You’ve never heard of him, but he’s remaking the pollution fight

The New York Times reports: This spring the Biden administration proposed or implemented eight major environmental regulations, including the nation’s toughest climate rule, rolling out what experts say are the most ambitious limits on polluting industries by the government in a single season. Piloting all of that is a man most Americans have never heard… Read More »

How the media is covering ChatGPT

Columbia Journalism Review reports: With advancements in AI tools being rolled out at breakneck pace, journalists face the task of reporting developments with the appropriate nuance and context—to audiences who may be encountering this kind of technology for the first time. But sometimes this coverage has been alarmist. The linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky criticized “hyperbolic headlines” in… Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan defies odds to win presidential election

The Wall Street Journal reports: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won Sunday’s runoff presidential election, establishing him as one of the great survivors in recent political history and securing his outsize role in global affairs for what could be years to come. The head of Turkey’s election board declared Erdogan the victor. Erdogan won 52.13% of the… Read More »

Our brain prefers positive vocal sounds that come from our left

PsyPost reports: Researchers have shown that the brain’s primary auditory cortex is more responsive to human vocalizations associated with positive emotions and coming from our left side than to any other kind of sounds. This bias can be explained by the way our brain is organized, but its evolutionary significance is not yet known. Sounds… Read More »

Lessons from the Laschamps Excursion 42,000 years ago

Dirk Schulze-Makuch writes: After studying the reversal of Earth’s magnetic pole known to have occurred 42,000 years ago, a science team led by Alan Cooper from the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, Australia concludes that the event had significant environmental repercussions, especially at lower and mid-latitudes. That time period, known as the Laschamps Excursion, had… Read More »

Scientists find way to make energy from air using nearly any material

The Washington Post reports: Nearly any material can be used to turn the energy in air humidity into electricity, scientists found in a discovery that could lead to continuously producing clean energy with little pollution. The research, published in a paper in Advanced Materials, builds on 2020 work that first showed energy could be pulled… Read More »

Drastic climate action is the best course for economic growth, study finds

Yale Climate Connections reports: For decades, many economists’ analyses seemed to justify inaction on weaning the economy from fossil fuels, saying the astronomical cost of such rapid transformation would strangle economic growth. These experts were heeded over scientists who warned that acting too slowly would court climate catastrophe. But in recent years, more economists have… Read More »

Create an IPCC-like body to harness benefits and combat harms of digital tech

Joseph Bak-Coleman et al write: Search engines, online banking, social-media platforms and large-language models, such as ChatGPT, are among the many computational systems that offer (or could offer) tremendous benefits. They provide people with unprecedented access to information. They help to connect hundreds of millions of individuals. And they could make all sorts of tasks… Read More »

Clarence Thomas’s newest opinion would literally bring back child labor

Ian Millhiser writes: On Thursday, the Supreme Court imposed strict new limits on the Clean Water Act. The Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA is likely to do serious harm to the government’s ability to quell water pollution, including in major waterways such as the Mississippi River and the Chesapeake Bay. Meanwhile, Justice Clarence Thomas… Read More »

Study: At all levels of public office, threats now come with the job

The Washington Post reports: Since taking office in 2021, Oakland City Council member Carroll Fife has received threats by phone, social media and in person, an extreme level of harassment she never imagined would come with serving her community. Fife said she has found animal parts strewn on her car, her tires flattened, and trash… Read More »