mobile signal to these rural communities for the first time.’


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BHP Billiton cuts shale rigs on oil collapse | BBC News

BHP Billiton cuts shale rigs on oil collapse | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The falling oil price has forced the world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, to cut its US shale oil operation by 40%.

It is reducing the number of rigs from 26 to 16 by the end of the June.

However, BHP said it expected increased productivity to boost output by some 50% over the period.

BHP Billiton has promised not to reduce dividends to shareholders despite dramatic price falls in all its main commodities - iron ore, copper and oil.

Oil prices have fallen by more than half since last summer, with the price of both Brent and US crude now below $50 a barrel.


Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said: "In petroleum, we have moved quickly in response to lower prices.


"The revised drilling programme will benefit from significant improvements in drilling and completions efficiency."


In 2011, BHP spent $20bn breaking into the shale oil and gas market buying Petrohawk Energy and Chesapeake Energy in Louisiana and Texas.


Mr Mackenzie said the group's drilling operations would now focus on its Black Hawk field in Texas.


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GuerillaStockTrading.com's curator insight, January 26, 10:55 AM

BHP is reducing the number of rigs from 26 to 16 by the end of the June. The wave of layoffs from the energy bubble popping is here. If the Fed doesn't defend (devalue) the US dollar, more sectors will follow.

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Former Head of GCHQ Warns Of 'Ethically Worse' Kinds Of Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed | Glyn Moody | Techdirt

Former Head of GCHQ Warns Of 'Ethically Worse' Kinds Of Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed | Glyn Moody | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In their attempts to kill off strong encryption once and for all, top officials of the intelligence services are coming out with increasingly hyperbolic statements about why this should be done. Here's another, this time from a former head of GCHQ, Sir David Omand:

Sir David, who was director of GCHQ from 1996-97, said: "One of the results of Snowden is that companies are now heavily encrypting [communications] end to end.

"Intelligence agencies are not going to give up trying to get the bad guys. They will have to get closer to the bad guys. I predict we will see more close access work."

According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which reported his words from a talk he gave earlier this week, by this he meant things like physical observation, bugging rooms, and breaking into phones or computers. Omand went on:


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India: MTNL planning intra-city fibre network | TeleGeography.com

State-owned telco Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has begun deploying an intra-city fibre-optic network in Mumbai and Delhi, the Economic Times writes, citing MTNL MD PK Purwar.


The fibre network is intended to improve coverage in the region and will be made available to other operators, the official added.


Although the size of the planned network was not given, Mr Purwar said that it would cost around INR600,000-INR700,000 (USD9,743-USD11,367) per kilometre.

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EU members unlikely to support blanket ban on zero-rating | TeleGeography.com

European legislators are unlikely to support a European Union (EU)-wide ban on positive price discrimination, which allows operators to provide unlimited free access to certain services such as Facebook, Wikipedia and music streaming services, Reuters reports.


Opinions on the impact on competition of positive pricing discrimination, including zero-rating (the practice of offering toll-free data for certain applications or services), are divided and a blanket ban is unlikely to garner support from all member states.


Supporters of zero-rating argue that the practice has a positive impact on competition and innovation, whilst providing greater opportunities for low-income users.


Several member states and consumer rights activists, however, claim that positive price discrimination breaches net neutrality by providing privileged access to certain services and hamstringing competitors.

Net neutrality proposals put forward by Latvia suggested that the matter be left to member states to handle internally: ‘The issue of positive price discrimination could be left outside the scope of this instrument… this would allow each member state to decide whether to ban price discrimination at a national level or leave the assessment of such practices to general competition law.’

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Sad Day for Maryland | Alison Prost, ED | Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Sad Day for Maryland | Alison Prost, ED | Chesapeake Bay Foundation | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Alison Prost, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), issued this statement following Governor Hogan's withdrawal Wednesday of the Phosphorus Management Tool and nitrogen oxides (NOx) reduction regulations:

"This is a sad day in the long fight to make Maryland waters clean enough for swimming and fishing. Governor Hogan's decision has hurt the rivers and streams on Maryland's Eastern Shore where 228,000 tons of excess manure will continue to be applied to farm fields each year, and to wash off into nearby creeks and river. The new governor rolled back 10 years of progress when he withdrew the Phosphorus Management Tool, a common sense, science-based solution to the manure crisis.

