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'''J:''' Hey guys. ''(applause)''
 
'''J:''' Hey guys. ''(applause)''
  
'''S:''' And Evan Bernstein ...  
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'''S:''' And Evan Bernstein.  
  
 
'''E:''' Good evening folks! ''(applause)''
 
'''E:''' Good evening folks! ''(applause)''
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'''S:''' So, Evan—
 
'''S:''' So, Evan—
Line 1,864: Line 1,863:
 
'''E:''' Wow! Really? Here’s the news item. Here’s the news item today. ESA—
 
'''E:''' Wow! Really? Here’s the news item. Here’s the news item today. ESA—
  
'''S:''' Some good news?
+
'''S:''' —Some good news?
  
 
'''E:''' It is good news because—
 
'''E:''' It is good news because—
  
'''C:''' Oh good, thank goodness.
+
'''C:''' —Oh good, thank goodness.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' I’d rather ''not'' be hit by a two-kilometer—
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Exactly. And the {{w|Asteroid impact avoidance|prevention methods}} have gone into effect because ESA successfully launched GT1 into orbit the other day. No issues, everything is fine. It’s the first salvo in the fight against Perses in which is going to approach Perses and establish a fixed position in close proximity to it. It’s using the {{w|gravity tractor}} method—
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Oh, "GT1."
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —GT1, which is why it’s called that.
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' I love this idea.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' So if all goes according to plan, [presumably demonstrating to audience] here’s Perses, it’s coming in, GT1. They’re going to park it over here in a stable position and the gravity between the two objects, it should nudge it. It should nudge it just—and it doesn’t need to nudge much because it’s still out there far enough—a few centimeters! That’s all they’re looking to do at this distance.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' Yeah, but 20 years is actually ''right'' on the margin—
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' —It’s on the edge.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' —For the gravity tug method.
 +
 
 +
'''J:''' It’s a little too close for comfort.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' They want to try as soon as—I mean as late—whatever you want to say—as possible.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' That can’t be the only thing that they’re doing.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' No, it’s not—
 +
 
 +
'''J:''' —No, they tried other stuff.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —There’s a three-prong attack against Perses, and this was the first one, and it successfully went—but there are two more coming. So the second prong is being undertaken by {{w|China National Space Administration|China’s space agency}}. They’re going to be launching a direct impact probe into Perses, and they’re going to attempt to knock it off its trajectory. Now, this is sometimes referred to as the "battering ram attempt," but this particular project is considered, actually, a little less reliable because previous experiences from space agencies with this exact method, the direct impact approach, had mixed results.
 +
 
 +
So, if you recall, NASA conducted a test of the direct impact approach back in 2022. The name of the test was called DART. DART stood for {{w|Double Asteroid Redirection Test|Direct [sic] Asteroid Redirection Test}}.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Oh yeah, DART.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' And it shot the DART at—oh, you’ll love this Cara—at a small test asteroid called {{w|65803 Didymos|Didymoon}}.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Didymoon?
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Didymoon.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' I like Didymoon.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Jay, didn’t you name one of your dogs Didymoon?
 +
 
 +
'''J:''' No.
 +
 
 +
''(audience laughter)''
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Bob?
 +
 
 +
'''J:''' It’s Jay. He never would admit to it.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' I thought it was Jay.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' It was a goldfish.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' He lied to me.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' ''(laughs)'' Little Didymoon.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Now, look, Didymoon was a much smaller asteroid than Perses is. So the data revealed by the impact is that, yes, it would be effective on an asteroid ''that'' size, but it wasn’t clear if it would do something the size of Per—oh, I failed to mention: Perses is two kilometers in diameter—
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' —But doesn’t it ''barely'' have to move because it’s so far away, still?
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' —Yeah, but—
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' I mean, I know it’s close. But it’s ''so'' far.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —A couple centimeters—
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' —Two kilometers is big.
 +
 
 +
'''J:''' Yeah, but I thought—
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Yeah two kilometers is ''huge''.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' —Yeah, but it’s like "bink," and then it’s, like, ''so'' far from us.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' —It’s all momentum.
 +
 
 +
'''J:''' —But I also thought that they were worried that hitting something like that could cause just a bunch of smaller objects.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' No, that’s only if they hit it with a nuclear weapon. And even then—
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —Right, and that was never really a consideration, even back in the late teens, when they were talking about that even as a possibility for any future impact. They kind of ruled it out at that point, for—
 +
 
 +
'''J:''' Okay.
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' —Yeah, the composition of the asteroid’s critical in determining what best approach.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' What method. But this is solid, right? So it has to be solid. You can’t hit a pile of rubble with an impact method—
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Right, because you’re—
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' —So it’ll just stay rubble.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Exactly. No effect.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' (inaudible) It’ll decay—it’ll have no effect. So—
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —No effect.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' But the thing is, it’s just hard launching a ship fast enough, heavy enough to hit it with enough momentum to move it—
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' —And also, it’s, like, yeah, it’s two kilometers, but that’s really small in the grand scheme of, like, ''space''.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' So this is why—
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' —But it’s really big in the grand scheme of a ''rocket''.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' True, but they have to get that calculation ''perfect'' to be able to reach it.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' That’s not a problem.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Really?
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' They won’t miss.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Okay.
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' {{w|Classical mechanics|Newtonian mechanics}}. You don’t even need {{w|Introduction to quantum mechanics|quantum mechanics}}. (inaudible) is good enough.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' China’s craft is significantly bigger than DART’s was. So they’re relying on the much, much larger size of this to perhaps do the job. They’re calling it—I don’t speak Chinese. If anyone out there does speak a dialect of Chinese, forgive me—Tuí Tuí, which is Chinese for "push" or "shove," which I thought was kind of cute. That’s a phonetic spelling. T-U-I with an accent of it is how they spelt it in English.
 +
 
 +
'''J:''' So can they tell—Don’t we have the science to know that the gravity from the ship is going to affect it or not? We’re all kind of sitting on pins and needles, like wanting to get something definitive.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' But it’s all orbital mechanics. They’ll have to hit it, and then they’ll have to follow its orbit for, like, two years to ''really'' know what the impact is.
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' That’s right. You have to be—
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' —That’s why they can’t wait—
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' —It takes ''that'' long for them to know if it’s knocked off its course?
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' —That’s why they have to everything at once. They can’t wait because every time they wait, we lose the ability to deflect it.
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' Yeah, it’s just too important to screw up, so that’s why it’s good to have Plan A, B, C, as many plans as you can muster.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Redundant. Are there more than two?
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' I don’t think three is enough. They should do something else.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' There’s a third.
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' There is a third. There is—
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —Now, Tuí’s going to launch in late 2038, early 2039 is the estimated window for that one. But, third prong attack—and, Bob, you’re going to love this one.
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' Oh yeah.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' This is called Alda. A-L-D-A. It’s expected to launch in 2040, and it stands for Asteroid Laser Deflection Array. Well, I have to mention it now. We love {{w|Alan Alda}}, when we used to watch him back when television was a thing. When {{w|M*A*S*H (TV series)|M*A*S*H}}—but he was also a great science communicator. He did Scientific American Discoveries on—
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' —You can still get M*A*S*H on the Aug.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —So good.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' Yeah, you can.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —And you never know what kind of entertainers and stuff are going to become science communicators or great things. {{w|Millie Bobby Brown}} became an oceanographer, and who saw that coming? Stranger things. Who saw that coming?
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' —''(laughs)'' She was smart.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —But, in any case, ALDA’s going to be launched in 2040. And it’s going to contain five {{w|Laser propulsion|space lasers}}<!--Not sure if there’s a better wikipedia article…-->, Bob—
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' —''Lasers''.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —They’re going to rendezvous with Perses—
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' —How powerful?
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —In 2040—how powerful, indeed! 50 {{w|peta-}}watts per laser.
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' Yeah! (inaudible)
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Woo! They’re going to blast this thing.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' Are they going to draw a shark on the side of the—
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —I hope so. ''(audience laughter)'' If they don’t, what a wasted opportunity. The idea being is that you pound this thing with enough laser power—debris, gases get released from it—
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' —And that pushes it.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —And that creates a little bit of a push. It takes time. This doesn’t—you don’t send it up there, fire a couple lasers, and call it day. They estimate it’s going to take 6 to 24 months of laser bombardment in order to get thing to move those few centimeters.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Wait, are the lasers space-based, or are they Earth-based?
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Oh, they’re launching them out.
 +
 
 +
'''S:''' They’re space-based.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Oh they’re launching. Okay, got it.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Yep, they’re going to launch them out there.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Is anything going to be in between this laser ship and—
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' —Not for long. Not for long.
 +
 
 +
''(laughter)''
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Not at 50 peta-watts!
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' Are we risking anything?
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' Not at 50 peta watts.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' They have a pretty clear shot. They’ve calculated that. They don’t care.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' It will intercept it in 2043. And so that’s the three-prong attack, and the first launch happened today, so we will keep obviously close tabs on this one.
 +
 
 +
'''C:''' So what do we think the odds are?
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' With all three of these things going out there? I think, ''I'' think very good—
 +
 
 +
'''B:''' —Doable.
 +
 
 +
'''E:''' —Scientists are not really putting out any false hope and saying, "Yeah, it’s guaranteed to work," or any kind of 99.9% effective. They’re not really saying anything along those lines, for obvious reasons.
  
'''S:''' I’d rather ''not'' be hit by a 2-kilometer—
+
'''S:''' So we’re starting at 33%, and I think each one will knock it down 10% or so. They’re hoping to get it to less than 5%. But they may be the best they could do.
  
