Is Toxic Lake Gas Rwanda's Energy Future?

As if Rwanda needed more troubles, a toxic lake south of the city of Goma contains enough methane gas that, were it to seep to the surface, could fatally asphyxiate thousands of people. Or, it could revolutionize Africa's alternative energy infrastructure.

Lake Kivu, 480 mt deep and 48 km wide, on the border of the Congo and Rwanda, holds billions of cubic meters of methane below its surface. Gas concentrations have been steadily increasing in the year from subterranean volcanic activity and some vulcanologists predict a gas release may not be too far off. The region certainly is no stranger to disastrous lake events. In 1986 Lake Nyos in Cameroon released an invisible cloud of methane killing 1,700 people.

Enter ContourGlobal, a New York energy firm that has its sights set on underserved markets. Countour plans to install a floating platform in the middle of the lake from which they will extract gas deposits that lie dissolved over 200 mt below the surface. Contour promises to extend electicity to five percent of Rwanda from a generation depot they will establish on the south end of the lake. So, where some see toxic gas, others see alternative energy.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
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Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

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Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
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Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
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Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
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