#65: They call me Heat Miser

Good morning, friends! Great news! I made it through an entire newsletter without mentioning Trump. Enjoy!

On to the news!



So, obviously, yes, it's pretty goddamn balmy out there, folks. How warm, exactly? It hasn't been this warm in September, since...oh.

"There's never been a heat wave of this duration and magnitude this late in the season," reports NOAA - ThinkProgress

"From Wednesday through Tuesday, for example, Chicago sweltered through “the only occurrence on record of 7+ consecutive 90°[F] days entirely within September.” Every day of the heatwave was 92°F or above, and every one set a new record high for that date."

It's a continuation of a summer some have dubbed "Lucifer", because honestly why not at this point - Gizmodo

+ It's important to remember, however, that Old Harry didn't have anything to do with this beach weather. We did it to ourselves.

On the other hand, have you heard of "El Tio?" How about "La Tia"? Are you aware that we've been in a "cool phase" for the past couple decades? And so basically playing with a handicap? Come close, children, and let your "Cranky Uncle" have a word (just an unacceptably excessive number of air-quotes):

El Nino's Nasty Uncle - Seeker

"According to a new analysis in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by Ben Henley and Andrew King of the University of Melbourne, the 1.5°C target may be reached or exceeded as early as 2026 if the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) shifts sea surface temperatures in the Pacific from a cool to a warm phase. 

The IPO fluctuates in much the same way as El Niño and La Niña in the Pacific, but it occurs between every 10 to 30 years rather than roughly every two to seven. The study’s authors write that, similar to El Niño and La Niña translating to “the boy” and “the girl,” the IPO’s phases are called El Tio and La Tia – "the cranky uncle” and "the kind auntie.” 

The planet experienced a positive IPO, or El Tio, in the periods 1925-1946 and 1977-1998, both of which were periods that saw "rapid" increases in global average temperatures, according to the study. The reverse — a prolonged negative phase, or La Tia — occurred from 1947-1976, when global temperature rise “stalled.” A Tia formation has been present since 1999, and Henley and King suggest that this may have been responsible for temperatures rising less than some scientists had expected."

+ More in Nature, here.



Check out this interview with Dr. Ernest Moniz on the future US climate policy. Ernie is the former Secretary of Energy and also has sensational hair. - Aspen Ideas



Of course we preach #action on climate above all else, but that doesn't mean -- seeing as much of the climate damage has already been done, and yet we've only begun to feel the actual effects -- you shouldn't plan for the long-term.

So here's a list of the 13 cities best suited to avoid the worst of climate change effects, according to the Climate Readiness Institute - Business Insider

Not far enough?

Try one of the "Seven Places In Our Solar System Likely Host Microbial Life" - Futurism

Whatever you do, DO NOT GO HERE. 🙅🙅🙅🙅🙅🙅🙅

"Vozrozhdeniya was once home to a vibrant fishing village fringed by turquoise lagoons, back when the Aral Sea was the fourth-largest in the world and abundant with fish.

From the 1970s, the island has been implicated in a number of sinister incidents. In 1971, a young scientist fell ill after a research vessel, the Lev Berg, strayed into a brownish haze. Days later, she was diagnosed with smallpox. Mysteriously, she had already been vaccinated against the disease. Though she recovered, the outbreak went on to infect a further nine people back in her hometown, three of whom died. One of these was her younger brother.

A year later, the corpses of two missing fishermen were found nearby, drifting in their boat. It’s thought that they had caught the plague. Not long afterwards, locals started landing whole nets of dead fish. No one knows why. Then in May 1988, 50,000 saiga antelope which had been grazing on a nearby steppe dropped dead – in the space of an hour."

But honestly, as much as we're pushing #action, 1000%, a backup plan isn't a bad idea. Maybe it isn't even for you. It's for your kids. Or their kids. Because it's here:

Florida's Poop Nightmare Come True - New Republic

We've Never Really Seen Rain Like This From Hurricanes - Vox

SIDEBAR: Want to know what climate change looks like? Look up pictures of Puerto Rico or St. John, and now imagine the same damage, but downtown Manhattan.

Good. Ready to help? Read this and donate.

Climate Change Is Already Making People Sicker - TIME

But seriously, learn to farm. At least, to garden. Or to not kill one of those window-sill grow-light herb things. - The Guardian

"The sixth mass extinction of global wildlife already under way is seriously threatening the world’s food supplies, according to experts.

“Huge proportions of the plant and animal species that form the foundation of our food supply are just as endangered [as wildlife] and are getting almost no attention,” said Ann Tutwiler, director general of Bioversity International, a research group that published a new report on Tuesday.
“If there is one thing we cannot allow to become extinct, it is the species that provide the food that sustains each and every one of the seven billion people on our planet,” she said in an article for the Guardian. “This ‘agrobiodiversity’ is a precious resource that we are losing, and yet it can also help solve or mitigate many challenges the world is facing. It has a critical yet overlooked role in helping us improve global nutrition, reduce our impact on the environment and adapt to climate change.”

Three-quarters of the world’s food today comes from just 12 crops and five animal species and this leaves supplies very vulnerable to disease and pests that can sweep through large areas of monocultures, as happened in the Irish potato famine when a million people starved to death. Reliance on only a few strains also means the world’s fast changing climate will cut yields just as the demand from a growing global population is rising."

Tough cookies. If this is now, it's hard to imagine what your kids will be dealing with, isn't it? There's a reason for that:

Simulating The Bodily Pain Of Future Climate Change - NPR



It's no secret that Old-Ass Jerry Brown has had it up to HERE with US climate policy, and now spends his day bouncing between UN climate shindigs as "the only goddamn adult in the room", meetings with/in China, and standing outside in his governor's bathrobe, shaking his rake at kids in their SUV's as they drive by, threatening to sue as they pollute his city with their noxious exhaust and pop music, just trying to have a good time. But I digress.

