Category Archives: Survival

Ways to Save Earth: Pulling CO2 From the Air to Make Gasoline

I hear a lot of dismay out there about the environment, but I believe there is still hope for the planet Earth, that we might even reverse the ongoing Holocene extinction if we humans stop squabbling and really get our act together. As one great example, it is said to be possible to undo the greenhouse effect we have created by extracting CO2 from the air in order to reverse climate change. The technology already exists, in fact, it just needs to be scaled up.

From its pilot plant in Squamish, British Columbia, Carbon Engineering has successfully developed and demonstrated its technologies and has been removing CO2 from the atmosphere since 2015 and converting it into fuels since 2017.

Carbon Engineering

This technology is not fringe, but is supported by Bill Gates, Canadian Natural Resources Limited founder Murray Edwards, Occidental Petroleum and Chevron, among others.

Presently, Carbon Engineering’s Direct Air Capture system can remove a ton of CO2 from the air for about $100. Individual systems would be set to capture about a million tons of CO2 per year, requiring some tens of thousands of systems to keep up with global emissions and reduce atmospheric CO2 to normal levels by 2040.

There are just under 70,000 gas stations in the United States alone, so that isn’t very many to save the planet. …

Read more: Forbes

The above is from an article by James Conca. I suspect he is missing something important with regard to his previous promotion on Forbes about it being okay to dump all the radioactive water from Fukushima into the Pacific ocean, but that’s another topic for another post.

True Strange News

Tornado Missed Hitting Earth + Weirdest Weather 2019

There is a city in the state of Texas named “Earth”. On or around, a tornado was confirmed west of the town of Earth, “just north of Highway 70 – moving northeast” and it “just missed Earth to the north” according to a tweet by the National Weather Service in Lubbock Texas. @NWSLubbock

I’ve been enjoying looking at all the recent weird 2019 weather, things I missed watching the news.

Here’s a sample. There were record highs in June 2019 in the usually snowy state of Alaska.

There was a US rash of tornadoes, nearly 300 confirmed in the last two weeks of May 2019.

Some very unusual weird fusilli clouds were seen around June 21, 2019 in Colorado.


Very unusual hail with spikes reportedly fell in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Thunderstorms were caught on radar putting out a wildfire in Florida.

An airport video camera caught a lightning strike that left a hole in the tarmac at an airport in Kansas.

Fears about a frozen river causing problems lead China

A tornado spared a house. On March 3, 2019, in Waverly Hall, Georgia a two-story house (lower-center in image) sustained relatively little damage, despite the downing of nearly all surrounding trees.

A lot more weird weather so far in 2019 is listed on the Weather Channel here. I think we are going to see plenty more. Stay tuned.


Alert: 37 Million Face New Tornadoes, Floods

CORRECTION: The original title here said “37 million Texans” and while 37 million people were under flood warnings in multiple states, the entire population of Texas in 2019 is estimated to be 29 million according to World Population Review. As additional fact checking, last year the population of Texas was only 28.7 million. (28,701,845 – 2018 est).

UPDATE (May 4, 2019): “Deadly Flooding From Michigan to the South Damages Homes, Sends Mississippi River to 157-Year-High in Davenport, Iowa”

This still from a drone video shows how bad the flooding is in Davenport, Iowa right now:

Click for link to video on


In the last few days 30 million have been under a flash flood warning from Texas to Illinois. Missouri is having flooding and the Mississippi River is at levels not seen in a decade.

Today, Friday May 3, 2019, severe flooding is affecting Houston Texas. One radar image at 8:40 PM EDT shows a focused line of very heavy rain. Buildings have been damaged by at least two tornadoes.

A tornado was spotted in Fayette County during severe weather on May 3, 2019, leaving behind some damage to several buildings. 

Read more at SpectrumLocal

A church was destroyed in Plum, Texas, but no one was injured.

Earlier Friday morning, Fayette County law enforcement had confirmed a tornado near Flatonia. There was also a possible tornado along Highway 71 west of La Grange, Texas, according to the SPC. 

There were reports of damage in both areas, and photos from the Fayette County EMS show structural damage to industrial buildings, trees, cars and power lines.

