Paleoanthropology: Fossils Clinch Identity Of Lucy's Ancestor, Science
Excerpts: The meter-tall australopithecine named Lucy has reigned for 30 years as the world's most famous human ancestor. But who were Lucy's ancestors? A series of fossils from a stack of sediments more than a kilometer high in northeastern Ethiopia now helps prove what many researchers had suspected: that Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis, evolved from a 4-million-year-old upright hominid called Australopithecus anamensis.
Branchless Evolution: Fossils Point To Single Hominid Root, Science News
Scientists working in Ethiopia's Middle Awash valley have uncovered fossils of a 4.1-million-year-old human ancestor that bolster the controversial proposition that early members of our evolutionary family evolved one at a time on a single lineage rather than branching out into numerous species.
ANCESTRAL BITE. Investigators see an evolutionary link between newly found teeth of 4.1-million-year-old Au. anamensis, left, and previously discovered teeth of 3.3-million-year-old Au. afarensis, right.
2005 White/Brill Atlanta
Astrobiology Science Conference 2006: Life Slow Enough To Live On Radioactivity, Science
Excerpts: Life is slow at Earth's extremes--buried for millions of years beneath kilometers of cold ocean mud, say, or sweating out the heat in ancient rock 3 kilometers down in South Africa. Really, really slow. So slow, a new measurement suggests, that a substantial number of subsurface microbes might be surviving solely by consuming a product of feeble radioactive decay lingering from before Earth's formation. Even life on Mars, if any exists, could be hanging on beneath the martian surface living off such radiolysis.
Diversity Before Life, Science
Excerpts: In the beginning, Darwin posited a "warm little pond" where life's chemical starting materials and then life itself first appeared. But lately, prebiotic chemists have favored sea-floor hot springs as the site where simple carbon compounds merged into the complex ones needed to begin life. At the meeting, prebiotic chemist George Cody warned that deep-sea hot springs couldn't have produced all of the necessary components. Instead, the final assembly of molecules leading to life must have happened somewhere between deep-sea vents, warm little ponds, and any number of other chemical stew pots.
Conservation Biology: Roads And Genetic Connectivity, Nature
Excerpts: The Ventura Freeway slices through wildlife habitat near Los Angeles. A case study shows how large highways such as this can seriously impede genetic exchange in large vertebrates.
Roads are bad news for wildlife. Vehicles kill animals attempting to cross them, sometimes in large numbers. Conservation biologists have recognized for many years that roads also split up populations, and they continue to explore the degree and consequences of this fragmentation.
The Complexity Of Tropical Forest Structure Defies Simple Characterization, Innovations-report
Excerpts: In the last decade, the new theory of metabolic ecology has derived general predictions for a wide range of ecological patterns from fundamental physical and biochemical principles. (...) Observed patterns of tree growth, mortality and abundance deviate substantially from the predictions of metabolic ecology theory, especially for large trees. Variation within and among forests is more consistent with alternative models presented by Muller-Landau and colleagues, models that can incorporate some of the complex variation in tree shapes, growing conditions, and mortality threats within and among diverse tropical forests.
Secret Rivers Found In Antarctic, BBC News
Excerpts: Antarctica's buried lakes are connected by a network of rivers moving water far beneath the surface, say UK scientists.
It was thought the sub-glacial lakes had been completely sealed for millions of years, enabling unique species to evolve in them.
Writing in the journal Nature, experts say international plans to drill into the lakes may now have to be reviewed.
Any attempts to drill into one body of water risks contaminating others.
Evolution: A Catfish That Can Strike Its Prey On Land, Nature
Excerpts: An important step towards understanding the evolution of terrestriality in vertebrates is to identify how the aquatic ancestors of tetrapods were able to access ground-based prey. We have discovered that the 'eel catfish' (...), has a remarkable ability to forage and capture prey on land. The animal's capacity to bend its head down towards the ground while feeding seems to be an essential feature that may have enabled fish to make the transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial mode.
- Source: Evolution: A Catfish That Can Strike Its Prey On Land, Sam Van Wassenbergh, Anthony Herrel, Dominique Adriaens, Frank Huysentruyt, Stijn Devaere, Peter Aerts, DOI: 10.1038/440881a, Nature 440, 881, 06/04/13
Computer Science: Life in Silico: A Different Kind of Intelligent Design, Science
Excerpts: A biologist sits in front of her computer screen, staring at a model of a bacterium, pondering which metabolic pathway it would use if it were buried deep in the ice of Jupiter's moon Europa. She goes online and searches a database. Within seconds, she finds what she's looking for: Models of three metabolic pathways have been designed and archived by other biologists from past projects. She downloads them, plugs them into her bacterium, programs in the icy environmental conditions, and starts the model running to see which works best.
