#20: A dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars

Happy anniversary, Star Trek! You are my everything.

Quick note: It's important to remember that throwing stones is dangerous because:

1) You could totally throw your shoulder out, coming from experience

2) Glass houses are more prevalent than you think despite crazy heat and privacy issues

3) While one report says that 90 companies are "responsible" for most climate change growth, every time you fill up with gas, you're part of the problem. Is that too harsh? Probably a bit! Until very recently, EV's were out of range for most of us. Except when they're not, like the past five years, since the Leaf hit it big, and also -- tiny note here -- comprehensive reports say that EV's could serve 93% of American driving. In many parts of the world, solar installations and utility costs are cheaper than any other option -- in some cases, cheaper than anything, ever. But yes, for most of the past fifty years you've been tied to the infrastructure they gave us. And in America, we're still very much weaning ourself off that system. So, again, not totally your fault. But much like when I walk past colleges and see 19 year olds smoking cigarettes, well -- the knowledge is out there. So make a choice, today!

On to the news!

1. Toxic air pollution found INSIDE HUMAN BRAINS - The Guardian

"The detection of the particles, in brain tissue from 37 people, raises concerns because recent research has suggested links between these magnetite particles and Alzheimer’s disease, while air pollution has been shown to significantly increase the risk of the disease. However, the new work is still a long way from proving that the air pollution particles cause or exacerbate Alzheimer’s."

+ MY NOTES: Oh, you're surprised by this?

2. "One Hundred Year Study" releases first report -- top AI minds have difficulty telling us exactly how AI will kill us all, yet - Quartz

"The paper strongly suggests that since artificial intelligence is so widespread and manifests in so many forms, any widespread ruling or central government office to regulate it would be ill-advised. Authors had three recommendations:

1. Define a path toward accruing technical expertise in AI at all levels of government.
2. Remove the perceived and actual impediments to research on the fairness, security, privacy, and social impacts of AI systems.
3. Increase public and private funding for interdisciplinary studies of the societal impacts of AI."

+ MY NOTES: Education! It's weird how rational this all seems, no?

3. Stanford gives seed grants to potentially ground-breaking clean energy tech, just trying to fucking get something -- anything -- going, you guys - Stanford.edu

“The Precourt Institute for Energy and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford have awarded 15 faculty seed grants totaling $2.7 million for groundbreaking research on clean energy.  Launched in 2010, the seed-grant programs fund innovative research proposals with the potential for high impact on energy supply and use."

+ MY NOTES: One of these is going to change the world. Will it be scaffold perovskite solar cells? Templated metal electrodeposition? A modular multi-level photovoltaic converter? (nerd erection)

4. We may be behind the eight-ball when it comes to climate change, and terrible at long-term strategic planning, but -- shockingly -- it's the change we don't see that may screw us the hardest - The Guardian

"The soaring temperature of the oceans is the “greatest hidden challenge of our generation” that is altering the make-up of marine species, shrinking fishing areas and starting to spread disease to humans, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of ocean warming."

+ MY NOTES: I think we talked a little about this last week. Guess what? It's worth talking about even more. Sorry, suckers!

5. Checking in on the #RaceAgainstOurselves: this MIT cat thinks he's found/made/crushed the fountain of youth into a pill - New Yorker Mag

"Any qualms I might have had about whether this was simply next-generation snake oil faded in the halo of the six Nobel Prize winners who sit on Elysium’s scientific advisory board. Most impressively, the company’s co-founder is Leonard Guarente, who heads MIT’s aging center and is one of the pioneers of aging science, a contender for the Nobel Prize should geroscience ever get a nod from the Swedish academy.

If I were going to trust anyone in a lab coat promising a magic pill to stay healthy longer, Guarente appeared a good bet. As the month’s end drew near, I was reluctant to stop taking Basis. It seemed foolish not to continue."

+ MY NOTES: Tantalizing, sure. But feels like one of those things I'd like to see some 10-year studies on. You know, to find out if people spontaneously combust or something.

6. Not surprising news on the "fuck it let's just get off this rock" campaign: we're nowhere near figuring out how to live in space. - HowWeGetToNext

"Off-world, the microgravity of space has numerous implications for human health. For starters, the body will suffer a significant increase in bone loss— older men and women tend to lose one to 1.5 percent of their bone density annually on Earth, while space travelers lose about one percent each month.

Losing calcium from the bones can overstress the kidneys, leading to kidney stones, and all muscles, including the heart, become weaker. Among the most serious effects of space on the body is intracranial pressure — blood and fluid shift upward to the head, increasing pressure in the tissues of the brain and spine. The consequences of this pressure are vast and serious, with vision degradation being the most immediate.”

+ MY NOTES: "Siri, add to to-do list: solve artificial gravity, radiation shield, make school lunches, groom self."


Sitting in traffic = more pollution into our bodies than driving at really any speed at all

The world has lost 10% of its wilderness in the last 20 years (does some quick math...yep. We're fucked)

These guys could change transportation for the rest of time if they just stopped with the prissy bitching

Don't look at this if you have kids (see? We know how to click-bait!)