As White House Begins Social Security Push, Critics Claim Exaggeration, NY Times
Excerpts: In the first phase of a strategy to build support for overhauling Social Security, White House officials are planning to describe the retirement program as a system in "crisis" whose promises to younger workers are a "fiction."
Beginning Tuesday, when President Bush will hold a public meeting with people worried about their retirement, White House officials plan to hammer home the message that Social Security is "headed toward an iceberg" and will collapse as baby boomers enter retirement.
The Iceberg Cometh, NY Times
Excerpts: Last week someone leaked a memo written by Peter Wehner, an aide to Karl Rove, about how to sell Social Security privatization. The public, says Mr. Wehner, must be convinced that "the current system is heading for an iceberg."
It's the standard Bush administration tactic: invent a fake crisis to bully people into doing what you want. (...) "the Social Security battle is one we can win." (...)
The administration expects us not to notice, however, that the supposed solution would do nothing to reduce that cost.
For the Record on Social Security, NY Times
Summary: Editorial lists ways in which it holds that Bush administration is manipulating information about its plan to privatize Social Security; claims president and his aides are trying to sow ignorance about its plan, and suspects administration knows that an informed public would reject it
U.S. Trade Deficit Rises to New High; More Risk to Dollar, NY Times
Excerpts: The United States trade deficit soared to a monthly record of $60.3 billion in November, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday. The figure confounded predictions that the deficit would diminish with the weakening of the dollar and an easing in the price of oil.
Instead, the trade gap has created increased pressure for the dollar to drop even further. (...)
The jump in the trade deficit showed a surprising weakening in exports across the board, from farm products to capital goods like aircraft and semiconductors.
The Pentagon's New Math, NY Times
Excerpts: Because of the cost of the war in Iraq and the mounting federal deficit, the Office of Management and Budget has ordered the Pentagon to make major budget cuts (...). According to the Pentagon, these could come to more than $55 billion (...). Like most reports about reductions in Pentagon spending, however, there is less to it than meets the eye.
A large amount of the money that is supposedly being cut is in fact only being transferred from the Air Force and Navy budgets to the Army's, (...).
The Political Economy of IMF Lending in Africa, Ameri. Polit. Sc. Rev.
Excerpt: Why has IMF lending achieved such poor results in Africa? Is it because the Fund imposes the wrong conditions, or because it fails to enforce them? Analysis of monthly data on 53 African countries from 1990 to 2000 shows that the IMF's loans-for-reform contract lacks credibility because donor countries intervene to prevent rigorous enforcement. Countries that have influence with developed-country patrons-as measured by U.S. foreign aid, membership in postcolonial international institutions, and voting profiles in the UN-are subject to less rigorous enforcement (shorter program suspensions). They have more frequent program suspensions, (...).
Excerpts: This essay attempts to map out the global networking of counter-feit production and consumption by considering the historical and economic complications of fake superlogograms in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China as a point of departure. It traces not only the 'capital logic' of the counter-feiting industry, which duplicates the international division of labour, but also its 'cultural logic', (...) discusses the double cultural reproduction of fake logos in Taiwan as both an imitation of Japan and an imitation of Japanese imitation of Europe. (...)
Cultural evolution and game theory help to explain how a history of cooperation influences the success of social organizations
Tanzania is a country troubled by political corruption and crime, but one of the country's many ethnic groups, the Sukuma, has recently achieved remarkable success in building sustainable communities with social controls. These rapidly created justice and economic systems require high levels of cooperation. Using anthropological techniques including an "ultimatum game," the authors examine the Sukuma's achievements as a case study in cultural evolution and argue that cooperative institutions promote adaptation.
- Source: Grass-roots Justice in Tanzania, Brian Paciotti, Craig Hadley, Christopher Holmes, Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, American Scientist, Vol. 93, No. 1, Jan-Feb 2005, 58-65, January-February 2005
- Contributed by Hugh Trenchard - htrenchardshaw.ca
IBM to Help Open-Source Developers, Washington Post
Excerpts: Some firms have argued that open-source software has been cobbled together using pieces of code patented by others, leaving users of open-source open to lawsuits. Patents donated to the open-source community would no longer be a threat and would not require developers to engineer around them.
Microsoft, however, has embarked on a campaign to quickly acquire as many software patents as possible. The effort is being led by Marshall Phelps, who spent more than 20 years at IBM and was the architect of its patent strategy.
Suppose you've just built a new airport or radio station or founded a sovereign nation, and you want to register an identifying code with the appropriate agency. What is the likelihood that your first choice will be available? Or your second or third choice? How do these probabilities change as the namespace fills up? (...)
Searching at random for an unused name is related to the process known in computer science as hashing (...)
(...) results suggest that some namespaces may become impractically full much sooner than would be expected from an analysis based on hashing algorithms.
- Source: Naming Names , Brian Hayes, American Scientist, Vol. 93, No.1 Jan-Feb 2005, 6-11, January-February 2005
- Contributed by Hugh Trenchard - htrenchardshaw.ca
Excerpt: Morse code is a simple, effective and clear method of communication and now scientists believe that cells in our body may also be using patterns of signals to switch genes on and off. The researchers have studied transcription factors, the signalling molecules inside cells that activate or deactivate genes. They found that the strength of the signal is less important than the frequency pattern used. (...) The number of number and frequency of signals, like the dots and dashes of Morse code, could have different purposes, all of which could be modified by a drug.
- Source: A Morse Code For Human Cells, D. Kell - dbkmanchester.ac.uk, M. White - m.whiteliverpool.ac.uk, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), 2005/01/12
- Contributed by Atin Das - dasatinyahoo.co.in
Life, Reinvented?, Wired
Excerpts: This year his class is devoted to building counters - devices that count from, say, 1 to 32. That may not sound like much of a challenge for students at the world's most prestigious engineering school; in fact, it's the sort of thing a nerdy middle school kid would solder together. But here's the rub: The counters his students design won't be electronic, but biological. They won't be made of transistors, but DNA. And they won't be inserted into breadboards, but living bacteria.
