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Epidermis architecture and material properties of the skin of four snake species

Epidermis architecture and material properties of the skin of four snake species | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it

Snakes are highly specialized legless animals, which have evolved around 150 Million years ago. Although without extremities their body is exposed to constant friction forces. The PhD-Student Marie-Christin Klein and Professor Stanislav Gorb of Kiel University found out how snake skin is adapted to legless locomotion. The skin is stiff and hard on the outside and becomes soft and flexible towards the inside, independent of habitat. Klein and Gorb are publishing their current results in today’s issue of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

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Shattering The Myth That Competition Propels The Best And The Brightest To The Top

Shattering The Myth That Competition Propels The Best And The Brightest To The Top | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
It is a commonly held belief in our culture that competition is good for our professional and personal development, our business growth and our economy. We believe that competition motivates people to work harder and, as a result, the most talented individuals win out over those less competent. Survival of the fittest, right? In her latest book, A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better Than The Competition, author, Margaret Heffernan, challenges us to look at competition differently. It does not bring out the best in us. In fact, Heffernan makes the point that competition causes us to focus solely on the end goal, the prize. We lose out, not only personally, but businesses also lose their ability to innovate and succeed in today’s economy.
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Signals and Boundaries: Building Blocks for Complex Adaptive Systems (by John H. Holland)

Signals and Boundaries: Building Blocks for Complex Adaptive Systems

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Complex adaptive systems (cas), including ecosystems, governments, biological cells, and markets, are characterized by intricate hierarchical arrangements of boundaries and signals. In ecosystems, for example, niches act as semi-permeable boundaries, and smells and visual patterns serve as signals; governments have departmental hierarchies with memoranda acting as signals; and so it is with other cas. Despite a wealth of data and descriptions concerning different cas, there remain many unanswered questions about "steering" these systems. In Signals and Boundaries, John Holland argues that understanding the origin of the intricate signal/border hierarchies of these systems is the key to answering such questions. He develops an overarching framework for comparing and steering cas through the mechanisms that generate their signal/boundary hierarchies.

Holland lays out a path for developing the framework that emphasizes agents, niches, theory, and mathematical models. He discusses, among other topics, theory construction; signal-processing agents; networks as representations of signal/boundary interaction; adaptation; recombination and reproduction; the use of tagged urn models (adapted from elementary probability theory) to represent boundary hierarchies; finitely generated systems as a way to tie the models examined into a single framework; the framework itself, illustrated by a simple finitely generated version of the development of a multi-celled organism; and Markov processes.


Via Complexity Digest
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Costas Bouyioukos's curator insight, March 18, 10:41 AM

John Holland's new book!

António F Fonseca's curator insight, March 23, 2:23 AM

Why communicate, why not, for example, just command?

june holley's curator insight, March 23, 4:43 AM

Just got this. His stuff is usually excellent so I have high hopes.

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Differential Adhesion between Moving Particles as a Mechanism for the Evolution of Social Groups

Differential Adhesion between Moving Particles as a Mechanism for the Evolution of Social Groups | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
PLOS Computational Biology is an open-access
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Creativity, like evolution, is merely a series of thefts

Creativity, like evolution, is merely a series of thefts | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
We can blame evolution for making us little more than the glorified karaoke singers we are. Or as Voltaire put it: "originality is nothing but judicious imitation"

Via Claudia Mihai
Arjen ten Have's insight:

Basic but nice essay on how objects of use, creativity and biological evolution are all hung up on the same principles: Hey this works better, what if I combine it with that?

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 15, 10:02 AM

It's all one built upon the other.


What I've been proposing for government is not going to alter the base goals of the political leaders.  In fact, I think it's going to improve their chances of being elected until death, if they follow it correctly, and ultimately preserve our social institutions until the eventual end of the species and, if our descendents are still around, beyond that.

