Systems Biology: Many Things From One, Nature
Excerpts: Cells of the same type can generate diverse sets of physiological traits from a single set of genes. Part of this diversity could stem from 'noise' that arises from variations in the way proteins are expressed.
Developmental Biology: The Turing Model Comes Of Molecular Age, Science
Excerpts: What are the underlying mechanisms that give rise to complex patterns in biology? Despite recent advances in biotechnology and mathematical modeling, this still remains a largely open question. As reported on page 1447 of this issue, Sick et al. have made a major advance toward answering this question by identifying key molecular players in hair follicle growth and by confirming the validity of perhaps the best-known mathematical model for biological pattern formation (1).
Dynamics on Complex Networks and Applications, Physica D
Abstract: At the eight-year anniversary of Watts and Strogatz's work on the collective dynamics of small-world networks and seven years after Barabasi and Albert's discovery of scale-free networks, the area of dynamical processes on complex networks is at the forefront of the current research on nonlinear dynamics and complex systems. This volume brings together a selection of original contributions in complementary topics of statistical physics, nonlinear dynamics and biological sciences, and is expected to provide the reader with a comprehensive up-to-date representation of this rapidly developing area.
Minsky Talks About Life, Love In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence, Boston Globe
Excerpts: Computer science professor Marvin Minsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is known for feats that range from inventing the ultrahigh-resolution confocal microscope to helping found the field of artificial intelligence, which aims to create computers that mimic the human mind.
After 20 years of publishing silence, he has just come out with a new book. Called "The Emotion Machine," it argues that, contrary to popular conception, emotions aren't distinct from rational thought; rather, they are simply another way of thinking, one that computers could perform. He spoke with Globe reporter Carey Goldberg.
Learning From Incidents: From Normal Accidents To High Reliability, Sys. Dynamics Rev.
Abstract: Many disasters have occurred because organizations have ignored the warning signs of precursor incidents or have failed to learn from the lessons of the past. Normal accident theory suggests that disasters are the unwanted, but inevitable output of complex socio-technical systems, while high-reliability theory sees disasters as preventable by certain characteristics or response systems of the organization. We develop an organizational response system called incident learning in which normal precursor incidents are used in a learning process to combat complacency and avoid disasters. We build a model of a safety and incident learning system and explore its dynamics. (...)
Oenology: Red Wine Procyanidins And Vascular Health, Nature
Excerpts: Regular, moderate consumption of red wine is linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and to lower overall mortality, but the relative contribution of wine's alcohol and polyphenol components to these effects is unclear. Here we identify procyanidins as the principal vasoactive polyphenols in red wine and show that they are present at higher concentrations in wines from areas of southwestern France and Sardinia, where traditional production methods ensure that these compounds are efficiently extracted during vinification. These regions also happen to be associated with increased longevity in the population.
- Source: Oenology: Red Wine Procyanidins And Vascular Health, R. Corder, W. Mullen, N. Q. Khan, S. C. Marks, E. G. Wood, M. J. Carrier, A. Crozier, DOI: 10.1038/444566a, Nature 444, 566, 06/11/30
Water Flowed 'Recently' On Mars, BBC News
Nasa says it has found "compelling" evidence that liquid water flowed recently on the surface of Mars. The finding adds further weight to the idea that Mars might harbour the right conditions for life.
Gullies like this could have been cut by water, Nasa says
The appearance of gullies, revealed in orbital images from a Nasa probe, suggests that water could have flowed on the surface in the last few years.
But some scientists think these fresh gullies could also have been cut by liquid carbon dioxide (CO2).
Meteorite Yields Life Origin Clue, BBC News
Hollow spheres found in a primordial meteorite could yield clues to the origin of life on Earth.
Meteorite fragments were recovered from the frozen Tagish Lake
Scientists say that "bubbles" like those in the Tagish Lake meteorite may have helped along chemical processes important for the emergence of life.
The globules could also be older than our Solar System - their chemistry suggests they formed at about -260C, near "absolute zero".
Details of the work by Nasa scientists are published in the journal Science.
New Clues to How Sex Evolves, Bio.com
Excerpts: Sex is a boon to evolution; it allows genetic material from parents to recombine, giving rise to a unique new genome. But how did sex itself evolve? Researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have found clues to one part of this complex question in ongoing studies of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
Phytoplankton And Cloudiness In The Southern Ocean, Science
Excerpts: The effect of ocean biological productivity on marine clouds is explored over a large phytoplankton bloom in the Southern Ocean with the use of remotely sensed data. Cloud droplet number concentration over the bloom was twice what it was away from the bloom, and cloud effective radius was reduced by 30%. The resulting change in the short-wave radiative flux at the top of the atmosphere was -15 watts per square meter, comparable to the aerosol indirect effect over highly polluted regions.
