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News and thoughts from the Pixie team!


Irish Blog Awards 2010 Best Photo Blog Finalists


Next Saturday (March 27 2010) is the eagerly anticipated Irish Blog Awards and this year the event is being held in Galway! Tickets are still on sale so head over and book now.

Pixie is sponsoring the Best Photo Blog category and there are five very deserving finalists whose blogs you should check out straight away!

Best of luck to all the finalists and see you on Saturday!


# by John Smyth on on 2010-Mar-26

Well done to Pix.ie for sponsoring the Phot Blog Category - hope to see some of the finalists on the night


# by TheGamingShed on on 2010-Apr-12

Only seen this a few days ago and missed it. Well done to everyone that won and entered.


# by Eachannfahrin on on 2012-Feb-16

Congratulation.That I think all purposes of life requires hard work.You have to do more than just work hard.

west palm beach marketing


# by naconbuy on on 2013-Nov-21

Some medical schools are looking beyond MCAT scores and grade point averages in search of a more diverse student class.     The making-of-Mary

Poppins movie features Emma Thompson as author PL Travers and Colin Farrell as her real-life fatherReading this on mobile? Click here to watch trailerThe first trailer for the forthcoming Saving Mr Banks has umbrella-parachuted to our doorsteps.
The film sees Disney following the current trend for films-about-film-making, by telling the story of the big-screen adaption of Mary Poppins. Emma Thompson plays Poppins author PL Travers, and the film will see her looking back at her childhood during the filming of the 1964 classic.
It is also the first time Walt Disney himself, played by Tom Hanks, has been depicted as a character in a film.The trailer suggests antagonism between Travers and Disney over the adaptation will play an important part, although there are hints of a warming, if awkward, friendship between the two; it looks a little like Bill Clinton trying to flirt with Mary Whitehouse.
Travers was notoriously unhappy with many aspects of the

Robert Stevenson-directed film, with her precise ideas about the characters in her book making life difficult for the adapters. As she died in 1996, we can only speculate as to what she would think of the Disney version of her life.Mr Banks, the father

in Mary Poppins, was said to be inspired by Travers's own father, in part explaining why she was so protective of her work. The trailer suggests Mr Banks, perhaps the least memorable character in the Mary Poppins film, will be the focus of this story, also giving it its title. Travers's relationship with her real-life father, played by Colin Farrell, is likely to play a major part too.Being
made by Disney gives

the film access to the company's studios and, crucially, Disneyland, for filming – but also gives it the potential for an excessively rose-tinted view of the studio and its founder. Filming was completed in November 2012 and the film is scheduled for release on 13 December in the US, 26 December in Australia, and 17 January 2014 in the UK.Walt

CompanyTom HanksEmma ThompsonColin FarrellBiopicsFilm adaptationsChildren and teenagersUnited Statesguardian.co.uk
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds    Toronto Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero smiled and beamed with confidence after yet another sub-par outing Friday.
Americans need to make big changes in their eating habits to fight the obesity epidemic and a host of ailments caused by poor diets, including consuming less sugar, fat and salt and more fish, fruits and vegetables, the Obama administration recommended Monday. Mervyn King says current

situation 'nonsense' as he lays bare his disagreement with George Osborne over RBS's futureSir Mervyn King has blown open the debate about the future of Royal Bank of Scotland by describing the current situation as "nonsense" and calling for the bailed out bank to be broken up into a good and bad bank.Less

a week after the Edinburgh-based bank insisted it could be ready for partial privatisation ahead of the May 2015 election, the Bank of England governor laid bare his disagreement with the chancellor, George Osborne, over the future of RBS, saying the state-backed bank could not be sold off until it acknowledges the full scale of its bad debts.Giving evidence to the banking standards commission, King said of RBS: "The whole idea of a bank being 82% owned by the taxpayer, run at arm's length


