Weve Discovered How to Turn Carbon Dioxide into Booze

first_img Researchers Transform CO2 Into Liquid FuelCoca-Cola Uses Captured Carbon Dioxide to Make Bottled Water Sparkle Carbon dioxide will probably the death of humanity. Not too long ago we crossed the critical 400ppm global CO2 threshold. Meaning that unless we figure out how to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere our descendants are royally screwed.So it was exciting when, last week scientists announced that with the help of some snazzy new tech, they’d figured out how to turn carbon dioxide into everyone’s favorite recreational beverage — ethanol. The implications, obviously, would be huge. We could fix global warming and stop ocean acidification then get totally tanked, pissed, messed up, or shitfaced to celebrate.“Sounds awesome! Let’s spend all the world’s money on this new demon magic!” I hear you scream. Not so fast! Unfortunately, there’re some big caveats (you knew this was coming, though, right?)I spoke with some chemical engineers and physical chemists who asked not to be named (mostly for fear of being permanently labeled as “buzzkills”), and they said that while this new technology is surprisingly scalable, it’s unlikely we could deploy it on the scale we’d need to fix climate change.Part of the problem is the energy required. Normally you can burn ethanol and make heat CO2 and some other stuff as a byproduct. Running that process backward means reducing the entropy of that system (it’s like turning smoke back into wood). You can do it, but you’ll need a lot of outside help — and that means a lot more energy than you got out of burning the booze at the start. So, without something really incredible like nuclear fusion, the amount of power we’d need to suck up all that excess CO2 from the atmosphere would be positively ASTRONOMICAL. In fact, that’s the other big problem. We crank out nearly 10 GIGATONS of CO2 each year.That’s an unfathomably large figure — especially given that CO2 is a gas. It’s so diffuse and light that our puny brains struggle to fully comprehend just how staggering of a figure that is. So, here’s some help.That’s about 5 billion cars’ worth (which is about five times the number of cars that actually exist) of a practically weightless gas. It’s also 2000 Olympic swimming pools. Even more terrifying is that while estimates vary, we can say for sure that it is at least 20 times the total global biomass OF ALL THE FISH ON EARTH. And we crank out that amount of CO2 EVERY SINGLE YEAR.I know it sounds like I’m harping on this a lot, but it’s a ridiculous figure. We all obviously know it’s a problem, but the scale of the problem is barely calculable.Anyway… so… to convert that amount of CO2 into ethanol would be… we’ll say problematic for a couple of reasons. First, as I said, we’d need many dozens of times the energy the Earth currently produces in a year, and it’d have to come from the sun or from nuclear fusion or some other non-polluting source, or the whole thing is pointless. Then we’d need to get these specialized panels up into the atmosphere and drag it around enough through the air that we can gather up all that evil CO2. Then… we’d need some place to put the ethanol.Now I know you’re probably thinking, “Why don’t we just drink it?” You’re right. This amount of booze would be so tremendous that every year we’d make enough for every human being on Earth to get a lifetime’s supply… one hundred times over.So here’s my plan: we figure out nuclear fusion (simple, right?), get some robotic planes to circle the Earth collecting and converting CO2 into ethanol, and then make regular deliveries to us here on the ground. Then, and this is the best part: we drink humanity into extinction. After all, if we’re dead, we can’t screw this up any more, yeah? Think of it as your solemn duty as a citizen of Earth. We might be gone, but we’d save what’s left of the Great Barrier Reef. Seems like a fair trade. Stay on targetlast_img read more

