Find out what’s happening in Science & Society around the world. Discover changes to science policy and law, new scientific study results, Supreme Court rulings, debates about nature versus nurture, and news about the sharing of genetic information.
‘Mini brains’ grown in a dish have spontaneously produced human-like brain waves for the first time — and the electrical patterns look similar to those seen in premature babies.
Consumer genetics company 23andMe on Wednesday became the first to secure Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a report that provides information about how a person’s genetics may impact the efficacy of certain drugs.
The trolley problem used to be an obscure question in philosophical ethics. It runs as follows: a trolley, or a train, is speeding down a track towards a junction. Some moustache-twirling evildoer has tied five people to the track ahead, and another person to the branch line. You are standing next to a lever that controls the junction. Do nothing, and the five people will be killed. Pull the lever, and only one person dies. What is the ethical course of action?
We love stories. We’d like to have all our knowledge packaged in stories — narratives with plots that involve people (and animals) with reasons and motives, carrying out their aims and designs, in cooperation or conflict, succeeding or being thwarted.
Science comes hard to most of us because it can’t really take that form. Instead it’s equations, models, theories and the data that support them. But ironically, science offers an explanation of why we love stories.
DARPA has dreamed for decades of merging human beings and machines. Some years ago, when the prospect of mind-controlled weapons became a public-relations liability for the agency, officials resorted to characteristic ingenuity.