Behavior: The Power of Social Psychological Interventions, Science
Excerpts: Some readers will undoubtedly be surprised, or even incredulous, that a 15-min intervention can reduce the racial achievement gap by 40%. Yet this is precisely what Cohen et al. (1) report on page 1307 of this issue. African American seventh graders randomly assigned to write about their most important values achieved significantly better end-of-semester grades than students in a control condition. How can this be?
Reducing the Racial Achievement Gap: A Social-Psychological Intervention, Science
Excerpts: Two randomized field experiments tested a social-psychological intervention designed to improve minority student performance and increase our understanding of how psychological threat mediates performance in chronically evaluative real-world environments. We expected that the risk of confirming a negative stereotype aimed at one's group could undermine academic performance in minority students by elevating their level of psychological threat. We tested whether such psychological threat could be lessened by having students reaffirm their sense of personal adequacy or "self-integrity."
Artificial Intelligence Meets The Video Game, Globe and Mail
"It allows people to pre-visualise what might happen in a scenario before you send your troops into it," said company spokesman Andrew Elvish.
Scene from the video game Warpath: The next generation of video game consoles has provided game designers with plenty of muscle under the hood. (CP)
Soldiers in the real-world battlefield use Engenuity's tools, via a small notepad, to see what options they have in certain situations. They can also send the information back to off-site computers that can interpret the data and then send recommendations back.
The idea is to avoid making decisions in stressful circumstances.
Simulation is also becoming big in the homeland security area as government officials look at crowd scenarios such as
Students Given Free MP3 Players, BBC News
Excerpts: College students are to be given free iPods so they can catch up on missed lectures in their own time. (...)
Lectures on IT, motor vehicle engineering and childcare were likely to be the first to be podcast, with scope to make all courses available to download by next year. (...)
Music players are already being used by students at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville in the US who have found that they have become an integral part of coursework.
Engineering A Cure: Genetically Modified Cells Fight Cancer, Science
Experts: By inserting a gene into normal immune cells isolated from melanoma patients, scientists have turned the cells into cancer fighters. This new technique represents the first use of gene therapy to treat cancer, the researchers say.
In the past several years, scientists have been modestly successful in treating a few cancers using a method called adoptive cell transfer. This technique relies on the natural ability of certain immune cells called T cells or lymphocytes to recognize and kill cancer cells in some patients.
Epigenetics: DNA Methylation in Cancer, Bio.com
Excerpts: DNA methylation represents an epigenetic means of inheritance without associated DNA sequence alterations. Though the function of DNA methylation is still not completely understood, roles have been proposed for control of gene _expression, chromosomal integrity, and recombinational events. DNA methylation is particularly important in CpG islands within promotor regions as methylation is associated with transcriptional repression of the associated gene. Though DNA methylation patterns change during embryogenesis and development, they are thought to be relatively stable in the adult.
Epigenetics: DNA Methylation in Cancer was broadcast on August 21, 2006
Harvard Scientists Identify Compounds That Stimulate Stem Cell Growth In The Brain, EurekAlert
Excerpts: The research study focused on two compounds--LTB4 and LXA4. Both play a role in inflammation and are regulators of proliferation of several cell types. When stem cells isolated from the brains of mouse embryos were exposed to LTB4 they proliferated and differentiated, giving rise to additional stem cells and to differentiated neurons with limited or absent capacity to divide. When exposed to LXA4, these cells experienced decreased growth and apoptosis.
"This study opens doors to new therapeutic approaches for a wide range neurological disorders and injuries that were once considered incurable," (...).
Escalated Conflict In A Social Hierarchy, Proc. Biol. Sc.
Excerpt: Animals that live in cooperative societies form hierarchies in which dominant individuals reap disproportionate benefits from group cooperation. The stability of these societies requires subordinates to accept their inferior status rather than engage in escalated conflict with dominants over rank. Applying the logic of animal contests to these cases predicts that escalated conflict is more likely where subordinates are reproductively suppressed, where group productivity is high, relatedness is low, and where subordinates are relatively strong. We tested these four predictions in the field on co-foundress associations of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus by inducing contests over dominance rank experimentally. (...)
