National geographic usa 2014 04
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National geographic usa 2014 04
THE DEBATE OVER
OWNING EXOTIC ANIMALS
FOUND IN FRANCE: A ROMAN BOATCAN COAL EVER BE CLEAN?
8:45 p.m., January 20, 2014
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Shot with the Nokia Lumia 1020
Follow my journey through the
Seven Natural Wonders of the World at
“Every day on this assignment, I woke up
astounded that a place this beautiful could be
real. Soccer isn’t all that will amaze people in
Rio this year. The Harbor is the world’s larg-
est bay; mountains rise up all around it; and
wedged right between is the spectacular city.
Easy to see why it’s one of the Seven Natural
Wonders of the World, and once again, the
Nokia Lumia 1020 let me explore and shoot
in a whole new way. In fact, I look at my images
and can’t believe they were all shot with a
The Lumia 1020 is an absolutely incred-
ible low-light camera. The details it captures,
like the sparkling lights in this nighttime image,
astonish me. I used the 1020 just like a DSLR
camera, shooting aerials, action, in all kinds of
light with fantastic quality. I just can’t believe
the pictures—and I took them!”
—Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic photographer
NOKIA LUMIA 1020
Telling Rio’s story like never before.
TJNQMZCFEFGJOFECZUIFXBZTPNFUIJOHMPPLT 5IFXBZJUGFFMT 5IFXBZJUNBLFTZPVGFFM 1FSIBQT
The Romans had a serious
trash problem, though it
was good-looking trash.
The Shentou Number 2 power plant spews ﬂy ash and coal dust over the country-
side near Shuozhou, China. The coal-ﬁred plant provides electricity to Beijing.
Hats Off to Breton Women
Have you ever tried to climb into a tiny car with
a 13-inch-tall column of lace on your head?
By Amanda Fiegl Photographs by Charles Fréger
Owners love their pet chimps, tigers, bears.
Critics say it’s dangerous and cruel.
By Lauren Slater Photographs by Vincent J. Musi
Romans in France
The muddy Rhône River is full of surprises: stat-
ues, luxury goods, a 102-foot-long Roman boat.
By Robert Kunzig Photographs by Rémi Bénali
Can Coal Ever Be Clean?
We burn eight billion tons a year. Demand is surg-
ing. The challenge: control the carbon pollution.
By Michelle Nijhuis Photographs by Robb Kendrick
A Tale of Two Atolls
Amorous turtles and young sharks ﬁnd
happiness by a pair of Indian Ocean islands.
By Kennedy Warne Photographs by Thomas P. Peschak
When a star is born, the best way to take a look
is with ALMA, the gigantic new telescope in Chile.
By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee Photographs by Dave Yoder
AVeil of Eggs
The monkﬁsh lays a million at a time,
protected by a ﬂoating, gauzy ﬁlm.
A city-by-city breakdown of hours lost
Gallery of Gardens
Artist Fritz Haeg has helped 15 families
turn their lawn into a work of art.
Reunited After 163 Years
A newfound ancient turtle bone
matches up with a specimen from 1849.
Block That Meteorite
Early warnings could keep us safe.
Soylent on Rye
It’s a synthesized food that does
not depend on agriculture.
Fructose plus water can make tissues
transparent for a clear view of organs.
On the Cover Jade the hedgehog was nearly 11 months old (and 16½
ounces) when she was photographed. South Carolinian Brandon Harley uses
her as a breeder in his pet business. Photo by Vincent J. Musi
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Deer in the Home Lights
Dillie the blind deer tours
her domestic digs.
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PHOTO: VINCENT J. MUSI
The Bear in the Backyard
About 15 years ago I had an assignment to photo-
graph wild dogs in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
A pack had hunted down an impala and dragged
the carcass near my Land Rover. I crawled under
the vehicle so I would be as inconspicuous as
possible while photographing the scene, but an
adult male trotted over to me, sniffed my face, and
started tugging at my leg. I stayed absolutely still,
heart racing, hardly breathing. It was an intimate
encounter with one of Africa’s most endangered
carnivores but was completely on the animal’s
terms, not mine.
Turning a wild animal—a lion, a lemur, a bear—
into a pet creates a different dynamic. The
relationship exists on the terms of the human
owner, and I question the wisdom of that for
both sides. In this month’s story on exotic pets,
writer Lauren Slater and photographer Vince
Musi take us into living rooms and backyards
shared with animals whose natural habitats lie
far from the suburbs. Undoubtedly, their owners
feel an attachment no less profound than what
you or I feel for the domestic dogs and cats in
our lives. “All my life people have let me down,”
a woman who keeps three kangaroos told Slater.
“My animals never have.”
It’s said that the morality of a nation can be
judged by the way it treats its animals. But treat-
ment is not just a matter of providing food, shelter,
and care. It’s whether the animal in question ought
to be a pet at all.
Boo Boo lived in John Matus’s Ohio
backyard for nine years before her
relocation to a Colorado sanctuary
in 2013. “I miss her a lot,” says
Matus, who raised her from a cub.
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national geographic april
LETTERS December 2013
On my wall I have a Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion map of
the world. Many times I have gazed into it, fantasizing about
(someone) taking the walk from the southern tip of Africa
to the southern tip of South America. Given the right weather
conditions, even the small gap between Cape Dezhneva in
Russia and Cape Prince of Wales in Alaska could perhaps be
crossed. I’m really looking forward to ﬁnally taking that walk,
albeit from the comfort of my armchair, thanks to the next
seven years of what I’m sure will be adventurous reporting
from Paul Salopek.
Eagle Rock, California
Our Greatest Journey
sent in word of suspected
cougar sightings around
Paul Salopek has the eye of an
artist, the insight of a philoso-
pher, and the candor of a poet.
What better way to understand
what it means to be human
than to walk among us?
Roswell, New Mexico
From the ﬁrst time I sang “It’s
a Small World” as a Brownie,
I have tried to remember that
we are all in this together. I
will be interested not only in
the geographic journey and
the physical wonders this man
will see but also in his discovery
of the many ways we human
beings are alike and connected.
Wow. What a ride!
Fort Worth, Texas
When I was a child growing
up on the northern edge of
the San Fernando Valley,
tumbleweeds were playthings.
We chased them when the
Santa Ana winds blew and
watched them jump down our
dirt road and pile up against the
fences. When the wind stopped,
we built forts and houses out
of them in the ﬁeld next door.
At Christmas my mother always
used three to make a snowman
and painted it white. It was the
closest we’d get to snow. But
my father always yelled at us
when we’d pull a tumbleweed
over the fence and into our
yard. Now I know why.
Palo Cedro, California
This article was an eye-opener.
Although I’ve lived in the West
nearly all my life, I had never
learned that tumbleweeds were
an invasive species. Kudos to
author George Johnson and
your magazine for an article
that had the perfect blend of
history, science, sci-ﬁ thriller,
and sardonic wit.
Discovery Bay, California
DECEMBER 2013, “ENGLISH BY THE BOOK” The
catalog of the history of words referenced
on page 60 was begun in 1857, not 1859.
ART: KIRSTEN HUNTLEY
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I already knew the fate of the two bull
elk before I ﬁnished reading. Any wildlife
biologist can tell you that the stress
brought on by such an exhausting ordeal
doomed the elk even before they were
freed. The wolves only made quick work
of what were already near-dead beasts.
I was thoroughly enjoying the article
on cougars, until I read the claim that
California has “an abundance of deer”
and “one of the lowest rates of cougar
conﬂicts with humans.” Though the
golf course at Pebble Beach may have
an abundance of deer, populations
in northeast counties and the Sierra
Nevada have been decimated. I live
in Shasta County, in the heart of the
deer’s winter range, and it is all too easy
to ﬁnd a fresh kill. Livestock depletion
must not count as “conﬂict with humans”
either, because we sure have a lot of
dead sheep gone to feed cougars.
