Manteo, N.C., residents navigate streets that were flooded by Hurricane Irene in August. Rising tides are likely to mean more frequent coastal flooding.
About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research.
If the pace of the rise accelerates as much as expected, researchers found, coastal flooding at levels that were once exceedingly rare could become an every-few-years occurrence by the middle of this century.
By far the most vulnerable state is Florida, the new analysis found, with roughly half of the nation’s at-risk population living near the coast on the porous, low-lying limestone shelf that constitutes much of that state. But Louisiana, California, New York and New Jersey are also particularly vulnerable, researchers found, and virtually the entire American coastline is at some degree of risk.
“Sea level rise is like an invisible tsunami, building force while we do almost nothing,” said Benjamin H. Strauss, an author, with other scientists, of two new papers outlining the research. “We have a closing window of time to prevent the worst by preparing for higher seas.”
The project on sea level rise led by Dr. Strauss for the nonprofit organization Climate Central appears to be the most elaborate effort in decades to estimate the proportion of the national population at risk from the rising sea. The papers are scheduled for publication on Wednesday by the journal Environmental Research Letters. The work is based on the 2010 census and on improved estimates, compiled by federal agencies, of the land elevation near coastlines and of tidal levels throughout the country.
Climate Central, of Princeton, N.J., was started in 2008 with foundation money to conduct original climate research and also to inform the public about the work of other scientists. For the sea level project, financed entirely by foundations, the group is using the Internet to publish an extensive package of material that goes beyond the scientific papers, specifying risks by community. People can search by ZIP code to get some idea of their own exposure.
While some coastal governments have previously assessed their risk, most have not, and national-level analyses have also been rare. The new package of material may therefore give some communities and some citizens their first solid sense of the threat.
Dr. Strauss said he hoped this would spur fresh efforts to prepare for the ocean’s rise, and help make the public more aware of the risks society is running by pumping greenhouse gases into the air. Scientists say those gases are causing the planet to warm and its land ice to melt into the sea. The sea itself is absorbing most of the extra heat, which causes the water to expand and thus contributes to the rise.
The ocean has been rising slowly and relentlessly since the late 19th century, one of the hallmark indicators that the climate of the earth is changing. The average global rise has been about eight inches since 1880, but the local rise has been higher in some places where the land is also sinking, as in Louisiana and the Chesapeake Bay region. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE
After Dave Brubeck signed with Columbia Records in the mid-1950s, his quartet made a few albums a year, and now that material has been collected in a 19-disc box set called The Dave Brubeck Quartet: The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection. Besides familiar titles like Time Out and Dave Digs Disney, it includes some all but forgotten albums, such as Gone with the Wind and Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A., which have now become available separately as download-only items.
By 1959, the quartet was short of material to record, having exhausted its live repertoire. The album Time Out — with its tunes, like “Take Five,” in odd meters — would point them in a new direction, but it took that stuff a couple of years to catch on. The album Brubeck made just beforeTime Out, called Gone with the Wind, consisted mostly of moldy old tunes, many in the public domain, that the band hadn’t played before. It could have been a throwaway, with trifles like “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” where Brubeck could get heavy handed. But sometimes his playing is surprising restrained. For me that’s Brubeck at his best. LISTEN……
Towers carry electrical lines in San Francisco. The electricity grid is a web of power stations, transformers and transmission lines that span the continent.
March 12, 2012
The National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C., once asked its members to pick the greatest engineering achievement ever.
Their choice? The electrification of the country through what’s known as “the grid.”
Ernest Moniz, director of the Energy Institute at MIT, says they were right on the money.
“That reflects what an amazing machine this is, spread out geographically, always having to balance demand and supply because electricity is not stored,” he says.
Every day, with the flick of a switch, millions of Americans tap into the electricity grid. It’s a web of power stations, transformers and transmission lines that span the continent, distributing electricity like veins and arteries distribute blood.
Electricity has to keep flowing all the time. Grid operators constantly match what power plants are producing with what people and their TVs, microwaves and air conditioners need. It’s the world’s biggest balancing act.
Predicting The Unpredictable
That’s doable largely because big power plants run almost constantly and produce a predictable amount of electricity.
