#18: Come Sail Away

We know the climate's gonna get worse. There's no getting around it. But how much worse is up to us. With all of the clean energy momentum, we're truly in a race against time. Which is kind of the focus of Important, Not Important -- in case you haven't noticed. 

There's plenty of other great stuff going down -- the world is, climate aside, becoming a much better place to live than ever before. For humans, at least. Or, only. But you get the point. We just have to make sure it's not all for naught.

On to the news!

1. Let's get the obligatory "last month was the hottest July in the last 136 years" announcement out of the way. - Slate

"The previous July record, from 2011, was 0.74° above average; the new record beats it by a full tenth of a degree."

+ MY NOTES: Fun story: most of the warming is coming from the Northern Hemisphere. Why's that bad? Because that's where most of the ice is. Remember, it's not about the ice. It's about what's underneath the ice. See below.

2. "Arctic death spiral" will make global warming "worse", which, I don't know, feels like we're underselling it.  - Inhabitat.com

"Many scientists have drawn clear connections between Arctic conditions and the effects of climate change elsewhere on the planet, further illustrating why we should pay attention to Arctic ice melt. Wadhams’ book explains that ice-free Septembers in the Arctic will enable more methane to be released into the atmosphere, and when the ice-free period of the year lengthens to four or five months, the additional greenhouse gas emissions will force the planet over its tipping point."

+ MY NOTES: Good times.

3. First US offshore wind program goes live, NIMBY-minded motherfuckers continue to ruin it for everybody. -  NYTimes

"When the first offshore projects were built two decades ago, European nations had to promise the developers extremely high prices for the electricity generated by their turbines, sometimes three or four times the wholesale power price, to get a new industry going.

Since then, offshore wind turbines have become a big business in Europe, worth billions, and the companies installing them have been able to create economies of scale. Recently, European nations have scrapped their old subsidy methods and have used competitive bidding to drive down the cost of the projects."

+ MY NOTES: US development concentrated in the Northeast due to stiff winds. Stiff. Winds. (I'm a child)

4. Chile building new solar at nearly half the cost of coal - ThinkProgress

"In last week’s energy auction, Chile accepted a bid from Spanish developer Solarpack Corp. Tecnologica for 120 megawatts of solar at the stunning price of $29.10 per megawatt-hour (2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour or kwh). This beats the 2.99 cents/kwh bid Dubai received recently for 800 megawatts. For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour."

+ MY NOTES: If only the US had a region perfectly-aligned with solar needs...

5. Remember back in the old days when antibioitic-resistant tuberculosis infected half a million people a year? What's that? That's now? And we're barely funding research? GOOD. GREAT. - The Atlantic

"88 percent of the U.S. cases of antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis in 2014 were among foreign-born patients. These figures are meaningful especially in a country where immigrants face deep discrimination from wide swaths of the population.

“For the United States, the challenge is probably people coming in from immigrant populations who are already stigmatized,” said Glenda Gray, the president of the South African Medical Research Council and an expert on tuberculosis and HIV. “You need an environment that’s not going to be punitive [to care for] the people that are the refugees, the people that are on the fringes of society, and the people who are less educated.”

+ MY NOTES: Feels like this could get out of hand quickly 

6. What horror show/incredible advancement will we make now that we can cut and splice DNA? (VIDEO) - Vimeo

+ MY NOTES: It's a video, watch for yourself

7. Let your girls grow up to be badass astrophysicists. - Twitter

+ MY NOTES: Boom goes the dynamite

8. If you read to the bottom, you get a treat. And that treat is an exoplanet orbiting in the "Goldilocks" habitable zone of our closest neighboring star, where we can all go and forget our worries. - Gizmodo

"“The lifetime of Proxima is several trillion years, almost a thousand times longer than the remaining lifetime of the Sun,” Harvard University’s Abraham (Avi) Loeb, who chairs the advisory committee for billionaire Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, told Gizmodo. “A habitable rocky planet around Proxima would be the most natural location to where our civilization could aspire to move after the Sun will die, five billion years from now.”

+ MY NOTES: All aboard!