LAWRENCE J. RIVARD
Falls River Mills, California
Those mountain lions (we still call them
mountain lions where I live) crossing the
meadow were photographed near my
home. The comeback is a heartwarming
story to some. But to others it is simply
the return of a serious competitor.
JEFF VAN FLEET
As an active hunter, conservationist,
and pragmatist raised in the American
West, I was encouraged to read about
the rebound of the cougar and the
science behind it. Now attention needs
to be turned to repatriating and manag-
ing another of our long-neglected apex
predators: the jaguar.
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regular eye exams while using SYMBICORT
• Lower bone mineral density can happen in people who have a high
chance for low bone mineral density (osteoporosis)
• Slowed growth in children. A child’s growth should be checked regularly
while using SYMBICORT
• Swelling of blood vessels (signs include a feeling of pins and needles or
numbness of arms or legs, ﬂu like symptoms, rash, pain or swelling of the
sinuses), decrease in blood potassium and increase in blood sugar levels
Common side effects in patients with asthma include nose and throat
irritation, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, sinusitis,
stomach discomfort, ﬂu, back pain, nasal congestion, vomiting, and thrush
in the mouth and throat.
Approved Uses for SYMBICORT
SYMBICORT 80/4.5 and 160/4.5 are medicines for the treatment of asthma
for people 12 years and older whose doctor has determined that their
asthma is not well controlled with a long-term asthma control medicine
such as an inhaled corticosteroid or whose asthma is severe enough to
begin treatment with SYMBICORT. SYMBICORT is not a treatment for
sudden asthma symptoms.
Please see full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide
and discuss with your doctor.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to
the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please read this summary carefully and then ask
your doctor about SYMBICORT.
No advertisement can provide all the information needed to
determine if a drug is right for you or take the place of careful
discussions with your health care provider. Only your health
care provider has the training to weigh the risks and beneﬁts of a
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION
I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SYMBICORT?
People with asthma who take long-acting beta2
(LABA) medicines, such as formoterol (one of the medicines
in SYMBICORT), have an increased risk of death from asthma
problems. It is not known whether budesonide, the other medicine
in SYMBICORT, reduces the risk of death from asthma problems
seen with formoterol.
SYMBICORT should be used only if your health care provider
decides that your asthma is not well controlled with a long-term
asthma control medicine, such as an inhaled corticosteroid, or that
your asthma is severe enough to begin treatment with SYMBICORT.
Talk with your health care provider about this risk and the beneﬁts of treating
your asthma with SYMBICORT.
If you are taking SYMBICORT, see your health care provider if your asthma
does not improve or gets worse. It is important that your health care provider
assess your asthma control on a regular basis.Your doctor will decide if it
is possible for you to stop taking SYMBICORT and start taking a long-term
asthma control medicine without loss of asthma control.
Get emergency medical care if:
breathing problems worsen quickly, and
you use your rescue inhaler medicine, but it does not relieve your
Children and adolescents who take LABA medicines may be at increased
risk of being hospitalized for asthma problems.
WHAT IS SYMBICORT?
SYMBICORT is an inhaled prescription medicine used for asthma and
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It contains two medicines:
Budesonide (the same medicine found in Pulmicort Flexhaler™
an inhaled corticosteroid). Inhaled corticosteroids help to decrease
inﬂammation in the lungs. Inﬂammation in the lungs can lead to asthma
Formoterol (the same medicine found in Foradil®
medicines are used in patients with COPD and asthma to help the
muscles in the airways of your lungs stay relaxed to prevent asthma
symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath.These symptoms
can happen when the muscles in the airways tighten.This makes it
hard to breathe, which, in severe cases, can cause breathing to stop
completely if not treated right away
SYMBICORT is used for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease as follows:
SYMBICORT is used to control symptoms of asthma and prevent symptoms
such as wheezing in adults and children ages 12 and older.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
COPD is a chronic lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis,
emphysema, or both. SYMBICORT 160/4.5 mcg is used long term, two
times each day, to help improve lung function for better breathing in adults
WHO SHOULD NOT USE SYMBICORT?
Do not use SYMBICORT to treat sudden severe symptoms of asthma or
COPD or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in SYMBICORT.
WHAT SHOULD I TELL MY HEALTH CARE
PROVIDER BEFORE USING SYMBICORT?
Tell your health care provider about all of your health conditions,
including if you:
have heart problems
have high blood pressure
have thyroid problems
have liver problems
have an immune system problem
have eye problems such as increased pressure in the eye,
glaucoma, or cataracts
are allergic to any medicines
are exposed to chicken pox or measles
are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known
if SYMBICORT may harm your unborn baby
are breast-feeding. Budesonide, one of the active ingredients
in SYMBICORT, passes into breast milk.You and your health care
provider should decide if you will take SYMBICORT while
Tell your health care provider about all the medicines you take including
prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal
supplements. SYMBICORT and certain other medicines may interact
with each other and can cause serious side effects. Know all the
medicines you take. Keep a list and show it to your health care provider
and pharmacist each time you get a new medicine.
HOW DO I USE SYMBICORT?
Do not use SYMBICORT unless your health care provider has taught
you and you understand everything.Ask your health care provider or
pharmacist if you have any questions.
Use SYMBICORT exactly as prescribed. Do not use SYMBICORT
more often than prescribed. SYMBICORT comes in two strengths for
asthma: 80/4.5 mcg and 160/4.5 mcg.Your health care provider will
prescribe the strength that is best for you. SYMBICORT 160/4.5 mcg
is the approved dosage for COPD.
SYMBICORT should be taken every day as 2 puffs in the morning
and 2 puffs in the evening.
Rinse your mouth with water and spit the water out after each dose
(2 puffs) of SYMBICORT.This will help lessen the chance of getting
a fungus infection (thrush) in the mouth and throat.
Do not spray SYMBICORT in your eyes. If you accidentally get
SYMBICORT in your eyes, rinse your eyes with water. If redness or
irritation persists, call your health care provider.
Do not change or stop any medicines used to control or treat your
breathing problems.Your health care provider will change your
medicines as needed
While you are using SYMBICORT 2 times each day, do not
use other medicines that contain a long-acting beta2
(LABA) for any reason. Ask your health care provider or
pharmacist if any of your other medicines are LABA medicines.
SYMBICORT does not relieve sudden symptoms. Always have a
rescue inhaler medicine with you to treat sudden symptoms. If you
do not have a rescue inhaler, call your health care provider to have
one prescribed for you.
Call your health care provider or get medical care right away if:
your breathing problems worsen with SYMBICORT
you need to use your rescue inhaler medicine more often than usual
your rescue inhaler does not work as well for you at relieving symptoms
you need to use 4 or more inhalations of your rescue inhaler medicine for
2 or more days in a row
you use one whole canister of your rescue inhaler medicine in 8 weeks’ time
your peak ﬂow meter results decrease.Your health care provider will tell you
the numbers that are right for you
your symptoms do not improve after using SYMBICORT regularly for 1 week
WHAT MEDICATIONS SHOULD I NOT TAKE
WHEN USING SYMBICORT?
While you are using SYMBICORT, do not use other medicines that contain a
-agonist (LABA) for any reason, such as:
(salmeterol xinafoate inhalation powder)
HFA (ﬂuticasone propionate and salmeterol)
Formoterol-containing products such as Foradil Aerolizer, Brovana®
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
SYMBICORT can cause serious side effects.
