sabato 30 dicembre 2017

# gene: the ability of the newt to safely regenerate parts of itself

<< This is the first time that an entire newt [the Iberian ribbed newt Pleurodeles waltl] genome has been sequenced, an achievement that can give rise to new discoveries on the amphibian's ability to recreate brain neurons as well as entire body parts. Amongst the first findings are a multitude of copies of a certain microRNA group, which in mammals is mainly found in embryonic stem cells, but also in tumour cells >>

Salamander genome gives clues about unique regenerative ability. Dec 22, 2017

Ahmed Elewa, Heng Wang, et al. Reading and editing the Pleurodeles waltl genome reveals novel features of tetrapod regeneration. Nature Comm 2017;  8 (2286). doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01964-9. Dec 22, 2017

venerdì 29 dicembre 2017

# trade: precision predictions around bitcoin, from zero to 60k usd

<< A Morgan Stanley analyst said bitcoin may be worth $0, given that very few online retailers accept it. Bitcoin also can't be considered a true currency, the analyst (James Faucette) said, because it doesn't have an interest rate >>

Aylin Woodward. The Real Price of Bitcoin? According to Morgan Stanley, It’s Zero. Dec 27, 2017.

<< Experts predict that, a year from now, the price of bitcoin could grow more than triple its record value. “Bitcoin can reach $60,000 by [December] 2018,” Mike Dumont, a senior editor for, told Futurism >>

Dom Galeon. Experts: Each Bitcoin Could be Worth $60,000 by December 2018. Dec 22, 2017

martedì 26 dicembre 2017

# gst: the fastest fall of Mr. Felix' irregular shape

<< Felix Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere 39 kilometers (24 miles) above Earth on Oct. 14, 2012, and landed safely on the ground near Roswell, New Mexico, nine minutes later >>

<< Baumgartner, whose protective suit and backpack gave him a very irregular shape, reached speeds of up to 1,357.6 kph (843.6 mph)—higher than scientists had expected even for smooth objects in freefall >>

AA << said irregular shapes appear to reduce the aerodynamic drag that increases as objects near the sound barrier >>

Scientists solve speed surprise in stratospheric stunt. Dec 14, 2017.

Markus Guerster, Ulrich Walter. Aerodynamics of a highly irregular body at transonic speeds—Analysis of STRATOS flight data. PLoS ONE 2017; 12 (12): e0187798. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187798. Dec 7, 2017.

domenica 24 dicembre 2017

# behav: a form of modified oxytocin (a molecule of love), with less adverse effects

<< Oxytocin is clinically used to induce labor, and there is interest in using this peptide to treat social disorders. However, oxytocin triggers adverse cardiovascular side effects  >>

AA << generated ligands based on oxytocin with subtle modifications >>

this new molecular form << reduced social fear in mice and induced contractile activity in human myometrial strips without affecting cultured cardiomyocytes >>

Markus Muttenthaler, Asa Andersson, et al.  Subtle modifications to oxytocin produce ligands that retain potency and improved selectivity across species. Sci. Signal.  2017; 10 (508): eaan3398. 10.1126/scisignal.aan3398. Dec 05, 2017.

Scientists create molecule of love with less complications. Dec 12, 2017.

giovedì 21 dicembre 2017

# gst: a case of stabilization by weak noise

<< An elusive state of matter - quantum spin liquid - may actually be enhanced rather than suppressed by disorder as seen in a compound that contains praseodymium, zirconium, and oxygen (Pr2Zr2O7) >>

<< Disorder is generally thought to be detrimental to creating materials with unusual magnetism or other quantum phenomena. However, a team found that weak disorder surprisingly stabilizes a rare quantum state called a quantum spin liquid >>

Stirring up a quantum spin-liquid with disorder. Dec 13, 2017.

J.-J. Wen, S. M. Koohpayeh, et al. Disordered Route to the Coulomb Quantum Spin Liquid: Random Transverse Fields on Spin Ice in Pr2Zr2O7. Phys. Rev. Lett. 2017; 118 (107206). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.107206. Mar 8, 2017.

martedì 19 dicembre 2017

# behav: Calanoid copepods swim freely and jump in turbulence

AA << provide evidence for an active adaptation that allows these small organisms [Calanoid copepods] to adjust their motility in response to background flow >>

Francois-Gael Michalec, Itzhak Fouxon, et al. Zooplankton can actively adjust their motility to turbulent flow. PNAS. doi:10.1073/pnas.1708888114

<< These jumps enable the plankton to hunt their prey and the males to catch a female >> Markus Holzner.

Plankton swim against the current.
Dec 12, 2017.

lunedì 18 dicembre 2017

# soc: storytelling and cooperation

AA << explore the impact of storytelling on hunter-gatherer cooperative behaviour and the individual-level fitness benefits to being a skilled storyteller >>

Daniel Smith, Philip Schlaepfer, et al.   Cooperation and the evolution of hunter-gatherer storytelling. Nature Communications. 2017; 8 (1853). doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02036-8. Dec 5, 2017.

Storytellers promoted cooperation among hunter-gatherers before advent of religion. Dec 5, 2017.

venerdì 15 dicembre 2017

# behav: bizarre relationships

<< a group of fish known as pearlfish have evolved to live in the anuses of sea cucumbers >>

<< the group of pistol shrimp who’ve buddied up with the burrowing fish species, gobies. In this duo, gobies guard the entrance to the burrow of pistol shrimp to protect the shrimp. In return, the pistol shrimp digs and maintains a burrow for the pair to share—their own personal love den >>

<< the ultimate case of deception (..)  about the arid bronze azure butterfly >>

Samille Mitchell. Three of nature’s most bizarre relationships. Dec 11, 2017.

mercoledì 13 dicembre 2017

# acad: gender gaps in grant success; women are valued less favorably as principal investigators.

<< Funding agencies around the world show gender gaps in grant success, with women often receiving less funding than men. However, these studies have been observational and some have not accounted for potential confounding variables, making it difficult to draw robust conclusions about whether gaps were due to bias or to other factors >>

In AA study << gender gaps in grant success rates were significantly larger when there was an explicit review focus on the principal investigator, supporting the hypothesis that gender gaps in grant funding are partly or wholly attributable to women being assessed less favourably as principal investigators >>

Holly O Witteman, Michael Hendricks, et al. Female grant applicants are equally successful when peer reviewers assess the science, but not when they assess the scientist. bioRxiv 232868; doi: 10.1101/232868. Dec 12, 2017. 

martedì 12 dicembre 2017

# evol: about 'identity' (2): the complex relationships of whales and dolphins

<< Whales and dolphins (Cetaceans) live in tightly-knit social groups, have complex relationships, talk to each other and even have regional dialects – much like human societies >>

<< (..) they won’t ever mimic our great metropolises and technologies because they didn’t evolve opposable thumbs >> Susanne Shultz

Whales and dolphins have rich 'human-like' cultures and societies.  Oct 16, 2017

AA << results suggest that cetacean [whales and dolphins] social cognition might similarly have arisen to provide the capacity to learn and use a diverse set of behavioural strategies in response to the challenges of social living >>

Kieran C.R. Fox, Michael Muthukrishna, Susanne Shultz. The social and cultural roots of whale and dolphin brains. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2017; 1: 1699–705.  doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0336-y. Oct 16, 2017.

lunedì 11 dicembre 2017

# evol-ethno: the fuzzy dispersal and interaction dynamics of ancient (early) nomads

AA << evaluate single versus multiple dispersal models and southern versus the northern dispersal routes across the Asian continent. They also review behavioral and environmental variability and how these may have affected modern human dispersals and interactions with indigenous populations >>