"Agriculture is the largest source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay, and is also the cheapest to reduce by far. Many farmers deserve credit for their efforts to stem pollution from their barn yards and fields. But just as those who live in our cities and suburbs are doing more to clean the Bay, so must farmers.

"Businesses with technologies to help reduce phosphorus pollution from poultry manure are ready to come to Maryland and help ease the burden of excess manure. But these technologies will only have a significant impact if farmers are required to not apply excessive amounts of phosphorus to their crops. Regulations create demand for problem-solving technologies that otherwise would languish.

"Additionally, by withdrawing regulations that would have reduced pollution from coal-fired power plants, Governor Hogan's decision also has put corporate interests above the people of Greater Baltimore."


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MIT study finds carbon sequestration may not be as effective as expected | Helen Clark | GizMag.com

MIT study finds carbon sequestration may not be as effective as expected | Helen Clark | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Carbon sequestration may not, according to researchers at MIT, be the panacea that some had hoped. A recent study, partially funded by the United States Department of Energy, has found that far less carbon dioxide than the ideal prediction of 90 percent may be turned into rock when sequestered. This means much might eventually escape back into the atmosphere.

Carbon sequestration is one of many possible ways to tackle climate change. Though typically sequestered in rock, other approaches such as using special polymers and even processes inspired by the sea urchin are being investigated, but geological sequestration is still the mainstay.

The University of Illinois recently celebrated reaching its goal of capturing and storing one million tons of carbon dioxide underground, but the process may not be as rock solid as thought.

"If it (CO2) turns into rock, it’s stable and will remain there permanently," says Yossi Cohen, a postdoc working on the study. "However, if it stays in its gaseous or liquid phase, it remains mobile and it can possibly return back to the atmosphere."


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NM: Fracking Boom Expands Near Chaco Canyon, Threatens Navajo Ancestral Lands and People | Julie Dermansky | DeSmog Blog

NM: Fracking Boom Expands Near Chaco Canyon, Threatens Navajo Ancestral Lands and People | Julie Dermansky | DeSmog Blog | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Beneath a giant methane gas cloud recently identified by NASA, the oil and gas fracking industry is rapidly expanding in northwestern New Mexico. Flares that light up the night sky at drilling sites along the stretch of Route 550 that passes through the San Juan Basin, which sits on top of the oil rich Mancos Shale, are tell-tale indicators of the fracking boom.

Much of the land being fracked belongs to the federal government. The rest is a mixture of state, private and Navajo Nation land.

The region is known to the Diné (Navajo) as Dinétah, the land of their ancestors. It is home of the Bisti Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site.


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Uber finally comes to Kenya, African expansion to be tested | Nur Bremmen | ventureburn.com

Uber finally comes to Kenya, African expansion to be tested | Nur Bremmen | ventureburn.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

It was only a matter of time before Uber unleashed its East African chapter.

The US$40-billion worth taxi company is finally about to show face in Kenya’s Nairobi. After first touching down in Johannesburg, South Africa and then Lagos, Nigeria, the popular Uber is definitely clear about making inroads into Africa’s fast-expanding cities — and the whole world for that matter.

So far, the San Francisco-based hotshot is operating in over 250 cities across the globe. That’s 190 more than it had in 2013. Of course, as most Burn readers will know, this high growth doesn’t come without its fair share of growth pains.

Some of these aches include the vetting process of Uber-related drivers, user privacy infringements, alleged harassment of journalists and the general unwelcoming laws of certain traditional taxi industries. The latter saw recent upsets in Cape Town where over 30 cars were impounded for not abiding by the city’s taxi laws.

The questions now is whether or not Uber’s ride will be smooth going into Nairobi. As nicely demonstrated by mentor and entrepreneur Malaika Judd in a blog post, the Kenyan taxi environment has a unique set of dynamics which will make the roll-out (and traction) a very interesting one to witness going forward.

As apposed to Uber’s universal time-plus-distance price formula, Nairobi taxis rely on zone pricing where traveling within a specific zone has its own fixed price. Judd also points out to the intense traffic within the city which could also complicate Uber’s pricing formula. Then there’s the city’s unique payment demographics.


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The U.S. Senate had to vote that climate change is real. Not a proud moment in history. | Brian Palmer | onEarth.org

The U.S. Senate had to vote that climate change is real. Not a proud moment in history. | Brian Palmer | onEarth.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

There have been a lot of great lines delivered in the U.S. Congress. In 1862, Abraham Lincoln said: “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.” Here’s Lyndon Johnson, speaking about African-American disenfranchisement in 1965: “There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.”