Gulf Stream Density Structure And Transport During The Past Millennium, Nature
Excerpts: The possibility of abrupt changes in Gulf Stream heat transport is one of the key uncertainties in predictions of climate change for the coming centuries. (...), our knowledge of Gulf Stream behaviour on long timescales must rely heavily on information from geologic archives. Here we use foraminifera from a suite of high-resolution sediment cores in the Florida Straits to show that the cross-current density gradient and vertical current shear of the Gulf Stream were systematically lower during the Little Ice Age (ad 1200 to 1850).
Past Drought Hints At Africa's Future, Nature
Excerpts: History offers insight into climate patterns.
An ecological survey of one of East Africa's worst-ever droughts provides a fresh look at how ecosystems respond to sudden, dramatic disturbances. The study documents a 19-year period in the late nineteenth century known to the native Masai people as Emutai ¡X meaning 'to wipe out' ¡X and it could help in determining how the landscape may respond to future climate shifts, as are predicted as a result of global warming.
Methane Quashes Green Credentials Of Hydropower, Nature
Excerpts: Emissions from tropical dams can exceed fossil-fuel plants.
At the time, it must have sounded like a sensible case of sustainable development. During the 1980s, about 2,500 square kilometres of Amazonian rainforest was flooded to create the Balbina dam to feed the energy demands of the Brazilian city of Manaus. A sizeable chunk of rainforest was lost, but Brazil gained access to a non-polluting energy source. It's a compromise Brazil has made many times; more than 80% of the country's domestic electricity is generated by hydropower plants.
China's Sunshine Boys, NY Times
Excerpts: So here's a little news quiz: Guess who's the seventh-richest man in China today, with a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $1.43 billion?
Answer: Shi Zhengrong. Now guess what he does. Real estate? No. Banking? No. Manufacturing for Wal-Mart? No. Construction? No.
Mr. Shi is China's leading maker of silicon photovoltaic solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. Yes, the seventh-richest man in China is a green entrepreneur! It should only happen in America.
Plantecology: The Cost Of Leafing, Nature
Excerpts: John Whitfield is a freelance writer based in London, UK.
Understanding the trade-offs involved for plants making leaves promises fresh insights on every scale from the plant to the planet, finds John Whitfield
There are about 250,000 different types of plant ¡X and almost as many types of leaf, from blades of grass through downy beech leaves to the needles of cedars or the fronds of palms. But the differences hide a basic similarity, says ecologist Ian Wright of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. "Within any habitat, you'll find that each square centimetre of leaf will process a roughly similar amount of carbon per unit area over its lifespan."
New Finding Points Way To Foiling Anthrax's Tricks, Innovations-report
Excerpts: University of California, Berkeley, chemists have discovered a trick that anthrax bacteria use to make an end run around the body's defenses, but which may turn out to be their Achilles' heel. (...) uncovered the trick while studying how these deadly bacteria steal iron from their human hosts to grow and reproduce. "Humans make a protein called siderocalin to defend against bacteria in the continual arms race between pathogen and host. This is the first example of a protein produced by the human immune system that disrupts bacteria's iron scavenging system," said Ken Raymond, (...).
Virtual Pals 'Soar In Importance', BBC News
Virtual communities are as important as their real-world counterparts, many members of online communities believe. A survey found 43% of online networkers from the US felt "as strongly" about their web community as they did about their real-world friends. (...)
Online community members value their virtual friends
Social interaction on the web has become a phenomenon in recent years, with the rise of sites like MySpace and Bebo, and the development of virtual worlds such as Second Life.
For $150, Third-World Laptop Stirs Big Debate, NY Times
Excerpts: When computer industry executives heard about a plan to build a $100 laptop for the developing world's children, they generally ridiculed the idea. How could you build such a computer, they asked, when screens alone cost about $100?
Mary Lou Jepsen, the chief technologist for the project, likes to refer to the insight that transformed the machine from utopian dream to working prototype as ¡§a really wacky idea.¡¨
Amazon Puts Network Power Online, Nature
Excerpts: Cost-effective supercomputing wins academic praise.
When Dutch computer scientist Rudi Cilibrasi needed hundreds of hours-worth of computing time to test a data-mining algorithm earlier this month, he went not to his IT department but to Amazon.com. He paid $60 with his credit card, and in minutes had the equivalent of ten servers installed, which crunched through his job in a couple of days ¡X ten times faster than his desktop PC would have managed.
Preprint Analysis Quantifies Scientific Plagiarism, Nature
Excerpts: Physics papers reveal few serious breaches but some duplication.
