Monday, July 21, 2008

Noteworthy News Briefs

While our bloggers have been churning away blog posts, the news stream just keeps throwing more information our way, giving plenty of food for thought -- here are a just a few summaries and links to noteworthy stories of ethical, legal, and/or societal import:

~ Empowerment enhances cognition (or the flip side, why kicking someone when they are down keeps them down). From the Economist, a study shows that simply putting someone into a weak social position impairs his/her cognitive function. Conversely, “empowering” him or her, sharpens up his mind. Full story here.

~ Most study participants understand research goals. From Reuters: People who take part in clinical trials often do so out of a desire to advance scientific knowledge and to help others, a new international study demonstrates. Access full article here.

~ Some doctors are worried that the early findings regarding a drug that seems to restore speech in Alzheimers' patients will raise premature hopes in patients and their families. More on the story here.

~ Hello, Mr. Roboto -- Do we think that machines can think? From Science Daily, the question of why and under what circumstances we attribute human-like properties to machines and how such processes manifest on a cortical level was investigated. Article accessible here.

~ Creationism rears its ugly head. Again.

~ A Blow to Genetic/Biological Idolatry: Families with Children Without A Genetic Or Gestational Link To Their Parents Do Well. Story here.

~ Good News: We've Seen the Future and We May Not Be Doomed. The story on the UN Report of the Future, here and a link to the Executive Summary here.

~ The American Medical Association, long considered to be the voice of American doctors., formally apologized for more than a century of policies that excluded blacks from the group. Article here.

~ In the category of 'keepin' em barefoot and pregnant': The draft proposal from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would withhold government funds from health-care providers and organizations that don't hire people who refuse to perform abortions or provide certain types of birth control. Story here. Worthy commentary here.

~ The Future of Babies: Artificial Wombs and Pregnant Grandmas. From LiveScience, artificial wombs and experiments on human embryos grown in the lab will be commonplace and no big deal ethically in 30 years, several scientists predict.

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