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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain technology, Cryptocurrency, Economy

Many technological strides have been made over the last couple of decades. Advancement in technology is becoming faster and faster as each year passes by and many technologies to improve work efficiency, communication, and even financial services are being discovered and used every day. Technology has made the world smaller in a good way; we are now able to talk to family and friends from across the globe without having to spend too much money or wait too long for a reply. International financial transactions have also become more straightforward and hassle-free.

One of the significant technological strides in the financial sector is the invention of bitcoinBitcoin is a new type of currency which can be used in financial transactions without the need for a middleman (usually banks). Bitcoin was invented back in 2009 and has been gaining popularity since then, reaching an all-time high worth $ 17,900 on December 15, 2017.

Here are some of the benefits of using bitcoins:

1. Anonymity. – Bitcoins can be used to buy merchandise anonymously. In this time and age where privacy has become a critical factor to be considered when you’re connected to the Internet, being able to transact anonymously presents a very inviting option for many people.

2. Easy international transactions. – Because bitcoin is not tied to any country or is subjected to regulations, global payments and other financial transactions are easier, and a lot more affordable than traditional international banking systems where fees still need to be paid and transactions may take time to be completed.

3. Cost. – Small businesses may prefer bitcoins since there is no credit card fee that they would have to pay the bank. Online stores from across the world could also gain more profit by using bitcoin instead of other online payment methods like Paypal where there are charges for currency conversion and additional fees.

4. Investment. – People may also get enticed by the history of bitcoin price. Because of the recent rise in bitcoin prices, a lot of people have begun thinking about investing in bitcoin as a form of long-term investment.

Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet which could either be on a cloud or your computer. Digital wallets serve as your bank account which allows you to send or receive bitcoins, pay for bitcoin transactions, and save or store your bitcoins for future use.

No one can predict how bitcoin can affect world finance and economy in the long run, but judging by its practicality and its current popularity, it may be here to stay for a while. Bitcoin may even revolutionize the way that the insurance industry works. Without the need for banks to act as middlemen, insurance claims would be paid out more efficiently and promptly. There may also come a time when you wouldn’t need to pay for a monthly premium; with the help of GPS technology in conjunction with bitcoin technology, your vehicle’s movement can be tracked, and you would just have to pay for the times when your vehicle is in use. These are just assumptions but very well may be the future with bitcoins.

This article was originally published at HoganInjury.com

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Clean Tech, Economy, Gadgets

The traditional concept of city has changed in the last few years because of the quick development of technology and the new lifestyles, which people are demanding. The reality is that cities are the engine of economic growth and for that reason many people are currently moving to big cities in order to find new opportunities and better life conditions. It is expected that almost 70% of the world’s population will live in urban centers by 2050 and that is why cities all around the world are seeking to create more efficient and sustainable ways to operate by providing integrate sensors, buildings, facilities and innovative transportation and infrastructure.

Smart cities use information and communication technologies to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of sources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life. Smart Cities also develop new business models, which satisfy citizens’ new and specific needs; operate urban infrastructure more efficiently and automatically; reduce expenses drastically; improve the city environment by creating more green and leisure spaces and encourage the Internet of Things, that is, the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Some cities such as Singapore, Barcelona, London, San Francisco or Oslo have already incorporated these technologies and they are considered the world’s smartest cities. Although the most important elements in smart cities are transportation and energy, those cities have experienced improvements in different aspects. Singapore, for instance, has already deployed cameras and sensors to track traffic and check that people do not smoke in unauthorized areas. Barcelona and London have installed smart parking technology as well as sensors for monitoring air quality and noise and wireless routers which are capable of expanding a network of free Wi-Fi in public spaces. San Francisco has focused their efforts in sorting out the traffic problems and it is also a city that highlights due to contactless payment. Oslo, the capital of one of the wealthiest cities in the world, has made strides in using information technology to curb energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The future is about smart cities and the next few years will be critical for its design and construction. Households, factories and public buildings will generate their own electricity from renewable sources, using the excess space in walls, roofs and windows. These connected devices will store any excess energy in batteries and then they will able to feed the energy grid. Smart homes will also use smart thermostats, which will adapt the heating temperature automatically and save energy. Furthermore, real time traffic data streams, car sharing schemes and mobile parking apps will decrease road traffic, emissions and time wasted. Transport apps will use real time traffic and public transport data to offer citizens the quickest route to their destination.

