taking care of business
September 11, 2018

The Great Barrier Reef faces several threats, including warming ocean temperatures and overfishing, but researchers think they've created something that could offer the world's largest coral reef system some protection.

The RangerBot is an underwater drone the size of a briefcase, with a visual system that enables it to sidestep obstacles. With 99.4 percent accuracy, this autonomous device can identify crown-of-thorns starfish, which are covered with toxic spines. Because they can grow to the size of a manhole cover, these starfish are able to "devastate large tracts of reef," researcher Matthew Dunbabin said in a statement. Once the RangerBot confirms it has found a crown-of-thorns starfish, it can "instigate an injection which is fatal for the crown-of-thorns starfish but doesn't affect anything else on the reef."

The RangerBot also monitors the health of a reef, creating 3D maps that can show any changes in the ecosystem. The RangerBot can stay underwater a lot longer than a human diver, and can also explore areas that have sharks and crocodiles. The RangerBot has been tested extensively, and now, Dunbabin is working with authorities to get the permits necessary to launch the robots. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2017

President Trump said Wednesday he would be "very angry" if Senate Republicans don't pass their ObamaCare repeal and replacement, even as many senators have publicly confessed their pessimism over the new draft, which is to be released Thursday. "I am sitting in the Oval Office with a pen in hand, waiting for our senators to give it to me," Trump told CBN News in an interview. "It has to get passed. They have to do it. They have to get together and get it done."

In a party meeting Wednesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was joined by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in expressing fury over the GOP's plans to scale back Medicaid while Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has said he can't support the bill because it is "the same as the old bill, except it leaves in place more taxes," Politico reports.

"Among the rotating cast of senators most likely to keep the bill shy of 50 votes, no one seemed to be softening — if anything, some opponents seem to be hardening," Axios writes. Jeva Lange

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