 

What I'm observing, as a political and social scientist, is that through benevolently motivated, effectively sensed and executed policy for the sake of the other in the society, that governments tend to be able to last longer, be more legitimate in the eyes of the public and, ultimately, get carried on, with its members, throughout the generations.

 

Some people simply do not and will not have what it takes to act as these effective, benevolent and empirically grounded leaders, regardless of party affiliation and label.  That is how, I think, our current institutions are failing, because we've populated these political systems with people who don't care, won't care and/or don't have the sense to act for the effective sake of the other for their own sakes.  It's in our legislative systems as well as our administrative systems.  It's killing themselves as much as it's killing our people.  And it's just a brain type who doesn't get the concept of working with others, rather than over or against them.

 

Think about it.

Costas Bouyioukos's curator insight, March 18, 10:40 AM

Mark Pagel writes about our "ability" to innovate.

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The Simple Rules of Social Contagion

The Simple Rules of Social Contagion | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
It is commonly believed that information spreads between individuals like a pathogen, with each exposure by an informed friend potentially resulting in a naive individual becoming infected. However, empirical studies of social media suggest that individual response to repeated exposure to information is far more complex. As a proxy for intervention experiments, we compare user responses to multiple exposures on two different social media sites, Twitter and Digg. We show that the position of exposing messages on the user-interface strongly affects social contagion. Accounting for this visibility significantly simplifies the dynamics of social contagion. The likelihood an individual will spread information increases monotonically with exposure, while explicit feedback about how many friends have previously spread it increases the likelihood of a response. We provide a framework for unifying information visibility, divided attention, and explicit social feedback to predict the temporal dynamics of user behavior.

Via Claudia Mihai
Arjen ten Have's insight:

These are things we need to consider when we think about society.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 12, 11:53 AM

I've come to the conclusion that I am not going to spread like wildfire throughout the whole of the population.  My best bank is target who reads what I've got to write, so as to increase the chances that I'm able to do what I'm drawn to do.

 

Who knows if this will work.

 

But I'd rather try than do nothing; take the chance of failure rather than the guarantee of it.

 

Think about it.

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Gossip and Ostracism Promote Cooperation in Groups

Gossip and Ostracism Promote Cooperation in Groups | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it

"The widespread existence of cooperation is difficult to explain because individuals face strong incentives to exploit the cooperative tendencies of others. In the research reported here, we examined how the spread of reputational information through gossip promotes cooperation in mixed-motive settings. Results showed that individuals readily communicated reputational information about others, and recipients used this information to selectively interact with cooperative individuals and ostracize those who had behaved selfishly, which enabled group members to contribute to the public good with reduced threat of exploitation. Additionally, ostracized individuals responded to exclusion by subsequently cooperating at levels comparable to those who were not ostracized. These results suggest that the spread of reputational information through gossip can mitigate egoistic behavior by facilitating partner selection, thereby helping to solve the problem of cooperation even in noniterated interactions."

 


Via Howard Rheingold
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Howard Rheingold's curator insight, January 28, 1:01 PM

Cooperation in groups often depends on "altruistic punishment" on non-cooperators (a mild example is the way shame can enforce norms -- in societies where spitting on the sidewalk is considered shameful, there is less spitting on the sidewalk). Or think about your emotions when you see someone cutting in line. Although punishment (maybe "sanctions" is a less loaded term) and gossip (perhaps "communication about reputation" is less loaded) are seen by many as negative traits, the research described in this abstract (full text ) presents evidence for the role of gossip and ostracism in promoting cooperation.

