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2023/02/10 第419期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 How to Hand Out Billions in Climate Subsidies? Very Carefully. 拜登政府將謹慎處理氣候補貼金發放
The Next Epoch Of Planet Earth Might Be Today 地球或已處於全新地質年代:人類世
How to Hand Out Billions in Climate Subsidies? Very Carefully. 拜登政府將謹慎處理氣候補貼金發放
文/Lisa Friedman


John Podesta, President Joe Biden’s clean energy adviser, said the administration was working to ensure that a record $370 billion in new federal subsidies for electric vehicles, wind farms, batteries and other clean energy technologies is spent properly and avoids waste and abuse.


Podesta said the White House would issue tax code guidelines by early next year to speed the delivery of the money and was meeting with inspectors general from across the federal government to get advice on ways to safeguard against fraud.


The internal watchdog at the Department of Energy, one of several agencies that is receiving an influx of money under the Inflation Reduction Act, has already warned that Secretary Jennifer Granholm's office does not have enough resources to properly monitor all the programs that will be created.


Under the new law, the Department of Energy budget will grow from $45.3 billion to more than $100 billion in funds and $336 billion in loan authority. Another new law, the CHIPS and Science Act, will pump an additional $30.5 billion into the department.


Republicans, who will take control of the House in January, have suggested that they will investigate the Biden administration’s handling of the flood of tax rebates, loans and incentives under the landmark climate and tax law.


Podesta, who is responsible for overseeing the disbursement of the money, said complex rules expected from the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies would clarify who qualifies for various incentives and how the money will be doled out.


The federal dollars will be consequential to unleashing trillions of dollars in private-sector energy investments, he said.


“I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to people who are anxious to invest in the United States as a result of this legislation and are preparing business plans assuming that those tax credits will have certainty,” Podesta said. He said the agencies were “on track” and would begin to issue official guidance “by the end of the year and early next year.”


On Thursday, the White House made public a guidebook meant to help companies and consumers as well as state, local and tribal governments navigate the new law. Podesta said his aim was to create a road map that would especially help communities that disproportionately face pollution and climate hazards to take full advantage of the tax incentives.


The Next Epoch Of Planet Earth Might Be Today 地球或已處於全新地質年代:人類世
文/Raymond Zhong


The official timeline of Earth’s history could soon include the age of nuclear weapons, human-caused climate change and the proliferation of plastics, garbage and concrete across the planet.


In short, the present.


Ten thousand years after our species began forming primitive agrarian societies, a panel of scientists on Saturday took a big step toward declaring a new interval of geologic time: the Anthropocene, the age of humans.


Our current geologic epoch, the Holocene, began 11,700 years ago with the end of the last big ice age. The panel’s roughly three dozen scholars appear close to recommending that, actually, we have spent the past few decades in a brand-new time unit, one characterized by human-induced, planetary-scale changes that are unfinished but very much underway.


“If you were around in 1920, your attitude would have been, ‘Nature’s too big for humans to influence,’” said Colin N. Waters, a geologist and chair of the Anthropocene Working Group, the panel that has been deliberating on the issue since 2009. The past century has upended that thinking, Waters said. “It’s been a shock event, a bit like an asteroid hitting the planet.”


The working group’s members on Saturday completed the first in a series of internal votes on details including when exactly they believe the Anthropocene began. Once these votes are finished, which could be by spring, the panel will submit its final proposal to three other committees of geologists whose votes will either make the Anthropocene official or reject it.


Sixty percent of each committee will need to approve the group’s proposal for it to advance to the next. If it fails in any of them, the Anthropocene might not have another chance to be ratified for years.


If it makes it all the way, though, geology’s amended timeline would officially recognize that humankind’s effects on the planet had been so consequential as to bring the previous chapter of Earth’s history to a close. It would acknowledge that these effects will be discernible in the rocks for millenniums.


“I teach the history of science — you know, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo,” said Francine McCarthy, an earth scientist at Brock University in Canada and member of the working group. “We’re actually doing it,” she said. “We’re living the history of science.”



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