The Future of the Internet, RedHerring
Excerpts: Fast-forward 10 years, a decade out from the final deconstruction of the old order marked by headlines about France's Alcatel sweeping up its last remnant, Lucent Technologies, AT&T's old equipment division. The year is 2016. You've just come out of surgery and are being pushed down the hospital corridor on a gurney toward the recovery room. The nurses know you are on the way because a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag on your plastic patient identification bracelet automatically generated an alert to the nursing station.
Independent Evolution Of Bitter-Taste Sensitivity In Humans And Chimpanzees, Nature
Excerpts: It was reported over 65 years ago that chimpanzees, like humans, vary in taste sensitivity to the bitter compound phenylthiocarbamide (PTC)1. This was suggested to be the result of a shared balanced polymorphism, defining the first, and now classic, example of the effects of balancing selection in great apes. In humans, variable PTC sensitivity is largely controlled by the segregation of two common alleles at the TAS2R38 locus, which encode receptor variants with different ligand affinities2, 3, 4. Here we show that PTC taste sensitivity in chimpanzees is also controlled by two common alleles of TAS2R38; however, neither of these alleles is shared with humans.
- Source: Independent Evolution Of Bitter-Taste Sensitivity In Humans And Chimpanzees, Stephen Wooding, Bernd Bufe, Christina Grassi, Michael T. Howard, Anne C. Stone, Maribel Vazquez, Diane M. Dunn, Wolfgang Meyerhof, Robert B. Weiss, Michael J. Bamshad,, DOI: 10.1038/nature04655, Nature 440, 930-934, 06/04/13
Telescope Bid To Spot Alien Beams, BBC News
A new optical telescope designed solely to detect light signals from alien civilisations has opened for work at an observatory in Harvard, US. It will conduct a year-round survey, scanning all of the Milky Way galaxy visible in the Northern Hemisphere. Seti is an exploratory science to scour the cosmos for signatures of technology built by alien beings. (...)
The telescope will conduct a year-round survey
"Sending laser signals across the cosmos would be a very logical way for ET to reach out "
Two Telescopes Join Hunt For ET, Nature
Excerpts: Optical astronomers scan the sky for signs of life.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) will ramp up in coming months as two dedicated facilities come online - one to look, the other to listen.
A team led by physicist Paul Horowitz of Harvard University will begin scanning the skies this week for flashes of light from alien civilizations. Most SETI searches have been at radio wavelengths, but theorists surmise that extraterrestrials might also shine laser beacons visible from a few thousand light years away.
Schizophrenia as Misstep by Giant Gene, NY Times
Excerpts: Researchers have made progress in understanding how a variant gene linked to schizophrenia may exert its influence in the brain. The findings are tentative but, if confirmed, could yield deep insights into the biological basis of the disease.
The gene, called neuregulin-1, was first implicated in schizophrenia in 2002 by DeCode Genetics, a Reykjavik company that looks for the genetic roots of common diseases in the Icelandic population.
But how the variant form of the gene contributed to the disease was far from clear, in part because even the normal gene's function is far from understood.
Duke Nukem Sheds Light On Brain, BBC News
Excerpts: Time spent in bed could make you a better gamer
Studies of the brain using the video game Duke Nukem have shown how sleep affects long-term memory.
The Belgian team used MRI scans to see how volunteers stored spatial information from the game.
Sleep-deprived gamers recalled information from a different part of the brain to those who slept.
Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the team said its work also shed light on how we navigate in the real world.
Oops! New Findings On The Brain's Response To Costly Mistakes, Innovations-report
Excerpts: It happens to all of us, no matter how hard we try. Whether it's deleting a computer file and realizing a split-second later that we can't get it back, or dropping a bag of groceries, or realizing that our gas tank is nearly empty on a lonely stretch of highway, we all make mistakes that aren't just annoying, but potentially costly. (...) has looked inside the human brain and captured the instant when someone makes a costly mistake. What they've found is interesting by itself, but may also help scientists understand mental health problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. (...)
How Odors Are Sensed: A Complex System Clarified, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: (...) "The results of our analysis allow us to make predictions about which odors smell alike to an animal, and which smell different," said Carlson. "These predictions can now be tested in behavioral experiments and may help point us to insect attractants and repellants that are highly effective." This paper provides particular insight into the understanding of how animals perceive environmental smells that are often complex mixtures of molecular structures. The study identifies compounds that both stimulate and inhibit response in odor neurons, and the differences in response that are due to concentration and duration of exposure to a compound. (...)
