Are you on a first-name basis with Siri, Cortana, or your Google Assistant? If so, you’re both using AI and helping researchers like us make it better. Until recently, few people believed the field of artificial intelligence (AI) existed outside of science fiction. Today, AI-based technology pervades our work and personal lives, and companies large and small are pouring money into new AI research labs. The present success of AI did not, however, come out of nowhere. The applications we are seeing now are the direct outcome of 50 years of steady academic, government, and industry research. We are private industry leaders in AI research and development, and we want to discuss how AI has moved from the lab to the everyday world, whether the field has finally escaped its past boom and bust cycles, and what we can expect from AI in the coming years. Ask us anything! Yann LeCun, Facebook AI Research, New York, NY Eric Horvitz, Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA Peter Norvig, Google Inc., Mountain View, CA
As transportation emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have decreased due to stricter controls on air pollution, the relative importance of chemical products such as pesticides, coatings, printing inks, adhesives, cleaning agents, and personal care products has increased correspondingly. In a recent study we published in Science Magazine, we show that these volatile chemical products now contribute fully one half of emitted VOCs from petrochemical sources in Los Angeles. We hope these results will spur additional research and inform decisions about mitigating sources of ground-level ozone, fine particulate pollution, and air toxics. If you want to know more about how paints, pesticides, and perfumes contribute to pollution - ask us anything! Dr. Brian McDonald is an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder who works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and whose expertise is on air quality models and emission inventories Dr. Chris Cappa is a professor at the University of California, Davis in the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, whose work centers on the sources, fate and impacts of small particles in the atmosphere Dr. Jessica Gilman is a Research Chemist at NOAA and specializes in the measurement and chemistry of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere. Dr. Joost de Gouw is a senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. His expertise is in the sources and transformations of organic compounds in the atmosphere.
Discoveries of planets outside our solar system have burst from a trickle to a flood in recent years, transforming our understanding of the Universe. NASA’s Kepler exoplanet-hunting spacecraft and other missions have shown that the Milky Way Galaxy is teeming with at least tens of billions of planets. These exoplanets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from smaller than Earth to larger than Jupiter, and include a small number of Earth-size planets in the “habitable zones” of their stars. Telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope are carefully examining the atmospheric compositions of many of these alien worlds. However, the goals of imaging an Earth-size planet around another star and comprehensively understanding surface properties and atmospheric characteristics remain elusive. The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018 will help move comparative planetology forward, while astronomers are continuing to design and develop the next generation of observatories. As scientists deeply involved in this research, we welcome your questions about the current state of knowledge about the diversity of exoplanetary systems, and the challenges of direct imaging and atmospheric characterization in particular. We’re especially interested in telescope concepts under development to directly image exoplanets and search for water, ozone, oxygen, and other potential markers of habitability, and envision where these may take our understanding of exoplanets in the next decade. Ask us anything! Debra Fischer, Professor of Astronomy at Yale University. Jessie Christiansen, Astronomer at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA. Aki Roberge, Research Astrophysicist & Study Scientist for the LUVOIR space telescope concept, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD Jennifer Wiseman, Hubble Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Dr. Patricia Boyd Chief, Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory & Director Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Guest Investigator Program, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
