Beyond Asimov: How to Plan for Ethical Robots

Ethical robots in our future? Source: Meddygarnet/Flickr/CC By Dr. Benjamin Kuipers Professor of Computer Science and Engineering University of Michigan As robots become integrated into society more widely, we need to be sure they’ll behave well among us. In 1942, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov attempted to lay out a philosophical and moral framework for[…]

Hiker’s Coffee

Photo by Å. Berg-Tesdal By Chris Kolbu The Norwegian turkaffe, literally hiking coffee, is one of the oldest coffee traditions we have. Normally prepared outside over an open fire or gas burner, it is an almost ritualized part of any hiking experience. While the act of physically preparing a cup of black coffee is becoming increasingly[…]

Fireball Lights Pre-Dawn Sky over Arizona

Credit:  NASA 06.02.2016 For a few seconds early Thursday, night turned into day as an extremely bright fireball lit the pre-dawn sky over much of Arizona, blinding all-sky meteor cameras as far away as western New Mexico. Based on numerous eyewitness accounts, a small asteroid estimated at 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter – with[…]

And the Moon Sheds a Drop of Blood

Photo by Louis Cahill By Brian Jeganathan / 05.28.2016 In January last year, I visited Mullaitivu. Since it was after dusk, I decided to find lodging just for one night. During the day, I had the opportunity of listening to the horror stories of local Tamils who were caught in the final onslaught on Mullivaikkal[…]

How Will the Barrier Reef Recover from the Death of One-Third of Its Northern Corals?

Corals north of Cairns have been hit hardest by the recent bleaching. AAP Image/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Kerry By Dr. Mia Hoogenboom Senior Lecturer,  Marine Biology and Aquaculture James Cook University The problems caused by mass bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef have continued to deepen, with the latest estimates based[…]

Francis van Helmont and the Alphabet of Nature

Frontispiece to Jan Baptista van Helmont’s The Origin of Medicine (1648), showing the younger Van Helmont partially obscured by the elder — Source: Wellcome Library, London Largely forgotten today in the shadow of his more famous father, the 17th-century Flemish alchemist Francis van Helmont influenced and was friends with the likes of Locke, Boyle, and[…]

How Campus Policies Limit Free Speech

Why do campuses have “free speech zones”? John By David L. Hudson, Jr. / 05.31.2016 First Amendment Expert, Adjunct Professor of Law Vanderbilt University Colleges and universities are supposed to be places where freedom of expression flourishes. Sadly, that is not the case. At a recent debate on the Yale University campus, 66 percent of[…]