'''E:''' Exactly. And the prevention methods have gone into effect because ESA successfully launched GT1 into orbit the other day.
+
'''C:''' So it’s an interesting {{w|eschatology|eschatological}} threat. It’s kind of the first one other than climate change, which has been this slow burn. Heh, no pun intended. This is the first real time where I’m feeling like this could be how I go out, you guys.
  
 
== Who's That Noisy? <small>()</small>==
 
== Who's That Noisy? <small>()</small>==

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SGU Episode 762
Dec 6th 2035 😉
Error creating thumbnail: /bin/bash: /usr/bin/convert: No such file or directory Error code: 127
SGU 761 SGU 763
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
C: Cara Santa Maria


Quote of the Week
'Science is the greatest thing known to humans. Through science we have been able to seize a modicum of control over the otherwise natural state of chaos among the cosmos. It is truly the most stunning achievement for a life form that has emerged from the dust of the stars. In order for us to be the best stewards of our universe, we must continue the pursuit of science, and may it forever be our torch to light our way forward'
Alyssa Carson[1], first resident of Armstrong Station, The Moon
Links
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


Introduction

You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.

S: Hello and welcome to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. (applause) Today is Thursday, December 6th, 2035, and this is your host, Steven Novella. (audience laughter) Joining me this week are Bob Novella ...

B: Hey, everybody! (applause)

S: Cara Santa Maria...

C: Howdy. (applause)

S: Jay Novella ...

J: Hey guys. (applause)

S: And Evan Bernstein.

E: Good evening folks! (applause)

S: So I have to say it's great to be back in Melbourne, but I am –

B: Wait, why did you laugh? Why was that funny? (laughter) We worked for months to get this pronunciation correct. What happened?

S: There's no right or wrong. There's no right or wrong.

J: As recent as today, somebody sent us an email that explained how to say it, yet again. (laughter) They said, "drop all the vowels."

S: Right. But then they yell at us because there's a difference between saying it properly and saying it with an accent.

J: Yeah.

S: And we're supposed to say it properly for an American.

C: Yeah, without an (inaudible).

S: And I have no idea where in the spectrum of "Mel-born" to "Mel-burn" to "Mel-bin"…

E: Yeah, just don't say, "Mel-born." You're safe.

S: So it's great to be here, but I have to say I'm getting a little old for the 14-hour flights across the Pacific. You know, it was just a couple years ago that they brought back the supersonic commercial airliners, like 2031, I think it was, but they are just still too expensive for schlubs like us.

C: I've done 'em before, though. They're worth it, you guys.

S: Oh, sure.

C: I keep trying to convince you.

B: Of course you've done it. And probably first class (inaudible).

S: What is it, about six hours across the…?

C: Yeah, it's so much easier. It's like flying – it's like it used to be when I'd fly from L.A. to New York.

J: And you don't hear the sonic boom anymore. They got rid of it.

C: Yeah, yeah, it's super comfy. Just fall asleep, wake up, I'm there.

B: But, Jay, that big breakthrough that allowed the supersonic transport to become viable again was the fact that they design the shape – you've seen the shape, it's a gorgeous, really elongated shape – but that minimizes the sonic boom by like a 1000th of what it used to be. And that's what was the big problem with it. Remember, what was it, the old one, the Concorde

S: And when did we first talk about that? It was, like, 15 years ago.[link needed]

B: Oh my god.

E: Long time ago.

S: And here we are, like just coming (inaudible).

B: Remember? I saw it. I think I saw it in a magazine the first time we were in this area. And I said, "Look at this. This is something that's really going to be big in the future. And it was.

J: It is.

C: It is.

E: You were right, Bob.

C: Tense-shifting is hard from, like, the U.S. to Australia.

S: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

C: Time-traveling a little bit here. (winks?)

News Items

S: So, it's 2035, so this is our 30th Anniversary year of doing the SGU and because of that, we're finishing up 30 years. We're going to talk about regular news items, but we're going to give more of a history, like, where does this fit into the arc of science and skepticism over the last 30 years of the SGU, right?

Québec Accords, Global Corporate Alliance (3:10)

S: So, Jay's going to start with a news item that has something to do with global warming. He didn't tell me what it is, but you're going to start by telling us where we've been, where we're going, where are we in this saga that we've been talking about, it seems like, for 30 years.

J: Well, yeah, I mean when we first started talking about this, I don't even know when we first started talking about this –

S: I think right at the beginning, 2005, 2006.

J: It was a mounting thing that, as the years went by, we started to talk more and more about it. And then somewhere around the late 2020s, we really started to talk about, almost on every episode, to the point where listeners were emailing us, saying, "Okay, we get it. Global warming is bad news.

But we've seen a lot of bad things happen over the last 10 to 15 years where local governments, or governments in general are doing absolutely nothing. They still can't get out of their own way, right? We know that, but nothing has really been happening. And then in 2027, when Venice got so flooded that it couldn't recover, that's when the world woke up.

C: That was so sad. I miss Venice. (laughter)

S: And you can't even visit Venice anymore, right?

J: I mean, sure, you can, but there's only certain parts that you can go to.

C: It's too dangerous, guys.

B: But why didn't they try to just to build up, like abandon the bottom five (inaudible).

C: They tried that.

E: Too cost-prohibitive, among other things.

C: The foundation can't hold it.

J: The foundations weren't capable of holding it. So—

S: They would just sink back down.

J: It really hit a note across the globe when a lot of the art got destroyed. So that's when everybody—that's when I think we can kind of look back, as a marker, like the whole world took a pause.

So then in 2027, that same year, we had the Québec Accord, which was an absolute failure. I think Canada's heart was in the right place, but they tried to inspire the world to change. But governments just can't get out of their own way.

S: But think about it. Think about the Paris Accord, right, when was that? That was, like, 2015.

E: 2015.

S: Yeah, 2015. They said, "Okay, we're going to limit post-industrial warming to 2.0C above pre-industrial levels." And even though they knew that bad shit was going to happen at 2.0, really we needed to keep it beneath 1.5, which we hit this year, guys. This year we had 1.5C above pre-industrial level, 2035. So they didn't even try to ever get 1.5. They're like, "Alright, let's just keep it below 2." And they failed to do that. What they agreed to wouldn't even accomplish that.

J: Yeah, there was no chance of them getting that.

S: And the Québec Accords, they're like, "Alright, well, let's, maybe 3.0. Let's just keep it 3ºC above…

E: Move the goalposts.

S: And then, they, again, "We're not going to achieve that. We're all …

C: Well, and it's because they're not giving themselves any sort of—it's like a treaty. It's like, "Oh, we'll just agree to all do this."

E: It's a pledge.

C: It's a pledge. They're not even giving—

S: There's no consequences.

C: There's no consequences for not sticking to it.

J: Well, that's the problem because it's the real first global problem.

E: People, countries can exit as they wish.

C: I mean, remember back when Trump just dropped the ball on it? He just left. He just said, "No, Paris." I mean, we've been trying to make up for that ever since.

E: Gone.

S: Maybe Rubio will do the same thing.

J: Yeah.

C: Ugh. President Rubio.

E: President Rubio.

J: So, the things that we've seen—it wasn't just what happened in Venice but, you know, the storms continued to become deadly, right? So we have people dying every time there's a storm, a big storm.

S: Seems like every hurricane's a CAT-5 now.

C: Oh, and my city is constantly on fire. LA, also Sydney, even Melbourne. It's on fire all the time now.

S: Yeah, basically it's always fires.

B: Remember when—

C: Yeah, we used to have a fire season.

B: Yeah, remember fire season. Wasn't that quaint?

C: Now it's a red flag day every day.

J: But the reason why we're reviewing this is because, as you guys know, a few years ago, in 2032, IKEA, of all companies, drew a line in the sand and said that corporations have to now take the responsibility. And I love the tagline. What's the tagline?

S: "We got it."

J: "We got this."

All: "We got this."

C: IKEA! They got this.

S: But I don't think it's (plainly) "We got this." I think it's (assuringly confident) "We got this."

C: (laughs)

S: I think it's like, "Yeah, you guys failed. You're hopeless. You're in total political gridlock. So, somebody's got to step in. So we got this. Go away. We'll (inaudible).

B: So you're referring to governments in general, right?

S: Yeah, governments.

E: Right.

J: And it's—

B: That was a great tagline.

S: Yeah, but, you know, I'm worried about it.

J: It is a dystopian future, though, when corporations have to save us from government.

C: It's a dystopian present.

S: But, literally, I remember back in 2018, I think it was, there was a very short-lived science fiction series on some channel, some cable channel, where that's exactly what happened, [which] is that corporations had to step in because the governments were in gridlock. And then they used that in order to get—they didn't take over from the governments, governments just ceded them more and more power until they were de facto in charge, which is what a lot of people are worried about—like the conspiracy theorists, but it's actually not unreasonable—that that's the ultimate plan of the—what are they calling it? The Global Corporate Initiative.

J: Right.

C: GC—

E: GCI.

S: Yeah, their plan is not just to fix global warming for the world but to actually take power, to seize power.

J: So it didn't really—it almost started off as a joke, but then, just recently, in the news article that I'm covering, we've actually hit a critical mass. There's a lot of companies that just signed on that agreed that they're going to follow it. Now, here are the basic rules, or whatever, that they're following. So they're saying that they will have a zero-carbon emission or less, meaning that they could actually pay in to even reduce carbon emissions, so the company cannot produce any carbon whatsoever. So—

C: Oh, so they get credits if they go negative, carbon negative?

