New Hope For Renewable Energy

The International Energy Agency, founded in the aftermath of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, allows countries around the world to work together to secure their energy supplies and markets.

Nuclear power has its own organization, too—the International Atomic Energy Agency, which tends to nuclear-specific problems like waste disposal and security. But if renewable energy sources are going to make up a major part of the world's energy future, shouldn't they have their own organization?

Finally, they might. Nearly two decades of lobbying by German Parliamentarian Hermann Scheer culminated last week in the founding conference of the International Renewable Energy Agency, in which 75 countries agreed to form the club. But don't expect instant action—the IRENA nations don't even know what the agency will do yet, having agreed only to fund the organization and try to ratify a charter later this year.

And so far IRENA has stumbled into the same problem that hampered the Kyoto Protocol: you can't change the world without all the major players at the table. India signed on to IRENA after some hesitation, but the U.S., China, Brazil and the U.K. remain on the outside for now. However, the nascent agency might find a friend in newly-elected President Obama, who praised renewables in his campaign and alluded to them in his inaugural address. Smaller nations may help their own energy situations by banding together, but for the world to address its carbon problem, the big boys must get on board.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less

Physicists puzzled by strange numbers that could explain reality

Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.

Surprising Science
  • Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
  • The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
  • Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
Keep reading Show less

Why 'upgrading' humanity is a transhumanist myth

Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.

  • Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
  • Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
  • Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
Keep reading Show less