My apologies for the delay. SOMEBODY is having their third birthday party tomorrow and SOMEBODY ELSE has done nothing to prepare except buy seven cases of La Croix Pamplemousse and call it a day. Apparently that isn't gonna cut it, according to everyone, so I'm running around Target like a crazy person.
Hope everyone has a nice extended holiday weekend. I put together an extended-edition for your travels/beach time. We may or may not be off next week depending on if Moana actually shows up at this goddamn birthday party or what. I got a lot riding on this.
On to the news!
GET ME OFF THIS ROCK
Applying artificial intelligence to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence - SETI Institute
"The mission was to help the SETI Institute develop new signal classification algorithms and models that can aid in the radio signal detection efforts at the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array (ATA) in Northern California. Participants were encouraged to explore machine learning and deep learning techniques that may one day become part of the ATA signal detection pipeline."
+ MY NOTES: So we're basically cutting ourselves right out of the process, eh? 😕
One of my favorite super nerds Phil Plait explains, defends, and critiques Elon's plan for Mars - Slate
"The rocket and spaceship will use a new engine SpaceX calls Raptor (the first test model has already been built and underwent a test firing just the other day). It will be more powerful than the Merlins currently used by the Falcon 9, and will use extremely cold liquid methane for fuel. This has some advantages over current fuels; while tricky to design the engine, it does allow for more thrust and a bigger rocket, but most importantly it can be made on Mars! There’s lots of water there in the form of ice, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Using various methods, these can be processed into methane to make more fuel.
So there you go. Easy peasy, right?
+ MY NOTES: We go to the moon because it's hard! Come on! Did HIDDEN FIGURES teach us nothing??? 👩🏽🚀🇺🇸🔥
UN says population heading towards 10 billion by 2050 - NPR
"The world's population growth is slowing, according to a new United Nations report, but the number of people living on Earth will still approach 10 billion by the year 2050.
The document tallies the current population at 7.6 billion people, up from 7.4 billion just two years ago.
This year's count means the world added roughly 1 billion people over the last dozen years. It will take 13 years to add the next billion, according to the report. The planet is expected to have 8.6 billion people in 2030, and 9.8 billion by 2050.
A decade ago, the world's population was growing by 1.24 percent per year; today it is 1.1 percent."
+ MY NOTES: This random old guy in the fancy wheelchair gets it 👨👩👧👧👨👩👦👦👨👨👧👦👨👦👦👨👩👦👨👩👦👦👨👩👦👦👨👩👦👨👩👧👧👨👩👦👦👨👨👧👦👨👦👦👨👩👦👨👩👧👧👨👩👦👦👨👨👧👦👨👦👦👨👩👦👨👩👧👧👨👩👦👦👨👨👧👦👨👦👦👨👩👦👨👩👧👧👨👩👦👦👨👨👧👦👨👦👦👨👩👦👨👩👧👧👨👩👦👦👨👨👧👦👨👦👦👨👩👦👨👩👧👧👨👩👦👦👨👨👧👦👨👦👦👨👩👦
Also FYI this is what an asteroid hit would look like - Gizmodo
+ MY NOTES: Sure feels like a backup plan/civilization would be nice, but sure, let's keep cutting NASA's budget 💫-💰=🌎🔥
THE ROOF, THE ROOF, THE ROOF IS ON FIRE
In vital news that should surprise no one, the states that are already the hottest and closest to sea level are going to suffer the worst in years to come. I would use the "water is wet" analogy but it just feels like a pun gone too far. Anyways - the newly tabulated layer highlights further inequality on all levels. - Axios
"If steps are not taken to lessen the rate of warming from climate change, counties in the South and lower Midwest — which on average tend to already be poorer and warmer — may lose as much as 20% of their income and may experience higher mortality rates. However, areas of the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes region and New England — which on average tend to be wealthier and cooler — could benefit economically from the change and see lower mortality rates."
+ MY NOTES: Please check out the attached map. Also, please let me know a good real estate agent in northern Maine. 🤦🏻♀️
These researchers feel like we've got, oh, give or take 36 months to start kicking climate ass, or it's game over. - Popular Science
"If you want to lose 10 pounds by a certain date there are, broadly speaking, two ways of going about it. You could take it slow and steady, cutting down slightly on your daily caloric intake to achieve a modest weekly weight loss, making your way to your goal weight over the course of a month or two. Or you could wait until a week or two before your target date and then give up as much food as possible, triple up on the exercise, and hope that you’ll lose weight fast enough—without literally killing yourself in the process.
Only the most imprudent among us would consciously choose the second option, right?
In this regard, stopping climate change is a lot like weight loss, according to a comment article published today in the journal Nature. The article, spearheaded by Christiana Figueres (architect of the process that lead to the Paris Climate Agreement and now vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy), says that we only have three years to act if we want a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy—the socio-economic equivalent of losing weight in a slow and steady manner.
