Beginning today, drivers of a federally-funded organ-collecting wagon will be monitoring New York’s 911 emergency calls indicating someone might be about to croak in his home.
The so-called Organ Donation Unit and a special ambulance will then hover outside the patient’s residence, waiting for bad news from the emergency workers inside.
Once the patient is declared dead, a team from the organ van will pounce upon grieving relatives, to persuade them to part quickly with their departed loved one’s parts.
From Fox News in New York:
The team — composed of two EMTs, an organ donor family services specialist and a Bellevue emergency physician — will interact with grieving and shocked family members in the limited time available before it is too late to use a person’s organs. A police detective will arrive at the scene before the team to make sure there’s nothing about the death that warrants a criminal investigation.
Two college professors have already given one robot the ability to handle a crabby patient with compassion.
Susan Anderson, a philosopher at the University of Connecticut, and her husband, Michael Anderson, a computer scientist at the University of Hartford, have programmed a robot with the ability to make an ethical choice.
via A robot exhibits bedside manners — and ethics – The Boston Globe.
The news is the bar codes that will be added to embryos (no RFID, here) are “biologically inert”:
The bar codes, which carry unique binary identification numbers, are biologically inert: they do not affect the rate of embryo development and are shed before the embryos implant into the wall of the uterus. The technique aims to simplify individual embryo identification, streamlining in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer procedures.
via Short Sharp Science: Fertilised eggs get microscopic bar codes.
Recently I interviewed Ben Goertzel for Singularity 1 on 1. During that interview Ben argued that the technological singularity is not necessarily inevitable and that The Future Is Ours To Create. Interestingly, in the video below Ben argues that it may not be absolutely ridiculous to consider that the singularity may actually happen as yearly as 10 years from now.
via Ben Goertzel: 10 Years To The Singularity.
Photo: shanelkalicharan/Flickr CC
Worried by a ProPublica investigation revealing disgusting and dangerous conditions at dialysis clinics nationwide, PR people for the billion-dollar industry braced itself with a spin control document, with talking points.
From an industry PR memo obtained by ProPublica:
Despite our collective efforts, we do not anticipate a balanced presentation (in the ProPublica report), and we therefore feel it’s essential to create the “machinery” necessary to orchestrate an aggressive and prompt community-wide response.
The authors of the spin control doc suggests that docs and administrators, if contacted by the media in the wake of the ProPublica report, emphasize technological advances in the industry — rather than taking criticisms head-on.
The doc also shows industry flacks fretted that the story will get “will get traction through other media outlets.”
Photo: Liane Chan/Flickr CC
Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ronald D. Moore barred the BS technobabble that made so much of every show after the original Star Trek series aired.
That’s what allowed the epic space opera to come through.
And the guy he hired to keep the show honest has written a book about it:
Grazier – whose new book The Science of Battlestar Galactica finally puts geeks out of their misery by explaining the “hows”, “whys”, and “what ifs” – is blunt in explaining BSG’s success. BSG, he says, was not a technology show.This formula worked. BSG became a cult and critical hit. BSG was the first ever sci-fi show to earn a prestigious Peabody Award for its treatment of contemporary subjects. It won over fans of the 1970s original who were initially suspicious of Moore’s plans for their beloved show, and BSG secured a rarity for any TV sci-fi creation: the nodding approval of members of the science community.
via Shut up, Spock! – how Battlestar Galactica beat Trek babble • The Register.
Photo: Bob Bobster (LIC)/Flickr CC
In a big step toward human superlongevity, University at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) boffins have made adult stem cells that *do not age.*
The UB researchers anticipate their finding could result in “cost-effective treatments for diseases including heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.”
More from the announcement:
UB scientists created the new cell lines – named “MSC Universal” – by genetically altering mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in bone marrow and can differentiate into cell types including bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, and beta-pancreatic islet cells.
via Researchers Engineer Adult Stem Cells That Do Not Age, Overcoming a Major Barrier to Progress in Regenerative Medicine.
Pesticide manufacturers expect that — by incorporating nanomaterials into their products — they can help farmers spray their fields more efficiently, losing less pesticide to “environmental drift,” for example.
But as with GMOs, the federal government has no existing protocols for testing nanoparticles (which behave in ways that are dramatically different from larger scale materials). before they are used in consumer and industrial products.
Oregon State University scientists also warn that researchers have found that six out of 40 nanomaterials (in a cancer study) “evoked a toxic response, most of which was linked to a specific surface chemistry that scientists now know to avoid.”
via New approaches needed to gauge safety of nanotech-based pesticides | News & Research Communications | Oregon State University.
Some states make so much garbage, they’re shipping it to other states.
But now Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Louisiana are limiting how much they will accept from places like New York.
And that trend is about to go global, according to the World Future Society, which predicts protests in the developing countries at risk of becoming garbage heaps for the “rich.”
Trash producers in the developed world will ship much more of their debris to repositories in developing countries. This will inspire protests in the receiving lands. Beyond 2025 or so, the developing countries will close their repositories to foreign waste, forcing producers to develop more waste-to-energy and recycling technologies. Ultimately, it may even be necessary to exhume buried trash for recycling to make more room in closed dump sites for material that cannot be reused. Waste-to-energy programs will make only a small contribution.
via 2011 Top Ten: 4. Will there be garbage wars in the future? | World Future Society.
Photo: Steve Ryan/Flickr CC
Scientists don’t want us to get bogged down in the details — the ups-and-downs of global temperatures. The mercury is still rising, they say…
That is, except in large parts of the globe, and during certain decades:
“The suddenness of the drop in Northern Hemisphere ocean temperatures relative to the Southern Hemisphere is difficult to reconcile with the relatively slow buildup of tropospheric aerosols,” Thompson said.“We don’t know why the Northern Hemisphere ocean areas cooled so rapidly around 1970. But the cooling appears to be largest in a climatically important region of the ocean,” Wallace said.
via Sudden Ocean Cooling Likely Aided Mid-20th Century Global Warming Hiatus in Northern Hemisphere.