China Sets Target of Carbon Neutrality by 2060

China, the largest producer of greenhouse gases, gave itself a target to be carbon neutral by 2060. Carbon neutrality is a strategy that aims to balance carbon dioxide emissions with carbon removal, and may be an effective mechanism to improve air quality. This would be especially significant for many Chinese citizens who live with regular, high levels of air pollution. Seven of the ten cities with the most air pollution worldwide are found in China. (Link)

City with pollution
Image source: City University of Hong Kong

Airbus Debuts Hydrogen-Powered Airplane

Airbus presented three concept planes that would produce zero-emissions. All three concept planes rely on hydrogen stored in onboard tanks as the fuel source and use modified gas-turbine engines. Using hydrogen as a fuel source produces water as a byproduct, instead of carbon dioxide (CO2). According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the aviation industry was responsible for 2.4% of the total CO2 emissions globally in 2018. (Link) The three concept planes include a turbofan design with a range of 2,000 miles, a turboprop design with a range of 1,000 miles, and a blended-wind body design. (Link)

Airbus blended wing concept. Image Source: Airbus

Concerning the Singularity and the New World Order

A good friend of mine and I were engaged in a conversation on possible outlooks for the future of the 21st century. In sharing our possible optimistic outcomes, we got on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and how to use technology to improve the human condition. Futuristic topics like these often seem to get into the issue of what the technological singularity may look like and what might be meant by the phrase “The New World Order.”

Our conversation wrapped up with the following 3 text messages that I’d like to share here, due to both their novelty and their alignment with some of this site’s core values (Link) such as: the importance of having a positive and uplifting outlook on life, a continued growth of consciousness, embracing creativity, and a strong sense of hope for the future. My friend gave me kind permission to repost their words here while wishing to remain anonymous and preferring the pseudonym: “Brain in a Vat.”

Me: Lately, I’ve been thinking of what a New World Order and the singularity might look like. The idea everyone talks about is a dystopian world where big money rules and freedoms are gone. However, I think it will be different. Much different. I can easily foresee a world where the people are the singularity and the architects of the New World Order. Example: Jeff Bezos and Amazon does something the people don’t like. In unison they organize a mass boycott and send Amazon’s stock price down. In order to correct this, Amazon changes their behavior and the people let up on the boycott. This is already possible through social media but I think humanity still needs to raise its level of consciousness another step.

Brain in a Vat: Something where interconnectivity hits critical mass and the weight of consensus makes the decisions? We would act as some kind of hive mind. That IS interesting to think about.

Me: Exactly.

Hopefully we will hear more from Brain in a Vat in the future.

Broccoli Sprouts Reduce Benzene Levels in the Body

An increased level of benzene in the body is associated with a number of diseases. Researchers writing in the journal Cancer Prevention Research describe how a broccoli sprout-derived beverage will lower benzene levels in the body. Two chemicals in broccoli sprouts that are largely responsible for the effect are:

1) Sulforaphane

2) Glucoraphanin

Image Credit: International Specialty Supply


Broccoli sprouts are a convenient and rich source of the glucosinolate, glucoraphanin, which can generate the chemopreventive agent, sulforaphane, an inducer of glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) and other cytoprotective enzymes. A broccoli sprout-derived beverage providing daily doses of 600 μmol glucoraphanin and 40 μmol sulforaphane was evaluated for magnitude and duration of pharmacodynamic action in a 12-week randomized clinical trial. Two hundred and ninety-one study participants were recruited from the rural He-He Township, Qidong, in the Yangtze River delta region of China, an area characterized by exposures to substantial levels of airborne pollutants. Exposure to air pollution has been associated with lung cancer and cardiopulmonary diseases. Urinary excretion of the mercapturic acids of the pollutants, benzene, acrolein, and crotonaldehyde, were measured before and during the intervention using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Rapid and sustained, statistically significant (p ≤ 0.01) increases in the levels of excretion of the glutathione-derived conjugates of benzene (61%), acrolein (23%), but not crotonaldehyde were found in those receiving broccoli sprout beverage compared with placebo. Excretion of the benzene-derived mercapturic acid was higher in participants who were GSTT1-positive compared to the null genotype, irrespective of study arm assignment. Measures of sulforaphane metabolites in urine indicated that bioavailability did not decline over the 12-week daily dosing period. Thus, intervention with broccoli sprouts enhances the detoxication of some airborne pollutants and may provide a frugal means to attenuate their associated long-term health risks. (Link)

Broccoli sprouts are available in many grocery stores’ produce departments or can be easily sprouted at home with a sprouting jar and bag of broccoli sprout seeds. The recipe I use for sprouting is:

1) Soak 1/4 cup of seeds in a sprouting jar for 24 hours.

2) Drain the water. Rinse and drain twice daily.

After 3-5 days, you’ll have a jar’s worth of broccoli sprouts that can be put on salads or blended into juices and smoothies. I like to dry the sprouts on paper towels sitting on clean plates before putting them in the fridge. A portion can be frozen for later use in blended drinks. Some research suggests freezing may actually increase the amount of sulforaphane in the sprouts.

For more information, here is an informative discussion with Rhonda Patrick on sulforaphane: (Link)