New space lasers offer best 3D look at global forests yet

first_imgArticle published by Sue Palminteri boreal forests, Conservation Solutions, Forests, LiDAR, Mapping, Monitoring, Remote Sensing, satellite data, Satellite Imagery, Sensors, Technology, Tropical Forests, Wildtech Forest monitoring has increasingly turned to satellites over the past several decades, and 2018 was no exception.In the last few months, NASA launched two sensors into space that will play a prominent role in monitoring forest biomass and structure over the next decade: the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) now attached to the International Space Station, and the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2).These two satellites, which in combination provide complete coverage of the planet, are equipped with lidar sensors that record forest structure in 3D, contributing to an ongoing wave of large-scale forest ecosystem measurements. Researchers and forest managers working to record and reduce the rapid loss of forests are now armed with a new tool to monitor vegetation across the globe. In December 2018, a SpaceX rocket launched the NASA-engineered Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) sensor up to the International Space Station to gather data on the structure and extent of forests.Scientists have increasingly relied on remote sensing methods to estimate the extent of forest landscapes, in particular collecting data from space at a large scale. Over the next several years, GEDI will provide the most accurate lidar (light detection and ranging) data on tropical and temperate forests ever to be collected from space.Satellite lidar systems determine vegetation structure by emitting lasers down to Earth at a known distance from the planet’s surface and measuring the time it takes for the lasers to return to their origin. As the satellite orbits the Earth, its lasers bounce off different features of a landscape. Shorter return times correspond to taller features, such as the top of a forest canopy, while longer return times correspond to shorter features, such as grassy plains. Where elevation of an area is known, very precise heights of vegetation features can be determined across the landscape.NASA’s Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) sensor launched to the International Space Station in December 2018 offers a 3D view of temperate and tropical forests. Video by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.The benefit of GEDI’s lidar is its ability to collect forest structure data in three dimensions, which enables scientists to not just categorize different types of land cover but also record vegetation canopy height and tree density, which other satellite sensors cannot. GEDI’s lasers will also penetrate the forest canopy to map understory growth, surveillance that no satellite to date has been able to do and would otherwise be near impossible without the difficult fieldwork of measuring forest biomass and carbon storage from the ground.Scientists agree that forests are disappearing rapidly and globally, but the speed with which the world is de-greening and how much of Earth’s carbon and biodiversity are lost along with forests are not well understood. The amount of carbon released when forests are cut down or burned depends on the amount of biomass the forests contain. Carbon emissions from deforestation play a substantial role in assessing the impact of human activity on climate.“The largest gap is that we do not know the existing carbon stocks of the Earth’s forests,” Dr. Ralph Dubayah, the principal investigator of GEDI and professor of geography at the University of Maryland, told Mongabay. “Canopy height provides a direct link to a tree’s weight because just as with humans, larger trees weigh more than younger trees. About half a tree’s biomass is carbon. So if we know the heights globally, we can make much better maps of global forest carbon.”Satellite-mounted lidar can also help scientists record how long it has been since a forest starting growing or was last cut down, also known as its successional state. Trees in old-growth forests tend to be bulkier and taller and therefore store more carbon and offer unique ecosystems that younger forests don’t.Powerful lidar sensors, such as the GEDI satellite sensor, can record layers of vegetation structure even in dense tropical rainforests. Lidar data collected by planes or satellites produces three-dimensional depictions of the vegetation below. Image courtesy of GEDI team.“Conventional satellite data can show you when a patch of forest has been lost, disturbed or degraded,” said Dubayah, “but you don’t know how much that deforestation has contributed to atmospheric CO2. The net balance between how much you lose through deforestation and how much you gain through regrowth is one of the largest uncertainties in the global carbon cycle.”Combined, satellite lidar sensors scan entire planet’s surfaceGEDI was not the only lidar sensor NASA sent to space in 2018. ICESat-2, a satellite launched in mid-September 2018, is also beaming lasers down from space as it orbits the earth at a speed of 4.3 miles per second. Although ICESat-2’s primary mission, and namesake, is monitoring polar ice caps, the lidar lasers shot from its sensor will also record elevation and structure of the vegetation, ocean, and rocky surfaces surrounding the polar regions, including those of the boreal forests. These high-latitude data would complement those of areas closer to the equator generated by GEDI, said Dr. Joe MacGregor, a NASA glaciologist on the ICESat