The Emergence of a “Renewable Feedstock-Based” Chemical Industry
If the future once lay in plastics, as the film “The Graduate” claimed, today the watchword may be “feedstocks.” This term includes corn, wheat, soy, sunflower, rapeseed (canola)—the array of carbohydrates and proteins growing in fields across the planet. The news, as Douglas Cameron makes clear, is that these crops no lon
Creativity: The Mind, Machines, and Mathematics: Public Debate
Two of the sharpest minds in the computing arena spar gamely, but neither scores a knockdown in one of the oldest debates around: whether machines may someday achieve consciousness. (NB: Viewers may wish to brush up on the work of computer pioneer Alan Turing and philosopher John Searle in preparation for this video.)
Electronics on Plastic: A Solution to the Energy Challenge, or a Pipe Dream?
As urgency to address climate change mounts, there’s ever greater interest in harnessing the unlimited potential of the sun to replace fossil fuels. This tantalizing prospect has inspired a raft of new scientific ventures, reports Stephen Forrest.
A theoretical field of silicon solar cells that is 1
The Next Frontier: Bioelectronic Interfaces
In the beginning, there was ENIAC. The first electrical computer could do 5,000 additions or subtractions per second, recounts Mark Reed, as long as people with shopping carts full of vacuum tubes jumped to the rescue each time the behemoth suffered a burnout. Then came transistors, and integrated circuits, greatly incre
Imperative of Science and Technology in Accelerating African and Rwandan Development
The news these days from Africa isn’t all bad. In fact, in some places, it’s downright hopeful, as Rwandan President Paul Kagame attests. “Our continent is no longer all about violence and disease and human disasters that scarred many African countries in recent decades,” says Kagame. “We are now becoming a continen
China's Development and China-U.S. Relations
MIT President Susan Hockfield hails a new era of collaboration between the Institute and China, and Zhou Wenzhong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China, discusses the larger relationship between his country and the U.S., particularly in light of the economic crisis
Financial Services: Prospects for Your Future
In a lively discussion with Simon Johnson,
Lawrence Fish deconstructs the near collapse of the banking system and points out the multiple factors that have contributed to the financial crisis.
Topics in the discussion include the banks that did not fail, how Canadian and other countries' banking systems
Creating a Game Plan for Transition to a Sustainable Economy
The “chief inspired protagonist” of one of the nation’s oldest and most successful green manufacturers apologizes for delivering a talk “more depressing than expected.” While discussing the challenges facing businesses attempting to transition to a more just and sustainable economy, Jeffrey Hollender enumera
Looking Ahead to 2020
Real-world practitioners of systems engineering/engineering systems describe how the young discipline has shaped their very large enterprises.
For the past 10 years, David Lehman has been incorporating key systems engineering ideas within MITRE Corporation. Successes include getting project leaders to think
1.2.2 Present-day energy use
Energy resources are essential for any society, be it one dependent on subsistence farming or an industrialised country. There are many different sources of energy, some well-known such as coal or petroleum, others less so, such as tides or the heat inside the Earth. Is nuclear power a salvation or a nightmare? This unit provides background information to each resource, so that you can assess them for yourself.
How to Read 1,000,000 Manga Pages: Visualizing Patterns in Games, Comics, Art, Cinema, Animation, TV
In his introduction, moderator Ian Condry advocates utilizing the expertise and innovation of all disciplines in order to best explore new directions in the humanities. He suggests that the challenge of discovery may ultimately be useful as theoretical exploration, which incorporates the transformative power of art as well.
Energy from sources other than fossil and nuclear fuels is to a large extent free of the concerns about environmental effects and renewability that characterise those two sources. Each alternative source supplies energy continually, whether or not we use it. This unit considers one of these alternative sources, geothermal energy derived from the interior heat of the Earth, and the potential for this alternative to supplant fossil and nuclear fuel use to power social needs fast enough to avoid t
New Media, Civic Media
As old media die, new forms are emerging, but it’s not clear they will serve such vital civic functions as “helping people form publics,” as Pat Aufderheide puts it. These panelists point to promising experiments in “Public Media 2.0,” but caution that new media are not guaranteed to shore up democracy or invigorate
Energy Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Today's Challenges, Tomorrow's Opportunities
There are ample opportunities for new energy entrepreneurs, these panelists agree, but motivation and certain kinds of know-how play key roles in bringing new ventures to fruition.
Idealism led Christina Lampe-Onnerud to “go into the energy space” at 23, but “inertia” surrounding the energy business
Automotive Lightweighting as a Strategic Opportunity for India’s Automotive Industry
Suppose you could leapfrog 100 years of experience in the automotive industry and begin a new manufacturing epoch. The strategic change you would make is to lightweight the vehicle, observes Charles Fine. Although steel has been the material of choice for many automotive components since the dawn of the automotive age, th
Security, Privacy and Technology
New technologies allow individuals, corporations and government entities to monitor, track and identify employees, customers and the general public. This panel provides a forum to discuss security and privacy in today's global economy.
The Militarization of Science and Space
Chomsky launches a savage, two-pronged assault on national economic policies and efforts at “global domination….By now the stakes are so high that issues of survival arise,” says Chomsky.
The basic principle underlying our current economy is “to make rich people happy and make everybody else frightened.” Chom
Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons
Joseph Cirincione delivers an energetic and at times impassioned primer on the standoff with Iran on its nuclear program, drawn in part from his latest book, The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons (Columbia University Press, Spring 2007).
He offers a succinct ‘equation’ to describe what drives nat
The Future of Nuclear Energy
Nuclear energy will emerge either as a solution to the twin crises of global warming and a secure energy supply, or global catastrophe. Within this panel at least, there doesn’t seem to be a comfortable middle ground.
MIT’s Andrew Kadak, one of the two speakers arguing the necessity of nuclear energy, advance
The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters
It’s time to trade in the Department of Homeland Security for a Department of Homeland Vulnerabilities, says Charles Perrow. At its peril, our nation “privileges terrorism over natural and industrial disasters.”
From Perrow’s perspective, the U.S. landscape is riddled with “weapons of mass destruction: