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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Pastoralists and researchers meet under the University of Bush 

It is one of a kind university, whose setting under acacia trees in Kenya’s North Eastern area and neighboring Ethiopia makes it ideal for its students. There are no exams or assignments and the students together with their lecturers meet after every three months. Yet this university has been credited with gathering landmark findings that are shaping academic discourses and guiding governments in policy making. Dubbed ‘The University of the Bush,’

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The Legacy Of Nitrogen

In late 2004, Kisumu bay, Lake Victoria, was covered in a blue-green hue.  The algal bloom  - a proliferation of cyanobacteria – demarcated an area of low oxygen and eventually decomposing algae, causing fish to suffocate or flee and contaminating the drinking water- a dead zone. Adapt-N, a software programme developed by researchers at Cornell University seeks to solve this problem.

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