team. “Along with ICESat-2’s polar coverage, GEDI will cover between 51° latitude North and 51° latitude South to round out the picture.”ICESat-2, a lidar satellite launched in September 2018, will complement GEDI measurements of tropical and temperature forests with its own extensive coverage of boreal forests near polar regions. Video by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.ICESat-2 is the successor to ICESat-1, which launched in 2003 and orbited until 2010. ICESat-1, which also had a lidar sensor, enabled NASA scientists to create the first global map of an average forest canopy height for every square kilometer (0.4 square miles). The new ICESat will yield an updated global map of canopy heights that is expected to be 1,000 times higher resolution than the ICESat-1 map, and GEDI will map forest canopy metrics at an even higher resolution (a grid of 25-meter cells).The new ICESat is equipped with a particular flavor of lidar that is excellent for mapping the depth of ice sheets and the canopy height of forests, but it has difficulty penetrating the dense vegetation of tropical rainforests—the forests that GEDI is conveniently positioned to map with its vegetation-optimized lidar sensors.“We have a project looking at merging GEDI and ICESat-2 data for estimating biomass,” Dr. Laura Duncanson of NASA told Mongabay. “The two science teams are working closely together.” Duncanson said she and members of the ICESat-2 team had joined each other’s meetings and plan to continue their coordinated efforts to integrate data.Oil palm plantation in Malaysian Borneo with newly cleared hills in foreground surrounded by forest. Satellite lidar data can track when the structure of forests changes, such as when deforestation or degradation occurs, as when a natural forest supporting hundreds tree species is cleared and replanted with a monoculture such as oil palm. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Biomass monitoring has become increasingly important with the onset of carbon accounting programs such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), which aim to provide monetary incentives to conserve forests that offset the potential value lost by not cutting down forests. Knowledge of how much carbon is stored in a given area of forest is crucial for establishing such offsetting programs, although international efforts to establish emission accountability metrics have continued to fall short of goals. Nonetheless, carbon cap-and-trade markets are growing, as are the prospects of initiating a carbon tax in some economies.Besides biomass and carbon stock measurements, this global-scale lidar data will inform other research as well. Recording canopy height and various metrics of forest complexity at large scales enables scientists to characterize different forest ecosystems. When paired with on-the-ground species distribution data, ecologists can roughly estimate the biodiversity of forests, which can help set conservation priorities. Years of satellite lidar data can also improve understanding of how forest structure changes over time due to tree growth, mortality, and competition.Building and launching satellites requires deep pockets up front but can save researchers a vast amount over time. GEDI’s budget of $94 million pales in comparison to the budgets of the Landsat-9 land monitoring satellite ($885 million) and the European Space Agency’s Copernicus mission ($4.9 billion). The low cost of GEDI is largely thanks to hitching a ride on the International Space Station and expedient progress by NASA scientists and engineers.“Conceiving and creating the technology in such a short span (four years) on this budget has been a major accomplishment,” Dubayah said. “GEDI was completed six months early and under budget, which is nearly unheard of.”Overhead view of a diverse rainforest in Peru’s Amazon. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.A new hope for forests?Although both the GEDI and ICESat-2 lidar sensors will likely last only until 2021 and 2022, respectively, researchers and land managers use the data from ecosystem satellites for many years: ICESat-1 maps are still contributing to conservation science 10 years after the satellite was decommissioned. As the costs of large-scale, high-resolution forest monitoring decrease, so does the availability of data and tools to track land cover change at incredibly fine scales.These two lidar sensors complement the fine-scale (5-meter, or 16.5-foot) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites already in orbit, and the next decade will likely witness the launch of NISAR, a joint initiative between the United States and India, and the European Space Agency’s BIOMASS mission, both of which are assigned to record global environmental changes.In a galaxy far, far away, Jedi see through others with the Force. Starting this year above our own planet, GEDI can now see through the forest. According to Dubayah, the dramatic advances being made in remote sensing technologies will improve scientists’ ability to measure– and therefore better protect– the extent and structure of global forests.“We are entering a new era of ecosystem observation where we can finally get at canopy 3D structure,” he said, “a very exciting development indeed.”CitationNeuenschwander, A., & Pitts, K. (2019). The ATL08 land and vegetation product for the ICESat-2 Mission. Remote Sensing of Environment, 221, 247-259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2018.11.005FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Central Govt usurps local govt power

