#54: How about a nice game of chess?

Look I'm gonna be honest the trendy thing to do would be to make this Mr. Robot themed but WarGames is the best even if it's not (really even close to) a perfect match for Russian hackers taking down our electric grid. Right? XOXOXO.

On to the news!


1. The Dutch would like to sell you some climate change solutions. Are you listening? - NYTimes

"From the first moment settlers in this small nation started pumping water to clear land for farms and houses, water has been the central, existential fact of life in the Netherlands, a daily matter of survival and national identity. No place in Europe is under greater threat than this waterlogged country on the edge of the Continent. Much of the nation sits below sea level and is gradually sinking. Now climate change brings the prospect of rising tides and fiercer storms.

From a Dutch mind-set, climate change is not a hypothetical or a drag on the economy, but an opportunity. While the Trump administration withdraws from the Paris accord, the Dutch are pioneering a singular way forward.

It is, in essence, to let water in, where possible, not hope to subdue Mother Nature: to live with the water, rather than struggle to defeat it. The Dutch devise lakes, garages, parks and plazas that are a boon to daily life but also double as enormous reservoirs for when the seas and rivers spill over. You may wish to pretend that rising seas are a hoax perpetrated by scientists and a gullible news media. Or you can build barriers galore. But in the end, neither will provide adequate defense, the Dutch say.

And what holds true for managing climate change applies to the social fabric, too. Environmental and social resilience should go hand in hand, officials here believe, improving neighborhoods, spreading equity and taming water during catastrophes. Climate adaptation, if addressed head-on and properly, ought to yield a stronger, richer state."

+ MY NOTES: Denial doesn't do shit for you when you're already under water. Take note, New York/Miami/New Orleans.



2. OK, so here's the thing about hacking. It doesn't stop with Sony, or voting machines, or hospital systems. It goes as far as power grids, and keeps going. 

"Hackers allied with the Russian government have devised a cyberweapon that has the potential to be the most disruptive yet against electric systems that Americans depend on for daily life, according to U.S. researchers.

The malware, which researchers have dubbed CrashOverride, is known to have disrupted only one energy system — in Ukraine in December. In that incident, the hackers briefly shut down one-fifth of the electric power generated in Kiev. 

But with modifications, it could be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems to devastating effect, said Sergio Caltagirone, director of threat intelligence for Dragos, a cybersecurity firm that studied the malware and issued areport Monday. 

And Russian government hackers have shown their interest in targeting U.S. energy and other utility systems, researchers said.

“It’s the culmination of over a decade of theory and attack scenarios,” Caltagirone warned. “It’s a game changer.”"

Two different perspectives:

     a. Washington Post
     b. WIRED

+ MY NOTES: How's that smart house feeling now?



3. This very smart human is peddling snake-oil age-defeating diets -- or is he? - STATnews

"Longo’s ProLon diet (it stands for “pro-longevity,” he says, and not “Professor Longo”) reflects a growing interest in episodic fasting, which has been touted by celebrities such as Jimmy Kimmel and Benedict Cumberbatch and in best-selling books like “The Alternate-Day Diet.” His approach stands out because he insists he can use certain combinations of nutrients to trick the body into thinking it’s fasting without actually being on a punishing, water-only diet.

Intrigued, STAT reviewed dozens of scientific studies and talked to a half-dozen aging and nutrition experts about fasting in general and ProLon in particular. We visited Longo’s lab at the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute, where slender black and white rodents pass their days in clear plastic boxes labeled “DO NOT FEED.” We even tried Longo’s diet for one long and rather hungry week.

Our conclusion? Fasting does appear to boost health — certainly in mice, and preliminary evidence suggests it might do so in humans as well, at least in the short term. It’s not yet clear whether that’s because abstaining from food prompts cellular changes that promote longevity, as some scientists believe — or because it simply puts a brake on the abundant and ceaseless stream of calories we consume to the detriment of our health. Either way, it can be a powerful force."

+ MY NOTES: I eat 99% plants, but man -- I like to eat. This one's gonna be tough.



