An update on Google's Project Loon

Project Loon in Brazil

Project Loon the research program with the ambitious vision of delivering global Internet coverage is well underway. And with some luck, by the end of this year we’ll have a great indication of what the project means for the dream of universal Internet access. Project Loon is a flagship of X (previously Google X), the five-year old experimental projects lab fostering so-called ‘moonshot’ projects from Alphabet, the parent company behind Google. By any measure Project Loon is an undertaking of truly global proportions — it involves establishing a fleet of high-altitude balloons that will form a network of Internet-carrying transceivers.

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Food Bugs

Tarantulas in Cambodia

Fear factor - the TV show a number of us watched through parted fingers - almost always featured bug eating (entomophagy). The creators of the show had a knack for choosing the most succulent, squiggly, disgusting looking grubs - a la Lion King. Now scientists are saying insects could be the answer to the world’s food sustainability challenges. Should their thinking catch on; you may just find yourself dining like Simba.

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A solar minigrid for 100 villages in Western Kenya

Micro grid

Use of scalable off-grid solutions in advancing rural electrification is important in developing worlds. Last year, Kenya awarded the first utility concession permit to a off-grid power company to generate, distribute and sell power. This year marks an important stage for the project that will demonstrate how these solutions can fit into the agenda, and probably pave the way for entry of more private players of scalable off-grid energy generation and supply solutions.

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Measuring Moovement - wearables for cows

Cows wearable technology NZ

We’ve all seen those movies. Where the person under house arrest is strapped with an ankle bracelet. The one with a silent flashing red light that will set off an alarm the minute the prisoner steps outside a defined radius of movement. An agricultural innovation created by Fujitsu in Japan , is using ankle bracelets on dairy cows. Not so much to manage their moovement (pun intended) as to connect them to the Internet.

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Croton plant offers some hope for biofuel enthusiasts

The Croton tree, which is commonly known as Mukinduri in Eastern and Central part of Kenya, is now a good known source of biofuels and that is being practiced. It grows in a challenging environment and unlike jatropha and palm, it won't bring food and fuel competition. It has no chemical additives and burns cleaner than traditional diesel fuel, with no sulfuric content. It can save our environment from carbon emissions and help in better land usage.

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Using lean data to improve the solar power sector

Many companies use traditional methods to measure the impact of solar power investments such as quoting the many dollars invested, number of people using their kits and areas covered by their product, which are inadequate tools for measuring social impact for solar power investments if we have to get it right. Traditional approaches of gathering data are not only expensive, take time to give results and complicated to use, but are also not helpful in terms of boosting solar power funding. The lean data approach proposed by Acumen could, not only bridge solar power funding gaps in developing worlds, but will also help companies to understand emerging markets.  

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