Fayette County EMS Director Sharon Muzny shared on Facebook a photo of a nearly destroyed church in Plum, Texas. 

Read more KXAN

Via Facebook by Tandy Fuller
Via Facebook by Susan Pavlas

The latest confirmed tornado on Friday touched down in near Eagle Lake, Texas, just before 1:30 p.m. CDT, according to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). 

Read more Accuweather

Good luck and stay safe if you are in the danger zones.

The Message of the Birds

Birds had huge meetings and spent years deciding what to say to humans, then, when the time was right, they leveraged social media to deliver the message. Would the humans understand? Would they take birds seriously? No telling, but they had to try.

“Humans, there is a guldok coming. Signal if you understand. Time is running out. You must dorg and shlok. This will save the earth. Don’t delay.”

Well, no, we didn’t get it.

“Hogging the camera and checking itself out,” we said.

All we understood is that a pair of birds got famous for their apparent fascination with a traffic camera.

The guldok, whatever that is, will happen now, and it won’t be the fault of the birds. They tried to warn us.

Here are some photos and animated gifs of murmurations, mysterious huge starling meetings.

Starlings are good representative messengers of the birds because:

1) They have a huge range:

Starlings inhabit a wide range of habitats from the Arctic Circle to the Equator. In fact the only habitat they do not typically occupy is the driest sandy deserts. 

And 2) They listen to other birds in a democratic way.

Starlings imitate a variety of avian species and have a repertoire of about 15–20 distinct imitations. The calls of abundant species … are preferentially imitated. (Source)

Below starlings act out, for us, in a massive 3D diagram, the exact steps to dorging and shloking to save the earth.

Awesome, but I’m not sure I quite understand the code. Murmerations are like sky crop circles: they look like they have a big meaning, but no one can read them.

The gulls though that we wouldn’t get it. They had been observing our behavior closely and decided we were not all that bright, so they boiled it down to a simple message, delivered to a traffic camera.

PS. This post is a joke about my ability to fool myself. I sometimes get an idea then find all kinds of evidence for it, but the original idea was not valid. Perhaps others do this as well.

To Win, Remove Salt from Seawater Cheaply

How is it that we have deadly water shortages on a world covered mostly by water? Unfortunately, sea water kills most crops and we can’t drink it due to the high salt content. Effective large scale salt removal from of sea water could therefore save millions of lives. With climate change happening we need more than the 15,906 operational desalination plants we currently have. Did you know we had that many?

Desalinating sea water is much more expensive than getting fresh water from rivers or groundwater, water recycling and water conservation, but for many places on earth, desalinating is their only option. (source)

Because only 2.5 % of water on earth is fresh water and since most of that is inaccessible, trapped in snow fields and icebergs, only 0.007 percent of the planet’s water is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people. (Source)

Worldwide, some 700 million people don’t have access to enough clean water. In 10 years the number is expected to explode to 1.8 billion. In many places, squeezing fresh water from the ocean might be the only viable way to increase the supply.

Cleaning up ocean water easier said than done, but mega scale desalination plants have been operating for years. In one example:

[A company called] Sorek will profitably sell water to the Israeli water authority for 58 U.S. cents per cubic meter (1,000 liters, or about what one person in Israel uses per week), which is a lower price than today’s conventional desalination plants can manage. What’s more, its energy consumption is among the lowest in the world for large-scale desalination plants.

Via TechReview

The Sorek plant is currently ranked number 4 in the world, producing fresh water at a rate of 624,000 m3/day.

A cost of 58 cents per cubic meter is quite good, but can we do even better?

The average price of water in the United States is about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons. At that price, a gallon of water costs less than one penny. (Source)

There are 3.79 cubic meters in 1,000 gallons, so $2.20 is the cost to make 1,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water with the Sorek reverse osmosis process. A sea water source can match the average price of water in the USA if made desalination can be made 70 cents cheaper per 1,000 gallons.

How might this be done? Graphene filters may be part of the answer.

A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater. …  The promising graphene oxide sieve could be highly efficient at filtering salts, and will now be tested against existing desalination membranes.

It has previously been difficult to manufacture graphene-based barriers on an industrial scale. Reporting their results in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, scientists from the University of Manchester, led by Dr Rahul Nair, shows how they solved some of the challenges by using a chemical derivative called graphene oxide.

