Welcome back to our weekly behind-the-scenes glimpse at what’s getting our team talking. Let us know what you think at [email protected].

Cool story

Editorial Director Rebecca Worby lived in Austin for several years, and though she has many nice memories of that time, she can also attest to one less nice but undeniable fact of Austin life: It gets really hot. So she was delighted to discover a bit of forgotten air-conditioning history thanks to KUT, Austin’s public radio station.

Rebecca Worby Slack avatar

Becca says:


This is fascinating: the story of an air conditioning “test village” in Austin in the 1950s.

Barton Springs pool with swimmers.
These days, though air conditioning is commonplace, many Austinites swear by the cooling powers of a dip in Barton Springs. Credit: Wally Gobetz / Flickr

All sunshine

A couple of years after the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, how is the United States doing on renewable energy? A recent New York Times story that Executive Editor Will Doig shared with our team put it plainly: “As Solar Power Surges, U.S. Wind Is in Trouble.”

will doig

Will says:


A mixed bag here, as the headline indicates, but the skyward climb of solar power since the Inflation Reduction Act passed is pretty eye-catching. (We ran a whole series on positive changes brought about by the IRA).

What else we’re reading

❤️‍🩹 Opinion: Why Miami’s Approach to Addiction Is Working — shared by RTBC founder David Byrne from the New York Times

🛢️ Vermont becomes 1st state to require oil companies to pay for climate change damages — shared by Contributing Editor Michaela Haas from NPR

🔌 Electric Cars Are Suddenly Becoming Affordable — shared by Rebecca Worby from the New York Times

In other news…

RTBC contributor MaryLou Costa sent along a BBC story about “an Indigenous community in Argentina looking to legally protect their skyline which would in turn help the region’s flora and fauna.” Worth a read — and worth lingering over the beautiful dark sky photos. In case you missed it, MaryLou’s latest for us was a great story about how “farmfluencers” are making Vietnam’s rice fields more sustainable.