This Scientist Wants to Bring ‘Star Trek’ Values to Congress

Vulcanologist Jess Phoenix never ever anticipated to be engaged in politics. Until recently the woman life revolved around science—traveling the planet to examine various volcanoes and operating an academic nonprofit. Nevertheless the ecological record of the Trump management has inspired the girl to run for Congress.

“These dudes are essentially gutting every ecological security that existed,” Phoenix says in Episode 284 of Geek’s Guide toward Galaxy podcast. “It’s a trend we must stop now. We can’t allow this carry on.”

Phoenix is certainly one of a growing quantity of researchers that operating for public office, spurred on by the team 314 Action, which assists teach boffins how exactly to organize a political campaign. There’s an increasing recognition one of them that way too many elected officials are ignorant of fundamental technology, which the only real solution is for experts to get in there and do a better job.

“The science candidates will probably be in favor of items that are scientifically demonstrated to work,” Phoenix says. “That’s the thing that unites all of us.”

She also offers one benefit that sets the lady apart—the help of Star Trek actors like Tim Russ, Robert Picardo, and John Billingsley, most of whom have starred in her campaign videos. “John saw the correlation between my jobs about issues and also the celebrity Trek world,” Phoenix states, “and how a ideals of Gene Roddenberry’s future harmonized with what I wanted to fight for.”

She says that as vulcanologist, celebrity Trek sources are a fact of life, since virtually everybody else she meets makes a joke about the woman studying Vulcans. The woman standard response is always to supply the Vulcan salute and state “live long and prosper.”

“Its convenient because it’s one thing we actually rely on,” she says. “i really do wish people to live very long and prosper, so I’d say it is a fairly universally OK message.”

Listen to the complete interview with Jess Phoenix in Episode 284 of Geek’s Guide toward Galaxy (above). And look for some features from the conversation below.

Jess Phoenix on Yellowstone:

“When it does erupt once again, it will devastate the usa. It’ll fundamentally go east of Wyoming, and it surely will fundamentally go entirely to Washington, DC. Ashfall was found—from previous eruptions—all just how over in Virginia. So it has got the possible to simply be massively devastating. In Southern California we’dn’t get the maximum amount of ashfall, but demonstrably having 75 per cent of this nation hidden under [ash] would cause serious problems. We don’t need to worry about Yellowstone killing us in Southern Ca, nevertheless the remaining portion of the country? Sorry. An eruption that size, a real supervolcano eruption, would devastate not only the US however the entire world. It could screw up economies all around the globe. So it’s not a thing we should happen any time in the future.”

Jess Phoenix regarding the Core:

“I was fundamentally in agony through that entire film. That stuff doesn’t take place. There are not any giant crystal caverns in Earth’s crust. Oh guy. I mean, you will find crystal caverns that we find out about in Mexico, but that’s different. That film made me somewhat crazy, because I was a buddy of somebody whom knew the writer, so we got to visit a day-or-two-early testing. And also this was at Massachusetts, of most places—I don’t understand how we had this connection. But I didn’t understand the journalist, and additionally they stated following the movie, ‘Do you wish to get fulfill him?’ and I also was like, ‘No. Sorry. Now i might be too critical. I’d need to wait.’ I became not that mature at that age either, and I also was exactly like, ‘Oh my god, the science ended up being awful!’”

Jess Phoenix on weather modification:

“My dad ended up being quite definitely into ‘Oh, weather change is not real’ a few years back. And I would say, ‘Dad, I’m the scientist. I went along to school because of this. There’s no conspiracy.’ But then I’m really encouraged, because on their Facebook web page he shared a thing that I did, among the news appearances that we had—i do believe perhaps it had been once I had been on CNN Overseas speaing frankly about why we need researchers in federal government, world scientists in particular—and somebody on their page stated, ‘Oh John, it is only a conspiracy. Stick To The cash.’ And my father had been like, ‘Well, my daughter’s not getting reduced for this, therefore I think there’s something to it. I know she stands company inside her convictions’—or one thing compared to that effect. So I think he’s starting to observe that [it’s real].”

Jess Phoenix on fundraising:

“Some [scientists] have gotten fairly wealthy patenting their discoveries, however for many scientists—particularly Earth scientists—your biggest disadvantage is supposed to be which you don’t have massive, built-in donor system. Because boffins haven’t been politically active. Therefore if I were to call up—and I’ve done this—if we had been to contact 10, or 20, or 50 of my medical colleagues and state, ‘Hey, subscribe to my governmental campaign,’ they’re maybe not regularly doing that. Attorneys are accustomed to donating with other solicitors running for workplace, as well as the exact same goes for businesspeople, simply because they constitute 80-plus % of Congress now. There’s one physicist in Congress—Bill Foster in Illinois—and that’s it. To Help You see we have a tough line to hoe.”

Return to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.

San Francisco Plan to Adjust Parking Prices Based on Demand

Let’s say you have to run an errand, a small-ish one. You’re stopping by your doctor’s office to pick up a prescription; you gotta return a regretted online purchase at the post office. How do you get there? A bunch of tiny factors contribute to your decision, but if you have a car one of the biggest is probably: Can I park?