…”To make it permeable, you need to drill small holes in the membrane. But if the hole size is larger than one nanometre, the salts go through that hole. You have to make a membrane with a very uniform less-than-one-nanometre hole size to make it useful for desalination. It is a really challenging job.”

Graphene oxide membranes have already proven their worth in sieving out small nanoparticles, organic molecules and even large salts. But until now, they couldn’t be used to filter out common salts, which require even smaller sieves. …

When common salts are dissolved in water, they always form a “shell” of water molecules around the salt molecules.

This allows the tiny capillaries of the graphene-oxide membranes to block the salt from flowing through along with the water.

“Water molecules can go through individually, but sodium chloride cannot. It always needs the help of the water molecules. The size of the shell of water around the salt is larger than the channel size, so it cannot go through,” said Dr Nair. …

By 2025 the UN expects that 14% of the world’s population will encounter water scarcity. As the effects of climate change continue to reduce urban water supplies, wealthy modern countries are also investing in desalination technologies.
Current desalination plants around the world use polymer-based membranes. …

read more BBC

In 2019 we have 15,906 operational desalination plants on earth generating about 95.37 million cubic meters of useable water per day. (Source). That’s 25.19 billon US liquid gallons of water per day.

Number one in terms of production is the Ras Al Khair Power and Desalination Plant in Saudi Arabia, producing fresh water at a rate of 1,036,000 m3/day. (Source) That’s 273,682,246 US liquid gallons of water per day.

The Ras Al Khair plant – the largest combined power and desalination facility in the world – includes multi stage flash and seawater reverse osmosis desalination and deploys the largest membrane plant in the Gilf of Oman. It also uses dissolved air flotation pre- treatment in converting more than 1 billion litres of seawater into potable water each day.


If we consider need at 100 litres of water per person per day, the world wide demand for 8 billion people is roughly 800 billion liters or 211 billion gallons of water per day. Our 15,906 desalination plants create about 25 billion of that daily need now, about 11.8%.

The bottom line: We need breakthroughs to increase fresh water production enough to sustain projected growth and to buffer larger swings in water availability due to climate change. The cheapest potable water producers will win big time.

3D Printing Human Hearts with Stem Cells

With thousands waiting for replacement hearts around the world, the quest is on for created replacements made of patient stem cells or rejuvenated heart tissue to avoid problems with tissue rejection as often occurs with donor hearts. Israeli scientists have moved science one step closer in the quest.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have printed the world’s first 3-D heart complete with blood vessels using personalized “ink” made of collagen, a protein.

Scientists in Israel unveil a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels calling it a first and “major medical breakthrough” that advances possibilities for transplants.

Via YouTube

Now they just need to make it actual size and get it beating, among other hurdles.
Others have been working on this as well. Here’s a little heart made from stem cells that researchers in California got beating in 2015. Published June 14, 2015:

By recreating the physical forces that developing cells experience, stem cells have been coaxed into forming microscopic beating hearts

Via YouTube

Researchers prompted stem cells to develop into heart muscle and connective tissue, and then organize into tiny chambers and “beat.” In a video of the achievement, the heart muscle cells (indicated by red at the center) are beating while connective tissue (green ring) secures the miniheart to the dish where it grew. Kevin Healy, a University of California, Berkeley, professor of bioengineering and co-senior author of the study, said in a statement. “This technology could help us quickly screen for drugs likely to generate cardiac birth defects, and guide decisions about which drugs are dangerous during pregnancy.” The research was published March 2015 in the journal Nature Communications

Via LiveSci

On March 16, 2016, there was this provocative headline: Scientists Grow Full-Sized, Beating Human Hearts From Stem Cells
Excerpt reading the article, they are not ready with anything that could be used for a transplant yet.

… a team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has gotten one step closer, using adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue, according to a study published recently in the journal Circulation Research.

… While this isn’t the first time heart tissue has been grown in the lab, it’s the closest researchers have come to their end goal: Growing an entire working human heart.

After those two weeks, the hearts contained well-structured tissue that looked similar to immature hearts; when the researchers gave the hearts a shock of electricity, they started beating.