Increased risk of pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections if
you have COPD. Call your health care provider if you notice any of these
symptoms: increase in mucus production, change in mucus color, fever,
chills, increased cough, increased breathing problems
Serious allergic reactions including rash; hives; swelling of the face,
mouth and tongue; and breathing problems. Call your health care
provider or get emergency care if you get any of these symptoms
Immune system effects and a higher chance for infections
Adrenal insufﬁciency–a condition in which the adrenal glands do not
make enough steroid hormones
Cardiovascular and central nervous system effects of LABAs, such as
chest pain, increased blood pressure, fast or irregular heartbeat, tremor,
Increased wheezing right after taking SYMBICORT
Eye problems, including glaucoma and cataracts.You should have regular
eye exams while using SYMBICORT
Osteoporosis. People at risk for increased bone loss may have a greater
risk with SYMBICORT
Slowed growth in children.As a result, growth should be carefully monitored
Swelling of your blood vessels.This can happen in people with asthma
Decreases in blood potassium levels and increases in blood sugar levels
WHAT ARE COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF SYMBICORT?
Patients with Asthma
Sore throat, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, thrush in the mouth
Patients with COPD
Thrush in the mouth and throat
These are not all the side effects with SYMBICORT.Ask your health care
provider or pharmacist for more information.
NOTE:This summary provides important information about SYMBICORT.
For more information, please ask your doctor or health care provider.
SYMBICORT is a registered trademark of the AstraZeneca group of companies.
Other brands mentioned are trademarks of their respective owners and are not
trademarks of the AstraZeneca group of companies. The makers of these brands
are not afﬁliated with and do not endorse AstraZeneca or its products.
© 2010 AstraZeneca LP. All rights reserved.
Manufactured for: AstraZeneca LP, Wilmington, DE 19850
By: AstraZeneca AB, Dunkerque, France Product of France
Rev 11/11 1504903
Or, call 1-866-SYMBICORT
I M P O R T A N T I N F O R M A T I O N A B O U T S Y M B I C O R T
By including National Geographic in your will, trust,
or beneficiary designation, you can pass on your love
of exploration, science, and conservation to future
generations. These gifts cost you nothing now and
allow you to change your beneficiaries at any time.
Mail to National Geographic Society
c/o Nancy Rehman
Office of Planned Giving
1145 17th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-4688
Please send me information about easy
ways to leave a legacy of exploration and
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COPYRIGHT © 2014 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY SUSAN MCCONNELL, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUR SHOT
LEAVE A LEGACY OF LOVE.
national geographic april
ART: ISTVAN BANYAI. PHOTO: LAWRENCE BOYE, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
Caught Up I’ve studied the plants
and animals that live in forest canopies for
30 years. It’s like climbing mountains—there’s
always some danger in moving up and down
a tree. When you climb day after day, though,
sometimes for months on end, you forget that
you’re up more than a hundred feet. Eating
a sandwich and an apple up there can seem
like having a picnic on the ground.
I used to wear my long hair in two braids that
I kept tied up behind my head to keep them out
of the way. One day I forgot to tie them back.
I noticed a tugging on my rappelling gear a few
feet down. Within seconds the rope was so taut
that my chin was pressed against it. There is
a metal clip called a whale’s tail that the rope
loops through to create friction to help you
control your slide. My braid was caught in it—
and it was getting tighter and more painful.
I tried pulling myself up, tried yanking my
braid out. It was futile. After ﬁve minutes I
thought, I’m going to have to cut this thing
off. I had always identiﬁed myself as someone
with long hair. My father was from India, and
hair is a source of beauty and honor there.
Somehow my ancestral motivation wasn’t
quite as strong when I was strung up.
Holding myself up with one hand, I reached
into my pocket and pulled out a penknife and
starting sawing. When the last hairs were cut,
my weight went back into the harness and my
braid dropped to the ground. I made my way
back to the forest ﬂoor and snatched it up. We
had a museum of odd things we’d found in the
canopy. I put my braid on display as a reminder
that every moment—like this one, 150 feet above
the forest ﬂoor—you have to be fully aware.
Your watch shouldn’t cost more
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If you agree, maybe you’re ready for
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national geographic april
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In Mostar a competitive
diver holds torches
as he jumps from the Old
Bridge into the Neretva
River. The 78-foot-tall
pleted in 1566, destroyed
by war in 1993, reopened
in 2004—is a World
PHOTO: DADO RUVIC, REUTERS
During the Descent of the
Angel festival in Peñaﬁel,
seven-year-old Pablo Leal
Requejo “ﬂies down” to
remove the Virgin Mary’s
veil of mourning. The
Easter celebration may
have evolved from medi-
eval plays. It draws about
2,500 people each year.
PHOTO: DANIEL OCHOA DE OLZA, AP IMAGES
O Order prints of select National Geographic photos online at NationalGeographicArt.com.
Lit by a torch, an ice cave
in a Kamchatka glacier
glows like an entrance
to the underworld. The
pocked walls and ceiling
are layers of compacted
snow—more than 20
feet thick—carved by
hot springs from the
PHOTO: DENIS BUDKOV
VISIONS | YOUR SHOT
national geographic April
This page features two photographs: one chosen by our editors and one chosen by our
readers via online voting. For more information, go to yourshot.nationalgeographic.com.
Klaus Priebe Santa Fe, New Mexico
After Priebe saw storms predicted
over Utah’s Canyonlands National
Park, he hopped in his truck—where
he’d also slept four nights—to snap
this bolt, using a lightning trigger that
detects rapid changes in light intensity.
Juan Carlos Osorio
New York, New York
Osorio wanted to photograph this
solar plane, which was the ﬁrst to
ﬂy at night. He used an eight-second
exposure. “This plane runs on no
fuel,” he says. “Amazing!”
Your Assignment When senior photo editor Sadie Quarrier and photographer Cory Richards
launched this assignment for Your Shot members, “Explore Our Changing World,” they looked for images that
captured what the eye can’t always register. These two shots did just that. Find more from this assignment online.
For 24 years, The Great Courses has brought
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available at www.thegreatcourses.com.
The World Was Never
the Same: Events That
Taught by Professor J. Rufus Fears
UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA
1. Hammurabi Issues a Code of Law (1750 B.C.)
2. Moses and Monotheism (1220 B.C.)
3. The Enlightenment of the Buddha (526 B.C.)
4. Confucius Instructs a Nation (553–479 B.C.)
5. Solon—Democracy Begins (594 B.C.)
6. Marathon—Democracy Triumphant (490 B.C.)
7. Hippocrates Takes an Oath (430 B.C.)
8. Caesar Crosses the Rubicon (49 B.C.)
9. Jesus—The Trial of a Teacher (A.D. 36)
10. Constantine I Wins a Battle (A.D. 312)
11. Muhammad Moves to Medina—The Hegira
12. Bologna Gets a University (1088)
13. Dante Sees Beatrice (1283)
14. Black Death—Pandemics and History (1348)
15. Columbus Finds a New World (1492)
16. Michelangelo Accepts a Commission (1508)
17. Erasmus—A Book Sets Europe Ablaze (1516)
18. Luther’s New Course Changes History (1517)
19. The Defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588)
20. The Battle of Vienna (1683)
21. The Battle of Lexington (1775)
22. General Pickett Leads a Charge (1863)
23. Adam Smith (1776) versus Karl Marx (1867)
24. Charles Darwin Takes an Ocean Voyage (1831)
25. Louis Pasteur Cures a Child (1885)
26. Two Brothers Take a Flight (1903)
27. The Archduke Makes a State Visit (1914)
28. One Night in Petrograd (1917)
29. The Day the Stock Market Crashed (1929)
30. Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany (1933)
31. Franklin Roosevelt Becomes President (1933)
32. The Atomic Bomb Is Dropped (1945)
33. Mao Zedong Begins His Long March (1934)
34. John F. Kennedy Is Assassinated (1963)
35. Dr. King Leads a March (1963)
36. September 11, 2001
The World Was Never the Same:
Events That Changed History
Course no. 3890 | 36 lectures (30 minutes/lecture)
ITED TIME OF
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Experience the 36 Events
That Forever Changed History
History is made and defined by landmark moments that
irrevocably changed human civilization. The World Was Never
the Same: Events That Changed History is a captivating
course in which Professor J. Rufus Fears—a master historian and
captivating storyteller—leads you through 36 of these definitive
events in the history of human civilization.
