In Episode 59, Quinn & Brian ask: Is Florida the harbinger of doom? (Probably) Our guest is Dr. Salvador Almagro-Moreno, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida. His lab, The Moreno Lab, lies at the interface between ecology and pathogenesis, studying the emergence and evolution of bacterial pathogens. From what we can tell, this means they’re focusing on how and why bacteria want to eat and/or kill us. This episode contains what has to be some of the most scientifically-laden potty talk you’ve ever heard as we learn more about the good, the bad, and the ugly awaiting us in our poop and the water. But don’t get us wrong, this is some serious shit. We’ll also spoil one big takeaway from this episode now, and we hope you take it to heart: do NOT retire to Florida. Trump’s Book Club: Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas Friedman: https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/3R5XF4WMZE0TV/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_2Gr8Ab6RS5WF3 Links: Learn more at http://vibriocholerae.org/ Florida Man: https://floridaman.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/bioetry Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalvadorAlmagroMoreno The toxic consequences of polluting our coasts | Salvador Almagro-Moreno | TEDxOrlando: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXqJO5IJFQc The Darwin Awards: https://darwinawards.com/ “The Midwest flooding has killed livestock, ruined harvests and has farmers worried for their future”: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/21/us/floods-nebraska-iowa-agriculture-farm-loss/index.html Connect with us: Subscribe to our newsletter at ImportantNotImportant.com! Follow Quinn: twitter.com/quinnemmett Follow Brian: twitter.com/briancolbertken Like and share us on Facebook: facebook.com/ImportantNotImportant Check us on Instagram: instagram.com/ImportantNotImportant Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/ImportantNotImp Pin us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/ImportantNotImportant Tumble us or whatever the hell you do on Tumblr: importantnotimportant.tumblr.com Intro/outro by Tim Blane: timblane.com Important, Not Important is produced by Podcast Masters
Quinn: Welcome to Important, Not Important. My name is Quinn Emmett.
Brian: Welcome, I'm so high. I'm Brian Colbert Kennedy.
Quinn: Teddy was here and then he was taken.
Brian: He was? He was here, that was so nice.
Quinn: Yeah, so that was a nice 10 minutes which he let us have him for a second. He seemed happy here.
Brian: So happy.
Quinn: He was in his chair, he was ready to go, he was so pumped to see you, and he was worried about your eye. It all seemed great. And then he was like, “Oh, mom's here?” I'm fucking outta here. Anyways, this is Important, Not Important. It's a podcast where we dive into a specific topic or questions affecting everyone, including you, on the planet right now or in the next 10 years or so. If it can kill us or turn us into a less angsty Robocop-
Quinn: -we are in. Our guests are scientists, doctors, engineers, politicians, astronauts, almost astronauts, even a Reverend. And we work towards action steps so our listeners can take that too with your voice, your vote and your dollar.
Brian: This is your friendly reminder that you can, and should, send questions, thoughts, any feedback to us on Twitter @importantnotimp or email us at email@example.com.
Quinn: You can also subscribe to our free weekly newsletter of all the most important news you missed, the good and the bad stuff. Right at importantnotimportant.com.
Brian: This week's episode is, “Is Florida the harbinger of doom?”
Quinn: Probably. Our guest the wonderful, the evocative, the just incredibly smart and nuanced Dr. Salvador Almagro-Moreno. He is the assistant professor of medicine at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida. His lab, the Merino lab because why not, lies at the interface between ecology and pathogenesis? From what I gathered, what that means is how and why bacteria want to eat and/or kill us.
Quinn: Specifically a lot of times and with respect to this conversation poop and water related so it was a good one though. Man, he's fired up and would love if you did not … To be clear again, do not retire to Florida.
Brian: Do not retire to Florida.
Quinn: Yeah. And we introduced him to Florida man. We introduced Brian to Florida man, pretty great. That's going in the show notes. You've gotta love Florida man.
Brian: Yeah, this was a good one.
Quinn: Makes you just feel a little bit better about yourself. Anyways, all right let's go talk to Salvador.
Brian: Let's do it.
Quinn: Our guest today is his royal highness Dr. Salvador Almagro-Moreno and together we're going to ask a question, “Is Florida the harbinger of doom?” So, Dr. Moreno, welcome.
Salvador: Thank you for having me.
Quinn: We are super pumped to have you here.
Brian: Yes we are. Thank you. Thank you. If you can, just real quick, just let everybody know who you are and what you do.
Salvador: Well, I'm his royal highness.
Brian: Sure, of course. [crosstalk 00:02:54] pretty straight forward.
Salvador: There you do. And so I'm an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Central Florida. In my lab we're interested in understanding how bacterial pathogens evolve and emerge. And we're mostly concerned about marine ones and how human idiocy increases the likelihood of them evolving.
Brian: Of everything bad?
Salvador: Yeah, exactly.
Brian: That seems important.
Quinn: It sounds like a super light topic for us to be tackling today.
Salvador: It's, pretty much, like I never bring the good news. I always say that? I never have the funny joke type of news.
Quinn: That's all right.
Brian: Well, somebody has gotta talk about the serious shit.
Salvador: Well, one thing is that I have a very prone field of work which is diarrhea. So when you talk about serious shit and shit in that…
Quinn: It's nice, nice, nice, nice.
Brian: Well done.
Salvador: It's very situated to go down the cheap jokes but you know that.
Quinn: Yeah. Well my entire career is built on cheap jokes so that's great. I'm 100% in for that and I get it. It's funny. I said to my wife, and in only a half kidding way, definitely the part that wasn't kidding was just like very sad. Which is in taking on, and this isn't, again, our primary jobs but it's become much more of a part of our life than I think we anticipated but it's necessary. It's that taking on these existential news topics, again whether they're very good or very bad, over the past year and a half definitely makes me like the bummer in every conversation.
Quinn: Someone will be like, “Oh, I did my laundry day.” I'm like, “Oh, well,-
Quinn: -I hope you enjoyed using the most significant power source in your house, which is probably called from oil or natural gas and fracking and shooting meth into the air. So we're gonna be fine.” And she's just like, “Do you have to do that to everyone we talked to?” And I'm like, “It's this terrible fucking burden to carry this. I don't want to.”
Salvador: I have a feeling you don't get invited to many parties, right?
Quinn: No, I don't, which is actually great at this point though because I'm so exhausted.
Brian: [Inaudible 00:05:02] to anyway.
Quinn: Brian knows, this is literally … I started this entire business so Brian would hang out with me again because I hadn't seen him in like four years.
Salvador: Oh, there you go. There you go.
Brian: It worked. He's very smart.
Quinn: Anyways, all right Brian tell him what we're doing today then.
Brian: Of course. We'd like to make sure everybody just knows this so we wanna mention it every episode. What we're doing here is set a goal to provide some context for the topic at hand, the question at hand, why you're here and then we wanna dig into some action oriented questions so that we can get to the heart of why we should all care about what you're talking about and especially what everybody can do about it.
Salvador: Okay, that's sounds great. Let's try it.
Brian: Yeah, let's at least give it-
Salvador: Let's give it a shot.
Brian: -an attempt.
Salvador: Let me pretend that I know something.
Brian: [Inaudible 00:05:48], thank you.
Quinn: Perfect. Perfect. You just keep skating through life over there, doctor.
Salvador: Exactly. Exactly.
Quinn: All right. On that topic, we do every one of these conversations with one very fundamental important question, doctor, something to set the tone. Instead of saying, “Tell us your entire life story,” we like to ask, “Dr. Moreno, why are you vital to the survival of the species?”