So what happens when you add in unpredictable sources of electricity, like wind or solar power?
“The operator does not have control of when to turn it on and off,” Moniz says. “It’s a new challenge that we just have to meet, and we’re not doing it at anything like the pace that I think we need.”
That’s the conclusion of a study that Moniz’s group at MIT is issuing Monday. It’s all about how the grid must change to handle the fickle flow of electrons from renewable energy. READ MORE OR LISTEN TO THE STORY….
Related NPR Stories
A number of developments in oil shale production on the Western Slope have some thinking the industry could be close to ramping up.
For about a century, entrepreneurs have tried to squeeze oil from rock on Colorado’s Western Slope. It’s often said that there’s enough oil shale out there to dwarf Saudi Arabia’s reserves. But no one’s ever been able to make any real money extracting it. That COULD be changing. Shell recently announced that it was able to produce a small amount of liquid oil. Joining us to discuss that, and other oil shale developments, is Jason Hanson. He’s a researcher at the Center of the American West at CU-Boulder. He’s also co-author of the website “What Every Westerner Should Know About Oil Shale.” LISTEN TO THE STORY
Workers burned during an explosion at an Apple supplier factory in Shanghai are seen at a hospital where they are receiving continued treatment for their injuries. According to the factory, 24 workers were burned in the explosion.
Apple’s iPad3 goes on sale this Friday, the latest version of a wildly popular product from an iconic company. In the past couple of months, though, Apple has come under criticism for working conditions in Chinese factories that help build iPads.
A New York Times investigation focused on an explosion at an Apple supplier factory last May. In December, another explosion struck a different Apple supplier factory in Shanghai.
Last week, NPR met with 25 workers injured in the Shanghai blast and they criticized safety at the plant and said Apple had inspected it just hours before the explosion.
He Wenwen says he was calibrating his machine, which polished aluminum backings for the iPad2, when the explosion hit.
Worker He Wenwen’s face was disfigured by a fireball during the December explosion at a plant that produced aluminum backings for Apple’s iPad2.
Fifty-nine workers were injured in the explosion, according to Apple.
The fireball singed He’s face, leaving the upper half badly burned. More than two months later, the 24-year-old still looks like he’s wearing a bright, red mask. He worries his disfigurement will make it harder to find a wife.
“For a young man like me, still single . . . this injury has a real impact,” he says. “I often quarrel with my girlfriend about it.”
Apple blamed the explosion on a build-up of dust, fueled by aluminum particles from the polishing process. Pegatron, the factory’s owner, said the explosion started in equipment that collects the particles.
Dust explosions are not uncommon — even in the United States.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says an average of 15 dust explosions a year occurred from 1980 through 2010. Bob Zalosh, who has studied dust explosions since 1975, says the most common material involved is wood, followed by coal, aluminum and grain.
Zalosh, who has a doctorate in mechanical engineering, says a spark can ignite a dust cloud, inside equipment or floating in the air.
“If it’s really fine, aluminum we know that’s capable of creating quite a nasty explosion or fireball, because it has a very high flame temperature,” Zalosh says.
He Wenwen, the worker in the Shanghai iPad plant, says each polishing machine had an exhaust pipe, but dust was still a constant problem at the factory.
“We wore face masks, very thick masks,” He says. “But when we took them off, our nostrils were full of dust. The air in the factory looked a bit like fog.” READ MORE OR LISTEN—
Violinist Heliodoro Copado (left) of the trio Los Camperos de Valles is considered among the best musicians of the son huesteco style.
More than 40 years ago, four friends — three scientists and one musician — went to the Huasteca region in Northeastern Mexico in search of music they wanted to record for their own enjoyment. Now, some of their work has been released on a two-CD compilation titled El Gusto.
The four friends found a wealth of music in Ciudad Valles, in the state of San Luis Potosi. One member of the group, Eduardo Llerenas, even chose to dedicate his life to recording the music of the area, giving up a career in biochemistry.