Christopher J. Bae, Katerina Douka, Michael D. Petraglia. On the origin of modern humans: Asian perspectives. Science. 2017; 358 (6368): eaai9067
doi: 10.1126/science.aai9067. Dec 8, 2017

<< Homo sapiens reached distant parts of the Asian continent, as well as Near Oceania, much earlier than previously thought. Additionally, evidence that modern humans interbred with other hominins already present in Asia, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, complicates the evolutionary history of our species >>

Revising the story of the dispersal of modern humans across Eurasia. Technological advances and multidisciplinary research teams are reshaping our understanding of when and how humans left Africa - and who they met along the way. Dec 7, 2017

<< Climate is a key factor determining the types of vegetation that can grow in an ecosystem. By recreating the plant foods and habitat available at a given time, it is possible to learn about changes that occurred during important transitions in the evolution of humans >>

Marie DeNoia Aronsohn. The Way We Were: Climate and Human Evolution. Dec 1, 2017.

sabato 9 dicembre 2017

# gst: predicting the exact force needed to crumple a dented can

<< Dent an aluminum can and it will be easier to crush from top to bottom. But predicting the exact force needed to crumple a dented can is notoriously difficult, requiring knowledge of the exact dimensions and position of the flaw >>

Katherine Wright. Synopsis: Crumpling Coke Cans. Nov 28, 2017

AA << measure the response of cylindrical shells to poking and identify a stability landscape, which fully characterizes the stability of perfect shells and imperfect ones in the case where a single defect dominates >>

Emmanuel Virot, Tobias Kreilos, et al.  Stability Landscape of Shell Buckling. Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 224101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.224101.  Nov 28,  2017  

venerdì 8 dicembre 2017

# gst-ecol: around 'extreme dust scenarios'

they << saw an extreme dust scenario >>

Jim Robbins. Unraveling the surprising ecology of dust. Dec 1, 2017

AA << developed a new snow albedo decay parameterization based on observations in 2009/10 to mimic the radiative forcing of extreme dust deposition >>

J. S. Deems, T. H. Painter, et al.  Combined impacts of current and future dust deposition and regional warming on Colorado River Basin snow dynamics and hydrology. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 2013; 17: 4401-13. doi: org/10.5194/hess-17-4401-2013

S. McKenzie Skiles, Thomas H. Painter, et al. Regional variability in dust-on-snow processes and impacts in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Hydrological Processes. 2015; 29 (26); 5397–413. doi: 10.1002/hyp.10569. Jul 14, 2015;jsessionid=?

Christopher M. Taylor, Danijel Belusic, et al. Frequency of extreme Sahelian storms tripled since 1982 in satellite observations. Nature 2017; 544: 475–8. doi:10.1038/nature22069.  Apr 27, 2017.


una intrigante introduzione circa l'importanza, nelle prospettive ecologica e sanitaria, delle (caotiche) dinamiche di sbricio-lamento ...

giovedì 7 dicembre 2017

# lang: about 'identity'; acquisition of dialects among bats

<< Young bats adopt a specific 'dialect' spoken by their own colonies, even when this dialect differs from the bat 'mother tongue' >>

<< the study calls into question the uniqueness of this skill in humans >>

Young bats learn bat 'dialects' from their nestmates. Language acquisition not limited to human beings. Oct 31, 2017.

Yosef Prat, Lindsay Azoulay, et al. Crowd vocal learning induces vocal dialects in bats: Playback of conspecifics shapes fundamental frequency usage by pups. PLOS  Biology 15(10): e2002556. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2002556. Oct 31, 2017.  

mercoledì 6 dicembre 2017

# behav: generous bonobo

<< Modern humans live in an “exploded” network with unusually large circles of trust that form due to prosociality toward unfamiliar people (i.e. xenophilia). In a set of experiments [AA] demonstrate that semi-free ranging bonobos (Pan paniscus) – both juveniles and young adults – also show spontaneous responses consistent with xenophilia >>

Jingzhi Tan, Dan Ariely, Brian Hare. Bonobos respond prosocially toward members of other groups. Scientific Reports  2017; 7 (14733). doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-15320-w. Nov 7, 2017.

Robin A. Smith. Bonobos Help Strangers Without Being Asked. Humans aren’t the only species eager to make a good first impression. Nov 7, 2017.

lunedì 4 dicembre 2017

# brain: perception of musical rhythms in mammals

AA << confirmed that beat perception, far from being a unique human trait, is likely strongly conserved in mammals >>

Andrew Masterson. Beat perception more primitive than thought. New research shows gerbils react differently to varying musical rhythms. Nov 9, 2017.

Vani G. Rajendran, Nicol S. Harper, et al. Midbrain adaptation may set the stage for the perception of musical beat. Proc. R. Soc. B 2017 284 20171455; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1455. Nov 8, 2017.

sabato 2 dicembre 2017

# gst-ethno-lang: the physics of bubbles to describe (and to predict) the dynamics of linguistic patterns

<< If you want to know where you'll find dialects and why, a lot can be predicted from the physics of bubbles and our tendency to copy others around us >> James Burridge

Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns. July 24, 2017

<< The model shows that the boundaries of language dialect regions are controlled by a length minimizing effect analogous to surface tension, mediated by variations in population density which can induce curvature, and by the shape of coastline or similar borders >>

<< The model is able to reproduce observations and predictions of dialectologists. These include dialect continua, isogloss bundling, fanning, the wavelike spread of dialect features from cities, and the impact of human movement on the number of dialects that an area can support >>

James Burridge. Spatial Evolution of Human Dialects. Phys. Rev. X. 031008. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevX.7.031008. Jul 17, 2017 

giovedì 30 novembre 2017

# evol: they were even fluffier than previously thought

<< Anchiornis’ contour feathers revealed a newly-described, extinct, primitive feather form consisting of a short quill with long, independent, flexible barbs erupting from the quill at low angles to form two vanes and a forked feather shape >>

Feathered, Bird-Like Dinosaur Anchiornis Was Even Fluffier than We Thought. Nov 30, 2017

Evan T. Saitta, Rebecca Gelernter, Jakob Vinther. Additional information on the primitive contour and wing feathering of paravian dinosaurs. Palaeontology.  doi: 10.1111/pala.12342. Nov 28, 2017.

mercoledì 29 novembre 2017

# ai-bots: an autonomous "golem" perspective; bots could improvise, bots could appear emotionally intelligent, bots could become extremely robust, bots could use non-intercepting cryptic strategies.

Feras Dayoub, Jonathan Roberts,  Michael Milford. We need robots that can improvise, but it's not easy to teach them right from wrong. Nov 26, 2017

David Pring-Mill. Tech Is Becoming Emotionally Intelligent, and It's Big Business. Oct 30, 2017

Artificial muscles give soft robots superpowers. Nov 27, 2017

Joris van Rossum. Blockchain for Research. Digital Science. Nov 27, 2017.


in pratica un hacker da manuale, questo assolutamente ipotetico "golem" ...


<< (..) che solva - senz'altro - qualsivoglia brillanza dell' insolto // (..) >>

<< Lascia il letto, figlio mio /
Usa i tuoi talenti con intelligenza /
e fabbrica sostituti agli dei /
affinche' smettano di lavorare ... / >>

1971 - una zolla dalle rive dell' Apsu'. Mar 8, 2006.

martedì 28 novembre 2017

# behav: large-eared bats adopting slow-flight feeding strategies

AA << compare quantitative aerodynamic measures of flight efficiency of two bat species, one large-eared (Plecotus auritus) and one small-eared (Glossophaga soricina), flying freely in a wind tunnel >>

AA << find that the body drag of both species is higher than previously assumed and that the large-eared species has a higher body drag coefficient, but also produces relatively more ear/body lift than the small-eared species >>

<< The relatively higher power of the large-eared species results in lower optimal flight speeds and [AA] findings support the notion of a trade-off between the acoustic benefits of large external ears and aerodynamic performance. The result of this trade-off would be the eco-morphological correlation in bat flight, with large-eared bats generally adopting slow-flight feeding strategies >>

Jonas Hakansson, Lasse Jakobsen, et al. Body lift, drag and power are relatively higher in large-eared than in small-eared bat species. 2017; 14 (135): 4099. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2017.0455. Oct 25, 2017.