Those were great moments. But to my mind, one of the greatest Capitol quotes of this century is from Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who delivered it at the 2008 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” hearing as defenders of an outdated discriminatory policy made their last desperate arguments to keep gays out of the military. (Jon Stewart skewered the event brilliantly, but be warned, it's NSFW.) Shea-Porter's take:

"I think 10, 15 years from now, we’re going to look at this hearing, and we’re all going to be embarrassed that we actually sat here and talked about this. I’m embarrassed right now."

So much in Congress seems farcical to outside observers that it’s refreshing when politicians like Shea-Porter admit that, sometimes at least, members of Congress feel that way, too. Unfortunately, yesterday’s Senate floor debate on the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline brought us back into the realm of the absurd.

As part of the debate and amendment process for the bill forcing approval of the pipeline, Democratic senators maneuvered the chamber into voting on a series of nonbinding resolutions concerning climate change. The first, from Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, was simple: to express the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax. It passed 98-1, with only Roger Wicker of Mississippi voting nay.

But wait, aren’t many GOP senators climate skeptics? Here’s where it gets really embarrassing. Many of them, such as arch denier James Inhofe of Oklahoma, voted for the bill—but only because it doesn’t say that humans are causing the change.


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The Internet of Robotic Things: Secure, harmless helpers or vulnerable, vicious foes? | David Geer | CSO Online

The Internet of Robotic Things: Secure, harmless helpers or vulnerable, vicious foes? | David Geer | CSO Online | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Experts say robots will be commonplace in 10 years. “Many respondents see advances in [artificial intelligence] and robotics pervading nearly every aspect of daily life by the year 2025—from distant manufacturing processes to the most mundane household activities,” says Aaron Smith, senior researcher, The Pew Research Center's Internet Project, speaking of the several experts quoted in his “Predictions for the State of AI and Robotics in 2025”.

People are increasingly connecting the broadening array of robots to the Internet and IoT devices, including sensors, to add functionality. “A new generation of robots uses wireless networking, big data, machine learning, open-source, and the Internet of Things to improve how they assist us in tasks from driving to housekeeping to surgery,” says Ken Goldberg, Professor, UC Berkeley. IoT such as sensors produce useful data, anything from temperature readings to measurements of vibrations, for decision-making by control systems that manage robots.

But there are security issues with Internet-based control of robots, which will grow as the number of robots and connections grow. “Security is a critical issue that prevents the widespread adoption of IoT technologies and applications. For this reason, this paper remarks that a full re-discussion about the major security challenges is required to make IoT a viable paradigm, especially in robotics applications,” says L.A. Grieco, Associate Professor, Politecnico di Bari, Italy, et.al in “IoT-aided robotics applications: technological implications, target domains, and open issues” (2014).

CSO explores the Internet of Robotic Things and the information security challenges it presents for the enterprise.


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Wananchi partners Epsilon to connect African customers to over 170 countries | TeleGeography.com

East African carrier Wananchi Telecom has partnered with Epsilon, a privately owned global communications service provider, for the delivery of outsourced network services to support the growth of its wholesale telecoms business.


The partnership will enable Nairobi-based Wananchi Telecom to expand the reach of its network and benefit from Epsilon’s infrastructure, network intelligence and international expertise.


Epsilon has deployed a virtual point of presence (vPoP) in Telehouse East London and SmartHub in Fujairah, UAE, to allow Wananchi Telecom access to more than 500 carriers and network service providers locally and internationally.


This will give Wananchi’s customers efficient access to international networks and local connectivity in more than 170 countries.


In addition to network infrastructure, Epsilon will provide a remote hands service for cabling, installations and PoP management.


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Italy: Cellcos face EUR5.1m fines | TeleGeography.com

Four Italian cellcos have been fined a total of EUR5.1 million (USD5.9 million) for illegally activating premium rate services without the end user’s permission.


Telecom Italia and H3G have been hit with penalties of EUR1.75 million each, while Wind Telecommunicazioni and Vodafone Italy face fines of EUR800,000 apiece.


The penalties have been levied by Italy’s competition authority, the Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), and relate to premium services such as games, horoscopes and music streaming services which come pre-installed when a user takes out a new subscription.

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