Knowledge and the Modelling of Complex Systems, Futures
Excerpt: This paper discusses the role of complex systems models as both embodiments and sources of knowledge in the context of strategic decision-making. Models are frequently seen as one way of gaining knowledge of the future. Advances in the simulation of complex adaptive systems enable models to increase knowledge of system behaviour, but may also indicate the limits of such knowledge.
Chatting Freely With Animated Historical Characters, IST Res.
Excerpt: Once upon a time, there lived the great Danish storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen. Today, aided by computers, a virtual Andersen is entertaining today's youngsters in his home town of Odense. His natural and interactive communication talent has aroused the interest of the education and gaming industries. Walk into the Hans Christian Andersen museum and you might see and hear the man himself. Though only virtual, he can hold visitors' attention for up to 15 minutes, chatting with them about himself and telling his fairy-tales. (...)
Editor's Note: Animated familiar charaters could be interpreted as efficient interface for complex simulation models.
Fostering Social Agency In Multimedia Learning: Examining The Impact Of An Animated Agent's Voice, Contem. Edu. Psycho.
Excerpt: Consistent with social agency theory, we hypothesized that learners who studied a set of worked-out examples involving proportional reasoning narrated by an animated agent with a human voice would perform better on near and far transfer tests and rate the speaker more positively compared to learners who studied the same set of examples narrated by an agent with a machine synthesized voice. This hypothesis was supported across two experiments, including one conducted in a high school computer classroom. Overall, the results are consistent with social agency theory that posits that social cues in multimedia messages, (...).
Nations Ranked as Protectors of the Environment, NY Times
Excerpts: (...) the 2005 index of environmental sustainability, which ranks nations on their success at such tasks as maintaining or improving air and water quality, maximizing biodiversity and cooperating with other countries on environmental problems.
Finland, Norway and Uruguay held the top three spots in the ranking, prepared by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities. The United States ranked 45th of the 146 countries studied, behind such countries as Japan, Botswana (...).
The lowest-ranking country was North Korea. Among those near the bottom were Haiti, Taiwan, Iraq and Kuwait.
UK Works For Climate Adaptation, BBC News
The British government says it is now working on a strategy to adapt to the effects of increasing climate change.
UK coasts are under threat
Efforts have till now been focused on trying to avert the prospect through reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases scientists say are responsible.
The environment department says it is committed to publish the adaptation strategy before the end of this year.(...)
"We're talking about tens or even hundreds of metres of coastline disappearing over the next hundred years."
Trade Openness, Foreign Direct Investment And Child Labor, World Dev.
Excerpt: The skeptics of globalization argue that increased trade openness and foreign direct investment induce developing countries to keep labor costs low, for example, by letting children work. This article argues that there are good theoretical reasons why globalization might actually have the opposite effect. We test this with various measures of child labor and provide the first analysis of foreign investment in addition to trade. We present evidence that countries that are more open to trade and/or have a higher stock of foreign direct investment also have a lower incidence of child labor. (...)
Why Are We Worried About Income? Nearly Everything That Matters Is Converging, World Dev.
Abstract: Convergence of national GDP/capita numbers is a common, but narrow, measure of global success or failure in development. This paper takes a broader range of quality of life variables covering health, education, rights and infrastructure and examines if they are converging across countries. It finds that these measures are converging as a rule and (where we have data) that they have been converging for some time. The paper turns to a discussion of what might be driving convergence in quality of life even as incomes diverge, and what this might mean for the donor community.
The Market Shall Set You Free, NY Times
Abstract: Op-Ed article by Robert Wright says Pres Bush spoke in his inaugural address of ending tyranny around world, but he does not see how capitalism helps drive history toward freedom; says capitalism's pre-eminence as wealth generator means every tyrant has to either embrace free markets or fall slowly into economic oblivion; says for markets to work, citizens need access to information technology and freedom to use it--and that means having political power; says economic exclusion, use of sanctions to punish tyrants, is especially perverse in cases where inclusion could work as carrot; says Bush should work to help world mature into comprehensive community of nations--bound by economic interdependence and commitment to liberty; drawing (M)
'Zero Intelligence' Trading Closely Mimics Stock Market, New Scientist
Excerpts: In the model, agents with zero intelligence place random orders to buy and sell stocks at a given price. If an order to sell is lower than the highest buy price in the system, the transaction will take place and the order will be removed - a market order. If the sell order is higher than the highest buy price, it will stay in the system until a matching buy order is found - a limit order. For example, if the highest order to buy a stock is $10, limit orders to sell will be above $10 and market orders to sell will be below $10.
