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At the Newberry:


Latest updates include reports on recent colloquia and seminars at the Chicago's Newberry Library. These include:


Art, Optics and Astrology in the Renaissance


The "Benefit of Clergy," or getting away with murder.


"Seeing the World Anew" with the Waldseemüller maps.


The Baker who pretended to be King of Portugal.

"A Diabolical Murder: the Clan, Cronin and Chicago in the Gilded Age."

Illinois searched for solutions for tomorrow's electric supply


Programs as three Chicago area institutions approached the issue of sustainable energy from three different directions early this year, with a surprising uniformity of conclusions and results

The three conferences were held in January, February and March at Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago and the law offices of Baker and Mackenzie. Each tackled the strategies of encouraging renewable and sustainable energy with very different panels of experts and approaches.

The common thread in all three meetings was:

1.      Unlike most other developed nations, the United States has no national energy policy and few statues to enact one.

2.      Wind and solar energy offer far more than just a greener source of electricity. The experience in Europe shows that when a country develops expertise in wind and solar power it also develops a new industry for technology companies and construction, leading to valuable exports.

3.      Natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” may lower the cost of new power generation so much that it makes wind and solar energy less economically viable.

4.      The variability of wind and solar power means they can’t grow beyond a certain portion of the electric energy supply without the development of a dramatic new generation of storage batteries.

Illustrating the last point, Europe’s programs to encourage solar and wind energy are reaching a point that can be described as “catastrophic success”. The portion of some nation’s electricity generation from renewable resources has grown to the point that utilities will soon face the possibility of shutting down conventional power plants to make room for the wind and solar energy they are required to use.


Continued on Public Affairs - Illinois Energy

What happened around Saturn in September 1983?

Here’s a hint: it was pretty much the same thing happening to Jupiter in the July 1994.

Find out on the Science page.


The China Cleantech Juggernaut

A conference in Chicago on 11 January 2013 examines the impact of China's aggressive moves into the solar and wind energy arena. Is this an opportunity for the U.S., or a dangerous new rival?

Find out on the International page.


The Global Landscape for Cleantech and Climate Change

A broader focus on the challenges of encouraging solar and wind energy was the subject of a gathering at the Chicago downtown campus of Northwestern University on 15 May 2012.

See out report on the Public Affairs page.


The "Drama of Assassination" in early modern France

When King Henry IV of France was stabbed to death in a Paris street in 1610, the murder of the popular king threatened to plunge France back into anarchy and violence, but skillful handling by 17th Century spinmasters kept the nation and Henry’s legacy alive.

See the story on the History page.


Curiositas is Latin for “curiosity.” We use the Latin here to refer to its listing as a sin by Thomas Aquinas in “Summa Theologica.”  Aquinas thought it sinful to have curiosity for knowledge that did not bring man into a stronger worship of God. Here we are profane secular humanists, and we wallow in the sin of curiositas.

If you are looking for an eclectic survey of science, history, literature, languages, art, world affairs, human rights, athletics, travel and music, then this is your site.

If you are looking for partisan politics, religion taken seriously, conspiracy theories taken seriously, bigotry, homophobia, racism or sexism, this is not your site.

The antonym of “curiosity” is “apathy,” which is also not the subject of this site.

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"The Chinese Cleantech Juggernaut" was examined by a panel in Chicago on 11 January 2013. Check it out in the Public Affairs - International section.

Coming Soon:


"Atypical Knowledge and Scientific Impact" tells how researchers at Northwestern University studied citations in 30 million scientific papers to determine how successful "outside the box" thinking is to the success of research.