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April 24 2013

Four short links: 24 April 2013

  1. Solar Energy: This is What a Disruptive Technology Looks Like (Brian McConnell) — In 1977, solar cells cost upwards of $70 per Watt of capacity. In 2013, that cost has dropped to $0.74 per Watt, a 100:1 improvement (source: The Economist). On average, solar power improves 14% per year in terms of energy production per dollar invested.
  2. Process Managers — overview of the tools that keep your software running.
  3. Bittorrent Sync — Dropbox-like features, BitTorrent under the hood.
  4. Brython — Python interpreter written in Javascript, suitable for embedding in webpages. (via Nelson Minar)

January 07 2013

Industrial Internet links: smart cities return, pilotless commercial aircraft, and more

Mining the urban data (The Economist) — The “smart city” hype cycle has moved beyond ambitious top-down projects and has started to produce useful results: real-time transit data in London, smart meters in Amsterdam. The next step, if Singapore has its way, may be real-time optimization of things like transit systems.

This is your ground pilot speaking (The Economist) — Testing is underway to bring drone-style remotely-piloted aircraft into broader civilian use. One challenge: building in enough on-board intelligence to operate the plane safely if radio links go down.

How GE’s over $100 billion investment in ‘industrial internet’ will add $15 trillion to world GDP (Economic Times) — A broad look at what the industrial Internet means in the context of big data, including interviews with Tim O’Reilly, DJ Patil and Kenn Cukier. (Full disclosure: GE and O’Reilly are collaborating on an industrial Internet series.)

Defining a Digital Network for Building-to-Cloud Efficiency (GreentechEnterprise) — “Eventually, the building will become an IT platform for managing energy a bit like we manage data today. But to get there, you don’t just have to make fans, chillers, lights, backup generators, smart load control circuits and the rest of a building’s hardware smart enough to act as IT assets. A platform — software that ties these disparate devices into the multiple, overlapping technical and economic models that help humans decide how to manage their building — is also required.”

This is a post in our industrial Internet series, an ongoing exploration of big machines and big data. The series is produced as part of a collaboration between O’Reilly and GE.

June 24 2012


June 20 2012

Four short links: 20 June 2012

  1. Researcher Chats To Hacker Who Created The Virus He's Researching -- Chicken: I didn’t know you can see my screen. Hacker: I would like to see your face, but what a pity you don’t have a camera.
  2. Economist on QR Codes -- Three-quarters of American online retailers surveyed by Forrester, a research firm, use them. In April nearly 20% of smartphone users in America scanned one, up from 14% in May last year.
  3. Reconstructing the Ruins of Warsaw -- what an amazing accomplishment!
  4. The Great German Energy Experiment (Technology Review) -- political will: the risk and the successes. Certainly a huge gulf between Germany and America in where they are, and political will to be more renewable.

April 19 2012

How the Cost of Computation Restricts the Processes of Life - Technology Review

The energy required to process information places a fundamental limit on biological processes, say scientists who are teasing apart the link between computation and life.

//oAnth - source URL -

December 30 2011

Japon zone d'exclusion nucléaire |

Qu'est-ce qu'une évacuation soudaine ressemble? Après que chacun est parti, ce qui arrive aux endroits qu'ils ont abandonné? National Geographic Magazine envoyé photographe d'Associated Press David Guttenfelder à la zone d'exclusion autour de l'usine nucléaire de Fukushima au Japon la puissance Daiichi à découvrir. Évacués peu après la 11 Mars séisme et le tsunami a entraîné une crise de radiations nucléaires, la région a été largement épargnée, avec de la nourriture en décomposition sur les tablettes des magasins et des sacs à dos des enfants en attente dans les salles de classe. La région peut subir le même sort que la ville de Pripyat, en Ukraine après la Tchernobyl il ya 25 ans en cas de catastrophe. Ce n'est pas la première fois Guttenfelder a obtenu un rare aperçu d'un endroit peu voir, comme The Big Picture en vedette ses photographies de la Corée du Nord dans un poste plus tôt. Nous avons recueilli ici des images obsédantes Guttenfelder juste sorti d'un lieu abandonné, et des personnes aux prises avec la perte. - Lane Turner ( 39 photos au total )...




