8 Scientists Contemplate Place of Human Consciousness in Science

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The founders of quantum physics contemplated the philosophical implications of their findings. They were astounded that the thoughts of the observer seemed to influence the matter being observed. Principles believed to stabilize physical reality didn’t seem to apply.

The founders of quantum physics contemplated the philosophical implications of their findings. They were astounded that the thoughts of the observer seemed to influence the matter being observed. Principles believed to stabilize physical reality didn’t seem to apply.

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The Singapore Vertical-Farms that herald an Agricultural Revolution

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In Singapore, the challenge of feeding a growing population is pushing the concept of urban farming to new heights. A super-efficient vertical farming system is producing greens for 5 million residents.

"Can we supply enough food for everyone on the planet?" is a question plaguing leaders around the world. In Singapore SkyGreen offers one example of how this might be possible, "not just technically, but economically". By increasing their food security while reducing the impact of food production on global climate change, SkyGreen is 10 times more productive per square foot than conventional farming.

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Addicted products: The story of Brad the Toaster

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As the internet of things grows, we should consider what it could mean having all of these smart, networked home appliances in our lives. Italian product designer Simone Rebaudengo, currently a designer at Frog in Munich, played out an extreme scenario of this potential future in his project ‘Addicted Products.’

In this ‘real-fictional service’, networked toasters, which were connected both to the internet and to their peer toasters, were distributed among a group of hosts. The toasters were addicted to being used, and were aware of when toasters in their peer group were being used. If a toaster were feeling underused, it would act on that emotion, getting attention physically or through tweets. In extreme cases, the toaster would self-destruct or call DHL to be moved to a different host.

Source: http://www.psfk.com/2014/03/home-appliances-with-personalities-become-sad-when-underused.html

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David Chalmers: How do you explain consciousness? - TED

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Our consciousness is a fundamental aspect of our existence, says philosopher David Chalmers: “There’s nothing we know about more directly…. but at the same time it’s the most mysterious phenomenon in the universe.” He shares some ways to think about the movie playing in our heads.

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US drones risk continual war, says report - FT.com

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The routine use of drones by the US to kill alleged terrorists offshore may be creating “a slippery slope leading to continual or wider wars” and is increasingly inconsistent with the rule of law, according to a major new report, produced by the Stimson Centre, a think-tank in Washington.

… .

The report recommends that the US conduct a rigorous cost-benefit review of the use of drone strikes and also increase the transparency surrounding them.

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Consciousness on-off switch located deep in human brain

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Scientists say they’ve located the part of the brain that controls consciousness; it’s a thin layer deep in the brain called the claustrum.


In a new study — published this week in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior — neurologist Mohamad Koubeissi of George Washington University recounted how he and his colleagues were able to turn a woman’s consciousness off and on by stimulating her claustrum.

As the new study explains, when GW researchers zapped a woman’s claustrum with high frequency electrical impulses, she subsequently lost consciousness. The claustrum shocks caused — as researchers explained — “arrest of volitional behavior, unresponsiveness, and amnesia without negative motor symptoms or mere aphasia.”

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A Drone That Paints Graffiti, For Art And For Mischief

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The Drone Graffiti works are interesting as a thought experiment. It plays with what it means to create art in an age of advanced robotics and automation, and it extends the artist’s reach to larger canvases that most taggers can’t easily tackle. Visually, however, the paintings aren’t much to look at. With random lines and colors rather than beautiful cohesive artworks, it’s clear that drones aren’t going to replace muralists or street artists anytime soon.

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It’s Time for Flying Robots: Making unmanned aerial vehicles operational

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avvy business executives are always looking for opportunities to reduce costs, mitigate safety risks, boost production and improve competitiveness. Increasingly, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—also known as drones—are becoming an attractive technology to help achieve these goals. Successfully deployed in limited commercial settings during the past few years, UAVs have shown early signs of strong business value in several applications. For example, BP conducted UAV pipeline inspection tests in 2012 in Alaska; Royal Dutch Shell Plc has tested unmanned aircraft for land surveying; and Amazon has announced Amazon Prime Air as a way to optimize package delivery. UAVs have the potential to alter emergency response, food production, manufacturing and production facility inspections, and more. Overall, these examples demonstrate how autonomous UAVs will extend and amplify what humans are already doing by adding remote sensing, actuation and predictive tasks.

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane—No, It’s a Bird-Counting Drone

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A new project uses infrared cameras mounted on UAVs to assess the effectiveness of conservation efforts.

The Nature Conservancy is testing out an unmanned aerial vehicle topped with an infrared camera to get a more accurate, quicker count of the birds at California’s San Francisco Bay Delta watershed.

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'Intelligent' drones being developed at UNM

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In a basement lab at the University of New Mexico, grad student Corbin Whilhelmi’s research has a mind of its own.

He’s developing a flying, thinking, robot.

Whilhelmi and his colleagues are developing intelligent drones so promising, the United States Department of Defense and the U.S. Army are paying for it.

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