Excerpts: Artificial life is an emerging informatics-based discipline that models the behavior of biological systems such as evolution, reproduction, growth, disease, learning, socialization and even death
(...) approach that combines science and engineering in order to design and construct novel biological parts, devices and biological systems for useful purposes.
It's called synthetic biology, and it will be one of the focuses of discussion at the 10th International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems conference, better known as Artificial Life X, being held 3-7 June 2006 The event, sponsored by the Indiana University School of Informatics, brings together some of the world's leading experts in biology, informatics and other disciplines.
Scientists Build A World Of 'Software Beings', IDG News Service
Excerpts: Politicians could one day determine the results of elections before they take place, thanks to a European research project that will study social interactions between millions of virtual human beings.
Five European universities are collaborating on the New Ties project, where they plan to create millions of "software beings" (human beings that live in computers) with the goal of studying how they interact and evolve
Searching For The Soul In The Machine, Innovations-report
Excerpts: If computers could create a society, what kind of world would they make? Thanks to the work of an ambitious project that adds a whole new meaning to the phrase, 'computer society', in which millions of software agents will potentially evolve their own culture, we could be about to find out. (...) are collaborating on the NEW TIES project to create a thoroughly 21st-century brave new world - one populated by randomly generated software beings, capable of developing their own language and culture. This kind of social interaction is a tantalising prospect for the artificial intelligence (AI) experts, computer scientists, sociologists (...).
Foresight And Evolution Of The Human Mind, Science
Excerpts: What is in your pockets? Chances are you carry keys, money, cosmetics, a Swiss Army knife, or other tools--because they may be useful at some future point. Humans have the ubiquitous capacity to imagine, plan for, and shape the future (even if we do frequently get it wrong). This capacity must have long been of major importance to our survival (see the figure) and may have been a prime mover in human cognitive evolution (1).
Helping Hands: Are Two More Trouble Than One?, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: Having another person help you with a simple physical task often seems to be more trouble than it's worth. However, researchers at Northwestern University have found that in some cases, pairs perform better than individuals even when each individual thinks the other is a hindrance. Authors of the study included psychologists, neuroscientists, and robotics researchers who were interested in the possibility of haptic communication. Haptics, from the Greek haptiko, relates to the sense of touch and motion. Many other kinds of pair interactions have been heavily studied, including facial expression, gesture, spoken language, (...).
Excerpt: Zombie firms are those firms that are insolvent and have little hope of recovery but avoid failure thanks to support from their banks. This paper identifies zombie firms in Japan, and compares the characteristics of zombies to other firms. Zombie firms are found to be less profitable, more indebted, more dependent on their main banks, more likely to be found in non-manufacturing industries and more often located outside large metropolitan areas. Overall, larger size makes the firm less likely to be a zombie, but among small firms, relatively larger firms are more likely to be protected and become zombies. (...)
- Source: Economics Of The Living Dead, T. Hoshi, DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5876.2006.00354.x, Japanese Economic Review, Mar. 2006
- Contributed by Pritha Das - prithadas01yahoo.com
Top Five In Physics - Novel Citation Index Highlights Hot Topics., Nature
Are you working on the hottest topic in your field? Many scientists may think so, but it has been a tough assertion to prove - until now, that is. A German physicist has devised a way of answering the 'Hot or not?' question for his discipline. If it stands up to scrutiny, it could be used to rate topics across the sciences. In physics, the results show that hotness - measured by a parameter known as m ¡X correlates well with the promise of future wealth... and that promise is greatest in nanotechnology.
A Powerful Tool For Teaching Science, Nature
Excerpts: Although computers have dramatically improved productivity in many areas, their use for improving education has been slow and difficult. Online interactive simulations may soon change all that.
There is considerable evidence that science classes from elementary school through to university are generally failing to provide most students with an understanding of science. Sadly, these classes are also frequently suppressing whatever interest students may have in the subject. Information technology offers tremendous untapped opportunities for improving this situation. We have been exploring the use of a novel aspect of this technology: online interactive simulations (sims).
