Becca Rotenberg

Deadly heat waves could hit most of the world by 2100

Rick Stevens / AP

By the year 2100, 74% of people on Earth may be exposed to deadly heat waves if nothing is done to address climate change, according to a new study published in Nature. Researchers found that 30% of the world's population is currently at risk from deadly heat and even if we begin to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 50% will still be at risk.

The study: Lead author Camilo Mora and a team of researchers examined nearly 2,000 case studies between 1980 and 2014 where people died from extreme heat. They then collected climate data from the times and locations of each incident, including temperature, humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed.

The heat threshold: The scientists concluded that when combined with high humidity, moderate temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit became deadly, while continual exposure to conditions above body temperature, 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit, is dangerous. When our bodies get above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, cellular machinery begins to break down, and anything above that requires immediate medical attention.


White House might shift Spicer

Evan Vucci/AP

The White House is considering shifting Press Secretary Sean Spicer to a strategy role, Bloomberg reports, citing two people close to the matter. President Trump has not made a final decision, yet.

Why it matters: Rumors have circulated for weeks that Spicer will be replaced, and nothing has come of them so far, but this signals a move may still be in the works.


The key points from Megyn Kelly's Alex Jones interview

John Minchillo/ Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Despite backlash and controversy, right-wing personality and Infowars founder, Alex Jones, was interviewed on last night's Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. Here's what you missed:

  • Kelly pushed Jones on his controversial response to the Manchester attack, which Jones defended arguing that the media clipped his response, and that he wasn't aware of who the victims were when he said it.
  • Jones wouldn't say how many times the President has called him, but called their relationship "friendly."
  • "I was going into devil's advocate," Jones in regards to his Sandy Hook conspiracy theory, and he continued to stand behind his statements.
  • Kelly addressed the real life implications from Infowars promoting fake stories from the Pizzagate scandal to the death threats parents of Sandy book victims have received.
Watch the full interview, here.

This robot chef is learning to make pizza

Bruno Siciliano and Prisma Lab

Robotic Dynamic Manipulation, known as RoDyMan, could soon become the first robot chef to make a pizza, Scientific American reports. Currently, the robot is learning to toss and knead the dough.

To teach the robot, master pizza chef Enzo Coccia wore a suit of movement-tracking sensors to analyze movements that RoDyMan tries to mimic. The robot is equipped with visual sensors to follow the dough in real time, and map its position as it's tossed in the air. Professor Bruno Siciliano, who has been working on the robot for five years, hopes that with practice it will be able to hold and handle the pizza as a chef would.

The main goal for RoDyMan is eventually "to emulate a chef's agility and dexterity with the best performing mobile bimanual robot system," Siciliano told Axios. RoDyMan will debut at the Naples pizza festival in May 2018.


Rep. Mo Brooks says gun control views unchanged by shooting

Cliff Owen/AP

Representative Mo Brooks addressed Second Amendment rights in response to this morning's shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice in Virginia. When asked if the shooting changes his views on these gun rights, he responded:

Not with respect to the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment right to bear arms is to ensure that we always have a republic. And as with any constitutional provision in the Bill of Rights, there are adverse aspects to each of those rights that we enjoy as people. And what we just saw here is one of the bad side effects of someone not exercising those rights properly. But we're not going to get rid of freedom of speech because some people say some really ugly things that hurt other people's feelings. We're not going to get rid of Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights because it allows some criminals to go free who should be behind bars.
These rights are there to protect Americans, and while each of them has a negative aspect to them, they are fundamental to our being the greatest nation in world history. So no, I'm not changing my position on any of the rights we enjoy as Americans. With respect to this particular shooter, I'd really like to know more about him — whether he was an ex-felon, by way of example, who should have not had possession of a firearm — I'd like to know other things about his background before I pass judgement.

Watch it here at 16:30:


Key excerpts from leaked audio of Uber's all-hands meeting

Eric Risberg/AP

Yahoo Finance obtained leaked audio from Uber's all-hands meeting today, with topics ranging from CEO Travis Kalanick's newly-announced leave of absence to changes in the company's values.

Board member David Bonderman has issued an apology to the board and all Uber employees for the following exchange with Ariana Huffington, also a member of the board:

Huffington: "There's a lot of data that shows when there's a woman on the board it's much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board."

Bonderman: "Actually, what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking."

Huffington: "Oh, come on, David."

