Some ridiculous headlines this week. But as always, dig in for the full story. And then start a conversation.
Spread the word.
Save the world.
This week's guest was Dr. Kate Marvel, research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University’s Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics.
We talked about exactly what goes into those mythical climate computer models, and how it's all Brian's fault. And clouds. CLOUDS, man. Listen up.
Subscribe now to get Tuesday's episode with Jason Friesen, founder and executive director of Trek Medics, as we discuss the current and future state of emergency medical systems in the age of climate change.
On to the news!
The Final Frontier/Escape Hatch 🚀
NASA pushes its Moon and Mars ambitions
"Between the lines: NASA funding is key to human exploration of Mars, and some worry a mission to the moon could divert resources needed to reach the Red Planet. The agency is looking for the commercial space industry to take on more low-Earth orbit and lunar activities.
When it comes to NASA resources for an eventual Mars mission, the moon is “the elephant in the room,” Artemis Westenberg, president of Explore Mars, said at the Humans to Mars Summit this week."
- Will it cost a trillion dollars to get mankind to Mars? Is that cheap?
- What the hell is the Deep Space Gateway and why is it so important (and so damn far away?)
- And how the hell are we going to get there? Good news: NASA’s Orion spacecraft getting closer to finally flying again.
- On the other hand: Simulated Moon Dust Kills Cells and Alters DNA, Signaling Trouble for Future Lunar Colonists
Biology 401 💉👾💊
Two parter. You ready?
Part I: Pandemic flu is #1 health security concern: WH official
"The U.S. won't be ready to face a flu pandemic until it improves its vaccines, health care infrastructure, and coordination with other countries— all of which are top priorities for the White House, a National Security Council official said Monday.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci, who was not part of the symposium, told Axios on Friday that, assuming funding continues and trials go well, "some version of the universal vaccine" should be ready in 4–5 years, with the goal of creating a fully functioning universal vaccine in 10 years."
Top White House official in charge of pandemic response exits abruptly
"The top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic has left the administration, and the global health security team he oversaw has been disbanded under a reorganization by national security adviser John Bolton.
The abrupt departure of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer from the National Security Council means no senior administration official is now focused solely on global health security. Ziemer’s departure, along with the breakup of his team, comes at a time when many experts say the country is already underprepared for the increasing risks of a pandemic or bioterrorism attack.
Ziemer’s last day was Tuesday, the same day a new Ebola outbreak was declared in Congo. He is not being replaced."
+ Happy Friday!
- More on the Congo outbreaking, coming on the heels of Trump cutting funding
- Re: saving the world. Why some bacteria eat antibiotics and what we can do about it
Climate Change 🔥🌊💨
Pentagon revised Obama-era report to remove risks from climate change
"Internal changes to a draft Defense Department report de-emphasized the threats climate change poses to military bases and installations, muting or removing references to climate-driven changes in the Arctic and potential risks from rising seas, an unpublished draft obtained by The Washington Post reveals.
The earlier version of the document, dated December 2016, contains numerous references to “climate change” that were omitted or altered to “extreme weather” or simply “climate” in the final report, which was submitted to Congress in January 2018. While the phrase “climate change” appears 23 separate times in the draft report, the final version used it just once."
What genuine, no-bullshit ambition on climate change would look like
"Americans can’t make much sense out of Celsius temperatures, and half a degree of temperature doesn’t sound like much regardless. But the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees of global warming is a very big deal.(The IPCC is coming out with a science review on this in October.)
Another recent paper in Nature Climate Changemakes the point vividly: Bumping ambition up from 2 to 1.5 degrees would prevent 150 million premature deaths through 2100, 90 million through reduced exposure to particulates, 60 million due to reduced ozone.
There’s no time to waste. In fact, there may be, uh, negative time. Limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees is possible, even in theory, only if the “carbon budget” for that target is at the high end of current estimates.
Again: 1.5 is only possible if we get started, with boosters on, immediately, and we get lucky. Time is not running out — it’s out."
+ An incredibly detailed and typically objectively-considered piece by David Roberts at Vox. Please (please) read the whole thing.
- California Will Require Solar Power for New Homes (yes, you read that correctly)
- Hawaii pledges to become carbon neutral by 2045—the most ambitious goal of any US state
- Automakers Sought Looser Rules. Now They Hope to Stop Trump From Going Too Far.
- And related to that: The future of electrics is the pickup truck
Fuck Cancer, Volume XCII 🖕
Artificial Intelligence Takes Scientists Inside Living Human Cells
"By giving scientists a relatively easy and inexpensive way to compare the internal organization of healthy and unhealthy cells, he says, the model should speed efforts to figure out what goes wrong in diseases like cancer.
The model, known as the Allen Integrated Cell, was developed using artificial intelligence. A computer programmed to learn studied images of tens of thousands of live human stem cells. Some of the cells had been genetically altered to make visible internal structures such as mitochondria. Others were unaltered cells, viewed through a standard laboratory microscope.
Over time, the computer learned to look at an image of a typical cell and figure out its internal organization."
The Highlight Reel
- Self-repairing organs could save your life in a heartbeat
Recoding the human genome: Cellectis, Wyss aim to construct virus-resistant cells (everything's fine)
The Last Days of the Blue-Blood Harvest
Why did Universal Basic Income fail in Finland? Or did it?
South Florida sounds the alarm amid threat of rising sea levels (you don't say)
Climate Change Is Messing With Your Dinner
How Oman’s Rocks Could Help Save the Planet
Thanks for reading, thanks for acting, and thanks for giving a shit.
Have a great weekend, everyone!