Editor's Note: If humans are complex adaptive agents they are no saints and will exploit opportunities to their individual benefit. Establishing rules is one way to encourage cooperative behavior in the common interest but without sufficient pay-off for following the rules (or cost for ignoring them) the impact of the rules can become neutralized. For instance a watchdog agency that announces to become a "kinder and gentler place" for those it is supposed to watch hardly encourages compliance with the rules.
Abstract: Sustainability requires living within the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. In an attempt to measure the extent to which humanity satisfies this requirement, we use existing data to translate human demand on the environment into the area required for the production of food and other goods, together with the absorption of wastes. Our accounts indicate that human demand may well have exceeded the biosphere's regenerative capacity since the 1980s. According to this preliminary and exploratory assessment, humanity's load corresponded to 70% of the capacity of the global biosphere in 1961, and grew to 120% in 1999.
- Tracking The Ecological Overshoot Of The Human Economy, Mathis Wackernagel, Niels B. Schulz, Diana Deumling, Alejandro, Callejas Linares, Martin Jenkins, Valerie Kapos, Chad Monfreda, Jonathan Loh, Norman Myers, Richard Norgaard, Jorgen Randers, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2002 July 9; 99(14): p. 9266-9271
Bush Seeks New Business Ethic, CNN/MoneyExcerpts: "With strict enforcement and higher ethical standards, we must usher in a new era of integrity in Corporate America," Bush said in a speech delivered to a business group. "In the end, there is no capitalism without conscience, no wealth without character."
The president's proposals included lengthening jail time for criminal fraud by corporate officers and directors, doubling the maximum jail term for mail and wire fraud to 10 years, toughening laws criminalizing corporate document shredding, and preventing corporate officers from receiving company loans.
- Bush Seeks New Business Ethic, In Speech On Wall Street, President Wants Longer Jail Terms, Tougher Laws To Curb Corporate Abuses, Mark Gongloff, CNN/Money, 02/07/09
Bush Defends Regulator From Critics, Washington PostExcerpt: Yet Pitt's presence as the government's top securities watchdog carries dangers for Bush, too. Even some Pitt defenders say his close ties to the accounting industry limit his credibility as a reformer. In his first speech as SEC chairman last year, Pitt told an audience of auditors that the SEC would be "a kinder and gentler place for accountants."
- SEC Chairman Pitt A Potential Liability To Administration, Bush Defends Regulator From Critics, Dana Milbank, Washington Post, 02/07/11
- See also Lawmakers Call For Corporate Crackdown, CNN Factsheet, 02/07/11
Bush: Don't Do As I Did, CNN/MoneyExcerpt: President Bush borrowed money from oil company Harken Energy Corp. while he was a member of its board, a practice he condemned this week as part of his plan to curb corporate abuse and fraud, the White House acknowledged Thursday.
"I challenge compensation committees to put an end to all company loans to corporate officers," Bush said in his Wall Street speech Tuesday on corporate responsibility.
- Bush: Don't Do As I Did, President's proposals would bar type of loans he got from Harken Energy, reports say, July 11, 2002: 2:57 PM EDT, CNN/Money
- Were 'Little People' the First to Venture Out of Africa?, Michael Balter, Ann Gibbons, Science 2002 297:26
- A New Skull of Early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia, Abesalom Vekua, David Lordkipanidze, G. Philip Rightmire, Jordi Agusti, Reid Ferring, Givi Maisuradze, Alexander Mouskhelishvili, Medea Nioradze, Marcia Ponce de Leon, Martha Tappen, Merab Tvalchrelidze, Christoph Zollikofer, Science 2002 297: 85-89
Abstract: Making eye contact is the most powerful mode of establishing a communicative link between humans. During their first year of life, infants learn rapidly that the looking behaviors of others conveys significant information. Two experiments were carried out to demonstrate special sensitivity to direct eye contact from birth. (...) The results show that, from birth, human infants prefer to look at faces that engage them in mutual gaze and that, from an early age, healthy babies show enhanced neural processing of direct gaze.
- Eye Contact Detection In Humans From Birth, Teresa Farroni, Gergely Csibra, Francesca Simion, Mark H. Johnson, PNAS 2002;99 9602-9605
Excerpts: Parrots use their powers of mimicry to make friends, researchers have found. Birds copy the calls of those they want to meet.
This might explain why pet parrots are so good at imitating human speech, says ornithologist Jack Bradbury, of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. "Mimicry is very important to them in terms of social affiliation," (...).
When they meet, some birds make a special call, a 'chee' sound. Every bird's chee is slightly different. Copying another's seems to mean 'let's get together'.