By the year 2050, populations in some urban centers in the United States could easily double, meaning that already-stressed and limited natural resources will need to be available for tens of millions more people. We’re part of an interdisciplinary team of more than 100 researchers from across The University of Texas at Austin that’s embarking on the university’s first-ever grand challenge initiative. Our mission is to find ways to make our region more resilient and better prepared in the face of rapid population growth and to share what we learn with researchers from around the world. We hope that our work will be instrumental in preventing the next ‘Cape Town: Day Zero’ crisis, where entire communities face critical shortages of resources like water and energy following steep population increases. Our team includes engineers, architects, geoscientists, archeologists, health experts, humanities and legal scholars, and more. Specific areas of research also include air quality/air pollution in megacities, which can have an impact on human health. Ask Us Anything about a race against the clock to shore up dwindling resources in the face of rapid population growth. Richard Corsi, Professor and Joe J. King Chair of Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, Co-Director, Center for Sustainable Development Katherine Lieberknecht, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture Adam Rabinowitz, Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Assistant Director, Institute of Classical Archaeology Lourdes Rodriguez, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Place-Based Initiatives, Dell Medical School Michael Young, Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology
Creating LiDAR your life can depend on, Luminar Technologies uses advanced LiDAR sensors to measure millions of points per second, and put that resolution where it matters most. This allows Luminar sensors to see not just where objects are, but what they are — even at distance. Co-Founder and CTO, Jason Eichenholz is a serial entrepreneur and pioneer in laser, optics and photonics product development and commercialization. Over the past twenty-five years, he led the development of hundreds of millions of dollars of new photonics products. Before joining Luminar as CTO and Co-Founder, Eichenholz was the CEO and founder of Open Photonics, an open innovation company dedicated to the commercialization of optics and photonics technologies. Prior to that, he served as the Divisional Technology Director at Halma PLC. In that role he was responsible for supporting innovation, technology and strategic development for the Photonics and Health Optics Divisions. Before joining Halma, he was the CTO and Board Member of Ocean Optics Inc. as well as the Director of Strategic Marketing at Newport/Spectra-Physics. Eichenholz is a Fellow of The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE. He has served as the principal investigator for Air Force and DARPA funded research and development programs and holds ten U.S. patents on new types of solid-state lasers, displays and photonic devices. Eichenholz has a M.S. and Ph.D in Optical Science and Engineering from CREOL – The College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida and a B.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The United States is currently experiencing an opioid crisis. The CDC website has some chilling facts: The majority of drug overdose deaths (66%) involve an opioid. In 2016, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids was 5 times higher than in 1999. From 2000 to 2016, more than 600,000 people died from drug overdoses. On average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Despite all this, opioids remain an effective treatment for post-operative pain. Surgeons struggle with adequately treating their patients’ pain needs while being mindful of the risks of opioids. Not enough is known about the risks of treating patients with longer durations and stronger doses of opioids. In our paper published in the BMJ, we quantified the association between the amount of opioids patients received directly after surgery and the rate of misusing opioids (including overdose, abuse, and dependence) in more than 500,000 surgery patients enrolled in commercial medical insurance who received opioids. We found that each additional refill a patient received was associated with a more than 40% increase in the rate of misuse and each additional week of opioids with a 20% increase. The dose of opioids had a much smaller impact and only seemed to become important among patients who used opioids for an extended period. Those numbers are based on statistical models that take into many factors about the patients, including their surgery type, age, sex, and certain diagnoses that they might have received before surgery like tobacco use disorder or depression. To give you a sense of some related unadjusted data, 0.18% of patients with no refills experienced a misuse event within one year after surgery. That number doubles to 0.37% among those who filled just one additional opioid prescription after surgery. And it jumps all the way to 1.1% among those with more than 5 refills. Our main analysis included all misuse events (not just those that happened within one year after surgery) and showed very similar results. AMA! We are: Gabriel Brat, instructor in surgery and in biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School and a trauma surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Denis Agniel, associate statistician at the RAND Corporation and part-time lecturer at Harvard Medical School Postsurgical prescriptions for opioid naive patients and association with overdose and misuse: retrospective cohort study BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5790 Edit: Thanks everyone for all the questions. We are signing off now, but we will check in later to participate in further discussion.
