National / International News

How to grown green energy along with endowments

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-08-06 03:00

Amid all the Sturm und Drang of mergers and markets, we like to track compelling ideas on Marketplace.

How about if colleges and universities could grow, rather than subtract, from their endowment money by making their campuses more environmentally friendly? 

Mark Orlowski is founder and executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute. He has an online system to help schools track ways that they can get financial returns, not just through stock and bond markets, but through energy efficiency.

His project, the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, and online platform (GRITS) help universities take their operating cash or endowment, upgrade the energy efficiency of campus buildings, and get a bigger return in savings than the stock market would earn them.

The Green Revolving Investment Tracking System (GRITS 1.0) is designed to manage every aspect of an institution's green revolving fund (GRF), including aggregate and project-specific financial, energy, and carbon data. It also helps track and manage projects, as well as reports on environmental benefits and financial return.

How's that for compelling?

New world record as Slater wins gold

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:58
Britain's Steph Slater wins gold and sets a world record in the S8 100m butterfly at the IPC Swimming European Championships.

Snap election called in Bulgaria

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:57
Voters in Bulgaria face their second election in less than two years after parliament is dissolved amid the country's worst banking crisis since the 1990s.

Afghan Policeman Turns Gun On Colleagues, Killing 7

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:56

The latest incident comes just a day after an apparent insider attack killed a U.S. major general and left more than a dozen wounded. All who were injured Tuesday are expected to live.

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Afghan Policeman Turns Gun On Colleagues, Killing 7

NPR News - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:56

The latest incident comes just a day after an apparent insider attack killed a U.S. major general and left more than a dozen wounded. All who were injured Tuesday are expected to live.

» E-Mail This

Man held over Israeli teens' murders

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:39
A Palestinian man has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, Israeli officials say.

No ICC appeal against Anderson verdict

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:38
The International Cricket Council will not appeal against the decision to clear England bowler James Anderson of misconduct.

Italy falls back into recession

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:28
Italy has fallen back into recession after the country's economy contracted by 0.2% in the second quarter of the year.

AUDIO: Scientists hail dinosaur discovery

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:22
Scientists from the University of Zurich and The Natural History museum have discovered a previously unknown species of dinosaur.

Megadeth and CeeLo pull Israel gigs

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:17
Thrash metal band Megadeth and singer CeeLo Green have cancelled concerts in Israel amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Man who murdered Elaine Doyle jailed

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:15
The former soldier who murdered Greenock teenager Elaine Doyle more than 28 years ago has been sentenced to a minimum of 21 years in prison

New Forth crossing reaches halfway

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:12
Construction of the new bridge over the Firth of Forth reaches the halfway stage.

Ban on Saudi unions with some expats

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:08
Why Saudi men cannot marry workers from four countries

Kenya arrests 'al-Shabab suspect'

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:05
Kenyan police have arrested an official from Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab who is believed to be a former journalist, sources tell the BBC.

Man struck and killed by police car

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:04
A man dies when he is struck by a marked police car in Reading as it attends a burglary during the early hours.

Standard Chartered faces new US fine

BBC - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:00
Standard Chartered has warned it could face more US fines over its money-laundering controls as it reports a 20% fall in half-year profits

Google's email filtering in the spotlight

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:00

A technology called PhotoDNA -- developed by Microsoft and used by Google along with other online companies -- is being credited with leading to the arrest of a man accused of distributing child pornographic images through Gmail.

Google’s CEO has previously come out in favor of a more aggressive approach to the issue, as has the company’s chief legal officer

Google has argued that they were largely complying with the law in notifying police. According to Stephen Balkam, founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, the company's actions are consistent with the legal understanding.

“They are to report images of child sexual abuse, and they have done so,” he says.

What makes this particular case different from finding evidence of other criminal activity in an email, according to Balkam, is that Google does not scan for illegal content in such a way as to detect things like planned robberies.