The cities of future will look very similar in terms of fabric but the way of interacting will be pretty different, artificial intelligence, robots and driverless cars will be part of the day-by-day life.

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Clean Tech, Economy, Projects

Renewable energies are increasing its importance between the other energetic sources. The main reason is that they constitute a sustainable alternative to fossil and nuclear fuels, which are destroying natural environments and bringing about pollution. The worldwide is aware of this problem, one of the biggest in the world currently, and governments of many countries are focusing their efforts in building modern and innovative infrastructures to produce by them the most of the energy consumption in the near future.

Eolic energy is one of the main energetic sources in producing electricity nowadays. It exists extensive areas full of wind turbines to collect the power of wind and transform it in electric power. Onshore and offshore wind farms can be found all around the world but the reality is that the future biggest projects focus in offshore wind farms because of its less negative impact in the natural environment than land based projects. Based on data, the United Kingdom is the country with the greatest number of turbines and producing capacity, followed by Denmark and Germany.

Hornsea Project One is the largest offshore wind farm to be built in the next few years. It is expected to be producing energy by 2020 and it is going to be built in the United Kingdom after the British Government gave green light to the project last February. This ambitious offshore wind farm will be located 120 kilometers off the East Yorkshire coast in a huge area of approximately 407 square kilometers, have 174 wind turbines and capacity of 1,200 MW, include more than 900 kilometers of cables and provide electricity to power almost one million homes. The clean electricity produced by the wind turbines will be transmitted to shore and then it will feed the national grid. The project will also give employment to 2,000 people during its construction and phase with up to 300 additional jobs supported directly and indirectly.

Although the United Kingdom counts on the 3 biggest offshore wind farms in the world: London Array, Gwynt y Môr and Greater Gabbard, none of them can be compared with Hornsea Project because, according to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd, this project will mean clean energy for the country, jobs and financial security for working people and their families, and more skills and growth boosting the Northern Powerhouse than ever before. In order to become even bigger the project, the company commissioned of developing the Hornesea Project One has intention to expand it by building Hornesea Two and Hornesea Three, which are waiting for the consent of the authority at the moment.

Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electricity capable of competing with coal or gas plants what allows many people to use this kind of energy instead of fossil sources, which are highly polluting. However, offshore wind farms still have a cost considerably high because of the huge invest in infrastructure and its maintenance. Despite this fact, the green benefits of Eolic energy become it in the energy of the future.



To learn more about Hornsea Project:

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Economy

POVERTY. The biggest world issue and the first Global Goal that the United Nations want to eradicate. In despite of the efforts made in the last 200 year around 836 million people still live in poverty and majority of them live on less that $1.25 a day what is defined by the World Bank as extreme poverty. By 2030 the goal is zero poverty and the fist step to eliminate it is to identify the regions most by plagued it. To know the poverty level is necessary to collect data and information and there is currently almost no information about it because of the lack of resources and efforts to avoid the problem in areas especially affected as Asia or Africa mainly.

According to a new study released recently in the journal Science, Scientists of Stanford University have found an accurate method, which allows coping with lacking of information problems. It combines machine learning algorithms and satellite imagery, which use the night-lights and high-resolution imagery to identify poverty areas. Initially a satellite collects night-lights data and daytime images that will be added to economic survey data in order to reach an accurate reality. Then the model takes all the information and uses the map to make predictions that fills gaps where there isn’t good data. By looking for correlation the model can associate areas with houses and cars are likely to be more lit or areas with more cars are more likely to have higher household spending in surveys.

