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Are You Ready to Lose Control? - strategy+business (blog)

Are You Ready to Lose Control? - strategy+business (blog) | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
Are You Ready to Lose Control?
strategy+business (blog)
But in today's knowledge economy, where enterprises are complex, adaptive systems, it's counterproductive. The real problem is confusion between control and order.
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Living African group discovered to be the most populous humans over the last 150,000 years

Living African group discovered to be the most populous humans over the last 150,000 years | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

New genetic research reveals that a small group of hunter-gatherers now living in Southern Africa once was so large that it comprised the majority of living humans during most of the past 150,000 years. Only during the last 22,000 years have the other African ethnicities, including the ones giving rise to Europeans and Asians, become vastly most numerous. Now the Khoisan (who sometimes call themselves Bushmen) number about 100,000 individuals, while the rest of humanity numbers 7 billion. Their lives and ways have remained unaltered for hundreds of generations, with only recent events endangering their hunter-gatherer lifestyles. The study's findings is published in Nature Communications on 4 December 2014.


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California's drought is the worst in 1,200 years, evidence suggests

California's drought is the worst in 1,200 years, evidence suggests | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
As California finally experiences the arrival of a rain-bearing Pineapple Express this week, two climate scientists have shown that the drought of 2012-2014 has been the worst in 1,200 years.

 

Daniel Griffin, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota, and Kevin Anchukaitis, an assistant scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, asked the question, "How unusual is the ongoing California drought?" Watching the severity of the California drought intensify since last autumn, they wondered how it would eventually compare to other extreme droughts throughout the state's history.


To answer those questions, Griffin and Anchukaitis collected new tree-ring samples from blue oak trees in southern and central California. "California's old blue oaks are as close to nature's rain gauges as we get," says Griffin. "They thrive in some of California's driest environments." These trees are particularly sensitive to moisture changes and their tree rings display moisture fluctuations vividly.


As soon as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released climate data for the summer of 2014, the two scientists sprang into action. Using their blue oak data, they reconstructed rainfall back to the 13th century. They also calculated the severity of the drought by combining NOAA's estimates of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), an index of soil moisture variability, with the existing North American Drought Atlas, a spatial tree-ring based reconstruction of drought developed by scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. These resources together provided complementary data on rainfall and soil moisture over the past millennium. Griffin and Anchukaitis found that while the current period of low precipitation is not unusual in California's history, these rainfall deficits combined with sustained record high temperatures created the current multiyear severe water shortages. "While it is precipitation that sets the rhythm of California drought, temperature weighs in on the pitch," says Anchukaitis.


"We were genuinely surprised at the result," says Griffin, a NOAA Climate & Global Change Fellow and former WHOI postdoctoral scholar. "This is California--drought happens. Time and again, the most common result in tree-ring studies is that drought episodes in the past were more extreme than those of more recent eras. This time, however, the result was different." While there is good evidence of past sustained, multi-decadal droughts or so-called "megadroughts"' in California, the authors say those past episodes were probably punctuated by occasional wet years, even if the cumulative effect over decades was one of overall drying. The current short-term drought appears to be worse than any previous span of consecutive years of drought without reprieve.


Tree rings are a valuable data source when tracking historical climate, weather and natural disaster trends. Floods, fires, drought and other elements that can affect growing conditions are reflected in the development of tree rings, and since each ring represents one year the samples collected from centuries-old trees are a virtual timeline that extend beyond the historical record in North America.


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Time's Mysterious Past: New Theories Suggest Big Bang Was Not The Beginning

Time's Mysterious Past: New Theories Suggest Big Bang Was Not The Beginning | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

Tentative new work from Julian Barbour of the University of Oxford, Tim Koslowski of the University of New Brunswick and Flavio Mercati of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics suggests that perhaps the arrow of time doesn’t really require a fine-tuned, low-entropy initial state at all but is instead the inevitable product of the fundamental laws of physics. Barbour and his colleagues argue that it is gravity, rather than thermodynamics, that draws the bowstring to let time’s arrow fly. Their findings were published in October in Physical Review Letters.
 
