Tech Lessons Learned From The Wisdom Of Crowds, CNET News.com
Excerpts: In a 1945 paper, the great Austrian economist F.A. Hayek described how prices set by a free market are really "a mechanism for communicating information" about the probability of future events.
If a war in the Middle East is seen as likely, for instance, oil prices will probably increase. Hayek's insight showed that the results can be surprisingly accurate, as long as enough people are allowed to wager real money on the outcome.
Why Is Open Access Development So Successful? Stigmergic Organization and the Economics of Information, arXiv
Excerpts: The explosive development of "free" or "open source" information goods contravenes the conventional wisdom that markets and commercial organizations are necessary to efficiently supply products. This paper proposes a theoretical explanation for this phenomenon, using concepts from economics and theories of self-organization. (...) Unlike traditional organizations, open access communities are open, distributed and self-organizing. Coordination is achieved through stigmergy: listings of "work-in-progress" direct potential contributors to the tasks where their contribution is most likely to be fruitful. This obviates the need both for centralized planning and for the "invisible hand" of the market.
The Social Cognitive Actor, Cogprints
Abstract: Multi-Agent Simulation (MAS) of organisations is a methodology that is adopted in this dissertation in order to study and understand human behaviour in organisations. The aim of the research is to design and implementat a cognitive and social multi-agent simulation model based on a selection of social and cognitive theories to fulfill the need for a complex cognitive and social model. The emphasis of this dissertation is the relationship between behaviour of individuals (micro-level) in an organisation and the behaviour of the organisation as a whole (macro-level).
- Source: The Social Cognitive Actor, Helmhout, Dr. Ing. Martin, Cogprints [PhD thesis, Knowledge Management, University of Groningen], 2006/12/08
Comets Hold Life Chemistry Clues, BBC News
The idea that comets delivered the chemical "seeds" for life to the early Earth has been given a big boost.
Comet 81P/Wild 2. The findings will impact models of the origin of comets and the chemistry of the rubble disc that formed the planets. (Nasa)
Scientists studying the tiny grains of material recovered from Comet Wild-2 by Nasa's Stardust mission have found large, complex carbon-rich molecules.
They are of the type that could have been important precursor components of the initial reactions that gave rise to the planet's biochemistry.
Planetary Science: A Dry View of Enceladus Puts a Damper on Chances for Life There, Science
Excerpts: With the discovery last year of a great plume of water rising from the south pole of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, astrobiologists had a new potential home for life in the solar system. Liquid water is the scarcest requirement for life, and the plume's striking resemblance to the Old Faithful geyser back on Earth seemed to imply subsurface pools. But an alternative explanation for the Enceladus plume, proposed on page 1764, would create the Old Faithful look without a drop of liquid water and therefore with no possibility of life.
Dynamical Evolution Of Ecosystems, Nature
Excerpts: The assembly of an ecosystem such as a tropical forest depends crucially on the species interaction network, and the deduction of its rules is a formidably complex problem. In spite of this, many recent studies using Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography have demonstrated that the resulting emergent macroscopic behaviour of the ecosystem at or near a stationary state shows a surprising simplicity reminiscent of many physical systems.
- Source: Dynamical Evolution Of Ecosystems, Sandro Azaele, Simone Pigolotti, Jayanth R. Banavar, Amos Maritan, DOI: 10.1038/nature05320, Nature 444, 926-928, 06/12/14
Balancing Robustness and Evolvability, PLoS Biol
Excerpt: One of the most important features of biology is the ability of organisms to persist in the face of changing conditions. Consider the remarkable fact that every organism alive today is the product of billions of generations in which its progenitors, without fail, managed to produce progeny that survived to reproduce. To achieve this consistency, organisms must have a balance between robustness and evolvability, that is, between resisting and allowing change in their own internal states (...)
Excerpts: There is no book like this in the canonical line of textbooks on theoretical ecology: Self-Organization in Complex Ecosystems views ecosystems from the perspective of self-organization and the emergence of their large-scale complex features. It does this from a largely mathematical perspective and, surprisingly, draws on several methods from theoretical physics. This might sound unusual at first for a book about ecosystems. However, when it comes to the behavior of a system containing many interacting agents, questions arise that are similar to those posed in the study of the physics of many-particle systems. (...) SolĂ© and Bascompte present a first-time overview of how the approach to studying the physics of complex systems can be applied to ecosystems.