first_imgDear Editor,With reference to your several news items on the Cabinet and Minister Bulkan suspending the parking meter By-laws and the clamping of vehicles, the Central Government is usurping the power of the local government Georgetown City Council (GCC). And in so doing, Central Government has set a precedent to emaciate (render powerless) all locally elected bodies. Powers must be decentralised with the local units having unrestrained powers.Local bodies should have autonomous powers to exercise control over all local issues, including transportation and parking, the topic of controversy involving the GCC. While I am against the Parking Meter Project, I am equally against Central Government intervening in the affairs of local government. Let the local organs exercise unrestrained powers over local matters with its own policies and regulations. But the local bodies must follow legal procedures and manage the affairs of their organs with integrity and transparency; dictatorship must not be tolerated like what happened in the GCC over the parking meter matter. People are very unhappy with the parking meter project. It should have been suspended given that legal tenets were not followed.The City Council should have suspended the parking regulations without Central Government’s intervention since implementation of parking meters has been opined (by legal luminaries) to be illegal. The City Council entered into an agreement with the foreign company for parking meters without following the required procedure. The GCC failed to put the parking meter to tendering as required by law. It appears there was corruption in the awarding of the contract. Rights of motorists were violated. The entire city and those shoppers, workers and visitors who patronise the city (using personal vehicles) were/are disrespected. With the city having failed to adhere to legal procedures, and having been given countless opportunities to suspend implementation of the parking meters, as well as to start over the entire process in line with the law, Central Government must have felt it had no other option but to take the extraordinary step of ordering the suspension of the controversial city parking meter programme. The GCC could have avoided this problem of the Central Government defanging it of an essential power over local affairs. In not acting according with the wishes of the city dwellers as well as those who patronise it, the City Council has allowed the Central Government to set a precedent of taking actions curtailing the powers of local governments.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

Fiamenyo rescues AFC as Gor hold on top spot

first_img0Shares0000AFC Leopards Harun Nyakha tackles Zoo Kercho Stanlaus Okiya.PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaNAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – Ghanaian Gilbert Fiamenyo stepped off the bench to score an 86th minute goal to save AFC Leopards from the jaws of a third successive defeat as they fought back to draw 1-1 with new boys Zoo Kericho in Machakos.At the Mumias Sports Complex, Meddie Kagere’s 14th minute goal was all Gor Mahia needed as they cemented their hold on the top of the Kenyan Premier League standings, beating hosts Nzoia Sugar 1-0. Posta Rangers meanwhile, failed to remain at par with the leaders after they were frustrated to a barren draw by Nakumatt FC at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.In Ruaraka, defending champions Tusker FC picked up a fifth run on the trot with a 2-1 home win over Sony Sugar, remaining fourth in the standingsIn Machakos, under pressure AFC Leopards were staring at another loss having already dropped points against Gor Mahia and Sony Sugar.“It is yet another game we are conceding from a set piece and I think it is something we have to address. It is quite sad that we have not performed over the last three games but I think getting a point is encouraging enough for us ahead of the next game,” AFC Leopards assistant coach Dennis Kitambi said after the match.Zoo head coach Sammy Okoth was disappointed with the result, saying he felt his side should have wrapped up the game with the chances they had.“These are two points dropped for us. We had scoring chances but we did not use them. We controlled most of the game but I think it is a matter of experience, we are learning as we go on,” Okoth noted.AFC Leopards Fans.After a goalless draw in the first half, Zoo upped the tempo in the second half and were rewarded with a 60th minute goal when Johnston Ligare leaped highest inside the box to head in a Geoffrey Gichana corner.Zoo had run rings around Ingwe and should blame themselves for throwing away the lead.After going ahead, Nicholas Kipkurui had a chance to double the lead in the 70th minute with a snap shot from outside the area but he was denied by Gabriel Andika in the AFC Leopards goal.Minutes later, Bernard Odhiambo had a one-on-one chance with Andika after beating the Ingwe defense, but he could not find a way past the shot stopper.But Stewart Hall’s decision to throw into the fray Fiamenyo and Allan Katterega who had started on the bench paid dividends with the Ghanaian equalizing four minutes from time scoring his fifth goal of the season after controlling a freekick from Robinson Kamura.Gor Mahia striker Meddie Kagere wheels away in celebration after scoring the winner in K’Ogalo’s 2-1 conquest over Sony Sugar at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on April 15, 2017. PHOTO/CourtesyIn Mumias, Kagere gave Gor the lead in the 14th minute after beating the Nzoia keeper with a simple finish.The hosts had a brilliant chance to draw parity on the half hour mark but Edwin Wafula saw his penalty saved by Boniface Oluoch after Boniface Omondi was brought down inside the box by Harun Shakava.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Columbus Catholic soccer shuts out Pacelli