The team’s conclusions come from studying an exceedingly simple proxy for our universe, a computer simulation of 1,000 pointlike particles interacting under the influence of Newtonian gravity. They investigated the dynamic behavior of the system using a measure of its "complexity," which corresponds to the ratio of the distance between the system’s closest pair of particles and the distance between the most widely separated particle pair. The system’s complexity is at its lowest when all the particles come together in a densely packed cloud, a state of minimum size and maximum uniformity roughly analogous to the big bang. The team’s analysis showed that essentially every configuration of particles, regardless of their number and scale, would evolve into this low-complexity state. Thus, the sheer force of gravity sets the stage for the system’s expansion and the origin of time’s arrow, all without any delicate fine-tuning to first establish a low-entropy initial condition.
 
From that low-complexity state, the system of particles then expands outward in both temporal directions, creating two distinct, symmetric and opposite arrows of time. Along each of the two temporal paths, gravity then pulls the particles into larger, more ordered and complex structures—the model’s equivalent of galaxy clusters, stars and planetary systems. From there, the standard thermodynamic passage of time can manifest and unfold on each of the two divergent paths. In other words, the model has one past but two futures. As hinted by the time-indifferent laws of physics, time’s arrow may in a sense move in two directions, although any observer can only see and experience one. “It is the nature of gravity to pull the universe out of its primordial chaos and create structure, order and complexity,” Mercati says. “All the solutions break into two epochs, which go on forever in the two time directions, divided by this central state which has very characteristic properties.”
 
Although the model is crude, and does not incorporate either quantum mechanics or general relativity, its potential implications are vast. If it holds true for our actual universe, then the big bang could no longer be considered a cosmic beginning but rather only a phase in an effectively timeless and eternal universe. More prosaically, a two-branched arrow of time would lead to curious incongruities for observers on opposite sides. “This two-futures situation would exhibit a single, chaotic past in both directions, meaning that there would be essentially two universes, one on either side of this central state,” Barbour says. “If they were complicated enough, both sides could sustain observers who would perceive time going in opposite directions. Any intelligent beings there would define their arrow of time as moving away from this central state. They would think we now live in their deepest past.”

 

 


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[1411.1924] On the Complexity and Behaviour of Cryptocurrencies Compared to Other Markets

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The Psychological Reasons Why American Soldiers Would Fire On American Citizens | Dave Hodges – The Common Sense Show

The Psychological Reasons Why American Soldiers Would Fire On American Citizens | Dave Hodges – The Common Sense Show | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

From historical documents

We live in chaotic times. Many feel that our fragile economy could come crashing down at any time. One devastating terrorist attack, false flag attack or natural disaster could lead to an unprecedented disaster and martial law would be declared. Some Americans would take to the streets and the only remaining question is whether or not American soldiers, called to the scene, would restore order by firing upon American citizens when ordered to do so?

This scenario and the resulting public execution of American citizens for engaging in protesting has happened many times in our past. For those old enough to remember, the 1970 Kent State massacre should come to mind as the Ohio National Guard opened fire on protesting college students on the campus of Kent State University. But for those who believe that this was merely an anomaly, let’s examine what the field of psychology has discovered about the answer to this question.


