items found (Total items:79)
Page 1 of 8
Author: Akshat Rathi
Description: Nuclear and coal power plants use a tremendous amount of water. These plants use cool water “drawn from rivers, lakes, or seas” to condense steam back into liquid water. That water–heated to a high temperature–then is used to turn turbines “which convert heat energy into electricity.” Climate change-driven heatwaves, however, raise the temperature of water which can then prevent the use of the usual cooling water sources by power plants. The result is power plant shutdowns. During this summer’s (2018) heatwaves, Europe has seen nuclear plant shutdowns or curtailments in France, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Switzerland. “Heatwaves [also] forced nuclear shutdowns or curtailment across Europe in 2003, 2006, and 2015.” And, it will get worse. Research indicates that climate change driving both heatwaves and droughts will make nuclear and coal plants increasingly susceptible to shutdowns or power reductions.
Title: Europe’s heatwave is forcing nuclear power plants to shut down
Full text: https://qz.com/1348969/europes-heatwave-is-forcing-nuclear-power-plants-to-shut-down/
Dig deeper: https://www.nature.com/articles/nenergy2017114
Serial Number: 22
Author: Alexandra Sifferlin
Description: Diseases like the Zika virus and malaria are spread by mosquitoes and fleas; it’s a problem worldwide especially in the developing world but also in wealthier countries. To prevent the spread of these diseases, insecticides and bed nets are currently often used. “Vaccines are also under development … but few are approved for use.” A recent study suggests another possible treatment–isoxazolines. These drugs are currently approved for use in dogs to protect against fleas and ticks. The study suggests that a single dose of 260 to 410 mg in humans could help protect against mosquito and fly bites for 50 to 90 days. Isoxazolines are seen more as a rapid response option in areas where diseases like Zika and malaria are widespread.
Title: How a Drug For Pets May Help Prevent Zika and Malaria
Full text: http://time.com/5325775/zika-malaria-pet-medicine/
Dig deeper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/06/26/1801338115
Serial Number: 7
Author: Amanda Taub and Max Fisher
Description: Social media, e-commerce, and entertainment sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, gmail/Microsoft, Instagram, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) increasingly make decisions for us through their algorithms–what news we see and pay attention to, which people we communicate with, what products we are likely to buy, which movies we watch, who we date, who we marry, how we respond to email, what we eat, etc., etc. Is this good? Or, is this bad? How much power and control over our daily lives have we already surrendered to algorithms? How much more are we willing to give up? Whether they set out to or not, these companies are conducting what is arguably the largest social re-engineering experiment in human history and no one has the slightest clue what the consequences are. Remember, you can choose whether or not to use social media, e-commerce, etc. and, if you do, you can choose how and how much you will use it. Make choices based on real knowledge and understanding–not out of fear or inertia. Your life and our society is not a spectator sport.
Title: Is the Algorithmification of the Human Experience a Good Thing?
Publication: New York Times
Full text: https://static.nytimes.com/email-content/INT_5362.html?nlid=63151783
Dig deeper: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/feb/02/youtube-algorithm-election-clinton-trump-guillaume-chaslot
Serial Number: 51
Author: Andrea Petersen
Description: There is “a new wave of concentrated, intensive therapy programs for psychiatric disorders.” Research is showing that, for both children and adults, the concentrated therapy that takes place through multiple, longer meetings over 1 or 2 weeks “is generally just as effective, and in some ways more effective, as [standard] treatment that is spread out over several months.” Standard treatment generally involves a 1-hour meeting once a week. The research found that remission rates were not statistically different, plus fewer participants dropped out of the concentrated therapy compared to the standard therapy. Another study found that OCD patients “were more improved after treatment ended than those who received traditional weekly or twice-weekly” therapy. After three months, “both groups were equally improved.” “The intensive treatments seem to work best for anxiety-related disorders” usually involving cognitive behavioral therapy. Advantages of the concentrated therapy can include quicker relief from symptoms and delivering treatment to more people (easier logistics) .
Title: With Short, Intense Sessions, Some Patients Finish Therapy in Just Weeks
Publication: New York Times
Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/health/ocd-concentrated-therapy-cbt.html
Dig deeper: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796717301420?via%3Dihub
Serial Number: 35
Author: Andrew Freedman
Description: Climate change is happening before our eyes. All over the world–“from Japan to the Middle East, and North America to Europe,” the heat waves, floods, droughts, and wild fires “have clear links to human-caused climate change.” What’s happening globally this year was predicted decades ago. What we are seeing now are extremes–heat and rainfall (too much or too little). A warmer, wetter climate has exerted “its influence on day-to-day weather.” "As average global temperatures increase, the impacts of climate change are becoming more visible” and are happening right now impacting places like Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, etc. “where hundreds of millions of people live.” We need to try to prevent further extreme changes but also mitigate and adapt to the climate changes already happening. What are you doing individually? Are you holding decision-makers to account?
