Autonomous Cars

Stanford is creating an autonomous car that is going to be used race up a mountain that has been dominated by super cars over the past years. This shows how autonomous robotics can be used in machines that have been controlled by humans forever.

Sensing the Environment

Sensing the Environment

The robots need to know how to observe many different types of information from the environment:

Electromagnetic Spectrum 

Sound

Touch

Chemical Sensors 

Temperature

Range to things in the environment

The robots have to be able to process the data that is taken in from the environment.  

Ex:

Lawn Mower Robots = detect how fast grass grows to know when and how often to mow the lawn

Vacuum Robot = detects how much dirt is being taken in be the vacuum to know how long to stay in each particular area

TOPIC CHANGE

New Topic:  Autonomous Robots

Definition of Autonomous Robot: 

  1. Gain information about the environment (Rule #1)
  2. Work for an extended period without human intervention (Rule #2)
  3. Move either all or part of itself throughout its operating environment without human assistance (Rule #3)
  4. Avoid situations that are harmful to people, property, or itself unless those are part of its design specifications (Rule #4)

An autonomous robot just as living species can, are able to evolve, to changing surroundings, so that they can be more capable to complete different tasks in different environments.  However, periodical maintenance is still required just like for any other machine.  

Introduction to Topic

Introduction to Topic

Topic: How have conspiracy theories evolved over time?  How are these theories developed?  What are some of the most well know conspiracy theories?

Background:  After stumbling across some conspiracy theories, I found several different conjectures for why certain monumental events happened.  What the theories proposed made logical sense; however, I had been fed the stories the way the public had seen them for such a long time that I could not choose whether or not to believe the conspiracy.

Goals: 

  • To understand the history of the phrase “conspiracy theories”
  • To investigate the history of the people that developed certain conspiracy theories
  • To research some of the most popular/notable theories
  • To see what kind of validity that these conspiracy theories have and to see whether they are worth believing 

 

Side Effects of GMO

Developing Allergies: 

A mouse test indicated that people eating GM peas could develop allergies both to the peas and to a range of other foods. The peas had already passed all the allergy tests normally used to get GMOs on the market. It took this advanced mouse test, which was never used on the GMOs we eat, to discover that the peas could be deadly.

Liver Problems: 

Rats fed GM potatoes had smaller, partially atrophied livers.

The New Genes Stay With You:

Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment verified that genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of intestinal bacteria and continues to function.  This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us.

 

Source: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11361.cfm

Ethics of GMO

Allowed to ripen on the vine naturally, this ruby tomato comes to your table with more homegrown taste. By drawing on the best traditions of crossbreeding, biotechnology has created a better-tasting tomato, available year-round.

Although it may be as pretty as a plastic fruit, this tomato has been produced by introducing modified organisms into the plant’s natural genetic material. It is the product of laboratory manipulations whose consequences for consumer health and for the environment are unknown.

These two paragraphs show two totally different views of the newly modified crops.  On one hand we have a part that shows that consumers will be able to have tomatoes year round and that they will taste better than ever.  However the second paragraph shows that the reason why these tomatoes are always ripe is that they have been genetically modified.  In addition, these modified genetics can be harmful to the health of the consumer.  Is it really ethically correct to do this to the crops? 

Source: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/submitted/schulman/tomatoes.html

GMO companies losing credibility.

A group of food companies—among them several that put millions of dollars into opposing California’s Proposition 37 last November—are now favoring labeling of genetically modified foods.

Those companies won the election; Proposition 37 lost, although not by a very wide margin.  

But in the process, two things happened: they lost credibility, and they created a movement for GMO labeling initiatives in other states.

Advocates for GMO labeling figured out that although Big Food and Big Soda were willing to invest $40 million to defeat the California labeling initiative, they might hesitate if confronted with initiatives in many other states.

Source:
http://www.foodpolitics.com/2013/02/wonder-of-wonders-food-companies-favor-gmo-labels/