Proof of Big Bang Seen by Space Probe, Scientists Say, National Geographic News
New NASA space-probe observations of the oldest light in the cosmos are the most direct evidence yet that the universe expanded extremely quickly immediately after the big bang, physicists say.
Charles Bennett of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, led the team overseeing NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). He and colleagues announced the new results Thursday in a teleconference.
A NASA probe has produced a new, more detailed picture of the infant universe. Colors indicate warmer (red) and cooler (blue) spots. The white bars show the polarization direction of the oldest light.
This new information helps to pinpoint when the first stars formed and provides new clues about events that transpired in the first trillionth of a second of the universe's existence.
Image courtesy NASA/WMAP Science Team
Cosmic Triumph: Satellite Confirms Birth Theory Of Universe, Science news
Excerpts: According to the simplest model of inflation, the universe didn't balloon at a constant rate during the early growth spurt. As a consequence, variations in density of matter in the universe ought to be slightly larger on the largest scales¡X10 billion light-years¡Xthan on smaller scales¡Xroughly 100 million light-years. The satellite has now found exactly that pattern, the team reports.
"This is not simply another test of inflation but something that examines the universe during its first trillionth of a trillionth of a second," says Turner.
The Unbearable Elusiveness Of Gravitons, New Scientist
Excerpts: Somewhere out there are particles that cause gravity - so what will it take to catch one, asks New Scientist WHAT makes gravity so special? In our everyday lives, it is the most familiar of the four fundamental forces of nature: drop an object, and it falls. Yet many features of gravity remain puzzling. Compared with the other forces, gravity is unimaginably weak. And while physicists have succeeded in formulating quantum theories of the strong force, electromagnetism and the weak force, gravity stubbornly remains the odd one out: decades of effort to marry gravity and quantum mechanics are less convincing.
Cosmic 'DNA': Double Helix Spotted in Space
Magnetic forces at the center of the galaxy have twisted a nebula into the shape of DNA, a new study reveals.
Infrared signal (the negative image) from the Double Helix Nebula. Credit: M. Morris, UCLA
The double helix shape is commonly seen inside living organisms, but this is the first time it has been observed in the cosmos.
"Nobody has ever seen anything like that before in the cosmic realm," said the study's lead author Mark Morris of UCLA. "Most nebulae are either spiral galaxies full of stars or formless amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas¡Xspace weather. What we see indicates a high degree of order."
Delving Into The Meaning Of Artificial Life, EE Times
Excerpts: Consortium's report aims to define, classify synthetic biology's many branches
The ability to engineer artificial biological components, and one day perhaps artificial organisms, puts a new spin on the ongoing debate about artificial life, which has been linked mainly to silicon circuits. It has been argued that when VLSI systems reach a high enough level of complexity, they will essentially be alive in the same sense that biological systems are alive.
Picture This: The State of the Art in Visualization for Complex Adaptive Systems, Artificial Life
Abstract: Visualization has an increasingly important role to play in scientific research. Moreover, visualization has a special role to play within artificial life as a result of the informal status of its key explananda: life and complexity. Both are poorly defined but apparently identifiable via raw inspection. Here we concentrate on how visualization techniques might allow us to move beyond this situation by facilitating increased understanding of the relationships between an ALife systemâ€™s (low-level) composition and organization and its (high-level) behavior. We briefly review the use of visualization within artificial life, and point to some future developments represented by the articles collected within this special issue.
Deconstructing Life - Interview with Dimitar Sasselov, Astrobiology Magazine
Excerpts: Astrobiology Magazine (AM): Harvard University is funding a new study called the "Origins of Life in the Universe Initiative." Recent news reports implied this meant Harvard is entering the debate of intelligent design versus evolution. Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astronomy at Harvard University. Click image for larger view. Credit: Harvard News Office Dimitar Sasselov (DS): That's the spin the Boston Globe put on it, but we would not describe it in terms of that debate. Instead, we are trying to understand the pathways that bring us from cosmochemistry, or chemistry in a completely inorganic sense, through the point where it becomes biology at the molecular level.
Catastrophic Immune Response May Have Caused Drug Trial Horror, New Scientist
Excerpts: A catastrophic over-stimulation of the immune system may have caused the horrific reactions suffered by six men taking part in the first human clinical trial of an experimental drug.
An investigation by New Scientist suggests the drug may have caused a super-immune response - sending white blood cells called T cells rampaging through the body destroying its own tissues.
The Evolution Of Computation In Brain Circuitry, Behav. & Brain Sc.
