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Posts Tagged ‘Stockholm’

The Power of a Hot Body

December 31st, 2012 12:08 admin View Comments

Technology

Hugh Pickens writes writes “Depending on the level of activity, the human body generates about 60 to 100 Watts of energy in the form of heat, about the same amount of heat given off by the average light bulb. Now Diane Ackerman writes in the NY Times that architects and builders are finding ways to capture this excess body heat on a scale large enough to warm homes and office buildings. At Stockholm’s busy hub, Central Station, engineers harness the body heat issuing from 250,000 railway travelers to warm the 13-story Kungsbrohuset office building about 100 yards away. First, the station’s ventilation system captures the commuters’ body heat, which it uses to warm water in underground tanks. From there, the hot water is pumped to Kungsbrohuset’s heating pipes, which ends up saving about 25 percent on energy bills. Kungsbrohuset’s design has other sustainable elements as well. The windows are angled to let sunlight flood in, but not heat in the summer. Fiber optics relay daylight from the roof to stairwells and other non-window spaces that in conventional buildings would cost money to heat. Constructing the new heating system, including installing the necessary pumps and laying the underground pipes, only cost the firm about $30,000, says Karl Sundholm, a project manager at Jernhusen, a Stockholm real estate company, and one of the creators of the system. “It pays for itself very quickly,” Sundholm adds. “And for a large building expected to cost several hundred million kronor to build, that’s not that much, especially since it will get 15% to 30% of its heat from the station.”"

Source: The Power of a Hot Body

The Power of a Hot Body

December 31st, 2012 12:08 admin View Comments

Earth

Hugh Pickens writes “Depending on the level of activity, the human body generates about 60 to 100 Watts of energy in the form of heat, about the same amount of heat given off by the average light bulb. Now Diane Ackerman writes in the NY Times that architects and builders are finding ways to capture this excess body heat on a scale large enough to warm homes and office buildings. At Stockholm’s busy hub, Central Station, engineers harness the body heat issuing from 250,000 railway travelers to warm the 13-story Kungsbrohuset office building about 100 yards away. First, the station’s ventilation system captures the commuters’ body heat, which it uses to warm water in underground tanks. From there, the hot water is pumped to Kungsbrohuset’s heating pipes, which ends up saving about 25 percent on energy bills. Kungsbrohuset’s design has other sustainable elements as well. The windows are angled to let sunlight flood in, but not heat in the summer. Fiber optics relay daylight from the roof to stairwells and other non-window spaces that in conventional buildings would cost money to heat. Constructing the new heating system, including installing the necessary pumps and laying the underground pipes, only cost the firm about $30,000, says Karl Sundholm, a project manager at Jernhusen, a Stockholm real estate company, and one of the creators of the system. ‘It pays for itself very quickly,’ Sundholm adds. ‘And for a large building expected to cost several hundred million kronor to build, that’s not that much, especially since it will get 15% to 30% of its heat from the station.’”

Source: The Power of a Hot Body

Negative Number Throws Stockholm Stock Exchange For a Loop

November 29th, 2012 11:44 admin View Comments

Pirate Bay Co-Founder In Solitary Confinement

October 22nd, 2012 10:27 admin View Comments

Crime

pigrabbitbear writes “Things aren’t looking awesome for Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm, who’s currently under lock and key in a newly built jail about 15 minutes north of Stockholm. Svartholm’s mother Kristina says that her 28-year-old son is being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day without any human contact other than his interactions with the guards. It’s been nearly two months since Svartholm was arrested in Cambodia, where he’d been living for years, and extradited back to Sweden, where he’s due to spend a year behind bars and pay a $1.1 million fine for copyright offenses related to his role at the Pirate Bay. But that’s not why Sweden’s being so tough on him in prison. Authorities believe he may have played a role in the hacking of Logica, a Swedish technology company with ties to the country’s tax authorities. They haven’t charged him with any crimes yet in that case, however.”