- Source: On the Physics of Ecology, Stefan Bornholdt, DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2006.11.011, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Article in Press, Corrected Proof, 2006/12/08
Nonlinear Dynamics And Pattern Bifurcations In A Model For Vegetation Stripes In Semi-Arid Environments, Theor. Population Biol.
Excerpts: In many semi-arid environments, vegetation is self-organised into spatial patterns. The most striking examples of this are on gentle slopes, where striped patterns are typical, running parallel to the contours. Previously, (...) has proposed a model for vegetation stripes based on competition for water. Here, we present a detailed study of the patterned solutions in the full nonlinear model, using numerical bifurcation analysis of both the pattern odes and the model pdes. We show that patterns exist for a wide range of rainfall levels, and in particular for much lower rainfall than have been considered by previous authors. (...)
Neurobiology: A Channel Sets The Gain On Pain, Nature
Excerpts: Nerve impulses that convey pain signals to the brain are produced by sodium channels in the neuronal membrane. Studies on people who are unable to feel pain identify one specific sodium channel as essential to the process.
Neuroscience: The Impact of Invisible Stimuli, Science
Excerpts: Sigmund Freud's groundbreaking work first demonstrated that a large part of our conscious mental life is governed by motives and memories that are not, or are no longer, accessible to conscious insight. Events that can no longer be consciously remembered also guide the behavior of neurological patients, as famously shown by ?douard Clapar?de's amnesic patient. The patient could not recall that her doctor had once painfully pricked her with a needle when shaking her hand, but nonetheless refused to shake his hand again (1).
Greater Disruption Due to Failure of Inhibitory Control on an Ambiguous Distractor, Science
Excerpts: Considerable evidence indicates that a stimulus that is subthreshold, and thus consciously invisible, influences brain activity and behavioral performance. However, it is not clear how subthreshold stimuli are processed in the brain. We found that a task-irrelevant subthreshold coherent motion led to a stronger disturbance in task performance than did suprathreshold motion. With the subthreshold motion, activity in the visual cortex measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging was higher, but activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex was lower, than with suprathreshold motion. These results suggest that subthreshold irrelevant signals are not subject to effective inhibitory control.
Researchers Demonstrate Direct Brain Control Of Humanoid Robot, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: A classic science-fiction scene shows a person wearing a metal skullcap with electrodes sticking out to detect the person's thoughts. Another sci-fi movie standard depicts robots doing humans' bidding. Now the two are combined, and in real life: University of Washington researchers can control the movement of a humanoid robot with signals from a human brain. (...) have demonstrated that an individual can "order" a robot to move to specific locations and pick up specific objects merely by generating the proper brain waves that reflect the individual's instructions. (...)
Helping Young Students To Model Complex Problems, Innovations-report
Excerpts: Computer modelling allows young students to visualise complex relationships, express ideas, create environments and solve problems. Kids and teachers love using the technology. Now the e-COMODE project has created a collaborative learning environment to help young students design, build and test models with ease. (...) Take photosynthesis. This is a complex issue that is difficult to explain without complicated organic chemistry, a field that is one of the most difficult disciplines to teach. But by using models that demonstrate the relationships between sunlight, chlorophyll, water and nutrients, students can directly interact with a photosynthesis (...).
In Memory-Bank 'Dialogue,' the Brain Is Talking to Itself, NY Times
Excerpts: New recordings of electrical activity in the brain may explain a major part of its function, including how it consolidates daily memories, why it needs to dream and how it constructs models of the world to guide behavior.
The recordings capture dialogue between the hippocampus, where initial memories of the day's events are formed, and the neocortex, the sheet of neurons on the outer surface of the brain that mediates conscious thought and contains long-term memories. (...)
Why People 'Never Forget A Face': Are You One Of Those People Who Never Forgets A Face?, Innovations-report
Excerpts: New research from Vanderbilt University suggests that we can remember more faces than other objects and that faces "stick" the best in our short-term memory. The reason may be that our expertise in remembering faces allows us to package them better for memory. (...) "How much you can fit in a bag depends on how well you pack it," she says. "In the same way, our expertise in 'packaging' faces means that we can remember more of them." (...) Short-term memory is crucial to our impression of a continuous world, serving as temporary storage for information that we are currently using. (...)