the government, is a nonsense.
It cannot make any sense".With
three months left before he is replaced by Canadian Mark Carney, King said "nothing has been achieved" at RBS, apart from removing risk from its balance sheet, to return it to the private sector.In an effort to get lending flowing to businesses, King said a "bad" bank could house all the troublesome loans.
The taxpayer would retain that bank. The "good" bank that would be created could then lend to businesses and be rapidly privatised.
King admitted this would require the government to take losses. "It is not beyond the wit of man to restructure RBS such that it could be sold back to the private sector relatively soon.
It should not take more than a year. But that means accepting the losses," he said."The
lesson of history is that we should face up to it – it's worth less than we thought and we should accept that and get back to finding a way to create a new RBS that could be a major lender to the UK economy," he said.Lord Lawson, a former Conservative chancellor and member of the commission, has also proposed nationalising RBS and then splitting it in two.
When the commission tackled Osborne on the subject last week, the chancellor had stamped on any suggestion that he would use up to "£8bn or £9bn" of taxpayer funds to take control of the rest of RBS before breaking it up. The chancellor said there were "very considerable obstacles" to nationalising RBS.
The bailed-out banks, including Lloyds Banking Group, then insisted they were on course for privatisation.Lloyds
published a new potential sale price for the taxpayer stake of 61p – considerably lower than the 73p average price that taxpayers paid for the stake – and sparked speculation a sale was nearer. The RBS stake could be sold off at 407p, lower than the 500p average price, on the same basis.Shares
in RBS were

on Wednesday trading at 309p and Lloyds at 51p. Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the commission, said King was setting out the case for "radical action" to

sort out the bailed-out banks.Labour created the current structure of UK Financial Investments overseeing the £45bn pumped into RBS and £20bn into Lloyds Banking Group during the 2008 banking crisis and it has been retained by the coalition.
King referred to this "arm's length" arrangement, saying: "I know it was put there for a good reason.

People didn't want politicians running banks. But I think it would be a much better idea to accept that it should have been a temporary period of ownership only – to restructure the bank and put it

back. The longer this has gone on the more difficult that's become"."The economic reality is that we must accept the losses.

We should accept the reality that the state-owned banks are worth less than we thought."King also told

the commission

that he was "surprised" at the access top bankers had to

politicians. "I was surprised at the degree of access bank executives had to people at the very top, it was certainly easier access ... than the regulators had," King said.King
has become increasingly frustrated with banks and recently wrote to a small business owner forex growth bot who had been refused for a loan by Bank of Scotland, part of Lloyds, to described banks as "maddening". The governor suggested that Benson – who is one of four employees at Airware International which sells compressors – looks at newer entrants such as Sweden's Handelsbanken.Royal
Bank of ScotlandBankingLloyds Banking GroupMervyn KingBank of EnglandJill TreanorPhillip Inmanguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and

Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
| Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds It's the stuff of nightmares: last week, the ground opened up and swallowed a Florida man as he lay sleeping in his home. But

why do these sinkholes occur and how widespread are they?Last week, in a quiet residential suburb east of Tampa, Florida, the Earth opened up and swallowed a man.
Jeff Bush, 37, was tucked up in bed late on Thursday evening when his entire bedroom floor simply gave way with

a deafening crash that his brother, in the room next door, later described as "like a truck hitting the house".Jeremy Bush, 35, heard his brother's scream and rushed towards his bedroom. "Everything was gone," he told local television stations.
"My brother's bed, my brother's dresser, my brother's TV. My brother was gone. All I could see was the top of his bed, so I jumped in and tried digging him out. I thought I could hear him screaming for me and hollering for me."As the house's floor threatened to collapse further into a gaping hole more than 9m across and 15m deep, a sheriff's deputy who had arrived on the scene with the emergency services eventually pulled Jeremy to safety.
Jeff remained trapped.
"I couldn't get him out," Jeremy said. "I tried so hard.
I tried everything I could.
No one could do anything."As
Jeremy and four others, including a two-year-old child, were led away uninjured, rescue teams lowered a microphone and video camera into the hole, but it was soon apparent that Bush could not have survived.
By Saturday, the search for his body had also been abandoned. "We just have not been able to locate Mr Bush, and so for that reason, the rescue effort is being discontinued," a local official, Mike Merrill, said.
"At this point, it's really not possible to recover the body."When
the ground begins opening up beneath our feet and plunging unsuspecting mortals into the abyss, some may be tempted to reach for the Bible and start predicting

