New Scientist Weekly
#153: Fusion breakthrough; COP15 report; Shakespeare and climate change
There’s been an exciting breakthrough in nuclear fusion. For the first time on Earth, a controlled fusion reaction has generated more power than it requires to run, bringing us closer than ever before to a viable way of producing clean energy for the world. So, what’s the catch? The team finds out.
The New Scientist team reports from a worryingly quiet COP15. It’s hoped the biodiversity conference will be an opportunity to set ambitious global goals for nature, to reach the goal of restoring it by 2030. But with a distinct lack of world leaders in attendance, can this vital conference deliver?
We now know how to spot alien spacecraft whizzing through space at warp speed…assuming some advanced civilisation has figured out how to stretch the fabric of spacetime of course. The team finds out about this new research which involves LIGO and gravitational waves.
Shakespeare lived through an intense period of deforestation and climate change, and he referenced a lot of this in his work. Think back to Titania’s speech in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” about the changing seasons, and when Gloucester in Henry IV part 2 says “the seasons have changed their manners”. Shakespeare even described the energy transition from wood to coal as a fuel source. Rowan chats with Shakespearean scholar Randall Martin from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and auditions for the part of Queen of the Fairies.
Acclaimed science fiction author Adrian Tchaikovsky discusses his latest book, Children of Memory, the story of a fragile human colony on a far flung outpost – and some corvids, which may or may not be sentient.
On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Matt Sparkes, Madeleine Cuff, James Dinneen and Alison Flood. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.
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