#6: It's All Relative

So that (above) is my favorite t-shirt.

For a variety of reasons, but mostly because I think it speaks really well to my ethos. Which is, basically: we definitely, 100% need to get off this rock, one day, for one reason or another, many of which have been highlighted in these newsletters and, because of that, why aren't we working harder/spending more money on it right now? And, concurrently, will we or something else destroy ourselves/us before we figure out how to do it? "It", of course, being building out a new colony on a semi-habitable planet or moon before or after we escape this goddamn gravity well with a large enough number and variety of people that we can all bone and not have to worry too much about incest babies with two heads. That's more or less what I think about. All day.

With that in mind, this week's collection is a variety of items that either point to us perishing well before, or, conversely, surviving to see a life in the stars (often called The Great Filter). So...business as usual. I'm gonna start you with the bad news, really kind of break you down, before we build back up. And then, lastly, we'll find out how that space program's coming along.


On to the news!

1. We've talked about this before. You, and all the antibiotics, and how, by 2050, a superbug's gonna be killing one person every three seconds.

"O’Neill’s report includes ten steps to avert the crisis. Notably, only two address the problem of supply—the lack of new antibiotics. “When I first agreed to do this, the advisors presented it to me as a challenge of getting new drugs,” says O’Neill. “But it dawned on me very quickly that there were just as many, if not more, important issues on the demand side.” Indeed, seven of his recommendations focus on reducing the wanton and wasteful use of our existing arsenal. It’s inevitable that microbes will evolve resistance, but we can delay that process by using drugs more sparingly."


2. Scientists swear, "No, THIS is the most important glacier we can't let crack in half or we're super fucked" again. 

"The Totten Glacier isn't Antarctica's largest glacier, but it's precariously perched upon a 1-mile-deep basin of snow and ice the size of California — which means it holds back more ice than any other place on the continent."


3. Game, set, match. 2016 already booked as hottest on record. It's still May, right?

"“The interesting thing is the scale at which we’re breaking records,” said Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales in Australia. “It’s clearly all heading in the wrong direction."

+ MY NOTES: Way to be super nonchalant about it all, Andy.


Ok...here we go. Let's get some good vibes going, people!


4. Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone. 

"News of the zero emissions landmark comes just days after Germany announced that clean energy had powered almost all its electricity needs on Sunday 15 May, with power prices turning negative at several times in the day – effectively paying consumers to use it."


5. IBM Creates A Molecule That Could Destroy All Viruses

"For their study, the researchers ignored the viruses’ RNA and DNA, which could be key areas to target, but because they change from virus to virus and also mutate, it’s very difficult to target them successfully."


6. Poop. What's it really good for? Welcome to FiveThirtyEight's "Gut Science" Week, or the best summaries of the research we have now about how unique each of our biomes really is, and how that's going to fuel healthy living.

+ MY NOTES: This is actually a collection of articles, but all worth a read, if only to help refute your dumb friend who keeps tell you yogurt cures ______. I mean, it might, we just don't know for sure, yet. Or how. Or why. But seriously, if we can crack the biome, it could change everything.


7. And finally, the correct answer to "how's that space program coming?" is "We're out of gas". 

"Plutonium-238 is a one-inch by one-inch radioactive pellet that’s a byproduct of making nuclear weapons. In 1988, as the Cold War wound down, the US government stopped making it. Now we are almost out of it, with just enough left to fulfill NASA’s mission schedule until 2026."