Sci-Tech

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Shit Doesn’t Just Happen

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.





Cryosphere

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.


Green Energy Dreams

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.







Global Palestine

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.