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▶ Francis Heylighen: Return to Eden? (...) on the Road to an Omnipotent Global Intelligence

The concept of Singularity envisages a technology-driven explosion in intelligence. I argue that the resulting suprahuman intelligence will not be centralized in a single AI system, but distributed across all people and artifacts, as connected via the Internet. This global brain will function to tackle all challenges confronting the "global superorganism". Its capabilities will extend so far beyond our present abilities that they may be best conveyed as a pragmatic version of the "divine" attributes: omniscience (knowing everything needed to solve our problems), omnipresence (being available anywhere anytime), omnipotence (being able to provide any product or service at negligible cost) and omnibenevolence (aiming at the greatest happiness for the greatest number). By extrapolating present trends, technologies and evolutionary mechanisms, I argue that these abilities are likely to be realized within the next few decades. The resulting solution to all our individual and societal problems can be seen as a return to "Eden", the idyllic state of abundance and peace that supposedly existed before civilization. In this utopian society, individuals would be supported and challenged by the global brain to maximally develop their abilities, and to continuously create new knowledge. However, side effects of technological innovation are likely to create serious disturbances on the road to this utopia. The most important dangers are cascading failures facilitated by hyperconnectivity, the spread of psychological parasites that make people lose touch with reality, the loss of human abilities caused by an unnatural, passive lifestyle, and a conservative backlash triggered by too rapid changes. Because of the non-linearity of the system, the precise impact of such disturbances cannot be predicted. However, a range of precautionary measures, including a "global immune system", may pre-empt the greatest risks.

 

Return to Eden?
Promises and Perils on the Road to an Omnipotent Global Intelligence
Prof. Dr. Francis Heylighen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWJA_i-cY30


Via Complexity Digest, Ashish Umre
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For the good of the colony - MIT News Office

For the good of the colony - MIT News Office | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
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Biohackers And DIY Cyborgs Clone Silicon Valley Innovation

Biohackers And DIY Cyborgs Clone Silicon Valley Innovation | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it

A new breed of hobbyists, scientists, and entrepreneurs are working on echolocation implants, brain-controlled software programs, and even cybernetic rats. Their experiments will change the future of tech.


Via Szabolcs Kósa
Arjen ten Have's insight:

I am not easily scared but the combination of biocomputation and genomics in the hands of laymen? A lot of good will come from it but it also possible that simply due to ignorance, monsters will be created. Or am I just another scientist getting old and wary?

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A Cold War Fought by Women

A Cold War Fought by Women | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
I guess it is all about evolution. Men are bad because of it, and apparently , so are women. Now why am I not surprised?
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Will It Take The #Singularity To Save The Planet?

Will It Take The #Singularity To Save The Planet? | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
The melding of man and machine is not only an imaginable future it may be the key to sustainable and healthy living on an overcrowded planet.

Via luiy
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luiy's curator insight, November 15, 2013 7:59 AM

Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that before mid-century the exponential acceleration of information technologies, robotics, medical science, and artificial intelligence will result in a “singularity," a point at which humans will essentially merge with their technology. Such an event may seem implausible, but discoveries of how technology and humans really interact are being made every day, leading one to the conclusion that it’s not an unimaginable future--and, in fact, it may be the key to sustainable living on an increasingly overcrowded planet.

 

Heart pacemakers and artificial hips already demonstrate the seeds of Kurzweil’s vision. Innovations like Google Glass could get more real-time information a lot closer to us very soon. But could we use such technology to measure what our bodies actually need and then design foods and homes that maximize our limited resources to sustain a growing population?

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Music Training May Boost Young Brains, Studies Suggest

Music Training May Boost Young Brains, Studies Suggest | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Effects appear strongest when kids start lessons before age 7
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Some of the Most Plausible Scenarios for Alien Civilizations

Some of the Most Plausible Scenarios for Alien Civilizations | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
nice essay but let me comment on what is lacking. The authors are a bit anthropomorphic, they appear only interested in technology. Maybe because that will be required for first contact but still. They miss the boat of looking onfo other social systems on earth? Three insects orders (Or whatever they are called) do have strong social structures, much stronger than the human social structure, as the hint correctly that pur political system is still not decided upon. Well, I am not so sure if aliens will have a similar trajectory here since it will largely depend on their social stru cture. Scifi movies have worked this out a bit (The Borg, The wraith.....). A last aspect, related tdjo the lack of signs, I am not so sure that aliens would be inteeested in us. I fail to see the point. Many people with an interest in Scifi believe that aliens will come we are doomed and we zhould nuke them ASAP. Basically since they are technologically more advanced. I completely disagree. Why would the want to hurt us if there are so many habitable planets? And so many inhabitzble ones for mining?
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Are Molecular Alphabets Universal Enabling Factors for the Evolution of Complex Life? - Springer

