Black Swans and the Future of Energy by Paul Polak and Krish Desai

Energy experts now confidently predict that by 2040, solar and wind will drive no less than 60% of global power; natural gas will replace the lion's share of the burning of coal, and the market for electric cars will soar. Nassim Taleb, on the other hand, questions the ability of experts to predict just about anything. He asserts instead, in The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, that the future is consistently shaped by unexpected, high-impact outlier events, which we do our best to rationalize after the fact. Who could have predicted the Black Swan disruptive transformative impact of Henry Ford's Model T…

Continue Reading
What is the Role of Science in Ending Poverty?
Amin-Erdene Galkhuu pumps well water to her family's Bactrian camels in Mongolia's South Gobi region.

What is the Role of Science in Ending Poverty?

Ten years ago I attended The Alicante Conference on Water and Science, which focused on hydrogeology – the science of water in the ground. Most of the participants were members of science academies in their countries. The first point I made in my talk was that science was making only a feeble contribution to practical solutions to poverty. I went on to present the data that the farms where poor people make their living are microscopic in size. For example, 85% of all the farms in the world are less than five acres. Science in the fields of water, agriculture, economics, and design need whole…

Continue Reading