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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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Symantec, Kaspersky deny government ban in China | Michael Kan | NetworkWorld.com

Symantec, Kaspersky deny government ban in China | Michael Kan | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Symantec and Kaspersky Lab are both denying that China has banned their products, amid media reports that the country is shutting out foreign security vendors from selling to government agencies.


Both companies are not listed among the approved anti-virus vendors with the country’s central government procurement center, leaving only domestic security providers. This prompted reports to suggest that China had excluded both Symantec and Kaspersky Lab as a way to curb the use of foreign technology.


But despite the exclusion, U.S.-based Symantec said on Tuesday its products could still be sold to the Chinese government.


“It is important to note that this list is only for certain types of procurement and Symantec products are not banned by the Chinese government,” the company said in an email. “We are investigating this report and will continue to bid for and win governments projects in China.”


Russian vendor Kaspersky Lab said it had been a provider to the Chinese government procurement center, but that the government agency had “temporarily rescinded” its endorsements of foreign security providers.


“However, this restriction only applies to national-level institutions whose funding comes from the central government procurement budget, and does not include regional governments or large enterprises,” the company said in an email.


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Water and air are all you need to make one of world’s most important chemicals | Ars Technica

Water and air are all you need to make one of world’s most important chemicals | Ars Technica | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Researchers have developed a method to produce ammonia starting only with air and water. Not only is it more energy efficient than the century-old Haber-Bosch process that’s currently in use, but it’s also greener.


The ability to mass produce Ammonia—made up of three parts hydrogen and one part nitrogen (or NH3)—has had a momentous impact on society. Without the ready availability of this chemical, it is estimated that as many as a third of us won't be alive. This is because its main use is in fertilizer production, which has helped improve crop yields and sustain a large population.


Developed in 1909, the Haber-Bosch process—often cited as the most important invention of the 20th century—involves heating nitrogen and hydrogen gas at very high temperature and pressure in presence of an iron catalyst. The presence of the catalyst, which doesn't take part in the reaction but lowers its energy threshold, is vital. Haber-Bosch was used to produce about 140 million tons of ammonia in 2012, but it consumes nearly two percent of the world's energy supply.


One of the reasons the current production method is inefficient is because it needs hydrogen gas, which is obtained by processing natural gas. The byproduct of the process is also carbon dioxide, which creates other problems. Stuart Licht and his colleagues at the George Washington University thought they could do better if they could find a way of using water as a source of hydrogen.


Previous attempts at using water (made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen) with air (which consists of 78 percent nitrogen) to form ammonia have been less successful. Licht's solution was to bubble wet air through a mixture of tiny particles of iron oxide and molten chemicals (sodium and potassium hydroxide) that is zapped with electricity.


Any chemical reaction involves the exchange of electrons among atoms. In this case, the externally supplied electrons are necessary to help split water into hydrogen and oxygen, then combine the hydrogen with nitrogen. "When electricity is applied, the iron oxide captures electrons to permit water and air to directly react to form ammonia," Licht said.


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OH: Youngstown contractor sentenced to 28 months for dumping fracking waste | Cleveland Plain Dealer

OH: Youngstown contractor sentenced to 28 months for dumping fracking waste | Cleveland Plain Dealer | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The owner of a Youngstown oil-and-gas-drilling company was sentenced Tuesday to 28 months in prison for ordering employees to dump tens of thousands of gallons of fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River.


U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent also fined Benedict Lupo, 64, of suburban Poland $25,000. Nugent rejected defense attorney Roger Synenberg's request for home detention and a harsh fine.


Synenberg said Lupo is frail and extremely ill, as he requires dialysis treatments daily and suffers from chronic pain and diabetes.


"If he goes to jail, it's the death penalty for him,'' Synenberg said.

But Nugent cited the fact that Lupo ordered two employees to dump the waste and lie about it. The employees tried to talk Lupo out of it, but he refused. He also pointed out a prosecutor's pictures that detailed six weeks of clean-up in an oil-soaked creek.


"All you have to do is look at those photographs to see the damage that was done,'' Nugent said.


