What Will Be The Second Multi-planetary Species?

This line in “Earth in Human Hands“* got me thinking:

We need visions of a future in which we have applied our infinite creativity […] to enhance the survival prospects not just of humanity but of all life on Earth.

Survival to me obviously means being multi-planetary. How might we help all life on Earth become multiplanetary? And, to put it bluntly, what the first species we’ll take along for the ride?

So which species will it be?

  1. Bacteria — probably a bunch of species at once. Every human has 500 – 1,000 species of bacteria in our gut. Bacteria get a free ride. So in the same moment humans become multiplanetary, so do bacteria.
  2. The Dynastic Clam: The longest-living animal species on Earth, living to an estimated 500 years. Ming the clam died at the ripe age of 507 years old. If I were starting a multi-generational trip off of Earth to travel hundreds of years in space, the Dynastic Clam would be a sort of Big Ben of the journey, helping people keep track of time passing across multiple generations
  3. A Pine Tree: Pinus Longaeva, the longest living plant species on Earth, living to an estimated 5,000 years. Same reasoning as the Dynastic Clam. Gather round and count ma rings, kiddos.
  4. Red romaine lettuce: The first food grown and eaten on the ISS. I’m guessing that red romaine lettuce continues to persist as grown-in-space food, mostly inspired by my loose understanding of the Lindy Effect.

There you have it. #1 is bacteria, because we can’t get anywhere without them. Beyond that, it’ll be something that we pick (#2 and #3), or something we eat (#4).

I’ve often wondered about the first spaceship to leave the solar system. My image was so clear — staring eye to eye with other passengers, hearing what language was spoken, feeling what religion held? Now I realize there’s a lot more than humans onboard. There are trees, clams, what about giraffes, and ants. As I look around the spaceship isn’t sterile white…it’s a jungle world.

* Thought I like this particular quote, the book pushes a lot of my buttons. “Enhancing survival prospects” isn’t what gets me out of bed in the morning.

Also read my post “When will we be a ‘multi-planetary’ species?


Make Diamonds from Carbon Dioxide in Your Breath?

What if you could make a diamond from thin air? Diamonds are made from carbon, so what if you used the carbon dioxide in the air, compressed it together, and made a diamond? How much air would you need? Could you even do it with your own breath, and make a completely unique, personal diamond for yourself or a loved one? This led to the back of the envelope question at dinner last night:

How many human breaths would it take to capture enough carbon dioxide to make an average-size diamond?

Read the rest of this entry

I Blew Some $$ on “Carbon Credits”

I bought myself some carbon credits for the first time today. Credits for 1 month cost $14.97. Here’s why:

I wanted to see how it works. Kinda like when I tracked my calorie intake as part of Stanford’s 6 month gut-microbiome study (aka “swab your poop with this q-tip), and learned all about the ingredients and calories of what I ate.

Peer Pressure!
I hear lots about carbon credits but not much about individual people actually buying them. Then last week my friend Dan Walsh bought enough credits to offset his carbon dioxide for the entire year! Woa!! Now I had to try it myself.

Guilt? Nah. I believe climate change is the biggest financial opportunity civilization has ever seen. $14.97 is just table stakes. My impression is lots of other people do feel guilty, so that’s why I ask. Perhaps once I start buying credits my guilt will emerge :O

It’s EASY to buy carbon credits

Buying credits took 5 minutes. I went to http://terrapass.com, and clicked “Carbon Offsets”.

How much to buy? The Terrapass website says average carbon dioxide emissions are 3,000 pounds per month. So to start, I went with the average.

WTF is a “carbon credit”?

Did I flush my money down the drain on some eco-scam?

I’m learning as I go. From the Terrapass site, my impression is my money went towards carbon dioxide credits generated from windmills or planting trees or something. So I basically paid to support a windmill or forest.

From Terrapass.com: TerraPass carbon offsets support emission reduction projects in communities around the United States. Every 1,000lbs you purchase destroys greenhouse gases equivalent to 1,000lbs of carbon dioxide, or burning 51 gallons of gasoline!

Have you bought carbon credits?

To me, buying carbon credits is like taking a cheap course on environmental science. I learned a lot about carbon credits quickly, came up with questions, and found answers. I touched on peer pressure, curiosity, and guilt along the way. It’s a fast and cheap way to learn by doing.

Carbon credits get a lot of talk and discussion in climate conversations. Who is following through with their wallet and time, even if it’s just to experiment? Have you? Will you?

