This 7-year-old from Maryland might be the next Einstein

February 6, 2017 by  
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Romanieo Golphin, Jr. may only be 7, but already there are whispers that he could be the Albert Einstein of his generation. The home-schooled boy from Silver Spring, Maryland, showed signs of precociousness at age 2, when he was able to tackle questions about particle physics between spoonfuls of Cheerios. Although Romanieo digs art and music and loves LEGO and candy, his real passions lie with science, a subject where he gets to articulate “big words” like “cyclohexanecarboxylic acid” that would trip the tongues of most grownups. “They’re not a mouthful for me,” he told the Washington Post . People started to take notice. Steven Goldfarb, an experimental physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which runs the Large Hadron Collider, invited the pint-size prodigy and his family to tour the facilities in Switzerland, whereupon he dubbed Romanieo a CERN “ambassador” to the Washington region. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of National Geographic’s Cosmos , is said to be a fan. The elder Golphin, an adviser for the music department at the University of North Carolina , regularly takes Romanieo to to university classes to observe. “When he looked in my classroom, all I saw was his hair, his forehead and his eyeballs,” said Brian Hogan, a professor of chemistry at UNC. “And his eyeballs, they looked like hard-boiled eggs, they were open so wide.” Related: 7-year-old California boy saves 10K for college with his own recycling company Hogan was a skeptic at the beginning, but little Romanieo quickly won him over. “He could be the next Einstein,” he said. “He’s got a mind that is built to solve problems.” Romanieo’s parents hope that their son’s aptitude for science will lead him change people’s lives for the better. But they also acknowledge that his interests could just as easily lead him to a career in the arts. “Let the boy free, and he’s going to create his world,” Golphin said. Via the Washington Post Photos from Facebook

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This 7-year-old from Maryland might be the next Einstein

