Nobel Prize: Economics: Two Honored For The Theory And Practice Of Game Theory, Science
Excerpts: Two players representing different ends of the spectrum in game theory will share this year's $1.3 million Nobel Prize in economics: Thomas Schelling of the University of Maryland, College Park, and Robert Aumann of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Schelling, 84, is best known for analyses directly related to practical questions, such as arms control; Aumann, 75, a mathematician, is credited with more theoretical contributions. Economist Jeffrey Ely of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, says work by Schelling,(...)
Free Markets, Science, Technology And Conservation, Free Market News
Excerpts: The market process is the only means of optimising the use of resources; that is, allocating resources to the margin, the point of their most valuable use. What critics of the market have not grasped is that the market is an incredibly complex information processing institution that does not owe its existence to any conscious design.
(...) Stuart Kauffman of the Santa Fe Institute invoked Adam Smith's invisible hand (the market process) as an example of self-organisation in his work on complexity theory.
The Dynamics of Viral Marketing, arXiv
Abstract: We present an analysis of a person-to-person recommendation network, consisting of 4 million people who made 16 million recommendations on half a million products. We observed the propagation of recommendations and the cascade sizes, which can be explained by a stochastic dynamic model. We then established how the recommendation network grows over time and how effective it is from the viewpoint of the senders and receivers of recommendations. While on average recommendations are not very effective at inducing purchases and do not spread very far, there are product and pricing categories for which viral marketing seems to be very effective.
Directing The Herd: Crowds And The Science Of Evacuation, Science
Excerpts: In the hour and 42 minutes that elapsed between the first airplane strike on the World Trade Center (WTC) on 11 September 2001 and the collapse of both towers, more than 2000 people failed to escape. Roughly 500 occupants are believed to have died immediately upon impact, and more than 1500 trapped in upper floors died in the aftermath. The toll might have been far worse, according to studies presented here at the International Conference on Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics on 28 to 30 September.
Observing Others: Multiple Action Representation In The Frontal Lobe, Science
Excerpts: Observation of actions performed by others activates monkey ventral premotor cortex, where action meaning, but not object identity, is coded. In a functional MRI (fMRI) study, we investigated whether other monkey frontal areas respond to actions performed by others. Observation of a hand grasping objects activated four frontal areas: rostral F5 and areas 45B, 45A, and 46. Observation of an individual grasping an object also activated caudal F5, which indicates different degrees of action abstraction in F5.
Probing Question: Does Hypnosis Work?, Penn State Live
Excerpts: You're growing tired. Your eyelids are getting heavy. You're feeling very sleepy...
Most of us recognize these words as the Hollywood script of a hypnosis session. Typically portrayed as the tool of comics and hucksters ("At my command, you will crow like a rooster") or nefarious, mind-controlling villains, hypnosis has a serious type-casting problem to overcome.
Beyond the stereotypes, is there any validity to hypnosis as a therapeutic technique?
Marine Snail's Neural Network Sheds Light On The Basis For Flexible Behavior, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: From snail to man, one of the hallmarks of the brain is the ease with which behavioral variants are generated--for example, humans can easily walk with different stride lengths or different speeds. By studying how a relatively simple motor network of the marine snail Aplysia produces variants of a particular feeding behavior, researchers have found that the ability to generate a large number of behavioral variants stems from the elegant hierarchical architecture of the brain's motor network. Most motor systems are organized into a hierarchy of at least two layers of neurons, with higher-order neurons acting on lower-order neurons, (...)
Expert Witness Sees Evidence In Nature For Intelligent Design, NY Times
Excerpts: Proponents of intelligent design, however, argue that living organisms are so complex that the best explanation is that a higher intelligence designed them.(...)Mr. Behe said the "best and most striking example of design" is the bacterial flagellum, "the outboard motor bacteria use to swim." He projected a drawing of a flagellum depicting what he called a "rotary motor" attached to a "drive shaft" that pushes a propeller, and said it was impossible avoid concluding that the mechanism was "a purposeful arrangement of parts."
New Curricula Aim To Make High School Labs Less Boring, Science
Excerpts: This year, Barrington Ross made cell division a life-or-death matter for his seventh-grade class at Shepherd Middle School in Durham, North Carolina. Instead of peering into a microscope or acting out the process, the students worked through a series of computer simulations to select which of three plant extracts is most likely to be active against the unchecked proliferation of cells that is the hallmark of cancer. Then they defended their choice in an online debate.