- Source: Escalated Conflict In A Social Hierarchy, M. A. Cant, S. English, H. K. Reeve, J. Field, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3669, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 2006/08/31
- Contributed by Atin Das - dasatinyahoo.co.in
Chimpanzees Can Transmit Cultural Behavior To Multiple 'Generations', ScienceDaily
Excerpts: Transferring knowledge through a chain of generations is a behavior not exclusive to humans, according to new findings (...). For the first time, researchers have shown chimpanzees exhibit generational learning behavior similar to that in humans. Unlike previous findings that indicated chimpanzees simply conform to the social norms of the group, this study shows behavior and traditions can be passed along a chain of individual chimpanzees. (...) they confirmed that a particular behavior can be transmitted accurately along a chain of up to six chimpanzees, representing six simulated generations equaling approximately 90 years of culture in the wild.
Mental Leap - What Apes Can Teach Us About The Human Mind, Science News
In the study, two groups of apes learned to operate a device that releases food when a trigger is either lifted or poked. In each group, subordinate apes predominantly got the food in the same way - a lift or a poke - that their group leader did. Because they occasionally pulled instead of poked, or vice versa, the animals had learned both techniques during repeated trials. But when the apes were retested 2 months later, they still overwhelmingly used their leader's method (...).
METHOD ACTING. A chimpanzee pokes a device to release food. Even though most apes learned that the trigger could be either poked or lifted, they usually chose the method of their group leader - sign of conforming to cultural norms. de Waal /Yerkes National Primate Research Center
Study To Investigate How Fear And Anxiety Are Formed In The Brain, Innovations-report
Excerpts: About 25 per cent of us will experience the effects of anxiety disorders at some point in our lives, with sometimes dire repercussions for friends, family and our own well-being. Yet little is known about the molecular mechanisms in the brain which contribute to stress-induced anxiety. (...) Fear memories are encoded as changes in neuronal connections called synapses, in a process known as plasticity. Dr Pawlak and his colleagues have recently shown that proteases (proteins that cut other proteins) play a critical role in this process and significantly contribute to fear and anxiety related to stress. (...)
Cognitive Modulation Of Emotion Anticipation, Euro. J. Neurosc.
Excerpts: Anticipating salient emotions is a vital function related to attention, self control and other cognitive mechanisms. Expecting affective events can trigger regulatory processes that prepare an organism, for example, to cope with possible threat. However, there are situations, like waiting at the dentist's or preparing for a public appearance, in which down-regulation of especially negative emotions linked with the upcoming event is necessary or favorable. A strategy to achieve this is cognitive distraction, a process with up to now barely known neural mechanisms. (...)
- Source: Cognitive Modulation Of Emotion Anticipation, S. Erk - serkuni-bonn.de, B. Abler, H. Walter, DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2006.04976.x, European Journal of Neuroscience, Aug. 2006, online 2006/08/26
- Contributed by Atin Das - dasatinyahoo.co.in
Genetics: Genomes Highlight Plant Pathogens' Powerful Arsenal, Science
Excerpts: For farmers and botanists, Phytophthora unfortunately lives up to its name, which is Greek for "plant destroyer." The 70-odd species of this eukaryotic genus include the pathogens behind root rot in soybeans, sudden oak death, and potato blight, which still causes upward of $5 billion of damage across the world. Just about all broadleaf plants suffer to some extent from Phytophthora, a distant relative of kelp and diatoms. "They've been terrifically successful as plant pathogens,"
Corridors Increase Plant Species Richness at Large Scales, Science
Excerpts: Habitat fragmentation is one of the largest threats to biodiversity. Landscape corridors, which are hypothesized to reduce the negative consequences of fragmentation, have become common features of ecological management plans worldwide. Despite their popularity, there is little evidence documenting the effectiveness of corridors in preserving biodiversity at large scales. Using a large-scale replicated experiment, we showed that habitat patches connected by corridors retain more native plant species than do isolated patches, that this difference increases over time, and that corridors do not promote invasion by exotic species
Host Propagation Permits Extreme Local Adaptation In A Social Parasite Of Ants, Ecol. Lett.
