Math Will Rock Your World, Business Week
Excerpts: Imagine an object floating in space that has an edge for every known scrap of information. It's called a polytope and it has near-infinite dimensions, almost impossible to conjure up in our earthbound minds. It contains every topic written about in the press. And every article that Inform processes becomes a single line within it. Each line has a series of relationships. (...) In each case, Inform's algorithm calculates the relevance of one article to the next by measuring the angle between the two lines.
Digging For Data That Can Change Our World, The Guardian
Excerpts: Scientific research is being added to at an alarming rate: the Human Genome Project alone is generating enough documentation to "sink battleships". So it's not surprising that academics seeking data to support a new hypothesis are getting swamped with information overload. As data banks build up worldwide, and access gets easier through technology, it has become easier to overlook vital facts and figures that could bring about groundbreaking discoveries.
Journal Status, arXiv
Excerpts: The status of an actor in a social context is commonly defined in terms of two factors: the total number of endorsements the actor receives from other actors and the prestige of the endorsing actors. These two factors indicate the distinction between popularity and expert appreciation of the actor, respectively. We refer to the former as popularity and to the latter as prestige. These notions of popularity and prestige also apply to the domain of scholarly assessment. The ISI Impact Factor (...) is a metric of popularity, not of prestige.(...) We demonstrate how a weighted version of the popular PageRank algorithm can be used to obtain a metric that reflects prestige.(...) Furthermore, we introduce the Y-factor which is a simple combination of both the ISI IF and the weighted PageRank, and find that the resulting journal rankings correspond well to a general understanding of journal status.
Contributing Editor's Note: Scientific research in many cases is measured by ISI Impact Factor (how popular is the journal in which an article is published). This work adds evindence to the criticisms to the Impact Factor, in the sense that this does not always reflect the scientific quality of a journal.
- Source: Journal Status, Johan Bollen, Marko A. Rodriguez, Herbert Van de Sompel, DOI: cs.DL/0601030, arXiv, 2006/01/09
How Elasticity Affects The Market For Illegal Goods, Innovations-report
Excerpts: In an important new study, world-renowned economists (...) argue that when demand for a good is inelastic, the cost of making consumption illegal exceeds the gain. Their forthcoming paper (...) is a definitive explanation of the economics of illegal goods and a thoughtful explication of the costs of enforcement. The authors demonstrate how the elasticity of demand is crucial to understanding the effects of punishment on suppliers. Enforcement raises costs for suppliers, who must respond to the risk of imprisonment and other punishments. This cost is passed on to the consumer, (...).
Excerpts: The news that Microsoft (...) shut down a Chinese blogger's site at the request of Beijing officials is bringing a renewed focus on the role U.S. companies play in helping China control the Internet. (...). The Chinese government, determined to prevent dissidents from using the Net to promote taboo subjects such as the Falun Gong religious movement, formal independence for Taiwan, or an end to Communist Party rule, pressures providers to play by Chinese rules and control the content that's available for local Net surfers (see BW Online, 1/12/06, "The Great Firewall of China").
Excerpts: Some of the world's most famous Internet companies have lined up to show China how to cripple the Web. (...)
This is the biggest campaign of state censorship that has ever been carried out, (...).
(...) "has led the Chinese government to create the world's most sophisticated Internet filtering regime." (...)
"The ramifications of this censorship regime should be of concern to anyone who believes in participatory democracy. How the Chinese government restricts its citizens' online interactions is significantly altering the global Internet landscape."
Rising Internet Addiction 'on Par With Drug Use', The Independent
Mental health professionals in the United States have highlighted the emergence of a new psychiatric problem on a par with alcoholism, drug abuse or obsessive gambling: internet addiction disorder. It occurs when an American office worker who should be focussing on the tasks at hand is spending hours playing fantasy football on the computer instead. Or when an executive is so attached to his handheld device that he checks it last thing at night and then consults it the moment he opens his eyes in the morning. (...)
