The Value of the Stick: Punishment Was a Driver of Altruism, Science
Excerpts: A hallmark of humanity is that people help other people--not just relatives and friends but even complete strangers. Such altruism, which goes beyond the mere exchange of favors and forms the scaffolding of large-scale cooperation in human societies, has long been an evolutionary mystery. (...) such helpful behavior may have arisen as a result of punishment.
Reporting on experiments they conducted in 15 different societies on five continents, the researchers argue that altruism evolved hand in hand with a willingness to punish selfish behavior.
Costly Punishment Across Human Societies, Science
Excerpts: People from 15 different cultures are all willing to punish others who exhibit selfish behavior that increases societal inequity, but the extent varies widely
- Source: Costly Punishment Across Human Societies, Joseph Henrich, Richard McElreath, Abigail Barr, Jean Ensminger, Clark Barrett, Alexander Bolyanatz, Juan Camilo Cardenas, Michael Gurven, Edwins Gwako, Natalie Henrich, Carolyn Lesorogol, Frank Marlowe, David Tracer, John Ziker, Science : 1767-1770, 06/06/23
Why Are Uniforms Uniform? Because Color Helps Us Track Objects, Innovations-report
Excerpts: If someone, somewhere hadn't thought to make team uniforms the same color, we might be stuck watching NBA finals or World Cup soccer matches with only two players and a ref. It is that color coding, Johns Hopkins University psychologists have now demonstrated, that allows spectators, players and coaches at major sporting events to overcome humans' natural limit of tracking no more than three objects at a time.(...). "Our research suggests that the common color allows people to overcome the usual limit, because the 'color coding' enables them to perceive the separate individuals as a single set."
Consumption As A Basis For Social Solidarity, Innovations-report
Excerpts: The assertion that consumption can be a basis for social solidarity goes against conventional understandings of community organization. But a groundbreaking new study (...) argues that members of peer-to-peer file sharing networks, like the early users of Napster, were participating in a previously unseen social system. "Everything that is crucial to establishing a system of social solidarity through gift giving - social distinctions, norm of reciprocity, and rituals and symbolisms - could also be found in the consumption activities of Napster users," says (...). Like traditional social systems, self-imposed rules emerge in the process of downloading and uploading files, (...).
Do Gains In Test Scores Explain Labor Market Outcomes?, Econ. Edu. Rev.
Excerpts: Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, this article investigates whether students who made relatively large test score gains during high school had larger earnings 7 years after high school compared to students whose scores improved little. In models that control for pre-high school test scores, family background, and demographic characteristics, employed women who gain one standard deviation more than average are predicted to earn 9 percent more than average. (...) For men, however, test score gains are not significantly related to employment status or earnings, except for those men who have low initial test scores.
Excerpts: Learning to communicate and adapting our behaviour to the information we receive has been fundamental to human evolution. If machines could do the same the intelligent talking robots of science fiction could become the stuff of science reality (...). Researchers have, in effect, attempted to build robots or devices with the communication skills of a human adult. That is a shortcut that ignores the evolution of language (...). But a team of researchers (...) developing technology to allow machines to evolve their own language from their experiences of interacting with their environment and cooperating with other devices. (...)
Older But Mellower: Aging Brain Shifts Gears To Emotional Advantage, Science News
Excerpts: The aging brain reorganizes in ways that foster emotional stability and a tendency to favor positive emotions over negative ones. Editor's Note: Is this an explanation why so many politicians are relatively old?
Our Grip On Reality Is Slim, Says Scientist, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: The neurological basis for poor witness statements and hallucinations has been found by scientists (...). In over a fifth of cases, people wrongly remembered whether they actually witnessed an event or just imagined it, according to a paper (...). "Our work has implications for the validity of witness statements and agrees with other studies that show that our mind sometimes fills in memory gaps for us, and we confuse what we imagined occurred in a situation - which is related to what we expect to happen or what usually happens - with what actually happened. (...)
From The Left To The Right: How The Brain Compensates Progressive Loss Of Language Function, Brain & Lang.
Excerpt: In normal right-handed subjects language production usually is a function oft the left brain hemisphere. Patients with aphasia following brain damage to the left hemisphere have a considerable potential to compensate for the loss of this function. Sometimes, but not always, areas of the right hemisphere which are homologous to language areas of the left hemisphere in normal subjects are successfully employed for compensation but this integration process may need time to develop. We investigated right-handed patients with left hemisphere brain tumors as a model of continuously progressive brain damage to left hemisphere language areas (...).