So far, researchers have been using personal survey as the common method to collect data about poverty. They use to send surveys to every house with many questions about income and consumption and results are used to construct poverty measures. However, this is not an accurate method and it is typically expensive, time-consuming and sometimes impossible to conduct because, for instance, some countries from Africa as Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi live in permanent armed conflicts. The experiment was first carried out in these countries and results were surprisingly predictive of economic livelihoods. In order to check out, imagery from countries for which survey data was available were used to validate the computer model’s finding.

Although at the moment the available data only allows to know the currently poverty state, European Space Agency and other world organizations in order to help out this study expect to provide new satellite imagery in the near future to keep them collecting information across the world and making future predictions.

The innovative system only works in the 5 countries where is being tested, but all efforts are being made to have it working across the world as soon as possible because of the high benefits to predict and eradicate poverty. One more time it is showed how to invest in technology innovations can impact positively in people lives.



To learn more about combining satellite imagery and machine learning to predict poverty:

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Clean Tech, Economy

Nowadays approximately 40 percent of the population, or 1.6 billion people, don’t have Internet access. The primary reason is that it is cost-prohibitive. Viewing this as a problem, Facebook partnered with other technology companies in order to set up Internet.org, a movement aimed to make affordable basic Internet services available to everyone on Earth.

Connectivity improves people lives and lets them connect with other people and communities across the world. It allows people to find jobs, start businesses and allows access to education and information from anywhere in the world – giving you more access than any physical library ever could. A recent study showed that the Internet is the most important driver of economic growth in developing countries. Facebook wants to accelerate that growth by providing high-speed Internet connection to every corner of the globe.

The traditional model of connecting to the Internet required extensive and expensive infrastructures to connect people in remote or low-population-density areas. The Connectivity Lab at Facebook is developing a project that creates affordable Internet access using new and clean technologies. The latest innovation is the Aquila Unmanned Aircraft, a solar-powered plane capable of taking broadband Internet access all around the world using only solar energy.

The Aquila Unmanned Aircraft is a lightweight craft that has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 airplane but weighs less than a typical electric car and consumes around the same amount of energy as a hairdryer. It is made of a cured carbon and it is entirely covered with solar panels. The aircraft can stay airborne for 3 months at a time. When Aquila launches it will be capable of creating a 50-km communication radius for up to 90 days, beaming a signal down to the people in that area. Aquila will fly between 60,000 and 90,000 feet in elevation. During the day it will fly at 90,000 feet to collect enough energy from the sun to keep its propellers, communications payload, avionics, heaters and light systems running when it becomes dark and also to avoid commercial air traffic. At nights it will lower down to 60,000 feet to take advantage of gravitational energy, thus consuming less power.

The aircraft was designed in the United Kingdom by a team of engineers from various fields of expertise including aerospace, avionics and software. These engineers have previously worked at several prestigious organizations such as NASA, Boeing and the Royal Air Force.

Last week, after two years of research and development, the Aquila Unmanned Aircraft launched its first full-scale mission in Yuma, Arizona. The flight was scheduled to run 30 minutes but the aircraft wings worked so well that the flight was extended to a 96 minute run. The primary focus of the first flights was to allow the ground crew to check the aerodynamics, batteries, autopilot, motors, and control systems. In the upcoming tests, Aquila will fly faster, higher and longer. The crew will also experiment with a variety of different aircrafts with different sizes and weights to develop improved versions. When complete, the aircraft will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter at a height of more than 60,000 feet and will be capable of breaking the record for the longest unmanned flight. According to the 2014 ET report, India could be the first country where Facebook may start to provide connectivity to remote areas.