- Parroting Builds Social Bonds, Birds Use Mimicry To Indicate 'Let's Get Together', John Whitfield, Nature Science update, 02/07/11
Excerpt: Most aphids spend their lives as independent, pinhead-scale, six-legged versions of cows. They're specialized for grazing but not much else-high throughput, low drama.
Yet a few aphid species turn out to be more like killer bees than like cows. These aphids live together in colonies, each founded by a highly fertile, queenlike female. While her daughters are still adolescents, they grow the outsized fighting legs that earned them a favorable comparison to Schwarzenegger in a scientific journal.
- Aphids with Attitude, An Army Of Real-Life Adolescent Clones, Susan Milius, Science News, 02/07/06
Excerpt: The researchers used computer software to model various P2P networks. They showed that, rather than flooding many messages right across a network, it is better to allow a few messages to randomly "walk" between individual machines. The research indicates that the optimum number of "walkers" sent out to find a file, for example, is between 16 and 64.
The team also showed that deliberately storing information in a random fashion made the network function more efficiently and that there is an optimum number of copies of a file (...).
- "Random Walkers" May Speed Peer-To-Peer Networks, Will Knight, New Scientist, 02/07/05
- Ecologists See Flaws in Transgenic Mosquito, Martin Enserink., Science 2002 297:30
Abstract: In particular, empirical scaling analysis was conducted to investigate the linkages between the spatial and temporal variability of soil moisture, and landscape characteristics including terrain, soils, and vegetation. The results show that the soil moisture fields exhibit multiscaling and multifractal behavior varying with the scales of observation (...). A break in statistical symmetry (multiscaling behavior) was identified, which separates the spatial and temporal evolution of the statistical structure of soil moisture fields (...). The multifractal behavior is associated with the temporal evolution of drying and wetting regimes, reflecting the nonlinear character of soil moisture dynamics.
- Space-Time Characterization Of Soil Moisture From Passive Microwave Remotely Sensed Imagery And Ancillary Data, G. Kim, A. P. Barros, Remote Sensing of the Environment, Vol. 81 (2-3), pp.:393-403, July 2002
- Contributed by Pritha Das
- Mixed Schools a Must for Fish?, David Malakoff Science 2002 297: 31
- Sustaining Fisheries Yields Over Evolutionary Time Scales, Conover, David O., Munch, Stephan B., Science 2002 297: 94-96
The policy to catch only the larger individuals of any given species - in an attempt to protect juveniles - may cause the average adult size of fish to decrease, it is claimed.
This evolutionary change could cause a whole host of problems for fish populations, such as decreased breeding rates and increased predation.
Fishing practices should preserve the natural genetic variation of fish populations rather than selecting only large individuals, say researchers, or we could see a severe decline in numbers.
The feat proves that even if all the polio virus in the world were destroyed, it would be easily possible to resurrect the crippling disease. It also raises the worrying possibility that bioterrorists could use a similar approach to create devastating diseases such as ebola and smallpox without having to gain access to protected viral stocks.
- Scientists Build Polio Virus From Scratch, NewScientist.com news service, 02/07/02
The team behind the achievement claim that it demonstrates the risk of further viruses being created from just their genetic code - by bioterrorists, for example. (...)
Compared with living things such as bacteria, animals and plants, viruses are rudimentary (...). Building complex life forms from scratch, (...) is still regarded as impossible.
- Polio Made From Scratch, First Ever Virus Synthesized From Chemicals Alone, Tom Clarke, Nature Science update, 02/07/12
Excerpts: The debate continues over the relative merits of using embryonic and adult stem cells for research - and perhaps, one day, to treat patients. Two new papers look at the abilities of these remarkable cells.
(...) For proponents, these cells represent our greatest hope for treating devastating disorders such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes and spinal-cord injuries. But for those who are adamantly opposed to the use of cells derived from human embryos, stem cells from adults have been advocated as an ethically palatable and experimentally reasonable alternative.
- Stem-Cell Competition, Stuart H. Orkin, Sean J. Morrison, Nature,Vol 418, 02/07/04
Excerpt: The trouble is that it is the business of microbes to produce more microbes, not to divert resources into the wholesale generation of a protein or other metabolite that might be desirable to the metabolic engineer but whose overproduction is of no advantage to the organism itself. So, in trying to increase the flow of intermediates through a metabolic pathway, the metabolic engineer is working against the complex controls of the cell, which act to ensure that this flux remains constant.
- Demand Management In Cells, Stephen Oliver, Nature, doi:10.1038/418034a
Excerpts: Scientists have discovered a reason why having sex could be bad for your health.
The research reveals that hormones are the key to mating insects having a shorter life expectancy.
The findings may also give clues as to why the same principle appears to hold true for other creatures - including humans.
