Excerpts: At a conference on contrarian investing last fall, Dean LeBaron excused himself from the luncheon table in search of a "hot spot." This time he was hunting for WiFi Internet access in rural Vermont, but looking for hot spots has defined much of LeBaron's career.
Long fascinated with applying technology and complex systems to financial analysis, LeBaron counts among his investment innovations index-investing, from his days at Batterymarch Financial, which he founded in 1969 and sold to Legg Mason in the mid-'Nineties. He was also early in using quantitative models to exploit opportunities in overseas and emerging markets.
Chaotic Chomp - The Mathematics Of Crystal Growth Sheds Light On A Tantalizing Game, Science News
It's hard to imagine a simpler two-player game than Chomp. Start by laying out a rectangular array of cookies. The players take turns picking a cookie, each time removing the chosen cookie and all cookies above and to the right of it. Each move is like taking a square or rectangular bite out of the array. The loser is the player forced to take the poison cookie¡Xthe one in the lower left-hand corner.
TASTY BITES. Playing Chomp with 30 cookies on a 5-by-6 field, the first player selects a cookie (blue, top left) and removes a block of six cookies (top right). The second player selects one of the remaining cookies (yellow, top right) and removes a block of two cookies (bottom left). The first player responds, leaving the L-shaped array shown at bottom right. Who will be forced to take the poison cookie, which is shown in pink? E. Roell
Though simple, the game is both intriguing and maddeningly frustrating. Mathematicians have proved that the first player can always win. But the proof provides no hint which first moves lead to guaranteed wins. Indeed, nobody has yet come up with an efficient general strategy for succeeding at Chomp.
Ecological Complexity Untangled, Nature
Excerpts: Food webs map which organisms eat which other organisms, and help to visualize community organization. They are complex, as Darwin recognized in his metaphor of a "tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth". The cover (...) illustrates complexity in an empirical food web - (...). (...) theory predicts that complex networks will be fragile, yet complexity evolves and persists
Ecology: Asymmetry And Stability, Nature
Excerpts: Ecological communities are dauntingly complex. Nonetheless, ecologists gallantly persevere in eliciting insights about the factors that govern the behaviour and persistence of these messy, tangled webs. The concept of symmetry is a guiding principle in much of science, (...). Yet many phenomena reflect the action of strong asymmetries, including ageing, the evolution of species' niches, and even the grand sweep of organic and human history. (...) problem of understanding the stability of complex food webs, and argue that strong asymmetries in energy flow and interaction strengths may be key determinants of ecological stability.
Ecological Networks And Their Fragility, Nature
Excerpts: Darwin used the metaphor of a 'tangled bank' to describe the complex interactions between species. Those interactions are varied: they can be antagonistic ones involving predation, herbivory and parasitism, or mutualistic ones, such as those involving the pollination of flowers by insects. Moreover, the metaphor hints that the interactions may be complex to the point of being impossible to understand. All interactions can be visualized as ecological networks, in which species are linked together, either directly or indirectly through intermediate species.
Ecology: Pollinator Diversity Declining in Europe, Science
Excerpts: Several studies have suggested that particular pollinating insects might be in trouble--the domesticated honeybee in the United States, for example--but there has been little evidence for a large-scale problem. That is about to change: On page 351, a team led by Jacobus Biesmeijer and William Kunin of the University of Leeds, U.K., report a significant decline in pollinator diversity across the U.K. and the Netherlands since 1980. "They're going down, absolutely," says ecologist Jane Memmott of the University of Bristol, U.K. The study found that insect-pollinated plants in the two countries have also run into trouble, but the authors and others acknowledge that it's difficult to prove that the loss of pollinating species is to blame.
Diversity Without Representation, Nature
Excerpts: For policymakers, biodiversity can present more complex challenges than climate change, argue Michel Loreau, Alfred Oteng-Yeboah and their co-authors. So why isn't there an international panel of experts for biodiversity?
