Thursday Scoops : DNA, TREES, GREEN GOOD

1. DIY DNA Tests Are The New Thing.
You no longer need to pause a Netflix binge to test your DNA for genetic disease risk. 23andMe, a company backed by Google’s parent company Alphabet, is now offering the first approved, at-home DNA test without any doctor involvement. That means you can easily know if your microscopic human code (which looks kinda like a curly fry or churro) contains risk factors for diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson's. As the delivery box for this revolutionary test says: “Welcome to you.”

And 23andMe will carry on selling people's genetic info to Pharmaceutical firms... [see

This forest overhead shot looks like broccoli.

2. There Are This Many Species Of Trees On Earth.
You wouldn't think a comprehensive study of the world’s trees from Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) could be riveting, but here we are. We now know there are 60,065 (!!!) species of our trunky-dory friends in the world. For some context: There is one species of the cheeky primate called human, Sapiens. The 500 member organizations of BGCI compiled the digitized list of the tree species, including geographic data showing where each species lives. This data will not only serve useful for tree-huggers seeking to hug certain species of trees, but also for conservationists who want to save endangered species from human-caused deforestation.

We're winding up in a good place.

3. Clean Energy Investment Is Down... And That's A Good Thing.
A new report says clean energy investment in 2016 was less than 2015, which sounds like bad news... until you realize less money was spent on a higher amount of clean energy. The monetary cost of renewable energy (solar and wind, notably) has decreased, becoming competitive with non-renewable sources. Social costs should always be taken into account, too — and burning fuel or coal that releases toxins into our air or water isn’t exactly a social pick-me-up. This report is pretty optimistic for the future of clean energy. Even as the United States government turns its patriotic back on Mother Nature, the sheer force of price (my high school economy class was surprisingly helpful) is driving continued foreign and private adoption of the green good.

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