Robots Are Emotion Machines
Robots started out conceptually as automaton-servants but instead of creating a modern-day butler, much robotics research today focuses on creating emotional machines.
Jules, the posh robot from the University of Bristol, U.K., is equipped with tiny motors under its skin, which means it can accurately mimic human facial expressions. Jules is a disembodied head though, and while its copycat technique is impressive, robots need to do more than copy us to be able to interact on an emotional level. A step up the emotional adeptness scale, AIDA, the driving companion, uses its facial expressions to respond to the driver's mood—looking sad if a seatbelt is undone, for instance, or detecting that you are tense as you drive and helping you relax.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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