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Is the American auto industry finally headed in the right direction?

This week's question concerns the wonders and the woes of the American auto industry. With falling sales, the somewhat controversial "cash for clunkers" program, and the spate of bailouts that occurred last year for Detroit's "big three", the industry seems to be due for some positive news. And reports from the 2010 North American Auto Show seem to be promising. At the show, Ford, GM, and Chrysler all unveiled new smaller, more efficient, hybrid vehicles prompting comments that American carmakers are finally "getting it." What do you think? Is the American auto industry finally headed in the right direction?

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Should the Internet be a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize?

This week's question concerns a recent Forbes/AP story that reported on the nominees for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. These include a Russian human rights group, a Chinese dissident, and, believe it or not, the Internet. Proposed by the Italian version of Wired magazine, which cited the Internet as a tool to advance "dialogue, debate, and consensus through communication,” it is unclear whether an inanimate object would qualify for the prize. What do you think? Should the Internet be a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize? Yes or no?

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Will the iPad be a game-changer in the world of personal electronics?

This week’s question concerns the much-anticipated unveiling of the Apple iPad tablet computer/book reader/music, movie, and video player. At $499, Apple touts the device as a bridge between smartphones and laptops. Tech critics say it’s nothing more than a big iPhone. What do you think? Will the iPad be a game-changer in the world of personal electronics?

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Will 3D be the next major TV trend?

This week’s question concerns 3D TV. The recent success of 3D movies such as Avatar has added to an already-growing interest in 3D television and content. TV makers such as Sony, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and Panasonic showed 3D ready televisions at the recent Consumer Electronics Show and expect to begin shipping units later this year. But numerous obstacles remain, including high cost, standardization of 3D signal and interface formats, content availability, and the inconvenience of wearing special glasses to view programs. What do you think? Will 3D be the next major TV trend? Yes or no?

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Can a global ban on producing nuclear weapons material be enforced?

This week’s question concerns nuclear weapons. Diplomats from 65 countries are meeting at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva this week to discuss beginning talks on a possible treaty that would stop nations from producing plutonium and highly enriched uranium – key materials used in nuclear weapons. Proponents believe such a treaty would limit the ability of countries to manufacture and stockpile future nuclear weapons. Critics point to a number of issues, such as who should pay for inspections to ensure compliance, how to detect if countries are cheating or secretly producing material, and what should be done about existing stockpiles of nuclear fissure materials. What do you think? Can a global ban on producing nuclear weapons material be enforced? Yes or no?

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Can tablet computers make greater inroads in the PC market?

This week’s question concerns tablet computers. Apple Computer is strongly rumored to soon unveil a tablet computer able to play music and video, read E-books, and provide Internet access. Several PC makers, including Motorola and Hewlett-Packard, also demonstrated tablet computers at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. While tablet computer proponents believe these devices can carve out a market niche, skeptics say tablet computers will have difficulty competing in a market crowded with netbooks and smartphones as well as laptops and PCs. What do you think? Can tablet computers make greater inroads in the PC market? Yes or no?

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Should whole body imaging be used for airport security?

The first Question of the Week for 2010 concerns airline security. The recent foiled attempt by a Nigerian terrorist to set off a bomb aboard a Northwest Airlines flight landing in Detroit has renewed concerns that current X-ray technology is insufficient in detecting concealed weapons and substances. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) already has a pilot program in place at six airports deploying millimeter-wave machines, which produce a 3-D image of the body, in place of X-ray machines. But some government officials worry these machines violate the privacy of individuals such as women and children. What do you think? Should whole body imaging be used for airport security? Yes or no?

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