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It is remarkable how much we take for granted the tremendous energy and vitality that the sun provides earth's inhabitants. As we enter the new millennium, it is worthwhile to review how our ancestors perceived the biologic effects of sunlight, and how science and medicine have advanced our knowledge about the biologic effects of light. At the turn of the century, a multitude of investigators explored the use of sunlight and artificial radiation for treating a multitude of diseases. These explorations gave rise to photodynamic therapy, phototherapy, and chemophototherapy. However, enthusiasm for using sunlight and artificial radiation to treat disease was dampened with the birth of pharmacology. It was the goal of the Fifth International Arnold Rikli Symposium on the Biologic Effects of Light, held in Basel, Switzerland, on November 1-3, 1998, to review the history of phototherapy and have some of the world's leading experts on the biologic effects of light provide new perspectives on the positive and negative effects of light. The general topics included a broad range of biologic effects of sunlight, artificial ultraviolet radiation and electromagnetic radiation. Special sessions on radiation and vitamin D and bone health, photoimmunology, biopositive effects of UV radiation, effects of electromagnetic currents and fields, and ocular and non-ocular regulation of circadian rhythms and melatonin, should be of particular interest to readers of Biologic Effects of Light.
Philip K. Dick is the author of science-fiction classics that have inspired movies like Bladerunner, Total Recall and Minority Report. Sadly, Dick did not live enough to see how his suspicion of reality and his search for the human essence in an artificial world became mainstream concerns and pop culture icons. Based on a careful review of biographical materials and his personal acquaintance with some of Dick's closest friends and relatives, Salvador Bayarri has written Dick's life story in a screenplay format, preserving the richness of the writer's character as his charming humor and foretelling genius mixes with a personal struggle to make sense of his own visions, the human nature and the meaning of the universe. "The Owl in Daylight" was the working title for Dick's last book project, in which he planned to create a character much like himself: a visionary artist who discovers that his work improves as an alien intelligence takes control of it. Blinded by his unique perception -like a night owl in daylight- the artist has to make the Faustian choice between reaching for the ultimate secrets of the universe and die in glorious flames, or trying to save the remains of a normal life. The screenplay follows the key episodes that propelled Dick to his prophetic visions, from the death of his twin sister shortly after birth, through the paranoia of the 50s and the psychedelic culture of the 60s, towards his final and most dramatic visions of love, good and evil.
As humans ventured into the twentieth century, the industrialized countries were confronted with the scourge of rickets. Although solariums were becoming common in the early 1900s and phototherapy was gaining popularity as a result of the awarding of a Nobel Prize to Finsen in 1903, it wasn't until 1921 when Hess and Unger demonstrated that rickets could be cured by exposure to sunlight that the healthful benefit of sun exposure appreciated. In 1941, Apperly (Cancer Research; 1: 191-195, 1941) noted that the occasional increased risk of skin cancer was associated with a decreased risk of many other more common and serious cancers. The alarming increase in the number of cases of skin cancer, especially melanoma, has caused great concern about the negative role of sunlight in health. The Sixth International Arnold Rikli Symposium on the Biologic Effects of Light was held in Boston, Massachusetts from June 16th - 18th, 2001. The goal of this Symposium was to focus on the very popular practice of tanning either by sunlight or by artificial light sources and the overall impact this practice has on health and disease. The program was organized by members of the Scientific Advisory Committee and my co-chair emeritus, Professor Ernst G. Jung. The Program Committee organized an outstanding state-of-the-art program that was enthusiastically received by the participants.
"An extraordinarily good synthesis from an amazing range of philosophical, legal, and technological sources . . . the book will appeal to legal academics and students, lawyers involved in e-commerce and cyberspace legal issues, technologists, moral philosophers, and intelligent lay readers interested in high tech issues, privacy, [and] robotics."
As corporations and government agencies replace human employees with online customer service and automated phone systems, we become accustomed to doing business with nonhuman agents. If artificial intelligence (AI) technology advances as today's leading researchers predict, these agents may soon function with such limited human input that they appear to act independently. When they achieve that level of autonomy, what legal status should they have?
Samir Chopra and Laurence F. White present a carefully reasoned discussion of how existing philosophy and legal theory can accommodate increasingly sophisticated AI technology. Arguing for the legal personhood of an artificial agent, the authors discuss what it means to say it has "knowledge" and the ability to make a decision. They consider key questions such as who must take responsibility for an agent's actions, whom the agent serves, and whether it could face a conflict of interest.
In a land not far from your imagination is a clan of Hybrids. This clan will show you great wonders, love beyond time and great adventure. To read about this clan will make you believe in the unknown and open your mind to wonders of your imagination.
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