Well-researched stories from around the web that bridge the gap between news and scholarship. Brought to you each Tuesday from the editors of JSTOR Daily.
The perils of intervention (The Conversation)
by David Alpher
After the U.S. missile strike on Syria last week, it’s not clear whether the Trump administration will take action to try to topple President Bashar al-Assad. But studying parallel situations in the past shows just how badly things can go when outside forces try to impose a solution on a troubled country. For more on the context of the Syrian conflict, check out this JSTOR Daily story from last year.
Getting to 100% renewable power (Vox)
by David Roberts
Almost everyone agrees that swapping out carbon-emitting fossil fuels for solar and wind energy is a good idea. But what would it take to get to 100 percent renewable power? Reviewing studies on the transition to cleaner energy demonstrates the scope of the problem, and gives some reasons for hope.
The octopus: Genetic engineer of the deep (The Atlantic)
by Ed Yong
Octopuses are very weird. They can see through their skin, use changing colors as social cues, and use their unique bodies and powerful intelligence to escape captivity. Now, scientists say one reason for some of their amazing, alien abilities may be that octopuses have an unusual ability to edit their own genes, changing their RNA to adapt fast to changing conditions—and maybe to get smarter.
Does creativity ripen with age? (The New York Times)
by Pagan Kennedy
Mark Zuckerberg famously insisted that “young people are just smarter.” But, in an era when Silicon Valley 20-year-olds are the face of innovation, research—and the story of an incredible new breakthrough by a 94-year-old—suggests that there are creative advantages to be found in middle age and beyond.
The methane mess (Pacific Standard)
by Bob Berwyn
Controlling methane emissions is a key part of curbing climate change. Of course, the first step is figuring out where rising levels of the gas are coming from. A new study shows that oil and gas drilling isn’t the biggest driver in recent increases, but it also shows how the energy industry could play a significant role in addressing the problem.
Have you seen a story online that does a good job of bridging the gap between the news and scholarship? Or something that seems particularly well-researched? Let us know and we may include it in next week’s roundup. Email us at jstordaily_submissions (at) jstor (dot) org.