Author: Nicholas Knisely

Stephen Hawking – a life that pointed to something beyond.

Current Affairs / Science

I woke up to the news this morning that Prof. Hawking had died. It’s hard to express the deep admiration people had for his work and the way he surmounted challenges in a way that few others have managed. There will be plenty of articles written about his scientific legacy. But I found this quote at the end of an article by Robert Barr to be the most evocative: Lucy Hawking said her father had […]

Together we must act to end this senseless carnage of our children in their school classrooms.

Current Affairs

“Forgive us, Lord, when our leaders fail to take action to protect the most vulnerable from the dangers of gun violence,” Hollerith says. “Forgive us, Lord, for the times when we lack the courage and political will to work together. Open our eyes and our hearts to work across our divisions to end the plague of gun violence.” via Church leaders express grief, call for action after Florida high school mass shooting – Episcopal News […]

The high cost of the Opioid Crisis

Current Affairs

According to a recently released study from the consulting group Altarum, the Opioid Crisis’ cost to the US economy is already north of a trillion dollars and ballooning. More: Economic cost of the opioid crisis: $1 trillion and growing faster. https://t.co/lhjb6zqeez — CNBC (@CNBC) February 13, 2018   In initial conversations with the Rhode Island Department of Health, there’s an important role for faith-based organizations to play in a coordinated response. At the simplest level, […]

Turning moral decisions into computer code

Current Affairs / SOSc

Nicholas Evans, a philosophy professor in Massachusetts, is part of a group tackling the classic moral dilemma called the “Trolley Problem” as part of the development of autonomous cars. Evans is not currently taking a stand on which moral theory is right. Instead, he hopes the results from his algorithms will allow others to make an informed decision, whether that’s by car consumers or manufacturers. Evans isn’t currently collaborating with any of the companies working […]

If it can go wrong, it will. Facebook, privacy and Murphy’s Law.

Religion / Web/Tech

Human experience is that technology is born filled with promise and usually quickly subverted to less than honorable ends. Wired reports on the way big tech, specifically Facebook, recognized what it had done, and what it thinks it can do to respond: This is the story of those two years [before and after the 2016 election], as they played out inside and around the company. WIRED spoke with 51 current or former Facebook employees for […]

Ash Wednesday: Not a time to be cute – Andrew Gerns

Current Affairs / Religion

Valentines Day or Ash Wednesday? Is it reasonable to try to honor both? One must tread carefully on Ash Wednesday, because what is called up on this day most centered on penance is at once deeply personal and at the very core to our being and identity. We are acknowledging that we can’t go it alone. We recognize our limitedness. Together we will stare into our mortality. We will face the fact that we are […]

Could Self-Driving Trucks lead to more jobs? – The Atlantic

Futurism / Science

“We’ve been disappointed over the last year to see a lot of stories about how self-driving trucks are going to be this huge problem for truck drivers,” says Alden Woodrow, the product lead for self-driving trucks at Uber. “That’s not at all what we think the outcome is going to be.” For one, Uber does not believe that self-driving trucks will be doing “dock to dock” runs for a very long time. They see a […]

Automation to take 1 in 3 jobs in northern UK according to report

Current Affairs

Although some workers will lose their jobs, the rise of automated work could help boost flagging productivity levels in Britain, which have held back pay growth over the past decade since the financial crisis. While new roles will emerge, trade unions have warned that more spending will be required to support retraining for those displaced by machines. via Automation to take 1 in 3 jobs in UK’s northern centres, report finds | Technology | The […]

The spiritual message hidden in ‘Star Wars’ – CNN

Current Affairs / Film

[The Last Jedi]  hints that Luke might not be the “last Jedi,” after all. Even without his help, Rey is remarkably skilled at connecting with the Force, the mysterious energy that pervades the galaxy. This is where some cultural commentators see an argument against organized religion. In previous “Star Wars” films, using the Force required joining the Jedis and spending years learning the “old ways” from established masters. Luke seems to say that none of […]