J: Well, actually, the companies are committing to the Alliance or saying that if do, that they have to pay massive fines to the—

S: Well can’t they just buy the credit from people who are negative?

J: Yeah, yeah.

S: So they have to be neutral—

J: They have to be neutral, whether it’s done through finances or through their—

S: So it’s like the old cap-and-trade thing, but they’re just doing it—

B: But what’s the motivation for them to actually join this? Why are they joining—what’s the win for them? I mean, this is going cause some—they may have to pay fines if they don’t—

C: Haven’t you seen all of those social media boycotts of all the companies that are just eating carbon? I think young people today, they don’t want to buy products, they don’t want to engage with companies that are just destroying the environment. They’re a lot hipper than we were when we were young.

B: I don’t go on the young people’s social media, so I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

C: We’re all the same platform, Bob.

J: No, but Cara, you’re right because the boycotting is actually part of the issue now. Is that any company—well there’s people—it goes both ways, there’s boycotting going both ways. So we have boycotts happening where companies that don’t join are being boycotted, which is—I’m kind of in that camp. But there are people that are saying if they do join, that these companies are trying to take power away from the government.

C: Great!

J: And people are boycotting them, saying that they’re going to be a part of the future problem.

C: True.

J: As typical—

S: You’re kind of screwed either way, right?

J: It’s a clusterfuck going both ways. It’s a little concerning because I would like to think that these companies have humanity’s best in mind.

C: Why would you ever think that?

S: Well, I mean it’s always complicated, alright? Companies sometimes do good things, right? And they get PR out of it, and then you say, “Okay, are they doing it because they really care about their customers, or do they really care about the planet?” They’re living on this planet, too, and some of their profits, actually—there are lots of companies who are losing profits because of climate change. So they’re invested in it as well, but then you have to wonder, are they just doing it for the PR, do they have an ulterior motive (inaudible)—

C: But also, does that matter?

S: That’s a good question, does it really matter?

J: It just depends on what the result is.

S: If you do the right thing for the wrong reason and it helps, is that—how much do you care about the motivation?

C: I mean, when it comes to climate change, I honestly don’t mind.

E: I think they’re also trying to prevent themselves from being handed down punishments by governments for not meeting certain criteria. So they’re kind of trying to stay one step ahead of that because that’s terrible for their PR.

C: They’re not going to get any punishment. The governments are in the pocket of lobbyists anyway.

S: But if they do get off their ass and actually do something, it’s probably going to be shortsighted and draconian, and the companies are afraid of what might happen if some other populist takes control. Who knows—politics now are so—we thought they bad, 2016 to 2020. They’re even worse.

J: And the trillionaires are doing nothing. We have—

S: Well, some of them are signing onto this accord.

E: Some of them are.

J: So what, though? They’re signing on, but that—they’re the trillionaires. They have the money. They could be throwing down half their wealth but that hasn’t happened yet.

S: That wouldn’t be enough.

B: Imagine $500 billion’s half your wealth.

E: (laughs)

(inaudible)

B: Sorry.

(audience laughter)

J: Of course, there was an unspoken sentence in there, Bob. Something about Halloween, right?

B: No. It’s just that I don’t have $500 billion.

(laughter)

B: And I want it.

C: 2035 and SGU, we’re not making it. We’re just—we still got a long ways to go before—

E: Scratching that, scratching that—

C: Before we break even a million. Definitely not a billion.

J: So we’ll just have to wait and see. I feel like what do we have to lose? No other government—I mean, Denver—I’m sorry, Colorado and California, these are local governments, but they’re kind of signing on now, too, and they’re starting to pressure the companies that are—

S: But they’ve been doing that for years. And here’s the thing: if you look at—like recently I saw over the last thirty years—as I was looking in preparation for this—last thirty years, what has been the energy mix of the world’s energy infrastructure? Right, you’ve seen this chart. I sent this out. So, if you look at all the fossil fuels, they were increasing up until around 2025? And then they leveled off. Coal has decreased a little bit, but it’s overtaken by natural gas. But, overall, fossil fuel has been about level; it’s not decreasing, even now! What’s happening—

E: It’s population.

C: Because there’s so many more people now.

S: Right, it’s 8.8 billion people.

B: Its proportion has been decreasing.

S: Yeah, so there’s been an expansion of renewable, a little bit of nuclear—now that the Gen IV plants just coming online—

E: About time.

S: But they only have a few years before the older plants really, seriously need to be decommissioned. That’s a looming disaster, by the way.

B: Yeah, but when the fusion plants come online, we’ll be in good shape.

S: Yeah, right.

B: Come on.

S: We’re still 20 years away.

B: It’s real close.

S: We’re still 20 years away.

(audience laughter)

B: It’s not 20 years away; it’s 15 years away.

C: (laughs) Such an optimist.

S: So renewable’s increasing, nuclear’s kind of stable, maybe increasing a little bit, but that’s just taking up all the new expansion of total global energy.

B: Right, which is something.

S: But fossil fuels are flat! We’re not decreasing fossil fuels.

J: We’re maintaining the same carbon output.

S: Over the last—we’ve been talking about this for how long? We haven’t been able—

C: How long has it been? You guys are old now.

S: 30 years.

E: Hey!

C: (laughs)

E: Okay, spring chicken.

C: Hey, well, now…

B: Yeah, when’s your social security kicking in? Not too far away.

E: Yeah, right?

C: I got like a whole decade ahead of me at least.

J: Do you still have social security? (inaudible)

C: No, it’s completely insolvent.

S: Alright, so, now we have to wait for IKEA to save us, is that what you’re telling me?

C: No, the Global Corporate Alliance.

B: (sarcasm) That doesn’t sound evil.

J: “We got this.”

C: That does sound evil. (laughs)

S: How could that not be evil?

J: We’ll see what happens.

B: What else do they got?

Fourth Domain of Life (14:14)

S: Alright. Guys, let me ask you a question, especially Bob. How many [[wikipedia:Domain (biology) |domains]] of life are there?

B: Wait, there was—oh, crap. There’s bacteria, archaea, prokaryotes—

S: Those are the prokaryotes.

B: Now, wait. No.

C: Yes.

B: No, no, eukaryotes.

C: And eukaryotes.

B: Archaea, Bacteria, Eukarya, and…

S: So, traditionally, that’s it.

(Rogues assent.)

S: Those three.

B: Oof. Thought I was missing something.

S: But there’s a fourth.

B: Whaa?

S: There’s a new, fourth domain of life.

B: Ooh, I know what you’re saying.

E: That is crazy.

S: And the name will pretty much give it away.

B: Of course.

S: The name is Synthetica.

B: Yes! About time.

S: So now there’s a fourth domain of life.

B: Wait, but is that recognized now?

S: Well, hang on! We’ll get there.

(laughter)

S: Let’s back up a little bit.

Revisiting GMOs (15:00)

S: So again, we’re going to give the arc, right? We’re talking about genetic engineering, right? Initially, this kind of came on our radar around 2010, maybe 2012, that kind of area, right?

B: Yeah.

S: Something like that—when started talking about GMOs, right? Genetically modified organisms. And there was a big anti-GMO movement, which lasted deep into the 2020s.

C: Oh my god, we talked about that like every week on the show back then.

S: Well, it’s because it became—

E: Well, that’s because, right, it’s not our fault. It’s their fault!

S: It became a huge thing.

C: That’s true.

S: It was like there was a major science denial thing, even among skeptics initially, but I think we sort of turned the boat around for skeptics at first. And then—but then politically it was a really hard sell for awhile, however. But let me give you a history of what’s happened and why there’s really not much of an anti-GMO movement anymore.

B: That was a good win, man. That felt good.

S: Well, it was a good win for the wrong reason. And I’ll explain why. So, first, papaya ringspot virus started around—by 2006, this actually goes back decades before that, had slashed papaya production by 50%. By that time, also, there was basically no farm in Hawaii, no papaya farm, that didn’t have the ring spot virus, so it was basically obliterating the papaya industry. In 1998 a GMO papaya was introduced, which had the viral inclusion in it, the viral DNA in it. And that was how it conferred resistance to the virus. So, basically, there would be no papaya industry—and going back, this is like going back to 2015—there would be no papaya industry without GMO papaya, which is ironic because Hawaii was one of the most anti-GMO states, but they quietly adopted GMO papayas, because they would be f’ed without it.

C: But that didn’t really change sentiment back then, it felt like.

S: It didn’t because it was under the radar.

C: And that’s because all the staple crops still—they were mostly GM, but people—

S: All the anti-GMO people just ignored the papaya story.

C: Although they ate it.

S: They ate the papaya.

E: Of course they did.

S: Alright. The American chestnut tree—there was a fungus, which was—

J: That was back in, when, like the 60s?

S: That wiped out the American chestnut in the 1950s.

J: The 50s.

S: And so we grew up with chestnuts but the trees were just basically dying away. This is like eastern United States, a very, very common tree. It was almost like the most common tree in our part of the world up until we were children, then it was gone. Just totally gonzo.

C: I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a chestnut. Is that a thing people eat?

S: However—

J: That’s at Thanksgiving.

E: You know that song? (starts singing) "Chestnuts roast—"

C: It’s a song. I mean, I've never had a chestnut.

B: Come on, I eat about three of those a year, what are you doing?

E: You’ve never had a chestnut?

