Word came this week that scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found the two largest black holes known to exist. Each is 10 billion times the size of our sun, and more than 300 million light-years away. Now, we should explain, black holes are known to hold some of the mysteries of our universe. They are so dense, they have so much gravitational pull, that not even light can escape. That makes this discovery all the more remarkable.
Most Americans haven't read the U.S. Constitution in a long time, if ever. They may be able to tell you about the Second Amendment, or the Fifth, maybe even part of the First. But other than that? A lot of blank stares.
Christopher Phillips has been leading what he calls "Constitution Café" discussions with people across the country. He's asking Americans to imagine themselves as framers of our founding document.
Anita Desai's new collection of stories, The Artist of Disappearance, reads a bit like three symphonic movements in a minor key. They're three novellas, set in modern India, where the past is giving way. In one story, a government official inspects the forgotten treasures left behind in a fated mansion. In another story, a translator becomes a little too creative; and in the third, a man living in solitude finds his world upset by roving visitors.
Some climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's tropical forests.
The basic idea is to provide rich countries that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to put carbon in a storehouse.
This week, the governors of New York and California proposed tax hikes to plug major holes in their state budgets. Governors Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown are both Democrats, and both are asking their states' wealthiest residents to pay higher income taxes.
That's pretty much where the similarities end. The execution of their tax proposals is a study in contrasts.
'We Have To Talk'
In New York, Cuomo's tax reform proposal followed a carefully crafted script, including a recorded video message to his constituents.
Originally published on Sun December 11, 2011 10:49 am
While nations wrangle over a new global treaty on climate change, the question on many minds is: What happens next?
Key portions of the Kyoto Protocol are set to expire at the end of 2012. But many of the world's major greenhouse gas emitters have already set national targets to reduce emissions, and they're forging their own initiatives to meet those goals.