- Source: Diversity Without Representation, Michel Loreau, Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, M. T. K. Arroyo, D. Babin, R. Barbault, M. Donoghue, M. Gadgil, C. Hauser, C. Heip, A. Larigauderie, K. Ma, G. Mace, H. A. Mooney, C. Perrings, P. Raven, J. Sarukhan, P. Schei, R. J. Scholes, R. T. Watson, DOI: 10.1038/442245a, Nature 442, 245-246, 06/07/20
From Systems Biology to Dynamical Neuropharmacology: Proposal for a New Methodology, arXiv
Excerpt: The concepts and methods of Systems Biology are being extended to neuropharmacology, to test and design drugs against neurological and psychiatric disorders. Computational modeling by integrating compartmental neural modeling technique and detailed kinetic description of pharmacological modulation of transmitter-receptor interaction is offered as a method to test the electrophysiological and behavioral effects of putative drugs. (...)
Evolution: Darwin for All Seasons, Science
Excerpts: Many regard the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection as one of the most important and powerful theories of our times, in the good company of the general theory of relativity and quantum theory. What will be Darwin's legacy in the 21st century? Will new work be mainly confirmatory, or can we expect new breakthroughs? What constitutes a Darwinian way of thinking in biology, or more broadly in science? Is it still timely to think in a genuine Darwinian way, or should we resort only to some basic Darwinian principles?
Evolution of the Molecular Machines for Protein Import into Mitochondria, Science
Excerpts: In creating mitochondria some 2 billion years ago, the first eukaryotes needed to establish protein import machinery in the membranes of what was a bacterial endosymbiont. (...). However, the protein translocases that drive protein import into mitochondria have no obvious counterparts in bacteria, making it likely that these machines were created de novo. The presence of similar translocase subunits in all eukaryotic genomes sequenced to date suggests that all eukaryotes can be considered descendants of a single ancestor species that carried an ancestral "protomitochondria."
Editor's Note: In hierarchical complex systems the role of subsystems appear to be able to adapt to different roles depending on their environment.
Evolutionary Games on Graphs, arXiv
Excerpt: Game theory is one of the key paradigms behind many scientific disciplines from biology to behavioral sciences to economics. In its evolutionary form and especially when the interacting agents are linked in a specific social network the underlying solution concepts and methods are very similar to those applied in non-equilibrium statistical physics. This review gives a tutorial-type overview of the field for physicists. (...)
Palaeoanthropology: Decoding Our Cousins, Nature
Excerpts: DNA extracted from bones could shed light on what happened when our ancestors crossed paths with Neanderthals. (...)
Across Europe, researchers are scrambling to unearth fresh bones of Neanderthals that might yield intact genetic material. Spurred by recent discoveries of DNA segments in old bones, scientists are even laying plans to sequence an entire Neanderthal genome in the next two years.
Ancient Humans 'Followed Rains', BBC News
Excerpts: Prehistoric humans roamed the world's largest desert for some 5,000 years, (...).
When the landscape dried up about 7,000 years ago, there was a mass exodus to the Nile and other parts of Africa. The close link between human settlement and climate has lessons for today, (...). "Even modern day conflicts such as Dafur are caused by environmental degradation (...)," (...). "The basic struggle for food, water and pasture is still a big problem in the Sahara zone. This process started thousands of years ago and has a long tradition."
Excerpts: In a new study of zebra finches, scientists at Glasgow University have found that accelerated growth following an initial diet of poor quality food can result in slower learning in adulthood. (...) " If environmental conditions improve for animals that have previously experienced a poor quality diet, their growth can accelerate to catch up in body size. We have found that this very rapid growth can carry long term costs - in our study on birds the greater the growth spurt in the chick, the poorer the learning performance of the adult." (...)
- Source: Grow Fast, Learn Slow, Innovations-report, 2006/07/19
- Contributed by Atin Das - dasatinyahoo.co.in
Study Offers New Clues About Memory, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: A study (...) involving an amnesia-inducing drug has shed light on how we form new memories. (...) researchers gave participants material to remember in two experimental sessions -- once after being injected with a saline placebo and once after an injection of midazolam, a drug used to relieve anxiety during surgical procedures (...). People sometimes recognize something as having been studied without using recollection (in this case, without remembering details of the study event) if the item seems sufficiently familiar -- a process called familiarity. Although the recollection process was affected by the drug, the familiarity process was not. (...)