“It was because I just couldn’t afford the time to do both things,” Llerenas says. “Being a scientist and a researcher, you need 24 hours a day, and to do this work with the music, I think you need the same sort of time. So it was impossible to continue in that way. So, back in 1986, I stopped [and] I moved into the music field.”
Llerenas used the observational skills he honed as a scientist to try to understand the community.
“We have developed an ear, like the local people, in order to be good judges of this, because we don’t normally record whatever we listen to,” he says. “You have to adapt your ear to the local ear and in that way you could actually make judgments and do recordings of what we think are the very best musicians.”
Son huasteco, as the musical style came to be called, is also commonly known in Mexico as huapango. It’s played by a trio of musicians: one playing a small, five-string rhythm guitar called a jarana huasteca, one on an eight-string bass guitar called a quinta huapanguera and another playing a violin. The two guitarists sing coplas, or short poetry stanzas, alternating verses between them.
Peter Shelton second from right, enjoying lunch with old friends in Rio Blanco Chile……………………
We interrupt this Catalina Island coming-of-age trilogy to comment on the recent spate of avalanche deaths.
I wrote the news story this week about 18-year-old Norwood student Garrett Carothers, and it broke my heart. “Dear, sweet Garrett,” read the caption on a Facebook photo.
By all accounts Carothers and his snowmobiling friends and family were not behaving badly on Saturday when the last in line of their little motorized train was snuffed by an avalanche that released above them. They weren’t high-marking some wind-loaded, primed-to-slide alpine bowl. They were struggling in deep snow on a summer road and had decided to turn around. Too late, as it turned out. Innocents abroad.
Other accidents recently in the news revealed evidence of hubris. In November, there was famous skier, cliff jumper Jamie Pierre, ignoring all the classic signs of instability, including natural and triggered releases everywhere around him, to attempt a narrow, thinly covered chute at Snowbird before the ski area was open. The moving snow didn’t kill him, the rocks he bashed over did. He was beloved, too.
On Stevens Pass in Washington, a giant, unwieldy group of “experts and industry insiders,” 13 of them, decided to ski off the backside of the ski area immediately following a two-day, 26-inch storm that came with strong winds. They claimed they were using proper protocol – skiing one at a time, stopping in safe zones – but somehow five of them got caught by a monster slide. Three were buried and killed.
Then, there was Telluride’s own Nate Soules tragedy, though I don’t use that word. Soules chose to snowboard into Bear Creek, alone, on the first real powder day in a long time, with two inches of water and all of that attendant weight added to an especially rotten San Juans snowpack. He knew what he was doing. But he was blinded by what long-time avalanche forecaster Jerry Roberts calls powder shock. You’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but I was mad at him then, and I’m still mad. As a father and grandfather. Yes, as many have said, he died doing what he loved. But he also loved his wife and young son. What was he thinking?
I haven’t skied the backcountry for a few years now, after devoting the better part of the last 40 years to it. The reasons are complex and include two hip-replacement surgeries and the digging out, just before the first hip, of a friend who barely survived an avalanche on Red Mountain Pass. That friend was one of the most knowledgable and conservative wild-snow skiers I have known. His triggering a big slide, and getting tumbled and crushed blue by the weight of the snow on top of him seemed to prove the adage: that if you are out there enough, you will eventually get caught.
Carolina Chocolate Drops’ new album is Leaving Eden.March 10, 2012
Carolina Chocolate Drops breathed new life into old-time music with the 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig, which put a contemporary spin on Southern string tools from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That collection went on to win a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.
“I really didn’t hear old-time music until I got into the contra dance community,” says Rhiannon Giddens, singer and founding member of Carolina Chocolate Drops. “I just fell in love with the banjos, played claw-hammer style. I’d never really heard a whole lot of that, and that was it. I was completely hooked.”
Giddens was trained in opera at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music — an unlikely start for her current career, but one she says has come in handy.
“The breathing that you’ll learn, being able to sing through colds, being able to hold notes, that really does come from training,” she says. “I’m really happy about that.”
Here, Giddens and fellow band member Dom Flemons speak with NPR’s Scott Simon about the group’s new album, Leaving Eden.
RIDGWAY – The George Gardner Experiential Education Scholarship Fund is a Ridgway organization with a big name and an even bigger heart.
