#25: Ask the Right Questions UPDATED

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Issue #25! Wow! We're already a quarter of the way to Issue #100, when the big asteroid is scheduled to hit and we're all space dust again. I'M KIDDING. We're only tracking about a hundredth of the sky, we have no idea when the big one is coming hahaha.

Anyways.

Some big climate news this week -- the scales tipping back and forth between gross negligence and "fuck it, let's fix this thing".

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On to the news!


1. We went four straight presidential debates without a single question on climate change. Please tell everyone you know. When they ask what you think about the debates, or the election, remind them of this truly epic negligence. - Vox

"It’s possible the debate moderators don’t understand what’s at stake. It’s possible they don’t care. Or it’s possible they’re afraid that any question on the topic might seem too partisan. After all, Clinton thinks the issue is pretty serious and has a bunch of proposals around it, whereas Trump says it’s all a hoax invented by the Chinese. Under the circumstances, even a halfway intelligent question about climate policy would sound “biased.”"

+ MY NOTES: In twenty years -- shit, in eight years -- we're going to look back and wonder, what else was worth talking about?


2. I'm not even going to offer my own take on this headline: "Scientists Accidentally Discover Efficient Process to Turn CO2 into Ethanol" - Popular Mechanics

"Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered a chemical reaction to turn CO2 into ethanol, potentially creating a new technology to help avert climate change. Their findings were published in the journal ChemistrySelect.

The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. The reaction turns CO2 into ethanol, which could in turn be used to power generators and vehicles."

+ MY NOTES: Look nothing's guaranteed here but holy hell this is potentially pretty good news


3. Major climate-conscious investors go after auto industry - The Guardian

“Major investors have warned the automotive industry it needs to accelerate its readiness for a low-carbon world if it is to retain their support and prosper.
Vehicle makers must put climate change specialists on their boards, engage better with policy-makers, and invest more heavily in low-emission cars, says a network of 250 global investors with assets of more than $24 trillion."

+ MY NOTES: The post-Paris agreement dominoes are starting to fall. 


4. ...and just in time, because climate change could drive 122 million more people into extreme poverty by 2030. 122 million. - The Guardian

"The 2016 State of Food and Agriculture report, published by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), calls for “deep transformations in agriculture and food systems” and for the world’s half-billion small-scale farms to receive particular support.

The report warns that without “widespread adoption of sustainable land, water, fisheries and forestry practices, global poverty cannot be eradicated”. 

It adds that action must also be taken to reduce farming’s own contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming."

+ MY NOTES: No bueno.


5. Obama: "My successor best be prepared to deal with some serious AI shit. Good luck, sucker." - MIT Technology Review

"The White House signaled that it believes future presidents should try to shape how AI technology evolves and is deployed, but it also conceded that it’s unclear how to do that. “This is an inflection point,” said White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, who moderated a panel on the challenges in AI. “[Current progress] will either keep going or crap out if we don’t handle it correctly.”

Academic and corporate researchers at the event who work on AI technologies generally agreed that recent developments suggested big, if unknown, changes for workplaces. Economists remain unsure about the extent to which AI and automation will eradicate jobs or increase inequality."

+ MY NOTES: The iPhone is only nine years old. What will the world look like in nine more years? Are we putting the best-equipped people in office?



OTHER SHIT I RAN OUT OF ROOM FOR

#341 on the "I'll never sleep again" list thanks very much

Perovskite solar cells getting more and more efficient

Every Tesla from today forward will be hardware-ready for full autonomy

On robot surgeons and the tiny machines that will change medicine forever