Internet Addiction (by Ahumada, La Jornada 2005/01/13)
Bird Flu Mutation Sparks Concern, Nature News
Excerpts: Genetic tweak makes virus favour human nose and throat. Researchers have sequenced the bird flu viruses that killed two people in Turkey in early January, and say that one of them contains a worrying mutation. This genetic tweak can make the H5N1 virus more adapted to humans than to birds, and more adapted to the nose and throat than to the lungs. This latter effect could help to increase the chances of bird flu being transmitted between people, researchers say.
Stem Cell Experts Seek Rabbit-Human Embryo, The Guardian
Excerpts: British scientists are seeking permission to create hybrid embryos in the lab by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs. If granted consent, the team will use the embryos to produce stem cells that carry genetic defects, in the hope that studying them will help understand the complex mechanisms behind incurable human diseases.
The proposal drew strong criticism from opponents to embryo research who yesterday challenged the ethics of the research and branded the work repugnant.
Behaviour: Smells, Brains And Hormones, Nature
Excerpts: Contrary to the traditional view, the main olfactory pathway can mediate responses to pheromones as well as to common odours. Recent studies show that pheromone-activated hormonal systems extend widely within the brain.
Pheromones are powerful species-specific chemical signals that organize a wide range of the social conduct of animals, such as mating behaviour, social dominance, aggression, and bonding of a mother with her young. A common belief is that in mammals pheromones are detected only by a specialized sensor in the nose known as the vomeronasal organ, (...).
Prion Disease: The Shape Of Things To Come, Nature
Excerpts: A number of fatal brain diseases are linked to misfolded proteins, an effect researchers are mimicking in the lab. But as they generate new versions of these malformed molecules, could they be creating a monster? (...)
In a secure lab in Texas, five machines are purring away quietly. Working through the night, these boxes churn out billions of malformed proteins. A seemingly odd thing to mass-produce, these distorted molecules are at the heart of research into a family of diseases that destroy the brain.
Researchers Discover New Way To Stimulate Brain To Release Antioxidants, Business Wire
Excerpts: (...) novel way to treat stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. This approach works by inducing nerve cells in the brain and the spine to release natural antioxidants that protect nerve cells from stress and free radicals that lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Until this discovery, researchers were unable to induce release of these specific antioxidants directly in nerve cells, at the site where damage and degeneration occurs.
In stroke and various neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease, glutamate, an amino acid found in high quantities in the brain, is thought to accumulate.
Exercise Linked To Big Drop In Dementia Risk, New Scientist
Excerpts: Regular exercise may reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in the elderly by as much as 40%, according to a new study. And the effect is even more pronounced for those who are more frail, say the researchers. The US team, at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, studied a group of 1740 people aged 65 or over, all of whom began the study with good cognitive function.
Little Professor: Ants Rank As First True Animal Teachers, Science News
No insult intended to human teachers, but a research team in England says that the first clear demonstration of true teaching among other animals comes from a species without much of a brain¡Xan ant. A variety of animals do things that onlookers learn to copy, but biologists have a stricter definition for true teaching, explains Nigel R. Franks of the University of Bristol in England. First, teachers do a task less efficiently than they would outside the classroom. Second, pupils of a true teacher learn faster than they would by themselves.
ANT SCHOOL. A Temnothorax albipennis ant (right, with red paint) that knows where food lies guides an inexperienced forager (left, dabbed with white), which keeps in touch with antenna taps. Franks and Richardson
Does Foraging Adaptation Create The Positive Complexity-Stability Relationship In Realistic Food-Web Structure?, J. Theor. Biol.
Excerpts: The adaptive food-web hypothesis suggests that an adaptive foraging switch inverses the classically negative complexity-stability relationships of food webs into positive ones, providing a possible resolution for the long-standing paradox of how populations persist in a complex natural food web. (...) I hypothesize that, in the niche model, increasing connectance influences the fraction of basal species to destabilize the system and this masks the inversion of the negative complexity-stability relationship in the presence of adaptive foraging. A model analysis shows that, (...) even in a niche model, a population is more likely to persist in a more complex food web. (...)
