Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (2014) s11e14 Episode Script

Deep Sea Mining

Welcome to "Last Week Tonight!"
I'm John Oliver.
Thank you so much for joining us.
It has been a busy week!
Mexico elected
its first woman president.
Israel bombed a UN school sheltering
displaced Palestinians,
and a day later,
bombed another one.
And in Ohio,
their state legislature met to consider
a ban on public drag performances,
at which one local official
described what he felt
were objectionable signs
at a local Pride event.
And I cannot recommend enough
that you watch the guy behind him.
The second example
is a sign which read, and I quote
"I love vagina, nom, nom, nom, nom".
Also at this event were vendors present
who were selling
inappropriate items depicting
male genitalia, plush-pillow penises,
and penis-tip squeeze balls.
That is excellent.
Both how hysterical that guy is,
and also, how utterly serious
the official remains.
"Why are you laughing? Because I said
'I love vagina, nom, nom, nom, nom?'
That's funny to you? Me saying,
'I love vagina, nom, nom, nom, nom?'
You know when you won't be laughing?
When a baby says it!"
But we're gonna turn to Paris,
ethically non-monogamous London,
which is currently getting ready
to host the Olympics next month.
Venues are getting prepped and the
mascots are getting ready to promote.
And you might be wondering
"What the fuck are those things?"
They look like anime clitorises.
They shouldn't be at the Olympics,
they should be at a Pride event in Ohio
holding a sign that says
"I love vagina, nom, nom, nom, nom".
But the truth of what they are
is somehow even stupider.
The Organizing Committee
for the Games
recently unveiled the Phrygian cap,
also known as the liberty cap.
The brand director for Paris 2024
says the Phrygian cap
is a symbol familiar
to generations of French people.
Organizers said they didn't want
to choose an animal or other creatures
but something
that encompassed an ideal.
They're anthropomorphized
French hats!
And it's bad enough to choose a hat.
But this one, France?
What about the beret? The kepi?
The d'artagnan?
The Napoleon? The wig?
Any of them are better
than this Papa Smurf shit.
And for all the talk
of "encompassing an ideal",
a lot of their Olympic preparation
has fallen well short of that,
from clearing camps of migrants
from the city,
to relying on undocumented workers
to construct the venues.
It is no wonder there've been protests
featuring burning Olympic rings,
especially when you consider that,
at a time when some
in the French government
are advocating
for austerity measures,
they're spending billions
to host these Games.
And some have zeroed
in on one decision, in particular,
as symbolic of the folly:
the choice to have both
the Opening Ceremony,
and some of the swimming events,
take place in the Seine.
It's a charming idea,
with the slight hitch that the Seine
is fucking disgusting.
It's been polluted for centuries,
as this clip points out,
with some odd specifics.
Seine has been subjected to pollution
for much of its storied history.
In the 16th century,
bodies of slaughtered Protestants
were thrown in the waterway.
It was declared biologically dead
in the 1960s.
And more recently,
industrial waste and raw sewage
has been dumped into the river.
To make any good urban waterway,
you really need three things:
industrial waste, raw sewage,
and slaughtered Protestants.
You might think
you can skip the Protestants,
but everyone will tell you that if you
do that, it just won't taste the same.
I know this is besides the point,
but this painting
doesn't feel serious enough to be
a depiction of a religious massacre.
It seems more like a page
from "Where's Waldo?"
And you know what?
There he is! There's Waldo!
His corpse is in the Seine! He refused
to believe in transubstantiation!
The Seine actually acts as an overflow
for the city's sewer system,
leading it to occasionally
looking like this.
Which is obviously not great.
And France will say that it's mounted
a $1.5 billion cleanup project,
including a 13-million-gallon
overflow tank,
though there are questions
of whether even that'll make it
safe enough to swim in.
But, both the mayor of Paris
and President Macron
have insisted that it will,
making this bold promise.
Yes, I plan to swim in the Seine.
That is clear.
And I am preparing for this moment
which will be historic.
If the president wants to come,
he'll obviously be welcomed, too.
- Will you swim in the Seine?
- Of course, I'd go in!
- When?
- I won't give you the date.
If I may quote
anyone swimming in the Seine,
that is clearly a pile of shit.
But also,
why would he make that promise?
Best-case scenario, we get traumatized
by seeing him in a swimsuit.