How often do researchers plagiarize each other's work? The question has previously been almost impossible to answer, as no large-scale survey of the practice had been conducted. But a computer scientist has now examined more than a quarter of a million documents from a physics preprint server. The results contain the comforting news that blatant deception is rare, but suggest that minor acts of misconduct may be more common than was previously thought.
Scientific Conduct: China's Fraud Buster Hit by Libel Judgments, Science
Excerpts: In a dissertation written in France in the 1930s, Liu presented calculations based on the eight trigrams of an ancient divination text, I Ching (Book of Changes), predicting the existence of a 10th major planet in the solar system. Liu's prognostication was resurrected after last year's announced discovery of 2003UB313 (now officially a dwarf planet named Eris). (...)
In an essay, Fang labeled Liu's prediction "pseudoscience" (...). The court judged Fang's words "insulting" to Liu and ordered him to apologize publicly and pay Liu's family $2500 plus legal fees.
The Election Is in the Mail, NY Times
Excerpts: LAST Election Day, voters encountered myriad difficulties, from the unexplained glitch that temporarily halted Montana's vote count to the 18,300 undervotes in Florida's 13th Congressional District, to long lines, bad weather, inadequately trained workers, delayed or missing absentee ballots and complicated new identity forms. There was, however, one state where all went well: Oregon, where everyone votes by mail.
Since Oregon adopted Vote by Mail as its sole voting option in 1998, the state's turnout has increased, concerns about fraud have decreased, a complete paper trail exists for every election, recounts are non-controvertible and both major political parties have gained voters.
Scientists Identify Part Of Hummingbird's Tiny Bird Brain That Helps It Hover, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: University of Alberta researchers have pinpointed a section in the tiny hummingbird's brain that may be responsible for its unique ability to stay stationary mid-air and hover. (...) "As soon as we looked at these specimens it was obvious that something was different in the hummingbirds' brains than other species." (...) Hummingbirds are well known for their wing speed and ability to hover and fly forward and backward with more precision than a helicopter. It is critical that the hummingbird remain perfectly still as it feeds itself while darting in and out of flower blossoms with pinpoint accuracy. (...)
Neuroscience: A Memory Boost While You Sleep, Nature
Excerpts: It is generally agreed that sleep aids memory consolidation, but the reasons for this are a mystery. Part of the answer may lie in the patterns of synchronous brain activity unique to the state of slumber.
Boosting Slow Oscillations During Sleep Potentiates Memory, Nature
Excerpts: There is compelling evidence that sleep contributes to the long-term consolidation of new memories1. This function of sleep has been linked to slow (smaller than 1 Hz) potential oscillations, which predominantly arise from the prefrontal neocortex and characterize slow wave sleep. However, oscillations in brain potentials are commonly considered to be mere epiphenomena that reflect synchronized activity arising from neuronal networks, which links the membrane and synaptic processes of these neurons in time.
Variability And Memory Of Protein Levels In Human Cells, Nature
Excerpts: Protein expression is a stochastic process that leads to phenotypic variation among cells. The cell-cell distribution of protein levels in microorganisms has been well characterized but little is known about such variability in human cells. Here, we studied the variability of protein levels in human cells, as well as the temporal dynamics of this variability (...) . We found variability with a standard deviation that ranged, for different proteins, from about 15% to 30% of the mean.
- Source: Variability And Memory Of Protein Levels In Human Cells, Alex Sigal, Ron Milo, Ariel Cohen, Naama Geva-Zatorsky, Yael Klein, Yuvalal Liron, Nitzan Rosenfeld, Tamar Danon, Natalie Perzov, Uri Alon, DOI: 10.1038/nature05316, Nature 444, 643-646, 06/11/30
Protein Shown To Rally Biological Clock: 'Pony Express' Protein, Innovations-report
Excerpts: A biologist at Washington University in St. Louis and his collaborators have identified the factor in mammalian brain cells that keeps cells in synchrony so that functions like the wake-sleep cycle, hormone secretion and loco motor behaviors are coordinated daily over a 24-hour period. (...) have determined that VIP - vasoactive intestinal polypeptide - is the rallying protein that signals the brain's biological clock to coordinate daily rhythms in behavior and physiology. The finding clarifies the roles that both VIP and a neurotransmitter GABA play in synchronizing biological clocks, and sheds light on how mammals, in this case mice and rats, regulate circadian rhythm. (...)
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Networks
US Warns Of Online Al Qaeda Attack, vnunet.com
Excerpts: The US government has put out an alert over a possible online attack by al Qaeda. The warnings were circulated to private financial institutions about a possible attack that is designed to wipe out their databases. They follow a call from the group ANHIAR al-Dollar to attack financial firms throughout the month of December, with action supposedly beginning today. (...) The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team, part of Homeland Security, confirmed that it had sent out the alert as a precautionary measure, but said it didn't believe the threat was credible.