Origins Of Dna: Base Invaders, Nature
Excerpts: Could viruses have invented DNA as a way to sneak into cells?
(...) They may have been the first creatures to find a use for DNA, a discovery that set life on the road to its current rich complexity. (...)
Viruses, (...), invented DNA as a way around the defences of the cells they infected. (...), viruses are notoriously adept at avoiding detection, as influenza's annual self-reinvention attests. Forterre argues that viruses were up to similar tricks when life was young, and that DNA was one of their innovations.
How A Virus Hijacks Cell Signals To Cause Infection, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: A common virus that causes meningitis and heart inflammation takes a "back door" approach to evade natural barriers, then exploits biological signals to infect human cells. Broadening knowledge of how viruses cause infection, a new study describes elaborate methods that the virus has evolved to bypass the body's defenses. "This study helps to explain how group B coxsackieviruses infect cells (...). We found new steps in the virus life cycle." (...) Group B coxsackieviruses (CVBs) are common in people, but usually are defeated by the immune system after causing minor infections. (...)
Custom-Made Microbes, At Your Service, NY Times
Excerpts: There are bacteria that blink on and off like Christmas tree lights and bacteria that form multicolored patterns of concentric circles resembling an archery target. Yet others can reproduce photographic images. These are not strange-but-true specimens from nature, but rather the early tinkering of synthetic biologists, scientists who seek to create living machines and biological devices that can perform novel tasks. "We want to do for biology what Intel does for electronics," said George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard and a leader in the field. "We want to design and manufacture complicated biological circuitry."
Doomsday Vault To Avert World Famine, New Scientist
Excerpts: Within a large concrete room, hewn out of a mountain on a freezing-cold island just 1000 kilometres from the North Pole, could lie the future of humanity. The room is a "doomsday vault" designed to hold around 2 million seeds, representing all known varieties of the world's crops. It is being built to safeguard the world's food supply against nuclear war, climate change, terrorism, rising sea levels, earthquakes and the ensuing collapse of electricity supplies. "If the worst came to the worst, this would allow the world to reconstruct agriculture on this planet," says Cary Fowler, director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an independent international organisation promoting the project.
Greenhouse Plants? Vegetation May Produce Methane, Science News
Lab tests suggest that a wide variety of plants may routinely do something that scientists had previously thought impossible¡Xproduce methane in significant quantities. Methane, like carbon dioxide, traps heat in Earth's atmosphere. Scientists have been studying natural sources of methane for decades but hadn't pegged plants as a producer, notes Frank Keppler, a geochemist at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Previously recognized sources of methane include bacterial action in the digestive systems of ruminants such as cows and in the saturated soils of swamps and rice paddies.
BREATHING OUT. Trees and other plants may emit substantial quantities of the potent greenhouse gas methane, according to a recent battery of lab tests. Corbis
Extinctions: A Message From The Frogs, Nature
Excerpts: The harlequin frogs of tropical America are at the sharp end of climate change. About two-thirds of their species have died out, and altered patterns of infection because of changes in temperature seem to be the cause.
One of the worries about global climate change is that it will raise the transmission rates of infectious diseases1. On page 161 of this issue, Pounds and colleagues provide compelling evidence that anthropogenic climate change has already altered transmission of a pathogen that affects amphibians, leading to widespread population declines and extinctions.
Live Cells Jetted With Electric Fields, Physics Web
(...) used a form of ink-jet printing to create "jets" of living cells for the first time. (...) technique, which does not destroy the cells, could be used to grow biological tissue or even human organs. The technique involves jetting biological cells from a needle at fields of up to 30 kilovolts (...)
Micrograph showing micron-sized cells that are unharmed (image credit: S Jayasinghe)
After leaving the needle, the external electric field turns the liquid into a jet that becomes unstable and disperses into a myriad of droplets.
From Electronics To Anyonics, Physics Web
Excerpts: Particles called anyons that do not fit into the usual categories of fermions and bosons may lead to high-performance quantum computers, (...).
Thus if we can access physical behaviour for systems of anyons that depends on their knottiness, we will have gained entry into a vast new space. (...)