The moderators of /r/philosophy are pleased to announce an upcoming AMA by Professor Debra Satz, Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and co-host of the Philosophy Talk radio program. This AMA is the fourth in our Spring 2018 AMA Series; you can find more details on all of this semester’s AMAs with philosophers by going to the AMA Hub Post. You can find all of our previous AMAs over the years by going to the AMA wiki. Professor Satz will be joining us on Monday February 19th at 12PM ET to discuss issues in political science, public policy, the ethical limits of markets and more. Hear it from her: Debra Satz I’m Debra Satz, the Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and co-host of the Philosophy Talk radio program. I grew up in the Bronx, and was the first of my family to go to college. From there, I graduated from City College of New York and received my PhD from M.I.T. where – after toying with the idea of writing on the philosophy of logic – I wrote a dissertation focusing on Marx’s theory of social progress. Although I have traveled far from where I began, my experiences growing up in the Bronx continue to influence my work and thought. My philosophical work has been broadly concerned with the economic preconditions for a democratic society of equals. But rather than approaching this question at a very high level of abstraction, I have focused on the ethics behind the creation and operation of particular markets. Markets in the abstract are models of freedom and equality. Freedom because each has the choice to enter into, or refrain from entering, any particular exchange. Moreover, because each of us is linked through countless others, no one is under the thumb of any particular person. This latter point also underwrites our equality. In theory, neither is dependent on the other and each has the right to refuse a deal which we view as unfair. But, in reality, many markets depart very far from that theory. Some markets involve agents who are asymmetrically situated: One person desperately needs a good that only the other has (think of credit markets in the developing world); or, one person has relevant knowledge that another person lacks (think of the market for used cars). Moreover, some markets involve risks that fall on others besides the transacting agent (think of exchanges that generate pollution); or markets where others are transacting on our behalf (think of child labor markets where parents transact on behalf of their children, or governments where dictators transact debt on behalf of their populations). My book, Why Some Things Should Not be For Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets develops a theory that distinguishes between ordinary markets that resemble abstract markets and what I call noxious markets. Noxious markets are characterized along four parameters: weak agency, background vulnerability and inequality of the transacting agents, harms to individuals, and harms to society. My book examines markets in body parts, commercial surrogacy, child labor and prostitution. Importantly, I argue that the fact that a market is noxious does not entail the conclusion that we should ban it. It may be possible to increase agency (by giving parties better information) or address third party harms through regulation. But a message of my work, which resonates with a long tradition of political economy (where figures such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx and RH Tawney are central) is that not all markets are the same. I also have interests in the distribution of educational opportunities, where I have argued that the sharp divide policy makers and philosophers draw between adequacy approaches and equality approaches is overdrawn. A theory of distributing educational opportunity that is adequate for a democratic society will have strong egalitarian elements. In addition to pursuing my interests in education (which was my path out of poverty), I am writing a paper which examines the role of the state’s distribution of in kind goods (such as health care) for a democratic society of equals. I look forward to discussing my work with you on reddit! Links of Interest: My book: Why Some Things Should Not be For Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets. Thanks to OUP can purchase it 30% off from their site with promocode AAFLYG6. A newer co-authored book dealing with the relations between ethics and economics: Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy and Public Policy, Third Edition My Stanford Encyclopedia Article on Feminist Perspectives on Reproduction and the Family My Ethics article “Equality, Adequacy and Education for Citizenship” My class day speech at Stanford University on the Moral Limits of Markets The Philosophy Talk radio program which I co-host AMA Please feel free to post questions for Professor Satz here. She will look at this thread before she starts and begin with some questions from here while the initial questions in the new thread come in. Please join me in welcoming Professor Debra Satz to our community!
