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Emerging Technology : In The News

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Georgia biofuel company moving to King of Prussia, hiring 150 in three years

Renmatix, a company that creates biofuel from sugar, is setting up shop in King of Prussia, according to BusinessWeek.

Gov. Tom Corbett traveled to suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday to welcome a biomass energy company that plans to move its headquarters from Georgia and create 150 jobs over the next three years as it tries to develop ways to turn products such as wood and waste into fuel.

Venture capitalist John Doerr moderated a discussion of alternative energy inside the warehouse building that Renmatix -- which has another facility in Kennesaw, Ga. -- will be calling home.

The company is developing ways to access the fermentable sugars that are the foundation of biofuels. The effort, along with other alternative energy efforts, are all part of helping the country become less dependent on foreign oil, Doerr said.


Source: BusinessWeek
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PMN news tablets "performing well within expectations"

Consumers initially seem to be taking to Philadelphia Media Network's $99 bundled tablet and digital subscription offer , according to News & Tech.

Just weeks after Philadelphia Media Network put its faith in an Android tablet device to help it flex its digital marketing muscle, the publisher said the initiative is gaining traction.

"It's performing well within our expectations," Yoni Greenbaum, PMN's vice president and general manager, digital, told News & Tech.


Source: News & Tech
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Why OpenDataPhilly's different approach works

Philadelphia's approach to making government data public differs from other efforts around the country, and it's paying off, according to GovFresh.

Several months ago, with the unveiling of the OpenDataPhilly website, the City of Philadelphia joined the growing fraternity of cities across the country and around the world to release municipal data sets in open, developer friendly formats. But the City of Brotherly Love did things a bit differently than most of its contemporaries.

The city actively partnered with outside parties, private firms, not-for-profits and universities to help set the direction of the city’s open data efforts. The OpenDataPhilly website itself, although it’s brimming with data collected and maintained by the city, was developed by the geospatial and civic application firm Azavea, and is not hosted or operated by the city.  The website, and the larger open data effort in Philadelphia, operates under the stewardship of a group made up of both public sector and private sector partners.


Source: GovFresh
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UPenn research successfully 'trains' immune system to defeat cancer

New findings at The University of Pennsylvania may signify a turning point in the long struggle to develop effective gene therapies against cancer, according to The New York Times.

A year ago, when chemotherapy stopped working against his leukemia, William Ludwig signed up to be the first patient treated in a bold experiment at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ludwig, then 65, a retired corrections officer from Bridgeton, N.J., felt his life draining away and thought he had nothing to lose.

Doctors removed a billion of his T-cells -- a type of white blood cell that fights viruses and tumors -- and gave them new genes that would program the cells to attack his cancer. Then the altered cells were dripped back into Mr. Ludwig’s veins.

Source: The New York Times
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Used appliances from all over come to Philly for recycling

A Philadelphia facility's 40-foot high UNTHA Recycling System can process up to 150,000 used refrigerators a year, reports Gizmodo.

Back in the day, your old refrigerator wasn't thrown away after a new one was purchased. It was refurbished and resold, again and again, until the doors fell off (then it was sold again). Now? Now they get shredded.

As of late, most refrigerators are no longer repaired after their first service run and are simply destroyed—releasing massive amounts of CFCs from the insulating foam—and the other 55 pounds or so of their remains dumped into a landfill. Now, GE and Home Depot are teaming with the EPA and the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA) to lead the charge to recycle these appliances in the greenest way available—by feeding them to this fridge-shredding behemoth.


Source: Gizmodo
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SAP still sitting on top of the enterprise software world

Despite challenges in court and changes in management, enterprise software giant SAP remains at the top of its game, according to The Globe and Mail.

It’s been a tumultuous two years for German technology giant SAP AG. Its CEO was dismissed in the face of poor numbers, and two new co-CEOS were appointed. It was ordered to pay $1.3-billion (U.S.) in penalties after an SAP unit stole trade secrets from rival Oracle Inc. But now things are breaking SAP’s way. A U.S. judge last week rejected the damages as ‘grossly excessive’ and recommended Oracle get $272-million – or seek a fresh trial. And 39-year old SAP – with annual revenue more than €12-billion ($16.8-billion) – is still on top of the enterprise-software world. At the centre of the whirlwind is co-CEO Bill McDermott, a rangy hoops-shooting U.S. marketer who operates out of suburban Philadelphia. He was interviewed the day before the judge’s decision.

Source: The Globe and Mail (Canada)
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A closer look at DreamIt Ventures' current startup class

TechCrunch takes a closer look at startup accelerator DreamIt Ventures' current crop of companies.

The current class includes students and alumni from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Duke, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Columbia and MIT. Startup founders have past work experience at Google, Yahoo, Intel, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.

Five of the companies were selected together by DreamIt and Comcast Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corporation, as part of its Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (MEAP). This program provides an extra $350,000 on top of the funding DreamIt offers for minority-led startups. The current group includes owners who are African-American, Asian, Hispanic and Indian.