Anxious Adults Judge Facial Cues Faster, But Less Accurately, Innovations-report
Excerpts: Adults who are highly anxious can perceive changes in facial expressions more quickly than adults who are less anxious, a new study shows. By jumping to emotional conclusions, however, highly anxious adults may make more errors in judgment and perpetuate a cycle of conflict and misunderstanding in their relationships. (...) "Our findings suggest that highly anxious individuals - people who are very insecure about their relationships - are more vigilant in monitoring the facial cues of others, but also make more mistakes in interpreting the emotional states behind facial expressions." (...)
Molecular Biology: A New RNA Dimension to Genome Control, Science
Excerpts: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are 21- to 25-nucleotide RNA molecules that influence their much bigger relatives, the messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Over the past few years, these small RNA species have captivated the study of gene regulation and modified our notions about how gene expression is controlled. A recent clutch of papers describe for the first time a class of small RNA cousins that are distinct from miRNAs and siRNAs (1-6). They promise to yield fascinating new insights into genome control.
Immunology: Considering Therapeutic Antibodies, Science
Excerpts: In March 2006, the general public was stunned when six healthy individuals injected with an antibody targeting a small subset of T cells suffered immediate and profound side effects including severe pain and extreme swelling (1). All were admitted to the intensive care unit of a London hospital. One individual remained in a coma for 3 weeks with heart, liver and kidney failure, septicemia, pneumonia, and gangrene
Plate Tectonics: Magma Does The Splits, Nature
Excerpts: A minor volcanic eruption in Ethiopia was the main visible clue to a massive injection of magma along the Afar rift last year. Such inconspicuous processes could have been crucial in early continental break-up.
Recurrent Eruption: Explosive Stellar Saga, Science News
Imagine the blast of a nuclear bomb as heavy as Earth and you'll get some idea of the energy unleashed in each of the six thermonuclear explosions that have ripped off the outer layers of a dense, nearby star in the past 108 years. During the star's most recent outburst, which occurred in February, astronomers obtained their sharpest look yet at this recurrent type of explosion, called a nova, as well as new insights into the most powerful of known stellar eruptions, the supernova.
RADIO BLAST. The blast wave, seen in radio waves, from the recent eruption of the two-star system RS Ophiuchi. Red denotes brightest emission; blue the faintest. T. O'Brien, et al., NRAO, AUI, NSF
Astronomy: Near-Field Cosmology, Science
Excerpts: These are exciting times for astronomy and cosmology. On the one hand, we find that the main predictions of Big Bang inflationary cosmology are confirmed by observations of distant objects. On the other hand, nearby galaxies continue to surprise and inform us. In February 2006, a group of 50 scientists convened in Aspen, Colorado, to discuss what we are learning about cosmology from detailed observations of the nearest galaxies (1).
Granular Materials: Packing Grains By Thermal Cycling, Nature
Excerpts: Small temperature changes can affect the packing of granular materials without mechanical disturbance. A long-standing problem in managing the behaviour of a collection of solid grains concerns the nature of the grain packing, a property that is typically controlled by how the grains are poured or shaken. Here we show that a systematic and controllable increase in granular packing can be induced by simply raising and then lowering the temperature, without the input of mechanical energy. This thermal processing may have important practical implications for the handling and storage of granular materials.
- Source: Granular Materials: Packing Grains By Thermal Cycling, K. Chen, J. Cole, C. Conger, J. Draskovic, M. Lohr, K. Klein, T. Scheidemantel, P. Schiffer, DOI: 10.1038/442257a, Nature 442, 257, 06/07/20
Memory Chip Threat To Hard Discs, BBC
Excerpts: Hailed as "the most significant memory invention of the decade", magnetoresistive random-access memory or Mram could one day overthrow hard discs and flash memory. (...)
What would be lovely is a type of memory which is both fast to write, and non-volatile.
So, along comes something called magnetoresistive random access memory or Mram. (...)
Put simply, Mram stores data magnetically, in the same way a hard drive does. This makes it non-volatile.