Terror And Trade Of Individual Investors, J. Socio-Econ.
Excerpt: A great number of psychological studies document the influence of emotions on individuals' decision-making processes. This paper contributes to this literature by analyzing the possible impact of terrorism on financial trade by individual investors. Using account data for over 3000 households obtained from a large Israeli bank, we look into reactions of common stock investments to terrorist incidents in the years 1998-2002. The empirical analysis indicates that terror has a significant adverse effect on actual trade, possibly limiting the scope of risk-sharing available through traded securities. Several psychological explanations for investors' reluctanc to trade are provided. (...)
- Source: Terror And Trade Of Individual Investors, O. Levy - olevycsom.umn.edu, I. Galili, DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2005.11.019, Journal of Socio-Economics, Dec. 2006
- Contributed by Pritha Das - prithadas01yahoo.com
Links & Snippets
- The International System: ¡§At the Edge of Chaos¡¨, Ingo Piepers, 06/11/30, arXiv
- The Earth-Eaters, Trevor Stokes, 06/11/30, Nature 444, 543-544. Research suggests that consuming soil may have more health implications than one might expect. Trevor Stokes sieves through the reasons why people include dirt in their diet., DOI: 10.1038/444543a
- Stone Age Role Revolution: Modern Humans May Have Divided Labor To Conquer, 06/12/02, Sciebce News, A new analysis of Stone Age sites indicates that a division of labor first emerged in modern-human groups living in the African tropics around 40,000 years ago, providing our ancestors with a social advantage over Neandertals.
- Individual And Gender Fingerprints In Human Body Odour, D. J. Penn, E. Oberzaucher, K. Grammer, G. Fischer, H. A. Soini, D. Wiesler, M. V. Novotny, S. J. Dixon, Y. Xu, R. G. Brereton, 2006/11/28, Journal of The Royal Society Interface, DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2006.0182
- Neural Systems Engineering, S. Furber, S. Temple, 2006/11/28, Journal of The Royal Society Interface, DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2006.0177
- Detecting Explosives With Honeybees: Laboratory Experts Develop Method To Train An Air Force Of Bomb-Sniffing Bees, 2006/11/30, Innovations-report
- Social Factors Matter In Technological Innovation, 2006/11/30, Innovations-report
- Introduction. Antarctic Ecology From Genes To Ecosystems: The Impact Of Climate Change And The Importance Of Scale, A. Clarke, N. M. Johnston, E. J. Murphy, A. D. Rogers, 2006/11/30, Philosophical Transactions : Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2006.1943
- New Study Suggests Speakers Of Different Languages Perceive Rhythm Differently, 2006/12/01, ScienceDaily & American Institute of Physics
- Invasive Ants Territorial When Neighbors Are Not Kin, 2006/12/01, ScienceDaily & University of California - San Diego
- Theory Of Oscillations May Explain Biological Mysteries, 2006/12/01, ScienceDaily & American Institute of Biological Sciences
- Cross-Country Differences In ICT Adoption: A Consequence Of Culture?, A. A. Erumban - a.a.erumbanrug.nl, S. B. de Jong - s.b.de.jongrug.nl, Dec. 2006, online 2006/09/26, Journal of World Business, DOI: 10.1016/j.jwb.2006.08.005
- A Formal Model Of Capacity Limits In Working Memory, K. Oberauer - k.oberauerbristol.ac.uk, R. Kliegl, Nov. 2006, online 2006/09/26, Journal of Memory and Language, DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2006.08.009
TED Talks, TED Conferences LLC , since 2006
Talking Robots: The PodCast on Robotics and AI, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, 06/11/03
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
- 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
Symposium on Biological Complexity Diseases of Transcription, La Jolla, CA, 07/01/11-14
The Atlas of Ideas, London,
United Kingdom, 07/01/17-18
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
Unconventional Computation: Quo Vadis?, Santa Fe, NM, 07/03/20-23
Complex Social Systems Course
at the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom, 07/03/20-28
4th Lake Arrowhead Conference on Human Complex Systems,
Lake Arrowhead, CA, 07/04/25-29
Intl Conf on Morphological Computation, Venice Italy, 07/03/26-28
- 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
The 7th Intl Workshop on Meta-Synthesis and Complex Systems, Beijing, 07/05/27-30
SYMMETRY IN NONLINEAR MATHEMATICAL PHYSICS, Kiev, Ukraine, 07/06/24-30
Summer School In Complexity Science, London, UK, 07/07/08-17
Natural Complexity: Data and Theory in Dialogue, Cambridge, UK, 07/08/13-17
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