'Wow Factor': Humans Perceive More Than They Think They Do, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: Faces tell the stories in UC Riverside Professor Larry Rosenblum's ecological listening lab, as volunteer test subjects show that they can "read" unheard speech -- not just from lips, but from the simple movements of dots placed on lips, teeth and tongue. They can also recognize people's voices just from seeing their faces, and vice versa, and seem to be able to distinguish among a variety of rooms on campus just from their echoes. (...) Rosenblum's research explores speech, faces and hearing from an ecological perspective. Ecological psychologists study the ways humans perceive and act in natural environments. (...)
Total Leadership: Toxic!, CIO.com
Excerpts: You know the type: More of a despot than a leader, he pits employees against each other and paralyzes the organization with fear. (...)
Toxic leaders share some common traits. They often have a rigid commitment to an idealized goal. They view challenges to their vision as akin to treason. Either you're with such a leader, unquestioningly, 100 percent, or you're the enemy.
The poisonous leader is arrogant; in her mind, she is always right, and she takes input only from a limited group of yes-men and -women. Her chosen few get information, but no one else does, and so there is no discussion about the work being done.
Can Super-Antibody Drugs Be Tamed?, Nature
Excerpts: As it becomes clear that the London clinical trial disaster was indeed the fault of the drug itself, Michael Hopkin looks at what went wrong, and whether there is any future for 'superagonist' antibody therapies.
There was no warning from animal tests, but last month the experimental antibody drug TGN1412 put six British men in intensive care. The resulting investigation ruled out any failure of experimental and regulatory procedures - a relief for those involved, but a damaging blow for the field. Immunologists are now left asking what went so badly wrong in the trial, and whether the fearsome potency of 'superagonist' antibody therapies will outweigh their promise.
Living Cells as Test Tubes, Science
Excerpts: The combination of specific probes and advanced optical microscopy now allows quantitative probing of biochemical reactions in living cells. On selected systems, one can detect and track a particular protein with single-molecule sensitivity, nanometer spatial precision, and millisecond time resolution. Metabolites, usually difficult to detect, can be imaged and monitored in living cells with coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy. Here, we describe the application of these techniques in studying gene expression, active transport, and lipid metabolism.
Biochemistry: Enzyme Motions Inside and Out, Science
Excerpts: A long-standing question in biochemistry is how enzymes catalyze chemical reactions at rates that are, in some cases, millions of times faster than the reaction rate in their absence. The quest for the source of this extraordinary ability has been augmented by recent advances in structural methods [particularly nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)] (1-3), in computational power (4), and in the sophistication of physical chemical experiments (5).
Robotic Footballers Have A Ball, BBC News
Each university has to abide by strict guidelines set out by the Federation of International Robosoccer Association (Fira).
Graceful runs are controlled by a central computer
The box-like robots are modelled around the same body but can be adapted by a team, to make it smaller or lower.
The wheeled machines have scoops to push an orange golf ball, used as the football, around the pitch.
They also have vision systems to spot their team-mates, opponents and ball.
Quantum Physics: Equilibrium On Hold, Nature
Excerpts: Startlingly, two atomic clouds confined to one dimension can be made to pass through each other repeatedly without ever coming to rest. Such non-equilibrium phenomena are fundamental, but experimentally elusive.
Black Hole Mergers Modelled In 3D, BBC News
Simulations on a supercomputer have allowed Nasa scientists to understand finally the pattern of gravitational waves produced by merging black holes.
Simulations are the "fingerprint" to look for in real data
The work should help the worldwide effort that is currently underway to make the first detection of these "ripples" in the fabric of space-time.
The Big Burp Theory Of The Apocalypse, NY Times
Excerpts: Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. And thousands of gigatons of methane, equivalent to the total amount of coal in the world, lie deep within the oceans in the form of ice-like solids called methane hydrates.
The big question is whether global warming ˇX temperatures have risen about one degree Fahrenheit over the last 30 years - will thaw some of these methane hydrates. If so, the methane might be released as a gargantuan oceanic burp. Once in the atmosphere, that methane would accelerate the greenhouse effect and warm the earth and raise sea levels even more.
FORMOSAT-3 Satellites Launched In U.S., Taiwan News/AP
Excerpts: The satellites, a joint venture by Taiwan and the United States, launched from California's Central Coast aboard a Minotaur rocket shortly after 6:30 p.m. (local time) and were expected to reach orbit about 400 kilometers above Earth.
The launch had been delayed more than an hour after a problem developed about 90 seconds before the original liftoff time, but launch controllers resolved the problem in time for a second try.
One of the satellites' primary goals will be to take real-time daily measurements of the atmosphere over thousands of points on Earth by using global positioning receivers to track radio signals passing through the atmosphere, scientists said.