Worst case,
we have to see the president of France
get tangled up in a plastic
six-pack rings like a fucking seagull.
But the mayor has given a date, saying
she'll swim in the Seine on June 23rd.
And it might have been a mistake
for her to advertise that.
Because if there's one thing France
does well, it's protests.
It seems like a pretty imaginative one
has now emerged.
A collective has formed!
"I swear to you, I will shit
in the Seine on June 23rd!"
People really are geniuses.
Johnny Baudelaire tweeted
"As of now, I've stopped taking shits.
I've been holding it in for one month,
and on June 23rd,
I'll go to Paris to unleash 70 kilograms
of shit into the Seine".
Hashtag "I shit in the Seine".
It's true. There is a plan for a mass
shitting in the river on June 23rd,
in what's being called
a "defecation flash mob".
Which is, I believe, also the
collective noun for a group of pigeons.
There is even a website
where you can find out,
if you live upriver from Paris,
exactly when to shit in the Seine
to make sure your contribution
arrives there on the 23rd.
The mayor, maybe in response,
has said that she's now likely pushing
her swim back to June 30th.
But why would you give
an exact date again?
This is an issue on which, I guarantee
you, the French do give two shits.
All of this is such a great
encapsulation of the spirit of France,
and there is still time
to change their Olympic mascot.
Because what really symbolizes
French defiance more than a giant turd,
smoking a cigarette,
bathing in the river,
waiting for a horrified mayor?
And if you absolutely
have to add a stupid hat to that,
I will allow it.
And now, this!
And Now:
Pat Sajak Endured
Decades of Terrible Guesses.
- I'll solve.
- Okay.
- Another feather in your lap.
- No.
- Bridal and gold shower.
- Sorry.
- I'll solve the puzzle.
- Go ahead.
- "I Have the Wine" by Johnny Cash.
- That is not correct. I'm sorry.
- I'd like to solve the puzzle.
- Okay.
- Boozing my shore excursion.
- No.
- I would like to solve, Pat.
- What do you got?
- Super good smoothie.
- No.
- No?
- I'm so sorry. It's not correct.
- Tavaris.
- Right in the butt.
- What?
- No.
- Self-potato. Sorry.
- No.
- The pointed desert.
- No. Still time.
- The printed desert.
- James, it's your turn.
- The pointed desert.
- No. You still have time.
- I still have time. I'd like to solve.
- Say it!
The pointed desert.
No! No matter
how many times you say it.
A group of pill pushers.
This is "Wheel of Fortune", Joe!
Moving on. Our main story tonight
concerns the ocean.
The only place where you can pee in
full view of a family of four
without it being a sex crime.
The ocean is a gigantic place,
absolutely chock-full of weirdos.
They are simply otherworldly,
floating in the dark in what's known
as the oxygen minimum zone,
about 3,000 feet below the surface.
In these depths, the researchers
have found this vampire squid,
rare brightly colored jellyfish,
and also this, a barreleye fish
with a transparent domed head,
revealing upward-facing eyes.
It's been seen by humans
less than 10 times.
Yeah, to be honest, good. I'm glad
that fish hasn't been seen much.
It's a butterface. And I don't mean
that in the horribly offensive way,
I just mean it has a body I'd like
to fuck if it wasn't for its ugly face.
I'd say that fish was beautiful
on the inside,
but we can all see in there
and it isn't.
When you see creatures like those,
you begin to understand
why one marine scientist has said
"It's like Dr. Seuss down there",
which is true.
It's just like his famous book
"One Fish, Two Fish, Holy Shit,
Is That a See-Through Fish?"
There's also wonders
like the flapjack octopus,
which can get flat like a pancake,
this transparent thing, a unicumber,
a Dumbo octopus,
named for its stupid little ears,
whatever the fuck this is, or this,
and the carnivorous harp sponge.
And if you're thinking
"What are those tiny balls?"
Good question! They're basically
testicles, my friends.
The swollen balls at the tip
of the sponge's upright branches
produce packets of sperm.
Nature is incredible,
and it is disgusting.
But we're gonna talk about a specific
part of the Pacific Ocean tonight
called the Clarion-Clipperton Zone,
or the CCZ.
It's in an area between Mexico and
Hawaii, "nearly the size of Europe".
It's also the deep ocean,
where "water temperatures"
"can reach zero degrees Celsius
and there is virtually no light".