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Evidence of market manipulation in the financial crisis

Evidence of market manipulation in the financial crisis | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

Abstract

We provide direct evidence of market manipulation at the beginning of the financial crisis in November 2007. The type of market manipulation, a "bear raid," would have been prevented by a regulation that was repealed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in July 2007. The regulation, the uptick rule, was designed to prevent market manipulation and promote stability and was in force from 1938 as a key part of the government response to the 1929 market crash and its aftermath. On November 1, 2007, Citigroup experienced an unusual increase in trading volume and decrease in price. Our analysis of financial industry data shows that this decline coincided with an anomalous increase in borrowed shares, the selling of which would be a large fraction of the total trading volume. The selling of borrowed shares cannot be explained by news events as there is no corresponding increase in selling by share owners. A similar number of shares were returned on a single day six days later. The magnitude and coincidence of borrowing and returning of shares is evidence of a concerted effort to drive down Citigroup's stock price and achieve a profit, i.e., a bear raid. Interpretations and analyses of financial markets should consider the possibility that the intentional actions of individual actors or coordinated groups can impact market behavior. Markets are not sufficiently transparent to reveal or prevent even major market manipulation events. Our results point to the need for regulations that prevent intentional actions that cause markets to deviate from equilibrium value and contribute to market crashes. Enforcement actions, even if they take place, cannot reverse severe damage to the economic system. The current "alternative" uptick rule which is only in effect for stocks dropping by over 10% in a single day is insufficient. Improved availability of market data and reinstatement of either the original uptick rule or other transaction limitations may help prevent market instability.

 


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Statement on Prediction Markets by Kenneth J. Arrow, Shyam Sunder, Robert Forsythe, Robert E. Litan, Eric Zitzewitz, Michael Gorham, Robert W. Hahn, Robin Hanson, Daniel Kahneman, John O. Ledyard, ...

Statement on Prediction Markets by Kenneth J. Arrow, Shyam Sunder, Robert Forsythe, Robert E. Litan, Eric Zitzewitz, Michael Gorham, Robert W. Hahn, Robin Hanson, Daniel Kahneman, John O. Ledyard, ... | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
Prediction markets are markets for contracts that yield payments based on the outcome of an uncertain future event, such as a presidential election. Using these markets as forecasting tools could substantially improve decision making in the private and public sectors. 

We argue that U.S. regulators should lower barriers to the creation and design of prediction markets by creating a safe harbor for certain types of small stakes markets. We believe our proposed change has the potential to stimulate innovation in the design and use of prediction markets throughout the economy, and in the process to provide information that will benefit the private sector and government alike. 

 


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Universal Power Law Governing Pedestrian Interactions

Universal Power Law Governing Pedestrian Interactions | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
A universal law for the interaction of pedestrians in a crowd, based on a walker's ability to anticipate collisions, leads to accurate simulations of a variety of crowd conditions.
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What’s the evidence on using rational argument to change people’s minds? by Tom Stafford

What’s the evidence on using rational argument to change people’s minds? by Tom Stafford | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
Are we, the human species, unreasonable? Do rational arguments have any power to sway us, or is it all intuition, hidden motivations, and various other forms of prejudice?

The question has been hanging over me because of my profession. I work as a cognitive psychologist, researching and teaching how people …
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Mental health: The great depression

Mental health: The great depression | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
Depression causes more disability than any other disorder. A special issue explores how science can help.

 

http://www.nature.com/news/mental-health-the-great-depression-1.16306


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Spatial patterns of close relationships across the lifespan

The dynamics of close relationships is important for understanding the migration patterns of individual life-courses. The bottom-up approach to this subject by social scientists has been limited by sample size, while the more recent top-down approach using large-scale datasets suffers from a lack of detail about the human individuals. We incorporate the geographic and demographic information of millions of mobile phone users with their communication patterns to study the dynamics of close relationships and its effect in their life-course migration. We demonstrate how the close age- and sex-biased dyadic relationships are correlated with the geographic proximity of the pair of individuals, e.g., young couples tend to live further from each other than old couples. In addition, we find that emotionally closer pairs are living geographically closer to each other. These findings imply that the life-course framework is crucial for understanding the complex dynamics of close relationships and their effect on the migration patterns of human individuals.

