Human v2.0, BBC2
Excerpts: Meet the scientific prophets who claim we are on the verge of creating a new type of human - a human v2.0.
It's predicted that by 2029 computer intelligence will equal the power of the human brain. Some believe this will revolutionise humanity - we will be able to download our minds to computers extending our lives indefinitely. Others fear this will lead to oblivion by giving rise to destructive ultra intelligent machines.
One thing they all agree on is that the coming of this moment - and whatever it brings - is inevitable.
Software Generates Video News Bulletins, New Scientist
Software that automatically generates timely video news bulletins, presented by computer-animated characters, could revolutionise current affairs broadcasting, researchers say.
A modified computer game character presents news bulletins tailored to the viewer's interests (Image: Kristian Hammond/Northwestern)
The system, called News at Seven, can produce reports tailored to a person's particular interests, from world affairs to celebrity gossip.
For example, one video shows a bulletin about attempts to corroborate North Korea's controversial nuclear test while another shows a more opinionated celebrity-focused report (both wmv files).
'Smart Growth': Innovating to Meet the Needs of the Market without Feeding the Beast of Complexity, Knowledge@Wharton
Excerpts: As companies struggle to innovate in today's competitive environment, they need to continually guard against adding to their "clutter" -- the creeping impact of complexity on efficiency and cost-competitiveness. In this three-part special report, experts from Wharton and George Group Consulting discuss how management can approach this problem by thinking "ambidextrously" -- that is, focusing on innovation and broad exploration while minimizing the impact of clutter on operational processes and costs. Also, in the accompanying podcast (with transcript), Mike McCallister, CEO of Humana, discusses balancing innovation and complexity in the health care industry with Wharton management professor Michael Useem and Stephen Wilson, engagement director in George Group's Conquering Complexity practice.
Self-organizing Traffic Lights: A Realistic Simulation, arXiv
Abstract: We have previously shown in an abstract simulation (Gershenson, 2005) that self-organizing traffic lights can improve greatly traffic flow for any density. In this paper, we extend these results to a realistic setting, implementing self-organizing traffic lights in an advanced traffic simulator using real data from a Brussels avenue. On average, for different traffic densities, travel waiting times are reduced by 50% compared to the current green wave method.
Future Forecast: Extreme Weather Study Outlines a Climate Shift Caused by Global Warming, Washington Post
Excerpts: The world -- especially the Western United States, the Mediterranean region and Brazil -- is likely to suffer more extended droughts, heavy rainfalls and longer heat waves over the next century because of global warming, a new study forecasts.
the prediction of a future of nasty extreme weather also includes fewer freezes and a longer growing season.
a preview of a major international multiyear report on climate change that comes out next year, a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research details what nine of the world's top computer models predict for the lurching of climate at its most extreme.
Pollute the Planet for Climate's Sake?, Science
Excerpts: The source of the proposal was almost as remarkable as the idea itself. (...) Create a global haze by spewing megatons of sulfurous debris into the stratosphere to shade the planet and rein in greenhouse warming. "A few years ago, I would have said, 'I'm not touching that,'" says the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry researcher. Now, however, he finds the "grossly disappointing international political response" to global warming's threat so disturbing that the notion of deliberately contaminating the stratosphere looks less and less crazy.
A Combined Mitigation/Geoengineering Approach to Climate Stabilization, Science
Excerpts: Projected anthropogenic warming and increases in CO2 concentration present a twofold threat, both from climate changes and from CO2 directly through increasing the acidity of the oceans. Future climate change may be reduced through mitigation (reductions in greenhouse gas emissions) or through geoengineering. Most geoengineering approaches, however, do not address the problem of increasing ocean acidity. A combined mitigation/geoengineering strategy could remove this deficiency. Here we consider the deliberate injection of sulfate aerosol precursors into the stratosphere.
Climate Water Threat To Millions, BBC News
Excerpts: Climate change threatens supplies of water for millions of people in poorer countries, warns a new report from the Christian development agency Tearfund. Recent research suggests that by 2050, five times as much land is likely to be under "extreme" drought as now.