Hi reddit, I’m a physicist at the University of Bath, UK, working on microscopy and automated instrumentation. I’m very interested in using and developing open source hardware for scientific applications – particularly microscopes. Two projects I’m working on at the moment are developing high-precision positioning mechanisms that can be 3D printed, and creating automated microscopes for analysing blood smears to diagnose malaria. The project teams include scientists and engineers from the Universities of Bath and Cambridge, and Ifakara Health Institute and STICLab in Tanzania. All the hardware we’ve developed so far on these projects is open-source, available on GitHub, for example: https://github.com/rwb27/openflexure_microscope/ I hope that, by sharing our designs, we can enable small maker spaces and engineers like STICLab (https://www.sticlab.co.tz/) to produce, and indeed customise, sophisticated products with less reliance on expensive imported goods. It also makes it much easier for people to get involved with the research project, by hacking, tweaking, or replicating our hardware for their own use. Science relies on experiments being repeatable, but often University labs are full of black boxes (metaphorically – they’re usually beige) which are expensive, hard to customise, and sealed up so you can’t see how they work. Even worse, this proprietary hardware often won’t talk to open software, making it difficult to integrate into complicated, automated experiments. There’s a growing movement of people trying to open up scientific hardware – because this is good for science, even without the cost savings that can come from 3D printing many components in your lab. This is all explained much more eloquently in the GOSH manifesto and roadmap: http://openhardware.science/gosh-manifesto/ http://openhardware.science/global-open-science-hardware-roadmap/ I’m quite new to reddit, but I guess this is the part where I stop and let you take over – I’ll be back at 10 am ET to answer your questions, ask me anything! Thanks everyone for the questions - it’s been fun! I’m signing off now, though I’ll try to keep an eye out in case there are any follow-up questions. I should also take a moment to thank my sponsors - I have the privilege of being funded to work on this project, by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P029426/1), the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, and the University of Bath.
Hi Reddit About us: Dr. Cheryl Stucky: Hi! I am a Marvin Wagner Endowed Professor in the department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, and the Neuroscience Doctoral Program Director, at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am broadly interested in understanding touch and pain mechanisms. I have run a research laboratory for about 18 years at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where we use rodent models to study the mechanism of pain in diseases such as sickle cell disease, Fabry disease, arthritis and postsurgical pain. My lab also focuses on understanding how we sense touch, and we recently found out that our skin plays a large role in this. Building upon this knowledge, we are now investigating what role damaged skin plays in chronic pain conditions. The ultimate goal of our research is to identify new targets for which topical drugs can be developed in order to treat these pain conditions and avoid the negative side effects of many current treatments that are already out there. Francie Moehring: I am the senior graduate student in Cheryl’s laboratory. Many skin disorders such as dermatitis and psoriasis share a common hallmark: increased sensitivity or even pain to touch or normally unpainful stimuli. My project in the Stucky lab focuses on laying the foundation for understanding dysfunctional signaling processes during these disorders to potentially reveal new drug targets for topical treatments that directly target the site of pain. In order to study these processes, we are trying to understand how our skin, and the specific cells that form it, can interact with neurons and nerves within the skin that are typically involved in sensing mechanical stimuli from the environment. We’re here to answer questions about a recent paper we published in the journal eLife (https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.31684?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=forum&utm_campaign=AMAFeb18; plain-language summary: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.31684.002?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=forum&utm_campaign=AMAFeb18) – where we studied how our skin communicates with the nervous system – or queries related to our research more broadly. Please note that we are unable to provide any medical advice, as this goes beyond the scope of our research. We’ll start answering questions at 1pm EST. AMA!
Hi Reddit, we are Xingde Li (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/0800034/xingde-li), professor of Biomedical Engineering and Wenxuan Liang, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Medicine majoring in biophotonics. Our lab works to improve endomicroscopy in the hopes of someday diminishing our dependencies on biopsies. We have recently developed two new endoscopic probes that have a potential to significantly improve imaging diagnostics. Our first probe uses the same basics from the two-photon microscope but in a much smaller footprint. Our prototype probe, 2mm in diameter, takes advantage of the cell’s own ability to glow and eliminates the need for traditional fluorophores – usually harmful to the human body. This allow us to directly visualize fine structural changes and monitor cell activity in vivo and in real time at histology level but without the need for tissue removal. (https://www.nature.com/articles/lsa201782) Our second probe is even smaller (approximately 500 µm in diameter) but offers us about four times higher resolution than other currently used devices. The small probe size eases the delivery of endoscope to small areas of the body. This can greatly reduce patient’s discomfort during the endoscopy procedure while also providing a high resolution and clear visualization of tissue microstructures. This is very important for detecting disease at early stages when tissue microstructural changes are subtle and the disease is still at a manageable stage. (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01494-4 ) We will be back at 1pm ET today to answer your questions.
