Afternoon Coffee: IBM Heads to Singapore, A+ For Intel’s Clean Mineral Efforts, Tiny Foldable Car!

Analytics, meet supply chain.
EDB, IBM launch analytics-based supply chain centre -- The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has partnered IBM to launch a new centre dedicated to developing analytics-based technologies in order to help organisations improve their supply chains. Unveiled on Thursday, the IBM Supply Chain Analytics Centre of Competency (CoC) in Singapore will work to help enhance the region's supply chain expertise and develop global software and hardware supply chain solutions based on business analytics technologies. The centre will focus on developing analytics and cloud computing technologies for the Asia Pacific region and around the world. IBM scientists from the company's three centres will collaborate with Singapore research and educational institutes on technical exchanges, joint research and commercialisation projects.

"Companies have been responding to U.S. legislation demanding clean supply chains and to increasing consumer activism."
Enough praises Intel for clean mineral efforts -- Enough Project praises Intel, Motorola Solutions, HP and Apple as "pioneers of progress" in efforts to eliminate from their supply chain minerals spurring conflict in Congo, while Nintendo gets no points for making "no known effort." A new report ranking companies on conflict minerals says leading tech companies have proven it is possible to invest in cleanly sourced minerals from Congo that benefit local communities instead of armed groups.

Amazing or ridiculous??
MIT's Tiny Foldable Electric Car Will Retail For $16,000 -- Researchers from MIT's Changing Places group and DENOKINN have developed a convenient and eco-friendly car to commute around the city. The Hiriko Fold is an ultra-compact vehicle that can fold upright to fit into tight parking spaces. We first wrote about Hiriko Fold earlier this year, and now it's been confirmed that the electric car is expected go on sale in 2013 for around $16,000. The car is able to carry two passengers and is capable of traveling up to 75 miles between charges. The vehicle would also be equipped with zero-turn radius wheels that allow it to move sideways, making parallel parking a less frustrating maneuver. Some of the Hiriko Fold models are on trial in European cities for testing, and the group believes that the compact car would be popular in cities like Berlin, San Francisco, and Barcelona.

The fate of the Exxon Valdez.
Exxon Valdez laid to rest -- And in 2011, by now known as the Oriental Nicety, she was sold for $16 million to an Indian demolition company, Priya Blue Industries. The same company had attracted bad press in 2006 for breaking down a ship called the Blue Lady, despite knowing that she contained asbestos. Activists claimed that the Oriental Nicety, too, was contaminated with asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls, a persistent organic pollutant. The Indian Supreme Court forbade docking of the ship and imposed an environmental audit. So the Oriental Nicety sat on death row for two months, costing her owner $10 million as the value of its steel declined and the company continued to pay its crew. Last month, the court ruled in favour of Priya Blue: there was no toxic waste on the ship. The Oriental Nicetyis welcome to beach at Alang, the world's largest ship-breaking yard, where she will be dismantled for scrap. But as with so many things in the story of the Exxon Valdez, the end will be drawn out. It will take 500 workers four months to dismember her carcass.

- Sheena Moore

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