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Economy

NREL, The Mega Colorado Lab Leading Renewable Energy Revolution

On the dusty, deserted plains of Colorado, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) works with researchers and the world's top companies to create the consumer economy of the future, which will be much more environmentally conscious.

A wind turbine more than 260 feet above the ground at NREL
A wind turbine more than 260 feet above the ground at NREL
US Dept of Energy
Elsa Conesa

GOLDEN — Those who have read The Adventures of Tintin comic book series might think for a second that they've just landed at the Atomic Research Center of Sbrodj, the fictional city, where Professor Calculus secretly built the rocket that would take the characters to the Moon. But this is certainly not Tintin territory. We are in the heart of Colorado, where the great arid plains give way to the Rocky Mountains.

A handful of chrome-plated buildings, covered with solar panels, seem to have emerged from the earth right in the middle of the desert. An isolated road surrounds the site. The closest town, Golden, is a tiny one that owes its name to a gold digger and its fame to the presence of Buffalo Bill's grave.

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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