Tag Archives: Ethical

Take back the Internet – by Bruce Schneier

September 17, 2013 by Bruce Schneier Bruce Schneier (credit: Geoffrey Stone) Government and industry have betrayed the Internet, and us. By subverting the Internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. The companies that build and manage our Internet infrastructure, the companies that […]

Minority Report-style pre-crime prediction using Twitter data: possible?

Retweet graph of Project X dataset (snapshot at 2012-09-26 04:32:15). (credit: Marijn ten Thij/University o Twente) It’s the year 2054, where “PreCrime,” a specialized police department, apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called “precogs.” That’s the premise of the Minority Report film. Now University of Twente (UT) mathematics student Marijn ten Thij* has developed a mathematical model that he says […]

Existing cropland could feed 4 billion more

An abundant supply of food for a hungry world, hidden in plain sight In many areas (lighter areas), crops used for non-food uses (biofuels, other) were not delivered to the food system. Credit: Emily S Cassidy et al./Environmental Research Letters Reallocating croplands away from fuels and animal feed could boost food available for people by 70 […]

Edward Snowden: NSA whistleblower answers reader questions

Edward Snowden took readers’ questions on why he revealed the NSA’s top-secret surveillance of U.S. citizens, the international storm that has ensued, and the uncertain future he now faces, The Guardian reports. [A few  excerpts — Editor.] Q: Some skepticism exists about certain of your claims, including this: “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities […]

Google calls for greater transparency and challenges surveillance gag order

Google has called on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Tuesday to relax its gag order on tech companies targeted in U.S. security investigations, The Guardian reports. The legal filing cites the first amendment’s guarantee of free speech and follows on from a letter to attorney general Eric Holder asking for permission to disclose the number of requests Google […]

Scientists sequence genome of ‘sacred lotus,’ may hold anti-aging secrets

Nelumbo nucifera from China, more commonly known as the “sacred lotus” (credit: Jane Shen-Miller/UCLA) A team of 70 scientists from the U.S., China, Australia and Japan reports having sequenced and annotated more than 86 percent of the genome of the “sacred lotus,” which is believed to have a powerful genetic system that repairs genetic defects, and may […]

Russia developing anti-terrorist robots

Robots at the Robofest-2013 youth festival in Moscow (credit: RIA Novosti, Artem Zhitenev) Russian experts are developing robots designed to minimize casualties in terrorist attacks and neutralize terrorists, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on May 17, RIA Novosti reports. Robots could also help evacuate injured servicemen and civilians from the scene of a terrorist attack, […]

A 3D-printed navy?

The Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft system completed its first flight on May 22, 2013. Could a future version be 3D-printed? (Credit: Northrop Grumman by Bob Brown) Instead a carrying spare parts, space-constrained U.S. Navy ships in the future might carry 3-D printers and bags of various powdered ingredients, and simply download the design files […]

Robotic space-colony construction, cubesats for Mars, transhumanists on space, and more….

by Amara D. Angelica The International Space Development Conference (ISDC), produced by the National Space Society (NSS) — the happening place to learn about the future of space — kicks off Thursday May 23 and runs through Monday May 27 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego, California. ISDC speakers will discuss a wide range of […]

Chinese project probes the genetics of genius

(Credit: iStockphoto) Researchers at BGI (formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute) in Shenzhen, China, the largest gene-sequencing facility in the world, are searching for the quirks of DNA that may contribute to genius in an ethically controversial study. They are scouring the genomes of 1,600 U.S. adolescents who signed up for the Study of Mathematically Precocious […]