“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
State policies and equipment prices are driving up shares.
In the month since President Donald Trump vowed to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, shares of U.S. solar companies have taken a curious turn.
They’ve gone sharply up.
Sunrun Inc. and Vivint Solar Inc., the two largest independent U.S. rooftop panel installers, have embarked on their biggest rallies of the year since the president’s June 1 announcement. Sunrun is up 42 percent, closing Thursday at $7.27. Vivint has risen 86 percent, to $5.75. And SunPower Corp., the second-largest American panel manufacturer, has gained 19 percent, to $9.49.
The rally—which comes as oil and energy stocks at large have dipped—appears to have nothing to do with Paris. Rather, analysts say it’s fueled by the dynamics that typically drive clean-energy installations: state policies and equipment prices.
“There are certainly things that Trump and Congress can do to affect this industry in a significant way in the short run,” said Ethan Zindler, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst. Paris, he added, isn’t on the list.
The rally began days after Trump’s announcement, as state lawmakers in Nevada began advancing legislation to make solar more affordable for homeowners. Nevada gets more sunshine than almost anywhere in the nation, but it’s been a dead-end market for solar since regulators slashed rooftop panel subsidies in 2015.
Every week political cartoonists throughout the country and across the political spectrum apply their ink-stained skills to capture the foibles, memes, hypocrisies and other head-slapping events in the world of politics. The fruits of these labors are hundreds of cartoons that entertain and enrage readers of all political stripes. Here’s an offering of the best of this week’s crop, picked fresh off the Toonosphere. Edited by Matt Wuerker.
Sometimes you see a product and you’re like “wow, that’s so futuristic.” Then you remember you’re living in 2017, 20 years after the date that a sentient AI wiped out most of humanity in the original Terminator movie, and you think: “Huh, maybe we’re living in the future already.” So it is with these amazing LED eyelashes.
They’re called f.lashes, and they’re the creation of designer Tien Pham, who first showed them off at Maker Faire earlier this year. Encouraged by the reaction he received, Pham has now launched a Kickstarter to make his wearable electronics into a commercial product, and has already attracted more than double his $40,000 target.
F.lashes are tiny strips of LEDs that you stick to your eyelids with lash adhesive. There’s an annoying, bulky controller and a connecting wire you have to hide somewhere (best bet: in your hair) but once that’s in place, the effect is amazing. The f.lashes come in seven different colors, and light up in various patterns in response to your movements.
It’s a neat product, but not quite ready for the mainstream. (That wire is going to annoy too many people.) Expect to see it at clubs and festivals first, places where taking a little more time to get dressed up is par for the course, and then, when future iterations drop the wire, we hope they’ll go mainstream. Then, in another 20 years time, they’ll be retro.
“I fundamentally believe that doing good is good for business.”
Daniel Lurie, founder and CEO of Tipping Point CommunityTipping Point Community
Seeing Daniel Lurie walking down the streets of San Francisco, you might assume he’s a young start-up exec. He’s clean-cut, casually stylish, and talks with a nerdy confidence that he can achieve his world-changing goals. His goals are indeed lofty: The 40-year-old is the founder and CEO of Tipping Point Community, a nonprofit that recently announced a $100 million pledge to cut chronic homelessness in the Bay Area in half over the next five years. It plans to spend the money on creating permanent housing and tackling the root causes of homelessness by improving the mental health, child welfare, and criminal justice systems. That’s a tall order: San Francisco has roughly 7,500 homeless residents, according to the latest count. In recent years, the city has boasted both the highest rents in the country and the highest rate of unsheltered homelessness. In 2015, 1 in 200 San Franciscans was sleeping on the streets.
Lurie, a San Francisco native (no relation to the author), was raised by philanthropists.His stepfather Peter Haas, the former president of Levi Strauss & Co., has donated millions to early childhood development and education programs for the city’s poorest kids, among other causes. In 2005, Lurie founded Tipping Point with the goal of redirecting the region’s wealth to confront the city’s intractable poverty. The group’s funders include tech giants like Google, Adobe, and Apple, whose money is then donated a curated list of local education, employment, housing, and child development organizations. Lurie is well suited for the job: He’s connected with the city’s elite (he’s on a first-name basis with Mayor Ed Lee and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff) and speaks readily about the poverty gap and the importance of teaching his kids to give back to their community.
I chatted with Lurie about what Silicon Valley companies can do to help bridge the massive gap between Bay Area’s rich and poor.
Mother Jones: Homelessness in San Francisco seems intractable. Does that give you pause?
Militants loyal to Islamic State have seized large parts of Marawi City in the southern Philippines. As the conflict now enters its second month, government forces are still fighting to regain control. Sky News’ Asia Correspondent Katie Stallard reports from the region.
Here’s an idea whose time has come: A flu shot that doesn’t require an actual shot.
For the first time, researchers have tested a flu vaccine patch in a human clinical trial and found that it delivered as much protection as a traditional jab with a needle.
It’s not just needle-phobes who stand to benefit from this development, reportedTuesday in the journal Lancet. Doctors and public health experts have high hopes that vaccine patches will boost the number of people who get immunized against the flu.
Seasonal influenza is responsible for up to half a million deaths around the world each year, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, the annual death toll since 2010 has ranged between 12,000 and 56,000. And yet the proportion of American adults who get a flu shot tends to hover around 40%.
The fact that it usually involves poking a piece of metal into the muscle of your upper arm may have something to do with that low vaccination rate. (Some people also blame the time and expense involved in getting a flu shot.)
But a team led by Georgia Tech engineer Mark Prausnitz has come up with an alternative method that uses “microneedles.” These tiny needles are so small that 100 of them, arrayed on a patch, can fit under your thumb. Yet they’re big enough to hold vaccine for three strains of the flu.
Two of the groups were vaccinated with the patch, which resembles a Band-Aid and must be applied to the skin near the wrist for 20 minutes. The procedure was so straightforward that one group of volunteers was able to administer the vaccine themselves. (In the other group, healthcare professionals did the job.) Inspection of the used vaccine patches revealed that the microneedles dissolved during the 20 minutes they were on the skin.
A third group received a traditional flu shot using a regular needle, and a fourth group got a patch that looked like the real thing but contained a placebo.
The researchers checked in on the volunteers 28 days after their immunizations and found that flu antibody levels were “significantly higher” in the three groups that got the vaccine than in the group that got the placebo.
What’s more, the two groups that got the vaccine via a patch had about the same antibody levels as the group that got the traditional shot. In addition, the volunteers who put the patches on themselves got the same protection as the volunteers whose patches were administered by health professionals.
After six months, at least 75% of volunteers in all three vaccine groups were still being protected, according to the study.