... 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.
In case anyone still cares ... As the United Kingdom faces this existential crisis (and its continued existence really is in doubt), Britain's political class have left it rudderless. Johnson stabbed Cameron in the back by jumping to the Leave side, and now his own Brexit ally Gove has sabotaged him -- all of it in personal bids to seize the Tory leadership and power. Meanwhile, Labour leader Corbyn has lost the support of 80% of his party's MPs but refuses to resign. And UKIP leader Farage stands up in the European Parliament to crow, "Who's laughing now?" What a sorry, sorry lot (not one of whom has said they're sorry). Poor Britain.
The writer focuses on the failures of the British ruling class, but I tend to see it as a global phenomenon. It's easy to blame uninformed Brexit voters for lashing out at what they (rightly) see as an accelerating loss of conttol. But national and even supranational political leaders also seem inept and directionless when it comes to managing the side-effects of globalization. The difference is that the poor and underemployed grasp what is happening to their lives, while the elites delude themselves that they have a handle on things and even solutions they can offer the masses (whether they personally believe in them or not -- see Corbyn, Johnson). I just read that Thomas Piketty had been advising the Labour Party in the run-up to the referendum but resigned in frustration.
f there were any doubt that Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are the “it” couple of the moment in Democratic politics, it was silenced here Monday when they took the stage together for the first time.
The two nerdy wonks and feisty grandmothers, who built rival power centers on the political left but this spring gradually became allies, together electrified a crowd of thousands by locking their arms, punching the air and excoriating Donald Trump.