You’ll explore moments ranging from the trial of Jesus to
the discovery of the New World to the dropping of the first
atomic bomb. Professor Fears also makes compelling cases for
events you might not have considered, such as the creation
of the Hippocratic Oath and the opening of the University
of Bologna. More than just learning about the past, with this
course you’ll feel as if you’re actually engaging with it.
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Priority Code: 95567
MONKFISH ARE VORACIOUS PREDATORS. They also happen to be among
the most commercially valuable ﬁnﬁsh in the northeastern United
States. Yet despite the ﬁsh’s importance, researchers don’t know cru-
cial details about it, including whether it lives in distinct populations.
To ﬁnd out more, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
scientists have set up the Monkﬁsh Egg Veil Sighting Network. Adult
monkﬁsh (below) lurk on the ocean bottom, but their eggs—which
can emerge a million or more at a time, knitted together in a gauzy
veil—ﬂoat near the water’s surface. People who spot the veils, which
may measure up to 40 feet, are encouraged to record their sightings
on the network’s website. “The veils are buoyant. They’re built for
dispersal,” notes researcher Anne Richards. Tracking them, she
says, “will help us understand how monkﬁsh move throughout
their lives.” —Rachel Hartigan Shea
on an egg hunt.
This veil was photographed at the
New England Aquarium in Boston. As
the monkfish larvae develop, the veil’s
appearance darkens to purple, and it
becomes harder to see in the water.
PHOTO: WEBB CHAPPELL
GRAPHIC: RYAN MORRIS, NGM STAFF
Commuter ScienceBy 8 a.m., rush hour is at full throttle in most cities.
Accidents, the cost of fuel, and the quality of
public transportation aren’t the only factors that
can make the drive to work range from ho-hum to
hellish. According to trafﬁc analyst Jim Bak, there’s
another thing that can cause commuting lengths
to ﬂuctuate: the state of the economy.
“When the recession hit in 2008, congestion
across the U.S. dropped 30 percent,” he says.
Four years later, in 2012, drivers in Italy, France,
and Spain also spent less time on the road as
unemployment, especially among youth, skyrock-
eted in the wake of Europe’s debt crisis. That
same year, European Union ofﬁcials tasked
with managing the problem ﬂocked to Brussels,
Belgium—causing trafﬁc and commute times in
that city to soar. —Catherine Zuckerman
FREIBURG IM BREISGAU
NEW ORLEANSNASHVILLENEW HAVENCHARLOTTEVIRGINIA BEACH
FRANKFURT AM MAIN
Average hours spent in trafﬁc
per driver, in selected regions (2012)
PHOTOS: CARLOS GONZALEZ; TED DAESCHLER, ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES, DREXEL
UNIVERSITY (BONE). ART: ÁLVARO VALIÑO (TOP). SOURCE: EARTH POLICY INSTITUTE. NGM ART
A Humerus Tale Call it the luckiest break. In 2012 an amateur
paleontologist found half a turtle bone in New Jersey’s Monmouth County.
When David Parris of the state museum saw it, he was reminded of a leg-
bone fragment he’d seen at Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences,
where it was studied back in 1849. The two parts ﬁt together perfectly.
Now a complete 21-inch humerus (far left) from a 2,000-plus-pound Creta-
ceous sea turtle exists—after more than 160 years. —Jeremy Berlin
Growth Period Artist Fritz Haeg’s work is
taking root. Over the past decade he’s helped 15 families around
the world turn their grass-only lawns into lush, organic gardens that
he calls edible estates. Planted in front yards from Tel Aviv, Israel,
to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, the plots give nourishment and
pleasure. More important, says Haeg, they provide a sharp contrast
to surrounding properties—which typically lack biodiversity.
Confronting the issue of land use is an idea that resonates with
environmental geographer Paul Robbins. Turfgrass lawns are ecologi-
cally problematic because they keep other species from thriving.
“Nature abhors a monoculture,” says Robbins. “Lawn maintenance
is a desperate struggle against nature.” —Catherine Zuckerman
Siblings Andrea and
Aaron Schoenherr tend
their Woodbury, Minne-
of a global art project.
For the ﬁrst time the world’s farmed ﬁsh
production is larger than its beef production.
Prices and availability subject to change without notice. Past performance is not a predictor of future performance. NOTE: GovMint.com®
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Everyone wants luck and good fortune in their
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Mercury Asteroid belt
THE ASTEROID BELTTHE MOON AND MARS
About 50 percent of the belt’s mass is in these four asteroids:Asteroid impacts expel debris, called ejecta.
are from the asteroid belt
99.8%99.8% are from
are ejecta from the moon and Mars
Where meteorites originate
Meteorites on Earth
On Deflection Asteroids of the size
that caused the meteor explosion over Russia in 2013 may
plunge into the atmosphere every 30 years—ten times more
often than once thought. Veteran astronaut Tom Jones says
that early warning could stop them. Robotic missions could
ram an asteroid or hover to exert a gravitational tug. This might
shift an asteroid’s velocity enough, he says, “to make it miss its
appointment with Earth.” —Eve Conant
GRAPHIC: PERISCOPIC. SOURCES: JEFFREY N. GROSSMAN AND MICHAEL E. ZOLENSKY, NASA
These trails of light created by vaporizing
particles are also called shooting stars.
Smaller than asteroids, these tiny chunks of
debris orbit the sun, and some fall to Earth.
Up to 100 tons of fragments and particles,
including remnants from the solar system’s
formation, enter Earth’s atmosphere daily.
The largest surviving
meteorite on Earth is
in Namibia. It weighs
about 60 tons.
The meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk,
Russia, is the largest known object to enter
Earth’s atmosphere since 1908. Of its 13,200
tons, 76 percent vaporized above Earth.
A meteorite is the part of an asteroid
or comet that reaches Earth’s surface.
The average meteorite weighs about
an ounce, equivalent to a large marble.
There are class action Settlements involving DRAM, a
memory part that is sold by itself or as part of electronic
devices such as computers, printers, and video game
The lawsuits claim that the Defendants ﬁxed the price of
DRAM causing individuals and businesses to pay more for
DRAM and DRAM-containing devices. The Defendants
deny that they did anything wrong.
Who is included in the Settlements?
Individuals and businesses that:
Purchased DRAM or a device containing DRAM
anywhere in the U.S. between 1998 and 2002,
For their own use or for resale.
Purchases made directly from a DRAM manufacturer
are not included (see the list of manufacturers at
www.DRAMclaims.com or by calling 1-800-589-1425).
What do the Settlements provide?
The combined Settlements total $310 million. The amount
of money you will receive depends on the type and quantity
of electronic devices you purchased and the total number of
Eligible individuals and businesses are expected to get a
minimum $10 payment and perhaps much more. Large
purchasers could recover many thousands of dollars.
How can I get a payment?
Claim online or by mail by August 1, 2014. The simple
online Claim Form only takes 3-5 minutes for most
What are my rights?
Even if you do nothing you will be bound by the Court’s
decisions. If you want to keep your right to sue the
Defendants yourself, you must exclude yourself from
the Settlement Class by May 5, 2014. If you stay in the
Settlement Class, you may object to the Settlements by
May 5, 2014.
