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Ways to make aviation fuel green

Travelling by air is by no means the biggest source of anthropogenic greenhouse-gases. At the moment, it contributes about 2.5% of them. But, after a covid-induced dip, air travel is once again growing (see chart), and its emissions are high-profile and hard to deal with. For short-range, small-capacity planes batteries show some immediate promise....

Armies are re-learning how to fight in cities

“The city doesn’t exist any more,” said Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, in April. By then Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, had been under Russian siege for seven weeks—bombed, shelled and struck by rockets. The city fell the next month. Its mayor said that 1,300 high-rise buildings had been destroyed. Satellite images suggested almost half its...

Damião de Góis and Luís de Camões embodied contrasting world views

“Many historians begin their chronicles by praising history, but these praises always sell the matter short,” wrote Damião de Góis, a Portuguese royal archivist, in his account of the reign of Manuel I, published in 1566-7. “History is infinite,” de Góis reckoned, “and cannot be confined within any limits.”It is an unusual manifesto for a chronicle,...

Arab central banks are tagging along with the Fed’s rate rises

Overseeing monetary policy in the Middle East these days, jokes a banker, is like taking your kids on a rollercoaster. You would rather be watching from the ground, but there you are, strapped in, trundling up a hill and waiting fearfully for the drop on the other side.The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates four times this year, most recently...

Keeping up America’s standards is the job of NIST

“About every six months, I get an email: why is the peanut butter so expensive? Can I eat it? What does it taste like? Can you just send me a spoonful?” Melissa Phillips is a research chemist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (nist) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and makes a spirited defence of the peanut butter her agency sells—a snip...

How Democrats and Republicans see each other

COURAGEOUS POLITICIANS should not expect to be rewarded by voters. It has been more than 18 months since Liz Cheney voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the attack on the Capitol on January 6th 2021—one of only ten Republicans in the House of Representatives to do so. Since then the congresswoman from Wyoming has been praised by political pundits,...

For business, water scarcity is where climate change hits home

One of your columnist’s favourite ways of passing a hot afternoon in Monterrey, three hours south of Mexico’s border with Texas, is with a cold bottle of locally brewed Bohemia beer alongside a plate of cabrito (roast kid). For a business writer, it is a justifiable use of the expense account. Beers like Bohemia helped make Monterrey the industrial...

Merrick Garland is not naive about political violence

America’s attorney-general has reason to be haunted by its latent capacity for political violence. Merrick Garland was a senior official in the Justice Department on April 19th 1995, when a bomb exploded beneath a federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people, including 19 children. Mr Garland, who had young children then himself,...

British inflation hits double digits

ON AUGUST 17TH Britain’s statisticians revealed that the consumer-price index rose by 10.1% in the 12 months to July, the highest rate of inflation since the early 1980s. This was, once again, above analysts’ expectations, raising further concerns that inflation is out of control. But there are hints that the data are becoming more predictable.An index...

Can the Visa-Mastercard duopoly be broken?

“It’s like vegas,” says Matt Moore, the owner of a small bike shop in Georgetown, a neighbourhood in Washington. “You know you’re going to get screwed, the only question is how to get screwed the least.” The system of interchange—whereby banks and credit-card issuers charge merchants for collecting payments—is loathed by many retailers. Merchants hand...

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