Getting Rich--a No Brainer?, Science Now
The intelligence of stock traders may have no effect on the market The stock market works like a frenetic, two-way auction, with buyers and sellers simultaneously placing bids. Modern economists imagine that stock market traders are intelligent and make their bids based on what they think a stock is worth. The volatility of the market--how big the jumps in price get--should be based on the amount of information the traders hear, goes the reasoning. More information means a jumpier market, as intelligent traders analyze the news and shift their bids around to get the best deal.
Zero intelligence. A new model suggests that decisions of stock market traders have little effect on the market. Credit: Henny?Ray?Abrams/Reuters
Stock Markets as Minority Games: Cognitive Heterogeneity and Equilibrium Emergence, Physica A
Abstract: Standard finance theory generally assumes homogeneous agents relatively to their preferences, heuristics and investment strategies. We propose to study, in an agent-based simulation, the emergence of equilibrium under various heterogeneous conditions. Market interaction is stylized with the Minority Game representation. It is shown that inductive rational equilibrium emerges even though agents do not share the same representations of the value. This may lead to consider again the roots of EMH [efficient market hypothesis, Ed.] and REH [rational expectations hypothesis, Ed.].
Should Your Next CEO Be a Philosopher?, Knowledge@Wharton
Excerpts: What differentiates a winning company from an also-ran? For many analysts and investors, the answer involves technology, which increasingly permeates every step of a business's operations. But according to a Wharton professor and an Israeli venture capitalist, a company's ability to understand its customers' philosophical outlook may be as vital to its success as R&D and other efforts.
When the Crops Tend the Farmer, Science Now
Leaf-cutting ants are the farmers of the ant world. But unlike real farmers, the leaf-cutters raise only one crop: a strain of fungus particular to each colony. Now researchers have figured out why: different strains war with each other, forcing the ants to grow just one.
Fickle fungus. The fungus grown by this ant colony has a way of ensuring that it's the only crop on the block.
CREDIT: David Nash
(...) The benefits are mutual: Ants nourish the fungi with pieces of leaves and defecate on them to provide other nutrients. In turn, the fungi flourish and are carried far and wide by virgin ant queens when they leave to build a new colony.
Taking the Pulse of Technology at Davos, NY Times
Excerpts: Nicholas Negroponte, (...), prowled the halls of the World Economic Forum holding the holy grail for crossing the digital divide: a mock-up of a $100 laptop computer.(...)
At the 2004 Davos forum, the company started an effort to give half the world's population access to the Internet by 2015. Currently, about 12 percent of the world is connected.
Now, Mr. Ruiz said, Advanced Micro has been working with a variety of mainstream applications for low-cost computing, ranging from inexpensive Web surfing terminals to digital cash registers.
Does Your iPod Play Favorites?, Newsweek
Excerpts: My first iPod seemed to have a fondness for Steely Dan, while other artists were sent into exile.(...)
More specifically, when an iPod does a shuffle, it reorders the songs much the way a Vegas dealer shuffles a deck of cards, then plays them back in the new order. So if you keep listening for the week or so it takes to complete the list, you will hear everything, just once. But people generally listen only to the first few dozen songs. In theory, that sample should be evenly distributed among all the artists and albums in their collections. So why do you typically get three Wilco songs in an hour while Aretha Franklin waits in the wings forever?
Net Regulation 'Still Possible', BBC News
The blurring of boundaries between TV and the Internet raises questions of regulation, (...).
TV content on the net is becoming more common
Content on TV and the Internet is set to move closer this year as TV-quality video online becomes a norm. (...)
"The challenge will arise when boundaries between TV and the Internet truly blur and then there is a balance to be struck between protecting consumers and allowing them to assess the risks themselves," (...).
Adopting the rules that currently exist to regulate TV content or self-regulation, which is currently the practice of the net industry, will be up for discussion.
Sex And The Single Robot, The Guardain
Excerpts: "Christians may not like it, but we must consider this the origin of an artificial species. Until now, most researchers in this field have focused only on the functionality of the machines, but we think in terms of the essence of the creatures." That "essence" is a computer code, which determines a robot's propensity to "feel" happy, sad, angry, sleepy, hungry or afraid. Kim says this software is modelled on human DNA, though equivalent to a single strand of genetic code rather than the complex double helix of a real chromosome.
A Kiss with Consequences, Science Now
Excerpts: A powerful trigger for puberty has been discovered in monkeys
Puberty may begin with a kiss. A new study indicates that a neurotransmitter, which carries the whimsical name kisspeptin, provides a powerful signal to the neurons that control the onset of sexual maturation. The find is one of the first to explain the initial steps that set off the hormonal whirlwind of puberty.
Human babies produce relatively high levels of sex hormones--baby boys have testosterone levels similar to those of grown men. Somehow, the hormones are then shut down for more than a decade, until the onset of puberty.
