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Stats: 1215361 members, 1593617 topics. Date: Friday, 07 March 2014 at 05:41 PM
|Programming / 50 Facts About Bitcoin (infographic) by The Arbiter: 5:06am On Mar 03|
|Programming / Good And Bad Habits Of Smart People (infographic) by The Arbiter: 2:37pm On Mar 02|
Found it interesting.
|Programming / 5 Online Resources To Learn Coding - For Free by The Arbiter: 5:36pm On Feb 14|
By Simon Hettrick of http://www.software.ac.uk
There's been a recent drive to get people to learn code, which has led to a few notable victories like the inclusion of coding in the national curriculum, and initiatives like the Year of Code. A recent article in the Guardian listed ten places where anyone could learn to code, but they required quite a lot of time and money to be dedicated to the cause. What happens if you want to learn to code in your spare time and don't want to pay for it?
Being the Institute's resident non-coder, I was given the task of investigating some of the free resources available to help people learn to code. The following are some of my favourites.
1. Code Academy: best for time-pressed beginners
Like many of the online courses, Code Academy's lessons are embedded in a browser alongside a terminal window (lingo: the window into which you type your code) and an output window (to show what your code does). I'm a fan of learning in this way, because the lessons, the code and the output feel connected and you quickly see your results. It also means that it's easy to get hints when your code is not working correctly.
I was impressed with Code Academy. The lessons are targeted well and the difficulty ramps up at a rate that feels challenging without being overwhelming. I'm a good way into the Python lessons and I am yet to grip my monitor with both hands and yell threats into it - which is a good sign. The coding examples are meant to represent real life scenarios (e.g. calculating the cost of a holiday). These things always seem a little artificial to me but, as far as examples go, they help give sense to why it's useful to learn to code.
If you want an introduction to coding, you want to get started quickly and you want to pick up and drop your lessons when you have the free time, then Code Academy is the site for you.
2. Learn to Code the Hard Way: best for hardcore beginners
Learn to Code the Hard Way sounds pointlessly masochistic, but it in fact represents a departure from the use of browser-based terminals favoured by sites like Code Academy. Instead, it provides instructions on how to write code using a text editor (a different one for Mac, Windows and Linux) and tells you how to run the code using a terminal on your own machine. That's pretty easy on a Linux or Mac machine, and only slightly more difficult on a Windows one. The first thing that anyone will do when finishing a browser-based course is wonder how they code for real on their computer, and Learn to Code the Hard Way circumvents this problem by starting you off in the real world from the first lesson.
Learn to Code the Hard Way forbids you from copying and pasting from the lesson: every single character must be typed in by hand. I'm not a fan of the spare the rod approach to anything, but I have to admit that in this case it suits the discipline needed to learn to code. There are many times when I thought I'd understood something, only to find my comprehension completely lacking when it came to writing the code. The must type everything approach ensures that you concentrate on the code that you are writing and the weird and wonderful syntax that is necessary to keep your computer happy.
I focussed on the Python tutorials, and found them to cover a wide range of subjects at a level of detail that was understandable to a beginner. The rate at which the difficulty level increased was good too. In addition to the syntax, Learn to Code the Hard Way passes on a lot of tips about coding in general - and this is where it stands out from the other sites. I particularly liked the tip on reading your code back-to-front, which breaks familiarity and makes it easier to spot mistakes.
Learn to Code the Hard Way is not as easy to dip into as a browser-based system like Code Academy, but it compensates for this shortcoming by insisting on a stronger foundation for your coding, communicating some insider knowledge and providing an excellent and comprehensive series of tutorials.
3. Hour of code: best for absolute beginners (and kids)
If Learn to Code the Hard Way is at the spartan side of training, then the Hour of Code is at the end with the comfy chairs and cocoa.
The basics course starts at a much simpler point than any of the other courses described here. Rather than presenting the beginner with a terminal, the focus is on learning the conceptual side of coding using a graphical programming language known as Blockly. Rather than worrying about where to place a semi-colon, you get to concentrate on moving familiar characters from Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies using a series of simple instructions: forwards, turn right, etc. (highly nostalgic stuff for anyone from the Big Trak generation).
