Reflections and Insights: Provocative Thinking on Investment Management, FAJ Webcast
Excerpts: The Financial Analysts Journal ? (FAJ) 60th anniversary conference brings together our industry's most influential thinkers in an unrivalled discussion of their insights on investment management. This live audio webcast will provide a unique opportunity to hear from industry leaders who have demonstrated the fearless and creative decision-making skills to judge emerging trends and thrive in an evolving global economy. Please join these investment visionaries as they discuss the driving forces of the past 60 years and examine the challenges faced by those building the investment industry of tomorrow.
Editor's Note: ComDig publisher Dean LeBaron talks about "Targeting Corporate Governance Improvements" towards the end of the webcast.
How Wall Street Learns to Look the Other Way, NY Times
Abstract: Op-Ed article by Robert J Shiller, economics professor, on why nobody on New York Stock Exchange's board questioned astronomical pay package given to its former chairman Dick Grasso; says they and executives involved in other current scandals were shaped by broader business culture they work in; says it helps to look back to how they were educated; notes that view of world students get in modern business curriculum can lead to ethical disconnect; says modern business education often encourages excessive respect for anything that can be considered result of free market; says ethical behavior should be integral part of curriculum in business schools; drawing (M)
Tapes Show Enron Arranged Plant Shutdown, NY Times
Excerpts: But until the tapes were released on Thursday, there had been few public details of how Enron set in motion the phony power shortages.
Company officials had long denied that they illegally shut down plants to create artificial shortages. In March 2001 - two months after the recording showed how the Nevada plant was shut down- Mr. Lay called any claims of market manipulation "conspiracy theories."
Memos uncovered by Snohomish County also show that Enron rewarded midlevel executives based on their performance in manipulating the West Coast market.
Analysts See U.S. Goals and Global Oil Needs in Conflict, NPR ME
Excerpts: The growing worldwide competition for oil could soon get in the way of President Bush's goal of promoting democracy abroad: Some of the biggest oil suppliers have governments that fall far short of democratic standards.
One result of the 1973 oil embargo was the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which established corporate-average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for vehicles sold in the United States. As a result of this law, the fuel efficiency of a typical car rose from roughly 15 miles per gallon to about 28 miles per gallon in little more than a decade. Although technology continued to improve, since the late 1980s automakers have chosen to increase vehicle weight and improve performance, letting the fuel efficiency of their vehicles remain static. Still, average fuel efficiency has slowly declined over the past 15 years, because manufacturers and consumers have grown increasingly fond of light trucks, which are treated more leniently under the law. Imposing stricter fuel-efficiency standards would certainly help combat America's dependency on foreign oil, but would it cost jobs, as many automakers contend? The authors' economic modeling suggests that tougher standards would, in fact, give the economy a boost.
Pedicabs Steer a Hard Road, Business Week
Excerpts: The human-powered cabs are familiar sights in big cities, despite regulations and insurance woes that can make this business a very rough ride (...)
Pedicabs, too, have increased in number with the sanitized scene. Some 200 of these modernized, bicycle-powered rickshaws prowl Midtown, up from just a handful 10 years ago.
Their numbers suggest times are good for operators of this novelty transportation. But for all the expansion of the pedicab niche, the business has its share of growing pains -- from rising insurance rates to impending regulation and increasing competitive pressures.
Editor's Note: In the discussion issues of energy conservation and reduction of air pollution by increased use of pedicabs seem not to play a role.
Gambling With Your Retirement, NY Times
Excerpts: President Bush wants Americans to take a loan from the government and use it to buy stocks, and if that turns out to have been a mistake - well, too bad.(...) Experts usually tell people to plan for their retirement by investing in a mix of stocks and bonds. They disapprove strongly of speculation on margin: borrowing to buy stocks. Yet Mr. Bush wants tens of millions of Americans to do exactly that.(...) And it's true that you can improve Social Security's finances with privatization, as long as you also slash benefits - just as you can kill a flock of sheep with witchcraft, provided you also feed them arsenic. (Thanks, M. Voltaire.)