Salvador: My puns, that's fundamental. And besides that…
Quinn: When the world burns, we're gonna need those puns more.
Brian: That's right.
Salvador: Oh yeah, like the party pooper, you know. Hello. Yeah. Well, I hope I can find ways to predict where a potential outbreak can occur and what are the environmental conditions that lead to the evolution of a pathogen because we tend to be a little bit late all the time. As humans, we're really bad at forecasting so that's my real long-term interest lies.
Salvador: It's to develop models that allow us to predict and forecast weather these places might see an outbreak, whether these strains from these species are evolving and are starting to acquire abilities that could potentially lead them to colonize humans and harm us. I guess that that could be the not so lighthearted part of why I hope I'm trying to do something relevant.
Quinn: No, it sounds super important. If people weren't doing that, it feels like we would be in, somehow, impossibly even more trouble than we already are which is a tough thing to do. I am curious though, because it is such a specific gig you've got going on in a field of study, how did you get to it?
Salvador: I've always been interested in evolution. It's fascinating to understand the past. It's almost like a historian of the living … of the things that are alive. Originally, I did my undergrad in biology and I was more interested in the evolution of animal behavior at the very beginning, ethology. But then once I studied genetics and population genetics and all the math and all that good stuff and microbiology, I fell in love with bacterial evolution. And don't ask me why, it just is so strange because I just happened to like it.
Salvador: And I think it's a truly fascinating topic because unlike us, bacteria evolve very differently. They can grab information from the environment and become that information. So if they get a book on how to grow wings, they can actually grow wings. They're not like us; you cannot do that. So, yeah, I just fell in love when I was an Undergrad with evolution and genetics and then in particular microbial evolution. And that led me to … Instead of focusing on a more exclusively intellectual thing, I wanted to focus my passion with another passion which is more like the social justice and something that actually has a more political and a social meaning behind it.
Salvador: I guess that that can provide … That provides me actually the, I don't know, both the intellectual and the moral satisfaction that you need every day when you wake up and you get an email or you check the WHO, how many children have died of these diarrheal diseases. You need the extra fire in your gut. Those [inaudible 00:09:45] led me to do what I'm doing now and I feel privileged and very lucky to do what I love.
Quinn: Two questions, one is definitely sadder than the other. First ones, not the sad one, did you say that if you gave bacteria book about wings they would learn how to grow wings? Did I misinterpret that?
Salvador: No, no, no. Maybe not wings but you know it's an analogy right?
Quinn: Sure, sure. No, well it's terrifying nonetheless. The biggest thing we've learned about bacteria, and we've had a number of good talks about antibiotics and things like that is, essentially it's not just that … it seems to be a misunderstanding among the general populace that's like, “Oh, bacteria is adapting to our antibiotics and we've used too many this and this.” It seems to be instead … And, again, there's a very good chance that I both have misunderstood this for the entire course of our podcasting career and also in this moment.
Quinn: Which is that bacteria are basically the oldest thing and that we have only basically picked off the lowest hanging fruit with our antibiotics and that they are always a few steps ahead of us and are always adaptable to, essentially, whatever we throw at it. Which apparently means, like you said, they could ‘grow wings' which is just terrifying.
Salvador: Yeah. I think that humans have some major weaknesses. Right?
Salvador: One of them is that we're really bad at logs, the difference between one million, 10 million, 100 million is really hard for us to capture.
Salvador: When you work with bacteria that really matters and we're really bad at forecasting things so we think, “Oh, if it's not happening, it will never happen.” “Oh, we don't have Ebola outbreaks.” Boom, boom, Ebola even New York.
Quinn: Right, a great way to look at the world.
Salvador: Yeah, yeah. And the third thing that is very common, it's our anthropocentric view. We think we've been around for so long and we know everything. Bacteria have been around for 3.5 billion years.
Quinn: And we've been standing up for what? 100,000?
Salvador: Yeah and we don't have their skillset of being able to acquire genetic information. We can just take information from the environment. They do so they are machines of evolution. If they don't have the info, which is unlikely, they will find that info and they will express the genes and be fine. If they don't have it, they'll find it so, again, if you think you're smart your intestinal bacteria are smarter because they're eating your breakfast that you paid for.
Quinn: Perfect. Perfect.
Salvador: So, “Hey, I make this much money.” Well, they don't have to do anything. They don't have to move and you feed them every four hours.
Quinn: That pretty is a fucking grim lens.
Salvador: In this anthropocentric view, you're not actually … I think there's a very good example of … We used to call them, thankfully we don't do it now because he just has a very heavy anthropocentric … we used to call them prokaryotes-
Quinn: Mm-Hmm [Affirmative].
Salvador: -so we are eukaryotes. The difference is ‘eu' it means true ‘karyones' means the nucleus and prokaryotes are before the nucleus. Here we are, these hairless monkey, saying the most important thing you can do on earth is to have a nucleus. And then we classify things between those that have the nucleus like us and those that don't have the nucleus like the bacteria that are warm and eating the food that you just bought with your work.
Quinn: Mm-Hmm [Affirmative].
Brian: Enjoying my breakfast burrito.
Salvador: Yeah, so there you go. By having this anthropocentric view, we tend to look at things from a disdainful like, “Oh, you know or whenever, and they're tiny and they don't have a nucleus.” Of course, because if you don't have a nucleus, you are useless. And, finally, they decided to change and now they are instead of called the Kingdom of prokaryotes they're called the bacterial kingdom so we have three, archaea, eukarea, and a bacteria. That tells you you're not how … what could be the word, how much are we've underestimated them for forever. We didn't even know they exist.
Quinn: For so long, the whole time.
Salvador: Yeah and we still do. We still do. Again, it took decades to stop thinking dad. Not having a nucleus makes you primitive.
Salvador: Like a shark is primitive, good luck swimming. And they're like, “Yeah, right.”
Quinn: You'll be find if you're on the sand.
Quinn: Got it.
Salvador: And I live in Florida so if you're in the sand good luck surviving an alligator which is also primitive.
Quinn: Florida, great place to be.
Quinn: I'm telling you. Well listen. I appreciate the history lesson and again it reinforce. We are always constantly behind the eight ball, mostly of our own doing. But I did want to, again, dive into the context and you mentioned Florida so I wanna just touch on that a little bit as we get into what's going on down there and everywhere and why you're here today, both existentially and specifically, on the podcast. Florida, right? What is Florida … what haven't they given us? Alligators like you said, Disney world's great. George Bush, that wasn't great. Florida man.
Brian: What's Florida, man?
Quinn: You don't know who Florida man is?
Quinn: Oh, man. Salvador, do you knew what Florida man is?
Salvador: I don't have the pleasure of knowing Florida man.
Quinn: Okay, so everybody at some point take a little time and you can either Google Florida man or go on Twitter and find the Twitter handle of Florida man. And there's just completely preposterous things that just only happened in Florida, basically by white guys essentially, which is fucking of course.
Salvador: So I should have a drink before I Google that, right?
Quinn: Probably. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Salvador: Thank you for that.
Quinn: It's probably your next door neighbor.
Salvador: I appreciate that.
