#67: Rufio! Rufio!

Fuck the pessimism - bangarang!

On to the news!



First up: please meet Gene Yeo, professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. 

"A biotech startup, Locana, is trying to do just that by inserting the CRISPR machinery into human cells to equip the body to fight Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

To do it, Gene Yeo, the company’s cofounder and a professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, is repurposing CRISPR to go after a different target: RNA, the messenger molecule involved in transferring and decoding the genetic information stored in DNA.
In diseases like ALS, Huntington’s and some types of muscular dystrophy, RNA builds up and makes aberrant proteins that cause disease. Yeo says he’s particularly interested in these diseases because they have no effective therapies and can be fatal. He wants to use CRISPR to destroy toxic RNAs and reverse the devastating effects of disease."

+ I lost my uncle to ALS. Couldn't be more behind this terrific attempt at taking the fight to an otherwise unbeatable, unfair, and truly fucked up disease.

Next up: Don't Waste L.A., the coalition that's spent 11 years translating Los Angeles' "zero waste" plan into reality. 

"Translating the abstract into a nuts-and-bolts plan was largely the world of a wide-ranging coalition called Don't Waste LA, pulled together by the LA Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) in the late 2000s.

Recycle LA sets a goal of diverting 90 percent of the city's trash away from landfills by 2025, just eight years from now. But how this will happen has been worked out in granular detail, including a geographic franchise system for recycling that replaces an unregulated free-for-all market."



For the second week, officially, because we just started this feature, but unofficially since basically eternity, this week's winner is Scott Pruitt, everybody! Congrats, Scott!

EPA plans to repeal Obama-era Clean Power Plan: "Here's the president's message: The war on coal is over," Pruitt said today during a speech given in Hazard, Kentucky.

"The CPP, which stipulated that power companies had until 2030 to reduce their carbon emissions by 32 percent relative to 2005 levels, never really got a chance to have an impact. Soon after it was introduced, a number of states challenged the legality of the plan and 29 went so far as to petition the Supreme Court to halt its implementation until a court could review it. In a five to four vote, the Supreme Court justices granted that stay. The case, brought forth by over a dozen states, has remained in limbo at the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals while the Trump administration has considered what to do. In March, the president signed an executive order directing agencies to review regulations that might impede the coal industry, which included the CPP. Today's announcement from Pruitt is an expected result of that order.

The Trump administration has presented opposition to environmental regulations from the very start. It has specifically targeted regulationsenacted by the Obama administration, cut funding for climate-focused programs and withdrawn the US from the Paris climate change agreement. Dissolving the CPP is just the latest in a series of moves aimed at rolling back environmental protections in favor of boosting struggling fossil fuel industries."

+ I can't tell whether these fuckers' bigger issue is the dirty money in their pockets from coal barons (which -- btw -- how do coal barons still exist?), or the desperate need to roll back anything and everything the first black president enacted? Because, you know, he's black? Pretty deadly combo, though. For all of us. 

This -- probably -- isn't the new normal for climate change. That's still to come. Warm soil is just the start.

+ Other related weird news: Trump has been talking about nuclear winter for quite a while longer than most of us realize. Seriously. Our very own Nostradamus been forecasting global bye bye since 1984. 1984!

Anyways, it's #important to remember that, while Americans voted this fat, orange, temperamental sea monster into office, most Americans also actually want climate change policies, and the man who's dismantling the few that we do have  -- Pruitt -- is an unelected official, affecting the lives of not just Americans, but people and other land-based mammals and mammals that live in the water but breather air and anyways basically everything. 

And yet.

Who's getting it the worst?

I'll give you one guess. And the answer isn't your friend's dad who's the white-collar exec, or the iconic American small business owner job creator.

Nope. Climate Change Will Always Hurt Poor People the MostRepealing the Clean Power Plan Sacrifices the Health of Communities of Color. Always has, always will.

"Study after study has proven this. One of the latest came out of the University of Washington last month. It showed that, between 2000 and 2010, people of color saw roughly 40 percent higher exposures to air pollution than white people. And not just from power plants. Cars and trucks are guilty, too.

“The finding that shocks us is that when it comes to how much [nitrogen dioxide] a person breathes, it’s still race that matters,” said senior author Julian Marshall, professor of civil and environmental engineering, in a press release. “At any income level—low to medium to high—there’s a persistent gap by race, which is completely indefensible. It says a lot about how segregated neighborhoods still are and how things are segregated.”

Mark Mitchell, president of environmental health consulting firm Mitchell Environmental Health Associates, is already seeing these health impacts play out. He previously served on the EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, so he understands the realities communities of color face.
As a black physician, he was looking forward to how the Clean Power Plan would reduce the asthma he sees among his patients. In 2014, black people were almost three times more likely than white people to die from asthma, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health."

And what about everybody else? Let's start by giving some of the land back to the folks who were here first.

I'm looking forward to what this guy has to say about it all.



GM was all "Obama's being too hard on us" until China flipped the script and said "no more gas". So I guess once again, and probably for the foreseeable future, we look to the east for climate leadership. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Propelled by vast amounts of government money and visions of dominating next-generation technologies, China has become the world’s biggest supporter of electric cars. That is forcing automakers from Detroit to Yokohama and Seoul to Stuttgart to pick up the pace of transformation or risk being left behind in the world’s largest car market.

Beijing has already called for one out of every five cars sold in China to run on alternative fuel by 2025. Last month, China issued new rules that would require the world’s carmakers to sell more alternative-energy cars here if they wanted to continue selling regular ones. A Chinese official recently said the country would eventually do away with the internal combustion engine in new cars.

...China feels it has little choice in pressing forward. While it is true that electric vehicles fit neatly into China’s plan to become the world leader in sci-fi technology like artificial intelligence, the country also fears a dark future — one where its cities remain cloaked in smog and it is beholden to foreign countries to sell it the oil it needs."

+ Also on the docket: planting 66 billion trees.


As always, a gentle reminder we're in a #raceagainsttime:

Dialing down from the atmosphere to the human body: the longer each of us live, the better chance we have of running into a genetic mutation -- aka cancer. But what if we extend our lifespans without beating cancer? Are the extra years worth it? 

We could continue on digitally. Maybe forever.

And what if we do make serious progress against cancer? Will everybody benefit?

Along the way we could cure blindness...

Find aliens...

Make not-scary-after-all robots and artificial intelligence much scarier by making them too much like us (aka racist/sexist/etc)...

Or even, if we're lucky, find a (desperately needed) replacement for antibiotics...

Everything considered, we could use a backup plan. We should probably try to get off this rock, right? Some of us? One of us? 

Maybe Mars is within reach, after all.

Or maybe there's too many unknown health risks.

Maybe this whole thing is just a game, anyways. It's a comforting thought. Kind of. But what if it isn't?

...regardless, we have a pretty good idea of when humans will go extinct.*

The question is: what will we do with the time we've got left?

*How about that for some fucking clickbait???