Future robots may have a conscience | Wistar Institute upgrades plasmid delivery | System uses bacteria to recycle water for hand-washing
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October 22, 2018
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Future robots may have a conscience
It may be more important to program robots to disobey than obey if that is the best moral option, says Matthias Scheutz, director of Tufts University Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory. Researchers at Tufts, Brown University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are exploring how to give robots a computational framework that allows them to make good decisions in situations that require ethics.
ASME (10/2018) 
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Wistar Institute upgrades plasmid delivery
Researchers at The Wistar Institute have improved an electroporation technique that delivers synthetic DNA loops, or plasmids, to diseased cell tissues. The researchers have upgraded electroporation machines to sense epidermal resistance and adjust almost instantaneously to deliver a steady stream of electricity while moving the DNA deeper into cells, and the improved process may be used to produce antibodies to neutralize HIV.
Alliance of Advanced BioMedical Engineering (10/15) 
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Global Window
System uses bacteria to recycle water for hand-washing
A standalone station designed for the developing world recycles water clean enough for hand-washing using the very bacteria that contaminate water. The system, developed by engineers at ETH Zurich, employs three filtering stages, including an ultrafiltration membrane that allows a buildup of bacteria that serve to catch and break down pollutants.
New Atlas (10/22) 
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Spotlight on Energy
ACORE: Renewables, not fossil fuels, are the path to grid resiliency
Wind and solar in the Carolinas and other US states have a proven track record of maintaining grid stability during hurricanes and other natural disasters, while nuclear and coal-burning power plants have a greater likelihood for shutting down, according to the American Council on Renewable Energy. "Time and time again, renewable energy generators have demonstrated an incredible ability to withstand storms and bounce back quickly after extreme weather events," says ACORE spokesperson Gil Jenkins.
ThinkProgress (10/18) 
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Covestro PU resin turbine blades start spinning in China
Liaoning Datang International New Energy is featuring Covestro turbine blades made from polyurethane-infused resin at a wind farm in China. "The successful installation of the pilot turbine in Northeast China is recognition of the strengths of our polyurethane infusion resin and demonstrates that it is ready for use in operational wind blades," says Covestro executive Julien Guiu.
Plastics Insight (10/18) 
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Report: Wind, solar may provide 20% of the world's energy needs by 2035
The upward trajectory of wind and solar put the two energy sources on track to supply nearly 20% of the world's electricity needs by 2035, according to Wood Mackenzie. The report notes that the world's emphasis on sustainability "is almost akin to a gravitational force, pulling things in one direction and driving the 'great fuel switch,' leaving little possibility for a reversal."
Renewables Now (Bulgaria) (tiered subscription model) (10/18),  ThinkProgress (10/17) 
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How will Google curb 100% of its carbon emissions in real-time?
Google has set a new goal to offset 100% of its carbon emissions from noncarbon-emitting sources in perpetually in real-time -- a model scientists refer to as spatial and temporal specificity. While Google's exact blueprint has yet to be released, experts speculate that it could involve a combination of different clean energy sources in different areas and transmission network changes.
Fast Company online (10/17) 
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Energy Dept. provides $40.5M to boost nuclear research at universities
Four universities will share $40.5 million provided by the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration to open nuclear research centers. "These cooperative agreements strengthen the nuclear security enterprise by advancing areas of science relevant to the stockpile stewardship mission and ensuring a pipeline of future scientists to carry out that mission," says Kathleen Alexander, assistant deputy administrator for research, development, test and evaluation in NNSA's Office of Defense Programs.
ExecutiveGov (10/16) 
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Wearable gadgets could be powered by energy harvesting
Researchers at China's Zhengzhou University report crafting a nanogenerator capable of harvesting energy from motions by humans, providing a power source for wearable electronics. The hydrophobic nanofiber-based nanogenerator can be woven into clothing and washed, the scientists say.
Xinhua News Agency (China) (10/16) 
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Hot Topics
Leadership & Development
Report considers STEM access for ELLs
Report considers STEM access for ELLs
(Putu Sayoga/Getty Images)
Schools should ensure equal access for English-language learners to science, technology, engineering and math instruction, according to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report contains recommendations on how schools can better integrate ELLs in STEM education courses.
Education Week (tiered subscription model) (10/18) 
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ASME News
BPV Code, Piping, Nuclear, and More - Premier Training in San Diego
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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself -- and you are the easiest person to fool.
Richard Feynman,
theoretical physicist
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