#91: *Why* is Gamora?

Barreling towards issue #100! Let's dig in.


This week's guest was Akshat Rathi, London-based journalist at Quartz who broke a number of stories in his excellent series on carbon capture last year. The future is here. Listen now.

Subscribe now to get Tuesday's episode with Dr. Kate Marvel, NASA scientist and "all-powerful climate seer" (our words, not hers). Will clouds save us, or screw us? Get nerdy with us.


On to the news!

Biology 401 💉👾💊 

Bill Gates calls on U.S. to lead fight against a pandemic that could kill 33 million

"Bill Gates says the U.S. government is falling short in preparing the nation and the world for the “significant probability of a large and lethal modern-day pandemic occurring in our lifetimes.”

In an interview this week, the billionaire philanthropist said he has raised the issue of pandemic preparedness with President Trump since the 2016 presidential election. In his most recent meeting last month, Gates said he laid out the increasing risk of a bioterrorism attack and stressed the importance of U.S. funding for advanced research on new therapeutics, including a universal flu vaccine, which would protect against all or most strains of influenza."

+ Fun! Related:

      - Inside the secret U.S. stockpile meant to save us all in a bioterror attack


The Hunt for Wonder Drugs at the North Pole

"To the 24 scientists on board the Helmer Hanssen, a 209-foot, navy-blue-hulled fishing-boat-turned-research-vessel, the scene was deeply familiar. Most of the members of the team are based in Norway, at the University of Tromsø—the northernmost university in the world—where they are part of a lab called Marbio; the Helmer Hanssen is their home during annual, and sometimes biannual, trips in search of undiscovered organisms. The group is looking for compounds that have novel effects on other living substances, hoping that some of their finds will lead to new, lifesaving treatments for cancer and drug-resistant infections in humans. Their type of mission—traveling deep into rain forests, or to the top of the world, to look for rare, microscopic life—is called bioprospecting."

+ More on the body:

      - Lyme disease is set to explode and we still don’t have a vaccine - or do we ?

      - Biology Will Be the Next Great Computing Platform


Climate Change 🔥🌊💨

California, 17 other states sue Trump administration to defend Obama-era climate rules for vehicles

"Twelve other states participating in the lawsuit — including New York — have followed California in setting more stringent emission standards. The total market involved is 36 percent of sales in the United States, according to Margo Oge, a former EPA official who helped the agency set auto regulations during the Obama years.

“If you are a car company, that is a pretty big deal. You have uncertainty how this thing is going to work out, and today you have to be investing in cars you’re going to build five years from now,” she said.

The current standards were created under a 2011 agreement reached among the Obama administration, California officials and automakers. If enacted, they would avert 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles sold between 2012 and 2025, according to the EPA.

Since the rules were issued, the transportation sector has outstripped electric power to become the top source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States."

+ More:

      - India Scores New Solar Record — 4.6 Gigawatts of New Large-Scale Solar Installations in Q1

      - UK's reliance on coal drops to almost 0 since 2012

      - California and rest of southwest (1 in 8 Americans) are facing massive water issues in coming century


Fuck Cancer, Volume XC 🖕

‘Desperation Oncology’: When Patients Are Dying, Some Cancer Doctors Turn to Immunotherapy

"Dr. Oliver Sartor has a provocative question for patients who are running out of time.

Most are dying of prostate cancer. They have tried every standard treatment, to no avail. New immunotherapy drugs, which can work miracles against a few types of cancer, are not known to work for this kind.

Still, Dr. Sartor, assistant dean for oncology at Tulane Medical School, asks a diplomatic version of this: Do you want to try an immunotherapy drug before you die?

The chance such a drug will help is vanishingly small — but not zero. “Under rules of desperation oncology, you engage in a different kind of oncology than the rational guideline thought,” Dr. Sartor said."

+ More:

      - GRAIL Announces Data from Prototype Blood Tests for Early Cancer Detection -- it's a start.


Robots & AI 🤖🧠⚡️

FDA chief moves to promote artificial intelligence in health care

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving to encourage the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care, the agency’s chief said Thursday. 

“AI holds enormous promise for the future of medicine,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in prepared remarks to the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C. 

He said the FDA is working on an updated “new regulatory framework” that will allow regulators to keep up with new technology and “promote innovation in this space.”"

+ Other (crossover) AI news:

      - Can AI find ET?

      - Putin's investing heavily in an AI war machine (just like us, and China). Good times.


The Highlight Reel