Carbon Dioxide Makes You Dubmer

“a 15 percent decline of cognitive ability scores at 950 ppm”

Here’s a nice overview discussing research from Berkeley and Harvard on cognitive impairment with higher levels of carbon dioxide: https://thinkprogress.org/exclusive-elevated-co2-levels-directly-affect-human-cognition-new-harvard-study-shows-2748e7378941/
A few choice quotes from the article:
  • “The Harvard group measured a 15 percent decline of cognitive ability scores at 950 ppm and 50 percent declines at 1,400 ppm.”
  • “The IPCC projects outdoor air concentrations up to 1099 ppm by 2100 (much higher in cities and indoors of course).”
  • “Measured outdoor CO2 levels in major cities from Phoenix to Rome can be many tens of ppm higher — up to 100 ppm or more — than the global average”
  • “As a result of these studies, NASA has already lowered the maximum allowable CO2 levels on the space station.”
Cognitive impairment presents a potentially untapped angle on the changing climate and rising carbon dioxide levels.
Please recommend a cheap, portable carbon dioxide meter! Comment below, 10 ppm accuracy is sufficient.
More sources:

What is Climate Change 2.0?

Climate Change 2.0

  1. Sounds Like: “Climate change is an opportunity”, “Climate change is the biggest financial opportunity civilization has ever seen”, “Climate change is happening for us”, “Giving Fucks About Climate Change”
  2. Words and Tone: Curiosity, open source, raw data, asking questions is how we build solutions, millisecond data to design and test solutions, “we are the public”, making fun of climate change, rarest pepe memes, 😀
  3. Looks Like: Giving A Fuck About Climate ChangeImpossible Labs, Blue Planet Ltd, Bret Victor, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, you?
  4. Overall: The hottest thing since /r/PrequelMemes


Are You Climate Curious?

I like reading anti-climate change articles. It’s interesting to read what people say about climate change who think it’s a waste of money or a big lie. They’re filled with interesting stuff I wouldn’t come across on a NASA or other “normal” site.

Here’s a recent one:

InfoWars.com: Australia Weather Experts Falsify Climate Change

It linked to this interview with James Lovelock, a big climate change-y environmentalist guy. And an epic quote that gets ya thinking:

Lovelock now believes that “CO2 is going up, but nowhere near as fast as they thought it would. The computer models just weren’t reliable. In fact,” he goes on breezily, “I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy, this climate change. You’ve only got to look at Singapore. It’s two-and-a-half times higher than the worst-case scenario for climate change, and it’s one of the most desirable cities in the world to live in.”

Something to ponder! I wonder what the Singapore bit is about. The whole interview is a great read.

I especially like the comments at the bottom of the articles, where people write in their own thoughts. Here’s one I followed up on since it caught my attention.

Sea levels world wide falling according to NASA

USA average global temperatures falling

Wow, what if those were true?

Link 1: Sea levels falling

Sea levels world wide falling according to NASA: https://www.iceagenow.info/sea-levels-are-falling/

All they did was zoom in on the 2015-2016 graph and say it’s fallen 2 cm in the past year. Even though it’s risen 80 cm in the past 20 years.

Duh! I’m used to all these types of horrible “logical” things because I used to trade penny stocks. You haven’t seen a garbage “trend” until you’ve traded stocks on the pink sheets.

So it’s easy to dismiss that one. But dismissing ideas isn’t the point. It also sparked an idea. I wonder what causes sea level to go up and down on the daily/monthly scale. I don’t know! Maybe a next dataset for http://carbondoomsday.com after carbon dioxide is finished.

Link 2: Global temperatures falling

USA average global temperatures falling

I don’t have anything to say about the graphs, kinda whatever. But the article from the “Deplorable Climate Science Blog” has a good quote:

Climate scientists say the exact opposite of the data, because they are consultants being paid to push the global warming scam.

The scientists I know work hard and for very little money. So I give “climate scientists” (whoever they are) a pass on this.

The rest of the “climate industry” does not get a pass. Wherever there’s money there’s potential for distorted and confusing motives. And climate change has been such an emotional issue. Big emotions and lots of money combine to create the perfect storm!

Something I think about often as I get booted up in climate change and meet different people and players.

And climate change software!

That guy from the “Deplorable Climate Change Blog” shared the sea level rise graphing software he made. I respect the effort. Climate change peeps should always show their code and raw data.

For the Carbon Doomdsay climate change chart we publish all code open source to the Github repository “Giving a Fuck About Climate Change“.

Why Climate Curious?

So why didn’t I spend my time reading a NASA website or something instead of anti-climate junk? Doesn’t it get me riled up, “triggered”, etc?

Nope! My secret is I’m not much of an arguer or debater. I don’t see it as my job to “convince” the world climate change “is a thing”. I’m more 5% identify the issue, 95% solve it.  I think that’s how a lot of engineers and entrepreneurs are wired.

Bill Nye, Al Gore, InfoWars, and the “Deplorable Climate Change Blog” are in the 95% debate it, 5% figure it out crowd. I appreciate these people because they gave me the raw information and perspective I need. And reading anti-climate change articles sparks my own curiosity and ideas.

Shout out if you’re like me: 5% identify the issue, 95% solve it 🙂

No One Gives a Fuck About Climate Change

Why is the #1 Image on Google for “Climate Change Chart” a comic strip?

Screenshot 2017-06-05 13.16.40

That’s right, the #1 image result for ‘climate change chart’ is “Earth Temperature Timeline” from XKCD, which though awesome and accurate, nonetheless, is a comic rather than say real data from the atmosphere or IPCC or somethang.

