Solar Power: How to Win the West

As the railroads shaped the American West in the 19th century, a new electrical generating and transmission system for the 21st century will leave its lasting mark on the desert.

The sun-baked desert of the American southwest is the most obvious place for a large solar energy infrastructure, says Jon Christensen, executive director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. "We need alternative energy sources badly, and to really take advantage of them we need to be able to move electricity around far more readily than we can now. The western power grid is a fragmented hodgepodge. It needs to be much better integrated. And that is going to require major power lines across the West. Trade-offs will have to be made. ..."

Ethnic chauvinism: Why the whole world shouldn’t look like America

We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.

Videos
  • When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
  • American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
  • We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
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Physicists find new state of matter that can supercharge technology

Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
  • The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
  • Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
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First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
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