Taxonomy term

science and society

Voices: Greening the Gross Domestic Product

When measured in terms of annual Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, the United States is the richest country in the world, followed at a distance by China and Japan, and then several European countries, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The GDP — the value of all final goods and services produced in a country during a given year — is a simple computation that allows a direct comparison of wealth between countries.

01 Apr 2010

Voices: Redefining humanity through energy use

What is it, exactly, that distinguishes us from other species? The definition of humankind has perplexed scientists, philosophers and theorists for centuries. DNA composition differentiates species in a technical sense, but that definition is hardly satisfying. Certainly there must be something more ethereal that separates us from “lower” forms of creatures. Over the centuries, several definitions have emerged — from using tools to speaking — but have then been proven insufficient in some heuristic way. So I propose another option: manipulating energy.

24 Mar 2010

Designing Snowflakes

It's easy to forget that powerful snowstorms are made of tiny, delicate ice crystals we call snowflakes. Some snowflakes take a familiar six-sided form. Others are more fantastic. Either way, snowflakes can astound with their intricate beauty.

05 Mar 2010

Chile quake/tsunami news coverage: The bad and the good

Blogging on EARTH

As you would expect, there's been tons of coverage of the earthquake off the coast of Chile and the resulting tsunami in the mainstream media. And some of it has been notoriously poor.

03 Mar 2010

Sea sprawl: Into the blue frontier of ocean development

Picture it: Dozens of kilometers off the coast of Texas, a giant polygon-shaped cage constructed of steel ribs and mesh netting floats 30 or so meters beneath the waves. The cage, moored to the seafloor, is filled with tens of thousands of teeming, silvery fish. Several kilometers away, offshore wind turbines sprout from the sea surface in a curving line, their spindly white arms churning the atmosphere.

01 Mar 2010

Termites and climate change: Here, there and everywhere?

Will climate change allow termite populations in North America to spread?

16 Feb 2010

What makes a disaster? Does this blizzard count?

Blogging on EARTH

Actually, this is a meta-blog: A blog about a blog.

Not had enough of the snow yet?

11 Feb 2010

Voices: Natural gas can lead the way

Much of the debate concerning energy, climate and the economy involves how to manage the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources. In this context, it may seem ironic to promote one fossil fuel over another, but natural gas is an inexpensive, abundant and relatively clean fuel that can lead the transition away from coal and oil, while achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants over the next two decades. In short, increased use of domestic sources of natural gas needs to be an essential component of U.S. energy policy.

01 Feb 2010

On Her Majesty's space agency

The United Kingdom is to have its own dedicated space agency, U.K. Minister for Science Lord Paul Drayson announced last month. Supporters of the U.K. space program hope the agency, which will coordinate all of Britain’s space activities, will not only bring more jobs and income but will also increase the profile of the space program.

19 Jan 2010

Extinction-era coal linked to Chinese cancer epidemic

At the close of the Permian, 252 million years ago, conditions on Earth took a turn for the worse, nearly wiping out life on land and at sea in the planet’s most severe extinction event. Now, eons later, geologists are implicating a coal seam that dates to the “Great Dying” at the Permian-Triassic boundary in one of the modern world’s worst cancer epidemics.

14 Jan 2010

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