It Can Be Done: Scientists Teach Old Dogs New Tricks, The New York Times
Excerpts: Old beagles, like old humans, act younger and smarter when they get the right diet and plenty of intellectual stimulation. (...) a diet rich in antioxidants combined with a stimulating environment slowed the canine aging process.(...)
(...), it was clear that the enriched diet alone and the enriched environment alone were each helpful in preventing decline. But the mental functioning of the dogs given a combination of enriched diet and stimulating environment was considerably higher than that of the dogs in the other three groups, the researchers found.
Mirror That Reflects Your Future Self, New Scientist
Excerpts: Another package will work on your face. Too much alcohol? Expect early wrinkles and blotchy skin. "Technology can be quite persuasive," Illsey says. "There will be several options for the visual feedback the user gets, ranging from weight gain to modifying skin tone to increasing the shadows under the eyes." Illsey hopes to have a prototype mirror completed by the middle of this year, providing the behaviour recognition and image processing software can be finished in time. The Accenture team wants the system to work in real time, to give the user a genuine sense of looking into a mirror and seeing the ghosts of today's excesses being projected into the future.
Why Your Brain is Not a Camcorder, Science Now
New imaging study sheds light on how bogus memories are recorded
Which was it? In the original version of a vignette, a robber hides behind a door. But some subjects remembered him hiding behind a tree. CREDIT: Yoko Okado
(...) recruited 20 men and women, who slid into a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. The volunteers watched eight vignettes, each consisting of 50 still images. In one, a man hides behind a door after snatching a woman's wallet. Then the subjects watched the same eight vignettes again, but this time the researchers changed a few key details, having the man hide behind a tree instead of a door, for example. Two days later the subjects (...) assessed their recollection of the original vignettes.
Excerpts: Socially aggressive dreams are more likely to occur during REM than non-REM sleep
You're much more likely to dream about fighting with your spouse, or other aggressive interactions, during REM sleep than non-REM sleep, according to a new study. This specialization of dream states gives further credence to the theory that dreams are more than just meaningless, chaotic images.(...)
Dreams during both stages tend to mull over social interactions, leading some sleep researchers to speculate that dreams may help people better deal with these encounters. (...) REM sleep, for example, stimulates the amygdala, which handles fear and aggression, while non-REM sleep kindles the forebrain, (...).
The Unexpected Brains Behind Blood Vessel Growth, Science
Excerpts: Two of the hottest fields in developmental biology--neural guidance and angiogenesis--are beginning to merge as scientists find that similar proteins control both processes
Evolution follows that principle too, as researchers studying the growth of blood vessels and nervous systems are beginning to appreciate. Scientists probing the development of the veins, arteries, and capillaries that guide nutrients and oxygen to cells are finding more and more evidence that the genes and proteins that were first discovered to guide growing nerve cells also direct blood vessels.
'Darwinian' Funding and the Demise of Physics and Chemistry, Science
Excerpts: Demand for physics and chemistry classes has been steadily falling as students are lured into more career-specific courses such as sports science, forensic science, and media studies. And the once cozy world of British academia is now a competitive marketplace in which universities must vie with each other for government research money and attract as many students as possible to maintain their income. Some researchers suspect that current funding policies are designed to weed out the weak and concentrate resources in a smaller number of superdepartments. "It's a Darwinian exercise," (...).
Underground Search For 'God Particle', BBC News
Excerpts: By recreating the searing-hot conditions fractions of a second after the Big Bang, scientists hope to see new physics, discover the sought-after "God particle", uncover new dimensions and even generate mini-black holes. (...)
The Higgs is nicknamed the God particle because of its importance to the Standard Model, (...).
The 16 particles that make up this model (12 matter particles and 4 force carrier particles) would have no mass if considered alone. So another particle - the Higgs boson - is postulated to exist to account for this omission.
Cosmic Birth Theory Gets Support, BBC News
(...) a supernova was involved in the creation of our Solar System.
Our Solar System could have formed in a violent nebula
New meteorite data lends support to a controversial theory that the violent explosion of a star was involved in the creation of the Sun and its planets.
The primitive space rock contains signs that a short-lived, radioactive form of the element chlorine may have been present in the early Solar System. (...)
For years, astronomers have believed that the Solar System formed inconspicuously, from a slowly condensing cloud of dust and gas; but this traditional view is now being challenged.
Excerpts: The meaning of a dance lies not in the specific steps involved, but rather in the flow of movements of two individuals over time, how they tune into one another, adjust to the other or even anticipate the other's next move. Similarly, Barbara King argues that to understand great ape communication we must go beyond the specific signals emitted to focus on the continuous mutual adjustments in bodies, gestures, and facial expressions that characterize most ape social interactions. In her view, meaning emerges out of such mutual and contingent actions; it is always co-created.
