Marcel Gagne

6,019 Added | 12 Magazines | 11 Likes | 2 Following | 2,214 Followers | @wftl | Writer and Free Thinker at Large. Wicked smart. Ruggedly handsome. Fun to be around. Science, Linux, & technology geek. The Cooking With Linux guy. Science fiction and fantasy writer. Editor. Opinionated. Anti-theist.

Welcoming Our New Robot Overlords

When David Stinson finished high school, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1977, the first thing he did was get a job building houses. After a few years, though, the business slowed. Stinson was then twenty-four, with two children to support. He needed something stable. As he explained over lunch …

Robots

Are We Ready for Intimacy with Robots?

Love in the Time of Robots<p><b>Hiroshi Ishi­guro builds androids. Beautiful, realistic, uncannily convincing human replicas. Academically, he is using</b> …

Robots

That US/Japan Megabot Battle Is Finally (!) Happening Tonight

​More than 2 years ago (a literal lifetime in the internet era), MegaBots captured the internet's attention when they introduced their giant fighting …

The Grocery Store Coffee Taste Test: We Tried 15 Brands and Ranked Them

As Americans become more sophisticated about their morning cup of joe, the coffee aisle at the grocery store is expanding. Now there are …

Coffee

The Great Recession is about to overtake the Great Depression

Since the first rumblings of the financial crisis, in 2007, people have comforted themselves by looking back to the Great Depression and thinking …

Economy

The Christians Making Atheists

Growing-up in the Church, I was taught that the worst thing one could be was a non-believer; that nothing was as tragic as a doomed soul that …

Faith

Are Millennials Killing the Lottery Industry?

Millennials are too busy killing napkins and fabric softener to buy lottery tickets, so the lottery industry is looking for new ways to attract the next generation of gambling addicts.<p>US Lottery programs are doing well financially—for now.<p>State lotteries across the United States raked in $66 …

Millennials

FearOf.net

Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders affects women four times more (48% women and 12% men).<p>Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes. Phobics avoid certain …

Afraid

LIGO Detects Fierce Collision of Neutron Stars for the First Time

Astronomers announced on Monday that they had seen and heard a pair of dead stars collide, giving them their first glimpse of the violent process by which most of the gold and silver in the universe was created.<p>The collision, known as a kilonova, rattled the galaxy in which it happened 130 million …

Neutron Stars

Pity the Lonely Chatbot

Robots can't pass the Turing Test yet, but they still deserve our empathy.<p><i>This is a companion piece to this week's Terraform, "The Flirtbot Condition."</i><p>Humans love it when robots try to act like us. Their struggles to scale our behavioral learning curves inspires an almost parental instinct. You can …

Robots

Richard Branson Reveals ‘Revolutionary’ Virgin Hyperloop One Plan

By on<p>Richard Branson is throwing his weight behind “the world’s most revolutionary train service.” The entrepreneur announced on Thursday that his …

Transportation

It’s the end of the world and we know it: Scientists in many disciplines see apocalypse, soon

Stephen Hawking is one of many scientists who see the possible near-term demise of our species. Spend that 401k!<p>While apocalyptic beliefs about the end of the world have, historically, been the subject of religious speculation, they are increasingly common among some of the leading scientists …

Stephen Hawking

How Facebook plans to get 1 billion people into virtual reality, according to the VP tasked with doing it (FB)

Facebook<p><b>The mission of leading Facebook's virtual reality business now falls on Hugo Barra, who joined Facebook six months ago with the newly-created title "VP of VR."</b>• <b><br>Despite lackluster consumer interest, early missteps, and a lot of change in leadership, Facebook still has big plans to get a</b> …

Virtual Reality

Why in the World Was a Robot Named Sophia at a United Nations Meeting?

TBH, it's really freaky how lifelike this robot is.<p>By on<p>Filed Under Politics & Robots<p>A robot named Sophia was a panelist at a United Nations meeting …

Robots

An Alzheimer's Drug Has Been Found to Help Teeth Repair Themselves in Just 6 Weeks

We're so down for that!<p>Dental fillings may soon be left in the ash heap of history, thanks to a recent discovery about a drug called …

Breakthroughs

Ex-congressman: The truth can't get me fired anymore

<b>(CNN) —</b> Retiring Sen. Bob Corker's recent comments about the White House -- that it's an adult day care center and that President Donald Trump's temperament could set us "on the path to World War III" -- reveal a basic truth about what happens to you when you leave Congress: You get to tell the …

Barney Frank

Psilocybin in Magic Mushrooms Hits Brain's 'Reset' Button, Say Scientists

Depressed patients reported feeling a 'kick start'.<p>By on<p>Filed Under LSD, Medicine, Mental Health & Neuroscience<p>Magic mushrooms are in the midst of a …

The Brain

NixOS Linux Lets You Configure Your OS Before Installing

Title: NixOS Linux Lets You Configure Your OS Before Installing13 OctLearn more

Linux

Yellowstone supervolcano may erupt sooner than thought, potentially wiping out life

A supervolcano brewing under Yellowstone National Park could erupt sooner than initially thought, and if it does, it could wipe out life on the …

Geology

Trump nails Obamacare with decision to cut off billions in subsidies

Most dramatic action Donald Trump has taken yet to weaken Barack Obama's signature health-care law<p>U.S. President Donald Trump moved to undermine …

Health Care

Free Speech and the Paradox of Tolerance

Any time activists (regardless of affiliation) protest a public speaking event, or the publication of a particular book or article, there will …

KDE Plasma 5.11 Desktop Released With "Vault" -- First Look Is Here

The much awaited KDE Plasma 5.11 desktop release is finally here. This autumn’s Plasma feature release follows Plasma 5.10 and brings lots of new …

The rise and fall and rise again of 23andMe

How Anne Wojcicki led her company from the brink of failure to scientific pre-eminence.<p>There's a placard in Anne Wojcicki's office enshrining the …

DNA

A Surprise From the Supervolcano Under Yellowstone

Beneath Yellowstone National Park lies a supervolcano, a behemoth far more powerful than your average volcano. It has the ability to expel more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash at once — 2,500 times more material than erupted from Mount St. Helens in 1980, which killed 57 people. That …

Geology

Good news! We're probably not living in a computer simulation.

It's virtually impossible.<p>From <i>Star Trek: The Next Generation’s</i> "Ship in a Bottle" episode, to the eponymously named computer system in the movie <i>The Matrix</i>, the idea that life is little more than a computer simulation has served as a sci-fi standby for generations. But that technological twist on …

Quantum Mechanics

Blasphemy in the Muslim World: A Research Essay

<b>Introduction</b><p>In 2009, a Christian mother of five, Aasiya Noreen (AKA Asia Bibi), was arrested and charged with blasphemy under S. 295C of Pakistan’s …

Islam

Getting ready for the future of work

Artificial intelligence is poised to disrupt the workplace. What will the company of the future look like—and how will people keep up?<p><b>Work is</b> …

Innovation

Blade Runner and what it means to be human in the age of AI

This week, Blade Runner 2049 came out in theatres, and the Spark team is <i>really</i> excited!<p>We love the original <i>Blade Runner</i> (well not the 1982 theatrical …

Blade Runner

Donald Trump defends paper towels in Puerto Rico, says Stephen Paddock was ‘probably smart’ in bizarre TV interview: Analysis

WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out Saturday at the “fake” journalists who criticized him for throwing rolls of paper towel to Puerto …

The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors

“Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work,” Jennifer Egan once said. This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bi-directional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers’ success, as bespoken by their personal libraries. <b>The Top Ten: Writers</b> …

Literature