Malaria: A Protective Paradox, Nature
Excerpts: The infectious form of the malaria parasite has thousands of proteins, making it tough to develop a vaccine for it. Narrowing down which proteins cause protective immune responses may help resolve the problem.
A vaccine against malaria would be the ideal means of preventing the hundreds of millions of cases of the disease that occur annually across the globe1. But no malaria vaccine has yet been licensed, and there is little consensus on how to develop one.
How Plug-In Hybrids Will Save The Grid - The Use Of Vehicles That Run On Electricity Could Be A Boon To The Ailing Electrical Grid, Technology Review
Major automakers and the Department of Energy are pouring money into research on plug-in hybrid vehicles. These cars promise to cut petroleum consumption by allowing commuters to drive to work using primarily electricity--stored on board in batteries--rather than gas. Although critics have warned that the vehicles could put too much pressure on an already strained electrical grid, experts are now arguing that rather than being a strain on the grid, plug-in hybrids may actually help prevent brownouts, cut the cost of electricity, and increase the use of renewable energy.
Small companies are already making kits that allow drivers to commute using electricity from the grid (stored in extra batteries shown here). When major automakers start making the kits, will charging these cars be too much for the grid to handle? Credit: Technology Review
Sea Level Rise 'Under-Estimated', BBC News
Excerpts: Current sea level rise projections could be under-estimating the impact of human-induced climate change on the world's oceans, scientists suggest.
By plotting global mean surface temperatures against sea level rise, the team found that levels could rise by 59% more than current forecasts.
The researchers say the possibility of greater increases needs be taken into account when planning coastal defences.
Physics: A New Spin on the Insulating State, Science
Excerpts: Electrical insulators are usually appreciated for their ability to do nothing. Such materials either trap or restrict the motion of free charges in matter. This is useful in all kinds of applications, ranging from the wiring in your home to directing the flow of electrons in the tiny circuits of your iPod. Now, on page 1757 of this issue, Bernevig et al. have proposed a new kind of two-dimensional insulator, which permits the flow of charge only at its edges (1). This may lead to the development of a new kind of solid-state electronic device.
Optics: Momentum In An Uncertain Light, Nature
Excerpts: How much momentum does light transfer to a material through which it passes? This is a surprisingly opaque matter, contested for almost a century, that is still the object of theory and experimentation.
One of Rudolf Peierls' Surprises in Theoretical Physics is the difficulty of assessing the momentum of light in transparent materials such as glass or water.
Optogenetics: Shining New Light on Neural Circuits, Science
Excerpts: When researchers from Yale University reported last year that they'd used a laser to activate neurons in fruit flies and in turn control the insects' behavior, even Jay Leno thought it was cool. In a skit, the Tonight Show host pretended to use a remote-controlled fly to harass President George W. Bush during a speech. "I thought it was actually quite funny," says Gero Miesenboeck, the neuroscientist who led the study. A video clip of Leno's skit elicited chuckles when Miesenboeck played it during a presentation at October's meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Atlanta, Georgia.
Chemistry: Generating a Photocurrent on the Nanometer Scale, Science
Excerpts: Photocopiers and laser printers play an important role in our day-to-day life, but we rarely pay attention to how these devices work. They rely on photoconductors, which are insulators in the dark but become conductive under light illumination. About three decades ago, environmentally more benign organic photoconductors replaced the toxic inorganic selenium alloy (1). The photoconductors in use today are bilayer systems consisting of a charge-generating layer and a charge-transporting layer (1).
Butterfly Wing Scales Provide Template For Complex Photonic Structures, Innovations-report
Excerpts: By replicating the complex micron- and nanometer-scale photonic structures that help give butterfly wings their color, researchers have demonstrated a new technique that uses biotemplates for fabricating nanoscale structures that could serve as optical waveguides, optical splitters and other building blocks of photonic integrated circuits.Using a low-temperature atomic layer deposition (ALD) process, materials scientists (...) produced aluminum oxide (alumina) replicas of wing scales from a Morpho peleides butterfly, a bright blue insect native to the rain forests (...). The artificial wing scales faithfully replicated the physical features and optical properties of the natural wing scales that served as templates. (...)