the End of Times (and a quick online search reveals

that several of the wackier sort of website have not hesitated to do just that). But biblical as the story sounds, the sinkhole – as the phenomenon is called – that caused Jeff Bush's death was not an act of God but of geology.Natural
sinkholes – as opposed to manmade tunnel or cave collapses – occur when acidic rainwater seeps down through

surface soil and sediment, eventually reaching a soluble bedrock such as sandstone, chalk, salt or gypsum, or (most commonly) a carbonate rock such as limestone beneath. In a process that can last hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, the water gradually dissolves small

parts of the rock, enlarging its natural fissures and joints and creating cavities beneath.As
the process continues, the loose, unconsolidated soil and sand above is gradually washed into these cracks and voids. Depending on how thick and strong that top layer is

(sand will not last long; clay can hold out for millennia), and how close to the surface the void beneath is, the land may be able to sustain its own weight – and that of whatever we build on top of it. But as the holes grow, there will come a day when the surface layer will simply give way."Once those caves start to collapse, the materials above will simply funnel in," says Dr Anthony Cooper, a principal geologist at the British Geological Survey, which maps the country for rock types susceptible to sinkholes and carries out surveys for developers, builders and individuals worried about the prospects of the land caving in beneath them.
"It's just like an eggtimer, really.
That's certainly what appears to have happened with this incident in Florida."In
the language of geologists, the process that causes sinkholes is "the creation of a void which migrates towards the surface".
In the language of the layman, when there's not enough solid stuff left underneath to support what is left of the loose stuff above, the whole lot collapses. The resulting depressions characterise what is

known as a karst landscape, in which hundreds or even thousands of relatively small sinkholes form across an area that, seen from the air, can appear almost pock-marked.Since
around 10% of the world's surface is made up of karst topographies, sinkholes are far from uncommon.
The entire state of Florida, as the Bush family unfortunately learned, is classed as karst landscape, and sinkholes are so common that insurers are obliged by law to offer cover to home owners who ask for it (insurance was compulsory until 2007, when

many home owners dropped it because of the rising cost). "If you look at a satellite image of the state, or even just a map," says Cooper, "you'll see it's peppered with little circular lakes and lots and lots of sinkholes.
A great many of them are visible, but many more are covered in. It's typical karst topography."Elsewhere
in the US, sinkholes are common in Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
In Britain, the BGS says the carboniferous limestone of the Mendip Hills, the north of the South Wales coalfield, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the northern Pennines and the edges of the Lake District all host well-developed karst landscapes. Karstic features

are also common in the

UK on the chalk of south-east England, on salt in the centre and north-east of the country, and particularly on the

gypsum that underlies parts of eastern and north-eastern England, especially around Ripon and Darlington, and in the Vale of Eden."Gypsum is the most soluble of all," says Cooper.
"If you were to place a block of gypsum the size of a transit van in a river, it would dissolve completely within about 18 months." Ripon in North Yorkshire, Cooper says, is very susceptible to sinkholes, the most famous – some 20m deep

– dating back to 1834. In 1997, four garages collapsed into a huge sinkhole that only just missed the front of a neighbouring house.One
of the more spectacular recent British sinkholes, a 7.5m-deep crater, opened up in 2010 beneath a patio in Grays, Essex. "It was like an earthquake.
There was a rumbling and we both ran out to look and there just a couple of steps away there was this monstrous hole," the house owner, Ben Luck, said at the time.
"It was there in a second.
There wasn't a bit of dust, and there was no sign of the crazy paving – it micro niche finder disappeared in the hole." Structural engineers said the hole was caused after water penetrated chalk some 25m down, causing tonnes of soil above it to shift.Around
the world, this process that produces sinkholes has created such striking natural features as the hills of Ireland's western coast, the caves of Slovenia and the pillars of Guilin in China. Where the underlying limestone layer is thick and rainfall heavy, vast underground caverns and subterranean rivers have produced sinkholes