Excerpts: Computers assembled by DNA have the potential to be extremely small, fast and inexpensive, and would consume very little power. (...)
Researchers have tapped the self-assembly ability of DNA by producing strands of artificial DNA that have segments of base pairs that connect together in certain patterns. Previous research has shown that it is possible to coax DNA to self-assemble into three-dimensional structures. DNA can also be engineered to attach to other materials in order to include those materials in the self-assembly process.
Did Enzymes Evolve to Capitalize on Quantum Tunneling, The Scientist
Excerpts: Today, researchers use quantum mechanics to refine their understanding of the physical laws governing life. A phenomenon called quantum tunneling (QT), for example, lets hydrogen pass from reactant to product when there isn't enough energy in the mix to let the reaction occur by classical routes. QT is more than an esoteric biochemical byway; it allows some reactions to occur quickly enough to sustain life. But whether enzymes evolved to make the most of QT is hotly contested, with recent studies yielding contradictory results.
Micromachine Grows Its Own Muscles, New Scientist
Excerpts: A micromachine that walks using muscles that it grew for itself has been developed in a US laboratory.
The remarkable device could eventually lead to muscle-based nerve stimulators that let paralysed patients breathe without a ventilator, or to nanobots that clear away plaque from inside the walls of a human coronary artery.
Scientists at the University of California in Los Angeles grew a length of muscle about 100 microns long on the underside of a silicon frame measuring 200 microns.
Titan Mission 'Resounding Success', BBC News
Excerpts: Scientists have released the first results from the Huygens probe's journey to Saturn's moon Titan, along with amazing new images. They also played sounds recorded as Huygens dived towards the surface. (...) The chemistry of Titan is thought to be similar to that of Earth 4.6 billion years ago and could provide clues to how life first arose on our planet.
See Also: ESA's Cassini-Hyugens site; NASA's Cassini-Hyugens site
Iapetus Moon Bulges At Equator, BBC News
The surface of Iapetus changes to a much brighter, icy terrain near the pole. A topographic ridge can also be clearly seen that coincides almost exactly with the moon's geographic equator. Nasa/JPL/Space Science Institute
The Cassini spacecraft's flyby of Saturn's moon Iapetus has revealed a bizarre geological feature in its images: a bulging ridge at its equator.
Mission scientists have started to release detailed images of the moon's surface, which is sharply divided into a bright half and a dark half.
The ridge is around 13km (8 miles) high in some places - taller than Mount Everest,(...).
The ridge is unique in the Solar System and its formation could be related to whatever process "painted" the moon's surface with dark material.
Vestiges of Big Bang Waves Are Reported, NY Times
Excerpts: According to that picture, matter was evenly distributed in all directions for the first instant after the Big Bang. But then burbling caused by the physics of quantum mechanics created slight imperfections, clumps that were slightly denser with ordinary matter, as well as dark matter, the unknown material that accounts for most of the mass in the universe.
The sound waves continued to spread for an additional 600,000 years, and when the last remaining photons escaped, the waves stopped, roughly 500,000 light-years from the dense clumps that produced them.
Big Bang Sound Waves Explain Galaxy Clustering, New Scientitst
Excerpts: Sound waves that roared through space after the big bang left behind a subtle imprint in the way galaxies are clustered today, reveal two major studies. The results bolster the standard theory that the universe is flat, (...).
The results back the standard models of a flat universe, dominated by dark matter and dark energy, that has been expanding since the rapid period of inflation just after the big bang. Generally speaking, the distance between galaxies matches the pattern of sound wave ripples from the early universe.
Ultimate Retro: Modern Echoes Of The Early Universe, Science News
Sound Reasoning. Distribution of modern-day galaxies as revealed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (top). Lower Images show, left to right, a typical patch of sky in the survey, the telescope used for the survey, and a depiction of a primordial sound wave detectable today (also presented as red circle in sky survey). SDSS
Two teams of astronomers have for the first time detected the surviving notes of a cosmic symphony created just after the Big Bang, when the universe was a foggy soup of matter and radiation. The discoverers say that the survival of the acoustic imprint from this early epoch, 13.7 billion years ago, provides compelling new evidence that the blueprint for the present distribution of galaxies was set at the time of the Big Bang by random subatomic fluctuations.
Our Universe - A Complex Adaptive System, uniorb.com
Excerpts: All constituents in the universe from birth of stars to black holes, quarks to molecules, and single-celled organisms to humans, have been driven by one dynamic process - evolution. The essence of evolution requires adaptive changes over time. To fuel the ongoing changes, the cycle of life and death plays an essential role in contributing new ingredients to the soup of creation. Life generates creative energy and death recycles what was formed in life. In the perpetual cycle of life and death, entities are constantly reconstituted, giving rise to novelty, individuality, and complexity. On our planet, plethora evidence of morphological changes of various species retained in fossil records and the presence of old and new species coexist speak as stark proof for evolution. For years, the Hubble Space Telescope has captured the unfolding history of the cosmos in spectacular images showing traces of stellar and galactic evolutions.
Going Beyond Einstein: Spacetime Wave Orbits Black Hole, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: Astronomers (...) have seen evidence of hot iron gas riding a ripple in spacetime around a black hole. This spacetime wave, if confirmed, would represent a new phenomenon that goes beyond Einstein's general relativity. These observations confirm one important theory about how a black hole's extreme gravity can stretch light. The data also paint an intriguing image of how a spinning black hole can drag the very fabric of space around with it, creating a choppy spacetime sea that distorts everything falling into the black hole. (...)
Could A Hole In Space Save Man From Extinction?, Telegraph
Excerpts: In the next decade, powerful satellites will help us to understand life, the fate of our universe and the 'theory of everything', says Michio Kaku The great 19th-century biologist Thomas Huxley once wrote that the "question of all questions for humanity... is that of the determination of man's place in Nature and his relation to the Cosmos".