Tearfund wants richer states to look at helping poorer ones adjust to drought at next month's UN climate summit.
This week the UK's climate minister said he was confident of reaching an deal on adaptation funds at the talks.
There was an "urgent need" for such measures, Ian Pearson told a parliamentary committee.
Climate Change 'Serious Threat To Global Security', Politics.co.uk
Excerpts: The foreign secretary said global warming was a major cause of instability across the world and must not be dealt with using guns and tanks, but through dialogue and the sharing of new technologies between developed and developing countries.
at should concern us here in the foreign policy community is that an unstable climate will place huge additional strain on these tensions which we spend our time trying to resolve," (...).
Gold Mine Holds Life Untouched By The Sun, New Scientist
Excerpts: The first known organisms that live totally independently of the sun have been discovered deep in a South African gold mine.
The bacteria exist without the benefit of photosynthesis by harvesting the energy of natural radioactivity to create food for themselves. Similar life forms may exist on other planets, experts speculate.
The bacteria live in ancient water trapped in a crack in basalt rock, 3 to 4 kilometres down. Scientists from Princeton University in New Jersey, US, and colleagues analysed water from the fissure after it was penetrated by a narrow exploratory shaft in the Mponeng gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa. The shaft was then closed.
Smallest Genome Clocks in at 182 Genes, News@Nature
How small can a genome get and still run a living organism? Researchers now say that a symbiotic bacterium called Carsonella ruddii, which lives off sap-feeding insects, has taken the record for smallest genome with just 159,662 'letters' (or base pairs) of DNA and 182 protein-coding genes. At one-third the size of previously found 'minimal' organisms, it is smaller than researchers thought they would find. (...) But researchers warn that the natural streamlined bacteria are both symbionts, dependent on their host organisms for certain functions or nutrients that they can't provide themselves. "They can't be grown on their own," says Latorre.
Carsonella ruddii and its tiny genome piggyback on other creatures to survive.
Contributing Editor's Note: Organisms with such tiny genomes blur the distinction between living and non-living systems. These bacteria cannot survive on their own, just as viruses, which are not considered as living by most biologists.
How Ants Find Their Way, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: Ever wondered how ants find their way straight to the uncovered food in your kitchen? Now scientists have discovered how the humble wood ant navigates over proportionally huge distances, using just very poor eyesight and confusing and changing natural landmarks. (...) have shown precisely how the ant's visual navigation strategy works. On a wood ant's first trip to a food site it follows a chemical trail left by earlier ants. This is a slow way of travelling as the ant needs to walk with its antennae to the ground. However, this initial route forms the basis of an efficient learning strategy. (...)
- Source: How Ants Find Their Way, ScienceDaily & Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, 2006/10/18
- Contributed by Atin Das - dasatinyahoo.co.in
Blue Tail And Striped Body: Why Do Lizards Change Their Infant Costume When Growing Up?, Behav. Ecol.
Excerpts: Ontogenetic changes in color and pattern that are not directly related to reproduction are very common yet remain a poorly understood phenomenon. One example is conspicuous colors in the tails of fish, amphibians, and reptiles that fade out later in life. We suggest a novel hypothesis: conspicuous tail colors that appear only in juveniles compensate for an increased activity level, deflecting imminent attacks to the tail. (...) The results suggest that activity alteration may be a major factor affecting the ontogenetic color and pattern change. Active lizards that forage in open habitats increase their probability of attack by ambush predators. (...)
Evolutionary Biology: A Kingdom Revised, Nature
Excerpts: An international consortium of researchers has produced an impressive new tree of life for the kingdom Fungi. The results are a testament to cooperation between systematists with different expertise. (...)
Before now, the only broadly sampled phylogenetic trees of the fungi were based on sequences of a single gene (...).
This highly simplified evolutionary tree shows the traditional phyla - Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Glomeromycota, Zygomycota and Chytridiomycota. The Ascomycota and Basidiomycota are united as the dikarya, fungi in which part of the life cycle is characterized by cells with paired nuclei.
