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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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The Giant Methane Monster Lurking under the Arctic Ocean | Truth-Out.org

The Giant Methane Monster Lurking under the Arctic Ocean | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

There's something lurking deep under the frozen Arctic Ocean, and if it gets released, it could spell disaster for our planet.


That something is methane.


Methane is one of the strongest of the natural greenhouse gases, about 80 times more potent than CO2, and while it may not get as much attention as its cousin CO2, it certainly can do as much, if not more, damage to our planet.


That's because methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and there are trillions of tons of it embedded in a kind of ice slurry called methane hydrate or methane clathrate crystals in the Arctic and in the seas around the continental shelves all around the world.


If enough of this methane is released quickly enough, it won't just produce the same old global warming.


It could produce an extinction of species on a wide scale, an extinction that could even include the human race.


If there is a "ticking time bomb" on our planet that could lead to a global warming so rapid and sudden that we would have no way of dealing with it, it's methane.


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Updated: PayPal froze account of secure email startup ProtonMail due to "technical problem" | GigaOM Tech News

Updated: PayPal froze account of secure email startup ProtonMail due to "technical problem" | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

About 6 weeks ago my colleague Barb Darrow covered a new secure email startup called ProtonMail, which was set up by a bunch of MIT, Harvard and CERN researchers who are annoyed with the NSA’s intrusive ways.


The team’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign has done pretty well in the last 2 weeks, thus far raising $283,675 off a $100,000 goal. But Geneva-headquartered ProtonMail, which is keen to rent servers and get the product out of beta, hit a snag on Monday when it discovered PayPal had frozen its account.


Restrictions on the account were lifted on Tuesday, with ProtonMail crediting the reversal to media coverage, but PayPal said the account had only been frozen in the first place due to a technical problem. However, when ProtonMail was trying to find out why the block had been put in place, a PayPal representative apparently asked whether the startup had sought government approval for offering encrypted services.


The payments firm said in a statement:


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Germany: Robots help create ultra-thin wooden exhibition hall | GizMag.com

Germany: Robots help create ultra-thin wooden exhibition hall | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall in Stuttgart, Germany, is claimed to be the first building to have its core structure made entirely from interlocking timber sections created by robots. Made up of over 240 individual segments of beech plywood created using a robotic fabrication method, the 17 meter (55 ft) tall, 245 square meter (2,637 sq ft) structure required just 12 cubic meters (424 cubic feet) of timber to construct.


Looking remarkably like a very large peanut, the exhibition hall consists of plywood panels just 50 mm (2 in) thick that, according to the academics from the University of Stuttgart who constructed it, make use of 7,600 individual finger joints interlocked in such a way that they create a shell that needs no additional support.


Though other timber buildings – such as the "WikiHouse" – have benefited from the use of computer-controlled milling machines and robotics, most of these are made using conventional construction methods, such as stud frames and truss roofs. The Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall is different because it uses structural forms that mimic those found in nature in its construction.


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Big data security analytics mantra: Collect and analyze everything | NetworkWorld.com

Big data security analytics mantra: Collect and analyze everything | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In a recent research survey, ESG asked security professionals to identify the most important type of data for use in malware detection and analysis (note: I am an employee of ESG). The responses were as follows:


  • 42% of security professionals said, “Firewall logs”
  • 28% of security professionals said, “IDS/IPS alerts”
  • 27% of security professionals said. “PC/laptop forensic data”
  • 23% of security professionals said, “IP packet capture”
  • 22% of security professionals said, “Server logs”


I understand this hierarchy from a historical perspective, but I contend that this list is no longer appropriate for several reasons. First of all, it is skewed toward the network perimeter which no longer makes sense in a mobile device/mobile user world. Second, it appears rooted in SIEM technology which was OK a few years ago, but we no longer want security technologies mandating what types of data we can and cannot collect and analyze.


Finally, this list has “old school” written all over it. We used to be limited by analytics platforms and the cost of storage, but this is no longer the case. Big data, cheap storage, and cloud-based storage services have altered the rules of the games from an analytics and economics perspective. The new mantra for security analytics should be, "collect and analyze everything."


