DINNER PARTY INTEL: Chad’s passport paper problem
Topics to impress this week.
1. Office supply glitch
US officials say a paperwork shortage that prevented Chad from providing the US with a sample passport was one reason the country was included in the Trump administration’s latest travel ban targeting majority Muslim nations. Its inclusion came as a surprise because Chad is regarded as an ally of the US.
All countries were given 50 days to take steps including providing a sample of a recent passport. Chad ran out of passport paper and simply couldn’t comply.
2. Solar power future
The cost of solar energy will fall by another 60% over the next decade, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency says. The drop in the cost coupled with improvements in efficiency have already pushed capacity from virtually zero at the start of the century to 300GW by the end of 2016. The agency expects at least 80GW of new capacity to be added globally each year over the next five to six years. China is set to be the world’s biggest and fastest growing solar market.
3. Saltwater rice research
Scientists in China have managed to improve the yields on a strain of saltwater-tolerant rice, after more than four decades of research. Though it is eight times as expensive as normal rice, the initial yield was sold thanks to its unique flavour.
Over 200 types of rice were planted at the Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research & Development Center in Qingdao. Seawater from the Yellow Sea was pumped, diluted and channelled into the rice paddies. Yields beat forecasts, leading the project researchers to say the rice is ready for commercialisation.