The Gifted S2 Finale Recap Death Destruction Hope for Season 3

first_imgStay on target It’s always bittersweet when a show with a short season like this ends. The lower episode count often makes for better, tighter story arcs, but we’re always sad to see it go. With another massive mutant attack on the horizon, we begin the episode by flashing back to the last one. No surprise, it basically set the Strucker family on the path they are now. After witnessing the attack, a Reed Strucker (with semi-convincing young makeup) decides to join the Mutant Crimes Division. From there, we know the rest of the story. He joins Sentinel Services, and his kids are compelled to hide their mutant powers from him until all hell breaks loose. Man, the pilot was fun wasn’t it? Good memories.In the present, the next attack won’t come as quite a surprise. The Underground is preparing for Reeva’s next move, whatever it may be. Not that it helps much. Her next move turns out to be to once again use the Purifiers to do her dirty work. She has them set up shop right outside where the Underground is staying. They know about the plan to destroy the Sentinel Services building, and Reeva can’t have them getting in the way. They also have Andy, whom Reeva was counting on to do the actual destruction. I will say, the surprise of the Frost sisters appearing in the room was pulled off really well. There’s always something a little scary and unsettling about a door that was supposed to be closed suddenly opening.Blair Redford (Photo Credit: Eliza Morse/FOX)Though Thunderbird still sees Blink every time he tries to track, he’s able to fight through the visions and figure out what happened. With the kids under their (and therefore Reeva’s) control, the Underground can’t stay holed up in the hotel anymore.They have to get Lauren and Andy back before they’re used for something terrible. Though since this is the season finale, we all know… they’re going to be used for something terrible. This hopeless race against the clock works really well. We know there’s pretty much no way the Underground is going to catch up to the Frosts when they have a wall of Purifiers to go through. It makes the stakes of John’s desperate plan that much higher. As concerned as we are for John’s life, and it really does seem for a moment like he might die here, the fight is really about all mutants’ long-term survival.What a fight it is though. After multiple episodes of watching the Purifiers get away with killing innocent people, it was so satisfying to watch a guy who can take a few bullets rip these guys apart. The Gifted has always excelled at its action scenes, and it made sure to end the season with a bang. His attack provides just enough of a distraction to let the rest of the mutants escape, though he nearly takes too many bullets in the process. That leads to possibly the best moment in the episode. Erg finds Thunderbird lying on the ground waiting to be killed. He uses their shared love for Blink to encourage him to keep fighting. When the Purifiers show up, Erg absorbs the energy of John’s punches, blasting them away with his eye laser. Who needs Cyclops with this guy around?Coby Bell (Photo Credit: Annette Brown/FOX)Oh, and Jace Turner finally gets his. Recent episodes had me worried they were going to try to give him a redemption arc. The Gifted knows he doesn’t deserve that. Not yet anyway. Thunderbird beats the living crap out of him, and comes close to killing him before realizing that’s better than he deserves. By the end of the episode, we see Turner recovering from head trauma in the hospital. After that beating and the fall of the Purifiers, I’m genuinely curious to see where that character goes from here.Meanwhile, just like we all feared they would, the Frosts got to the Sentinel building before the Underground could reach the Strucker kids. Gotta say though, as dire as the situation was, Lauren and Andy destroying that building was a cool looking piece of CGI. You know it’s a good season finale when you get the year’s biggest fight scene and special effect within a few minutes of each other. With Reeva’s orchestrated terrorist attack going as planned, The Underground just needs to get Andy and Lauren to safety. They confront the Frost sisters, who try to force the kids to kill their family. They would too, if not for the help of an unlikely ally.Natalie Alyn Lind (Photo Credit: Annette Brown/FOX)This show doesn’t always give itself enough time to really develop its characters or show us their personal growth. That was certainly not the case with Esme. Every episode lately had at least one scene building her friendship with Lorna. Slowly and subtly, we started to see her question Reeva’s plan in a way her sisters didn’t. For the first time since last season’s finale, we saw Esme act out of step with her sisters. That all paid off here in a satisfying way. Lorna convinces her to break her sisters’ hold over the Strucker kids. The shock temporarily stuns the other two Frosts, who immediately take a blast from Eclipse. Surprisingly, Esme isn’t angry about Eclipse killing her sisters like that. She’s sad sure, but she seems to recognize that it had to be done. She stays behind to buy the Underground time to escape from the cops.Esme isn’t the only one whose seen major growth this season. We’ve spent the last 16 episodes watching him discover, reject and come to accept his mutant powers. Last week, it got him his son back. This week, it gets him his purpose. Throughout the episode, we kept seeing flashbacks to moments that made him question his place in society’s struggle with the existence of mutants. From the first attack inspiring him to join the mutant crimes division, to the attack on a party Lauren went to that turned out to be her first accidental use of powers. Each instance furthered his dedication to arresting mutants while at the same time making him doubt whether or not he was really doing the right thing. I do wish this information had been doled out over the last two seasons, rather than loaded into the finale, but it still works.Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker (Photo Credit: Eliza Morse/FOX)The heavy flashbacking and somber tone do seriously telegraph his death though. As I watched the episode, another person in the room who had never seen a full episode, who was only paying half attention to this one, said “he’s gonna die.” That’s how easy it was to see coming, which robbed the eventual death of some of its power. Only some, though. We have gotten to see Reed grow a lot of the last two seasons, so saying goodbye like this is still genuinely sad. You really feel for what the Strucker family’s going through as they say goodbye. At least he got a seriously cool final scene. I don’t quite buy the idea that if he can’t control his powers that means Reeva can’t either. Shouldn’t that make him more susceptible? Maybe it’d be better if this supposed advantage hadn’t been suddenly brought up at the last minute. In any case, it’s a relatively minor annoyance. It was still cool, sad and absorbing to watch Reed fight through Reeva’s scream and take her out in a giant body explosion. It was the big comic book-style battle we’ve been waiting for since Season One.This season largely put the action on hold to focus on building the characters. It wasn’t always so successful. Combined with having three different factions each with their own stories, it led to a couple slow, overstuffed episodes where nothing particularly interesting had time to happen. And at the end of all of it, that’s OK. Every show has at least one episode that’s not up to par. All that work building out the characters paid off here. We got a Season Two finale where not only did the big setpiece events finally happen, they felt like they mattered. That mostly makes up for the fact that everything wrapped up a little too neatly at the end. After Reeva died, things fell into place just a little too conveniently. It was cool to watch Esme force Benedict Ryan to confess everything, but the ending felt a little too clean. I wanted to explore the power vacuum left behind when the Sentinel building’d destruction causes the chaos Reeva wanted it to, but she’s not around to lead the mutants. That could have been a fun, fraught situation to put the Underground in.Instead, we got a baffling cliffhanger. Now, I don’t mean that entirely in a bad way. It was exciting to see Blink again, and I desperately want to know just what the hell’s going on. How is she alive? Where is she coming from? It just came out of nowhere with no setup though, so no reaction other than “whaaaat?” is possible. More than anything I really hope we get the answer. The Gifted hasn’t been renewed for Season Three. Disney’s purchase of Fox, along with Fox’s recent habit of cancelling the more expensive shows, don’t exactly guarantee it will be. We’ll hold out hope, though. I really want to know what that was.The Gifted aired Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Fox.Previously on The Gifted:The Gifted: Season 2 Episode 15 RecapThe Gifted: Season 2 Episode 13 RecapThe Gifted: Season 2 Episode 12 Recap ‘The Gifted’ Season 2, Ep 5 Recap: The Reunion We’ve Waited For’The Gifted’ Season 2, Episode 13 Recap: They Need a Hero last_img read more