What makes up "everything?" Meta data, security intelligence, identity information, transactions, emails, physical security systems – everything!


Now, I know what you are thinking:


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Activists say California fighting pollution globally but not locally | LATimes.com

Activists say California fighting pollution globally but not locally | LATimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In the Bay Area oil port city of Martinez, where a colossal Shell refinery has long tainted the air, the landmark California law that requires polluters to ease their carbon footprint seemed to some to promise new relief.


But one big move by Shell to comply with rules on greenhouse gas emissions won't do much for Martinez. It will instead give a boost to the environment in the pristine Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the oil company is helping preserve a 200,000-acre forest.


California regulators are satisfied the forest project will be a sponge for greenhouse gases, helping reduce global warming. It doesn't matter that the trees grow nowhere near California.


Advocates for the local community heatedly disagree.


In California and across the country, the purchase of so-called carbon offsets by large corporations sits at the root of a bitter dispute over the extent to which companies dealing with a global problem have an obligation to help their local environments.


The dispute has taken on new importance as more states mull over whether to adopt California's model amid the Obama administration's push to place strict new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.


"We think the residents who are disproportionately burdened by this pollution should benefit," said Guillermo Mayer, president of Public Advocates, a San Francisco environmental justice group. "Instead of reducing the pollution locally through better technology or ramping down emissions, you get to buy trees in another part of the world. The residents nearby aren't helped."


Mayer calls it absurd that California companies may be able to reach as much as half of their emission reduction goals over the next several years through efforts that include not just planting trees, but capturing methane from cow manure in New York and recycling refrigerators in Arkansas. An environmental justice panel assembled by the state to advise regulators similarly warned against using out-of-state offsets.


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Energy providers hacked through malicious software updates | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Energy providers hacked through malicious software updates | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Eastern European-based attackers gained access to the networks of energy providers by tampering with software updates for industrial control systems, gaining a foothold that could be used for sabotage, Symantec said Monday.


The Dragonfly group, which appears to operate from Eastern Europe, compromised three ICS vendors, adding a piece of remote access malware to legitimate software updates, the security vendor wrote in a blog post Monday.


“Given the size of some of its targets, the group found a ‘soft underbelly’ by compromising their suppliers, which are invariably smaller, less protected companies,” Symantec wrote.


The companies unwittingly installed the malware by downloading the software updates from the ICS vendors. Symantec did not identify the vendors, but said it had notified the victims and various computer emergency response centers.


Those affected were energy grid operators, electricity generators and petroleum pipeline operators, with the majority of them in the U.S., Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Poland, Symantec wrote.


On Friday, an agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an advisory on the attacks based on information it received from Symantec and the Finnish security company F-Secure.


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Japanese telecoms regulator to order unlocking of all handsets | TeleGeography.com

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) is reportedly planning to impose obligations on the country’s cellcos to unlock their handsets, in order to allow subscribers to use SIM cards from other networks.


According to the Japan Times, the watchdog is set to present the plan to a panel on 7 July 2014, and map out the procedure details by the end of the fiscal year (ending 31 March 2015).


Previously, the MIC formulated guidelines for removing SIM locks in 2010, but little progress was made, as the unlocking procedure was not deemed obligatory.

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In defense of Facebook’s newsfeed study | WashPost.com

In defense of Facebook’s newsfeed study | WashPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Did Facebook overstep its bounds when it ran a secret psychological experiment on a fraction of its users two years ago? That's the question at the heart of an Internet firestorm of the past few days. The consensus is that Facebook probably did something wrong. But what, exactly? To say this is one more example of Facebook prioritizing power over privacy is to vastly oversimplify what's going on here. The reality is that people are objecting for a lot of reasons. Whatever your gut feelings about Facebook, don't give into them. Yet.


If you're just coming to the story: For a week in 2012, Facebook took a slice of 689,000 English-speaking accounts across its userbase. Then for a random portion of those users, it tweaked the newsfeed in different ways to change what they saw. For instance, some newsfeeds were made to be "happier" when Facebook made negative-sounding posts less likely to appear. Other newsfeeds were made "sadder" when Facebook reduced the incidence of positive-sounding posts.