But even with these efforts tackling email attachments, there are other methods of disseminating this material, so action by search engines isn’t the end of the story.

Android now tops Apple in web traffic, too

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:00

The operating system Android scored a point recently in its ongoing war with Apple. According to the latest data - for the first time ever - the web traffic generated from Android smartphones and tablets was greater than that of Apple’s mobile devices

The news wasn't entirely a surprise. For some time now, sales of Android smartphones and tablets worldwide have been beating Apple. But Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has waved off any concern by saying Apple dominates when it comes to online traffic. Then he’d ask, where are all those Androids anyway?

"They must be in warehouses, or on store shelves, or maybe in somebody's bottom drawer," Cook would quip. 

Cook will have to retire that joke with the news that Android now beats Apple’s mobile devices in web traffic. Tuong Nguyen is an analyst at Gartner and he doesn’t think Apple users will just switch to Android.

"When you talk about the iOS crowd, they tend to be a more self-selecting crowd," he said. "Users who have more income or are more engaged with their technology and devices."

Pai-Ling Yin is the co-founder of the Mobile Innovation Group at Stanford. She says the real turning point will be when greater Android web use turns into more money.

"Just because they’re using it more doesn’t mean you can get them to pay you more," says Yin.

She says Apple users still buy more apps and goods online and so, from a business perspective, can be seen as more valuable.

Keeping student data safe from the marketing machine

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-08-06 02:00

In New Hampshire, the state collects the basics about kids; name, race, gender. It also tracks how many days they were suspended from school, and whether or not they are homeless.

But, under its new law, the state is prohibited from collecting information about a kid’s Body Mass Index. It also can’t keep a record about whether she’s pregnant, and it can’t gather kids' email addresses.

And that’s just a small part of what the state’s law covers.

"States have taken a huge step forward in the last two years in really strengthening their capacity to safeguard data," said Aimee Guidera, head of the Data Quality Campaign,  a non-profit  that is tracking student data laws.

There are already federal laws in place to help protect student records.

But, as technology advances and students do more work on computers, a lot of states want more.

Idaho, for example, rules out certain biometric data; the kind that are collected by analyzing brain waves and heart rate.

New York calls for a parents bill of rights for data privacy and security.

Kentucky has made it illegal for student data to be used to target ads to kids.

So far, more than 20 states have passed laws. And that’s just the beginning.

 
 States with new student-data laws
 (click state for details)
 Colorado 
 Florida
 Idaho
 Kentucky  
 Louisiana
 Maine
 Maryland 
 Missouri 
 New Hampshire
 New York        North Carolina 
       Ohio
       Oklahoma
       Rhode Island
       South Carolina
       South Dakota
       Tennessee
       Virginia
       West Virginia
       Wyoming

"Our sense is that we’re going to see a growth in the number of pieces of legislation introduced next year," said Guidera.

A lot of this legislation is being driven by fear, particularly among parents. They worry about what data is being collected and by whom. They want to know how it's being used and whether it is safe. 

The rash of new laws and the push by states to pass more is also creating fear among educational technology companies.

"Some of the requirements provide real practical challenges to their ability to serve their customers," said Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director of Education Policy at the Software & Information Industry Association.  

In other words, the privacy push is making it harder for companies who want to get their apps into classrooms across the country, he said.  It also makes it harder to for them to cash in on the multi-billion dollar market for educational technology.

"We’ve heard it from developers who are now shying away a little bit from the education sector," said Schneiderman.

In tech-centric California, state legislators have been trying to find a way to keep everybody happy.

"We think we’ve found the sweet spot here," said Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. He's proposed a law that’ll let app developers use student data to improve their products, but not to market to students.

"We’re not trying to stifle this technology," he said. "To the contrary, we want more apps to help more kids."

 But, said Steinberg, there are too many weak privacy polices right now, and there's too much free rein for companies collecting data about kids.

 

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