first_imgDons rack up 11th-straight winBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterSTEVENS POINT — The train keeps on rolling for the Marshfield Columbus Catholic soccer team.The Dons held Stevens Point Pacelli to just one shot on goal and blanked the Cardinals 6-0 in a Mid-State Soccer Conference game Tuesday at the Portage County Soccer Complex.Columbus is now 11-0 overall and 6-0 in the Mid-State after completing the first round of conference games. The Dons will host Wisconsin Valley Lutheran at 5 p.m. Thursday at Griese Park in another conference tilt.Nick Malovrh scored in the sixth and 21st minutes to get the Dons off and running.Nadim Torbey and Ryan Dieringer added goals in the first half, and Tyler Fuerlinger also scored for the Dons. The final score was a Pacelli own goal in the 59th minute.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Dons 6, Cardinals 0Columbus Catholic 4 2 – 6Pacelli 0 0 – 0First half: 1. CC, Nick Malovrh (Charles Payant), 5:23; 2. CC, Malovrh (Matt Olson), 20:21; 3. CC, Nadim Torbey (Ryan Dieringer), 27:51; 4. CC, Ryan Dieringer (Noah Hansen), 44:29.Second half: 5. CC, Tyler Fuerlinger (Payant), 50:02; 6. CC, Pacelli own goal, 58:59.Total shots: Columbus Catholic 26; Pacelli 2.Shots on goal: Columbus Catholic 18; Pacelli 1.Saves: CC, Bailey Keffer 1.Records: Columbus Catholic 11-0, 6-0 Mid-State Soccer Conference; Pacelli 7-4, 4-2 MSSC.last_img read more

Can Your Job Posting Attract Diverse Candidates?