The apparent goal was to find out whether emotions were contagious on Facebook — whether happy (or sad) newsfeeds made users more likely to write more happy posts (or sad posts) themselves. The results were enlightening: The researchers found evidence to suggest that "emotional contagion" is in fact a thing. But Facebook probably didn't anticipate the backlash that followed. Adam Kramer, one of the lead researchers and a Facebook data scientist, penned a Facebook post to address the criticism, saying the study was partly motivated by a desire to understand what would keep people from leaving Facebook.


That hasn't stopped a vigorous — and healthy — debate from taking place about the convergence of business and academic research, and whether Facebook acted irresponsibly or unethically with its users' data. Facebook does a lot of questionable things, but its research on Facebook users probably shouldn't rank highly on that list. To understand why, let's unpack some of the charges being lobbed at the social network. Call it a taxonomy of Facebook critiques.


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MA: Feds promise $150 million for Cape Wind | The Boston Globe

MA: Feds promise $150 million for Cape Wind | The Boston Globe | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The US government is promising to back the controversial Cape Wind project with $150 million, federal officials said, signaling a vote of confidence that the offshore wind farm will get built.


The support will come in the form of a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. With this federal commitment, which still needs to be finalized, Cape Wind would have raised $1.45 billion, or nearly 60 percent of the estimated $2.5 billion it will take to build more than 100 turbines in Nantucket Sound.


“All of it has been coming together,” said Peter W. Davidson, executive director of the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office. “It’s a great project, and we believe it will give birth to a very important industry.”


Cape Wind’s developer, Energy Management Inc., first applied for the loan guarantee in 2009, but the project still faced several hurdles, including financing, permitting, and numerous lawsuits. Now, with a large portion of financing in place, regulatory approvals in hand, and most legal challenges resolved, the project has finally reached a threshold where it is likely to get done, US energy officials said.


Cape Wind officials are scheduled to be notified of the loan Tuesday morning. They have said the project is on track to start construction in 2015.


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The Internet of Things at home: Why we should pay attention | NetworkWorld.com

The Internet of Things at home: Why we should pay attention | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

What is the Internet of Things (IoT), exactly? If you're a consumer, then the first thing that leaps to mind might be a Nest Wi-Fi thermostat, or perhaps those smart health bands that let you monitor your activity level from an app on your smartphone.


That's part of it. But if you're an engineer, you might think of the smart sensors that General Electric embeds in locomotives and wind turbines, while a city manager might be considering smart parking meters, and a hospital administrator might envision swallowable smart pill sensors that monitor how much medication you've taken or blood pressure cuffs and blood glucose monitors that can monitor patient health in the field and wirelessly stream updates into clinical systems.


The IoT is a catchall phrase, a concept that includes all of these things. "We look at the IoT as a superset, the umbrella term that covers all areas, including consumer, industrial and public sector," says Hung LeHong, vice president at research firm Gartner.


But IoT is also built on enabling technologies. At its core, a smart thing is an intelligent, physical object that's communications enabled; each device is individually addressable, often with an IP address. A smart thing typically contains a semiconductor or microcontroller, along with a sensor or actuator -- or both -- to monitor the status of an object, person or environment, says Jim Tully, vice president at Gartner.


Although they don't have to be wireless, most devices use wireless communications technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee or a cellular data service to connect to a cloud service and associated mobile app that let users receive status information -- and send updates or commands.


Smart IoT devices offer two-way communication on the status of an object, individual or the environment in real-time, says Michele Pelino, principal analyst at Forrester Research.


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World's first remote air traffic control tower to open in Sweden | GizMag.com

World's first remote air traffic control tower to open in Sweden | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In a world first, air traffic controllers armed with a suite of high-tech video and sensor equipment have been authorized to direct flights over 100 km (61 mi) away at an airport in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. The technology, developed by Saab, offers alternatives to consolidate smaller airfields with smaller budgets under one control, and provides options for training, crisis situations, and tower maintenance or refurbishing.