In March, Lupo pleaded guilty to the unpermitted discharge of pollutants under the U.S. Clean Water Act. His company, Hardrock Excavating LLC, stored, treated and disposed waste liquids generated by oil and gas drilling.


As the stored waste liquids piled up at his company in the fall of 2012 and into 2013, Lupo ordered employees to purge waste tanks into a storm-water drain that flowed to tributary.


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Overuse of Groundwater in California Threatens Future Farming and Human Habitation and Requires Enormous Amounts of Electricity | Big Picture Agriculture

As this California drought intensifies, this week I caught the first headline warning that people may need to be migrated out of areas where its groundwater has been depleted from pumping until exhaustion. As it turns out, there is little or no oversight on using up groundwater in the state, and so the busiest industry there of late has been well drilling.


Stanford is doing a series on groundwater use and policy problems in California, beginning with a great title, “Ignore it and it might go away“, referring to its unregulated use. They tell us that six million Californians rely on groundwater solely for their water supply (mostly in the Central Valley or Central Coast); 85% of California’s population relies on it to some degree; and California’s $45 billion agriculture industry relies upon it. Unfortunately, the state’s antiquated laws concerning groundwater use allow for secrecy, unfettered use, and depletion.


In that article, they inform us what ground water is:


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WA: DOE proposes leaving groundwater contamination to dissipate | Annette Cary | Tri-CityHerald.com

WA: DOE proposes leaving groundwater contamination to dissipate | Annette Cary | Tri-CityHerald.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Department of Energy proposes to leave some groundwater contamination near the Columbia River at F Reactor to dissipate over 35 to 150 years.


That's not sitting well with some agencies, including the Hanford, WA Advisory Board, which represents a broad cross-section of local government, environmental, health and worker interests.


"This is the first reactor area along the river to be addressed with a final proposed plan," said Dan Serres of Oregon-based Columbia Riverkeeper.


It could set a precedent for how cleanup is completed around the other eight plutonium production reactors at Hanford along the river, he said.


"It is important to the board that these decisions are dependable, protective, defensible and well supported," the advisory board said in a letter of advice to DOE and its regulator, the Environmental Protection Agency, based on an early draft of the plan last year.


Most of the environmental cleanup around F Reactor has been completed under interim cleanup decisions, leaving a final decision to be issued.


The proposed cleanup plan on which the decision will be based covers not only the area around the defunct F Reactor, but also large areas of undeveloped land at Hanford for a total of 145 square miles. That includes the old Hanford and White Bluffs townsites that were evacuated during World War II to make way for the nuclear reservation and the LIGO observatory.


DOE is proposing natural attenuation to clean the groundwater near F Reactor. That could include a combination of processes, such as biodegradation, dispersion, dilution and radioactive decay.


Natural attenuation would both protect human health and the environment and be cost-effective, according to DOE's proposed plan.


DOE contends the conditions do not currently present a risk to people, plants or animals. Controls would be put in place to prevent activities such as drilling wells until the contaminants dissipate.


Because most cleanup has been completed around F Reactor, the contamination is no longer contributing to the groundwater plume, according to DOE.


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PA: Fracking the Farm: Scientists Worry About Chemical Exposure to Livestock and Agriculture | Truth-Out.org

PA: Fracking the Farm: Scientists Worry About Chemical Exposure to Livestock and Agriculture | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The fracking boom hadn't begun yet in Pennsylvania when J. Stephen Cleghorn and his wife purchased a rundown 50-acre farm in Jefferson County with the intention of building it up into a certified organic farm selling vegetables and goat dairy products.


Four years later, in 2009, when a big rig started horizontally drilling for gas nearby, Cleghorn began to see the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on his farm. Those effects included health impacts on a neighbor's collies and a polluted spring - the kind of problems that now farmers in many states are experiencing and are indicative of a myriad of possible pathways for exposure to fracking.


Recent studies by public health and veterinarian scientists are confirming there is cause for concern when it comes to fracking's potential impact on farm crops and animals.


Soon after the big rig had started drilling about four miles from Cleghorn's farm, a neighboring organic farmer who lived downhill from that rig soon saw one of her farm's water sources, a spring, polluted by what looked like orange acid mine drainage from an old coal mine that the drilling had apparently circulated toward her spring.