The pros and cons of large ears. Nov 10, 2017

lunedì 27 novembre 2017

# ai-bot: a campaign to stop killer bots (i.e. near-future ubiquitous lethal autonomous weapons - nfulaw)

<< In response to growing concerns about autonomous weapons, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of AI researchers and advocacy organizations, has released a fictional video that depicts a disturbing future in which lethal autonomous weapons have become cheap and ubiquitous worldwide >>

Disturbing video depicts near-future ubiquitous lethal autonomous weapons. The technology described in the film already exists, says UC Berkeley AI researcher Stuart Russell. Nov 18, 2017


in effetti si puo' immaginare - senza sconfinare troppo nella fantascienza - una entita' "nfulaw"  nella forma funzionale del bot-mosquito, di pochi millimetri, armata di device a pungiglione e adatte nano-vescicola e nano-pompa - in grado di iniettare qualche sorta di micidiale molecola -  che traccia e individua il suo bersaglio tramite il riconoscimento facciale oppure attraverso il segnale dello smartphone ...

sabato 25 novembre 2017

# behav: a new dead leaf camouflage strategy with orange spots and unexpected preserved resonance (T. spurioculis)

AA << study the wing mechanics and resonances of Typophyllum spurioculis, a new species of leaf-mimic katydid >>

<< This species performs an unusual laterally directed aposematic display, showing orange spots that simulate eyes at the leg base. At night, males are conspicuous by their loud, audible calling songs, which exhibit two spectral peaks at ca. 7 and 12 kHz >>

AA << find the effective sound radiators of the wings (speculae) vibrate with three modes of vibration, two of which include the frequencies observed in the calling song. Remarkably, this resonance is preserved in the parts of the wings mimicking necrotic leaves, which are in theory not specialised for sound production >>

Andrew Baker, Fernando Montealegre-Z, et al. Wing resonances in a new dead-leaf-mimic katydid (Tettigoniidae: Pterochrozinae) from the Andean cloud forests. Zoologischer Anzeiger - A Journal of Comparative Zoology. 2017; 270: 60-70.

Cerri Evans. New insect species mimics dead leaves for camouflage
Nov 13, 2017

venerdì 24 novembre 2017

# gst-chem: cascade reactions to generate complexity by triggering new chemical bonds from simple parent substances

<< organic chemists can synthesize substances of almost any complexity — vitamins, proteins, terpenes, etc. To do this, they often use cascade reactions, sequences of several chemical transformations in the course of which new chemical bonds are formed >>

<< cascade reactions are a powerful tool for rapidly increasing molecular complexity, that is, for obtaining complex compounds from simple parent substances >>

AA << have developed a new chemical reaction to synthesize a whole class of yet unexplored substances – diazabicyclo [3.2.1] octanes. These compounds are used in drug development >>

Scientists report a new cascade reaction. Nov 15, 2017

Dmitry V. Osipov, Irina V. Melnikova, et al. Synthesis of 8-substituted 1,5-diazabicyclo[3.2.1]octane derivatives via double aza-Michael addition of homopiperazine to 3-trifluoroacetyl-4H-chromenes.  Journal of Fluorine Chemistry. 2017; 202: 71-5.  doi: 10.1016/ j.jfluchem.2017.09.006  Sep 14, 2017.

giovedì 23 novembre 2017

# gst: levitation in a temperature gradient: the two liquids don't mix

<< A drop or two of cold cream in hot coffee can go a long way toward improving one's morning. But what if the two liquids didn't mix? >>

AA << have now explained why under certain conditions a droplet of liquid should not coalesce with the liquid surface below. If the droplet is very cold, and the bath sufficiently hot, then the droplet should "levitate" on the bath's surface, as a result of the flows induced by the temperature difference >>

<< If you study that process mathematically, you can show the way in which temperature is changing in the droplet over time is exactly with this power law of 2/3 that we observed in our experiments >> Michela Geri.

Jennifer Chu. Study explains how droplets can 'levitate' on liquid surfaces. Nov 15, 2017

Michela Geri, Bavand Keshavarz, et al. Thermal delay of drop coalescence.
Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 2017; 833  doi: 10.1017/jfm.2017.686  Nov 8, 2017.

mercoledì 22 novembre 2017

# gst: inside self-organization; "swarmalators", when both synchronization and swarming occur together

<< Strogatz and O'Keeffe [Steven H. Strogatz and Kevin P. O’Keeffe], used the curious mating ritual of male Japanese tree frogs as inspiration for their exploration of "swarmalators" - their term for systems in which both synchronization and swarming occur together >>

Tom Fleischman. Mathematician's study of 'swarmalators' could direct future science. Nov 17, 2017

<< Synchronization occurs in many natural and technological systems, from cardiac pacemaker cells to coupled lasers >>

<< A complementary form of self-organization occurs among swarming insects, flocking birds, or schooling fish >>

AA << explore systems in which both synchronization and swarming occur together. Specifically, [AA] consider oscillators whose phase dynamics and spatial dynamics are coupled >>

Kevin P. O’Keeffe, Hyunsuk Hong,  Steven H. Strogatz. Oscillators that sync and swarm.  Nature Comm 2017; 8 (1504).  doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01190-3  Nov 15, 2017


<< Amico, qualunque  cosa suonerai . . . >>  Jelly Roll Morton. cit.: 2113 - soniche a ramulo. Jan 28, 2007

martedì 21 novembre 2017

# acad: oops! sometimes scientific results are published which other researchers cannot reproduce ...

<< Ioannidis [John P. A. Ioannidis], an expert in statistics, medicine and health policy at Stanford University, has done more than anyone else to ring the alarm bells on science's quality control problems: scientific results are published which other researchers cannot reproduce >>

Andrea Saltelli. Opinion: Science's credibility crisis will get worse before it can get better. The Conversation. Nov 9, 2017

AA << investigate two critical dimensions of the credibility of empirical economics research: statistical power and bias >>

AA << survey 159 empirical economics literatures that draw upon 64,076 estimates of economic parameters reported in more than 6,700 empirical studies. Half of the research areas have nearly 90% of their results under-powered >>

<< nearly 80% of the reported effects in these empirical economics literatures are exaggerated; typically, by a factor of two and with one-third inflated by a factor of four or more >>

Ioannidis John PA, Stanley TD, Doucouliagos Hristos.  The Power of Bias in Economics Research. The Economic Journal. 2017; 127: F236–65 doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12461 Oct 24, 2017

lunedì 20 novembre 2017

# acad: around p-hacking, when writing in a blog may be accidentally dangerous

<< Brian Wansink didn’t mean to spark an investigative fury that revisited his entire life's work >>

<< But his blog post accidentally highlighted some questionable research practices that caused a group of data detectives to jump on the case >>

the << practice of "p-hacking" — hunting for significant p-values in statistical analyses — is one of the many questionable research practices responsible for the replication crisis in the social sciences >>

<< people who work in fields that are kind of on the periphery of (..) have told me that most of their colleagues aren't even aware there's a problem yet >> Nicholas Brown

Cathleen O'Grady. "Mindless Eating,"or how to send an entire life of research into question. April 24, 2017

sabato 18 novembre 2017

# gene: knockdown of a single gene, the generation of a third eye (in scarabaeid beetles)

<< The creation of three-eyed beetles through a new technique (..) provides scientists a new way to investigate the genetic mechanisms responsible for the evolutionary emergence of new physical traits >>