The Court will hold a hearing on June 25, 2014 at 9:00
a.m. to consider whether to approve the Settlements and
a request for attorneys’ fees up to 25% of the Settlement
Fund, plus reimbursement of costs and expenses. You or
your own lawyer may appear and speak at the hearing at
your own expense.
For More Information:
Text: “DRAM” to 96000
(You may receive notiﬁcations via text. Message Data rates may apply.)
Reinvents the Emerald
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PHOTOS: MARK THIESSEN, NGM STAFF (LEFT); MENG-TSEN KE AND TAKESHI IMAI, RIKEN. ART: ÁLVARO VALIÑO
In the Clear
LiquidAsset Rob Rhinehart thinks the future of
food isn’t in farms and animal husbandry. When the computer pro-
grammer didn’t want to spend the time or money on traditional
meals anymore, he created another option “by breaking food down
to a molecular level.” After several months of research into what
human cells are made of and what they produce, Rhinehart ended
up with a thick, bland liquid with a slightly chemical aftertaste he
calls “soylent” (above). It has more than 30 ingredients, including
calcium carbonate, copper, and selenium.
Cost and efﬁciency aren’t Rhinehart’s only drivers. He hopes
soylent might bolster nutrition in food-scarce areas. “Food produced
independently of agriculture could be a lot more sustainable,” he
says. “And there’d be plenty to go around.” —Johnna Rizzo
A hummingbird’s brain makes up 4.2 percent of its body
weight, the highest proportion of any bird. A human brain
makes up roughly 2 percent of an average person’s body weight.
the internal structures
of bodily organs to
and function. The sur-
rounding tissue can
get in the way, though.
Biologist Takeshi Imai’s
team has a ﬁx: Bathe
the tissues in a solution
of fructose and water,
and they turn clear (see
mouse embryo, below).
used chemicals to
but those work slowly
and can sometimes
be toxic. They can also
change structures and
degrade dyes meant to
trace nervous systems.
Imai’s sugar solution
is the ﬁrst to leave
the object of study
intact—bringing a more
accurate picture into
Steam and smoke rise
from the cooling towers
and chimneys of the
Robert W. Scherer power
plant, the largest emitter
of greenhouse gases in
the U.S. It burns 12 million
tons of coal a year.
It’s the dirtiest
of fossil fuels.
We burn eight billion
tons of it a year,
The world must face
40 percent of the
39 percent of global
It kills thousands a
year in mines, many
more with polluted air.
POCA, WEST VIRGINIA
The Poca High School
“Dots” practice near an
American Electric Power
coal-ﬁred plant that powers
nearly two million homes.
Scrubbers clean some of
the sulfur and mercury—
but not the carbon—from
Just look at West Virginia, where whole Appa-
lachian peaks have been knocked into valleys
to get at the coal underneath and streams run
orange with acidic water. Or look at downtown
Beijing, where the air these days is often thicker
than in an airport smoking lounge. Air pollu-
tion in China, much of it from burning coal,
is blamed for more than a million premature
deaths a year. That’s on top of the thousands who
die in mining accidents, in China and elsewhere.
These problems aren’t new. In the late th
century, when coal from Wales and Northum-
berland was lighting the first fires of the indus-
trial revolution in Britain, the English writer
John Evelyn was already complaining about the
“stink and darknesse” of the smoke that wreathed
London. Three centuries later, in December ,
a thick layer of coal-laden smog descended on
London and lingered for a long weekend, pro-
voking an epidemic of respiratory ailments that
killed as many as , people in the ensuing
months. American cities endured their own
traumas. On an October weekend in , in the
small Pennsylvania town of Donora, spectators at
a high school football game realized they could
see neither players nor ball: Smog from a nearby
coal-fired zinc smelter was obscuring the field. In
Michelle Nijhuis has won multiple awards for her
writing about the environment. Robb Kendrick’s last
piece, in April , was on reviving extinct species.
Environmentalists say that clean coal is
Part one | The invisible carbon
By Michelle Nijhuis
national geographic april
the days that followed, people died, and ,
people—nearly half the town—were sickened.
Coal, to use the economists’ euphemism, is
fraught with “externalities”—the heavy costs it
imposes on society. It’s the dirtiest, most lethal
energy source we have. But by most measures it’s
also the cheapest, and we depend on it. So the
big question today isn’t whether coal can ever
be “clean.” It can’t. It’s whether coal can ever be
clean enough—to prevent not only local disas-
ters but also a radical change in global climate.
Last June, on a hot and muggy day in Wash-
ington, D.C., President Barack Obama gave
the climate speech that the American coal and
electric power industries had dreaded—and en-
vironmentalists had hoped for—since his first
inauguration, in . Speaking in his shirt-
sleeves and pausing occasionally to mop his
brow, Obama announced that by June the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would
draft new rules that would “put an end to the
limitless dumping of carbon pollution from
our power plants.” The rules would be issued
under the Clean Air Act, a law inspired in part
by the disaster in Donora. That law has already
been used to dramatically reduce the emission
of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and soot par-
ticles from American power plants. But carbon
dioxide, the main cause of global warming, is a
problem on an entirely different scale.
In the world emitted a record . billion
metric tons of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels.
Coal was the largest contributor. Cheap natural
gas has lately reduced the demand for coal in the
U.S., but everywhere else, especially in China,
demand is surging. During the next two decades
several hundred million people worldwide will
get electricity for the first time, and if current
trends continue, most will use power produced
by coal. Even the most aggressive push for alter-
native energy sources and conservation could
not replace coal—at least not right away.
How fast the Arctic melts, how high the seas
rise, how hot the heat waves get—all these ele-
ments of our uncertain future depend on what
the world does with its coal, and in particular on
what the U.S. and China do. Will we continue
to burn it and dump the carbon into the air un-
abated? Or will we find a way to capture carbon,
as we do sulfur and nitrogen from fossil fuels,
and store it underground?
“We need to push as hard as we can for re-
newable energy and energy efficiency, and on
reducing carbon emissions from coal,” says Stan-
ford University researcher Sally Benson, who
specializes in carbon storage. “We’re going to
need lots of ‘ands’—this isn’t a time to be focus-
ing on ‘ors.’” The carbon problem is just too big.
American Electric Power’s Mountaineer
Plant, on the Ohio River in New Haven, West
Virginia, inhales a million pounds of Appalachian
a myth. Of course it is:
141 million tons
131 million tons
coal every hour. The coal arrives fresh from the
ground, on barges or on a conveyor belt from a
mine across the road. Once inside the plant, the
golf-ball-size lumps are ground into dust as fine
as face powder, then blown into the firebox of
one of the largest boilers in the world—a steel
box that could easily swallow the Statue of Lib-
erty. The plant’s three steam-powered turbines,
painted blue with white stars, supply electric-
ity round the clock to . million customers in
seven states. Those customers pay about a dime
per kilowatt-hour, or roughly $ a month, to
power the refrigerators, washers, dryers, flat
screens, and smartphones, to say nothing of
the lights, of an average household. And as
Charlie Powell, Mountaineer’s plant manager,
often said, even environmentalists like to keep
the lights on.
The customers pay not a cent, however, nor
does American Electric Power (AEP), for the
privilege of spewing six to seven million met-
ric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
every year from Mountaineer’s thousand-foot-
high stack. And that’s the problem. Carbon is
dumped without limit because in most places
it costs nothing to do so and because there is,
as yet, no law against it in the U.S. But in
it looked as if there might soon be a law; the
House of Representatives had already passed a
bill that summer. AEP, to its credit, decided to
get ahead of it.
