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Monday, July 6, 2020
The man behind the sphere, Freeman Dyson, is dead at 96

The man behind the sphere, Freeman Dyson, is dead at 96

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Dyson's ideas even made it to where no man has gone before. Freeman Dyson, a physicist whose interests often took him to the edge of science fiction, has died at the age of 96. Dyson is probably best known for his idea of eponymous spheres that would allow civilizations to capture all the energy radiating…
Climate change is drying up the Colorado River

Climate change is drying up the Colorado River

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Enlarge / The shores of Lake Mead, faded from previously higher water levels. In 2014, the Colorado River reached the ocean for the first time in 16 years. Most years, the river doesn't make it that far because it has been dammed and diverted along the way, supplying fresh water to approximately 40 million people…
Jeff Bezos pledges $10 billion to stop climate change

Jeff Bezos pledges $10 billion to stop climate change

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Enlarge / Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc. Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, will spend $10 billion to combat climate change. He announced the news in an Instagram post on Monday. "Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet," Bezos writes. "I want to work alongside others both to…
As sea levels rise, little of the United States will be unaffected

As sea levels rise, little of the United States will be...

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The United States is rich enough, industrialized enough, and far enough from the tropics that the rising temperatures of our changing climate aren't going to make any place uninhabitable. But a side effect of those rising temperatures—rising oceans—most certainly will. Already, an ever-growing list of places is facing what's called "nuisance flooding," in which even…
Time check: Examining the Doomsday Clock’s move to 100 seconds to midnight

Time check: Examining the Doomsday Clock’s move to 100 seconds to...

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Enlarge / The Doomsday Clock reads 100 seconds to midnight, a decision made by The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, during an announcement at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on January 23, 2020. Today, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists released a statement that the group's Science and Security Board had moved the hands…
Major investment firm to prioritize sustainability, back off coal

Major investment firm to prioritize sustainability, back off coal

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When it comes to taking action on climate change, the world has entered a very strange place. Scientific results continue to indicate that the consensus on our role in driving climate change has every reason to be accepted. Several years of the predicted impacts of climate change—record-high temperatures, massive storms, and out-of-control wildfires—have left ever…
Hurricanes, climate change, and the decline of the Maya

Hurricanes, climate change, and the decline of the Maya

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The year is 150 CE. It’s a humid summer day in Muyil, a coastal Mayan settlement nestled in a lush wetland on the Yucatan Peninsula. A salty breeze blows in from the gulf, rippling the turquoise surface of a nearby lagoon. Soon, the sky darkens. Rain churns the water, turning it dark and murky with…
Heatwaves on multiple continents linked by jet stream tendency

Heatwaves on multiple continents linked by jet stream tendency

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Enlarge / An example of meandering jet stream winds. Summer 2018 saw some notably extreme weather in multiple locations around the Northern Hemisphere. There were heatwaves in the Western United States, Western Europe, the Caspian region through Siberia, and Japan as well. That’s not necessarily interesting on its face, as there’s always weird weather going…
Evaluating the risks of Africans opting for coal power

Evaluating the risks of Africans opting for coal power

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Enlarge / Image of a solar thermal plant planned for South Africa. In most developed economies, carbon emissions have flattened out or are trending downward. More efficient technology, a correspondingly lower demand, and an increasing reliance on renewable energy have been changing these countries' energy economies. But China provides a cautionary example of what could…
Here’s how much global carbon emission increased this year

Here’s how much global carbon emission increased this year

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Enlarge / Bar graph of climate data. Large oceangoing ships turn very slowly, which can be frustrating to someone accustomed to speeding around on nimble watercraft. Those eagerly watching for progress on climate change can relate. Every year, another batch of stats on greenhouse gas emissions comes in, and we're left to wonder whether we're…

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