Effective Leadership And Decision-Making In Animal Groups On The Move, Nature
Excerpts: Using a simple model we show how information can be transferred within groups both without signalling and when group members do not know which individuals, if any, have information. We reveal that the larger the group the smaller the proportion of informed individuals needed to guide the group, (...). We also demonstrate how groups can make consensus decisions, even though informed individuals do not know whether they are in a majority or minority, (...), or even whether there are any other informed individuals.
Minority Rule Works For Animals, Nature News
Herd instinct: shoaling fish try to stay in close contact with their group.
A handful of clued-up individuals can steer a swarm of honeybees or a school of fish in the right direction, research suggests. The finding could help engineers to deploy robots more effectively in the future.
A computer algorithm has shown that animals with simple behaviour can use simple rules to make complex group decisions. And as the group becomes larger, the proportion of individuals who need to know what they are doing falls.
(...) "I'm still surprised that the group is so good at collectively making decisions."
Monkeys Pay For Sexy Pics, Nature News
Social animal: by keeping an eye on their fellows, macaques can find mates and avoid fights. ? SPL
To a monkey, some things are worth looking at more than others. (...) rhesus macaques will pay to look at images of powerful or sexually interesting fellows.
The discovery, (...) supports the theory that monkeys will make sacrifices to gain socially useful information, much as a human might spend money on a newspaper.
Male monkeys will 'pay' in fruit juice to look at a picture of a socially dominant monkey or a female's hindquarters. In the wild, the animals help their fitness by monitoring what their leaders are doing, and which females are sexually receptive.
Sign Language Reveals Fast Track To Grammar, Nature News
New languages can develop consistent rules of grammar within a single generation of their birth, a study of an Israeli sign language has shown.
Sign languages can evolve from scratch in the space of a generation. (c) Punchstock
The Al-Sayyid Bedouins, (...), have a high rate of congenital deafness. In a population of about 3,500, roughly 150 people are deaf. The community, which was founded about 200 years ago, has developed its own sign language over the past 70 years, with no apparent outside influences. This is the first documented example of a language evolving from scratch in such isolation.
Excerpts: Ethnic gangs lure children as young as 9, extending their reach even into the area's most affluent suburbs. (...)
Even in Fairfax, which is known for its good schools and low homicide rate, police believe gangs have a presence in every high school. In the eastern Fairfax neighborhood of Culmore, which the Latino gang MS-13 claims as its turf, dozens of children seek refuge after school at a Boys & Girls Club in the basement of a church.
Excerpts: Now, after some three billion years, the Darwinian era is over. The epoch of species competition came to an end about 10 thousand years ago when a single species, Homo sapiens, began to dominate and reorganize the biosphere. Since that time, cultural evolution has replaced biological evolution as the driving force of change. Cultural evolution is not Darwinian. Cultures spread by horizontal transfer of ideas more than by genetic inheritance. Cultural evolution is running a thousand times faster than Darwinian evolution, taking us into a new era of cultural interdependence that we call globalization. And now, in the last 30 years, Homo sapiens has revived the ancient pre-Darwinian practice of horizontal gene transfer, moving genes easily from microbes to plants and animals, blurring the boundaries between species. We are moving rapidly into the post-Darwinian era, when species will no longer exist, and the evolution of life will again be communal.
Digital Biology: An Emerging and Promising Discipline, Trends in Biotechnology
Abstract: This article examines the role of computation and quantitative methods in modern biomedical research to identify emerging scientific, technical, policy and organizational trends. It identifies common concerns and practices in the emerging community of computationally-oriented bio-scientists by reviewing a national symposium, Digital Biology: the Emerging Paradigm, held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, November 6th and 7th 2003. This meeting showed how biomedical computing promises scientific breakthroughs that will yield significant health benefits. Three key areas that define the emerging discipline of digital biology are: scientific data integration, multi-scale modeling and networked science. Each area faces unique technical challenges and information policy issues that must be addressed as the field matures. Here we summarize the emergent challenges and offer suggestions to academia, industry and government on how best to expand the role of computation in their scientific activities.
Search For Life Signal On Titan, BBC News
Scientists will comb data sent back from Titan by the Huygens probe for the chemical signature of life in a bid to identify the moon's source of methane.
Titan: An atmosphere not unlike Earth's billions of years ago
Methane is constantly destroyed by UV light so there must be a source within Titan to replenish the atmosphere.
Life is a possible - though some think unlikely - source of this hydrocarbon along with geological processes.
The surface is too cold for biology, but microbes could survive in an ocean within Titan,(...).
Muddy Microbes Retrieved From The Abyss, Nature News
Challenging lifestyle: foraminifera can live at a depth of 11,000 metres, and a pressure of 1,000 atmospheres. ? Science
The microscopic organisms, called foraminifera, live in mud at the bottom of Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, almost 11 kilometres beneath the waves of the western Pacific Ocean. The pressure at this depth is a crushing 1,090 times that at the surface.
