#5: It's Alive!

Greetings! Got a fun grab-bag this week: some temps nearing "we're all gonna die" levels, some nutritional confusion, some scientists getting permission to bring dead people back to life. Enjoy!


On to the news!

1. Global 2040 drops shade on solar (see what I did there?), other renewables, says we're all still gonna die - Discovery.com

"Developed countries are expected see their carbon emissions increase about 9 percent through 2040, but in the developing world, those emissions will spike 51 percent. That’s because developing countries, particularly China and India, are likely to continue to rely mainly on fossil fuels for their energy. Those countries alone account for 59 percent of the growth in global carbon emissions."

+ MY NOTES: This rather pessimistic but entirely plausible study is the #1 reason why we need to offer full-throated support to companies like Tesla that are trying, desperately, to rescue humanity from the jaws of defeat. While some investors are shorting the stock and betting on its failure to make a few extra bucks, Tesla, her CEO and engineers are putting everything they have into taking gasoline off the roads. What is it about humanity and our inability to embrace completely necessary long-term strategic planning that would make us actually gamble against such endeavors? People trying to save the planet? What the fuck is wrong with us?


2. Counter-point! What if we go all in? This is how we go 100% renewable. - Vox

"These recommendations — indeed, all 28 — would require coordinated action from Congress, federal agencies, state legislatures, and local officials. Together, they represent an unprecedented level of government activism, a skein of incentives, mandates, standards, and laws unmatched in US history.

Much of that government activism is scheduled for the next five to 10 years, while Republicans, who fervently oppose nearly every one of these goals, are expected to control the House of Representative and well over half of the 50 state legislatures."


3. Because this is what happens if we don't: behold, the very first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. $48 million dollars. To move 60 people. 60. - National Post

"Between 50 million and 200 million people — mainly subsistence farmers and fishermen — could be displaced by 2050 because of climate change, according to estimates by the United Nations Institute for Environment and Human Security and the International Organization for Migration.

“The changes are underway and they are very rapid,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell warned last week in Ottawa. “We will have climate refugees.”


4. Your Paleo-blueberries-red-meat-half-fat-soy-latte diet probably won't save your life, but might mean you have a club foot and like house music. - FiveThirtyEight

"Many of the reported findings were also biologically improbable, Ioannidis said. For instance, a 2013 study found that people who ate three servings of nuts per week had a nearly 40 percent reduction in mortality risk. If nibbling nuts really cut the risk of dying by 40 percent, it would be revolutionary, but the figure is almost certainly an overstatement, Ioannidis told me. It’s also meaningless without context. Can a 90-year-old get the same benefits as a 60-year-old? How many days or years must you spend eating nuts for the benefits to kick in, and how long does the effect last? These are the questions that people really want answers to. But as our experiment demonstrated, it’s easy to use nutrition surveys to link foods to outcomes, yet it’s difficult to know what these connections mean."

+ MY NOTES: Eating out all the time makes it tough to measure your nutritional intake. One cure: cook your own food.


5. That said, we're failing our children. An opinion piece by (full disclosure) my brother, and CEO of Health Warrior, on the lack of progress on macro and micro nutritional planning. - ProjectNosh

"More than 15 million U.S. kids are hungry. They eat the majority of their calories at school. School food is largely nutrient-weak and processed. More than 30 percent of American kids are overweight or obese. Most schools do not even have the equipment to prepare fresh meals (i.e., they rely on microwaving everything). The average cost per meal is $1, including ingredients, distributor markups, and overhead. If you are in the food industry, you know exactly what kind of quality our kids are getting for $1/meal."

+ MY NOTES: Per the statistic piece above, most nutritional headlines are bullshit. But one thing that can’t be argued is nutritionally-dense foods > empty calories and sugar. And the latter is exactly what we’re serving our children (Michelle Obama’s herculean efforts to change the system aside).


6. Scientists nerd-fight over what's behind epigenetic - Vox

"In the story, what links these mysteries is the science of epigenetics, which, basically, explores how the environment can leave a lasting mark on how our genes work (The extent to which these "marks" actually control the expression of our genes is hotly debated).

DNA is the instruction manual for life. So epigenetics may determine how likely those instructions are to be read. Understanding epigenetics is important because it could help us understand how we become more susceptible to disease (or not) over our lifetimes. And there's some not-yet-conclusive evidence that epigenetic information is inheritable."


7. Scientists given permission to try to raise the dead. I mean, look, it's a long shot, but -- bringing people back to life feels pretty appropriate for this newsletter. - Telegraph

"The team believes that the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again, based on their surrounding tissue – a process seen in the animal kingdom in creatures like salamanders who can regrow entire limbs.

Dr Ira Pastor, the CEO of Bioquark Inc. said: “This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime."


8. Here's an incredibly simple but powerful visualization of growing global temps. Have a nice day! - Climate Lab Book