For those of you who will be around Norwescon this weekend, here’s where you can for sure find me:
Friday, 9:00 a.m., Cascade 7
Climate Change in the 21st Century
There is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than at any time during the last 650,000 years. Climate alterations are expected to be serious: more intense storms, more pronounced droughts, coastal areas more severely eroded by rising seas. At the high end of the predictions, the world could face abrupt, catastrophic, and irreversible consequences. Is there any chance at all that we can alter people’s behavior enough to slow down global warming?
If not, are there engineering solutions to climate change?Â Can giant space mirrors or salt water sprays realistically solve our problems?
Mary Rosenblum (M), Kurt Cagle, Brenda Cooper, Derek Zumsteg
Saturday, 10:00 a.m., Cascade 7
The Ethics of War Machines
The military is investing serious bucks in military robots. Some are perfectly benign, like robot logistical transport vehicles. But last year one blew up a house in Pakistan, killing 18 people. What happens if we give robots the decision-making authority of when and whom to kill? How will you feel about the Marines looking for a few good circuits? And who does the programming for these machines? What happens to the 3 Laws?
Brenda Cooper (M), Mike Brennan, Robert Grey
Saturday, 11:00 a.m., Evergreen 3 & 4
Bureaucratic Mechanisms to Hasten (or Retard) Humanity’s Conquest of Space
What can we do to push space exploration through the labyrinth of political agendas, funding faux pas, and bureaucratic stalemates?Â Is it even possible? Are there alternative possibilities (public and private)? Are self-sufficient space colonies a possible reality or a fantasy?
Derek Zumsteg (M), Greg Bear, Brenda Cooper, Vernor Vinge
Saturday, 2:00 p.m., Evergreen 3 & 4
Autograph Session #3
Sunday, 11:00 a.m., Evergreen 3 & 4
Space – Humanity’s Best Hope for Long-Term Survival?
People like Stephen Hawking have said that self-sufficient, off-Earth settlements are humanity’s best hope for long-term survival; and of course, such settlements were at the heart of much of the 20th century’s
science-fiction.Â Â Is it possible that, in this century, the idea could move
back to center stage?Â Is pursuing space just a distraction from the life-and-death priority of cleaning up the mess we have made of Earth?
There is no other planet in the solar system that can support life “as is.”
Can we create a reasonable habitat within the solar system or find a habitable planet that is not already in use beyond the solar system?
Brenda Cooper (M), Guy Immega, G. David Nordley, Vernor Vinge
Sunday, 2:00 p.m., Cascade 6
Science as Weapon
In today’s world, everything can be a weapon, for war or terrorism. What kinds of scenarios are really possible when biotechnologists, nanotechnologists, and other fanatic mad scientists get together? Is bioterrorism old news and what we really need to worry about now involves mini black holes or silicon-digesting nanotech?
Jim Kling (M), Brenda Cooper, Brent Kellmer