January 12, 2005

Links for Jan 12/05

Ethics for the Robot Age (Wired)
Should bots carry weapons? Should they win patents? These are questions that Jordan Pollack feels we should answer as automation advances. Somewhat disapointing article in that Pollack doesn't go far enough in his prognostications to include sentient robots and issues of pending personhood.

The Body Electric (Slate)
What is electrical brain stimulation used for? And is it safe? Includes a discussion of cranial magnetic stimulation.

Quantum Quackery (Scientific American)
A surprise-hit film has renewed interest in applying quantum mechanics to consciousness, spirituality and human potential. Uber-skeptic Michael Shermer thinks this is bad. Excellent, looks like Shermer has the consciousness/quantum problem all figured out. Perhaps he'd like to share his special knowledge with the rest of humanity....

David Chalmers has compiled an amazing Guide to the Philosophy of Mind

Fire and Brim Stone (Space Review)
Project Orion and terraforming are two extraordinary space visions. Sam Dinkin gives two radical cases for technology transfer to achieve energy independence.

First Direct Sighting of an Extrasolar Planet (New Scientist)

Meteor Could Cause Big Tsunami (The Albuquerque Tribune)
Gee, do you think so?

Artificial muscles based on conducting polymer and carbon nanotubes (Daily Science News)
Likely good news for both humans and robots.

Red Meat is Strongly Linked to Cancer (Nature)
Another reason to go veg (or give up red meat at the very least): Diet experts urge move to poultry, fish and beans after results of long-term study.

Fierce Mammal Ate Dinos for Lunch (BBC)
An astonishing new fossil unearthed in China has overturned the accepted view about the relationship between dinosaurs and early mammals. We mammals have always kicked ass.

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