Title: 2018's global heat wave is so pervasive it's surprising scientists
Full text: https://www.axios.com/global-heat-wave-stuns-scientists-as-records-fall-4cad71d2-8567-411e-a3f6-0febaa19a847.html
Dig deeper: https://www.worldweatherattribution.org/analyses/attribution-of-the-2018-heat-in-northern-europe/
Serial Number: 11
Author: Ann Gibbons
Description: Recent studies that analyzed the health and genetic records of over 6 million people have identified over 1,000 new genes linked to human intelligence and over 500 new genes “associated with neurotic traits.” The analysis suggests that higher intelligence is linked with a longer life span and less chance of suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, or schizophrenia. In contrast, genes linked to intelligence are also “correlated with a higher risk for autism.” While it has long been known that humans can “inherit intelligence and some personality disorders from their parents,” these studies provide confirmation. However, environmental factors like education and stress also play a significant role. These studies can point the way toward “new ways to improve education, or therapies to treat neurotic behavior.”
Title: Hundreds of new genes may underlie intelligence—but also autism and depression
Full text: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/hundreds-new-genes-may-underlie-intelligence-also-autism-and-depression
Dig deeper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0152-6
Serial Number: 8
Author: Bilal Choudhry
Description: According to a study by the Rand Corporation, the United States is suffering an economic loss of up to $411 billion annually due to people not getting enough sleep. That translates into a loss of 1.23 million working days every year. Sleep deprivation is also linked to a higher mortality risk. Inadequate sleep reduces the safety and productivity of workers; well-rested employees are more efficient, tend to be healthier, and feel more content. People should be taught about the importance of sleep at a young age; poor sleeping habits in middle age can be traced back to sleep patterns formed in youth.
Title: You’re Getting Very Sleepy. (So Is Everyone Else.): Fewer people in industrialized countries are getting adequate sleep.
Publication: New York Times
Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/health/sleep-productivity-economy.html
Dig deeper: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1791.html
Serial Number: 40
Author: Boris Suchan
Description: I’m almost 60; increasingly, I sporadically forget names of people I’ve met recently; I’ll draw a sudden blank on my own phone number; I’ll even forget the name of a restaurant I was at a week ago. Yet, I rarely ride a bicycle these days, but I could jump on a bike right now and ride away. The balancing, the pedaling, little riding tricks from when I was in elementary school–I remember them all. Why don’t I forget those? “Different types of memories are stored in distinct regions of our brains.” And, “long-term memory is divided into two types: declarative and procedural.” With declarative memory–recollections of experiences or knowledge of facts–we know it and “can communicate the memories to others." But, skills–like riding a bicycle–are different; they are procedural memories. “This type of memory is responsible for performance.” Based on experimentation over decades, procedural memory “is more resistant to both loss and trauma.” Why? For one, the brain structures that process procedural memories are more “protected in the brain’s center”–less likely to be damaged by brain trauma. What is not clear yet is why procedural memories “are not as easily forgotten as declarative” memories. Still, it is known that simple sequences of movements (like riding a bike) that “we internalize, even far in the past, are typically preserved for a lifetime."
Title: Why Don’t We Forget How to Ride a Bike? The way memories are anchored in the brain plays a role, neuropsychologist Boris Suchan explains.
Publication: Scientific American
Full text: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-dont-we-forget-how-to-ride-a-bike
Serial Number: 68
Author: Brad Plumer
Description: Carbon dioxide helps plants to grow, so more CO2 in the atmosphere may actually seem a positive for agriculture. But, recent studies have shown that crops exposed to the higher levels of CO2 we may see later this century have lower amounts of vital nutrients. This is a problem--already there are "billions of people ... who don't get enough protein, vitamins, or other nutrients in their daily diet." A 2018 study saw this happen with 18 varieties of rice; a 2014 study found this effect in wheat, rice, peas, and soybeans. While it may be theoretically possible to genetically engineer crops to overcome this deficit, there are big challenges and no guarantees. "The bottom line is that people will need more diverse diets with a range of quality food sources" to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy and that is already a challenge in both poor and rich countries.
Title: How More Carbon Dioxide Can Make Food Less Nutritious: Carbon dioxide helps plants grow. But a new study shows that rice grown in higher levels of carbon dioxide has lower amounts of several important nutrients.
Publication: New York Times
Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/climate/rice-global-warming.html
Dig deeper: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/5/eaaq1012
Serial Number: 26
Author: Brad Plumer, Nadja Popovich, and Iris Gottlieb
Description: The recent IPCC report described the consequences of the Earth warming 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels. The Earth has already warmed 1 degree C since the 1800’s. How big of a problem is half a degree more? Click the picture below for a look at the enormous consequences. Keep in mind that the Earth will warm more than 1.5 degrees C. That target was the aspiration of the Paris climate negotiations in 2015. But, nations won’t meet that target. Current national/international efforts are more consistent with an increase of 3.1-3.7 degrees C by 2100. “Each time the Earth heats up an extra half degree, the effects aren’t uniform across the planet. Some regions, such as the Arctic, will heat up 2 to 3 times faster.” “The number of extremely hot days around the world … tends to rise exponentially as the global average temperature increases.” The bottom line is that changes fueled by climate change are happening now especially in places like the U.S. They will continue to happen and will get worse. But, we still have an opportunity to mitigate and adapt to the consequences. That opportunity will require courage and bravery. We can’t look to the past. It’s not about making something great again. It’s about making a new future that is more responsive to the planet we live on. It’s an opportunity; we need to take it. It’s happening to us right now.
Title: Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal
Publication: New York Times
Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/07/climate/ipcc-report-half-degree.html
Dig deeper: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/
Serial Number: 61