Founded in 2008 following Gardner’s death in a climbing accident on the Grand Teton, the GGEESF has supported the Ridgway School Learn-to-Ski Program and the Ridgway High School Senior Outward Bound River trip. Now it is expanding its umbrella to offer scholarships to Ouray County kids who are motivated and want to further their learning outside of traditional educational settings. With Gardner, that always meant the out-of-doors.
Programs that will be supported by the new GGEESF scholarships include Outward Bound, the National Outdoor Leadership School, accredited snow and avalanche courses, and guide training programs, among others. Scholarships are open to county teens age 15-18. (In future, said GGEESF board member Deb Willits, the fund hopes to be able to offer scholarships in Ouray, San Miguel, and Montrose counties.) Priority will be given to those with financial need. Applications are available at both high schools, from Counselor Rick Williams or from Ouray School Dean of Students Di Rushing.
You might be tempted to chuckle about some Norwegian researchers peering back at experiments done during the ’60s and ’70s with LSD as a treatment for alcoholism.
Their rigorous analysis, combining data from six different studies, concludes that one dose of the hallucinogenic drug might just help.
The past studies randomly assigned patients to get a strong dose of LSD or something else (another drug, such as amphetamine, a low dose of LSD or nothing special). And the results provide evidence for a beneficial effect on abstinence from alcohol.
For what it’s worth, the analysis, just published online by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, was funded by the Research Council of Norway, not exactly a fringe outfit.
These mash-ups of previously published studies can be done well or badly, so I talked with Matthew W Johnson, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins. He said this so-called meta-analysis helped quantify the effect and give more heft to work that had suggested LSD could work.
The Hopkins group that Johnson is part of has been investigating the use of psilocybin, the hallucinogen in “magic mushrooms,” for smoking cessation and to help terminal cancer patients cope with their illness. They’ve also taken a look at Salvinorin A, a hallucinogen in salvia, too.
Why would hallucinogens be suited for these kinds of treatments? Johnson said people taking the drugs in the studies he’s helped with report that it is “one of the most meaningful experiences — or the most meaningful — in their life.”
Some says the “trip” changes the direction of their lives and can trigger a redefinition of how they see themselves. That could be as profound as, “I’m now a nondrinker, or whatever the adciction may be,” he said.
Of course, the LSD experiments analyzed in the latest report involved about 500 people. And the drug can cause very disturbing problems for some people who take it — especially at high doses. Larger, more careful studies would be required to assess the approach.
As it is, Johnson said various tests of hallucinogens as treatments suggest that the right surroundings and support are important during a therapeutic trip. “There have been plenty of people who have been alcoholics who have taken LSD, and it has done nothing for their alcoholism,” Johnson said.
The companies are accused of collaborating to raise e-book prices. By Ankita Rao
E-book sales in the U.S. are up 117 percent since 2010
The Justice Department may sue Apple and five major publishing houses for allegedly collaborating to hike up the price of e-books.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reports that federal officials have already warned the companies—including Simon & Schuster and Macmillan—that a lawsuit is potentially forthcoming, and that several of the publishers are holding talks in hopes of avoiding what could be a publicized and costly court battle.
Under a traditional book selling model, publishers had previously sold books for half the cover price, allowing retailers to set their own store price. But around the time Apple introduced its first iPad in 2010, the company moved to an “agency” model, where publishers decide the book price and Apple takes a 30-percent cut. As part of that move, Apple also reportedly stipulated that publishers couldn’t let rival retailers like Amazon sell the same book for less, in effect making the agency model the new standard for much of the industry.
Justice Department lawyers say that Apple and the publishers violated federal antitrust laws by enacting their e-book plan, sources tell the Journal. The publishers, meanwhile, deny they acted jointly to hike up the prices.
The Washington Post reports that the European Union is dealing with their own e-book scuffle against the same publishers. Anti-trust officials performed unannounced raids at the companies last March.
CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS
and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society 8 March 2012
ENSO Alert System Status: La Niña Advisory
Synopsis: La Niña is expected to transition to ENSO-neutral conditions by the end of April 2012.