And yet, for such a seemingly
inhospitable place,
there is still an incredible
amount of life down there,
as this oceanographer will tell you.
When we go out
and collect a sample on the seafloor,
we collect hundreds of new species.
- Things that you've never seen before?
- Sure. Yeah.
He told us he was surprised
at how much life
could survive three miles deep.
His expeditions to the CCZ
have turned up fantastical creatures
like this squidworm,
or a fluorescent sea cucumber
dubbed a "gummy squirrel".
I like that a lot. In fact,
I love that gummy squirrel so much,
I want to cover it in sour dust
and eat a bag of them
while watching Nicole Kidman
talk about the magic of the movies.
A study found there may be more
than 8,000 species living in the CCZ,
and of the 5,500 so far detected,
only 438 have been identified.
But this story is gonna be less
about marine life in the deep ocean,
and more about what else
is down there with them.
Specifically, that the ocean floor
is full of deposits of critical minerals.
Some are in the crusts
of underwater mountains,
or around hydrothermal vents.
And some,
the ones we'll be focusing on tonight,
take the form
of potato-shaped nodules,
little lumpy spheres
formed over millions of years.
Basically, a nucleus,
like a little bit of bone or sand,
slowly accrued a buildup of metals
at a rate of around a millimeter
every million years or so.
Those nodules now line
some parts of the deep ocean floor,
and contain valuable metals
like nickel and cobalt,
which can be used for things
like batteries for electric cars.
Obviously, people are very interested
in getting their hands on them.
It looks like a cobbled road
with all these little nodules
packed densely against one another
across this entire area.
Unique little golden nuggets.
Is this the gold
or oil of the 21st century?
I think that these black nuggets
are going to be an essential part
of our ability to transition to what
we want to do at the end of the day.
Without these,
we are not going to be able to achieve
our goals and objectives.
Those nodules
could be incredibly valuable,
even though, to be honest,
they look more like
what you bring to the vet when your
Pomeranian is severely constipated.
And deep-sea mining companies
are now scrambling to get their hands
on what they love to describe
as a "battery in a rock".
And the head of one company
leading the charge,
The Metals Company,
has gone on outlets like "60 Minutes"
to argue that those nodules
could end up saving the planet.
I love that they are the way we're
going to get away from fossil fuels.
I love the fact that in these
are all the metals we need
to go and build those batteries.
It's the most amazing coincidence
that I've ever encountered.
- They're just sitting there.
It's like "Okay, you've messed up
planet Earth. Come and get me".
That is an appealing pitch!
I like the idea of a Mother Nature
who knows we fucked up
but who's also giving us one
last chance to make things right,
and in return, all we have
to do is go down on her.
That is very gracious of her.
That man is named Gerard Barron,
and he's an actual person, and not,
as you may've thought,
ChatGPT's answer to "make
Sean Penn the most Sean Penn".
He's positioned himself
at the forefront of this industry,
and reportedly once hired
a marketing firm to portray him
as an "Australian Elon Musk",
although he denies that,
insisting he'd never
compare himself to Musk,
as he considers him
a once-in-a-generation genius,
which gives you some hints
of where this story is about to go.
Barron stresses
that he's the real deal.
His company
says it's secured access
to enough metal to power
280 million electric vehicles,
equivalent to the entire
fleet of cars in the U.S.
And he's projecting
they could start
commercially exploiting
the deep sea as early as 2026.
But the place he's planning
to do that is the CCZ,
even though it's one of the few
remaining environments on Earth
that is close to pristine.
And extracting those nodules
could do irreparable damage.
So, before we stand back
and watch this guy's company
throw open the door
to commercial-scale plunder,
it might be worth looking
at what he's proposing to do,
and whether it's actually
worth doing at all.
So, tonight,
let's talk about deep-sea mining.
And to hear Barron tell it,
mining these nodules
is really just a simple matter
of just scooping them off the floor.
They literally lie on the ocean floor
just like this,
like golf balls on a driving range.
Our resource sits on the seafloor
like golf balls on the driving range.
Think of it as a golf driving range
that has not much grass,
it's golf balls.
It's a little bit like walking
onto the golf driving range
that's littered with balls.
So, they're just golf balls
that you can pick up!
That sounds easy until you remember
they're 15,000 feet underwater.
The difficulty of picking up golf balls
really does depend on where they are.
If they're on a driving range,
sure, it's no big deal.