NOAA Aims for Predicting Tsunamis, NPR TOTN
Excerpts: Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have announced that their satellites captured pictures of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami that allow them to measure the height of the wave. At this point, the images cannot be used to forecast the hazardous effects of tsunamis. But they may lead to improvements in forecasting, and scientists can learn from the images.
NOAA Scientists Able To Measure Tsunami Height From Space, NOAANews
Excerpts: The height goes down over time as the wave spreads over the ocean and the energy is expended on shore. At 2 hours after the quake, it was 60 cm (about 2 feet) high. By 3 hours 15 minutes after the quake, that dropped to around 40 cm (about 16 inches) high. By 8 hours 50 minutes after the quake, the wave spread over most of the Indian Ocean and was quite small in most areas-5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches)-about the limit of the satellite resolution. However, the wave was still large enough after all that elapsed time that it was still bouncing around in the Bay of Bengal still appears about 25 cm high (10 inches) as measured by the satellites.
First Ever Earthquake Movie Created, New Scientist
Excerpt: A pioneering technique using data from GPS receivers has been used to make the first movie of an earthquake. The animation shows the Earth's surface deforming during a magnitude 8.3 quake in September 2003 off the coast of Hokkaido in Japan.
Seismometers monitor quakes by measuring accelerations in the Earth's crust. But the calculations required to turn accelerations into measurements of how the surface moved are tricky. Seismometers are sensitive to small accelerations but they cannot make accurate measurements of huge jolts.
Fierce Mammal Ate Dinos For Lunch, BBC News
Repenomamus robustus fed on psittacosaurs. Image: Xu Xiaping
An astonishing new fossil unearthed in China has overturned the accepted view about the relationship between dinosaurs and early mammals.
The specimen belongs to a primitive mammal about 130 million years old and its stomach contents show that it ate young dinosaurs called psittacosaurs. (...)
The mammal with the dinosaur in its stomach belongs to a carnivorous mammal called Repenomamus robustus, which was about the size of an opossum. (...)
Most mammal fossils from the time of the dinosaurs are about the size of mice and rats.
Our Dinosaur-Eating Predecessors, NY Times
Excerpts: But before we hoist ourselves up the ancient food chain, it is worth noting that the victim was a teeny tiny baby, only five inches long, and a plant eater at that. It was not one of those fearsome man-hunting carnivores that turned "Jurassic Park" into a nightmare. And while scientists cite some reasons for believing that the dino-eating mammal was a real predator (read: tough), it remains possible that it was only a skulking scavenger that gobbled up a dead baby dinosaur (read: garbage eater).
Body Doubles [Cryptic species], Nature
Excerpts: Have you ever approached someone whom you thought you knew, talked to him with familiarity, only to find out later that he was a complete stranger, albeit remarkably similar in appearance to the person you had in mind, such as a twin brother? Well, taxonomists are similarly puzzled when they come across two or more groups of organisms that are morphologically indistinguishable from each other, yet found to belong to different evolutionary lineages. That is, when they discover a set of cryptic species.
Mammalian Palaeobiology: Living Large In The Cretaceous, Nature
Excerpts: Both Repenomamus species had proportionately shorter legs than living mammals, but their posture may have been similar to that of living quadrupeds of the same size. They were squat, toothy, heavily built animals, in some respects reminiscent of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus) or of the ratel (Mellivora). They belong to an early mammalian lineage that has no living descendants. (...)
Yet the two new specimens (...) prompt a reversal of the question: how might mammals have influenced dinosaur evolution? It seems likely that small dinosaurs experienced predation pressure from mammals.
Bird Wings Really Are Like Dinosaurs' Hands, Science
Excerpts: They concluded that the bird "fingers" were the middle three, whereas the reptiles' were the first three out of those five possibilities (...). In 1999, Yale University's Gunter Wagner and Jacques Gauthier, proposed a controversial compromise: that in avian ancestors, developmental signals transformed tissue in position to become digits 2, 3, and 4 into digits 1, 2, and 3. (...)
When the researchers looked at the chick embryo, they found that the wing's initial digit-(...), indicating that it really is the first digit, developmentally speaking.
Natural Selection In Humans, The Scientist
Excerpts: For the first time in humans, researchers have discovered a large chromosomal rearrangement that bears the mark of natural selection, they report in the February issue of Nature Genetics. The rearrangement, a 900-kilobase inversion polymorphism, appears in two distinct lineages, H1 and H2, that have diverged for as long as 3 million years with no evidence of having recombined. The H2 lineage¡Xwhich is rare in Africans, almost nonexistent in East Asians, but found in 20% of Europeans¡Xappears to undergo positive selection in Iceland, with carrier females having 3.2% more children per generation and higher recombination rates.
Excerpts: Rats can tell the difference between Dutch and Japanese, suggests a new study. (...)
They are simply recognising the difference in rhythmic properties of the languages, (...).
Human infants are extremely sensitive to the rhythmic regularities of language, which researchers think may help infants to break sound into patterns they can decipher as words. Earlier experiments showed that both tamarin monkeys and human infants can discriminate between Dutch and Japanese - two languages with rhythmic content that differs greatly.
Homing Pigeons Develop Local Route Stereotypy, Proc. Biol. Sc.
Excerpts: The mechanisms used by homing pigeons (Columba livia) to navigate homeward from distant sites have been well studied, yet the mechanisms underlying navigation within, and mapping of, the local familiar area have been largely neglected. In the local area pigeons potentially have access to a powerful navigational aid--a memorized landscape map. Current opinion suggests that landmarks are used only to recognize a familiar start position and that the goalward route is then achieved solely using compass orientation. We used (...) to track homing pigeons as they became progressively familiar with a local homing task. (...)
Anarchy Discovered In The Honeybee Hive, NewScientist.com
Excerpts: From the outside, a honeybee colony appears the epitome of social harmony. The queen produces offspring that are raised by loyal workers who forgo their own reproduction to keep the colony running smoothly. But in reality it is a dark world of conflict, infanticide and thwarted reproductive ambitions, kept in check by brutal policing. And very occasionally, anarchy breaks out. The police lose control and hordes of normally sterile workers abandon their duties to the queen, and instead direct all their energy towards their own reproduction.
