big ideas

Bioplastics market ramping up.

“But the nascent bioplastics industry envisions a far bigger role for materials made from corn, sugar, vegetable oils and other renewable materials in the hope of grabbing a larger share of a nearly $600 billion global plastic market.” | learn more

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Are humans actually tribal?

This author is adamant that we are not, but failed to convince me. “People can be awful to one another, inside and outside their own groups. But that is a capacity, not an obligation, and it is not even the […]

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The rational case for monarchy.

“If you were to go back over the past couple of centuries, the vast majority of the most appalling regimes would be republics. Mussolini’s Italy might merit a place, and perhaps Tsarist Russia, which killed a fair few political opponents […]

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Britain and EU decide burning wood is carbon neutral?

“Not only are they going back to the future, but they also claim doing so is carbon neutral (spoiler alert: it isn’t, not even close). Nearly 40% of Europe’s so-called renewable energy is currently obtained by combusting wood, much of […]

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A first: extra-terrestrial water inside a meteorite.

“The Winchcombe meteorite, which struck a road in the town of Gloucestershire last February, is also believed to contain information about the origins of the water that makes up the planet’s immense seas, according to the Independent.” | learn more

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New day for nuclear power?

The fuel for almost all the cutting-edge nuclear reactors is high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel (HALEU—pronounced hey-lou). The problem is the Russian government owns the only company in the world that sells it. Yet there remains optimism in the industry thanks […]

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We’re going to need a lot of solar panels.

This will really expand your mind. Casey Handmer makes the case that with the solar costs declining 30% with every doubling of production, an average doubling time of 3 years, and a little more time, we’ll soon see solar energy […]

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AlphaFold reveals the structure of the protein universe.

A year after Google’s DeepMind team released AlphaFold, an AI system that can determine the shape of any protein from its sequence, comes this: “[W]e’re now releasing predicted structures for nearly all catalogued proteins known to science, which will expand […]