The basis of science is the hypothetico-deductive method and the recording of experiments in sufficient detail to enable reproducibility. We report the development of Robot Scientist "Adam," which advances the automation of both. Adam has autonomously generated functional genomics hypotheses about the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and experimentally tested these hypotheses by using laboratory automation. We have confirmed Adam's conclusions through manual experiments. To describe Adam's research, we have developed an ontology and logical language. The resulting formalization involves over 10,000 different (...) research units in a nested treelike structure, 10 levels deep, that relates the 6.6 million biomass measurements to their logical description. This formalization describes how a machine contributed to scientific knowledge. (shrink)
The nanomedicine field is fast evolving toward complex, “active,” and interactive formulations. Like many emerging technologies, nanomedicine raises questions of how human subjects research (HSR) should be conducted and the adequacy of current oversight, as well as how to integrate concerns over occupational, bystander, and environmental exposures. The history of oversight for HSR investigating emerging technologies is a patchwork quilt without systematic justification of when ordinary oversight for HSR is enough versus when added oversight is warranted. Nanomedicine HSR provides an (...) occasion to think systematically about appropriate oversight, especially early in the evolution of a technology, when hazard and risk information may remain incomplete. This paper presents the consensus recommendations of a multidisciplinary, NIH-funded project group, to ensure a science-based and ethically informed approach to HSR issues in nanomedicine, and to integrate HSR analysis with analysis of occupational, bystander, and environmental concerns. We recommend creating two bodies, an interagency Human Subjects Research in Nanomedicine (HSR/N) Working Group and a Secretary's Advisory Committee on Nanomedicine (SAC/N). HSR/N and SAC/N should perform 3 primary functions: (1) analysis of the attributes and subsets of nanomedicine interventions that raise HSR challenges and current gaps in oversight; (2) providing advice to relevant agencies and institutional bodies on the HSR issues, as well as federal and federal-institutional coordination; and (3) gathering and analyzing information on HSR issues as they emerge in nanomedicine. HSR/N and SAC/N will create a home for HSR analysis and coordination in DHHS (the key agency for relevant HSR oversight), optimize federal and institutional approaches, and allow HSR review to evolve with greater knowledge about nanomedicine interventions and greater clarity about attributes of concern. (shrink)
Research and business investment in emerging nanotechnologies is leading to a diverse range of new substances and products. As workers are faced with handling new materials, often with novel properties, the robustness of current workplace health and safety regulatory frameworks is being brought into question. Here, 12 characteristics of the U.S. occupational safety regulatory framework identified by Choi and Ramachandran are considered in the context of emerging nanotechnologies. The assessment suggests that, as the number of new materials entering the workplace (...) continues to increase, OSHA will need to develop flexible approaches to identifying and reducing potential risks. Relying on conventional approaches in the face of unconventional challenges will increase the probability of otherwise avoidable heath impacts. If the potential for engineered nanomaterials to cause harm is to be understood and managed, the agency will need to look at new approaches to generating, sharing, and using information. (shrink)
The article focuses on issues relating to occupational exposures of researchers and lab workers, and exposures of bystanders such as health care workers and family members during HSR using nanomaterials. Such third-party exposures give rise to unique challenges relating to oversight as well as exposures to worker groups not previously studied. Given the current state of knowledge regarding health risks from such exposures, a more precautionary approach to oversight seems advisable.
An examination of the contemporary Italian movement associated with M. P. Sciacca, and the serious application of dialectical and phenomenological methods to unveil the structure of "intentionality" or "spirit." An appraisal of Sciacca together with a sample critique of Dante follows a competent summary of the prevailing positions.--D. B. B.
The neuroscientists Eugene d'Aquili and Andrew Newberg, in addition to defending an empirically fruitful model of mystical experiences, argue that such experiences constitute evidence for the existence of a transcendent reality, which they call "Absolute Unitary Being." D'Aquili and Newberg point out that mystical experiences carry with them a vivid sense of reality, and that they involve characteristic forms of brain activity, just like perceptions of objects in ordinary waking consciousness. Their argument for Absolute Unitary Being fails, however, since (...) the vivid sense of reality of an experience is not the sole criterion by which to judge its veridicality, since the object of mystical experiences cannot be confirmed by independent observers, and since there is no evidence for a mechanism by which mystics experience a transcendent reality. (shrink)
Why would God make us ask for some good He might supply, and why would it be right for God to withhold that good unless and until we asked for it? We explain why present defences of petitionary prayer are insufficient, but argue that a world in which God makes us ask for some goods and then supplies them in response to our petitions adds value to the world that would not be available in worlds in which God simply supplied (...) such goods without our asking for them. This added value, we argue, is what we call ‘partnership with God’. (shrink)