Daniel Nocera has given up on the American system for financing energy startups. It brings innovations to market too slowly, he said in Chicago this month, in part because the system is rigged to make professors wealthy.
The Harvard chemist who gave us the artificial leaf has genetically engineered bacteria to absorb hydrogen and carbon dioxide and convert them into fuel alcohol. Now he reports the process converts sunlight ten times more efficiently than plants do.
If you want to know the true price of renewable energy in America—free from subsidies and mandates—look to Mexico, which just held its first open auction for energy contracts, former Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday.
If she's elected president, Hillary Clinton intends to equip the White House with a situation room just for climate change, inspired by the Map Room where Franklin D. Roosevelt managed World War II, her campaign chairman, former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, said Friday.
Arrays of small vertical-axis wind turbines, optimized to take advantage of each other's turbulence, can outperform conventional wind farms, according to a Stanford University researcher—and they don't kill birds.
The U.S. almost repeated its "standard mistake" of regulating new sources of methane pollution without addressing existing sources, a leading policy expert said Thursday. But all that changed last month when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to Washington.
First the good news: most of the nation's natural gas leakage can be halted by plugging up a relatively small number of "super emitters," according to the Stanford researcher who first documented the government's underestimate of the methane problem.
A Self Made of Words by Carl H. Klaus Iowa, 2013 Recently a Buddhist acquaintance suggested I read Simone Weil because of her work on attention. She writes, for example, that “Absolute undivided attention is prayer,” which lends a Buddhist flavor to her Judeo-Christian theology. Attention can be aimed at anything, after all, not necessarily […]
Since Roger Ebert died I’ve been watching the tribute writers struggle to express his contribution. At The Atlantic, Christopher Orr rightly describes Ebert as a movie enthusiast, but here’s the analysis that follows: “The movies he loved, he truly loved. And the movies he hated, he truly hated.” That’s so truly true Orr can reuse it for […]
It wasn’t the great science fiction novels, “Fahrenheit 451” or “The Martian Chronicles,” that most reflected Ray Bradbury’s life, but a play he wrote—”Something Wicked This Way Comes”— “It’s a metaphor for all of life,” Bradbury said of his play, which you may know better as a 1983 movie starring Jonathan Pryce, Jason Robards and […]
[capti on id=”attachment_2694″ align=”alignright” width=”300″ caption=”By fox_kiyo via flickr”][/caption] When we published the summer issue of Contrary two days ago, we had less than $2 in the bank. We’ve been scraping by since the recession hit, but this marked the first time we had published an issue without knowing how we’d pay for it. Scary, […]
Lauren Berlant speaking on media sensationalism? I couldn’ t miss that. So I found my way to the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center to have a listen. Only to find out I’d overlooked the comma between media and sensationalism. Lauren Berlant is an English professor at the University of Chicago, but that title can’t contain […]
Juliana Baggott wrote a smart and calm defense of the Osama bin Laden death celebration for NPR last week. Americans should be free to release their fear, she contends: their cheering shows they are paying attention, are emotionally invested, and are participating in an act of unity. She didn’t convince me, but she helped me […]
For a lifetime Mary Oliver has gently secluded herself, walked the woods, sent bottles out on the tide bearing simple messages that reconnect humanity to a beauty beyond us. Now we know why. In an interview with Maria Shriver Mary Oliver reveals she was sexually abused when very young, that with eroded trust she withdrew […]
I left the daily life of journalism at the turn of the Century, just before the daily life of journalism collapsed. That left me feeling a bit like Charlie Chaplin, who sold all his stocks in 1928. Since then I’ve maintained journalism as a practice more cyclically, and less cynically, focusing more on reporting and […]
The genius of James Fallows’ new piece in The Atlantic is that he takes some of the best values of traditional journalism—skepticism, research, fairness, eagerness to question authority and topple conventional wisdom—and he applies them to traditional journalism. He disputes the tediously common view that old journalism is better than new. Unless they are different from […]
Last week when my friend David Alm published his lament of digital publishing in these pages, I happened to be writing an introduction for a visiting writer. I recognized in my draft a soft rebuttal to David’s post, but I decided it had to complete its original mission before I could post it. This introduction […]