In honor of this week's space and technology theme, the image of a black hole rather than a rabbit hole is an appropriate metaphor for getting our time and attention sucked into the internet. Fear not, this will be painless. Once we cross the event horizon we'll never know whether we actually lost something.
- For your fiction fix, check out this short story on Electric Lit, Hero Absorbs Major Damage by Charles Yu. They've used annotations to add to the story, making it an interactive experience. This is an excellent use of technology for the betterment of mankind.
- In April of this year, NASA solicited public input for the naming of newly discovered features on Pluto. According to Mashable, they chose the theme of "underworld" for a dark spot on Charon, Pluto's moon is now named after J.R.R Tolkein's Mordor, and the dark whale shaped region at Pluto's south pole is named for H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu. For full maps of of the newly named features on Pluto and Charon check out the site Our Pluto.
- Back on earth, technology might be moving us towards a sci-fi future similar to the one from the Terminator movies. The only promising thing about a robot war is the way the rest of the human population must finally unite over a common cause. The Washington Post carried the news "Hitchhiking robot’s cross-country journey comes to tragic end in Philadelphia". Will this be the Archduke Ferdinand of the First Robot War?
Human kind does have a chance for redemption. According to NPR, A group of design and technology makers from Philadelphia called The Hacktory wants to repair the hitchBOT so the bot can continue on her cross country journey fueled by the kindness of strangers. This story is still unfolding. You can follow the hitchBOT on twitter for the latest.
- Man has long been the bringer of our own destruction. Our desire to prove that we can do seems to outweigh any past regrets. Our pursuit of technology has brought about frightening new realities like the atomic bomb, whose creator, J. Oppeneheimer, quoted the Bhagavad Gita saying, "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds". We have remote controlled drones whose capacity was once limited by it's need to recharge, a problem that two Seattle firms are working to "solve" using mid air recharging techniques.
Even more frightening is the potential rise of Autonomous Military Machines. While the military is saying they are not weaponizing autonomous machines, they are moving forward with the next generation of remote controlled military machines.
- Scientific leaders are taking a stand. Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are among many others who have signed the open letter from AI & Robotics Reachers, who believe AI should be used for the benefit of mankind, not its destruction.
If you find yourself concerned about these developments, you can join Mr. Musk and Mr. Hawking by adding your name to the AI & Robotics Researchers' open letter.
Though this ends a bit dark, after you sign the letter and regain a little hope, check out these frogs in space whose dedication to science proved that vertebrates can reproduce in space. I suppose that means there is hope on the final frontier if we mess things up to badly here on Earth.