#35: That Escalated Quickly


Yes, the anti-everything-good-in-the-world bias of this administration is very, very scary on a number of levels, across the spectrum. But their behavior so far shouldn't surprise anyone.

This is what happens when the same party -- well, Republicans, really -- hold all of the branches of government and most of the state governments. They get shit done.

In the same situation Democrats, I love you, but we'd do a lot of talking about feelings and such and making sure everyone's on the same page and meanwhile the GOP has knocked out executive orders on prima nocta and using mixed-race puppies for border walls.

So let's review, shall we? And then pick up, move on, and keep fighting.

1. CDC cancels long-planned conference on climate change and health - Washington Post

"The Climate and Health Summit, which had been in the works for months, was intended as a chance for public health officials around the country to learn more about the mounting evidence of the risks to human health posed by the changing climate. But CDC officials abruptly canceled the conference before President Trump’s inauguration, sending a terse email on Jan. 9 to those who had been scheduled to speak at the event. The message did not explain the reason behind the decision...

Another scheduled speaker, Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, argued that the summit should have gone forward, no matter who had just been sworn in as the next president. He said he fears the move will set a precedent of government officials self-silencing, in part over fears of reprisal or loss of funding, rather than standing behind the established science around climate change."

+ MY NOTES: I just don't understand the reasoning behind cancelling ahead of time. Even if Trump's definitely gonna do it anyways. Stand up, people.

2. Can rich and powerful (and China) save the climate instead? Lotttta question marks. - New York Times

"Over four days of intense politicking and parleying at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual gathering in the Swiss Alps where global policy and business leaders debate the world’s challenges, the sizable Chinese delegation seemed to preach climate action every chance it got...

Even if the world is able to stave off an increase in atmospheric temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit — a goal agreed to as part of the Paris deal — climate change could wipe out $1.7 trillion worth of global financial assets, according to a peer-reviewed study published last year in the journal Nature...

“(Other countries) see it in their economic self-interest to do so,” Mr. Ogden said, referring to other countries. “And if the United States wants to cede the playing field, they’ll be happy to capture as big of a share as they possibly can."

+ MY NOTES: Good business, Mr. Trump. Good business.

Side note: lotta talk about China lately. But let's keep it in context: "China, the world’s biggest polluter, has refused to accept international monitoring of its emissions, and conflicting data about the country’s energy use has raised questions about the accuracy of its reporting. (And) it still depends on coal for three-quarters of its electricity."

3. Elon Musk is Trump's new best friend, which is both super confusing but also potentially super helpful. - Bloomberg

"Tesla Motors Inc. founder Elon Musk is pressing the Trump administration to adopt a tax on carbon emissions, raising the issue directly with President Donald Trump and U.S. business leaders at a White House meeting Monday regarding manufacturing.

A senior White House official said Musk floated the idea of a carbon tax at the meeting but got little or no support among the executives at the White House, signaling that Trump’s conservative political orbit remains tepid on the issue. "

+ MY NOTES: Shocker! Though: I mean I'm pretty flummoxed by this, but Tillerson seems to be a big proponent of a carbon tax himself, which would be a huge paradigm shift. Who knows.

4. ...And just in time because extreme weather is "now 3 times more frequent". Yay! - Insurance Journal

"The Actuaries Climate Index, which was officially launched near the end of 2016, takes data from “neutral, scientific sources, generating objective, evidence-based results on extreme weather events,” according to the index’s creators.

The key metric is a five-year moving average, which enables users to see a clear climate signal.

The current five-year moving average value for the index is 1.02 – a small, but potentially eye-popping figure if you know what it means. The index value reached a value of 0.5 in 1998 and first reached 1.0 in 2013."

+ MY NOTES: Did you enjoy that little monsoon, LA?

5. Some good news, because life goes on. Gene-editing therapy (possibly) eliminated prevoiously-incurabe cancer in two infants. - Gizmodo

"Two infants diagnosed with an aggressive and previously incurable form of leukemia are now in remission, after British doctors say they cured the babies using so-called “designer cells.” 

It is the first time in history that cancer has been treated using genetically engineered immune cells from a donor. Details of the two cases were published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine.

In each case, scientists engineered a type of immune cell called a T cell to attack cancer cells. Each of the two infants, aged 11 and 16 months, had undergone many previous treatments, and all of them had failed. "

+ MY NOTES: Hoooo boy it's getting dusty in here, amiright?


Historic context: Administrations that try to control and distort EPA science end up paying a penalty in political backlash. Please. Please. Please.

Another argument for basic income.

Mayo Clinic partners with companies to figure out holy crap liquid biopsies

A quick 101 on stem cells and what's (potentially) coming, should Trump not turn off science altogether, like Bush did, which...sigh.