of dimensions that make what's happened in Florida or Essex look positively insignificant: the Xiaozhai tiankeng ("heavenly pit") in Chongqing, China, is 662m deep; the Dashiwei tiankeng in Guangxi 613m.
Croatia has a 530m-deep hole, with vertical walls, called the Red Lake, while Papua New Guinea has the Minyé sinkhole (510m deep) and Mexico the Sótano del Barro (410m) and Sótano de las Golondrinas (372m deep).What
finally triggers a collapse? The most common factor, Cooper says, is changing groundwater levels, or a sudden increase in surface water. During long periods of drought, groundwater levels will fall, meaning cavities that were once supported by the water they were filled with may become weaker (water pumping, for factories or farms, can have a similar effect).
Conversely, a sudden heavy downfall can add dramatically to the weight of the surface layer of soil and clay, making it too heavy for the cave beneath to bear.Sometimes the trigger can be man-made. In chalky West Sussex in 1985, a burst water main caused an alarming rash of small 1m- to 4m-wide sinkholes to appear in Fontwell. "There  was also a man who emptied his swimming pool out on to his garden, and was soon confronted with a large sinkhole under his house," Cooper says.
"And in Florida, automatic frost sensors have set off sprays fed from boreholes and intended to stop strawberry crops from freezing – but the result was more

than 100 small sinkholes."So how can you detect a developing sinkhole – and can anything be done about it once you suspect the process may be under way? In Britain, Cooper says, the BGS maps the country to locate rock types that may be affected by sinkholes.
It also keeps an up-to-date National Karst Database recording visible sinkholes, springs, soakaways and known building damage.
Using all manner of modern technologies, "we cut an awful lot of data, from rock types to slope angles, covering materials and drainage, and basically zone

the country into datasets that can be used by property developers, local councils, the construction industry, insurers and the like," he says.At the most basic level, people in a sinkhole-prone zone are best advised simply to "look around them, at the adjacent land and buildings".
Telltale signs may include sagging trees or fence posts, doors or windows that no longer close properly, and rainwater collecting in unlikely places. Some developing sinkholes can be filled in; Anthony Randazzo, a former University of Florida professor who has spent his career studying sinkholes, now

runs a profitable company that does just that, injecting grout to fill cracks that develop underground and shore up the foundations of buildings. "It's like a dentist filling a cavity," he says.But
this is not always possible. The key is good drainage; you want to get water away from a vulnerable area. "Covering an opening up with concrete, or filling up a hole completely with solid concrete, may not necessarily help," warns Cooper. Sometimes, too, the hole may simply be too deep: 80m, perhaps, compared with the 12-15m height of a house.
"On some occasions, we have had to point out to developers that a hole 20m deep and 30m wide is a lot bigger than a house," Cooper says.
"That's a hell of a lot of concrete."Despite the frequency of sinkholes, linked fatalities are rare.
Randazzo says he can recall only two other people

besides Bush who have died because of them in the US during the past 40 years. Even then, he says, in both cases the people concerned had been drilling boreholes (and thus interfering with groundwater levels). "Usually, you have some time," Randazzo, who has lectured on sinkholes at Oxford University, told USA Today.
"These catastrophic sinkholes give you some warning over the course of hours. This latest incident is very unusual, and very tragic."In the UK, Cooper says, no deaths attributable solely to naturally formed sinkholes (as opposed, say, to the collapse of disused mine chambers) have been recorded in recent times.
But, he points out, since extremes of sinkhole-affecting weather – long periods of drought, for example, followed by spells of unusually heavy and persistent rain – are widely predicted to become more frequent as the Earth's climate changes, "we would certainly expect there to

be more sinkholes in the future".
It could be only a matter of time before Britain buries a Jeff Bush.Natural disasters and extreme weatherGeologyFloridaUnited StatesGeographyJon Henleyguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
| Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds THE QUESTION After straining or spraining a muscle or tendon, might rubbing or spraying on a painkiller ease the hurt? Computers and the Internet can open up new worlds for the elderly.    
Is it now obligatory for the terminally ill to work until their final breath?     The District's political elite squeezed into an atrium in the John A.
Wilson Building yesterday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the beaux-arts