Kevin Fryling. Biologists create beetle with functional extra eye. Nov 13, 2017

AA << report the ectopic induction of complex and functional organs, compound eyes, by down-regulation of a single transcription factor through RNAi, a technique known to work well across a broad taxonomic range >>

AA << results show that knockdown of a single gene is sufficient for the middorsal head to acquire the competence to ectopically generate a functional compound eye-like structure >>

Eduardo E. Zattara, Anna L. M. Macagno, et al. Development of functional ectopic compound eyes in scarabaeid beetles by knockdown of orthodenticle. PNAS. 2017; 114 (45): 12021–6

venerdì 17 novembre 2017

# behav: apropos pulsatile interferences

<< Grooming interactions benefit groomers, but may have negative consequences for bystanders >>

AA << tested the impact of dominance rank and social relationships on grooming intervention likelihood and outcome in two sympatric primate species, Western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) and sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys atys) >>

<< bystanders in both species appear to monitor grooming interactions and intervene based on their own dominance rank and social relationships, as well as triadic awareness of the relationship between groomers >>

Alexander Mielke, Liran Samuni, et al. Bystanders intervene to impede grooming in Western chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys. Royal Society Open Science. doi: 10.1098/rsos.171296  Nov 8, 2017

Chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys interfere with other group members' relationships. Nov 8, 2017

giovedì 16 novembre 2017

# lang: hierarchical temporal structures in speech, song and music

<< Jazz musicians riffing with each other, humans talking to each other and pods of killer whales all have interactive conversations that are remarkably similar to each other, new research reveals >>

Human speech, jazz and whale song. Oct 13, 2017

AA << developed a new method to measure and compare hierarchical temporal structures in speech, song and music >>

Christopher T. Kello, Simone Dalla Bella, et al. Hierarchical temporal structure in music, speech and animal vocalizations: jazz is like a conversation, humpbacks sing like hermit thrushes. J Royal Soc Interface. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2017.0231 Oct 11, 2017

mercoledì 15 novembre 2017

# gst: more on turbulence under rotation, by Biferale, Bonaccorso, Lanotte, et al.

AA << study turbulence under rotation in the presence of simultaneous direct and inverse cascades >>

AA << quantify (..) the effects of those coherent vertical structures on the preferential concentration of light and heavy particles >>

<< Rotating, turbulent flows are ubiquitous in nature >>

Biferale L, Bonaccorso F,  Lanotte AS, et al.  Coherent Structures and Extreme Events in Rotating Multiphase Turbulent Flows. Phys. Rev. X 6, 041036 doi: 10.1103/PhysRevX.6.041036  Nov 21, 2016

<< What can you find in the air, on an aeroplane, or even deep inside your heart? No, the answer isn’t love. It is, of course, turbulent flow >>

In a spin: studying turbulent flow under rotation. Nov 5, 2017

martedì 14 novembre 2017

# gst: a striking analogy between solid–solid and solid–drop frictions

AA << report that the lateral adhesion force between a liquid drop and a solid can also be divided into a static and a kinetic regime. This striking analogy with solid–solid friction is a generic phenomenon that holds for liquids of different polarities and surface tensions on smooth, rough and structured surfaces >>

Nan Gao, Florian Geyer, et al. How drops start sliding over solid surfaces. Nature Physics doi: 10.1038/nphys4305 Nov 6, 2017

AA << acknowledges that their experiments are just the beginning in trying to fully understand the nature of friction between drops and solid objects >>

Bob Yirka. Droplet friction found to be similar to that of solid objects. Nov 8, 2017

lunedì 13 novembre 2017

# soc: particularly intriguing two over 125 issues regarding The World Economic Forum's Transformation Maps: "Mental Health" & "Corruption"

<< The Forum opened access to its Transformation Maps, a digital tool used by leaders for framing knowledge around 125 issues, industries and economies as well as their sometimes-hidden connections >>

Oliver Cann. Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils Ends with Pledge to Put People at the Heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Dubai, United Arab Emirates,  Nov 12, 2017

<< The World Economic Forum's Transformation Maps - a constantly refreshed repository of knowledge about global issues, from climate change to the future of work - are now publicly available for the first time and free of charge. But what are they? And what can we do with them? >>

James Landale. What is a Transformation Map? Nov 8, 2017

<< Transformation Maps
Harnessing the Forum's Collective Intelligence. A dynamic knowledge tool to understand the issues and forces driving transformational change across economies, industries, global issues and the Forum's system initiatives >>

sabato 11 novembre 2017

# brain: your brain needs to process quickly whether the sound is coming from, say, a bear or a chipmunk ...

<< When you are out in the woods and hear a cracking sound, your brain needs to process quickly whether the sound is coming from, say, a bear or a chipmunk >>

AA << has a new interpretation for an old observation, debunking an established theory in the process >>

Beth Miller. Bear or chipmunk? WashU Engineer finds how brain encodes sounds. Nov 7, 2017.

AA found that << Dense and sparse coding may (..) work together dynamically in order to represent complex, temporally overlapping sensory content >>

Wensheng Sun, Dennis L. Barbour. Rate, not selectivity, determines neuronal population coding accuracy in auditory cortex. PLoS Biol 15(11): e2002459. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2002459 Nov 1, 2017.

venerdì 10 novembre 2017

# soc: four plausible scenarios: if this is the scorecard after (#1, #2), what will (#3) democracy look like after (#4) years of (#5), by Brian

<< If this is the scorecard after 10 months (#1, #2), what will American (#3) democracy look like after four (#4) years of Trump(#5)? Will it be recognizable? As I see it, there are four plausible scenarios, ranging from the hopeful to the catastrophic >> Brian Klaas

1. The Trump Vaccine [..]
2. Democratic Decay [..]
3. The Forerunner [..]
4. American Authoritarianism [..]
>> Brian Klaas

Brian Klaas. The four futures of Trump (and American democracy). Nov 9, 2017


ipoteticamente i 4 scenari ("four plausible scenarios") indicati da Brian Klaas potrebbero essere riconducibili e anche individuabili attraverso ipotetiche  'traiettorie' generate da  componenti strutturali che gia' sono presenti, attivi e coesistono 'in nuce',  sottotraccia, in quel tessuto sociale (e altrove); di volta in volta, in funzione delle caratteristiche del sistema al tempo 't' (e anche per componenti  casuali, fluttuanti, oppure per autoamplificazione di una singolarita' che interferisca  all'interno e all'intorno), un 'ramo' della dinamica emerge, si stabilizza e predomina transitoriamente sulle altre tre in una specie di danza tra stati stazionari (di meta-stabilita') e oscillaz periodiche e aperiodiche; in prima approx la soluzione (1.) potrebbe dipendere dalla velocita' e dalla efficacia  dell'immunizzazione individuale; la (2.) dalle specifiche caratteristiche del tessuto economico sociale culturale al tempo 't'; la (3.) dalla esistenza nel contesto di 'adatta entita'' immediatamente operativa (l'adatto attrattore disponibile); la (4.) dal complesso intrecciato di problematiche assai male/mai risolte e/o assai male/mai impostate dalle classi dirigenti che hanno preceduto l'ineffabile Donald;


'acicliche', in poetiche quasistocastiche:

'onda', in poetiche quasistocastiche:

chissa' quanti interessanti 'paper' si potrebbero 'generare' partendo da queste 'semplici' considerazioni, inveroe' ed anzicheforse ...

giovedì 9 novembre 2017

# chem: Van der Waals' bonds: to measure the tensile strength and the force required to pull the crystal until it breaks

<< Van der Waals' are weak electric forces that attract atoms to one another through subtle shifts in the atom's electron configurations >>

