... We’re trying to harness photosynthesis. A key part of photosynthesis is what happens when the sun goes down. Cells convert CO2 into sugar and fat molecules. And they store the fat to burn as energy to get them through the night ... We’re trying to coax our synthetic cells to ... store far more fat than they actually were designed to do, so that we can harness it all as an energy source and use it to create gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel straight from carbon dioxide and sunlight. This would shift the carbon equation so we’re recycling CO2 instead of taking new carbon out of the ground and creating still more CO2. But it has to be done on a massive scale to have any real impact on the amount of CO2 we’re putting into the atmosphere, let alone recovering from the atmosphere.
... We envision facilities the size of San Francisco. And 10 or 15 of those in this country. We need sunlight, seawater, and non-agricultural land, but you need a lot of photons to drive this. You need a lot of surface area of sunlight to do that. It’s a great use for Arizona. Lots of sunlight there.
... If we can’t get some key scientific breakthroughs within the next couple of years, it probably won’t happen in 10 years. So it’s something that’s really dependent on fundamental science. But we’re already able to do things that were once seen as impossible.
... I think the new anti-intellectualism that’s showing up in politics today is a symptom of our not discussing these issues enough. We don’t discuss how our society is now 100 percent dependent on science for its future. We need new scientific breakthroughs—sometimes to overcome the scientific breakthroughs of the past. A hundred years ago oil sounded like a great discovery. You could burn it and run engines off it. I don’t think anybody anticipated that it would actually change the atmosphere of our planet. Because of that we have to come up with new approaches. We just passed the 7 billion population mark. In 12 years, we’re going to reach 8 billion. If we let things run their natural course, we’ll have massive pandemics, people starving. Without science I don’t see much hope for humanity.
Credit where credit is due: drones are pretty good at journalism. The video above was shot by an unmanned drone carrying a video camera, and presents a unique perspective on the scale of the protests taking place in Hong Kong....
By Arron Reza Merat,"Iran Pulse" @ Al-Monitor, Sept. 30, 2014
Iran’s judiciary this month sentenced former First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi to jail time for undisclosed corruption charges [....] His conviction was in part made necessary because of the narrative woven by Hassan Rouhani's new administration that the economic ills it inherited (5.4% growth and 44% year-on-year inflation) were due to unprecedented corruption under Ahmadinejad.
By Loveday Morris, Washington Post, Sept. 28, 2014
[....] a new weapon has been unleashed in this country devastated by Islamist militant violence — comedy. A new 30-part satirical series, “State of Myths,” which started airing on Iraqi state television Saturday, aims to expose the true nature of the Islamic State extremist organization — through slapstick and puns [....]
[....] While all eyes are on Syria and Iraq, another intervention is taking place in Yemen. The coalition involved here is more of an understanding than a military pact, but it is proving to be just as effective. That Iran should be backing a small Shi'a tribe in the north of Yemen called the Houthis comes as little surprise. The lightning takeover by the Houthis of the capital Sana'a has been applauded by Iranian politicians. [....]
By Stephanie Ennis, BBC Monitoring, 25 Sept., 2014
Russia is the target of a global plot orchestrated by the United States and involving fighters from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) and nationalist Ukrainian troops - that is the latest conspiracy theory broadcast on Russian state TV. "America is everywhere, the West is everywhere, Nato is everywhere. Everything is organised against Russia," the veteran Russian nationalist MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky railed during a talk show on Channel One, Russia's most popular TV station.
There was a "certain link", he hinted, between Ukrainian troops "raiding our western regions" and IS, which he said was being armed by the US.