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Breaking the code: how women in Nigeria are changing the face of tech
16 August 2017 - The Nigerian tech scene is booming. Last year, Lagos-based startup Andela received $24 million in funding from Mark Zuckerberg. In 2015, financial technology startup Paystack -- one of the first Nigerian tech companies to be accepted into renowned California-based startup accelerator Y Combinator -- secured approximately $1.3 million in seed investment from international investors. Within this growth, women are emerging as influential forces, and changing the face of technology in Africa, especially in the fields of agricultural and financial tech. (more)

Scotland's largest solar farm gets green light
16 August 2017 - The green light has been given for what will be Scotland's largest solar farm. Moray Council has granted Elgin Energy planning permission for a 20MW project near Urquhart, which could see about 80,000 solar panels installed. The farm will be constructed on the 47-hectare Speyslaw site -- the equivalent of about 40 football pitches. The largest Scottish solar farm is currently a 13MW project at Errol Estate in Perthshire, which went live in May last year. All cabling at the site -- spread over three fields at the Innes Estate -- will be underground, allowing sheep to graze around the panels. (more)

The Associated Press' guide to the best free online workouts
16 August 2017 - It's easy to get discouraged by the boutique fitness craze with $25 per class fees and the weekly chore of sitting by your computer to reserve a spot in that popular spin class that always sells out. It's often tempting to just skip it, so we rounded up our favorite free online workouts that you can do in your living room, at the office, in a park, or on vacation. (more)

Korean leaders, US open door to diplomacy in nuclear crisis
15 August 2017 - . . . both Koreas and the United States signaled their willingness to avert a deepening crisis, with each suggesting a path toward negotiations. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, meanwhile, a liberal who favors engagement with the North, urged North Korea to stop provocations and to commit to talks over its nuclear weapons program. (more)

North Korea holds off on Guam missile plan as China urges 'brakes' on rhetoric
15 August 2017 - North Korea's leader has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the United States does next, the North's state media said on Tuesday, as South Korea's President said Seoul would seek to prevent war by all means. (more)

US: A princely sun worshipper
15 August 2017 - There's a golden-flowered plant that's starting to bloom in native gardens all over Santa Fe, New Mexico this month. Helianthus maximiliani, also known as the Maximilian sunflower, is a showy, native prairie plant that grows up to 11 feet tall. While it looks more like a daisy, it is in the sunflower family ('helianthus' is Greek for 'sunflower') but doesn't much look like its more popular cousin, the larger headed Helianthus annuus, or common sunflower. The Maximilian sunflower was named for German explorer, ethologist, and naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, who led an expedition into the American West in the 1830s and discovered the flowering plant in Missouri. (more)

US: University of Massachusetts professor gets $1M grant to study bee health
15 August 2017 - Sunflower pollen may play a role in improving the health of the bees that pollinate our fruits and vegetables, and a Massachusetts professor is trying to figure out exactly why. University of Massachusetts-Amherst biology professor Lynn Adler says there is strong evidence that sunflower pollen can help bees fight a common pathogen called crithidia. (more)

Project aims to attract tourists to remote Albanian villages
14 August 2017 - An ambitious project is aiming to open up remote villages in the highlands of southern Albania to the outside world and to tourists wanting to discover the spectacular natural beauty and rural way of life of the more isolated parts of the Balkan country. (more)

US: Santa Fe Indian Market fuses tradition with contemporary art
14 August 2017 - For nearly a century, American Indian jewelers, potters, and other artists have been gathering in the heart of northern New Mexico to show off their creations at one of the nation's most prestigious art markets. The annual Santa Fe Indian Market begins Saturday [19 August] as organizers push ahead with raising the bar for showcasing what they say are the best examples of art that has evolved from centuries-old traditions. Events related to Native film, literature, and fashion are scheduled throughout the week leading up to the market. [The Associated Press tells readers] some more things to know. (more)

Canada: Farmer about to flip the switch on largest solar-energy system in the province
12 August 2017 - A southern Manitoba dairy farmer is about to lay claim to having the largest solar-energy system in the province, but his reign as solar champ will be short-lived. As early as next month, Hans Gorter's new 175-kilowatt, solar photovoltaic (PV) system near Otterburne will be surpassed by a 200-kilowatt system being installed at the Tallpine Lodges in West Hawk Lake. (more)

Undaunted by tensions, Chinese tourists flock into North Korea
10 August 2017 - Undeterred by escalating tensions between Pyongyang and Washington rattling nerves globally, a steady stream of tourists from China each morning passes through the immigration checkpoint at the border trading hub of Dandong. Greeting them on the North Korean side are dozens of tour buses, collecting them for itineraries ranging from a day in neighboring Sinijiu to a week visiting North Korea's main cities, including the capital Pyongyang. (more)

In a remote Irish town, a goat reigns supreme
10 August 2017 - For a few days this week a goat will be king of a small town in Ireland's rural south west. Billed as one of Ireland's oldest festivals, the Puck Fair sees locals in the town of Killorglin pluck a wild mountain goat from its habitat and crown him 'King Puck' for the duration of the event. Organizers say historical references to the festival date back to the early 17th century. (more)