 

Spatial patterns of close relationships across the lifespan
• Hang-Hyun Jo, Jari Saramäki, Robin I. M. Dunbar & Kimmo Kaski

Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 6988 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep06988


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Strategies for containing Ebola in West Africa

Effective drugs and vaccines for Ebola virus are not available, so what can be done? Pandey et al. used a mathematical model to analyze transmission in different scenarios: the community, hospitals, and at funerals. Achieving full compliance with any single control measure, such as case isolation, is impossible under prevailing conditions. However, with a minimum of 60% compliance, a combination of case isolation, hygienic burial, and contact tracing could reduce daily case numbers to single figures in 5 to 6 months. Success will also require persistence and sensitivity to local customs.

 

Strategies for containing Ebola in West Africa
Abhishek Pandey, et al.

Science 21 November 2014:
Vol. 346 no. 6212 pp. 991-995
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1260612


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Chemists create ‘artificial chemical evolution’ for the first time

Chemists create ‘artificial chemical evolution’ for the first time | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it

Scientists have taken an important step towards the possibility of creating synthetic life with the development of a form of artificial evolution in a simple chemistry set without DNA.


A team from the University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry report in a new paper in the journal Nature Communications today (Monday 8 December) on how they have managed to create an evolving chemical system for the first time. The process uses a robotic ‘aid’ and could be used in the future to ‘evolve’ new chemicals capable of performing specific tasks.


The researchers used a specially-designed open source robot based upon a cheap 3D printer to create and monitor droplets of oil in water-filled Petri dishes in their lab. Each droplet was composed from a slightly different mixture of four chemical compounds.


Droplets of oil move in water like primitive chemical machines, transferring chemical energy to kinetic energy. The researchers’ robot used a video camera to monitor, process and analyse the behaviour of 225 differently-composed droplets, identifying a number of distinct characteristics such as vibration or clustering.


The team picked out three types of droplet behavior – division, movement and vibration – to focus on in the next stage of the research. They used the robot to deposit four droplets of the same composition, then ranked the droplets in order of how closely they fit the criteria of behaviour identified by the researchers. The chemical composition of the ‘fittest’ droplet was then carried over into a second generation of droplets, and the process of robotic selection was begun again.

Over the course of 20 repetitions of the process, the researchers found that the droplets became more stable, mimicking the natural selection of evolution.

 

The research team was led by Professor Lee Cronin, the University of Glasgow’s Regius Chair of Chemistry. Professor Cronin said: “This is the first time that an evolvable chemical system has existed outside of biology. Biological evolution has given rise to enormously complex and sophisticated forms of life, and our robot-driven form of evolution could have the potential to do something similar for chemical systems.


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WHO: Malaria deaths halved since 2000 in quest for total eradication

The international health community is celebrating what may prove to be a turning point in the global fight against malaria. Deaths from the mosquito-borne disease have been almost halved since the turn of the millennium, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO), with experts saying they’re confident the illness can one day be eradicated entirely.

 

However, although the malaria mortality rate fell by 47 percent globally and by 54 percent in Africa, the WHO warns that much more still needs to be done. Dozens of countries are reporting insecticide-resistance among their mosquito populations and in Africa — where 90 percent of malaria deaths occur — some 278 million people lack even the basic protection of an insecticide-treated mosquito net.

 

The disease also continues to disproportionately affect children in poor countries. Of the estimated global malaria death toll of 584,000 in 2013, some 437,000 of those cases were African children under the age of five. However, malaria infections in the African continent have decreased significantly since the year 2000, falling by 23 percent from 173 million to 128 million.

 

The WHO attributes these gains to the increased spread of established methods, including rapid diagnostic tests (which have risen globally from 46 million 319 million over the past five years); malarial treatment using artemisnin (392 million treatments were bought last year, up from 11 million in 2004); and access to insecticide-treated nets (427 million of which have been distributed in the last two years).