- Source: A Powerful Tool For Teaching Science, Carl E. Wieman - cwiemanjila.colorado.edu, Katherine K. Perkins - katherine.perkinscolorado.edu, DOI: 10.1038/nphys283, Nature Physics 2, - pp290 - 292 (2006)
Neuroscience: Gatekeeper At The Synapse, Science
Excerpts: The most important mechanism for rapid cell-to-cell communication within the nervous system is the synapse, where neuron meets target for the relay of chemical messages. Fast neurotransmission not only requires very close apposition of presynaptic and postsynaptic partners, but also necessitates a precise structural arrangement of cellular components on both sides of the synaptic cleft to facilitate effective signal transmission. On page 1051 of this issue, Kittel et al. (1) report how a recently discovered presynaptic protein acts as a gatekeeper for those components that need to be assembled for fast release of neurotransmitter molecules from synaptic vesicles.
Are Our Senses Critical?, Nature
Excerpts: The sensitivity and dynamic range of a network made of neuron-like elements is now shown to be maximized at the critical point of a phase transition. This raises the question of whether critical senses might improve survival in a critical world.
Optimal Dynamical Range Of Excitable Networks At Criticality, Nature
Excerpts: A recurrent idea in the study of complex systems is that optimal information processing is to be found near phase transitions. However, this heuristic hypothesis has few (if any) concrete realizations where a standard and biologically relevant quantity is optimized at criticality. Here we give a clear example of such a phenomenon: a network of excitable elements has its sensitivity and dynamic range maximized at the critical point of a non-equilibrium phase transition.
On the possible Computational Power of the Human Mind, arXiv
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to address the question: Can an artificial neural network (ANN) model be used as a possible characterization of the power of the human mind? We will discuss what might be the relationship between such a model and its natural counterpart. A possible characterization of the different power capabilities of the mind is suggested in terms of the information contained (in its computational complexity) or achievable by it. Such characterization takes advantage of recent results based on natural neural networks (NNN) and the computational power of arbitrary artificial neural networks (ANN). The possible acceptance of neural networks as the model of the human mind's operation makes the aforementioned quite relevant.
Antibiotic Faces Uncertain Future, Nature
Excerpts: It can kill superbugs but may never get used.
A promising new antibiotic is generating both excitement and despondency. It is the first new chemical class of antibiotic to be found in more than two decades, but experts fear that the hurdles to turning the compound into an effective commercial drug could mean that it ends up collecting dust on a shelf.
The drug, called platensimycin and reported on page 358, kills several of the major drug-resistant bacteria that plague hospitals.
Time For A Change, Nature
Excerpts: Prokaryote: gene-sequence comparisons show the tree of life consists of bacteria, eukarya and archaea. The use of the term 'prokaryote' fails to recognize that an idea about life's origins has been proved wrong.
The explosive accumulation of gene sequences over the past few decades has brought a new perspective on life and its history. Some of the results indicate that we need to reassess our understanding of the course of evolution at the most fun
- Source: Time For A Change, Norman R. Pace, DOI: 10.1038/441289a, Nature 441, 289, 06/05/18
Ready, Set, Mutate ... And May The Best Microbe Win: Natural Selection In A Flask, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: Even with modern genomic tools, it's a daunting task to find a smoking gun for Darwinian evolution. The problem lies in being able to say not just when and how a specific gene mutated but also how that one genetic change translated into real-world dominance of one population over another. Rice University biologists, using an ingenious experiment that forced bacteria to compete in a head-to-head contest for evolutionary dominance, today offer the first glimpse of how individual genetic-level adaptations play out as Darwinian natural selection in large populations. (...)
Neanderthal DNA Yields To Genome Foray, Nature
Excerpts: Genetic material sequenced from 45,000-year-old male.
The first nuclear DNA sequences from a Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) have been reported. The results should provide clues about when certain diseases, or traits such as hair or skin colour, arose. They also have geneticists excited about the idea of sequencing a Neanderthal genome.
Svante P??bo, a palaeogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, began his Neanderthal Genome Project about two years ago.
Laws in Darwinian Evolutionary Theory, arXiv
Excerpt: In the present article the recent works to formulate laws in Darwinian evolutionary dynamics are discussed. Although there is a strong consensus that general laws in biology may exist, opinions opposing such suggestion are abundant. (...)
