#29: What Will You Do?

What have you done to fix the world this week? GET TO IT.

1. Trump plans to scrap NASA climate science in crackdown on "politicized science" - Guardian

"Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century. This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change."

+ MY NOTES: An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind, and hot as flaming hell.

2. Artificial intelligence may find cures buried online - Wired

"Some believe artificial intelligence could be a solution to science overload: machine learning assistants to read incoming papers, distill their information, and highlight relevant findings.

Last month, a company named Iris launched a first version of that type of assistant. The machine can currently read the abstract of a paper, map out its key concepts, and find papers relevant to those concepts. It provides a quick way to get a sense of the scientific landscape for a given topic, something especially useful when you don’t know the exact keywords for the type of research you are looking for. The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence also recently launched a search engine, Semantic Scholar, that takes search beyond keywords."

+ MY NOTES: The data's there. Let's dig in.

3. 2016 World Changing Ideas - Scientific American

"Batteries Could Pull Carbon from the Atmosphere
 How to Make Novel Antibiotics from Scratch
 Quantum Satellites Are a Big Step toward the Unhackable Internet
 Ingestible Robots Perform Surgery from Inside the Body
 Machine-Learning Software Scans Satellite Images to Find Hidden Poverty
 Fabric Made from Battery Material Cools Its Wearers
 A Rare Genetic Mutation Might Inspire the First Drug That Fights All Viruses
 Computers Now Recognize Patterns Better Than Humans
 Cheap Paper Diagnostics Would Save Lives in Remote, Impoverished Places
 “Supermolecules” Could Yield Materials the Periodic Table Won’t Allow"

+ MY NOTES: Stellar, inspiring stuff -- click the link to go deeper.

4. Researchers tread close to proving carbon capture - Gizmodo

"A team in Washington State injected liquified CO2 into a basalt formation -- rock that forms after a lava flow has cooled. Two years later, and it's claimed that the carbon dioxide has solidified into Ankerite, an inert material that should, theoretically, lock the carbon away forever. According to Scientific American, it was originally believed that it would take hundreds of years for the process to occur. The fact that it took just 24 months gives hope to the notion that the technology is workable."

+ MY NOTES: Sure feels timely don't it

5. Who Will Command the Robot Armies? (goddamn I loved this read) - Idlewords

"DARPA funded research into this little bit of nightmare fuel, a kind of headless horse, that can cover rough terrain and carry gear on its back. So progress with autonomous and automated systems in the military is rapid. The obvious question as these systems improve is whether there will ever be a moment when machines are allowed to decide to kill people without human intervention. 

I think there's a helpful analogy here with the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle was an almost entirely automated spacecraft. The only thing on it that was not automated was button that dropped the landing gear. The system was engineered that way on purpose, so that the Shuttle had to have a crew. The spacecraft could perform almost an entire mission solo, but it would not be able to put its wheels down. When the Russians built their shuttle clone, they removed this human point of control. The only flight the Buran ever made was done on autopilot, with no people aboard. I think we'll see a similar evolution in autonomous weapons. They will evolve to a point to where they are fully capable of finding and killing their targets, but the designers will keep a single point of control.

And then someone will remove that point of control. Last week I had a whole elaborate argument about how that could happen under a Clinton Administration. But today I don't need it."

+ MY NOTES: A seriously fun, great read.


Google figured out a way for their computers to translate languages it's never seen before

NASA describes potential for legendary "EM Drive" -- thrust without propulsion. GET IN ME.

Glowing human cells may shed light on sickness

SETI "Breakthrough Listen" project may miss ET's call

Let's colonize Titan, or anywhere, really