#50: Put on the suit. Let's go a few rounds.

Quick note: our 50th issue! Holy cow. Time flies. Thanks to everyone who's stuck with us since the beginning, and equally, to all of our new friends/apostles. 

So funny story, with everything else going on this week, the White House postponed their little meeting to decide the fate of the planet/whether to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

That's good news, because, you know, they haven't actually done the bad thing they said they're gonna do. And, if you'll recall, we're still in a #raceagainsttime. So we can keep pushing on. And maybe, just maybe, our elected officials are getting tired of the anti-science bullshit. And putting some pressure on, themselves.

Which, once again, is a reminder that everything you're doing -- the conversations you're starting, the emails you're sending, the links you're retweeting, but most importantly the calls you're making, are changing the future. Keep it up. We believe in you. But it's gonna take all of you. All of us. #ASSEMBLE

On to the news!

1. WATCH: Miles and miles of ice, collapse into the sea. Antarctica's ice sheet is collapsing, right in front of our eyes. - NYTimes

"THE ACCELERATION is making some scientists fear that Antarctica’s ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration.

Because the collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheet could raise the sea level dramatically, the continued existence of the world’s great coastal cities — Miami, New York, Shanghai and many more — is tied to Antarctica’s fate."

+ MY NOTES: I'll have one Xanax, please, thank you.

2. The US needs a biology strategy, and fast. - WIRED

"The US currently has no coordinated biology strategy. As a result, Crispr, along with other emerging technologies, is developing faster than our government’s ability to address it.

Since that day in July, Americans elected a president whose administration has openly disavowed the scientific method, data-based evidence, and basic research, and a Congress with just one PhD scientist. Now our current government leaders are running away from the future, rather than planning ahead for it."

+ MY NOTES: A bunch of old white guys in Congress strike again.

3. These are the lawyers joining forces with climate scientists to fight back against the bullshit. - NYTimes

"Climate scientists are feeling the heat as Republicans cement control of the executive branch and Congress. The Trump administration has already rolled back about two dozen environmental laws and regulations, dismissed members of an important science panel and taken down web pages giving information on climate change. Republicans in Congress have also brought pressure to bear on climate scientists.

Now scientists and lawyers are fighting back, with well-attended public demonstrations and legal action. The push included a recent conference that brought law professors from across the United States to New York for training to protect scientists who come under scrutiny."

+ MY NOTES: Donate and support their cause here.

4. #NeverGiveUp: we finally grew blood stem cells in the lab. Huge news. - Popular Science

"After 20 years of trying, scientists have transformed mature cells into primordial blood cells that regenerate themselves and the components of blood. The work, described today in Nature, offers hope to people with leukaemia and other blood disorders who need bone-marrow transplants but can’t find a compatible donor. If the findings translate into the clinic, these patients could receive lab-grown versions of their own healthy cells."

+ MY NOTES: "The latest advances have buoyed the spirits of researchers who have been frustrated by their inability to generate blood stem cells from iPS cells. “A lot of people have become jaded, saying that these cells don’t exist in nature and you can’t just push them into becoming anything else,” Bhatia says. “I hoped the critics were wrong, and now I know they were.” FUCK THE HATERS.

5. Feels like I don't need to say this considering everything that's going on, but numbers always help. We're edging closer to nuclear war. - FiveThirtyEight

"“There is no procedural or institutional mechanism that can stop a president from giving an order to use nuclear weapons,” said Stephen Schwartz, editor and co-author of “Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940.”

You can exhale, though: Most nuclear security experts I spoke to are not particularly worried by this aspect of the Trump presidency. They said that the risk of civilian-targeted nuclear weapon use has ticked up since 2015, but the causal pathway is a bit subtler than itchy fingers on the metaphorical red button. “I don’t know how this plays out,” said Rachel Bronson, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. “But he’s moving us into a much more uncertain time.”

The trouble is, nuclear risks are hard to measure quantitatively. The small sample size (two bombs dropped, ever) and rapidly changing technological and diplomatic contexts don’t exactly lend themselves to simple mathematical modeling. While such models do exist, they are “mainly an exercise in structuring one’s thinking, not something that would provide a ‘right’ answer,” according to Matthew Bunn, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

In short, a nuclear strike on a civilian target could realistically happen in one of two ways:
Either tensions between two nuclear states rise to the point where a single miscommunication or technical failure could trigger a launch; or, a terrorist organization could acquire nuclear weapons capabilities.

So how likely is either scenario?"

+ MY NOTES: Click to find out the fun answer!

6. It'll take an army to kill the emperor. An (awesome) update on the Avengers-style team-ups happening in the fight against cancer. - Popular Mechanics

"The men and women who are trying to bring down cancer are starting to join forces rather than work alone. Together, they are winning a few of the battles against the world's fiercest disease. For this unprecedented special report, we visited elite cancer research centers around the country to find out where we are in the war.

When you visit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, you expect to feel devastated. It starts in the waiting room. Oh, here we go with the little red wagons, you think, observing the cattle herd of them rounded up by the entrance to the Patient Care Center. Oh, here we go with the crayon drawings of needles. The itch begins at the back of your throat, and you start blinking very fast and mentally researching how much money you could donate without starving. Near a row of arcade games, a preteen curls his face into his mother's shoulder while she strokes his head. Oh, here we go.

But the more time you spend at St. Jude, the more that feeling is replaced with wonder. In a cruel world you've found a free hospital for children, started by a Hollywood entertainer as a shrine to the patron saint of lost causes. There is no other place like this. Corporations that have nothing to do with cancer—nothing to do with medicine, even—have donated vast sums of money just to be a part of it. There's a Chili's Care Center. The cafeteria is named for Kay Jewelers."

+ MY NOTES: I love love LOVE this quote and mindset: "One day, the miracles won't be miracles at all. They'll just be what happens." #WERK #WeHaveAHulk


A wrinkle in forecasting autonomous cars

If Proxmia b has an atmosphere like Earth's, it just might be habitable

European utilities: no new coal after 2020

CA governor Brown battles with environmentalists over fracking, which...goddammit.

Cold war nuclear explosions freakishly impacted space weather, and no, that's not even my headline

American trees are moving northwest, and nobody really knows why (GREAT. GREAT.)

The top 100 ways to fight climate change, ranked

Why some people fight and live with infections way better than others: one woman's crusade

This is the guy who discovered that leaded gasoline is NO BUENO

What's the future of nuclear power?