Or do I? 

Entitled drivers are getting in the way of California’s climate change efforts - LA Times

"Two separate, unrelated efforts launched last week are a reminder of just how difficult it is to make public policy when it involves people’s cars.

At the state level, a group calling itself “Reform California” announced that it was proposing an initiative to repeal the new gas tax and vehicle fee increases approved by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature in April. The increases, including a 12-cent-per-gallon tax hike, were passed after years of negotiations over how to pay for an estimated $73 billion in deferred road repairs and infrastructure maintenance.

Making travel easier and safer for non-drivers often means removing traffic lanes and, yes, slowing travel for cars.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a group of Westside residents has begun a campaign to recall City Councilman Mike Bonin to punish him for his support of so-called road diets that have eliminated traffic lanes. Bonin has been one of the council’s most outspoken advocates for Vision Zero, the city’s program to reduce traffic deaths by slowing traffic speeds. But two projects in his district — one in Playa del Rey and one in Mar Vista — have created a huge backlash, with residents complaining that the road diets have created clogged streets, slower traffic and longer commutes.

Of course, these are different campaigns launched by very different groups, and there are nuanced arguments on each side. But there is a common theme running through the criticism of the gas tax hike and the negative response to the road diets, and that’s the belief that people should be able to drive their cars in the cheapest, fastest way possible.

That belief is a big problem for policymakers because it ultimately conflicts with key priorities in Los Angeles and California.

Brown and lawmakers have committed to dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help slow climate change. Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gases in California. To meet its targets, the state will have to persuade residents to drive less or drive pollution-free vehicles, such as electric cars."

Jerry's answer? You'll get nothing and like it. - Bloomberg

"Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The earliest such a ban is at least a decade away, she said. 
Brown, one of the most outspoken elected official in the U.S. about the need for policies to combat climate change, would be replicating similar moves by China, Franceand the U.K.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”"

Side note: electric ships are gonna be pretty tough. And transportation is a massive portion of emissions. So what's the answer?

But seriously, CA, let's do this:

"California cities San Francisco and Oakland filed separate lawsuits against five oil companies on Wednesday seeking billions of dollars to protect against rising sea levels they blamed on climate change, according to public documents."


Almost. Not done with you yet, California.

Why we're decades away from predicting earthquakes - Axios

There we go (sorry).



How the use of antibiotics in poultry farming changed the way America eats - The Economist

"Around 15,400 tonnes a year, a whopping 80% of all antibiotics sold, go to farmers. Chicken farmers use even more than those who raise cattle or pigs. Only a small percentage of the drugs are used to cure illnesses. Their main function is to make the broilers fatten up more quickly or to act as a prophylactic against the cramped conditions in which they are raised. A chicken’s weight at slaughter today is twice what it was 70 years ago, and it achieves such heft in half the time."

So -- The Post-Antibiotic Era is Here. Now What? - WIRED

"Last August, a woman in her 70s checked into a hospital in Reno, Nevada with a bacterial infection in her hip. The bug belonged to a class of particularly tenacious microbes known as carpabenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CREs. Except in addition to carpabenem, this bug was also resistant to tetracycline, and colistin, and every single other antimicrobial on the market, all 26 of them. A few weeks later she developed septic shock and died.

For public health officials like Patel, that case marks the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one. Now, the question is: How fast is that kind of pan-resistance going to spread? “When does it get to the point where it’s more common to have an infection that can’t be treated with antibiotics than one that can?” says Patel. “That’s going to be a very hard thing to predict.”



CRISPR used to peer into human embryos' first days - Nature

Artificial Human Embryos Are Coming, and No One Knows How to Handle Them - MIT Technology Review

"Scientists at Michigan now have plans to manufacture embryoids by the hundreds. These could be used to screen drugs to see which cause birth defects, find others to increase the chance of pregnancy, or to create starting material for lab-generated organs. But ethical and political quarrels may not be far behind. “This is a hot new frontier in both science and bioethics. And it seems likely to remain contested for the coming years,” says Jonathan Kimmelman, a member of the bioethics unit at McGill University, in Montreal, and a leader of an international organization of stem-cell scientists.

What’s really growing in the dish? There no easy answer to that. In fact, no one is even sure what to call these new entities. In March, a team from Harvard University offered the catch-all “synthetic human entities with embryo-like features,” or SHEEFS, in a paper cautioning that “many new varieties” are on the horizon, including realistic mini-brains."

Inside the clinic offering young blood to cure ageing - New Scientist 🆎

Bring on the bodyNET: Stretchable sensors, circuits and batteries are about to change our relationships with electronics and each other - Nature 🔋💪

*This is not a sexist reference. This is this. If you don't know, now you know.


Should it, you know, not work out here.

Lockheed Martin Unveils Sleek, Reusable Lander for Crewed Mars Missions - Space.com

How a tax haven is leading the race to privatise space - The Guardian

Robot Spelunkers Go for a Dip - NASA

""To get under the surface of Europa or [Saturn's moon] Enceladus, we need to find the quickest way in," said Andy Klesh of JPL, one of the researchers who ventured out to Matanuska Glacier. "Can we map and navigate these subglacial lakes with robots? Are there accessible passageways hidden just beneath the surface? This first foray to Alaska tested the technology to begin answering these questions."

+ Have you seen EUROPA REPORT? It's quite good. Quite good. 🎬

Last, if you missed it, check out SpaceX's new plan for getting to Mars. 🚀