A Future Awash in LED Light

The Unexpected Rise of This Bright, Energy-Efficient Lighting Technology Spells the End for Edison’s Incandescent Lamp

The Nobel Prize in Physics just awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura for their work on blue light-emitting diodes—LEDs as they are commonly known—reveals the extent to which lighting technology has changed over the just the last four decades. Since the energy crises of the 1970s, researchers have introduced many new, more efficient light sources, but now all are being replaced thanks in large part to the work of these new Nobel Laureates.

As curator of the electricity collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, part …

Is Mexico Finally Getting Over Its Hang-ups?

With a Major Energy Reform, the Country Seems Ready To Shed Its Old, Outdated Ideas Of Itself

Over the summer, on a visit to my old hometown of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, a place wracked by drug cartel violence in recent years, I met with Javier Contreras …

This Is Your Brain On Apps, ‘Minecraft,’ and Fracking

The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis

The nutshell: Risk-averse. Dependent. Superficial. Narcissistic. All of these are …

Our Ignorant Gas-Price Bliss

No One Wants To Talk About the ‘Crack Spread,’ But That Obscene-Sounding Term Is a Key To Understanding Your Spending At the Pump

Sigh. Everyone wants to talk about gas prices—$4.25 a gallon for regular in L.A. last week. But no one wants to talk about crack spreads. “Crack spread” sounds a bit …

My Personal Climate Confusion Disorder

From the Searing Southwest to the Mighty Miss, I’m Experiencing a Personal Climate Change

Like a human divining rod, I came to eastern Iowa from the arid West seeking water. In the West, my eyes were trained mostly on the ground, on the dust …

ExxonMobil Might Not Rule the Planet

But It Sure Does Its Best

With almost $500 billion in revenue in 2011, ExxonMobil is the largest corporation in America–and one of its most secretive. What goes on behind its doors, and how does it …