Abstract: The attempt to derive mental function from brain structure is highly constrained by study of the allometric changes among brain components with evolution. In particular, even if homologous structures in different species produce similar computations, they may be constituents of larger systems (e.g., cortical-subcortical loops) that exhibit different composite operations as a function of relative size and connectivity in different-sized brains. The resulting evolutionary constraints set useful and specific conditions on candidate hypotheses of brain circuit computation.
Alzheimer's Disease: A Needle From The Haystack, Nature
Excerpts: A major source of confusion has been the propensity of A to exist in a variety of complexes that seem to differ not only in their number of peptide building-blocks, but also in their overall conformation and biological activity (...). In increasing order of complexity, A can exist as monomers (a single peptide unit each), dimers (pairs), trimers (trios), oligomers (many units), tiny transient structures known as protofibrils, larger stable fibrils, and highly compacted admixtures of fibrils and smaller aggregates (amyloid plaques).
Mum's Exercise Boosts Baby's Brain, News@Nature
Pregnant mice who take daily runs boost the production of new brain cells in their babies; but investigators say it is premature to say whether the same could be true in humans.
Run for it: can mum's exercise make for a smarter baby?
Evolution In Group-Structured Populations Can Resolve The Tragedy Of The Commons, Proc. Biol. Sc.
Excerpts: (...) Public goods allow societies composed largely of cooperators to outperform societies composed mainly of non-cooperators. However, public goods also provide an incentive for individuals to be selfish by benefiting from the public good without contributing to it. This is the essential paradox of cooperation-known variously as the Tragedy of the Commons, (...). Here, we show that a new model for evolution in group-structured populations provides a simple and effective mechanism (...) depends only on population dynamics and requires no cognitive abilities on the part of the agents concerned, it potentially applies to organisms at all levels of complexity.
Abstract: The Internet is a medium for education, entertainment, communication, and personal expression. User behavior has developed three main modalities for using this medium effectively - searching, browsing, and monitoring - which are supported to different degrees by conventional tools. Understanding the nature of the interaction allows us to design and implement a system called Mitsukeru to support browsing behaviors, while retaining the free-form movements between other interaction styles. The system uses agent-based modeling and look-ahead to provide informative yet nonintrusive guidance to the user, and is described in detail.
Studies Spot Obstacle to Human Transmission of Bird Flu, Forbes.com
Excerpts: Two new studies help explain why human-to-human transmission of the bird flu virus has so far not happened -- and might not happen in the future.
Both reports found the H5N1 virus prefers to settle in cells deep within the lungs, rather than in the upper respiratory tract, as happens with human flu strains.
That's important because "most of the coughing and sneezing that transmits flu is going to be from the upper respiratory tract, and not way down in the lower respiratory tract,(...)
Evolution In Action: Why Some Viruses Jump Species, Innovations-report
Excerpts: Researchers studying strains of a lethal canine virus and a related human virus have determined why the canine virus was able to spread so quickly from cats to dogs, and then from sick dogs to healthy dogs. Their studies may lead to a new understanding of the critical molecular factors that permit viruses to jump from one species to another - information that could be helpful in assessing how much of a threat avian influenza is to humans. (...) "Viruses don't leave fossils," she explains. "But if you compare the differences between extant viral sequences, you can calibrate the molecular clock." (...)
Virus Used To Make Nanoparticles, BBC News
UK scientists from Norwich have used a plant virus to create nanotechnology building blocks.
The virus is spherical and has a diameter of 30 nanometres
The virus, which infects black-eyed peas, was employed as a "scaffold" on to which other chemicals were attached.
By linking iron-containing compounds to the virus's surface, the John Innes Centre team was able to create electronically active nanoparticles.
The researchers tell the journal Small that their work could be used in the future to make tiny electrical devices.
Folding DNA To Create Nanoscale Shapes And Patterns, Nature
Excerpts: 'Bottom-up fabrication', which exploits the intrinsic properties of atoms and molecules to direct their self-organization, is widely used to make relatively simple nanostructures. A key goal for this approach is to create nanostructures of high complexity, matching that routinely achieved by 'top-down' methods. The self-assembly of DNA molecules provides an attractive route towards this goal. Here I describe a simple method for folding long, single-stranded DNA molecules into arbitrary two-dimensional shapes.
For Robots, Fuel Cells That Double as Muscles, NY Times
Excerpts: An android walks into a bar...
Ray H. Baughman, a professor of chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas, has not built an android. He has not built a brain or an eye or a robotic equivalent of some other complex body part. Instead, he has built something that will also be crucial for future androids: artificial muscles.
Today's crude humanoid robots already use gears, pulleys and pistons to mimic the actions of muscles. But they are electrically powered, requiring that they be plugged in and tethered by an extension cord or powered by batteries, which drain quickly.
