#86: Look up at the stars and not down at your feet

We lost a good one this week, folks. As I'm sure you're aware, Stephen Hawking, famed ALS survivor and one of the greatest scientists, and science communicators of all-time, died, leaving behind a world indebted to his efforts.


This week we dropped a fantastic episode with science educator Don Duggan-Haas, and teenage immigrant science activists Therese Etoka and Jai Bansal. They collectively saved climate science from the chopping block in Idaho, and have their sights set on the rest of the country. Check it out!

Coming up next week, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia takes us through America's (terrifying) infectious disease protocol and what we can do to get our hands basically cleaner than they've ever been. Subscribe now if you haven't already!


On to the news!

Biology 401 💉👾💊 

Deadly superbug just got scarier — it can mysteriously thwart last-resort drug

"For the first time, researchers have discovered strains of a deadly, multidrug-resistant bacterium that uses a cryptic method to also evade colistin, an antibiotic used as a last-resort treatment. That’s according to a study of US patients published this week by Emory University researchers in the open-access microbiology journal mBio.

The wily and dangerous bacteria involved are carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae or CRKP, which are already known to resist almost all antibiotics available."

+ Related, because they concern the inside of your body:

      - RNA is the new hotness when it comes to CRISPR

      - 23andMe will now test for BRCA breast cancer gene

      - How One Child’s Sickle Cell Mutation - 7300 Years Ago -- Helped Protect the World From Malaria


Climate Change 🔥🌊💨

Hotter, Drier, Hungrier: How Global Warming Punishes the World’s Poorest

"Northern Kenya — like its arid neighbors in the Horn of Africa — has become measurably drier and hotter, and scientists are finding the fingerprints of global warming. According to recent research, the region dried faster in the 20th century than at any time over the last 2,000 years. Four severe droughts have walloped the area in the last two decades, a rapid succession that has pushed millions of the world’s poorest to the edge of survival."

+ Climate refugees, migration, and fights over dwindling resources are going to be the story of the next 50 years. Count it.

+ Climate tech news: 

      - We're 400 years off pace for rebuilding our energy systems, electric cars are getting even cleaner, oh and one of the last mass extinctions was probably caused by coal set on fire by magma good, good, good

+ News from abroad:

      - Every Day Seems Like 'Day Zero' To Some Cape Town Residents

+ News from the homeland:

      - Climate science goes to court next week, just as a new government climate report gets ready to drop, all these goddamn nor'easters are linked to warm Arctic temps, and here's how much each US state is powered by renewables


The Final Frontier/Escape Hatch 🚀

A legend, reprint: The Elusive Theory of Everything, by Stephen Hawking

"In a new book, The Grand Design, Hawking and Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow argue that the quest to discover a final theory may in fact never lead to a unique set of equations. Every scientific theory, they write, comes with its own model of reality, and it may not make sense to talk of what reality actually is. This essay is based on that book."

+ In more relatively recent news: Venus may have one been habitable. We need to find out what happened. Or, in the words of Jack Shephard, "WE HAVE TO GO BACK!"


Fuck Cancer, Volume LXXXVI 🖕

Slow-release hydrogel aids immunotherapy for cancer

"An immunotherapy drug embedded in a slow-release hydrogel invented at Rice University in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) appears to be highly effective at killing cancer cells.

STINGel combines a new class of immunotherapy drugs called stimulator of interferon gene (STING) agonists with an injectable hydrogel that releases the drug in a steady dose to activate the immune system to kill cancer cells."

Black Cancer Matters: the economic consequences of racial discrimination increase cancer risk. 

+ Surgeons target hidden cancer cells with help from glowing dyes


The Highlight Reel