The Dynamics Of Nacre Self-Assembly, Interface
Abstract: We show how nacre and pearl construction in bivalve and gastropod molluscs can be understood in terms of successive processes of controlled self-assembly from the molecular- to the macro-scale. This dynamics involves the physics of the formation of both solid and liquid crystals and of membranes and fluids to produce a nanostructured hierarchically constructed biological composite of polysaccharides, proteins and mineral, whose mechanical properties far surpass those of its component parts.
- Source: The Dynamics Of Nacre Self-Assembly, J. H.E. Cartwright, A. G. Checa, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0574, The Royal Society Interface, 2006/12/08
- Contributed by Atin Das - dasatinyahoo.co.in
Pluggd: A Google for Podcasts, Wired
Excerpts: As far as most search engines are concerned, audio files are black boxes.
Even with advancements in metadata tags and audio-recognition technology, it's still much more difficult for a search engine to catalog the content of an audio file than that of a web page. A new startup is hoping to change that.
Pluggd has found a way to index podcasts, talk shows and other spoken-word content. The company's service then allows users to search the audio files for specific words.
You can try Pluggd's word-searching demo yourself right now. Enter your search term and you'll see mentions of your word highlighted in various colors -- heatmap-style -- on a timeline of the show.
Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Networks
Agency Set Up To Tackle Bioterror, Nature
Excerpts: Last minute deals in Congress push through biodefence bill and give cash boost to NIH.
In a late-night flurry of activity as it rushed to adjourn, the US Congress last week created a new agency that will allocate $1 billion to companies that are developing drugs and vaccines to tackle bioterror and pandemic agents. Bleary-eyed lawmakers also passed legislation governing the broad workings of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and authorizing a hefty budget boost for the biomedical agency over the next two years.
Links & Snippets
- Songbird Migration Across The Sahara: The Non-Stop Hypothesis Rejected!, H. Schmaljohann, F. Liechti, B. Bruderer, 2006/12/12, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.0011
- A Critique Of Comparative Studies Of Brain Size, S. D. Healy, C. Rowe, 2006/12/12, Proceedings: Biological Sciences, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3748
- Smart Clothes Hug You By Phone: Shirt Allows Long Distance Hugging Thanks To Smart Fabric And Mobile Technology, I. Thomson, 2006/12/13, vnunet.com
- Laugh And The Whole World Laughs With You: Why The Brain Just Can't Help Itself, 2006/12/13, Innovations-report
- Quantifying the Taxonomic Diversity in Real Species Communities, C. Caretta Cartozo, D. Garlaschelli, C. Ricotta, M. Barthelemy, G. Caldarelli, 2006/12/13, arXiv, DOI: q-bio.PE/0612023
- Neural Stem Cells Lend The Brain A Surprising Capacity For Self-repair, 2006/12/14, ScienceDaily & Cell Press
- Experts Advise World Policies To Cope With Causes, Rising Consequences Of Creeping Desertification, 2006/12/14, ScienceDaily & United Nations University
- Novel Brain Areas Associated With The Recognition Of Gender, Ethnicity And The Identity Of Faces, 2006/12/14, ScienceDaily & University of Southern California
- Neurons In Motion: Same Principles For Different Shapes?, O. Marín - o.marinumh.es, M. Valdeolmillos, F. Moya, Dec. 2006, online 2006/10/13, Trends in Neurosciences, DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2006.10.001
- 'The Taste Of Paradise': Selling Fiji And FIJI Water, J. Connell - jconnellmail.usyd.edu.au, Dec. 2006, online 2006/10/19, Asia Pacific Viewpoint, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8373.2006.00310.x
- Media Exposure, Aggression And Prosocial Behavior During Early Childhood: A Longitudinal Study, J. M. Ostrov - jostrovbuffalo.edu, D. A. Gentile, N. R. Crick, Nov. 2006, online 2006/10/30, Social Development, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9507.2006.00360.x
TED Talks, TED Conferences LLC , since 2006
Talking Robots: The PodCast on Robotics and AI, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, 06/11/03
Potentials of Complexity Science for Business, Governments, and the Media 2006, Budapest, Hungary, 06/08/03-05