AA << grew and compared three different types of crystals: one pure gallium selenide, one with 0.6 percent tellurium and one with 10.6 percent tellurium. To test the effect on the tellurium on interlayer bonding, [AA] invented the equivalent of a crystal sandwich opener. Their system is able to measure with exquisite detail the tensile strength, the force required to pull the crystal until it breaks >>

Opening the Van der Waals' Sandwich. Oct 31, 2017

Tadao Tanabe, Shu Zhao, et al. Effect of adding Te to layered GaSe crystals to increase the van der Waals bonding force featured. Journal of Applied Physics  2017; 122 (16) doi: 10.1063/1.4986768

mercoledì 8 novembre 2017

# gst: more light on 'zombie' phenomena

<< Various parasite-host interactions that involve adaptive manipulation of host behavior display time-of-day synchronization of certain events. One example is the manipulated biting behavior observed in Carpenter ants infected with Ophiocordyceps unilateralis sensu lato >>

AA << hypothesized that biological clocks play an important role in this and other parasite-host interactions >>

Charissa de Bekker, Ian Will, et al. Daily rhythms and enrichment patterns in the transcriptome of the behavior-manipulating parasite Ophiocordyceps kimflemingiae.  PLOS ONE 12(11): e0187170. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187170. Nov 3, 2017

Allison Hurtado, Rachel Williams. Biological Clock Found in Fungal Parasite Sheds More Light on ‘Zombie Ants’ Phenomenon. Nov 6, 2017.

martedì 7 novembre 2017

# gst: the intriguing dynamics of a crack

<< Cracks develop intricate patterns on the surfaces that they create >>

<< Although fracture mechanics predict that slow crack fronts should be straight and form mirror-like surfaces, facet-forming fronts propagate simultaneously within different planes separated by steps >>

Itamar Kolvin, Gil Cohen & Jay Fineberg. Topological defects govern crack front motion and facet formation on broken surfaces.  Nature Materials. doi: 10.1038/nmat5008 Oct 16, 2017

Novel technique reveals the intricate beauty of a cracked glass. Oct 31, 2017

Intricate beauty of a cracked glass
Physics, math and special gels explain the formation of fracture patterns in brittle materials. Oct 31, 2017

lunedì 6 novembre 2017

# astro: so strong concentration of 'dust pebbles' ultimately leads to a collapse

<<  'dust pebbles' are concentrated so strongly by an instability in the solar nebula that their joint gravitational force ultimately leads to a collapse >>

Comet mission reveals 'missing link' in our understanding of planet formation. Oct 25, 2017

Jurgen Blum, Bastian Gundlach, et al. Evidence for the formation of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko through gravitational collapse of a bound clump of pebbles. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, stx2741 doi: 10.1093/mnras/stx2741 Oct 25, 2017

domenica 5 novembre 2017

# game: Kel'Thuzad e' il Lich responsabile

<< Kel'Thuzad e' il Lich responsabile di aver diffuso la piaga dei non-morti nel regno di Lordaeron ma e' probabilmente piu' conosciuto dai fan per essere il signore della necropoli di Naxxramas e dunque il boss finale dell'omonimo dungeon. Apparsa inizialmente in World of Warcraft, Naxxramas fu poi riutilizzata nella seconda espansione, Wrath of the Lich King, poiche' quasi nessuno era riuscito a raggiungere il livello necessario per provare il raid la prima volta >>

I FAN DI Blizzard DI IGN! I migliori 25 personaggi creati da Blizzard. Nel bel mezzo della BlizzCon 2017, una classifica per appassionati e curiosi. 04 Nov 2017

sabato 4 novembre 2017

# brain: actually they have heads that shrink ...

AA << followed the intra-individual change in skull size and body mass throughout the full cycle in wild recaptured shrews (Sorex araneus) >>

Using X-ray images [AA] << showed that individuals decreased the size of their braincases in anticipation of winter by an average of 15.3%. Braincases then partially regrew in spring by 9.3%. Body mass decreased by 17.6% and then dramatically increased by 83.4% in spring >>

Javier Lazaro, Dina K.N. Dechmann, et al. Profound reversible seasonal changes of individual skull size in a mammal. Current Biology 27 (20): R1106 - 7 doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.08.055

These shrews have heads that shrink with the season. Oct 23, 2017

venerdì 3 novembre 2017

# gst: origami, strange behaviors hiding in simple structures

<< The Miura-ori is also unique in having what’s called a negative Poisson’s ratio. When you push on its sides, the top and bottom will contract >>

Marcus Woo. The Atomic Theory of Origami. Oct 31, 2017

mercoledì 1 novembre 2017

# brain: they may not exist, but they tell us a lot, by Kathryn

<< Consider the yeti ... >>

Kathryn Schulz. Fantastic Beasts and How to Rank Them. The relative plausibility of impossible beings tells you a lot about how the mind works. Oct 30, 2017.

martedì 31 ottobre 2017

# img: friends (quasi), by Kee Ee Lim

<< A Hug Before The Battle! These 2 large Malayan Water Monitor Lizards (Varanus Salvator) sizes each other up before the epic struggle for territory began. These lizards can grow up to 3m long >>

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

lunedì 30 ottobre 2017

# age: senolytics, to stay young kill zombie cells

<< Killing off cells that refuse to die on their own has proved a powerful anti-ageing strategy in mice. Now it's about to be tested in humans >>

<< Surprisingly, senescent cells turn out to be slightly different in each tissue. They secrete different cytokines, express different extracellular proteins and use different tactics to avoid death. That incredible variety has made it a challenge for labs to detect and visualize senescent cells >> Judith Campisi.

<<  In young mice, no more than 1% of cells in any given organ were senescent. In two-year-old mice, however, up to 20% of cells were senescent in some organs.  But there's a silver lining to these elusive twilight cells: they might be hard to find, but they're easy to kill >> Valery Krizhanovsky.

<< I think senolytics are drugs that could come soon and be effective in the elderly now, even in the next few years >> Nir Barzilai.

To stay young, kill zombie cells. Nature 2017; 550: 448 – 50. doi:10.1038/550448a Oct 26, 2017

domenica 29 ottobre 2017

# web: MozFest 2017. The world's leading festival for the open Internet movement

MozFest. The world's leading festival for the open Internet movement. Oct 27-29, 2017 Ravensbourne College, London

Decentralization. Who controls the Internet?

Building a better blockchain. A new generation of software developers are expanding the scope for an Internet powered by users.

Giving artists control of their music.

venerdì 27 ottobre 2017

# evol: about an ancient sleep, the tendency for daytime napping, narcolepsy, and evening activities (but not red hair)

<< Interbreeding between Neanderthals and early modern humans has been shown to have contributed about 2% Neanderthal DNA to the genomes of present-day non-Africans >>

AA << found two archaic haplotypes that contribute significantly to differences in  sleep patterns >>

Archaic alleles near ASB1 and EXOC6 << are associated with a preference for being an "evening person" and an increased tendency for daytime napping and narcolepsy, respectively >>

Michael Dannemann, Janet Kelso. The Contribution of Neanderthals to Phenotypic Variation in Modern Humans. The American Journal of Human Genetics. 2017; 101 (4): 578 - 89. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.09.010 Oct 5, 2017

Darren Curnoe. Neanderthals didn't give us red hair but they certainly changed the way we sleep. Oct 6, 2017.

giovedì 26 ottobre 2017

# gene: point code cracking machines (without detectable byproducts)

DNA cracking machine

<< The spontaneous deamination of cytosine is a major source of C•G to T•A transitions, which account for half of known human pathogenic point mutations. The ability to efficiently convert target A•T base pairs to G•C could therefore advance the study and treatment of genetic diseases >>