But the researchers admit that they’re not quite ready …

They are next planning to improve their yield of pluripotent stem cells (a whole heart would take tens of billions, one researcher said in a press release), find a way to help the cells mature more quickly, and perfecting the body-like conditions in which the heart develops. In the end, the researchers hope that they can create individualized hearts for their patients so that transplant rejection will no longer be a likely side effect.

Via PopSci

Teams all over the globe are getting closer. Who will be the first person to have a new heart made of their own cells? Stay tuned.

Why Mole Rats Don’t Get Cancer + Total Cure for Human Cancer (Claim)

How do the only mammals that don’t get cancer pull off this biological trick? Scientists have figured it out and are working to use this knowledge to help fight human cancers. The trick they use is a “suicidal protein, called interferon beta” which quickly kills precancerous cells and their damaged neighbors.

… Blind mole rats  and naked mole rats–both subterranean rodents with long life spans–are the only mammals never known to develop cancer. Three years ago, Seluanov and Gorbunova determined the anti-cancer mechanism in the naked mole rat. Their research found that a specific gene–p16–makes the cancerous cells in naked mole rats hypersensitive to overcrowding, and stops them from proliferating when too many crowd together. …

Gorbunova and Seluanov made their discovery by isolating cells from blind mole rats and forcing them to proliferate in culture beyond what occurs in the animal. After dividing approximately 15-20 times, all of the cells in the culture dish died rapidly. The researchers determined that the rapid death occurred because the cells recognized their pre-cancerous state and began secreting a suicidal protein, called interferon beta. The precancerous cells died by a mechanism which kills both abnormal cells and their neighbors, resulting in a “clean sweep.”

“Not only were the cancerous cells killed off, but so were the adjacent cells, which may also be prone to tumorous behavior,” said Seluanov.

“While people don’t use the same cancer-killing mechanism as blind mole rats, we may be able to combat some cancers and prolong life, if we could stimulate the same clean sweep reaction in cancerous human cells,” said Gorbunova. …

Gorbunova believes the anti-cancer mechanism is an adaptation to subterranean life. “Blind mole rats spend their lives in underground burrows protected from predators,” said Gorbunova. “Living in this environment, they could perhaps afford to evolve a long lifespan, which includes developing efficient anti-cancer defenses.”

More: Eureka Alert

Some believe that cells become cancerous in the first place due to microbes inside the cells, which can be killed in different ways. One company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), claims to have a complete cure for cancer:

A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

It sounds fantastical, especially considering that an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide each year, according to reports by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Further, every sixth death in the world is due to cancer, making it the second leading cause of death (second only to cardiovascular disease).

CEO and founder of the startup Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBI) Ilan Morad, right, with Hanan Itzhaki, the chief science officer, at their lab (Courtesy)

Then again, some highly doubt that this company can deliver:

The CEO of the company behind the research told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that it has not published its research in medical journals, as is the norm, because it “can’t afford” to do so, but that the results of its pre-clinical trials have been “very good.” Several Israeli experts contacted by The Times of Israel declined to comment on the claim, some precisely because they were not familiar with the research….

Dr. Ben Neel, director of Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, told The New York Post that “cancer is multiple diseases, and it is highly unlikely that this company has found a ‘cure’ for cancer any more than there is a single cure for infections.”

He said that “more likely, this claim is yet another in a long line of spurious, irresponsible and ultimately cruel false promises for cancer patients.”

via TimesofIs

Time will tell. Curing cancer would significantly increase human lifespans and would end a lot of suffering, so I’m for it. How about you? Should we cure cancer if we can?

Videos: What is aging? Can we cure it?

Some see aging as a curable disease. I like this view so here are a few videos on how we might cure aging. Of course, curing aging causes all kinds of resource problems, but I still think we should be working on it while we are working on ways to generate clean energy, sustainable healthy foods and new living spaces. Perhaps some people who will live to 200 years old are already alive today. The trick, however, would be to look like you are no more than about 65 when you are 200 years old.

This should make me get out and exercise a bit more. It is the old dying cells sending out toxins and causing inflammation that does the most damage in your body, so there are ways right now we can combat that situation. See anti-inflammatory lifestyle.