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This Week in Science 2017–11–12

2022-12-13

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/11/12

“The movie portrays a brutal future. A military firm unveils a tiny drone that hunts and kills with ruthless efficiency. But when the technology falls into the wrong hands, no one is safe. Politicians are cut down in broad daylight. The machines descend on a lecture hall and spot activists, who are swiftly dispatched with an explosive to the head.

The short, disturbing film is the latest attempt by campaigners and concerned scientists to highlight the dangers of developing autonomous weapons that can find, track and fire on targets without human supervision. They warn that a preemptive ban on the technology is urgently needed to prevent terrible new weapons of mass destruction.

Stuart Russell, a leading AI scientist at the University of California in Berkeley, and others will show the film on Monday during an event at the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons hosted by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. The manufacture and use of autonomous weapons, such as drones, tanks and automated machine guns, would be devastating for human security and freedom, and the window to halt their development is closing fast, Russell warned.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/nov/13/ban-on-killer-robots-urgently-needed-say-scientists.

“One of Gov. Gen. Julie Payette’s first major addresses — a talk she gave to scientists — has troubled many people in our country.

Gov. Gen. General Julie Payette has the formidable task of representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. She is an intelligent person with multiple degrees and vast experience in space exploration and scientific endeavours. She is a role model for young people, particularly women. In some sense, she also symbolizes and represents the people of Canada. She reflects our hopes and aspirations.

However, one of her first major addresses — a talk she gave to scientists — has troubled many people in our country. On Nov. 1, she lumped together people who seemingly do not fit in with life in the modern world.”

Source: http://ottawasun.com/opinion/columnists/prendergast-governor-generals-words-only-feed-the-religion-science-misconception.

“People streaming to the Telus World of Science in Edmonton on Friday morning had a unique chance to send their names and messages up into the stratosphere.

Visitors scribbled their names in black marker on orange and pink ribbons, and some even wrote a short message that were later attached to a weather balloon that staff scientists at the Telus World of Science designed and constructed.

The helium-filled weather balloon carried scientific instruments and a camera, said Dan Alfano, manager of The Science Garage at Telus World of Science. The instruments are to measure temperature, pressure, wind speed and altitude, he said.”

Source: http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/weather-balloon-launched-from-telus-world-of-science.

“Google, Facebook, and Twitter were hauled in front of Congress last week to explain how Russian bots were able to spread fake news on their platforms. The concern — and a very real one — is that these bots and fake news sites had a significant impact on the 2016 election.

Fighting fake news, however, is not the only or best way to ensure that our content ecosystem prioritizes real news. This week, a groundbreaking article in Science proves that a better way to secure a media system that works for democracy is to strengthen independent news outlets.

The five-year-long study published this week in Science, directed by Harvard professor Gary King and supported in part by Voqal, shows that even small independent news outlets can have a dramatic effect on the content of national conversation. King, along with his now former graduate students Ben Schneer and Ariel White, found that if just three outlets write about a particular major national policy topic — such as jobs, the environment, or immigration — discussion of that topic across social media rose by as much as 62.7 percent of a day’s volume, distributed over the week.”

Source:https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/11/12/why-science-says-you-should-be-reading-small-independent-media.

“In classrooms in the U.S. and around the world, science is often taught as an idea that began with the Greeks. Now there is a growing movement calling for science to be decolonized, and to acknowledge the contributions and ideas of non-Western peoples.

At the World Conference of Science Journalists last month, South African science writer Sibusiso Biyela spoke about how language inequality can keep people — and ideas — out of science. Axios followed up with Biyela to ask whether colonization still influences science in South Africa today. The interview, edited for length and clarity, is below.

“Do you really understand something if you don’t understand it in your own language?” Biyela asks.”

Source: https://www.axios.com/decolonizing-science-q-a-with-sibusiso-biyela-2508137230.html.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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