Technology Tuesday: February

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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: US scientists move to back limited genetic editing of human embryos, GM and Lyft may have a self driving fleet ready by next year, doctors give a man a new face, NASA is sending a lander to Europa, and scientist create a molecule predicted 70 years ago.


U.S. Scientists Have Backed the Genetic Modification of Human Embryos

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Since the debate about the moral ramifications behind CRISPR began, the scientific community’s stance has generally leaned towards caution versus support. Researchers recognize the potential, but gene editing and its implications on the future of the human race are so massive – it’s not something to be taken lightly.

A new report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) however, shows how the scientific community is beginning to soften their stance on the subject. Co-Chair of the study committee Alta Charo points out:

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GM and Lyft May Have Self Driving Fleet By Next Year

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Last year, General Motors (GM) and San Francisco-based ride-sharing company Lyft announced a partnership that will now create a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles to be on the roads by 2018.

According to sources privy to the automaker’s plans, GM will be testing thousands of automated Bolt hatchbacks with its ride-sharing affiliate, Lyft. Should plans push forward, this will be the largest test of fully autonomous vehicles any company has undertaken. In contrast, Google’s self-driving project, Waymo, is currently testing 60 prototypes across four states.

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Doctors Perform Successful Face Transplant

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In 2006, a 21-year old Andy Sandness unsuccessfully attempted suicide. He had aimed a bullet at his chin, which ended up destroying the lower half of his face. He was rushed to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where doctors finally stabilized him, but nothing could be done about his missing jaw, teeth, and nose.

Sandness went back to his home and job in Wyoming, but six years later, the Mayo Clinic delivered some hopeful news. In 2012, the hospital proposed the idea of a face transplant, a procedure with many risks and possible complications following the final surgery. But, Sandness accepted the dangers, staying hopeful, and agreed to the operation.

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Fusion Just Took One Step Closer to Reality

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Scientists believe that there is a possibility of life existing on Europa, one of Jupiter’s four

Galilean moons. Recently, NASA has kickstarted plans to send a lander to the icy exoplanet in search of extraterrestrial life within its crust.

A 264-page report published by the space administration details their plans for the lander to drill approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) into Europa’s crust and use its specially designed onboard instruments to test the moon’s chemical composition and capacity to breed organic life.

 

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Scientists Finally Create a Molecule 70 Years in the Making

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Move over graphene, it’s 2017 and we have a new carbon structure to rave about: Triangulene.  It’s one atom thick, six carbon hexagons in size, and in the shape of – you guessed it – a triangle.

Development of the molecule has eluded chemists for a period of nearly seventy years. It was first predicted mathematically in the 1950s by Czech scientist, Eric Clar. He noted that the molecule would be unstable electronically due to two unpaired electrons in the six benzene structure. Since then, the mysterious molecule has ushered generations of scientists in a pursuit for the unstable molecule – all resulting in failure due to the oxidizing properties of two lone electron pairs.

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