Registration is open for Energy at the Movies on March 9, or you can sign up to watch the webcast:
From the gushing geysers of Giant, to the plutonium-powered time machine of Back to the Future, Hollywood has entertained us with unforgettable, often iconic images of energy. Whether intentional or not, films frequently serve as a snapshot of society, capturing sentiments of each time period. Many films have themes or scenes that memorialize collective optimism, fears, and observations about energy. Using film clips as a historical road map, Energy at the Movies is an entertaining lecture that will enlighten audiences about the ways films influence how we think about energy, and in turn, how we influence energy policy.
Dr. Michael Webber will present an engaging interactive lecture followed by our panel discussion:
Sheril Kirshenbaum: co-author of Unscientific America
Turk Pipkin: producer of Nobelity Project & One Peace at a Time
Matthew Chapman: great-great grandson of Charles Darwin, screenwriter and director of such films as Runaway Jury and 2011’s The Ledge
Charles Ramirez-Berg: film historian and distinguished UT Professor
Join us as we navigate through 70 years of energy on the big screen!
As a relatively new Texan, I’ve been very impressed with Texas House Representative Mark Strama. He not only works hard to understand his constituents, but is an extremely engaged politician. I’ve already seen him speak eloquently at three Texas energy events demonstrating a firm grasp of many issues related to energy.
Yesterday I attended the the fourth annual Clean Energy Venture Summit (hashtag #CEVS2010) where Strama participated in a panel called Policy, Research, Commercialization, and the Entrepreneur. During the session, he discussed why he believes the American consumer has passed a tipping point. Just as Bill Clinton described over dinner during last week’s CGI meeting, Strama emphasized there are tremendous possibilities for industry to profit and stressed three policy levers to promote this:
Many people seem to miss that energy policy is not just about the environment. There are enormous emerging economic opportunities and the U.S. can and should be a leader to reap the benefits of the changing global landscape. Will we?
We’re all listening to reports of the shooting on campus this morning. The details are unclear, but one gunman is dead and it appears no one else was injured. A possible second suspect is sought. The University is closed and you can follow emergency updates here. Since this is where I work, I’m getting several emails, so in response am posting the latest from The Statesman:
Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 08:32 AM
A gunman who fired several shots in the Perry-Castaneda Library on the UT campus is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and police are looking for a possible second suspect, officials say.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed that the shooter is dead, but UT continues to be locked down, and people are urged to stay out of the area.
Officials say it appears there are no other injuries. UT spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said witnesses had reported that the man was armed with automatic weapon.
“The shooter is dead on the sixth floor of Perry-Castaneda Library, said Don Hale, a UT spokesman. “No identification. Apparently took his own life.”
“We don’t have any report of anybody getting shot at this point,” Hale said.
“It’s not clear yet” if there is a second suspect, Hale said shortly after 9 a.m., adding that the university’s advice to stay indoors and keep doors locked remains in force. Read More
I’m glad to finally be able to announce that today I begin my new position at The University of Texas at Austin. I’m joining the Webber Energy Group as a research scientist at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy.
Here at The Intersection, I’ll be exploring a myriad of related topics from renewables to fossil fuels (including oil spills) to thermodynamics, and so much more. I’m really looking forward to the discussions that will ensue.
As I wrote last week, if we want to establish better energy institutions, it’s up to us to make it so. Given the enormous challenges we face, improving public understanding of related issues is a big part of the solution and more important than ever.
Some readers have already requested energy topics in a previous thread and I continue to be very interested in your questions. Also, if there are specific subjects you’d like to see covered, leave ideas in comments below.
With that, I’m off to work… Hook ‘Em Horns!
Well, I’m back. Over the past month, the devastating BP spill that began April 20th has become catastrophic in scale. And that’s an understatement.
When I checked on my inbox early May, it was overflowing with questions from our readers about oil’s impact on the marine realm, its potential to spread, and the long-term possibilities across sectors. Foremost, I want to thank Wallace J. Nichols and Philip Hoffman for posting in my absence when I asked them to provide details. Chris has also done a good job covering the reasons we should all be concerned about the 2010 hurricane forecast.
In short, the BP oil spill is as bad as it gets. It’s an unprecedented social, environmental, and economic disaster in the US. And it’s not over. The public seems to have expected that scientists and engineers would have a quick fix immediately–not surprising given that on television, problems take less than an hour to solve (with commercials). Now any fix will do, but no one’s sure what we’re dealing with 5000 feet below sea level. I haven’t kept up with all of the coverage while overseas, though I’m sure much of what I’d say about the tragedy itself would be repetitious. Instead, I will add this…
No matter what took place and why it happened, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico belongs to all of us. Now it is our collective responsibility to make sure we establish the policies that will prevent it from happening ever again It’s related to oceans, economics, security, and climate change. But most of all, this is all about energy. And the truth is, regardless of the renewable options that are coming down the pipeline, we’re not there yet. Earth will continue to be a primarily fossil-fuel based planet for decades to come. So if we want better related institutions, it’s our choice to enact them.
Over the next three days, I’ll be on the road driving from NY to Austin, Texas. Once I arrive, I’ll share the details of my new job working on energy solutions for the 21st century.
Having now been here a couple of weeks, I can say that Austin is possibly the best place I’ve lived–or at least ranks alongside New York. I’ll wait a few months to decide for sure, as it doesn’t count until I’ve made it through the summer heat.
So far I’ve been exploring town on foot and meeting all sorts of friendly people. Breakfast tacos are the staple and there are fresh avocados everywhere. Dogs and bicycles are popular, flip-flops are ‘the Austin work boot’, and wildflowers abound thanks to Lady Bird Johnson.
I’ve been hanging out with a lot of great folks involved in energy and recently toured a coal power plant. I also visited Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge which offers great birding opportunities. And since it’s Austin, it was easy to find a group of talented guys to play music with. Something about this place already feels like home.
CM’s on the way over to visit, so I’m hoping the city inspires him to pick up his guitar again…
It has been brought to my attention that a number of readers and science bloggers seem to be wondering if Monday’s post means I am retiring from the blogosphere. I’m not, but am glad to see that reflection on the devolving state of science blogs–and their tendency to be more sport and spectacle than science–seems to have resonated broadly with over 400 comments and counting. I will have more to say on science blogging shortly, but first a few words on why I’m posting less frequently…
Foremost, blogging should not be a daily requirement. For me, it began in 2006 when I lost a bet with students–as Cornelia Dean explained in her terrific book. I found I enjoyed the interactive exchange and the way it helped me to make sense of all of the endless ideas spinning around in my head everyday. But a good blog post is the result of inspiration, and over time it started to feel like homework. I’d work a full day at Duke, or edit my book for hours, and scramble for something to get on the blog as an afterthought. Blogging stopped feeling cathartic and became more burdensome while juggling work, travel, talks, some semblance of a social life, and wedding planning. So I’ve decided it’s time to change the way I contribute. From now on, I’ll write only when inspired. This may happen a few times a week or a few times a day. We’ll see how it goes.
And more importantly, I’m busier than usual this month because David and I are headed to Austin, Texas! I’ll be very sad to leave the incredible Pimm Group at Duke, but I’m also so excited about what’s coming next! While I’ll always stay connected to the marine realm, there’s another crucial area I’ve been growing more and more interested to pursue and there’s no better place to do so than Texas. So here’s the big–related–announcement:
The Intersection is about to become an energy blog. I’ll have more to say on that soon so keep watching… you ain’t seen nothing yet!