Richard Branson on Sustainability
Business legend Richard Branson describes 'sustainability' as "methods of power generation that help to preserve the Earth's natural systems." He calls on entrepreneurs to get involved.
What's the Latest Development?
The setback dealt to the nuclear power industry as a result of Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis got business legend Richard Branson thinking about what sustainability really means. "I use the word 'sustainable' to describe ways of supplying energy that will remain productive over time and protect ecological diversity," he says. Branson is especially impressed with wind energy farms in the U.S. which are beginning to produce more electricity than traditional coal fire plans.
What's the Big Idea?
As a result of the Fukushima crisis, countries such as China and India are reconsidering plans to build new nuclear plants, a sea change in policy that could force major economies to rely longer on coal fire technology. Enter the entrepreneur, says Branson. "If entrepreneurs go into the field of renewable energy for the right reasons, along the way they are likely to create some very exciting new technologies and successful new businesses." All businesses, no matter their industry, must try to reduce adverse environmental effects, he says.
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.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
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.
- 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.
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