If it's a beginners course you want, the Hour of Code website delivers. The site's aimed at children, and I'm a little torn on whether it's useful to adults. If you've never studied any coding at all, then the basic introduction is a good place to get to grips with coding concepts - loops, for example, are explained very clearly. However, the early lessons may feel a little too frivolous to those with a bit of coding history. Saying that, if the basics course leaves you hungry for more, then there are links to courses where you can learn app development and languages like Python in detail.
If you have never coded before, or if you are looking for a site where your kids can learn, then Hour of Code is the place to start.
4. Code School: best for the unconventional
Code School has me conflicted. Code Academy and Learn to Code the Hard Way take the conventional approach to coding: start with "Hello World", move through the subjects of variables, arrays, conditionals and loops, then start on to the hard stuff. The introductory lesson from Code School takes a different approach, and I'm genuinely unsure whether it's a good one... but it certainly makes the course enticing. The aesthetic of the site is rather nice too.
Code School doesn't have a course on Python, so I was forced into the even more unfamiliar territory of Ruby. After entering a few commands for simple additions, the tutorial moved directly onto applying methods to strings. Now that's a bit of an entry at the deep end if you ask me (especially if you're trying not to get confused with your newly learned Python syntax), but it made a perverse kind of sense. Rather than getting hung up on printing and arithmetic, skip to the more difficult stuff that shows why it's useful to learn to code. It's the equivalent of learning "Je voudrais une bière s'il vous plaît" before "Le singe est sur la branche".
5. Bentobox: best for everything!
A bit of a cop out on this last item in my list, because it's not a course but a gateway to courses. Put together by Jon Chan, Bentobox lists a huge range of technologies - about 80 of them - and packages them together in an accessible way with links to courses where you can learn more.
If you want to learn a new technology, then Bentobox is the place to find a good course.
And there's more...
There's no shortage of resources that will help you learn to code. In fact, the proliferation of these sites is the reason that we decided to write this post. The above list is not meant to be comprehensive, it just covers a few of the sites that I feel give a good introduction to someone - like me - that is new to the field.
|Nairaland / General / Re: The Raided Home Of A Mexican Drug Lord by The Arbiter: 4:59pm On Feb 14|
This case is filled with 100 dollar Bills estimated to be 1/2 a million dollars and no doubt headed out to make another drug deal with perhaps the Columbia ns.
Another cabinet stack tight with cash - all 100's.
There were even stacks of Chinese Yuan found in one closet.
More Gold machine guns and pistols - most were never fired, just held for collection value.
More Gold machine guns and pistols - most were never fired, just held for collection value.
The money and valuables found in this one house alone, would be enough to pay for health insurance for every man woman and child in the USA for 12 years! In Nigeria it would be for 50 years - my humble estimate. It is estimated to be approximately 27 more of these houses in Mexico alone. Not to mention the ones in other countries who are enriching themselves in the drug trade. These people have so much money, they make the Arab oil sheiks look like welfare recipients. Their money can buy politicians, cops, judges, whatever they need they just throw down stacks of cash and it is theirs! This is why the drug problem is so difficult to fight.
|Nairaland / General / Re: The Raided Home Of A Mexican Drug Lord by The Arbiter: 4:59pm On Feb 14|
The back yard pool.
Exotic art collection - some of which was illegal to own - some stolen.
This pile of cash before it was counted was estimated to be approximately 18 Billion Dollars!
After it was counted it turned out to be a little more than 22 Billion Dollars!
Guns were hidden all over the house, along with ample ammo, just in case of trouble.
Stacks of cash were found in every nook and cranny...
|Nairaland / General / The Raided Home Of A Mexican Drug Lord by The Arbiter: 4:58pm On Feb 14|
Source album here.
This guy had a better gun collection that most legitimate museums do.
Just a quaint little villa in the hills - Drug money bought it all!
Man-made cave and hot tub inside the home.