Theoretical Analysis and Multi-agent Simulation of the Ecosystem in Tibet, arXiv
Excerpts: Bird Funeral is a strange funeral custom in Tibet of China. (...) But can they save the fauna by their sacrifice? By theoretical analysis and multi-agent simulation, we give a negative conclusion that the sacrifice are, in fact, reducing the population of the pikas. In contemporary Tibet, the eagle population is reducing drastically, and the pastures are degenerating. People blame this on the excessive population of the plateau pikas. We propose a model to explain this phenomenon. The eagles are dying off because of overgrazing but not the pikas. We also point out that killing the pikas is probably unhelpful to recover the pastures but worsen the degeneration of the pastures. And if people want to recover the pastures, they have to increase both the population of the predator and the supply of grass simultaneously.
Structural Biology: Enzyme Target To Latch On To, Nature
Excerpts: Insulin-degrading enzyme is implicated in diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, but few molecular tools exist that can probe its function. A study now reveals its unusual structure and may lead to an expanded toolbox.
Proteases are vital enzymes that have been targeted for the treatment of many diseases. One such protease, insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), has strong links to diabetes and Alzheimer's disease but has nonetheless proved to be an elusive drug target, despite more than 50 years of intensive research.
Excerpts: Eating vegetables, not fruit, helps slow down the rate of cognitive change in older adults, according to a study published in the October 24, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. In determining whether there was an association between vegetables, fruit and cognitive decline, researchers from Rush University Medical Center studied 3,718 residents in Chicago, Illinois, who were age 65 and older. Participants completed a food frequency questionnaire and received at least two cognitive tests over a six-year period.
Making The Connection Between A Sound And A Reward Changes Brain And Behavior, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: If you've ever wondered how you recognize your mother's voice without seeing her face or how you discern your cell phone's ring in a crowded room, researchers may have another piece of the answer. (...) your mother's voice is a good thing - most days - fairly significant changes occur in the sensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to sound. "When something starts to predict a good outcome is going to happen, the sensory part of the brain that responds to those events starts to respond more strongly, making it easier for the brain to cause a behavioral response," says (...).
Excerpts: On 4 November 2006 it will be 100 years since Alois Alzheimer gave his first lecture on a patient with "a peculiar disorder of the cerebral cortex". The late Auguste D. had suffered from dementia during the last years of her life, and in her brain Alzheimer had discovered protein plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and atherosclerotic changes. These features came to define what is now known as Alzheimer's disease.
Since then, we have learned much about a wide variety of neurodegenerative disorders, and there seem to be some remarkable parallels between them.
- Source: Neurodegeneration, Marie-Therese Heemels, DOI: 10.1038/443767a, Nature 443, 767, 06/10/19
Prions And Their Partners In Crime, Nature
Excerpts: Prions, the infectious agents of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs [e.g. Mad Cow Disease, Ed.]), have defied full characterization for decades. The dogma has been that prions lack nucleic acids and are composed of a pathological, self-inducing form of the host's prion protein (PrP). (...). Interactions between TSE-associated PrP and its normal counterpart are also pathalogically important, so the physiological functions of normal PrP and how they might be corrupted by TSE infections have been the subject of recent research.
Autism's DNA Trail: Gene Variant Tied To Developmental Disorder, Science News
Excerpts: Scientists have taken a promising step forward in untangling the genetic roots of autism. Inheritance of a common variant of a gene that influences immunity, gastrointestinal repair, and brain growth substantially raises the chances of developing autism, at least in families with more than one child diagnosed with the severe brain disorder, a study finds.
ldren with autism show severe social difficulties, language problems, and repetitive behaviors. The gene, called MET, regulates production of a protein that influences cell proliferation in various parts of the body.
Do Cell Phones Affect Sperm Quality?, WebMD Medical News
Excerpts: Most of the men had sperm counts that were well above the 20 million sperm per milliliter level that is considered the lower limit of normal. But the more the men in the study used their phones, the lower their sperm count tended to be.
average sperm count among men who said they did not use cell phones was 86 million per milliliter (mL), compared with 76 million/mL for men who used cell phones less than two hours a day and 71 million/mL for men who used cell phones two to four hours a day.