Behavioural Ecology: Tool Manufacture By Naive Juvenile Crows, Nature
Excerpts: All four crows attacked the leaves, cutting and tearing them into a variety of different shapes: only some of these would have been suitable as tools and none resembled (...) tools fashioned by adults in the wild. So far, we have observed only Corbeau using leaf pieces to retrieve food. These results show that the ability of this species to manufacture and use tools is at least partly inherited and not dependent on social input. (...) first demonstration of spontaneous tool manufacture in a naive juvenile vertebrate -(...).
Testing Hypotheses: Prediction and Prejudice, Science
Excerpts: Whether a hypothesis gets credit for predicting new data versus for when it merely accommodates old data is a controversial matter among philosophers of science. Lipton (p. 219) reviews several attempts to answer this question before presenting his own arguments as to how and why the ability to predict trumps the ability to accommodate existing data.
Quantifying Predictability In A Simple Model With Complex Features, Stocha. & Dyn.
Excerpt: Here, Kaplan-Yorke type maps are utilized as simplified models to assess new strategies for quantifying predictability through information theory. These models give rise to a wide variety of "climate" distributions from nearly Gaussian to highly non-Gaussian. For complex models, it is almost impossible to compute proposed theoretical measures of predictability directly and alternative methods of estimation must be utilized. Due to the simplicity of the proposed model, accurate approximations of predictability can be computed and compared to various estimation techniques. (...)
Excerpts: Although there have been challenges to this view in the physical sciences, where profoundly indeterminate events have been identified at the quantum level, the presumption that physical phenomena are fundamentally determinate seems to have defined modern behavioral science. (...). Recent advances in the psychological, social, and neural sciences, however, have caused a number of scholars to begin to question the assumption that all of behavior can be regarded as fundamentally deterministic in character. Although it is not yet clear whether the generative mechanisms for human and animal behavior will require a philosophically indeterminate approach, it is clear that behavioral scientists of all kinds are beginning to engage the issues of indeterminacy that plagued physics at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Excerpts: Results emanating from both lesion studies and neuroimaging techniques are reviewed and integrated for each of these musical functions. We focus our attention on the common core of musical abilities shared by musicians and nonmusicians alike. Hence, the effect of musical training on brain plasticity is examined in a separate section, after a review of the available data regarding music playing and reading skills that are typically cultivated by musicians. Finally, we address a currently debated issue regarding the putative existence of music-specific neural networks. Unfortunately, due to scarcity of research on the macrostructure of music organization and on cultural differences, the musical material under focus is at the level of the musical phrase, as typically used in Western popular music.
Human See, Human Do: Ballet Dancers' Brains Reveal The Art Of Imitation, ScienceDaily
Excerpt: Scientists have discovered that a system in our brain which responds to actions we are watching, such as a dancer's delicate pirouette or a masterful martial arts move, reacts differently if we are also skilled at doing the move. The University College London (UCL) study (...) may help in the rehabilitation of people whose motor skills are damaged by stroke, and suggests that athletes and dancers could continue to mentally train while they are physically injured. (...) The UCL team found greater activity in areas of the brain collectively known as the 'mirror system' when the experts viewed movements (...).
Spinal Cord Injury Patients Show Improvement In Early Device Study
Excerpts: Ten patients with complete motor and sensory spinal cord injury were implanted with an experimental device designed to regenerate nerve fibers, promoting some degree of functional recovery. The device, an oscillating field stimulator or OFS, creates an electrical field in the area of injury.
All 10 trial participants implanted with the OFS showed some improvement in sensation at six months (...), although the degree of improvement varied by patient.
Two of the patients recovered some lower extremity function, and one man had restored sexual function.
As the Worm Ages: Epilepsy Drugs Lengthen Nematode Life Span, Science
Excerpts: (...) a class of antiseizure drugs markedly extends the life span of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. The scientists screened 19 classes of medications prescribed for other uses for potential longevity effects. "These compounds are approved for human use, so they have [molecular] targets in humans," (...) no evidence yet that the anticonvulsants he tested slow aging in people.
Because these drugs act on the neuromuscular systems of both humans and worms, the finding also hints at a direct link between the neuromuscular system and the aging process,(...).
Mobile Phones Tumour Risk To Young Children, Times Online
No child's toy: warnings from the National Radiological Protection Board suggest that children are at greater risk of harm when using their mobile phones (RICHARD POHLE)
Children under the age of eight should not use mobile phones, parents were advised last night after an authoritative report linked heavy use to ear and brain tumours and concluded that the risks had been underestimated by most scientists. (...)
In his report, Mobile Phones and Health, Sir William said that four studies have caused concern. One ten-year study in Sweden suggests that heavy mobile users are more prone to non-malignant tumours in the ear and brain while a Dutch study had suggested changes in cognitive function.
Palm-Nut Problem Asian Chewing Habit Linked To Oral Cancer, New Scientist
Betel Beauties. Women wearing miniskirts and bikini tops sell areca nuts to drivers on the streets of Taiwan. AP/Wide World
Over the past decade, a variety of evidence has linked betel chewing to several types of oral cancer. Although the custom is falling out of fashion in several countries, such as Thailand and Cambodia, it's growing in popularity in other areas. Especially troubling is that many new betel users are adolescents and children, say Asian health officials.(...)
Oral cancer is relatively rare in Western countries. In some south Asian countries, however, it ranks first among malignancies.(...)
In Taiwan, betel chewing has risen steeply since the 1970s.
Difference Between a Think and a 'Blink', NPR TOTN
Excerpts: Haste makes waste; look before you leap; stop and think. These are warnings we've heard since childhood. But what about, he who hesitates is lost? We look at snap judgments and the powers of unconscious thought, with Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink.
