The Intersection of Smug and Science

Chances are good that you or someone you know drives an electric or hybrid car. They are becoming increasingly popular–I was surprised after moving out to Denver how many parking structures have spaces reserved for electric cars with outlets for them to plug into.

Owners will give you plenty of good reasons for buying them: your gas mileage is tremendous, saving you both time and money when it comes to filling up; it’s better for the environment, as using less gas leads to less pollution; while the vehicles themselves are more expensive (both in the initial purchase and in the maintenance), it’s partially made up for with tax credits; and they don’t look nearly as stupid as they did when they first came out.

Let’s find out how they’re wrong, and how it can feel so good to know that. Continue reading

The Desolation of Smog

When Los Angeles was struck by terrible smog in the 1940s, everyone sprang into action. Scientists studied the causes, lawmakers worked to enact legislation to curb those causes, manufacturers came out with new designs to lessen the gases that led to the problem, and today the smog, while still present, is much less of a disruption on everyday life. This is how America responded to the smog crisis: research, committees, work, and solutions.

Beijing is currently dealing with what is likely even worse smog. Their response has been a little different. Continue reading