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Network
U.S. Weighs How Best to Defend Against Nuclear Threats Proven Technology Vs. New Advances, Washington Post
Excerpts: Beset by delays, cost overruns and technical problems, the U.S. government's quest to defend the nation against a smuggled nuclear weapon or radiological "dirty" bomb is approaching a crossroads.
In coming weeks, the Bush administration will award or initiate contracts worth $3 billion to develop a new generation of rugged and precise radiation monitors and imaging scanners designed to sniff out radioactive material at the nation's borders.
Internet Privacy Groups Advise Members on Anonymity, Avoiding Intercepts, Washington Post
Excerpts: Terrorist groups, which for years have used the Internet and its various tools to organize and communicate, are paying more attention to addressing security and privacy concerns similar to those of other Web users, counterterrorism experts say. (...)
Google Inc. and its growing arsenal of powerful software tools, for example, are both a boon and a bane for terrorist technologists who are increasingly wary that the programs might be turned against them to gather information about their activities. One of the jihadist Web sites cautioned its readers to "Beware of Google!!!" with specific warnings about its relatively new product Google Toolbar.
- Source: Internet Privacy Groups Advise Members on Anonymity, Avoiding Intercepts, Yuki Noguchi, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Washington Post, 06/04/13
Links & Snippets
- Hummingbirds Can Clock Flower Refills, 06/04/15, Science News, Hummingbirds can keep track of when a particular flower has replenished its nectar and is worth visiting again.
- Can A Spinning Egg Really Jump?, T. Mitsui, K. Aihara, C. Terayama, H. Kobayashi, Y. Shimomura, 2006/04/11, Proceedings A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2006.1718
- Scale-Free Foraging By Primates Emerges From Their Interaction With A Complex Environment, D. Boyer, G. R.-Fernández, O. Miramontes, J. L. Mateos, G. Cocho, H. Larralde, H. Ramos, F. Rojas, 2006/04/11, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3462
- Taiwan Milks Intel's Marketing Clout: Country Has Underperformed In IT Markets, Says Science Minister, M. Chapman, 2006/04/12, vnunet.com
- Brain Scans Show Depressed Monkeys Have Same Central Nervous System Characteristics As People, 2006/04/12, ScienceDaily & Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
- Perfect Light Source Invented: Death Of The Light Bulb Imminent, I. Thomson, 2006/04/13, vnunet.com
- Evolutionary Proof That (Eating) The Chicken Came Before The Egg, 2006/04/13, ScienceDaily & University of Chicago Press Journals
- Mathematical Modeling Of Fracture Healing In Mice: Comparison Between Experimental Data And Numerical Simulation Results, L. Geris - liesbet.gerismech.kuleuven.be, A. Gerisch, C. Maes, G. Carmeliet, R.Weiner, J. V. Sloten, H. V. Oosterwyck, Apr. 2006, online 2006/03/22, Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, DOI: 10.1007/s11517-006-0040-6
- Active Walks: The First Twelve Years (Part II), L. Lam - luilam2yahoo.com, Feb. 2006, International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, DOI: 10.1007/s11424-006-0001-z
- The Perils Of Terrorism: Chinese Whispers, Kevin Bacon And Al Qaeda In Southeast Asia - A Review Essay, G. Brown, Feb. 2006, Intelligence & National Security, DOI: 10.1080/02684520600568626
- Improving The Democratic Accountability Of EU Intelligence, B. M.-Wille, Feb. 2006, Intelligence & National Security, DOI: 10.1080/02684520600568394
- Neuromorphic Walking Gait Control, Still, S., Hepp, K., Douglas, R. J., Mar. 2006, online 2006/03/06, Neural Networks, IEEE Transactions, DOI: 10.1109/TNN.2005.863454
- Technology, Genres, And Value Change: The Case Of Little Magazines, S. Paling - swpalingbuffalo.edu, M. Nilan - mnilansyr.edu, Online 2006/03/17, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1002/asi.20345
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
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
Intl Wkshp on Software Engineering Challenges for Ubiquitous Computing
, Lancaster, UK, 06/06/01-02
- 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
Beyond Genome, 8th Annual Systems Biology - Pathway and Disease Modeling, San Francisco, California, 06/06/19-21
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
- The 1st Intl Conf on Knowledge Communication and Peer Reviewing: KCPR 2006 ,
Orlando, Florida USA, 06/07/20-23
- 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
- Potentials of Complexity Science for Business, Governments, and the Media 2006
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, China, 06/10/15-18
3rd International Workshop on Complexity and Philisophy, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 07/02/22-23
Summer School In Complexity Science, London, UK, 07/07/08-17
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.