Capitalism and Climate Change

Nearly every political or economic dialogue of the past few years has featured talk of “green jobs” and the prospects offered by “the clean-energy economy.” L. Hunter Lovins and Boyd Cohen seek to make tangible the actual business economics of de-carbonization and sustainable development in their new work Climate Capitalism (Hill and Wang, $26).  Much … Continue reading

“Eaarth”: The Same But Different

Hegel, in the words of philosopher Slavoj Zizek, says that a good portrayal looks more like the person who is portrayed than the person itself.  In other words, a good portrayal makes reality more what it already is.  Its goal, as Zizek points out, is to introduce a change that makes us “see better.” Bill … Continue reading

New Energy Versus Old Money

On March 25, 2011, Jim Gordon, a successful entrepreneur  in the New England energy market gave a lively talk at Columbia University about the Cape Wind energy project.  Cape Wind is arguably America’s most controversial renewable energy project.  It was met with vehement not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) opposition by some of America’s wealthiest and most powerful families. … Continue reading

“Eat Food” a Book Review: In Defense of Food By Michael Pollan

“Eat food.  Not too much. Mostly plants.”  —  “Eat food.  Not too much. Mostly plants.”  — “Eat food.  Not too much. Mostly plants.”  — When I first opened Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and read the first three brief sentences “Eat food.  Not too much. Mostly plants.” I had to re read it three … Continue reading

Plundering (Whose) Paradise?

“We may infer from these facts, what havoc the introduction of any new beast of prey must cause in a country, before the instincts of the aborigines become adapted to the stranger’s craft or power” -Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle This the theme of Michael D’orso‘s Galapagos book “Plundering Paradise” which has short description … Continue reading

Computer versus Humanity: which is most human?

Computer chess programs now routinely beat even the best human competition. A recent match between the former Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter and a computer (IBM’s “Watson”) resulted in the dismantling of the humans on the famous game show. For those who wonder if there is any competition remaining in which humanity has … Continue reading

The Vertical Farm

by Aaron Martin Did you know that in New York City there are 10 rats for every person? Perhaps you suspected as much, and Dr. Despommier confirms this suspicion in his delightful new book, “The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century.”  What I didn’t know was that this army of rats is … Continue reading

Chimpanzees Have Feelings, Too: A book review of Andrew Westoll’s The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary

If you have ever, even once, wanted to feel the connection between humans and primates, and get a glimpse into their human-esque emotions and behaviors, Andrew Westoll’s book The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary will satisfy that need, but with a dark twist. Westoll tells the story of the tumultuous lives of thirteen chimps from labs … Continue reading

A Future of Human-Eating Chickens

by Kimberly Peng Trekking through a humid and dense forest, a white goat stands chained to a poll, eating the grasses that lay around it. Rain starts to pour as flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder create chaos. In an unexpected instant, the goat disappears, its chain broken and a puddle of blood left … Continue reading