The report from EASAC, published in June, warns of the “grave scientific, economic and social consequences of current European Union policy towards GM crops”, saying European countries should “rethink” their widespread rejection of the technology.
(EASAC is the European Academies Science Advisory Council.)
|Probably not GMO|
But some news from IEEE Spectrum is upbeat. Consider "Robocopters to the Rescue: The next medevac helicopter won’t need a pilot." Consider that:
The need is great, because what we want to save aren’t the salaries of pilots but their lives and the lives of those they serve. Helicopters are extraordinarily versatile, used by soldiers and civilians alike to work in tight spots and unprepared areas. We rely on them to rescue people from fires, battlefields, and other hazardous locales. The job of medevac pilot, which originated six decades ago to save soldiers’ lives, is now one of the most dangerous jobs in America, with 113 deaths for every 100 000 employees.
Don't miss video of an autonomous chopper deciding how/where to land.
The meaning of quantum mechanics has been debated from the theory's beginning, almost a century ago. Oh, QM works -- it lets physicists and engineers design and build your favorite electronic gadgets. What QM doesn't do is make any kind of physical sense. See, for example, from the Washington Post, “Why quantum mechanics is an “embarrassment” to science." In a 2011 survey, 12% of experts in the field chose as their preferred physical interpretation "I have no preferred interpretation.” If you happen to share my unease, then check out, from Scientific American, "Does Some Deeper Level of Physics Underlie Quantum Mechanics? An Interview with Nobelist Gerard ’t Hooft." The takeaway:
’t Hooft thinks the notorious randomness of quantum mechanics is just a front. Underneath, the world obeys perfectly sensible rules. In the models he has toyed with, those rules govern building blocks even more fundamental than particles. You’d see them only if you could zoom into the so-called Planck scale, which, according to many modern theories, is the smallest meaningful distance in nature.
|Who better than Dilbert?|
Finally, as an antidote against pessimism from watching the three rings (er, branches) of the DC Circus, consider, from The Wall Street Journal, "Nobels and National Greatness: Anyone who thinks America's best days are behind it should take a close look at the latest Nobel haul."
But then there is the Nobel Prize, and the fact that Americans, both native-born and immigrants, took home nine of them this year alone. Note to Xinhua: China, with 1.3 billion people, has produced a grand total of nine winners in its entire history. Of those nine, seven live abroad, including three in the U.S. Another, Liu Xiaobo, sits in a Chinese prison.