What Can't Bacteria Do?, Nature
Excerpts: Among their many talents, bacteria are the world's best electrochemists, creating a life-powering flow of electrons in a startling range of conditions. In the first of two features, Nick Lane asks what limits, if any, constrain this ability. In the second, Charlotte Schubert meets the people trying to put this microbial ingenuity to practical use.
In 1977 Engelbert Broda, a physical chemist, then at the University of Vienna in Austria, made a startling prediction.
Batteries Not Included - Circuits Of Slime
The left-hand side of Peter Girguis's lab is a mucky place. Dried mud flecks benches, beakers and scales, and buckets of slime clutter the floor. Fresh ooze is flown in regularly from California. A skein of pipes fed by a 2,000-gallon tank of sea water in the basement keeps everything moist. On the floor, wires gush out of dismembered plastic cocoons, and electrodes poke out of various tanks.
Illuminating Changes Conventional Lightbulbs May Soon Be Obsolete, Science News
In a remote mountain community of Mexico's Sierra Madre, people are tending fields, cooking meals over open fires, and field-testing light-emitting electronics woven into colorful swaths of fabric. Depending on how a person folds or hangs one of the hand-towel-size pieces of cloth, it serves as a cordfree wall light, table top reading lamp, or hanging lantern.
WEAVE-AND-GLO. Mexican villager is illuminated by LEDs woven into a swatch of cloth to create a flexible solar battery-powered lamp. S. Richins/Univ. Michigan
Sheila Kennedy's team at Kennedy & Violich Architecture in Boston designed the solar-powered lamps, which depend on light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Sociobiology: The Phoenix Effect, Nature
Excerpts: A spore-forming bacterium can escape from social collapse and extinction with a single mutation that has a dramatic effect. Here is evidence that a cooperative system can recover from the very brink of destruction.
Where there is society, there are cheaters that threaten to ruin it. The evolution of such selfish behaviour can destroy cooperation, and may even drive a species to extinction1.
Device Physics: A Bug-Beating Diode, Nature
Excerpts: A diode that emits light at a shorter wavelength than ever before shows huge ¡X albeit destructive ¡X technological promise. But further work is needed to ensure that this promise is fulfilled.
Earth's ozone layer completely blocks solar light of very low ultraviolet wavelengths. Biological organisms on Earth have therefore never developed a tolerance for this 'UVC' radiation, and artificially generated UVC light has become a useful tool in the treatment and destruction of bacteria, yeast, viruses and fungi.
'Above Normal' Hurricanes In 2006, BBC News
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) predicts there will be 13-16 named storms, four of which will be "major storms".
Every chunk of ice-core tells tales about the distant world it came from
But it says 2006 will be less active than last year's record-breaking season which saw Hurricane Katrina cause widespread devastation.
The US hurricane season starts on 1 June and lasts until 30 November.
"Noaa is predicting an above normal hurricane season, with 13-16 named storms, of which eight to 10 are predicted to become hurricanes," the agency's administrator, Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, said on Monday.
Economists Claim Carbon Cuts Won't Break The World's Bank, Nature
Excerpts: Price tag for reduced emissions could be lower than expected.
Transforming the world's energy industry to stop the flood of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere might actually be quite cheap.
Figures of tens of trillions of dollars are often cited, and used to question whether measures such as the Kyoto Protocol, which attempts to limit carbon emissions, are too expensive.
Environment: Investments Toward Sustainable Development, Science
Excerpts: Sustainable development, meaning economic growth that is environmentally sound, is a practical necessity. Environmental goals cannot be achieved without development. Poor people will circumvent environmental restrictions in their desperation for land, food, and sustenance. Nor can development goals be achieved and sustained without sound environmental management. Environmental catastrophes will undermine economic life, whether in New Orleans or Nigeria. Therefore, investing in poverty reduction is crucial for environmental policy, while investing in the environment is vital for successful poverty reduction (see figure, right).
A Million Manhattan Projects, NY Times
Excerpts: Not a day goes by now that I don't get a letter from some start-up that wants me to write about how it is turning trash, corn, sugar, coal, manure, hydrogen, waves, wood chips, wind, sunlight or switch grass into power. I recently visited SRI International, near Stanford, where scientists are working on the critical problem of how to get more electric power out of batteries. Last week, I was in Pasadena to visit Idealab, whose founder, Bill Gross, couldn't wait to take me up to his roof to show off his Sunflower solar system, (...)