- Source: From The Left To The Right: How The Brain Compensates Progressive Loss Of Language Function, A. Thiel, K. Herholz, J. Kessler, L. Winhuisen, A. Thiel, K. Herholz, J. Kessler, L. Winhuisen, W. F. Haupt, W.-D. Heiss, DOI: 10.1016/j.bandl.2006.01.007, Brain and Language, Jul. 2006, online 2006/03/07
- Contributed by Pritha Das - prithadas01yahoo.com
Archaeology: First Jewelry? Old Shell Beads Suggest Early Use of Symbols, Science
Excerpts: A high school ring, a string of pearls on Oscar night--how we decorate our bodies says a lot about who we are. Archaeologists think such symbolic communication marks the mental leap that made art and language possible. But when did it begin? (...) researchers claim that three grape-sized shells from the Levant and North Africa were worn as beads 100,000 or more years ago. If true, this would push back the earliest evidence for symbolism by at least 25,000 years.
Naked and Not [Mole Rats,Ed.], Science News
Excerpts: The Damaraland mole rat may be less famous than its naked cousin, but both have some of the oddest social structures found in a mammal
The Other Intelligent Design Theories, Skeptic
Excerpts: Intelligent Design is only one of many ¡§alternatives¡¨ to Darwinian evolution
There is rich irony in how the present battle over Creationism v. Darwinism has taken shape, and especially the ways that this round differs from previous episodes. A clue to both the recent success - and the eventual collapse - of ¡§Intelligent Design¡¨ can be found in its name, and in the new tactics that are being used to support its incorporation into school curricula. In what must be taken as sincere flattery, these tactics appear to acknowledge just how deeply the inner lessons of science have pervaded modern culture.
Evolution: Spider Genes and Fossils Spin Tales of the Original Worldwide Web, Science
Excerpts: Building an orb web is no simple affair. Spiders suspend the silky equivalent of guy wires, attach radial spokes, and then weave in a sticky spiral to snare prey. Two groups of spiders--deinopoids and araneoids--make such webs. Their use of different kinds of adhesives for the "capture spiral" once made biologists think that the two spider lineages had evolved orb weaving independently. But the discovery of similar construction techniques made a single origin of orb webs seem more likely, and a new study of silk genetics (...) strengthens the case.
Last Chance For China's Dolphin, BBC News
Zoologists have developed a plan to save the Yangtze River dolphin, probably the world's most endangered mammal, from extinction.
The baiji is thought to be the world's most endangered mammal
They hope to take some dolphins from the Yangtze and rear them in a nearby lake, protected from fishermen.
The species is threatened by overfishing which removes its food, industrialisation, boat collisions, and through being caught in fishing nets.
The most recent surveys found only 17 living individuals.
Also known as the baiji and Chinese lake dolphin, (...) "probably the most endangered cetacean in the world".
Conservation Biology: The Tiger's Retreat, Nature
Excerpts: Tigers are teetering on the verge of extinction and human contact in their habitat could be their greatest threat. Erika Check investigates whether local people can live alongside India's big cats.
Animal Cognition: Social Animals Prove Their Smarts, Science
Excerpts: A new generation of experiments reveals that group-living animals have a surprising degree of intelligence
Together, the new studies, particularly those of apes and birds, are providing provocative evidence that perhaps humans aren't as special as we might like to think, (...). What was once considered a sharp line separating humans from all other animals is becoming a blurry gray area, with various animals possessing certain parts of the set of skills that we consider advanced cognition.
Animal Cognition: Man's Best Friend(s) Reveal the Possible Roots of Social Intelligence, Science
Excerpts: When a chimp sneaks a banana behind another chimp's back, it's showing social intelligence. So is the crow that buries worms behind a bush to prevent bystanders from spotting the location of its stash. Recent controlled experiments show that some social animals have evolved the flexibility and intelligence to deceive and benefit from others and even predict what their peers may do (...).
(...) natural selection favored the ability to distinguish anger from acceptance and to respond to changes in the moods of one's companions.
Animal Behaviour: Trust In Fish, Nature
Excerpts: A mutually beneficial interaction between two species of fish turns out to involve the careful appraisal of one by the other - and the appropriately virtuous behaviour by the former while being watched.
