Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The twin goals of decarbonizing energy while expanding global access warrant a new academic discipline to create a "common umbrella" for work scattered across multiple fields, a new Stanford-led paper argues.

Why it matters: The commentary published in the journal Joule is a recognition of the immensity and complexity of the challenges and the "considerable uncertainty about the best way to undertake them."

  • The researchers are trying to launch the unified field and have started planning a workshop on the topic.

The big picture: They propose a discipline called "macro-energy systems" that focuses on the "large-scale, systems-level, long-term aspects of sustainable energy planning."

  • "Co-analysis of economic, engineering, environmental, and social factors is often critical for answering societal-scale questions," the commentary states.
  • "As a result, this discipline combines methods from many fields spanning the natural, social, and engineering sciences."

What they found: The paper says pulling together this scattered work, much of which began decades ago, would have several benefits under the "macro energy systems" umbrella, such as avoiding redundant efforts and establishing accepted methodologies.

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Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.