In this 54″ video made 13 October 2022 Jesse Ausubel, awarded the 2022 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, discusses whether the human species can continue to improve—much like cars, computers, or other technology—or whether our species has reached its peak.
Jesse H. Ausubel joins Jason Spiess on The Crude Life to discuss “Peak Human” and “Peak Humans” in a 34-minute podcast and explore new research showing how humans’ minds and bodies may near their limits and even start on a downward curve. “For 200-250 years humanity has had an incredible run,” Ausubel said. “When you think of your great grandparents, grandparents, parents and you, generally speaking you are going to be better… than they were.”
Journalist/author Robert Bryce interviews Jesse Ausubel about PHE’s work on “peak human” and “peak humans.” The interview covers four dimensions of human performance: the physical (how far and fast can we go?), lifetime (how long can we live and how well?), cognitive (measures of intelligence and learning), and immunity (is our resistance to disease waning?). The podcast was recorded on December 7, 2022. For the audio and transcript, see the Bryce website, and also on YouTube.
Jesse Ausubel will be honored with the 2022 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest. This award is presented annually by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the Nierenberg Family to honor the memory of William A. Nierenberg, an esteemed physicist and national science leader who served Scripps Oceanography as director for two decades. Previous awardees include atmospheric scientist Warren Washington, biochemist and Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna, filmmaker Sir David Attenborough, and primatologist Dame Jane Goodall, among others.
For its 2021 Annual Review, the Andrew W. Marshall Foundation presented an hour-long seminar in which Jesse Ausubel speaks briefly on experimentation, Melissa Flagg on intellectual courage, and Dan Patt on mentorship, followed by Q&A. IGood session. Jesse’s 5 minutes of remarks, titled Don’t Do Anything for the First Time, begin 15 minutes into the session following Jaymie Durnan’s opening review.
Jesse reflects on decarbonization, dematerialization, land-sparing, industrial ecology, industrialization of the oceans, biological traces of fishes and of Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Seven Deadly Sins in an 83″ podcast with Robert Bryce, author of Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: and A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations.
The Podcast is also on YouTube where you get to see who sings Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
PHE Guest Investigator David Thaler and RU colleague Tom Sakmar publish open access in BMC Infectious Diseases 21, Article #601 (2021) ‘Archiving time series sewage samples as biological records of built environments.” The idea for the article arose during our 2020 twice-weekly PHE Zooms. It is rooted in part in Paula Olsiewski’s completed Sloan Foundation program on the Microbiology of the Built Environment, to which David contributed. It also links to the Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project, to which both David and Tom belong, and which searches for biological relics from times past and also explores how better to preserve recent traces of DNA and RNA.
This commentary encourages the regular archiving of nucleic-acid-stabilized serial samples of wastewaters and/or sewage. Stabilized samples would facilitate retrospective reconstitution of built environments’ biological fluids. Biological time capsules would allow retrospective searches for nucleic acids from viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Current resources for testing need not be diverted if samples are saved in case they become important in the future. Systematic storage would facilitate investigation into the origin and prevalence of viruses and other agents. Comparison of prevalence data from individual and clinical samplings with community wastewater would allow valuable comparison, contrast and correlation among different testing modalities. Current interest is focused on SARS-CoV-2, but archived samples could become valuable in many contexts including surveys for other infectious and chemical agents whose identity is not currently known. Archived time series of wastewater will take their place alongside other biological repositories and records including those from medical facilities, museums, eDNA, living cell and tissue collections. Together these will prove invaluable records of the evolving Anthropocene.