On April 1, 2017, the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico opened its Stallion gate to the public, like it does twice every year. For a few hours, visitors are free to wander the Trinity Test Site, where, on July 16, 1945, the United States tested the first atomic bomb in history, forever altering the destructive power available to humans. On the way in, the over 4,600 visitors were greeted by about two dozen protesters, whose signs bore a simple, stark message: The first victims of an atomic bomb are still living.
Our smartphones and other gadgets are powered by lithium-ion batteries, but as companies like Samsung know all too well, those charge-holders can be flammable under the wrong conditions. The hazards of lithium-ion batteries are also a concern for another group, one with a strong incentive to keep fires at bay: the U.S. Navy. Now chemists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NLR) have announced a new battery technology that they say is both safe and rechargeable, and could make its way into electric vehicles, bikes, or ships.
In 1970, Republican President Richard Nixon signed an executive order creating the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It was a time when pollution made many of our nation's rivers and streams unsafe for fishing or swimming. Back then, New York City's air pollution was so thick that you often couldn't see the city's iconic bridges. Forty-seven years later, there is serious talk of dismantling the agency, or at least slashing its size by two-thirds.
Over in the US, most people are now receiving energy efficiency reports with the colorful bar graphs that show how their energy use stacks up against their neighbors. This isn't an idle “FYI'' exercise, but a carefully designed strategy aimed at encouraging people to cut back on the power.
In The Oracle of Oil, Mason Inman examines the history of "peak oil" and the planet's ever-diminishing resources through the story of M. King Hubbert, the geologist who first realized oil's days were ultimately numbered. In a companion Q+A with Nexus Media, Inman shares his insights on the future of oil in the age of climate change. Read an excerpt from the book below.