If they're resting
on a grizzly bear's dick,
then you know what,
maybe take a mulligan.
And Barron's partners
also paint a very gentle picture
of what the extraction process
will look like,
with renderings
of a collector vehicle
delicately sucking them
up like a vacuum cleaner.
But that massively undersells
the damage this could do,
starting with the fact that researchers
estimate at least 30 to 40% of species
live directly
on the nodules themselves.
But that's just the beginning here.
Because while Barron has called
the floor of the CCZ "a desert"
and likes to talk about how
little biomass there is down there,
just because creatures are small
doesn't mean they're not important
to the ecosystem around them.
Experts have a very different reaction
when holding one of those nodules.
This is its own little habitat.
We get millions of different species
living on these nodules,
everything from microbes,
some of which live nowhere else
other than on and in these nodules,
all the way to much larger animals.
And that means that if the nodules
were to be removed,
they would impact these species
and potentially lead to long lasting,
if not, irreversible impacts
to this ecosystem.
Exactly. It could have
irreversible impacts for everything,
from microbes to gummy squirrels.
And I literally only just learned
they existed!
I don't want them
to be destroyed
unless I'm absolutely housing
a family-size bag of them.
And just to be clear,
it's not just the impact of removing
the nodules themselves.
It's the damage the mere act
of mining itself will do,
because scientists worry
that those gigantic vehicles
could do much broader harm.
It will drive around
mining the nodules.
But during this process,
it will collect 5 to 30 centimeters
of sediment from the seafloor.
And this will all pass
through the vehicle.
The nodules will be retained,
but the sediment
will come out of the back of it.
And that will create
a sediment plume,
a bit like
an underwater sandstorm.
The nodules will be loaded
onto a transport ship,
which will then take them back
to land for processing.
But the unwanted sediment
and seawater from the cleaning process
will be released back into the ocean.
And that could either happen
close to the seafloor
or at much shallower depths
closer to the surface.
And that creates
a secondary plume,
but this time likely containing
fragments of metal.
Yeah. So, it's two massive clouds
of sediment and metal,
which can do a lot more damage
than you might think.
They have the potential
to "bury fields of nodules,
choke the filters of sponges
and anemones",
even those living outside
the mining zone,
and obscure bioluminescence that squid
and fish use to hunt and mate.
Basically, it could fuck
everyone's shit up.
Think less "gently lifting golf balls
off the driving range",
and more a scene from
"Dune 3: Even More Sand".
And while The Metals Company
says research it commissioned
shows the damage will be minimal,
vastly more research that it didn't
commission suggests otherwise.
One long-running study
sent equipment down
to simulate the extraction of nodules
in 1989
and returned periodically,
to see how the ecosystem had changed.
And even 26 years later, it had failed
to return to its previous state.
So, even after an entire Kylie Jenner,
the ecosystem had not recovered.
And you should know,
our interest in these creatures
isn't just for ethical
or academic reasons.
Ocean organisms can lead
to radical advances in medicine.
In the last 50 years,
scientists have discovered
more than 10,000 new chemical
compounds from sponges.
In fact, a number of drugs,
from the world's first medication
to treat HIV,
to a drug for breast cancer
to the Covid treatment remdesivir,
owe their origins to sea sponges.
And many more, including
many derived from deep-sea creatures,
are in the works.
And given that the whole reason
for doing this
is, as Barron insists,
to protect the planet,
it's worth noting that the ocean
actually absorbs about a third
of all the carbon dioxide
we produce.
In fact, a type of bacteria found
in the CCZ a few years ago
was found to be "taking up
large amounts of carbon dioxide"
and could be playing
"an important part
of the deep-sea carbon cycle".
So, you want to be absolutely sure
that that is not jeopardized
by deep-sea mining,
and we are not sure
about that at all.
If deep-sea mining could be this risky,
what rules are in place to mitigate it?
Well, unfortunately,
in most of the ocean, none.
And to understand why,
you need to know about a tiny,
UN-affiliated agency called the
International Seabed Authority, ISA.
Basically, it's in charge of the seabed
in international waters,
and oversees an area covering
"around 54% of the total area
of the world's oceans".
The ISA calls it "The Area," which is
just a wildly lazy placeholder name.
It's like calling a man
who's super, "Superman"
or calling a show where you talk
about last week that night
"Last Week Tonight".
It's just completely devoid
of imagination.
