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Observations

Meet the New Secretary of Energy Nominee: Ernie Moniz

ernest-moniz

Ernest J. Moniz, a nuclear physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who serves on Scientific American’s board of advisors, will be President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Nobel laureate Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy. While Moniz has yet to win a Nobel, he served on the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear [...]

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Observations

ARPA-E Summit Reveals U.S. Energy Future

bill-gates-and-steven-chu

The future of energy will be on display at the fourth annual summit of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, or ARPA–e. But which future? Energy innovators from start-ups, the national laboratories, universities and even oil companies will gather for three days to hear from the nation’s best about the future of energy.  The [...]

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Observations

Climate Change Action and More Drilling Likely in Obama’s Second Term

obamas-hug

President Barack Obama secured a second four-year term in yesterday’s vote. What is the likely outcome of that historic event on energy and environmental issues? Simply put: more of the same. Let me rephrase that slightly. Obama will likely stay the course on his current energy and environmental policies. That means more executive orders like [...]

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Observations

Nuclear Fission Confirmed as Source of More than Half of Earth’s Heat

lava

Nuclear fission powers the movement of Earth’s continents and crust, a consortium of physicists and other scientists is now reporting, confirming long-standing thinking on this topic. Using neutrino detectors in Japan and Italy—the Kamioka Liquid-Scintillator Antineutrino Detector (KamLAND) and the Borexino Detector—the scientists arrived at their conclusion by measuring the flow of the antithesis of [...]

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Observations

Why Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Cleaner Alternatives Will Require Fossil Fuels

The world is waiting for a clean revolution, a shift away from the greenhouse gas-emitting, mountain-leveling, air-polluting, fossil-fuel burning way of life. The world may have to wait a long time if past energy transitions are anything to go by, according to environmental scientist Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba—especially since fossil fuel energy [...]

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Observations

Stop Mining for Oil (and Coal), Start Drilling for Heat

The center of the Earth is a roiling ball of heat, roughly 6,000 degrees Celsius as near as we can tell without a sci-fi tunneling effort. The closest humanity has come to that molten core is some 12 kilometers beneath the continental crust in Russia, which isn’t even halfway through said crust and akin to [...]

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Observations

Where Will Our Energy Come from in 2030?

It may seem slightly ridiculous to consider the prospects for a future solar-hydrogen economy at an institute for theoretical physics in Waterloo, Canada. After all, Canada is the capital of unconventional oil, also known as oil sands, also known as tar sands, which supply more than a million barrels of oil per day to the [...]

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Observations

Can the U.S. build a clean, green economic machine?

Can cleaner sources of energy not only power our economy but also drive a recovery from the Great Recession? That’s the question confronted by policymakers across the U.S.—and by debaters in the Intelligence Squared series held March 8 at New York University. The list of political proponents of a clean, green energy economy is long, [...]

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