Daily Archives: September 30, 2011

Failure Is Not An Option


SPACE WATCH

NASA – Gene Kranz (foreground, back to camera), an Apollo 13 Flight Director, watches Apollo 13 astronaut and lunar module pilot Fred Haise onscreen in the Mission Operations Control Room, during the mission’s fourth television transmission on the evening of April 13, 1970. Shortly after the transmission, an explosion occurred that ended any hope of a lunar landing and jeopardized the lives of the crew.

Why Europe’s crisis matters to U.S.


By Michael Gerson – An American economic recovery now faces only two obstacles. Unfortunately, they are considerable: the broken politics of the United States and the broken politics of Europe.

Given the gleeful polarization of the U.S. political class, any positive action on the economy may require a clarifying presidential election. But across the Atlantic, the test comes now. Can Europe contain an unavoidable financial meltdown to its weakest members?

“They are taking a ‘buy time’ approach,” says World Bank President Bob Zoellick. “But buying time to do what? They need a solution that interconnects sovereign debt, banks and, for some, competitiveness. Europe needs to decide what type of fiscal union would complement monetary union — or how to manage the consequences of the alternative.” more> http://tinyurl.com/4ycyofe

Measuring Happiness and Opportunity Around the World



BOOK REVIEW – The Pursuit of Happiness: An Economy of Well-being, Author: Carol Graham.

Brookings – In recent years, a number of nations—from Bhutan to Britain, France, China and Brazil —have begun to incorporate measures of happiness into their benchmarks for national progress. Even in the United States— where the Declaration of Independence promises all citizens the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”— policymakers are beginning to consider the merits of measuring happiness. more> http://tinyurl.com/6cqaz4r

Artificial leaf makes fuel from sunlight


By David L. Chandler – The device, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Daniel Nocera explains, is made entirely of earth-abundant, inexpensive materials—mostly silicon, cobalt, and nickel—and works in ordinary water. Other attempts to produce devices that could use sunlight to split water have relied on corrosive solutions or on relatively rare and expensive materials such as platinum.

The artificial leaf is a thin sheet of semiconducting silicon which turns the energy of sunlight into a flow of wireless electricity within the sheet. Bound onto the silicon is a layer of a cobalt-based catalyst, which releases oxygen, a material whose potential for generating fuel from sunlight was discovered by Nocera and his coauthors in 2008. The other side of the silicon sheet is coated with a layer of a nickel-molybdenum-zinc alloy, which releases hydrogen from the water molecules.

“I think there’s going to be real opportunities for this idea,” Nocera says. more> http://tinyurl.com/5unno8m

Europe’s Debt Crisis Has Become a German Identity Crisis


By Brendan Greeley – The debt crisis in Europe has become a crisis of German identity. The rising likelihood of a Greek default has left the Continent’s most powerful nation with an unpalatable choice: back away from its insistence on responsibility and monetary stability and agree to help purchase Greece’s sovereign debt; or hold fast and risk the collapse of the euro. To a considerable degree, the future of Europe’s banking system, its monetary union, the fate of the global economy, and Barack Obama’s Presidency now rest on how Germans decide to act. more> http://tinyurl.com/3l4lwse