ISA was established in 1982, as part
of the UN's Law of the Sea Treaty.
And you should know, while 168
countries signed onto that treaty,
the U.S. recognized it,
but never ratified it,
partly because of pressure
from conservatives in the U.S.,
like Phyllis Schlafly, who spent years
ranting about what the treaty would do.
It is global socialism.
It is world government.
It is worse than the United Nations.
We would have one vote,
the same vote as Cuba,
but we wouldn't even have the veto.
This International Seabed Authority
would have the power
over nine-tenths
of the world's surface.
It would have sovereign control over
the riches at the bottom of the oceans.
She seems fun.
And she pretty much checked
all the boxes of a deranged
conservative take there:
fear mongering about global
socialism, shit-talking the UN,
and shoehorning Cuba in
for good measure.
But it wasn't just her,
Reagan refused to sign the treaty
while he was president
"because of his objections
to its limits on future seabed mining".
And I know I talk a lot on this show
about the bad stuff Ronald Reagan did,
so to balance that out,
I do want to mention
something positive
he did for the planet:
in 2004, and this is true,
he died.
But the truth is,
the ISA is far from the all-powerful world
government Schlafly warned about.
It's "struggled to agree
to a regulatory framework"
to govern deep-sea mining.
And on one hand, that makes sense,
it's a complex issue,
exacerbated by the fact that
"more than 80% of the world's oceans
remain unexplored and unmapped",
and there is so much that we don't know
about how mining could affect it.
But many
of the agency's critics
are also concerned that it's beholden
to mining interests,
with one of its top rulemaking bodies
having members who also work
for mining contractors.
It hasn't given out
any "exploitation" licenses
to actually commercially
mine the ocean floor yet,
but it's given out dozens
of so-called "exploratory" licenses,
which are the first step toward
doing that.
Watch as this reporter
asks the head of the ISA,
Michael Lodge,
a pretty revealing question.
The ISA's job is to decide
which parts of the sea floor
in international waters
can be mined by which country.
But some have asked
whether it's paying enough attention
to the environmental consequences.
Have you ever, in the ISA's history,
rejected a license application?
No. So far, no license application
has been rejected.
A 0% rejection rate.
It's not ideal
that a body responsible for something
as important as protecting the deep sea
has lower standards
than the University of Phoenix.
So, that is not great.
Nor is it great that Lodge,
who heads the agency tasked
with regulating seabed mining,
not only appeared in a promo
video for Barron's company.
But has also said
"I think that deep seabed mining"
"is an essential component of the
global vision for a sustainable world".
I'd say Lodge is a cheerleader
for mining interests, except that,
when Radio New Zealand referred to him
as a cheerleader for mining interests,
he threatened a defamation lawsuit.
So, I'll just say this: he's
a cheerleader for mining interests.
I'm just kidding.
But he is. He is, though.
He definitely is.
And Lodge, who, by the way,
isn't a scientist, but a lawyer,
has made it clear in interviews
that he's irritated by environmentalists
who want clean energy
but who also oppose deep-sea mining,
arguing "To say, 'don't harm the ocean'
it is the easiest message in the world.
You just have to show a photo
of a turtle with a straw in its nose".
And yeah, no shit, Michael,
because that's a disturbing image.
If you see a turtle with a straw
in its nose, it's either in distress,
or you're watching a special episode
of "Ninja Turtles" about drug abuse.
Even those who've worked for the ISA
have reservations about its priorities.
One marine geologist who served as
its top environmental official has said
"The ISA is not fit to regulate
any activity in international waters!
"It is like to ask the wolf
to take care of the sheep".
And I really don't want to be
a fact-checky bitch about this,
but the thing is, a sheepdog
is actually a domesticated wolf.
So, the descendants of wolves literally
do care for sheep every day.
It's a hard job, and they do it well.
I'm so sorry to correct you,
but I can't help it.
It's who I am as a person.
And I do not like it either.
And the thing is, right now,
Barron's Metals Company
seems set up to use the weakness
of the regulatory agency
to barrel into the CCZ,
potentially setting a precedent
for far more deep-sea mining
throughout the ocean.
And the way the company's
doing it is actually pretty clever.
Because the ISA is set up
in a way that is theoretically meant
to protect the interests
of small, developing countries.
The way it works is,
when larger countries
find worthy locations to mine in,
they have to hand over
half that territory to the ISA,
which then sets them aside
as reserved areas,
for developing countries,
to start their own projects.