Designed to meet the current needs of airport control, but scale in the future, the Saab Remote Tower System (RTS) has two components. First, the airstrip itself is installed with a tall, repositionable bank of high-res cameras, microphones, signal light guns and meterological sensors.


All that information is sent to the Remote Tower Center (RTC), where human operators direct air traffic as they might traditionally, but over a great distance from the airfield. The RTC can also be designed to resemble more of a high-tech media room, with a 360 degree LCD or projected image live from the airfield, instead of 360 degrees of windows.


The Swedish RTC has been approved to direct air traffic for two remote airports in Sweden, with full operation expected to begin in autumn this year. Theoretically the system allows smaller airports to upgrade their towers and by efficiently grouping multiple airfields together in one remote control center, airfields can avoid limiting flights or closing completely.


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Tofu offers a taste of cheaper solar energy | Climate News Network

Tofu offers a taste of cheaper solar energy | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

British researchers have found a new way to cut the cost of solar cell manufacture, and at the same time make the process less hazardous. Ironically, it is also very old way – using a chemical important in turning soy milk into tofu.


Jonathan Major and colleagues at the University of Liverpool report in Nature journal that magnesium chloride − traditionally added to soy milk as a coagulant to make tofu, but also used in gritting roads in winter time, used as bath salts, and sometimes even sold as a health supplement – could replace cadmium chloride as a “doping agent” to increase the efficiency of cadmium telluride solar cells.


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Former NASA Chief Scientist: "We're Effectively Taking a Sledgehammer to the Climate System" | Truth-Out.org

Former NASA Chief Scientist: "We're Effectively Taking a Sledgehammer to the Climate System" | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

"You really have to work to not believe it," Dr. Waleed Abdalati says of anthropomorphic climate disruption (ACD, also known as climate change). He should know: More than 20 years ago, Abdalati began observing ACD firsthand in Greenland, as a scientist working on his doctoral thesis, for which he created an algorithm used to remotely detect changes in the spatial extent of the Greenland ice sheet experiencing melt each year.


Abdalati, previously NASA's chief scientist,is now an associate professor of geography, director of the Earth Science and Observation Center, and a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His research interests are in the use of satellite and airborne remote sensing techniques, integrated with in situ observations and modeling, to understand how and why the earth's ice cover is changing.


In particular, his research focuses on the contributions of ice sheets and high-latitude glaciers to sea level rise, and their relationship to the changing climate. Toward that end, he has been heavily involved in the development of NASA's Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) and its successor, ICESat-II, (the benchmark Earth Observing System mission for measuring ice sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics) and has worked on cryospheric applications of various other satellites and aircraft instruments. Most of his research is supported by NASA, where he worked as a scientist for 12 years before joining the department of geography at the University of Colorado.


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30 million more Chinese homes to have fiber optic connection | People's Daily Online

30 million more Chinese homes to have fiber optic connection | People's Daily Online | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

China plans to put fiber optic connections into 30 million more homes nationwide in this year, according to Miao Wei, minister of industry of information technology.

The move will bring the total number of users benefited from the country's Fiber-To-The-Home program to nearly 200 million by the end of this year.

The new broadband map includes 13,800 villages.

Higher bandwidth -- 50 M to 100 M -- will come to regions with mature networks this year, while over 30 percent of total users will have 8M Internet access, he added.

Most Chinese Internet surfers connect via 2M to 4M broadband, and government support has reduced the cost per M by 50.8 percent from that of 2011.

The 4G network is also part of the plan, with 30 million new TD-LTE users and 300,000 new base stations expected this year.

China' s broadband strategy has been written into the government policy and highlights 4G mobile communications, fiber optic networks and Internet speed.

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GE switches onto smart light bulb market with Link | GizMag.com

GE switches onto smart light bulb market with Link | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

One device that's leading the charge of internet of things devices into the home is the light bulb, with companies including Philips, Insteon, LIFX Labs and Lumen all providing options. Now, GE is joining the party with Link, a connected LED bulb with a fairly reasonable price tag.


