Technology Tuesday: August 7th

Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.

This week: Climate change resistant coral reefs, therapy bots that can help autistic children develop their social skills, a space probe that will “touch the sun”, a new species created by CRISPR, and new information on what life-sustaining planets may require.


AI ANALYSIS UNCOVERS CORAL REEFS RESISTANT TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Global warming is destroying Earth’s coral reefs — the colorful underwater ecosystems simply can’t survive as the ocean warms and acidifies. However, researchers have now discovered a type of coral off the coast of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island that seems to be resistant to global warming. The discovery could help us ensure at least some of the world’s coral reefs survive climate change.

As part of 50 Reefs, an initiative designed to identify climate change-resistant corals, researchers spent six weeks in June and July using underwater scooters equipped with 360-degree cameras to take more than 56,000 images of shallow water reefs. In total, they snapped images of 3,851 square kilometers (1,487 square miles) worth of reefs.

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THIS THERAPY BOT CAN HELP CHILDREN WITH AUTISM PERFECT THEIR SOCIAL SKILLS

A child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might have trouble communicating verbally, paying attention to others, or controlling their stress and anxiety. These difficulties can affect the child’s social life and their success in school.

Now, a team of researchers from robotics startup LuxAI have created QTrobot, a bot designed to help children with autism learn valuable social skills. They plan to present the results of a QTrobot study at RO-MAN 2018, a symposium on robot and human interactive communication, on August 28.

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NASA’S NEW SPACE PROBE WILL VENTURE CLOSER TO THE SUN THAN WE EVER HAVE BEFORE

Early Saturday morning, NASA plans to launch a mission unlike any before it — this one is going to “touch” the Sun.

At 3:33 a.m. EDT, the Parker Solar Probe will launch from Space Launch Complex 37 on Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It will hitch a ride into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, and an upper stage boost from the rocket will send it hurtling out of Earth’s orbit and on a path to Venus, eventually moving at speeds up to 700,000 kmh (430,000 mph) — faster than any probe that came before it.

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ENGINEERS USE CRISPR TO CREATE A NEW SPECIES WITH JUST ONE CHROMOSOME

Thought your baker’s yeast could never do anything more exciting than make bread rise? Well, think again. Two teams have remixed your yeast, with the help of gene editing tool CRISPR.

The first team, a group out of the NYU School of Medicine, took a yeast species with 16 chromosomes and used CRISPR to fit all the DNA it needed to function into just two chromosomes. The other team, this one from China, packed it all into just one chromosome.

Both teams published their studies in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

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SCIENTISTS SHED NEW LIGHT ON WHAT LIFE-PRODUCING PLANETS REQUIRE

The observable universe is home to at least one hundred billion galaxies that host a near-infinite number of planets. If we have any hope of finding extraterrestrial life among all those planets, we need to narrow down our search to the ones most likely to produce results.

To that end, a team of U.K.-based researchers conducted a series of experiments to determine what combination of temperature and light is mostly likely to result in abiogenesis — the emergence of life — on a planet. They published their research Tuesday in the journal Science Advances.

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