However, Google, one of Facebook’s biggest rivals has a similar project with plans to provide connectivity from the sky. It is called Project Loon and instead of using lasers it uses radio frequencies to transmit its data. Balloons are sent up 20-km into the stratosphere, traveling along easterly or westerly latitudes, transmitting signals to each other and extending Internet. Although currently, Loon balloons cover a larger circular area of 80km, Facebook claims that its Aquila Unmanned Aircraft can provide Internet with higher speed.

The ambitious project led by Facebook expects to reach a fleet of 10,000. The goal is to have all of the Aquila aircrafts communicating with each other through lasers and beaming Internet connection to rural and underdeveloped areas where it is needed to accelerate economic growth. In order to reach this goal, millions of dollars will have to be invested over the next few years. The plan also requires spending time and money negotiating with governments, regulatory authorities and commercial partners to obtain the necessary permits to start actively using the Aquila Unmanned Aircraft.



The Internet.org movement led by Facebook has partnered with companies such as Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcoom and aims to create new clean technologies. All of these companies share the same vision of improving people’s lives, reducing poverty / inequality in the world and making the Internet available and affordable for everyone. Internet is a powerful and necessary tool that is expected to drive economic growth to underdeveloped countries in the near future.  

To learn more watch this video of Aquila’s first flight:

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Economy, Software Nation

Norway is one of the Northern European countries that is characterized by its rugged coastline, huge fjords and thousands of islands spanning 83.281 km. The roads are very curvy, making it a hard and long journey to travel along the coast. Traveling Norway from the North to South could take around 23 hours. The current highway, which connects both points, goes through several fjords and mountains and you must take seven ferries, which can make for a dangerous trip when the weather conditions are bad. In order for the Norwegian Public Roads Administration to make the drive easier, they are developing an outstanding project that is very unique. When the project is completed, it will reduce the journey between Kristiansand in the South to Trondheim in the North to just 10 hours driving time.

E39 Coastal Highway is considered by experts to be one of the biggest engineering projects in the world. It will cost around $30 million and it is expected to be completed by 2035. It will involve renewing the whole road through route E39, building new highway bridges and two huge, curved, parallel underwater tunnels, which will be submerged 20 to 30-meters below the surface of the Norwegian Sea and then connected to massive floating pontoons to stabilize the structure. Every tunnel will have two lanes, one for traffic and the other for emergencies, maintenance and bike lanes. There will also be ventilation and a light system. Although much research has been done, problems and delays could still appear during the construction. This is because the floor of every fjord has it’s own delicate geology and bridges can disrupt maritime activities.

In the beginning the idea was to build bridges all along the coast by connecting fjords, but it was rejected because it would be much more expensive due to fjord extent and it would also interfere with maritime traffic. Fjords are one of the main touristic attractions in Norway, which means that many ships sail every day through this natural paradise. In addition, many navy vessels use this area for military spec tests.

Despite the high cost of E39 Coastal Highway project, the economy will improve due to the reduction costs in exportation. About 57% of them will come from the West region and will be made by maritime transport. The new structure will reduce transport costs and the economy will become more efficient. On the other hand, the Norwegian population can take advantage of what the construction will mean to people who live in difficult areas of access, especially because they will not have to wait for a helicopter if they run into an emergency situation. Certainly, E39 Coastal Highway will improve the quality of life for many nearby inhabitants.

Innovation is not new in Norway. The country currently hosts with the longest road-tunnel, a 24.5 km tunnel that was built in 2000 under the Norwegian mountains and it connects Laerdal and Aurlud. Norway is also home to the deepest underwater tunnel, which is 7.76 km long with a depth of 286 meters. Depending on the success of E39 Coastal Highway project, the Norwegian government will consider installing an additional floating tunnel to help smooth out the problems with its unique geographical location.

Modern engineering has allowed engineers to build many astonishing projects in just the last few years. All of them – roads, bridges, ports, airports and reservoirs among many others – aim to make people’s lives easier and to impact the economic growth of the country by improving it. Both of these goals can’t be reached without the power of an essential tool nowadays: technology.

 

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