The neighboring farmer also began seeing health issues in her dogs. She told Cleghorn she believed her collies' health issues resulted from walking through a puddle of fracking wastewater. The neighbor told Cleghorn that her dogs had licked the salty fluid from their paws after walking through the wastewater that had been illegally spread on the dirt road bordering her farm. Subsequently, one of the collies gave birth to seven puppies stillborn out of a litter of 11. Another died of cancer within a year even though she was still in her prime.


Cleghorn worries the incident is an ominous sign of a growing fracking footprint's impact on domestic pets, livestock and agriculture across the county.


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Canada: The West wants out | Toronto Star

Canada: The West wants out | Toronto Star | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Earthquakes happen rarely in Canadian politics, but the fault lines are shifting again on the West Coast. As the next federal election draws closer, conditions below the surface should remind political observers of another seismic event a generation ago.


Back in the early 1990s, Stephen Harper and the insurgent Reform Party forced a tectonic shift, unleashing a powerful wave of western alienation that has realigned Canadian politics to this day. Their slogan was: “The West wants in.”


You could sum up the feeling in British Columbia lately as, “The West wants out.” Today you could get in your car in Kenora and drive clear across the Prairies to the coast without ever leaving a blue Conservative riding. But the road through the Rocky Mountains could become tricky indeed if Harper’s party doesn’t change course.


The central question for British Columbians, as it was for Albertans in the 1980s and ’90s, is this: who gets to decide what’s in our best interest — Ottawa or the people who live here?


As pundits debate the technical merits of crude oil and coal export proposals through B.C., they miss the deeper sense of alienation that’s taking hold. British Columbians and especially First Nations are growing increasingly resentful of decisions they feel have been imposed on them from the outside.


A poll this year by the Manning Centre (led by Harper’s former boss, Preston Manning) found fully 68 per cent of people in B.C. feel the country is going in the wrong direction. Asked why the number was so high, the former Reform Party leader said “pipelines.”


People in B.C. don’t want out of Canada, but they want out of the Harper government’s national energy plan, such as it is. Becoming a fossil-fuel export “superpower,” in Harper’s words, holds little appeal for communities caught between Alberta’s oilsands and the refineries in Asia.


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Lakes raise new question on Arctic warming | Climate News Network

Lakes raise new question on Arctic warming | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scientists say there is uncertainty over a previously unquestioned assumption about the way in which temperatures are rising in the Arctic.


New research, supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), suggests that a rethink is required on the widely-held scientific view that thawing permafrost uniformly accelerates atmospheric warming.


Instead, the scientists say, their findings show that one type of Arctic lake stores more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than it emits into the atmosphere.


But they say the effect is unlikely to be permanent, because increasing Arctic warmth will probably lead to the renewed release of the gases stored in the lakes.


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GAO Report: Drinking Water at Risk From Underground Fracking Waste Injection | Truth-Out.org

GAO Report: Drinking Water at Risk From Underground Fracking Waste Injection | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released its report this week finding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is “not consistently conducting two key oversight and enforcement activities for class II programs” for underground fluid injection wells associated with oil and gas production. The report shows that the EPA’s program to protect drinking water sources from underground injection of fracking waste needs improvement.


According to the report, “The U.S. EPA does not consistently conduct annual on-site state program evaluations as directed in guidance because, according to some EPA officials, the agency does not have the resources to do so.” The report also found that “to enforce state class II requirements, under current agency regulations, EPA must approve and incorporate state program requirements and any changes to them into federal regulations through a rulemaking.”


“The federal government’s watchdog is saying what communities across the country have known for years: fracking is putting Americans at risk,” said Amy Mall, senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. ”From drinking water contamination to man-made earthquakes, the reckless way oil and gas companies deal with their waste is a big problem. Outdated rules and insufficient enforcement are largely to blame. EPA needs to rein in this industry run amok.”