La Niña weakened during February 2012, as near- to- above average sea surface temperatures (SST) emerged in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. 1). However, below-average SSTs persisted in the central Pacific, as indicated by the latest weekly Niño-3.4 and Niño-4 indices which were near –0.5°C (Fig. 2). The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) anomalies also weakened notably (Fig. 3), as reflected by a shallow lens (0m to ~25m depth) of positive temperature anomalies east of 125°W and by diminished below-average temperatures east of the Date Line (Fig. 4). These changes are partly associated with strong low-level westerly wind anomalies across the eastern Pacific, which at times reflected the absence of equatorial easterlies in that region. Nonetheless, the larger scale atmospheric circulation anomalies continued to reflect the ongoing La Niña. Enhanced low-level equatorial easterlies persisted over the central and west-central Pacific, while convection remained suppressed in the western and central Pacific, and enhanced over Malyasia and the Phillipines (Fig. 5). Collectively, these oceanic and atmospheric patterns reflect a weakening La Niña.
A majority of models predict ENSO-neutral conditions to return during March-May 2012 and to continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2012 (Fig. 6). The rapid weakening of the negative surface and subsurface temperature anomalies during February 2012, combined with the historical tendency for La Niña to dissipate during the Northern Hemisphere spring, lends support to the return of ENSO-neutral conditions in the coming months. Therefore, La Niña is expected to transition to ENSO- neutral conditions by the end of April 2012 (see CPC/IRI consensus forecast).
Because impacts often lag the demise of an ENSO episode, La Niña-like impacts are expected to persist into the upcoming season. Over the U.S. during March – May 2012, La Niña is associated with an increased chance of above-average temperatures across the south-central U.S., and below-average temperatures in the northwestern U.S. Also, above-average precipitation is favored across western Washington, the Ohio Valley, and lower Great Lakes, while drier-than-average conditions are more likely across Florida, the Gulf Coast, and the southwestern U.S. (see 3-month seasonal outlook released on 16 February 2012).
This discussion is a consolidated effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA’s National Weather Service, and their funded institutions. Oceanic and atmospheric conditions are updated weekly on the Climate Prediction Center web site (El Niño/La Niña Current Conditions and Expert Discussions). Forecasts for the evolution of El Niño/La Niña are updated monthly in the Forecast Forum section of CPC’s Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for 5 April 2012. To receive an e-mail notification when the monthly ENSO Diagnostic Discussions are released, please send an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What all this means… La Niña is weakening and returning toward neutral conditions so historically what happens, La Niña conditions persist into the next few months… We will probably stay with drier than normal conditions & above-average temperatures for the southwest U.S. March through May. J. Roberts
Rising gas prices have been the big energy story of the past several weeks. But many energy experts say that’s a sideshow compared with the really big energy event — the huge boom in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. that could help the nation reach the elusive goal of energy independence.
Since the Arab oil embargo of 1973, energy independence has been a Holy Grail for virtually every American president from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama.
But now, it might just be within reach.
A surface high will dominate western Colorado today and a broad upper level ridge of high pressure begins to flatten as a trough along the Pacific NW deepens. SW winds and high clouds will invade Tuesday with above normal temperatures and breezy conditions.
The trough comes onshore tonight, digging into Nevada on Tuesday bringing strong SW winds and high temps in the 50/60′s in the lower valleys of Utah and western Colorado. All models show a closed low pinching off over Las Vegas late Tuesday evening then moving into Arizona by midday.
We should see snow showers by Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning as the low moves into NE Arizona negating storm orographics for the southern San Juans with an unfavorable wind shift to the east. Because of this the snow production from the storm will be minimal. The San Juans get shut off as the system drifts into southeast New Mexico Thursday into the weekend. Looks like a drying atmosphere and slow warming temperatures through the weekend.
Managed to unplug the fuel pump on the Polaris w/ a little help from Clint Estes……
so there’s three new passes of corduroy everywhere…
should be as nice as it’s been all year at TOP…
get up there and enjoy!