Unfortunately, this knot-dependent information is difficult to maintain, measure and manipulate.
(...) a quantum computer is a distant dream. Such a device would operate by moving anyons around, thus creating a highly structured knottiness that could be read-out by observing the behaviour of subsequent "probe" anyons.
Majority Logic Gate For Magnetic Quantum-Dot Cellular Automata, Science
Excerpts: We describe the operation of, and demonstrate logic functionality in, networks of physically coupled, nanometer-scale magnets designed for digital computation in magnetic quantum-dot cellular automata (MQCA) systems. MQCA offer low power dissipation and high integration density of functional elements and operate at room temperature. The basic MQCA logic gate, that is, the three-input majority logic gate, is demonstrated. In magnetic devices, information is encoded in the magnetization state of ferromagnetic materials. Although commonly used for data-storage applications, there are relatively few attempts to exploit magnetic phenomena for logic functionality (1-5).
Spin Doctors Create Quantum Chip, Wired
Excerpts: University of Michigan scientists have created the first quantum microchip, which could be a giant stride in the race to produce a new generation of brawny, super-fast computers. Working with individual ions is key to building powerful computing machines that will exploit quantum physics -- instead of transistors -- and trump the power of today's most powerful supercomputers. So, on a semiconductor chip roughly the size of a postage stamp, the Michigan scientists designed and built a device known as an ion trap, which allowed them to isolate individual charged atoms and manipulate their quantum states.
Where Have All the Transistors Gone?, Science
Excerpts: Electrons possess the properties of both charge and spin. Charge is responsible for electricity and is the quantity sensed by the transistors in an integrated circuit. Spin, on the other hand, is responsible for magnetism (...).
The architecture chosen by Imre et al. is based on the concept of cellular automata. (...) Although these devices were operational only at cryogenic temperatures, the results opened the tantalizing possibility of computation without conventional transistors, and hence a new approach to the continuation of scaling of microelectronics far into the future.
Learning Retinal Implant System, medgadget.com
Excerpts: Intelligent Medical Implants AG (IMI), a Zug, Switzerland-based company announced that its first-generation Learning Retinal Implant System, containing a 50-electrode device, was successfully implanted in two patients in December 2005. Clinical eval of the device with these two patients is scheduled this month at the University of Hamburg Medical School, Germany. According to the press release (.pdf), the Learning Retinal Implant System is by far the most complex retinal implant tested in humans (the reference and comparison is made against a 16-electrode array from US-based Second Sight.)
Will robots one day rule the world? For decades this notion has both fascinated and terrified humans, our hungry imagination fed by Hollywood blockbusters and sci-fi novels. Now a new generation of robots promises a breakthrough in the world of Artificial Intelligence as they become capable of cognitive thought processes. (...)
www.jaberwacky.com's George Credit: SGAI
"George learns from every word everyone says to him - to imitate people, as well as trying to be himself. Years of chatting online mean that he can talk about just about anything and even talk many languages. "
Gamma-Ray Burst Study May Rule Out Cosmological Constant, New Scientist
Excerpts: Dark energy - the mysterious force that drives the acceleration of the universe - changes over time, controversial new calculations suggest. If true, the work rules out Einstein's notion of a "cosmological constant" and suggests dark energy, which now repels space, once drew it together.
(...), dark energy appears to have changed over time and was in fact drawing space together in the early universe. (...) seems to open a Pandora's box of outlandish possibilities for dark energy, he says: "With quintessence, you can do anything you want."
Across The Megaverse, NY Times
Excerpts: Review of 'The Cosmic Landscape,' by Leonard Susskind Until recently, most physicists took it on faith that (...) they would eventually expose a set of underlying rules requiring the universe to be this way and this way only. (...) Albert Einstein's question "How much choice did God have in constructing the universe?" (...) Like many leading physicists at the time, Hawking believed that scientists were closing in on nature's essential rules - the ones that even God must obey - and that string theory was leading them on a likely path to enlightenment.
