#17: Hasta la vista, Earth

You know what else is a Terminator? PLANET-CRUSHING CARBON LEVELS.

Horrendous segues aside, much like how T1 and T2 are relentlessly taut chase movies with an always-growing sense of certain doom, climate change is here and already killing everyone else in the phone book named Sarah Connor. We're next. Nothing else matters -- when Arnold's on your ass, you drop whatever the fuck you're working on and run.

At some point, when my kids are a little bit older, I'm going to have to explain to them that -- despite the exciting and imminent arrival of fleets of autonomous electric cars and trucks, which will reduce the transportation sector by at least 90% and consequently, reduce our overall carbon footprint by at least 30% -- we screwed them over. Big time. The climate and financial costs they will bear will be nearly incalculable (see below). I mean, most of the damage is on you goddamn Baby Boomers, but we didn't help. At least not until recently, and certainly not drastically enough. Because we're behind the ball, and whatever advances we make today are too late to offset the effects of a century of polluting our skies and oceans. It's not an on/off switch. Climate change is that T-1000 that won't stop coming, no matter how the franchise should have definitely ended after T2, I mean maybe T3, it's underrated, the twist was cool, but definitely after that. OK fine I was excited as anyone at the idea of Batman playing adult John Connor, exploring one of those "it's been sitting right here in front of our face the whole time" pieces of the story. But man, mostly a let-down. Mostly.

On to the news!

1. Rigorous 4-year MIT study: replace everything with electric cars do it now do it now do it now - MIT News

"By working out formulas to integrate the different sets of information and thereby track one-second-resolution drive cycles, the MIT researchers were able to demonstrate that the daily energy requirements of some 90 percent of personal cars on the road in the U.S. could be met by today’s EVs, with their current ranges, at an overall cost to their owners — including both purchase and operating costs — that would be no greater than that of conventional internal-combustion vehicles."

+ MY NOTES: I hereby swear I will buy just one more car in my lifetime. JOIN ME.

2. "But solar and wind are too expensive and ruin my view", they whine, endlessly. - CleanTechnica

"If the externalities are so high that they wipe out the human species, then you get “$∞” as the cost of the energy source. However, even if you try to be a bit conservative, there is absolutely no case for continuing to burn fossil fuels."

+ MY NOTES: However will we put a real price on the effects of climate change...?


"A federal appeals court in Chicago gave a thumbs-up this week to an obscure regulatory practice that helps the U.S. government account for projected costs of climate change. The decision comes less than a week after the White House issued guidance to all federal agencies about how they can build carbon accounting into their decision-making."

+ MY NOTES: Take your wins where you can get them. Humans might be god-awful at long-term strategic planning but dollars and cents makes a difference. Or, I hope it does. It fucking better.

4. Because you think it's hot outside? In your backyard? "Plague, famine, pestilence and death was sweeping the northern Pacific Ocean between 2014 and 2015." Yeah. That shit. - WIRED

"First seabirds started falling out of the sky, washing up on beaches from California to Canada.
Then emaciated and dehydrated sea lion pups began showing up, stranded and on the brink of death.
A surge in dead whales was reported in the same region, and that was followed by the largest toxic algal bloom in history seen along the Californian coast. Mixed among all that there were population booms of several marine species that normally aren’t seen surging in the same year."

+ MY NOTES: Fuck me.

5. Fucking Alzheimer's sucks so bad. Silicon Valley makes a ton of non-tangible shit that helps no one but rich white people but if this guy can salvage just a piece of someone's memory bank, I'm all in. - Washington Post

"The implanted devices try to replicate the way brain cells communicate with one another. Let’s say, for example, that you are having a conversation with your boss. A healthy brain will convert that conversation from short-term memory to long-term memory by firing off a set of electrical signals. The signals fire in a specific code that is unique to each person and is a bit like a software command.

Brain diseases throw off these signaling codes. Berger’s software tries to assist the communication between brain cells by making an instantaneous prediction as to what the healthy code should be, and then firing off in that pattern. In separate studies funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency over the last several years, Berger’s chips were shown to improve recall functions in both rats and monkeys."

+ MY NOTES: I'd give anything for any of my long-gone grandparents to have become cyborgs (and danced at my wedding, or met my children). Anything.

6. Google gets closer to quantum computing, VERY NEATLY tying together Skynet and climate change forecasting, so basically my work here is done. - Forbes

"A seminal moment in the quantum technology field just happened: a Google team of scientists have simulated a hydrogen molecule from its quantum computers, a breakthrough that suggests it could “simulate even larger chemical systems,” writes one of Google Quantum’s engineers, Ryan Rabbush. The search engine’s achievement underscores the technology’s potential as Rabbush posits it can “revolutionize the design of solar cells, industrial catalysts, batteries, flexible electronics, medicines, materials and more.”"

+ MY NOTES: I mean half of these words might be made-up and basically none of us would have any idea amiright?