Better Habits Sometimes Heritable, Science
Excerpts: When the price of gas skyrocketed in the U.S. last month, many commuters switched to public transportation. Others just couldn't bear to give up their cars. Those new bus and train riders who adjusted their mode of transport exhibited what evolutionary biologists call phenotypic plasticity.
Although no one would suggest that the children of either type of commuter would inherit a preference for cars or subways, researchers studying birds called great tits have evidence suggesting that phenotypic plasticity runs in families and, when it confers a survival advantage, that this trait will be selected for over time.
Genetics: Motivating Hotspots, Science
Excerpts: An estimated 10 to 30% of fertilized human ova have more or fewer than the normal number of 46 chromosomes (1). Most cases of aneuploidy (that is, having an abnormal number of chromosomes) result from a reduced number of recombination events (less than one per chromosome arm) or an unusual placement of such events along the chromosome (2). Recombination between nonallelic copies can also lead to chromosomal rearrangements and deletions, many of which have been associated with disease (2).
Ecology: Roots Of Stability, Nature
Excerpts: The 'insurance hypothesis' holds that ecosystem diversity is a good thing because diversity confers overall stability in the face of stressful conditions. Experiments on grassland support that view.
Most ecologists agree that diversity is a desirable attribute for an ecosystem. But not all of them agree on why that is. It would be satisfying to be able to claim that diversity makes an ecosystem more stable, implying that a diverse system is better able to resist, or recover from, disturbance. But testing the point experimentally is no simple task.
Shaking The Earliest Branches Of Anthropoid Primate Evolution, Science
Excerpts: Although chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, humans also share many important anatomical and biochemical characteristics with a large group of extant and fossil primates that taxonomists have named "anthropoids." All living humans, apes, baboons, macaques, leaf monkeys, and New World monkeys, together with numerous fossil anthropoids, share a common ancestor that originated in either Africa or Asia, both continents having yielded primitive fossil representatives of this group (see the figure).
Paleoanthropology: New 'Hobbits' Bolster Species, But Origins Still a Mystery, Science
Excerpts: Last year's announcement of an astonishingly tiny species of extinct human from the Indonesian island of Flores sent anthropologists reeling. News of the first, nearly complete skeleton ignited a debate about what evolutionary path might have led to humans who stood about 1 meter tall. A few researchers argued that the skeleton, dated to only 18,000 years ago, was simply a diseased modern human (Science, 12 November 2004, p. 1116).
Further Fossil Finds From Flores, Nature
Excerpts: New fossil discoveries on Flores, Indonesia, bolster the evidence that Homo floresiensis was a dwarfed human species that lived at the end of the last ice age. But the species' evolutionary origins remain obscure. (...)
In such conditions, large animals tend to become smaller and small animals tend to become larger. The process was clearly occurring on Flores (...). What captures the imagination is that dwarfing might have occurred in humans, who often buffer themselves from natural selection through cultural means such as tool production and fire-making, (...).
Death Feigning In The Face Of Sexual Cannibalism, Biol. Lett.
Excerpts: Pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism by females affects male and female reproductive success in profoundly different ways, with the females benefiting from a meal and the male facing the risk of not reproducing at all. This sexual conflict predicts evolution of traits to avoid cannibalism and ensure male reproductive success. We show that males of the nuptial gift-giving spider Pisaura mirabilis display a remarkable death feigning behaviour-thanatosis-as part of the courtship prior to mating with potentially cannibalistic females. Thanatosis is a widespread anti-predator strategy; however, it is exceptional in the context of sexual selection. (...)
Betting On Cilia, Science
Excerpts: Patients with Bardet-Biedl syndrome have an odd combination of symptoms. The first signs appear at birth: They have extra fingers or toes, which are most often surgically removed. When patients are in their teens and early 20s, more ominous symptoms appear. Their kidneys fail, they start to lose their eyesight, and they become obese and develop diabetes. Some also suffer from mental retardation. For decades, the disease, which affects one in 100,000 people, was a stubborn puzzle for doctors who struggled to link the diverse maladies.
Cell Cycle Unleashed, Nature
Excerpts: How does fertilization cause animal eggs to begin embryonic development? Following entry of the sperm, the ingeniously regulated degradation of a protein seems to kick-start the stalled cell cycle. (...)
