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Lisa Margonelli

Lisa Margonelli
Lisa Margonelli is the author of Oil On the Brain: Petroleum's Long, Strange Trip to Your Tank. She is currently working on a book about termites.

Recent posts

Prospector

norway-oil

How Farouk al Kasim Saved Norway From Its Oil

After growing up watching the benefits of Iraqi oil elude the Iraqi people, a young executive insisted that Norway do things differently.

Features

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Meet the Flexians

A new professional class of movers and shakers—people who serve overlapping roles in government, business, and media with smiling finesse—is controlling the flow of power and money in America. The anthropologist Janine Wedel is bent on making us understand just how dangerous this new normal can be.

 

fracking-red

The Environmental Defense Fund Is Pissing Off Fellow Environmentalists

Has the large advocacy group allowed itself to be “co-opted by industry interests”?

 

nikola-tesla-corner

Nikola Tesla Would Not Approve of Your Online Viewing Habits

Collectively, we’ve spent more than 50 years watching the Tesla vs. Thomas Edison rap smackdown that went viral on YouTube.

Features

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How the Trailer Park Could Save Us All

A healthy, inexpensive, environmentally friendly solution for housing millions of retiring baby boomers is staring us in the face. We just know it by a dirty name.

Book Reviews

The Casino Pier Star Jet roller coaster submerged in the sea on January 13, 2013 in Seaside Heights, NJ. (PHOTO: GLYNNIS JONES/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Guide to a Sizzling Planet

Not everyone is a pessimist when it comes to predicting the impact of climate change. Too bad the optimists aren’t nearly as convincing.

Economics Essays

Anti-fracking activists hold a rally outside a Democratic Party policy summit in New York in August 2012 to express their opposition to fracking to Governor Andrew Cuomo. (PHOTO: ALLAN TANNENBAUM/NEWSCOM)

The Energy Debate We Aren’t Having

The energy boom has the nation mired in chatter about a burgeoning job market, or panicked over certain environmental destruction. Instead, we should be asking: To whom will go the spoils of this bonanza, and on whose shoulders will the risks fall?

 

A rare still from 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' with Tom Hardy in the role of Max Rockatansky

Why We Should Drop the ‘Mad Max’ Metaphors

In Namibia, the filmmakers creating ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ have run into a different kind of fury, and few roads.

Features

(ILLUSTRATION: MARK MCGINNIS)

The Formula

How an equation cooked up by Mussolini’s numbers guy came to define how we think about inequality—from Occupy Wall Street to the World Bank to the billionaires at Davos—and why it’s time to find a new way of looking at the numbers.

 

(ILLUSTRATION: GRAHAM SMITH)

Mouse-Infest Destiny

Most of our homes are soaked in mouse urine. It’s at the core of our asthma epidemic—but it helps rodents stay connected.

 

energysources

Why Can’t Obama Articulate His Energy Strategy?

The president’s all-of-the-above approach to oil, gas, coal, wind, solar and everything else has been comprehensive, but incomprehensible.

 

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Could the Smart Grid Finally Do Some Good for Consumers?

One small but important study shows that we could save money — and our behavior could change — if we were just given the right information.

 

Romney’s Energy Plan Isn’t an Energy Plan

It’s a veiled stimulus plan to bring back fossil-fuel jobs.

 

Maybe A Little Less Dictatorship In Our Tanks

Here’s a seemingly obscure bureaucratic decision that could have big moral implications. Yesterday the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) released a long awaited (or delayed) decision saying publicly traded oil companies must reveal their spending on foreign projects, forbidding some of the secrecy that has fostered the corruption and undemocratic governments that plague oil producing countries.  […]

 

Diesel: The Dirty Fuel That Could Usher in Clean Energy

Can we be smart enough to capitalize on the boom of dirty diesel fuel—recently listed as a carcinogen—to make renewables finally have an impact?

 

LOST at Sea

LOST at Sea

While sharks, elephant seals, and Pacific bluefin tuna on the great predator highway don’t carry passports, or care about sovereignty, the humans in Washington should care about the languishing Law of the Sea treaty.

 

Lights on in only one house

Electric Forecast Calls for Increasing Blackouts

From falling investment to falling deer, America’s power grid is falling down. A lack of political will and willingness to rely on Band-Aids may doom efforts to improve the nation’s power infrastructure.

 

Light bulb in dirt lights up

Making Electricity From Dirt

By harnessing power from soil microbes, one engineer is trying to charge cell phones across rural Africa.

 

Stack of chemical barrels

Frac-o-nomics: More Gas Won’t Guarantee Lower Prices

As humble guar gum illustrates, the economics of producing more fossil fuels won’t automatically result in lower prices, nor will increased protections necessarily mean big price increases.

 

Waterpic

Could Water Bring Jobs Back to the U.S.?

There is a coming jobs exodus from China, and back to the Rust Belt and other water rich regions. Or so says one principal at a water hedge fund.

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Don’t Text and Drive—Especially If You’re Old

A new study shows that texting while driving becomes even more dangerous with age.

Apparently You Can Bring Your Religion to Work

New research says offices that encourage talk of religion actually make for happier workplaces.

Canadian Kids Have a Serious Smoking Problem

Bootleg cigarette sales could be leading Canadian teens to more serious drugs, a recent study finds.

The Hidden Psychology of the Home Ref

That old myth of home field bias isn’t a myth at all; it’s a statistical fact.

The Big One

One in two United States senators and two in five House members who left office between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. November/December 2014

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