So where do I go to track CO2 levels in our atmosphere? I wanted to find out. What I found out is: no one gives a fuck about climate change. How do I know this? Because if people gave a fuck, there would be nice websites tracking the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The results of my search were abysmal. Take Google’s #1 result for “co2 tracker”, co2.earth

Screenshot 2017-06-05 12.37.25

Google’s #1 result for “CO2 tracker”

NASA: "Last Measurement April 2017"

NASA CO2 Chart: “Last Measurement April 2017”

HAHAHAHA, are you freaking KIDDING ME??? Am I browsing Alta Vista on an Apple II in 1995?

But at least it’s updated every day or two…

The #1 result for “climate change chart” is from NASA. NASA’s “Latest Measurement” is freaking 2 months old…April 2017…WHAT? Barely interactive, a little widget squeezed into a corner.

The Winner:

Screenshot 2017-06-05 13.38.41

@Keeling_Curve on Twitter is the best place to track CO2 right now

The best I found was @Keeling_Curve on Twitter, piping fresh hot data right out of scientific measurement spots atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii. @Keeling_Curve’s profile references a data page from Scripps that scientists scramble to update within about 24 hours, though Scripps’ data looks embedded in a machine-unreadable PNG format :\

These charts are all pretty sad.

Compare to Bitcoin Charts

While atmospheric CO2 has been measured since 1956, Bitcoin has been around for only 8 years. But Google has bitcoin charts for dayyyyyyyss. They’re beautiful, they’re useful, they’re interesting:

Coinbase, gorgeous!

Screenshot 2017-06-05 12.29.25

Bitcoin eye candy from Coinbase

99bitcoins.com tags historic events! Bitcoincharts.com showcases beautiful visualizations of daily price ranges.

Climate Change Needs a Beautiful Chart and Tracker

In conclusion, no one really gives a fuck about climate change. If they did, there would be a reasonable tracker, charter, and map of historic events that was easily discoverable with a simple Google Search.

So it’s your opportunity to give a fuck…even for someone with just some basic HTML and CSS skills. Seize this opportunity!

Who will build the world’s first Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide tracker to:

  • #1 on Google for “climate change chart”
  • updated daily
  • visualize intra-day minute-by-minute data
  • call out interesting historical data points
  • bootstrap-powered / beautiful

Update! The chart is happening!!

Check out http://carbondoomsday.com

Join 3 8 of us working on github making this real!! Join in! https://gitter.im/giving-a-fuck-about-climate-change/Lobby

About this post:

This post was inspired during an early morning conversation at Manylabs.

Katie Patrick has an awesome online course on “How to Save the World” on how to apply data, behavior change and game design techniques to your cause for the epic win. Katie says to “make sure to include the concept of disclosure, which is that just making measurement data public naturally catalyzes change without requiring heavy handed legislation. The numbers just naturally effect us to move in the right direction”.

The wonderful Matthew Eshed is co-founder of Impossible Labs and we have lots of conversations like these.

Any good, smart, level headed parts of this post are 100% thanks to Katie and Matthew. All fucks  attributed to me.

Climate Change 2.0: How to Hack Your Way Into The Climate Change Revolution

I read a great question from acabal on HackerNews today:

Does anyone have ideas on how a mid-career software developer can switch gears into the clean energy/climate change industry, to do something to help?

To help answer acabal’s question, I found 9 technology ideas on Quora that sparked my own curiosity.

Climate Change is at a tipping point. Climate Change 2.0 is an opportunistic, solutions-driven, civilization-scale approach to climate change. Heroes, this is a call to adventure!

Let’s get curious and dream big about climate change!

9 Thought-Provoking Climate Change 2.0 Ideas

1. What is the cost per square kilometer to turn a desert into an area with full tree/vegetation cover? And how long does it take?

2. What are the best strategies for sequestering atmospheric carbon?

3. If all the used cardboard boxes were folded flat and simply buried, how much carbon would be captured and sequestrated?

4. Is a “space sunshade” a feasible solution to global warming

5. Why don’t people use the new ways to combat global warming like green algae, artificial icebergs, carbon filters, etc.?

6. Why can’t carbon emissions of diesel cars be filtered out?

7. What if we make solid blocks of CO2 and dump them into space? Will that decrease the greenhouse effect?

8. What is the difficulty of technologically using the CO2 in our air for practical use?

9. Why don’t we genetically modify crops and trees to collect more carbon and reverse climate change?

I also wrote “A Biohacker’s Guide to Climate Change” with curiosity in mind. It starts with my 5 favorite books and articles on tech opportunities in climate change.

Interested in meeting other like-minded people working on climate tech solutions?

Join the new Google group: Climate Change 2.0: A Call to Adventure

Question to you: Do you know of any active Reddit communities talking about climate change as an opportunity? Would love to find one!

Let me know if you liked this or have suggestions. Collaborators welcome, this is a planetary adventure!