A collection of exotic animals - which were cared for in the grandest fashion, by the way.
8 Lions were on the property.
A very rare Tiger.
|Computers / 'the Moon' Worm Infects Linksys Routers Via Authentication Bypass Vulnerability by The Arbiter: 4:42pm On Feb 14|
Source Lucian Constantin
A self-replicating program is infecting Linksys routers by exploiting an authentication bypass vulnerability in various models from the vendor's E-Series product line.
Researchers from SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center (ISC) issued an alert Wednesday about incidents where Linksys E1000 and E1200 routers had been compromised and were scanning other IP (Internet Protocol) address ranges on ports 80 and 8080. On Thursday the ISC researchers reported that they managed to capture the malware responsible for the scanning activity in one of their honeypots -- systems intentionally left exposed to be attacked.
The attacks seems to be the result of a worm -- a self-replicating program -- that compromises Linksys routers and then uses those routers to scan for other vulnerable devices.
"At this point, we are aware of a worm that is spreading among various models of Linksys routers," said Johannes Ullrich, the chief technology officer at SANS ISC, in a separate blog post. "We do not have a definite list of routers that are vulnerable, but the following routers may be vulnerable depending on firmware version: E4200, E3200, E3000, E2500, E2100L, E2000, E1550, E1500, E1200, E1000, E900."
The worm, which has been dubbed TheMoon because it contains the logo of Lunar Industries, a fictitious company from the 2009 movie "The Moon," begins by requesting a /HNAP1/ URL from devices behind the scanned IP addresses. HNAP -- the Home Network Administration Protocol -- was developed by Cisco and allows identification, configuration and management of networking devices.
The worm sends the HNAP request in order to identify the router's model and firmware version. If it determines that a device is vulnerable, it sends another request to a particular CGI script that allows the execution of local commands on the device.
SANS has not disclosed the name of the CGI script because it contains an authentication bypass vulnerability. "The request does not require authentication," Ullrich said. "The worm sends random 'admin' credentials but they are not checked by the script."
The worm exploits this vulnerability to download and execute a binary file in ELF (Executable and Linkable) format compiled for the MIPS platform. When executed on a new router, this binary begins scanning for new devices to infect. It also opens an HTTP server on a random low-numbered port and uses it to serve a copy of itself to the newly identified targets.
The binary contains a hardcoded list of over 670 IP address ranges that it scans, Ullrich said. "All appear to be linked to cable or DSL modem ISPs in various countries."
It's not clear what the purpose of the malware is other than spreading to additional devices. There are some strings in the binary that suggest the existence of a command-and-control server, which would make the threat a botnet that attackers could control remotely.
Linksys is aware of the vulnerability in some E-Series routers and is working on a fix, said Mike Duin, a spokesman for Linksys owner Belkin, in an email Friday.
Ullrich outlined several mitigation strategies in comments to his blog post. First of all, routers that are not configured for remote administration are not directly exposed to this attack. If a router needs to be administered remotely, restricting access to the administrative interface by IP address will help reduce the risk, Ullrich said. Changing the port of the interface to something other than 80 or 8080, will also prevent this particular attack, he said.
|Politics / Re: President Jonathan Ranked Among Sexiest World Leaders by The Arbiter: 2:41pm On Feb 13|
The ranking was done by this website http://hottestheadsofstate.wordpress.com/list/
Pres Jonathan is actually No 19. on the list after Obama and Laura Chinchilla.
|Politics / Re: Facts About The Nigerian Naval ship That Won Global Competition by The Arbiter: 2:38pm On Feb 13|
Extra Info. Source here.
Africa was represented at the International Fleet Review (IFR) by just one ship, but that ship has a history any navy crew could be proud of.
Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Thunder, a former Hamilton-class US Coast Guard cutter was gifted to the Nigerian Navy in 2011 - classified in Nigerian service as a frigate - after a comprehensive refit.
As USCGC Chase, NNS Thunder saw service on Operation MARKET TIME during the Vietnam War, participating in more than 12 gunfire support missions over 1969-70.
