What Is Quantitative Easing?
"'Quantitative easing' is a pompous, uninformative term for a central bank’s buying debt in order to stimulate economic activity." Judge Richard Posner criticizes new monetary policy.
There are three principal objections to the new [quantitative easing] program. The first is that the inflation that it aims to increase by a slight to moderate amount may get out of hand. ... The second objection to the new program concerns its effect on the role of the United States in the global economy. Nations such as China, Germany, and Japan that are large exporters are irate at our devaluing our currency by increasing the world supply of U.S. dollars. They are capable of retaliating. ... The third and perhaps biggest objection to the program of quantitative easing is that it relaxes the pressure on our politicians to address urgent issues of economic reform. The politicians are sitting back and letting the Fed try to hoist us out of our current economic 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.
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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