#22: The Signal and the Noise (jk there's no noise in space)

Welcome back! Holy shit balls do we have a lot to cover.

But first, and most importantly, this week in news:

1. A crazy person stood on stage in front of the world and told us, in rambling fashion, and in no less than 500,000 words, vaguely, but effectively, how he's going to burn it all down, whether we like it or not. People applauded.

2. A different crazy person stood on stage in front of the world and told us, in rambling fashion, and in no less than 500,000 words, grandly, but exactly, how he's going to make us an interplanetary species, whether we like it or not. People applauded.

I think it's safe to say that neither of these people should run our country. Despite equally devout followings, they've both got fairly sketchy finances, from complex -- but very different -- backgrounds and business deals. One's intention was to game the system at every turn, the other was to accumulate as much wealth as needed to build a spaceship to Mars. The first should be disqualified from being president for being a fucker, the second actually is DQ'd, for being born in South Africa.

But therein lies the rub: one is a bigoted, racist, mi·sog·y·nist orange monster, hell-bent on making the world better for himself and his similarly-gilded white friends. The other has dedicated the rest of his life to simultaneously saving this planet, and starting life on a new one. Building the ultimate backup hard drive. Saving. Everyone. Pushing forward.

So you're neither of these people, what the fuck can you do?

Well, first of all, if you live in America, you can not vote for the guy who hired the world's most outspoken climate change denier to his EPA transition team. Second, you can buy a ticket to Mars! I'm kidding. They close all of the money. For now!

But, seriously, until then -- support science and other humans and reading and forward this newsletter to at least one other person who needs to read it.

On to the news!

1. Gather nine friends or, even better, loved ones, in a room. Great. Guess what? Everyone but you, or everyone including you but not Grandma Bridget, are breathing really, really shitty air. - NYT

"A new report, the W.H.O.’s most comprehensive analysis so far of outdoor air quality worldwide, also said about three million deaths a year — mostly from cardiovascular, pulmonary and other noncommunicable diseases — were linked to outdoor air pollution."

+ MY NOTES: People squint and walk away when I tell them this is why I prefer not to run outside in LA. Who's squinting now?

2. Here's where your car falls on the "how much I'm I personally ruining said air for the rest of us" scale. - CarbonCounter/MIT

+ MY NOTES: We gotta make some changes, fam

3. Does that make you sad? Good! Here's the electric cars currently available for purchase, and the ones coming down the pipe. - Vox

“With virtually every new model announced, automakers are pushing further and further on both range and cost. If the 2018 Nissan Leaf really is around $25,000 and really will go 250 miles on a charge … that is big. And if it’s not the Leaf, it will be some other car, in 2019, or 2020, or 2022. Within five years, EVs will be both better and cheaper than gasoline cars."

+ MY NOTES: Remember our deal: each of us gets to buy one more car before robots take over. What's it gonna be?

4. Let's go to fucking Mars. WHO'S WITH ME? - waitbutwhy

Musk: "The spaceships from Earth could stop coming for other reasons—it could be WWIII, it could be that Earth becomes a religious state, it could be some gradual decline where Earth civilization just sinks under its own weight. At one point the Egyptians were able to build pyramids, and then they forgot how to do that. And then they forgot how to read hieroglyphics, until the Rosetta Stone. Rome as well—they had indoor plumbing, they had advanced aqueducts, and then that fell apart. China at one point had the world’s biggest fleet of sailing ships and they were sailing as far as Africa, then some crazy emperor came along and decided that was bad and had them all burnt. So you just don’t know what’s gonna happen. The key threshold to pass is the number of people and tons of cargo required to make things self-sustaining. And that’s probably something like a million people and probably something like 10-100 million tons of cargo."

+ MY NOTES: Shit happens. That's the whole point. The whole point. Nature does not care about our narrative or belief systems but it sure as shit cares how much we poison the air and seas and lands. And it does not take such affronts kindly.

5. We're big on education here, and so here's a helpful feature on how to educate young folks on climate change without fucking terrifying them. - NRP

"A study in the journal Science this spring found that half of U.S. science teachers spend less than two hours on climate change each year."

+ MY NOTES: Son of a bitch


These are Popular Science's "Brilliant 10 Of 2016"

LA begins planning for 100% renewable energy

Scientists crack "continuous genetic recording" with CRISPR which, wow

Abu Dhabi signs solar installation contract at lowest price for energy ever

Dammit we're spitting out way more methane than we thought (read the link, thank me for the pun later)

Cancer is fucking hard, man

Obama's climate plan will (probably) survive the courts. We just make it after all.

And then he ordered security agencies to make climate change part of their planning, because fuck it, let's do this thing