That October, Mountaineer began a pioneer-
ing experiment in carbon capture. Powell over-
saw it. His father had worked for three decades
at a coal-fired power plant in Virginia; Powell
himself had spent his career at Mountaineer.
The job was simple, he said: “We burn coal,
make steam, and run turbines.” During the ex-
periment, though, it got a bit more complicated.
AEP attached a chemical plant to the back of
its power plant. It chilled about . percent of
Mountaineer’s smoke and diverted it through
Change in consumption
Coal use per
Average daily consump-
tion of coal per person
World Coal Consumption
Though coal burning has
plateaued in countries like
the U.S., it has soared in rap-
idly industrializing countries
like China and India, which
manufacture many of the
West’s consumer products.
World coal consumption
rose by 54 percent from
2000 to 2011.
ALL CHARTS: JOHN TOMANIO AND ALEXANDER STEGMAIER, NGM STAFF
SOURCE: U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION 6.4lbs
a solution of ammonium carbonate, which ab-
sorbed the CO2. The CO2 was then drastically
compressed and injected into a porous sand-
stone formation more than a mile below the
banks of the Ohio.
The system worked. Over the next two years
AEP captured and stored more than , met-
ric tons of pure carbon dioxide. The CO2 is still
underground, not in the atmosphere. It was only
a quarter of one percent of the gas coming out
the stack, but that was supposed to be just the
beginning. AEP planned to scale up the proj-
ect to capture a quarter of the plant’s emissions,
or . million tons of CO2 a year. The company
had agreed to invest $ million, and the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE) had agreed to
match that. But the deal depended on AEP being
able to recoup its investment. And after climate
change legislation collapsed in the Senate, state
utility regulators told the company that it could
not charge its customers for a technology not
yet required by law.
In the spring of AEP ended the project.
The maze of pipes and pumps and tanks was
dismantled. Though small, the Mountaineer
system had been the world’s first to capture and
store carbon dioxide directly from a coal-fired
electric plant, and it had attracted hundreds of
curious visitors from around the world, includ-
ing China and India. “The process did work,
and we educated a lot of people,” said Powell.
“But geez-oh-whiz—it’s going to take another
breakthrough to make it worth our while.” A
regulatory breakthrough above all—such as the
one Obama promised last summer—but techni-
cal ones would help too.
Capturing carbon dioxide and storing or
“sequestering” it underground in porous rock
formations sounds to its critics like a techno-
fix fantasy. But DOE has spent some $. bil-
lion over the past three decades researching
and testing the technology. And for more than
four decades the oil industry has been injecting
compressed carbon dioxide into depleted oil
fields, using it to coax trapped oil to the sur-
face. On the Canadian Great Plains this practice
has been turned into one of the world’s largest
underground carbon-storage operations.
Since more than million metric tons
its critics like
of carbon dioxide have been captured from a
North Dakota plant that turns coal into synthet-
ic natural gas, then piped miles north into
Saskatchewan. There the Canadian petroleum
company Cenovus Energy pushes the CO2 deep
into the Weyburn and Midale fields, a sprawling
oil patch that had its heyday in the s. Two
to three barrels of oil are dissolved out of the
reservoir rock by each ton of CO2, which is then
reinjected into the reservoir for storage. There it
sits, nearly a mile underground, trapped under
impermeable layers of shale and salt.
For how long? Some natural deposits of carbon
dioxide have been in place for millions of years—
in fact the CO2 in some has been mined and sold
to oil companies. But large and sudden releases
of CO2 can be lethal to people and animals, par-
ticularly when the gas collects and concentrates
in a confined space. So far no major leaks have
been documented at Weyburn, which is being
monitored by the International Energy Agency,
Average daily consumption
of coal per person
in the U.S.
Average daily consumption of coal
per person in Australia—one of the
world’s highest ﬁgures18lbs
or at any of the handful of other large storage sites
around the world. Scientists consider the risk of a
catastrophic leak to be extremely low.
They worry more about smaller, chronic leaks
that would defeat the purpose of the enterprise.
Geophysicists Mark Zoback and Steven Gore-
lick of Stanford University argue that at sites
where the rock is brittle and faulted—most sites,
in their view—the injection of carbon dioxide
might trigger small earthquakes that, even if
otherwise harmless, might crack the overlying
shale and allow CO2 to leak. Zoback and Gore-
lick consider carbon storage “an extremely ex-
pensive and risky strategy.” But even they agree
that carbon can be stored effectively at some
sites—such as the Sleipner gas field in the North
Sea, where for the past years the Norwegian
oil company Statoil has been injecting about a
million tons of CO2 a year into a brine-saturated
sandstone layer half a mile below the seabed.
That formation has so much room that all that
CO2 emitted by
fossil fuels, 2011
of global fossil fuel CO2 comes
from burning natural gas, mostly
for heat and electricity.
Venting CO2 from a smokestack is usually free, like littering.
Capturing and storing CO2 underground would cost up to
a quarter of a power plant’s energy—and a lot of money. It
won’t become the norm unless governments make it happen.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
ART: ÁLVARO VALIÑO
SOURCES: HOWARD HERZOG, MIT;
U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
CO2 is separated
from other stack
gases and com-
pressed into a
liquid-like state. This
is the most costly
step in CCS.
The four steps
Fluid CO2 is moved
to a storage reser-
voir. Pipelines are
the most efﬁcient
carrier, but trucks,
trains, and ships
can do the job.
CO2 is injected deep
underground into a
an old oil ﬁeld, say,
or a saline aquifer—
under a cap rock
that deters leaks.
The reservoir must
be watched in
perpetuity for leaks.
Even slow ones
could defeat the
purpose of prevent-
ing climate change.
CO2 hasn’t increased its internal pressure, and
there’s been no sign of quakes or leaks.
European researchers estimate that a century’s
worth of European power plant emissions could
be stored under the North Sea. According to the
DOE, similar “deep saline aquifers” under the U.S.
could hold more than a thousand years’ worth of
emissions from American power plants. Other
types of rock also have potential as carbon lock-
ers. In experiments now under way in Iceland and
in the Columbia River Basin of Washington State,
for example, small amounts of carbon dioxide are
being injected into volcanic basalt. There the gas
is expected to react with calcium and magnesium
to form a carbonate rock—thus eliminating the
risk of gas escaping.
The CO2 that Statoil is injecting at Sleipner
doesn’t come from burning; it’s an impurity in
the natural gas the company pumps from the
seabed. Before it can deliver gas to its customers,
Statoil has to separate out the CO2, and it used
to just vent the stuff into the atmosphere. But
in Norway instituted a carbon tax, which
now stands at around $ a metric ton. It costs
Statoil only $ a ton to reinject the CO2 below
the seafloor. So at Sleipner, carbon storage is
much cheaper than carbon dumping, which is
why Statoil has invested in the technology. Its
natural gas operation remains very profitable.
At a coal-fired power plant the situation
is different. The CO2 is part of a complex swirl
of stack gases, and the power company has no
financial incentive to capture it. As the engineers
at Mountaineer learned, capture is the most ex-
pensive part of any capture-and-storage project.
At Mountaineer the CO2 absorption system was
the size of a ten-story apartment building and
occupied acres—and that was just to capture
a tiny fraction of the plant’s carbon emissions.
The absorbent had to be heated to release the
CO2, which then had to be highly compressed
for storage. These energy-intensive steps create
what engineers call a “parasitic load,” one that
could eat up as much as percent of the total
energy output of a coal plant that was capturing
all its carbon.
One way to reduce that costly loss is to gasify
the coal before burning it. Gasification can make
power generation more efficient and allows the
carbon dioxide to be separated more easily and
cheaply. A new power plant being built in Kem-
per County, Mississippi, which was designed
with carbon capture in mind, will gasify its coal.