AA << report adenine base editors (ABEs) that mediate conversion of A•T to G•C in genomic DNA >>

<< ABEs advance genome editing by enabling the direct, programmable introduction of all four transition mutations without double-stranded DNA cleavage >>

Nicole M. Gaudelli, Alexis C. Komor, et al. Programmable base editing of A•T to G•C in genomic DNA without DNA cleavage. Nature 2017 doi: 10.1038/nature24644 Oct 25, 2017

<< there are virtually no detectable byproducts such as random insertions, deletions, translocations, or other base-to-base conversions >>

Researchers extend power of gene editing by developing a new class of DNA base editors. Oct 25, 2017

RNA cracking machine

<< RNA Editing for Programmable A to I Replacement (REPAIR), which has no strict sequence constraints, can be used to edit full-length transcripts containing pathogenic mutations >>

David B. T. Cox, Jonathan S. Gootenberg, et al. RNA editing with CRISPR-Cas13. Science. Oct 25, 2017:eaaq0180 doi: 10.1126/science.aaq0180

Researchers engineer CRISPR to edit single RNA letters in human cells. Oct 25, 2017

Lauran Neergaard. Scientists working toward reversible kind of gene editing. Oct. 25, 2017


mercoledì 25 ottobre 2017

# behav: make yourself an ethoscope, by Quentin, Luis et al

<< Exploded drawing of an archetypal ethoscope. The machine is composed of ... >>

<< The ethoscope could be customised for a range of different scenarios >>

<< Another possible use of ethoscopes is the adaptation of the platform to detect behavior of other animals >>

Studying insect behavior? Make yourself an ethoscope. Oct 19, 2017.

Quentin Geissmann, Luis Garcia Rodriguez, et al. Ethoscopes: An open platform for high-throughput ethomics. PLOS Biol 15 (10): e2003026. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2003026

martedì 24 ottobre 2017

# gst: it would use chaos to compute efficiently

<< When you’re really harried, you probably feel like your head is brimful of chaos. You’re pretty close. Neuroscientists say your brain operates in a regime termed the “edge of chaos,” and it’s actually a good thing. It’s a state that allows for fast, efficient analog computation of the kind that can solve problems that grow vastly more difficult as they become bigger in size >>

<< A micrograph shows the construction of a Mott memristor composed of an 8-nanometer-thick layer of niobium dioxide between two layers of titanium nitride >>

Samuel K. Moore. Memristor-Driven Analog Compute Engine Would Use Chaos to Compute Efficiently. Oct  9, 2017


"When you’re really harried" ... only?

lunedì 23 ottobre 2017

# ai: artificial intelligence AlphaGo becomes its own teacher

AA << introduce an algorithm based solely on reinforcement learning, without human data, guidance or domain knowledge beyond game rules. AlphaGo becomes its own teacher >>

David Silver, Julian Schrittwieser et al. Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge. Nature. 2017; 550: 354–9 doi: 10.1038/nature24270 Oct 18, 2017


# s-ai: handling imperfect information (from scratch), by Libratus. Feb 4, 2017.

venerdì 20 ottobre 2017

# gst: adhesive performances (sticky approaches): a single type of toe pad (with lots of friction) vs multi functional "drunken stumbles"

AA << shows how different groups of lizards – geckos and anoles – took two completely different evolutionary paths to developing the beneficial trait of sticky toe pads >>

<< anoles seemed to commit to a single type of toe pad, one that generates lots of friction. As a group, they were able to develop sticky toe pads early. Geckos, meanwhile, opted for an evolutionary “drunken stumble,” and seemingly didn’t commit to a single approach, instead evolving toe pads that generate plenty of friction in some species and others that excel at sticking directly to a surface >>

Layne Cameron, Travis Hagey. An evolving sticky situation. Oct 12, 2017

Travis J. Hagey, Josef C. Uyeda, et al. Tempo and mode of performance evolution across multiple independent origins of adhesive toe pads in lizards. Evolution.  2017; 71 (10): 2344–58 doi: 10.1111/evo.13318 Sep 13, 2017

giovedì 19 ottobre 2017

# gst: cooperating vs self-serving bacteria in transitional (noise) scenarios

AA << study a well-mixed, finite population consisting of two strains competing for the limited resources provided by an environment that randomly switches between states of abundance and scarcity >>

AA << consider two scenarios—one of pure resource competition, and one in which one strain provides a public good—and investigate how environmental randomness (external noise) coupled to demographic (internal) noise determines the population’s fixation properties and size distribution >>

Karl Wienand, Erwin Frey, Mauro Mobilia. Evolution of a Fluctuating Population in a Randomly Switching Environment. Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 158301 Oct 11, 2017

AA << showed that a randomly changing environment can create a level playing field between self-serving bacteria and bacteria that work together >>

<< Cooperating bacterial populations are more likely to survive in changing habitats >>

Fluctuating environments can help cooperating bacteria. Oct 12, 2017

martedì 17 ottobre 2017

# pharma: waiting for new 'magic strings': psilocybin to treat depression

AA << data fill an important knowledge gap regarding the post-treatment brain effects of psilocybin, and are the first in depressed patients [..] A ‘reset’ therapeutic mechanism is proposed >>

Robin L Carhart-Harris, Leor Roseman, et al. Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. Sci Rep  2017; 7 (13187) doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7

<< Patients taking psilocybin to treat depression show reduced symptoms weeks after treatment following a 'reset' of their brain activity >>

Ryan O'Hare. Magic mushrooms may 'reset' the brains of depressed patients. Oct 13, 2017.

'Magic mushrooms' may 'reset' the brains of depressed patients, study suggests. Oct 13, 2017

to update:

lunedì 16 ottobre 2017

# gst: more on the three-body problem (695 families of collisionless orbits)

<< The famous three-body problem can be traced back to Isaac Newton in the 1680s >>

In a recent paper AA << numerically obtain 695 families of Newtonian periodic planar collisionless orbits of three-body system >>

Li, X. & Liao, S. More than six hundred new families of Newtonian periodic planar collisionless three-body orbits. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. (2017) 60: 129511. doi: 10.1007/s11433-017-9078-5

the movies:

Scientists discover more than 600 new periodic orbits of the famous three-body problem. Oct 12, 2017

sabato 14 ottobre 2017

# soc-tech: unexpected obsolescence (from the user) for stochastic self-destruct

<< “There are products which we have our doubts about,” said Hiroya Kawasaki, chief executive of Kobe Steel >>

<< Making his first public appearance since the company admitted falsifying inspection data on aluminium and copper parts at the weekend, Mr Kawasaki acknowledged the reputational damage caused by the scandal >>

Emiko Terazono. Kobe Steel chief says trust in company has ‘fallen to zero’. Oct 12, 2017

<< Kobe Steel President Hiroya Kawasaki said on Thursday there may be other cases in which data has been fabricated by Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker, which is reeling from a cheating scandal that has reverberated along global supply chains >>

Kobe Steel president says there may be other cases of data fabrication. Oct 12, 2017

venerdì 13 ottobre 2017

# zen: short daily mental practices induce structural plasticity in socio-affective and socio-cognitive brain networks

AA << have recently discovered that different types of mental training positively affect either our attention abilities or our social competencies such as compassion and perspective-taking. These improvements in attentional-, socio-emotional or cognitive capacities are parallelled by structural changes in dissociable brain networks supporting these skills. In addition, the scientists were able to show that the release of the stress hormone cortisol after exposure to a psychosocial stressor was significantly reduced only after practising mental techniques aiming at improving social competencies but not by mindfulness-based attention-increasing techniques >>

Tania Singer,  Verena Muller. Improving social skills through mental training changes brain structure and reduces social stress. Max Planck Institute. Oct 4, 2017

Sofie L. Valk, Boris C. Bernhardt, et al.  Structural plasticity of the social brain: Differential change after socio-affective and cognitive mental training. Sci Adv  2017; 3(10) e1700489    doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1700489 Oct 4, 2017

mercoledì 11 ottobre 2017

# pnei: pulsatile testosterone to drive pulsatile decision making during trading

<< Testosterone (..) has been shown to affect economic decision making and is taken as a performance enhancer among some financial professionals >>

Amos Nadler, Peiran Jiao, et al. The Bull of Wall Street: Experimental Analysis of Testosterone and Asset Trading. Management Science.
doi: 10.1287/mnsc.2017.2836  Sep 25, 2017.

