Home' Greymouth Star : October 18th 2014 Contents A
s mobile devices proliferate
and big business turns to
cloud computing to cut costs
and improve efficiency,
technology companies are
facing a double challenge: powering
energy-hungry data centres to expand
the cloud while keeping carbon emissions
Cloud computing has paved the way for
technologies such as video conferencing
and smart building management that
can make corporations greener. But it is
also shifting a larger share of electricity
consumption — and the carbon output
associated with it — on to firms such as
Google and Microsoft that run the data
centres or manufacture computer ser vers.
The trend has made low-carbon energy
access and conser vation a competitive
necessity in the technology sector. Faster,
smaller ser vers and renewable energy
contracts accomplish both, industry
“As you take a look at the fact that the
cloud today uses as much energy as the
country of Japan every year, you know it
doesn’t take much longer until we run out
of energy,” Gabi Zedlmayer, chief progress
officer at Hewlett Packard, said in an
inter view as part of the Reuters Global
Summit on climate change, which ran
from October 13 to October 16.
“ We knew we had to disrupt what we are
doing and put our R and D in the server
line to go toward zero energy,” she said.
The current focus on HP Labs’ research
is a system called The Machine, which
combines memory storage and cache into
a single device and uses fibre optics instead
It has also recently unveiled its
Moonshot ser ver, a customised ser ver that
takes up 80% of the space of and uses 89%
less power than regular ser vers that require
huge amounts of energy for heating and
Josh Henretig, Microsoft’s director of
environmental sustainability, said the
spread of cloud computing is shifting
“c arbon accountability” — a responsibility
to cut emissions — to technology
companies from their customers who were
“ unplugging their own IT infrastructure
and handing that over to Microsoft to
manage in our own cloud environment ”.
“The transition in our business model
moving from a physical software that
customers downloaded on their machines
to one that is delivered through the cloud
... was forcing us to build and create
large-scale data centres all around the
world,” Henretig said in a separate
inter view in New York.
“This in turn was putting a lot of
pressure on our energy supply and our
carbon emissions,” he added.
The growth of cloud computing and
current use of the internet results in a
electricity demand that would rank sixth
as a country in current rankings, according
to an April report on greening the Internet
by environmental group Greenpeace.
Demand could grow by 60% or more
by 2020, the report said, as the on-line
population grows globally.
The group said there is a compelling
business case for companies to rapidly
shift to renewable energy to power their
data centers since renewable energy costs
Henretig said the company ’s wind energy
investments to date represent as much as
10% of the company ’s energy use.
The company has signed two
20-year power purchase agreements from
a 110MW wind farm in Texas and a
175MW wind farm in Illinois.
The company also uses an internal
carbon fee to hold itself accountable for
the carbon it emits from energy use to real
estate to air travel, which makes renewable
energy more competitive with cheaper
Microsoft is playing catch-up with rival
Google, which has signed five power
purchase agreements for wind power
totaling nearly 600MW of capacity. The
internet search giant has also worked with
local utilities to push for more renewable
energy to power its data centre in
coal-reliant North Carolina.
This week, internet rival Yahoo Inc
announced it had entered into a long-term
power purchase agreement for wind power
with wind farm developer Own Energy to
support its operations in the Great Plains
The competition for the next long-term
wind or renewable energy deal between
Google or Microsoft has potential benefits
for the environment, Henretig said.
“ We’ll compete in other areas, but we
both agree that is a healthy rivalry to
have — especially when some of these
breakthrough technologies come to bear
in how we manage large-scale cloud
infrastructure more efficiently,” he said.
4 - Saturday, October 18, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and - except for e-mails - your signature. Noms de
plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1672 - Poland surrenders the Ukraine to the
Turks after an invasion.
1867 - The United States takes formal
possession of Alaska from Russia.
1892 - The first long-distance telephone line is
opened between Chicago and New York.
1944 - Soviet troops invade
Czechoslovakia during World War
1989 - Gunmen assassinate
Colombian presidential candidate
Luis Carlos Galan, the frontrunner
in polls, at a campaign rally outside
1993 - UN oil embargo takes effect against
1994 - Boat people begin to return to Haiti
after the reinstatement of President Jean-
1995 - The United States announces it will
grant Fidel Castro a visa, permitting the Cuban
president to address the United Nations.
