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Latest news on complex systems in life sciences, engineering, education and government
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Exoplanet found 'just next door'

Exoplanet found 'just next door' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Astronomers spot the nearest known planet outside our Solar System, circling a star in the Alpha Centauri system just four light-years away. The planet has at minimum the same mass as Earth, but circles its star far closer than Mercury orbits our Sun.

It is therefore outside the "habitable zone" denoting the possibility of life, as the researchers report in Nature. Nice summary article from the BBC Science team, click the image or the title to learn more.

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First Images of Landau Levels Revealed

First Images of Landau Levels Revealed | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Physicists have directly imaged Landau Levels — the quantum levels that determine electron behavior in a strong magnetic field — for the first time since they were theoretically conceived of by Nobel prize winner Lev Landau in 1930. Click on the image or title to learn more

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Biostructural theory of the living systems

Biostructural theory of the living systems | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

The biostrucutral hypothesis is a controversial theory first developed by Eugen Macovschi in 1958. Murariua and Drochioiub reappraise this theory in their latest work published on Biosystems.The biostructural theory is based on a supramolecular description of biological systems, where molecules and matter acquire distinctive properties by means of reciprocal interactions when embedded in highly four-dimensional structured systems.

 

Source:

Manuela Murariua and Gabi Drochioiub,

Biostructural theory of the living systems.

Biosystems, Volume 109, Issue 2, August 2012, Pages 126–132


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Animating the Web of Life and the Power of Networks

Big fan of RSA Animate and given we deal wtih networked systems everyday this episode was just awesome.  In this RSA Animate, Manuel Lima senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing, explores the power of network visualisation to help navigate our complex modern world. Click on the image or the title to learn more.


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Animals Are as With It as Humans, Scientists Say : Discovery News

Animals Are as With It as Humans, Scientists Say : Discovery News | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Probably not news if you are a pet owner, or ever worked with farm animals. However a prominent group of scientists signs a document stating that animals are just as "conscious and aware" as humans are. In the search for alien intelligence - looks like we as a species had better start looking a little closer to home. Click on the image or the title to learn more.


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Striking image shows atomic bonds

Striking image shows atomic bonds | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

A pioneering team from IBM in Zurich  Switzerland show off images of the molecular world so detailed that the type of atomic bonds between their atoms can be discerned. The team, which included French and Spanish collaborators, used a variant of a technique called atomic force microscopy, or AFM. AFM uses a tiny metal tip passed over a surface, whose even tinier deflections are measured as the tip is scanned to and fro over a sample. The images show just how long the atomic bonds are, and the bright and dark spots correspond to higher and lower densities of electrons. Together, this information reveals just what kind of bonds they are - how many electrons pairs of atoms share - and what is going on chemically within the molecules. Click on the image or title to learn more.

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The real reason for brains

The real reason for brains | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

From a talk  recorded on 13 July 2011. The BBC described this talk as "Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert starts from a surprising premise: the brain evolved, not to think or feel, but to control movement". Anyone who has ever tried building autonomous real time robots - gets to understand this viewpoint pretty quickly.  Similarky anyone who spends a few minutes considering evolution - and what features need to first evolve to make species succesful - will know that tool use and intelligence are evolutionary side products of an animals need for spatial exploration in order to forage, hide and procreate not the other way around. The talk is both entertaining, data-rich and makes a lot of sense.  Worth watching. Click on the image or title of rmore info.

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The Future of Medical Visualisation - Technology Review

The Future of Medical Visualisation - Technology Review | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Medicine has been revolutionised by 3D imaging techniques. In the last five years, commercial CT scanners that can create 3D videos of a beating heart or new diffusion imaging techniques that enable imaging of  nerve bundles and muscle fibres have started to become available. A great tech piece in Technology Review covers where medical imaging is going next. Certainly worth reading. Click on the image or the title to learn more...

