Daily Archives: July 1, 2015

Fintech explosion puts banks in digital firing line

By Eric Auchard – A report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Swiss-based corporate think-tank which runs the Davos summit of world leaders, says major disruptions lie ahead for the once highly profitable financial services industry.

“Pre-digital business models and processes will be rendered obsolete, and billions of dollars of value will shift to ‘new model’ suppliers,” the Santander (Santander InnoVentures) report predicts.

Rising investments in fintech start-ups globally are fuelling the challenge to entrenched players, with $12.2 billion plowed into such ventures last year, more than threefold the total of 2013, according to data supplied by research firm CB Insights. more> http://tinyurl.com/opc88nt

The Truth About Geoengineering

By David G. Victor, M. Granger Morgan, Jay Apt, John Steinbrune – SRM (solar radiation management) technologies could cool the planet in just a few months by tinkering with the planet’s energy balance.

The usual proposals involve spraying material into the stratosphere, where it would turn into reflective clouds, or blowing seawater into the air, with a similar effect. The clouds could deflect just enough incoming sunlight to offset, crudely, the number of degrees human emissions have warmed the planet. Flying a fleet of high-altitude aircraft that spray particles into the upper atmosphere would cost perhaps ten billion dollars per year — a pittance for a country that is suffering from severe climate change and seeks a quick solution.

Although quick and cheap, messing with the complex and imperfectly understood climate system, which is already stressed by warming gases, could end badly. Severe side effects might, for example, include a shift in the seasonal monsoons that many countries rely on for rainfall and agriculture, or accelerate the destruction of the ozone layer. more> http://tinyurl.com/qzejzhh


New electron microscopes will capture images at subnanometer resolution

Rice University – Rice University has installed microscopes that will allow researchers to peer deeper than ever into the fabric of the universe. The Titan Themis scanning/transmission electron microscope, one of the most powerful in the United States, will enable scientists from Rice as well as academic and industrial partners to view and analyze materials smaller than a nanometer — a billionth of a meter — with startling clarity.

The microscope has the ability to take images of materials at angstrom-scale (one-tenth of a nanometer) resolution, about the size of a single hydrogen atom.

Images will be captured with a variety of detectors, including X-ray, optical and multiple electron detectors and a 4K-resolution camera, equivalent to the number of pixels in the most modern high-resolution televisions. The microscope gives researchers the ability to create three-dimensional structural reconstructions and carry out electric field mapping of subnanoscale materials. more> http://tinyurl.com/pzbfkbt


EU plans to destroy net neutrality by allowing Internet fast lanes

By Glyn Moody – A two-tier Internet will be created in Europe as the result of a late-night “compromise” between the European Commission, European Parliament and the EU Council.

The so-called “trilogue” meeting to reconcile the different positions of the three main EU institutions saw telecom companies gaining the right to offer “specialized services” on the Internet.

These premium services will create a fast lane on the Internet and thus destroy net neutrality, which requires that equivalent traffic is treated in the same way. more> http://tinyurl.com/ob8qy6z