#84: Ghostbusters! What do you want?!

Hey kids! Do you feel like the elected officials making our laws should have a grasp of basic science? Or maybe even a little more than that?

Well good news! There's a bunch of scientists and doctors running for office in 2018, and here's how some of them are doing.

Want to support them? Donate right here to 314action.org.

We checked in on one of our favorites, Jess Phoenix, who's running for CA-25 (just north of Los Angeles) against the monstrous Steve Knight. She's a volcanologist, and she's awesome. Listen to our conversation with her below.

On to the news!

Biology 401 💉👾💊 

Why America Could Become Vulnerable to the Next Major Pandemic

"On top of the human toll, disease outbreaks can be hugely disruptive economically. The global economic impact of the 2003 SARS epidemic totaled approximately $40 billion, and according to the World Bank, a worldwide flu epidemic would reduce global wealth by $3 trillion."

+ The CDC's funding might be under threat, but the world isn't standing still. Is this is the end of the pandemic era
+ Deep learning in biology is -- hard.
+ Measles is back in Europe.
+ Scientists put human cells in a sheep embryo. Here's what that means.

+ On CRISPR: It could end sickle cell disease, but signing up black patients for clinical trials will be a hard sell


Climate Change 🔥🌊💨

Should your city be suing Big Oil over climate change?

"If the current volley of lawsuits over adaptation costs are successful, they will likely be followed by others: Phoenix might sue over deadly heat, Boulder over its shrinking ski season, or Houston over torrential rain. The list of disasters exacerbated by climate change keeps getting longer. Recent attribution studies have found that climate change played a major role in everything from violent avalanches in Tibet to the bleaching of coral reefs in Australia. 

Plaintiffs compare their cases to the pivotal tobacco litigation of the 1990s, hoping for a similar outcome but foreseeing similarly daunting obstacles. Like the states that brought the tobacco lawsuits, they face fantastically well-funded opponents and must convince courts of the causal link between major companies and widespread harm. No climate lawsuit has made it to trial in the US before. 

Vic Sher, a partner at the firm Sher Edling LLP, which is leading several of the California lawsuits, says that one reason he believes the cities have a shot now is the science. “All of these earlier cases didn’t have the benefit of current attribution science, in terms of drawing the link between emissions and impacts, and emissions during a particular period, and attribution to particular corporations,” Sher says. “We have all that information now.”"

+ Had a hell of a time picking a lead story for climate change this week. But we always err on the side of action, and there you go. Paris might be nextShouldn't California be? Time isn't on our side -- and here's a bunch of reasons why.

      - Climate change could decimate California’s major crops, and that should concern everyone
      - We have entered the age of climate migration
      - Sea level rise is accelerating, 224 million are undernourished in Africa, and (highlighted by some tremendous reporting) New Orleans is fighting a losing battle.

But most vitally -- the ice caps are melting, and faster than anyone expected. We are *repeatedly* blowing by our predictions.

If you haven't taken action with your city council, your state legislature, your Congressperson or Senator -- now is the time.

Call them.
March on them.
Vote them in or out of office.

You have the power but you have to show up. 


Fuck Cancer, Volume LXXXIV 🖕

All-star team of synthetic biologists raise $53 million for cancer therapy startup Senti

"Here’s how Lu described a potential cancer treatment using Senti’s technology to me. “We take a cell derived from humans that we can insert our genetic circuits into… we insert the DNA and encoding and deliver those cells via an IV infusion. We have engineered the cells to locate where the tumors are… What we’ve been doing is engineering those cells to selectively trigger an immune response against the tumor.”"

+ Related: Mini lab-created organs successfully check cancer treatments


The Highlight Reel