According to GAO, this study was conducted because:


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South Africa: Johannesburg terminates broadband contract with CitiConnect | TeleGeography.com

The local government of Johannesburg has terminated a build, operate and transfer agreement with CitiConnect Communications, which had been tasked with running and commercialising Johannesburg’s broadband project via start-up operator BWired, due to ‘multiple breaches of the contract’, TechCentral reports.


Johannesburg’s broadband infrastructure project is part of the local government’s plan to connect all of its main offices and branch sites and to roll out a thousand Wi-Fi hotspots by the end of 2016. The network was scheduled to go live on 1 July 2013, but CitiConnect failed to honour its obligations.


Zolani Matebese, the head of the broadband project, said: ‘It is unfortunate that we have had to take such action, but it is as a result of noncompliance to the contract and we did not really have any other option …Over the past year, we tried to assist [CitiConnect] as far as possible to resolve the issues and it just eventuated that they were not able to deliver.’ Matebese said the city will not leave the project in limbo, with the local government planning to ramp up capacity internally, though it is also in talks with external companies to ensure that its broadband targets are achieved.

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MA: Failure of net metering bill is a loss for the state's electric utilities | Boston Business Journal

MA: Failure of net metering bill is a loss for the state's electric utilities | Boston Business Journal | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Plenty of people in the clean-tech industry were disappointed that an ambitious bill to overhaul the state’s solar incentives didn’t make it to the finish line last week.


Fortunately for them, the system that helped place Massachusetts fifth among all states for its solar energy capacity will remain intact for now.

It was the investor-owned electric utilities that were the real losers in this year’s solar debate, not the enviros.


That’s because utility executives wanted a bill that would allow them to charge customers for solar energy that gets transmitted from their homes and businesses onto the grid. The bill’s prospects slipped away in the final hours of the Legislature’s two-year formal session.


To understand what happened, you have to know about two key components of the state’s generous system to support solar energy. The first is net metering, or the ability for solar users to be reimbursed for excess power that gets sent onto the grid. The other one is the solar renewable energy certificate, a tradable credit that allows utilities to meet their state-mandated renewable energy requirements.


The Legislature has had a strict cap on how much net metering can happen in a particular utility territory: three percent of a utility’s load base. The restriction was put in place because electricity consumers only pay utilities for the power coming to their homes and businesses, and not for power being sent off-site into the grid. So a highly efficient array of solar panels on a particular house could actually allow a homeowner to make money off the power sent onto the grid without paying a dime to the utility for using the wires.


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6 Nearly Living Architectural Designs That Fight Air Pollution | Mashable.com

6 Nearly Living Architectural Designs That Fight Air Pollution | Mashable.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Getting a breath of fresh air can be a rarity in a city, and construction usually doesn't help. However, there are some buildings — whether already built or only just proposed — that can change the way our environment and infrastructure interact, making the air cleaner in the process.


From giant filters to pollution-fighting sidewalks, these buildings and structures are a breath of fresh air in places often overrun with harsh fumes.


Here are six designs that are leading the way:


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U.S. EPA to get earful from climate rule friends, foes | POLITICO.com

U.S. EPA to get earful from climate rule friends, foes | POLITICO.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

An estimated 1,600 people are slated to sound off to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed climate change rule for existing power plants this week at a series of marathon public hearings.


Scientists, lawmakers, environmentalists and industry officials will line up at the hearings to deliver five-minute statements on the merits or shortfalls of the EPA’s plans to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s power generators by nearly a third.


The grueling 11-hour sessions, which will be held over two days in Washington, Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh, aren’t likely to bridge the massive gap between the Republicans and industry groups that hate the rule and the liberals and environmentalists who love it.


Instead, expect both sides to dig in their heels, polishing off long-standing talking points about how the regulation is likely to either destroy the economy or save the planet.


It’s difficult to draw any broad conclusions from the hearings about how the average person feels about the regulation because many of those who will testify are closely associated with groups that have taken stands for or against the proposed carbon restrictions. Environmental and industry groups have hired buses to send members to the hearings in droves. Polls show that the majority of the public supports the rule.


The hearings are shaping up to be something of a spectacle, with many groups planning splashy events aimed at standing out in the crowd.