Figuring a Social Security Benefit Under President Bush's Plan, NY Times
Excerpts: Some economists worry that personal accounts would put the well-being of low income retirees at risk.
"The personal accounts increase the variance in your outcome," said Richard Burkhauser, the chairman of the department of political analysis and management at Cornell University. "But if you are poor, are you in a position to have so much risk in your portfolio?"
(...) "the personal accounts would have a net neutral effect on the fiscal situation of the Social Security and on the federal government."
Read the Fine Print, NY Times
Excerpts: Mr. Bush assured listeners that the government would prevent people from making bad decisions by restricting their investments to a conservative mix of stocks and bonds. But the more restrictions there are, the harder it would be for people to achieve the outsized returns that the administration has generally promoted to sell the public on private accounts.
(...)promise that the private accounts could be passed on to one's heirs, as it turns out, is also less than it seems. That works entirely only if you die before you retire.
Mothers And Sons: Preference Formation And Female Labor Force Dynamics, Quar. J. Econ.
Excerpt: This paper argues that the growing presence of a new type of man-one brought up in a family in which the mother worked-has been a significant factor in the increase in female labor force participation over time. We present cross-sectional evidence showing that the wives of men whose mothers worked are themselves significantly more likely to work. We use variation in the importance of World War II as a shock to women's labor force participation-as proxied by variation in the male draft rate across U. S. states (...).
Consumer Concern Over RFID Tags, BBC News
Fifty nine percent of people said they were worried that RFID tags would allow data to be used more freely by third parties.(...)
Tags can be used to monitor stock levels
"Acceptance of new technologies always has a tipping point at which consumers believe that benefits outweigh concerns.
"With the right RFID approach and ongoing communication with consumers, the industry can reach this point."
(...) the majority of people surveyed (52%) believed that RFID tags could be read from a distance.
He said that was a misconception based on a lack of awareness of the technology.
Life Sciences in the 21st Century, The Scientist
Excerpts: Collaboration, complexity are on the rise, and standardization of tools will speed progress
In many ways the laboratory tools we use today may remind us of computers in the late 1970s. In those days, systems were mostly incompatible and were dedicated to specific tasks. When the first personal computers emerged, these systems were integrated: (...) it became possible to share and compare data over multiple and geographically dispersed platforms. (...) The more complex and interrelated the applications, the more important it becomes that as much analytical risk as possible is removed, allowing various data contents to be compared and exchanged.
A mouse lives just a few years, while an elephant can make it to age 70. (...) In its brief life, a mouse squeezes in, on average, as many heartbeats and breaths as an elephant does. Compared with those of an elephant, many aspects of a mouse's life-such as the rate at which its cells burn energy, the speed at which its muscles twitch, its gestation time, and the age at which it reaches maturity-are sped up by the same factor as its life span is.
Editor's Note: It would be interesting to see if the notoriously short life-spans (few years) of the relatively large squid and octopus follow the same pattern and if not, why not.
Optical Imaging of Neuronal Populations During Decision-Making, Science
Summary: What makes an individual decide to choose one set of activities over another? Briggman et al. ( p. 896 ) tried to unravel the mechanisms underlying behavioral choice in the relatively simple nervous system of the medicinal leech. They presented an animal with a constant stimulus that repeatedly produced two different, mutually exclusive behaviors with roughly equal probabilities. This approach allowed the authors to focus on neurons involved in decision-making (...). Neurons exhibiting decisive roles in the choice between swimming and crawling were identified (...). A candidate key neuron highlighted by these analyses (neuron 208) could selectively bias the decision to swim or crawl.
Editor's Note: What will the leech decide to do if neuron 208 dies?
Holy Evolution, Darwin! Comics Take On Science, NPR ME
Hosler's latest comic stars Charles Darwin; in it, Darwin explains evolutionary theory to a tiny follicle mite living in his eyebrow.
Niels Bohr pictured in a free-falling elevator in Suspended in Language.
Hosler was inspired to write the work after coming across a comic that portrayed a professor denouncing evolution as a lie,(...).