style structure -- at once a symbol of the city's federal control, its longtime struggle for autonomy and most simply, an awesome display of craftsmanship.
MIT Political Scientist Roger Petersen wins Distinguished Book Award for "Western Intervention in

the Balkans" Award for best book on international politics of ethnicity, nationalism or migration The Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section of the International Studies Association has awarded the Distinguished Book Award to Roger Petersen's "Western Intervention in the Balkans, The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict" (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
Petersen is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at MIT.
The award recognizes the best book published over the past two years in the study of the international politics of ethnicity, nationalism or migration. The criteria for the award include

the originality of the argument presented, quality of the research, ability to draw on the insights of the multiple disciplines, innovative methods or methodological syntheses, readability of the text and the policy or practical implications of the scholarship. "Western Intervention in the Balkans" has also received the 2012 Joseph Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies, given by the Association for the Study of Nationalities, and the 2012 Marshall Shulman Book Prize, given by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian

Studies. Of the book, Cambridge University Press writes: "Conflicts involve powerful experiences. The residue of these experiences is captured by the concept and language of emotion ... [including google sniper of fear, anger, desire for vengeance, resentment, and contempt]. These emotions can become resources for political entrepreneurs. A broad range of Western interventions are based on a view of human nature as narrowly rational. Correspondingly, intervention policy generally aims to alter material incentives ("sticks and carrots") to influence behavior. In response, poorer and weaker actors who wish to block or change this Western implemented "game" use emotions as resources.
This book examines the strategic use of emotion in the conflicts and interventions occurring in the Western Balkans over a

twenty-year period."
Full Story at MIT SHASS News Yields on 10-year notes fell the most in almost three months as the Bank of Japan's efforts to provide liquidity and expand an asset-purchase program failed to stem an equity selloff, which sent the Nikkei 225 Stock Average down as much as 14 percent and sapped U.S. stocks. Two-year note yields... The Treasury secretary said that government should continue to back low-down-payment loans for first-time home buyers. Matt Read and Oliver Lauridsen scored goals 7 seconds apart to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.    
If you hear Facebook making sounds when your friends post updates, your notifications settings are set to include audio alerts. Conventions need anti-harassment policies.Not
because convention attendees are disproportionately creepy or boorish?they're really not.
Rather the difficulty lies in the very thing that makes conventions conventions: the social phenomena that come into play whenever humans gather in large groups.     President Obama on Friday offered only tempered support for Libya's rebels and played down the feasibility of Western military intervention to aid their cause, raising questions about how

far he is willing to go to help fulfill his declaration last week that Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi "must le...
The Federal Reserve cited “weaknesses” in capital plans of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, while Citigroup and Bank of America got a green light. Riverside Station sits along the Potomac River, nestled deep in outside-the-Beltway suburbia, and yet residents can walk to mass transit: the Virginia Railway Express trains.
It's a mistake

to think that just because a small number of people use a product that they don't matter - and Google's attempt to push Reader users to Google+ is a mistake tooAround the world, the bees are dying due, it's thought, to modern insecticides, The irony is that bees are essential to agriculture and the wider ecosystem; the outcome of their decline will be far more onerous than the insect damage the treatment was supposed to prevent. Google is now in the unhappy position of emulating the pesticide-wielding farmers.
It has announced that it is closing Google Reader, a service

that aggregates updates from blogs, news services and any site that uses the RSS content syndication standard.
Google Reader has been on a death watch for a while as its owners try to funnel readers to its Google+ social network for finding and sharing information of personal interest. It's hard to make money from RSS feeds, and they've always been something of a minority interest among internet users. "We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We're sad too.", said software engineer Alan Green in a company blog post.
And how, Normally taciturn insiders at Google HQ talk of the company being unprepared for quite how much sadness there'd be, inside and out, and how much anger.
There's been "a very considerable internal hubbub about Reader's closure", one Googler told me, while a 600-post thread of anger and dismay on highbrow forum Metafilter mirrors outrage across

Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.The corporate surprise adds to the decision itself to paint a picture of a company dangerously adrift from a real understanding of its audience, and the information ecosystem.Google Reader is more than just a news aggregator, and its users are more than factory-farmed data ruminators. While the usage figures may indeed be modest, the quality of that usage - and the users - is superb.
Buzzfeed reports that the moribund Reader still drives vastly more traffic to sites than the pampered Google+. That's because of its excellence as a tool for people who are front line experts in sampling and using the raw information the internet generates, and the consequent interest in what they find worthwhile.
It's easy to see the managerial reasons for killing Reader.
Google is in the middle of a spring clean, trying to focus resources in fewer places.
Even mature products with no apparent updates cost money to keep alive within Google's internal and constantly-morphing infrastructure. In October last year, Google removed Reader's own link-sharing system and replaced it with a Google+ 'like' button - a statement of intent that was very easy to follow.But
those core Reader users are worth more to Google than any random million Google+ posters. They are the journalists, the producers, the specialist communicators, who need to absorb hundreds and thousands of the web's primary sources a day - and then share and act on the best.

A radio programme maker told me that "it's a disaster. I completely rely on Reader so

much for research, finding experts, and stayng current on the facts that rarely make it safely into the mass of the media." Perhaps that's why the Financial Times chose to put a report headlined "Twittersphere in meltdown over killing of Google Reader" prominently on the front page of the print edition of its Companies and Markets section on Friday. Its audience is those specialist communicators.
Presumably, they've indicated their upset too.There
are other services that aggregate RSS, but many of them rely on Google Reader. Many others have been driven out of business by Reader's

dominance, including most that synchronise across several devices - precisely the way that busy information VIPs work. These people are the apex pollinators of the web, the first responders and the most influential creators of quality across an internet that so desperately needs it.
They find Reader mindful where Twitter is mindless; Reader organises and prioitises, it keeps information in sight, not rushes it away. Such people will find other ways to get their data - less easily, less reliably and less well integrated with how they work - but for now, they are angry and uncertain. "I feel betrayed," the radio programme maker said.
"I used to recommend Google to everyone, but now I can't trust it.
It's all very well putting all the books in the world online, but what's the point if you then shaft the readers?" Google exists, it says, to encourage everyone to use the internet.
It isn't in the business of supporting small groups of specialists, except through general purpose tools.
But by angering and disenfranchising the very people who keep the internet fat burning furnace review productive, it is poisoning its own fields -

and those of others.
It betrays itself as not understanding that "social" isn't just about numbers, it's about people - people who might be hard to sell advertising to, but who create the conditions in which advertising can work.That
level of ignorance is very dangerous to Google. It looks as

if the company has

stopped seeing the internet as something it should serve and enhance, choosing instead to treat it as something Google itself ties to its own internal reality. Google said it was shutting down Reader to "make a better user experience". Such hubris is, in the end, the death of companies.
As Richard Feynman said in his report on the Challenger shuttle disaster: "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled". It's a lesson that agribusiness and Google alike ignore at their, and our, peril.Rupert
Goodwins is a freelance journalist (and Google Reader user)GoogleGoogle+InternetSoftwareSocial mediaguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
All rights reserved.
| Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds Fewer emissions: Gasoline-powered cars comprise nearly one-third of total net U.S.

gas emissions. Alternative fueled vehicles would give off fewer emissions and would comply with current and anticipated air emission standards.
A Planck satellite image shows the cosmos as it appeared only 370,000 years after the Big Bang. Cordarelle Patterson of Tennessee, with jaw-dropping open-field talent, gets the nod as the top receiver in the draft.     Capping what he called a successful five-year partnership between the Italian energy company Eni and the MIT Energy

Initiative, Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni this week enthusiastically renewed his company’s support of

