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Dive into the Great Barrier Reef from Home

Google Street View, in collaboration with the Catlin Seaview Survey, will soon let you explore the Great Barrier Reef. The Seaview Survey is a scientific expedition which aims to carry out the first comprehensive study to document the composition and health of coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea across an unprecedented depth range (0-100m) – addressing a series of important questions regarding the changes associated with the rapidly warming and acidifying oceans.

The shallow survey will use a panoramic camera to generate images of the reef, at 20 sites across the entire length of the 2,300km Great Barrier Reef. The University of Queensland will participate in the project using an image recognition software to conduct a visual census of corals, fish and other organisms. The deep water survey will use robots to study the health, composition and biodiversity in the deep-water reefs. Finally, a team led by Richard Fitzpatrick, a cinematographer and shark researcher, will track 50 animals with satellite tags that continuously monitor their geographic position, temperature and depth. The aim is studying the migratory behaviour of tiger sharks, green turtles and manta rays in response to increasing seawater temperatures.

If you are interested in Google Street View, you can also read Google Maps Goes Indoors.

By | March 5th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments


In the ten years from 2000 to 2010, six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were in sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique and Rwanda. In eight of the past ten years, sub-Saharan Africa has grown faster than Asia, according to The Economist. In 2012, the International Monetary Fund expects Africa to grow at a rate of 6%, about the same as Asia.

Technology plays an important part in the new African boom, especially the communications revolution. Mobile phones have brought instant communications to hundreds of millions of Africans, and text messaging and digital money-transfer services, such as Safaricom’s M-pesa in Kenya, have transformed ordinary life.

BongoHive is based in Lusaka (Zambia) and was set up in 2011. It is a place where technology entrepreneurs can talk about their experiences, exchange ideas and attend training. This Zambian tech hub has created a user-generated online map of the tech business incubation hubs across Africa.

The map, entitled Hubs in Africa, uses Ushahidi, the open-source platform that allows users to report and track information in crisis situations via email, SMS, Twitter and the web. Its aim is to create a picture of the technology hubs developing across the continent. You can filter the map by different categories, including business incubators, hackerspaces, technology hubs and university tech labs, and view a timeline of when the different organisations were added to the map. There are already 16 tech hubs from 13 different countries, including a Cairo HackerspaceiHub NairobiCo-creation Hub Nigeria and Jakkolabs in Senegal.

By | March 5th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Alibaba.com Leaves HK Stock Exchange

At the end of February, Alibaba Group, China’s biggest Internet firm, announced it wants to delist the shares of Alibaba.com, its e-commerce company, that are traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

They decided to delist, among other reasons, to feel freer from market expectations and also because the slumping share price had a negative impact on the company. Alibaba Group is offering a premium of HK$13.50 ($1.74) per share, so the deal looks likely to succeed. They need to rethink their strategy and want to enhance the quality and services of their website.

Meanwhile, talks for Alibaba Group to buy back *Yahoo*’s 43 per cent stake in the company, which Yahoo bought for $1 billion in 2005, have reached an impasse. Yahoo has been making constant endeavours to upgrade its struggling position in Asia, including restructuring its current investments by selling the unprofitable units. Alibaba.com’s chief finance officer, Maggie Wu, declared that the privatisation of Alibaba.com and the talks with Yahoo concerning their stake in Alibaba Group are not related.

By | March 2nd, 2012|Blog|0 Comments
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