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Telefónica bids $9B to acquire Brazilian telecom operator | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com

Telefónica bids $9B to acquire Brazilian telecom operator | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Spanish operator’s plan is to acquire the operator from its current owner, French media and telecom company Vivendi, and merge it with Telefónica Brasil. A combination of Vivo, the brand Telefónica uses in Brazil, and GVT would create the largest telecom operator in Latin America’s largest market, the company said.


The offer is a mixture of cash and newly issued shares representing a 12 percent stake in Telefónica Brasil, after its combination with GVT. As an alternative, Telefónica is offering shares in Telecom Italia, now representing a stake of 8.3 percent. Unless Telefónica’s offer is extended or accepted by Vivendi, it expires on Sept. 3.


Just like similar deals in Europe and the U.S., the driver is to create an operator that can offer mobile and fixed broadband and TV services using its own networks.


Vivo is the biggest mobile operator in Brazil and GVT offers high-speed broadband and pay-TV services. GVT’s network is the most modern in the country, and includes one of the most extensive local access and long-distance fiber infrastructures, according to Vivendi.


Telecom operators and pay-TV providers around the world are facing increased competition from Internet-based services.


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IL: Clean Power Lake County Coalition Statement on NRG Decision to Continue Burning Coal at Waukegan Coal Plant | eNews Park Forest

August 7, 2014. Today, New Jersey-based NRG Energy announced it would continue to burn coal with interim pollution controls at the 60-year-old Waukegan coal plant on the shore of Lake Michigan.


“”Every family has the right to breathe clean air,” said Waukegan mother Dulce Ortiz. “NRG’S decision to continue burning coal on the Waukegan lakefront saddles our community with many more years of pollution at a time when we are calling out for a cleaner future for our lakefront and local clean energy development. We’ll continue to push NRG to set a reasonable retirement date for its dirty relic of the past and focus on boosting clean energy here in our community.”


Pollution from the Waukegan coal plant contributes to poor air quality in Lake County. In addition to seeing the highest ozone smog levels in Illinois, Lake County air quality is also currently in “non-attainment” for small particulates that contribute to asthma attacks, asthma hospitalizations and other respiratory trauma. The asthma rates among children in Waukegan are incredibly high, around 32 percent compared to the national average of 10 percent. While the pollution control technology set to be installed by NRG will cut some of the asthma-inducing sulfur dioxide pollution, the carbon pollution output from the plant will still exacerbate the health impacts of climate disruption. The controls will also do nothing to address the consistent water pollution issues from the coal ash ponds that sit right next to Lake Michigan.


“Today’s announcement proved NRG is not yet serious about investing in a clean, healthy future for Waukegan residents,” said Brian Urbaszewski, director of environmental health programs at Respiratory Health Association. “With continued coal use, threats such as heatwaves, dirty air and spreading disease will intensify, harming the health of vulnerable populations including children, seniors and people living with lung disease.”


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How Deep Is The American West’s Water Challenge? | On Point Radio | WBUR.org

How Deep Is The American West’s Water Challenge? | On Point Radio | WBUR.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A NASA study says the water problem in the American is deeper than we thought. We’ll look at the West’s deep water challenge.


If you’ve been to Lake Mead you’ve seen it. Prolonged drought in the West has driven the country’s largest reservoir to its lowest level in memory. But the true crisis lies below the Colorado Basin bedrock.


More than 75% of the water lost in the last nine years came from groundwater supplies. And it may never come back. That’s water for 40 million Americans. Water for 4 million acres of farmland. Without drastic action, the water crisis may permanently change the Western way of life.  This hour, On Point: groundwater crisis in the western U.S.


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PA: Drillers did not report half of spills that led to fines | Pittsburg Post Gazette

PA: Drillers did not report half  of spills that led to fines | Pittsburg Post Gazette | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Half the spills at Marcellus Shale well sites that resulted in fines weren’t spotted by gas companies, which are required by state law to look for and report spills of drilling-related fluids.


That is one of the main conclusions of a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review of hundreds of thousands of state and company documents for every incident at a Marcellus well site that led to a fine against a driller through the end of 2012.