MITEI.After his ceremonial signing of the new agreement with MIT President L.
Rafael Reif, Scaroni said, “When I started this whole thing, I did it, as we say in Italian, ‘to save my soul.’” When he signed the initial agreement of support for MITEI, Scaroni said, he was largely motivated by the desire to be able to answer questions from environmentalists and others who would

ask him, “Why don’t you do something for the future of the

world?”But over the years of the partnership, Scaroni said, he has come to realize that Eni’s support of MITEI is also good for business. “The cooperation has been so successful,” he said. “Cooperation between MIT and Eni can give us phenomenal results.”While one of the key elements of the partnership has been the creation of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center, the collaboration extends to other areas as well, Scaroni said, including research on such core technologies as reservoir management.
Scaroni pointed out that on average, only about 33 percent of the fuel in the ground is actually recoverable. But suppose, he said, that through research on reservoir management, methods were developed to achieve 36 percent recovery. “Three percent more would be so much money, so much more production, that we could pay back [the research costs] for the next 100 years, not just five years. So the potential for improvement of our results through this cooperation with MIT is so huge that we certainly are very much convinced to go ahead.”While
the exact funding level was not disclosed, the agreement between Eni and MIT “significantly exceeds” the $5 million annual commitment required

for founding members

of MITEI, according to a press release, making Eni the energy initiative’s largest research sponsor. Eni has directly supported 100 energy researchers at MIT over the past five years, and 52 students have been supported as Eni-MIT Energy Fellows.“This is a very important day for MIT,” Reif said. “This collaboration has been extremely productive by incentivizing very new and novel ideas. We celebrate this renewal, and hopefully we’ll find many more solutions.”In
a public talk following the signing, Scaroni discussed the future of the global market

for natural gas, which he said is subject to significant uncertainties.
He pointed out that natural gas prices vary today by an extraordinarily wide margin, from about $3 per thousand cubic feet in the United States to $18 in Asia.
“The prices in the United States do not make any sense,” Scaroni said, citing the wide discrepancy between gasoline and natural gas prices for an equivalent amount of energy. Over time, he said, that discrepancy is unsustainable; he predicted that either U.S.
gasoline prices will go way down or natural gas prices will go way up. In addition, he said, the discrepancies between oil prices in different regions of the world will gradually even out “as people find better, cheaper ways of moving gas from one part of the world to another.”Scaroni
said that significant

discoveries of natural gas continue around the world: He noted that Eni, one of the world’s largest diversified energy companies, has recently made a huge new find in Mozambique. One of the largest natural-gas fields ever found, it is believed to contain 75 trillion cubic feet of gas — equivalent to “four years’ worth of total U.S.
consumption, in one gas field,” he said.Because of its location and its low production costs, this field should become a major new source of natural gas for rapidly growing Asian markets, Scaroni said.
But he said there are major uncertainties in future Asian demand — especially in China, which now uses relatively little natural gas. While current projections estimate that by 2020 China’s per-capita usage of natural gas will be only 10 percent that of the United States, others estimate that the figure could grow to as high as 25 percent, he said. The impact of such a difference on global natural gas markets could be significant, he said.While
the Mozambique discovery is one of the largest ever, Scaroni said, it is part of a long history of Eni involvement in developing oil and gas resources in Africa.
Already, he said, the company has operations in 22 different African countries, and is the largest producer of hydrocarbons there.
And Eni, he said, makes sure that its operations on that continent provide direct benefits to the local people.
“Wherever we go, we want the people who live in the region to feel the benefit of our presence,” Scaroni said. One way the company accomplishes that, he said, is by using natural gas produced from oil wells — which most companies simply flare off — to fuel power plants that serve the region.
For example, Eni-built plants now provide 20 percent of the electricity in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, and 70 percent of Congo’s electricity.While operating such plants, which are subject to the vagaries of local regulations, is risky from a business perspective, Scaroni said, “We believe that it is so important to make our presence beneficial for the country that we are

willing to take some

# by erlide on on 2014-Jul-13

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# by festhydland on on 2014-Jul-21

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# by misnotee on on 2014-Sep-09

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