Weekend Thoughts - 10.14.17

Image  by  suc , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by suc, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. The scientists who have been studying the Yellowstone supervolcano have reported that it may erupt sooner than they originally thought, potentially wiping out all life on the planet. In fact, the conditions needed for it to spew lava may come together within the next few decades. This is contrary to the previously-accepted narrative, which estimated that it would take centuries for the volcano to erupt. However, it seems like we don't need to worry for the immediate future because Yellowstone is one of the best monitored volcanoes in the world. Still, it’s nice to know that our scientists are assessing this potentially-apocalyptic situation well ahead of time.

2. The California Department of Motor Vehicles released its revised regulations for the rollout of autonomous vehicles on the state's roads, and it turns out that self-driving cars will be allowed on California roads starting next year. This will mark the first time that vehicles without steering wheels, foot pedals, mirrors, and human drivers will be approved for testing on public roads. However, the state is not changing its position on self-driving trucks at this time—any vehicle over 10,000 pounds will need to go through a separate rule-making process. At any rate, this is exciting news in the autonomous vehicle area!

3. With the rise of drone technology comes the rise of drone crime. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been used for smuggling, spying, countering police surveillance, and intimidating the public, and the rate of surreptitious drone usage for nefarious purposes has been increasing year over year. In response, police departments all across the globe have been ramping up to combat this trend. UAVs are just like any other technology—they can be used for good or evil, but it's easy to see how the scale could tip in the wrong way, leading to a Black Mirror-esque world.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.