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Submission + - SPAM: Buying a Diesel Car: Irresponsible, Selfish, or Criminal?

dkatana writes: Despite the VW emissions scandal, and others that follow, Europeans continue to buy diesel cars to save money on gas. Only in four Western European countries gasoline cars outsold diesel.

Why, if everyone knows that diesel cars pollute much more than any other vehicle, people are so irresponsible to continue buying them?

Things are changing, however, slowly. Buying diesel cars is no longer a good economic choice. As cities such as London. Paris, Madrid, and Oslo, are stating to ban them when pollution rises, and plan a total ban in a few years, the resale value of those cars is tanking.

Buying a diesel car is irresponsible and selfish. There are many other choices in the market today, and cheaper too.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Europe looks to reduce its 50 million tons of plastic waste per year (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: Plastic waste is everywhere. And some European countries are better than other in recycling.

But the 50 million tons of plastic Europe discards every year are a big problem. The EU Commission is about to ban incinerating plastic or dumping it in landfills.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that plastic worth from $80 to $120 billion a year, is lost after a single use.

What the industry needs to do is eco-conception, it means “we’re not thinking about recovery at the end of the process but at the beginning,” said Jean-Marc Boursier, chairman of the French federation of waste management services, during the first Circular Economy European Summit in Barcelona.

Other ideas are encourage people to sort better, factor in the price of carbon and the environmental impact, and reduce VAT on recycled material because it was paid the first time round.

One big problem, Boursier says, is the price of virgin plastic, which has dropped with the price of oil, down almost 40% in two years. That makes recycled plastic less attractive.

Submission + - Uber drivers are helping company kill their own jobs (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: Recent reports from the British parliament argue that Uber “treats its drivers as Victorian-style ‘sweated labour’.”

Uber is adding more drivers, raising fees, and lowering rates to create an ecosystem that will help them change mobility for good. They don't hide that their end game is to replace drivers with self-driving cars and trucks. And their drivers are feeding the company with money, data, and customers to achieve that goal.

As Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said two years ago: “The reason that Uber could be expensive is that you are not just paying for the car, you are paying for the other dude in the car [] who’s driving So, when there is no other dude in the car the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.."

Submission + - Apple Pay arrives in Spain, But it isn't good news for everyone (medium.com)

dkatana writes: Spain is the fourth European country (after the UK, France and Switzerland), and the second in the Euro Zone, to get Apple Pay.

Apple has teamed up with Banco Santander and American Express to introduce their popular payment app, just in time for the holidays.

But not everyone is happy. Other banks will be under pressure to join the service, for which Apple charges a hefty setup fee, and then 15 basis points per transaction, which will have to come from merchants' processing fees.

That is why Apple Pay is not available everywhere in Europe. The European Central Bank (ECB) is pushing for lower interchange fees to boost electronic payments, and banks can't pay Apple without losing money.

Submission + - Facebook started trending false news stories on a regular basis (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: "Facebook started trending false news stories on a regular basis." that's the conclusion of Susan Etlinger. She is an industry analyst at the thinktank, Altimeter Group, where she focuses on data strategy, analytics and ethical data use.

“In the Facebook News feed, which is optimized for engagement, the consequence is that the most controversial and provocative stories tend to be shared more than real news reporting, and Facebook has not had a way to make verification and authenticity an important part of the algorithm and then Facebook started trending false news stories on a regular basis.” That, Etlinger told Cities of the Future, “is an example where a machine has too much responsibility.”

When asked about the possibility of people using data and AI to influence political decisions and distort information to the public, Etlinger is outspoken:

We don’t even know the level of intentional misinformation that has been shared.” Etlinger says. “Obviously the US news media, as an example, is full of conspiracy theories right now. The reality is [AI] is an incredibly powerful technology, even more because it is very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to go back and understand exactly what happens in an algorithm, and AI.”

Submission + - Big Data and Surveillance in Trump's era: Big Questions (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: Susan Etlinger, an analyst for the Altimeter group, TED speaker and Big Data guru, gave a darker view of AI and Big Data during the Smart Cities World Congress in Barcelona.

During an interview during the conference she talked about recent US presidential elections, and the use of Big Data and surveillance:

"[...]suddenly we’ve gone from a government where we had an understanding, a general understanding, particularly after Snowden, of how data was used, to big questions,” she said. “Fundamentally, we are at a critical turning point in terms of how we think about data, and how we use data both for governments and cities, and also for businesses and other institutions.”

"There is this sort of assumption that mathematics is inherently neutral. And, in the world of data science, nothing can be further from the truth.", she says.

Because of that: “Obviously the US news media, as an example, is full of conspiracy theories right now. The reality is [AI] is an incredibly powerful technology, even more because it is very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to go back and understand exactly what happens in an algorithm, and AI.[...] It could be potentially a very scary time. Some people in the US are talking about ‘living in a post-facts society.’ That is a real danger.”

Submission + - Susan Etlinger: we may be "'living in a post-facts society." (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: Susan Etlinger, an analyst for the Altimeter group, TED speaker and Big Data guru, gave a much darker view of AI and Big Data on an interview to Cities of the Future, during the Smart Cities World Congress in Barcelona.

She talked about recent US presidential elections, and the use of Big Data and surveillance:

"[...]suddenly we’ve gone from a government where we had an understanding, a general understanding, particularly after Snowden, of how data was used, to big questions,” she said. “Fundamentally, we are at a critical turning point in terms of how we think about data, and how we use data both for governments and cities, and also for businesses and other institutions.”

