A Completely Renewable Future Isn’t As Far-Fetched as We Think

New research suggests that converting all of our energy to renewable energy might actually be possible by 2050.

It’s hip to talk about renewable energy these days, but do you ever wonder how realistic it would be to convert all our energy to renewable sources such as wind and solar? A recent collaborative study between Stanford and UC Berkeley found that actually the entire world could be powered by renewables as early as 2050, given the right kind of research and investment. The researchers looked at maps to estimate what various types of energy demands will be like in the future all over the world, and concluded that an entirely renewable world isn’t as distant of a possibility as we might think.


Part of the reason that the researchers decided they believe in a renewable world had to do with the continually falling price of renewable energy sources. Wind energy, for instance, is already cheaper than natural gas, so in the coming years the price of converting to or building new renewable power sources won’t be quite as intimidating as it is now. Additionally, researchers mentioned that converting to renewable energy sources will lower health care costs that would otherwise result from poor air quality caused by polluting fuels.

Climate change has been on the world’s radar for many years, and gets framed quite differently depending on who you talk to. Some see climate change as a very imminent threat to human existence on the planet, while others don’t quite believe that it’s happening. Which side is right?

Well, it turns out there might be some truth to both beliefs. New research suggests that the most dangerous effects of climate change might actually be about a century away. So while climate change is certainly coming, this new information might actually be positive news for our chances of impacting its progression. If we act now and over the next few years, we may actually have enough time to achieve that fully renewable vision before the dangerous side effects of climate change kick in. With enough planning, human beings should be able to stick around the planet for quite a while yet to come.

The world and workforce need wisdom. Why don’t universities teach it?

Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?

Photo: Take A Pix Media / Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
  • The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
  • These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
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What the world will look like in the year 250,002,018

This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now

On Pangaea Proxima, Lagos will be north of New York, and Cape Town close to Mexico City
Surprising Science

To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.

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Six-month-olds recognize (and like) when they’re being imitated

A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.

Personal Growth
  • Scientists speculate imitation helps develop social cognition in babies.
  • A new study out of Lund University shows that six-month-olds look and smile more at imitating adults.
  • Researchers hope the data will spur future studies to discover what role caregiver imitation plays in social cognition development.
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    New study connects cardiovascular exercise with improved memory

    Researchers at UT Southwestern noted a 47 percent increase in blood flow to regions associated with memory.

    An elderly man runs during his morning exercises at the promenade on the Bund along the Huangpu Rive the Bund in Shanghai on May 18, 2017.

    Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
    Surprising Science
    • Researchers at UT Southwestern observed a stark improvement in memory after cardiovascular exercise.
    • The year-long study included 30 seniors who all had some form of memory impairment.
    • The group of seniors that only stretched for a year did not fair as well in memory tests.
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