Stem Cells

Embryonic stem cells (ES cells or ESCs) are pluripotent stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, an early-stage pre-implantation embryo. Human embryos reach the blastocyst stage 4–5 days post fertilization, at which time they consist of 50–150 cells. Isolating the embryoblast, or inner cell mass (ICM) results in destruction of the blastocyst, a process which raises ethical issues, including whether or not embryos at the pre-implantation stage should have the same moral considerations as embryos in the post-implantation stage of development.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

Wind Farms

Wind farms consist of many individual wind turbines, which are connected to the electric power transmission network. Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electric power, competitive with or in many places cheaper than coal or gas plants. Onshore wind farms also have an impact on the landscape, as typically they need to be spread over more land than other power stations and need to be built in wild and rural areas, which can lead to “industrialization of the countryside” and habitat loss. Offshore wind is steadier and stronger than on land and offshore farms have less visual impact, but construction and maintenance costs are higher. Small onshore wind farms can feed some energy into the grid or provide electric power to isolated off-grid locations.

Windmill

A windmill is a structure that converts wind power into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades, specifically to mill grain (gristmills), but the term is also extended to windpumps, wind turbines and other applications. Windmills were used throughout the high medieval and early modern periods; the horizontal or panemone windmill first appeared in Greater Iran during the 9th century, the vertical windmill in northwestern Europe in the 12th century.

Gottfried Leibniz, Writer, Philosopher

Leibniz was the last major figure of seventeenth-century rationalism who contributed heavily to other fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, logic, mathematics, physics, jurisprudence, and the philosophy of religion; he is also considered to be one of the last “universal geniuses”. He did not develop his system, however, independently of these advances. Leibniz rejected Cartesian dualism and denied the existence of a material world. In Leibniz’s view there are infinitely many simple substances, which he called “monads” (which he derived directly from Proclus).

Immanuel Kant, Writer, Philosopher

Immanuel Kant is one of the central figures of modern philosophy, and set the terms by which all subsequent thinkers have had to grapple. He argued that human perception structures natural laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics.

Waking Up with Sam Harris #73 – Forbidden Knowledge (with Charles Murray)

The Waking Up Podcat #73 – Forbidden Knowledge:

A Conversation with Charles Murray

Twitter: @charlesmurray

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Charles Murray about the controversy over his book The Bell Curve, the validity and significance of IQ as a measure of intelligence, the problem of social stratification, the rise of Trump, universal basic income, and other topics.

Charles Murray is a political scientist and author. His 1994 New York Times bestseller, The Bell Curve (coauthored with the late Richard J. Herrnstein), sparked heated controversy for its analysis of the role of IQ in shaping America’s class structure. Murray’s other books include What It Means to Be a Libertarian, Human Accomplishment, and In Our Hands. His 2012 book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 describes an unprecedented divergence in American classes over the last half century.

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(Photo via the Mukashi Mukashi Photography)

Waking Up with Sam Harris #70 – Beauty and Terror (with Lawrence Krauss)

The Waking Up Podcat #70 – Beauty and Terror:

A Conversation with Lawrence Krauss

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with physicist Lawrence Krauss about the utility of public debates, the progress of science, confusion about the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics, the present danger of nuclear war, the Trump administration, the relative threats of Christian theocracy and Islamism, and realistic fears about terrorism.

Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and the director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He is the author of more than 300 scientific publications and nine books, including the international bestsellers, A Universe from Nothing and The Physics of Star Trek. The recipient of numerous awards, Krauss is a regular columnist for newspapers and magazines, including The New Yorker, and he appears frequently on radio, television, and in feature films. His most recent book is The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far: Why Are We Here?

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Waking Up with Sam Harris #66 – Living with Robots (with Kate Darling)

The Waking-Up Podcast

#66 – Living with Robots:

In this Episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Kate Darling about the ethical concerns surrounding our increasing use of robots and other autonomous systems.

Kate Darling is a leading expert in robot ethics. She’s a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where she investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction. Kate is also a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Yale Information Society Project, and is an affiliate at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. She explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines, seeking to influence technology design and public policy. Her writing and research anticipate difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers, and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve in the coming decades. Kate has a background in law & economics and intellectual property.

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Kate Darling

@grok_

Mistress of Machines. Human-robot interaction, robot ethics, IP theory & policy at MIT . Fellow at and affiliate.

Cambridge, MA

 


(Photo via the Séb)