|Complexity Digest 2008.04 24-Jan-2008|
"I think the next century will be the century of complexity." Stephen Hawking, 2000.
To achieve these goals, it is essential that Earth scientists and society interact in mutually beneficial ways (...).
There is an old truism in climate circles that the cold climate at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), which occurred 21,000 years ago, had stronger winds. This idea fits with the common observation that it is windier in the winter than in the summer because there is greater thermal contrast within the atmosphere in the winter hemisphere. Temperature reconstructions from the LGM show that Equator-to-pole gradients in sea surface temperature were indeed larger - that is, the polar oceans were colder than the tropical ocean at the LGM in comparison with the temperature differences today.
It has only been recognized relatively recently that biological processes can control and steer the Earth system in a globally significant way. Terrestrial ecosystems constitute a major player in this respect: they can release or absorb globally relevant greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, they emit aerosols and aerosol precursors, and they control exchanges of energy, water and momentum between the atmosphere and the land surface.
Clouds control Earth's weather and regulate its climate. They cool Earth's atmosphere by reflecting incoming visible-wavelength solar radiation and warm its surface by trapping outgoing infrared radiation. Clouds produce the rain and snow that dominate Earth's weather and shape Earth's landscapes and vegetation zones.
The testing apparatus controlled drop size, frequency, and height, as drops of water fell and impacted a piezoelectric material at the base. Credit: Romain Guigon, et al.
"Our work could be considered as a good alternative to power systems in raining outdoor environments where solar energy is difficult to exploit,"
Previous work has suggested that the more salt marsh area present, the greater the likely harvest of shrimp in adjacent coastal waters (4). Such linear results suggest that the best course is to protect as much of these environments as possible; this has largely been the basis for management strategies. Barbier et al. show that for at least one ecological service provided by wetlands such as marshes and mangroves--the wave attenuation service that protects coastal areas from storms and tsunamis--the relation between service and wetland area is not linear, but is decidedly curved.
(...) Polynesians bear a much closer relationship to aboriginal inhabitants of Taiwan than to the Melanesian groups who occupied New Guinea and surrounding islands from 50,000 to 30,000 years ago.
Songbirds are champion mimics. A nightingale, for example, can imitate at least 60 different songs after a few exposures to each. A young bird learns its species' song through imitation, and the ability is also socially important: a bird on its territory will often respond to an intruder's song by singing a similar song, thus acknowledging the intrusion. What neurons might mediate these imitative and communicative powers?
The hippocampus is essential for a meaningful human life. Without it, we cannot form new memories. Engaging in a normal social life would not be possible because new experiences would fade from memory within minutes (1). In keeping with its complex function, the hippocampus, part of the brain's cerebral cortex, has a distinctive, intricate anatomy.
Crucially, when brain activity rose above a predefined threshold, the brain-interface device was rigged up to switch off the secondary task - clicking the steering wheel buttons. Being freed from this task speeded up subjects' reactions times by an average of 100 milliseconds.
In a real-life situation, such a device might be programmed to switch off superfluous information systems when the drivers' brain is already over-loaded by other stimuli, such as a conversation with other passengers, (...).
Smart sniffer: Cogniscent's electronic nose (above) now uses sensors made from short sequences of single-stranded DNA that can detect toxic and explosive chemicals in the air. Credit: Cogniscent
Scientists have found a way to quickly identify which DNA sequences are ideal for detecting a particular odor and turn dried DNA into odor detectors. While many researchers are working on an electronic nose to detect toxins and explosives, this new platform could be used to create a wide array of sensors using existing high-throughput molecular-biology equipment.
The study was originally initiated by Dr. Tom Hudson, former director of the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, and drew upon the data collected by the vast HapMap (Haplotype Map) Project, a global comparative map of the human genome, which Hudson and his colleagues were instrumental in completing.
"Our research found that treating chronic pain with Adeno-Associated Virus vector-based gene therapy allows for pain relief for more than three months after a single injection, targeting selectively the pain gate.
Approval would provide clinicians with an alternative to other immune suppressants such as methotrexate and cyclosporine. (...)
Etanercept's specific targeting of TNF-alpha allows other immune processes to continue to protect the body, :(...).
Editor's Note: From Wikipedia: "Tumor necrosis factor (TNF, cachexin or cachectin and formally known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha) is a cytokine (tumor necrosis factors) involved in systemic inflammation and is a member of a group of cytokines that all stimulate the acute phase reaction. TNF causes apoptotic cell death, cellular proliferation, differentiation, inflammation, tumorigenesis, and viral replication. TNF's primary role is in the regulation of immune cells."
For trials that had been published, they compared the published version of the results with the FDA version of the results.
Whether and how the studies were published depended on how they turned out, Turner's team found. According to the published literature, nearly all studies conducted (94 percent) had positive treatment results, but FDA data showed that in fact only about half (51 percent) of the studies were positive.
Scientists at the company, Stemagen, which is based in San Diego, said Thursday that they were the first to use human adult cells to create cloned embryos that advanced to the stage known as a blastocyst, from which embryonic stem cells typically are extracted.
The system was developed by Andrew Longman, a consulting instrumentation scientist. Longman developed the software for the system and then worked with Purdue researchers to integrate the software with radiation detectors and cell phones. Cellular data air time was provided by AT&T.
Our special-operations forces are the "tip of the spear" confronting al-Qaida and its allies - the forces in our military best trained at all the facets of counterinsurgency needed to confront these global terrorist networks.
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