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In one coal state, renewable energy is set to win by 2028

Indiana ranks 3rd in coal consumption, but a primary energy utility there just declared the end of coal by 2028

(DAVID YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Where politicians fail, economic realities mean renewables are far less expensive: A savings of $4 billion over the next 30 years
  • Indiana is 7th in coal production and 3rd in consumption; this is due to change rapidly
  • The big winners? Solar and wind energies

$4 billion savings and a reduction in carbon monoxide? OK. 

A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on September 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania.

(Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Indiana is a state ranked #7 in coal production and #3 in coal consumption across the U.S., but not for long. Some numbers just came out of that have spelled the end of coal, in favor of renewables. It wasn't a political battles as much as it was a clear indicator that the market, in this case, wins out. Simply put, renewables will be far less expensive than continuing to burn coal.

The Northern Indiana Public Service Company, traditionally a coal dependent giant, announced that it will save electricity purchasers – that is, consumers and industries — $4 billion over the next 30 years. It will use a mix of solar, wind, energy storage, mixed with more efficient end-user equipment and "demand management," to reduce its dependence on coal by 100% by 2028.

It's also good for global warming: Just one of the coal plants it maintains generates over 8 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Economic realities are driving this train

A bucket excavator and other heavy mining machinery extract lignite coal from the pit of the Jaenschwalde open-pit coal mine on October 11, 2018 near Griessen, Germany.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Mark Maasel, president of the Indiana Energy Association, made the findings clear: "There is no question that there are efforts out there to sustain the coal industry, but the reality is that economics are driving the decisions that these utilities are making."

The ramifications for other states — indeed, for anyone else in the world still using coal — are huge.

A general view of a wind farm, using five turbines in the Port of Rotterdam on October 27, 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

From the report:

"Across all scenarios, converting … would cost NIPSCO customers between $540 [million] to $1.04 [billion] more than retirement and replacement with economically optimized resource selections from the RFP results."

Despite some politicians — many who collect large direct donations from coal mining companies — claiming that coal is here to stay, this indicates the death of coal will happen sooner, rather than later.

An Op-Ed for Clean Technica states it quite well:

"Economics will do what politicians cannot. There is no engine on Earth that can restrain the imperative of lower prices for long."

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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How #Unity2020 plans to end the two-party system, bring back Andrew Yang

The proposal calls for the American public to draft two candidates to lead the executive branch: one from the center-left, the other from the center-right.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The #Unity2020 plan was recently outlined by Bret Weinstein, a former biology professor, on the Joe Rogan Experience.
  • Weinstein suggested an independent ticket for the 2020 presidential election: Andrew Yang and former U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven.
  • Although details of the proposal are sparse, surveys suggest that many Americans are cynical and frustrated with the two-party system.
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Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
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What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Could this former river island in the Indus have inspired Tolkien to create Cair Andros, the ship-shaped island in the Anduin river?

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
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Surprising Science

Giant whale sharks have teeth on their eyeballs

The ocean's largest shark relies on vision more than previously believed.

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