Researchers (...) collected samples of sediment from the trench using the Kaiko submarine. (...)
From the samples, Kitazato's team recovered numerous bacteria and 432 living foraminifera. The latter measure a few dozen micrometres across; (...). Most of the foraminifera were soft-walled, either spherical or needle-shaped, and coloured brown.
Life: In Search Of The Simplest Cell, Nature
Excerpts: Clearly, there is a divide between the top-down and bottom-up approaches, and between theoretical and experimental investigations. In the future, for example, one would like to see more realistic models of the primordial genome and, conversely, an experimental approach to the lipid world. An aim in the coming years will be to bridge those gaps ¡X hence the great value of meetings such as this.
*Towards the Minimal Cell. Erice International School on Complexity, Erice, Sicily, 7-10 December 2004.
Microbiology: Immortality Dies as Bacteria Show Their Age, Science
Excerpts: Biologists already knew that when it comes to aging, all cells are not created equal. In the 1970s, Kirkwood offered the disposable-soma theory: Cells of the body, or soma, can deteriorate, but the germ line cells have to take better care of themselves because they give rise to sperm and eggs. Simple organisms such as budding yeast engage in a subtler division of labor; aging yeast parents invest their freshest components in their buds. But biologists believed that immortality was possible for microbes that divide into identical-looking daughter cells.
Bacteria Show Signs Of Ageing, Nature News
Like daughter, like mother: newborn E. coli look just like their parents, leading some biologists to suggest they did not age. (c) SPL
Bacteria may not have to deal with grey hair and wrinkles, but they do appear to grow old. By following microbes with a camera, researchers have revealed aspects of their life cycle. Their innovation could help people investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in ageing.
Researchers studying ageing in cells focus on two key characteristics: asymmetric cell division and the stage of the life cycle leading up to reproduction (childhood, if you like). "It's been proposed that these two features are an integral part of ageing," (...).
Bacteria Enter Their Golden Years, Science Now
E. coli may not be immortal after all The rod-shaped Escherichia coli bacterium divides in half to form two identical-looking daughter cells, which contain one old end, or pole, inherited from the parent and one new pole. When those daughter cells split, only two of the four resulting cells will have poles from the original cell. Current thinking assumed that all four cells were the same, and because they are essentially identical to the parent cell, immortality was possible for this organism.(...)
Inevitable decline. Young E. coli (blue) grow faster and produce more offspring than old E. coli (red). Credit: Eric Stewart and Stefanie Timmermann/INSERM
Ultimately, they tracked more than 35,000 cells from 94 colonies.
Motion Perception Improves With Age, Nature News
Older observers outstrip youngsters at some visual tasks. As people grow older, their vision can actually get better in some ways, according to a Canadian study. The findings suggest that neurological changes could help the elderly to spot small motions in otherwise uniform scenes. Part of visual processing in the human brain involves cells that suppress each other's activity. This allows the mind to focus on a scene's important features while ignoring trivial regions. But as people age, these inhibitory interactions seem to weaken.
Uninhibited: elderly eyes and brains are less likely to ignore parts of a scene. (c) Punchstock
Software Taming Gene Data Pool, Wired News
Excerpts: Scientists can read the activity of any given gene thanks to technologies called microarrays. They reveal whether a gene is turned on or off, and whether that gene is naughty or nice. But the mountains of information microarrays create often languish in obscure databases.
Now, software engineers are finally getting together with biologists to translate the pile of letters and numbers into scientific discoveries.(...)
"Web tools for sharing large-scale gene-expression data are very important not only for laboratories to share data, (but also to) reduce unnecessary duplicative efforts, and to pool data for achieving statistical significance (...).
Asia Jockeys for Stem Cell Lead, Science
Excerpts: Largely below the radar screen, the emerging economies of South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and China are fast becoming major centers for human ES [embryonic stem, Ed.] cell research. (...)
Unlike their colleagues in the United States and much of Europe, Asian scientists have the full support of their governments. Because obtaining ES cells involves the destruction of very early stage embryos, many Western governments have placed heavy restrictions on the work. But across Asia, there is little of the conflict with prevailing religious and ethical beliefs that has Western countries hesitating
Ecology: Untangling an Entangled Bank, Science
Excerpts: Dissecting these patterns was the goal of an international workshop held recently in Prague and co-organized by the Santa Fe Institute and the Center for Theoretical Study at Charles University.
One major challenge is to relate patterns of species richness to the spatial distribution of individual species. Scale invariance of the species-area relationship, for example, has led to the development of models relating this phenomenon to the fractal spatial distribution of individuals, which is characterized by similar spatial patterns over several scales of resolution.