Other comments from the meeting


"Let us all address the elephant in the room — where is Travis?"

"The War Room is no more. It has been renamed the Peace Room."

"We need to judge ourselves going forward, from today on what we're doing right now, on the actions we are taking."


"The company has been run as though it was a small start up... but now it's not. It has to have training programs, it has to have appropriate governance and oversight. All of these are contained in the committee recommendations."

"You're going to read negative things in the press. We can overcome it all."

Bill Gurley, board member:

"We have to self police and help everyone understand that we need to be doing things we're proud of at all times"

Angela Padilla, member of Uber's legal team:

"We understood that Susan's [blog] post described not just specific facts... but also a broader company culture of certain kinds of toxic behavior."

Liane Hornsey, Uber's HR chief:

"There will not be 14 values on how individuals behave. There will be values on how we behave collectively as an Uber team."

"We will introduce part-time working for those who want it."

"We have to have a diversity advisory we can get very, very serious here."

"We are all accountable to each other because of what we've just been through."


Puerto Rico votes 97% favor of U.S. statehood

Carlos Giusti/AP

Puerto Rico voted on Sunday in favor of becoming the 51st state. The vote was 97% in favor of statehood. Puerto Rico's governor will send lawmakers to Washington, but Congress has the final say.
How they got such a wide margin: Only 23% of registered voters voted after of the anti-statehood movement called for a boycott of the election, hoping that a low turnout would lessen the credibility of the vote. Those against statehood cite reasons like losing the island's cultural identity and having to pay more in federal taxes, according to a Washington Post report. Those for statehood cite a possible U.S. bailout from its current financial mess as a leading reason, according to the New York Times.

Visual reality is linked to personality

Laurinemily at English Wikipedia

People who are more open to new experiences have a different visual perception of reality, according to a new study in the Journal of Research in Personality. Researchers found open-minded people tested higher for binocular rivalry — a visual perception phenomenon that combines two different images in either eye, rather then the eyes alternating back and forth between the images.

How it was tested: 123 volunteers were given a personality test measuring extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Researchers then tested for binocular rivalry with a red patch to one eye and green for the other. People with high scores in openness were more likely to see the red and green patches fused together than alternate between the two.

What's next? Personality traits are not fixed, and now the big question is how perception changes with personality. Anna Antinori, lead author of the study, told Quartz "It may be possible that a change in people's personality may also affect how they see the world."


Minimum wage workers can't afford to rent a 2-bedroom home

Andrew Selsky/AP

Minimum wage workers would have to earn three times the federal wage to rent a modest two-bedroom home anywhere in the country, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Workers would need $21.21 per hour to rent a two-bedroom home, and $17.14 for a one-bedroom. On average, renters earn $16.38 across the country, while the mandated federal minimum wage sits at $7.25.

The gap between income and rent is widening. Average income went down by 4%, while rent increased by 6% between 2007 and 2015, Washington Post reports.

Why this matters: Around 11.2 million families spend the majority of their paychecks on rent, and currently only one of every four is eligible for public subsidies. Under President Trump's budget plan, federal funding to the Department of Housing and Urban Development will be slashed by $6.2 billion — significantly reducing housing assitance programs and those programs aimed at helping lower-wage employees.


Google cars and roof sensors can now monitor air pollution

Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

Scientists in San Francisco and Oakland have developed two new ways to monitor pollution at high resolutions, according to Wired.

Why it matters: Scientists and epidemiologists have relied on weather models to track air pollution and conduct studies, but maps made with this unprecedented detail will open a door to the kinds of questions and studies scientists can conduct.

  1. Monitors inside Google Street View cars. Aclima, the SF-based company, installed tubing to monitor air quality in the Bay Area. As the cars drive around, the tubes take in the air, which is tested once per second for carbon pollution and nitrogen gases. Their year-long study produced an interactive map of three types of air pollution.
  2. Sensors on rooftops. Ron Cohen, an atmospheric chemist at UC Berkeley, installed them across the Bay Area that can measure seven types of pollutants. The sensors, called BEACO2N (Berkeley Atmospheric CO2 Obseation Network), monitor set locations and reveal how pollution changes throughout the day and with the change of seasons.

What's next? The scientists behind both of the projects hope to create a full ecosystem of pollution sensors. Cohen is planning to track how asthma attacks correlate with pollution, and Aclima is working with epidemiologists to study emission levels near pollution hotspots. Both groups are looking to expand globally.