She later participated in Operation URGENT FURY, the US invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983.
|Politics / Re: Nigeria Ship NNS Thunder Wins Global Tug-of-war Competition by The Arbiter: 5:17am On Feb 13|
I initially doubted the story because there was no mainstream news link but was able to get it on the Australian navy website at last.
The International Fleet Review Sports Carnival was contested on Thursday 10 October. 350 people turned up to Macquarie University sportsground to watch or participate in the coveted Mons Cup Rugby Union competition involving 10 Australian and international teams. In a well contested physical game HMAS Albatross won the Mons Cup against a combined HMAS Perth and HMAS Parramatta rugby team, 7-0.
Over at Randwick Barracks the IFR Tug of War and Soccer Competitions got underway with 21 teams from 12 nations, totalling 500 people. HMAS Kuttabul came out the victor of the Albatross/Nirimba cup, winning the soccer final against HMAS Huon, 2-0.
The crew of Nigerian warship NNS Thunder overpowered HMS Daring in the IFR Tug of War, accepting the Lockheed Martin sponsored trophy with a tribal war cry! The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) team also polished off HMS Daring’s team in the netball with 39-16 goals at the final whistle blow. And to cap it off, the IFR ‘Ashes’ 20/20 match between the RAN and Royal Navy was taken out by the home side with a resounding 140-48 run victory.
Not all sporting endeavours however were held on land, with the RAN Sailing Association (RANSA) hosting the IFR Sailing Regatta the previous day. Over 70 boats vied to win the Sydney Harbour yacht race with Incognito crossing the line first. The inaugural Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM memorial trophy, which had been specially crafted from salvaged timber from HMAS Penguin’s wharf by sailors from the Navy Sailing Association, was presented to the skipper by Mrs Vickie Coates. Catering was provided for the Sailing Regatta, Mons Cup Rugby and Soccer Competitions by the Australian Defence Credit Union.
More imagery is available for download at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/grid.fwx?ArchiveID=5003&Search=IFR13031
|Politics / Re: Scores Killed, Thousand Displaced As Boko Haram Invades Borno by The Arbiter: 1:28pm On Feb 12|
The story is half-true.
The real details are:
Airforce planes circle the area regularly and on the fateful day but missed the amassed BH infidels.
BH infidels invaded konduga around 5:30 pm on motorbikes chanting war cries. The konduga villagers, forewarned by various attacks in surroundings areas had taken ancient precautionary measures with the result that the bokoharam firearms were rendered useless.
The assailants resorted to machete attacks and house burnings using grenades and incendiaries while the villagers milled in confusion.
The villagers rallied, repelled and apprehended about 13 members of the BH.
True facts sourced an hour ago from a native who was in the area yesterday. Its a version which will not make the news.
|Programming / Re: Codes For V.Basic 10 User Interface That Will Be Linked To Access 2007 database by The Arbiter: 2:22pm On Feb 05|
Have my hands full at the moment so cant be of much help. But you can easily implement this on your own just dust your VB and Sql skills.
1. Create form with connectivity to your database.
2. Create text boxes for the data you want to update.
3. Code the database update Sql which would update database with textbox data.
4. Embed the Sql code in a button which will execute Sql code on click.
5. Add another button which calls the Arcgis program with the required parameters when it is clicked.
6. Dont forget to code in database connectivity checkers, data validation, update verification, database connection termination, etc
|Programming / Re: A Application Have Standalone And Web Client by The Arbiter: 2:13pm On Feb 05|
Or use Postgres database
javadoctor: Client side : jsf //--allows managed bean injection as an expression language.
|Science/Technology / Think You are Good At lying -Take The 5 Sec Test by The Arbiter: 6:09am On Feb 05|
Don't click play on the video yet or you'll ruin the surprise! First, try this quick test to find out if you're an expert at deception or not.
Quick, draw a capital Q on your forehead....Now you can read on or watch the video.
University of Hertfordshire psychology professor Richard Wiseman says in the video above that the direction you draw the Q can reveal if you're a good liar or not—and, interestingly enough, whether you're an extrovert or an introvert.
