Comcast Corporation is America’s biggest cable company, its biggest internet-service provider, and its third-biggest home-telephone provider. As the owner of NBCUniversal, it’s also one of the largest producers of programming for film, cable, and television; on NBC’s networks, it is currently showing the Olympics. It’s not just big by American standards. It’s the largest media company in the world. In 2013, it took in $64.67 billion, generating $13.6 billion in operating income and $7.1 billion in net profits.Now this behemoth wants to get even bigger, and you have to give its C.E.O., Brian Roberts, some marks for chutzpah. In announcing Comcast’s intention to swallow up Time Warner Cable, the second-biggest cable company in the country, he brushed aside concerns that the regulators and anti-trust authorities might veto the deal, describing it as “pro-consumer, pro-competitive, and strongly in the public interest.”As you digest these words, it is well to set them in a broader perspective. As residents of the country that came up with Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and the Internet, we like to think that we lead the world in communications and entertainment. And we’re certainly ahead in one way: we pay far more for broadband Internet access, cable television, and home phone lines than people in many other advanced countries, even though the services we get aren’t any better. All too often, they are worse.Click headline to read more--
Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Matter interacts through four fundamental forces: the electromagnetic force that creates light and chemical bonds, the strong nuclear force that binds quarks and nuclei, the weak nuclear force that produces a type of radioactive decay called beta decay, and gravity. There could be other forces – some theorists have speculated that a second version of the weak force may also exist. At one time, physicists assumed that all the forces obeyed a handful of symmetries. So, for example, a physical system should behave exactly like its mirror image, a symmetry known as parity.In 1957, physicists discovered that parity does not hold in particle interactions mediated by the weak force. For example, suppose you aim right-spinning electrons at nuclei and watch them bounce off. If you look at the tiny shooting gallery in a mirror, you'll see left-spinning electrons bouncing off the target. So if the interaction between electron and nucleus were mirror-symmetric, then the scattering of right- and left-spinning electrons should be the same. And, indeed, that’s exactly what would happen if the negatively charged electrons interacted with the positively charged nuclei only through the electromagnetic force.But the electrons also interact with the nuclei through the weak force, which violates parity and is not mirror symmetric. As a result, right-spinning and left-spinning electrons ricochet off the target differently, creating a slight asymmetry in their scattering pattern. That effect was seen at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, in 1978 in an experiment called E122 that helped cement physicists' then-emerging standard model. A second weak force, if it exists, ought to give similarly lopsided results.But what about the quarks? Like electrons, they can spin one way or the other as they zip around inside protons and neutrons. And, according to the standard model, the right- and left-spinning quarks should interact slightly differently with an incoming electron, producing an additional asymmetry, or parity violation, when the spin of the incoming electrons is flipped. Now, Xiaochao Zheng, a nuclear physicist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues have observed that smaller contribution, as they recently reported in Nature.That was no mean feat. To see the extra asymmetry, the incoming electron must strike the nucleus hard enough to blast out a single quark, setting off a shower of particles, as was done in E122 but not in subsequent experiments. Researchers must take great care to ensure that they alternately shine equally intense beams of right- and left-spinning electrons on the target. Using the electron accelerator at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, the researchers shined 170 billion electrons on a target of liquid deuterium over 2 months in 2009. After crunching the data, they were able to measure the part-in-10,000 scattering asymmetry precisely enough to pull out the contribution from the quarks, albeit with a large uncertainty. The result agrees with the standard model prediction."They've measured something fundamental at the quark level that wasn't measured before," says William Marciano, a theorist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Maas notes that the result is not as exciting as it could have been, however. "They have not observed any new physics at the level of their precision," he says. The new result does place tighter limits on models that assume a second weak force exists, Maas says.The measurement is not the end of the road. The 101 members in the experimental team intend to repeat their measurement and hope to improve their precision by at least a factor of 5, Zheng says. That should enable them to test for new forces with far more sensitivity, she says. Marciano agrees that "this is just the first step." He notes that it might be beneficial that the asymmetry from the quarks is so small in the standard model, as that will make any deviation look relatively large.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
It’s no surprise that social media has grown from a tool to connect school kids to an essential part of anyone’s online usage. It’s already proven itself to be a valuable resource for businesses, bloggers or casual users alike.
"As the regular General Assemblies are where all constituents gather to listen and contribute to the discussions using the methodology of the ‘stack’, which allows anyone seeking to propose a group or report on current activities, joins a queue and takes their turn to speak. This allows each their turn to vocalise and articulate for all to hear and vote on. In a ‘leaderless’ holarchic society, the necessity for a self organising infrastructure to support the intrinsic momentum, and the forum to voice the fomenting processes of each, are both vital components. What is being revealed here is the desire for a new manner of building community, responsive to those who have been inspired to collaborate, as working groups become the lifeblood of the movement."
Via june holley, Howard Rheingold
In a world defined by rapid change, the search for solutions to societal and environmental challenges has become more complex. While market systems have become interconnected and supply chains have become supply webs, public policy and industry norms are not changing as fast. As a result, they are increasingly inadequate [...]
“The rules for the new economy haven't been written yet. Well, they have...it's just that they were written 50+ years ago when the 9-to-5, 30-years-and-a-gold-watch career path was the rule, not the exception. They haven't kept up with the changing economy or the new workforce. The laws and regulations laws that guide the economy have to adapt to the way people are working and building their lives. That's where Janelle Orsi comes in. Janelle is the innovative founder of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, an organization that "charts the changing legal territory of the new economy, educating communities and individuals ...”
Via Maddie Grant
Can gaming cure disease? By creating games like EteRNA for protein folding and nano-engineering, Adrien Treuille and his colleagues are outsourcing research, each week scoring and then actually synthesizing top players' work. By studying players' strategies, scientists can improve their computer modeling while also creating new ways to fight disease.
The human brain makes predictions by finding similarities between the patterns in recent sensory inputs and previous experiences stored in its vast memory. The same process is now perfectly feasible for those engaged in promoting economic development.
“My graduate school supervisor taught me all I know about professional email etiquette. Vague language? Poor form. Typos? Nothing worse. Run-on paragraphs? A big no-no. Spelling your recipient’s name wrong?”
Via Laura Brown
We propose a bare-bones stochastic model that takes into account both the geographical distribution of people within a country and their complex network of connections. The model, which is designed to give rise to a scale-free network of social connections and to visually resemble the geographical spread seen in satellite pictures of the Earth at night, gives rise to a power-law distribution for the ranking of cities by population size (but for the largest cities) and reflects the notion that highly connected individuals tend to live in highly populated areas. It also yields some interesting insights regarding Gibrat’s law for the rates of city growth (by population size), in partial support of the findings in a recent analysis of real data [Rozenfeld et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 105 18702 (2008)]. The model produces a nontrivial relation between city population and city population density and a superlinear relationship between social connectivity and city population, both of which seem quite in line with real data.Spatially Distributed Social Complex NetworksGerald F. Frasco, Jie Sun, Hernán D. Rozenfeld, and Daniel ben-AvrahamPhys. Rev. X 4, 011008 (2014)http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.4.011008
Via Complexity Digest