Self-Organized Biological Dynamics And Nonlinear Control, CUP Book
Excerpts: The growing impact of nonlinear science on biology and medicine is fundamentally changing our view of living organisms and disease processes. This book introduces the application to biomedicine of a broad range of interdisciplinary concepts from nonlinear dynamics, such as self-organization, complexity, coherence, stochastic resonance, fractals and chaos. It comprises 18 chapters written by leading figures in the field and covers experimental and theoretical research, as well as the emerging technological possibilities such as nonlinear control techniques for treating pathological biodynamics, including heart arrhythmias and epilepsy. (...)
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Network
What Makes A Terrorist? Science Is Finding Out, Newhouse News Service
Excerpts: Tawfik Hamid stood with 200 other students for afternoon prayers inside a mosque at the University of Cairo. It was important for them to stand with their feet touching, as the Quran teaches, so that even in prayer they were prepared for war: "Truly Allah loves those who fight in his cause ... as if they were a solid cemented structure." The mosque was the religious home of a burgeoning radical Islamic movement, Al-Gama Al-Islamiyya.
Excerpts: The United States has become preoccupied with the threat of bioterrorism ¡X the potential for the poisoning of the milk supply with botulinum toxin, the hypothetical dissemination of smallpox by self-infected terrorists, the possibility of a massive release of aerosolized anthrax spores in the subway, even the newly raised specter of misuse of a reconstructed 1918 influenza virus. These concerns have had important consequences for the biomedical research agenda, funding priorities, and the regulatory environment.
Links & Snippets
- Dogs As Good As Screening For Cancer Detection, Kurt Kleiner, 06/01/09, NewScientist.com
- Zebra Finches Remember Songs Dad Sang, 2006/01/10, ScienceDaily & Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
- Official: Bees Can Fly: Boffins Finally Prove The Obvious, I. Thomson, 2006/01/12, vnunet.com
- 'Darwinian Debt' May Explain Why Fish Stocks Don't Recover, 2006/01/12, ScienceDaily & Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Sun Protection For Plants, 2006/01/13, Innovations-report & Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Taiwanese Breed Fluorescent Pigs: Green Back Bacon Anyone?, I. Thomson, 2006/01/13, vnunet.com
- Infectious Disease Control Using Contact Tracing In Random And Scale-Free Networks, I. Z. Kiss, D. M. Green, R. R. Kao, 2006/01/13, Journal of The Royal Society Interface, DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2005.0079
- Optimality Of The Basic Colour Categories For Classification, L. D. Griffin, 2006/01/13, Journal of The Royal Society Interface, DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2005.0076
- Diving Behaviour Of Whale Sharks In Relation To A Predictable Food Pulse, R. T. Graham, C. M. Roberts, J. C.R. Smart, 2006/01/13, Journal of The Royal Society Interface, DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2005.0082
- The Secret Life Of Algae, 2006/01/14, ScienceDaily & Biotechnology And Biological Sciences Research Council
- Single-Neuron Theory Of Consciousness, S. Sevush - ssevushmed.miami.edu, 2006/02/07, online 2005/08/03, Journal of Theoretical Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2005.06.018
- Chaos And Complexity In Astrophysics, O. Regev, Apr. 2006, To be published, Book Announcement, Cambridge Univ. Press
- Complex Dynamics Of One-Prey Multi-Predator System With Defensive Ability Of Prey And Impulsive Biological Control On Predators, Y. Pei - peiyongzhenvip.sina.com, C. Li, L. Chen - lschenmath08.math.ac.cn, C. Wang, J. Social Issues Dec. 2005, Advances in Complex Systems, DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2005.00433.x
- Complexity And Asymptotical Behavior Of A SIRS Epidemic Model With Proportional Impulsive Vaccination, G.-Z. Zeng - guangzhaozsgu.edu.cn, L.-S. Chen - lschenmath.ac.cn, J. Social Issues Dec. 2005, Advances in Complex Systems, DOI: 10.1142/S0219525905000580