C: (laughs)

S: But in 2019 they approved a GMO American chestnut tree that was resistant to the fungus that wiped it out. It was years before they planted it, but now there’s a thriving American chestnut industry.

C: You East-coasters are weird.

S: So those were good wins, but they were below the radar for whatever reason. But here’s the one that I—well, there’s two, there’s two that really drove it home. The first one—in 2024, the Cavendish banana industry completely collapsed—

E: Boom.

S: Due to Panama disease.

B: Cavendish banana? That’s the banana we all think of when you think of a banana, Cavendish.

E: Right, common.

S: At the time. At the time, that was banana.

B: That was it.

E: And that was it, one.

S: So there was the Gros Michel, which died out in the early 20th century, and there was the Cavendish, which died out—

C: And that’s the one you guys always used to talk about. [link needed] You loved those weird Gros Michels.

S: They’re back, though.

J: I remember you cried when we found out that they were gone.

(audience laughter)

S: Well, what the hell? We knew it was coming for years, too. We were talking about it on the show. The banana’s going to be going.

C: (feigns crying) It still surprised you.

S: It still surprised me. Fusarium wilt, or Tropical Race 4, or Panama Disease, completely wiped out the Cavendish industry. I think the last holdout was South America, but it was detected in South America in 2019, and that’s when they knew "now it’s a matter of time." Once they had one banana that went thbbt, that’s it.

B: Remember that? No ice cream sundaes for a little while?

S: We went years without a banana.

B: That was bad, man.

S: But even before that, before 2024, when the Cavendish was gone, back in 2017, Australian researchers had developed a Panama disease-resistant banana. [2]

C: Oh, it came out of Australia? I didn’t realize that.

S: It came out of Australia in 2017.

E: Well done! Well done, audience. Well done.

J: That was beginning of the banana hubbub.

S: It was the beginning of the banana hubbub—

E: I think also known as a "banana-rama".

C: Banana-rama.

S: Banana-rama…but, however, nobody really knew about it until the "bananapocalypse".

J: Bananapocalypse.

(audience laughter)

S: The bananapocalypse wiped out the Cavendish and then these Australian researchers were like, "Hey, we got the GMO."

E: "We got this."

S: We got the resistant banana.

B: We’re ready to go.

S: But the thing is, even that might not have—

B: "We got this."

C: (laughs)

S: "We got this," right. Even that might not have been enough because the Cavendish—I love it, it’s a desert banana. It was the number one export fruit before it was wiped out.

J: That banana fed countries.

S: Well, no, no, not that banana — other bananas.

J: What other bananas?

S: There are staple bananas that are, basically, like what we would call plantains.

J: Oh, that’s right.

S: They’re starchy bananas, and you cook with them.

C: (in Spanish) Plátanos.

B: They’re awesome.

C: Steve, why are you so into bananas?

S: I don’t know.

C: You’re really into bananas.

S: I’ve just always loved them. My favorite fruit.

C: That’s fair.

B: He tried to grow them for years and failed utterly.

C: (laughs)

E: That’s right! Remember, back in the teens [2010s]—

J: Did I ever tell you that I hated those goddamn banana plants?

S: They were in our studio.

C: (laughs)

J: I know. They were getting in—and his cats were pissing in the banana plants.

E: The cats!

B: That’s what it was I remember that.

C: I remember that! That’s when I first joined the SGU, way back then. They were in the basement.

J: Steve and I almost got into a fistfight once in our entire life and it was over cats pissing in the studio in the banana plants.

(laughter)

S: Those cats are dead now.

C: A little behind-the-scenes info.

S: Maybe I should try again. But anyway, something like 20% of the world are dependent on bananas for their staple calories.

E: That’s a lot.

S: When those started succumbing to versions of Panama disease, then we were starting to have Africa and Southeast Asia—there was starvation looming—that’s when the world’s like, "Okay, this is not just our ice cream sundaes anymore. We can’t feed these people unless we get these banana cultivars back online.

C: This GM technology is looking pretty good right now.

S: GM technology saved the banana industry and, basically, lots of starving Africans. And then—here’s the double whammy—2026, the citrus industry was completely wiped out by citrus greening}.

E: That was awful.

C: I remember that.

B: That was horrible.

S: And again, we talked about that for at least 15 years before it hit. Remember Kevin (inaudible)?

C: He used to come on all the time.

S: He would always tell us, "Man, when citrus greening wipes out the citrus fruit—"[link needed]

E: Then you’re going to see some—

C: He was right.

S: He was absolutely right. That objection to—so, of course, in 2031, the first GMO orange with resistance genes from spinach was planted. They were working on that for years and years.[3] And it essentially resurrected the citrus industry, not only in Florida but also in Australia and in other parts of the world where they grow citrus.

C: Well now they can grow them pretty much anywhere. It was smart.

B: Remember they were selling screwdrivers half-price at the bars?

C: (laughs)

S: So here we are. There’s 8.8 billion people on the planet.

C: God, that’s a lot of people.

S: It's a lot of people. Essentially, everyone knows, except for a shrinking fringe, that there is no agriculture without GMOs, bottom line. We would not be able to feed the planet without GMOs. There are still the extremists who are like, "Yeah, let 'em starve, and then everything will be fine."

J: Oh, great, yeah.

C: Well, those people are terrible.

E: Heartless.

B: They’re so marginalized now."

S: Now they’re totally—even Greenpeace, remember that? What was that, 2030 or something when Greenpeace was like, "Yeah, okay, I guess we have to feed people. We can’t let people starve."

E: It only took them decades.

S: So you don’t really hear anything from the anti-GMO crowd anymore, right?

C: Not really. They’re pretty fringy.

S: They’re pretty fringy. There’s one more thing that happened, too. So this is good. GR-5, this is the fifth generation golden rice is now online, but even back to GR-2, which was the first one planted in Bangladesh in 2019 [4], if you guys remember that. So, before Golden Rice, there were 500,000, 500,000 children throughout the world who would go blind from vitamin A deficiency every year, and half of those would die within a year. Not only that, but vitamin A deficiency, even if it doesn’t make you go blind or kill you, it leaves you with low resistance, susceptible, vulnerable to other infections. So, remember all the measles outbreaks in 2019, 2020, 2021?

J: But that was because of anti-vax.

S: Well, even when there was an anti-vax [movement], the children in Africa especially were susceptible to measles because they had relative vitamin A deficiency.

J: Oh, I never knew that.

S: So, guess how many children went blind in 2035 so far—it’s almost at the end of the year—due to vitamin A deficiency?

C: Less than 500,000.

S: 3,000.

B: Wow.

E: They shaved all that.

C: That’s a big difference.

S: It’s kind of like anything. When you easily fix the problem, it goes away. So anyway, it’s hard to argue with success.

C: So let’s not.

J: But now…

S: But now, but wait, but of course you know—

C: But wait, there’s more!

E: It gets better?

Synthetica (23:55)

S: Well, no. So that’s the good news. The good news is over now. Now we’re getting into—so have you guys heard the term "gen-craft"? This is kind of a new term. I think we might have mentioned it right before. It’s all under genetic engineering, but it’s not genetic modification. It’s basically crafting life from scratch.

C: This is the synthetic stuff.

S: This is the synthetic stuff, right. We’ve been talking about this since, I think, 2017, 2018?

C: Venter. Craig Venter. [5]

S: Venter. They first did bacteria and then they did colonies, multicellular, and then, actually, not just multicellular pseudo-colonies, but now the first actual multicellular, completely synthetic creatures. Again, we’ve talked about their being created, but the first one was approved for human consumption by the FDA.

B: Wow.

C: Oh, they got it passed!

S: They got it passed.

C, E: Wow.

J: And it’s disgusting.

S: Hang on.

C: Don’t look at it pre-processed.

E: Just put a lot of tomahto sauce on it.

C: (laughs) (in British accent) Tomato sauce.

S: So it’s cibumlimax—that’s a terrible name—ventera.

C: (laughs)

S: It basically means "meat slug". And then ventera is for Craig Venter.

E: Alright, Jay, you’re right. (laughs)

C: They’re going to come up with some yummy brand names for this (inaudible).

E: Yeah, something else…

S: That’s the taxonomical name. It’s the domain Synthetica and then they have the "blah blah blah blah blah blah blah cibumlimax ventera."

C: Yeah, we don’t go to the barbecue place and ask for some, like, what’s the Latin name for a cow? (laughs)

S: They’ll call it something—

C: Something "bovine."

E: Oh, bovinus, uh, whateverus.

S: Remember they (inaudible) veggie burgers, then the Impossible Burger, then the Insect Burgers, right? The bug burgers.

B: We’ll call it a "blobby burger." I like that.

S: No, a "slug burger." Slug burger.

E: Slug burgers.

B: Slug? No, blobby burgers.

C: That is not appetizing.

J: You know what, though? You remember how I was so freaked out you were trying to make me eat—

C: Impossible burgers.

J: —cricket meat, cricket wheat or something?

C: Oh, yeah, cricket flour.

E: Cricket flour!

S: Cricket flour. That’s a staple, now, Jay.

(crosstalk)

J: I’m proud to say I’ve never eaten it, and—

C: Still!?

S: You probably have. I guarantee you have.

C: You have and you didn’t even know it.

E: (inaudible) Restaurants are using it. You’ve eaten it.

S: No they don’t. No they don’t.

C: No they don’t.

B: They don’t.

(audience laughter)

S: That’s the thing.

