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New TED Book turns critical eye on Keystone XL Pipeline

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would stretch 1,700 miles from Western Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas. And it has become a touchstone for the bitter fight over America’s energy future. Opponents say the pipeline — designed to bring oil from Canadian tar sands down through the United States — would further bind future generations to outdated oil-based energy policy. Meanwhile, supporters say it represents a step toward America’s energy independence.
Steve Mufson, author of the new TED Book Keystone XL: Down the Line and a reporter at The Washington Post, has journeyed along the entire length of the proposed pipeline. He suggests that its real story is twofold: about the American frontier spirit, and about just how far we are willing to go to feed our oil addiction. In the book, Mufson asks readers to consider the Keystone XL debate — beyond the issues of climate change, tar sands and U.S. energy trade policy. He unpacks issues that don’t get as much play in the press: the ups and downs of the North Dakota shale boom, prairie populism in Nebraska, drinking-water concerns near the Ogallala

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Unlikely collaborations: 5 TED Talks that reach across fields

Jessica Green explains what microbiology has to teach architecture at TED2013. Photo: Ryan Lash
Architecture and microbiology may seem like an odd couple, but TED Senior Fellow Jessica Green would beg to differ.Jessica Green: We’re covered in germs. Let’s design for that. In today’s talk, she reveals what’s teeming all over the surfaces around us, and how it can help us build smarter, healthier buildings.
As the founding director of the Biology in the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon, Green knows that it’s time for biology to join physics as a way for architects to study buildings. When she collaborated with architect Charlie Brown to study the microbes at UO’s Lillis Business Complex, they tracked the health benefits of the ventilation louvers Brown had designed. The result? A wealth of information and a new approach that Green is calling bioinformed design.
We thought this creative crossing of fields was brilliant — and also familiar. Some of the most interesting TED Talks come from a blend of the artistic and the analytical, the silly and the serious, the personal and the

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