Image Scoring And Cooperation In A Cleaner Fish Mutualism, Nature
Excerpts: Humans are highly social animals and often help unrelated individuals that may never reciprocate the altruist's favour. This apparent evolutionary puzzle may be explained by the altruist's gain in social image: image-scoring bystanders, also known as eavesdroppers, notice the altruistic act and therefore are more likely to help the altruist in the future. Such complex indirect reciprocity based on altruistic acts may evolve only after simple indirect reciprocity has been established, which requires two steps.
Self-organizing Neural Projections, Neural Networks
Excerpts: The Self-Organizing Map (SOM) algorithm was developed for the creation of abstract-feature maps. It has been accepted widely as a data-mining tool, and the principle underlying it may also explain how the feature maps of the brain are formed. (...) This presentation introduces a new self-organizing system model related to the SOM that has a linear transfer function for patterns and combinations of patterns all the time. Starting from a randomly interconnected pair of neural layers, and using random mixtures of patterns for training, it creates a pointwise-ordered projection from the input layer to the output layer. If the input layer consists of feature detectors, the output layer forms a feature map of the inputs.
Three Gene Variants Boost Diabetes Risk, Science News
Excerpts: Researchers have linked small variations in three genes to type 2 diabetes.
Cell Signaling: A New Way to Burn Fat, Science
Excerpts: Storage of body fat creates an energy reserve for times of starvation, but excess body fat, or obesity, substantially increases the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other disorders. So the appropriate balance between fat storage and utilization is clearly important. (...) (ACC) plays a crucial role in maintaining this balance, and regulation of this enzyme is tied to the overall control of energy metabolism. (...) the mammalian protein TRB3 mediates degradation of adipose tissue ACC, providing a new level of metabolic regulation for this key enzyme.
Plant Biology: Designs On Rubisco, Nature
Excerpts: Rubisco is said to be both the most important enzyme on Earth and surprisingly inefficient. Yet an understanding of the reaction by which it fixes CO2 suggests that evolution has made the best of a bad job.
Pollination: Self-Fertilization Strategy In An Orchid, Nature
Excerpts: An orchid that flowers in harsh conditions pollinates itself unassisted by any of the usual agents.
- Source: Pollination: Self-Fertilization Strategy In An Orchid, Ke-Wei Liu, Zhong-Jian Liu, LaiQiang Huang, Li-Qiang Li, Li-Jun Chen, Guang-Da Tang, DOI: 10.1038/441945a, Nature 441, 945-946, 06/06/22
Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping Boosts Iron in Infants, UCDavis News
Excerpts: Just a two-minute delay in clamping a baby's umbilical cord can boost the child's iron reserves and prevent anemia for months, report nutritionists at the University of California, Davis.
Iron deficiency is a concern for both wealthy and poor nations. It is a problem particularly in developing countries, where half of all children become anemic during their first year, putting them at risk of serious developmental problems that may not be reversible, even with iron treatments.
Earth's Climate Warming Abruptly, Scientist Says, Washington Post
Excerpts: Tropical-Zone Glaciers May Be at Risk of Melting
Earth's climate is undergoing an abrupt change, ending a cooler period that began with a swift "cold snap" in the tropics 5,200 years ago that coincided with the start of cities, the beginning of calendars and the biblical great flood, a leading expert on glaciers has concluded.
The warming around Earth's tropical belt is a signal suggesting that the "climate system has exceeded a critical threshold," which has sent tropical-zone glaciers in full retreat and will melt them completely "in the near future," said Lonnie G. Thompson, a scientist who for 23 years has been taking core samples from the ancient ice of glaciers.
The Spiral Structure of the Outer Milky Way in Hydrogen, Science
Excerpts: Imaging the distribution and density of atomic hydrogen in the Milky Way shows that our Galaxy forms a multiarmed spiral that is not symmetric about its axis.
Nanoassembly of a Fractal Polymer: A Molecular "Sierpinski Hexagonal Gasket", Science
Excerpts: Ligands with twofold and threefold symmetry, joined by iron and ruthenium ions, self-assemble to form 10-nanometer hexagons that in turn assemble into increasingly larger hexagons.