Source: Pirate Bay Co-Founder In Solitary Confinement

Colocation Provider PRQ Raided; Wikileaks and Many Torrent Sites Offline

October 1st, 2012 10:50 admin View Comments

Piracy

An anonymous reader writes with some chilling news about PRQ, the infamous colo founded by two Pirate Bay founders. From the article: “Stockholm police raided the free-speech focused firm (PRQ) Monday and took four of its servers, the company’s owner Mikael Viborg told the Swedish news outlet Nyheter24. While a number of bittorrent-based filesharing sites including PRQ’s most notorious client, the Pirate Bay, have been down for most of Monday as well as PRQ’s own website, Viborg told the Swedish news site that the site outages were the result of a technical issue, rather than the police’s seizure of servers.” Torrentfreak is reporting that the Pirate Bay isn’t using PRQ for anything important (if at all), and that their downtime is due to a faulty PDU that happened to fail as a coincidence.

Source: Colocation Provider PRQ Raided; Wikileaks and Many Torrent Sites Offline

Pirate Bay Co-Founder Detained In Sweden

September 15th, 2012 09:52 admin View Comments

Crime

wiredmikey writes “The co-founder of The Pirate Bay filesharing website was detained in Sweden on Friday, days after his deportation from Cambodia, officials said. Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, 27, faces a one-year prison sentence for promoting copyright infringement in his home country. He current detention is for an investigation into his involvement in the hacking of a Swedish IT firm named Logica. He was arrested in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on August 30 at Stockholm’s behest and expelled late on Monday.”

Source: Pirate Bay Co-Founder Detained In Sweden

The TAG Challenge: $5k Global Manhunt Using Social Media

March 26th, 2012 03:25 admin View Comments

Social Networks

An anonymous reader writes “CNET just published an article about a new challenge to photograph 5 target individuals in 5 different cities on March 31st. The TAG challenge will pay the winner $5k. Target mobility means this will be much harder than the DARPA Red Balloon Challenge which was won by MIT. From the article: ‘On March 31, mug shots of five “suspects” will be published, and it’ll be game on in a global hunt for “jewel thieves” in Bratislava, Slovakia; Stockholm; London; Washington, D.C.; and New York City, each of whom will spend 12 hours that day in public areas. The first team to upload photographs of each of the five by noon eastern time on April 1 will win the competition–and with it, a ton of international glory.’”

Source: The TAG Challenge: $5k Global Manhunt Using Social Media

Exercise and Caffeine May Activate Metabolic Genes

March 6th, 2012 03:02 admin View Comments

Science

ananyo writes “A trip to the gym could mean not just losing pounds — but also chemical modifications from DNA in the form of methyl groups. The presence (or absence) of methyl groups at certain positions on DNA can affect gene expression. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm looked at the methylation status of genes in small biopsies taken from the thigh muscles of healthy young adults before and after a stint on an exercise bike. They found that, for some genes involved in energy metabolism, the workout demethylated the promoter regions (stretches of DNA that facilitate the transcription of particular genes). Genes unrelated to metabolism remained methylated. Furthermore, similar demethylation could be seen when cultured muscle cells were given a massive (probably lethal) dose of caffeine.”

Source: Exercise and Caffeine May Activate Metabolic Genes

US Prosecutors Have a Sealed Indictment On Assange, Say Leaked Files

February 28th, 2012 02:07 admin View Comments

Censorship

beaverdownunder writes with news from The Age that “Leaked e-mails from private U.S. intelligence agency Stratfor indicate that American prosecutors have had a sealed, secret indictment drawn up against Julian Assange as early as January, 2011.” From the article: “The news that US prosecutors drew up a secret indictment against Mr Assange more than 12 months ago comes as the WikiLeaks founder awaits a British Supreme Court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden to be questioned in relation to sexual assault allegations. Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in Sweden, fears extradition to Stockholm will open the way for his extradition to the US on possible espionage or conspiracy charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked classified US reports.”

Source: US Prosecutors Have a Sealed Indictment On Assange, Say Leaked Files

Fast Times In East Berlin: Exploring Europe’s New Startup Capital

February 24th, 2012 02:00 admin View Comments

berlin-top-photos.jpgIt is pitch black and freezing and I am in an old, abandoned ice factory in East Berlin. The view from the roof is grand – the iconic, Socialist-era TV tower nicely defines Berlin’s skyline from across the Spree River. But we are here to see the art, our guide tells us, as we snake up and down staircases and through huge, empty rooms, walls full of graffiti, lit by our phones’ flashlight apps.