You can take the test with a big grain of salt, since undoubtedly many introverts are adept at lying. The way you chose to draw the Q, however, could say something about your perspective.
|Jobs/Vacancies / Re: Massive Sack In UBA Kano: Managers Are Mainly Affected. by The Arbiter: 5:05pm On Feb 04|
The story is authentic and factually correct. A regional branch head amongst those affected. Two of the affected managers are acquaintances. It even involved a manager who had served the bank for about 27 - 30 years.
A very sad development. Will post details if i get them.
Affected UBA branches
1. Kantin kori
2. Airport road
3. Post office road
|Programming / Re: Help With Darkcomet by The Arbiter: 5:34am On Feb 03|
Download the Teamviewer for Windows from here (Mac and Linux also available): http://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/windows.aspx
Download the all the documentation on this page: http://www.teamviewer.com/en/help/firststeps.aspx
Read them first before any installation. Follow the step-by-step installation procedures in the manual but make sure you choose the personal option. Teamviewer must be installed on both master and slave systems.
Follow configuration procedures given in the manuals and you are good to go.
|Programming / Re: Help With Darkcomet by The Arbiter: 6:25pm On Feb 02|
Legal RAT- Teamviewer. Go for the personal version its free. I use it regularly to access my office computer from home and do everything as if i was there. However, you need to disconnect the screen of the office computer or any1 there can see it operating itself.
|Programming / Re: Backtrack On Window 7 by The Arbiter: 6:00am On Feb 02|
@ peetayo - You may love Backtrack but have you really tried Kali. From my personal experience Kali is much better than Backtrack. Anyways here are excerpts from a review of Kali by a Backtrack user.
Read the full review here.
I have worked on Backtrack since Backtrack 3 was released. Then worked on Backtrack 4 and then 5. I was using Backtrack 5 R3 in last few months... until it finally happened. Kali linux was released.
Kali Linux is a penetration testing and security auditing Linux distribution. After its release in March 2013, Kali Linux has quickly become the new favorite among PenTesters worldwide as their choice for the PenTesting OS. Replacing its predecessor Backtrack, Kali incorporated several new features and looks quite promising. It is available for i386 and amd64 architectures and has the same Minimum Hardware Requirements as Backtrack:
1 GHz CPU, 8 GB of Hard Disk Space, 300 MB RAM, And DVD-writer/Ability to boot with a Pen drive.
To be very concise, Kali is an offshoot of Backtrack, which is an Offshoot of ‘Whax’, which is itself an Offshoot of ‘Whoppix’, which is derived from ‘Knoppix’. Something common among all of these distros is that they were focused on Digital Forensics and Intrusion Detection, with Backtrack and Kali adding a whole lot of Tools for PenTesting purposes. Backtrack has been “giving machine guns to monkeys since 2007”, so it has had a long reign as the favorite distro of PenTesters worldwide. ‘Offensive-Security’, the creators of Backtrack, decided to incorporate many changes in new Backtrack 6 (as it was called at that time). Since it was built from scratch, it was significantly different from the older versions of Backtrack and Offensive-Security decided to give a new name to the Distro – ‘Kali Linux’.
What was wrong with Backtrack and why it needed a change?
We all love Backtrack but bottom-line is that there are a lot of problems associated with this distro. The most annoying problem is ‘updating’. There was always a fear of ‘breaking’ something if you updated it. There were too many tools and some of them weren’t updated as frequently as the others. So updating the ‘dependencies’ of some would cause others to crash and we struggled to maintain a balance where all these tools and their dependencies would co-exist without getting in each other’s way.
Remembering the locations of the tools was a pain and it just made things complicated.
In addition, Backtrack had a lot of ‘puny’ errors which crept up here and there while we were working, small issues that we had to resolve on our own or run to Backtrack forums and get help from other Pentesters there.
For example, the ‘wicd d-bus error’ that was ready to greet us when we installed a fresh copy of BT5 and tried to connect to a network. Backtrack forums (and other websites) are filled with ‘how-to posts’ that attempt to provide solution to such problems. Eventually we learned to get around these issues but it did waste a lot of our time.