Are Molecular Alphabets Universal Enabling Factors for the Evolution of Complex Life? - Springer | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
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Cultural hitchhiking: How social behavior can affect genetic makeup in dolphins

Cultural hitchhiking: How social behavior can affect genetic makeup in dolphins | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
A UNSW-led team of researchers studying bottlenose dolphins that use sponges as tools has shown that social behaviour can shape the genetic makeup of an animal population in the wild.
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The Social Contagion of Generosity

The Social Contagion of Generosity | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
PLOS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. Reports of well-performed scientific studies from all disciplines freely available to the whole world.
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From Hedgehogs to Whole Systems: An Evolution in Business Principles

From Hedgehogs to Whole Systems: An Evolution in Business Principles | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it

"If we take the time to look, we realize that nature provides us with a time-tested R&D lab for re-imagined industry and its contributing forces. The natural world has already mastered renewable energy use, closed production cycles, collaborative networks, sustainable materials, and green chemistry. Underlying these proven successes are principles [...] including rampant resource efficiency, real-time responsiveness, and systems intelligence, among others.  These principles enable entire natural "economies" to be not merely productive but resilient and regenerative.  "


Via Miguel Prazeres
Arjen ten Have's insight:

Yet another way to use insights from biological evolution into society, here in terms of business development.

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nhmmer: DNA homology search with profile HMMs. [Bioinformatics. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

nhmmer: DNA homology search with profile HMMs. [Bioinformatics. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.
Arjen ten Have's insight:

Logical addition to the HMMER package although it would have been more interesting to include xHMMMER.

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Sustainability as an Emergent Property: What Can We Learn from the Super-Organisms? | Sustainable Brands

Sustainability as an Emergent Property: What Can We Learn from the Super-Organisms? | Sustainable Brands | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
An emergent property arises when individual components or actions, combined together, collectively generate a higher-level aggregate experience. Think democracy. Or plague. Or community. One does not
Arjen ten Have's insight:

Thid is interesting stuff but somehow it just does not add up. Might be a semantic problem, if not it would a logic problem making it useless.

 

For me this statements is controversial:

 

"The first is that sustainability, like any emergent property, must be developed collectively. Like an ant in his colony, the individual's primary value is as a component of the whole. The second implication is that sustainability, as an emergent property, cannot be mandated from above. It arises, to some extent inexplicably, from the ground up."

 

"Must be developed" requires an active role whereas "it arises" is something passive. An emergent property is always passive. Hence, in the end you cannot really see sustainability as an emergent property. The fact that ant societies are sustainable and are an emergent property does not mean that thriving towards sustainability equals an emergent property. Ant society are rather particular in that they should be seen as sort of superorganism: an organism built form organisms. If you take away one single caste, the superorganism ceases to exist. Just like taking away your liver will kill you. As such it is logical that sustainibilty is an important constraint in the evolution of ants, and hence in that case is an emerging property.

 

For human society that will be a bit different. Although I am not sure we need to built our society in a similar manner, I do think we should learn from it in order to build a better society.

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Google's Glass Castle: The Rise and Fear of a Transhuman Future

Google's Glass Castle: The Rise and Fear of a Transhuman Future | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
What happens when humans become more than human? Or when computers surpass humanity to become the dominant 'species' on earth in new cyborg hybrid?
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Why Life Does Not Really Exist | Brainwaves, Scientific American Blog Network

Why Life Does Not Really Exist | Brainwaves, Scientific American Blog Network | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals. ...
Arjen ten Have's insight:

This is a very fascinating article that concludes that life is nothing more but also nothing less than an invention or a concept.

