Shit doesn’t just happen. Stock market crashes, multi-vehicle pileups, the collapse of tall buildings, wildfires, viral pandemics … None of these phenomena have a single, simple explanation. Rather, they all result from a multitude of events, factors and situations — proximal, distal and invariably complex. Thomas Homer-Dixon is a complexity theorist. Listen to our conversation.
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Drug-resistant bacteria are one of humanity’s great emerging threats. Microbes resistant to most or all antibiotics – superbugs, they’re called – just laugh at whatever we throw at them. In the search for new antibiotics, a group of researchers at McMaster University have turned over an interesting stone — cannabis.
Earth’s oceans are warming at a remarkable rate. Over ninety percent of the atmospheric heat humans have generated in the course of the past decades has been absorbed by Earth’s oceans. The consequences for oceans and atmosphere have been dire, and promise to play out over centuries, regardless of what we do.
The cedar is Lebanon’s national symbol. But Lebanon’s renowned cedar forests are not what they used to be. Today, all that remains of Lebanon’s cedar forests are a dozen fragmented islands, threatened by livestock grazing and climate change. The key to restoring them is their genetic diversity.
Planet Earth is covered in water. Ninety-seven percent is in earth’s oceans. Most of the rest is frozen solid — locked up in sea ice and terrestrial ice sheets, glaciers and permafrost. Earth’s cryosphere plays a huge role in regulating climate. As our planet warms, its cryosphere is slowly melting, triggering positive feedbacks that make earth scientists worry.
Long before the ‘intractable conflict’ between Israeli Jews and Palestinians gets resolved, climate change will have thrown everything up for grabs — literally. It already has.
It’s the ultimate green dream: some device or substance that can capture the sun’s infinite flood of energy, store that energy, release it as heat and electricity — in controlled fashion — then absorb it all over again in a continuous closed loop. A little organic molecule called norbornadiene promises to make dreams come true, in the crucial realm of home heating and cooling.
Donald Trump cited a frightful list of anti-American threats in his 4300-word nomination acceptance speech: terrorism, immigrants, crime, violence, gangs, drugs, lawlessness, government regulation, media elites. He had nothing to say about multidrug-resistant superbugs.
A first-of-its kind web portal helps clinicians and geneticists around the world to match symptoms they’ve never seen before with known mutant genes — and to provide firm counseling to patients in search of answers.
For those who thought that corporate concentration in the food industry couldn’t get tighter, wake up and smell the coffee. The Big Six seed and farm chemical producers are now on the verge of coalescing into three. Amazon may soon be the world’s biggest supermarket.
Israel plays a host of key roles in today’s troubled world: Jewish homeland. Bastion of peace and democracy in the troubled Middle East. Clever “start-up nation” the world can turn to for smart solutions. Israeli-American activist Jeff Halper pinpoints a darker niche.
Will global capitalism eventually wean itself off fossil fuels? Can wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable energy sources generate enough joules to drive permanent economic growth? Should carbon emissions be taxed?
Up to twenty percent of working musicians get struck by focal dystonia at some point. So do writers, athletes, craftspeople … an estimated 300,000 North Americans. The underlying problem? Normal brain plasticity gone rogue.
An estimated ten percent of Canadians struggle with depression, flashbacks and panic attacks associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So do 14,000 Canadian veterans. Locked brain circuits may be to blame.