Tag Archives: the economy

Billion Dollar Bugs

How about a multi-billion-dollar good-news story? Science may have found a way to grow more food. It’s a source of nitrogen: bacteria that live in leaves. It may be worth a mint in new ecosystem services, which is a name for what Earth does for us by being there. Here’s the scene you need to […]

The Value of Good Science

Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg makes a high-profile case against spending on Ebola. It may be good politics, but is it good science? Why should we care? One reason is that scientific thinking on Ebola could save lots of lives and staggering amounts of money. Science is a driver of our economy. Science is why […]

Be Careful What You Wish For

Here is a story that can save you money. It might even save your life. If we could see all of the organisms that surround us, we would see microbes, billions of them, many kinds of viruses, bacteria, fungi and archaea. Most of them do nothing to us. Some  could help us. Others, if they […]

Capping Climate Change?

Limits of survival are set by climate, those long drifts of change which a generation may fail to notice. And it is the extremes of climate which set the pattern. Frank Herbert Can we set a limit on how bad climate change can get? A new paper by ten European geoscientists seems to say so. […]

Getting Water When It Isn’t Getting Wetter

Climate change is no longer a forecast. It’s news. And even if we all stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow climate change would go on getting worse. We see a range of consequences, like historically severe droughts. How does this affect us? The UN International Decade for Action on water ends this year. Its webpage says: […]

Gut Instinct

You likely do not often think about how you are put together on a microscopic scale. You are a conspiracy of cells. Roughly a hundred trillion of them, each one more or less autonomous. Each shapes its environment (you) by talking to co-conspirators. Cells do this instinctively. Their ancestors survived by doing it for millions […]

One From the Road

Wanderlust has got us traveling again. We are in Europe, taking trains and walking in cold city streets. What is hot in Europe now? (Okay, this is not rocket science. It’s not obvious that there is any science in it, though there is.) Hot? How about those Poles? We’re checking out their second city, Krakow, […]

The Supersymmetry Calamity

Sounds like a The Big Bang Theory episode. Maybe someday it will be. But even in the fields of physics, supersymmetry is esoteric. What is it? What is its calamity? Why should you care? What it is is an idea: Particular superheroes! Here’s their story. The Standard Model is the crown jewel of physics. It […]

Atoms Are Not A-toms

So, nat’ralists observe, a flea Hath smaller fleas that on him prey, And these have smaller still to bite ’em And so proceed ad infinitum. Jonathan Swift (1733) Once upon a time the world had a conversation about an idea called the atom. Greek philosopher Democritus kicked off the conversation around 400 BCE, saying matter’s […]