// oAnth - original source:


December 07 2011


October 14 2011

Danish T-Pylon wins design contest

Bystrup design can be a real improvement on existing towers, says National Grid, but pylon fans dismiss it as 'just a pole'

A spare and quietly elegant Danish design has been announced as the winner of a competition to create the next generation of electricity pylons.

National Grid engineers will now work closely with the Copenhagen-based practice Bystrup to develop the design into a production model, and the T-Pylon – or something close to the competition entry – will soon enough be stepping politely across the hills, dales, sunlit uplands and rain-drenched lowlands of Britain.

"In the T-Pylon we have a design that has the potential to be a real improvement on the steel-lattice tower", said Nick Winser, National Grid executive director. "It's shorter, lighter and the simplicity of the design means it would fit into the landscape more easily. In addition, the design of the electrical components is genuinely innovative and exciting."

It might be preferable to bury electric cables and to do away with the need for pylons as far as possible, but this is unlikely to happen even in the long-term future due to the high costs involved. The T-Pylon, however, has been designed as far as possible to be little more than a wraith in the landscape. It will be two-thirds the height and weight of existing 50-metre, 30-tonne pylons, the design of which dates from the late 1920s.

The original National Grid steel-lattice pylon was also designed by a non-British firm, the American Milliken Brothers, although with guidance from Sir Reginald Blomfield, a late-flowering classical architect, who ensured that the structure was well proportioned as well as functional and enduring. Pylons will always be loved or loathed, yet there was something inherently brilliant in a design that could be tucked away in woods or stretched to cross the widest reaches of the river Thames.

The competition, with a £5,000 prize, was organised by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the National Grid and the Royal Institute of British Architects. The energy minister, Chris Huhne, said: "We are going to need a lot more pylons over the next few years to connect new energy to our homes and businesses and it is important that we do this in the most beautiful way possible."

There are more than 88,000 pylons in Britain, including the 22,000 carrying the National Grid's main transmission network across England and Wales.

National Grid has also expressed an interest in working with the designers of the two second-place competition entries, Ian Ritchie Associates, a London firm (with consulting engineers Jane Wernick Associates), and New Town Studio, an architectural practice based in Harlow.

The competition attracted 250 entries. The designs of the six finalists were put on show at the Victoria & Albert Museum during last month's London design festival. Bystrup's design was unanimously recognised by the judges as being the simplest and least demanding in terms of the effect it would have on the landscape. The Danish architects have designed a number of prototype pylons since 2000 aiming, as Erik Bystrup has said, to "turn eyesores into art".

The membership of Britain's Pylon Appreciation Society might disagree, although there is little fear that the Milliken pylons will be replaced in the near or distant future. "The winning design is OK," said Flash Wilson Bristow, founder of the society, "but it's a pole and not a pylon. Pylons are latticed structures. They frame views of the landscape. They're special, but a pole is just a pole." © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

October 10 2011

India: Candle-light Newscast In A News Channel In Karnataka

Recently in Karnataka, newscasters of the Kannada language channel Suvarna News read out the news with a candle on top of their desks to convey the impact of the power cuts in the state, reports Sans Serif. “Hopefully, the channel’s viewers had electricity back home to see the candle-light bulletins”, opines the blogger.

October 07 2011

Analysis on Russia-North Korea trade

North Korea specialist Andrei Lankov posted an analysis on North Korea's recent talk with Russia on economic cooperation. In the East Asia Forum site, Lankov explained why the two most important potential projects are a railway and a gas pipeline.

October 06 2011

Singapore's Nuclear Energy Plan

Donaldson Tan cites a WikiLeaks report in discussing Singapore's plan to build a nuclear plant to address its long term energy needs

Myanmar: Interactive Map of Ethnic Groups

Stimson has set-up an interactive map of Myanmar's ethnic groups and key economic and power utilities.

