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Worth Reading

McKibben Prods Bill Gates to Go Further

Gates Asks How To Avoid a Climate Disaster

Released this week, Bill Gates’s new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster “sets out a wide-ranging, practical–and accessible–plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.” In this excerpt published in Fast Company, Gates makes the connection between the pandemic and climate change and asks what we should we do with the disease-fighting momentum.

Our friend and former 350.org leader Bill McKibben reviewed the book for the New York Times, unpacking some apparent contradictions and pointing out Gates’ lack of political engagement. “Power comes in many forms, from geothermal and nuclear to congressional and economic,” he writes. “It’s wonderful that Gates has decided to work hard on climate questions, but to be truly helpful he needs to resolve to be a better geek — he needs to really get down on his hands and knees and examine how that power works in all its messiness. Politics very much included.”

Life on Mars?

NASA’s multi-billion dollar rover Perseverance will land on the Martian surface today looking for, among other things, life. Ars Technica has a primer on what to expect from the landing. Barring an encounter with Carl Sagan’s hypothetical hedgehog staring into the camera, NASA hopes that the Jezero Crater, which was once the site of a large lake, is a good place to start looking for biosignatures (evidence of life).

What pairs well with Perseverance? Ingenuity, of course. Ingenuity being the tissue-box-sized helicopter tasked with proving autonomous flight is possible on Mars. Here’s how NASA designed the tiny helicopter that it hopes will take off, navigate, and land on Mars without human intervention. Plus, meet the LA Musician who helped design a microphone for Perseverance. It could finally allow us to hear what our planetary neighbor sounds like. (IEEE Spectrum / WIRED)

And if you, too, have had David Bowie’s Life on Mars? stuck in your head all day treat yourself to the (official video).

Mental Health + Wellness

A new mental health app called Coa, backed by Casper cofounder Neil Parikh and NBA star Kevin Love, is described as the world’s first gym for mental fitness. Love, whose panic attack during a game against the Atlanta Hawks sparked a passion for mental fitness, says this – “In the NBA, you have trained professionals to fine-tune your life in so many areas. Coaches, trainers, and nutritionists have had a presence in my life for years. But none of those people could help me in the way I needed when I was lying on the floor struggling to breathe.” (Fast Company)

NBC News reports that at-home learning during the pandemic has led to a spike in the diagnosis of ADHD in children. “Experts attribute the increase in inquiries to a variety of factors, including the loss of structure and accommodations in the classroom setting. Parents are also seeing their children’s troubles during school hours firsthand.”

Weight-loss app Noom has also seen a spike during the pandemic. Our friend Barbara Thau reports that the app, which is informed by psychology and behavioral science, doubled its sales in 2020. The pandemic-fueled wellness economy has ballooned into a $4.5 trillion global business. (Co)

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