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Anecdotes from the Archive

Lawrence in Arabia: from Archaeologist to Spy, 1914

Hittite soldiers from the 9th century B.C., on a freize excavated at Carchemish (Karkemish) a site that is now on the border between Turkey and Syria. Among the archaeologists working at the site in 1914 was T. E. Lawrence, known later in life as “Lawrence of Arabia.”

Reported in Scientific American, This Week in World War I: December 12, 1914 Here’s a short, cryptic note from our December 12, 1914, issue, about scientific work being carried out in the Middle East: “Survey of Southern Palestine.—A considerable amount of surveying and exploration has recently been done along the southern frontier of Palestine under [...]

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Anecdotes from the Archive

Battleships and Diplomacy, 1914

SMS Goeben, a German battle-cruiser transferred in 1914 to the navy of the Ottoman Empire under diplomatically dubious circumstances and renamed the Yavûz Sultân Selîm. The ship here flies the Ottoman flag.

Reported in Scientific American, This Week in World War I: December 5, 1914 Two ships from the German navy had an outsize part in the history of the First World War: the Goeben and Breslau. Our coverage in the December 5, 1914, issue gives a description of them—size and guns and whatnot—and hints at their [...]

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Anecdotes from the Archive

First Sea Battle of World War I

HMS Laurel

Reported in Scientific American this Week in World War I: September 12, 1914 The Battle of Heligoland Bight took place in the North Sea on August 28, 1914. Reports of the fight took a couple of weeks to make it into print. The battle was a convincing victory by the British Royal Navy against the [...]

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Anecdotes from the Archive

This Week in World War I: September 5, 1914

The original caption from 1914 says “Foraging squad returning to camp with a drove of steers,” and shows French soldiers gathering supplies for their brigade. The image seems authentic but is very likely a photograph taken “somewhere in France” far from the front lines. Credit: Scientific American, September 5, 1914

Censored: How the Army Eats In this issue, a telling line reads: “The censors have not allowed the press of the world to state whether or not explosives were dropped on the fortifications of Liège.” This special “War Issue” contained much on military theory, organization and resources, but apart from a scattering of images little [...]

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Anecdotes from the Archive

This Week in World War I: August 22, 1914

A week’s rations for the German army, or as near as could be calculated by the editors of Scientific American in 1914. Credit: Scientific American, August 22, 1914

The Vast Scale of War When the Great War broke out the scale of it was unprecedented. Citizens, soldiers and governments alike tried to grasp the sheer immense numbers of combatants and materièl involved. One article that we published shortly after the war started presented an “infographic”: the volume of the amount of food eaten [...]

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Food Matters

Of Course GMOs Are Not Harmful, But Maybe . . .

800px-Feld_mit_reifer_Baumwolle

History laughs at the losing teams whose scientific theories crumble under the weight of evidence. The Sun orbits the Earth. Continents stand still. Surgeons can’t spread germs between patients. Food and crops grown from genetically modified or engineered seeds do not, in any way, harm human or ecosystem health. Or do they, in some, tiny, [...]

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Observations

Motor Chills EV Drivers’ Anxiety about Going the Distance

Lead developer Satheesh Kumar hold components of his team's 2-in-1 electric motor. Image courtesy of Nanyang Technological University.

An air-conditioned cabin is the best way to drop a car’s fuel efficiency on a hot day. This is true of electric vehicles (EV) as much as it is for gas-guzzlers. Researchers in Singapore, who know something about hot-weather driving, say they’ve found a way to help an EV to run up to 20 percent [...]

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Observations

Best Countries in Science: SA‘s Global Science Scorecard

“Global society operates as a network of creativity and innovation.”–John Sexton, writing in Scientific American. In the October 2012 issue, we publish our Global Science Scorecard, a ranking of nations on how well they do science—not only on the quality and quantity of basic research but also on their ability to project that research into [...]

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Plugged In

Energy Transition: Two Energy Lessons for Germany from the United States

SmartMeterInstallSmall

As I introduced in my last post, I recently traveled to Germany as a member of a transatlantic delegation of young American energy professionals and academics working in the areas of smart grids and energy storage. The purpose of the visit was to share ideas with our German counterparts and build lasting relationships that will [...]

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Plugged In

Energiewende: Two Energy Lessons for the United States from Germany

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Last month, I had the distinct pleasure of traveling to Germany as a member of the German-American Chamber of Commerce Transatlantic Program for Young Technology Leaders delegation. The program brought together young professionals and academics from across the U.S. to meet with German energy professionals and discuss our mutual energy challenges and opportunities in the [...]

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Plugged In

Data show that Germany’s grid is one of the world’s most reliable

Gimme Power

As the share of renewables in Germany’s electricity mix approaches 30%, the country’s power grid appears to be going strong. According to data released Friday by the Bundesnetzagentur (Germany’s grid regulator), the country’s power grid remained one of the world’s most reliable in 2013. In fact, total unplanned outage time was down from 21.53 minutes in 2006 to 15.32 [...]

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Plugged In

German, U.S. Home Energy Storage Incentives Offer Divergent Visions for the Smart Grid

Germany’s solar feed-in tariff not only incentivizes a homeowner to install solar panels, but also to store solar energy for later use in the home. (Photo credit: Flickr user thetimchannel)

Previously, I’ve written about the potential for a future smart grid, where homes with solar panels and batteries intelligently interconnect to form a cleaner, more-robust distributed power system. While we’re still far from a full-fledged smart grid, recent years have seen wider deployment of distributed energy storage. Today, Germany already boasts over 7,000 home solar [...]

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Plugged In

Will Germany really phase out nuclear by 2021?

800px-Nuclear_plant_at_Grafenrheinfeld

Germany’s electricity mix is rapidly changing, with renewables on the way in and nuclear (potentially) heading out. But, given nationwide concerns regarding energy affordability and fairness, the future remains unclear. Today, approximtley 15% of Germany’s electricity comes from nuclear power. But, under the country’s national energy transition plan (Energiewende), nuclear power will be phased out [...]

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Plugged In

Photo Friday: Energy on the horizon, a foggy German morning

photofriday_foggymorning

This photo shows the town of Emmerich, Germany at sunrise. Taken by Denmark’s Dave Heuts in 2009, this landscape shows not only the morning fog, but also a peak at Germany’s energy infrastructure. Photo Credit: Photo by Dave Heuts and found via Creative Commons.

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Symbiartic

The Three Little Pigs Never Thought of This Building Material

13-018FEATURE

Bricks, sticks, and hay are decidedly pedestrian building materials in comparison to a new building that just opened to the public last Thursday in Hamburg, Germany. Ambitious architects have built an apartment covered in a thin layer of living, breathing algae. The building, known as BIQ (for Bio Intelligent Quotient), meets the extremely stringent passive-house [...]

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