Quinn: But, anyway, you're just like, “Yeah.” Something happens and you're just like, “Yeah, of course it happened in Florida.” Anyways…
Quinn: On that note, we've got these just incredible … these algae blooms and the red tide so there's so much going on. The oceans are not only rising, but they're warming and the ocean is this, as we've talked about in a number of different ways, is such a complex ecosystem and boy have we fucked it up. We are seeing with our own eyes a lot of these manifestations of that warming. And, of course, in a typical talk about seeing things in a very narrow perspective and our very American perspective we're only just paying attention to them despite the fact that they're already been happening all over the world.
Quinn: Dirty, warm water might just be hitting our historically pretty safe coast now. Uh, but those results are already daily life in so many other places like Yemen. We've talked about this before. Cholera affects three to 5 million people a year, anywhere from 30 to 150,000 deaths a year. You mentioned you are a colleague, of the wonderful Dr. [inaudible 00:17:05] and how she's trying to work to solve this in some way. But cholera is mostly coming from unsafe water and food like seafood.
Quinn: Only humans are affected and the rising sea levels and flooding should only make this more prevalent. And the problem is it does seem like it's just beginning. The questions are, and this is what I want to dig into with you … it's both what do we have within our power to control it? But also more specifically, because I think at this point most of our listeners are at least based in the US, which is why is Florida on the front lines for coastal water changes and what does that mean for everything else? Let's start with that. Why Florida?
Salvador: First of all, why? Because we focus on it … because we think about it.
Quinn: Okay, interesting. Okay.
Salvador: Because it's one of the few places in the world with a tropical climate but a rich economy. If Florida belonged to some other nation, we might not be thinking about it so much. I think that that's why we think about it so much but I'm sure there are the same problems in other places, like Latin-America. It's just that here we tend to focus on things that happened in the US, so that's one of the reasons. I think that there's been some perfect storms and, again, we're very bad at forecasting perfect storm.
Salvador: At least we should assume that at some point, perfect storms happen. And we might not know which one or how or where but we should start assuming that the likelihood of perfect storms happening and happening more often is gonna increase over time. And in this case, yes, the warming of the oceans that doesn't help, right? If you make it warmer, bacteria and most living entities thrive. The runoffs of nutrients being released in the environment, that doesn't really help because if you give them warmth and food they're gonna grow it. It's simple math, right?
Salvador: And we got all those things happening pretty much within the coast of Florida. At the same time, like for instance if Florida we had this issue of … And this gets very political but it's true. And I don't know if you guys had a chance to take a look at the Ted talk that I gave, the TEDx.
Quinn: I did. I loved it.
Salvador: It is-
Brian: Very attractive. Please, continue.
Salvador: There is this deregulation that went on here where you could just have massive orange groves and cane fields and stuff and in order to grow them fast you throw tons of fertilizers. And when you live in a tropical place things grow fast but everything grows fast, your oranges, the cane but also the algae that are taking the phosphates and nitrates that get released into it. So for instance, in this case, the rain washed off some of the fertilizers because they're in the soil and that went into our lake.
Salvador: And if you have your computer in front of you, you can just Google Florida and there's a massive lake right in the middle. Well, actually, middle south. It's called Lake Okeechobee and a lot of the runoffs went there and it became what we call eutrophic, so with a lot of nutrients and there were massive blooms or Cyanobacteria, massive. And you had the substantial and unsustainable population growth which … It makes me very happy that Florida man is deterring people from coming to Florida because we need people to scare non-Floridians away from here, at least to leave.
Salvador: You have these issues of septic tanks that are not 100% working because we get hurricanes. If you get pipes breaking, if you get damage in the infrastructure, if you get substantial runoffs from agricultural fertilizers, you are creating perfect storms. And we actually have literal storms every year at the end of the summer or beginning of the fall. And what they did very thoughtfully, they dug a canal from the lake to the coast to release.
Salvador: Yeah, yeah, absolutely very thoughtful.
Quinn: Well done everybody.
Salvador: Yeah, like a Darwin award. What happened … Well, it was … Yeah, so they just released…
Quinn: To be clear, I love the Darwin Award and we're definitely putting that in the show notes there. Incredible.
Salvador: Yeah. I think a bunch of people are winning the Darwin Award by saying, “Hey, we have this lake full of shit, what can we do? Hey, let's bring the shit to the coast.” Well, now the coast is what? Now the coast is full of shit and something's gonna grow. And what grows? Algae, blah, blah, blah, all the issues that we had. That's one of the problems. We created the problem inside the peninsula and then outside the peninsula, within the Gulf of Mexico, another lovely storm was brewing, which is the red tide where again all the conditions … And we're talking about, we found runoffs even from the north US because the rivers end up in the sea. If you throw stuff in the river, it will end up wherever. It ends in the ocean.
Quinn: Its science.
Brian: Its gotta go somewhere.
Salvador: Actually, it's physics. If you throw a ball, the ball goes to the ground so if you put something in the water and the water is up north, it's gonna go down south because that's where the river ends. And so, again, more stuff thrown into the gulf and warmth, nutrients and sunlight … Boom, another algae bloom. And that one it's called the red tide and in that case it's a eukaryote unlike the one in the lake which was a bacteria, prokaryotes, the cyanobacteria. Putting things under the rug instead in this case is just sending your shit elsewhere.
Brian: Got it. Actually, if we could back up, I don't totally understand the red tide. What is the red tide?
Quinn: Is it the same thing as algae blooms or a worse version or are they different? I feel like, again like you were saying, were terrible predicting and most people don't pay attention to things that aren't directly affecting their everyday life. We wanna paint the picture here for people who are listening and texting in their car.
Salvador: We got two different blooms here. One of them, it's called a cyanobacteria which is the green one, right? If you Google cyanobacteria bloom, or in these case is Microcystis Aeruginosa, and that's the one coming from the lake because they tend to live in ponds and they produce a toxin that's pretty dangerous. And it usually affects dogs because the dog decides to drink some water from the lake and the lake has a bunch of Cyano and then the dog gets liver failure and bye-bye poopoo or whatever you call your dog.
Quinn: Yeah, poopoo, sure.
Salvador: Poopoo. Yeah, so poopoo is gone. And that's the Cyano, that's one of the Algae blooms that we've had.
Quinn: Okay, and that's the green one?
Salvador: Yeah, exactly. They call it blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. These ones are bacteria, very different from the red tide. The red tide, it's Karenia brevis, which is actually an eukaryote out. In the sense that it has a nucleus, it belongs to a completely different branch of life. And these are what's called…
Quinn: Is it actually red? I'm trying to understand. It sounds like a Johnny Depp movie, so like a Pirates of the Caribbean spin off. Where is it exactly? What does it look like and what is it doing to the water and the ecosystem?
Salvador: This is all about nutrient availability, right?
Salvador: If they don't have, they don't grow … and warmth and contamination. In this case, these, they're called dinoflagellates … the red tide. The exist naturally. They are there. Every year you get some blooms it happens, it's just the proportions what's changing. It's like your cells. If you think about your cells, your cells need to multiply. Your skin cells, you don't wanna get a wound and it never heals. Now the problem is if the healing process, if they keep growing from healing it becomes a tumor. And they're your cells.
Brian: That's why we've always had cancer, right? Since the beginning, it's just endemic to the human operating system.
Salvador: It's inherent to you being multicellular otherwise you would be one cell.
Brian: Right, not great.
Salvador: Yeah. You'll be just a…
Brian: Like Florida man.
Salvador: Yeah, exactly. So if you wanna be multicellular, you have to make sure that all the cells are under control and divide when they have to divide and stop dividing. And once that little thing is messed up, they just go crazy and become free cells so cancer like cell freedom from the domination of the multicellular entity called you. In the case of these red tide, they are naturally occurring. The problem is that if you feed them and you give them the better conditions, they'll grow faster and farther and longer.
