Some university scientists have undertaken programming computers that will exhibit ethics. The task is indeed complex, but progress is claimed. Teaching the machines to not cause severe damage or steal or kill is said to be a matter of designing software that is imbedded with morals and behavioral parameters. One computer scientist from Georgia Institute of Technology asserts that the goal is “90% obtained.” Perhaps the computers could subsequently reprogram us?
Easter Island (one of our planet’s most remote land masses) was at one time home to many indigenous plants and animals. Due to human interference, nearly all the animals and several of the plants no longer exist on the island. Entomologists have recently stated that only ten species of native animals are yet extant and all ten are tiny insects secreted mostly in volcanic caves and leading an imperiled existence. Introduced species such as cockroaches, rats and millipedes are thriving.
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) invented both the alcohol and mercury thermometers. Of course he also gave mankind the Fahrenheit temperature scale.
Fashion impels “civilized” people to don strange apparel. The extreme leg-foot ravaging fad of high heels is one long-lasting example, but not the only. In the 1890’s wool “swimming” or “bathing” suits for men were a trendy craze. The suits were “okay” unless they got wet. Wearing the garments as they dried made the attire shrink considerably, severely impairing blood circulation and even splitting open, exposing body parts best left covered.
A lethal and little understood malady called Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) targets apparently healthy people of Japanese and Southeast Asian descent. The bewildering affliction’s casualties die while sleeping. Ninety-nine percent of the victims are male and eighty percent of all those affected are between the ages of 22 and 45.
Ancient Egyptians believed that exposure to the sun strengthened teeth. Many locals would spend some daylight time sitting or lying while displaying strange grins aimed at the sun.
Want to be a butler? Butlers are more accurately “household/estate managers.” Duties often include planning parties, tending to special requests of guests, supervising other household personnel, managing budgets, overseeing inventories (dinnerware, silverware, etc.), maintaining a wine cellar, scheduling events and other tasks “as assigned.” Salaries typically range from $80,000 to $300,000 annually with room, board and free use of a car added in. Drawbacks often consist of being “on call” 24/7 and working traditional holidays. Well, you might check with your dentist prior to doing the “sun thing.”
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org