Coursera launches in Brazil, becomes first online education provider to partner with its public universities

September 18, 2014

Emil Protalinski – TNW, 09/17/2014

Coursera today announced it is officially launching in Brazil. The company is teaming up with the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), its first university partners in Latin America to offer Portuguese courses.

That’s not the only first. Coursera is the first open online education provider to partner with Brazil’s top universities. Furthermore, the move today also means it is offering its first native Portuguese courses for learners not just in Brazil, but across the globe.

The two universities will develop courses targeted at Brazilian learners in high-demand topics from entrepreneurship to finance, slated for early next year. Coursera has also struck a deal with R7, one of Brazil’s largest web portals, to increase awareness of these new educational opportunities by featuring its courses.

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Brazil building Amazon observation tower to monitor climate change impact

September 15, 2014

Agence France-Presse – The Guardian, 09/14/2014

Brazil is building a giant observation tower in the heart of the Amazon to monitor climate change and its impact on the region’s sensitive ecosystem, a newspaper has reported. The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory is a project of Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research and Germany’s Max Planck Institute, O Estado de São Paulo said.

The tower, which will rise 325 metres from the ground, will be equipped with high-tech instruments and an observatory to monitor relationships between the jungle and the atmosphere. It will gather data on heat, water, carbon gas, winds, cloud formation, carbon absorption and weather patterns.

The project has been seven years in the making, with a site finally being selected far from any human presence, about 100 miles from Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, project coordinator Antonio Manzi told the newspaper.

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Some companies profit as Brazil struggles to secure power

September 12, 2014

Todd Benson and Marguerita Choy – Reuters, 9/11/2014

A small group of energy companies in Brazil are increasing revenues at a time when the country is grappling with its worst power crisis in more than a decade, taking advantage of sky-high prices to sell electricity in the spot market.

Power generators that have managed to produce extra energy in recent months or who aren’t restricted by long-term supply contracts are being rewarded with prices up to six times higher than the average cost on conventional electricity contracts.

At the same time, distributors that had to resort to the short-term market to fulfill demand increases are facing financial burdens and are being rescued by the government.

Read more…


Some companies profit as Brazil struggles to secure power

September 11, 2014

Todd Benson and Marguerita Choy – Reuters, 09/11/2014

A small group of energy companies in Brazil are increasing revenues at a time when the country is grappling with its worst power crisis in more than a decade, taking advantage of sky-high prices to sell electricity in the spot market.

Power generators that have managed to produce extra energy in recent months or who aren’t restricted by long-term supply contracts are being rewarded with prices up to six times higher than the average cost on conventional electricity contracts.

At the same time, distributors that had to resort to the short-term market to fulfill demand increases are facing financial burdens and are being rescued by the government. The situation underscores the imbalances of the Brazilian power system, which has come under stress because of a prolonged drought. The energy crunch has also become a hot topic in Brazil’s presidential race, with the government facing criticism for not ensuring a stable power supply at reasonable prices.

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Brazil soccer field harnesses player-power

September 11, 2014

The Associated Press - CBS News, 09/11/2014

Kids streaking back and forth on a soccer field in scorching tropical heat promises to produce something more than buckets of sweat.

Billed as Brazil’s first player-powered soccer pitch, a field inaugurated Wednesday in a Rio de Janeiro slum harnesses the kinetic energy of players’ movements to provide nighttime illumination. Soccer legend Pele was on hand for the pomp-filled event in the Morro da Mineira slum, which saw a local youth team put the system to the test.

Under the project, sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell, around 200 energy-capturing tiles developed by British startup Pavegen were installed the width and breadth of the field and covered by a layer of AstroTurf. Working in conjunction with solar panels also installed around the field, the player-powered tiles feed electricity to a system of floodlights overhead.

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Construction begins on first-ever undersea fiber optic cable from Brazil to the U.S.

September 11, 2014

Richard Byrne Reilly – VentureBeat, 09/10/2014

Seaborn Networks and Alcatel Lucent are taking their broadband and data concerns underwater. Under the Atlantic Ocean, to be specific.

The two companies are planning the first-ever submarine fiber optic cable connecting Brazil to the U.S. The cable, which will run from the Brazilian city of Fortleza, on that country’s Eastern coast, to Wall Street in New York City, will help handle the increasing data flows between the two nations.

The cable, called the Seabras-1, is being developed by John Schwartz and his team at Seaborn. Seabras-1 will transmit data, including cell traffic and digital feeds, at 60 terabits per second.

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US Clears Black Hawk Sale to Brazil

September 10, 2014

Joe Gould – Defense News, 9/9/2014

The US State Department has cleared a $145 million sale of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Brazil, the Pentagon agency that coordinates foreign weapon sales said Tuesday.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress on Monday that the State Department approved the sale.

Brazil requested three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters with eight T-700-GE-701C engines (six installed and two spares), a dozen M-134 7.62mm machine guns, eight H765GU embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation systems, and related training, logistics and support equipment, according to the agency’s notice.

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