'Blink': Are First Impressions Really that Important?, NPR D2D
Excerpts: Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, Blink, challenges the conventional wisdom of the importance of first impressions, intuition and snap judgments. Day to Day and San Francisco Chronicle critic David Kipen talks about whether Blink is worth a second look.
Soon, Clean Your House Like The Jetsons, Washington Post
The Roomba sold out in many stores over the holidays. (...). And last week, it drew a surprise visit from Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates, who stopped by its creator's booth at the Consumer Electronics Show for a look at the flying-saucer-like contraption that heralds the future of home automation. (...)
The Roomba is a self-propelled, slow-moving robotic vacuum cleaner has sold more than 1 million units since its debut two years ago. (iRobot)
Meet the Roomba, a deceptively simple gizmo that, (...). Only three inches tall and one foot wide, this self-propelled, slow-moving robotic vacuum cleaner has sold more than 1 million units since its debut two years ago, (...).
Editor's Note: Our 5-year old daughter loves our new iRobot and her mother was impressed that she didn't get trapped under the chairs but worked her way out all by herself. It would be interesting to do some traveling sales-man type competition with the Roomba: find the shortest path between N clusters of dirt ¡K and then find the way home.
Is It A Cockroach? A Robot?, Stanford Daily
Excerpts: Artificial intelligence takes a new form when Stanford researchers mix robotics with biology(...)
Also, for the amount of intelligence that we're actually able to put into small robots, insects are a much better target than mammals - let alone humans - in terms of behaviors and learning.(...)
We learn a great deal from the biologists about how animals actually are built and work. We give [the biologists], in return, simplified approximations that we and they can test to see how well we understand the principles. It is much, much easier to do experiments on a robot than on a live animal. The robot is far more cooperative.
Hydrogen: The Energy Source for the 21st Century, Technovation
Excerpts: In a quest to improve air quality, many experts are supportive of using hydrogen as the fuel of the future. More recently, two other key objectives of several nations have been instrumental in accelerating development for an alternative fuel, independence from foreign oil and securing renewable, affordable energy sources. (...) The purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the challenges related to moving to a hydrogen-fueled economy. The efforts of some countries and leaders in the automotive sector are reviewed as they strive to develop the technology and find possible answers to production, storage and distribution challenges.
Ballots and Boycotts, NY Times
Excerpts: (...) Iraqi election that ensconces the Shiite majority in power, without any participation of the Sunni minority, will sow the seeds of civil war.
That is probably true - but we are already in a civil war in Iraq. That civil war was started by the Sunni Baathists, (...), the minute the U.S. toppled Saddam. And they started that war not because they felt the Iraqi elections were going to be rigged, but because they knew they weren't going to be rigged.
Facing Facts About Iraq's Election, NY Times
If Iraq is going to survive as a nation, it has to create a government in which the majority rules - in this case, that means the Shiites - but the minorities are guaranteed protection of their basic rights and enough of a voice to influence important decisions. The Kurds, non-Arab Sunnis who live in the northeastern part of the country, seem to believe that the elections will bring them what they most want: relative autonomy to conduct their own affairs as part of an Iraqi federation.
White House Fought New Curbs on Interrogations, Officials Say, NY Times
Excerpts: At the urging of the White House, Congressional leaders scrapped a legislative measure last month that would have imposed new restrictions on the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers, Congressional officials say.
The defeat of the proposal affects one of the most obscure arenas of the war on terrorism, involving the Central Intelligence Agency's secret detention and interrogation of top terror leaders like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and about three dozen other senior members of Al Qaeda and its offshoots.
US 'Erodes' Global Human Rights, BBC News
Excerpts: A leading human rights group has criticised the US over the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal and the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
In its annual report, Human Rights Watch says that when a country as dominant as the US openly defies the law, it invites others to do the same.
It says an independent US commission should look into prisoner abuse at Iraq's US-run Abu Ghraib jail.
The report also calls for more military protection in Sudan's Darfur region.
Complex Challenges: Global Terroist Networks
A DNA Success Raises Bioterror Concern, NY Times
Excerpts: Researchers have made an unexpectedly sudden advance in synthesizing long molecules of DNA, bringing them closer to the goal of redesigning genes and programming cells to make pharmaceuticals.
But the success also puts within reach the manufacture of small genomes, such as those of viruses and perhaps certain bacteria. Some biologists fear that the technique might be used to make the genome of the smallpox virus, one of the few pathogens that cannot easily be collected from the wild.
Super Microbe's Life Code Cracked, BBC News
Experts have deciphered the complete DNA sequence for one of the most infectious germs known to science. The Francisella tularensis bacterium is a candidate bioterror weapon, as it takes just 10 microbes to bring on disease in humans. (...)
Just 10 of the bacteria can cause disease in humans
The bacterium causes a disease called tularemia - or "rabbit fever" - in humans and animals. It is high on the watch-list of biological agents experts fear might be used in terror attacks.
F.B.I. May Scrap Vital Overhaul of Its Outdated Computer System, NY Times
Excerpts: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is on the verge of scrapping a $170 million computer overhaul that is considered critical to the campaign against terrorism but has been riddled with technical and planning problems, F.B.I. officials said on Thursday.
In a last-ditch effort to save the program, the bureau has hired a research firm at a cost of $2 million to evaluate the mounting problems in creating a "paperless" work system and to determine whether any parts of the project can be salvaged, officials said.
The F.B.I.'s Virtual Nonstarter, NY Times
Excerpts: One of the most alarming vulnerabilities to emerge after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been the Federal Bureau of Investigation's continuing inability to come up with a computer system that enables field agents to act quickly in sharing information and suspicions about where the next threats may emerge. (...) the bureau admitted that its 1980's computer technology could not search its files for cross-references to two words, like "flight" and "schools" - a lethal shortcoming in light of where some of the terrorists prepared for their suicide mission.
U.S. Panel Sees Iraq as Terror Training Area, NY Times
Excerpts: The war in Iraq could provide an important training ground for terrorists, according to a government forecast that also says the key factors behind terrorism show no signs of abating over the next 15 years. (...)