Today, but especially this afternoon northerly orographic flow will increase on the north side of the San Juan mountains. Ouray and the Uncompahgre Gorge could see a significant precipation event bringing a good shot of snow. The back side of the trough with a wind direction change from WSW to NW will push into this area on it’s journey east. Tonight residue or garbage clouds will remain producing dying snow showers as the skies begin to clear.
A warming trend beginning Saturday will continue into early next week as a ridge of high pressure builds over the region Saturday into Monday. A strong SW flow will develop ahead of the next trough dropping into the Great Basin Tuesday afternoon.
Chris Laundry observing avalanche mitigation on RMP. J. Roberts photo
WESTERN SLOPE – The Colorado River Basin is losing water at an ever-accelerating rate, and snow scientist Chris Landry wants people to know about it.
But spend a day with Landry, and you will accumulate more questions than answers: How much snow falls (or doesn’t); how dense and water-laden it is (or isn’t); and is there enough of it to reflect surface radiation back into the atmosphere and preserve it, or is it destined to continue to melt away earlier every coming year?
Each winter since 2003, Landry, the director of the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies, a research organization in Silverton, has been on the job at his two research plots, Swamp Angel and Senator Beck Basin, near the summit of Red Mountain Pass. Here, Landry digs over 100 snow pits over the course of each winter to observe the layers of dust that accumulate on this outlying garrison of Colorado mountain ranges.
J. Roberts photo Snow/Water equivalency scale
WESTERN SAN JUANS – As snow continues to fly across Colorado on a steady basis, bringing a sense of winter normalcy back to most areas, state snowpack levels have improved. But to realize an average end-of-season snowpack after a dismally dry start to the season, March needs to be a very, very snowy month.
“If you look where the statewide snowpack totals are right now, we are where we typically should be on February first. As snowpack levels go, we are kind of a month behind,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service Snow Survey Supervisor Mage Skordahl on Monday. “Currently we are at 77 percent average statewide, which is an improvement from 72 percent at the beginning of February. The percent of average snowfall needed next month (to get to 100 percent average) is 178 percent of average. We are still playing catch-up.”
After a high pressure ridge kept most of Colorado relatively dry in December and for the first part of January, the Pacific jet stream finally shifted southward and positioned itself over southern Wyoming and northern and Central Colorado, bringing precipitation to basins to the west of the Continental Divide. Relatively speaking, Colorado’s southern mountains had a better start to the winter than the central and northern Mountains. But as a typical La Nina precipitation and snowfall pattern returned to Colorado in January, the southern basins saw a significant decrease in precipitation.
“The electricity powering the lights in this theater was generated just moments ago,” says MIT professor, Donald Sadoway, now on stage at TED2012 to talk power. “The way things stand, electricity demand must be in balance with electricity supply.” The problem is: coal and nuclear plants can’t address demand fast enough. How do we deal with the problem of intermittency?
Sadoway thinks he has the answer, and in this hugely well-received talk, he outlines his invention of a liquid metal battery he thinks might act as a blueprint for the future. “If we’re going to get this country out of its current energy situation, we can’t conserve our way out, we can’t drill our way out, we can’t bomb our way out. We’re going to do it the old-fashioned American way: we’re going to invent our way out, working together,” he says to whoops of applause.
Realizing the critical importance of the humble battery as a way to help with the energy crisis — and that, nonetheless, there is simply “no battery technology capable of meeting the demanding performance requirements of the grid,” Sadoway started to think differently. “We need to abandon the paradigm of chasing the coolest chemistry to chase down the cost curve by making lots of products,” he says. Instead, he wanted to invent to the pricepoint of the electricity market. ”If you want to make something dirt-cheap, make it out of dirt. Preferably dirt that’s locally sourced.” He also decided to be seemingly perverse in his hunt for potential electricity storage, looking at a source that neither generates nor stores electricity but in fact consumes huge amounts of it: aluminum production.
And that’s how and why he discovered a way to sandwich necessary salts with both high- and low-density metals to harness the potential of aluminum smelting in the name of creating an electricity storage device. He didn’t necessarily think it would work — nor did any of his students, those he gathered to share in his “passion for science in the service of society, not science in service of career building.” Cutely, he paraphrases JFK at Rice University in 1962: “we choose to work on gridlevel storage not because it is easy but because it is hard.”