Bacteria Could Power Tiny Robots, News.com
Excerpts: A strain of bacteria that releases electrons as a waste product could become the secret ingredient for developing fuel cells for spy drones and other small robots. Researchers at Rice University and the University of Southern California have embarked on a project to harness the power of Shewanella oneidensis, a microorganism that essentially spits lightning. Rather than consume oxygen to turn food into energy, Shewanella consumes metals.
Photocatalyst Releasing Hydrogen From Water, Nature
Excerpts: Enhancing catalytic performance holds promise for hydrogen production by water splitting in sunlight.
Direct splitting of water using a particulate photocatalyst would be a good way to produce clean and recyclable hydrogen on a large scale1, and in the past 30 years various photocatalysts have been found that function under visible light2, 3, 4. Here we describe an advance in the catalysis of the overall splitting of water under visible light: the new catalyst is a solid solution of gallium and zinc nitrogen oxide5, 6, (Ga1-xZnx)(N1-xOx), modified with nanoparticles of a mixed oxide of rhodium and chromium.
- Source: Photocatalyst Releasing Hydrogen From Water, Kazuhiko Maeda, Kentaro Teramura, Daling Lu, Tsuyoshi Takata, Nobuo Saito, Yasunobu Inoue, Kazunari Domen, DOI: 10.1038/440295a, Nature 440, 295, 06/03/16
Laser Chips Could Power Petaflop Computers, New Scientist
Excerpts: Laser communications chips capable of pumping data through the veins of gargantuan "petaflop" supercomputers have been demonstrated by NEC in Japan.
The communications chips can transfer information through optical fibres at a blistering 25 gigabits per second (a gigabit is a billion bits). This is a record for such components, according to NEC, and is many times faster that the purely electronic interconnects used in today's supercomputers.
Pentagon Plans Cyber-Insect Army, BBC News
Excerpts: The Pentagon's defence scientists want to create an army of cyber-insects that can be remotely controlled to check out explosives and send transmissions. The idea is to insert micro-systems at the pupa stage, when the insects can integrate them into their body, so they can be remotely controlled later.
Get Out of Getting Out of Meetings
Excerpts: There's no more justification for IT's exlusion from (or avoidance of) business meetings.
I am amazed at how good we humans are at describing ¡§reality¡¨ to suit our needs¡Xin other words, justification. Last holiday season, I heard two of my relatives describe the same trip in ways so different that you would have thought they came from different planets. One described the 90-mile trek as ¡§close to two hours drive with major traffic issues and lots of road construction¡¨ while the other described the identical trip as ¡§only about a 100 minute drive, with newly-constructed roads that make traffic no problem.¡¨
You've Got Goodmail, NY Times
Excerpts: A company called Goodmail Systems thinks it has come up with a potential (and partial) solution to the problem of spam and fraud on the Internet. According to Goodmail, market forces are the answer, rather than the kinds of ineffective regulations that have so far failed to solve the problems.
What Goodmail is proposing is a sort of FedEx for e-mail. For a penny or less per message, the sender gets guaranteed delivery for mail and the promise that it will stand out in the user's mailbox.
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Network
Excerpts: By far the most persuasive explanation for the London bombings links them to the war on Iraq. The British government has repeatedly denied this connection. The evidence to the contrary, however, is quite compelling. In response to 9/11, the United Kingdom has supported the global war on terror spearheaded by the United States. This has resulted in the death and maiming of thousands of Muslims, illegal detentions, prisoners of war abuses, desecration of Arab and Muslim life, and the persecution of innocent American and British citizens of the Islamic faith.
Homeland Security Network Gets An F
Excerpts: If the Department of Homeland Security were a high school student, it would be in severe danger of getting left back.
For the second consecutive year the department has received a failing grade from the House Government Reform Committee for network security. The government as a whole received a D-plus, the same grade as last year.
Paul Kurtz, executive director of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, said in a news release that the grades draw attention to something that`s been a problem for a while.