Traffic Pollution Revs Up Allergens, Nature News
Bad nitrations: fumes' effects on the chemical structure of plant proteins could explain the mysterious link between exhausts and allergies.
Exhaust fumes from traffic could be turning airborne proteins into more powerful allergens, explaining why asthma and other allergies are on the rise in urban areas.
Researchers have found that the mixture of nitrogen dioxide and ozone produced by vehicles can add the chemical group nitrate to the protein molecules that account for up to 5% of the particles in our air.
Nitration could boost the power of existing allergens, or even make benign proteins allergenic, (...). (...) nitrated proteins bind more strongly to the antibodies that cause allergic reactions.
Quantum Computing: Safer Coin Tosses Point to Better Way for Enemies to Swap Messages, Science
Excerpts: Alice tosses the "coin" by forcing one photon's angular momentum to take one of four possible states, two of which represent "heads" and two of which represent "tails." This changes the state of the other entangled photon, which is sent to Bob. Bob measures his photon, but (...), he's unable to determine whether Alice picked heads or tails. He calls the flip--tells Alice heads or tails--and then Alice reveals which of the four states she picked, allowing Bob to verify instantly whether he won or lost the toss.
Home Computers Search For Gravity Waves, Nature News
The Einstein@home screensaver will scan the sky for bell-like vibrations in space-time. ? B. Allen, Einstein@home
Scientists searching for waves of gravitational energy that stretch space and time will soon be seeking the public's help in analysing their data.
Researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) hope to enlist up to a million personal computers in their search for sources of the waves, which have long been predicted but never seen.
Their distributed-computing scheme, set to launch this month, aims to be one of the largest projects of its kind ever created. (...)
Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity lays out the idea (...).
Optical Tweezers To Prove Einstein Right, ScienceDaily
Excerpt: 100 years after Einstein's landmark paper, optical tweezer technology could confirm the theory of classical Brownian motion in details that Einstein missed when he first proposed it a century ago. "Optical tweezers" use a focused laser beam to trap and study microscopic objects, such as the individual bio-molecules that power muscle cells and propel sperm, and those that read the genetic code. The device is disturbed, however, by a subtle effect in Brownian motion known as the back-flow effect. (...)
Evolutionary Developmental Biology: How And Why To Spot Fly Wings, Nature
Excerpts: Revealing exactly how diversity in the number, position and shape of patches of wing pigmentation has evolved across the many species of fruitfly will be a challenge for the next decade. However, fruitflies ¡X as well as other insects such as butterflies, with their much richer diversity in wing pigmentation ¡X provide wonderful opportunities for tracing evolution all the way, from specific changes in gene regulation through to the performance of the altered morphologies in nature and to their diversity among related species.
Pilfering Crab Has Insect's Nose, BBC News
The robber crab climbs trees to pinch coconuts Image: Current Biology
A land crab re-invented key features of the insect nose over millions of years - a striking example of convergent evolution, (...).
An animal's sense of smell needs to operate under very different conditions in air compared with water.
The crab has achieved this in the same way as the ancestors of insects did.
The robber crab, which is descended from marine crabs, had to develop a new way of smelling things when it moved out of the sea and on to land.
Insects evolved some 438-408 million years ago (...).
A Century of Corn Selection, Science
Excerpts: Since 1896, in one of the longest experiments ever, biologists at the University of Illinois have continuously selected maize (corn) to change the oil composition of its kernels. Separate maize lines have been selected for more than 100 generations (...).
It is a challenge for geneticists to identify the genes and the molecular changes in them that cause these many small but important differences in quantitative traits. It is these small differences that generate variability in populations, providing fuel for change through the action of natural and artificial selection.
Radio Waves Make Aurora Sparkle, Nature News
Mysterious glow: fast-moving electrons cause aurora, but scientists do not know what accelerates the particles. (c) Nature
What better way to investigate the delicate beauty of the 'northern lights' than by blasting them with radio waves?
Scientists working in Alaska have used such waves to make speckles of green light twinkle within the aurora borealis. The technique could help them to clear up the enigma of what causes the pulsating natural light shows.
"We were very surprised to see a significant effect,"(...). In fact, the sparkles were visible to the naked eye.(...)
The transmitter is twice as powerful as the BBC's biggest radio masts in Britain.
Brain Immaturity Could Explain Teen Crash Rate, The Washington Post
Excerpts: While society and tradition have placed the point of intellectual maturity, the "age of reason," years earlier, the study (...) shows it comes at about age 25.
The process is generally completed a year or two earlier in women but varies greatly from person to person. (...)
"We have to find out what matters. Diet? Education, video games? Medicine, parenting, music? Is the biggest factor whether you're a musician or a jock or the amount of sleep you get?"