Yet, to date they have enjoyed some serious success, and have already developed various liquid batteries, from the “shotglass” up to the 16-inch “pizza”, which produces one kilowatt-hour of energy. The 36-inch-wide “Bistro Table” is not yet ready for prime time, but a future variant is designed to produce the daily electrical needs of 200 American households with a battery that is “silent, emissions free, has no moving parts, is remotely controlled, and is designed to the market price point, without subsidy.”
March 2, 2012
David Greene talks to materials chemist Donald Sadoway from the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in Long Beach, Calif. Sadoway is the co-inventor of the liquid metal battery. It’s inexpensive, super efficient, sustainable and can provide large scale energy storage.
Over the course of more than 20 years, Richard Diebenkorn created 145 paintings for his Ocean Park series. Nearly 80 of those works created between 1967 and 1988 are on display at the Orange County Museum of Art in Southern California. Diebenkorn, pictured above in 1982, died in 1993.
In the late 1960s, while America was in turmoil over the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, a painter in Santa Monica, Calif., was creating a series of tranquil, glowing canvases that made his reputation and transfixed art lovers. Those works — the Ocean Park series — are now on view at the Orange County Museum of Art, about an hour’s drive from the place where they were painted.
Main Street, running through the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, is two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. The thoroughfare hums with cars, young families pushing strollers, aging hippies and fancy coffee machines.
Walk a bit, and you’ll pass shops, restaurants and beach-y bungalows that can sell for $1 million or more. The Ocean Park you see in 2012 is very different from what it was in 1967, when Richard Diebenkorn began painting his Ocean Park series.
“This was a derelict area,” says Kimberly Davis, who directs the L.A. Louver Gallery in nearby Venice Beach. Diebenkorn visited the L.A. Louver every week when he worked in Ocean Park. “There were a lot of artists living there,” Davis says.
The reason there were so many artists was that rent was cheap — really cheap. They were living on the edge here. Ocean Park was literally at the edge of the country, but it was also on the edge of the edge of Los Angeles, and painters could afford to live here.
The gaucho are still very much part of life in the Patagonia region of Chile. But change is approaching and residents are struggling to grasp where they fit in.
COCHRANE, Chile — At the end of a 200-mile stretch of mostly unpaved highway, nearly impassable during the long winter months and only marginally better in summer, sits the quiet community of Cochrane.
For generations, this isolation nurtured a bucolic, if insular, existence where little changed. The grasslands around here were sliced up into cattle and sheep ranches. Folktales romanticized the gaucho lifestyle on the wide open Patagonian steppe, sharing maté around the campfire.
But for all its remoteness, this hamlet has found itself at the heart of a heated national debate over the future — and some would say, the soul — of Patagonia itself.
A short drive outside town, a $10 billion hydroelectric dam project, known as HidroAysén, is being planned, stirring a national outcry against what critics call the destruction of one of Chile’s most pristine ecosystems. Last year, thousands of protesters opposed to the dams took to the streets of the capital, Santiago, while hundreds more clashed with the police in a haze of tear gas and water cannons within view of the presidential palace.
But just within eyeshot of the proposed project is the entrance to an entirely different view of Patagonia’s destiny: the 660,000-acre Patagonia National Park, which seeks to preserve the region’s grandeur by drawing tens of thousands of visitors a year.
The two competing visions of Patagonia are set so close to each other that they seem to be squaring off in a blatant ideological battle, leaving local residents struggling to grasp where they fit in.
An exploration of what motivates individual acts of courage and conscience in dangerous circumstances. It shares the inspiring stories of unlikely resisters while offering insights by psychologists and neuroscientists.
In Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, And Heeding The Voice of Conscience In Dark Times, journalist Eyal Press writes about “unexceptional people who took great risks” to help others.
The book profiles four individuals — a Serbian solider, a financial whistle blower, a Swiss police officer and an Israeli soldier — all unlikely resisters who end up going to great lengths to challenge authority.
Press talks with NPR’s John Donvan about the things that inspire ordinary people to take a stand.