Hosler says one way scientists can counter anti-evolutionists is by using comics to tell great stories.
"I think that's what I'm trying to do," he says. "I think Darwin's life is a great story. So why not tell it as a great story?"
The Onset Of Selection, Nature
Excerpts: Natural selection started to drive evolution as soon as molecular replication became possible.
(...) the basic principles of evolution by natural selection are well known. First, there is genetic continuity, based on replication. Then, inevitably, comes variation. Finally, there is competition, leading to selection of the variants most apt to survive and proliferate under the prevailing conditions. The findings of modern biology have fully validated those principles, adding the fundamental fact that the causes of variation are strictly accidental and unintentional.
Biology's New Forbidden Fruit, NY Times
Excerpts: Gene designers may need their own Hippocratic oath.(...)
Until recently biologists worked with the components they found in nature. They might swap genes from creature to creature, but they did it by cutting and pasting nature's originals, rather as an editor might move bits of prose with a click and a drag. Now the biologists are getting keyboards to go with their metaphorical mice - technologies that allow them to write genes and genomes from scratch, to alter and surpass nature's vocabulary.
Challenging Dose-Response Dogma, The Scientist
Hormetic dose responses are biphasic, displaying either an inverted U- or J-shape depending on the endpoint measured (Figure 1). It's generally recognized, for example, that adults who consume a glass of wine most days have reduced risk to cardiovascular disease compared to nondrinkers, while excessive consumption increases such risks. This type of J-shaped dose response is now known to be quite common in toxicology and pharmacology, being seen with many dozens of chemicals, and for hundreds of important endpoints such as cancer risks, longevity, growth, performance on various types of intelligence tests, and more.
FIGURE 1.? Stylized curves that illustrate the linear, threshold, and hormetic dose-response models for carcinogens.
Courtesy of Edward J. Calabrese
Heartfelt Fear: Findings Link Stress And Cardiac Symptoms, Science News
Excerpts: Terrible sadness, a sudden fright, or other emotional stress can bring on heart attack symptoms in people not actually experiencing a heart attack, according to two new reports.
The researchers examined people who showed up at hospitals with chest pain and an impaired capacity to pump blood but no heart-tissue damage or clogged coronary arteries. Rather, the patients turned out to be experiencing physical effects after stressful events, such as the death of a loved one.
Cardiology: Solace For The Broken-Hearted?, Nature
Excerpts: The heart was thought to lack the capacity to regenerate after injury. But the identification of cells that can divide and mature into heart muscle suggests that the heart has repair mechanisms after all. (...)
In patients who survive less severe attacks, dead heart cells are replaced by cells from the connective tissue called fibroblasts, which divide and migrate into the damaged area to form scar tissue. In these areas, the ventricular wall becomes thin and no longer contracts properly.
Therapists Question Canada's Action on Hyperactivity Drug, NY Times
Excerpts: "But we have absolutely no idea what happened in these deaths and no idea what to look for" - and no reason to alarm patients. (...)
Yet while a drug's potency is often directly related to its risk of side effects, studies have not found significant differences between amphetamines and the other drugs used to treat attention and hyperactivity problems, (...). (...) 30 percent to 40 percent of his patients cannot manage their attention problems well without amphetamines; Ritalin and Strattera are not strong enough for them, he said.
Neurobiology: Motor Control Of Flexible Octopus Arms, Nature
Excerpts: Animals with rigid skeletons can rely on several mechanisms to simplify motor control- for example, they have skeletal joints that reduce the number of variables and degrees of freedom that need to be controlled. Here we show that when the octopus uses one of its long and highly flexible arms to transfer an object from one place to another, it employs a vertebrate-like strategy, temporarily reconfiguring its arm into a stiffened, articulated, quasi-jointed structure. This indicates that an articulated limb may provide an optimal solution for achieving precise, point-to-point movements.
Tiny District Finds Bonanza of Pupils and Funds Online, NY Times
Excerpts: There are just 65 students attending Branson's lone brick and mortar school, but there are an additional 1,000 enrolled in its online affiliate. And with the state paying school districts $5,600 per pupil, Branson Online has been a bonanza. Founded in 2001, it has received $15 million so far.