Salvador: And that's what we are seeing now. I was looking at some … For instance, usually you recover about… In a regular ‘bloom' you might recover like, let's say, 10,000 cells per liter of sea … during the last one that we had. In these 10,000, they're there doing their thing. It's normal, it's part of the ecosystem. And even though they released some of their toxin, which that's like their poop, it's not enough of them. Now this one instead of 10,000 cells per liter, we had 10 … sorry, 20 million cells per liter.
Salvador: Now all of a sudden, something that may be slightly not nice to swim in, even not the best smelling thing on earth, now it's massive. Now we're talking about an incredibly dense. If you had like five toxins since 10 toxins now you have 50,000 of them and that's when it becomes dangerous. Right?
Quinn: It may be right. So it's not just the volume of it on the coast, it's the intensity of it, right?
Salvador: Exactly. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That's the main issue that we are seeing in this case, regarding the … I'm not an expert on Algae blooms-
Quinn: No, no, no, for sure.
Salvador: -but it all comes down to the same thing. If you mess up a very complex entity like an ecosystem, the outcomes are quite unpredictable. And the only predictable thing is that nothing good's gonna come out of it. That's the only thing I can predict. You mess up an ecosystem and the only thing I can predict is that. It is not gonna end up well. In this case was what's called the brevitoxins that are the toxin produced by these Karenia brevis, the cells that make up what we call the red tides so that's… Yea.
Brian: Got it. How is this all of this affecting our health?
Quinn: Yeah, let's talk about poop.
Brian: Let's talk about poop.
Salvador: Well, in different ways. Specifically regarding the red tide it's just that these toxins can go into the air and you breath them.
Brian: So it can leave the water and go into the air?
Brian: That's great.
Salvador: Yeah, fantastic. Of course, during the course of the red tide there were a lot of people having respiratory inflammation problems.
Quinn: People who weren't even just swimming in it-
Salvador: No, no, no.
Quinn: -because, like you said, it can go into the air.
Brian: Just in the area.
Salvador: I drove to Daytona, which is in the east and you couldn't breathe well. You could feel it.
Brian: Oh wow. Was that dense with toxins?
Salvador: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
Salvador: You could feel, you could breathe it.
Quinn: Okay, so that's something I don't think people understood because, again, we're on top of that shit. Most people ignore Florida as it is unless they're going to Disney but I feel like that is an interesting thing. But it's funny at the same time and it's not funny. It's a horrendous thing I'm about to say, which is we ignore so many things like the trash in the ocean. Everyone just, they're like, “There's a trash patch and it's the size of fucking Texas.” And people are like, “Well, I'm never gonna go there. It's not affecting me. But the Bahamas looks nice this time of year.”
Quinn: But if, somehow, that got into the air and it affected you, oh look, suddenly you're fucking paying attention to it. Which is if people look off the coast, they hear there's a bad thing, they go, “Okay, well, I'll skip the gulf and I'll go to the other side or whatever.” But when you are driving to Daytona and the air is bad because of what is happening in the ocean it's like, “Oh, we've really fucked up.”
Brian: Yeah, Jesus.
Salvador: Yeah. And the waters are getting warmer everywhere so for those in the north or in the West Coast, “Oh, this shit only happens in Florida, hold my beer.” At least we're used to so we know what to do.
Salvador: And I live in Orlando, which is the middle so I can hide at home but, yeah, no, no, it's serious. And it's just … We are like the cannery in a coal mine because the waters are getting warmer everywhere, period. It's not that Alaska is not getting warmer, it's just it's cold as fuck anyway.
Quinn: Right. You're right.
Brian: Right, right, right.
Salvador: It's less cold as fuck now.
Quinn: I believe that is the technical term, right? It is less cold as fuck. But the point is everywhere is getting warmer.
Brian: I was gonna ask, let's get broader, where else? Where else specifically and where else is it the most dramatic?
Salvador: Across the globe? Here, I guess.
Brian: Damn right.
Salvador: I think in general any coastal area, it's not ... Of course the coastal because we have the danger of sea level rise but also being in the Midwest. If you have a lake and that lake has these cyanobacteria blooms, you can't swim on that lake. And any fauna that drinks water from that lake is gonna be affected. It doesn't just affect us that live in coastal areas.
Quinn: And actually, now that you actually mentioned, I actually wanna pause. And we usually make these conversations a little more evergreen but you mentioned the Midwest which literally today is, and I believe the technical term is, completely fucked because it is underwater after a week of flooding. I mean, a military base is home. They said a couple of these rivers are peaking at 30 feet. It's astonishing, of course, coastal news is paying like zero fucking attention to it. But it's the same thing where it's like, “Hey guys.” Everyone's like, “Oh, sea level rise isn't gonna affect me.” It's like, “Well, you know there's a massive fucking river through the middle of the country and lakes everywhere?”
Brian: And huge lakes all over.
Quinn: It's coming for everybody. And flooding seems dangerous for the first day or two but, guess what, it gets a lot worse once that fucking stagnant water is still hanging around. And I feel like that's where you come into play, right?
Salvador: That's the thing. It's like it comes back to this is not gonna happen to me, this is not gonna happen. Right? It's these inability of … It's like the seat belts, right? “Ah, I'll never have the accident.” Well, somebody gets the accidents. Somebody gets into a car accident, right?
Salvador: Yeah. Now we are just saying, “Okay, since I don't live in a coastal city that's next to Florida that doesn't have these, these, these, these, these, nothing is gonna happen to me.”
Brian: Yeah, I don't have to worry.
Salvador: I don't have to worry about anything. It's like, “No, you are changing the weather patterns of the entire globe.” This is not like minimal, this is like messing up with the brain of the earth. Yeah, things like these … I don't know much about riverine microbes but… The Vibrio which is what I study, they pretty much leave anywhere as long as there's water. I wouldn't be surprised if maybe in some of these ponds that you can isolate some of the Vibrio that I study.
Salvador: And if they have a chance to eat you they will because, as you know, we're a tasty food. The good old, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. So if something's not happening, if you don't change anything, you diminish the likelihood of something unpredictable happening. I don't know if that makes sense.
Quinn: No, I think it does.
Brian: Yeah, for sure.
Salvador: Us just messing up our planet in this way by the insane amount of pollution that we produce, by the overpopulation because that's also a major problem particularly when it comes to diarrheal diseases and a lot of us dumping crap. And one of the crap that we love to dump is CO2 which is warming the earth to a point where it's irreversible. It's not the best thing to talk about for breakfast, but we are not really doing the things that are … it is not leaning us on the right direction.
Quinn: And it's like you and I talked about. It's like, it sucks to be the bummer in every conversation. But one of our idols who I've been trying to schedule to get on this podcast forever, Katharine Hayhoe, or one of her best things she ever said is, “You wanna know the single best thing you can do about climate change? Fucking talk about it all the time … All the time.” We have to because it's not just … Like you said, it's not just storms, it's not just warming water. It literally comes down to the definition of what you study, you have made your life work.
Quinn: Which is literally the emergence and, like you said the evolution of bacteria and pathogens that come from it. That is also advancing under climate change and going more exponential. This is not just the wind that's gonna blow down your house or the sea level rise that's gonna sink this specific navy base, it literally comes down to microbes and that's getting worse as well.
