#23: Who Wants to Live Forever?

I'm a super-duper atheist. An atheist who majored in religious studies. Who continues to study religions and faiths and rituals, alongside warp drives and bio-hacking, because I like to understand where people are coming from. Who loves and believes in science and the scientific method and the randomness and laws of the universe, some of which we're aware of, most of which we're not. I'm very hip to the fact that nature does not care about your (or my) narrative. We can argue all day whether one life is more valuable than another.


Doesn't it seem like people who are spending their lives doing world-changing work that benefits mankind should get a free pass from terminal diseases? So they can keep helping us? And be rewarded for their efforts? Yes I realize this is begging for an onslaught of emails -- there's endless variations on every argument. But what I'm saying is news like this really bums me out. It's just not fair.

So what I'm getting at is if we're trapped on a life raft and that hurricane that took our cruise ship out -- and  your brief, once-in-a-lifetime vacation from definitely curing pancreatic cancer -- and we have to eat somebody, then you should eat me, and get back to work. Just get on with it. I don't have a lot of body fat because I really like to work out but I've got dumps like a truck for days. For. Days. Bon appetit!

On to the news!

1. Bye bye 400 ppm CO2, hello earthquake-planet. - ExtremeTech

"No, there’s no huge tipping point where 399 ppm would have been A-OK but now 400 is climate apocalypse. It’s not like that. Four hundred is just another number we really didn’t want to reach. Four hundred was a place that some optimistic folks thought, if we all really pulled together, we could get our carbon emissions to level off. The models where everyone immediately quit dumping any carbon into the atmosphere would have meant a net global temperature increase of “only” a couple degrees Celsius."

+ MY NOTES: Make it stop please

2. Here's more people that should get free-passes. - LiveScience

"Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines." In other words, this trio developed the world's smallest machines by linking together molecules into a unit that, when energy is added, could do some kind of work. These machines, a thousand times thinner than a strand of hair, included a tiny lift, mini motors and artificial muscles. By miniaturizing machines, these Nobel Laureates have "taken chemistry to a new dimension," according to a Nobel Prize statement."

+ MY NOTES: I mean what

3. There's a serious nerd-fight going down about our maximum possible lifespans, and you should care, because -- well -- who doesn't want to live forever? - Gizmodo

“In a new study published in Nature, molecular geneticist Jan Vijg and his team from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx make the case that human lifespan has a natural limit, and that we’ll probably never exceed this maximum bound. It’s a surprising conclusion given the tremendous medical achievements we’ve made in the past 100 years, and the steady rise in life expectancy. But as this study points out, the benefits wrought by these interventions, and all the things we do to stay vibrant and healthy, only go so far. Our bodies, no matter what we do, eventually become worn out and expire."

+ MY NOTES: "Yudhistira maintains this is the greatest wonder of the world, that people witness death all around them, and yet continue to believe they are immortal." - Shaun Nichols

4. Why the India-Pakistan war over water is so dangerous, and no, not at all a harbinger of things to come - ForeignPolicy

"If India were to annul the (Indus Waters Treaty) IWT, the consequences might well be humanitarian devastation in what is already one of the world’s most water-starved countries — an outcome far more harmful and far-reaching than the effects of limited war. Unlike other punitive steps that India could consider taking against its neighbor — including the strikes against Pakistani militants that India claimed to have carried out on Sept. 29 — canceling the IWT could have direct, dramatic, and deleterious effects on ordinary Pakistanis."

+ MY NOTES: We gotta figure out energy-efficient desalination, and quick.

5. But there's also great news from everyone's favorite sub-continent: India ratified the Paris Accords! - NPR

"India currently produces about 4.5 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, and the country is developing quickly. The Paris agreement requires all countries who ratify it to come up with a national plan to limit global temperature rise, and as part of its plan India has set a goal of producing 40 percent of its electricity with non-fossil fuel sources by 2030."

+ MY NOTES: Everybody who's officially signed on represents just over 50% of greenhouse emissions. Waiting on places like Russia and the European Union, both of whom seem to have their shit together lately, so it's weird they're taking so long?


Here is yet another helpful primer on immunology

Three challenges facing artificial intelligence in medicine (warning: this is super cool and enlightening but pretty nerdy)

I'm inexcusably late on discovering that Nevada - one of the sunniest places on the planet - totally fucked over their solar industry

...with Florida (the Sunshine State, ahem) attempting to join them. COME ON YOU BASTARDS.

The Cancer Moonshot is going great but basically needs a massive upgrade in computing infrastructure. If we can do it -- all bets are off.