October 19, 2009

Link dump: 2009.10.19

From the four corners of the web:
  • How to save yourself from chasing futuristic red herrings
    For many people, the often outlandish proposals and predictions of futurists are just obviously impractical and are to be laughed off. This attitude, irrational is it may seem to futurists of the stripe who take outlandish ideas very seriously, is itself not to be sneered at -- automatic unbelievers in the alien save themselves from chasing many red herrings. Those who laugh at futurism because they are unimaginative dolts I will not try to defend, but those who laugh at futurism when futurists take themselves too seriously are usually spot-on.
  • The Top 10 Artificially Intelligent Characters in Movies
    As of now, no machine has "passed" the Turing test. In the movies, however, that's a completely different story, as we've seen literally dozens of artificially intelligent characters whose programming functions at a level that is indistinguishable from that of a human brain.
  • Small mechanical forces have big impact on embryonic stem cells
    Applying a small mechanical force to embryonic stem cells could be a new way of coaxing them into a specific direction of differentiation, researchers at the University of Illinois report. Applications for force-directed cell differentiation include therapeutic cloning and regenerative medicine.
  • Progress in Bioethics - MIT Press [book]
    Progress in Bioethics is the first book to debate the meaning of progressive bioethics and to offer perspectives on the topic both from bioethicists who consider themselves progressive and from bioethicists who do not. Its aim is to begin a dialogue and to provide a foothold for readers interested in understanding the field.
  • Is My Mind Mine? - Forbes.com
    How neuroimaging will affect personal freedom.
  • Prospective Parents and Genetic Testing
    Dr. Jennifer Ashton Discusses People Turning to Science to Try to Avoid Genetic Disorders in Future Children
  • Need a New Heart? Grow Your Own. - The Boston Globe
    The idea sounds like science fiction. But it might someday come true. A group of Boston scientists is pushing the bounds of regenerative medicine.
  • Drug testing could stop 'academic doping'
    Students taking important exams could one day find themselves in the same position as professional athletes -- submitting to a drug test before the big event. The practice of students taking cognitive-enhancing drugs, such as methylphenidate, has become so common that those who don't "dope" are at an unfair advantage, argues a psychologist writing in the new issue of Journal of Medical Ethics.
  • Physicists Calculate Number of Universes in the Multiverse
    If we live in a multiverse, it's reasonable to ask how many other distinguishable universes we may share it with. Now physicists have an answer

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