Existing plants, which are generally designed
to burn pulverized coal, require a different ap-
proach. One idea is to burn the coal in pure oxy-
gen instead of air. That produces a simpler flue
gas from which it’s easier to pull the CO2. At the
DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory
in Morgantown, West Virginia, researcher Geo
Richards is working on an advanced version of
comes from oil, which is used
primarily to make various trans-
comes from burning coal—the
cheapest and dirtiest fossil fuel,
used primarily for electricity.
One U.S. power
plant, in Missis-
sippi, is now being
equipped for CCS.
It would take a
whole new indus-
try to make a dent
in U.S. emissions.
1.5 billion metric tons
Annual CO2 output
of all U.S. coal-ﬁred
3.5 million metric tons
Annual CO2 capture
planned at ﬁrst U.S. power
plant equipped for CCS
Cumulative atmospheric carbon
added by human activities
BILLIONS OF METRIC TONS
Fossil fuel consumption
and cement production
Land-use change due primarily
to deforestation and agriculture
1850 1900 1950 2000 2012
carbon-capture system is a tiny fraction of the
size that would be required at a real power plant.
“In this business,” Richards says, “you have to
be an optimist.”
In West Virginia these days, century-old
coal mines are closing as American power
plants convert to natural gas. With gas prices
in the U.S. near record lows, coal can look like
yesterday’s fuel, and investing in advanced coal
technology can look misguided at best. The view
from Yulin, China, is different.
Yulin sits on the eastern edge of Inner Mon-
golia’s Ordos Basin, dusty miles inland from
Beijing. Rust-orange sand dunes surround for-
ests of new, unoccupied apartment buildings,
spill over highway retaining walls, and send
clouds of grit through the streets. Yulin and its
three million residents are short on rain and
shade, hot in summer and very cold in winter.
But the region is blessed with mineral resources,
“Come and see our new toy,” he says, hunch-
ing his shoulders against a bitter Appalachian
winter day and walking briskly toward a large
white warehouse. Inside, workers are assem-
bling a five-story scaffold for an experiment in
“chemical looping.” Making pure oxygen from
air, Richards explains, is costly in itself—so his
process uses a metal such as iron to grab oxygen
out of the air and deliver it to the coal fire. In
principle, chemical looping could radically cut
the cost of capturing carbon.
Richards has dedicated more than years
of his career to making carbon capture more
efficient, and for him the work is largely its own
reward. “I’m one of those geeky people who just
like seeing basic physics turned into technology,”
he says. But after decades of watching politi-
cians and the public tussle over whether climate
change is even a problem, he does sometimes
wonder if the solution he’s been working on will
ever be put to practical use. His experimental
CO2 and Climate Change
To limit global warming since the 19th century
to 2°C (3.6°F) and thereby avoid its worst effects,
scientists estimate we must limit our cumulative
emissions of carbon as CO2 to a trillion metric tons.
As of 2012, by burning fossil fuels, making cement,
cutting trees, and so on, we had emitted 545 billion
tons. We’re on course to pass a trillion by 2040.
*U.S.S.R. DATA PRIOR TO 1992
SOURCES: THOMAS BODEN, CARBON DIOXIDE INFORMATION ANALYSIS
CENTER/OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
ENERGY; R. A. HOUGHTON, WOODS HOLE RESEARCH CENTER; EPA 84% Portion of U.S. greenhouse
gases emitted by human
activity that is CO2
including some of the country’s richest deposits
of coal. “God is fair,” says Yulin deputy mayor
Gao Zhongyin. From here coal looks like the
fuel of progress.
The sandy plateaus around Yulin are punc-
tuated with the tall smokestacks of coal power
plants, and enormous coal-processing plants,
with dormitories for live-in workforces, sprawl
for miles across the desert. New coal plants, their
grids of dirt roads decorated with optimistic red-
bannered gateways, bustle with young men and
women in coveralls. Coal provides about per-
cent of China’s electric power, but it isn’t just for
making electricity. Since coal is such a plentiful
domestic fuel, it’s also used for making dozens
of industrial chemicals and liquid fuels, a role
played by petroleum in most other countries.
Here coal is a key ingredient in products ranging
from plastic to rayon.
Coal has also made China first among nations
in total carbon dioxide emissions, though the
U.S. remains far ahead in emissions per capita.
China is not retreating from coal, but it’s more
than ever aware of the high costs. “In the past
ten years,” says Deborah Seligsohn, an environ-
mental policy researcher at the University of
California, San Diego, with nearly two decades’
experience in China, “the environment has gone
from not on the agenda to near the top of the
agenda.” Thanks to public complaints about air
quality, official awareness of the risks of climate
change, and a desire for energy security and tech-
nological advantage, China has invested hun-
dreds of billions of dollars in renewable energy.
It’s now a top manufacturer of wind turbines and
solar panels; enormous solar farms are scattered
among the smokestacks around Yulin. But the
country is also pushing ultraefficient coal power
and simpler, cheaper carbon capture.
These efforts are attracting both investment
and immigrants from abroad. At state-owned
Shenhua Group, the largest coal company in
commitment” to improving air quality and re-
ducing carbon dioxide emissions: “If you want
to make the greatest impact on emissions, you
go where the greatest source of those emissions
happens to be.”
Will Latta, founder of the environmental en-
gineering company LP Amina, is an American
expat in Beijing who works closely with Chinese
power utilities. “China is openly saying, Hey,
coal is cheap, we have lots of it, and alternatives
will take decades to scale up,” he says. “At the
same time they realize it’s not environmentally
sustainable. So they’re making large investments
to clean it up.” In Tianjin, about miles from
Beijing, China’s first power plant designed from
scratch to capture carbon is scheduled to open in
. Called GreenGen, it’s eventually supposed
to capture percent of its emissions.
Last fall, as world coal consumption and
world carbon emissions were headed for new
fuel? In China
like the fuel of
the world, its National Institute of Clean-and-
Low-Carbon Energy was until recently headed
by J. Michael Davis, an American who served
as assistant U.S. secretary for conservation and
renewable energy under the first President
Bush and is a past president of the U.S. Solar
Energy Industries Association. Davis says he was
drawn to China by the government’s “durable
108%Minimum time since
the CO2 level was
as high as it is today
Increase in global per
capita emissions between
1950 and 2010
records, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) issued its latest report. For the
first time it estimated an emissions budget for
the planet—the total amount of carbon we can
release if we don’t want the temperature rise to
exceed degrees Celsius (. degrees Fahren-
heit), a level many scientists consider a threshold
of serious harm. The count started in the th
plant, for example, would be equivalent to .
million people trading in pickups for Priuses.
The first American power plant designed to
capture carbon is scheduled to open at the end of
this year. The Kemper County coal-gasification
plant in eastern Mississippi will capture more
than half its CO2 emissions and pipe them to
nearby oil fields. The project, which is supported
in part by a DOE grant, has been plagued with
cost overruns and opposition from both envi-
ronmentalists and government-spending hawks.
But Mississippi Power, a division of Southern
Company, has pledged to persist. Company
leaders say the plant’s use of lignite, a low-grade
coal that’s plentiful in Mississippi, along with
a ready market for its CO2, will help offset the
heavy cost of pioneering new technology.
The technology won’t spread, however, until
governments require it, either by imposing a
price on carbon or by regulating emissions di-
rectly. “Regulation is what carbon capture needs
to get going,” says James Dooley, a researcher
at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Labora-
tory. If the EPA delivers this year on President
Obama’s promise to regulate carbon emissions
from both existing and new power plants—and
if those rules survive court challenges—then
carbon capture will get that long-awaited boost.