"There is this sort of assumption that mathematics is inherently neutral. And, in the world of data science, nothing can be further from the truth.", she says.

Because of that: “Obviously the US news media, as an example, is full of conspiracy theories right now. The reality is [AI] is an incredibly powerful technology, even more because it is very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to go back and understand exactly what happens in an algorithm, and AI.[...] It could be potentially a very scary time. Some people in the US are talking about ‘living in a post-facts society.’ That is a real danger.”

Submission + - London's Mayor wants VW to pay $3 million in lost congestion charge revenue (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: Since the UK government has done nothing to make Volkswagen pay for Dieselgate, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is asking VW to come with £2.5 million ($3 million) to compensate the city and its residents for the 80,000 diesel cars fitted with cheat devices.

“I want to see a proper commitment from them [VW] to fully compensate the thousands of Londoners who bought VW cars in good faith, but whose diesel engines are now contributing to London’s killer air,”

Submission + - SPAM: 19th century ideas for 21st century problems, the Barcelona solution

dkatana writes: Back in the 1850s the Catalan engineer and urban designer Ildefons Cerdà designed the Eixample, the expansion of Barcelona outside the old city walls. His futuristic concept, approved by the city in 1859, with its well-integrated rail transit, serves as a model of urban design, land use, transportation planning, and pedestrian-scaled streets working in synergy to boost community living and people's access to public space.

Now Barcelona is using the Eixample as a new model for the city of the 21st century, by introducing the "Superblock", a grid of nine blocks where the main mobility happens on the roads around the outside the Superblock, and the roads within the Superblock are for local transit only.

This will give Barcelona residents access again to all the public space they lost during the transition to a car-centric model in the last century.

Barcelona is not just introducing the Superblocks, they are exporting the idea to many cities around the world.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Superblocks, Barcelona's Solution to Reclaim Public Space

dkatana writes: Currently, Barcelona has 912 km (567 mi) of roads and streets dedicated to motorized traffic.

The Catalan capital has a plan to reduce that number to just 355 km, reclaiming over 60% of the asphalt to other uses for residents, like games, sport and cultural activities, such as outdoor cinema, concerts and outdoor fairs.

The plan is inspired on the original design of the city in the 1850s, when Ildelfons Cerda, the Catalan urban designer, convinced the city to expand using a futuristic design unknown at the time. Cerdà designed the modern city block, now Barcelona is creating the Superblock.

Submission + - Privacy Shield is Finally Here. Is Forged of Iron or Glass? (theictscoop.com)

dkatana writes: Istvan Lam, CEO of Tresorit, a passionate cryptographer since the age of 12 and one of the inventors of its encryption technology, takes a view of the implications of Privacy Shield, the sucesor of Safe Harbor.

Privacy Shield was finally approved today by the European Union, but critics say it will not withstand the new European Privacy Directiva and the General Data Protection Regulation.

"As people are more privacy aware, data protection is becoming essential for competitiveness. We can already see a trend: large corporations like Apple, Google or even Facebook are slowly moving towards more transparent privacy terms and adding encryption into their services." Lam argues.

Submission + - London's Foggy Future as Fintech Hub

dkatana writes: London holds at least fifty percent of Europe’s financial technology companies, such as TransferWise and GoCardless.

Now that the UK has made the decision to quit the 28-country bloc those lucrative fintech companies and startups can lose their banking "passport" to trade in the EU. François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the France’s central bank, said that keeping the so-called “passport” would not be an option if the UK leaves the single market of trade in goods and services.

Many people in fintech jobs are already looking for opportunities in the continent, and cities such as Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are sending messages such as "[we are] prepared to receive all of those that want to come back to Europe"

Submission + - Brexit Will Have a Disastrous Effect: Tech Companies Will Feel the Pain (informationweek.com)

dkatana writes: Most of the business and tech communities in the UK supported the "Remain" campaign, as did well-respected academics, artists, politicians, and scientists. Still, many voters saw the EU as a source of unwanted immigration, burdensome regulations, and a costly club.

UK tech firms will no longer be able to bid on European public works projects. They will face more dofficulties hiring foreign workers. And new trade agreements and data protection laws woill have to be enacted.

London will suffer the most as the de facto startup and financial capital of Europe. Many fintech and startup firms will look elsewhere to secure their place in Europe and access both the market and EU public funds.

Submission + - Mobile World Congress Coming to America in 2017 (theictscoop.com)

dkatana writes: The ICT Scoop reports that the GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas will Launch in San Francisco in September next year

The new event will combine the CTIA's Super Mobility show with the global reach of the GSMA MWC. The London based wireless association will organize the new conference.

The GSMA wants to have a huge event in San Francisco. The new Mobile World Congress Americas It is expected to attract 30,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors, when it opens in September next year.

Super Mobility 2016 will be held as scheduled this year, before it evolves into the new joint event — Mobile World Congress Americas — with GSMA in 2017 and beyond.

Submission + - Ransomware Attacks Targeting Schools, Calgary Uni Paid C$20,000 in Bitcoin (theictscoop.com)

dkatana writes: The University of Calgary paid C$20,000 ransom this week after an attack on May 28 targeted computers used by staff and faculty members, crippling multiple systems and encrypting data files and email accounts.

After determining that they were unable to recover the data the ransom was paid to “protect the quality and nature of the information we generate at the university.”, said an official in a press release.

The fact that higher education institutions are now being targeted by ransomware is raising serious questions about their ability to protect their data and critical information systems.

Universities had a false sense of security, and their IT systems are not prepared to deal with sophisticated attacks.

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