October 05 2011

Ukraine: “Tension is Growing”

Foreign Notes reviews Ukraine's relationship with Gazprom prior to Yulia Tymoshenko's 2009 deal (”for which she may be jailed for seven years”); quotes economist and politician Oleksandra Kuzhel on the conditions in which small- and medium-sized Ukrainian businesses have found themselves in; and writes about the expensive watches “so beloved by Ukraine's flashy elites” and about the uncivilized ways of PM Mykola Azarov's bodyguards, concluding: “When are people going to say, ‘Enough is enough?'”

Myanmar: President Suspends Dam Project

Construction of the controversial hydroelectric dam project in Ayeyarwaddy River located in the northern part of Myanmar has been suspended by the government. President Thein Sein sent a letter to Parliament informing them that the dam project will be postponed for the sake of public interest. The project is one of the infrastructure investments of China in Myanmar. The plan was to export the power generated from this plant to China.

Last month, Minister of Electric Power Zaw Min told reporters that the government will not suspend the project despite the concerns raised by some groups. But public activities like petition signing, workshops and community seminars urging the government to stop the dam construction intensified in the past few weeks. Even media organizations echoed the side of the public including well-known individuals who asked the president to cancel the project.

Myanmar netizens expressed support to the decision made by the government. HeinHlyan528 commented on the news page of Eleven Media Group, a well-known media outlet in Myanmar.

“First of all, I’d like to say thank you to Mr. President who postponed the dam project. Everybody who is interested in Myanmar affairs would know how it would have been difficult to make such decision. I wholeheartedly thank Mr. President for making a courageous decision by fulfilling the public wish despite its impact on the long term energy needs of China which protected Myanmar in the Security Council of the UN; and the legal repercussion of voiding the contracts that have been signed already. It would be a historic act. I, as a Myanmar citizen, wish to know how our beloved China will response to this matter.”

Another commenter, babymilo, mentioned

“From postponing till demolishing, we still need to march together”.

Eleven Media gathered the reactions of the public. A 60-year old local from Myitkyina expressed her relief over the cancellation of the project

“Did the government really postpone it? I’m so glad. It doesn’t need to be mentioned how I have been really worried about this project. Not only me but the whole town, the whole country. That (project) would destroy the nature. All would get in trouble. I’m so glad to hear this news”.

Ayeyarwaddy River, Myanmar. Photo from Flickr page of DamienHR used under CC license Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Meanwhile, NayOoPeople posted this comment on the Facebook page of the Voice Weekly, another popular journal in Myanmar.

“Great!!!! This is a beginning of the successful trust building process between DASSK, Burmese citizens, ethnic groups, and the present government!!”

But not all citizens believe that the suspension of the project is a sign of change in the country. An anonymous commenter left this message on the Irrawaddy News blog

“They can now announce themselves as so called government of the people. But they didn’t mention if it will be stopped for good. They will make profit out of it. Even if they couldn’t, they will need to wait only five years. It cannot be said that it’s for public. It cannot be said that the situation has changed in Myanmar, too.”

Tint Kyaw Naing also cautioned against premature celebration

“Does it mean that if it would not continue under the democracy government, it would be implemented under the army government in the future? If so, it has to be continued!”

The Irrawaddy News also mentioned that global democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed the President’s decision during a meeting with Minister Aung Kyi.

September 28 2011

East Timor: Tasi Mane Petroleum Infrastructure Project

A local Non-Government Organization, La'o Hamutuk, has set-up a special website page to gather information, monitor project updates, and document the resistance of a community to East Timor’s Tasi Mane Petroleum Infrastructure Project.

