#85: It was a dark and stormy night.

Lots to discuss today. Thanks to everyone who ordered our first round of gear!

Incredible podcast this week with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, "the most influential marine biologist of our time". Subject: how do we use the ocean without using it up? 

Tune in to find out more.
 

On to the news!

Biology 401 💉👾💊 

A hundred years later, we're still not sure why the Spanish flu killed so many people

"One hundred years ago, a novel pandemic influenza virus spread rapidly around the world. It killed about 1 to 2 percent of the human population, primarily young and often healthy adults.

The centennial of the 1918 pandemic is a good time to take stock of how far the world has come since this historic health disaster—and to face the sobering fact that several key mysteries have yet to be resolved."

+ We've made so many advances (CRISPR and blood tests), and still have so far to go (synthetics). Antibiotics were the story of the 20th century -- and they may be the story of the 21st. The CDC is trying to get ready.

 

Climate Change 🔥🌊💨

More of the Bay Area Could Be Underwater in 2100 Than Previously Expected

"The ground around San Francisco Bay is sinking to meet the rising sea, another reason for Bay Area residents to worry about the impact of climate change on their region.

Under the new projections, San Francisco International Airport could see half of its runways submerged by the year 2100."

+ And they're not the only ones.

+ Here's what else:

      - An important carbon-tax proposal dies in the Washington statehouse

      - Plus: China's building coal plants in Africacrop shortages in California, trees are in trouble. And yet, the US could get 80% of our power from renewables.

 

The Final Frontier/Escape Hatch 🚀

Proxima B May Not Be Such a Great Second Home For Humanity After All

"Research led by Meredith MacGregor, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, confirms a detection of a colossal flare from Proxima Centauri that occurred on March 24, 2017. 

Though this blast of radiation did not exceed two minutes, MacGregor’s team found it caused Proxima Centauri to shine 1,000 times brighter at its peak than during its periods of “quiescent emission,” meaning its normal, dormant phases."

+ Well, fuckaroni.

 

Fuck Cancer, Volume LXXXV 🖕

Delivering the Next Generation of Cancer Therapies

"Refrigerated trucks and shipping containers work just fine for South American produce and farm-raised frozen seafood from Asia. But cells require a more specialized solution. They’ve got to be kept cold enough to suspend all metabolic processes. We’re talking cryogenically cold; -240 degrees Fahrenheit."

+ Here's more on immunology: designer therapies and combination drugs.

 

Robots & AI 🤖🧠⚡️

The incredible changes -- and questions - that come with autonomous cars

"AVs could greatly reduce deaths and injuries from road accidents. Globally, around 1.25m people die in such accidents each year, according to the WHO; it is the leading cause of death among those aged 15-29. Another 20m-50m people are injured. Most accidents occur in developing countries, where the arrival of autonomous vehicles is still some way off. But if the switch to AVs can be advanced even by a single year, “that’s 1.25m people who don’t die,” says Chris Urmson of Aurora, an AV startup. In recent decades cars have become much safer thanks to features such as seat belts and airbags, but in America road deaths have risen since 2014, apparently because of distraction by smartphones."

      - On the other hand...there's a dark side to everything.

      - How a Computer Could Help Us Make the Right Decisions When Facing an Asteroid Threat

      - MIT's new AI gambit

 

The Highlight Reel