Barrett Sheridan

Stories by Barrett Sheridan

  • Telling Stories the Online Way

    A novel told exclusively through Google maps, another through images on Flickr—a publisher tries retelling novels in ways exclusive to the Web.
  • Experts Assess Putin’s Legacy

    Ten Russia experts, from financiers to diplomats to Khrushchev's granddaughter, assess the legacy of Vladimir Putin.
  • Vanilla Option

    The next revolution in green cars is more likely to come from ordinary combustion engines than some exotic technology.
  • Q&A: Building a Visual Internet

    Scrolling and searching are primitive ways of handling information. The human mind is much better at zooming, says Microsoft computer scientist Blaise Aguera y Arcas.
  • Like A Super Hero

    Humans weren't made for scrolling and searching. We were made for zooming.
  • The 100 Greenest Countries

    Yale University's newest ranking of the world's greenest countries offers a few surprises—and some useful lessons for business leaders.
  • Liberia: Prosecuting Taylor

    Stephen Rapp, the U.N. lawyer prosecuting Charles Taylor, talks about his case against the Liberian ex-president and the power of international courts to stop slaughter
  • Boom Time for Emerging Markets

    For the developing world, these are the best of times, says Morgan Stanley's emerging-markets guru.
  • Dialog of the Deaf

    Until the free marketers and the protectionists start talking to each other and finding common ground, the divide between rich and poor will continue to widen, says former U.S. secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich.
  • Paul Volcker: How to Fix the World Bank

    The World Bank, reeling from scandal and questions about its role, needs to get its act together, says former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Paul Volcker.
  • Blame It on Biofuels

    High food prices always hit the poor hardest, and these days there is plenty of bad news. Corn prices are nearly $4 a bushel, almost double their 2005 level. In Mexico, for instance, that translates into a 50 percent rise in the price of corn tortillas, which has elicited protests from tens of thousands of workers. Many blame the burgeoning U.S. biofuel industry, centered around corn-based ethanol, for the crunch. Fidel Castro says diverting corn into fuel is a "tragic" turn of events for the world's poor, while Venezuela's Hugo Chávez calls it "craziness."They aren't the only ones pointing the finger at biofuels for high prices—food makers like Kellogg's are also. While biofuels are a convenient scapegoat, global food economics are a complex phenomenon. A surge in global food demand, high oil prices, uncooperative weather, currency fluctuations and biofuels all play a part in explaining the new, stratospheric world of food economics.About a third of the recent corn-price rise is ...
  • The Flames of Hope

    As for so many of us, the genocide in Darfur was merely an abstraction to Ashok Gadgil, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. But in September 2004 he got a call from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Could Gadgil design a screw press for Darfurians, the caller asked, so they could turn their garbage into biofuel pellets? "I quickly showed him that there is not enough kitchen waste in home cooking to produce much worthwhile fuel," the physicist says, and USAID dropped the idea. But the problem continued to nag at him. Eventually Gadgil decided that if he couldn't redesign the fuel, he would redesign the stove.The violence in Darfur has not only left at least 200,000 dead but devastated the already arid landscape. More than 2 million people now fill groaning refugee camps; as they hunt farther and wider for firewood, they are denuding whole swaths of the countryside. Gathering firewood can now mean a seven-hour round trip, during which...
  • Vinod Khosla: Betting Big On Green

    Since making a fortune as a founder of Sun Microsystems, Vinod Khosla has built on it as an investor with pre-eminent venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Now he's emerged as Silicon Valley's biggest enthusiast of green technologies—no mean feat in an industry where nearly everyone is going gaga over green. Khosla has already invested millions in almost 30 clean tech start-ups in areas ranging from geothermal energy to synthetic biology. But his most notable bets have been on ethanol. Most ethanol comes from corn, but if the technology becomes readily available, nearly any biological material—even grass—could create a viable alternative fuel called cellulosic ethanol. At least that's the way ethanol proponents would have it. As the ethanol movement continues to grow, so does criticism from the likes of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club; they argue that ethanol will simply allow automakers to avoid making more-efficient vehicles. NEWSWEEK's...
  • Q&A: Craig Venter's Next Quest