Links & Snippets
- The Complexity Turn, John Urry, 2005/10/01, Theory, Culture & Society 2005 22(5): 1-14, DOI: 10.1177/0263276405057188
- On Self-replication and the Halting Problem, Hiroki Sayama, 2006/03/12 Abstract, arXiv, DOI: nlin.AO/0603026
- One In Eight Emails 'Abusive': Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group Publishes First Global Email Spam Report, R. Jaques, 2006/03/13, vnunet.com
- Web Search Blows CIA Spooks' Cover: Agents' Details Just A Fee And A Click Away, M. Chapman, 2006/03/14, vnunet.com
- Explaining The Explosion: Modelling Hybrid Invasions, R. J. Hall, A. Hastings, D. R. Ayres, 2006/03/15, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3473
- Babylab To Work Out What Goes On In Babies' Minds, 2006/03/16, ScienceDaily & University of Manchester
- Research Mice Help Scientists Understand The Complexities Of Cholesterol, 2006/03/17, Innovations-report & Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
- Mood Affects Young And Old Differently, Study Finds, 2006/03/17, ScienceDaily & Georgia Institute of Technology
- Brain-scanning Technology Reveals How We Process Brands And Products, 2006/03/18, ScienceDaily & University of Chicago Press Journals
- Précis Of Principles Of Brain Evolution, G. F. Striedter - gstriedtuci.edu, 2006: 29, Online 2006/03/15, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X06009010
- Democracy As A Way To Social Compromise, H. Zhen, Jan. 2006, Frontiers of Philosopy in China, DOI: 10.1007/s11466-005-0009-9
- Scared To Death Or Scared To Love? Terror Management Theory And Close Relationships Seeking, M. mieja - msmiejaapple.phils.uj.edu.pl, M. Kaaska, M. Adamczyk, Mar.-Apr. 2006, Online 2006/03/07, European Journal of Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.301
- What Have We Been Priming All These Years? On The Development, Mechanisms, And Ecology Of Nonconscious Social Behavior, J. A. Bargh - john.barghyale.edu, Mar.-Apr. 2006, Online 2006/03/07, European Journal of Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.336
- I'm Feeling Lucky: The Role Of Emotions In Seeking Information On The Web, J. Kalbach - james.kalbachlexisnexis.com, Online 2006/02/22, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1002/asi.20299
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
- EXYSTENCE Course on Complexity in Real-World Systems & Their Simulations: Simulation serving science and decision making in a complex world , Torino, Italy, 06/03/13-25
Work, Dissipation, And Fluctuations In Nonequilibrium Physics, Brussels, Belgium, 06/03/22-25
Spring School in Complexity Science, Southampton, UK, 06/03/29-04/12
ZUMA Advanced Simulation Workshop, Koblenz, April 3-7, 2006
- 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
- Nonlinearities: from Turbulent to Magic,
Copenhagen, Denmark. 06/05/17-20
- 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
1st Intl Conf on Economic Sciences with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, Univ of Bologna, Italy, 06/06/15-17
NKS 2006: The Wolfram Science Conference, Washington, D.C., 06/06/16-18
Intl Conf on Complex Systems (ICCS), Boston, Ma, 06/06/25-30
11th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Lausanne, Switzerland, 06/07/05-08
2006 Genetic And Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO-2006),
Seattle, Washington, USA, 06/07/08-12
- Intl Soc for the Systems Sciences
50th Ann Conf - Complexity, Democracy & Sustainability, Sonoma, California, 06/07/09-14
- Toward Social Mechanisms of Android Science, An ICCS Symposium co-located at CogSci 2006, Vancouver , Canada, 06/07/26
5th World Congress of Biomechanics, Munich, Germany, 06/07/29-08/04
50th Anniversary Summit of AI, Monte Verita, Switzerland, 06/07/09-14
FIAS Summer School - Theoretical Neuroscience & Complex Systems, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, 06/08/05-27
2006 Intl Conf on Nonlinear Science and Complexity, Beijing, China, 06/08/07-12
Symmetry Festival 2006, Symmetry in Art and Science Education, Budapest, Hungary, 06/08/12-18
6th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, Marina Del Rey, Ca, U.S.A., 06/08/21-23
- World Conference on Social Simulation (WCSS-06) , Kyoto, Japan, 06/08/21-25
7th Intl Symposium on Knowledge and Systems
Sciences (KSS'2006), Beijing, 06/09/22-25.
European Conference on Complex Systems 2006 (ECCS'06), Oxford, England, 06/09/25-29
FROM ANIMALS TO ANIMATS 9, The Ninth Intl Conf on the SIMULATION OF ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR (SAB'06), Roma, Italy, 06/09/25-30
6th Intl Conf on Simulated Evolution and Learning , Hefei,
3rd International Workshop on Complexity and Philisophy, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 07/02/22-23
Call for Papers - Course/Book Announcements
- Chaos and Complexity
Resources for Students and Teachers, 06/03/01
MSc Complexity Science: Systems Thinking from New Biology to Novel Computation, Southampton, UK
Volume Four Complexity and Knowledge Management: Understanding the Role of Knowledge in the Management of Social Networks, ISCE Managing the Complex Book Series
- New Issue of
Emergence: Complexity & Organization (E:CO), Volume 7 Numbers 3 & 4, 2005
Special Double Issue: Complexity and Storytelling
Guest Editors: Ken Baskin & David Boje was published online.