6 reasons the clean energy revolution doesn’t need Trumps blessing

February 6, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump ’s anti-environment blitzkrieg is leaving many of us struggling to catch up to and understand the dramatic changes being made to long-standing federal policy. Most recently it is being reported that Trump will “definitely” pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, and that Republicans are gunning for the Environmental Protection Agency. There is no sugar coating it, these are dark times for those of us who are concerned about ensuring a livable climate and habitable planet for future generations. But, as much as Trump and his oil-soaked administration want to make fossil fuels great again, the global clean energy revolution is gaining speed to the point of being unstoppable. Here are a few reasons the renewables revolution will continue without Trump’s blessing. Congress is unlikely to reverse renewable tax credit extensions Congress gave a big boost to solar and wind at the end of 2015 with the passage of a bill that extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar. The 30 percent solar ITC was extended through 2019 before falling to 26 percent in 2020, 22 percent in 2021 and 10 percent in 2022. The 2.3 percent wind PTC was extended through 2016 before dropping 20 percent each year through 2020. Related: U.S. extends solar and wind tax credits to boost clean energy by $73 billion over 5 years As many solar and wind jobs are located in red states, it is unlikely that Republican lawmakers will reverse the renewable tax credit extensions when they work with Trump on his expected tax reform push. Texas leads the nation in total installed wind power capacity with 18,531 megawatts while wind supplied more than 31 percent of Iowa’s in-state electricity generation in 2015, according to the American Wind Energy Association. On the solar front, Arizona (2,303 MW) ranks second for installed capacity and North Carolina (2,087 MW) is right behind in third place, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. A new report from the Department of Energy finds that solar employs more Americans than oil, gas and coal combined — 43 percent of electricity generation sector workforce in solar last year versus only 22 percent in fossil fuels. Global market forces exist Market forces are pushing the United States and the world toward renewable energy and energy efficiency regardless of politics and policy. The reality is that, as former President Barack Obama wrote recently in the journal Science, the momentum of clean energy is “irreversible.” Big companies like Google and Apple are aggressively transitioning operations to sustainable energy — Google says it will run entirely on clean energy at some point this year, Apple has committed to run off 100 percent renewable energy, and various other high-profile corporations have similar targets. A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that global investment in renewables increased from under $50 billion in 2004 to a record $348 billion in 2015. Related: Bill Gates launches $1 billion clean energy fund to fight climate change Cost of renewables has dropped Even without a carbon pricing mechanism in place in many countries and governments continuing to prop up fossil fuels with massive subsidies, the cost of solar and wind continues to fall — and fast. The costs of utility-scale solar power fell 85 percent and wind power fell 66 percent in the past seven years. A record low solar power project bid recently took place in Abu Dhabi — the government-owned Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority received a bid of 2.42 cents a kilowatt-hour for a 350-megawatt solar plant. The reason solar and wind will continue to beat oil, coal and gas is because of the simple fact that they are technologies, not fuels. Solar and wind technologies will keep improving, becoming more efficient and cost effective, while digging up what’s left of fossil fuels will become increasingly complicated and expensive. The rest of the world still cares about climate change The United States is an extreme outlier when it comes to caring about climate change. The Republican Party is the only major political party in the advanced world that denies climate change and Trump is the only world leader who denies climate change. Thankfully the rest of the world is more in line with the scientific consensus of man-made global warming, as exemplified by the Paris climate agreement that Trump is about to withdraw the US from. A total of 194 nations have signed the landmark deal to curb carbon emissions, with 127 ratifying it so far. The agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016. As the US goes rogue on climate action, don’t expect the rest of the world to follow. Even countries already ruled by right-wing populists such as Russia, Hungary and Poland signed the Paris accord. China is taking a leadership role, investing in renewables As Trump commits to dirty energy, China is moving away from fossil fuels toward renewables as the country’s growing middle class demands cleaner air in some of the most polluted cities in the world. China’s energy agency recently announced that the country will invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($361 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020. “Renewable energy will be the pillar for China’s energy structure transition,” said Li Yangzhe, deputy head of the National Energy Administration, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Last year China invested a record $32 billion in foreign countries, according to research by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. While the US withdraws from the world, China is already taking a leadership role by increasing domestic renewables and spreading clean energy abroad. Related: China set to invest $174 billion in clean energy over next four years U.S. states are going towards renewables with or without federal help As Trump prepares to kill the Clean Power Plan , states such as New York and California are aggressively pursuing their own renewable energy mandates without federal guidance. In Virginia, the governor just announced plans for the state’s largest solar farm — a 100 MW facility that will power Amazon’s cloud computing division. Iowa recently approved the biggest wind farm in US history that when completed in 2019 will include 1,000 turbines generating 2,000 MW of electricity — enough to power 800,000 homes in the state. Republican governors of Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Vermont have recently either announced clean energy initiatives or signed legislation to increase renewables. Related: New York approves nation’s largest offshore wind farm Don’t count on the Trump Administration to realize fossil fuels belong to the past, but since the renewables revolution is unstoppable, it doesn’t matter what Trump decides. Images via Shutterstock , Pexels , Wikimedia  ( 1 , 2 ), Flickr

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6 reasons the clean energy revolution doesn’t need Trumps blessing

French artist JR makes the Louvre’s pyramid "disappear" with a giant photographic print

June 6, 2016 by  
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Many of JR’s art installations are similar in nature: outdoors, large in scale, and centered around photographic prints. In a press release, the artist explained his motivation for pairing photos with landmarks all around the world, ranging from the Middle East to the favelas of Rio to slums of Kenya. “The most important thing,” wrote JR, “is where I put my photos and the meaning they take on depending on the place.” Related: INFOGRAPHIC: The most amazing museums in the world For a full 24 hours (May 28 3:00 p.m. to May 29 3:00 p.m.), JR and other artists occupied the Louvre . The agenda included a series of talks, films, and concerts, including a film with Agnès Varda in northern France and a performance with dancers from the New York City Ballet. The celebration also included five brief after-hours museum tours, led by JR and magician Yann Frisch, topping the momentous day with an extra dose of whimsy. JR documented the progress of the exhibit via his Instagram page . There, he shows crews in action, working carefully to hang the enormous photographic print with the aid of a giant crane. The exhibition will be open through June 27. + The Louvre Images via JR

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French artist JR makes the Louvre’s pyramid "disappear" with a giant photographic print

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