Excerpts: The Red Data Book hoverfly species Microdon mutabilis is an extreme specialist that parasitises ant societies. The flies are locally adapted to a single host, Formica lemani, more intimately than was thought possible in host-parasite systems. (...) To counter destabilizing effects on the host, Microdon manipulates the social dynamics of F. lemani by feeding selectively on ant eggs and small larvae, which causes surviving larvae to switch development into queens. Infested colonies rear double the number of new queens, thus propagating the vulnerable local genotype and compensating for damage to the host colonies. (...)
- Source: Host Propagation Permits Extreme Local Adaptation In A Social Parasite Of Ants, K. Schönrogge - kscceh.ac.uk, M. G. Gardner, G. W. Elmes, E. K. V. Napper, D. J. Simcox, J. C. Wardlaw, J. Breen, B. Barr, J. J. Knapp, J. A. Pickett, J. A. Thomas, DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00957.x, Ecology Letters, Sep. 2006, online 2006/08/14
- Contributed by Pritha Das - prithadas01yahoo.com
Chemistry: Controlling Biological Functions, Science
Excerpts: Can biological functions, such as vision or photosynthesis, that are driven by incoherent phenomena have anything to do with quantum mechanics, where the wave properties of matter play a key role? The answer is yes, and on page 1257 of this issue (1), Prokhorenko et al. show that biological processes can be manipulated by means of coherent control (2).
Coherent control refers to experiments that make explicit use of the wavelike nature of matter to direct the behavior of atomic and molecular systems, often to alter the likelihood of a particular chemical reaction.
Anomalous Spiral Motion of Steps Near Dislocations on Silicon Surfaces, Science
Excerpts: We have used low-energy electron microscopy to measure step motion on Si(111) and Si(001) near dislocations during growth and sublimation. Steps on Si(111) exhibit the classic rotating Archimedean spiral motion, as predicted by Burton, Cabrera, and Frank. Steps on Si(001), however, move in a strikingly different manner. Thestrain-relieving anomalous behavior can be understood in detail by considering how the local step
Energy: Enhanced: A Road Map to U.S. Decarbonization, Science
Experts: Today, 85% of the United States' energy mix comes from carbon-rich fossil fuels: oil, natural gas, and coal (1). With demand increasing worldwide, existing oil reserves could peak within 20 years (2), followed by natural gas and coal. Growing fuel use is increasing CO2 and CH4 emissions and the risk of global warming. The United States has responded by sponsoring research into alternative energy (3).
Methane Bubbles Climate Trouble, BBC News
Thawing Siberian bogs are releasing more of the greenhouse gas methane than previously believed, (...).
Methane bubbles can be trapped in ice during the autumn freeze
(...) methane release is hastened by warmer temperatures, positively feeding back into global warming.Methane's contribution to present-day global warming is second only to CO2.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that atmospheric concentrations are about two and a half times those seen in pre-industrial times.
"Thaw lakes in north Siberia are known to emit methane, but the magnitude of these emissions remains uncertain," the scientists write.
Meteorology: A Hurricane's Punch Still Knocks Out Forecasters, Science
Excerpts: A day and a half before Hurricane Charley hit Florida on 13 August 2004, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted it would probably be a Category 2 storm, "just shy of major hurricane status" and with maximum winds of 177 kilometers per hour. But the storm made landfall as a Category 4--with 241-km/h winds that killed 10 people and left billions of dollars of damage.
The Death of the Scientific Paper, The Scientist
Excerpts: The scientific manuscript as we know it has outlived its usefulness. Here's how to move forward.
