Rapidly shifting gears from translating Martial’s Epigrams to explicating the scriptures (What the Gospels Meant) to scrutinizing the classified memos of George Kennan is bound to induce wear and tear on the transmission of even the most tireless polymath’s intellectual lathe.
It’s a rare day when people as politically different as defense secretary Robert Gates, liberal Democratic congressman Barney Frank and libertarian Republican congressman Ron Paul agree on something. But all three have said recently that the time has come to cut the U.S. military budget.
If the nations of the world are to keep their pledge to combat climate change, vast amounts of fossil fuel—oil, coal, and even natural gas—must be left in the ground and sea, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. Over 90 percent of U.S. and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands must remain unused, and none of the oil or gas in the Arctic can be used—if the global temperature rise is to be less than two degrees centigrade, as nations have agreed. In the modeling done by this study, the Middle East must keep underground an amount equivalent to Saudi Arabia’s entire reserves (Guardian, January 7).