In animal eggs, the cell-division cycle is held in check part-way through, awaiting sperm entry. A major event after fertilization is therefore the alleviation of this blockage so that cell division can begin in earnest to form the embryo. (...)Removal of these regulatory proteins then allows the cell to exit from metaphase (...).
High Times For Brain Growth: Marijuana-Like Drug Multiplies Neurons, Science News
Excerpts: In the stoner stereotype, pot smokers and dying brain cells go hand in hand. However, new research suggests the situation may be more uplifting than that. A drug that functions as concentrated marijuana does may spur neurogenesis, the process by which the brain gives birth to new nerve cells.
Previous research had suggested that neurogenesis happens only in select locations in the brain, such as the hippocampus, a region involved in learning and memory. Some studies have shown that this process is inhibited by most illicit drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
Interrelated Causes Of Plant Invasion, Science
Excerpts: An occasional stem of leafy spurge in the prairie would not threaten native species. Nor would it bother ranchers. But the millions of hectares of this Eurasian species that inhabit western North America have displaced native plant species and reduced forage for both wild and domestic animals, costing hundreds of millions of dollars annually (1). The problems caused by such invasive species are the direct result of their success in colonizing new habitats, and understanding why they are so successful is essential to controlling their spread.
Weather Forecasting With Ensemble Methods, Science
Excerpts: Until the early 1990s, atmospheric scientists viewed weather forecasting as an intrinsically deterministic endeavor: (...) weather centers ran carefully designed numerical weather prediction models to produce deterministic forecasts of future atmospheric states. Although this is still the case today, weather prediction has been transformed through the implementation of ensemble forecasts. An ensemble forecast comprises multiple (typically between 5 and 100) runs of numerical weather prediction models, which differ in the initial conditions and/or the numerical representation of the atmosphere, thereby addressing the two major sources of forecast uncertainty.
Excerpts: A team of scientists (...) develops and utilizes novel nanoptical techniques for imaging structures that are many times smaller than the wavelength of light. (...) "Normally, with visible light, one cannot image structures that are smaller than its wavelenght." However, light can be regarded not only as a wave phenomenon but as a stream of particles as well. And these particles, called photons, go through seemingly impenetrable barriers. In quantum physics this is known as a tunneling process. "Photons are tunneling through tiny holes smaller than the wavelength of light", explains Lienau, "and we count the photons and measure their properties." (...)
- Source: Outsmarting Light, Innovations-report & Max Born Institute, 2005/10/14
- Contributed by Atin Das - dasatinyahoo.co.in
Device Physics: No-Nuisance Noise, Nature
Excerpts: 'Silence is golden' is a maxim of limited applicability where stochastic resonance holds sway. The effect uses noise to boost signal output in certain systems ˇX and has just been seen in oscillators on a very small scale. (...)
Specifically, stochastic resonance might be used to enhance and control a quantum-mechanical signal in a nanomechanical oscillator ˇX to achieve coherent control of oscillations between two quantum energy levels, for example. The ramifications of a 'quantum' stochastic resonance effect, and its possible relevance to low-temperature macroscopic quantum tunnelling, are fascinating.
Why Time Keeps Going Forwards, New Scientist
Excerpts: The universe starts out in an unlikely, low-entropy arrangement, with all of its contents almost perfectly spread out. But as particles travel through the universe, their paths follow the curves of space. In a negatively curved space, any two particles that start off next to one another quickly diverge, which means all the particles dramatically rearrange: the geometry of space mixes the cosmos.
Since most particle arrangements correspond to high entropy, the negative curvature inevitably guides matter into higher-entropy states. In the case of the universe, that means states with gravitational clumping: as entropy increases, things like stars and galaxies form and with them heavy elements and, eventually, us.
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Network
Recipe For Destruction, NY Times
Excerpts: (...) published the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus on the Internet in the GenBank database.
(...) The genome is essentially the design of a weapon of mass destruction. No responsible scientist would advocate publishing precise designs for an atomic bomb, and in two ways revealing the sequence for the flu virus is even more dangerous.
First, it would be easier to create and release this highly destructive virus from the genetic data than it would be to build and detonate an atomic bomb (...).
Better Never Than Late, Science
Excerpts: Last week, this space contained an editorial by Phillip Sharp, dealing with the difficult problems raised by the publication of information about certain "dual-use" technologies. (...)