- Source: Nanoassembly of a Fractal Polymer: A Molecular "Sierpinski Hexagonal Gasket", George R. Newkome, Pingshan Wang, Charles N. Moorefield, Tae Joon Cho, Prabhu P. Mohapatra, Sinan Li, Seok-Ho Hwang, Olena Lukoyanova, Luis Echegoyen, Judith A. Palagallo, Violeta Iancu, Saw-Wai Hla, DOI: 10.1126/science.1125894, Science: 1782-1785 Published online (in Science Express Reports), 06/06/23
Seismology: The Strain Builds In Southern California, Science
Excerpts: But seismologists and emergency-response planners would like to know where and when the next great quake--the Big One--is going to strike in California. This week in Nature, geophysicist Yuri Fialko of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, reports that the southernmost San Andreas fault is indeed building strain at a dangerous rate. If, as seems likely, strain has been accumulating there at the same clip since the last big strain-releasing quake, the next one will probably come within a few decades, according to one forecast.
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Network
Excerpts: A fundamentalist Muslim who is listed by the US State Department as a suspected al Qaeda collaborator has been named as the new leader of an Islamic militia that has seized control of Somalia's capital. (...)
Aweys' appointment makes it unlikely that the increasingly powerful militia will govern using the moderate brand of Islam practiced by most Somalis.
The appointment is also likely to stoke Washington's long- standing fears that the chaotic Horn of Africa nation will become a safe haven for bin Laden's terror network much like Afghanistan did in the 1990s.
Editor's Note: Prior to the war in Iraq the prediction was that introducing democracy in Iraq will spread to other countries in the region. So far the opposite seems to be true: Hamas took political control over the Palestinian government and Islamist militias are ruling now in Somalia, both groups have been accused to support terrorism.
Casualty Dynamics in Wars and Terrorism and the Scale-Free Organization of Social Systems, arXiv
Abstract: In this paper I propose a 'mechanism' for the explanation of power-law characteristics of casualty dynamics in inter-state wars, intra-state wars and terrorist attacks: the scale-free physical organization of social systems. Other explanations - self-organized criticality (Cederman, 2003) and the redistribution of total attack capabilities (Johnson et al. 2006) - do not provide a consistent framework for the power-law characteristics of casualty dynamics. The development in time of the power-law characteristics of casualty dynamics during wars and conflicts provides clues for the 'functioning' of social systems which are targeted, and/or for the (in)effectiveness and strategies of actors using force (violence) against these social systems.
Links & Snippets
- Fishy Reputations: Undersea Watchers Choose Helpers That Do Good Jobs, 06/06/24, Science News
- Toxic Leftovers: Microbes Convert Flame Retardant, 06/06/24, Science News
- Something's Fishy About These Hormones, 06/06/24, Science News
- Spontaneous Formation of Vesicles, Suzana Å egota and DÂ¯urdÂ¯ica TeÅ¾ak, 2006/03/06, Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, Article in Press, Corrected Proof, DOI: 10.1016/j.cis.2006.01.002
- A Comprehensive Review of Nature Inspired Routing Algorithms for Fixed Telecommunication Networks, Horst F. Wedde, Muddassar Farooq, 2006/06/05, Journal of Systems Architecture, Article in Press, Corrected Proof, DOI: 10.1016/j.sysarc.2006.02.005
- Amazon Checks Out Grocery Sales: Online Retailer Promises 'Unparalleled Combination Of Selection And Value', C. Taylor, 2006/06/15, vnunet.com
- The Protein That Makes You Mad, 2006/06/21, Innovations-report
- Music Thought To Enhance Intelligence, Mental Health And Immune System, 2006/06/22, ScienceDaily & Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Can You Hear Me Now? Scientists Find Previously Unknown Receptors On Adult Stem Cells, 2006/06/22, ScienceDaily & Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
- Extreme Events Due To Human-Induced Climate Change, J. F.B. Mitchell, J. Lowe, R. A. Wood, M. Vellinga, 2006/06/23, Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2006.1816
- Hurricane Katrina: An Environmental Perspective, E. McCallum, J. Heming, 2006/06/23, Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2006.1815
