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If the US had price on carbon, would Keystone XL have made sense?

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageWhat would an environmental economist do? iip-photo-archive/flickr, CC BY-NC

In announcing the State Department’s decision to reject the permit application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama focused on how this decision fits into the broader context of international negotiations on climate change.

With this decision made,...

Read more: If the US had price on carbon, would Keystone XL have made sense?

As the US heads to climate talks, it seeks a plan to 'trust but verify'

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageCrucial to Paris is a system to monitor and verify countries' pledges to reduce emissions.Kacper Pempel/Reuters

The United States, like many other countries, has been participating in negotiations in the lead-up to the United Nations' conference on climate change in Paris. The goal is to craft a policy framework that is going to engage all...

Read more: As the US heads to climate talks, it seeks a plan to 'trust but verify'

How the science of human behavior is beginning to reshape the US government

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageBehavioral research shows that federal employees are more likely to click on an email if it's sent at lunchtime.Reuters

Back in September, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that marked a major turning point in the role that behavioral science plays in helping the federal government achieve policy goals.

The order, which directs...

Read more: How the science of human behavior is beginning to reshape the US government

Teaching assistants like me? Here's what could change

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageWhat difference can a teaching assistant make?https://www.flickr.com/photos/vandycft/, CC BY-NC

From 1995 to 2012, the rate of college completion in the United States has steadily fallen relative to other developed countries. Over this short period of time, the US went from having the highest young-adult college completion rate among OECD countries...

Read more: Teaching assistants like me? Here's what could change

How computers broke science – and what we can do to fix it

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageComputer... or black box for data?US Army

Reproducibility is one of the cornerstones of science. Made popular by British scientist Robert Boyle in the 1660s, the idea is that a discovery should be reproducible before being accepted as scientific knowledge.

In essence, you should be able to produce the same results I did if you follow the method I...

Read more: How computers broke science – and what we can do to fix it

The activists' playbook behind Obama's Keystone rejection

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageGetting out the message: environmental activists seized on the Keystone XL pipeline as a symbol. Light Brigading/flickr, CC BY-NC

Contrary to predictions from energy industry insiders, President Obama has rejected TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline across the United States-Canada border.

The president downplayed the...

Read more: The activists' playbook behind Obama's Keystone rejection

The Keystone XL pipeline debate is over, but our infrastructure needs are not

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageObama announcing that he has rejected the Keystone XL pipeline – what message does it send on infrastructure? Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline was virtually a foregone conclusion well before he announced it.

Just as the prolonged debate about the pipeline was far more a matter of...

Read more: The Keystone XL pipeline debate is over, but our infrastructure needs are not

Hollywood shines a spotlight on real journalism

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageThe headquarters of The Boston Globe. Brian Snyder/Reuters

Note: this article may contain spoilers for those unfamiliar with the story.


In the new movie Spotlight, there’s a wonderful scene where a reporter is seeking documents in a courthouse. The building is a dreary linoleum monument to The Way Things Are. In the scene, a recalcitrant clerk...

Read more: Hollywood shines a spotlight on real journalism

Jobs report shows why it's time Speaker Ryan and President Obama sat down for a beer

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageThere's nothing a couple beers can't fix. Reuters

Today’s strong employment report is a cause for celebration, at least for now.

The economy reversed the trend of the past three months by creating 271,000 new jobs. The overall unemployment rate is now at 5%, a seven-year low. Growth was especially strong in the service sector, with...

Read more: Jobs report shows why it's time Speaker Ryan and President Obama sat down for a beer

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