- Ordinary Usage Of New Media: Internet Usage Via Mobile Phone In Japan, I. Habuchi - ichiyocc.hirosaki-u.ac.jp, S. Dobashi - dobashiyc.musashi-tech.ac.jp, I. Tsuji - iztujicc.matsuyama-u.ac.jp, K. Iwata - fzx04573nifty.ne.jp, Nov. 2005, Online 2005/09/30, International Journal of Japanese Sociology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6781.2005.00071.x
Ralph Abraham on Complexity Digest, , Calcutta, India, 05/12/27
- An Afternoon with Michael Crichton, Washington, 05/11/06
Illuminating the Shadow of the Future, Ann Arbor, Mi 05/09/23-25
Open Network of Centres of Excellence in Complex Systems - Brainstorming Meeting, Paris, France 05/09/19-23
Complexity, Science & Society Conference 2005, U. Liverpool, UK 2005/09/11-14
ECAL 2005 - VIIIth European Conference on Artificial Life,
Canterbury, Kent, UK 2005/09/5-9
T. Irene Sanders, Executive Director and Founder, The Washington Center for Complexity & Public Policy, 05/08/27, QuickTime video (10:38 min), Podcast
- North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity 2005 Conference, Virtual Conference Network, St. Pete's Beach, Florida, 05/06/09-11
- Understanding Complex Systems - Computational Complexity and Bioinformatics, Virtual Conference Network, Urbana-Champaign, Il, UIUC, 05/05/16-19
- Nonlinearity, Fluctuations, and Complexity, with a celebration of the 65th birthday of Gregoire Nicolis. , Complexity Session, Universite' Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, 05/03/16
- World Economic Forum , Davos, Switzerland, 05/01/26-30
1st European Conference on Complex Systems, Torino, Italy, 04/12/5-7
From Autopoiesis to Neurophenomenology: A Tribute to Francisco Varela (1946-2001), Paris, France, 2004/06/18-20
Evolutionary Epistemology, Language, and Culture, Brussels, Belgium, 04/05/26-28
International Conference on Complex Systems 2004, Boston, 04/05/16-21
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
The Second International Workshop on Biologically Inspired
Approaches to Advanced Information Technology , Senri Life Science Center, Osaka, Japan, 06/01/26-27
Intl Wkshp and Sem, Dynamics on Complex Networks and Applications, Dresden, Germany, 06/02/06-03/03
- FRACTAL 2006 Complexity and Fractals in Nature, 9th Intl Multidisciplinary Conf, Vienna, Austria, 06/02/12-15
'The Application of Complexity Science to Human Affairs , Milton Keynes, UK, 06/02/28
2nd Intl Nonlinear Science Conf, Heraklion, Crete, Greece, 06/03/10-12
- 18th European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research (EMCSR), Vienna, Austria, 06/04/18-21
5th Intl Joint Conf on Autonomous Agents And Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2006)
Future University, Hakodate, Japan, )6/05/08-12
- Nonlinearities: from Turbulent to Magic,
Copenhagen, Denmark. 06/05/17-20
- Alife X - The 10th Intl Conf on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems,Bloomington, Indiana, 06/06/03-07
Intl. Conference on Complex Systems Boston, MA, 06/06/25-30
NKS 2006: The Wolfram Science Conference, Washington, D.C., 06/06/16-18
Intl Conf on Complex Systems (ICCS)
Boston, Ma, 06/06/25-30
2006 Genetic And Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO-2006),
Seattle, Washington, USA, 06/07/08-12
50th Anniversary Summit of AI, Monte Verita, Switzerland, 06/07/09-14
Symmetry Festival 2006, Symmetry in Art and Science Education, Budapest, Hungary, 06/08/12-18
World Conference on Social Simulation (WCSS-06) , Kyoto, Japan, 06/08/21-25
FROM ANIMALS TO ANIMATS 9, The Ninth Intl Conf on the SIMULATION OF ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR (SAB'06), 06/09/25-30
Call for Papers - Book Announcements
Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, © 2004 Robert A. Freitas Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle. All Rights Reserved. This book is now available for free on the Internet, 05/10
- New Issue of
E:CO (Emergence, Complexity and Organization) was published online.