The school district has used the money to hire everyone in town who wants a job, including the mayor, who teaches 15 students via e-mail.
(...) As in Colorado, online schools in other states have also shown mediocre academic performance.
How to Stop Junk E-Mail: Charge for the Stamp, NY Times
Excerpts: (...) stopping the exorbitant flow of spam at its very source.
The puzzle uses an intricate design involving the way a computer gains access to memory and resists a quick solution by speedy processors, requiring about 10 seconds. It is not so long that you'd notice it for the occasional outgoing message, but if you have eight million Viagra messages queued up, good luck in getting each one "stamped."
(...) No stamp, no entry.
Ms. Dwork and her colleagues have named this the Penny Black Project.
Science Plumbs Memory's Faults, NPR ATC
Excerpts: This week defrocked priest Paul Shanley was convicted of child rape, after the victim testified about memories of the abuse that he recalled only after seeing news reports about Shanley. The trial focused on those memories' reliability, but evidence is growing that nearly all memories distort the truth.
How The Brain Creates False Memories, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: Lawyers are often suspicious of so-called "eye-witness accounts" and rightly so. Hundreds of scientific studies in the past few decades have shown that the memories of people who observe complex events are notoriously susceptible to alteration if they receive misleading information about the event after it has taken place. (...) compared the areas of the brain that were active when a subject was encoding a complex event and afterwards, during exposure to misleading information. (...) Memory for a misinformation item was scored as a false memory only if the subject attributed the item to either the original presentation or to both the original (...).
Inventor Sets His Sights On Immortality, The Associated Press
Excerpts: Kurzweil writes that humanity is on the verge of controlling how genes express themselves and ultimately changing the genes. With such technology, humanity could block disease-causing genes and introduce new ones that would slow or stop the aging process.
The ¡§Third Bridge¡¨ is the nanotechnology and artificial intelligence revolution, which Kurzweil predicts will deliver the nanobots that work like repaving crews in our bloodstreams and brains. These intelligent machines will destroy disease, rebuild organs and obliterate known limits on human intelligence, he believes.
Smaller Than a Pushpin, More Powerful Than a PC, NY Times
Abstract: IBM, Sony and Toshiba are set to announce details of their newest microprocessor design, known as Cell, which is expected to offer faster computing performance than microprocessors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices; Sony plans to use chip in its PlayStation 3 and Toshiba plans to use it in advanced high-definition television; industry experts say chip's impact may be broader, staving off PC industry's efforts to dominate digital living room while creating new digital computing ecosystem; photo (M)
IBM, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment And Toshiba Disclose More Of The Cell Chip, Geekzone
Excerpts: The prototype chip integrates 234 million transistors, and is fabricated with 90 nanometer SOI [ Silicon-on-Insulator, Ed.] technology.
Cell's multi-core architecture and ultra high-speed communications capabilities deliver an improved, real-time response for entertainment and rich media applications, in many cases 10 times the performance of the latest PC processors. (...)
Another advantage of Cell is to support multiple operating systems, such as conventional operating systems (including Linux), real-time operating systems for computer entertainment and consumer electronics applications as well as guest operating systems for specific applications, simultaneously.
Augmented Reality: Another (Virtual) Brick in the Wall, Technology Review
Excerpts: Unlike Virtual Reality, which immerses users in a new digital environment, Augmented Reality (AR) -- a broad class of user interface techniques intended to enhance a person's perception of the world around them with computer generated information -- aims to enhance the analog world.
Users, via wearable display screens, see the non-virtual world around them with digital information superimposed into their surroundings. But since each person experiences the world differently, AR developers face some tricky programming and design problems.
'Quantum Well' Transistor Promises Lean Computing, New Scientist
Excerpts: Indium antimonide allows electrons to speed through faster than conventional silicon-based transistors due to its highly active and greater number of "charge-carriers" - which help relay the electrons quickly.
But these charge-carriers also make these transistors more difficult to control than silicon ones (...).