Through a long career in embedded reasoning solving challenges in healthcare, industrial automation, aviation and aerospace safety, I’ve applied systems engineering, modeling, simulation, diagnosis, prognostics, and optimization to everything from IoT health and status monitoring to NASA’s efforts in space exploration. My career focus has been at the intersection of health management and artificial intelligence blending engineering, science and biomedicine. As a former associate editor of journals in Artificial Intelligence and Prognostic Health Management, among others, I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to a very broad application of A.I., logic, and embedded reasoning across industries. I’m a serial entrepreneur and hold 15 patents. I’d welcome your question on any of these topics above or to simply lend my experience and best practices for your professional development. I will be back at 1 pm ET to answer your questions AMA! My technical expertise is in: Artificial intelligence (AI) and Data Science Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Internet of Things (IoT) Biomedical informatics Prognostics and health management (PHM) Systems engineering
Hello Reddit, I am Brenda Moore, Ph.D., a neuroscientist in Dr. Todd Golde’s lab at the University of Florida. We conduct disease-oriented research with a focus on Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. And I am Todd Golde, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute at UF, where I oversee, champion and facilitate neuroscience and neuromedicine research programs across our campus. I am also director of the 1Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center consortium of institutions. We recently published a study featured on the cover of the Journal of Experimental Medicine titled Short Aβ peptides attenuate Aβ42 toxicity in vivo. Our research shows that short Abeta peptides were not toxic in two animal models — a mouse and a fruit fly — and in fact were protective from the toxic effects of Abeta 42. The accumulation of Abeta 42 in the brain is widely recognized as key in promoting Alzheimer’s disease. Our findings hold the potential for a drug therapy that could go beyond treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and target the disease’s progression. To read our paper and news release, visit http://bit.ly/2nocJPI. We will answer your questions at 1 pm EST — Ask Us Anything! Thank you everyone for your great questions, we enjoyed answering them!
I am Derek DuBois the founder of DOCjobs, the leading recruiting site specifically focused on careers in industry for people with advanced biomedical degrees. DOC started with a drinks meeting for 6 MDs from Columbia who had left traditional tracks and has since grown to 42,000 MD and PhD members pursuing careers in industry. I have experience in alternate and innovative careers for MDs/PhDs both through my own career as a partner at McKinsey and Accenture and through the 1,000 employers who have used DOC to recruit biomedical talent including investment banks/funds, biopharma, startups, consulting firms and others across the spectrum of healthcare. MDs and PhDs face similar challenges in navigating to careers beyond the established academic/clinical/research tracks, while more and more are seeking such opportunities with the rise in physician burnout and the relative paucity of academic research positions. Hi All – Thanks for the questions – feel free to add additional questions on or add to current threads and I will check back in later tonight and address as best I can. Take care. Best, DDD AMA about applying your skills to careers in pharma/biotech, finance, consulting, and beyond. My linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-d-dubois/ DOC: www.DOCjobs.com
Hi all! My name is Dr. Christopher Carroll. I am a pediatric critical care physician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut, and I serve on numerous committees within the American College of Chest Physicians including as trustee of the CHEST Foundation, chair of the Scientific Presentations and Awards Committee, past-chair of the Pediatric NetWork and steering committee of the Critical Care NetWork. Most of research has focused on the treatment of severe respiratory diseases in children (particularly acute asthma and bronchiolitis) and the influence of genetics on respiratory diseases in critically ill children. My name is Dr. Jayshil Patel, and I currently administer to patients, teach and conduct research as an academic intensivist for the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I received training in internal medicine at the Cook County Health and Hospital System in Chicago followed by subspecialty training in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The majority of my career has centered around a mixture of enhancing patient care, providing education and mentorship to house staff and medical students and advancing science through research, in which I primarily study the impact of enteral nutrition on critical care patient outcomes. Influenza, most commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Anyone can get the flu, and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age but may have a higher risk of occurring in young children and patients 65+. We are in the heart of a particularly severe flu season and it’s important to understand the causes, symptoms and ways to treat and prevent the flu. Since the flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses that share very similar symptoms, it can become very tough to differentiate one from the other. We’re here to provide the facts, share the latest in research and help provide more information on how to best tackle this flu season. Just a note, we won’t be able to give specific medical advice or a diagnosis on this Reddit AMA. Conflict of Interest Disclosure: Our thoughts and opinions are our own. We will be back at 1 p.m. CT to answer your questions; ask us anything!