Although the basic currency of science is the research article, the fruits of modern laboratory research are often incompatible with the aliquot suitable for publication in a scientific manuscript. Genome-scale inquiry and high-throughput experimentation yield enormous data sets, straining the established article framework; meanwhile, isolated findings or negative results are seldom published at all. Further, it has become obvious that preserving data in its native digital format - with search, annotation, and update capabilities - is desirable. Databases are already the primary form of information storage and access for genomics and protein structure research.
Wheel Of Life: Bacteria Provide Horsepower For Tiny Motor, Science News
For millennia, people have hitched beasts to plows to exploit the animals' strength and energy. In a modern variant of that practice, scientists have chemically harnessed bacteria to a micromotor so that they can make the device's rotor slowly turn.
PULLING MY LEGS. When bacteria crawl clockwise in the circular groove underlying this motor, they brush past the tabs that support the motor's star-shaped rotor. Molecular bonds between the microbes and a coating on the rotor tug the device around. Hiratsuka et al./PNAS
The new work might lead to improved lab-on-a-chip devices and engines to propel microrobots, says Yuichi Hiratsuka, now of the University of Tokyo, who codeveloped the bacteria-powered micromotor.
Implantable Heart Device Receives F.D.A. Approval, NY Times
The Food and Drug Administration gave limited approval on Tuesday to a Massachusetts company to sell the first fully implantable artificial heart, a device that can let patients move about freely for up to two hours at a time.
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
The approval was given even though the grapefruit-size device was implanted in just 14 patients at four hospitals from 2001 to 2004. All of the patients, who agreed to receive the heart as an experimental device, were men, and all have died.
Software Learns New Words From Wikipedia, New Scientist
Excerpts: A program that works out the meaning of newly coined words using the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia could help machines understand the slang used in blogs and other informal texts, say researchers.
The program - called Zeitgeist - hunts through Wikipedia looking for entries about new words that do not appear in an online resource called WordNet, an official linguistics tool that is both a dictionary and a thesaurus. WordNet is used by researchers to help computers understand human language. New words, or neologisms, that do not appear in WordNet inevitably leave computers stumped.
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Network
IT Versus Terror, Cio.com
Excerpts: Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch, told the BBC that the surveillance involved in foiling the plot to blow up trans-Atlantic planes had been "unprecedented". Officials haven't said if it involved data mining, but experts say that data mining can be a valuable tool in the war on terror if it is applied properly. The question is: Is it? (...)
In the broadest sense, it [data mining, Ed.] combines statistical models, power ful processors, and artificial intelligence to find and retrieve valuable information that might otherwise remain buried inside vast volumes of data.
Q&A: Bush And CIA Secret Prisons, BBC News
Excerpts: Mr Bush's announcement officially acknowledges that the secret CIA detention programme exists and that it uses "an alternative set of procedures" to elicit information from suspects trained to resist interrogation.
He said he could not reveal the what the methods were because "it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning".
He added that the interrogation techniques did not constitute torture, which he said he had not authorised and would never authorise.
Bush Expands On 'Plot Details', BBC News
Experts: US President George W Bush's speech on terror detainees contained a swath of previously unrevealed information aimed at backing the claim that the CIA prisons programme had been invaluable.
In the words of the president, "it gave us information we couldn't get anywhere else". (...)
The president then said Abu Zubaydah "stopped talking" and, with the agreement of the justice department, an "alternative set of procedures" were used, although Mr Bush denied any use of torture.
"Soon, he began to provide information on key al-Qaeda operatives," Mr Bush said
Links & Snippets
- Is A Gal?pagos Finch Caught In A Split?, 06/09/02, Science News, An inland population of one of the famed Gal?pagos finches may become a new textbook example of the way in which two species emerge from one while still living together.
- Britain's Human History Revealed, Jonathan Amos, 06/09/05,
BBC News. Eight times humans came to try to live in Britain and on at least seven occasions they failed - beaten back by freezing conditions.