Raging Bull: First study to find link between testosterone and stock market instability. Oct 10, 2017

martedì 10 ottobre 2017

# acad: anyone can hack biology, by Tiffany

<< Biohacking is a relatively new field of amateur and professional scientists conducting “do-it-yourself” biology experiments >>

Now That Anyone Can Hack Biology—Should We Be Afraid? Singularity Hub. October, 2017

Tiffany Vora. What Is Biohacking and Should We Be Afraid of It? Tech-x-planations. Singularity Hub

lunedì 9 ottobre 2017

# gst: detect and monitor a deep tremor

<< “Deep tremor is very sensitive to small stress changes,” Chao [Kevin Chao] said. “So, we decided to use them as stress meters to monitor local variations in stress build-up and release before and after large earthquakes” >>

Amanda Morris. Do Earthquakes Have a ‘Tell’? Data scientists and seismologists use “deep tremor” to forecast strong earthquakes. Oct 5, 2017.

Kevin Chao, Zhigang Peng, et al.
Temporal variation of tectonic tremor activity in southern Taiwan around the 2010 ML6.4 Jiashian earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 2017; 122(7): 5417–34 doi: 10.1002/2016JB013925


sabato 7 ottobre 2017

# brain: a unique patterns of activations during processing narratives

<< English, Farsi and Mandarin readers use the same parts of the brain to decode the deeper meaning of what they're reading >>

<< Even given these fundamental differences in language, which can be read in a different direction or contain a completely different alphabet altogether, there is something universal about what occurs in the brain at the point when we are processing narratives >> Morteza Dehghani.

<< In the case of each language, reading each story resulted in unique patterns of activations in the "default mode network" of the brain. This network engages interconnected brain regions such as the medial prefrontal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex, the inferior parietal lobe, the lateral temporal cortex and hippocampal formation >>

<< One of the biggest mysteries of neuroscience is how we create meaning out of the world. Stories are deep-rooted in the core of our nature and help us create this meaning >> Jonas Kaplan.

University of Southern California. Something universal occurs in the brain when it processes stories, regardless of language.  ScienceDaily. Oct 5, 2017.

Morteza Dehghani, Reihane Boghrati, et al.  Decoding the neural representation of story meanings across languages. Human Brain Mapping. 2017 doi: 10.1002/hbm.23814

venerdì 6 ottobre 2017

# evol: an ultra-rare survivor, the Malagasy striped whirligig beetle H. milloti

<< a whirligig beetle species, Heterogyrus milloti, inhabiting forest streams in southeastern Madagascar is the last survivor of a once dominant and widespread Mesozoic group. With a Late Triassic to Early Jurassic origin (226–187 Ma) it is the hitherto oldest dated endemic lineage of animal or plant on Madagascar >>

Grey T. Gustafson, Alexander A. Prokin, et al. Tip-dated phylogeny of whirligig beetles reveals ancient lineage surviving on Madagascar. Scientific Reports 2017; 7 (8619) doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08403-1

<< Even today, the ageless striped whirligig beetle keeps its own company, preferring to skitter atop the surface of out-of-the-way forest streams in southeastern Madagascar—not mixing with latecomers of the subfamily Gyrininae who have become the dominant whirligig beetles on Madagascar and abroad >>

Meet Madagascar's oldest animal lineage, a whirligig beetle with 206-million-year-old origins. Oct 4, 2017

giovedì 5 ottobre 2017

# behav: innovations among wild capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus)

<< understanding what makes some individuals more likely to innovate and/or transmit new behaviors is critical for creating realistic models of culture change >>

<< Older, more social monkeys were more likely to invent new forms of social interaction, whereas younger monkeys were more likely to innovate in other behavioral domains (foraging, investigative, and self-directed behaviors). Sex and rank had little effect on innovative tendencies. Relative to apes, capuchins devote more of their innovations repertoire to investigative behaviors and social bonding behaviors and less to foraging and comfort behaviors >>

Susan E. Perry, Brendan J. Barrett, Irene Godoy. Older, sociable capuchins (Cebus capucinus) invent more social behaviors, but younger monkeys innovate more in other contexts. PNAS. 2017; 114 (30): 7806–7813

Research reveals how new behaviors appear and spread among capuchin monkeys. Aug 24, 2017

mercoledì 4 ottobre 2017

# behav: the oddity about the highly inactive ants (Temnothorax rugatulus)

<< Social insect colonies are highly successful, self-organized complex systems. Surprisingly however, most social insect colonies contain large numbers of highly inactive workers. Although this may seem inefficient, it may be that inactive workers actually contribute to colony function >>

Daniel Charbonneau, Takao Sasaki, Anna Dornhaus. Who needs ‘lazy’ workers? Inactive workers act as a ‘reserve’ labor force replacing active workers, but inactive workers are not replaced when they are removed. PLOS ONE 12(9): e0184074. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184074 Sep 6, 2017

<< Analyzing the video recordings revealed that a colony breaks down into four main demographics [..]: inactive, lazy ants; so-called walkers that spend most of their time just wandering around the nest; foragers that take care of outside tasks such as foraging and building protective walls from tiny rocks; and nurses in charge of rearing the brood >>

Lazy ants make themselves useful in unexpected ways. Sep 8, 2017

martedì 3 ottobre 2017

# behav: spreading conflicts through monkey societies

<< How does conflict spread through a society? One way to think of conflict spreading is to picture an epidemic, with aggressive individuals "infecting" others and causing them to join the fight >>

<< It appears that it is not individuals who control the length of fights, but the relationships between pairs of individuals >>

AA << found evidence for a more complicated structure behind >>

AA << found evidence that conflict duration is strongly affected by the first interaction, which sets the tone for the fight. If the first interaction is brief, then following episodes are likely to be just as brief. A long drawn out initial brawl, however, will be followed by similarly difficult episodes. This, Flack [Jessica Flack] says, "is a signature of collective memory," meaning "the duration of the conflict is not just determined by individuals independently deciding whether to continue fighting or drop out, but through their joint memory for the past and subsequent collective decision-making." >>

How conflicts spread through monkey societies. Sep 7, 2017

Edward D. Lee, Bryan C. Daniels, et al.  Collective memory in primate conflict implied by temporal scaling collapse. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2017.0223 Sep 6 2017.

lunedì 2 ottobre 2017

domenica 1 ottobre 2017

# acad: cinnamon buns, pretzels and bagels to explain unusual phases or states of matter, by Thors

<< What do a pretzel, a lock of hair and a scream have in common? >>

<< Thors Hans Hansson, a member of the Nobel physics committee, uses a cinnamon bun, a pretzel and a bagel to explain the field of topology, a highly specialised mathematics field studying unusual phases or states of matter >>

<< Referring to the two holes in the pretzel, the one hole in the bagel, and the shape of a bun, Hansson demonstrated that topology explains how a material's shape can be completely deformed into a new one without losing its core properties >>