Listening To The Sound Of Skin Cancer, Innovations-report
Excerpts: Researchers (...) can now detect the spread of skin cancer cells through the blood by literally listening to their sound. The unprecedented, minimally invasive technique causes melanoma cells to emit noise, and could let oncologists spot early signs of metastases -- as few as 10 cancer cells in a blood sample -- before they even settle in other organs. (...) The team's method, called photoacoustic detection, combines laser techniques from optics and ultrasound techniques from acoustics, using a laser to make cells vibrate and then picking up the characteristic sound of melanoma cells. (...)
Swirling Seas, Crystal Balls, Science News
Excerpts: A field of triangles crumples and twists into a wavy crystalline sea. A crystal ball sprouts spiraling, labyrinthine passages. Faceted bricks stack snugly into a tidy, compact structure. Underlying each of these objects is a remarkable geometric shape made up of a sequence of triangles¡Xa spiral polygon that resembles a seahorse's tail.
garian industrial designer and graphic artist D?niel Erd?ly called the form a spidron when he discovered it in the early 1970s. In so doing, he evoked the figure's two spiral arms and the polygonal structures that can result when spidrons are joined.
Believing Falsely Makes It So, Mind
Excerpt: The internalist intuition-that there is something rationally or conceptually defective in judging that an act is right without being in any way motivated towards it-is one which has tended to lead either to error theories of ethics on the one hand, or acceptance of the truth of internalism on the other. This paper argues that it does play a kind of subject-setting role, but that our responses to cases can be rationalised without requiring that internalism is true for ethical realism to be vindicated. Instead what is required is that something like internalism be believed to be true. (...)
- Source: Believing Falsely Makes It So, D. B.-Mitchell - dbmmail.usyd.edu.au, DOI: 10.1093/mind/fzl833, Mind, Oct. 2006
- Contributed by Pritha Das - prithadas01yahoo.com
Idle Contractors Add Millions to Iraq Rebuilding, NY Times
Excerpts: Overhead costs have consumed more than half the budget of some reconstruction projects in Iraq, according to a government estimate released yesterday, leaving far less money than expected to provide the oil, water and electricity needed to improve the lives of Iraqis.
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Networks
U.N. Says Human Rights Violators Cite U.S., Washington Post
Excerpts: Several governments around the world have tried to rebut criticism of how they handle detainees by claiming they are only following the U.S. example in fighting terrorism, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture said Monday.
red Nowak said that when he criticizes governments for their questionable treatment of detainees, they respond by telling him that if the United States does something, it must be all right. He would not name any countries except Jordan.
U.S. Rank on Press Freedom Slides Lower, Washington Post
Excerpts: Some poor countries, such as Mauritania and Haiti, improved their record in a global press freedom index this year, while France, the United States and Japan slipped further down the scale of 168 countries rated, the group Reporters Without Borders said yesterday.
news media advocacy organization said the most repressive countries in terms of journalistic freedom -- such as North Korea, Cuba, Burma and China -- made no advances at all.
Red Cross Lambasts US Terror Law, BBC News
Excerpts: "The very broad definition of who is an 'unlawful enemy combatant' and the fact that there is not an explicit prohibition on the admission of evidence attained by coercion are examples."
Mr Kellenberger said the ICRC would discuss its concern with the White House, such as how the law "omits certain violations from the list of acts that are war crimes under US domestic law".
"These include the prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, and the prohibition of the denial of the right to a fair trial, which is a basic protection provided for in international law," he said.