    Craig Venter is the rude boy of molecular biology. He made himself famous by decoding the human genome faster and cheaper than anyone expected, beating a team of rivals led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Since then, Venter has spent much of his time aboard Sorcerer II, his high-tech research vessel, trolling the seas in search of new proteins. The findings will be helpful, he says, on his next project: synthesizing a living organism from a handful of inert chemicals. If he succeeds, he'll be able to turn cells into biochemical factories that can churn out biofuels. NEWSWEEK's Barrett Sheridan spoke with him by phone from Edinburgh, Scotland, on the problems and potential of synthetic biology. Excerpts: ...
  • The Threat From China's Pigs

    First came the bird flu. Now China's pigs are succumbing to a violent infection. Is a human disease next?
  • Q&A: Gary Yohe on Vulnerable Nations

    No matter what action we take to reduce emissions, the carbon already in the atmosphere will continue to warm the globe over the next century, creating winners and losers in business and agriculture. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported earlier this month, developing countries will have a particularly difficult time adapting to the rising sea levels and altered agricultural cycles, while developed countries of the north will have an easier time of it. Gary Yohe, an economist at Wesleyan University, has studied the potential damage from global climate change. The leader of the team that created the vulnerability index featured in this week’s issue of NEWSWEEK International, he spoke to Barrett Sheridan about adapting to a warmer world. Excerpts: ...
  • Who Will Win, and Who Will Lose

    America is scared of global warming. In a recent poll by Yale's Center for Environmental Law and Policy, 83 percent of Americans called global warming a "serious" problem, up from 70 percent in 2004, and 63 percent agreed that the United States "is in as much danger" from environmental threats including global warming "as it is from terrorists."If even gas-guzzling Americans are alive to the danger, you know most nations now accept climate change as real. But how will they adapt? Some are well positioned to weather changes in climate that will affect agriculture, trade, housing and poverty; others aren't. To identify who's ready and who's not, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asked some scientists to turn their attention to assessing countries at risk. One groundbreaking recent study by Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), came up with a way to rank nations by how prepared they are to adapt to climate change,...
  • The Good Life

    Start the new year high--real high. Cold weather is the best time for hot-air ballooning. The clear winter air affords better visibility, sometimes letting you see as far as 100 kilometers in the distance. Tame the wild winds long enough for a ride, and you'll find yourself flirting with snowy mountaintops while floating peacefully through postcard-perfect scenes of blue skies and craggy peaks. Most winter hot spots from the Alps to the Rockies offer this unique escape. "Every season has its charm," says Gérard Issartel, director of Alpes Montgolfière, a hot-air-balloon company not far from Megève, France, which offers trips near Mont Blanc (€245 per person; alpes-montgolfiere.fr ). "[But] winter weather gives an impression of immensity, and the snow makes for great vistas."The cold is not as bad as you might expect. "A misnomer of winter hot-air ballooning is that it is cold," says Daren Wilde, owner of Morning Star Balloons in Park City, Utah, which offers one-hour flights in the...
  • The Good Life

    With 2007 peeking around the corner, it's time to start making plans to ring in the new. For the ultimate New Year's experience, host your own party on a private island in the Maldives, boasting white sands and turquoise waters. The "Rania Experience" includes a yacht, a three-bedroom suite, plunge pool, Jacuzzi, gym, beach villas and open-air dining areas. A team of spa therapists, chefs, butlers and diving instructors will cater to your every whim ($14,500 per couple per night; ( raniaexperience.com ).Want something wilder? Jet over to Rio de Janeiro, the party capital of the world. The New Year's Eve bash at the Copacabana Palace promises to be an explosive affair with live music, fireworks, a six-course dinner and plenty of bubbly ($557 per person; copacabanapalace.com.br ).Or book a stay at Bono's five-star Dublin boutique hotel, The Clarence. Revel in luxury in the plush penthouse suite, wining and dining your way through a five-course menu and plenty of pink champagne ("New...
  • Bigger, Brighter and...Cheaper?

    Television screens are getting bigger--and they're about to get more colorful and brighter as well. Sunnyvale, California-based Novalux built a set that uses thousands of mirrors to direct a low-power (and low-cost) laser beam to the screen. The resulting picture has twice the range of colors of LCD and plasma TVs. VP Greg Niven says the technology should lead to cheaper and higher-quality TVs bigger than 46 inches in about a year.