I am Michael Cholbi, Professor of Philosophy at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. I work and publish in a number of area of ethics, including ethical theory, moral psychology, practical ethics, and the history of moral philosophy. Much (though not all) of my work has a Kantian flavor – but do note I’m willing to take Kant and Kantians to task when need be! (For a good overview of my work on Kant’s ethics, check out my book Understanding Kant’s Ethics). Here are some more specifics about my research: I’m perhaps best known for my work on philosophy of death and dying, including my work on suicide and grief. With respect to suicide, my views are complicated: I argue that most acts of suicide violate our Kantian duty to preserve our rational agency, but precisely because this is a self-regarding duty or duty to self, then at a social level, individuals have an autonomy-based right to shorten their lives, consistent with their moral obligations to others; that medically assisted dying is not contrary to the moral norms of medicine and that the medical profession should not monopolize access to desirable ways of shortening our lives; that, all other things being equal, mental health problems provide equally strong justifications for suicide as do ‘physical’ ailments, etc.; and that non-invasive public health measures to prevent suicide are typically defensible. Grief is an understudied phenomenon among philosophers. Much of my work here is concerned with understanding how grief can makes our lives better — why we wouldn’t find it desirable to be unable to grieve, like Meursault in Camus’ The Stranger — despite the fact that it involves pain or mental distress. In the book I’m writing, I propose that grief represents an especially fruitful opportunity to know ourselves and understand our own commitments and values more deeply. In other areas of social ethics, I write on paternalism, defending what I call the ‘rational will’ conception of paternalism, wherein paternalism is wrong because it intercedes in our powers of rational agency in various ways; on race and criminal justice, where I argue (in a forthcoming paper in Ethics) that racial bias in the administration of the death penalty in the U.S. merits its de facto abolition; and on the philosophy of work and labor, a new area of research where I’m exploring universal basic income and notions of meaningful work. As you can tell, my work is very diverse, both topically and methodologically. I try to integrate empirical work from economics, legal studies, and psychiatry into my research where appropriate. I look forward to discussing any and all of my work with the reddit audience! Some of my work: My Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on suicide My review of Fischer and Mitchell-Yellin’s book on near death experiences A piece on grief in Four By Three A blog post on paternalism from LSE’s The Forum
The mods of /r/philosophy are pleased to announce an upcoming AMA by Michael Cholbi, Professor of Philosophy and Director, California Center for Ethics and Policy, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. This AMA is the second in our Spring 2018 AMA Series; you can find more details on all of this semester’s AMAs with philosophers by going to the AMA Hub Post. You can find all of our previous AMAs over the years by going to the AMA wiki. Professor Cholbi will be joining us on Thursday January 25th at 1PM ET to discuss issues in ethical theory, moral psychology, practical ethics, Kant and the philosophy of death and dying. Hear it from him: Michael Cholbi I’m Professor of Philosophy at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. I work and publish in a number of area of ethics, including ethical theory, moral psychology, practical ethics, and the history of moral philosophy. Much (though not all) of my work has a Kantian flavor – but do note I’m willing to take Kant and Kantians to task when need be! (For a good overview of my work on Kant’s ethics, check out my book Understanding Kant’s Ethics). Here are some more specifics about my research: I’m perhaps best known for my work on philosophy of death and dying, including my work on suicide and grief. With respect to suicide, my views are complicated: I argue that most acts of suicide violate our Kantian duty to preserve our rational agency, but precisely because this is a self-regarding duty or duty to self, then at a social level, individuals have an autonomy-based right to shorten their lives, consistent with their moral obligations to others; that medically assisted dying is not contrary to the moral norms of medicine and that the medical profession should not monopolize access to desirable ways of shortening our lives; that, all other things being equal, mental health problems provide equally strong justifications for suicide as do ‘physical’ ailments, etc.; and that non-invasive