4. We've linked to this before, but it's worth repeating - maybe the most comprehensive analysis of the 100 most effective climate change solutions. - DrawDown.org

"Drawdown is the work of a prominent and growing coalition of geologists, engineers, agronomists, researchers, fellows, writers, climatologists, biologists, botanists, economists, financial analysts, architects, companies, agencies, NGOs, activists, and other experts who draft, model, fact check, review, and validate all text, inputs, sources, and calculations. Our purpose is to provide helpful information and tools to a wide variety of actors who are dedicated to meaningful change: students, teachers, researchers, philanthropists, investors, entrepreneurs, business people, farmers, policymakers, engaged citizens, and more."

+ MY NOTES: Solution #6: educating girls and women = curbs population growth. It's not just about solar panels. The book is available here.



5. The Planetary Society feels like maybe the plans for Mars aren't going so hot. - Planetary Society

"We found a fundamental contradiction in NASA’s extant Mars plans: there is not much of a program within the Mars Exploration Program.

Currently, NASA has a single mission development—the Mars 2020 rover (InSight, which launches in 2018, is part of the Discovery program). There have been no new mission starts for Mars since 2013, one of the longest droughts in recent history.

But the existing Mars missions are aging and won’t last forever. A new orbiter is badly needed to relay high-speed communications with ground missions and to provide high resolution mapping of the surface to support landing attempts by NASA and others (not to mention provide important science). Yet the latest budget release for 2018 contained no new start for this critical mission."

+ MY NOTES: Feels like these are necessary steps to getting off this rock, yeah?



6. ______ is the next blockbuster drug. Only artificial intelligence has the answer. - MIT Technology Review

"AI is revolutionizing countless industries, but its biggest impact may be felt in medicine. Machine learning has proved capable of identifying signs of disease in medical images and records, and it may become invaluable for analyzing vast genomic data sets for clues as to the origins of different disorders. Benevolent AI, headquartered in London, is working to apply the latest AI techniques to the identification and development of novel drug compounds. The company’s CEO, Ken Mulvaney, met with MIT Technology Review’s senior editor for AI, Will Knight, to discuss AI’s relevance to drug discovery and medicine, and to talk about his company’s ambitious plans."

+ MY NOTES: Audio for premium subscribers only - annoying, but - as always - pay for good journalism.



7. Check out which of your neighbors already has solar panels. - The Atlantic

"One of the best predictors of whether people install solar panels on their house isn’t their age, their race, their level of income, or their political affiliation.

It’s whether their neighbors did it first.

This finding has been shown repeatedly across space and time, including in California, Connecticut, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. “It happens at the street level, it happens within zip codes, it happens within states. It seems to be a common feature of human decision-making that crosses many boundaries,” says Kenneth Gillingham, a professor of economics at Yale University whose study helped establish the finding.

On Monday, Google put the finding into practice with Project Sunroof, its free online tool that aims to make it easier for people to obtain and use home solar panels. Project Sunroof will now not only inform users how much sun hits their roof, or how much solar panels would save them per month, but also which of their neighbors have taken the plunge first."

+ MY NOTES: They've got 60% of US homes tallied, and the rest are on the way. Let's do this!



SHIT I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO GET INTO BUT YOU SHOULD STILL READ

France is offering 4 year grants to US climate scientists, because where else are you gonna try your craft AND eat baguettes when it's a goddamn witch hunt back home

70% of cancers caught early are curable. Can Grail use $1 billion to catch them?

General Mills gets behind perennial super-grain Kernza

Yuval Noah Harari, esteemed author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, says no to universal basic income, I am sad.

Bike sharing is crushing ride sharing in China

Washington governor says full steam ahead on self-driving cars

11 cities begin posting deleted climate data online

Mini particle accelerators make cancer treatment safer for everyone #thefuture

Some astronomers not ruling out the WOW! signal as a message from deep space, please please please please

PHOTOS: Have you ever bought coffee sourced from Uganda? You probably have. Here's what climate change has already done there.

Companies racing to use CRISPR to change world swear it's not super-duper dangerous, everybody hold into your butts

And finally...this is how Big Oil finally dies.