This is the second to last stop on the “Twilight Berlin Underground Tour.” I am here, ostensibly, to see art and potentially meet “people living on the fringes of society,” according to the listing. We have already visited an abandoned brewery where street artists used to squat, and an old rail yard area now home to studios. Our last stop is some sort of “hacker’s lair.”

But really, I am here because of Berlin’s exciting and exploding Internet startup scene: Gidsy, one of the better-known startups in town, helped me find and book this tour, and this is how I’m spending my last night in the city.

Berlin, no stranger to change, is having a moment right now – similar to the one that the New York tech scene experienced a few years ago and the Bay Area must have felt starting around 2004. The Berlin Wall has been down for more than 20 years, but the tech renaissance in town is fresh.

“When we arrived, there was a startup scene but it wasn’t very interesting to us,” says Alexander Ljung, co-founder and CEO of SoundCloud, a sort of “YouTube for audio” and one of Berlin’s most successful startups to date. “It was mostly about cloning things into German versions.”

“From then to now, it’s just been this massive explosion of new startups that think globally and that really want to do innovative products that haven’t been done before,” says Ljung, 30, who has been in town since 2007 and has helped lead the change. “It’s just a much more fun environment for startups now.”

Why Berlin? It is famously inexpensive, for one, at least compared to other Western European cities and Silicon Valley. The average salary is about 35% lower than in London, according to a slide deck shown by angel investor Klaus Hommels at the excellent DLD conference in Munich last month. Young people are moving here. Twitter is (maybe) opening an office! The infrastructure is solid. There is plenty of office and residential space, and it’s a good deal. People are creative. And they’re from all over the place.

“If you look at the founding teams here, there are so many Americans, English people, Italians, whatever,” says Ciaran O’Leary, a venture capitalist with Earlybird. (Earlybird is so excited about Berlin that it’s moving the firm here, and plans to bet at least half of its next fund on Berlin startups.) The new crop of companies, he says, are “globally relevant on the first day, not just for the German market. That’s the biggest shift that we’re seeing — that teams are way more ambitious in what they’re working on from day one.”

And money is following. “Whereas venture capital funds sank €48 million into 64 Berlin-based high-tech companies in 2009, the first three quarters of 2011 saw €136 million invested in 81 businesses,” Spiegel’s Charles Hawley reported last November, citing statistics compiled by the German Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. Of the capital raised in Germany last year, Berlin received one third of it, Informilo’s Valerie Thompson writes.

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Like many of the entrepreneurs I met in Berlin, Alexander Ljung isn’t actually from Berlin, or even German. He is Swedish, has lived in San Francisco – he is wearing a Giants baseball cap during our meeting – and was back in Europe when the startup bug bit. Five years ago, with his co-founder Eric Wahlforss, Alexander went on a quick tour of the continent, trying to figure out where to start their company: London, Barcelona, Vienna?

“I think we were here for one day, only. We got back to Stockholm in the evening and just immediately decided that we were going to move to Berlin the next week. To be completely honest, it wasn’t a strategic, thought-through thing. It was really a spontaneous move. We really liked the vibe in the city here — you could feel that it was this intersection of technology and art. That’s very much how Eric and I are as people and what we wanted SoundCloud to be as well. We knew that we were going to be building technology for creative people, and the whole vibe of Berlin as a city resonated with that.”

And that’s the thing that sticks out most about Berlin to a visitor: The creativity. Especially in East Berlin, where the startup scene is based. Practically everywhere you look, there’s something interesting or silly going on. A stencil graffiti painting of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, titled “1984.” Bold and funny looking posters, plastered everywhere, announcing the week’s music performances or special events. Stickers – thousands of stickers – on sign posts, trash cans, everywhere – each a little piece of art, some a little obscene. In most cities, this would all feel like disgusting graffiti. But in Berlin, for whatever reason, it fits.

That creative and design element has bled fully over to the tech boom, and many of the entrepreneurs I met had been web and graphic designers before they found enough money to build their startup. That helps the scene flourish, partly because creative people are fun. But it also means the startups have nice looking, well-designed websites – a big plus.