public health measures to prevent suicide are typically defensible. Grief is an understudied phenomenon among philosophers. Much of my work here is concerned with understanding how grief can makes our lives better — why we wouldn’t find it desirable to be unable to grieve, like Meursault in Camus’ The Stranger — despite the fact that it involves pain or mental distress. In the book I’m writing, I propose that grief represents an especially fruitful opportunity to know ourselves and understand our own commitments and values more deeply. In other areas of social ethics, I write on paternalism, defending what I call the ‘rational will’ conception of paternalism, wherein paternalism is wrong because it intercedes in our powers of rational agency in various ways; on race and criminal justice, where I argue (in a forthcoming paper in Ethics) that racial bias in the administration of the death penalty in the U.S. merits its de facto abolition; and on the philosophy of work and labor, a new area of research where I’m exploring universal basic income and notions of meaningful work. As you can tell, my work is very diverse, both topically and methodologically. I try to integrate empirical work from economics, legal studies, and psychiatry into my research where appropriate. I look forward to discussing any and all of my work with the reddit audience! Links of Interest: My Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on suicide My review of Fischer and Mitchell-Yellin’s book on near death experiences A piece on grief in Four By Three A blog post on paternalism from LSE’s The Forum AMA Please feel free to post questions for Professor Cholbi here. He will look at this thread before he starts and begin with some questions from here while the initial questions in the new thread come in. Please join me in welcoming Professor Michael Cholbi to our community!
Hi Reddit! I am Clifford Spiegelman. I grew up on Long Island and was a rather undistinguished High School student (rank about 80 out of 400). I graduated from the same small High School (Berner in Massapequa) that Alec Baldwin attended. I graduated with 3 majors math, stat, and economics in 1970 from SUNYAB. After a stint in the army reserves, I graduated with a PhD in Applied Mathematics/Statistics in 1976 from Northwestern U. I spent 9 years working as a staff statistician at NBS (now NIST) and now 30 years at Texas A&M where I am Distinguished Professor of Statistics. I have a number of appointments including Official Statistician of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, and stat advisor to the Texas Forensic Science Commission. I cofounded Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems in 1985 and am editor emeritus. I will use the JFK comparative bullet lead analysis (CBLA) and firearm/toolmark evidence as examples of flawed forensic science. While the flaws in the JFK case are not extraordinary, people seem to care more about these flaws than 100s of other cases with less known victims and defendants. (See http://www.newsweek.com/jfk-assassination-modern-forensic-science-could-finally-solve-shooting-741292 and https://www.innocenceproject.org/flawed-forensic-science-misleads-more-than-juries/. ) I’ll be back at 10 am ET to answer your question, ask me anything!
Thank you everyone who sent in questions! That was a fun hour. Must run, but I’ll come back later and address those that I couldn’t get to in 60 minutes. Means a lot to me to see all of this excitement for science. And if you missed the AMA in real time, feel welcome to pose more questions on twitter @jannalevin. Thanks again. Black holes are not a thing, they’re a place—a place where spacetime rains in like a waterfall dragging everything irreversibly into the shadow of the event horizon, the point of no return. I’m Janna Levin, an astrophysicist at Barnard College of Columbia University. I study black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves. I also serve as the director of sciences at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a non-profit foundation that fosters multidisciplinary creativity in the arts and sciences. I’ve written several books, and the latest is titled, “Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space.” It’s the inside story on the discovery of the century: the sound of spacetime ringing from the collision of two black holes over a billion years ago. I’m also the host of NOVA’s new film, “Black Hole Apocalypse,” which you can watch streaming online now here. In it, we explore black holes past, present, and future. Expect space ships, space suits, and spacetime. With our imaginary technology, we travel to black holes as small as cities and as huge as solar systems. I’ll be here at 12 ET to answer your questions about black holes! And if you want to learn about me, check out this article in Wired or this video profile that NOVA produced. —Janna