Government officials can advise, and should be listened to thoughtfully. But they can't order the nonpublication of a paper just because they consider the findings "sensitive." No such category short of classification exists, as the Reagan-era Executive Order National Security Decision Directive 189, still in force, makes clear. If a paper should not be published because of biosecurity risks, then it should be classified.
Editor's: Note: This topic relates to complexity in that it discusses the emergence of new structures in the categorization of publications: "Sensitive" is not "Classified" but still is subject to government regulation.
Excerpts: Terrorist groups prefer to use the Internet to spread information rather than attack it, said academics at Oxford University's 'Safety and Security in a Networked World' conference on 8 September. Terrorism aims to communicate, so destroying such a powerful means of communication would be counter-productive, said (...). "It's very useful for them to keep it running," he told a session on terrorism. Prof Tekwani, an expert on the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, said that the group had established its first web-site in 1993 (...). "My contention is that online networks are no less threatening." (...)
- Source: Terrorists Exploit Internet, S. A. Mathieson, DOI: 10.1016/S1361-3723(05)70247-5, Computer Fraud & Security, Sep. 2005, Online 2005/09/24
- Contributed by Pritha Das - prithadas01yahoo.com
Links & Snippets
- Culinary Archaeology: Millet Noodles In Late Neolithic China, Houyuan Lu, Xiaoyan Yang, Maolin Ye, Kam-Biu Liu, Zhengkai Xia, Xiaoyan Ren, Linhai Cai, Naiqin Wu, Tung-Sheng Liu, 05/10/13, Nature 437, 967-968.A remarkable find allows the reconstruction of the earliest recorded preparation of noodles., DOI: 10.1038/437967a
- Wild Gorillas Take Time For Tool Use, 05/10/15, Science News, Vol. 168, No. 16, Gorillas that balance on walking sticks and trudge across makeshift bridges have provided the first evidence of tool use among these creatures in the wild.
- Vitamin C May Treat Cancer After All, 05/10/15, Science News, Vol. 168, No. 16, Vitamin C may be an effective cancer fighter when taken intravenously in high doses.References & Sources
- Dutch Elm Fungus Turns Tree Into Lure, 05/10/15, Science News, Vol. 168, No. 16, The fungus that causes Dutch elm disease makes an infected tree strengthen its odors, attracting beetles that carry the fungus on to the next tree.
- Evolution And Dynamics Of Small-World Cellular Automata, M. Tomassini, M. Giacobini, C. Darabos, 15:4, 2005, Complex Systems
- Network Growth Models and Genetic Regulatory Networks, D. V. Foster, S. A. Kauffman, J. E. S. Socolar, 2005/09/05, arXiv, DOI: q-bio.MN/0510009
- SMS Bible Looks To Spread The Word: Faith For The Finger Generation, 2005/10/07, vnunet.com
- Students Learn Better When The Numbers Don't Talk And Dance, 2005/10/11, ScienceDaily & Ohio State University
- Apple Launches Video iPod And New iMac: Jobs Brings An End To Speculation, K. Young, 2005/10/12, vnunet.com
- Functional Versatility Supports Coral Reef Biodiversity, D. R. Bellwood, P. C. Wainwright, C. J. Fulton, A. S. Hoey, 2005/10/12, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3276
- Brain Regulates Initial Stages Of Sex Change In Social Fish, 2005/10/12, ScienceDaily & Emory University Health Sciences Center
- Violent Video Games Lead To Brain Activity Characteristic Of Aggression, 2005/10/12, ScienceDaily & Michigan State University
- Deducing Local Rules for Solving Global Tasks with Random Boolean Networks, Bertrand Mesot, Christof Teuscher, 2005/11/01, Physica D 211(1-2):88-106, DOI: 10.1016/j.physd.2005.08.005
- Simulations Of Lava Flows At Mt Etna Using Paradigms Of Parallel Computing, A. Vicari, G. Currenti, C. D. Negro, L. Fortuna, A. Herault, R. Napoli, A. Rizzo, 8:1, 2005, Nonlinear Phenomena In Complex Systems
- Entropy And Chaotical Properties Of Social Hierarchical Dynamical Systems., I. A. Miklashevich, 8:1, 2005, Nonlinear Phenomena In Complex Systems
- Are Global Terrorist Attacks Time-Correlated?, L. Telesca - ltelescaimaa.cnr.it, M. Lovallo, Article in Press, online 2005/09/08, Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2005.08.030