We have until 2020, say the authors—who include a number of researchers, state and local government officials (including the governor of California), and heads of climate change focused organizations—before achieving the goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement become almost impossible. At that point, the actions that we’d have to undertake would be drastic; the equivalent of crash dieting and hoping for the best."
+ MY NOTES: Love this comparison. I also love doughnuts. But I also love stairmasters. To each his own. To each, his own. Anyways this badass is paving his own path (not with doughnuts, but with a degree in meteorology) and saying "fuck three years let's do this". 🕑🕘🕢🙀
"Boy, that escalated quickly," said Australia, suddenly realizing that climate change presents enormous-and-as-of-yet-completely-unprepared-for-security-risks. - The Guardian
"“Global warming will drive increasingly severe humanitarian crises, forced migration, political instability and conflict. The Asia Pacific region, including Australia, is considered to be ‘disaster alley’ where some of the worst impacts will be experienced,” the report, released this morning, says.
“Australia’s political, bureaucratic and corporate leaders are abrogating their fiduciary responsibilities to safeguard the people and their future wellbeing. They are ill-prepared for the real risks of climate change at home and abroad.”
On Friday, the Senate passed a motion for an inquiry into the threats and long-term risks posed by climate change to national and international security, and Australia’s readiness to mitigate and respond to climate-related crises in our region."
+ MY NOTES: Feels like nobody was driving the ship for a little bit, yes? 🇦🇺🔫
Our brutally selfish climate-trashing ways are killing Adele. KILLING her. Actually, literally kil--I'm sorry. Apparently that's an "Adelie penguin". We're killing Adelie penguins. Not Adele. My apologies. Innocent mistake. - Popular Science
"Meet eight species living on the brink, thanks to weather and climate change. A volatile future will affect way more than just the polar bears."
+ MY NOTES: Basically pictures and descriptions of adorable animals that are on the way out. Not pictured, homo sapiens, because as usual, we were smoking in the bathroom and skipped out on the class photo. 🐧😿
California invested so much in solar power production that we don't have anywhere to send it and sometimes we pay other states to take it off our hands? - LA Times
"Why doesn’t California, a champion of renewable energy, use all the solar power it can generate?
The answer, in part, is that the state has achieved dramatic success in increasing renewable energy production in recent years. But it also reflects sharp conflicts among major energy players in the state over the best way to weave these new electricity sources into a system still dominated by fossil-fuel-generated power.
No single entity is in charge of energy policy in California. This has led to a two-track approach that has created an ever-increasing glut of power and is proving costly for electricity users. Rates have risen faster here than in the rest of the U.S., and Californians now pay about 50% more than the national average."
+ MY NOTES: 50%. 😎💵🔥
FREAK ME, BABY
On the plus side of our future cyborg-life: living out those Inspector Gadget fantasies. On the other hand, hackers. 💻🤖💥 - Gizmodo
"In anticipation of our cyborg future, researchers from the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva Switzerland have published a new Policy Forum paper in Science titled, “Help, hope, and hype: Ethical dimensions of neuroprosthetics.” The intent of the authors is to raise awareness of this new breed of neurotechnologies, and the various ways they can be abused. Importantly, the researchers come up with some ways to mitigate potential problems before they arise.
No doubt, work in neurotech is proceeding apace. Researchers are developing brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) that are enabling quadriplegics to regain use of their hands and fingers, amputees to move prosthetic limbs by simply using their thoughts, and patients with degenerative diseases to spell out messages with their minds. Incredibly, paraplegics wearing robotic exosuits can now kick soccer balls, and monkeys have started to control wheelchairs with their mind. Brain-to-brain communication interfaces (BBIs) are allowing gamers to control the movements of other players and play a game of 20 questions without uttering a word. With each passing breakthrough, we’re learning a little bit more about the brain and how it works. Most importantly, these tools are giving agency and independence back to amputees and paralyzed individuals.
But there’s also a dark side to these technologies. As Wyss Center Director John Donoghue points out in the new Policy Forum, serious ethical issues are emerging around this field, and it’s not too early to start thinking about ways in which neuroprosthetics and brain-machine interfaces might be abused."
+ MY NOTES: For those of you that feel like this is less than "vital", maybe more of a sci-fi post and so far from current day reality, I'll remind you (in addition to the examples, above) of Elon's new company, but also the hackers we featured last week who shut down Ukraine's power grid, and the ones from a couple months ago that can remotely control pace makers. Might as well do some long-term planning for once, shall we?
Did we find the key to regenerating human ❤️'s? - Science Alert
"We could one day develop a process to regenerate tissue in the human heart, according to new research, by borrowing a technique from an unlikely source – a muscle-less and heart-less starlet sea anemone.