Those countries can then sponsor
a mining company
to develop that area for them.
That is what happened
with Barron's company,
which has been sponsored
by a few tiny Pacific Island nations,
among them Tonga and Nauru, on
what appear to be very favorable terms.
One Tongan community leader
has said it's accepting a fee
that amounts
to "less than half of one percent"
"of the firm's total estimated value
of the mined material".
And Barron seems very aware
of how much leverage his company has,
saying "If you look at a nation
like Nauru, and if you ask them
'What are your other economic
development opportunities?'
there's not a long list".
Although there is a reason for that,
and it has to do
with the fact that Nauru has been
repeatedly exploited by outsiders.
It spent years being plundered for
its main natural resource, phosphate,
the mining of which was so destructive,
Nauru has been called
"the most environmentally ravaged
nation on Earth".
Since then,
they've grasped for financial lifelines,
from allowing themselves to be used
as "a money-laundering haven"
to letting Australia remake the island
into its own detention center,
to the fact it even got talked
into becoming the chief backer
of a London musical
based on the life of Da Vinci
called "Leonardo the Musical:
A Portrait of Love",
about an affair between Da Vinci
and the Mona Lisa,
"one of the biggest disasters
in the history of London theater".
"It closed within a month"
and the Nauruan government
lost what would today be $7 million.
And you might think "Come on,
how bad could that musical be?"
Here's an extract of a song,
sung by Leonardo's male lover,
about his jealousy of the Mona Lisa.
Your life was a portrait of love,
and I was a part,
but she was the heart
of your life.
I'm no Sondheim but even I know a song
about the Mona Lisa
that uses the word "portrait"
while sounding like "Les Mis"
on quaaludes
has got "historic bomb"
written all over it.
And now, Nauru has partnered
with Barron's Metals Company.
And while he insists "Nauru is
no one's puppet, I can assure you",
there is a clear power disparity
between an international mining firm
hoping to make billions of dollars,
and an environmentally-ravaged island
with a population of just 12000 people.
And Nauru is now clearing a path for
The Metals Company to start mining.
Very basically, it triggered
a mechanism whereby the ISA
must start accepting
deep-sea mining applications,
even if mining regulations
aren't set.
And later this year,
Barron's company plans
to submit an application to be the
first to actually commercially mine,
and he seems pretty confident
that it's gonna be approved,
telling investors he expects
to commence production
at the end of the first quarter
of 2026.
And with the way that he's talking,
it can feel like deep-sea mining
is a done deal.
And he seems aware
of how bad the optics here are,
but he also doesn't seem to be
too troubled by it.
It is quite sci-fi,
and if this were a film,
you know, I'm sorry to say,
you'll probably be the bad guy in this.
You'd be the one that's exploiting it,
because there is a sort of gut feeling
that we are exploiting something
that we should be leaving alone.
Do you kind of understand that?
I think it depends if you're a glass
half-full or a glass-half-empty person.
Personally, I'm a glass half-full,
and I think this is the solution
to the climate crisis.
But how is that a reassuring answer?
If someone says
"you remind me
of the bad guys from movies,
not just one movie,
but all of them",
I'd hope an actual good guy
would have a more robust response
than "I dunno, six of one, half a dozen
of the other, I'm an optimist!"
But is all of this even worth it?
Barron will say that it is, arguing
it's better than the alternative,
mining on land, which can indeed
do incredible damage.
Though it is worth noting,
history's shown that once we start
mining in a new area,
we tend not to stop
everywhere else.
We just end up doing both.
Setting aside the potential harm here,
what is the potential benefit?
Because if these nodules
really could provide
unlimited energy
for billions of people,
I'd say maybe
it's worth thinking about.
But the truth is,
they may not be as critical
for our clean energy future
as Barron insists.
Because while it is true
that the metals inside them
are a key component of batteries now,
"lithium-ion batteries are fast being
replaced by new battery chemistries
that don't require cobalt or nickel"
And we're even starting to see
innovation like this.
Lithium batteries
need precious materials
like cobalt and nickel to work,
but sodium doesn't.
It's found everywhere.
It's simply salt.
The world's largest
battery manufacturer, Chinese CATL,
already went big on sodium-ion
technology in 2021.
Just two years later,
it was supplying Chinese
carmaker Chery with salt batteries.