 


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[1411.7310] The Scaling of Human Contacts in Reaction-Diffusion Processes on Heterogeneous Metapopulation Networks

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Social and Natural Sciences Differ in Their Research Strategies, Adapted to Work for Different Knowledge Landscapes

Social and Natural Sciences Differ in Their Research Strategies, Adapted to Work for Different Knowledge Landscapes | Complex Systems and X-Events | 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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Anticipation is the Key to Crowd Physics

Anticipation is the Key to Crowd Physics | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
A universal law for the interaction of pedestrians in a crowd, based on a walker’s ability to anticipate collisions, leads to accurate simulations of a variety of crowd conditions.
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Evolutionary dynamics of time-resolved social interactions

Cooperation among unrelated individuals is frequently observed in social groups when their members combine efforts and resources to obtain a shared benefit that is unachievable by an individual alone. However, understanding why cooperation arises despite the natural tendency of individuals toward selfish behavior is still an open problem and represents one of the most fascinating challenges in evolutionary dynamics. Recently, the structural characterization of the networks in which social interactions take place has shed some light on the mechanisms by which cooperative behavior emerges and eventually overcomes the natural temptation to defect. In particular, it has been found that the heterogeneity in the number of social ties and the presence of tightly knit communities lead to a significant increase in cooperation as compared with the unstructured and homogeneous connection patterns considered in classical evolutionary dynamics. Here, we investigate the role of social-ties dynamics for the emergence of cooperation in a family of social dilemmas. Social interactions are in fact intrinsically dynamic, fluctuating, and intermittent over time, and they can be represented by time-varying networks. By considering two experimental data sets of human interactions with detailed time information, we show that the temporal dynamics of social ties has a dramatic impact on the evolution of cooperation: the dynamics of pairwise interactions favors selfish behavior.

 

Evolutionary dynamics of time-resolved social interactions
Phys. Rev. E 90, 052825 – Published 25 November 2014
Alessio Cardillo, Giovanni Petri, Vincenzo Nicosia, Roberta Sinatra, Jesús Gómez-Gardeñes, and Vito Latora

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.90.052825


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The Storrs Lectures: Behavioral Economics and Paternalism by Cass R. Sunstein :: SSRN

The Storrs Lectures: Behavioral Economics and Paternalism by Cass R. Sunstein :: SSRN | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
Abstract:      
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that in some contexts and for identifiable reasons, people make choices that are not in their interest, even when the stakes are high. Policymakers in a number of nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have used the underlying evidence to inform regulatory initiatives and choice architecture in a number of domains. Both the resulting actions and the relevant findings have raised the question whether an understanding of human errors opens greater space for paternalism. Behavioral market failures, which occur as a result of such errors, are an important supplement to the standard account of market failures; if promoting welfare is the guide, then behavioral market failures should be taken into consideration, even if the resulting actions are paternalistic. A general principle of behaviorally informed regulation – its first law – is that the appropriate responses to behavioral market failures usually consist of nudges, generally in the form of disclosure, warnings, and default rules. While some people invoke autonomy as an objection to paternalism, the strongest objections are welfarist in character. Official action may fail to respect heterogeneity, may diminish learning and self-help, may be subject to pressures from self-interested private groups (the problem of “behavioral public choice”), and may reflect the same errors that ordinary people make. The welfarist arguments against paternalism have considerable force, but choice architecture, and sometimes a form of paternalism, are inevitable, and to that extent the welfarist objections cannot get off the ground. Where paternalism is optional, the objections, though reasonable, depend on empirical assumptions that may not hold in identifiable contexts. There are many opportunities for improving human welfare through improved choice architecture. 

 


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Economic complexity: A different way to look at the economy

Economic complexity: A different way to look at the economy - Foundations & Frontiers - Medium

By W. Brian Arthur; External Professor, Santa Fe Institute; Visiting Researcher, Palo Alto Research Center. 

Economics is a stately subject, one that has altered little since its modern foundations were laid in Victorian times. Now it is changing radically. Standard economics is suddenly being challenged by a number of new approaches: behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, new institutional economics. One of the new approaches came to life at the Santa Fe Institute: complexity economics.