The story has been filled out but human remains are scarce
- Paternity Loss In Contrasting Mammalian Societies, T. H. C.-Brock, K. Isvaran, 2006/08/29, Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0531
- A Social Basis For The Development Of Primary Males In A Sex-Changing Fish, P. L. Munday, J. W. White, R. R. Warner, 2006/08/29, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3666
- Brain Scan Of Nuns Finds No Single 'God Spot' In The Brain, Study Finds, 2006/08/30, ScienceDaily & University of Montreal
- UK School Saves Thousands With Open Source Network: Infrastructure Includes Email And Proxy Filtering Systems, C. James, 2006/08/31, vnunet.com
- It's Not Fair! We Are Programmed To Resist Weight Loss, 2006/08/31, ScienceDaily & Queensland University of Technology
- Time In Space, 2006/09/01, Innovations-report
- Video Cameras Learn From Insect Eyes, 2006/09/01, ScienceDaily & University Of Adelaide
- Model Of Internal Clocks Reveals How Jet Lag Disrupts The System, 2006/09/02, ScienceDaily & University Of Massachusetts Amherst
- China And India: An Era Of Escalating Economic Interaction, D. K. Das - dilip.dassympatico.ca, Aug. 2006, China & World Economy, DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-124X.2006.00033.x
- A Precautionary Approach To Foreign Policy? A Preliminary Analysis Of Tony Blair's Speeches On Iraq, C. McLean, A. Patterson, Aug. 2006, online 2006/07/06, British Journal of Politics & International Relations, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-856X.2006.00242.x
- Understanding Biodiversity Effects On Prey In Multi-Enemy Systems, P. Casula - paolocasulatiscali.it, A. Wilby, M. B. Thomas, Sep. 2006, online 2006/07/25, Ecology Letters, DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00945.x
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
- Workshop on New Directions in Complex Systems, Istanbul, Turkey, 06/09/03-09
- Mathematica Zurich Conference 2006,, Zurich, Switzerland, 06/09/06
- 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
ECCS 06 - Complexity and Dynamics: Volatility & Stability in City & Regional Systems, Oxford, UK, 06/09/28
13th Herbstakademie COGNITION AND EMBODIMENT, Monte Veritā, Switzerland, 06/10/05-08
- Art & Artificial Life International Competition VIDA 9.0 , Deadline: 06/10/16
Weaving Smart Networks: Building Capacity for Positive Change in Organizations and Communities, Washington, DC USA, 06/10/12-13
- 2006 Wolfram Technology
Conference,Champaign, Illinois, 06/10/12-14
6th Intl Conf on Simulated Evolution and Learning , Hefei, China, 06/10/15-18
Regulomics Symposium: Focus on Systems Biology, Boston, MA, 06/10/23-26
- >8th Annual International Leadership Association Conference: Leadership at the Crossroads,
Chicago, IIinois, USA, 06/11/01-05
Creating Interdisciplinary Cultures: Insights from Complexity Science and Relationship Centered Care, Indiana USA, 06/11/17-19
Self-Organization And Morphogenesis In Biological Systems ,
Schloss Ringberg, Germany. 06/12/03-06
- Japan Mathematica Conference 2006, Tokyo, Japan, 06/12/12
- 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
Special Issue of the Artificial Life journal on the Evolution of Complexity,
Call for Papers
Digital Graphics for Quantitative Finance,
Lineplot Productions, 2006
Why create movies of financial models? Because key stakeholders often don't understand them. The mathematical, data-intensive sphere of quantitative financial analysis can be a black box even for many in the industry. It is vital for users of this analysis to appreciate, understand and buy into, often literally, these difficult and important concepts.
Life: An Introduction to Complex Systems Biology, Kunihiko Kaneko, Springer Series: Understanding Complex Systems, 2006
What is life? Has molecular biology given us a satisfactory answer to this question? And if not, why, and how to carry on from there? This book examines life not from the reductionist point of view, but rather asks the question: what are the universal properties of living systems and how can one construct from there a phenomenological theory of life that leads naturally to complex processes such as reproductive cellular systems, evolution and differentiation? The presentation has been deliberately kept fairly non-technical so as to address a broad spectrum of students and researchers from the natural sciences and informatics.
- Chaos and Complexity
Resources for Students and Teachers, 06/03/01