Thousands, maybe millions of people in your city are making small choices like yours every day. If parking is abundant and free, more people might drive, creating traffic in the process. If it’s scarce or expensive, they might choose alternatives—walking, cycling, hopping on the bus.

Thus, the way your city deals with parking indelibly shapes its character—how people live inside it every day. That’s why you should pay attention to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s new parking meter proposal. If the agency has its way, SF will become the first major American city to adjust the prices at all of its parking meters based on demand.

“We should be charging the right price for parking given the block and given the time of day,” says Hank Willson, who manages parking policy for the SFMTA. The proposal, which goes before the city council on Tuesday, would expand a program that’s already in place at 7,000 of the city’s 28,000 parking meters. It breaks every day into three time bands, and the agency would adjust the prices on each block and band based on usage data collected by the city’s wirelessly connected parking meters. If you’re parking on a popular bar- and restaurant-packed block on a Friday night, you can expect to pay more than you would to hang in the same spot on a sleepy Monday morning.

Do not worry about airline-style price gouging at peak times, says SFMTA. The agency will give plenty of warning of pricing changes, and prices will only fluctuate by 25 cents each month, tops. There will also be a meter ceiling and floor: You won’t pay less than 50 cents an hour, or more than $8.

The goal is to ensure that parking spaces are used and that anyone willing to pay a meter can find an empty spot. “If you price it too high, then people will stay away: They won’t come to a neighborhood and they won’t spend money,” says Willson. “If you price it too low, that leads to more circling for parking, more congestion, and more greenhouse gases.”

Cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle have experimented with dynamic parking pricing before, and the research shows that these schemes tend to work—to a degree. San Francisco’s own experimentation with the idea goes back to 2008. That year, the federal government wrote the city a $20 million check to launch a five-year pilot project focusing on a third of the city’s meters along some of its more highly trafficked corridors.

The experiment worked just fine. According to observations by SFTMA, circling for parking sank by about 40 percent in the affected areas. Double parking dropped, and buses had a moderately easier time piloting through affected blocks than before. Plus, the agency reached its parking spot occupancy goals about a third of the time, meaning San Franciscans were using the meters more frequently overall. (Though the agency says the pilot was not about increasing revenue, it made an extra $2 million in net parking money a year.) The proposal before city council would expand this project to the rest of the city.

Still, don’t expect too much from a parking meter pricing scheme like this one. Parking may shape a city, but this project only affects the city’s metered parking—about 10 percent of the total spaces—and a non-insignificant percentage of drivers don’t pay for parking ever, either because they’re scofflaws or because they have special permits or licenses that allow them to park without ever digging change out of the glove compartment. (San Francisco’s meters also take credit cards.) The plan might also be more effective at freeing up spaces if the city nixed the price floors and ceilings and allowed the market to do its work—but residents would almost certainly quash that.

And parking meters alone can’t solve the Bay Area’s horrific traffic problems. (The road analytics company Inrix finds San Franciscans spend about 83 hours in traffic each year.) “Road congestion is caused by the road not being priced accurately, not parking,” says Michael Manville, an urban planner who studies transportation and land use at UCLA. “In a dense urban area, you could have parking pricing reduce cruising for spots and therefore take some people off the road and get them into the parking space. But the road in San Francisco is still in high demand, so there’s no reason to think the road won’t fill in behind them.” Basically: There are too many cars in the city for isolated parking programs to make a really major dent.

If the plan is approved, SFTMA says they could be ready to roll out demand-responsive metering to the whole city as soon as mid-January. “We’ve got the technology in place, we’ve got the know-how, and we’ve already seen the results,” Willson says. If you’ve needed a little push to get on your friendly neighborhood bus, this might be it.


Lots More Parking

This Thanksgiving, Reunite With Your Long-Lost Family—Old Videogames

Tucked away in my mother’s house, somewhere in the room that used to be mine, is a Nintendo GameCube that’s not mine. My own GameCube is God-knows-where—languishing on some GameStop warehouse shelf, or in someone’s garage, buried beneath an electric drill after an impulsive used-game purchase in the late 2000s. But this other GameCube, the one that’s there now? I have no idea how it got into my room. My stepdad is a collector of various forms of junk, and one day when I visited it was just there, an apparition from gaming past.

The role games play in our lives has grown larger, messier, and more socially acceptable in the past two decades. Videogames are no longer niche activities; their logic inflects all digital media in one way or another, so even if you aren’t playing directly, you’re probably still playing somehow. (If social media visibility isn’t a game, I don’t know what is.) The idea of games as a countercultural escape is an outdated one in most contexts. They’re just a part of the fabric of our lives.

There’s one major exception to this sea change, though: the holiday season. During November and December, which for so many people involves a pilgrimage to bygone places, videogames take on a renewed and singular importance.

Home is a messy place. For many of us, it’s the site of old memories, both positive and negative. The accumulated detritus of longstanding family fights, parental disappointments, grudges and squabbles lasting years, if not decades, builds up easily in an old family home, like dirt on the walls. Family gatherings are nostalgia engines, both for positive memories and the absolute worst.