first_imgEven though it is difficult to admit, we have unconscious biases that influence our interactions and decisions in the workplace. If we do not check those biases, organizational leaders and HR professionals might create unintended outcomes. A few years ago, I didn’t pursue a career opportunity with a particular consulting company. The reason was this— the job posting clearly stated that candidates must be 26 years old or younger. I wondered how they came up with a random number like 26, but I wasn’t prepared to go through the application process only to get rejected for being older than the age limit. To date, I haven’t gotten substantial answers from friends who work there about why the company prefers “younger” consultants. It’s just a policy, and they cannot explain the emphasis on age!I felt excluded.I know that there are other cases like mine, and I’m concerned about the number of people that get unintentionally discriminated against through job postings. Why do we allow our biases toward age, disability, sexual orientation, race, color, national origin, gender, or religion reflect in our job postings? Stop and ponder!What makes a job posting powerful? Besides providing details about a job, a job posting typically serves as my first touchpoint with many companies. Whether I’m passively or actively looking for new opportunities, a job posting has the power to lead me to learn more about any company I find interesting. I’ve also learned that word choices have the power to determine the diversity of your talent pool. So if a company’s goal is to create a diverse and inclusive workforce, then it’s important to attract diverse candidates by using inclusive language in job postings. These are a few tips for writing more inclusive job postings:Use simple and concise language: When writing job postings, avoid using idioms, slangs, acronyms, technical words, or internal lingo. Using descriptors like “M&A,” “KPI,” “P&L,” “KSA,” “STAR Interview,” “Blue Sky Thinker,” “Evangelist,” “Deep Dive,” “Bleeding Edge,” “Bandwidth,” or “Tiger Team” may confuse and intimidate your audience. Even the most qualified candidates can be discouraged from applying to your company if they cannot understand your job posting. Instead, clearly outline the essential skills and responsibilities and the type of employment. Avoid gender-coded language: Gender-coding refers to societal biases about gender. People have commonly assigned certain traits to men versus women, even though we know that anyone can display those traits. Research has shown that masculine words may discourage women from applying to jobs that they may have otherwise liked due to perceptions of belongingness. Even when women are qualified for the job, they tend to opt-out from applying. I believe this has sustained gender inequality in specific roles. When writing job postings, check for gender-coded language. For example, this Gender Decoder tool helps to identify gender-coded words in your job postings. According to Gender Decoder’s guideline, words like “aggressive,” “independent,” or “ambitious” are coded as masculine while words like “supportive,” “empathetic,” or “considerate” are coded as feminine. I believe we owe this to our biases about emotions and power. Also, avoid using gender-coded pronouns such as “he/him” or “she/her.” Instead, use gender-neutral pronouns like “they/them” or words like “you” or “this person” when referring to your ideal candidate.Avoid unnecessary job requirements: Certain requirements in job postings can limit the diversity of your talent pool. Only requirements that are essential for performing the job should be listed. For example, it would be considered an essential duty for an airline’s Gate Service Agent to be able to lift bags or items weighing between 50 and 70 pounds. Otherwise, listing physical demands may exclude candidates with different abilities from applying to the job. Also avoid using words like “able-bodied,” “healthy,” “young,” or “single/married.” Unnecessary requirements can exclude people belonging to specific demographic groups.List employment benefits and perks: When advertising a position, it might be helpful to list the perks of working at your company. Various employee benefits appeal to a diverse range of candidates. Mini-golf courses and ping-pong tables are to nice-to-have, but they may not appeal to all candidates. However, people commonly consider benefits like flexible schedules, floating holidays, paid parental leaves, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, professional development, domestic partner coverage, or childcare facilities as inclusive benefits. Design a benefits package that is unique to your company’s values and use it to attract diverse talent.Application procedure: This depends on the application system that your company uses. Ensure that the application procedure is easy for candidates to follow. Your application procedure should not be a test of tech-savviness! Complicated application steps may discourage certain demographic groups from applying to your company.A study by Glassdoor shows that 67 percent of active and passive job seekers consider a diverse workforce when evaluating companies and job offers. As companies work toward creating more inclusive workplaces, they should also ensure that the information conveyed in job postings align with their goals of inclusivity. We need job postings to appeal to a diverse range of candidates. Otherwise, we will be allowing our unconscious biases to create systemic barriers for diversity and inclusion.What are your experiences with job postings?Originally posted on Osasu Arigbe blog.last_img read more

