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Science

World Oceans Day virtual event features online concert

This year, the United Nations will celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8 with an all-day virtual event capped by an online concert featuring live performances from musicians around the world.

This year, the United Nations will celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8 with an all-day virtual event. It will be capped by an online concert featuring live performances from musicians around the world.

Produced in partnership with the non-profit organization Oceanic Global, UN World Oceans Day 2020 will feature keynote speeches, panels, and presentations with leading ocean voices. The 2020 theme is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”.

The speakers include Cara Delevingne, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Sylvia Earle, Forbi Perise Eyong Nyosai, Bill McKibben, Ellie Goulding, Gayatri Reksodihardjo-Lilley, and Lilly Platt.

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Science Technology

Cobots lending humans a helping hand in healthcare

Darrell Adams, Head, Southeast Asia & Oceania of Universal Robots, says cobots are gaining mainstream acceptance in different industries, including healthcare.
Darrell Adams, Head, Southeast Asia & Oceania of Universal Robots, says cobots are gaining mainstream acceptance in different industries, including healthcare.

Even without the current COVID-19 global pandemic, the global healthcare system is under tremendous strain. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a remarkable report on April 6. WHO has warned that the world needs at least 5.9 million additional nurses to meet global health targets. This is a staggering shortfall, indeed. Technology, however, may be coming to the rescue with the deployment of collaborative robots, or cobots, in the healthcare industry.

Unlike their heavy and large industrial robot cousins, cobots are nimbler and more user-friendly. As their name suggests, they are designed to work together with humans, rather than replacing them.

“Universal Robots is focused on how we can reduce the pain and suffering that has become part of our world since the evolution of COVID-19. Hence we would prefer never to sell a robot due to the pandemic. However, we are working hard on how we can support anyone in this field to fight back against this virus. We have in the past and will continue to see cobots used in healthcare, used to help people live longer and stronger lives — that will always be a focus,” Darrell Adams, Head, Southeast Asia & Oceania of Universal Robots (UR), told Digital Life Asia.

Founded in 2005 by three university students in Denmark, UR was the first company to deliver commercially viable cobots. Its mission is to make the world a better place, one cobot at a time.

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A Life Less Analog Science

Wildlife trade must end to help prevent future outbreaks

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Scientists have not yet identified the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. What we do know, however, is that the wildlife trade increases the risk of spreading zoonotic diseases. Do we want to reduce the threat of future outbreaks? Then we must take a serious look at the dangers posed by the wildlife trade.

Richard Thomas, head of communications for TRAFFIC, was the speaker in a webinar on April 23. TRAFFIC is a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. Internews and its Earth Journalism Network held the webinar to provide more information on zoonotic diseases. Thomas discussed the role of the wildlife trade and the possible origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I asked Thomas what we can do to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the origins of COVID-19. After all, what has made this pandemic worse is that it has been accompanied by an infodemic and fake news. Thomas, by the way, spearheaded the response to the H5N1 bird flu virus (also called avian influenza) outbreak in 2006 and 2007.

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Science

Telepsychiatry: Online consultations via Talk to Dr. Lee

Psychiatrist Ruby Jade Lee-Cheng says telepsychiatry allows her and her father Paul V. Lee to help patients cope with the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Psychiatrist Ruby Jade Lee-Cheng says telepsychiatry allows her and her father Paul V. Lee to help patients cope with the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to take care of both our physical and mental health. Through telepsychiatry, a father and daughter have been addressing the needs of their patients in the age of social distancing and lockdowns.

As all of us can attest to, dealing with the pandemic and the sweeping changes in the way we work and play has been very stressful.

“This sudden change in the daily routine can cause depression and anxiety. Other than this, the fear of getting the virus can also add to the stress,” psychiatrist Ruby Jade Lee-Cheng told Digital Life Asia.

Lee-Cheng, together with her father and fellow psychiatrist Paul V. Lee, offers online consultations via their Talk to Dr. Lee site. Note that these online consultations are not for emergency cases, which should be handled by going to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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Science

NASA, SpaceX make history with Crew Dragon launch

NASA and SpaceX make history. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard. Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
NASA and SpaceX make history. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard. Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Not too long ago, many considered Elon Musk‘s SpaceX a joke. Today it made history with NASA. The company successfully launched the SpaceX Crew Dragon carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley.

For the first time, NASA astronauts have launched from American soil in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft. SpaceX Crew Dragon is now on its way to the International Space Station.

“Today a new era in human spaceflight begins as we once again launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil on their way to the International Space Station, our national lab orbiting Earth,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a press statement.

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Science Technology

Teletherapy for kids encourages family involvement

Speech-language pathologist Krizia Anna Castro, shown here with her son Mac, says teletherapy can be as effective as face-to-face sessions.
Speech-language pathologist Krizia Anna Castro, shown here with her son Mac, says teletherapy can be as effective as face-to-face sessions.