Tasi Mane (Male Sea) Project is among East Timor’s flagship strategic development programs

To bring petroleum development to our shores and provide a direct economic dividend from petroleum industry activities, supporting infrastructure will be developed on the south coast of Timor-Leste. This will be led by the Tasi Mane Project, a multi-year development of three industrial clusters on the south coast which will form the backbone of the Timor-Leste petroleum industry. The project will involve development of a coastal zone from Suai to Beaço and will ensure that required infrastructure is in place to support a growing domestic petroleum industry. Tasi Mane will include the Suai Supply Base cluster, the Betano Refinery and Petrochemical Industry cluster, and the Beaço LNG-Plant cluster.

Overview of Tasi Mane Project

East Timor is dependent on its oil revenues but economists have already advised it to diversify its economy. La'o Hamutuk thinks that Tasi Mane reflects the continuing dependence of the country on the petroleum industry

…the 2011 state budget allocates over $30 million for the Tasi Mane project, more than twice as much as the Ministry of Agriculture. We lamented the nearly exclusive focus on the petroleum industry (and resulting lost opportunities to explore other possibilities for economic development).

Since there is consensus that Timor-Leste needs to move away from oil-dependency in the long-term, we are disappointed that petroleum processing is the only industrial development discussed. What about agricultural processing, or light industry to replace imported products? The capital-intensive oil industry will provide few jobs for anyone, including Timorese. Allocating most of our intellectual and financial resources to the petroleum sector obstructs moving to a non-oil economy after oil and gas reserves are used up in 13 years.

The group is concerned that a large amount of public money has been allotted to a single project

We also wonder about the economic viability of the Tasi Mane project, given that no private sector investors have shown interest. From an investment perspective, the returns may not justify the amount of public money being expended

It also doubts if the project will generate enough number of jobs for the local population

…nothing is said about how many jobs these projects will provide for Timorese workers, how much land they will take from uses such as agriculture and fishing, how many people will have to be displaced, or how much revenue they will generate for the state.

If Parliament does not receive such information in a credible and accessible form, we urge you not to give the Government a “blank check” for a project which may turn out to be useless or have negligible benefits

Based on the government’s Procurement Portal, most of the companies which signified intention to participate in the program are foreign companies. One of the qualified firms, TOKE OIL & GAS SA, received a contract worth $6,639,517.00

Community assembly about the project

The Tasi Mane became controversial because many communities will be affected and displaced by the project. One community member, Manuel da Costa, clarifies that the people are not against development

…the south coast land will be a Promised Land for Timor-Leste's development, but we children of Betano will become victims of development. We from Betano support development, but our needs must be considered.

The Betano community has already agreed to give up four hectares of their land to the government but it protested the occupation of their other lands.

The People of Betano, Aldeia Bemeta months ago offered four hectares of their land to the Government in order to construct a heavy oil power station. Recently the Government contracted Tinolina Construction Ltd, to prepare the site. During this process they occupied more land.

Because this occupation of land was more than the original agreement between the Government and the Community, the community began to organize themselves as is their right, consecrated in the Constitution as People of an “independent nation”.

The Government and the Company showed a lack of transparency and much manipulation of facts throughout the entire process, and there are many inconsistencies in their story.

When they protested, the action was violently dispersed by the police

Because of this the community carried out a peaceful action in the field. However the community suffered violent actions from the Police who went to intervene and prevent this peaceful demonstration

September 25 2011

Colombia: Outrage at President of Congress Over Oil Subsidy

Last week, Juan Manuel Corzo [es], Senator and president of the Congress of Colombia, caused outrage when, in order to justify a fuel subsidy for congresspeople [es], he told W Radio [es] that it was impossible to fill the gas tanks for his two vehicles with his COP$16 million (€6,418 or US$8,784) salary (the minimum wage is COP$535,600, €207 or US$279). Despite living in a middle-ranked oil producing country, Colombians pay, as of August 2011, COP$8,635 (€3.34 or US$4.51) average per gallon, more than Americans.