It's true, they're starting to make car
batteries out of salt.
So, move over, cocaine,
you're no longer the most valuable
white powder in town!
It's also worth noting
that many tech and car companies,
including these,
have already pledged
not to use metals extracted
from deep-sea mining
until they understand
the environmental impact,
which, as you've seen,
could be significant.
Meanwhile, more and more countries
are calling for a precautionary pause
or moratorium on deep sea mining.
And I would argue that the U.S.
should join them.
Although our argument
would have a lot more force
if we finally ratified
that Law of the Sea Treaty.
And I'm far from the first person
to say this,
lots of organizations want the U.S.
to have a seat at the table,
from environmental groups who want
to use it to protect the ocean,
to mining groups who want to use it
to do the exact opposite of that.
But pretty much everyone agrees
that we should sign it,
to the point that, in 2012,
there was a Wall Street Journal op-ed
titled "Time to Join the Law
of the Sea Treaty",
written by five secretaries of state
including Henry Kissinger.
Meaning Kissinger and I finally
have one thing in common.
Two things,
that and our skin care routine.
I'm assuming, given the results.
But that really is it.
But ultimately, it's gonna take us
having the patience to wait
for the science on this,
and the discipline to actually
listen to what it has to say.
I know that that's hard to do.
Because it is so much easier
to pull out a rock and call it
the savior of humanity.
Watch, even I can do it.
"Mother Nature made these nodules,
and said, come and get me!"
See? It's easy,
but that doesn't make it true.
Especially because
this is actually a chocolate truffle.
The point is, it is beyond time
that we stop treating the deep ocean
as something to exploit,
and start treating it
for what it really is:
a mindblowingly vast,
virtually unknown
world within our world.
One filled with beauty, wonder,
and of course,
unfuckable uggos that I wouldn't touch
with an octopus dick.
And now, this!
And Now:
People on TV Want You to Know
This Is No Laughing Matter.
A Donald Duck mascot may
on the surface seem silly and trivial,
but it's no laughing matter
if violation of federal law.
This 5000-mile wide seaweed blob
heading towards Florida
is no laughing matter.
Ladies! A 91-hour erection
is no laughing matter.
This isn't about Santa Claus
"ho ho ho" kinds of reindeer.
This reindeer story
is no laughing matter.
You've heard
of a barrel full of laughs,
but what happens
if you can't get out of the barrel?
It's no laughing matter at all.
Look at two-year-old Dorian,
that's right,
he's trapped in that wooden barrel!
Now, this situation may seem humorous,
but it's actually no laughing matter.
This water tower is losing close
to 30,000 gallons every single day.
Yes, it does seem humorous.
And a health official dressing up
as a clown for a news conference
that ended up
being no laughing matter.
As of today, there have been 38,160
cases of Covid-19 in Oregon,
with 390 new cases
being reported today.
Sadly, we are also reporting
three deaths today,
bringing the statewide total
for Covid-19-related deaths to 608.
Moving on. Before we go,
a quick update on Red Lobster.
Last week we talked
about its recent bankruptcy filing,
and revealed that we won an auction
for the entire contents of this
Red Lobster in Kingston, New York,
which we then rebuilt in this studio,
but only serving Cheddar Bay Biscuits.
It was all in good fun,
but it turns out, someone from Kingston
wasn't too thrilled about what we did.
An Ulster County restaurant owner
has beef with a popular HBO show
host over Red Lobster.
He says that John Oliver,
host of "Last Week Tonight",
snatched up some equipment
from a now-closed Red Lobster
that the restaurant owner
was trying to buy.
Okay, let me just stop you right there.
"Popular HBO show host?"
My god! Stop!
Stop it!
C'mon, stop!
But I'm sorry, you were saying?
The owner of Deising's Bakery
and Restaurant
tells me comedian John Oliver
ate his lunch.
Once Eric Deising heard
the nearby Red Lobster was closing,
he saw an opportunity
to upgrade his business.
He dropped off this note "I need
a 36-inch flat top oven-slashgrill
and a commercial kitchen
convection oven if you have them".
If this Red Lobster did have the items
Eric Deising was seeking,
we know where they are now.
I was looking for a piece of equipment.
If you don't need that, let me know.
Okay, first, with all due respect,
if you wanted equipment
from that Red Lobster,
leaving a note on the door
is a weird way to get it.