The documentation showing that companies often failed to detect spills on their own sites offers a look at self-regulation in the shale gas industry.


State regulation of the industry was the subject of a withering state auditor general review of the Department of Environmental Protection’s oversight issued July 22. The audit detailed the agency’s shortcomings, including failing to consistently issue enforcement orders to drilling companies after regulators determined that gas operations had damaged water supplies, even though the state’s oil and gas law requires it.


The Post-Gazette investigation using well permit file documents and other DEP data focused on 425 incidents involving 48 companies that resulted in nearly $4.4 million in fines.


Of those 425 fines, 137 were due to spills at or near a well site. They ranged from relatively small incidents involving a couple of gallons of diesel fuel on a well pad to larger accidents involving thousands of gallons of hydraulic fracturing flowback fluid that killed vegetation or fish.


Since the first fine of the Marcellus era in 2005, the DEP has made it clear that incidents that potentially impact the environment would be the ones most likely to result in a fine, so it is no surprise that spills make up a significant portion of the fines.


But what is surprising — to politicians, environmental groups, the industry itself and state officials — was the number of spills that were not first spotted by the drillers themselves. About a third were first identified by state inspectors while others, about one-sixth, were discovered by residents, according to the Post-Gazette’s analysis.


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Messages in the Deep: The Remarkable Story of the Underwater Internet | BuiltVisible.com

Messages in the Deep: The Remarkable Story of the Underwater Internet | BuiltVisible.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In October of 1971, in the midst of the Cold War, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Halibut entered heavily guarded Russian waters in the Sea of Okhotsk. Orchestrated by the joint efforts of the CIA, NSA, and U.S. Navy, her mission—code named Operation Ivy Bells—was to find and tap into an undersea communications cable that was connecting a Soviet naval base on the Kamchatka Peninsula with the Pacific Fleet’s mainland headquarters in Vladivostok. The cable was a vital pipeline for Soviet communications, and as such represented a tremendous potential intelligence resource for the United States.


In 400 feet of water, the Halibut’s crew found the cable and installed a unique waterproof tap that was designed to detach and remain on the seafloor if the cable was ever hauled up for repairs. Each month for the next decade, the navy secretly returned to retrieve the recordings and install new tapes—until 1981, when NSA employee Ronald Pelton sold classified information about Operation Ivy Bells to the KGB for $35,000.


Pelton failed to cover his tracks; he was exposed, convicted of espionage and continues to this day to serve out his lifetime prison sentence. Although his betrayal compromised the Ivy Bells operation, the United States’ success in the Sea of Okhotsk prompted them to carry out many more underwater cable-tapping operations in the years thereafter. In 1979, the USS Parche traveled from San Francisco to the Barents Sea to install another tap on a Soviet undersea cable, which ultimately remained undetected and in-use until 1992. In 1985, the navy expanded their operations to the Mediterranean, tapping cables spanning from Europe to North Africa. The USS Parche remained in active operation until 2004, receiving numerous presidential commendations throughout the 1990s for her many classified missions around the world.


Today, Parche has been replaced by the USS Jimmy Carter, which is reputedly retrofitted with a special floodable chamber that allows divers to move freely between the interior and exterior of the submarine during underwater operations—a feature that many have speculated is used for modern-day undersea cable tapping.


Since the days of Cold War-era spying, underwater communication cables have proliferated exponentially across the globe. According to data released by TeleGeography, leading telecommunications market research firm, there are 277 undersea fibre optic cables in the world today. These cables carry 99% of all international communications, including Internet and telecom traffic. They span a total of 986,543 km, and each day route a quantity of data equivalent to several hundred US Libraries of Congress. This mass expansion of communication across the globe has forced surveillance methods to adapt and evolve accordingly.


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Canada: B.C. economy not fueled by oil and gas: report | Vancouver Observer

Canada: B.C. economy not fueled by oil and gas: report | Vancouver Observer | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

How dependent is BC's economy on oil and gas? Not as much as people might expect, according to a new study by Conversations for Responsible Economic Development, a BC-based nonprofit


Although Premier Christy Clark has said the resource sector is the main driver of British Columbia's economy, the numbers show otherwise. Over 75 per cent of BC's GDP now comes from the services, while sectors such as technology and film employ more than oil, mining, gas and forestry combined. 


