Last week I featured Middlebury, intolerance, and Charles Murray. Article number 4 this week will continue that theme, this time with Wellesley and Laura Kipnis. But before we get to that, let’s pivot to a subject that is no less controversial or important—but more about the economic world than the academic. Energy. There have been several interesting articles to feature this week on energy, carbon, new technology. Putting aside the current administration’s quixotic quest to resuscitate coal, which is probably America’s dirtiest fuel source, I wanted to share an article about nuclear and one about lithium. Both may play a crucial role in America’s energy future, not to mention the world’s. And both are right in the middle of the debate about a post-carbon society.
This article from Vox is a deeply insightful, sober, and at times encouraging overview of the issues around one of the most important sources of carbon-free power that we have—nuclear. Nuclear is not just carbon-free, its footprint, in many respects, is also smaller than solar or wind. But the fears around it are significant and undiminished since Fukushima. Two of the more prominent voices in it are the founders of the Breakthrough Institute (Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, who has since founded his own think tank Environmental Progress). Rarely will you find a better overview.
Next up is an article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek about lithium. Critical to new battery technology like those used in Tesla cars, lithium is the new black gold of the 21st century, or could be. And the global rush to mine the stuff continues unabated. Of course, this is one reason why Musk put his new Gigifactory in Reno.
Read here: The Great Nevada Lithium Rush
2. Immigration and Labor
Ever since the election, journalists have descended on Pennsylvania like jackals, desperate to explain the source of Trump’s victory. Not all of these articles are enlightening, but this one I found particularly interesting as it delves into one subculture, Russian immigrants in their adopted home of Philly.
Read here: Why Philly’s Russians are Crazy for Trump