Continue reading the full review here.
|Programming / Re: Help Him To Understand The Algorithm Stage In Programming by The Arbiter: 5:20am On Feb 02|
All requests above served. If i have missed any1 bring it to my attention.
I didnt expect this much interest. Like i had previously said, do take advantage of the brains in the Nairaland programming section to further develop yourself.
|Science/Technology / Re: Spot The International Space Station Over Lagos Skies On These Dates by The Arbiter: 5:31pm On Feb 01|
@OP Nice post. I had tot i was the only satellite gazer here.
Track satellites across the world with Orbitron on your desktop. Its free and available for download from http://www.stoff.pl/
Current version is 3.71. Works on Win 9x/Me/2k/XP/2k3/Vista and you can update satellite tracking data from the internet daily.
Nigeria's NIGCOMSATs can be tracked using the software.
|Programming / Re: Help Him To Understand The Algorithm Stage In Programming by The Arbiter: 3:35pm On Feb 01|
Due to the growing number of requests its reasonable i provide a download link for fast download. I cant keep up with emailing every1. Shall email all subsequent requests a download link which will expire 5pm tomorrow.
The password to unzip is: c++programmer
Use 7zip to unzip file.
@viruzemmy2 - I have a big library so be specific and i may be able to help.
@xxolisexx and above check mails.
Full Title: Beginning_Programming_with_C++_for_dummies
Author: Stephen_R._Davis (same author of C++ for dummies)
Book contents cover what an algorithm is and is strictly for beginners. C++ for dummies is a step higher.
I cant post the link directly (for reasons ---> ).
If you can get it on the internet for download please help yourself. My offer still stands. Pm me a blank email or post your email for Dlink.
|Programming / Re: Help Him To Understand The Algorithm Stage In Programming by The Arbiter: 3:06pm On Jan 31|
^ Better late than never. Check ur mail.
|Programming / Re: Help Him To Understand The Algorithm Stage In Programming by The Arbiter: 11:01am On Jan 31|
Dont forget to drop your C++ codes and questions so you may get the added benefits of tips and experience from ace coders on Nairaland.
|Programming / Re: Help Him To Understand The Algorithm Stage In Programming by The Arbiter: 8:19am On Jan 31|
Book sent to all the emails above ^
Wish you every luck in the exams.
|Programming / Re: Help Him To Understand The Algorithm Stage In Programming by The Arbiter: 5:43am On Jan 31|
You need C++ for Dummies. Just reading it for 6 hours (with absorption) will confidently prep you up for your exams.
Drop a mail and i may get you a copy.
|Programming / Re: Backtrack On Window 7 by The Arbiter: 5:34am On Jan 31|
It depends on your usage and preference. The backtrack user community grew very large and it was decided it be released as an operating system with the name Kali for pc and tablets. Kali is essentially an updated version of Backtrack.
My recommendation: Why use an old software when the new is freely available and operates in the same way as the old one. So go for the Kali release.
Tips for quick usage:
1. Choose any method i previously posted for using Kali. For a bootable USb use Linuxlive usb creator for Windows. Download it from here. If you're a nerd then use RMPrebUSB
2. Download Kali documentation and follow tutorials in it. The testing tools in Kali have dedicated websites and forums. Visit them to learn more.
3. Read up a good book on Linux - drop your mail and i may get you a copy.
|Programming / Masters Of Deception: 9 Ultimate Hackers (infographic) by The Arbiter: 5:18pm On Jan 30|
They can swipe military secrets from miles away, bypass steel doors with a single click, and break into your bank account without breaking a sweat. Magicians? Supervillains? No — hackers!
Since the world went online, tech-savvy people have been taking advantage of the web's twists and turns to get rich and get powerful — or just to see how much of a mess they can make. We combed through the internet's history and found nine hackers who had huge impacts. Read on to see who did the most damage — and then maybe change your wireless password, just in case.