It is also very quick, and does not wear out over time.
Moving Towards A Graphene World, Nature
Excerpts: Synthesis paves way for industrial applications.
Welcome to graphene: the flat carbon sheet with revolutionary aspirations. This thinnest possible pencil-lead shaving has already interested theoretical physicists with its electronic properties, and is predicted to edge aside silicon in the microchips of the future. Now it's ready for its first practical application.
Terrific Timekeeper: Optical Atomic Clock Beats World Standard, Science News
The advance indicates that the reign of atomic clocks tuned to the element cesium is coming to an end, (...). To track time, a cesium clock exploits the absorption of microwaves by a cloud of cesium atoms (...). In contrast, the NIST optical clock makes use of interactions between ultraviolet radiation and a single mercury ion. Ultraviolet electromagnetic waves oscillate about 100,000 times as fast as the cesium-cloud microwaves do and so provide a much finer means to measure a second.
CLOCK WORKS. When installed in an atomic clock, this molybdenum structure (left) traps a mercury ion (right, arrow) at its center. The clock uses the ion to keep time with unprecedented precision. Bergquist and D. Wineland/NIST
Microfluids: Clicks And Chips, Nature
Excerpts: The words 'organic chemistry' tend to conjure up images of large bubbling flasks, brightly coloured test tubes and explosive reagents. Although most chemists still use flasks for their reactions, a growing number of them make their molecules using miniaturized devices. These 'labs on chips' require only tiny quantities of reagents, thus reducing cost, producing less waste and cutting down the time needed to perform a reaction and to analyse its products. (...) can perform 32 reactions at the same time.
Chemistry: Selective Hydrocarbon Oxidation In Zeolites, Science
Excerpts: Partially oxidized hydrocarbons are the most important building blocks of plastics and synthetic fibers; they play an equally dominant role as intermediates for the manufacture of everyday chemicals. These molecules are prepared from natural gas and volatile fractions of petroleum by partial oxidation. Zeolites--crystalline aluminosilicates featuring a network of molecule-size pores and cages--may have important advantages over currently used processes to prepare partially oxidized hydrocarbons, although catalytic rates must be improved.
Structural Biology: Proteins Downhill All The Way, Nature
Excerpts: The hundreds of hydrogen atoms in a protein can be used as reporters to describe how the protein folds into and out of shape. The results challenge the dogma that this is always an all-or-nothing process. The three-dimensional structures of proteins govern their activity, yet we know far less than we would like to about how these molecules fold into shape. Proteins use an intricate network of weak, non-covalent interactions to acquire the folded state1. (...) follow the unfolding of an all-helical protein known as BBL.
Citation as a Representation Process, arXiv
Abstract: The presented work deals with citation analysis and proposes a novel approach to model the citation rate. The paper begins with a brief introduction into informetrics studies and highlights drawbacks of the contemporary approaches to modeling the citation process as a product of social interactions. An alternative modeling framework based on results obtained in cognitive psychology is then introduced and applied in an experiment to investigate properties of the citation process, as they are revealed by a large collection of citation statistics. Major research findings are discussed, and a summary is given.
Concerns Grow Over Secrecy Of Bubble-Fusion Inquiry, Nature
Excerpts: (...) Rusi Taleyarkhan of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana - known for his controversial claims to have achieved 'bubble fusion' (...). After concerns about Taleyarkhan's work were reported in Nature earlier this year, Purdue carried out an inquiry, but has shrouded the results in confidentiality, (...). The findings could resolve the long-standing controversy surrounding bubble fusion, but whether they will ever be made public now seems to rest on a technicality: did $250,000 of US taxpayers' money help fund the disputed work?
Dinosaurs And The Democratic Peace: Paleontological Lessons For Avoiding The Extinction Of Theory In Political Science, Int. Studies Perspectives
Excerpt: While Paleontology and Political Science face many of the same difficulties when it comes to the nature of the empirical foundation they must work from, paleontologists have adapted to and dealt with the shortcomings of their data far more effectively than political scientists. (...) Simple strategies of scientific inquiry that are commonplace in Paleontology are suggested as ways that individual political scientists can more effectively use empirical research to contribute to the quality and conceptual depth of Political Science's debates and enhance the rate and quality of theoretical progress in the discipline.