Indian IT Firms Buy Up Western Rivals, vnunet.com
Excerpt: The rate at which Indian IT service providers are acquiring western technology companies is accelerating rapidly, according to a new report published today. The study from independent corporate finance house Close Brothers found that of 101 international companies acquired by Indian firms since 2002 almost a quarter were in the technology sector. The UK was the second biggest target after the US, accounting for 17 acquisitions, (...). The report says the trend is accelerating - the number of international acquisitions in the first four months of 2006 was just short of the 42 deals completed in the whole of 2005. (...)
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Network
The Mathematical Structure Of Terrorism, Physorg.com
Excerpts: The complex patterns of the natural world often turn out to be governed by relatively simple mathematical relationships. A seashell grows at a rate proportional to its size, resulting in a delicate spiral. The gossamer network of galaxies results from the simple interplay between cosmic expansion and the force of gravity over a wide range of scales. As our catalogue of natural phenomena has grown more complete, more and more scientists have begun to look for interesting patterns in human society.
Web Inventor Warns Of 'Dark' Net, BBC News
Excerpts: The web should remain neutral and resist attempts to fragment it into different services, web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said.
Recent attempts in the US to try to charge for different levels of online access web were not "part of the internet model," he said in Edinburgh.
He warned that if the US decided to go ahead with a two-tier internet, the network would enter "a dark period".
Links & Snippets
- Three Logistic Models for the Ecological and Economic Interactions: Symbiosis, Predator-Prey and Competition, Ricardo Lopez-Ruiz, Daniele Fournier-Prunaret, 2005/05/12, arXiv, DOI: nlin.AO/0605029
- Worrying Trends in Econophysics, Mauro Gallegati, Steve Keen, Thomas Lux, Paul Ormerod, 2006/05/12, Physica A, Article in Press, Uncorrected Proof, DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2006.04.029
- Reduced Mortality Selects For Family Cohesion In A Social Species, M. Griesser, M. Nystrand, J. Ekman, 2006/05/15, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3527
- How Did Cactuses Evolve?, 2006/05/16, Innovations-report & University of Chicago
- Acidity In The Brain Could Hold The Key To Stroke Treatment, 2006/05/16, Innovations-report & The University of Manchester
- Asymmetries In Specialization In Ant-Plant Mutualistic Networks, P. R. Guimarăes, V. R.-Gray, S. F. dos Reis, J. N. Thompson, 2006/05/16, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3548
- Cell Evolution And Earth History: Stasis And Revolution, T. C.-Smith, 2006/05/17, Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2006.1842
- Dolphins At Risk, 2006/05/17, ScienceDaily & Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Eyeballs Vs Footballs: Limitations Of Human Visual System Hinders Goalkeepers From Predicting Free Kicks, 2006/05/19, ScienceDaily & Springer
- The Role Of Information And Influence In Social Networks Examining The Association Between Social Network Structure And Job Mobility, M. Davern - daver004umn.edu, D. S. Hachen, Apr. 2006, Online 2006/05/04, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1536-7150.2006.00451.x
- Does Political Democracy Enhance Human Development In Developing Countries? A Cross-National Analysis, M.-C. Tsai - mtsaimail.ntpu.edu.tw, Apr. 2006, Online 2006/05/04, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1536-7150.2006.00450.x
- Error And Uncertainty In Habitat Models, S. Barry, J. Elith - j.elithunimelb.edu.au, Jun. 2006, Journal of Applied Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01136.x
- Scaling And Universality Of The Complexity Of Analog Computation, Y. Avizrats, J. Feinberg, S. Fishman, Jun. 2006, online 2006/05/11, Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, DOI: 10.1063/1.2194471
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
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
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
- Intl Conf on Parallel Problem Solving From Nature (PPSN), Reykjavik, Iceland, 06/09/09-13
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
13th Herbstakademie COGNITION AND EMBODIMENT, Monte Verità, Switzerland, 06/10/05-08
6th Intl Conf on Simulated Evolution and Learning , Hefei, China, 06/10/15-18
- 2006 IEEE/WIC/ACM Intl Workshop on
Interaction between Agents and Data Mining (IADM-06), Hongkong, China, 06/12/18
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) Special Issue on Leadership and Complexity