The top firms in California’s Silicon Valley carry more weight on the global stage than many countries, which makes building diplomatic relations with them increasingly important, the world’s first national technology ambassador said.Chosen to fill what his country’s foreign ministry has dubbed the first “techplomacy” posting on the U.S. West Coast, Denmark’s Casper Klynge will be tasked with building direct ties between his country and the likes of Facebook, Apple and Alphabet’s Google.”We are to continue doing traditional diplomacy with countries and organizations, but we also have to start looking into what relation you can have with these big tech companies,” Klynge told Reuters in an interview.The aim was to help Denmark understand the impact of rapid changes in digital technology while promoting the country’s interests and values – setting up a channel of communication that would also benefit the companies.

Source: Silicon Valley giants outrank many nations, says first ‘techplomat’ | Reuters

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Brian Harper is not happy with the state of my house. As he pulls up the corner of my bathroom carpet, he cries out when he sees what is beneath: a section of missing floorboard. On a tablet showing live thermal image video, the resulting cold patch is dark violet. Harper is assessing the energy efficiency of my home. And apparently, it is sub-par.Cutting the energy we use in our homes is vital if societies are going to reduce global emissions from fossil fuels. Technological advances in renewable sources will help, but they still are unlikely to provide all the answers. Which explains why Harper, who helped develop early thermal imaging tech for the military almost 50 years ago, is poking about behind the lavatory of my semi-detached Victorian home in Bristol. His reaction to my missing floorboard and seeing the heat loss on screen underscores the potential connections between my chilly, poorly insulated room and our large gas bills.

Source: BBC – Future – The man who makes you see the invisible

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Images, whether captured by a satellite, a scientist, an explorer, a photojournalist or an artist, enable us to record, study and reflect on our planet’s evolving state.To raise awareness to the planet’s changing climate, melting ice, and its impact on polar bears, a group of scientists and conservationists with the non-profit Polar Bear International have marked Feb. 27 as the International Day of the Polar Bear. They believe that as the amount of sea ice declines, polar bears in the wild are at greater risk of extinction.Under the Endangered Species Act—which the Republicans in Washington have said they will seek to “modernize”—polar bears are listed as a threatened species.With recent projections of ice sheets melting at increasing rates, the polar bear’s survival (in the arctic) is dependent on the continued existence of sea ice, their natural habitat, which is in rapid decline. In Antarctica, scientists believe that ice sheets are melting at ever faster rates.

Source: Polar Bear: Photographs of a Fragile Ecosystem | Time.com

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A vast patch of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean – nicknamed the blob – resulted in increased levels of ozone above the Western US, researchers have found.The blob – which at its peak covered roughly 9 million square kilometres (3.5 million square miles) from Mexico to Alaska – was assumed to be mainly messing with conditions in the ocean, but a new study has shown that it had a lasting affect on air quality too.”Ultimately, it all links back to the blob, which was the most unusual meteorological event we’ve had in decades,” says one of the team, Dan Jaffe from the University of Washington Bothell.The blob of warm water in the Pacific was first detected back in 2013, and it continued to spread throughout 2014 and 2015. While it was less obvious in 2016, there were some indications that it persisted well into last year too.

Source: A massive ‘blob’ of abnormal conditions in the Pacific has increased ozone levels – ScienceAlert

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