Lots to cover this week. Housekeeping note: we're off next week for vacation.
On to the news!
IT'S "X-MEN: ACTUAL ORIGINS" WEEK AT IMPORTANT, NOT IMPORTANT ⽖⛈👓🏄♿
The inevitable. Just a few months after the Chinese, US Scientists Reportedly Made a Genetically Modified Human Embryo. So. That's that. Bring on the genetic revolution. I'm trying to decide between cutting out my gene that makes the sound of people chewing drive me into a rage, or being able to fly. Tough call. - Motherboard
"Researchers in Portland, Oregon have used a powerful gene editing tool called CRISPR to create genetically modified human embryos, MIT Technology Reviewreported on Wednesday in an exclusive. This is the first confirmed case of the gene editing of human embryos in the US, and gets scientists closer to the ability to create genetically engineered humans."
While we're on it, let's have a look at how else smart folks are hacking our bodies:
-- Stem cell transplants into mice brains slow the aging process - Nature.com
-- With Iron Nanoparticles, Cryopreserved Tissue Springs Back to Life - Discover Magazine
-- After leukemia kicked down the door last week, researchers are falling over themselves to fire up "utterly transformative" gene therapies - NY Times
-- Will this decades-old cancer treatment save our asses/colons/prostates, etc?- WIRED
-- Nanobots prefer freestyle - engadget
"Inspired by the fastest human method of swimming, the front crawl, these nanobots travel in a similar fashion, with their magnetic arms rotating and propelling them forward as the researchers apply a magnetic field to the bot's arms.
This cleverly designed bot is pretty swift too, able to swim the front crawl at an impressive 10 micrometers per second. Thanks to its hefty arms and impressive speed, the bots have a momentum strong enough that they can even pass through thick liquids like blood in order to administer medicine from inside your veins."
-- Sci-fi today: pocket-sized genomic sequencers are already helping to save the species - Scientific American
"10 A.M.—It is hot and sultry in the slums of the Campina Barreto neighborhood on the north side of Recife, in Brazil, and a public health worker named Glaucia has just taken a blood sample from a young, pregnant patient. Glaucia feeds it into a portable sequencer the size of a USB stick, plugs the sequencer into her computer and waits for the results. The device identifies genetic markers of the Zika virus, but flags the fact that this is a mutated strain that could be resistant to existing vaccines. She reports the information to her colleague, Franco, at the nearest hospital and to public health authorities. They need to know that this could signal the start of an outbreak.
This scenario is imaginary, but researchers around the world now use pocket-size genomic sequencers to rapidly detect resistant pathogenic strains in hospitals, explore microbial diversity in Antarctic ice valleys, and diagnose infectious agents in food supply and aboard spaceships (the device works in microgravity)."
Finally, all of this might be timely and helpful, because "sperm counts of Western men are plummeting, analysis finds, with no reason given" - CNN
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES TOO AND WE'RE PRETTTTY EXCITED ⚡️🚗🍆
The first Tesla Model 3's roll off the presses TONIGHT. Are you next in line? Don't want to wait a year (or more)? Pick up a Chevy Bolt -- today.
But the EV revolution isn't without controversy. GOOD controversy! As Britain, France, the Netherlands and more grow some balls and set dates to go fully electric, EV nerds are having a slap-fight over precisely the year when gas cars will go bye bye.
THINGS THAT COULD KILL US BUT HOPEFULLY WON'T 🤞
Climate change is killing us right now - WIRED
"Even the study’s best-case scenario—a drastic reduction in greenhouse gases across the world—shows that 48 percent of humanity will be exposed regularly to deadly heat by the year 2100. That’s because even small increases in temperature can have a devastating impact. A study published in Science Advances in June, for instance, found that an increase of less than one degree Fahrenheit in India between 1960 and 2009 increased the probability of mass heat-related deaths by nearly 150 percent."
+ Ok fine so yes we're already behind the 8 ball, I was trying to be optimistic this week guys
-- Would a super volcano wipe us out (is among the questions my 4 year old asks within 10 seconds of being awake)? - BBC
-- This comic strip is about climate change and it's great - NYTimes
-- Al Gore says "we're mostly fucked but I've got hope" - NPR
"I will tell you that when President Trump made his announcement that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris agreement I was deeply concerned that other countries might use that as an excuse to withdraw themselves. But I've been gratified that the entire rest of the world has doubled down on their commitments to the Paris agreement and that here in this country so many governors and mayors and business leaders have stepped up to fill the gap and say "We're still in Paris." And I really think, and the scientists think now as well, that we have an excellent chance of meeting the commitments that former President Obama made in the Paris agreement regardless of what Donald Trump says."
+ SEE? HOPE!
THIS ASSHOLE = NO TO SCIENCE 😤
The Republican in Charge of the House Science Committee Is Now Arguing Global Warming Has 'Benefits' - gizmodo
"Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the Republican official in charge of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, has now penned an editorial urging the public not to buy into “hysteria over carbon dioxide,” which he believes could actually be good for us.
The post, which can be viewed over at the fossil fuel-industry backedHeritage Foundation’s Daily Signal blog, is full of highly misleading or downright nonsensical arguments about how mankind’s decision to burn as much of the fossil fuel the Earth has accumulated in the past billion yearsas fast as possible could have benefits that are “often ignored and under-researched.”"
THIS HERO = YES TO SCIENCE 🔬
"One of the first decisions Rush Holt made at the helm of American Association for the Advancement of Science earlier this year was to officially support the March for Science in Washington. It was delicate ground for the non-partisan organization but Holt maintained it was about defending the scientific process, not taking a political stand." (Axios)
ON THE HUNT FOR THAT NICE SECOND HOME 🔭
The Next Step In The Search For Aliens Is A Huge Telescope And A Ton Of Math - FiveThirtyEight
What Would Make An Exo-Planet Capable of Supporting Life aka Me? - Forbes
The grass is always greener until you're bleeding out in space - WIRED 🆎🔪😵
"Of all the concerns about astronaut safety and health, traumatic injury is the one that worries people the most. It has the biggest potential impact on a mission and, worse, it’s the one people know least about.
In part that’s because it has never happened."
AND ON THAT NOTE, JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER THAT WE'RE ALL IMMIGRANTS 🌟
Half the atoms inside your body came from across the universe - New Scientist #stardust