My heart goes out to UC Berkeley researchers that literally had the plug pulled on their research. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has initiated a series of power shut-downs to curtail potential wildfires sparked by their power lines in the Bay Area. A few years ago their equipment led to a massive wildfire where they were found liable, so this move attempts to limit their exposure-- by cutting off power to 2.5 million people for up to 6 days . This causes unbelievably hard problems for folks in need of power to run medical electrical equipment etc, so it there are significant issues here that reach beyond inconvenience. That said, this is an important note to faculty (and postdocs and students) about the limits of a university to help with a major crisis-- no matter how good the facilities people are, you can't count on the system to save you. That reality as researchers proactively took charge to save their critical resources. I have a funny feeling that it is only
What if we could create microbes that would fix atmospheric nitrogen and deliver it directly to the roots of plants? That's the idea of Joyn Bio's Dr. Michael Mille. The company has set out to use genetic engineering to reprogram microbial "chassis" that can do the work in the field, limiting dependence on external nitrogen fertilizer. The process would transform agriculture and decrease carbon and nitrogen pollution associated with agriculture. This week's podcast.