New evidence suggests that a nutrient that is both essential to life and an environmental scourge when present in large quantities is increasing in the open ocean, according to a new study published May 19 in the journal Science. The increase of this nutrient, known as “fixed” nitrogen, was studied in coral. The findings give researchers new insight into ocean ecosystems, which in turn provides a greater understanding for scientists and policymakers on how they should prioritize human-made threats to Earth’s biosphere and climate.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Washington has been hit with a trifecta of catastrophic events in the past week. First, President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, justifying his decision by pointing toward Comey’s mishandling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump later changed course, admitting he fired Comey for continuing the investigation about Russia’s role in disrupting the 2016 election. Just days later, news broke that Trump shared classified information about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office — a decision defended by Trump and Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump’s national security advisor. Now, Comey has returned to the spotlight following media reports that he wrote a memo about a conversation in which Trump told him to end the Michael Flynn investigation. How have the dramatic events of this week changed Washington? What’s next in the ongoing saga of the Trump presidency? Is an investigation or impeachment possible? Professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss this and more in episode #44 of Politics and Polls.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
President Donald Trump pledged to bring jobs back to America during his campaign, appealing to a strong middle class base that’s been struggling with stagnant wages and few job opportunities. Since the 1990s, death rates among this demographic — specifically middle-aged white Americans without college degrees — have been on the rise thanks to opioid addiction, alcohol abuse and suicide. This same pattern isn’t seen in other parts of the world, reversing decades of progress. Economist Anne Case, whose landmark study with co-author Sir Angus Deaton first detected the rise in mortality rates, joins this episode to discuss why “deaths of despair” are plaguing middle-aged white Americans.
Monday, May 8, 2017
The same technology that adds fizz to soda can now be used to remove particles from dirty water. Researchers at Princeton University have found a technique for using carbon dioxide in a low-cost water treatment system that eliminates the need for costly and complex filters. The system injects CO2 gas into a stream of water as a method of filtering out particles. The gas, which mixes with the water in a system of channels, temporarily changes the water's chemistry. The chemical changes cause the contaminating particles to move to one side of the channel depending on their electrical charge. By taking advantage of this migration, the researchers are able to split the water stream and filter out suspended particles.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
In his campaign promise to make America great again, President Donald Trump vowed to “bring jobs back to America” and revitalize the labor industry. Now, one hundred days into the Trump presidency, some are wondering: Where are all of those jobs? Believers say job creation is right around the corner, while critics argue little has been done, as Trump has mostly focused on rhetoric instead of policy. In an effort to untangle such labor issues, professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang interview Christopher P. Lu '88, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor. In this episode, Lu provides an inside look at the Department of Labor as well as the Trump transition.
Friday, Apr 28, 2017
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.
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.”
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.
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.