During the next few days, Twitter and Facebook users showed their contempt [es] toward Senator Corzo, a member of the Conservative Party, with hashtags like #juanmanuelcorzo, #fueracorzo (”get out Corzo [from Congress]”), or #corzoton (Corzo + Telethon); Facebook pages like “We demand Juan Manuel Corzo's resignation”; and an event scheduled for Tuesday September 27 in front of the National Capitol. Even Anonymous staged a DDos attack [es] against the Senate's website.

Senador Juan Manuel Corzo, RedPaTo2 on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Monday September 19, the issue became “personal” when Senator Corzo declared in a press conference that the Twitter users criticizing him were “rude,” and added that [es] “I'd rather not steal from the State and that [others] pay for my gasoline.” After that, Corzo claimed [es] he was going to an Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Azerbaijan to defend his controversial bill of parliamentary immunity, even though, as blogger Hernán Castro Rodríguez shows [es], the last IPU Assembly took place last April in Panama and the next one is scheduled for October in Switzerland.

Here is a small sample of the thousands of reactions on Twitter during the last days:

Daniel Arango (@stultaviro) puts things into context:

En un país con un salario mínimo de 300 dólares oír a un presidente del congreso llorando por sus cuitas de ricachón es un maldito insulto.

In a country with a minimum wage of 300 dollars hearing a President of the Congress crying for his troubles of well-heeled man is a damn insult.

José Carlos García (@josecarlostecno), Technology Editor for El Tiempo newspaper, writes:

Como colombiano, creo que todas la novelas de narcos juntas no me producen tanta vergüenza como este senador Corzo

As a Colombian, I think that all the narco-novelas together don't embarrass me as much as this senator Corzo

User @bobadaliteraria tweets:

Mientras tanto Corzo anda en Azerbaiyán y adivinen quiénes pagamos por su vuelo.

Meanwhile Corzo is in Azerbaijan and guess who is paying his flight.

Omar Ferrer (@OFFezt) refers to the “coalition of national unity”:

Veo uribistas y antiuribistas (Antes fachos y mamertos) unidos en un solo #Corzoton Esa es la Unidad Nacional que sirve.

I see Uribistas and Anti-Uribistas (before fascists and commies) united in one #Corzoton That's the National Unity which is useful

Naylea Barros (@NayBarros08) asks:

Quien mas grosero nosotros los twitteros o #JuanManuelCorzo que nos quiere tratar de estupidos?

Who is ruder: us Twitter users or #JuanManuelCorzo who wants to treat us like we are stupid?

Angela G (@gatinita) brings up Corzo's salary:

No joda, con 6 meses de sueldo se compra una estación de servicio, para que nunca vuelva a llorar por falta de gasolina.

Leave me f***ing alone, with 6 months of his salary he could buy a gas station, so he never cries for lack of fuel again.

With irony, Felipe Nuñez (@idreamofrobots) writes:

Yo cuando grande quiero ser como Juan Manuel Corzo y que ustedes me paguen la gasolina.

When I grow up I want be like Juan Manuel Corzo and make you to pay for my fuel

Angela Perversa (@AngelaPerversa) tweets about Corzo's statements:

“Prefiero no robar al estado” is the new “gracias al señor me estoy rehabilitando y no en la calle atracando a nadie, regálemen pa un pan”

“I'd rather not steal from the State” is the new “thanks to Lord I'm rehabilitating and not robbing anyone, gimme money to buy some bread”

Journalist and blogger Víctor Solano (@solano) refers to the same quote:

Dirán algunos: “Lo ‘bueno' de @juanmanuelcorzo es que nos da a escoger: O le damos para la gasolina o nos atraca; otros hacen las dos”

Some people will say: “The ‘good thing' about @juanmanuelcorzo is that he gives us a choice: or we give him money for his fuel or he robs us; others do both”

Catalina Palmer (@catalinapalmer) calls on Twitter users to act “in the streets”, not just online:

Lo de Corzo es más que #fueraCorzo. Hagan algo en la calle, no se queden en twitter. Construyan cultura política para que no se repita.

The Corzo issue is more than #getoutCorzo. Do something in the streets, don't stay on Twitter. Build political culture so it doesn't happen again.