2002 - The Vatican rejects parts of a plan
adopted in June by the US Council of Catholic
Bishops (USCCB) to deal with the sexual abuse
of minors by Roman Catholic clergy in the US.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Henri Bergson, French philosopher and
Nobel laureate (1856-1941); George C Scott,
US actor (1927-1999); Chuck Berry, US singer
(1926-); Lee Har vey Oswald,
accused killer of US President John
F. Kennedy (1939-1963); Martina
Navratilova, Czech tennis player
(1956-); Jean-Claude Van Damme,
Belgian actor (1960-); Wynton
Marsalis, jazz/classical trumpeter
(1961-); Mike Tindall, English rugby union
player (1978-); Freida Pinto, Indian actress
(1984-); Zac Efron, American entertainer
“Only those ideas that are least truly ours can
be adequately expressed in words.” — Henri
Bergson, French philosopher (1859-1941).
“ Now before faith came, we were imprisoned
and guarded under the law until faith would be
revealed.” — Galatians 3:23.
The turbulent mouth
of the Hokitika River
nearly claimed a life
this week. It was only
the quick thinking of one man and the courage
of another that saved a woman from drowning
in its waters. Mrs T Steele, of Kaniere Road,
was at the front of a line of whitebaiters and
was dragging into the mouth of the river when
a large breaker broke over the seaward side of
the sand bank and she was carried out into the
Constable J Odell, of Hokitika, who was
dragging close by, rushed to higher ground
when he heard a warning call from other
fishermen. About 15 yards from his bank he
saw a head bobbing in the water. Mr Frank
Ngotori, a bulldozer driver, pealed off his
gumboots and dived in. He reached Mrs Steele
and assisted her to the end of a whitebait pole
where willing hands dragged the two ashore. It
was estimated Mrs Steele had been under the
water for about eight seconds.
Any motorist who attempts to tow a caravan
between Arthur’s Pass and Otira in future is
in for trouble. Caught in the act he will be
liable for a fine up to £25. As from today, a
new National Roads Board bylaw prohibiting
the hauling of caravans on this section of State
highway 73 is in force.
In the past, signs informing motorists that
the towing was inadvisable stood as a warning,
but some still tried it — and generally finished
up blocking the road as a result.
Enforcement responsibilty for the bylaw will
rest with the Transport Department, but so
far the Greymouth office has not received any
advice on the new legislation.
uFood for thought
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It is a slow process, this business of
getting recognised as an independent state,
but the Palestinians are making progress.
In September of last year, Mahmoud
Abbas, the long-overdue-for-an-election
president of the Palestinian National
Authority, was given permission to sit in
the “beige chair”, the one that is reserved
for heads of State waiting to go to the
podium and address the UN General
And now, another great leap for ward.
On Monday, the British Parliament
voted by 274 to 12 to recognise Palestine
as a state. It was a private member’s bill,
however, and ministers in Prime Minister
David Cameron’s cabinet were ordered to
abstain. The bill cannot compel Cameron
to actually recognise Palestine, a decision
which the British Government will only
take “at a moment of our choosing and
when it can best help bring about peace”.
More hot air and empty symbolism, then,
or so it would seem. But the parliamentary
vote is better seen as a very large straw in
After half a century when Israel could
count on reflexive support from the
United States, Canada and the big western
European countries no matter what it
did, public opinion in the countries of the
European Union is shifting.
Until recently, the only EU members
that recognised the State of Palestine were
ex-Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe that
had done so when they were Communist-
ruled. But early this month the newly
elected Swedish government declared that
it would recognise Palestine, and other
parliamentary votes on the question are
coming up in Ireland, Denmark, Finland
and, most importantly, France.
They will probably all vote yes. As
Matthew Gould, UK ambassador to
Israel, said on Israeli radio after the vote
in L ondon: “I am concerned in the long
run about the shift in public opinion
in the UK and beyond towards Israel.