- A Neural Mosaic Of Tones, 2006/06/23, ScienceDaily & Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
- Using Reflective Diagrams In Professional Development With University Lecturers: A Developmental Tool In Online Teaching, D. Maor - dmaormurdoch.edu.au, 2nd Quarter 2006, online 2006/05/23, The Internet and Higher Education, DOI: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2006.03.005
- Lattice Models In Ecology And Social Sciences, M. Nakamaru - nakamaruvaldes.titech.ac.jp, May 2006, online 2006/04/01, Ecological Research, DOI: 10.1007/s11284-006-0163-0
- The Self-Publishing Phenomenon And Libraries, J. Dilevko - juris.dilevkoutoronto.ca, K Dali - keren.daliutoronto.ca, Summer 2006, online 2006/05/04, Library & Information Science Research, DOI: 10.1016/j.lisr.2006.03.003
Artificial Life X,
10th Intl Conf on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems, Bloomington, IN, USA. 2006/06/03-07
6th Understanding Complex Systems Symposium, Urbana-Champaign, Il, 06/05/15-18
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
Intl Conf on Complex Systems (ICCS), Boston, Ma, 06/06/25-30
11th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Lausanne, Switzerland, 06/07/05-08
2006 Genetic And Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO-2006),
Seattle, Washington, USA, 06/07/08-12
- Intl Soc for the Systems Sciences
50th Ann Conf - Complexity, Democracy & Sustainability, Sonoma, California, 06/07/09-14
50th Anniversary Summit of AI, Monte Verita, Switzerland, 06/07/09-14
- The 1st Intl Conf on Knowledge Communication and Peer Reviewing: KCPR 2006 ,
Orlando, Florida USA, 06/07/20-23
- Toward Social Mechanisms of Android Science, An ICCS Symposium co-located at CogSci 2006, Vancouver , Canada, 06/07/26
5th World Congress of Biomechanics, Munich, Germany, 06/07/29-08/04
- 2006 SCS International Conference on Modeling and Simulation - Methodology, Tools, Software Applications (M&S-MTSA'06)
, Calgary, Canada, 06/07/31-08/02
- Potentials of Complexity Science for Business, Governments, and the Media 2006
FIAS Summer School - Theoretical Neuroscience & Complex Systems, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, 06/08/05-27
2006 Intl Conf on Nonlinear Science and Complexity, Beijing, China, 06/08/07-12
Symmetry Festival 2006, Symmetry in Art and Science Education, Budapest, Hungary, 06/08/12-18
6th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, Marina Del Rey, Ca, U.S.A., 06/08/21-23
- World Conference on Social Simulation (WCSS-06) , Kyoto, Japan, 06/08/21-25
- Nonlinear Dynamical Methods and Time Series Analysis, Udine, Italy, 06/08/30-09/01
- Workshop on New Directions in Complex Systems, Istanbul, Turkey, 06/09/03-09
- Intl Conf on Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN), Reykjavik, Iceland, 06/09/09-13
- The World Knowledge Dialogue Symposium 2006, Crans-Montana, Switzerland, 06/09/14-16
7th Intl Symposium on Knowledge and Systems
Sciences (KSS'2006), Beijing, 06/09/22-25.
European Conference on Complex Systems 2006 (ECCS'06), Oxford, England, 06/09/25-29
FROM ANIMALS TO ANIMATS 9, The Ninth Intl Conf on the SIMULATION OF ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR (SAB'06), Roma, Italy, 06/09/25-30
13th Herbstakademie COGNITION AND EMBODIMENT, Monte Verità, Switzerland, 06/10/05-08
6th Intl Conf on Simulated Evolution and Learning , Hefei, China, 06/10/15-18
- 2006 IEEE/WIC/ACM Intl Workshop on
Interaction between Agents and Data Mining (IADM-06), Hongkong, China, 06/12/18
- Logic, Computability and Randomness 2007 , Buenos Aires, Argentina, 07/01/10-13
3rd International Workshop on Complexity and Philisophy, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 07/02/22-23
- Complexity and Organizational Resilience
The Village, Pohnpei, Micronesia, 07/05
- 2nd Intl Conf on Built Environment Complexity - Embracing complexity thinking in built environments, Cape Town South Africa, 07/05/21-25
Summer School In Complexity Science, London, UK, 07/07/08-17
Call for Papers - Course/Book Announcements
- Chaos and Complexity
Resources for Students and Teachers, 06/03/01
MSc Complexity Science: Systems Thinking from New Biology to Novel Computation, Southampton, UK
Volume Four Complexity and Knowledge Management: Understanding the Role of Knowledge in the Management of Social Networks, ISCE Managing the Complex Book Series
- New Issue of
Emergence: Complexity & Organization (E:CO) Special Issue on Leadership and Complexity