E: (laughs)

S: If you have eaten processed food from the supermarket that is a wheat-like product—

J: That’s bullshit.

C: Jay, it’s in everything now.

E: Have you read your ingredients?

S: It’s in everything.

B: Jay, I’m going to admit right now: Jay was having a hamburger and I made an insect burger, and he didn’t know it, and I (inaudible). He ate it and said nothing. I didn’t say a word ’til just—

J: When did this happen?

(audience laughter)

B: Six months ago. Jay, you loved it. You loved it, dude.

S: Insect burgers are old news. Now we have slug burgers.

B: Blobby burgers.

C: But we can call them slug burgers.

E: No, no, we’ll come up with something—

S: They’re going to call it something else.

C: Can we called them "craft burgers," since they come from gen-craft?

E: Oh, gen-craft!

(crosstalk)

J: You know what the thing is? The slugs look like—remember pink slime? McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

S: You’ve seen the videos?

J: They look like pink slime!

C: I know, but that’s why you don’t look at that. We don’t cook them.

S: It’s just a blob of meat-like protein. It’s just the amino acids and whatever for… And then they grind it up and it looks [like] meat.

B: It’s got no central nervous system, right? So there’s no—

E: Right.

S: Yeah. It has nerves because it can move and it can feed, and it has some kind of neuronal kind of ganglia.

E: Ganglia?

C: The vegans aren’t into this, huh?

S: But it’s like an invertebrate. It’s like an insect or a plant.

C: Steve, so the vegans won’t eat this, huh?

S: Why not? I don’t know. Probably not.

C: I think that—some of them still don’t eat insects.

S: Yeah, if they don’t eat insects, they won’t eat this.

C: Yeah, it’s like a hard-line thing.

S: But it has no face.

E: Has no face!

S: Nothing with the face thing.

(audience laughter)

C: Yeah, that’s a big part of—I don’t eat anything with a face.

S: No face.

B: Did you see the scientists who drew the face on one?

(laughter)

E: Yes, yes!

B: It’s hilarious.

S: So, it may still be year or two before we could actually get these at the Hungry Jack’s or whatever.

(audience laughter, applause)

C: (laughs)

S: It’s just protein, right? It’s just like the insect wheat. Now we got slug burgers, slug protein. And you could mass produce these things. These eat slime or something. You see them crawling around eat algae, but they’re working on ones that can photosynthesize.

C: Oh, that’s smart! Just kind of direct—

S: So guess how many genes are in this synthetic slug?

J: Like what, 300 or something?

B: Wait, no. How many genes? So we’ve got far fewer genes than we anticipated when we first—was it 20,000?

S: We have 10,000.

B: So, how about, like, 8,000?

S: 400.

C, J: 400!

E: That’s all?

S: But how much does a slug have?

J: I don’t know.

S: 428. An actual slug.

B: Oh, that’s right. It’s really efficient, huh?

S: Yeah, it’s a little bit more efficient than an actual slug. But the genes have, like, no exons. Or no introns.

B:' They work. There’s no junk DNA.

C: So, Steve, is that why decided to just, kind of do this as a gen-craft, like a synthetic biology sit—instead of just genetically modifying the slug?

S: Because you’re not going to get animal protein in an insect.

C: That’s true. If you eat a slug, you’re not going to get a high level—you get a little bit of protein.

S: Vertebrate protein (inaudible). Muscle pro—but this is like making muscle-like protein.

C: Oh, it’s so gross and weird. I love it.

J: But why didn’t they just do it like back when they started to come up with lab meat?

S: But the lab-grown meat thing never really panned out.

J: Why did they—But what happened?

S: It’s too energy-intensive. You can get—I’ve had the lab-grown meat thing, and they’re fine, but they’re still a little bit expensive.

C: But guys, we’re in a water crisis. We can’t use that much water to produce—

S: It’s very water-intensive.

C: Yeah, we can’t do it.

B: Steve, when they were developing Blobby the Slug, did they figure out some of the junk DNA? Like, "Oh, this junk DNA’s important because it does something that we didn’t think it did."

S: There’s no junk DNA in it because it’s totally—So, Venter gave an interview about it. They’ve written articles about it. Every single gene was completely synthesized. And over the last 20 years, they’ve learned what the minimum number of genes that are absolutely necessary for something to live, something to develop—

B: For bacteria and stuff, but microorganisms—

S: But it turns out it wasn’t that hard. If you’re building a really simple multicellular creature, most of the genes are for just the cells to live, and then just getting them to differentiate a little bit differently so they break up the work—you know what I mean?—they’re not all doing the same thing. It’s not that hard. It actually turned out to be not that hard.

C: And remember, this thing doesn’t have to live in the wild. It doesn’t have to do a lot of the work.

S: All it has to do is eat.

C: It just has to eat and produce meat for us, or protein for us.

E: It doesn’t have to develop a defense mechanism.

J: I know people like that.

C: (laughs)

B: What if we put it in the wild? Could it evolve?

S: No. It can’t survive in the wild.

C: It would die, I think. It seems like—

S: It has no defense.

C: It has no evolutionary fitness.

E: (inaudible)

(audience laughter)

B: All the other animals would be like, "Look at that slab of protein!"

C: (laughs)

B: "It can’t get away, can’t do anything. Let’s go eat it!"

E: Is there a waste product or a byproduct of it?

S: I mean, it does poop, apparently. But I think they just recycle that.

C: Eww!

J: Why can’t they just make something that poops meat?

(audience laughter)

B: Jay!

S: We’ll get right on that.

C: The most scientifically astute question.

J: They could call it a "shit burger"! (laughs)

E: That’ll sell!

J: I’m not eatin' that shit!

S: Yeah, this is the guy who won’t eat a bug burger.

C: Meat poop!

S: But he wants to eat a shit burger.

J: I would try a shit burger.

(audience laughter)

E: Comes out as sausage links, already cased, ready to go.

C: Quote of the day from Jay. He tries shit burger won’t eat cricket powder. (laughs)

J: I just have a thing about bugs.

S: But not slugs. Slugs are okay.

C: But unh-unh, feces!

(laughter)

S: So, of course, of course there’s already an anti-gen-craft movement, saying—

E: Oh, this is the bad news. This is the bad news.

J: This is what you’ve been waiting for.

S: —this is the bad news—saying that "it ain’t natural," you know? It’s all the same arguments, recycled over the last 30 years of doing this show. It’s the same thing, right? "It’s not natural. It hasn’t been tested enough."

B: "It’s cruel. It’s cruel."

S: They’re trying to say that—

B: I’ve seen people that—

S: I know, but that’s a hard—this thing is like engineered not to experience its own existence.

E: "We’re playing God." Playing God complex.

C: "Playing God." Yeah, I’ve seen that one a lot.

B: But they’re saying they can’t detect the fact that they are having some sort of existence, some quality of—

S: Prove that they don’t know they’re being killed, whatever. It’s a slug.

C: Aww.

J: Yeah, but…

S: It’s not even cute. They designed it to not be cute.

E: Right. It’s not—it doesn’t have

C: But somethings things that are really ugly are a little bit cute.

S: Oh, stop it.

C: It’s true!

J: You shouldn’t talk about your boyfriend like that.

(audience laughter)

E: You’ve been going into the Aug too much and putting faces on these slugs.

C: You know I don’t have a boyfriend.

B: (laughs)

E: So you have to cut down your time.

C: Alright, alright, alright, alright. I like the Aug.

S: So we’ll see. They’re already writing virtual mails to their congresspersons. And Oregon already banned it. Already banned in Oregon.

B: Of course they did. I’d be shocked if they didn’t.

E: Yeah, well.

S: It’s terrible. So we’ll see. This is another round, now. We’ll see what they do. They’re still sort of creating their message. But this is, I think, going to be our thing for the next few years, now, is dealing with the anti-gen-craft crowd.

B: Yeah, but don’t forget. This is a new domain of life. This is the first. This the first application of that creation. I think—

C: Well, they’ve done more in the lab. This is the first one that we’re able to consume. And that’s cool.

B: And that’s great, but who knows what they’re going to come with with gen-craft.

S: Alright, but here’s the thing.

B: Something that’s going to make a blobby burger look like, pff, whatever. Come on!

S: The thing is, they’re not releasing this into the wild. This is a lab creature, right? I think the big fight’s going to come the first time they want to release something into the wild.

B: Well, yeah.

S: Or they grow a crop in a field.

E: Oh, there’s going to be some renegade scientist who tries to do this and—

S: Probably in China.

E: Right, right. The old CRISPR—from way back when.

S: The CRISPR babies.

C: CRISPR baby. Aww.

S: Yeah, they’re still kicking, I understand.

E: Yeah!

B: They can make some that, like, eat all the plastic in the oceans… We know how big of a problem that is.

E: Yeah! Yes!

S: So they’re already doing that with the bacteria. They made the ones that can eat oil spills, that can eat plastic—

C: Yeah, they’re working; they’re just working slowly.

S: —that can eat carbon. So, they’re all there. There’s just a lot in various stages of the regulatory procedure. Some are being used, but they still haven’t pulled the trigger on releasing a Synthetica into the wild. I think that’s going to be the next step.

J: As they should be because that’s super dangerous.

B: It is.

S: It depends.

E: Well, it depends on the form.

C: We have to hear from the experts. The regulatory boards are being formed, the ethics boards, and they’re figuring it out.

S: But here’s one thing: they cannot, by design, cross-pollinate or interbreed with normal life, with the other three domains of life.

C: Exactly.

E: Right. Where’s the—no compatibility.

