Iran’s Nuclear Program: a science meets politics story

Last month, the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, published a new report full of incriminating evidence that Iran intends to use it’s nuclear program to produce weapons. Long story short, not good news.  Except, that in one of my classes, I had just been assigned a collaborative  feature story, and my partner, Saideh, writes about social and political issues in the Middle East. We were trying to think a topic that would combine her political interests and my science leanings, when this Iranian nuclear expose broke. Perfect!

So, instead of keeping the long story short, we wrote a long story on the controversial history of Iran’s nuclear program. You can find the story here, (on Bestthinking.com) We (tried to) explain what we can infer from the evidence that the IAEA inspectors found, where the fine line between commercial nuclear power and weaponization lies, the history of international support and sanctions, and the political implications of the new report. I learned a lot researching this story, and I think that knowing about the history of the nuclear program really informs how we can think about the situation going forward. Understanding the science is really the key to understanding the political implications on this issue, so it was fun to combine forces on this project.

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Ocean renewable energy

The free flow turbine from Verdant Power

Have you ever been knocked down hard by a rouge wave? Then you know that the water in the oceans packs some serious power, in the form of waves, tides, and currents. The first commercial electric projects to harness this power are going to come online in the US next year.  I put together a slideshow of technologies for generating renewable electricity from the power of the oceans, that’s up on Discovery.com this week. Check it out.

In reporting for this story, I learned a lot more about ocean renewable energy technology then I was able to fit into the Discovery story. First off, unlike wind and solar, the oceans provide a constant source of power, so you don’t run into the same intermittent resource problems. Here’s some other interesting aspects to ocean renewables. Continue reading