User Ignorance Causes Cloud Security Leak; Accounts, Passwords Revealed

first_imgAnd Why Me?A spokesperson for Amazon pointed out that snapshots were private by default and users must choose to share them. According to Amazon, “in general users understand this feature very well as this is no different than users explicitly choosing to share their data by any means.” However, as we’ve seen, users are obviously making their data inadvertently public. Amazon said they were updating their documentation “to provide more explicit guidance on this feature,” and that they would be “reaching out to the few who may be unknowingly sharing their snapshots.”The question, though, is: Is it too easy to accidentally make your data public – and whose role is it to play data cop?This leads to me, at 1 a.m., and finding security leakage with Amazon’s cloud customers while doing unrelated housekeeping. Look, I’m anything but an IT Security guy; I’ve got enough on my plate to worry about. For god’s sakes, I have 6 kids! Moreover, I’m an outspoken supporter for moving companies to the cloud – and I exclusively recommend Amazon’s cloud because of its reliability and features. Why is it me that finds this security issue – one that has been open since January of this year if the Snapshot dates are accurate.This tells me that there is a pattern about to be replayed: That the users on the cloud today are a motley crew. That we need more supervision and hand-holding – whether we like it or not. That powerful services like CloudKick and CloudSplit need to be encouraged to add security as a top-priority feature. And we need to budget for their services and embrace their boring, yet hyper-important role as perimeter guard and security inspector.If I were to try to keep this security problem in the bag – and avoid alerting the community – I would be fostering a sense of complacency that is antithetical to the marketplace needs. The cloud is so young that when we find a problem we need to admit it and find real, workable solutions. Since the cloud represents new ways of doing things, it gives us new ways of getting in trouble, and we need a lively forum for nipping these issues in the bud and laying a framework for ongoing success.What Now?If you are on Amazon’s cloud, I can’t stress enough that you need to immediately go to your AWS Management Console. Check at a minimum that your Snapshots, for every Region, are marked PUBLIC only if you mean them to be available to ALL other Amazon Web Services users. I’ve already checked mine. If you find data that you did not intend to make public, you need to engage your security team to remove the snapshots from the public and mitigate any data exposure.Hopefully this gets chalked on the wall as a lesson learned – and we continue our march to the cloud with a deeper appreciation of our security support needs. This isn’t about calling people out. I work in the cloud and am passionate about its development. These mistakes could very well have been ones I made – or any other cloud user. To move the cloud forward we need to encourage a dialog about our new found power, new paradigms and new needs in the cloud. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting guest author 1 Related Posts Tags:#Analysis#cloud#security#Trends Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… At 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning I was doing routine maintenance on my personal Amazon Web Services account and instead found myself looking at something I had no right to be seeing: A database with 800,000 user accounts to the e-card site CardMaster.com. Along with that were the database passwords and back end of a major U.S. Public Broadcasting Service news show website (Gwen Ifill’s Washington Week), including daily updates from panelists on the stories they cover.I wish I wasn’t the person to find this. I founded one of Amazon’s earliest dashboards. My consultancy is on Amazon’s European Customer Advisory Board. But this highlights a significant issue in the cloud today: There is a whole new user profile acting as developer and administrator. We are becoming empowered with amazing tools – and being given enough rope to really hang ourselves.Guest author Jonathan Siegel is a serial entrepreneur and founder of the cloud applications consultancy ELCTech.com as well as a handful of cloud startups. Jonathan’s book, Electric Connections, is due out in June of this year.I am an early adopter, business builder and owner of a cloud consultancy. On Sunday morning I went to clear out my personal Amazon Web Services account of excess files after seeing huge usage numbers from a report by CloudSplit. For those technically inclined, I was clearing out my S3 buckets and moving the few files that I wanted to save into an EBS disk instead.My EBS disk ran out of space and I went to use a feature called EBS Snapshots. Snapshots are like a tape backup of your EBS disk drive. That’s when I noticed something odd: My EBS Snapshot account was filled with hundreds of snapshots, when I knew I had only made a handful. I wondered, Why do I have access to these backups? Were these backups made by my teammates? Shared snapshots from Amazon? Or something else… How Did This Happen?Amazon is the largest and longest running public cloud computing platform. It has pushed the boundaries of technology infrastructure for us users. In fact, it has given us tools that are more powerful than anything we previously had available in our own small datacenters. This is great, because before we needed to hire trained Cisco or NetApp administrators in order to do basic tasks as our websites scaled. This was expensive and added another step – a delay – to our deployments. Amazon’s infrastructure commoditizes much of this technology into simple Web calls; paste some XML to Amazon and your website gets a full incremental backup to live-networked NAS. But as Stan Lee has warned us: With great power comes great responsibility.By giving programmers control of the network and storage, we’ve empowered developers to take on system administration chores. This power has come too quickly or is being digested too lightly – as my discovery has shown.In the case of PBS’s Washington Week there was quick acceptance of the issue. “It was human error and nothing personal was exposed,” said Kevin Dando, PBS’s Director of Digital Communications. “Although we weren’t aware of the issue initially, it was easily corrected. Because of Amazon’s strong audit capabilities we could pinpoint the error and fix it quickly.”Despite numerous attempts we were unable to reach CardMaster.com.This highlights a deeper issue in the cloud today: Despite what you may think, cloud security is not sexy. We are seeing products that address the baseline needs of cloud functionality, like Amazon’s dashboard and the support sites for the cloud. They focus on the sexy: deploying mobile apps, auto-scaling, grid processing and other buzz-word-friendly features. But the dirty truth is that the cloud has a whole new user profile acting as administrator and needs a new set of tools and expectation management to ensure that little mistakes make little problems and not big ones.Remember: This is not something that Amazon did wrong. This is an intentional switch thrown by Amazon’s users that allowed their data to be public to any other Amazon user. The users did not mean to hit that switch and it’s unclear whether those users would have found this issue without my notification.This is the switch in Amazon’s Web Console. It can be more subtle when packaged deep within cloud-assisting tools: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… What I saw were backups of Enron emails, a genomics database and then two made my stomach turn – a database for 800,000 user accounts to CardMaster.com and the database and site files for the Washington Week website. Yeah, the Enron emails are a non sequitur and the genomics database was likely meant to be public. But the other two, there’s no way they were intended for the public, yet here they were – marked as public and available to me or any other Amazon cloud user. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Amazon Rolls Out One-Hour Delivery Service In Manhattan

