Energy to an Economy is Like Oxygen to the Human Body

The Chinese smart priority on diversifying their energy portfolio and creating jobs is something that we should match them on, again. 

You have a Chinese dictatorship in a foot race with a democracy over who’s going to own the energy future.  The democracy was winning and then we got stuck on stupid in D.C.

So the dictatorship in China is now poised to outcompete us.  We don't have anything to learn from them about most things.  There is something to be said, though, for some level of national consensus building for what used to be called industrial policy.  The idea has become a dirty word in the United States, but it’s a common phrase all around the world.  The idea is there’s some things in your country that are special and you may want the national government to take a special interest in.  Energy is always special to a country.  Energy to an economy is like oxygen to the human body.  No energy, no economy.  No oxygen, no human body.

So energy is special.  And my view would be China has recognized that and they have a plan. Now, they have a top-down plan dictated by the government of what to do.  We need to put some market signals in place so that we can get some bottom-up innovation so that we can also take energy and climate seriously.  I don't think we should follow their dictatorial approach, but their smart priority on diversifying their energy portfolio and creating jobs is something that we should match them on, again.  

60 Second Reads are recorded directly from experts in Big Think's studio. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less