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  • Twenty

    • percentage of all endangered and threatened species in the U.S. that are harmed by grazing • number of plant species that provide 90 percent of the world’s food supply • percent by which wind power production has grown per year since 1990 • percentage of Earth’s original forests that remain pristine and undisturbed • […]

  • The Latest News on the Ozone Layer

    Twenty-five years ago, there appeared two scientific papers that rocked the industrial world. One of them, by Richard Stolarski and Ralph Cicerone, said that if chlorine atoms ever got wafted up into the stratosphere, they could eat up the ozone layer. The second, by Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland (who got the Nobel Prize for […]

  • How Many Scientists Does It Take to Screw in a Message?

    Dr. Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist from Oregon State University, has been elected to many scientific honors, one of which was the presidency of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. For her presidential address at the AAAS annual meeting, she looked straight out at the huge assembly of scientists and delivered an unapologetic, […]

  • Whom Do We Blame, as We Watch Nature Dry Up?

    Early this summer, long before the word “drought” was mentioned in the media, our household of farmers was ready to strangle the weather forecasters. “A gorgeous sunny day coming up,” they warble. “Another beeyootiful weekend!” To us that means a day of blistering sun, a beeyootiful weekend of irrigating. “City folk!” we mutter, as the […]

  • Global warming in action in the Antarctic

    The scene is breathtaking, even mystical. Four searchlight beams arrow down from above me to a vanishing point over dark water. Sea fog sweeps in along the beams and occasionally an iceberg is illuminated. From the left, a small, pale full moon is just showing over the clouds. I am on the bridge of the […]

  • Urban Bright

    The Department of Energy wants to put solar panels on vacant, contaminated urban industrial sites, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson will announce today. The project will get underway in Chicago, where a solar panel manufacturer has agreed to set up shop on a 17-acre former dump site, and the city and local electric utility have agreed […]

  • Tom Turner reviews Transforming Electricity by Walt Patterson

    Walt Patterson is a physicist by training, an entertaining and lucid writer (he seldom misses a chance at wordplay -- note the title of this book), a fan of jazz and baseball and real ale, and an incisive popularizer of important but complicated matters. And yes, he's my friend. Remind me to tell you some day about several hours we spent years ago in the bookstores on and near Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, scouring dusty shelves for out-of-print popular books on atomic energy, The Atom Is Your Friend and such.

  • Amory Lovins Sees the Future and It Is Hydrogen

    For 25 years, energy guru Amory Lovins has been seeing farther and farther into the energy future. He has been labeled a dreamer, but by now he’s accumulated enough of a record to qualify as an oracle. At a recent meeting of the National Hydrogen Association, he (with colleague Brett Williams of Rocky Mountain Institute) […]