#114: It's Halloween; everyone's entitled to one good scare.

October 26th, 2018

11 days to go

Phone Bank - Knock on Doors - Win Win Win

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Is climate change even on the agenda?

BarelyHere's why conservatives keep fucking with you, and how far apart we really are.

Reminder: they either do not believe in science (but they're happy to use iPhones and fly on airplanes or get an MRI), they're lying to you, or they don't care about you. Vote them the fuck out.


This week's question was How Does A Young Lady Go from Art School to NASA?

Our guest: Ariel Waldman. Ariel is on the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, she's the co-author of the National Academy of Sciences report on the future of human spaceflight, the author of the book What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There, the founder of Spacehack.org, and the global director of Science Hack Day, a grassroots endeavor to prototype things with science that is now in over 25 countries. In 2013, Ariel received an honor from the White House for being a Champion of Change in citizen science, because of course she did.

Subscribe now to get next Tuesday's episode: Outsmarting Cholera

Our guest is Dr. Minmin Yen. She’s the CEO of her medical startup PhagePro, where she’s developed viruses to target cholera bacteria, because antibiotics…surprise! Are on the wane. She’s got a PhD in molecular microbiology from Tufts University and she started her own lab because boom, sucka, that’s how it’s done. Get on board.



On to the news!

Clean Energy 💨☀️⚡️

These huge new wind turbines are a marvel. They’re also the future.

"The math on wind turbines is pretty simple: Bigger is better. Specifically, there are two ways to produce more power from the wind in a given area. 

The first is with bigger rotors and blades to cover a wider area. That increases the capacity of the turbine, i.e., its total potential production.

The second is to get the blades up higher into the atmosphere, where the wind blows more steadily. 

As of yet, the US has one and only one operating offshore wind installation, the Block Island Wind Farm off of Rhode Island. Its turbines rise to roughly 590 feet. 

How does the Haliade-X compare to all that? According to GE, it will reach 853 feet tall."

+ More Clean Energy:

      - Wind Farms + California?

      - EV's are going to come faster than we think

      - San Diego wants to make their own clean power company

      - This is why sunny Arizona shuns the sun -- and it's bullshit.

Food & Water 🍌🥑🥕🔬💊👩‍🌾🚰

Can Eating Organic Food Lower Your Cancer Risk?

"A new French study that followed 70,000 adults, most of them women, for five years has reported that the most frequent consumers of organic food had 25 percent fewer cancers over all than those who never ate organic. Those who ate the most organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and other foods had a particularly steep drop in the incidence of lymphomas, and a significant reduction in postmenopausal breast cancers."

+ More Food & Water:

      - Austin urged to boil water as health officials warn of bacteria

      - The future of food: inside agritech’s Silicon Valley

Climate Change 🔥🌊💨

New York Sues Exxon Mobil, Saying It Deceived Shareholders on Climate Change

"The suit does not charge Exxon with playing a role in creating climate change, though the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to human-driven warming. Rather, it is a fairly straightforward shareholder fraud suit, the kind that New York attorneys general have long brought and successfully prosecuted under state law.

It says the company engaged in a “longstanding fraudulent scheme” to deceive investors, analysts and underwriters “concerning the company’s management of the risks posed to its business by climate change regulation.”"

+ More Climate Change:

       - The Migrant Caravan's Plight Is a Glimpse of Our Coming Climate Crisis

       - How Scientists Cracked the Climate Change Case

       - Y Combinator issues a request for geo-engineering startups

       - Here's what young urbanites can do to make change

Biology 401 💉👾💊 

Scientists have estimated the cost of stopping 11 diseases that could kill millions in a pandemic

"Getting them from development to market can cost billions of dollars, can take over a decade, and the process has a 94 percentfailure rate on average. It’s a risky investment not many people want to make — until, of course, there’s a deadly outbreak like in 2014. By then, it’s often already too late.

Thanks to CEPI’s research, we now know the minimum cost of developing at least one vaccine for each of the 11 diseases experts have highlighted as pandemic risks: $2.8 billion to $3.7 billion.

That sounds expensive, but so are pandemics: The 2003 SARS outbreak in East Asia cost $54 billion. Moreover, if early development prevents us from experiencing another Spanish flu, which killed nearly one of out of every 20 people in 1918, then it’s actually a bargain."

+ More Bio 401:

      - U.S. Approves First Anti-Flu Pill in Two Decades

      - Project Baseline Aims to Ward Off Illness Before We Get Sick

      - 'Game changer' tuberculosis drug cures 8 in 10

Fuck Cancer, Volume CXIV 🖕

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

"For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown promise against breast cancer in a large study that combined it with chemotherapy to treat an aggressive form of the disease. But the benefit for most women was small, raising questions about whether the treatment is worth its high cost and side effects.

Women with high levels who received the combo treatment lived roughly 25 months on average versus about 15 months for women given chemo alone.

That’s a big difference, but it will take more time to see if there’s a reliable way to predict benefit, said Dr. Jennifer Litton of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston."

The Final Frontier/Escape Hatch 🚀

The case against colonizing space to save humanity

"“If we had a thriving civilization on another planet, that would be really good news for the future of humanity,” he said. He’s looked into risks like climate change, nuclear war, pandemics, and other potential sources of ecological catastrophe. A healthy, independent Mars colony that didn’t need any supplies from Earth could immunize us from many of those dangers. “If you handed me a Mars colony that was functioning, I’d be pretty excited about that.” 

But he’s less bullish when considering the prospects of achieving that. “It’s going to be very difficult, very expensive, and probably take a long time,” he said. Not a long time as in decades — which might barely be enough time to get us to Mars in the first place — but a long time as in centuries."

+ More Space:

      - How Many Space Stations Does This Planet Need?

      - Mars may have enough oxygen underneath its surface for life

War 🚀🌎🔥

Nations Rush Ahead With Hypersonic Weapons Amid Arms Race Fear

"Over the past year, the U.S., China and Russia have all stepped up efforts to develop a new kind of missile, a weapon that can fly faster and farther than almost anything in existence.

Known as a hypersonic weapon, it would travel at five times the speed of sound or more. It could strike at a target while evading missile defenses and hit almost without warning deep inside enemy territory."

The Highlight Reel