As you might expect, Link bulbs can be controlled via an app that allows users to adjust brightness and set different moods for different spaces in their home. Of course, it also allows users to remotely turn lights on and off. The app, called Wink, has been around for a while, as it works with GE's other connected products, such as the Aros air conditioner.


Link light bulbs will be available in three different options – an A19 shaped 60 W replacement, a BR30-shaped 65 W equivalent, and a 90 W replacement PAR 38 spotlight-style bulb. The A19 60 W replacement is the standard light bulb shape and comes with a US$14.97 price tag, while the 65 W equivalent costs $19.97, and the spotlight is a little more at $24.97.


To take advantages of the connected features provided by the ZigBee-certified bulbs, a GE Link hub is required, which will set consumers back $29.97. There's also a starter kit that contains two of the 60 W bulbs and a hub for $49.97. Like all LED bulbs, GE promises a longer lifespan and lower power use than traditional incandescents, thus saving money in the long run despite the higher up front cost.


GE has started taking preorders for its new Link LED bulbs at Home Depot, with orders set to be filled between July 4 and July 8.

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Microsoft to resume email-based security notifications | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Microsoft to resume email-based security notifications | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Microsoft has backtracked on a plan to stop sending email-based notifications about security bulletins starting this month.


The company informed its customers Friday that beginning Tuesday it would no longer send security-related notifications via email because of “changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging.”


The decision would have affected notifications about upcoming security bulletins, security bulletin summaries, new security advisories, and revisions to security bulletins and advisories.


“In lieu of email notifications, you can subscribe to one or more of the RSS feeds described on the Security TechCenter website,” Microsoft said at the time.


Even though the company didn’t reveal what specific governmental policies led to its decision, there was speculation that the reason might be a new Canadian antispam law that goes into effect today and carries penalties as high as $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses.


Regardless of the cause, Microsoft seems to have sorted out the problem and has decided to restore the notification service.


The company reviewed its processes after announcing the change and will keep sending the email notices, it said Monday.

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MA: Algae may be key to cleaner Blackstone River | Telegram.com

MA: Algae may be key to cleaner Blackstone River | Telegram.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

There could be a green answer to the region's largest wastewater treatment plant's challenge to meet strict federal water quality standards.

Algae, the slimy green growth that clogs waterways, are being tested at the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District as a natural way of removing phosphorus and nitrogen, the very nutrients that, when they flow into rivers, ponds and bays, cause algae blooms and create low-oxygen aquatic "dead zones."

And algae treatment could also save green — money — in the long run when compared with conventional technology or more chemicals.

A pilot study of the Clearas Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery system was showcased at the Upper Blackstone facility Thursday to about 50 wastewater engineers, public officials and environmentalists. The process, developed by Clearas Water Recovery of Missoula, Mont., uses specially treated algae in a controlled environment to remove excess nutrients and other contaminants from sewage.

Philip D. Guerin, Worcester's director of environmental systems and an Upper Blackstone board member, said, "It's interesting and I find it amazingly simple at the same time. We're trying to learn what it can do."

Money from various sources paid for a pilot study at the Upper Blackstone plant of the Clearas system. The goal was to find a cheaper way to decontaminate wastewater at the plant, which processes typically 30 million gallons a day.


Previous cost estimates of improvements using conventional technology to meet new federal limits have been as high as $200 million, or more than $200 per household.


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Rising Temperatures Drive People to Relocate | ScientificAmerican.com

Rising Temperatures Drive People to Relocate | ScientificAmerican.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scientists have long conjectured that climate change would spur families in poor countries to migrate as ever-fiercer storms, floods and other disasters made rural life unbearable. But understanding what specific weather elements would cause people to leave has remained elusive.


Until now. A small but growing body of evidence is finally pointing to rising temperatures—and not headline-grabbing natural disasters—as the main environmental force permanently ousting people from their homes.


A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences follows more than 7,000 households in Indonesia over 15 years to conclude that sudden disasters in fact have a much smaller impact on provincial migration than heat stress. Rainfall, it finds, also affects decisions to move, but far less so than rising temperatures.


