Question of the Week

Question of the Week
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.

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Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
Will digital actors ever replace humans in Hollywood?

This week's question concerns the concept of "digital actors." They've appeared in "Avatar," "The Matrix," and "The Lord of the Rings," to name a few. And with the recent surge of 3D technology in filmmaking, it appears that digital actors will be working a lot more in Hollywood.

What...

Question of the Week
Should broadband providers be required to provide network neutrality?

This week's question concerns "net neutrality" -- providing equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over networks. Supporters of net neutrality argue that a policy is necessary to prevent providers from favoring or discriminating against certain Web sites and online...

Question of the Week
Should human genes be patentable?

This week's question concerns the issue of gene patents. While some in the scientific community believe that human genes should not be exploited for commercial gain, others argue that a patent is a reward for years of expensive research that moves science forward.

What do you think? Should human genes be...

Question of the Week
Is cold fusion possible?

This week's question concerns the concept of cold fusion. Cold fusion refers to the nuclear fusion of atoms at conditions close to room temperature, which (theoretically) has the potential to produce an abundant source of energy at low cost. Once thought of as "junk science," cold fusion is slowly gaining acceptance in...

Question of the Week
Would you have a microchip implanted under your skin if concrete benefits were derived from it?

This week's question concerns a recent poll that was taken prior to the opening of the CeBIT Trade show that was held in Germany last week. The poll, conducted by the German IT industry lobby group BITKOM, asked participants whether or not they would...

Question of the Week
Could a sin tax make people eat healthier?

This week's question concerns the U.S.'s ongoing efforts to encourage healthier eating. States across the nation are beginning to impose "sin taxes" on fat and sugar to dissuade people from eating junk food. The thought is that if you make it cheaper, people will eat more of it, more expensive and...

Question of the Week
Is hands-free texting while driving a safe alternative?

This week's question concerns the ongoing debate over texting while driving. A research team at Clemson University recently developed an application called VoiceTEXT that allows drivers to speak text messages and keep their eyes on the road at the same time. Drivers using VoiceTEXT can put...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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.

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Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
Should business methods be eligible for patents?

This week's question concerns patent law. Traditionally, the courts have limited patent eligibility to inventions that involve machinery or physical transformations. Increasingly, innovations in the areas of software, medical diagnostics, and finance have raised questions concerning the...

Question of the Week
Are space elevators a viable concept?

This week’s question concerns space elevators. Last week, during NASA’s Space Elevator Games in the Mojave Desert, a robot powered by a ground-based laser beam scampered up a 2,953 foot cable suspended from a helicopter hovering almost a mile overhead. The trip took just over four minutes. The...

Question of the Week
Is technology making people too self-absorbed?

This week’s question concerns the impact technology is having on society. Technology has made it possible for people to share every aspect of their lives - both the good and the bad – with the entire world. The insatiable desire of some people to reach out and touch each other has made Web sites...

Question of the Week
Will Microsoft’s Windows 7 succeed?

This week’s question concerns Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft released the new operating system last week to generally more favorable reviews than its bug-laden, slow-selling Vista predecessor. While Microsoft claims Windows 7 resolves many of Vista’s flaws, skeptics contend the...

Question of the Week
Should net neutrality rules be imposed on broadband service providers?

This week’s question concerns net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission last week began drafting legislation that would prevent phone and cable companies from abusing their control over the broadband access market, by prohibiting them from censoring certain...

Question of the Week
Should there be a mandate to buy health insurance?

This week’s question concerns the health-care reform bill. One of the controversial bill’s provisions, now in Congressional debate, revolves around an escalating series of fines that would be imposed on individuals refusing to purchase health insurance. The fines, slated to take effect...

Question of the Week
Will satellite radio ever live up to its commercial expectations?

This week's question concerns satellite radio. When the first U.S. digital satellite radio service was launched in 2001, many people predicted that satellite radio would someday dominate the airwaves, eclipsing all other forms of radio broadcasting. Most of the major automakers...

Question of the Week
Will technology advance to the level of robots replacing people in day-to-day life?

Will Robots Ever Replace People in Day-to-Day Life?

This week’s question concerns robots. Scientists are saying that humanoid robots like those seen in the new movie "Surrogates" are not that far from reality. In the movie, realistic robots take the...

Question of the Week
Will electric vehicles finally take off?

This week’s question concerns electric vehicles. For decades, electric vehicles have been touted as the solution to zero emissions motoring. However, costly batteries and the lack of a supporting infrastructure have stunted electric vehicle development. U.S. and offshore automakers continue to step up...

Question of the Week
Are you worried about contracting swine flu?

This week's question concerns swine flu.

According to a recent report prepared by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the H1N1 flu virus, commonly called swine flu, could infect anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of the U.S. population during the fall and winter months....

Question of the Week
Should there be an airline “passenger bill of rights”?

This week’s question concerns the rights of airline passengers. Several recent incidents of airline passengers being stranded on planes for up to six hours may have strengthened the case for a “passenger bill of rights” pending in Congress. The bill would require stranded planes to...

Question of the Week
Would You Cook with ‘Julia?’