"A counterterrorism strategy that approaches the problem on multiple fronts offers the greatest chance of containing - and ultimately reducing - the terrorist threat," the report says. Beyond military force, the report advocates the promotion of education and political and economic development across the Muslim world.
Devastating Attack In The Net's Near Future, Experts Say
Excerpts: Count on at least one devastating attack on the Internet in the next 10 years, an overwhelming majority of technology experts and analysts polled by a major research group said Monday.
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's survey on the future of the Internet, which polled over 1,200 tech experts and social analysts, 66 percent of the experts agreed with the prediction that a large-scale, damaging attack on the Net, or an assault on the nation's power grid will occur by 2014.
Links & Snippets
- Remapping the Middle East, Maybe, Thomas L. Friedman, The sort of tectonic movement of geopolitical plates going on now in Iraq, Israel and Palestine happens only once a century.
- How a Vote Could Derail Democracy, Larry Diamond, If Iraqi plunges forward with elections that leave one section of the country excluded and embittered, we will all be the losers.
- Human Category Learning, F. Gregory Ashby, W. Todd Maddox, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 149 - 178
- Pavlovian Conditioning: A Functional Perspective, Michael Domjan, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 179 - 206
- The Neuroscience Of Mammalian Associative Learning, Michael S. Fanselow, Andrew M Poulos, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 207 - 234
- Human Development: Biological and Genetic Processes, Irving I. Gottesman, Daniel R. Hanson, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 263 - 286
- Prosocial Behavior: Multilevel Perspectives, Louis A. Penner., John F. Dovidio., Jane A. Piliavin., David A. Schroeder., Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 365 - 392
- The Social Psychology Of Stigma, Brenda Major, Laurie T. O'Brien, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 393 - 421
- Personality Development: Stability and Change, Avshalom Caspi, Brent W. Roberts, Rebecca L. Shiner, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 453 - 484
- Teams In Organizations: From Input-Process-Output Models to IMOI Models, Daniel R. Ilgen, John R. Hollenbeck, Michael Johnson, Dustin Jundt, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 517 - 543
- Psychological Evidence At The Dawn Of The Law's Scientific Age, David L. Faigman, John Monahan, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 56, Page 631 - 659
- Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking Origin for the Difference Between Time and Space, C. Wetterich, Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 011602, 05/01/14 We show how the complex structure of quantum field theory as well as gravitational field equations arise from spinor gravity¡Xa fundamental spinor theory without a metric.
- The Physics Of Tropical Cyclone Motion, Johnny C.L. Chan, Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics; Volume 37, Page 99 - 128
- Dissecting Insect Flight, Z. Jane Wang, Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics; Volume 37, Page 183 - 210
- The Dynamical Systems Approach To Lagrangian Transport In Oceanic Flows, Stephen Wiggins, Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics; Volume 37, Page 295 - 328 Chaotic advection and, more generally, ideas from dynamical systems, have been fruitfully applied to a diverse, and varied, collection of mixing and transport problems arising in engineering applications over the past 20 years.
- Turbulent Mixing, Paul E Dimotakis, Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics; Volume 37, Page 329 - 356 The ability of turbulent flows to effectively mix entrained fluids to a molecular scale is a vital part of the dynamics of such flows, with wide-ranging consequences in nature and engineering.
- Phage Attack: Antibacterial Virus Might Suppress Cholera, Bacteria-attacking viruses that infect bacteria hold cholera bacteria in check throughout most of the year except during the rainy season when these viruses become diluted.
- Proteins in the Stretch, Scientists are for the first time getting a feel for how proteins fold and unfold.
- UTD NanoTech Institute Wins $750,000 Grant, 05/01/05, U Texas at Dallas Release
- The Scent of Fear, Bob Herbert, 05/01/10, NYTimes. George W. Bush's so-called pre-emptive war is being enveloped by the foul and unmistakable odor of failure.
- Study Shows Nanoshells Ideal As Chemical Nanosensors, 05/01/11, EurekAlert, 'Nanoshells' enhance sensitivity to chemical detection by factor of 10 billion
- U.S. Trade Deficit Rises to New High; More Risk to Dollar, Elizabeth Becker, 05/01/13, NYTimes, The monthly record set by the trade deficit in November confounded predictions that the deficit would diminish with the weakening of the dollar and an easing in the price of oil.
- 'Minor' Software Glitch Is Cited in Missile Failure, Bradley Graham, 05/01/13, Washington Post
- Computational Study of Turbulent Laminar Patterns in Couette Flow, Dwight Barkley, Laurette S. Tuckerman, 05/01/14, Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 014502, Three types of patterned states are found and studied: periodic, localized, and intermittent. These correspond closely to observations in large-aspect-ratio experiments.
, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.94.014502
Patterns of turbulent and laminar flow from a numerical simulation of plane Couette flow near the transition to turbulence. The plot shows the fluid kinetic energy, with turbulent regions in color and laminar flow in black. The persistent, oblique pattern of distinct regions of turbulent and laminar flow emerges spontaneously and appears to be ubiquitous in shear flows near the transition.
- Justice Dept. Opens Inquiry Into Abuse of U.S. Detainees, Eric Lichtblau, 05/01/14, NYTimes. The investigation stems from reports of abuse witnessed by F.B.I. agents at the American base at Guant?namo Bay, Cuba, and in Iraq.
- Genericness of a Big Bounce in Isotropic Loop Quantum Cosmology, Ghanashyam Date, Golam Mortuza Hossain, 05/01/14, Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 011302, The volume of the Universe at the bounce point is parametrized by a single parameter.
- Apollonian Networks: Simultaneously Scale-Free, Small World, Euclidean, Space Filling, and with Matching Graphs, Jos? S. Andrade, Jr., Hans J. Herrmann, Roberto F. S. Andrade, Luciano R. da Silva, 05/01/14, Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 018702. These networks describe force chains in polydisperse granular packings and could also be applied to the geometry of fully fragmented porous media, hierarchical road systems, and area-covering electrical supply networks.
