Articles of Interest June 16-19

How’s the Weather?

NY Times 6/17/2011

In 2008 and 2009, the sun showed the least surface activity in nearly a century, as weeks and months passed by without any sunspots or areas of intense magnetism. While President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the United Nations pledge to promote and implement space weather forecast monitoring, scientific and government communities worldwide must also spread awareness about space weather and its effects.

Utilities Turn to Mergers as Demand for Power Wanes

NY Times 6/16/2011

Electricity demand is barely growing, as low-power processors, smarter manufacturing plants, rooftop solar panels and other technologies are keeping a lid on electricity use. The slowdown is sparking a cycle of deal making and mergers among major electricity firms.

Afghanistan’s Last Locavores

NY Times 6/19/2011

Promoting fossil fuels over renewable energy could be repressive and destructive, burying the nation’s centuries of experience in sustainable living. If change in strategy does not occur, future generations of rural Afghans will witness construction of pipelines, oil rigs and enormous power grids that degrade their fragile, natural terrain.