Popular Science Round-up: Return of the cave bear, decline of the puffin, and one smart fish.

National Geographic is really just putting a label on something we already knew, but still … it doesn’t feel good.

Now experts warn that we have entered the “post-antibiotic era,” during which increasing numbers of people—in the hundreds of thousands—will suffer and die each year from infection by forms of bacteria that were once easily controlled with antibiotics.

The World Health Organization considers antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats of the 21st century. The World Economic Forum calls it a “potential disaster” for human health and the global economy. Just one such microbial threat, multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, caused more than 11,000 deaths in the United States in 2011 alone, and that one plus other resistant microbes kill hundreds of thousands of people annually around the world.

We, all of us, have lived in a kind of golden age when it comes to the relationship of humans and disease. And even as we move into an era of tailored genetic treatments for disorders that in the past were incurable, we’re confronted with a return of scourges that, for many of us, haven’t been an issue for generations.

Ars Technica notes that in 2017, four states generated a third of their electricity using wind.

In four states—Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and South Dakota—wind contributed 30 to 37 percent of each state’s entire electricity generation. These are fairly unique cases, because the states are sparsely populated and benefit from areas with high wind speeds. But the fraction of wind-generated electricity is growing in many other states, too. Fourteen states had more than 10 percent of their energy come from wind. On a wider scale, wind contributed just 6.3 percent of national generation, although that’s up from 5.7 percent in 2016.

Wind prices continue to drop, with the wholesale price of power from wind farms down to 2 cents per kilowatt-hour in several locations. And wind power won’t be isolated to the plains for long. Additional off-shore projects are moving ahead on the East Cost as the size of turbines keeps going up and the cost per megawatt keeps going down.

Read more: feeds.dailykosmedia.com

Leave a Reply