- CX3CR1-Mediated Dendritic Cell Access to the Intestinal Lumen and Bacterial Clearance, Jan Hendrik Niess, Stephan Brand, Xiubin Gu, Limor Landsman, Steffen Jung, Beth A. McCormick, Jatin M. Vyas, Marianne Boes, Hidde L. Ploegh, James G. Fox, Dan R. Littman, Hans-Christian Reinecker, 05/01/14, Science : 254-258. A complex interplay has evolved between the cells of the immune system and the mucosal barrier that interfaces with the intestinal lumen [gut, Ed.] and its contents.
- The Critical Battle for Iraq's Energy, Karl Vick, 05/01/15, Washington Post
- Submarine Crash Shows Navy Had Gaps in Mapping System, Christopher Drew, 05/01/15, A submarine that crashed into an undersea mountain was using old navigation charts that didn't show the obstruction.
- Tea Leaves and Dollars: Read 'em and Weep, Jonathan Fuerbringer, 05/01/15, NYTimes
- A Da Vinci Complex? Call It a Hypothesis, Jason Horowitz, 05/01/15, NYTimes. A military geography institute in Florence says it has discovered what might have been a Leonardo da Vinci workshop in its building.
- Titan: A Glimpse Into The Unknown, Paul Rincon, 05/01/15, BBC News
- Global Circumnavigations: Tracking Year-Round Ranges of Nonbreeding Albatrosses, 05/01/15, Science : 249-250
- When Laziness Pays: Math Explains How Cooperation And Cheating Evolve, 05/01/15, Science News. Researchers have developed a mathematical model that helps explain how cooperation and cheating evolve among simple organisms
- Hands-On Math Insights: Teachers' Mismatched Gestures Boost Learning, 05/01/15, Science News, As teachers instruct a child, they typically use their hands as well as their voices, but only certain gestures pack a powerful educational punch.
- Not To Your Health: New Mechanism Proposed For Alcohol-Related Tumors, 05/01/15, Science News, New findings suggest that alcohol encourages blood vessels to invade tumors, supplying nutrients that promote tumor growth.
- Living In A Fog: Secondhand Smoke May Dull Kids' Wits, 05/01/15, Science News, Millions of U.S. children may have reading deficits because of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.
- Crow Tools: Hatched To Putter, 05/01/15, Science News, The New Caledonian crow is the first vertebrate to be shown definitively to have an innate tendency to make and use tools, according to researchers who doubled as bird nannies.
- Sparrows Learn Song From Pieces, 05/01/15, Science News, Young white-crowned song sparrows don't have to hear a song straight through in order to learn it; playing the song in mixed-up paired phrases will do.
- Antibiotics Could Save Nerves, 05/01/15, Science News, Penicillin and its family of related antibiotics may prevent the type of nerve damage that occurs in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other diseases.
- A Small-World Network Where All Nodes Have The Same Connectivity, With Application To The Dynamics Of Boolean Interacting Automata, R. Serra, M. Villani, L. Agostini, 15:2, 2004, Complex Systems, DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2004.07.001
- Need A Solution? In Your Dreams, 2004/01/12, ScienceDaily & University Of Alberta
- Mouse Brain Tumors Mimic Those In Human Genetic Disorder, 2004/01/13, ScienceDaily & Washington University School Of Medicine
- Biting Back At The Flies, J. Pickett - john.pickettbbsrc.ac.uk, J. Logan - james.loganbbsrc.ac.uk, 2005/01/12, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- A Vaccination Model for Transmission Dynamics of Influenza, M. E. Alexander, C. Bowman, S. M. Moghadas, R. Summers, A. B. Gumel, B. M. Sahai, 3:4, 2004, SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, DOI: 10.1137/030600370
- Disease Induced Oscillations between Two Competing Species, P. van den Driessche, M. L. Zeeman, 3:4, 2004, SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, DOI: 10.1137/030600394
- Minimal Models of Bursting Neurons: How Multiple Currents, Conductances, and Timescales Affect Bifurcation Diagrams, R. M. Ghigliazza, , P. Holmes, 3:4, 2004, SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, DOI: 10.1137/030600307
- Political Preference Formation: Competition, Deliberation, and the (Ir)relevance of Framing Effects, J. N. Druckman - druckmanpolisci.umn.edu, 98:4, 2004, American Political Science Review, DOI: 10.1017/S0003055404041413
- Synchronization With Low Power Consumption Of Hardware Models Of Cardiac Cells, Y. Maeda - maedabc.niigata-u.ac.jp, E. Yagi, H. Makino, Jan.-Mar. 2005, Online 2004/10/05, Biosystems, DOI: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2004.09.005
- What Is Signal And What Is Noise In The Brain?, A. Knoblauch - knoblauchneuro.informatik.uni-ulm.de, G. Palm - palmneuro.informatik.uni-ulm.de, Jan.-Mar. 2005, Online 2004/10/12, Biosystems, DOI: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2004.09.007
- Natural Scene Statistics And Nonlinear Neural Interactions Between Frequency-Selective Mechanisms, C. Zetzsche - zetzscheinformatik.uni-bremen.de, U. Nuding, Jan.-Mar. 2005, Online 2004/10/12, Biosystems, DOI: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2004.09.012
- Cognitive Landscape And Information: New Perspectives To Investigate The Ecological Complexity, A. Farina - farinauniurb.it, J. Bogaert, I. Schipania, Jan.-Mar. 2005, online 2004/12/23, Biosystems, DOI: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2004.09.018
- Physical Landscapes In Biological Membranes: Physico-Chemical Terrains For Spatio-Temporal Control Of Biomolecular Interactions And Behaviour, P. O'Shea, Online 2005/01/05, Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2004.1509
