Stories tagged united states

Mar
29
2011

It's a world leader in clean energy investment and clean coal research and development. Last year, it manufactured a third of the world's solar panels and wind turbines, and it's luring companies from all over the world to build factories there. It has recently made huge investments in clean energy education. But it's not America.

The green tide: Is green the new red?
The green tide: Is green the new red?Courtesy Jude Freeman

The country I'm describing is China. That's right--the world's newly-dubbed largest net emitter of greenhouse gasses. It isn't bound by reduction requirements under the Kyoto protocol, and its use of fossil fuels is powering a growing and booming economy. And yet, the Chinese are courting US companies with financial incentives to build clean tech factories and research centers in China. They're working to corner clean tech markets in California and South Africa. In fact, over the last three years, China has gone from controlling 2% of California's solar market to a whopping 46%--ousting its American competitors. And that's not all--the country has become a proving ground for clean coal with the guidance of US companies and researchers.

Oh, the terror: handouts from the Sun.
Oh, the terror: handouts from the Sun.Courtesy BrokenSphere

These companies hope to learn from their experiences testing clean coal tech in China, and bring that knowledge back to the US to transform our own polluting coal plants into next-generation powerhouses. So what's in it for the Chinese? They're quickly gaining lead on the cutting edge in green technology, making room for growth in the energy sector without increasing pollution or relying on foreign imports, and reaping economic benefits--and they foresee substantial economic benefits in the future, when they could be the major supplier of green technology and research to the world.

Given the US's slowing progress on clean technologies, what do you think this will mean for our future? Should we be trying to get on top of green tech research and development? Or is it best left to others? Or are those even the right questions--will we have the best success when we pool resources with other countries?

Windpower leader
Windpower leaderCourtesy ecstaticist

The United States overtook Germany as the biggest producer of wind power last year, new figures showed, and will likely take the lead in solar power this year, analysts said on Monday. Wind accounted for 42% of all new electricity generation installed last year in the U.S.
Another interesting change:
The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States. (click links in red to learn more).

Oct
02
2007

Sputnik 1 starts space race 50 years ago

Sputnik 1: Oct. 4, 1957
Sputnik 1: Oct. 4, 1957
The "Sputnik crisis" was a turning point of the Cold War that began on October 4, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 1 satellite. With its intercontinental ballistic missile, the R-7 Semyorka, Russia was first out of the starting blocks in the space race.

The "simplest satellite"

Called PS-1, for "Prosteishiy Sputnik" — the Simplest Satellite, Sputnik 1 weighing just 184 pounds, was built in less than three months. Soviet designers built a pressurized sphere of polished aluminum alloy with two radio transmitters and four antennas.

Sergey Korolyov

Sergey Korolyov, both visionary scientist and iron-willed manager, pressed the Kremlin to let him launch a satellite. The reaction of the world so impressed Khrushchev that he pressed Korolyov to do it again. Working round-the-clock, Korolyov and his team built another spacecraft in less than a month. On Nov. 3, they launched Sputnik 2, which weighed 1,118 pounds. It carried the world's first living payload, a mongrel dog named Laika, in its tiny pressurized cabin.

Sputnik creates initiatives in science and math

The Sputnik crisis spurred a whole chain of U.S. initiatives, including NASA, NSF, DARPA, and even the "New Math".

The finish line - stepping on the Moon

Russia continued its lead in the space race with a moon probe, a photo of the far side of the Moon, a human in orbit, a woman in orbit, extra-vehicular activity, landing a probe on another planet (Venus), and the first space station. The United States captured the biggest prize, though, putting a human on the Moon (July 20, 1969).

Oct
07
2006

U.S. population, 300 million: from Wikimedia
U.S. population, 300 million: from Wikimedia
As I entered college in the fall of 1967, the population of the United States reached 200 million. Now, 40 years later, it will hit 300 million (about Oct. 15).
Our population is effected by deaths, births, and migration. Here are the current rates for each:

  • One birth every.................................. 7 seconds
  • One death every.................................. 13 seconds
  • One international migrant (net) every............ 31 seconds
  • Net gain of one person every..................... 11 seconds

The U.S. Bureau of the Census has a website projecting the current resident population of the United States (click link for today's number). At 300 million, the United States is the world's third most populous nation, though it remains far behind the growing economic superpowers of China (1.31 billion) and India (1.09 billion).

Minority children become a majority

Now, according to the Population Reference Bureau, almost half of all children under age 5 are members of a racial or ethnic minority.

Other changes since 1970

  • The suburbs share of the population grew from 38 percent to 50 percent (share of population living in central cities stagnated at around 30 percent).
  • The population in the South and West grew from 38 percent to 48 percent of the nations total.
  • Persons living alone rose from 18 percent to 26 percent. Households with five or more people almost halved, from 20 percent to 11 percent.
  • Women in the workforce grew from 43 percent to 59 percent.
  • Persons over 24 with high school diplomas soared from 55 percent to 85 percent.

Source: Population Reference Bureau, and RedOrbit