first_imgImagine if you could order something you desperately needed, and get it delivered a mere hour later. That’s the reality of Prime Now, the service Amazon is rolling out in parts of Manhattan today and several additional cities in 2015. See also: Amazon Reportedly Hitting The Bricks With A Store In New YorkCustomers who use Prime Now can have toys, books, and essentials like paper towels and batteries delivered to their doorsteps within sixty minutes for $7.99. Additionally, if users opt to wait a grueling two hours for their Prime Now delivery, shipping is free. Prime Now will be available from 6 AM to midnight, seven days a week via Amazon’s new Manhattan hub. This isn’t the first time companies have attempted to bring one-day shipping to New York. The failed Kozmo.com and Urbanfetch attempted the same in the late ‘90s, and were both out of business by 2001. Fifteen years later, Amazon might succeed where they failed based on sheer size and experience. After all, Amazon has already offered same-day delivery in New York and other cities for years.Will your city be next? Amazon hasn’t revealed anything yet, but said it will notify users when information is available through the Prime Now app.Screenshot via Amazon Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Amazon#Prime#Prime Now#same-day delivery center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… lauren orsini 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Real applications of power management for the Intel Xeon 5500 Platform

first_imgBack in the ‘dot-com’ days – many companies would build datacenters across the globe with one thing in mind – performance – and costs weren’t an issue.  It was all about getting the job done, with little concern about the costs.  Well, times have changed and companies have become more energy conscious, not only to become better stewards in using natural resources, but consumers are looking for companies who can design and develop products that can meet their own ‘green energy’ power needs.  It’s not as important anymore to make or build something to be the ‘best of class’ it also has to be ‘efficient’ while being the best. Corporate initiatives to reduce power but still “KTBR” (Keep the Business Running) are imperative to sustaining business today.  Not only do you need the best performing servers – but they need to be efficient at what is done.  Most of us would agree to cut overhead costs with energy efficiency versus headcount cuts.  It’s better for the environment, better for the business, and benefits everyone.Enterprise companies have been ‘going green’ for a while now.  Initiatives like Climate Savers, LessWatts.org and others have been pushing the technical envelope on how to reduce power usage for businesses large and small.  Intel has a large hand in contributing to the conservative ecology in power usage.  People need computers, computers need power, and power is used – but can the power be reduced and still give the same experience?  With the Xeon 5500 Series platforms – the answer is a resounding – YES!You’ve most likely read about the performance stats around Intel Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) Processors, but I want to show you how their efficiency can give back to your enterprise. Not only do the Xeon 5500 Series give you power and efficiency – there is more technology ‘under the hood’ to be looked at.  Intel Intelligent Power Node Manager has been released in the Xeon 5520 and 5500 Chipsets (previously called Tylersburg-EP). There are several scenarios we can go through concerning server workloads – but let’s take a real world example of Company “X” (I can’t tell you who right now) but their workloads have been very stable and growing over the past few years.  One of the issues is that their servers are heavily worked during the beginning of the week, pushing the server farm at 85-90% utilization.  The work is reduced gradually over the week and by Friday; the server utilization is around 10-20%.  As you can see in the chart above, the server farm would start out the week with 85-90% load and the servers would run at full power the entire week. This would burn energy at 90% cost, even though the workload had died off toward the end of the week to about 15% – not very efficient.  It’s like leaving the stove on all day long, and only using it for a few minutes when you cooked a meal. Once we brought in the Xeon 5500 based systems, we also enabled ACPI power management which is much more pronounced with the Xeon 5500 because of the increased number of P-states.  We are able to add power capping using Node Manager to limit the power usage by the racks to meet the daily requirements of the customer workloads.  This helped us to have the power available when needed, and reduce the power when the workloads aren’t as power hungry. center_img Another key feature that we’re going after is to increase the server density using Node Manager and Intel Datacenter Manager by measuring the power usage and capping the maximum power utilized by the entire rack.  The benefit is that with Intel Intelligent Power Node Manager, the data comes in real-time and we can modify the power curves on a regular basis through the server console. Like many customers, power savings can have a large impact in your overhead costs.  If this sounds like a solution that your company could benefit from, then definitely ask your favorite OEM when their Node Manager enabled Xeon 5500 series platform will be available.  Intel Server Products are available today and ready for your datacenter – the ROI is estimated to be a short 8 months, so a little green goes a long way.last_img read more