Thanks to technology, speech-language pathologist Krizia Anna Castro is still able to help children with special needs. Castro is offering teletherapy services since face-to-face sessions are not possible due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Teletherapy refers to remote therapy, using technology so that the therapist and client can communicate. Castro said this usually involves video platforms such as Zoom, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger, or FaceTime. Apart from convenience, teletherapy offers other advantages.

“It stresses the importance of family involvement and contribution. They need to understand that teletherapy is not going to be the same as a face-to-face session but is mostly parent coaching. Activities will be mostly facilitated by the parents, especially with younger children. Unlike with face-to-face sessions wherein they leave their children with us while they stay in the waiting area, this time they are required to be there. Parents are going to be our eyes and hands during the session. They have to learn the techniques, and how to manage their child’s behavior. Now parents have a better understanding of their children’s needs because they are much more involved,” Castro told Digital Life Asia.

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Science Technology

Turn your screen time into climate solutions with this app

Put your screen time to good use by joining We Don't Have Time.
Put your screen time to good use by joining We Don’t Have Time.

(Editor’s note: A different version of this article on screen time was originally published on TessDrive.com. Reposted with permission.)

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the enhanced community quarantine, many of us are staying home and spending more time online. What if we could use all that screen time to help solve the climate crisis?

Stockholm-based WeDontHaveTime AB (publ) is a startup crowdfunded by over 550 investors from 15 different countries. This Swedish company operates We Don’t Have Time, which seeks to harness the power of social media to find solutions for the climate crisis.

People can join this social network free of charge, where they can create climate actions and collaborate with other users. By building a community of climate heroes from all over the world, We Don’t Have Time members can influence companies, organizations, and public figures.

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Science Technology

Press freedom needed vs COVID-19, says Amal Clooney

Facts are needed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and to get the truth you need press freedom, says Amal Clooney. Image credit: IBM Think Digital
Facts are needed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and to get the truth you need press freedom, says Amal Clooney. Image credit: IBM Think Digital

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. Unfortunately, governments are also using the crisis as an excuse to intensify the assault on press freedom, continuing the global trend toward authoritarianism.

“Unfortunately, in the COVID era the threat to journalists has only increased. Authoritarian governments have capitalized on the moment to take even more draconian measures to suppress the truth. And this virus shows that it is not only lethal to democratic rule. This can also be deadly to individuals,” Amal Clooney said.

A barrister who specializes in international law and human rights, Clooney was one of the speakers at IBM’s Think Digital conference. The conference does not just focus on technology solutions. It also takes a look at the impact of digital transformation and the COVID-19 pandemic on society.

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Science Technology

Digital climate strikes to be held via Earth Day Live

Digital climate strikes will be held as part of Earth Day Live
Image credit: Emily Thiessen

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to stay home. But that won’t stop millions of climate activists around the world from holding digital climate strikes.

April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and this year Earth Day is going digital. One of these digital initiatives is Earth Day Live. The US Climate Strike Coalition and Stop The Money Pipeline Coalition are organizing this three-day live stream on April 22-24. Earth Day Live will enable millions of people to join activists, celebrities, musicians, and more in the online mobilization.

“The fights against the coronavirus and the climate crisis go hand-in-hand. As we work to flatten the curve of this pandemic, we must strive toward the longer term goal of building a society that is better equipped to confront another global threat: the climate emergency. Earth Day Live is a chance for humanity to come together and begin to collectively reimagine the society, economy, and political system we need to confront the challenges ahead of us,” Nadia Nazar, Co-Executive Director and Art Director of coalition member Zero Hour, said in a press statement.

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A Life Less Analog Science Technology

Earth Day 2020: Digital strikes, online climate conference

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Earth Day on April 22 will be even more special this year. It is the 50th anniversary of the day millions of people demanded action for our planet. Moreover, we are also fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. An ongoing crisis that has exposed the weaknesses of a broken system that prioritizes profit over people and the planet.

With physical distancing and lockdowns of cities and countries now part of the new normal, Earth Day is going digital. Millions of participants around the world will mobilize on digital platforms. The shared hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE will allow users to easily track the global conversation. Various organizations, including Fridays For Future and Strike With Us, will launch digital strikes. Meanwhile, the social network We Don’t Have Time is organizing the world’s biggest online climate conference on April 20-25, with 100 speakers from five continents and a live stream on the event site.

Earth Day: We Don't Have Time
Image credit: We Don’t Have Time

“We are delighted to be working together with We Don’t Have Time on this conference spotlighting the amazing solutions and inordinate opportunities to fast forward a climate safe future. The Corona Virus has dramatically changed the way all of us will be marking Earth Day 2020. Together, and with hundreds of millions of people around the globe we are making it clear to leaders that people everywhere are behind ambitious action and the answers to the climate crisis are here and ready to be deployed,” Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, said in a press statement.