In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, four panelists with strong personal and professional ties to Haiti share their insights about the different paths to rebuilding and reconstructing the country.
Erica James begins with a view of Haiti’s history of “insécurité”, a term used to describe “cycles of polit
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
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
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
Defining the Boundaries: Homeland Security and Its Impact on Scientific Research
In August 2001, MIT launched a review of the university’s commitment to unclassified research on campus. One month later, the events of September 11th gave this review a harsh immediacy, and transformed the discussion. New government policies that constrain the open exchange of information among scientists, Jerome Frie
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
Can Nuclear Energy and Non-Proliferation Co-Exist?
If nuclear energy becomes a central tool in addressing climate change, will nuclear weapons proliferation inevitably follow? In the words of Matthew Bunn, “The horse ain’t entirely out of the barn—there are still things to do.” He and fellow panelists acknowledge the link between civilian nuclear energy programs
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:
The Road from Copenhagen
Following the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, a five-member panel reviews the pros and cons of the events that took place. Moderated by Ernest Moniz, the panel includes Rob Stavins, Michael Greenstone, Stephen Ansolabehere (filling in for William Bonvillian)
Contemplative Dimensions of Human Experience
In a mind-stretching talk covering the history of the planet, development of higher-order consciousness, and East-West religious practices, Trappist monk Thomas Keating claims that humanity is poised to take its next evolutionary step, to the “furthest levels of human understanding.”
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone
From the publisher:
“Heralded as a “sorcerer of narrative” (Foreign Policy) with an instinct for “poetic and intoxicating language” (Freie Presse), twenty-nine-year-old Saša Stanišić bounded onto the international literary scene to great fanfare and acclaim. How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone—the tale
The End of Saddam and the Future of Iraq
Saddam Hussein left a very visible legacy from 30 bloody years in power: countless victims and a broken nation. But there is also a more obscure inheritance, literally mountains of documents left by the Ba’ath Party and security groups. Kanan Makiya’s mission is to retrieve and index these materials, and make public the comprehensive c