#33: The Final Countdown

7 1/2 days.

That's how long we've got left before #TheResistance goes live. It's high time we all make sure we're focusing on what's real, what's sacred and how we're going to make sure these issues aren't obliterated. Change will come, that's for damn sure, but some of it can be rectified, and some of it can't. In four years, when we look back -- how will you answer the question:

"Did I do all I could?"

On to the news!

1. Super old former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry is terrified and thinks you should be, too. - Politico

"Nukes are suddenly—insanely, by Perry’s estimate—once again a contemporary nightmare, and an emphatically ascendant one. At the dawn of 2017, there is a Russian president making bellicose boasts about his modernized arsenal. There is an American president-elect who breezily free-associates on Twitter about starting a new nuclear arms race. Decades of cooperation between the two nations on arms control is nearly at a standstill. And, unlike the original Cold War, this time there is a world of busy fanatics excited by the prospect of a planet with more bombs—people who have already demonstrated the desire to slaughter many thousands of people in an instant, and are zealously pursuing ever more deadly means to do so.

And there’s one other difference from the Cold War: Americans no longer think about the threat every day. Nuclear war isn’t the subtext of popular movies, or novels; disarmament has fallen far from the top of the policy priority list. The largest upcoming generation, the millennials, were raised in a time when the problem felt largely solved, and it’s easy for them to imagine it’s still quietly fading into history. The problem is, it’s no longer fading. “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War,” Perry said in an interview in his Stanford office, “and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”"

+ MY NOTES: Do yourself a favor. Get educated.

2. The (current) White House wants scientists to get started on geo-engineering -- that is, finding ways to alter the atmosphere in case of climate disaster, or as a last minute prevention of said disaster. - Gizmodo

"The roadmap, which was submitted to Congress this week by the US Global Change Research Program, the governing body of the 13 federal agencies conducting research on global environmental change, lays out future directions of study on familiar topics, such as the rapidly-warming Arctic and humanity’s impact on the global water cycle. It also urges research into two of the most widely discussed planet-hacking concepts: solar engineering, or injecting particles into the stratosphere to make it more reflective, and carbon capture, or sucking CO2 right out of the sky."

+ MY NOTES: No time like the present!

3. A bunch of farmers in Iowa are trying to save the world's seafood supply. What did you do today? - Mother Jones

"VeroBlue aims to become North America's biggest land-based fish farm and the largest domestic producer of barramundi, raising as much as 10 million pounds every year—more than twice as much as anyone else.

Some scientists and ocean advocates believe we need more fish farms like this one: A 2015 World Wildlife Fund report revealed that half of all marine vertebrates have been wiped out since 1970 because of pollution, climate change, and industrial fishing. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, about 30 percent of the world's wild stocks are fished at biologically unsustainable levels, and research by acclaimed French marine biologist Daniel Pauly suggests the real figure could be more like 45 percent.

That's prompted experts at the US Nation­al Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Health and Human Services' Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to embrace farmed varieties. "If responsibly developed and practiced, aquaculture can generate lasting benefits for global food security and economic growth," the director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization declared in 2014. "Here in Iowa, they know how to grow protein," Driver, the president of VeroBlue, recently told a group of investors. "That's all we're doing—growing protein." The difference, suggests Paul Greenberg, author of the seafood bible Four Fish, is that when it's done right, aquaculture presents "a real opportunity to change the footprint of our protein...

...One pound of beef can require six pounds of grain and 1,800 gallons of water to produce; a pound of pork might take four pounds of grain and about 600 gallons of water. But one pound of barramundi requires just one pound of grain and up to seven gallons of water."

+ MY NOTES: Change mindsets, change the world. For extra credit, please read Four Fish. Thanks to reader Seth Sanders for the heads-up on this awesome story.

4. Early cancer screening startup Grail to raise $1 billion, will probably fail, but I mean, what if? - TechCrunch

"Grail leverages Illumina’s gene sequencing tech to potentially spot any kind of cancer in the body before symptoms appear.

While this type of technology isn’t necessarily new, it has never been used in early-stage detection and Grail will need the cash to continue development of its testing, particularly for the previously announced Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas study slated to analyze at least 7,000 cancer patients and compare them to 3,000 healthy individuals, as well as other large-scale clinical trials — one possibly involving half a million people based in the U.K."

+ MY NOTES: Early detection isn't everything, and can be controversial, leading to drastic measures -- but there's so many lives to be saved.

5. New focus on CRISPR enzyme Cas3 may solve the antibiotic crisis. May. - TechCrunch

"Most of the interest in CRISPR technology centers around the enzyme Cas9, which acts as a type of genetic scissors, allowing scientists to snip out, edit and replace DNA at certain intervals along the genome. However, Cas3 goes beyond Cas9 by targeting the DNA of bacterial cells and then chewing them up beyond the point of repair. This action turns the CRISPR-based bacterial immune system on itself, prompting the cell’s death.
Co-founder Paul Garofolo likens the process to Pac-Man. “It comes in and it chews the target DNA so when a Pac-Man chews the chromosome it in turns kills the bacterium,” Garofolo told TechCrunch.

And he and his co-founder Rodolphe Barrangou believe the technique could be used on dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

+ MY NOTES: Lordy this would be helpful.

6. The Republicans who want Trump to fight climate change - The Atlantic

"Like other members of the eco-right, Bob Inglis believes that efficient markets are the ultimate problem solver, and he has a general skepticism about all but the most basic of regulations. “The essence of [the eco-right] is all about internalizing negative externalities,” Inglis says, referencing the hidden expenses of carbon’s seepage into the atmosphere. He says that polluters are “socializing their soot and climate costs.” By making them pay and stripping out all energy subsidies, the thinking goes, firms will shift their business models accordingly, weeding out wasteful fuels, making the Paris Agreement and Obama’s Clean Power Plan superfluous."

+ MY NOTES: Look. The internet has become a fucking terrifying, destructive, echo chamber. So I don't have any intention of exclusively posting things I agree with. I feel like this a good example of trying to keep an open mind. At the very least, the "eco-right" is willing to admit climate change is real, and that we have to do something about it. 


Computers can now see your health problems

The unprecedented drop in global sea ice, in one adorably terrifying gif

The (current) White House would like us to think more about maybe a deadly asteroid impact

The newest XPrize contest involves basically making AVATAR real

The UBI basically already exists for the 1%

In cancer trials -- get ready, big shocker here -- minorities face huge hurdles