S: They’re producing—

J: How do we know?

S: Maybe people will figure it out.

C: And these organisms are just pure prey animals at this point. They’re not…

B: But Steve, what—

C: (as Dr. Ian Malcolm) "Life finds a way."

S: Life find a way…

B: They’ve done—I remember, way back in 2019, I talked about how they took bacteria and they were turning them into multicellular because they were able to—

S: Yeah, this is an extension of that.

B: So, imagine taking Archea or Bactera with their exotic metabolisms, creating multicellular life out of them. So then, what, would that fall under Synthetica? Or would that be—

S: It depends. So, by definition—

B: We’ve become Eukarya, then—

C: Yeah, how are they defining these?

S: By definition, if you are a member of the domain Synthetica, all of your genes have been created entirely artificially.

E: 100%.

B: Okay.

C: Even if you perfectly replicate a… gotcha.

S: Yes. That’s a loophole. You can replicate a gene that exists in other creatures, but you have to have completely manufactured that—

J: We’re going to have to—

C: And it’s got to be trademarked. You can read it in the DNA.

J: We’re now going to have to train—

S: At the very least, they take out all the junk and all that stuff.

J: I’m serious. We have to train Blade Runners to kill these things.

(laughter)

S: "Slug runners."

J: Slug runners!

S: (laughs)

J: Because they get out, think about it, they get it out and then they don’t want to be eaten. And next thing you know, they’re punching holes through walls and they’re pissed off at people.

C: With their little slug hands! (laughs)

S: The tears in the rain.

J: They go back to the scientists who made them.

E: Extended protoplasm arm…

C: Their (inaudible). (laughs)

S: "I don’t want to be a burger!" "You’re a slug!" Slug runners, yeah. Alright.

Social Media, CAD, & the Aug (35:25)

B: Alright, what do we got next?

S: What do we got next? We have—

C: Am I next?

S: Yes. Cara is next with—what’s the latest, Cara, with social media?

C: Oh, god, there’s so much to talk about, you guys.

S: This is overwhelming.

C: The main article that I wanted to cover today was kind of the big—and I know you all saw this. This was the headline everywhere. It just happened two days ago, and we’re still dealing with the fallout. We’re going to be dealing with fallout for awhile. So you guys know Control-Alt-Delete, this hacker movement, "CAD."

S: CAD.

E: CADs. C-A-D.

C: Yeah, a lot of people call them "CADs", C-A-D.

S & B: All the cool people call them CADs.

E: I still like "Control Alt Delete," though.

C: I guess I’m not cool. And Control-Alt-Delete is this kind-of underground—we still don’t know who they are, right? There have been a couple of examples in the news where somebody came out and was like, "I’m Control-Alt-Delete," but nobody actually believes. them.

S: If you admit to being CAD, you’re not CAD.

C: Then you’re not CAD.

E: Is that the Spartacus moment? "I am Spartacus! I am Spartacus"…

S: No, it’s not. It’s loser wannabes. The real people, you will never find out who they are.

C: So Control-Alt-Delete has been targeting a lot of these new platforms. The biggest one, the one that’s been the hardest kind to get into is the one that most of us are on, the Aug, right? I mean, I’ve been wearing—I’ve had my Aug on all night, actually. I think it’s kind of fun, especially when you’re sick and a little bit loopy.

(Rogue whistles "loopy" sound effect)

C: I don’t know if all of you are in it right now. We don’t really have to be sitting here.

E: Nah, I turned mine off.

S: Intermittently.

C: Yeah, you turn yours off.

B: I was told I could not bring my Aug, and I’m feeling—I’m getting separation anxiety.

C: Well, Bob, that’s because you just get lost.

S: That’s because when you’re using Aug, Bob—

J: You go off into worlds…

S: Yeah, you are staring off into space. You look creepy.

C: And then we’re like, "Bob? Hello! It’s your turn."

E: Creepier.

(audience laughter)

B: But there’s a lot of cool stuff I’m doing. You know?

C: I know! (Rogues crosstalk.) You have to use Aug to improve your work, dude.

S: Checking your V-mail and stuff while we’re doing the show.

J: Do that shit at home. Don’t Aug on my time.

B: But looking at Jay without my filter on is hard.

C: That’s mean!

J: Hey, man!

B: Sorry, Jay.

J: Thanks, Bob.

B: Look! He’s not shaved. Ugh.

C: I know.

J: (laughs) So you’re seeing a shaved version of me?

B: And the filter I put on his hair makes his hair look so cool.

J: What the f— is wrong with my hair?!

(Cara & audience laughter)

B: It’s cool. It’s nice, Jay, but the filter I have on your hair is awesome.

(audience laughter)

E: That blue streak? That’s cool.

B: Oh, yeah. And it moves and stuff.

C: I have to admit, it has been easier. Like, I don’t really like to wear makeup, and so I like thinking that a lot of people are looking at me in Aug-land like I’m a little improved. It’s 2.0. So, you know that the Aug has been kind of the one that’s taken off the most. There’s some offshoots and stuff, but I’m not using them. Are you guys? (guys all say no) Aug has everything we need, right? It has all of our social stats. It has our social currency. I mean, it’s tied into my bank accounts, all of them, I think.

E: Yep, pretty much. Yeah, for me as well.

C: Yeah, pretty much. And we’ve been kind of on the fence about how it’s plugging more things into it.

S: In 2032, I think it was, insurance companies will now pay for Aug doctor visits.

C: Well there you go!

B: Wow! How’d I miss that?

E: Doesn’t get more mainstream than that.

C: I know. Exactly. It’s kind of hard not to be in the Aug at this point because—actually, it’s impossible. I don’t think I know anybody who’s not using Aug. Do you?

E: Everybody’s doing it.

S: You can’t function in society.

C: You can’t function. How could you function—

S: It was like—

C: What did we do before Aug? We used—

S: We had to use our handheld phones…

E: It was a wallet or something.

C: (laughs)

B: Oh my god. Remember that?

E: Remember cards!?

C: Oh, plastic cards! That’s so funny.

E: Oh my gosh. I kept my old ones. They’re in a file drawer.

J: You guys take it like it’s okay, and I’m not cool with it.

C: Are you still using paper money? (laughs)

J: No. Of course not, but my point is this is a totailor—, totalerant—I can’t even say the word.

S, C, & E: Totalitarian.

J: —totalitarian’s wet dream.

E: Three t’s.

C: Jay, it is in China. It is in Russia, but the government doesn’t have their hands on Aug. I mean I know—

J: How the hell do you know that?

C: Well, I mean, they don’t own the companies.

E: They don’t admit to…

C: It’s private enterprises.

S: But that’s, again, the conspiracy theory. So we all know that Russia and China are complete Aug-totalitarian governments, right? If you live in China, you’re on their version of the Aug. They completely own you.

C: I think it’s still called WeChat.

S: Is it still WeChat?

C: Yeah, they never changed the name.

(audience laughter)

S: Out in the West, in developed—in other parts of the world, the governments don’t control it—

B: And on the Moon, too.

S: —but corporations do, and some people argue that they’re actually more powerful than the government.

C: Absolutely.

S: They own us.

C: We’re still having this conversation—

S: We just don't know it.

C: —privacy versus convenience. And I think at this point—

S: People will always trade privacy for a little bit of convenience.

B: It’s insidious.

J: Back in 2020, Amazon was rated the first company and the number one company to truly have such an amazing amount of data on its customers that—it’s like a transcendent moment for a company to get to that level of data. And we were questioning back then, I mean I was. I was following this very closely back then. There’s no regulations for that level of data. No government in the world created regulation to deal with that.

C: I know.

S: Remember when Zuckerberg gave all those testimonies before our Congress and no one believed a word he said?

E: Oh yeah!

C: But Jay, don’t act like you didn’t just buy something from those targeted ads the Aug gave you.

J: I literally just did as we were talking. (audience laughter) No, but the point is, though, we can’t—

B: I love targeted ads.

C: Me too. They’re so good now. They’re crazy good now.

’’’B:’’’ [They] really know what I want.

J: I don’t know. We’re so hard-wired into this thing. We have to—

S: It’s scary how (inaudible).

E: The interdependencies—

J: We can’t go back. You can never go back. When cell phones came, there was no going [back] to a life that didn’t exist.

C: It’s part of our life. Yeah, it would be really hard at this point.

J: But this thing owns us.

C: But here’s the thing. Here’s the scary thing, and it’s something that we think we didn’t think would be possible because of the way that data is distributed in the cloud—and Bob, I know you know about this server farms and data centers. You understand this a lot better than I do. But apparently this is the new headline. So, Control-Alt-Delete managed, finally—and you know they’ve gone in and they’ve shut down server farms before. We keep seeing these headlines where something gets blacked out for a couple weeks and it takes awhile to put it back online. They finally somehow managed to trace the data of a packet of people. So 100,000 people—their entire Aug history has been erased.

B: Oh my god.

E: (cringing) Ooooooo!

B: They finally did it. They finally did it.

E: Backup and everything gone?

C: They’re ghosts.

B: All the backups, all the—

S: Orphans, rights? Or virtual orphans.

C & E: Virtual orphans.

C: All their money. All of their proof of their education.

J: And there you go.

C: All of their social currency. Everything. Their history. All their memories, basically. We live via our photographs and our video recordings now.

B: I mean, how did they—

S: Their high scores on Plants vs. Zombies are gone. (audience laughter)

B: How did they pull that off?!

C: FarmVille! Who knew that would stick around?