Salvador: It's a multifactorial thing, right? In my case, I study microbes so the ones that I study, Vibrio cholera, the agent of cholera, Vibrio vulnificus which is a flesh eating bacterium … definitely you don't want that one because it has one of the highest mortality rate. If you get it, that's it.
Quinn: What is it called?
Salvador: Vibrio vulnificus.
Quinn: Brian, what was that thing the doctor said you had?
Brian: It sounded a lot like that.
Salvador: Did the doctor … before you lost your arm because that's all right.
Brian: Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. I only have one arm.
Salvador: There you go.
Quinn: That's so weird total coincidence.
Salvador: Studies say it's pretty deadly, there's 50% to 70% mortality rates so if you get it done.
Quinn: How prevalent is something like that?
Salvador: And that's a really good question because that's exactly … This disease symbolizes human idiocy.
Quinn: Because my wife … By the way, I literally … I ask questions and my wife has that same response all the time, which is what you just said ‘symbolizes human idiocy'. And I'm like, “Well, that's great-
Brian: I love that phrase.
Quinn: I just wanted to know if you packed the kids' lunches or not.”
Brian: How did it get here?
Salvador: The reason why I say that it's because when I say I study this, how many people get affected? Four or five a year. “Oh, that's nothing.” Well, there were no Ebola cases before there were Ebola cases.
Brian: Yeah and that's Congo, there were four or five.
Quinn: Now, that's gone.
Salvador: Yeah, so it's like, “Oh, but there's no…” It comes to our tendency to, “If it's not happening, it will never happen. You know what? I've never had a car accident, therefore I will never have a car accident.” And you know?
Brian: That's a weird way to think.
Salvador: Yeah, but that's the way.
Brian: But I guess it's pretty and that is how everybody thinks.
Salvador: A billion hairless monkeys think so it's the reality. The reality though we're like, “Ay-ay darling, it doesn't kill enough people why bother studying it?” Well because if he can evolve to eat us more efficiently to actually colonize us, it will. Once it gets the chance of it.
Brian: And we won't be ready for it.
Salvador: Yeah. It's like digesting foods that you cannot. If I could digest cellulose, that'd be fantastic. I could eat grass. I can't but if I could get the ability. And unlike us, bacteria can get the ability to do things that they could not do before. That's the difference. I cannot digest cellulose and I'm not gonna ruminate get like a cow. I cannot develop a fourth stomach. They can. They can find ways.
Brian: That's so wild.
Salvador: In this case, for instance with these bacteria, I can give you 100 million scenarios of what it would take. All right, let's say it cannot … like our immune system, sees it very clearly and attacks it. Well, it can just find a way to not be detected easily as hundreds of pathogens have done. Maybe it needs these nutrients and if without these nutrients it cannot grow, well, maybe it can grow the ability to grow without needing that nutrients. Again, this is why I say it symbolizes like many other infectious diseases how shortsighted we are. It's like, “If I don't see it, it doesn't exist.”
Quinn: I used to think about there will be times where, and I don't know where your politics lie and we don't have to totally get into it right now, but there was times like during the Obama presidency where I just felt like he would give up to give a speech and start with like a deep sigh. And I feel like he would just be disappointed in everybody. And that's how I feel you must go throughout your days when you're just like, “People are just so damn. God dammit.” That's just gotta be frustrating.
Salvador: I don't know, I just … You get used to it. It's like being a scientist, if you think about it, I'm interested in vaccinations, I'm interested in climate change and evolution and I genetically modified bugs so everybody hates me. I do something that people that don't know shit about what they're talking about, they have a very clear opinion. People would talk about vaccines not knowing shit, people will talk about climate change not knowing, people will talk about genetically modified stuff not knowing anything.
Quinn: You to check all those fucking boxes.
Brian: Oh yeah.
Salvador: But you know it's lovely. Basically I have a job that, depending who you ask, doesn't really exist. It's like, “Oh, evolution doesn't happen. There's no climate change. Vaccines don't work.” It's like, all right so I just…
Brian: Florida man.
Salvador: Yeah, exactly. That does my anti thesis, my major enemy. It's just so common. Literally, particularly with evolution, you see that. Now we have like flat-earthers hello?
Quinn: Oh God, I know you're just like, “No, no, no, no. We fucking check that box. That's gone.”
Salvador: I was in Japan two weeks ago. It's like the plane didn't go off the flat earth and it went around it. I don't know, it's amazing. It's so exciting.
Brian: Thank you for sticking around and continuing to work hard and trying to change despite the fact that everybody's an asshole. That's very nice of you.
Salvador: Well, they pay me to so that's…
Brian: Yeah, yeah, that's cool.
Quinn: No, that's cool.
Brian: Oh, yeah. I was just gonna say, we obviously want to get to what we can actually do to take action and change. So specifically in Florida, what are Floridians and elected officials and stuff, what policies are they working under that are advancing the horrible situation were in and how can we reverse them?
Quinn: Setting up context for the action a little more now that we get the sciencey part is, contextually, what is still being done badly? What are they still doing to make this worse? And then we'll get towards success if stories, if there are any.
Salvador: Okay. Let's see, I can give you a more global in there focus a little bit more in [crosstalk 00:42:35] because I think that actually we are lucky that we are having the problem because we are doing things about it.
Salvador: Because, again, if you think you're not gonna get these issues in California, hold my beer. Globally, it comes back to what you said actually. You were talking about how they fixed things before like waste and stuff. And one of them is like, let's not have 10 children. Let's minimize the amount of humans and humans on the same spot. It's just that if you have like 100,000 people in a square mile, very few good things are going to happen so issues are not gonna be conducive to two healthy lives.
Quinn: Look at Disney world.
Salvador: Yeah, exactly. It's really, really expensive. It's not healthy for you in a wallet. But it's good for us because they pay taxes and they don't bother us.
Quinn: By the way also, as much as we joke about it in California literally on topic, two years ago when the fucking measles thing happened at Disneyworld. Literally, the concentration of people it was just like, “Bang.” Just a fucking nightmare.
Salvador: Yeah, it's like we are all covered in gasoline. It takes one match, boom, and we're all ... This is one of the … Because I think there's pragmatic issues that we can address in a more direct way but there's also more like an ethical issue, the general. A lot of people ask me, “But we have a cure for cholera for instance, right?” Yeah, we do have a cure for cholera and we do have a cure for poverty and a cure for hunger, money, food and clean water. But that doesn't mean it's gonna go away anytime soon.
Salvador: There's this ethical issue of us not giving a fuck about other humans. We are all in this together, we live in the same planet and we are all the same species. And that's why, I guess, traveling is pretty good. First of all because it makes you realize that the earth is actually round and it allows you to see that the problem that your brothers and sisters from Peru or from Bangladesh or from Congo, there are problems that you can have. And I think that we tend to turn a blind eye to the point where until it doesn't come to us, we don't see.
Salvador: That's why it comes back to the beginning of the talk, that the reason why we know so much about what's going on in Florida is because it happens in the US and it a very unique weather for the US. Had we not live them in a peninsula, we would be like Georgia a little bit more inland, and we wouldn't have this highly visual issues that happens in the Caribbean. But we don't care about those places. That's kinda like the moral issue that we don't mind having other humans drinking shit, that we don't mind having other humans barely having space to breathe while we have our fourth car.
Salvador: That's the general global and the more local is that that has more to do with idiocy and greed. Idiocy of ignoring the issue until it's in front of your house and greed, deregulation. You can't just dump fertilizers as if it was gonna stick to the root of your sugarcane.
