#115: All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.

November 2nd, 2018

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It's time.

When we started this newsletter, Trump didn't exist. At least not to most folks. And now we find ourselves fighting for our basic freedoms, and the future of the planet (something we should have been fighting for all along, but alas). 

If we have any hope of a carbon tax, or anything else that could move the needle, we need everyone to turn out over the next four days.

So go here, and join us: sign up to fight on The Last Weekend


This week's topic was 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.

Subscribe now to get next Tuesday's episode: Almost An Astronaut.

Our guest: Dr. Sian Proctor. She’s an African-American explorer, scientist, STEM communicator, and almost-astronaut. She’s lived in training habitats across the world, she’s been on TV, and today she’s with us on the mic explaining how we can get more women and people of color into space, one way or another.



On to the news!

Clean Energy 💨☀️⚡️

60,000 tons of dangerous radioactive waste sits on Great Lakes shores

"It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

In the United States, when the nuclear industry was established in the 1950s and 1960s, the assumption was that the spent nuclear fuel would be reprocessed,” Thompson said.

A plutonium reprocessing facility was opened in New York state in the early 1960s, operated for six years, and then folded amid skyrocketing costs and various mishaps. President Jimmy Carter banned reprocessing in 1977 because of the costs and concern about the proliferation of plutonium."

Food & Water 🍌🥑🥕🔬💊👩‍🌾🚰

5 Major Crops In The Crosshairs Of Climate Change

"Wheat, source of bread and a foundation of life in much of the world, will suffer from hotter temperatures — and the country where the impact may be greatest also is among least well-equipped to cope with a shortfall. India is likely to see a large drop in wheat production due to heat stress — about 8 percent if average global temperatures rise by 1 degree Celsius, according to one recent study."

+ More Food & Water:

      - How the Farm Bureau’s Climate Agenda Is Failing Its Farmers

Climate Change 🔥🌊💨

Startling new research finds large buildup of heat in the oceans, suggesting a faster rate of global warming

We thought that we got away with not a lot of warming in both the ocean and the atmosphere for the amount of CO2 that we emitted,” said Resplandy, who published the work with experts from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and several other institutions in the United States, China, France and Germany. “But we were wrong. The planet warmed more than we thought. It was hidden from us just because we didn’t sample it right. But it was there. It was in the ocean already."

+ More Climate Change:

      - Wait, Have We Really Wiped Out 60 Percent of Animals?

      - As World’s Air Gets Worse, India Struggles to Breathe

      - Banning cars in major cities would rapidly improve millions of lives

      - Here's your city's weather in one generation

      - Bitcoin mining is, once again, all together now, a climate nightmare

Biology 401 💉👾💊 

Overuse of antibiotics 'risks return to dark ages of life-threatening surgery'

"Dame Sally Davies made her remarks as Public Health England (PHE) published a report showing that 3 million common surgical procedures, including caesarean sections and hip replacements, could be hazardous in a future where hospital-acquired infections have become resistant to the antibiotics we have to treat them.

Antibiotics are given to one in three surgical patients either before they are wheeled into the operating theatre or when they are recovering. PHE says that without antibiotics, infections from surgery could double, potentially endangering lives."

The Final Frontier/Escape Hatch 🚀

Why a Mission to a Visiting Interstellar Object Could Be Our Best Bet for Finding Aliens

"As it stands, both ground- and space-based telescopes aren’t powerful enough to detect traces of life in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets.The next generation of space-based telescopes should be capable of this feat, and they could very well sniff out alien biosignatures. Trouble is, this sort of data would come back in the form of ambiguous light curves, leading to the inevitable controversies of interpretation. At the same time, the prospect of sending probes to a distant star system, while inevitable (fingers crossed), won’t yield results for hundreds if not thousands of years."

+ Related: Telescope DRAMA and why we gotta find Earth 2.0

Robots & AI 🤖🚘🧠⚡️

Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you’re from.

"The classic trolley problem goes like this: You see a runaway trolley speeding down the tracks, about to hit and kill five people. You have access to a lever that could switch the trolley to a different track, where a different person would meet an untimely demise. Should you pull the lever and end one life to spare five?

The Moral Machine took that idea to test nine different comparisons shown to polarize people: should a self-driving car prioritize humans over pets, passengers over pedestrians, more lives over fewer, women over men, young over old, fit over sickly, higher social status over lower, law-abiders over law-benders? And finally, should the car swerve (take action) or stay on course (inaction)?"

The Highlight Reel