Games can provide a salve to the bad memories and old wounds, happy places to go to when things get uncomfortable. If that one uncle gets too drunk and starts mentioning when you got stood up for senior prom, well, that’s what that old Game Boy Color you still have in the closet is for, right?

Those old games can become a means to occupy older versions of ourselves, too. A means of visiting with someone you once knew— keeping, as Joan Didion put it, on nodding terms with your old self. Finding the old games stored in the closet, or simply engaging in an old hobby in the places you used to, can unlock old feelings, old senses of self, and let you turn them over in new light.

When I was younger, I was in charge of setting up videogames at my grandmother’s house every Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 units she owned, once my childhood entertainment when I visited her, were repurposed into a means of keeping a whole gaggle of grandkids occupied before and after dinner. We would play Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario World; I still remember what it was like, sitting in that little corner of the dining room with my grandmother, forcing her to learn how to play these Nintendo games so I’d have someone to play with. (She always humored me.) Going home now, playing Nintendo games old and new in those same places, will put me in both of those places at once. I’ll imagine myself as the older shepherd and the young, overly enthusiastic nerd, both with a controller in my hand.

And games can also be a means of bringing a safety net with us. The week after Thanksgiving, I’m spending a week back home. In preparation, I’ve loaded up my Nintendo Switch with expanded storage capacity and a bunch of new games—some ports of existing titles, some games I’ve been meaning to try. It’s a comfort blanket, a way to bring my present back with me. To not go back to a former version of myself completely. A memory trick in a 720p screen.

So, as corny as it sounds, videogames, and their power to both hide us and reveal us, are something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. When you go home, check out the closet, see if there’s an Atari or a Sega Genesis tucked in there. Pull it out, remember how it felt; spend some time in those old shoes. Me, I’m going to see if that GameCube still works.

This Thanksgiving, Reunite along with your Long-Lost Family—Old Videogames

Tucked away in my mom’s household, someplace in room that used to be mine, actually Nintendo GameCube that isn’t mine. My own GameCube is God-knows-where—languishing on some GameStop warehouse rack, or in someone’s garage, buried beneath an electrical drill after an impulsive used-game purchase into the belated 2000s. But this other GameCube, the one that’s there now? I have no concept exactly how it found myself in my space. My stepdad is really a collector of varied types of junk, and another time when I visited it was just there, an apparition from video gaming past.

The part games play within our lives has exploded larger, messier, and much more socially appropriate before 2 decades. Videogames are no more niche tasks; their logic inflects all digital news in one single way or any other, so even if you are not playing directly, you are most likely nevertheless playing in some way. (If social media marketing exposure isn’t a game, I do not know what is.) The thought of games being a countercultural escape is an outdated one in most contexts. They are just a the main material of our lives.

There’s one major exclusion for this sea change, though: the break season. During November and December, which for more and more people involves a pilgrimage to bygone places, videogames accept a renewed and single value.

Home is a messy place. For most folks, oahu is the website of old memories, both negative and positive. The accumulated detritus of longstanding household battles, parental disappointments, grudges and squabbles lasting years, or even decades, accumulates effortlessly in an old home, like dust on the walls. Family gatherings are nostalgia machines, both for good memories and the absolute worst.

Games provides a salve on bad memories and old wounds, pleased places to attend when things get uncomfortable. If that one uncle gets too drunk and starts mentioning when you got endured up for senior prom, well, that’s just what that old Game Boy colors you’ve still got in the closet is for, right?

Those old games can be a way to occupy older variations of ourselves, too. A way of visiting with some body you once knew— keeping, as Joan Didion put it, on nodding terms together with your old self. Choosing the old games kept in cabinet, or just participating in an old pastime inside places you accustomed, can unlock old emotions, old sensory faculties of self, and let you turn them over in new light.

Once I had been younger, I happened to be responsible for starting videogames inside my grandmother’s household every Thanksgiving and xmas. The Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 devices she owned, when my childhood activity when I visited her, were repurposed right into a way of keeping a whole gaggle of grandkids occupied before and after supper. We’d play Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario World; I still keep in mind what it absolutely was like, sitting in that little corner associated with the dining room with my grandmother, forcing her to learn how to play these Nintendo games so I’d have anyone to play with. (She constantly humored me personally.) Going house now, playing Nintendo games old and brand new in those exact same places, will put me personally both in of those places at once. I’ll imagine myself due to the fact older shepherd as well as the young, extremely enthusiastic nerd, both having controller within my hand.

And games can also be a way of bringing a back-up with us. The week after Thanksgiving, I’m spending a week back home. In preparation, I loaded up my Nintendo change with expanded storage capacity and a bunch of new games—some ports of current games, some games i am meaning to test. It’s a convenience blanket, a method to bring my current straight back with me. To not get back to a previous form of myself completely. A memory trick in a 720p display screen.

Therefore, as corny because it sounds, videogames, and their capacity to both hide us and expose us, are one thing become thankful because of this Thanksgiving. When you go home, check out the cabinet, see if there’s an Atari or perhaps a Sega Genesis tucked within. Pull it down, keep in mind exactly how it felt; invest some time in those old footwear. Me personally, i’ll see if that GameCube still works.