The restaurant just closed down.
It's like going to a cemetery
and leaving a note on a tombstone:
"Hey, can I have your socks?"
I love that he's watching our show
the same way everyone else does.
On a phone in the middle of a work day
without a hint of enjoyment on his face.
But he wasn't the only one
who was annoyed with us.
Apparently, that Red Lobster
is technically just outside Kingston,
in Ulster, New York,
and a spokesperson for their
town supervisor told a reporter
"If he bought everything
from the Kingston location,
he has nothing, because the
Red Lobster is in the Town of Ulster".
And let me just say,
I sincerely apologize.
Although, in my defense,
I'm not the only one who thought
that Red Lobster was in Kingston.
'Cause you know who else did?
Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook,
Red Lobster's own website,
and even, by the way,
the Ulster County tourism website.
Still, I do apologize.
I wouldn't want to take the great honor
of having a closed-down Red Lobster
away from you.
And I will say, the local news
did generously point out
that fights like this really
are what we do best here.
Oliver's known for this kind of thing.
Fighting with some ZIP Code
in Connecticut.
He once started a fake fight
with the city of Danbury, Connecticut,
eventually leading the local sewage
plant to be named after him.
So, what's going to be the fallout
from the Red Lobster segment?
First, that wasn't a fake fight.
That was the realest fight of my life.
Also, I started that fight with Danbury
in the middle of the pandemic.
And it was a very weird time.
Some of us got into cross-stitch,
some got into "Animal Crossing",
and yes, some of us picked a fight
with a Connecticut town,
eventually showing up there wearing
the hazmat suit from "Contagion"
to dedicate a sewage plant
in our memory.
Though, it is worth pointing out,
during lockdown I also bought
a rat erotica painting from 1992,
sponsored a marble racing league,
and sexually harassed Adam Driver
for eight solid months.
So, fighting with Danbury
might have been
the fourth weirdest thing
I did during the pandemic.
And to be honest, we were going
to ignore all of this.
But we took a look at online reviews
of that guy's bakery,
and honestly,
it looks pretty good.
They do lots
of themed baked goods.
For Groundhog Day, they sell
these adorable little groundhog cakes.
And for St. Patrick's Day,
they made these monstrosities,
to which someone on Facebook
asked the understandable question
"What are these," and I'll tell you
exactly what they are.
That's actually St. Patrick.
Most people don't know this,
but this is what he looked like back
when he was a missionary
in the fifth century.
So, that cake is an extremely accurate
and faithful depiction of him.
But my favorite review on Yelp says
"You like burgers? Great!
You like onion ring and French fries?
Great! You like pancakes? Great!
You like cake bears? Great!"
Along with this photo
of a cake bear.
I'm sorry, but I don't like cake bears.
I fucking love cake bears.
I want one right now!
I'm gonna eat it ass-first.
You're gonna start from the head
like a monster? Have some class!
Also, respectfully, check out
the donk on that cake bear.
That cake's got cakes.
It's draggin' a wagon,
and I want to hop on board.
But look Deising's Bakery, I've got
good news and bad news for you.
The bad news is, we already donated
the Red Lobster kitchen equipment.
Even if we hadn't, it didn't have
the "36-inch flat top ovenslash-grill"
or "kitchen convection oven"
that you were looking for.
The good news is, we're willing to buy
those items for you, on one condition.
I want in return is a baked good with
my face on it on sale in your bakery.
Specifically, a cake bear
with my face on it.
I want to be a cake bear.
You don't even have to give me as much
ass as you gave that cake bear.
It'd be nice considering we're buying
kitchen equipment for you
and it's clear you have the skill
to do it.
But you don't have to.
I trust your vision.
As long as it fits the general
description of "John Oliver cake bear",
I'll be more than happy,
so, that is my offer.
And because I know that the normal way
of asking for things isn't your style,
I've written this offer
on a piece of paper like this,
that is currently taped
to the door of your bakery.
So, what do you say?
Please say yes!
Please, do say yes, because
we've already bought the equipment.
It is right here,
waiting to be delivered to you.
And just look at this convection oven.
It's raring to do some convecting.
All you have to do is simply start
selling John Oliver cake bears,
and all of this is yours.
The bear is in your court,
Deising's Bakery.
That is our show, thank you so much!
See you next week.
Bake me a cake bear!
I want to be a cake bear!
C'mon, stop!
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