Links & Snippets
- Does Dynamics Reflect Topology in Directed Networks?, Marc Timme, 2006/10/06, arXiv, DOI: cond-mat/0610186
- Human Parental Effort And Environmental Risk, R. J. Quinlan, 2006/10/11, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3690
- A Multiple-Site Similarity Measure, O. H. Diserud, F. Ødegaard, 2006/10/11, Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0553
- Microsoft Launches Internet Explorer 7: Delayed Update Now Available For Public Download, T. Sanders, 2006/10/19, vnunet.com
- Researchers Find A Neural Signature Of Bilingualism: The Team Uses Infrared Light To Study The Brain, 2006/10/19, Innovations-report
- Pleasure And Pain: Study Shows Brain's 'Pleasure Chemical' Is Involved In Response To Pain Too, 2006/10/19, ScienceDaily & University of Michigan Health System
- The Neurobiology Behind Why Eating Feels So Good, 2006/10/19, ScienceDaily & Journal of Clinical Investigation
- Does "Bettering Our Condition" Really Make Us Better Off? Adam Smith On Progress And Happiness, P. Christoff, Aug. 2006, online 2006/08/28, American Political Science Review, DOI: 10.1017/S0003055406062204
- Development Of Therapeutic Brain Stimulation Techniques With Methods From Nonlinear Dynamics And Statistical Physics, P. A. Tass, C. Hauptmann, O. V. Popovych, Jul. 2006, International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, DOI: 10.1142/S0218127406015787
- Complexity In Plasmas, J. T. Mendonça - titomendist.utl.pt, Jul. 2006, International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, DOI: 10.1142/S0218127406015775
- The International Struggle Over Iraq: Politics In The UN Security Council 1980-2005, Book Announcement, D. M. Malone, Jun. 2006, Oxford Univ. Press
- Should A Cosmopolitan Worry About The "Brain Drain"?, D. Kapur, J. McHale, Sep. 2006, online 2006/09/13, Ethics & International Affairs, DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-7093.2006.00028.x
Potentials of Complexity Science for Business, Governments, and the Media 2006, Budapest, Hungary, 06/08/03-05
- 6th Intl Conf on Complex Systems (ICCS), Boston, MA, 06/06/25-30
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
3rd Intl Congress of Nanotechnology 2006 (ICNT 2006) , San Francisco, 06/10/30-11/02
- Complexity Cluster: Leading 21st Century Organizations, San Francisco, CA, 06/10/31
- 8th Annual Intl 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
NECSI Winter School 2007, Cambridge, MA, 07/01/08-19
- Logic, Computability and Randomness 2007 , Buenos Aires, Argentina, 07/01/10-13
Managing Complex Organizations in a Complex World, Cambridge, MA, 07/01/25-26
2007 Complexity and Educational Research Conference, Vancouver, BC, 07/02/18-20
3rd International Workshop on Complexity and Philisophy, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 07/02/22-23
4th Lake Arrowhead Conference on Human Complex Systems,
Lake Arrowhead, CA, 07/04/25-29
- 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
ECO 2007 Summit: Ecological Complexity and Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for 21st-Century Ecology, Beijing, China, 07/05/22-27
2007 IEEE/ICME Intl Conf on Complex Medical Engineering-CME2007, Beijing, China, 07/05/23-27
SYMMETRY IN NONLINEAR MATHEMATICAL PHYSICS, Kiev, Ukraine, 07/06/24-30
Summer School In Complexity Science, London, UK, 07/07/08-17
ECAL 2oo7 - 9th European Conference on Artificial Life
, Lisbon, Portugal, 07/09/10-14
European Conference on Complex Systems 2007 (ECCS'07) , Dresden, Germany, 07/10/01-05
Call for Papers - Course/Book Announcements
- The publishing consortium of
The European Physical Journal (EPJ), and the Editors-in-Chief are pleased to announce that The European Physical Journal B - Condensed Matter and Complex Systems - has substantially extended its existing publishing activities in the fields of Statistical Physics and Nonlinear Dynamics to encompass all aspects of the emerging field of Complex Systems.
- Call for Submissions:
The Journal of Developmental Processes will publish its first issue in fall 2006. , The JDP recognizes that complex developmental processes characterize the growth of living organisms. In humans, this complexity is highly elaborated, so that developmental change is affected by many interrelated factors of the body, the mind, family, society and the environment. New discoveries continually add to our understanding of these processes and demonstrate the inadequacy of reductionist approaches.
- Call for Papers:
Special Issue of the Artificial Life journal on the Evolution of Complexity,
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