B: I really never thought they would be able to dit. Think of all the backups. It’s not one data center. You’ve got backups. You’ve got backups in the cloud, backups on the Moon. How did they get access to all of that?

C: Who did they know, right?

B: That’s scary as hell.

C: You would think. But this is, maybe, part of the problem, is that when a corporation, a multi-national corporation, owns these things—so they should be spread all over the world—it’s still only one company, ultimately, right? It’s a conglomerate, but—

E: Inside job, maybe? Pirates within?

C: They must. They’ve got to have moles in there. They have to have access to enough information to know.

J: It was terrible what CAD did to these people It’s terrible. But the reason why they did it was to show that the companies, literally—look, these people don’t have lives anymore. What are these people going to do? They literally don’t exist in our system, in our collective (inaudible).

S: So, congratulations. They proved you could destroy somebody’s life by destroying their Aug—by making them virtual ghosts.

C: They’re the ones who did it.

S: But they’re the ones who did it.

C: The companies so far—these people on the Aug had been fine.

J: I don’t know. I don’t agree. I know that what they did was wrong, but I think that the point that they tried to make, they made, and it’s scary.

C: I think this is showing the dark side of hacktivism. As much as I agree with a lot of the posts that I’ve read from Control-Alt-Delete, I think they went too far this time. They went way too far.

S: They have a point, but they’re basically terrorists. I hate to use that word, but if you’re doing that—So, there’s a talk—I don’t know if this part of your news item, though—but talk of the UN—are you going to get to that part? But the UN, basically, they’re considering a resolution to make, just so that they have more regulatory power to go after CAD, you know, Control-Alt-Delete—If you 'kill' somebody’s virtual history, that’s now virtual murder.

C: Oh! Like their—oh, because we all have our little avatars. You can actually murder somebody in the Aug?

S: If you comp—like 100% erase somebody’s data so they can’t come back, that is virtual murder—

’’’C:’’’ So these guys could be tried in the Hague?

S: —because you create a virtual ghost. They can get tried in the Hague. If they ever catch them, they can get—

C: We know who they are.

E: Well, catching them’s going to be so hard.

J: If they catch those people…

B: Oh my god, yeah.

S: They’re done, they’re toast. But I’m sure it’s like cells. You might get one guy or one cell, but you’ll never totally root out…

J: That’s the other thing, too. The other scary reality is—yeah, so Control-Alt-Delete, sure, they did something bad.

C: Really bad.

J: But there’s—okay, I don’t want to say real terrorists out there—but there are terrorist group that do want to tear down the society that we live in.

C: How is this different?

S: Well, how better to tear down society than to get rid of someone’s complete Aug history? Jay, imagine yourself as one of these people. What do you do?

J: You’re done. I don’t know.

S: You’re done. You’re cooked. Go live on a commune in the woods somewhere?

J: I think the point is that we’re missing—

S: (inaudible)

C: Some people already do that. There are people who aren’t in the Aug. I don’t know any of them, but I read about them sometimes.

E: The Off-Gridders! I love them. The Off-Gridders.

C: Yeah, the Off-Gridders! Yeah, they’re weird. There’s a TV show about them on Discovery.

E & C: (laughs)

S: The Off-Gridders?

J: Do you guys think—and actually the show is pretty cool—but do you guys think, though, that we are kind of going down the snakes mouth right now with technology?

(A Rogue sighs)

S: But we’ve been saying this for 20 years.

C: That’s the thing. It’s so hard, right? Because we were going to go this route anyway. That’s the thing. If the Aug’s parent company didn’t hit the right kind of algorithm to get us here, another company would have.

J: I’m not saying—yeah, of course, I think it would have happened anyway—but back in the mid-2015 era, we started to realize that Facebook really didn’t have humanity’s best interests in mind. And then we watched Zucker-freak—

C: Did we ever really think they did?

J: —go in front of Congress and lie his face off, telling them how everything that they—

C: Do you remember when he ran for president? Idiot. Sorry.

(laughter)

J: That was the beginning of his downfall. But the point is, though, we saw even with Facebook—and this is nothing, Facebook is nothing compared to this. This is, literally, we live in augmented reality now.

C: I know, but Facebook didn’t give us anything except people’s picture so their babies.

S: But at the time—

C: This is way better.

B: And cat…

E: And a lot of advertising. A lot of advertising.

C: And cat videos.

J: I don’t know, I don’t know.

C: But now you can just watch a cat video anytime, anywhere.

E: Oh, yeah, that’s a good point.

B: I always got one running in the corner of my vision. It’s really cool.

(audience laughter)

S: But we were on Facebook, and it was important to our marketing. And it was—

C: That’s the point. That’s the part that’s so—

S: And now we’re on the Aug and it’s—Imagine our show without the Aug.

C: I know, yeah. But that’s the part that’s so unsavory to me, and that I do have the lucky feeling about, is it all is just about marketing, still.

(unknown Rogue): Yeah, it is.

C: It’s all just about selling us shit.

E: That’s been true for so long.

S: Ever since the—exactly.

E: Since the analog days. And beyond.

B: And they’re so good at it now. A lot of people are saying that there’s—it’s actually giving credence to people’s belief in pscyhics.

C: They think they’re psychic?

B: They must be psychic because they know what I want so fast.

S: Before you know you want it.

C: Don’t they understand big data. That’s ridiculous.

E: (laughs)

B: But we see it. We see it. It’s funny as hell.

J: Alright. I’m warning you guys. I’m warning—I bet you in another 10 years we’ll see some seriously bad stuff come out of this.

C: Another 10 years, you’ll be dead. (Laughs)

(audience laughter)

E: There you go, Jay! How’s that?

J: And that’s the bad thing!

B: But those longevity therapies are working pretty damn good.

C: Ever the techno-optimist.

E: Can we download ourselves yet?

B: Look at me.

C: (laughs)

S: You’ll never be (inaudible).

C: "Five to ten years."

[KiwiCo ad]

Near-Earth Asteroids: Apophis review, Perses intro (48:13)

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S: So, Evan—

B: Alright, now this is some shit, man.

S: This is the big news. This is actually—everything else is just the warm up to the actual big news that everyone wants to hear about.

C: 100,000 people erased from—

S: Because what do we got, 10 years to live? What’s going on with that?

E: Uh, yeah. We—well, it’s 20 years to live.

C: Say what now?

S: We’ll be dead.

E: But we’re working on it. We’re working on it. I want to remind everyone the whole background of this, so please bear with me before I get to the actual news item.

B: Like we don’t know, but go ahead.

E: I know, I know. So I’m hoping the audience here remembers Apophis, right, the 2029 asteroid that came within 25,000 kilometers of Earth?

S: That’s nothing. That’s a whisker.

J: Phew!

C: But it missed us.

E: It did miss us, absolutely, and that’s what the scientists told us—

S: Yeah, that’s why we’re still here, because of (inaudible).

(audience laughter)

E: And it happened on a Friday the 13th. Which, you know— (crosstalk)

S: What are the odds?

B: Remember the party we threw that day?

E: Pretty decent. There was so much fear-mongering with Apophis. It was first discovered way back in 2004, and at that point, the scientists, with the information they had—there was maybe just under a 3% chance of it actually impacting the planet based on the data that they had at the time. Well that sent people kind of into "Okay, here it is! Now, finally, this is the real apocalypse coming. Forget all the other—the Mayan, the 2012—all that. This is the actual one.

C: Forget all the other apocalypses!

E: But, as time went on, and more careful studying of it went, they realized—that shrunk down over the years, and by the time, about 2019, 2020 rolled around, the scientists said, "It is 0% chance of this (inaudible) and, of course, it didn’t.

S: Yeah, it’s not going to happen.

E: But Apophis was the god of chaos, for those who don’t know their Greek mythology. And you’ll remember that tragic incident leading up to the fly-by, the cult, known as the Children of Claude, that was an offshoot of the Raëlian Movement, you guys remember? We used to talk about the Raëlians way back, like in 2005, 2006.

B: Raëlians, right.

S: Didn’t they pretend to clone somebody at one point?

E: Yes!

C: I can’t believe they stuck around all that time.

E: They did! It was little offshoots of it.

J: Was that guy with the hair that said, "I’m not saying it was aliens…but it was aliens," was he a Raëlian?

C: (laughs)

E: I think I know of whom you’re speaking. That’s the Claude person, and this offshoot is the "Children of Claude." So, they were the ones who, as the asteroid came by, they thought it was going to open an inter-dimensional space, and the only way to get up there was to be—to leave their earthly coils. A couple dozen people, unfortunately, took their own lives. But we’ve seen this before, cults and suicide.

S: What was that? The [[wikipedia:{Comet Hale-Bopp|Hale-Bopp]]}, back in ’97, and the Heaven’s Gate cult, anyone?

C: [to audience] These guys are all way too young to remember that. No, they’re too young.

E: No? Oh, gosh, I’m totally dating myself. I’m an old man now. Well, in any case, that was the most, I think, notable fear-related story to it. The Internet obviously went wild. But then in 2030, just a couple years ago, you know what came next. The astronomers located object designation 2030-US, also known as Perses.

S: Mmm. Perses.

E: Perses. P-E-R-S-E-S, named for—

S: Not Perseus.

E: Not Perseus, no.

S: Perses.

E: Perses was the Greek Titan of destruction.

S: Mmm. Appropriate.

E: And this one’s giving us trouble. 33% chance—

S: Don’t want to roll those dice.