Source: here and here.
|Properties / Ship Container Converted Into A Beautiful Home by The Arbiter: 4:59pm On Jan 30|
Now that resourcefulness and innovation.
|Science/Technology / Boeing Makes Amazing Desert Plant To Biofuel Breakthrough by The Arbiter: 1:49pm On Jan 30|
Nigerian scientists, there goes your Nobel prize.
Credits: Karel Beckman
Oil companies watch out. Biofuels are on the verge of a breakthrough that will transform the oil market. Not only that: it will also green the planet. In an exclusive interview with CleanTechnica.com and Energy Post, Darrin L. Morgan, Director Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Environmental Strategy at Boeing, reveals that researchers at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, funded by Boeing, Honeywell and Etihad Airways, may have achieved “the biggest breakthrough in biofuels ever”. Alarmed by the poor quality of fuel made from shale oil and tar sands and frustrated by the blunt refusal of oil companies to provide fuel of better quality, Boeing and its partners have over the past four years sponsored research into alternative fuels that has led to spectacular results. They found that there is a class of plants that can grow in deserts on salt water and has superb biomass potential. “Nobody knew this”, says Morgan. “It is a huge discovery. A game-changer for the biofuels market.”
We are sitting on a shaded patio in Masdar City – the famous sustainable living project in Abu Dhabi – with a small group of people and listening to what seems a truly sensational story. It is Wednesday 22 January, we are in the middle of Abu Dhabi’s Sustainability Week – Siemens is about to open its new Middle Eastern headquarters for 800 employees that same afternoon right next door in Masdar City – and Darrin Morgan of Boeing takes the opportunity to reveal to two journalists and a science writer a new development in biofuels which he is convinced will change the world. “The 20th Century saw Norman Borlaug’s Green revolution”, he says. “This is the next step after that.”
Morgan is not some green dreamer. He is Director of Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Environmental Strategy at The Boeing Company in Seattle in the US. He has worked on Boeing’s biofuels program for 10 years. And he is convinced that researchers at the Masdar Institute, sponsored by Boeing, Honeywell’s UOP and Etihad Airways, have achieved a breakthrough in biofuels that will make it possible for countries all over the world to turn their deserts into biofuel-producing agricultural lands. We are on the verge, says the Boeing man, of a totally sustainable solution that does not require any arable land and that is going to replace a very big chunk of the oil currently used in transport.
But before we come to that, Morgan tells the story of how it got that far. A story that’s fascinating in itself as it reveals some troublesome facts about the existing oil market, increasingly based as it is on unconventional oils like tar sands and shale oil.
Ahead of the game
For a number of years now, says Morgan, Boeing has been actively looking at how to help develop the biofuels market. They learned a lot as they went along. Morgan: “One of the lessons of early generation biofuels was: ignore stakeholder consequences at your peril.” He mentions corn ethanol as a “perfect example” of how NOT to do things. “There were policies in place before there was a clear understanding of the system. Look what happened. This is not a good environmental story and it is not a good economic story. This is so not what we’re looking at.”
“The biofuels that are now approved for use in aircraft are technically superior to kerosene jet fuel. There is no question about that”
“We took a play from that book and realized that is not the play we want to have”, he continues. “We realized we need to get ahead of the game in terms of understanding the right paths.”
To do so, Boeing realized that they needed to involve stakeholders – “to help us direct our thinking on where to go, to learn how to use sustainability as the criterion to drive us.” The company entered into various partnerships around the world, with NGO’s like WWF, and with agricultural and biological researchers and developers. “We have partnerships around the planet now. Some are formal research collaborations, like this one with the Masdar Institute. Some are more like stakeholder engagement processes.”
Morgan says Boeing and its partners have “a common goal: we want to have a strong market for sustainable biofuels”. There are two good practical reasons why the company takes sustainable biofuels seriously, he explains. First, they have discovered that the biofuels that are now approved for use in aircraft are technically superior to kerosene jet fuel. “There is no question about that”, says Morgan. “It surprised us. We had not expected that. We had expected the opposite. But the hydrotreated fuels we now use work very well for us. The biological sources of these fuels end up making jet fuels that are much better than petroleum jet fuels.”
