Monday, June 12, 2017

Are We Really Ready for Self-Driving Cars?

Numerous safety, legal, ethical, and logistical issues still exist as governments, industry, and consumers weigh the benefits of self-driving automobiles ("The Long, Winding Road for Driverless Cars," The Economist, May 25, 2017). This article discusses the different levels of autonomous vehicles from 1 (think cruise control) to 5 (fully automatic without a human in all types of driving conditions).

Review selected hard copy/online library books related to autonomous vehicles at LSC-CyFair Branch Library. Click the title of a listed item, select the "Place Hold" button in the listing, and enter your library card number and PIN for each title you want to request for pick up at the library.

Use these subject words and phrases to find more information in the library catalog:
  • automobiles automatic control
  • autonomous vehicles
  • traffic safety technological innovations
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming edited by Paul Hawken
Penguin Books, 2017
call number: 363.738 Dra (on order)

"Renowned environmentalist Paul Hawken has assembled a team of over 200 scholars, scientists, policymakers, business leaders and activists to illustrate the hundred most substantive solutions to combat climate change that together will not only slow down the growth of carbon emissions, but reverse them altogether (including a chapter on autonomous vehicles)." - publisher's summary excerpt

Robots by John M. Jordan
MIT Press, 2016
call number: 629.892 Jor (on order)

"He offers a guided tour of robotics today, describing the components of robots, the complicating factors that make robotics so challenging, and such applications as driverless cars, unmanned warfare, and robots on the assembly line." - publisher's summary excerpt



Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman 
MIT Press, 2016
call number: 388.342 Lip

"In this book, Hod Lipson (Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University) and Melba Kurman offer readers insight into the risks and benefits of driverless cars and a lucid and engaging explanation of the enabling technology. Recent advances in software and robotics are toppling long-standing technological barriers that for decades have confined self-driving cars to the realm of fantasy. A new kind of artificial intelligence software called deep learning gives cars rapid and accurate visual perception. Human drivers can relax and take their eyes off the road. When human drivers let intelligent software take the wheel, driverless cars will offer billions of people all over the world a safer, cleaner, and more convenient mode of transportation. Although the technology is nearly ready, car companies and policy makers may not be. " - publisher's summary excerpt

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

No Reason to Tolerate Sexual Harassment

Two U.S. Naval Academy professors speak about rampant disrespect of women via recent cases of sexual harassment (although men can be victims of such harsh treatment, too) in military and civilian life ("Too Many Men Are Silent Bystanders to Sexual Harassment," Harvard Business Review, March 13, 2017). They suggest that all men must display the "moral courage to stand up to such behavior."

Review selected hard copy/online library books related to sexual harassment at LSC-CyFair Branch Library. Click the title of a listed item, select the "Place Hold" button in the listing, and enter your library card number and PIN for each title you want to request for pick up at the library.

Use these subject words and phrases to find more information in the library catalog:
  • sex discrimination against women
  • sexual harassment
  • women's rights
Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives at Work by Gillian Thomas
St. Martin's Press, 2016
call number: 344.73 Tho

"The 1964 Civil Rights Act is best known as a monumental achievement of the civil rights movement, but it also revolutionized the lives of American women. Title VII of the law made it illegal to discriminate "because of sex." But Congress gave little guidance about how much it wanted to change in a "Mad Men" world where women played mainly supporting roles. . .This book includes a chapter about Mechelle Vinson, whose years of sexual abuse by her boss showed that sexual harassment is just as much a denial of equal opportunity as a lower paycheck." - publisher's summary excerpt

Women's Rights in the USA: Policy Debates and Gender Roles (5th edition) by Dorothy E. McBride and Janine A. Parry
Routledge, 2016
call number: on order

"This title is a resource for the inquiry into women’s rights politics and policies. It is a record of the changes in the major areas affecting gender roles and the status of women: constitutional law, political participation, reproduction, family law, education, work and pay, work and family, sexuality and economic status." - publisher's summary excerpt



Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies (MSAs) for Academic Program Year (APY) 2015-2016 
Department of Defense, 2017
call number: U.S. government document online

"The report on the three MSAs provides data on sexual harassment complaints and sexual assault reports involving cadets and/or midshipmen, as well as updates to policies, procedures, and processes implemented in response to sexual harassment and violence during the APY." - publisher's summary

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Interrogation vs. Torture in the War on Terror

After a proposed executive order, “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants”was "leaked" and President Trump affirmed his pro-waterboarding stance (though giving Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the ultimate choice to use it) a decision was made to remove sections on torture and black site prisons ("White House Backing Down on Renewed Use of Torture, Black Sites," New York Magazine, February 4, 2017). This document also planned to overturn a 2009 executive order (13491) that interrogators must adhere to tactics outlined in the current Human Intelligence Collector Operations (“Army Field Manual”).

Review selected hard copy/online library books related to military interrogation vs. torture at LSC-CyFair Branch Library. Click the title of a listed item, select the "Place Hold" button in the listing, and enter your library card number and PIN for each title you want to request for pick up at the library.

Use these subject words and phrases to find more information in the library catalog:
  • detention of persons United States
  • military interrogation United States
  • torture
  • waterboarding
Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State by Karen J. Greenberg
Crown, 2016.
call number: 364.973 Gre

"Rogue Justice connects the dots for the first time--from the Patriot Act to today's military commissions, from terrorism prosecutions to intelligence priorities, from the ACLU's activism to Edward Snowden's revelations. And it poses a stark question: will the American justice system ever recover from the compromises it made for the war on terror? Riveting and deeply reported, Rogue Justice could only have been written by Karen Greenberg, one of this country's top experts on Guantanamo, torture, and terrorism, with a deep knowledge of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Now she brings to life the full story of law and policy after 9/11, introducing us to the key players and events, showing that time and again, when liberty and security have clashed, justice has been the victim." - publisher's summary excerpt

Consequence: A Memoir by Eric Fair
Henry Holt and Company, 2016
call number: 956.704 Fai

"Consequence is Fair's story, the story of a man who begins with a desire to serve and, through a winding series of choices, becomes an interrogator for a private contractor at Abu Ghraib during one of our nation's darkest moments. In 2004, after several months as an interrogator, Fair's now constant nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation." - publisher's summary excerpt


Why Torture Doesn't Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation by Shane M. O'Mara
Harvard University Press, 2015
call number: 616.852 Oma

"Does torture accomplish what its defenders say it does? For ethical reasons, there are no scientific studies of torture. But neuroscientists know a lot about how the brain reacts to fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, and immersion in freezing water, all tools of the torturer's trade. These stressors create problems for memory, mood, and thinking, and sufferers predictably produce information that is deeply unreliable-and, for intelligence purposes, even counterproductive. As O'Mara guides us through the neuroscience of suffering, he reveals the brain to be much more complex than the brute calculations of torturers have allowed, and he points the way to a humane approach to interrogation, founded in the science of brain and behavior." - publisher's summary excerpt