Israel lost support after this summer’s
conflict (in Gaza), and after the series of
announcements on (expanding Israeli)
settlements (in the West Bank). This
parliamentary vote is a sign of the way the
wind is blowing.”
Official Israel is busily pretending that
this does not matter, but it does, in two
ways. One is the diplomatic reality that
soon nothing may stand between Palestine
and full membership of the United
Nations except a lone, naked US veto in
the United Nations Security Council,
which may have to be repeated on an
That will be one consequence of the
way the wind is blowing, but much graver
for Israel is the reason why it is blowing
in that direction — patience with Israeli
Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu’s
perpetual delaying tactics is close to
exhausted in most western electorates.
Among the young it has already run out
Most people in Israel believe that
Netanyahu has absolutely no intention
of allowing the emergence of a genuinely
independent Palestinian state in the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip, the one-fifth
of colonial Palestine that was not already
incorporated into Israel at the end of the
1948 war. Indeed, much of his electoral
support comes from Israelis who trust him
to prevent such an outcome.
Netanyahu can never state his purpose
openly, of course, because that would
alienate Israel’s supporters abroad, who
generally believe that peace can only be
achieved by the “two-state solution” that
both sides signed up to 22 years ago in the
Those supporters used to be willing to
turn a blind eye to his actions so long as he
gave lip-service to the Oslo goals — but
that faith is now running on fumes in the
British House of Commons.
Sir Richard Ottaway, the chair of the
Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and a
lifelong supporter of Israel, told the House:
“Looking back over the past 20 years, I
realise now Israel has been slowly drifting
away from world public opinion. The
annexation of the 950 acres of the West
Bank just a few months ago has outraged
me more than anything else in my political
life. It has made me look a fool and that is
something I deeply resent.”
The erosion of support for Israel has been
slower in the United States, where open
criticism of Israeli actions in the media
is rare and Congress is still (in the crude
phrase of Washington insiders)
“Israeli-occupied territory.” But it is
happening even there — and among the
younger generation of Americans the
decline has been very steep.
In a Gallup poll conducted last July, in
the midst of the most recent Gaza war,
more than half of Americans over the
age of 50 said that Israel’s actions (which
eventually killed over 2000 Palestinians)
were justified. Just a quarter of those
between 18 and 29 years old agreed.
In both cases these generations will
probably stick to their convictions all of
their lives — but generational turnover will
ensure that the opinions of the younger
group ultimately prevail.
It was presumably Israel’s actions and
positions over the past ten years that
shaped the opinions of the younger
Americans. Another ten years like that,
and even the United States may have a
majority that wants to recognise Palestine.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
A passer-by carries a Union Flag umbrella past a pro-Palestine demonstration
outside the Houses of Parliament in London.
I recently had a meal at McDonald’s.
It was a Friday and school holidays, so
naturally was very busy.
When I saw primary school aged
children behind the tills taking orders I
began to question the wisdom of having
a meal at McDonald’s on a Friday
during school holidays. The queues
were reasonably long so I was pleasantly
surprised at how quickly it came for my
turn to place my order.
I was more than pleasantly surprised
at the confident way in which my order
was taken and dealt with by a smiling,
confident polite little girl who could
barely see over the top of the till.
She even recommended an alternative to
what I had ordered, which was just as nice
and better still was cheaper. And what
is more, this old fellow could hear every
word she said in her cheerful friendly
manner. What a lesson for us oldies.
She had something good to sell which
she believed in and made sure everyone
heard about it. She could have stood back
shyly thinking she was too little to offer
such ser vice, but no, she attended to each
customer in a very professional manner,
and not one did I see go away frowning
Christian, you have a far better bargain
to recommend to the world and there
is no charge. Be diligent in your ser vice
and like this little girl be cheerful and
confident as you promote the Good News
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have
more than a supervisor waiting in the
background ready to assist. Remember
we have not just a good bargain to
recommend. Salvation is free.
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye
to the waters, and he that hath no money;
come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine
and milk without money and without
price.”— Isaiah 55.1
Reefton Union Church
Larger ser vers require more power supply and cooling ability, issues currently being addressed by manufacturers.
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