(...) brain matures in a series of fits and starts.
Editor's Note: There is no mentioning of gender differences and the role of testosterone in risk taking behavior.
Bush Describes 'Ending Tyranny' as a Policy Ideal, The Washington Post
President Bush, during a hastily called appearance in the White House briefing room, figuratively plants a "flag of liberty" in the lectern to emphasize a point of last week's inaugural speech. (Susan Biddle -- The Washington Post)
President Bush yesterday characterized his Inauguration Day goal of "ending tyranny in our world" as a long-term ideal rather than a new policy redefining U.S. relations with repressive governments, as he ratcheted back expectations of a more muscular approach to spreading freedom abroad.
While saying he had "firmly planted the flag of liberty" in Iraq, Bush offered no tangible plans for how he would plant it in other countries, suggesting instead that the stirring words of last week's inaugural address were meant as a statement of principles (...).
The Torture Papers: The Road To Abu Ghraib, Camb. Univ. Press
Excerpts: The Torture Papers document the so-called 'torture memos' and reports which US government officials wrote to prepare the way for, and to document, coercive interrogation and torture in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib. (...) The Bush Administration, concerned about the legality of harsh interrogation techniques, understood the need to establish a legally viable argument to justify such procedures. The memos and reports document the systematic attempt of the US Government to prepare the way for torture techniques and coercive interrogation practices, forbidden under international law, (...).
Complex Challenges: Global Terroist Networks
Security Nominee Gave Advice to the C.I.A. on Torture Laws, NY Times
Excerpts: But Mr. Chertoff left the door open to the use of a different set of far harsher techniques proposed by the C.I.A., saying they might be used under certain circumstances. He advised that they could be used depending on factors like the detainee's physical condition and medical advice as to how the person would react to some practices, (...).
(...) That memorandum, (...), said inflicted pain, for example, qualified as torture only if it was of a level equivalent to organ failure or imminent death.
Torture Chicks Gone Wild, NY Times
Excerpts: "The concept was to make the detainee feel that after talking to her he was unclean and was unable to go before his God in prayer and gain strength," (...) When it became visible the detainee saw what appeared to be red blood on her hand. She said, 'Who sent you to Arizona?' He then glared at her (...). She then wiped the red ink on his face. He shouted at the top of his lungs, spat at her and lunged forward," breaking out of an ankle shackle.
Australian's Long Path in the U.S. Antiterrorism Maze, NY Times
Excerpts: For more than three years, Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born Australian with a volatile temper and an intense devotion to radical Islam, was in American custody, transported from Pakistan to Afghanistan to Egypt to the prison at Guantánamo Bay. (...) The Americans designated him an ''enemy combatant,'' saying he had admitted (...).
Reports on Pentagon's New Spy Units Set Off Questions in Congress, NY Times
Abstract: Senior members of Congress say they will try to determine whether Pentagon overstepped its bounds by creating new secret battlefield intelligence units within Defense Intelligence Agency; question whether secret counterterrorism operations carried out by units might amount to covert actions--legal definition for missions in which United States government denies any role and that can be undertaken only by presidential directive and with formal Congressional notification (M)
Pentagon Sends Its Spies to Join Fight on Terror, NY Times
Abstract: Pentagon battlefield intelligence units are working directly with Special Operations forces on secret counterterrorism missions, in tasks that have been largely province of Central Intelligence Agency; small clandestine teams, drawn from specialists within Defense Intelligence Agency, are providing military's elite Special Operations units with battlefield intelligence using advanced technology, recruiting spies in foreign countries, and scouting potential targets; teams represent prime example of Defense Sec Donald H Rumsfeld's desire to expand Pentagon's ability to collect human intelligence--gathered by spies rather than by technology--both within military service and Defense Intelligence Agency, whose focus is on intelligence used on battlefield; Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita, confirming existence of teams in response to newspaper article, says they have been operating in Iraq and Afghanistan for two years; intelligence experts say creation of unit is latest chapter in turf battle between Defense Dept and CIA; battle has intensified since 9/11 comnmission recommended creating job of national intelligence director to oversee all intelligence programs; CIA is concerned that expanded Pentagon role in intelligence-gathering could escape strict Congressional oversight(...)
Judge Rules Detainee Tribunals Illegal, The Washington Post
Excerpts: A federal judge ruled yesterday that the Bush administration must allow prisoners at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to contest their detention in U.S. courts, (...).
U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green said that the approximately 550 men held as "enemy combatants" are entitled to the advice of lawyers and to confront the evidence against them in those proceedings. But, she found, the Defense Department has largely denied them these "most basic fundamental rights" during the reviews conducted at Guantanamo Bay, in the name of protecting the United States from terrorism.