To overcome this temperature limitation, the researchers sandwiched pure indium antimonide between layers of the same material mixed with aluminium. The isolated pure material acts as a "quantum well", confining electrons which travel at high speed but which can also be controlled at very low voltage.
Chips That Thrive on Uncertainty, Business Week
Excerpts: As transistors shrink, consistent performance diminishes. Big problem? Not if Krishna Palem is right about the benefits of unpredictability (...)
However, if a chip can get by without all the double checks to assure absolute certainty, then energy consumption could be slashed -- and speed would get a simultaneous boost. That's the notion behind Palem's concept of probabilistic bits, or Pbits. As he puts it: "Uncertainty, contrary to being an impediment, becomes a resource."
(...) "The initial applications won't be in general-purpose computing," he says. That's where Intel's chips reign. "Instead, they'll be special-purpose, embedded applications."
Blockbuster With a Joystick, NY Times
Abstract: Media companies are poised for new attempt to combine movies and television with video game business; reportedly are on hunt to acquire video game maker like Activision or Electronic Arts; studios are more aggressively licensing their television and movie properties to game makers and weighing pitches for video game-inspired films; new interest is spurred by game makers' big profits, although video games remain risky and unproven test for media companies; table of recent events; photos (M)
Is Instructional Video Game an Oxymoron?, NY Times
Excerpts: Public interest organizations are producing dozens of instructional online games that they say have become the best way to reach children and teenagers.(...)
Hundreds of recent video games reward players for shooting villains, vaporizing monsters or solving puzzles. But only one encourages regular and rigorous hand washing. ... That game, Stop Fluin' Around, came not from a major developer but from an alliance of several public interest groups, including the Partnership for Food...
Music Education And Cultural Identity, Edu. Phil. & Theory
Excerpt: Renewed interest in the relationship between music education and cultural identity draws its vigor from strongly divergent sources. Globalized education and globalized musical culture supply new paradigms for understanding the central tasks of music education and their responsibility to a multicultural ethic of diversity, hybridity and difference. Yet recent anthropological studies of musical cognition and development emphasise both the centrality of ethnic and cultural particularism to the formation of musical awareness (...). These seemingly contrasting perspectives on the relationship of music to culture and identity offer a fertile context for redefining the place of music education in the curriculum.
- Source: Music Education And Cultural Identity, R. A. Davis, DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2005.00097.x, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Feb. 2005
- Contributed by Atin Das - dasatinyahoo.co.in
Wolpaw, one of a growing number of researchers developing noninvasive alternatives to neural implants, recently published evidence that normal and spinal-injured human patients could move a cursor on a computer screen by controlling their own electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns, specifically, those EEG features called mu and beta rhythms.
(...) surpasses that of a similar 1994 study. He attributes this advance in part to improvements in signal processing, but mostly to a new adaptive algorithm that adjusts the EEG features on which it focuses based on the user's past performance.
Blind Student 'Hears In Colour', BBC News
Excerpts: A blind engineering student in the US develops software that turns colour into musical notes.
"As the notes increase in pitch I know the colour's getting redder and redder, and in my mind's eye a patch of red appears."
The colour to music software has not yet been made available commercially, and Mr Wong believes that several people would have to work together to make it viable.
Machine Intelligence Meets Neuroscience: The brain's Behavior, Computer
Excerpts: (...) believes that intelligence is an emergent behavior of a large group of specialized neurons, which use a memory-based world model to make a continuous series of predictions of future events. He argues that time itself is a crucial component of what the brain does and how it does it. He believes there are three crucial aspects of a brain's behavior: The brain works on time-sequenced streams of inputs, there is a lot of feedback involved (as evidenced by the way neural nets are organized in the brain), and there is a pattern to the hierarchy of real networks (...).
