The first 100 days of Trump’s presidency have been a whirlwind of victories and setbacks, leaving Americans with mixed opinions about President Trump and how the next four years could unfold. While his approval ratings are at historic lows and he has yet to enact any major legislation, his supporters have been pleased with the burst of executive actions and his defiant stand against the political establishment. How has President Trump done in his first 100 days, and how does he compare to past presidents? Why is the first 100 days in office used as a barometer in the first place? Do these presidential beginnings predict the course of an entire term? In this episode of Politics & Polls, professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang interview political historian Meg Jacobs, a research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Jacobs explains the concept of evaluating a president’s first 100 days and how she thinks Trump’s faring from a historical perspective.
Energy Systems Analysis Group and NRG Energy Team Up on Modeling Electric Grid for a Low-Carbon Future
Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017
The Energy Systems Analysis Group (ESAG) at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment is one of nine groups that has been selected to receive funding from Princeton University’s Innovation Fund. The ESAG’s work will involve a modeling study of the U.S. electric grid. ESAG will lead the project and work in collaboration with NRG Energy, a leading power company in the U.S., to assess how the ongoing penetration of renewables might affect the U.S. electric grid and prospects for decarbonization in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate. ESAG developed this research project over the past several months through discussions with NRG since both parties share strong interests around a low-carbon future for the U.S. power sector. Analysts at NRG will bring perspectives of a private-sector player in electricity markets to help inform ESAG’s efforts.
Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017
Drastic changes in climate policy under the Trump administration should not cause environmental advocates to lose hope, a panel of experts said at a recent symposium at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. Even though the administration and Congressional leaders have begun to reverse policies aimed at reducing atmospheric carbon emissions, the panelists said that many opportunities remain to push policies and technologies to mitigate climate change. In fact, a number of technologies, from solar power to increased energy efficiency, already have momentum that may be unstoppable. “This issue will not go away,” said David Hawkins, director of the Climate Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The business community knows that it won’t go away. The markets believe in climate change because the markets are anchored in reality.”
Monday, Apr 24, 2017
An interview Professor Warren Powell, who’s a well-known expert on modeling transportation and logistics systems, on his research work modeling the electric grid, specifically the impact of intermittent renewables (solar and wind) on the grid. He talks about the challenges of increasing these renewables on the electric grid, and how their rise has necessitated at times backup reserve in the form of fossil fuel generators. Another interesting point he brings up is that the electricity “portfolio” of any given region is dictated by geography and resource availability, i.e., Texas has a lot of wind due to being situated in a wind corridor, and Florida has favorable growing conditions for sugar cane, which can be turned into biofuels.
Thursday, Apr 20, 2017
From Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election to the looming federal budget negotiations, the 115th U.S. Congress currently has a full plate. What other challenges might today’s Congress face in the months ahead? In this episode of Politics & Polls, Professor Sam Wang interviews Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ), who represents the 7th Congressional District of New Jersey.
Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017
Princeton University-based researchers have found that machine-learning programs can acquire the cultural biases embedded in the patterns of wording, from a mere preference for flowers over insects, to discriminatory views on race and gender.
Friday, Apr 14, 2017
Agriculture has long been blamed for smog-causing ammonia in the atmosphere, but vehicle tailpipes actually are a more important source of ammonia's contribution to the haze that hovers over big cities, according to new research by a team including Princeton engineers. "Ammonia doesn't have to come all the way from the Midwest to Philadelphia or New York," said Mark Zondlo, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University. "Much of it is being generated here."
Thursday, Apr 13, 2017
Last week, a chemical weapons attack killed dozens of Syrians, prompting President Donald Trump to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian airbase. Meanwhile, concern about North Korea’s nuclear arsenal builds, with satellite images hinting at another detonation test. Plus, there are ongoing national security issues: The scandal with Russian intervention in the 2016 election has loomed large over each decision the Trump administration makes in international relations, while President Trump’s Twitter habits and attacks on the intelligence community have generated tension in Washington. How will such emerging and continued threats endanger national security? Gen. David Petraeus (U.S. Army Ret.) joins Politics & Polls this week to discuss the national security challenges facing the Trump administration.
Friday, Apr 7, 2017
As the investigation into Russia’s interference with the 2016 U.S. election continues, President Donald Trump continues to call the story “fake news,” “phony,” and “a total scam,” mostly by way of Twitter. He also continues to try to change the conversation by making groundless allegations, particularly his claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. What do we know for certain about Trump’s connection to Russia? And what else might be revealed as the Senate and House intelligence committees continue their investigations? To better unravel this ongoing news story, Professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang interview Sarah Kendzior, a St. Louis, Mo.-based commentator who writes about politics, the economy and media. The crux of the conversation stems from Kendzior’s recent article, “At long last, a forum where Trump cannot escape the truth."
Friday, Mar 31, 2017
Shortly after the bill to replace the Affordable Care Act was pulled, President Trump called The Washington Post’s Robert Costa to discuss what happened. The President had a “defiant and even-tempered tone," says Costa. The defeat in the House introduced Trump to the realities of the legislative process and Congress' factions. How will Mitch McConnell fare in securing the Senate votes needed to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court? What can these events tell us about Trump’s evolving relationship with and influence over Congress? Professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang interview Robert Costa for the latest episode of Politics & Polls. Costa is a national political reporter at The Washington Post and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.