- From Sparks To Spikes: Information Processing In The Electrosensory Systems Of Fish, N. B Sawtell - sawtellnohsu.edu, A. Williams, C. C. Bell, Aug. 2005, online 2005/07/11, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2005.06.006
- Attention And Visual Perception, G. M. Boynton - boyntonsalk.edu, Aug. 2005, online 2005/07/14, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2005.06.009
- Timing, Memory For Intervals, And Memory For Untimed Stimuli: The Role Of Instructional Ambiguity, T. R. Zentall - zentalluky.edu, Nov. 2005, online 2005/08/10, Behavioural Processes, DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2005.07.001
- Why Are Birds' Eggs Speckled?, A. G. Gosler - andrew.goslerzoo.ox.ac.uk, J. P. Higham, S. J. Reynolds, Oct. 2005, Online 2005/08/10, Ecology Letters, DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00816.x
- The Loss Of Privacy And Identity, C. Arndt - craig.arndt1belvoir.army.mil, Sep. 2005, online 2005/08/19, Biometric Technology Today, DOI: 10.1016/S0969-4765(05)70386-6
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
Online Course in Evolutionary Computation, U Hawaii Outreach College, 05/09/12-11/19
- Intl Congress of Nanotechnology 2005, San Francisco, USA, 05/10/31-11/04
Adaptive And Resilient Computing Security Workshop, Santa Fe, NM, 05/11/02-03
An Afternoon with Michael Crichton At The Smithsonian Institution In Collaboration with The Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy,
Washington, DC, 05/11/06
5th Intl Workshop on Meta-synthesis and Complex System,
(MCS'05 is also as a symposium of
the 1st World Congress of International Federation for Systems Research)
- European Conference on Complex Systems, Paris, France, 05/11/14-18
Econophysics Colloquium, Canberra (ANU), 05/11/14-18
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
Systems Thinking and Complexity Science: Insights for Action, , 11th Ann ANZSYS Conf/Managing the Complex V
Christchurch, New Zealand, 05/12/05-07
- 2005 International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Security (CIS'2005), Hong Kong, China, 05/12/15-19
3rd Biennial Seminar on the Philosophical, Methodological, and Epistemological Implications of Complexity Theory, Havana, Cuba, 06/01/09-12
The Second International Workshop on Biologically Inspired
Approaches to Advanced Information Technology , Senri Life Science Center, Osaka, Japan, 06/01/26-27
Intl Wkshp and Sem, Dynamics on Complex Networks and Applications, Dresden, Germany, 06/02/06-03/03
- FRACTAL 2006 Complexity and Fractals in Nature, 9th Intl Multidisciplinary Conf, Vienna, Austria, 06/02/12-15
2nd Intl Nonlinear Science Conf, Heraklion, Crete, Greece, 06/03/10-12
- 18th European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research (EMCSR), Vienna, Austria, 06/04/18-21
5th Intl Joint Conf on Autonomous Agents And Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2006)
Future University, Hakodate, Japan, )6/05/08-12
- Alife X - The 10th Intl Conf on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems,Bloomington, Indiana, 06/06/03-07
Intl. Conference on Complex Systems Boston, MA, 06/06/25-30
NKS 2006: The Wolfram Science Conference, Washington, D.C., 06/06/15-18
Intl Conf on Complex Systems (ICCS)
Boston, Ma, 06/06/25-30
2006 Genetic And Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO-2006),
Seattle, Washington, USA, 06/07/08-12
50th Anniversary Summit of AI, Monte Verita, Switzerland, 06/07/09-14
World Conference on Social Simulation (WCSS-06) , Kyoto, Japan, 06/08/21-25
Call for Papers - Book Announcements
- The Editorial Board of
Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences
is pleased to announce the first of two special issues on nonlinear methodology. Part 1, Broad Issues, will appear in October, 2005
Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, © 2004 Robert A. Freitas Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle. All Rights Reserved. This book is now available for free on the Internet, 05/10
- Special Issue of
E:CO (Emergence, Complexity and Organization): Complexity and Narrative,
Submit an abstract (< 1000 words) to Ken Baskin (firstname.lastname@example.org), David Boje (email@example.com) and Kurt Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org), 05/09/21