Shale oil and tar sands
At the same time, Boeing found that while biofuels turned out to be much better in quality than expected, the quality of the existing oil supplies was going down. This, says Morgan, is the result of the poorer quality of the new types of unconventional oil that are coming onto the market like shale and tar sands – and the unwillingness of the oil companies to do anything about it.
“There is a trend going on in parts of the world, especially in North America, where there are alternative forms of crude being produced. The backpage story out there is that there is stuff in those fuels that appears to be causing problems in terms of contamination of jet fuel. There are additives that go into those types of crude that are getting through the refining system and into our supply and are actually causing problems for us. Our existing supply chain is increasingly being fed by these heavy forms of crude that are less jet-friendly, to put it simply.”
“We are such a small market, the oil companies are not particularly motivated to help us with our problems”
The new forms of crude “cause inefficiencies and problems in the system”, says Morgan. “That’s not a good trend. But we can’t do anything about it. The crude is where the crude is.” The aviation industry did ask oil companies to help them with their problem, but the oil suppliers, Morgan says, were not very helpful. “We are such a small market, the oil companies are not particularly motivated to help us with our problems. That’s fine. That’s their decision. So we realized we got to get ahead of this.” Later, Morgan says: “You know Shell, in the Netherlands, is just not supportive of biofuels. That’s fine, they don’t have to be, they have their own interests. But we have ours. We are going to move this.”
Photo Source here.
So Boeing decided to enter upon a different path: a search for biofuels with higher sustainability and lower cost. “Those two things are really the same”, notes Morgan. “The things that are causing first-generation biofuels to be expensive, like the use of valuable arable land and water, are also making them less sustainable. The leadership of the company decided we would go down the road of decreasing costs and increasing sustainability.”
“We are not going to go into biofuels”, he adds. “But we are going to steer those partnerships, those technologies, more towards aviation than they would otherwise be, because our incumbent energy providers wouldn’t do that. If we do nothing, the outcome will be tar sands and shale oil and that’s not a good outcome. But if we do something we can drive the technology towards a more sustainable pathway and get something that will be cost-effective and will cause biofuels to be better than they otherwise would be.”
Talking with NGO’s “and others who are deeply concerned about the effects of biofuels”, says Morgan, “we realized we need to get serious about sustainability. We need to live it. We actually need to use this as design criteria. Biofuels are not hurdles to be overcome, they are design criteria.”
Read remaining paragraphs here.
|Webmasters / Re: The Biggest Domain Rush In The History Of The Internet Starts On February 4 by The Arbiter: 12:52pm On Jan 30|
NIRA my foot. They are probably napping until after the auction before they make feeble excuses about Nigeria (Africa) being left out. News about the new TLDs has been making waves since early last year.
How about Seun getting a .nairaland before anybody does . He can build a whole ecosystem around it.
|Programming / Re: Backtrack On Window 7 by The Arbiter: 12:27pm On Jan 30|
The Backtrack (Offensive-security) project has been renamed Kali. The new project site is accessible here: http://www.kali.org/
You can load Kali on your Windows system (pc) in the following ways:
1. Via a live-CD. You download the iso from the website, burn it on a blank CD and run it on windows or boot your system with it.
2. Create a bootable USB (3.0 better) flash drive (4+ GB) with the downloaded iso and run it on windows or boot your system with it (my
3. Partition your hard disk and install it along side your Windows OS.
Using Kali requires a little knowledge of linux and penetration tools. The full iso image is about 3GB.
|Education / Re: Difference Between Bsc And Bsc.ed? by The Arbiter: 5:11pm On Jan 28|
(Hons) are commonly affixed to indicate a candidate graduated with a class of degree other than pass - graduated with honors.
Hence pass degrees are awarded B.Sc only
While third class to first class get awarded B.Sc (Hons).
Stevosty: This is obvious enough, but can someone explain B.Sc and B.Sc(Hons)?
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