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Edial Dekker, the 27-year-old CEO of Gidsy, is one of those designers who graduated to “founder” last year, and recently raised his first round of outside financing, with investors including the well-known firm Index Ventures and the American movie star Ashton Kutcher.

I met Dekker one morning at his office, a sunny space that Gidsy is still settling into in Kreuzberg, a historically Jewish and Turkish neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying. (Even in the three years since I visited, it feels totally different.) We took the freight elevator upstairs, he made a fresh coffee in a mini-French press, and we settled down into a conference room where Kutcher had visited to talk shop just a few weeks prior.

Dekker – also not a German, from Amsterdam – moved here 2.5 years ago with his brother Floris, who is Gidsy’s chief product officer. They wanted to get out of Holland for some adventure and risk, and landed in Berlin. They couch surfed, did design work for clients to pay the bills, and eventually started working on Gidsy, a marketplace for activities and experiences. If you load up Gidsy in New York, you can take a Chinatown dumpling tour. In London, chutney-making lessons. In Amsterdam, a wild oyster workshop. And in Berlin, my “Underground” tour exploring in the frigid cold.

“Basically you come here, you have no friends, you probably have very little money. What’s there to do? There’s nothing much to do than just work and try to set up a business. Or you could go party… right? [Laughs.] We’re way more interested in building something sustainable than partying.” (They got Ashton Kutcher to invest, Dekker says, by e-mailing him a username and password to their prototype for Gidsy. “He called us the next day.”)

“Things are going very very fast,” Dekker says. “It’s become very meaningful. People are really here to stay. There’s big ideas and people are actually making them happen.”

Where the Berlin tech scene gets coffee

St. Oberholz: Relatively spacious and well-known, in Mitte, expect a sea of MacBooks.

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The Barn: Tiny, with great coffee and snacks. You could run into Ciaran O’Leary or local blogger/entrepreneur Travis Todd here.

CK cafe at Voo: Hidden off an alley courtyard, this cool boutique has an incredible espresso bar and a few seats and tables. Right around the corner from Gidsy and other Kreuzberg startups.

And then there are the clones: The infamous German companies that look for U.S. Internet startups that are showing promise, and then quickly (and perfectly) copy them for the German or European market. (Check out the newish Pinspire, “inspired” by Pinterest.)

The Rocket Internet brothers, Alexander, Marc, and Oliver Samwer, have been making local dupes of U.S. concepts for more than 10 years, and have gotten rich selling them to their U.S. counterparts when they’re ready to go global – such as selling their “CityDeal” Groupon clone to Groupon in 2010. The amazing thing is that it really works. But it has also kept the new crop of startups an arm’s length away.

“I think the clone stuff gets too much attention because it just is not a key part of the scene,” says O’Leary, the venture capitalist. “You just don’t see them. You don’t meet them. I have no idea where they live, what they look like.”

But they’re not harmful, per se. “The thing that the clone factories have going for them,” O’Leary says, “is that they educate a lot of people and they create entrepreneurs who then say, ‘you know what, I want to do my own stuff now’. But I think their share in media is way higher than their share in the entrepreneurial scene.”

Now, a few weeks since my trip to Berlin, what I remember the most is the energy and excitement. The people who were showing up from Amsterdam just for the Twitter-hosted developer meetup I attended. The Groupon-clone employee I met who now really wants to start his own thing. The sea of MacBooks at many of the cafes. The buzzing offices, with the same conversations as you’d hear in New York, San Francisco, or London.

Not everything is perfect here, obviously. It’s lacking the maturity of the Valley tech scene, a wide crop of angel investors, and it’s still a plane trip away from most biz-dev meetings. But in the cloud-powered, lean-startup era, it’s a hotspot worth watching.

Says O’Leary, “If you look at the trajectory Berlin is on, give it one or two more cycles, four or five more years, I think it could be — besides the Valley, I don’t think it’s going to replace the Valley, I think that’s a ridiculous notion — but it could be one of the other really cool places to found a company.”

Source: Fast Times In East Berlin: Exploring Europe’s New Startup Capital

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