China, meanwhile, has begun regional experi-
ments with a more market-friendly approach—
one that was pioneered in the U.S. In the s
the EPA used the Clean Air Act to impose a
cap on total emissions of sulfur dioxide from
power plants, allocating tradable pollution
permits to individual polluters. At the time, the
power industry predicted disastrous economic
consequences. Instead the scheme produced in-
novative, progressively cheaper technologies and
significantly cleaner air. Rubin says that carbon-
capture systems are at much the same stage that
sulfur dioxide systems were in the s. Once
emissions limits create a market for them, their
cost too could fall dramatically.
If that happens, coal still wouldn’t be clean—
but it would be much cleaner than it is today.
And the planet would be cooler than it will be
if we keep burning coal the dirty old way. j
century, when the industrial revolution spread.
The IPCC concluded that we’ve already emitted
more than half our carbon budget. On our cur-
rent path, we’ll emit the rest in less than years.
Changing that course with carbon capture
would take a massive effort. To capture and
store just a tenth of the world’s current emissions
would require pumping about the same volume
of CO2 underground as the volume of oil we’re
now extracting. It would take a lot of pipelines
and injection wells. But achieving the same re-
sult by replacing coal with zero-emission solar
panels would require covering an area almost as
big as New Jersey (nearly , square miles).
The solutions are huge because the problem is—
and we need them all.
“If we were talking about a problem that
could be solved by a or percent reduction
in greenhouse gas emissions, we wouldn’t be
talking about carbon capture and storage,” says
Edward Rubin of Carnegie Mellon University.
“But what we’re talking about is reducing global
emissions by roughly percent in the next
or years.” Carbon capture has the potential
to deliver big emissions cuts quickly: Capturing
the CO2 from a single thousand-megawatt coal
The ﬁrst U.S.
power plant that
will capture most
of its CO2 is under
national geographic april
Photographs by Robb Kendrick
The world gets huge amounts of energy from coal—and puts huge energy
into extracting it from the ground. The carbon that ends up in the atmosphere
is just a ghostly echo of an industry of monumental scale and impact.
An automated bucket-
wheel excavator loads coal
into ships bound for China
and India. Australia is
second only to Indonesia
in coal exports.
Part two | The visible impacts
It burns nearly half the world’s coal, mostly to
support a 13-fold increase in electricity generation
since 1980. Demand is still growing. So is public
outrage over the ﬁlthy air in Chinese cities, which
has been linked to 1.2 million deaths a year.
Amid the withered stalks
of last year’s corn, a farmer
prepares for spring near
a power plant in Shanxi
Province. The facility,
which supplies electricity
to Beijing, 200 miles away,
covers local ﬁelds, crops,
and people with soot.
At a coal terminal in Shanxi
Province workers pick rocks
from low-priced coal as it
moves past on a conveyor
belt. Often working without
masks that would protect
them from coal dust, they
earn three dollars for an
The U.S. mines more than a billion tons of coal
a year. Once it came mostly from underground
mines in the East; now strip mines in the West
dominate. Domestic demand has fallen lately,
but exports to Europe and Asia have increased.
MADISON, WEST VIRGINIA
They call it mountaintop
removal. For each ton of
coal taken from the Hobet
21 mine, 20 cubic yards of
mountain are blasted away,
then dumped in valleys.
Hundreds of square miles
of Appalachian ridges have
been dismantled that way.
PANORAMA COMPOSED OF TWO IMAGES.
At the Lamberts Point
Coal Terminal, railcars
loaded with coal line up
to ﬁll waiting ships. Some
20 million tons of coal—
about 2 percent of U.S.
this terminal each year,
most of it from Appalachia.
The Black Thunder mine,
one of the world’s largest,
covers 75 square miles of
public and private land.
Trucks the size of houses
haul more than 90 million
tons of coal a year to
trains, which carry most of
it to eastern power plants.
It has 300 million people without electricity
and the ﬁfth largest coal reserves in the world.
The pressure to produce coal is taking its toll
on miners, many of whom work in illegal and
enormously dangerous mines.
A young boy carries
a chunk of coal into the
mining camp where he
lives. His family will burn
the coal to make coke—a
cleaner and hotter-burning
fuel—which they’ll either
sell or use themselves for
heating and cooking.
Northeastern India has a
long history of coal mining,
and ﬁres ignited by mining
accidents almost a century
ago still smolder in deeply
buried coal deposits. In
this mining camp the air is
thick day and night with
smoke from coal ﬁres.
A miner (left) works in one of hundreds of coal mines in eastern
India that are neither sanctioned nor regulated by government. He
lies on his back in low-ceilinged, unsupported passageways, without
protective clothing, using a pick and shovel to load his cart. Coal
is lifted out of the mine shaft two tons at a time (top) and trucked to
a depot (above), where it is sorted by size and quality.
A coal miner climbs a
shaky ladder to daylight.
A 19th-century mine in
the U.S. or Europe might
have looked just as hellish;
mines there are safer now.
But coal’s environmental
costs have grown—and
EUROPA Clutched in the embrace of her partner, a female
green turtle glides through indigo seas at Europa atoll, a vital
breeding area for this endangered species.
One of a pair of tiny French territories tucked between
Madagascar and southern Africa provides a mating area for
green turtles. The other is home to Galápagos sharks.
BASSAS Galápagos sharks, though named for the islands that furnished
Darwin with insights into evolution, are found around tropical oceanic reefs
worldwide. Almost all the sharks in the protected lagoon at Bassas da India
are Galápagos sharks; the lagoon is thought to be a nursery for the species.
national geographic April
Land: 11.6 sq mi (30 sq km)
Lagoon: 18.1 sq mi (47 sq km)
Bassas da India
Land: 0.08 sq mi (0.2 sq km)
Lagoon: 33.5 sq mi (86.8 sq km)
AND ANTARCTIC LANDS
Îles Éparses (Scattered Islands)
0 mi 250
0 km 250
picture two boulders dancing. That’s an approximation
of green turtle sex: two sumo-size behemoths clipped to each other’s shells,
finning languidly through the crystal waters of a coral reef. A reef such as
the one that encircles Île Europa, off the southwestern coast of Madagascar,
where on average more than 10,000 female green turtles congregate each
year to mate, later going ashore to lay their eggs.
Green turtles have a reproductive strategy known as “scramble polygamy.”
Rather than expend energy defending a territory or engaging in combat,
males focus their elephantine effort on finding an unattached female—or
attempting to cut in on a mating in progress. Males have large claws on their
flippers and tail, and use these to attach themselves to the shell of the female.
Other males attempt to knock a successful paramour off his perch, jousting
and biting and often wounding both members of the pair.
Occasionally a hormone-addled rival will clip on to the shell of the mount-
ed male. “This is going absolutely nowhere for male number two,” notes
marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols. Nichols has seen stacks of up to four
males, each clinging to the turtle in front. “When this sort of thing hap-
pens with earthworms in the garden, it’s merely curious,” he observes. “With
400-pound sea turtles, it’s a circus.”
Europa’s turtle circus is rarely seen by human eyes. The island is a
nature reserve, and its waters are protected. Like its neighbor, Bassas da India,
70-odd miles to the northwest, it is part of the Scattered Islands, five specks
of land that ring Madagascar like moons. Remnants of the once mighty
French colonial empire, they fly the Tricolor as part of the French Southern
and Antarctic Lands.
French sovereignty, though contested by Madagascar and other states,
is strategic. The total land area of the Scattered Islands is a mere 16 square
miles, but their collective exclusive economic zone is 15,000 times great-
er—an expanse of ocean almost the size of Texas. Crucially for the islands’
By Kennedy Warne
Photographs by Thomas P. Peschak
BASSAS The lagoon is likely a haven for Galápagos sharks
in their early years, protecting them from predation by adults of
their species before they face the challenges of the open sea.