Quinn: And it's everywhere. Someone the other day said, “Do we have to totally get rid of me? It's so delicious.” And I was like, “Look man, I get it but if you go down any rabbit-hole to how industrial agriculture is bad, Holy Shit.” And I mean the fertilizer stuff. And, again, it's not just the coast, it's our massive river systems. Everywhere you look like we have fucked up and that is gonna come but people don't fucking care. They just want what they want.
Salvador: Yeah, and for instance as you mentioned right there and not just the agriculture but the meat production, you know what, let's give these cows and this pigs a lot of antibiotics. What's the worst that can happen? What's the worst that can happen? Well, that those antibiotics end up in the water, in the soil and after the rain, they end up in the river so now you have bacteria that are exposed to antibiotics before they've even known how humans taste. But once they know, now they know.
Salvador: I think that that's one of the major issues, this short term greed of if we give you incentives to tax deductions and pretty much it's your regulation you could do whatever you want. And that's gonna come back. You know that there's no such thing as a free lunch. It might be free for you, but not for the rest of us, not for the wider [inaudible 00:47:34] so you can go back to your home somewhere where it's a far away from where you dump your waste product. That was one of the major problems that we ... And, again, population right? There's been a double digit increase of the population here in Florida.
Salvador: Florida, it's the state that everybody loves to hate. Just don't come here, get the fuck outta here. Like a lot of New Yorkers, “Oh, it's so hard to here.” Go back to New York, man. We didn't ask you to move here.
Quinn: Yeah, yeah, I won't ask you to retire here.
Salvador: “Just retire in Alaska, that's the place where everybody goes,” said nobody. In our case we have massive amount of people not just visiting but also population growth so that puts a strain in the system. Why? Because not just the resources but rampant constructions with very limited oversight on how do they handle the waste treatment. And, again, I'm just using Florida but this is … Seriously, if somebody listening to the podcast says, “Ha-ha, I'm in Wisconsin, I'm fine.” No boo, you are not.
Salvador: Again, I'm giving you examples that apply to Florida but they are applicable to pretty much anywhere because we live in the same planet and it's getting harder everywhere, period, and there's more humans everywhere. Yeah, that's another problem where you put strain in the system. If you have septic tanks in a place with hurricanes, hello. And if you are poor … and it's not poor infrastructure in the way we see some developing nations. It's just that if a pipe breaks, it breaks.
Salvador: And if you have an earthquake, if you have a massive storm, if you have a hurricane, if you have sea level rise, you're mixing waters and that's not good news either. There's a bunch of factors that you start adding. The climate change, it's not good news. It's warmer, they grow. Waste in the form of fertilizers, they have food to grow. We are very likely mixing wastewater, which is more food for them. We don't care about our brothers and sisters because if it doesn't effect to us, we don't care. You start adding all these and you have the problems that we're facing, like climate change.
Salvador: Oh, we got snow in Michigan, there's no climate change. We never got an algal bloom in North Dakota, well, wait.
Quinn: Yeah, just … it's common.
Brian: It's everywhere.
Brian: I love that. Like you said, it's one planet so if it's happening to somebody it's to you
Salvador: Yeah or something else is gonna come and you won't be prepared for it so enjoy.
Quinn: I'm being literal, I'm not talking about some people might be, “Oh, I really … this kind of one planet, one health, one world.” You might just feel like, “Eh, that's …” Okay, let's say you don't care about people, it truly is one planet. Climate change is not affecting, Japan only or Argentina, it's affecting our planet. The one where you asked me and your family and your friends live. All of us are affected by it.
Brian: Yeah, so this is a great place to mention this then like we were like we did earlier. Now we need to figure out what we can do to help fix it. And we always like to talk about how people can make a difference with their voice, their vote, and their dollar so let's get down to business here. Let's start with their voice, how can our listeners use their voice to ask questions to their representatives, for example.
Salvador: Up until the last few years, I always somehow made fun of … not made fun like fun kind of interest in people who was like I'm a one issue voter. Right?
Brian: Oh, sure.
Salvador: And usually the one issue was something, in my opinion, that was trivial and silly. I've become a one issue voter, climate change. Is it manmade? Are we going to do something about it? No. I will under no circumstances vote for you. There I'm a one issue over one because I'm talking about survival. This is like, literally, there's a gun being pointed to my face are you gonna, what is it called, are you gonna take these guy's gun and arrested him? No. All right, I'm not gonna vote for you. That's literally the way I see it. We have a gun pointed to our faces.
Salvador: And I think that we should start putting that degree of pressure in the sense that the same as historically a lot of one issue voters were guns and abortion. And they put so much pressure that you can literally go on a rampage and kill children and nothing happens, no legislation happens, nothing. And that's because of these one issue voter is putting pressure saying I will not. Because if you don't get elected and you know all the other good stuff. The same thing with abortion … the same thing.
Salvador: This one issue voter said, “No, no, no, no. I do not accept women having freedom to their bodies.” And they managed to take away the freedom of 50% of the population. Obviously, as you can tell by the tone of me saying this, I'm totally opposed to those one issues that … Obviously women have the right to their own bodies and I don't think people should have AK47 at home. I'm a one issue voter like if you do not accept climate change as a reality. You are threatening my existence, literally.
Brian: A quick question for everybody to ask their representatives is, “Do you believe in climate change and what the hell are you doing about it?:
Salvador: No, no, no, no, no. You see, that's the problem. This is not a belief, it is a fact. I don't believe I have 10 fingers, I have.
Quinn: Just skip … Right. Yeah, exactly. Skip the first question. It's just, “What are you doing about climate change nationally and locally? What are you doing for, and like you said, not just for me. We're all in this fucking thing, what are you doing? What are you doing right now?”
Salvador: This comes back to something. I learned it through evolution. People ask me, “I don't believe in evolution.” I say, “It's not a belief, it's a fact.” The same thing as I don't believe in gravity, it's a fact. And if you don't believe in it, jump out of a fucking building you'll see. If science only works, you can pick and choose facts. Okay, all right, let's argue about it. Gravity, you jump first. So it's same thing. It's not that I believe in climate change, it is there is a degree of evidence that just makes it factual.
Salvador: For instance, do I know that every single entity with a mass will be falling towards the center of the earth because an invisible force called gravity is in action? No, I don't know that every single thing but there's enough evidence showing that if you have a mass and you are next to a very, very, very, very big thing like the earth you're going to be attracted by gravity towards its center.
Quinn: It's totally crazy, we don't totally understand it, but that's what happens every fucking time.
Salvador: And if you say, “Eh, but not to me.” Well, jump off a fucking building.
Quinn: Jump off a fucking building.
Salvador: Maybe you are the one that will disprove Newton. I don't want to be that one.
Quinn: Right. No, that's where I am now at this point too. It's that my response to this is, “Okay, yeah. Just jump off a fucking building. I'm done trying to fucking sell you on things.”
Salvador: If you don't believe in evolution, take the flu shot from three years ago and you'll see that it's not going to do anything to you. Why? Because the flu evolves. Unfortunately climate change, at the beginning it was harder to see but, hello, can you see it now?
Brian: That's unbelievable.
Salvador: You don't have to read nature or science to see and how could you think it's a hoax to make the environment, the planet where you live, a better place? It doesn't make any sense that's why to me it's just … And in this sense I like the word radical because it comes from the word root. It's the root of the future of humanity. Our future depends on us being completely aware of this and completely proactive against this. And, to me, it's not that one size fits all but that you can do something right.