Original source: TechCrunch
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Sustainability-minded Simon Hauger's next class opens at Navy Yard

Newsweek's The Daily Beast writes about Simon Hauger, the teacher who brought together West Philly students to win a hybrid electric car competition and recently started a new sustainability workshop at the Navy Yard.

The boutique school follows the “project-based learning” model made popular by San Diego’s High Tech High and others around the country, where conventional classes are replaced with long, interdisciplinary exercises to solve real-world problems, like designing a solar charging station or writing energy-efficiency legislation. More engaged students, the thinking goes, learn deeply and retain knowledge longer. And the teens can supplement their project learning with classes at nearby Drexel University.

Original source: The Daily Beast
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KOP Sharepoint providers NextDocs raises $10.3M

King of Prussia based NextDocs raises $10.3 million to provide Microsoft SharePoint to life sciences, according to TechCrunch.

NextDocs, a company that sells Microsoft SharePoint based software for the life sciences industry, has raised $10.3 million in a Series A financing from OpenView Venture Partners.

NextDocs helps life sciences companies of leverage SharePoint-based document and management software.The company actually customizes SharePoint for companies in the pharmaceuticals, medical device and biotech industries. NextDocs actually has over 100 customers across the life sciences industry (including five of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies in the U.S.).


Source: TechCrunch
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Narrowing the digital divide in Philadelphia

Voice of America reports on Philadelphia plans to open 48 computer centers in homeless shelters, recreation centers and libraries in order to give more people access to the Internet.

The United Nations recently declared Internet access to be a human right. But in the United States, as in many other countries, millions of people do not have access to the wealth of information found online. In Philadelphia, communities are responding to narrow the digital divide.

Source: Voice of America
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Philly ranks fifth among U.S. cities on Inc. 500 list

With 18 companies, the Philadelphia metro area ranked fifth on the recently released Inc. 500 list of America's fastest growing companies. The Philadelphia region placed nearly 150 companies among Inc.'s 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Flying Kite parent company Issue Media Group made the list for the second consecutive year, rating as the 25th-fastest growing media company in the country.

Here's Greater Philadelphia's fastest in the top 500 (percent growth, revenue in parentheses):

24 - re2g (7,493%, $10.6 million) PA
48 - Leadnomics (3,932%, $5.8 million) PA
67 - NextDocs (3,213%, $9.8 million) PA
123 - Petplan (2,207%, $18.7 million) PA
150 - Optimal Strategix Group (1,878%, $6.5 million) PA
151 - Free For All (1,871%, $2.5 million) NJ
182 - Magic Hat Consulting (1,669%, $3.4 million) PA
214 - Aromatic Fusion (1,455%, $5.3 million) PA
238 - Decision Distribution (1,335%, $34.5 million) PA
272 - Ohana Companies (1,187%, $8.4 million) DE


Original source: Inc. 500
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Bucks County Community College converts cars to electric

The Community College Times writes about how the Green Jobs Academy at Bucks County Community College teaches students to convert gas cars to electric.

Imagine a car that can run for 44 miles on $1.20 worth of electricity.

That recently happened at the Green Jobs Academy at Bucks County Community College (Pennsylvania) when 10 participants converted a 1990 Mazda Miata into a fully electric battery-powered car.

Source: Community College Times
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Rutgers Law librarian recognized for technology efforts

Rutgers School of Law-Camden librarian and Philadelphia resident John Jorgensen has been honored for moving legal research into the digital age, according to Fastcase.

John Joergensen is a proponent of the free digital law movement. John, a Reference Librarian at Rutgers School of Law, is working to digitize and make law available online. As the publisher of the New Jersey Courtweb Project, John is publishing online the decisions of the New Jersey state appellate courts, tax court, administrative law decisions, U.S. District Court of the District of N.J. decisions, and the N.J. Supreme Court's Ethics opinions.

Source: Fastcase
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Meet Philly's first Chief Innovation Officer

Former New Jersey state CTO Adel Ebeid moves into the newly created post of Chief Innovation Officer of the City of Philadelphia, according to Technically Philly.

Described as "the perfect immigrant story" by the city's Managing Director Rich Negrin, Ebeid, who was born in Egypt but raised in Jersey City after losing as a teenager his father to cancer, rose through the ranks of New Jersey state government to become among the only cabinet level leaders that fiery Governor Chris Christie kept on. Now, after 'flatly' turning down the offer, the soft spoken and succinct Ebeid is preparing to move his wife and new daughter to a city he admits he doesn't know well to help inject innovation into the City of Philadelphia.

Source: Technically Philly
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Bill Green on Open Government in Philadelphia

City Councilman Bill Green writes in Government in the Lab about bringing Philadelphia government into the digital age.

Open Government Philadelphia both as a philosophical approach to how government should work and as a series of concrete actions is aligned with the City's current needs, its upcoming challenges, and, importantly, its available resources. The city is poised to spend $120 million on technology upgrades over the next six years. For this investment to yield the return we hope for and desperately need i.e., innovation that increases city government's effectiveness, while reducing its size and cost we must proceed with purpose, foresight, and a bold vision. Open Government is designed to catalyze this dynamic change.

Original source: Government In the Lab
Read the full story here.


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