Sci-Tech Briefs

Airport scans beneath clothes

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently testing a millimeter wave scanning system that will enable security officials to see through passengers’ clothing. This technology will detect the presence of weapons, explosives, and other dangerous equipment on a passenger’s body.

Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s technology and liberty program, stated, “This technology produces strikingly graphic images of passengers’ bodies. That degree of examination amounts to a significant — and for some people humiliating — assault on the essential dignity of passengers that citizens in a free nation should not have to tolerate.”

Source: Information Week

Storage regulations placed on plants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will outline specific rules governing how coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities store carbon dioxide waste in underground reservoirs.
This method is not commercially available yet, but it is a popular proposal for slowing down the harmful, drastic effects of global warming on Earth’s climate.

Power plants that burn fossil fuels, such as coal, are heavy carbon dioxide emitters. One third of emissions in the U.S. come from power plants and large industrial sources. It is estimated that the U.S. and Canada retain enough storage capacity to store greenhouse gas from power plants for 900 years.

Source: Reuters

Humidity increases with climate change

Studies in climate change show that the atmosphere is becoming more humid in a pattern directly correlating to human-generated computer models of global warming.

Scientists compared the global and regional trends in humidity with the projections of a computer model developed by the Hadley Centre. The computer model estimates the relative influences of natural cycles and increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

The reports suggest that human influence has been the strongest cause of humidity increase since 1975.

Source: BBC News

Marrying a robot may be possible

David Levy, an artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, stated that within the next five years, humans and robots will be able to form intimate relationships, specifically in terms of sex and marriage.

Levy’s thesis, “Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners,” is based on the argument that it is virtually possible to program a robot so that it exhibits sexual affection toward humans and engages in intimate discourse with them.

There are a number of reasons why people fall in love, and practically all of them “could apply to human-robot relationships,” stated Levy.

Source: Reuters