CRED co-founder Liz McDowell, who compiled the report, said the gap between perception and reality of BC's economy may have resulted from the heavy ad campaigns promoting oil and gas as the backbone of Canada's economy. Recently, the federal government renewed a multi-million dollar ad campaign with Fleishman-Hillard to promote the oil sands and other Canadian resources.


"We know the federal government has spent $40 million in promoting the oil sands -- the ads that we see presented to us definitely play a role," said Liz McDowell, an author of the report.  "A lot of the factors that make up majority of economy are small businesses."


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Mobile operators lean on Samsung devices for next-generation messaging | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com

Mobile operators lean on Samsung devices for next-generation messaging | Mikael Ricknas | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 will work with the latest version of Joyn, a specification that mobile operators are hoping will, against the odds, claw back messaging traffic they have lost to Web-based services.


The growing popularity of smartphones have been a blessing and a curse for mobile operators around the world. While they can sell billions of broadband subscriptions, traditional revenue steams are under pressure from Internet-based voice and messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype.


Operators such as Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have launched services based on the Joyn specifications to help them compete. The plan is to prevent users from switching to Web-based offerings by making traditional voice and text services more modern.


Samsung is using Blackbird, the latest version of the Joyn. The company is the first smartphone vendor to have its implementation of the specification “accredited” by industry organization GSM Association, it said on Monday.


The list of features Blackbird offers includes the ability to switch to a video call or share pictures during a voice call and transfer files during group and one-to-one chats, with non-Joyn users accessing the content via an SMS, according to Samsung. The Joyn functionality has also been more tightly integrated with existing SMS apps, it said.


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Tesla and Panasonic sign agreement on battery-making Gigafactory | GizMag.com

Tesla and Panasonic sign agreement on battery-making Gigafactory | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

If electric vehicles are to ultimately become as popular as Tesla hopes they will, then a whole lot of cost-effective batteries are going to be needed. That's why earlier this year, the automaker proposed a "Gigafactory" where it could crank out huge quantities of batteries. By making so many, it could drive down the price per battery via economy of scale. Yesterday, the company announced that it and Panasonic had signed an agreement to build that factory.


As mentioned in our previous article, Tesla plans for the Gigafactory to produce 500,000 batteries per year by 2020, with expected battery cell output of 35 GWh/yr and battery pack output of 50 GWh/yr. Current global battery output, from a variety of manufacturers, sits at just under 35 GWh/yr.


According to yesterday's announcement, "Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land, buildings and utilities [while] Panasonic will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in the associated equipment, machinery, and other manufacturing tools based on their mutual approval."


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US giant AT&T may consider bid for Ireland's Eircom, paper says | TeleGeography.com

According to an unconfirmed report in The Sunday Business Post, US telco AT&T Inc is considering a bid for Irish former monopoly Eircom as a ‘potential low-tax route into Europe’. The paper claims that high level officials from AT&T have been seen at the Irish telco’s Dublin headquarters in recent weeks, and speculates that whilst Eircom is gearing up for a stock market flotation, no pre-initial public offering (IPO) process is currently underway and its deadline for its so-called ‘clarity of options’ is the year end, not the autumn.


Last month, CommsUpdate reported that Eircom was considering delaying its planned stock market listing amid concerns that investors will not be interested in buying shares. The incumbent had tentatively set a September timeline for the date of its third public offering since 1999, but is now contemplating a number of options, such as the sale of a part of its business to international funds and the postponement of its flotation by an undetermined period of months.


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Israel: Cellcom follows Partner in launching limited 4G service | TeleGeography.com

Israeli mobile network operator Cellcom has become the country’s second cellco to inaugurate commercial 4G services, it has announced.


With the Ministry of Communications (MoC) having revealed it would allow a number of the nation’s existing cellcos to offer limited 4G services with immediate effect last month, Cellcom has confirmed that it is now using a 5MHz block in the 1800MHz frequency band that it already holds for its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. In announcing the launch, the cellco noted that it will continue ‘the rapid deployment of the network in order to achieve a wide and high quality deployment by the end of the year’.