"We can now say something intelligent about the conditions under which people move," said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University and a co-author of the study.


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India: DoT considers Chinese model to develop domestic tech sector | TeleGeography.com

Telecoms regulator the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to accept advice from science and technology institutions to adopt China’s model for boosting the domestic telecom manufacturing sector, the Economic Times reports.


The DoT is looking to improve India’s involvement in the global telecom industry, with a view to reducing the nation’s dependence on imported goods.


According to the watchdog, India’s current contribution to worldwide intellectual property rights (IPRs) is ‘practically nil’. Earlier this month, an internal government presentation noted that: ‘India is merely a screwdriver assembly operation for [multinational corporations], since very little value addition happens locally, and the IPRs reside with foreign companies.’


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NY: Local fracking bans upheld by Court of Appeals | TimesUnion.com

NY: Local fracking bans upheld by Court of Appeals | TimesUnion.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Opponents of natural gas hydrofracking declared complete victory in Monday's precedent-setting ruling by the state's highest court that upheld the legality of dozens of local government bans in the Southern Tier and elsewhere against the controversial drilling technique.


The Court of Appeals ruled 5-2 to uphold lower court rulings that supported fracking bans adopted in 2011 by two upstate towns — Dryden in Tompkins County and Middlefield in Otsego County.


Writing for the majority, Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote that state mining law, which gives the state the sole authority to regulate gas drilling, still allows local governments control over zoning to allow or disallow industrial uses like hydrofracking within their boundaries. The two towns "studied the issue and acted within their home rule powers in determining that gas drilling would permanently alter and adversely affect the deliberately cultivated, small-town character of their communities," Graffeo wrote.


The ruling was "not about whether hydrofracking is beneficial or detrimental to the economy, environment or energy needs of New York, and we pass no judgment on its merits. These are major policy questions for the coordinate branches of government to resolve," she wrote.


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Facebook’s Unethical Experiment Manipulated Users’ Emotions | Slate.com

Facebook’s Unethical Experiment Manipulated Users’ Emotions | Slate.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Facebook has been experimenting on us. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that Facebook intentionally manipulated the news feeds of almost 700,000 users in order to study “emotional contagion through social networks.” 


The researchers, who are affiliated with Facebook, Cornell, and the University of California–San Francisco, tested whether reducing the number of positive messages people saw made those people less likely to post positive content themselves. The same went for negative messages: Would scrubbing posts with sad or angry words from someone’s Facebook feed make that person write fewer gloomy updates?


They tweaked the algorithm by which Facebook sweeps posts into members’ news feeds, using a program to analyze whether any given textual snippet contained positive or negative words. Some people were fed primarily neutral to happy information from their friends; others, primarily neutral to sad. Then everyone’s subsequent posts were evaluated for affective meanings.


The upshot? Yes, verily, social networks can propagate positive and negative feelings!


The other upshot: Facebook intentionally made thousands upon thousands of people sad.


Facebook’s methodology raises serious ethical questions. The team may have bent research standards too far, possibly overstepping criteria enshrined in federal law and human rights declarations. “If you are exposing people to something that causes changes in psychological status, that’s experimentation,” says James Grimmelmann, a professor of technology and the law at the University of Maryland. “This is the kind of thing that would require informed consent.”


Ah, informed consent. Here is the only mention of “informed consent” in the paper: The research “was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research.”


That is not how most social scientists define informed consent.


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NetherLight and NDIX create first open light path marketplace in the Netherlands | SURF.nl

NetherLight and NDIX create first open light path marketplace in the Netherlands | SURF.nl | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

SURFnet and NDIX have successfully linked their open light path platforms NetherLight and NDIX. The result is a new, fast and reliable infrastructure for all connected parties that enables massive amounts of data to be exchanged directly from point to point.


Now that NDIX is linked to NetherLight, parties connected to NetherLight can immediately take advantage of ICT services offered by a sizable number of providers already connected to NDIX. The link encourages maximum collaboration and innovation amongst parties on both platforms.