Afghan boy known as 'Little Picasso' shows works in Serbia
9 August 2017 - A 10-year-old migrant from Afghanistan, who has been nicknamed 'Little Picasso,' is using his first ever exhibition to help another boy in need. Farhad Nouri's drawings and photographs were put on display Wednesday (9 August) in what was also his charity event to raise money for a Serbian boy recovering from surgery. 'Thank you all for coming here!' Nouri told dozens of visitors as he opened the exhibition organized with the help of aid groups and supported by Serbia's government. (more)

Gardening apps are getting better all the time
8 August 2017 - Gardening apps are getting better all the time, supplanting manuals and textbooks as the way people dig for information. Many university Extension services are developing the digital aids to extend outreach to clients. 'Extension apps provide reliable, research-based information,' said Christopher Enroth, an Extension educator with the University of Illinois, who evaluates gardening apps for their relevancy, customization, and ease of use. The word 'app' is short for application -- software designed for use on smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. (more)

UK: Outsmarting sunshine in Europe's cloudiest corner
8 August 2017 - Within the last year, the sun has taken on new-found importance across the cloudy island nation with photovoltaic cells providing as much as a quarter of the U.K.'s daily power supply on some days, from almost no capacity in 2011. Of all of Britain's power generation capacity, 13 percent is solar. That volume is forecast to more than double by 2040, and make up 22 percent of the country's power mix, BNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) said. (more)

US: Salt Lake elementary school employs goats for gardening work
7 August 2017 - A Salt Lake City elementary school has found a cheap, chemical-free way to clear weeds from a treacherous hillside: A team of hungry goats. For the third year in a row, a herd of goats is being used to landscape the tricky terrain at Washington Elementary School. The district loves to use the goats because it avoids using chemicals around children, and it saves money, said Ricardo Zubiate, assistant director of facility services for the Salt Lake City School District. (more)

US: Saratoga's solar panels to be fully operational next week
7 August 2017 - The Spa Solar Park, the 2.5 megawatt solar array, will be fully operational by Monday, August 14. Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan said the solar panels will provide the city with electricity credits from National Grid and match 40 percent of the city's energy use. 'This is a win-win all around and we are very excited to see the project go live and start providing renewable solar energy,' Madigan said in a statement. (more)

India: Solar units on rooftops brighten 12k properties in Pune
6 August 2017 - There has been a steady rise in the installation of solar units by households, residential societies and commercial establishments across the city [of Pune]. Over 12,000 properties have opted for solar units. An addition of 2,000 properties was registered in the 2016-17. Most establishments are tapping solar energy for household purposes like water heaters, lamps, and air-conditioning units. Besides saving on power bills, these properties are also availing discounts in property tax for installation of solar equipment. (more)

India: Poet Laureate Kuvempu's Kuppalli house comes alive at Lalbagh Flower Show
6 August 2017 - Marking 50 years of the first Jnanpith Award (1967) to Rashtrakavi Kuvempu, this year's Annual Flower Show at Lalbagh has a major attraction -- a replica of Kavimane, the Poet Laureate's house in Kuppalli, Shivamogga. Governor Vajubhai R. Vala inaugurated the show yesterday. (more)

US: Ask a Master Gardener - Lacing the lawn with lavender
5 August 2017 - The sweet smell of lavender (Lavandula), a wonderful addition to most landscapes. This plant is a native of the Mediterranean region and is prized for its fragrant flowers and oil. And, it is quite desirable in many regions for being drought tolerant, almost deer-proof, and easy to grow. It is also a favorite of bees and butterflies. The addition of this plant to your landscape will encourage visits by these valuable insects. (more)

US: Food is free for the taking at floating 'forest' in NYC
5 August 2017 - An old construction barge planted with vegetables, apple trees and fragrant herbs is giving apartment-dwelling New Yorkers a chance to pick something and eat it. Part floating garden, part artwork, and part community organizing project, the barge called Swale is currently docked on a river in the South Bronx and will move to Hudson River Park in lower Manhattan from September 15 to November 15. (more)

Indian scientist to head global body of solar energy experts
4 August 2017 - A group of international solar energy experts, innovators, and environmental activists have come together to form an international body -- the International Solar Innovations Council -- headed by Indian solar scientist Santi Pada Gon Chaudhuri as its global body chairman. (more)

Turkey's first floating solar power plant built in Istanbul
4 August 2017 - The Floating Solar Power Plant, the first of its kind in Turkey, officially went into operation in Istanbul's Lake Buyukcekmece on Friday. The plant . . . is comprised of 960 polycrystalline photovoltaic panels that provide 260 watts of energy each. The plant is expected to prevent 210 tons of carbon dioxide emission every year. (more)

US: Rhode Island just made community college free
4 August 2017 - Rhode Island just became the fourth state in the nation to make community college free, following examples in New York, Oregon, and Tennessee. They must maintain a 2.5 GPA in college while remaining enrolled full-time. Those who take advantage of the scholarships are also required to live, work, or continue their education in Rhode Island after graduation. The specifics of this policy will be developed by the college, according to the legislation. New York has a similar requirement. (more)

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