• Seal with a Pen

The Upbeat: Elon, Energy, and Europe

I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend. I've collected a variety of articles from the past few days for y'all to read at your leisure. Isn't it incredible that it's almost May? Sometimes it still feels like 2021.


Election season is about to kick into high gear, so prepare yourself for the incoming deluge of coverage that every single news site will be running.


-- Seal with a Pen


Elon Musk purchases Twitter. Nothing has happened yet except the purchase, but the future of Twitter may have been decided today with Elon Musk spending an incredible $44 billion to take over the company. Elon has previously said that he wants to defend free speech on the platform. A few days ago, Musk tweeted "A social media platform's politics are good if the most extreme 10% on left and right are equally unhappy." We'll see where all of this goes over the next few weeks and months. Read more: https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/25/23028323/elon-musk-twitter-offer-buyout-hostile-takeover-ownership (The Verge), https://reason.com/2022/04/25/elon-musk-buys-twitter-twitters-biggest-egos-melt-down/ (Reason)


Articles on the future of energy. Last week I was presented with two articles on current energy initiatives that aim to address the present energy transition without incurring extreme costs. The first of these was with regards to the "world's largest batteries," pumped storage plants. Renewable energy is not always as constant as fossil fuels: solar panels don't work at night, and wind turbines require wind to produce energy. Because of this, power storage is necessary for the times when new energy isn't being produced, but making new batteries damages the environment too. Pumped storage plants are one possible alternative, which work very simply: to store energy, they pump water uphill to a reservoir, and when they need energy, they just let the water flow back downhill to power turbines. While there aren't many of these plants in the U.S. at present, the development of new technologies may open the door for this common-sense energy storage system. The second article I read was with regards to a new federal program to revive nuclear plants nearing closure, with the idea that nuclear plants offset carbon emissions just like renewable energy sources do. With years of public malice towards nuclear power slowing their development, this is a significant step for the government to take in support of nuclear plants, and mirrors recent developments in France. The articles: https://apnews.com/article/technology-science-business-michigan-lake-f977350c21788d2dcd62f7cef5b7c280 (Associated Press, pumped storage plants), https://apnews.com/article/climate-business-environment-nuclear-power-us-department-of-energy-2cf1e633fd4d5b1d5c56bb9ffbb2a50a (Associated Press, nuclear plant initiative)


American officials meet with Ukrainian President. Both the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense visited Ukraine yesterday, the first visit by top U.S. officials since before the current war began. In a meeting with Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy, the United States promised more support to Ukraine and announced the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, while Zelenskyy expressed his thanks to "all the American people" for their support to the country. Incidentally, this weekend was Easter for the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox churches. Read more: https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-zelenskyy-kyiv-business-lloyd-austin-b070518fe13dc3286620d4864dc4cd0c (Associated Press), https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/25/kyiv-austin-blinken-diplomatic-presence-ukraine-00027440 (POLITICO)


Emmanuel Macron (left) and Robert Golob (right), the new leaders of France and Slovenia (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, here and here)


Europe charts a path for the future. Yesterday saw two major elections held for two of America's European allies, France and Slovenia. Both are EU and NATO members: France is America's oldest ally and still a powerful world force, while Slovenia is the home nation of former First Lady Melania Trump. Elections in both countries affect the United States. Centrist President Emmanuel Macron won re-election in France over the hardline conservative Marine Le Pen, while incumbent hardline conservative Janez Janša lost re-election in Slovenia to environmentalist Robert Golob. Both elections favored pro-EU, pro-NATO contenders and are likely to further bolster those alliances moving forward. Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/macron-re-elected-for-second-term-as-french-president-projection/ (POLITICO EU, France), https://www.politico.eu/article/janez-jansa-suffers-heavy-defeat-as-newcomer-party-wins-slovenian-election/ (POLITICO EU, Slovenia)

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