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IBM pitches ‘smart’ cities as planet savers

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IBM is helping cities worldwide get “smarter” about using resources in ways that are good for the Earth as well as local budgets.

IBM announced that the coastal Texas town of Corpus Christi has joined cities such as London, Sydney, Stockholm, and Amsterdam in using Internet Age tools to better manage water, trash, parks and more.

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“Look at the way the planet is evolving in terms of demographics and environmental considerations,” said Guruduth Banavar, chief technology officer of global public sector efforts at IBM.

“It is pretty easy to see that we need to do some things dramatically differently.”

Urbanization and climbing population are putting stress on the environment, and problems are exacerbated by inefficient uses of energy, water and land.

Technology can glean information about pipes, streets, parks, traffic and other once “dumb” parts of cities to effectively target solutions and, in some cases, fix things before they break, according to Banavar.

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“There is a lot of information available to us through technology that is not being put to use very well,” he said.

New York State based IBM and rivals such as Siemens in Germany and Cisco in California are providing systems that collect, share, analyze and act on data from historically “dumb” things in communities.

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Banavar used the example of Corpus Christi, which went from tracking city work crews and projects on paper and index cards to getting real-time feedback and analytics regarding roads, buildings and more electronically.

“Now, they have information to say why problems occur, where they are and what can be done to prevent them,” Banavar said. “At the end of the day, it is all about managing information to improve operations.”

IBM software is being used in Corpus Christi to manage wastewater treatment plants, reservoirs, approximately 1,250 miles (2,012 kilometers) of wastewater mains and a water treatment plant that can hold 170 million gallons (643,520 cubic meters).

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The system is relied on to provide water to the city’s more than 280,000 residents.

Tracking of water pipe repairs revealed that nearly a third of the problems were at 1.4 percent of the sites served. Plans were put in place to fix underlying problems and cut ongoing repair costs.

Data analysis also showed that small pipes accounted for a disproportionate number of water main breaks, prompting a switch to larger pipes to avoid future troubles.

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Skills of repair crew members are automatically factored into scheduling jobs.

“You can improve efficiencies maybe two-fold,” Banavar said. “When problems persist, you can dig deeper to find out underlying causes and apply predictive maintenance.”

Corpus Christi is going to use sensors in its trash collection program to improve recycling and handling of waste.

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“We want to use information to make the planet a better place,” Banavar said. “We can start solving these problems on the city level, then start connecting cities and scale out across the whole planet.”

Cities can have a more selfish motivation in that better using resources means doing more with tight budgets.

“Corpus Christi is evolving into a more sustainable city,” said city administrative superintendent Steve Klepper.

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“We have the real-time status of city services, automated work orders and an overview of city’s infrastructure to better manage our resources, as well as better maintain the city’s mission-critical assets.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Humanitarian volunteer says he won’t be deterred after facing charges in Arizona for helping migrants

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We broadcast live from Tucson, Arizona, where the government recently put humanitarian activist Scott Warren on trial amid the ongoing policing of the U.S.-Mexico border, separation of families, and cruel and inhumane conditions at immigrant jails across the country. Warren, a longtime volunteer with the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths, was charged with three felony counts for his alleged crime of providing food, water and shelter to migrants in Ajo, Arizona. The immigrants had arrived at the doorstep of a humanitarian shelter after a perilous journey across the Sonoran Desert. At the same time, he and other volunteers also faced separate misdemeanor charges for leaving water jugs and food for migrants on a national wildlife refuge in the remote desert. The trial took eight days, and after hours of deliberation, the jury returned without a verdict. Eight found Scott Warren not guilty; the remaining four said he was. The government will now retry Warren in November. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. As he awaits his next trial, Scott Warren met us in the remote town of Ajo, Arizona, this weekend for his first trip in a year to leave water and food for migrants in the desert.

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Trump tweets out bonkers conspiracy theory that Google ‘manipulated’ up to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton

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President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted out a bonkers conspiracy theory claiming that Google "manipulated" up to 16 million votes on behalf of former Democratic rival during the 2016 presidential election.

"Wow, Report Just Out!" the president wrote. "Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!"

Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch

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Trump’s economic adviser doesn’t see a recession coming — but he said the same thing in 2008

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President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser insists there are no signs of a recession on the horizon -- but he's been staggeringly wrong before.

Larry Kudlow went on NBC's "Meet the Press" over the weekend to assure viewers that no economic downturn was coming, but the Washington Post's Aaron Blake pointed out that his track record for predictions was pitiful.

“Well, I’ll tell you what: I sure don’t see a recession,” Kudlow told host Chuck Todd. “So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”

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