- The Three-Dimensional Flight Of Red-Footed Boobies: Adaptations To Foraging In A Tropical Environment?, S. A. Rands, R. A. Pettifor, J. M. Rowcliffe, G. Cowlishaw, Online 2005/01/07, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2004.2918
- Peripheral Variability And Central Constancy In Mammalian Visual System Evolution, P. M. Kaskan, E. C. S. Franco, E. S. Yamada, L. C. de L. Silveira, R. B. Darlington, B. L. Finlay, Online 2005/01/07, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2004.2925
1st European Conference on Complex Systems, Torino, Italy, 04/12/5-7
Neurobiological Foundation For The Meaning Of Information, Kolkata, India, Conference Webcast, 04/11/22-25
- ALife 9: Ninth International Conference on Artificial Life, Boston, MA, 04/09/12-15
The 4th Intl Workshop on Meta-synthesis and Complex System, Beijing, China, 04/07/22-23
Intl Conf on Complex Networks: Structure, Function and Processes, Kolkata, India, 04/06/27-30
From Autopoiesis to Neurophenomenology: A Tribute to Francisco Varela (1946-2001), Paris, France, 2004/06/18-20
ECC8 Experimental Chaos Conference, Florence, Italy,
Evolutionary Epistemology, Language, and Culture, Brussels, Belgium, 04/05/26-28
International Conference on Complex Systems 2004, Boston, 04/05/16-21
Life, a Nobel Story, Brussels, Belgium, 04/04/28
Nonlinear Dynamics and Statistical Mechanics Days, Brussels, Belgium, 04/04/26-27
Science Education Forum for Chinese Language Culture, Panel Discussion, Taipei, Taiwan, 04/05/01
Biologically Inspired Approaches to Advanced Information Technology, , Lausanne,Switzerland, 04/01/29-30
Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos: Lab Demonstrations, Strogatz, Steven H., Internet-First University Press, 1994
- World Economic Forum 2004, Davos, Switzerland
- Riding the Next Democratic Wave, Al-Thani, Khan, Vike-Freiberga, Wade, Soros, Zakaria, World Economic Forum, 04/01/25
- The Future of Global Interdependence, Kharrazi, Held, Owens, Shourie, Annan, Martin, Schwab, World Economic Forum, 04/01/25
- Why Victory Against Terrorism Demands Shared Values
- CODIS 2004, International Conference On Communications, Devices And Intelligent Systems, 2004 Calcutta, India, 04/01/09-10
- EVOLVABILITY & INTERACTION: Evolutionary Substrates of Communication, Signaling, and Perception in the Dynamics of Social Complexity, London, UK, 03/10/08-10
- The Semantic Web and Language Technology - Its Po tential and Practicalities, Bucharest, Romania, 03/07/28-08/08
- ECAL 2003, 7th European Conference on Artificial Life, Dortmund, Germany, 03/09/14-17
- New Santa Fe Institute President About His Vision for SFI's Future Role, (Video, Santa Fe, NM, 03/06/04)
- SPIE's 1st Intl Symp on Fluctuations and Noise, Santa Fe, NM, 2003/06/01-04
- NAS Sackler Colloquium on Mapping Knowledge Domains, Video/Audio Report, 03/05/11
- 13th Ann Intl Conf, Soc f Chaos Theory in Psych & Life Sciences, Boston, MA, USA, 2003/08/08-10
- 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
Conference & Call for Papers Announcements
Online Course on Genetic Programming, with Lee Altenberg, University of Hawaii Outreach College 2005/01/10 to 2005/05/13.
- Complex Systems and International Security, Washington, DC, 05/02/01
Creative Evolution, London, 05/02/12-13
- Kondratieff Waves, Warfare And World Security, NATO Advanced Research Workshop
, Covilh? Portugal, 05/02/14-17
- Physik seit Einstein,
Berlin, Germany, 05/03/04-09
- 2005 Meeting Arbeitskreis
Physik sozio-oekonomischer Systeme, AKSOE (Socio-Economic-Physics)
- 2005 World Exposition "
Nature's Wisdom, Aichi, Japan, 05/03/25-09/25
- FINCO 2005: Foundations Of Interactive Computation, Edinburgh, Scotland, 05/04/09
5th Creativity And Cognition Conference, London.UK, 05/04/12-15
Social Intelligence and Interaction in Animals, Robots and Agents, Hatfield, UK, 05/04/12-15
2005 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show
Nanotech 2005, Anaheim, California, U.S.A., 05/05/08-12
- 2ndShanghai Intl Symposium on Nonlinear Science and Applications, Shanghai, 05/06/03-07
IEEE Swarm Intelligence Symposium
Pasadena, California, USA, 05/06/08-10
- Powders & Grains 2005, Stuttgart, Germany, 05/06/18-22
- 6th Intl Conf Symmetry in Nonlinear Mathematical Physics, Kiev, Ukraine, 05/06/20-26
- Workshop on Complexity and Policy Analysis, Cork, Ireland, 05/06/22-24
2005 Genetic And Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO-2005), Washington, DC, USA, 05/06/25-29
6th Intl Summer School/Conference "Let's Face Chaos Through Nonlinear Dynamics"Dedicated to the 75th Birthday of Professor Siegfried Großmann, Maribor, Slovenia, 05/06/26-07/10
5th Gathering on Biosemiotics, Urbino, Italy, 05/07/22-24
- Soc for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences
15th Annual Intl Conf, Denver, CO, USA, 05/08/04-06
- ECAL 2005 - VIIIth European Conference on Artificial Life, Canterbury, Kent, UK, 05/09/05-09
Complexity, Science and Society Conf 2005, Liverpool, UK, 05/09/11-14
18th International Conference on Noise and Fluctuations (ICNF 2005), Salamanca, Spain, 05/09/19-23
CSDS-2005 Intl Conf on CONTROL AND SYNCHRONIZATION OF DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS , Leon, Guanajuato, MEXICO, 05/10/04-07
3rd International Complexity Science and Educational Research Conference, Robert, Louisiana, 05/11/20-22, see also: Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, Inaugural issue - Free Online Access