The Nematostella vectensis creature has the ability to regenerate as several different organisms if it's chopped up into pieces, and scientists think this biological superpower could teach us how to stimulate regenerative healing in human hearts.
Researchers from the University of Florida came across the starlet sea anemone when looking at the evolutionary origin of muscle cells, like the ones found in our heart – and the sea creature has genes known to help form heart cells in humans and other animals."
+ MY NOTES: This is the original paper and it's hilariously nerdy. I mean are these even real words?
Jennifer Doudna, or "Mother" to our future freakishly good-looking superbabies, on the ethical dilemmas of her little invention 😟 - The Atlantic
"That has not been an easy journey. Doudna built her career on molecules and microbes. As few as five years ago, she was, by her own admission, working head-down in an ivory tower, with no plans of milking practical applications from her discoveries, and little engagement with the broader social impact of her work.
But CRISPR forcefully yanked Doudna out of that closeted environment, and dumped her into the midst of intense ethical debates about whether it’s ever okay to change the DNA of human embryos, whether eradicating mosquitoes is a good idea, and whether “fixing” the genes behind inherited diseases is a blow to disabled communities."
+ MY NOTES: You break it, you buy it! JK JK. Thanks for inventing the future, JD! 👍🏾
These scientists have zero plans to die at 115, and thumb their noses at those who claim that's the upper limit of our tenure on this coil. - Gizmodo (getting a lot of play today, good job everyone)
"Brown’s own analysis found that the existence of the plateau at 115 years depends on the age and death date of the oldest person ever, France’s Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to be 122. Others mentioned the increase in the number of people living past 100 will make it more likely to see more folks live past 115, or even 122. Still others found problems with the statistics and methods used to analyze such small sample sizes or argued that we don’t have enough data to be sure. One paper noted that breaking the data up into individual years that people died in is arbitrary, since years are an arbitrary division of time. Maybe the presence of a 25-year plateau is itself a statistical fluctuation."
+ MY NOTES: Splitting hairs? Maybe. Regardless, I've got every intention of living forever. Sorry, honey. 👴🏻+👵🏻+🍸+💊=🍆🍑?
Hyper-precise cancer care going hyper-local - WIRED
"On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first next-generation-sequencing-based test, from Thermo Fisher Scientific, that can tell you how different drugs will work for you, based on the genetic makeup of your tumor. And it only takes four days to get back results. In many ways, it represents the leading edge of precision medicine’s maturation from a buzzword in grant applications and investor pitch decks to a real, workable product that can actually improve patient outcomes.
Getting the FDA’s approval took nearly two years and 220,000 pages of data."
+ MY NOTES: Awesome. 🖥+💉+🏥=😃
I NEED YOUR CLOTHES, YOUR BOOTS, AND YOUR MOTORCYCLE
Second richest man in China says we (humans) will win World War III vs. AI - CNBC
"While "we know the machine is powerful and stronger than us," humans will rise above the impending wave of data and artificial intelligence.
"Humans will win," Ma said. "In 30 years ... we'll see us surviving. ""
+ MY NOTES: Feels optimistic. 😒
The NSA left all their crypto-cherry pies on the window sill to cool off and that has not turned out well for the bake sale or online security - NY Times
"Twice in the past month, National Security Agency cyberweapons stolen from its arsenal have been turned against two very different partners of the United States — Britain and Ukraine.
The N.S.A. has kept quiet, not acknowledging its role in developing the weapons. White House officials have deflected many questions, and responded to others by arguing that the focus should be on the attackers themselves, not the manufacturer of their weapons.
But the silence is wearing thin for victims of the assaults, as a series of escalating attacks using N.S.A. cyberweapons have hit hospitals, a nuclear site and American businesses. Now there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands." 😾😾😾
+ MY NOTES: Less than good. But GOOD NEWS...
WE'VE GOT *THIS GUY* 😎🎧☕️🤛 - NY Times
"In fact, tens of thousands of computer systems all over the world have been “backdoored” by the same N.S.A. weapons. Mr. Ben-Oni and other security researchers worry that many of those other infected computers are connected to transportation networks, hospitals, water treatment plants and other utilities.
An attack on those systems, they warn, could put lives at risk.
And Mr. Ben-Oni, fortified with adrenaline, Red Bull and the house beats of Deadmau5, the Canadian record producer, said he would not stop until the attacks had been shut down and those responsible were behind bars.
“The world is burning about WannaCry, but this is a nuclear bomb compared to WannaCry,” Mr. Ben-Oni said. “This is different. It’s a lot worse. It steals credentials. You can’t catch it, and it’s happening right under our noses.”
And, he added, “The world isn’t ready for this.”"
+ MY NOTES: No notes.