An independent journalist, researcher and writer, my work roams across the nexus where ecology, technology, political economy and sociology intersect and overlap. The lifelong quest for knowledge of the world and self -- not to mention gainful employment -- has led me near and far afield, from Europe, across the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa and back home to the Americas. Twitter: @mightysparrow LinkedIn: andrew burger Google+: Andrew B Email: huginn.muggin@gmail.com

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O3b Aims to Offer Real Broadband to the World’s ‘Other 3 Billion’

O3b provides broadband network access to service providers in such isolated, far-flung and hard-to-reach locations as the Colombian Amazon, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo capital of Kinshasa, as well as Iraq, Somalia and South Sudan. The launch of four new satellites promises to increase both speed and affordability.

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Beijing’s “Airpocalypse” Offers Dismal View of Life in Megacities

Rapid industrialization and the relentless pursuit of GDP growth has caused an “airpocalypse” in Beijing, making China’s capital city all but uninhabitable. The Guardian’s Ian Wainwright paints a dismal portrait of how Beijing’s toxic air and the built environment, as well as the extraordinary, and extraordinarily expensive, measures city leaders and residents are considering and taking in an effort to adapt.

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South Africa Fights Blackouts with Concentrating Solar Power

Having tripled its national renewable energy targets, South Africa has awarded a contract to build a 100-MW concentrating solar power-molten salts energy storage facility. Spain’s Abengoa is leading the project development group, which has secured $1 billion of financing from a consortium of multilateral and South African banks.

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PG&E Smart Grid Lab Tests Battery Storage

Leading private- and public-sector energy players are joining to install and test a grid-scale battery storage system at PG&E’s Smart Grid Lab. Eos Energy Storage’s Aurora advanced battery storage technology will be at the test system’s core.

Salmon fisherman, Bristol Bay, Alaska, USA

President Bans Oil and Gas Drilling in Bristol Bay Indefinitely

President Obama took executive action Dec. 16 to protect Bristol Bay’s iconic, $2 billion wild-caught fishery and local communities from oil and gas drilling. Another existential threat to Bristol Bay ecosystems and watershed remains, however.

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Upsolar Promotes Energy Freedom with New Home Solar Loans

Upsolar is offering homeowners a path to “Energy Freedom” with a comprehensive, lifelong solar loan program. For zero-down, homeowners can take out a 20-year, 5.99 percent fixed rate loan that covers installation, operations and maintenance over a home PV system’s entire life.

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Utilities Roll Out Home Energy Analytics to Over 1.5 Million

TXU Energy and London Hydro are the latest utilities that will deploy Bidgely’s cloud-based energy analytics throughout their customer bases. Offering apps and a platform to monitor energy usage is seen as a way to enhance customer engagement, as well as energy efficiency and building a 21st century smart grid.