As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in mid-July 2014 Partner Communications, which offers services under the Orange banner, became the first of Israel’s mobile network operators to inaugurate its 4G infrastructure, also using a 5MHz block of 1800MHZ spectrum , with its customers with compatible handsets able to access the increased downlink speeds offered by the new technology at no extra cost.

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These Rooftop Solar Panels Double As Extra Housing For Crowded Cities | FastCoExist.com

These Rooftop Solar Panels Double As Extra Housing For Crowded Cities | FastCoExist.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The usual way to add solar power to a building is just to attach some panels to the roof. But a new design goes a step farther with a solar attachment that doubles as extra housing. A single story of lightweight apartments are added to a rooftop and then covered in enough solar panels to generate power for the entire building.


For cities like San Francisco that are struggling with rising rents, the design has the potential to quickly provide some new homes--all without developing new land or changing city regulations about building height.


The OnTop design comes from a student team in Germany, a country where 70% of the population lives in cities and there's also a housing crunch. "New living space is needed and the question is where to build it," says Sebastian Fiedler, the professor at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences who advised a team of architecture, business, and engineering students. "Building on top of an existing building doesn't take up new land, and no additional infrastructure has to be created."


The idea also takes advantage of new money flowing into a city to help renovate older buildings for long-time residents; renting or selling the new living units will directly fund upgrades for everyone else. "Many people want to live in the city and they are willing to pay a lot of money for it," Fiedler says. "It is a powerful economic force. We want to use this force to enhance the existing building."


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New York's New $20 Billion Neighborhood Of Skyscrapers Is Designed With Millennials In Mind | FastCoExist.com

New York's New $20 Billion Neighborhood Of Skyscrapers Is Designed With Millennials In Mind | FastCoExist.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The new $20 billion Hudson Yards development project is designed specifically to court the younger demographic that companies want in their workforces.


Employers, and by extension, cities seeking growth and tax dollars, are competing more fiercely than ever to become centers of innovation and attract top talent. In New York City, that thinking applies to the city within a city that will rise above wide-open expanse of rail yards on Manhattan’s West Side.


The challenge of attracting top office tenants shaped design and planning of the project, with the mix of uses aimed at appealing to a new generation of workers, says Jay Cross, president of Related Hudson Yards, the private real estate developer leading the project. By 2015, when the first building, 10 Hudson Yards, is finished, millennials will already comprise half of the workforce, he says. By the time the last building is done, this younger generation of workers will be approaching 75%.


“It’s much more than a real estate project, and we actually have to step back and not think of it in those terms,” he says. “The corporates who are going to relocate their corporate headquarters here, what we find as a never-ending theme [with them] is: How do I get the best talent in New York, and how do I hold on, how do I keep that talent? Engaging that talent, and giving companies a competitive advantage, I think, is a big part of what we’re trying to do, physically.”


“They want a lot of work-life integration--far more than goes on in my generation--and they want to work for innovative companies,” Cross says, of the younger generation. “If we create an environment in which innovative companies want to come and congregate, we’re going to create the same environment in which people want to live, shop, and work. So that’s driven a lot of our decisions, especially related to technology.”


Hudson Yards will have its own looped fiber network, with one gigabit free Wi-Fi in public spaces and a distributed antenna system that will make sure everyone will get a strong mobile phone signal, regardless of carrier. All of its utilities, including Hudson Yards’ own onsite electric microgrid, 13.2 megawatt natural gas co-generation plant and four diesel generators, will be located 40 feet above sea level, meaning that the complex will be a “place of refuge,” as Cross says, during future Hurricane Sandy-like disasters.


Related is also working with NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress to create an entire “quantified” neighborhood filled with data-collecting sensors--on building equipment, appliances, and on a voluntary basis, on people’s smartphones, too. They will be working with one future office tenant, SAP, and other partners to form a laboratory that will build useful applications with this data, which could measure everything from shopping habits to energy use.


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