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Experimental evidence for the influence of group size on cultural complexity

The remarkable ecological and demographic success of humanity is largely attributed to our capacity for cumulative culture1, 2, 3. The accumulation of beneficial cultural innovations across generations is puzzling because transmission events are generally imperfect, although there is large variance in fidelity. Events of perfect cultural transmission and innovations should be more frequent in a large population4. As a consequence, a large population size may be a prerequisite for the evolution of cultural complexity4, 5, although anthropological studies have produced mixed results6, 7, 8, 9 and empirical evidence is lacking10. Here we use a dual-task computer game to show that cultural evolution strongly depends on population size, as players in larger groups maintained higher cultural complexity. We found that when group size increases, cultural knowledge is less deteriorated, improvements to existing cultural traits are more frequent, and cultural trait diversity is maintained more often. Our results demonstrate how changes in group size can generate both adaptive cultural evolution and maladaptive losses of culturally acquired skills. As humans live in habitats for which they are ill-suited without specific cultural adaptations11, 12, it suggests that, in our evolutionary past, group-size reduction may have exposed human societies to significant risks, including societal collapse13.

 

Experimental evidence for the influence of group size on cultural complexity
• Maxime Derex, Marie-Pauline Beugin, Bernard Godelle & Michel Raymond

Nature 503, 389–391 (21 November 2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12774


Via Complexity Digest
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Human opinion dynamics: An inspiration to solve complex optimization problems : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group

Human opinion dynamics: An inspiration to solve complex optimization problems : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Human interactions give rise to the formation of different kinds of opinions in a society. The study of formations and dynamics of opinions has been one of the most important areas in social physics.

Via Shaolin Tan, Eric L Berlow
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António F Fonseca's curator insight, December 28, 2013 4:14 AM

Another paper on opinion dynamics.

Luciano Lampi's curator insight, January 11, 2:45 PM

Humanrithms....

Claude Emond's curator insight, January 20, 2:51 PM

Opinions are an unescapable part of sharing and influencing the direction of collective intelligence

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Social Ties, Reciprocity, Cooperation Studied

"

Recent studies suggest that allowing individuals to choose their partners can help to maintaincooperation in human social networks; this behaviour can supplement behavioural reciprocity,whereby humans are influenced to cooperate by peer pressure. However, it is unknownhow the rate of forming and breaking social ties affects our capacity to cooperate. Here weuse a series of online experiments involving 1,529 unique participants embedded in 90experimental networks, to show that there is a ‘Goldilocks’ effect of network dynamism on cooperation. When the rate of change in social ties is too low, subjects choose to have many ties, even if they attach to defectors. When the rate is too high, cooperators cannot detach
from defectors as much as defectors re-attach and, hence, subjects resort to behavioural reciprocity and switch their behaviour to defection. Optimal levels of cooperation are achieved at intermediate levels of change in social ties"


Via Howard Rheingold
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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, November 15, 2013 10:04 AM

I think there will always be things we cannot explain, but make sense. Too much stimulus is not good and too little is not good either.

Peter C. Newton-Evans's curator insight, November 22, 2013 2:51 PM

One more piece in the puzzle that Cooperation Theory is putting together to bring science closer to a real human need of our time: learning to restructure society as a win-win proposition.

Inteligência coletiva's curator insight, February 6, 12:59 PM

Um estudo relevante acerca do estabelecimento de laços sociais, reciprocidade e cooperação.

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Why Can't We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality

Why Can't We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Squaring recent research suggesting we're "naturally moral" with all the strife in the world
Arjen ten Have's insight:

Really interesting essay about moral, making reference to two recently published books. Highly recommended to all that are interested in the origin of moral

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