Ilgin Karlidag. Bagels, pretzels, Boo! How to explain science Nobels. Oct 1, 2017

sabato 30 settembre 2017

# bot-nano: programmable molecular machines to assemble molecular machines

<< It has been convincingly argued that molecular machines that manipulate individual atoms, or highly reactive clusters of atoms, with Angstrom precision are unlikely to be realized >>

AA << detail an artificial molecular machine that moves a substrate between different activating sites to achieve different product outcomes from chemical synthesis >>

AA << anticipate that future generations of programmable molecular machines may have significant roles in chemical synthesis and molecular manufacturing >>

Salma Kassem, Alan T. L. Lee, et al.  Stereodivergent synthesis with a programmable molecular machine. Nature 2017; 549: 374–378. Sep 21. doi: 10.1038/nature23677

Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’ capable of building molecules. Sep 20, 2017

CAMERA - Chemistry at Manchester Explains Research Advances

giovedì 28 settembre 2017

# chem: self-assembly in icosahedral (3D) nanoscale architectures

<< capsid proteins of spherical plant viruses can self-assemble into well-organized icosahedral three-dimensional (3D) nanoscale multivalent architectures with high monodispersity and structural symmetry >>

Narayanan KB, Han SS. Icosahedral plant viral nanoparticles - bioinspired synthesis of nanomaterials/nanostructures. Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2017 Aug 31. pii: S0001-8686(16)30366-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cis.2017.08.005.

martedì 26 settembre 2017

# gst: to estimate a minimum size of an earthquake

<< Although the overall size of an earthquake cannot be predicted from the rate of energy release, a minimum size can be estimated. Estimating this minimum size could add valuable seconds to early earthquake warning algorithms >>

M.A. Meier, J. P. Ampuero, T. H. Heaton. The hidden simplicity of subduction megathrust earthquakes.  Science Sep 22,  2017: 357 (6357): 1277-81. doi: 10.1126/science.aan5643

lunedì 25 settembre 2017

# astro: FRBs [Fast Radio Bursts]; you can imagine the sky is filled with flashes like paparazzi

<< If we are right about such a high rate of FRBs [Fast Radio Bursts] happening at any given time [at least one FRB is going off somewhere every second], you can imagine the sky is filled with flashes like paparazzi taking photos of a celebrity >> Anastasia Fialkov

Fast radio bursts may be firing off every second. Sep 21, 2017

Anastasia Fialkov, Abraham Loeb. A Fast Radio Burst Occurs Every Second throughout the Observable Universe. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2017; 846 (2). doi: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8905 Publ Sep 8, 2017.

sabato 23 settembre 2017

# chem: strange transitions: tying a crystal into a knot

<< Single crystals are typically brittle, inelastic materials. Such mechanical responses limit their use in practical applications, particularly in flexible electronics and optical devices >>

AA << describe single crystals of a well-known coordination compound—copper(II) acetylacetonate—that are flexible enough to be reversibly tied into a knot >>

Anna Worthy, Arnaud Grosjean, et al. Atomic resolution of structural changes in elastic crystals of copper(II) acetylacetonate. Nature Chemistry. doi: 10.1038/nchem.2848. Aug 28, 2017

<< crystals exhibit traditional characteristics of not only hard matter, but soft matter like nylon >> John McMurtrie

<< Under strain the molecules in the crystal reversibly rotate and reorganise to allow the compression and expansion required for elasticity and still maintain the integrity of the crystal structure >> Jack Clegg

Bendable crystals tie current thinking in knots. Aug 29, 2017.

venerdì 22 settembre 2017

# gst: chaotic networks inside a chaotic world, a 2015 review by Jennifer

<<  Networks grow as individual nodes connect to one another. By tweaking the rules that govern when nodes connect, researchers can shape the network’s properties >>

Jennifer Ouellette. The New Laws of Explosive Networks. Researchers are uncovering the hidden laws that reveal how the Internet grows, how viruses spread, and how financial bubbles burst. Jul 14, 2015.


<< The most celebrated part of this account, however, is at 2.216–93, where Lucretius [Titus Lucretius Carus] maintains that not only to explain how atomic collisions can occur in the first place, but also to account for the evident fact of free will in the animal kingdom, it is necessary to postulate a minimal indeterminacy in the motions of atoms, an unpredictable ‘swerve’ (clinamen) ‘at no fixed place or time’. Otherwise we would all be automata, our motions determined by infinitely extended and unbreakable causal chains >>

Lucretius. 4.Physics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. First published Wed Aug 4, 2004; substantive revision Sat Aug 10, 2013

giovedì 21 settembre 2017

# qubit-ai: inside the qubit AI neural “black boxes”

<< Neural networks’ powers of prediction have fueled the recent AI boom, but it can be hard to explain how they reach their decisions. A new technique aimed at uncovering the inner workings of language processing networks is just the latest effort to shed some light on these “black boxes.” >>

<< Going a step further, some researchers are trying to create AI able to explain its decisions to lay people, not just experts >>

Edd Gent. Machines Are Getting Smarter—Now They Should Explain Themselves. Sep 19, 2017


"but it can be hard to explain how they [AI machines] reach their decisions"

An easy prediction: "Qubit AI  Machines" will never fully explain themselves.

mercoledì 20 settembre 2017

# game: low-cooperativity feedbacks in burst size could be preferable for noisy proteins

AA << consider a specific kind of negative feedback, which makes bursts smaller in the excess of protein >>

<< Increasing the strength of the feedback may lead to dramatically different outcomes depending on a key parameter, the noise load >>

<< for noise loads smaller than critical, the coefficient of variation remains bounded with increasing feedback strength; contrastingly, if the noise load is larger than critical, the coefficient of variation diverges to infinity in the limit of ever greater feedback strengths >>

<< Interestingly, high-cooperativity feedbacks have lower critical noise loads, implying that low-cooperativity feedbacks in burst size can be preferable for noisy proteins >>

Pavol Bokes, Abhyudai Singh, Yen Ting Lin. High Cooperativity In Negative Feedback Can Amplify Noisy Gene Expression. biorxiv sysbio. doi: 10.1101/125914  April 10, 2017.

lunedì 18 settembre 2017

# soc: pulsatile self-destructive choices, by Oliver and Julia

<< Let’s all be thankful that FiveThirtyEight readers don’t control America’s nuclear arsenal >>

Last week AA << published an article on the game theory of nuclear standoffs. That article included an interactive game ... >>

Oliver Roeder, Julia Wolfe. Thank God You People Don’t Have The Nuclear Codes. Sep. 14, 2017.

<< Shall we play a game? >>

Oliver Roeder. How To Win A Nuclear Standoff. President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s saber-rattling is dangerous, but not irrational. Sep. 6, 2017

domenica 17 settembre 2017

# acad: ig-nobel 2017; not so evanescent but intriguing: contact with a live crocodile actually could affects a person's willingness to gamble

<< ECONOMICS PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, USA] — Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer, for their experiments to see how contact with a live crocodile affects a person's willingness to gamble.
REFERENCE: "Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal," Matthew J. Rockloff and Nancy Greer, Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 26, no. 4, December 2010, pp. 571-81. WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer >>

Mark Pratt. Research on big ears, crocodile gambling wins Ig Nobels. Sep 14, 2017

<< Tourists at the Koorana Saltwater Crocodile Farm in Coowonga, Queensland, Australia (..) were randomly assigned to play a laptop-simulated Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) either: (1) prior to entry, or (2) after having held a 1-m saltwater-crocodile >>

<< At-risk gamblers with few self-reported negative emotions placed higher average bets at the EGM after having held the crocodile when compared to the control >>

<< high arousal can intensify gambling in at-risk players, but only if this feeling state is not perceived as a negative emotion >>

Matthew J. Rockloff, Nancy Greer. Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal. Journal of Gambling Studies.  2010;  Vol 26, Issue 4, pp 571–581. Jan 6, 2010.