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Will humans be extinct in 100 years?

This week's question concerns the world-renowned Australian scientist Professor Frank Fenner - who helped to wipe out smallpox - and his prediction that humans will probably be extinct within 100 years. His reasoning includes overpopulation, environmental destruction, and climate change. Fenner stated that homo sapiens will not be able to survive the population explosion and "unbridled consumption," and will become extinct, perhaps within a century, along with many other species. What do you think? Will humans be extinct in 100 years?

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Does your online persona accurately reflect who you are in the real world?

This week's question concerns our online "personas". While social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook encourage members to use their real identities, a recent study on the usage habits on these sites has shown there's little correlation between how people act on the Internet and how they are in person. For example, if you're the type who is overly chatty or arrogant on Twitter, this doesn't necessarily reflect on how you may act in the real world. What do you think? Does your online persona accurately reflect who you are in the real world? Yes or no?

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Should CO2 emissions be regulated?

This week’s question concerns the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Last Thursday, the US Senate failed to pass legislation that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating CO2 emissions from large factories, electric power companies, and automobiles. What do you think? Should CO2 emissions be regulated? Yes or no?

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Should Google be liable for "bad" directions that lead to injury?

This week's question concerns a recent news item about how a Utah woman injured by a motorist while following a Google Maps route has filed a lawsuit claiming Google supplied unsafe directions (the motorist is also named in the lawsuit). The woman used her phone to download directions from one end of Park City, UT, to the other. Google Maps led her to a four-lane boulevard without sidewalks that was "not reasonably safe for pedestrians," according to the lawsuit. The woman believed she could reach a sidewalk on the other side of the boulevard and therefore tried to cross. A car struck her before she even reached the median. The woman received multiple bone fractures that required six weeks of rehabilitation. What do you think? Should Google be liable for "bad" directions that lead to injury? Yes or no?

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Does synthetic biology cross an ethical line?

This week's question concerns synthetic biology research. A study published online by the journal "Science" details how scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute recently developed the first viable cell controlled by a synthetic genome. According to the researchers, the cell is called synthetic because it is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with chemicals, a chemical synthesizer, and information in a computer. They hope to use this method to probe the basic machinery of life and to engineer bacteria specially designed to solve environmental or energy problems. What do you think? Does synthetic biology cross an ethical line?

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Is time travel possible?

This week's question concerns the concept of time travel. Usually the topic of science fiction books and movies, two of the world's most respected physicists, Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku, assert that time travel could become a scientific reality. In a recent AOL Science article, both scientists cited Einstein's belief of a fourth dimension -- known as time -- as grounds for the possibility of time travel. They also suggest wormholes and black holes could be useful in achieving time travel. What do you think? Is time travel possible?

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Should the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affect the President’s energy plan?

This week’s question concerns the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After a rig leased by BP Plc exploded and sank last week in the Gulf, many have indicated that the President may experience a setback in his plan to expand offshore drilling. The plan is supposed to be part of a transition to a new energy economy that relies less on imported fossil fuel and more on domestic power from the sun and wind. What do you think? Should the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affect the President’s energy plan?

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