#13: Who's Excited for a Trip to What's Left of the Beach?

I'm always on the hunt for ways to help define what we're trying to do here, and I think this quote from Ben Thompson, one of my favorite tech business writers, sums it up very well (despite not originally intended to be about rising oceans, or CRISPR, or lithium supplies, or bio-terror):

These are big questions, and I know I don't have all the answers. I think, though, said questions need to be asked with far more urgency before they are answered in the most unpleasant and unproductive way possible. 
-- Ben Thompson

The clock is always ticking.

Finally, some admin: I'm on vacation next week, and therefore there won't be a newsletter. Hopefully the world won't end because of ______. Hopefully they'll cure _____!

On to the news!


1. We "reported" a while back how Exxon's on the hook for decades of factual withholding regarding climate change. Were you also aware that at least three states have since launched investigations, and Exxon is suing back, claiming First Amendment rights? Because they're fuckers? - WIRED

"In a press conference in May, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called Walker’s investigation “a fishing expedition of the worst kind” and said it represented “an effort to punish Exxon for daring to hold opinions on climate change that differ from theirs.”

“This is about the criminalization of speech and the criminalization of thought,” he said."

+ MY NOTES: Everyone's entitled to an opinion, unless that opinion self-references something you've been doing for decades, that adversely affects the survival of an entire planet.


2. Capitalism isn't going anywhere, and if we're going to use immunotherapy drugs to make a massive dent in cancer, somebody's gotta make them. Trials are being fast-tracked. - The National Law Review

"The applications must contain at least one claim encompassing a method of ameliorating, treating or preventing a malignancy in a human subject where the steps of the method assist or boost the immune system in eradicating cancerous cells."

+ MY NOTES: Good news for cancer patients...and shareholders.


3. Untangling our electrical grid isn't going to be quite as easy as you think. - How We Get to Next

"To know where your electricity comes from is to know all the points it travels through: the generators that produce it, substations that route and distribute it, transmission lines that transport it, transformers that raise and lower its voltage, and the service that directs it into your home. But lest you think the process is as straightforward as I have described, I should mention that for each step there are further caveats and complications. Feeders are divided into primary and secondary; there are upwards of eight transformers in each substation; service boxes are also connected to manhole vaults that serve as access points to equipment; and power plants go by a plethora of other names (generators, power stations, powerhouses). Each step of the process could prompt its own exploration."

+ MY NOTES: How do we get to next? We start small.


4. Helllooooo, San Francisco. - IdleWords

"The first step towards a better tech economy is humility and recognition of limits. It's time to hold technology politically accountable for its promises. I am very suspicious of attempts to change the world that can't first work on a local scale. If after decades we can't improve quality of life in places where the tech élite actually lives, why would we possibly make life better anywhere else?"

+ MY NOTES: Amen.


5. A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is as bad as it gets. Baby steps. - Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News

"The scientists utilized a mouse model of pancreatic cancer and found that when given either a FAK inhibitor or immune therapy alone the mice survived no longer than two months. Adding FAK inhibitors to standard chemotherapy improved tumor response over chemotherapy alone. However, the three-drug combination—FAK inhibitors, immune therapy, and chemotherapy—showed the best outcomes, more than tripling survival times in some mice. Astonishingly some mice were still alive without evidence of progressing disease at six months and beyond."

+ MY NOTES: I'll take it.