Slate: Saudi Arabia Announces Sweeping Plan to Overhaul Its Economy, End Its 'Addiction to Oil'
Saudi Arabia announced a long-awaited plan Monday to dramatically reshape the country’s economy, aiming to free it from its decades-long dependence on oil. The move by the Saudis may have been expected, but that doesn’t make it any less of a sea change for the country that accumulated great wealth and power during the era of big oil and petro-based global economic growth. Now, prices have plummeted, the specter of climate change is changing consumption patterns, and to keep up with the times, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the country needs to make changes. The biggest will be its move away from relying on oil; bin Salman says the country will be able to live without oil altogether by 2020.
“We have an addiction to oil...this is dangerous,” Prince Mohammed said in an interview on state-owned al-Arabiya. “It has delayed development of other sectors.”
Climate Progress: Clinton Says No Thanks to Charles Koch’s Endorsement, Citing His Climate Denial
During an interview with ABC News on Sunday, conservative billionaire Charles Koch said that “it’s possible” that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton could be a better president than the current GOP candidates.
But Clinton was swift in rebuffing Koch’s kind words, tweeting just hours after the interview aired that she was not interested in the endorsement of anyone who denies climate science or supports voter suppression.
MIT Technology Review: How Drones Can Give a Boost to Biofuels
Next month, a team of researchers will load one small aerial drone and two ground drones with sensors and release them on a field planted with hundreds of varieties of sorghum. In just one trip, the three drones, along with several stationary sensors, are expected to gather enough intel to construct a 3-D model of the field that will help researchers do what’s historically taken plant breeders ages to accomplish -- pinpoint when a single plant in the field of sorghum varieties is thriving beyond expectation.
Compared to corn, its leading biofuel competitor, sorghum requires less water and can thrive in drought and heat conditions where other crops die. But the best varieties of sorghum for biofuel production aren’t well known. This team’s objective is to use drones and automated sensors to measure as many physical characteristics of each individual plant as possible -- everything from height and thickness to the angle the leaves are growing to photosynthetic activity.
Politico: Las Vegas Is Betting It Can Become the Silicon Valley of Water
If Las Vegas is the most profligate place on earth, where chance is king and the future is routinely gambled away, it is also possibly the most frugal and forward-looking American city in one respect: water. And now it’s trying to leverage that reputation by turning itself into a hub for new and innovative water technology.
In the thirstiest city in the nation’s driest state (it gets just 4 inches of rain a year), water is the last thing Las Vegas wants to gamble on. After 16 years of drought, water levels in nearby Lake Mead, the city’s primary water source, have dropped so precipitously that white rings have formed on its banks. Las Vegas, like a bankrupt gambler who suddenly realizes that things have to change, has responded with a host of water conservation measures.
Mercury News Editorial: Solar Impulse 2 Inspires the World
The remarkable flight by the Solar Impulse 2 pilots proves that the innovative spirit is thriving and that the world is just beginning to understand the potential for clean-energy technology.
Who would have believed 10 years ago that a plane powered exclusively by the sun might be capable of circling the globe? The record-breaking plane touched down at Moffett Field just before midnight Saturday, completing the ninth leg of the trip from Hawaii in 62 hours.