Salvador: It's like people say, “Oh, you can reduce the amount of carbon emissions by consuming less meat.” No man. Yes you can but it's like you going to the doctor and they say, “Oh, you have a tumor in your brain, you should exercise.” Well, yes, exercise is good for you but like a tumor has to be addressed in a different way from you should eat more vegetables. Yeah, it's healthy for...
Quinn: Sure, that's great. However, also, you have a golf ball on your fucking brain and broccoli is nothing to do shit about that.
Salvador: That's what I'm saying. It's like, “Oh you should drink less alcohol.” No, no, no, no, no. Yes, all of that is good … all of the above, fantastic but there's a major issue and unfortunately it's not so much. Maybe I'm pessimistic or I overestimate the ability of governments to do things. It's just that by you driving a little bit less or you eating a little bit less meat, it's not gonna offset the carbon emissions of major factories.
Quinn: No, it's true. There's an interesting discussion that's been going on among atmospheric scientists and educators and communicators on stuff with climate with regard to emissions and things like that. In some ways it seems to be black or white which is some people saying, “Look, the only thing that's gonna matter is systemic fucking changes like we have to decarbonize electrical production and shipping … all these big chunks like fucking agriculture yada-yada and that is the only thing that's gonna actually make a fucking difference.”
Quinn: And there's other people who are saying, “Hey, listen, you've gotta go out there. You've gotta ride a bike instead of driving a car, you've got to put in LEDs, you gotta stop using so much water, you gotta stop ordering so many new fucking clothes and things like that.” And there's this disconnect where they're arguing and saying, “Yes, but some of the systemic change is impossible so I got to do my part.” And the systemic people are being like, “You're fucking LED light bulbs don't do shit and riding a bike doesn't do shit.”
Quinn: But I feel like I do fall in the middle where it seems to be proven out with momentum in the past on things like this even though we've never really had something like this. But I look at World War 2 as an example, which is when you have personal skin in the game, which means not just like you are affected but that you have started to invest yourself in it, it gives you more of a leg to stand on. And it gives you more personal momentum when you're asking these questions and demanding things to your representatives to say, “Hey, listen, you need to regulate the shit out of this and I'm already doing my fucking part.
Quinn: I've already told my kids we can't drive our fucking Mercedes spinner bus everywhere.” When people are doing their own little part, it makes them more fired up to address the bigger things. And I feel like there has to be a medium to that.
Salvador: I agree and I totally agree.
Quinn: It's not gonna move the needle but those things there's no doubt ... Quantitatively, those things are not gonna move the fucking needle but it does make people go, “I am already taking part in something, it's not just the few time I yell at my representative or I tweet online. I am actively doing my part. Fuck you, you do your part which is you're the only one who can regulate those things.” You know what I mean?
Salvador: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know but I think that definitely you need to be a proactive part of the change. But I still believe that the political process just needs to change drastically. And that's why I'm saying are there many, many, many small ways? Yes. But I think that the top one, again as I said, it's like having a two more. Yes, it's a very good idea to jog and to eat healthier. It can only help, right?
Salvador: But I think that it also has to be addressed on a more surgical way and that surgery called means regulations and political action.
Brian: I just mean it feels like people will feel more empowered once they've already started to make some of the choices that they can make themselves as long as they understand that the next step is holding their politician's feet to the fire. If they don't have an answer or their answer is vague or their voting record, which it's fucking 2019 there's 50 different Goddamn apps where you can find out your person's voting record. If it isn't, boat them the fuck out because, guess what, you get to do that too. It's fucking free.
Brian: But it just feels like people get more pissed off and more invested if they're like, “Hey, what the fuck I'm doing my part, fuck you. Get up there and do what I elected you to do.”
Salvador: I like that. No, no, I like your point because it also makes you … exactly it's like, “I'm going to be hypocritical here. I'm doing my damn stuff.”
Brian: I don't like riding my fucking bike everywhere, I would love to drive my goddamn car. I'd put you in office for a fucking reason, now do it-
Salvador: You should get a [inaudible 01:02:12] man.
Brian: -or I'll get somebody else do it. Yeah, exactly right.
Salvador: Actually, I haven't missed it and if it feels really good.
Brian: I'm glad if it, so we can have…
Salvador: I feel good about me not polluting the environment too much.
Quinn: Brian rides a fucking motorcycle around Los Angeles and every day I'm convinced he's dead before he actually gets to the office because this place is…
Salvador: If he's late you wanna be, “Oh-oh.”
Quinn: Today he sends me a message and he was like, “I'm on my way up.” I thought he'd literally meant he was coming up the stairs to the office and he didn't show up for 25 minutes. And I looked at Teddy, the dog, and I was like, “Well, today's the day. Brian's fucking dead-
Quinn: -that's it.
Salvador: Brian, Brian, Brian.
Quinn: All right, so listen, we're getting close to time here. We can't thank you enough for your time today. If you have any ideas for other world beat or scientists, astronauts, whoever that are working in climate change or cancer or clean energy or space or medicine-
Salvador: Or poop.
Quinn: Or fucking more poop, I'm gonna have to make a whole new separate category of podcasts that sub medicine is just poop. If you have any of those either now or later hit us with them because it seems to be there's like a cabal of smart people that know each other, which is great.
Salvador: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
Quinn: Anyways, all right, Brian.
Brian: Lightning round time. Are you ready Doctor?
Quinn: We have a lightning round but it's not a light to be clear. It's not a lightning round.
Brian: It's several questions that will require long answers.
Quinn: Extra sentence from you.
Salvador: Oh, okay. Okay.
Quinn: But, we'll try to take these babies down all in a minute or two.
Salvador: Don't ask me about my criminal. Don't ask me about my criminal record.
Quinn: No, no, no, no, no. That's not this podcast but the guys who show up at your door later, that's a whole different.
Salvador: Okay, fair enough.
Quinn: No worries. Dr. Moreno, his highness, when was the first time in your life when you realized you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?
Salvador: I think it was the first time I taught someone something.
Quinn: When was it?
Brian: Do you happen to remember what it was or when it was?
Salvador: I think when I was at Grad Student and I had an undergraduate working with me in the lab. I felt I was contributing to the world by one person at a time.
Quinn: Sure. One person matters, man. One person can make a difference.
Quinn: Number two, who was someone in your life, specifically, that has positively impacted your work in the past six months?
Salvador: The past six months.
Quinn: You cannot say Brian.
Salvador: No, no, I won't.
Brian: I'm very impactful though.
Salvador: Don't worry. Don't worry.
Brian: Whoa, okay. I didn't mean it like that.
Salvador: I don't know. This is the thing, I'm really lucky. I'm surrounded by smart people so I go to conferences and I'm always exposed to really, really, really smart people that are really interesting. I'm sorry, I cannot just say one specifically but I can tell you some things in the past that really opened my eyes. But nowadays it's just I happen to be exposed to really, really interesting and really smart, smart people all the time.
Quinn: I dig it. No, I'm into it.
Brian: It's a great answer.
Quinn: It's a good example of the whole your life, your aspirations, whatever your work should be. There are some of the five people you surround yourself most with because it does make a fucking difference.
Salvador: Yeah. You interviewed Dr. [inaudible 01:05:29] recently, right?
Quinn: Yeah, that fucking guy to is just…
Salvador: He'll be here this weekend and we're gonna be chatting.
Quinn: Oh, cool.