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Einstein's theory is proved - if you want to live longer, buy a bungalow

Einstein's theory is proved - if you want to live longer, buy a bungalow | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Awesome artile in the Independent describing how experiments with he world's most accurate clock has neatly shown how right Albert Einstein was 100 years ago, when he proposed that time is a relative concept. James Chin-Wen Chou and his colleagues from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, found that when they monitored two such clocks positioned just a foot apart in height above sea level, they found that time really does run more quickly the higher you are – just as Einstein predicted. Click on the image or title to learn more...

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Gene Regulation I Lab Protocol | Intro Biology

Gene Regulation I Lab Protocol | Intro Biology | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Simulation is increasingly used in biology to explore system relationships. This lab will gives students the opportunity to explore the regulation of bacterial gene expression through the use of both traditional biochemical lab techniques and modern computer simulations. While they incubate their bacteria, they use computer simulations to better understand how beta-galactosidase expression is regulated in E. coli. Thw dynamic model helps them make predictions as to the outcome of the experiment. There are computer simulations for different types of gene regulatory systems to explore and make predictions about how gene expression is controlled in each circumstance. Biology lessons were always cool - but they just got a whole lot cooler. Click on the image or headline to learn more. 

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CERN

CERN | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

The ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN presented their initial findings that indicate a Higgs - like particle in the mass region of 126 gigaelectronvolts (GeV). In the same way the discovery of the electron in the late 19th century fundamentally changed life in the 20th century, it will be interesting to see how these results influence our understanding of the universe and what they then inspire. On  a personal note, since we live right next to the LHC and we have a number of friends who work at CERN and who are intimately involved in ATLAS And CMS we just want to say one big shout out congratulations to everyone involved. Awesome. Click on image or title to learn more.

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ACM A.M. Turing Centenary Celebration

ACM A.M. Turing Centenary Celebration | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Thanks to Franz Dill (Eponymous Pickle blog) for this link. On Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16, more than 30 Turing Award recipients will gather to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth with personal remembrances, talks, and panel discussions. The ACM is webcasting the entire event live (and a stream will be available after the event).  This is a great way to get an insisight into computing's past and future, from the unique perspectives of its pioneers and leading contemporary thinkers. Please note that all times listed are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). Worth Watching.

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Robert Sapolsky lecture on emergence and complexity.

Professor Robert Sapolsky gives a lecture (May 2010) on emergence and complexity.  Robert is Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University and is a research associate with the National Musuems of Kenya. Essential watching for those just starting to learn about complex systems and system properties such as emergence and guided formation rules.  Worth watching.

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Life and fuzziness

Life and fuzziness | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Many scientists have devoted time to try to find a definition for life, in spite of the differences the large majority of life definitions rely on the dichotomy living vs. non-living. Bruylants and colleagues argue that “it is indeed impossible to define a natural frontier between non-living and living systems and therefore also impossible to define dichotomic criteria which could be used in order to classify systems in one of these two classes (living or non-living)”. Thus authors conclude that “fuzzy logic provides a natural way to deal with problems where class membership lacks sharply defined criteria”, proposing a paradigmatic shift…a truly needed one. Great piece of work, highly raccommended.

 

Source:

Gilles Bruylants, Kristin Bartik and Jacques Reisse

Is it Useful to Have a Clear-cut Definition of Life? On the Use of Fuzzy Logic in Prebiotic Chemistry

Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. Volume 40, Number 2 (2010), 137-143

 

Acknowledgements:

I would like to thank Dr. Fabrizio Anella for bringing this paper to my attention


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Grants help scientists explore boundary between science & science fiction

Grants help scientists explore boundary between science & science fiction | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

20 innovative researchers who will share more than $4 million in New Frontiers in Astronomy & Cosmology International Grants that were announced Thursday, Oct. 4, by the University of Chicago. The grants were made possible through funding from the Templeton Foundation in the United Kingdom as a way to encourage scientists and students worldwide to explore fundamental, big questions in astronomy and cosmology that engage groundbreaking ideas on the nature of the universe. Click on the image or the title to learn more.