Why creative people think inside the box

first_imgPhoto by David DodgeSeveral years ago, a man named Drew Boyd walked into the offices of an “innovation consultant.” People were playing with frisbees, wearing sneakers, and using buzz-word-y trademarked terms to describe their methods.Boyd was impressed. It was the kind of office you could imagine creative, out-of-the-box ideas being generated and implemented without a lot of oversight. He hired the firm for close to $1 million to consult for his large business.The project failed miserably. Boyd learned the hard way that free-wheeling “creative” thinking doesn’t necessarily come up with the best ideas, and he set out on a mission to try to understand why he (and most people) think of creativity as open-mindedness, radical thinking, defying the status quo, coming up with something brand new — and why it doesn’t always seem to work.This is the subject of Boyd’s new bestselling book, Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results, which he wrote with Jacob Goldenberg.“Better and quicker innovation happens when you work inside your familiar world using templates,” Boyd and Goldenberg say. “These templates regulate our thinking and channel the creative process in a way that makes us more — not less — creative.”This is why Agatha Christie wrote 66 books in the same template, each unique but all following the same structure (which made her the bestselling novelist of all time). This is how companies stop looking for original ideas and start getting to the business of innovating by modifying what they know.Almost every innovative solution, product, or business is the result of one of five templates, according the authors:Subtraction: Innovation in which something is removed, like subtracting all the complicated buttons off of cellphone to produce the iPhone’s interface (two buttons).Task Unification: One item with multiple uses, like having a cellphone case that holds your credit cards, or your bookkeeping software that also sends invoices to clients.Multiplication: A product with a component that has been copied but changed in some way, like a bicycle with training wheels.Division: Anything where a crucial component of the service is separated out, which generally makes it more convenient; ex. a remote control that operates your DVD player, or a Surface tablet where the keyboard can be attached and detatched.Attribute Dependency: Two attributes that seem unrelated are made dependent on one another. For instance, your keyboard’s light goes on when it gets darker in your room.Boyd and Goldenberg suggest that if you’re looking for a creative idea, you should first try to think inside the box — by applying one of these systems to your field of interest. So if you want to start a mug company, instead of trying to reinvent the product, add a simple coffee level reader (multiplication), or make one that is also a french press (task unification), or one that turns on an internal heater when it’s out in the cold (attribute dependency).Many creative business owners may have an instinctual negative response to this systematic approach. Isn’t creativity supposed to be more…well, fun? More spontaneous? Does the fact that you came up with an idea within this system cheapen it?I’d love to hear your responses to this below. Do you think this could be a useful method to bring to your business or your clients’ businesses?last_img read more

5 days agoAnderlecht whizkid Lokonga offered to Man City, Barcelona

first_imgAnderlecht whizkid Lokonga offered to Man City, Barcelonaby Paul Vegas5 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveInterest is growing in Anderlecht whizkid Albert Sambi Lokonga.The 19 year-old whizkid is off contract in June and is eager to leave the struggling Belgian giants.Marca says agents for Lokonga have offered him to Manchester City, Barcelona and Sevilla.The youngster can negotiate pre-contract terms with foreign clubs from January 1.The 19-year-old is a Belgium U21 international. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img