Jeffrey Sachs on the Power of Solar Energy
Jeffrey Sachs is is an American economist and co-founder and chief strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty and hunger. He is also the former director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he holds the title of University Professor, the highest rank that Columbia bestows on its faculty.
Question: Of all the alternative energies under research, what one are you most excited about?
Sachs: There are many options for the world in energy ahead. I think if we look out in the not so distant future, solar power is going to be a phenomenal promise especially in the poorest places. Often, in the tropics, there’s plenty of sunshine and seemingly little else right now in terms of energy availability. But with advances in concentrated solar thermal power, concentrated solar photovoltaics, there are tremendous, tremendous opportunities. After all, the deserts of the world, the Sahara, the Atacama, the Mohave, the Gobi could provide enough electricity for vast populous regions of the world and do it in a clean and sustainable way, at least, sustainable for about 5 billion years according to the physicists. We’d have a good, long-term, clean, safe energy system that could actually be the point of take-off for many of the world’s poorest regions.
The deserts of the world could provide enough electricity for vast populous regions of the world and do it in a clean and sustainable way—at least until the sun explodes in 5 billion years.
The pandemic reminds us that our higher education system, with all its flaws, remains a key part of our strategic reserve.
- America's higher education system is under great scrutiny as it adapts to a remote-learning world. These criticisms will only make higher ed more innovative.
- While there are flaws in the system and great challenges ahead, higher education has adapted quickly to allow students to continue learning. John Katzman, CEO of online learning organization Noodle Partners, believes this is cause for optimism not negativity.
- Universities are pillars of scientific research on the COVID-19 frontlines, they bring facts in times of uncertainty and fake news, and, in a bad economy, education is a personal floatation device.
The institutional barriers that have often held creative teaching back are being knocked down by the coronavirus era.
- Long-held structures in the education system, like classroom confines and schedules, have held back innovation for a long time, says education leader Richard Culatta.
- In the coronavirus era, we have been able to shake some of those rigid structures loose, making way for creativity and, ultimately, a more open mindset.
- When creativity and technology combine, learning can become so much more than delivering content to a student. Culatta gives two stunning examples: one of a biotech class, and another involving a student discovering a star.
We'd like to think that judging people's worth based on the shape of their head is a practice that's behind us.
'Phrenology' has an old-fashioned ring to it. It sounds like it belongs in a history book, filed somewhere between bloodletting and velocipedes.
Researchers present what they’ve learned now that they can read the tiny text inside the Antikythera mechanism.
Though it it seemed to be just a corroded lump of some sort when it was found in a shipwreck off the coast of Greece near Antikythera in 1900, in 1902 archaeologist Valerios Stais, looking at the gear embedded in it, guessed that what we now call the “Antikythera mechanism" was some kind of astronomy-based clock. He was in the minority—most agreed that something so sophisticated must have entered the wreck long after its other 2,000-year-old artifacts. Nothing like it was believed to have existed until 1,500 years later.
Maybe you've been wondering if you're seeing one persistent squirrel or a rotating cast of characters.