Welcome back. I hope you caught the Halcyon House dialogue about robotics on the Axios stream this afternoon but if not my colleague Erin Ross has a quick recap to get us started. I always appreciate your feedback about what you're reading here and on the site so please send me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) or reply to this email.
Our latest Axios Science event, hosted with AAAS and Halcyon, had a couple of discussions with scientists and policymakers on what our future will be like living with robots. Food delivery drones, robotic caregivers, and autonomous construction-bots are in our future.
Watch the event, hosted by our own Alison Snyder. Among the panel members were: Republican Rep. Will Hurd, CyPhy CTO Helen Greiner, former White House CTO Megan Smith, and Fred Humphries, Microsoft VP of U.S. government affairs.
In the past 30 years, early warning systems for earthquakes that use sensors and software have been installed around the world to give people valuable seconds to protect themselves as best they can. Such a system likely saved thousands of lives in Mexico City last week and there are calls to finish an early warning network being installed on the West Coast in the U .S.
The key question: Those systems sense rumbles that are already underway. So, is there a way to actually predict an earthquake?
The bottom line: Erin spoke with seismologists about whether it's possible and found that scientists are not that close to predicting earthquakes in the traditional sense of looking for precursors.
"We're no closer to earthquake prediction than we ever were, and are perhaps farther in that we now understand the difficulties better," says Robert Geller, a seismologist at the University of Tokyo.
Yes, but: There are operational earthquake forecasts. Some geologists combine data gained about particular faults with algorithms for assessing the probability of an earthquake occurring at a time and place.
Over the past thousand years, origami has grown from a craft of ceremony to an art form to a method of science. In the folding and unfolding of paper, mathematical mysteries have been solved, engineering solutions inspired, and biological processes better understood:
If you're in D.C. over the next month, origami pieces that are as much science as art, like the one above by MIT mathematician Erik Demaine and his father Martin Demaine, are on display at the Japan Information and Culture Center.