Inflationary Cosmology: Exploring the Universe from the Smallest to the Largest Scales, Science
Abstract: Understanding the behavior of the universe at large depends critically on insights about the smallest units of matter and their fundamental interactions. Inflationary cosmology is a highly successful framework for exploring these interconnections between particle physics and gravitation. Inflation makes several predictions about the present state of the universe-such as its overall shape, large-scale smoothness, and smaller scale structure-which are being tested to unprecedented accuracy by a new generation of astronomical measurements. The agreement between these predictions and the latest observations is extremely promising. Meanwhile, physicists are busy trying to understand inflation's ultimate implications for the nature of matter, energy, and spacetime.
Light Continues To Echo Three Years After Stellar Outburst [Heic0503], ESA News Release
The illumination of interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star at the middle of the image, which gave off a pulse of light three years ago, (...). The dust surrounding V838 Mon may have been ejected from the star during a previous explosion, (...). As light from the stellar explosion continues to propagate outwards, different parts of the surrounding dust are illuminated, (...). Eventually, when light from the back side of the nebula begins to arrive, the light echo will give the illusion of contracting, and finally it will disappear.
Date: 03 Feb 2005 Satellite: Hubble Depicts: Erupting star V838 Monocerotis Copyright: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI) The Hubble Space Telescope's latest image of the star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) reveals dramatic changes in the illumination of surrounding dusty cloud structures. The effect, called a light echo, has been unveiling never-before-seen dust patterns ever since the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002
Dial-A-Splash: Thin Air Quells Liquid Splatter, Science News
To explain their results, the Chicago researchers posit that the leading edge of a fallen, squashed drop rushes outward, compressing a thin layer of gas next to the glass surface. At normal pressure, as the gas resists this compression, it forces up the film's edge, which then breaks up. The result: a splash.
AFTER THE FALL. In air at normal pressure (left), an ethanol drop spatters into a delicate and elaborate crown upon striking a glass slide. At 17 percent of ordinary pressure (right), the drop makes no splash. Xu
But at reduced pressures-or if the gas is light-the compressed gas resists less vigorously, generating a weaker splash or none at all. The splash is "very tunable," Xu says.
The Quantum Measurement Problem, Science
Abstract: Despite the spectacular success of quantum mechanics (QM) over the last 80 years in explaining phenomena observed at the atomic and subatomic level, the conceptual status of the theory is still a topic of lively controversy. Most of the discussion centers around two famous paradoxes (or, as some would have it, pseudoparadoxes) associated, respectively, with the names of Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen (EPR) and with Schrödinger's cat. In this Viewpoint, I will concentrate on the paradox of Schrödinger's cat or, as it is often known (to my mind somewhat misleadingly), the quantum measurement paradox.
Time And The Quantum: Erasing The Past And Impacting The Future, Science
Abstract: The quantum eraser effect of Scully and Drühl dramatically underscores the difference between our classical conceptions of time and how quantum processes can unfold in time. Such eyebrow-raising features of time in quantum mechanics have been labeled "the fallacy of delayed choice and quantum eraser" on the one hand and described "as one of the most intriguing effects in quantum mechanics" on the other. In the present paper, we discuss how the availability or erasure of information generated in the past can affect how we interpret data in the present. The quantum eraser concept has been studied and extended in many different experiments and scenarios, for example, the entanglement quantum eraser, the kaon quantum eraser, and the use of quantum eraser entanglement to improve microscopic resolution.
As theoretical physics blossomed during the 1930s and 1940s, so did the problem of infinities: The equations physicists constructed to answer fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and the interactions of light, energy and matter led again and again to frustrating non-answers. Richard Feynman offered a tool for solving this problem: using a diagram for specifying the terms of the equations. (...) Curiously, they became most popular in fields of physics for which they were less suited-particularly in theories of nuclear-particle interactions.
Synthetic Chemistry: Making A Natural Fuel Cell, Nature
Excerpts: The synthetic assembly of the active centre of hydrogen-producing enzymes adds to our understanding of their structure and function ¡X and could produce new and useful materials that mimic these enzymes. A host of microbes metabolize hydrogen with high efficiency by using enzymes known as hydrogenases1. These enzymes are exquisite miniature hydrogen fuel cells, and are based on a combination of sulphur and iron atoms, and sometimes a single nickel atom.