An Imminent Threat (to the Constitution), Washingtonpost.com
Excerpts: A blistering report out today from a blue-ribbon legal panel dramatically establishes how President Bush's use of signing statements to assert his right to ignore legislation passed by Congress undermines the rule of law and the constitutional system of separation of powers.
The report, from an American Bar Association task force, goes a long way toward establishing the parameters for what could be a ferocious and consequential debate -- or an unparalleled acquiescence to an executive-branch power grab.
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Network
Endless War?: Hidden Functions Of The War On Terror, Pluto Press
Excerpt: Was the Iraq war really an act of goodwill to liberate people from injustice? Or was it a strategic move to maintain US dominance globally? Endless War? casts a critical light on the real motives behind war and conflict. David Keen explores how winning war is rarely an end in itself; rather, war tends to be part of a wider political and economic game that is consistent with strengthening the enemy. Keen devises a radical framework for analysing an unending war project, where the 'war on terror' is an extension of the Cold War. (...)
Beyond The Realist Theories: "Neo-Conservative Realism" And The American Invasion Of Iraq, Int. Studies Perspectives
Excerpt: The American war on terror and the invasion of Iraq remain spectacular developments in the history of international relations. This article probes the explanatory powers of the existing academic realist theories to account for the Bush administration's war against Al-Qaeda, a nonstate shadowy organization, and the invasion of Iraq. It argues that the realist theories are largely deficient frameworks to provide any satisfactory explanation of the war on terror and its subsequent extension to Iraq. This paper also proposes an alternative framework, the framework of "neo-conservative realism," to offer a more satisfactory explanation of America's war on terror. (...)
Links & Snippets
- Astronomy: Result Rattles Dark-Matter Machismo, Tom Siegfried, 06/07/21, Science: 287
- Particle Physics: Neutrino Hunters Go Nuclear to Tackle Antimatter Deficit, Richard Stone, 06/07/21, Science : 291
- Astronomy: Twinkling Stars May Reveal Stuff of Early Solar System, Govert Schilling, 06/07/21, Science : 294
- Minimal Model of Self-replicating Nanocells: a Physically Embodied Information-free Scenario, Harold Fellermann and Ricard V. Solé, 2005/07/18, arXiv, DOI: q-bio.CB/0607027
- Chip Delivery Calms China Taiwan Tensions: First Cargo Flight For More Than 50 Years, S. Burns, 2006/07/19, vnunet.com
- Sticks And Stones: Teenage Ridicule Has Lasting Effects On Consumer Behavior, 2006/07/19, Innovations-report
- Elders With Dementia Can Tap Into Memory Stores To Give Advice, 2006/07/19, Innovations-report
- Seeing The Serpent: Ability To Spot Venomous Snakes May Have Played Major Role In Primate Evolution, 2006/07/20, ScienceDaily & University of California - Davis
- Adaptive Divergence Of Scaling Relationships Mediates The Arms Race Between A Weevil And Its Host Plant, H. Toju, T. Sota, 2006/07/21, Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0514
- People Unconsciously Use 'Verbal Gestures' When They Speak, 2006/07/21, ScienceDaily & University of Chicago
- Reversing And Accelerating The Speed Of Light, 2006/07/21, ScienceDaily & Ames Laboratory
- Rejected By The New York Times? Why Academics Struggle To Get Published In National Newspapers, D. A. Borer, Aug. 2006, International Studies Perspectives, DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-3585.2006.00254.x
- Encoding Uncertainty In The Hippocampus, L.M. Harrison - l.harrisonfil.ion.ucl.ac.uk, A. Duggins, K. J. Friston, Jun. 2006, online 2006/03/09, Neural Networks, DOI: 10.1016/j.neunet.2005.11.002
- Website Practices: A Comparison Between The Top 1000 Companies In The US And Taiwan, C. Liao, P.-L. To, M.-L. Shih, Jun. 2006, online 2006/05/08, International Journal of Information Management, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2006.02.007
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
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