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Ten Simple Rules To Commercialize Scientific Research

Good guide to ten things to think about when commercializing scientific research and the challenge of steps required to turn basic research into something practical and because you are looking for a market for a product, rather than designing a product to fit an established, or obvious market. well worth reading. Fletcher AC, Bourne PE (2012) Ten Simple Rules To Commercialize Scientific Research. PLoS Comput Biol 8(9): e1002712. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002712


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Inside Paul Allen's Quest To Reverse Engineer The Brain

Inside Paul Allen's Quest To Reverse Engineer The Brain | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

thanks to Jed for the heads up on this. Great article from Forbes on Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's  Allen Institute for Brain Science research institute who are pursuing a big science approach to understanding the workings of the human brain. Well worth reading. Click on the headline or image to learn more.

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X-ray Microscope: Seeing Cells in 3-D | KQED QUEST

X-ray Microscope: Seeing Cells in 3-D | KQED QUEST | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

At the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, scientists are using a cutting-edge microscope, the first of its kind in the world, to image whole cells in 3-D with the penetrating power of x-rays.


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Genomics: ENCODE explained : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

Genomics: ENCODE explained : Nature : Nature Publishing Group | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project dishes up a hearty banquet of data that illuminate the roles of the functional elements of the human genome.

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Open access plan is no academic spring

Open access plan is no academic spring | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Letters from leading academics respond to UK government plans on open access to public funded research. The UK goverment recently commisioned a report on journal publications and sided with the view that continued commercial payment for journals was the sustainable method to be used. Letters to the Guardian news service from leading academics express why this is not the case, highlight the flaws in the report (based on data from 2000 and the 1970's) and explain how peer review actually works. The debate will no doubt continue for some time.

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Computer Simulation Cracks Chicken-Egg Puzzle : Discovery News

Computer Simulation Cracks Chicken-Egg Puzzle : Discovery News | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

New computer technology cracks the age-old riddle, demonstrating how a protein kickstarts eggshell formation. Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick, in northern and central England, demonstrate how vocledidin-17 (OC-17), plays a part in eggshell formation. In a computer simulation, the OC-17 protein acted as a catalyst to kickstart the formation of crystals that make up an eggshell by clamping itself on to calcium carbonate particles. In otherwords the chicken came first. Click on image or title to learn more...

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CERN Observes New Fundamental Particle – What Comes Next?

CERN Observes New Fundamental Particle – What Comes Next? | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Both the ATLAS and CMS experiments have observed a new fundamental particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson. Article form Scientific Computing discusses whats next for the CERN teams and physics community.

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Scientists discover new trigger for immense North Atlantic plankton bloom | Science Wire | EarthSky

Scientists discover new trigger for immense North Atlantic plankton bloom | Science Wire | EarthSky | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Whirlpools, or eddies, swirl across the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean sustaining phytoplankton in the ocean’s shallower waters where they can get plenty of sunlight to fuel their growth, keeping them from being pushed downward by the ocean’s rough surface.The result is a burst of spring and summer color atop the ocean’s waters. How important is the bloom to the North Atlantic Ocean and beyond–to the global carbon cycle?

Springtime blooms of microscopic plants in the ocean contributes to the oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide, amounting globally to about one-third of the carbon dioxide humans put into the air each year through the burning of fossil fuels. Click on the image or the title to learn more.

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Debating a Proposed Moratorium On Synthetic Biology Research | Ali | Intersect: The Stanford Journal of Science, Technology and Society

by Sanna J. Ali : "This essay explores the ethical issues surrounding the public policy debate of imposing a moratorium on synthetic biology research. In particular, this article explores the risks of synthetic biology research, including those of safety, intellectual property rights, and a shift in the global economy, while assessing whether these risks are dangerous enough to call for a moratorium." http://bit.ly/LhPZcH


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What's quantum physics got to do with biology?

Tonight at the World Science Festival, astrophysicist Paul Davies and quantum computing innovator Seth Lloyd will talk about the growing field of quantum biology—why it works, what it means, and how it might shape our future. The Bad News: The Festival is happening in New York City and tonight's panel is sold out. The Good News: You can watch a live webcast of the event online at 8:00 Eastern time.  Learn more

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