Salvador: And that's always back and forth ideas. I call my friends on the phone and my friend might be … This morning, for instance, he is a world renowned cosmologist so we're here chatting about random stuff. There's always, thankfully, food for thought because I try to surround myself by people that are smarter than me and that's how I wanna live and how I wanna die.
Quinn: That's a hell of a way to do it. Brian, keep going.
Brian: Doctor, what do you do when you feel overwhelmed specifically? What's your ‘you' time?
Salvador: I do several things. First of all, gin and tonic, that really helps.
Quinn: Do you have a preference on gene.
Salvador: Bone by itself [inaudible 01:06:21] is cheap and tasty so we can…
Brian: And pretty good.
Salvador: Yeah, it's good.
Brian: Pretty good for the price.
Salvador: I like it. I like it. Besides that I love the ocean. I love swimming. I feel home when I'm swimming in the ocean. Being surrounded by the water it just feels, I don't know, safe even though I know way too much about the water. I shouldn't feel that safe but …
Brian: You just know so much.
Quinn: We've literally just fucking talked about this for an hour. It's not okay.
Salvador: You can just tell how idiotic I am that, oh yeah, there's this flesh eating bacteria that I isolated from here, let's swim. I do that. I'm that type of guy.
Quinn: Anyways, can we go surfing and have a great day?
Salvador: Yeah. Literally I surf and every time I'm like, “Jesus, this is the last one.”
Brian: This is the end.
Salvador: This is the end. I do that and I also really like to play Flamenco Guitar and I go dancing salsa.
Salvador: Yeah, I dance Salsa.
Brian: Salsa dancing.
Salvador: It really helps you clear your mind because you do that…
Brian: I bet the salsa dancing and the gin and tonic go well together.
Quinn: Oh yeah, yeah.
Salvador: After two it doesn't because you…
Quinn: You can't feel anything anyway.
Salvador: Or you can elbow your partner and that doesn't look good.
Brian: Yeah, big warp.
Quinn: Is that part of your heritage or is that something you found too? Where are you from again?
Salvador: I'm from southern Spain.
Quinn: Okay, so … Yeah, that's awesome.
Salvador: But my culture is Flamenco because I play Flamenco Guitar.
Brian: Yeah, that's cool.
Quinn: That's awesome.
Brian: Also I happened to be a bar tender so just if he ever get a chance to check out Junipero, it's a fantastic gin.
Salvador: Okay. Junipero, it's actually the berry that's used to make gin?
Brian: Yes. Yes, it is. And Junipero just happens to be extra Junipero forward. It is just delicious.
Salvador: Lovely. Thank you so much, I appreciate that.
Brian: Of course.
Quinn: Do you wanna talk about flesh eating bacteria guys?
Brian: Doctor, how do you consume the news?
Salvador: I like to … Certainly online a lot but I like to read. I like to sit down on Saturday or Sunday and read the economist. I love it.
Quinn: Oh, that's a good one.
Salvador: I like to sit down and I love to read Nautilus, which is a science magazine, really cool, and the New York Times. I'm very interested in economics because that's really follow their money basically. If you know what where the economy is going, you can tell where society is gonna be going whether you like it or not.
Brian: Fantastic. Salvador, if you could Amazon prime one book to Donald Trump, what book might you send him?
Salvador: I could make a lot of jokes and I'm not gonna go down there please.
Quinn: No, no, no, please. We've gotten jokes, we've gotten real suggestions, curious. We have Amazon wish list of books that all of our guests have recommended and our listeners go there and they click on it and it sends the book to the White House.
Salvador: Right now I'm reading from Tom Friedman, from the New York Times, Thanks for Being Late. It's not just for the president, it more talks about the world. How technology, how climate change, how all of the things are integrated and how good some things are and how crude some other things are. But I don't know ... I don't think … I don't know if that guy actually reads.
Quinn: Yeah, we're not gonna get into that.
Brian: It's all based on the assumption that somebody will read it.
Salvador: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So far what I've read … I haven't read the whole book so I might be … But I think it's a very nice book to connect global affairs with economics and climate change.
Quinn: He's always done a pretty good job of that he's even got some shit for being superficial sometimes but I've always enjoyed his book. He is a great communicator.
Salvador: It's just the first thing that came to my mind because I'm reading it right now.
Quinn: Perfect. Well, hopefully not right now while you're talking to us.
Brian: Obviously, anything with words is [inaudible 01:10:28]
Quinn: Perfect. Hey, where can our listeners stalk you online?
Salvador: I've got my website, my lab's website actually and they can go. It's called vibriocholerae. And, again, my name is complicated and my labs website is complicated.
Quinn: Perfect, thank you.
Salvador: V-I-B-R-I-O-C-H-O-L-E-R-A-E, vibriocholerae-
Quinn: Thank God, okay.
Salvador: -the bacteria that causes cholera.
Brian: [Yusuf 01:10:55] Salvador.
Salvador: Yeah, I know. Thank you for calling me Yusuf. Savior [inaudible 01:11:00]. I noticed that so my Twitter, it's @bioetry so that's easy.
Salvador: And my Instagram is @bioetry too so it's easier to find that firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian: That just sounds so nice.
Quinn: All right, so before we go and I know we're tight here I just wanted to read a few Florida man [inaudible 01:11:24] here.
Salvador: Come on man.
Quinn: These are literally from variety of sources and these are all in the past couple of months.
Salvador: Fair enough.
Quinn: Let's see here. What have we got? Florida man drives Ferrari off dock and in to sea, guards let Florida man vape in prison because he helped them with their taxes.
Brian: Oh, my God.
Quinn: Let's see. Florida man says syringes in his anus aren't his.
Brian: Holy God.
Quinn: Let's see.
Brian: I got one I like.
Quinn: Okay, hit me.
Brian: Florida man steals $33,000 worth of rare coins, cashes them in at a Coin star for $29.
Quinn: Yeah, that's good-good. Security camera catches Florida man licking doorbell.
Brian: I bet you've seen these people around town.
Salvador: I swear to God, I like Florida man because I hope he deters people from coming here. Just go and go to North Dakota and let us deal with our Algal blooms ourselves.
Brian: That would be better.
Quinn: And then the last one I'll put it out here which is just gonna not lock down our explicit rating for the day is Florida man denies masturbating on beach. Says he was just airing out his penis. Yeah. Yeah. Anyways, listen everybody. Florida is a great place to visit.
Salvador: Thank you so much. I cannot un-hear those things now.
Quinn: You're welcome. Welcome to my life. Salvador, we can't thank you enough for your time and everything that you do. We will follow up with you again soon for sure and thank you for talking to us today.
Salvador: Thank you guys for having me.
Quinn: Thanks to our incredible guest today and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute or awesome workout or dishwashing or a fucking dog walking late at night that much more pleasant. As a reminder, please subscribe to our free email newsletter @importantnotimportant.com. It has all the news most vital to our survival as a species.
Brian: And you can follow us all over the Internet. You can find us on Twitter @importantnotimp. It's just so weird. Also on Facebook and Instagram @importantnotimportant. Pinterest and Tumblr, the same thing. Check us out, follow us, share us, like us, you know the deal. And please subscribe to our show wherever you listen to things like this. And if you're really fucking awesome, rate us on Apple podcasts. Keep the lights on, thanks.
Brian: And you can find the show notes from today right in your little podcast player and at our website, @importantnotimportant.com.
Quinn: Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blane for our gym and music, to all of you for listening and finally, most importantly, to our moms for making us. Have a great day.
Brian: Thanks guys.