E: —of impact. And the studies since then—they’ve obviously been very closely monitory this one—and it’s holdin' true.

C: How far away is it now?

E: Well, we’re about—2055 is going to be the date. June 21, 2055.

B: Aww, right around the (inaudible).

E: So we’ve got—there’s 20 years. But, as you know, NASA, the ESA, the Russian Space Federation, and others have finally—

S: MASA?

E: MASA, among others—Israel’s group, and the space agency of India…So they can’t behind global warming and deal with that, but at least this is something that they can get behind, and they have gotten behind.

C: We like a good short-term threat.

E: Yeah, exactly. When something’s a little more immediate, and, like, right in your face, that will motivate.

B: Especially when it’s an Extinction Level Event…(inaudible).

C: And they’ll make lots of movies about it.

B: Oh yeah. Documentaries…

S: They’ll dig up Bruce Willis.

C: Poor guy.

B: Think he’s just virtual (inaudible).

J: That movie he made sucked, didn’t it?

S: That one movie he made?

(laughter)

J: And what about that—remember, he was a coal-miner or something?

E: Oh, remember that Christmas movie, Die Hard?

C: I was going to say, Die Hard is Christmas movie! (laughs)

E: Die Hard is a Christmas movie!

S: That’s still my favorite Christmas movie.

C: [again to audience] Also too young, too young. (laughs)

The good news part (52:45)

E: Wow! Really? Here’s the news item. Here’s the news item today. ESA—

S: —Some good news?

E: It is good news because—

C: —Oh good, thank goodness.

S: I’d rather not be hit by a two-kilometer—

E: Exactly. And the prevention methods have gone into effect because ESA successfully launched GT1 into orbit the other day. No issues, everything is fine. It’s the first salvo in the fight against Perses in which is going to approach Perses and establish a fixed position in close proximity to it. It’s using the gravity tractor method—

C: Oh, "GT1."

E: —GT1, which is why it’s called that.

B: I love this idea.

E: So if all goes according to plan, [presumably demonstrating to audience] here’s Perses, it’s coming in, GT1. They’re going to park it over here in a stable position and the gravity between the two objects, it should nudge it. It should nudge it just—and it doesn’t need to nudge much because it’s still out there far enough—a few centimeters! That’s all they’re looking to do at this distance.

S: Yeah, but 20 years is actually right on the margin—

B: —It’s on the edge.

S: —For the gravity tug method.

J: It’s a little too close for comfort.

C: They want to try as soon as—I mean as late—whatever you want to say—as possible.

S: That can’t be the only thing that they’re doing.

E: No, it’s not—

J: —No, they tried other stuff.

E: —There’s a three-prong attack against Perses, and this was the first one, and it successfully went—but there are two more coming. So the second prong is being undertaken by China’s space agency. They’re going to be launching a direct impact probe into Perses, and they’re going to attempt to knock it off its trajectory. Now, this is sometimes referred to as the "battering ram attempt," but this particular project is considered, actually, a little less reliable because previous experiences from space agencies with this exact method, the direct impact approach, had mixed results.

So, if you recall, NASA conducted a test of the direct impact approach back in 2022. The name of the test was called DART. DART stood for Direct [sic] Asteroid Redirection Test.

C: Oh yeah, DART.

E: And it shot the DART at—oh, you’ll love this Cara—at a small test asteroid called Didymoon.

C: Didymoon?

E: Didymoon.

C: I like Didymoon.

E: Jay, didn’t you name one of your dogs Didymoon?

J: No.

(audience laughter)

E: Bob?

J: It’s Jay. He never would admit to it.

E: I thought it was Jay.

S: It was a goldfish.

E: He lied to me.

C: (laughs) Little Didymoon.

E: Now, look, Didymoon was a much smaller asteroid than Perses is. So the data revealed by the impact is that, yes, it would be effective on an asteroid that size, but it wasn’t clear if it would do something the size of Per—oh, I failed to mention: Perses is two kilometers in diameter—

C: —But doesn’t it barely have to move because it’s so far away, still?

S: —Yeah, but—

C: I mean, I know it’s close. But it’s so far.

E: —A couple centimeters—

S: —Two kilometers is big.

J: Yeah, but I thought—

E: Yeah two kilometers is huge.

C: —Yeah, but it’s like "bink," and then it’s, like, so far from us.

S: —It’s all momentum.

J: —But I also thought that they were worried that hitting something like that could cause just a bunch of smaller objects.

S: No, that’s only if they hit it with a nuclear weapon. And even then—

E: —Right, and that was never really a consideration, even back in the late teens, when they were talking about that even as a possibility for any future impact. They kind of ruled it out at that point, for—

J: Okay.

B: —Yeah, the composition of the asteroid’s critical in determining what best approach.

S: What method. But this is solid, right? So it has to be solid. You can’t hit a pile of rubble with an impact method—

E: Right, because you’re—

C: —So it’ll just stay rubble.

E: Exactly. No effect.

S: (inaudible) It’ll decay—it’ll have no effect. So—

E: —No effect.

S: But the thing is, it’s just hard launching a ship fast enough, heavy enough to hit it with enough momentum to move it—

C: —And also, it’s, like, yeah, it’s two kilometers, but that’s really small in the grand scheme of, like, space.

E: So this is why—

S: —But it’s really big in the grand scheme of a rocket.

C: True, but they have to get that calculation perfect to be able to reach it.

S: That’s not a problem.

C: Really?

S: They won’t miss.

C: Okay.

B: Newtonian mechanics. You don’t even need quantum mechanics. (inaudible) is good enough.

E: China’s craft is significantly bigger than DART’s was. So they’re relying on the much, much larger size of this to perhaps do the job. They’re calling it—I don’t speak Chinese. If anyone out there does speak a dialect of Chinese, forgive me—Tuí Tuí, which is Chinese for "push" or "shove," which I thought was kind of cute. That’s a phonetic spelling. T-U-I with an accent of it is how they spelt it in English.

J: So can they tell—Don’t we have the science to know that the gravity from the ship is going to affect it or not? We’re all kind of sitting on pins and needles, like wanting to get something definitive.

S: But it’s all orbital mechanics. They’ll have to hit it, and then they’ll have to follow its orbit for, like, two years to really know what the impact is.

B: That’s right. You have to be—

S: —That’s why they can’t wait—

C: —It takes that long for them to know if it’s knocked off its course?

S: —That’s why they have to everything at once. They can’t wait because every time they wait, we lose the ability to deflect it.

B: Yeah, it’s just too important to screw up, so that’s why it’s good to have Plan A, B, C, as many plans as you can muster.

C: Redundant. Are there more than two?

S: I don’t think three is enough. They should do something else.

E: There’s a third.

B: There is a third. There is—

E: —Now, Tuí’s going to launch in late 2038, early 2039 is the estimated window for that one. But, third prong attack—and, Bob, you’re going to love this one.

B: Oh yeah.

E: This is called Alda. A-L-D-A. It’s expected to launch in 2040, and it stands for Asteroid Laser Deflection Array. Well, I have to mention it now. We love Alan Alda, when we used to watch him back when television was a thing. When M*A*S*H—but he was also a great science communicator. He did Scientific American Discoveries on—

C: —You can still get M*A*S*H on the Aug.

E: —So good.

S: Yeah, you can.

E: —And you never know what kind of entertainers and stuff are going to become science communicators or great things. Millie Bobby Brown became an oceanographer, and who saw that coming? Stranger things. Who saw that coming?

C:(laughs) She was smart.

E: —But, in any case, ALDA’s going to be launched in 2040. And it’s going to contain five space lasers, Bob—

C:Lasers.

E: —They’re going to rendezvous with Perses—

B: —How powerful?

E: —In 2040—how powerful, indeed! 50 peta-watts per laser.

B: Yeah! (inaudible)

E: Woo! They’re going to blast this thing.

S: Are they going to draw a shark on the side of the—

E: —I hope so. (audience laughter) If they don’t, what a wasted opportunity. The idea being is that you pound this thing with enough laser power—debris, gases get released from it—

S: —And that pushes it.

E: —And that creates a little bit of a push. It takes time. This doesn’t—you don’t send it up there, fire a couple lasers, and call it day. They estimate it’s going to take 6 to 24 months of laser bombardment in order to get thing to move those few centimeters.

C: Wait, are the lasers space-based, or are they Earth-based?

E: Oh, they’re launching them out.

S: They’re space-based.

C: Oh they’re launching. Okay, got it.

E: Yep, they’re going to launch them out there.

C: Is anything going to be in between this laser ship and—

B: —Not for long. Not for long.

(laughter)

E: Not at 50 peta-watts!

C: Are we risking anything?

E: Not at 50 peta watts.

C: They have a pretty clear shot. They’ve calculated that. They don’t care.

E: It will intercept it in 2043. And so that’s the three-prong attack, and the first launch happened today, so we will keep obviously close tabs on this one.

C: So what do we think the odds are?

E: With all three of these things going out there? I think, I think very good—

B: —Doable.

E: —Scientists are not really putting out any false hope and saying, "Yeah, it’s guaranteed to work," or any kind of 99.9% effective. They’re not really saying anything along those lines, for obvious reasons.

S: So we’re starting at 33%, and I think each one will knock it down 10% or so. They’re hoping to get it to less than 5%. But they may be the best they could do.

C: So it’s an interesting eschatological threat. It’s kind of the first one other than climate change, which has been this slow burn. Heh, no pun intended. This is the first real time where I’m feeling like this could be how I go out, you guys.

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