Technology Tuesday:January 31

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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: New studies suggest air pollution contributes to Alzheimer’s and dementia, Elon Musk says fully self-driving cars coming in the next 3-6 months, scientists fund a way to “turn off” antibiotic resistance, gene therapy saves two children’s lives, and Massachusetts lawmakers introduce a bill that would require the state to go 100% renewable energy by 2035.


Studies Show Air Pollution Can Cause Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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Smog and soot is doing a lot more than just obscuring city skylines—according to several studies, air pollution has become so severe that it might increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

The dangers that inhaling pollution impose on our respiratory system are well documented. Asthma, lung cancer, and even heart disease have been proven to be linked to this exposure. Now, there’s mounting evidence that what lurks in our air could also harm the brain, speeding up cognitive aging that can lead to more serious, debilitating neurological diseases.

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Elon Musk: Fully Autonomous Cars in 3-6 Months

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Many can’t wait for the day they can just sit back and enjoy a car ride without the hassle of driving, and if Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk has anything to say about it, they won’t have to wait much longer. In a tweeted reply to a question about when Tesla’s enhanced Autopilot system would transition into truly self-driving technology, Musk asserted that cars with full self-driving capabilities are coming in the next three to six months.

 

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Scientists Reverse Antibiotic Resistance in Some Diseases

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When Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, it was one of the world’s first true antibiotics to ever be successful in eliminating infectious disease. Since then, antibiotics have been essential to preventing avoidable deaths.

But a troubling reality faces us all. Throughout all of Earth’s evolutionary history, multicellular organisms have continually changed and adapted. But unicellular bacteria evolve so quickly, that a majority are now resistant to a wide array of antibiotics. The problem of antibiotic resistance is so serious, that the United Nations placed it at crisis level.

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Gene Therapy Saves The Lives of Two Children with Leukemia

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Two children treated with gene-edited cells to kill their cancers are both doing well more than a year later. The baby girls were both given the experimental treatment only as a last resort, but clinical trials of the therapy are now getting underway in children and adults in the UK.

An 11-month-old girl called Layla was the first to get the treatment, in June 2015. When the team who treated her at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London revealed details in November 2015, they stressed that it was too soon to say if she was cured.

 

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Massachusetts is Going Green

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It looks like Massachusetts is following in the footsteps of other states with already very aggressive decarbonization goals as state lawmakers have proposed a bill that aims to phase out the use of fossil fuels by 2050. This is on top of the already existing Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.

Bill SD.1932, dubbed as the 100 Percent Renewable Energy Act, is sponsored by Democratic lawmakers Rep. Sean Garballey, Rep. Marjorie Decker, and Sen. Jamie Eldridge. It sets a clear goal “to steadily transition the commonwealth to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050.”

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Know any interesting stories we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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