A light path is a direct data connection with guaranteed bandwidth between two points in a network or multiple networks, separate from the Internet. Consequently, light paths are a superior alternative to the Internet when it comes to sending huge amounts of data or sensitive data: for starters, light paths have guaranteed bandwidth, and the data is never transmitted over the public Internet.


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3D-printed composite is lighter than wood and stiffer than concrete | GizMag.com

3D-printed composite is lighter than wood and stiffer than concrete | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Reseachers at Harvard University have developed a way to 3D-print a cellular composite with record lightness and stiffness using an epoxy resin. This marks the first time that epoxy is used for 3D-printing, and the advance could lead to the development of new lightweight architectures for more efficient wind turbines, faster cars, and lighter airplanes.


If you take all of the materials known to man, whether natural or man-made, and observe their relative properties, you'll soon find a very clear pattern: density and strength always seem to go hand-in-hand. The very light foams are generally extremely weak, and on the other end of the spectrum, the heavy materials like steels and other metals are among the strongest we know.


There are, however, a few outliers. One such example is balsa wood, which has a density as low as 40 kg per cubic meter (2.5 lb per cubic foot) but is still very strong, thanks to a microscopic structure that features a highly effective mix of cellulose and lignin fibers. Balsa wood is therefore used in applications where light but strong structures are critical, from the blades in wind turbines to the chassis of model airplanes and helicopters. There is however a serious supply problem, in that over 95 percent of the world reserves of balsa wood comes from a single country – Ecuador.


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New water-based organic battery is cheap, rechargeable and eco-friendly | GizMag.com

New water-based organic battery is cheap, rechargeable and eco-friendly | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Lithium-ion batteries have made portable, rechargeable electronics commonplace. Unfortunately, they do have some glaring drawbacks, including heat issues, being made with rare, toxic elements, and the fact the technology doesn't scale up very well, which limits applications. A team of scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) is working on an alternative in the form of a water-based organic battery that is not only cheaper and more environmentally friendly, but also holds the potential for scaling up for use in wind and solar power plants as a means to store large amounts of energy.


The technology developed by the USC team is what’s called an organic redux flow battery. It’s a bit like a fuel cell, and a similar one was developed for NASA’s Helios electric-powered drones. It consists of two tanks containing solutions of electroactive chemicals. These are pumped into a cell, which is divided by a membrane. The solutions interact through the membrane and electricity is produced.


According to the team, the tanks can be of any size in comparison to the cells, so the total amount of energy that the system can store depends on how large the tanks are, which is one up on conventional batteries. The flow battery also has a better life span than lithium-ion batteries and its variants.


"The batteries last for about 5,000 recharge cycles, giving them an estimated 15-year lifespan," says Sri Narayan, professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “Lithium ion batteries degrade after around 1,000 cycles, and cost 10 times more to manufacture.”


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Map Shows When Summer Heat Peaks in Your Town | ClimateCentral.org

Map Shows When Summer Heat Peaks in Your Town | ClimateCentral.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Does the prospect of a blisteringly summer hot day get you excited? Well, that's kind of odd but we'll let that slide. We'll also share some good news for you. If you live in the Northeast, the hottest day of the year is likely still to come. However, Tucsonians (Tucsonites?) who can't get enough of the city's famed dry heat will have to deal with the sad truth that peak heat has likely come and gone according to a new map released by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).


With the passing of the summer solstice, the days are now getting shorter in the northern hemisphere. But the dog days of summer are still ahead for much of the country, as NCDC explains:

"The temperature increase after the solstice occurs because the rate of heat input from the sun during the day continues to be greater than the cooling at night for several weeks, until temperatures start to descend in late July and early August."


The new analysis and map are based on climate data from 1981-2010, what NCDC dubs “climate normals.” Most locations in the U.S. still have a ways to go before their usual warmest day of the year according to the NCDC. But there are a few exceptions.


Parts of the Southwest usually see their warmest day before the end of June. That’s because the region’s monsoon rains kick in during July and August and cloud cover helps keep temperatures a little cooler. Of course, that’s small consolation to a region where average high temperatures in cities like Phoenix and Tucson are near or above 100°F for the entire summer.


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