Functional Holography Of Complex Networks Activity - From Cultures To The Human Brain, Complexity
Excerpts: A functional holography (FH) approach is introduced for analyzing the complex activity of biological networks in the space of functional correlations. Although the activity is often recorded from part of the nodes only, the goal is to decipher the activity of the whole network. This is why the analysis is guided by the whole in every part nature of a holograms (...) Utilizing the analysis, the existence of hidden manifolds with simple yet characteristic geometrical and topological features in the complex biological activity was discovered from cultured networks to the human brain. (...)
Accelerating Networks, Science
Excerpts: Networks that are simple connection networks, such as telephone exchanges or the Internet, are able to grow in an unconstrained way. In contrast, regulatory networks--such as those in biology (for example, the network of regulatory proteins (...)), engineering, or society--are accelerating networks that must be able to operate in a globally responsive way. Such global responsiveness, we argue, imposes an upper size limit on the complexity of integrated systems due to the costs incurred by the need for an increased number of connections and levels of regulation.
Statistical Mechanics Of Complex Ecological Aggregates, Ecol. Complexity
Excerpt: A fundamental limitation of classical science was its inability to explain how order could emerge out of uncertainty and indeterminism. (...) The balance between constraint and change gives rise to a hierarchy of aggregated structures that exhibit regular, repeatable attributes to the degree that constraints are able to maintain change across time within boundaries that define the nature of the structure. This basic view of causality in complex systems suggests an approach to defining a statistical mechanics for ecological systems that can be used to generate new theoretical descriptions of biological diversity. (...).
Ginseng Threatened by Bambi's Appetite, Science
Summary: Ginseng is a highly valued understory forest plant that is widespread in eastern North America, although at low population density. It has many uses in traditional Asian medicine and strong cultural ties to Appalachian communities. Population viability analyses carried out by McGraw and Furedi ( p. 920; see the news story by Stokstad) suggest that high rates of browsing by burgeoning populations of white-tailed deer threaten to cause extinction of most, if not all, wild American ginseng populations within a century. The white-tailed deer represents a keystone species, with large and cascading effects on the natural community. Loss of the wild populations of ginseng and other potentially valuable understory herbs would have significant economic and cultural consequences.
Deer Browsing and Population Viability of a Forest Understory Plant, Science
Abstract: American ginseng is the premier medicinal plant harvested from the wild in the United States. In this study, seven populations of ginseng plants were censused every 3 weeks during the growing season over 5 years to monitor deer browse and harvest and to project population growth and viability. The minimum viable population size was 800 plants, a value greater than that of all populations currently being monitored. When simulated deer browsing rates were reduced 50% or more, population viability rose sharply. Without more effective deer population control, ginseng and many other valuable understory herbs are likely to become extinct in the coming century.
States See Growing Campaign to Change Redistricting Laws, NY Times
Excerpts: (...) lawmakers drawing Congressional and legislative district maps in geographically convoluted ways to ensure the re-election of an incumbent or the dominance of a party.(...)
(...) 2003 in Texas, where Republicans, with the backing of the White House, forced through a midterm redistricting that effectively cost four Texas Democrats their seats. (...)
Voter preferences are becoming more and more predictable. There is a problem when the turnover in the United States House of Representatives is lower than it was in the Soviet Politburo."
Blaming the Messengers, NY Times
Excerpts: One of the strengths of our democracy is that citizens are free to question the results of an election. But four lawyers who did just that in Ohio, contesting President Bush's victory, are now facing sanctions. These lawyers, and other skeptics, may not have cast significant doubt on the legitimacy of the outcome. But punishing them for trying would send a disturbing message.
Saudis Vote In Historic Election, BBC News
Riyadh kicks off Saudi Arabia's first nationwide municipal elections, but women are banned. Voters have gone to the polls in Saudi Arabia's first nationwide municipal election, as the kingdom's government aims to bring in elements of democracy. The first phase was held in and around the capital, Riyadh, with later rounds to be staged elsewhere over two months.(...)
Some voters spoke of their delight at taking part in elections
Women are excluded from the polls and only some 148,000 of 400,000 eligible men have registered to vote in Riyadh.