Finally, Ramírez Jaramillo (@egolaxista_) says:

A menos que la Registraduría empiece a hacer valer el RT como voto, la indignación por lo de Corzo servirá para mierda y media.

Unless the National Civil Registry makes a RT worth a vote, the outrage about Corzo will be useless.

On the blogosphere, a heavily rotated post by @cynosargo titled “Colombia: who the f**k rules you?!” [es] slams the senator:

Es la primera vez que un político nos quiere robar de frente, en la cara. Literalmente, Corzo nos pidió a los contribuyentes colombianos que le pagáramos la gasolina de los carros que utiliza -carros por los cuales nosotros ya estamos pagando-, simplemente porque no le alcanza con su oneroso sueldo -el cual también pagamos nosotros-.

It is the first time that a politician wants to rob us overtly, in our faces. Literally, Corzo asked us, Colombian taxpayers, to pay for the gasoline fuelling the cars he uses —cars we are alreading paying for—, simply because his onerous salary —which we also pay— isn't enough.

The post includes a table showing that all the Presidents of Congress in the 21st century (the post is occupied by a Senator elected by fellow Senators at the beginning of the legislature, every July 20), except one, have been investigated either for corruption or for ties with armed groups, including Corzo.

Meanwhile, Ricardo Galán wonders [es] if the “I'd rather not steal from the State” remark by Corzo was a threat, blackmail, or a complaint; while Julián Rosero Navarrete, who has worked in Congress, supports [es] the general outrage but warns against discussing the issue based on erroneous information, and explains that the actual salary of a Congressman is COP$6 million (€2,321 or US$3,132), while the rest are “representation spendings,” which Corzo should be using to cover his fuel expenses.

September 24 2011

Comoros: Blog monitors Fuel Shortage in Anjouan

In his blog, Dafinemkomori documents fuel and power shortage [fr] in the Comoros. He explains that fuel shortage has greatly impacted greatly many other aspects of the economy on the island of Anjouan (rise of the price of tuna and power shortage).

Video: Water Bottle Lights and Other Eco-Friendly Inventions

Solar lights and hot water heaters from plastic water bottles, houses made from trash and a way to do without plastic bags are some of the projects making reducing, reusing and recycling not only fun and affordable but also vital in improving the quality of life of people all around the world.

empty plastic water bottle

Water Bottle CCBy How can I recycle this

Let's start first with Alfredo Moser, the mastermind behind the water bottle solar light. As a mechanic during the 2002 blackouts in Brazil, he figured out a way to light his workshop and be able to continue working: he explains all about the light and the impact it is having in his community in this 2008 video:

The Liter of Light project in the Philippines has taken this idea through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and turned it into an industry which will benefit not only the people who live in the newly lighted homes, but also the families of the people making and installing the lights.

The lights are so easy to replicate that they have spread throughout the world: the next videos show their use in Mexico, Haiti and in a remote indigenous community in Chile.

And plastic water bottles are also being used to produce hot water in Brazil: this next video shared on the Eco-Ideas YouTube channel shows a solar hot water heater made of discarded plastic bottles:

Also through Eco-Ideas comes this video from Thailand, where University students are using trash to make building materials for a home:

If you are interested in improving your own life by recycling, why not try making this shopping bag out of repurposed aluminum coffee bags, like this Finnish woman?

Or learn how to make different bags using a square of fabric and knots, in what is known in Japan as furoshiki:

September 21 2011

Sri Lanka: Solar Plant Will Provide Power To 3,000 Rural Families

Window to Nature informs that Sri Lanka's newly established Solar Plant will provide power to 3,000 rural families. The country aims to switch to non-conventional renewable energy generation to meet 10% of total energy consumption by 2015.

September 19 2011

Ukraine: Tymoshenko Trial Updates

Odessablog posts an update on the trial of Ukraine's ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko; Foreign Notes reviews opinions on the trial's possible outcome that appeared in the Ukrainian media.

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