#103: Never Gonna Give You Up

August 3rd, 2018

95 days to go

As I was type-type-typing away at this little newsletter, President Dipshit just proposed rolling back the country's fuel-efficiency standards, so I had to change my intro from a delightful poem to a(nother) battle cry.

What does this mean? It means adding the equivalent of adding 30 coal-fired power plants to the grid. 

Friendly reminders: transportation is now America's number one carbon-emitter. Also, we can tabulate climate-related deaths now

If you feel like all of this doesn't add up, you're not crazy. They don't care about you. Or your kids.

No one said this was going to be easy. We're in it. We're fucking in it. You're fighting, I'm fighting, it's hot as Satan's shit out there, and there's 95 days to go before we go up against incalculable dark money and Russian meddling and racists all over this great country to try to take the goddamn place back.

It has always been, and will always be, a perilous fight.

So take a deep breath. Read this awesome optimist's guide to fighting climate change. Register to vote.

Get back to it.


We're off next week because of travel. 


This week's question was: Why the Hell Is Space Exploration Important When the Planet is Literally On Fire?

Our guest was the uber-popular and hard-working Space Gal, Emily CalandrelliTune in!

Subscribe now to get next Tuesday's episode where we discuss: The Pope Has Said "F*ck It, I'll Solve Climate Change With My Own Bare Hands". And we are INTO it.

Our guest: Jose Aguto, associate director of the Catholic Climate Covenant. More to come!



On to the news!

Climate Change 🔥🌊💨

Take 1: Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

"With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it."

+ Take 2: There's (much, much) more to the story. Who's really at fault?

Here's another one.

+ More climate: 

       - How Record Heat Wreaked Havoc on Four Continents

       - A one minute-read on how climate bullshit in the US compares to the smoking battle of the 80's/90's

       - In India, Summer Heat May Soon Be Literally Unbearable

       - Here's the Republicans who believe in climate change 


The Carr Fire is a terrifying glimpse into California’s future

"On Thursday evening, the wind-driven Carr Fire rushed into residential neighborhoods in Redding, bringing a one-two punch of thick smoke and unpredictable “firenados” that overwhelmed firefighters. At least two people were killed trying to beat back the blaze and, within hours, dozens of homes had burned to the ground. 

“There was literally a wall of flames coming into the city,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said Friday as firefighters tried to make a stand in triple-digit heat and gusting wind...

...That means not only figuring out whether PG&E will be liable for the billions of dollars in property damage from wildfires along the path of its utility equipment, but also fundamentally changing the way we live, and the way we prepare for and recover from natural disasters.

Many in Redding, for example, weren’t ready for a wildfire capable of creating its own weather system in their neighborhoods. They thought flames could never jump the Sacramento River and get into the city, in large part, because it’s never happened.

But old rules no longer apply."

+ More on the fires:

      - From the firefighters: "Fatigue is starting to set in", job is "twice as violent" as ever before, two die

      - California Is Burning Before Our Eyes

      - Heatwave made more than twice as likely by climate change, scientists find

      - Wildfires In The U.S. Are Getting Bigger

      - Experts say urban sprawl, climate change hike wildfire risk (which is interesting because aren't 30 million folks supposed to move to cities in the next 20 years? Asking for a friend)


Biology 401 💉👾💊 

Malaria’s ticking time bomb

"Throngs of men and women ventured into the forests of northeastern Cambodia in April, lured by a bumper crop of a rare tropical treat called samrong. After days of hiking through the wilderness, some of the travellers returned to their homes with a bounty of the wrinkled seeds, which fetch a high price as a special dessert or an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine.

But many soon fell ill. Khong Chhoem, a 56-year-old rice farmer, says the fevers hit him a few days after the expedition. His muscles hurt. His eyes hurt. He had unbearable nightmares. A health worker told Chhoem that he had tested positive for Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest kind of malaria-causing parasite. But because a wave of malaria was sweeping through the region, medicine was in short supply. Chhoem eventually found a shop that carried the drugs he needed, and he recovered. But in the intervening days, mosquitoes probably sucked up the parasites in his blood and spread them to other people."


The Final Frontier/Escape Hatch 🚀

This Solar System Catalog Could Be Key to Finding an Earth-Like Exoplanet

"A pair of scientists has released a detailed catalog of the colors, brightness, and spectral lines of the bodies in our Solar System. They hope to use the catalog as a comparison, so when they spot the blip of an exoplanet, they’ll have a better idea of how it actually looks.

“This is what an alien observer would see if they looked at our Solar System,” study coauthor Lisa Kaltenegger, director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell, told Gizmodo. With this data, astronomers might guess whether an exoplanet is Earth-like, Mars-like, Jupiter-like, or something else entirely."

+ Who doesn't get AMPED by the line "something else entirely"?

+ More space:

      - A Breakthrough Way to See Distant Planets


Fuck Cancer, Volume CIII 🖕

Could your gut microbes hinder your cancer treatment?

"What does cancer have to do with poop? In the past few years, researchers around the world, including us, have realized that the gut bacteria – what we call the gut microbiome – of cancer patients may hold the key to improving cancer therapies for patients. Exactly how this happens is unclear, but may be linked to the ability of gut bacteria to boost our natural immune responses.

The gut microbiome comprises the entire collection of microorganisms dwelling in the gastrointestinal tract. But recent research suggests that the microbes in the gut might not be idle bystanders. Rather, they may be critical for helping patients respond to new drugs called “immune checkpoint inhibitors” that help immune cells recognize tumor cells and attack them."

+ More cancer:

      - The Case Against Screening For Thyroid Cancer


Robots & AI 🤖🧠⚡️

Here’s How the Russian Military Is Organizing to Develop AI

"The Russian Ministry of Defense is pursuing artificial intelligence with an urgency that has only grown since Vladimir Putin’s “rule the world” speech in September. But after several years of watching American and Chinese researchers accumulate breakthroughs and funding, while Russia continues to lack a relevant high-tech culture, Ministry leaders have decided that if they can’t outspend their global competitors, perhaps they can out-organize them.

So in March, the MOD — along with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, or MES; and the Russian Academy of Sciences — gathered domestic and international developers and users at a conference intended to take stock of the world’s AI prowess, and develop plans to focus Russia’s academic, scientific, and commercial communities to compete."

+ More AI, robots, and war

      - What's the newest on AI cyberattacks?


The Highlight Reel