Mounting Discontent in Russia Spills Into the Streets, NY Times
Excerpts: An axiom here holds that Russians are politically passive, but the protests unfolding in cities across 11 time zones is challenging that, while raising questions about public support for the country's course under President Vladimir V. Putin.
The largest of the demonstrations have included no more than a few thousand protesters. But taken together, they are the largest by far of Mr. Putin's presidency (...).
The immediate spark for this outpouring of protest was a decision to replace social benefits like free transport (...).
General Is Scolded for Saying, 'It's Fun to Shoot Some People', NY Times
Excerpts: General Mattis is now the commanding officer of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., which is responsible for developing Marine war-fighting doctrine, techniques and tactics. A spokeswoman for the general said he agreed that he should have chosen his words more carefully and that he considered the matter closed. The general is no stranger to controversy. After marines under his command seized an airstrip in Afghanistan at the start of the war against the Taliban, he declared, "The Marines have landed, and we now own a piece of Afghanistan."
Complex Challenges: Global Terroist Networks
Marking Down Bin Laden, NY Times
Excerpts: First, both of these guys are obviously megalomaniacs, who think the world is just hanging on their every word and waiting for their next video. All we are doing is feeding their egos, and telling them how incredibly important they are, when we not only put a $25 million bounty on their heads, but in the case of bin Laden, double the figure. We are just enhancing their status on the Arab street as the Muslim warriors standing up to America, and only encouraging other megalomaniacs out there (...).
Antiterror Test to Follow Winds and Determine Airborne Paths, NY Times
Excerpts: A team of about 50 scientists and emergency planners will release a harmless gas to study how air might flow through New York City in the event of a terrorist attack.(...)
On a day with gentle winds and no rain, the team will release six different gases into the air from separate locations, allowing the scientists to know where each one came from.
The team will track the gases using tracer samplers, which consist of a breadbox-size container sometimes mounted on a long pole or tripod.
Torture, American Style, NY Times
Excerpts: Any rights Mr. Arar might have thought he had, either as a Canadian citizen or a human being, had been left behind. At times during the trip, Mr. Arar heard the pilots and crew identify themselves in radio communications as members of "the Special Removal Unit." He was being taken, on the orders of the U.S. government, to Syria, where he would be tortured.
The title of Ms. Mayer's article is "Outsourcing Torture." It's a detailed account of the frightening and extremely secretive U.S. program known as "extraordinary rendition."
A Vital Job Goes Begging, NY Times
Excerpts: The problem of "stovepiping" - rival intelligence gathering conducted without effective coordination by the 15 national spy agencies - still awaits a firm hand to bring order from bureaucratic chaos. (..) Pentagon is lately reported to have created specialized overseas espionage teams, thereby angering the C.I.A., while the F.B.I. is reported to be recruiting foreigners as overseas spies, further raising C.I.A. hackles.
Still, no one's in charge. The newly created post of national intelligence director is supposed to rein in these agency rivalries. But the job remains vacant (...).
No Mullah Left Behind, NY Times
Excerpts: Imagine if President Bush used his bully pulpit and political capital to focus the nation on sharply lowering energy consumption and embracing a gasoline tax.
What would that buy? It would buy reform in some of the worst regimes in the world, from Tehran to Moscow. It would reduce the chances that the U.S. and China are going to have a global struggle over oil - which is where we are heading. It would help us to strengthen the dollar and reduce the current account deficit by importing less crude.
Self-Inflicted Wounds, NY Times
Excerpts: It is becoming increasingly clear that prisoner abuse is a wretched failure that does nothing to aid the war on terror.(...)
New evidence about the torture of prisoners by American soldiers and intelligence agents - and by foreign governments working secretly for the United States - is appalling for all the obvious reasons. This kind of brutality violates both American law and international treaties. It endangers American soldiers who may in the future find themselves captives of a hostile nation. It debases the nation at home and abroad.
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.
- 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
- Socio-Dynamics, Networks and Markets, London, 05/05/09-11
- 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 Grossmann, 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