- 6th Intl Conf on Complex Systems (ICCS), Boston, MA, 06/06/25-30
Artificial Life X,
10th Intl Conf on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems, Bloomington, IN, USA. 2006/06/03-07
6th Understanding Complex Systems Symposium, Urbana-Champaign, Il, 06/05/15-18
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
- Logic, Computability and Randomness 2007 , Buenos Aires, Argentina, 07/01/10-13
Symposium on Biological Complexity Diseases of Transcription, La Jolla, CA, 07/01/11-14
The Atlas of Ideas, London,
United Kingdom, 07/01/17-18
Managing Complex Organizations in a Complex World, Cambridge, MA, 07/01/25-26
2007 Complexity and Educational Research Conference, Vancouver, BC, 07/02/18-20
3rd International Workshop on Complexity and Philisophy, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 07/02/22-23
Unconventional Computation: Quo Vadis?, Santa Fe, NM, 07/03/20-23
Complex Social Systems Course
at the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom, 07/03/20-28
NEXUS for Change, Bowling Green, Ohio, 07/03/22-23
4th Lake Arrowhead Conference on Human Complex Systems,
Lake Arrowhead, CA, 07/04/25-29
Intl Conf on Morphological Computation, Venice Italy, 07/03/26-28
- Complexity and Organizational Resilience
The Village, Pohnpei, Micronesia, 07/05
- 2nd Intl Conf on Built Environment Complexity - Embracing complexity thinking in built environments, Cape Town South Africa, 07/05/21-25
ECO 2007 Summit: Ecological Complexity and Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for 21st-Century Ecology, Beijing, China, 07/05/22-27
2007 IEEE/ICME Intl Conf on Complex Medical Engineering-CME2007, Beijing, China, 07/05/23-27
The 7th Intl Workshop on Meta-Synthesis and Complex Systems, Beijing, 07/05/27-30
SYMMETRY IN NONLINEAR MATHEMATICAL PHYSICS, Kiev, Ukraine, 07/06/24-30
Summer School In Complexity Science, London, UK, 07/07/08-17
Natural Complexity: Data and Theory in Dialogue, Cambridge, UK, 07/08/13-17
ECAL 2oo7 - 9th European Conference on Artificial Life
, Lisbon, Portugal, 07/09/10-14
European Conference on Complex Systems 2007 (ECCS'07) , Dresden, Germany, 07/10/01-05
Call for Papers - Course/Book Announcements
- The international journal
Emergence: Complexity & Organization (E:CO) is now available. The issue contains:
Volume 8 Number 4, 2006
Special Issue: Complexity & Leadership
Editors: Jeffrey A. Goldstein & James K. Hazy
EVOLUTIONARY COMPUTATION IN PRACTICE
Series in Studies in Computational Intelligence, Springer Verlag,
Chapter proposal due 07/02/04
- Call for Submissions:
The Journal of Developmental Processes will publish its first issue in fall 2006. , The JDP recognizes that complex developmental processes characterize the growth of living organisms. In humans, this complexity is highly elaborated, so that developmental change is affected by many interrelated factors of the body, the mind, family, society and the environment. New discoveries continually add to our understanding of these processes and demonstrate the inadequacy of reductionist approaches.
- Call for Papers:
Special Issue of the Artificial Life journal on the Evolution of Complexity,
Digital Graphics for Quantitative Finance,
Lineplot Productions, 2006
Why create movies of financial models? Because key stakeholders often don't understand them. The mathematical, data-intensive sphere of quantitative financial analysis can be a black box even for many in the industry. It is vital for users of this analysis to appreciate, understand and buy into, often literally, these difficult and important concepts.
Life: An Introduction to Complex Systems Biology, Kunihiko Kaneko, Springer Series: Understanding Complex Systems, 2006
What is life? Has molecular biology given us a satisfactory answer to this question? And if not, why, and how to carry on from there? This book examines life not from the reductionist point of view, but rather asks the question: what are the universal properties of living systems and how can one construct from there a phenomenological theory of life that leads naturally to complex processes such as reproductive cellular systems, evolution and differentiation? The presentation has been deliberately kept fairly non-technical so as to address a broad spectrum of students and researchers from the natural sciences and informatics.
- Chaos and Complexity
Resources for Students and Teachers, 06/03/01