Rising Tensions in Low Earth Orbit

Recent intelligence suggests that Russia is developing a space-based nuclear weapon designed to attack America’s extensive satellite network. While details are unknown, the weapon is believed to target United States military surveillance and commercial communications satellites. However, there is no immediate threat to the public, as Russia cannot deploy a nuclear weapon in space without breaking an international treaty and damaging all the satellites in low Earth orbit, including their own. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the development, one thing is becoming clear: space may serve as an international battleground in the near future.

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History’s Forgotten Women in STEM

February 11 was the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Today, women comprise only approximately 28 percent of the world’s STEM workforce. Historically, women have been barred from pursuing careers in science, and those passionate enough to do so anyway were often overlooked and ignored in favor of their male counterparts. This article shines a light on some of the forgotten women who achieved significant breakthroughs in their field.

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UT Austin Engineers Tackle Water Scarcity  

Water scarcity is an issue that impacts people all around the world. Thankfully, engineers at the University of Texas have created a device to combat it. They created a bio-based nanofiber hydrogel filter (BNHF) that is cheap, accessible, and has the potential to bring clean water to people all over the world.

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The Legacy of NASA’s Ingenuity

After three successful years, the Mars helicopter Ingenuity has just taken its last flight. During a landing, a brief loss of communication with the chopper occurred, only for the vehicle to resume communications the next day with a damaged rotor blade. Being the first helicopter to operate on another planet, Ingenuity is a trailblazer in more ways than one. However, budgetary constraints leave the future of additional Marscopter missions up in the air.

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Great Stakes in the Great Lakes: Anthropocentrism and Biocentrism in Culling Asian Carp

Asian carp are an invasive species that have dramatically damaged US waterways. Environmentalists are scrambling to find solutions to prevent the devastation that may ensue as the carp encroach upon the Great Lakes. However, current solutions to maintain these ecosystems are inherently unethical. Human response to the carp invasion reveals how ecological decision making influenced by human-centric environmentalist ethics is unsuitable when dealing with man-made problems. Instead, humans must consider what ethical obligations they have to protect the environment and repair damage done to the US waterway system.

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Hostile Architecture: The Ethical Problem of Design as a Means of Exclusion

From uncomfortable park benches to unnavigable sidewalks, hostile architecture has emerged worldwide to exclude unhoused individuals from public spaces. Hostile architecture goes against the principles of engineering a communal space. Yet, it persists because it subtly banishes unhoused people from the eyes and minds of communities that fear or are ashamed of them. However, the practice is unethical towards the unhoused and those in the community who experience limited mobility. Ultimately, hostile architecture has never been a sustainable method for solving homelessness, and its use is rooted in harmful bias against unhoused people.

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An Ethical Exploration of Automating the Trucking Industry

 In recent years, a shortage of commercial transport drivers has resulted in an inability to meet increasing demand. A proposed solution for combating this bottleneck is to automate long-haul trucks through sophisticated AI techniques. Through automation, this shortage can be resolved. Unfortunately, although there are too few truckers on the road, it remains one of the most common professions for Americans today. Thus, by embracing this technology, there is a risk of forcing a substantial portion of the population out of work. Would pursuing automated trucking be an ethical decision? Inversely, would it be unethical to disallow automation? Through various lenses, this paper will dive into this dilemma and determine the best path forward.

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To GEH or Not to GEH

HIV and AIDS have devastated the lives of millions of people worldwide. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has completely transformed the reality of those impacted by HIV and AIDS, turning a death sentence into a much longer and healthier life. However, heavy pill burdens, drug resistance, and a lack of equity in current treatment make ART unethical as a long-term, permanent solution. It is up to biomedical engineers to find an ethical way to treat or cure the millions of people impacted by this virus. Genetically engineering humans (GEH) has shown great promise in improving treatment and finding a cure for HIV. If the engineers making these edits follow very thorough and specific guidelines, genetic engineering can be an ethical alternative to ART.

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Consciousness and the Self: A Philosophical Discussion of the Future of Whole Brain Emulation

Whole brain emulation is the theory that brain scans can be used to simulate the human mind digitally. It is primarily being researched to improve understanding of the brain to treat or cure neurological illnesses and conditions. However, the concept of whole brain emulation raises ethical and philosophical questions about what it means to be human and the future of humanity. This paper explores different schools of thought on the ideas of consciousness and how they can be applied to the concept of brain simulation and ethical research practices.

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Vapes Harm More Than Just Their Users

For anyone who has been thinking about quitting vaping, here is some inspiration. Vapes are not just bad for those who use them, they are incredibly harmful to those who have to make them. Vapes require a lithium-ion battery which is made with cobalt. The demand for cobalt has created treacherous and inhumane conditions for miners in Congo where the mineral is present in great abundance.

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