Your world was shaped in the first 24 hours after conception. Where your head and feet would sprout, and which side would form your back and which your belly, were being defined in the minutes and hours after sperm and egg united.
(...) Mammalian embryos were thought to spend their first few days as a featureless orb of cells.
- Your Destiny, From Day One, Helen Pearson, Nature,Vol 418, 02/07/04, The mammalian body plan starts being laid down from the moment of conception, it has emerged.
How an embryo first distinguishes its left from its right side has baffled embryologists for a long time. The rotational beating of cilia - hair-like structures attached to individual cells - is known to be essential for the process. But cilia have been seen only in mouse embryos, and it has remained unclear whether their movement could really generate the necessary molecular asymmetries.
- Fluid Flow And Broken Symmetry, Claudio D. Stern, Nature,Vol 418, 02/07/04
- Left-Right Development: Conserved Function For Embryonic Nodal Cilia, Jeffrey J. Essner, Kyle J. Vogan, Molly K. Wagner, Clifford J. Tabin, H. Joseph Yost, Martina Brueckner, A similar mechanism may underlie the handedness seen in all vertebrate body plans, doi:10.1038/418037a
- Determination Of Left-Right Patterning Of The Mouse Embryo, Artificial Nodal Flow, Shigenori Nonaka, Hidetaka Shiratori, Yukio Saijoh, Hiroshi Hamada, doi:10.1038/nature00849
- Shooting from the hip: Spatial Control Of Signal Release By Intracellular Waves, Shvartsman, S. Y., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A 2002,. 99: 9087-9089
- Apparent Role Of Traveling Metabolic Waves In Oxidant Release By Living Neutrophils, Andrei L. Kindzelskii, Howard R. Petty, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2002 July 9; 99(14): p. 9207-9212
- Traveling Waves Of Excitation In Neural Field Models: Equivalence Of Rate Descriptions And Integrate-And-Fire Dynamics, D. Cremers, A.V. M. Herz, Neural Computation.14,pp:1651-1667, July, 2002
- Contributed by Atin Das
Excerpts: A far better way [than averaging over all clocks, Ed.] is to read only some of the clocks, report physicists Damien Challet and Neil Johnson (...)
The work is an important step in the study of "collectives," groups of autonomous agents that conspire to achieve a common goal, says David Wolpert: (...)" Such studies will be crucial, Wolpert adds, as computers evolve from machines that perform specific tasks, by following strict rules, to more adaptable entities that can work together and find their own ways to solve larger problems.
- Collective Effort Makes the Good Times Roll, Adrian Cho., Science 2002 297:33
Summary: Changes in the orientation of bits of magnetic data alter the electrical resistance of electrons flowing through the read head, translating the magnetic data into a stream of electrical pulses. In the 1 July issue of Physical Review B, materials scientists report on the largest effect ever seen of a phenomenon known as ballistic magnetoresistance (BMR). The larger BMR effect could lead to smaller and more sensitive read heads capable of reading smaller magnetic bits, which, in turn, could allow diskmakers to boost the storage density of disk drives to a staggering 1 trillion bits per square inch.
- Spintronics Innovation Bids to Bolster Bits, Robert F. Service, Science 2002 297:30
Excerpt: It is important to be able to determine the state of a quantum system and to measure properties of its evolution. State determination can be achieved using tomography, in which the system is subjected to a series of experiments, whereas spectroscopy can be used to probe the energy spectrum associated with the system's evolution. Here we show that, for a quantum system whose state or evolution can be modelled on a quantum computer, tomography and spectroscopy can be interpreted as dual forms of quantum computation.
- Tomography And Spectroscopy As Dual Forms Of Quantum Computation, Cesar Miquel, Juan Pablo Paz, Marcos Saraceno, Emanuel Knill, Raymond Laflamme, Camille Negrevergne, Nature, doi:10.1038/nature00801
But such forces would need an entirely new kind of network (...).
"With hyperspectral imaging you're looking at literally hundreds of different colors, and minute differences in those colors can tell you the difference between leaves and a camouflaged command post," says John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an Alexandria, Virginia-based group that analyzes security risks and weapons improvement.
- High-Tech Front In The War On Terror, David Ensor, CNN, 02/07/05
Staff Memberposition available, Modeling, Algorithms, and Informatics Group (CCS-3), Los Alamos National Laboratory, (...) Current areas of focus relevant to this job include cybersecurity, intelligence analysis for homeland defense, object/target recognition, document classification, bionetwork identification and bio-ontology systems, knowledge network analysis, and collaboration and recommendation technology for digital libraries.
- Luis Mateus Rocha, Complex Systems Research, MS B256, Los Alamos, NM, (505) 665-1676