Links & Snippets
- World Economic Forum , Davos, Switzerland, 05/01/26-30
1st European Conference on Complex Systems, Torino, Italy, 04/12/5-7
Neurobiological Foundation For The Meaning Of Information, Kolkata, India, Conference Webcast, 04/11/22-25
- ALife 9: Ninth International Conference on Artificial Life, Boston, MA, 04/09/12-15
The 4th Intl Workshop on Meta-synthesis and Complex System, Beijing, China, 04/07/22-23
Intl Conf on Complex Networks: Structure, Function and Processes, Kolkata, India, 04/06/27-30
From Autopoiesis to Neurophenomenology: A Tribute to Francisco Varela (1946-2001), Paris, France, 2004/06/18-20
ECC8 Experimental Chaos Conference, Florence, Italy,
Evolutionary Epistemology, Language, and Culture, Brussels, Belgium, 04/05/26-28
International Conference on Complex Systems 2004, Boston, 04/05/16-21
Life, a Nobel Story, Brussels, Belgium, 04/04/28
Nonlinear Dynamics and Statistical Mechanics Days, Brussels, Belgium, 04/04/26-27
Science Education Forum for Chinese Language Culture, Panel Discussion, Taipei, Taiwan, 04/05/01
Biologically Inspired Approaches to Advanced Information Technology, , Lausanne,Switzerland, 04/01/29-30
Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos: Lab Demonstrations, Strogatz, Steven H., Internet-First University Press, 1994
- CERN Webcast Service, Streamed videos of Archived Lectures and Live Events
- Dean LeBaron's Archive of Daily Video Commentary, Ongoing Since February 1998
- Edge Videos
Conference & Call for Papers Announcements
Online Course on Genetic Programming, with Lee Altenberg, University of Hawaii Outreach College 2005/01/10 to 2005/05/13.
Creative Evolution, London, 05/02/12-13
- Kondratieff Waves, Warfare And World Security, NATO Advanced Research Workshop
, Covilh? Portugal, 05/02/14-17
- Physik seit Einstein,
Berlin, Germany, 05/03/04-09
- 2005 Meeting Arbeitskreis
Physik sozio-oekonomischer Systeme, AKSOE (Socio-Economic-Physics)
- 2005 World Exposition "
Nature's Wisdom, Aichi, Japan, 05/03/25-09/25
- FINCO 2005: Foundations Of Interactive Computation, Edinburgh, Scotland, 05/04/09
5th Creativity And Cognition Conference, London.UK, 05/04/12-15
Social Intelligence and Interaction in Animals, Robots and Agents, Hatfield, UK, 05/04/12-15
2005 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show
Nanotech 2005, Anaheim, California, U.S.A., 05/05/08-12
- 2ndShanghai Intl Symposium on Nonlinear Science and Applications, Shanghai, 05/06/03-07
IEEE Swarm Intelligence Symposium
Pasadena, California, USA, 05/06/08-10
10th Annual Workshop on Economic Heterogeneous Interacting Agents (WEHIA 2005) , University of Essex, United Kingdom, 05/06/13-15
- Powders & Grains 2005, Stuttgart, Germany, 05/06/18-22
NKS Summer School,
Brown University, Providence, RI, 05/06/20-07/08
- 6th Intl Conf Symmetry in Nonlinear Mathematical Physics, Kiev, Ukraine, 05/06/20-26
- Workshop on Complexity and Policy Analysis, Cork, Ireland, 05/06/22-24
2005 Genetic And Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO-2005), Washington, DC, USA, 05/06/25-29
6th Intl Summer School/Conference "Let's Face Chaos Through Nonlinear Dynamics"Dedicated to the 75th Birthday of Professor Siegfried Gro吮ann, Maribor, Slovenia, 05/06/26-07/10
WOSC 13th International Congress Of Cybernetics And Systems, Maribor, Slovenia, 05/07/06-10
4th International Workshop on Computational Intelligence in Economics and Finance (CIEF'2005), Salt Lake City, 05/07/21-26
5th Gathering on Biosemiotics, Urbino, Italy, 05/07/22-24
- Soc for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences
15th Annual Intl Conf, Denver, CO, USA, 05/08/04-06
- ECAL 2005 - VIIIth European Conference on Artificial Life, Canterbury, Kent, UK, 05/09/05-09
Complexity, Science and Society Conf 2005, Liverpool, UK, 05/09/11-14
18th International Conference on Noise and Fluctuations (ICNF 2005), Salamanca, Spain, 05/09/19-23
CSDS-2005 Intl Conf on CONTROL AND SYNCHRONIZATION OF DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS , Leon, Guanajuato, MEXICO, 05/10/04-07
3rd International Complexity Science and Educational Research Conference, Robert, Louisiana, 05/11/20-22, see also: Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, Inaugural issue - Free Online Access