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May 27, 2013

Can the enormous, intricate and fragile electric grid play nice with increased renewable energy production? Plus, Alaska's bald eagles, selling a Utah ghost town, hummingbird-inspired drones, and more.

Feature

The power grid may determine whether we can kick our carbon habit
The power grid may determine whether we can kick our carbon habit
How the huge and fragile network of wires intertwined into our very existence may determine whether we can kick our carbon habit.

Current

Alaska’s populist, Sarah Palin-era oil tax gets the ax
Alaska’s populist, Sarah Palin-era oil tax gets the ax
The Alaska Legislature cut the industry’s taxes to boost declining production in the North Slope. But the rollbacks don’t seem likely to have the desired effect.
The West’s Big Data colonies
The West’s Big Data colonies
New "company towns" are born in the rural West -- for Facebook, Google and the like.
Could an Alaska mining project jeopardize Earth’s largest bald eagle gathering?
Could an Alaska mining project jeopardize Earth’s largest bald eagle gathering?
Scientists studying eagles on the Chilkat River near Haines worry that nearby mineral exploration may threaten a chum salmon run the migrating raptors rely on, possibly with cross-continent consequences.
A Utah realtor’s quest to sell a ghost town
A Utah realtor’s quest to sell a ghost town
Woodside, Utah, a dusty town with an out-of-service gas station and not much else, is for sale. Mike Metzger’s creative marketing of the oddball property led to a media frenzy, but thus far, no buyers.
The Latest: Quagga mussels invade Lake Powell
The Latest: Quagga mussels invade Lake Powell
There’s still time to combat the invasive, destructive mussels before they colonize the reservoir

Editor's Note

A spark leads to a story
A spark leads to a story
A primer on the inner workings of the electric grid.

Essays

War Bird: An essay on robot hummingbirds
War Bird: An essay on robot hummingbirds
Robotic hummingbirds have got nothing on the real thing

Book Reviews

Sippings of memory: a review of "100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do"
Sippings of memory: a review of "100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do"
"100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do," Kim Stafford’s memoir of his brother’s suicide, is more heartwarming than depressing
Listening to the secret heart: a review of The Last Shepherd
Listening to the secret heart: a review of The Last Shepherd
In "The Last Shepherd," Martin Etchart tells a story of a Basque sheep herding family’s secrets
Book review: Ground/Water: The Art, Design and Science of a Dry River
Book review: Ground/Water: The Art, Design and Science of a Dry River
A review of Ground/Water: The Art, Design and Science of a Dry River, edited by Ellen McMahon, Ander Monson and Beth Weinstein

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