What Is a Drone?

What Is a Drone?

conference report, emerging technologies, explorations, research enterprise
Second posting in a three-part series (see previous post) Recent news stories have familiarized us with military drones bearing names like Predator and Reaper. Popular television shows feature tiny spy drones, conjuring images of CIA black ops. You could be forgiven for assuming that drones are a new and pernicious misuse of government power. But what are drones, really, and how are they being used? The word "drone" is a popular term for any one of several types of unmanned vehicles that fly, swim, or travel over land. Most drones have some type of human guidance, whether it's a kid at the other end of the kite string or a soldier or sailor sitting at a control panel hundreds of miles away. The variety of functions and capabilities is reflected…
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Update: If you would just listen to the facts…

collaborations, communications, research enterprise
Janet Raloff, a friend of mine and a senior editor at Science News, has weighed in on the topic of how scientists can communicate effectively with the public on divisive issues such as climate change. In her May 29 online article, Climate skepticism not rooted in science illiteracy, she reports on an interview with Dan Kahan of Yale Law School, one of the authors of the Nature Climate Change article I cited in my previous posting. Raloff explores several approaches to interacting with a polarized public in her May 30 follow-up article, Depolarizing climate science. What comes through most strongly in these articles is that divisions occur when scientific findings have a direct relevance to things that affect us every day, or findings that could make significant changes in our…
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No Scientist is an Island

No Scientist is an Island

collaborations, conference report, research enterprise
The myth of the lone scientist working tirelessly into the night in his converted garage lab is compelling, but fictional (at least over the last 100 or so years), according to the panelists at How to Save America's Knowledge Enterprise, a May 21 symposium sponsored by Future Tense (a collaboration among Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate magazine). Take some of the iconic figures of science and technology: did they work alone? Thomas Edison directed a research laboratory with as many as 200 researchers. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard worked out of a garage, but they were working under a fellowship from Stanford University, under the mentorship of Prof. Frederick Terman. Albert Einstein was on the faculty at Princeton University. The Manhattan Project is remembered in terms…
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