Complexity economics got its start in 1987 when a now-famous conference of scientists and economists convened by physicist Philip Anderson and economist Kenneth Arrow met to discuss the economy as an evolving complex system. That conference gave birth a year later to the Institute’s first research program – the Economy as an Evolving Complex System – and I was asked to lead this. That program in turn has gone on to lay down a new and different way to look at the economy.


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Fàtima Galan's curator insight, December 10, 8:43 AM

"Where does complexity economics find itself now? Certainly, many commentators see it as steadily moving toward the center of economics. And there’s a recognition that it is more than a new set of methods or theories: it is a different way to see the economy. It views the economy not as machine-like, perfectly rational, and essentially static, but as organic, always exploring, and always evolving – always constructing itself."

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New Scientist: AI AND A-LIFE | What if...

Artificial intelligence: Contrary to popular belief, the most watched sporting event on Earth is not the Olympic Games, but football's World Cup....
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Geoffrey West: The theoretical physicist with the grand unified theory of cities

Geoffrey West: The theoretical physicist with the grand unified theory of cities | Complex Systems and X-Events | Scoop.it
So, here's a thing. If you double the size of a city, then you don't quite double its infrastructure. If a city of 1m expands to become one of 2m, then the number of, say, petrol stations it has per person will fall by approximately 15 per cent. This rule of thumb carries over to all sorts of other stuff: the size of the road network, the length of its electrical cables, the size of its sewer system... The more people you have, the less of any given resource each of them will need.
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On the bioeconomics of shame and guilt

Shame has biological roots, possibly enhancing trust, favoring social cohesion. We studied bioeconomic aspects of shame and guilt using three approaches: 1—Anthropo-linguistic studies of Guilt and Shame among the Yanomami, a culturally isolated traditional tribal society; 2—Estimates of the importance different languages assign to the concepts Shame, Guilt, Pain, Embarrassment, Fear and Trust, counting the number of synonyms listed by Google Translate; 3—Quantitative correlations between this linguistic data with socioeconomic indexes. Results showed that Yanomami is unique in having overlapping synonyms for Shame, Fear and Embarrassment. No language had overlapping synonyms for Shame andGuilt. Societies previously described as “Guilt Societies” have more synonyms for Guilt than for Shame. A large majority of languages, including those from societies previously described as “Shame Societies”, have more words for Shame than for Guilt. The number of synonyms for Guilt and Shame strongly correlated with estimates of corruption, ease of doing business and governance, but not with levels of interpersonal trust. We propose that cultural evolution of shame has continued the work of biological evolution, but its adaptive advantageto society is still unclear. Results suggest that recent cultural evolution must be responsible for the relationship between the levels of corruption of a society and the number of synonyms for Guilt and Shame in its language. This opens a novel window for the study of complex interactions between biological and cultural evolution of cognition and emotions, which might help broaden our insight into bioeconomics.

 

On the bioeconomics of shame and guilt
Klaus Jaffe, Astrid Flórez, Marcos Manzanares, Rodolfo Jaffe, Cristina M. Gomes, Daniel Rodríguez, Carla Achury

Journal of Bioeconomics
September 2014

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10818-014-9189-5


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Saberes Sin Fronteras Ong's curator insight, November 30, 5:42 PM

Las bases bio-económicas de los sentimientos de culpa y vergüenza.

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Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination

Each one of us may encounter several different strains of the ever-changing influenza virus during a lifetime. Scientists can now summarize such histories of infection over a lifetime of exposure. Fonville et al. visualize the interplay between protective responses and the evasive influenza virus by a technique called antibody landscape modeling (see the Perspective by Lessler). Landscapes reveal how exposure to new strains of the virus boost immune responses and indicate possibilities for optimizing future vaccination programs.

 

Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination
J. M. Fonville et al.

Science 21 November 2014:
Vol. 346 no. 6212 pp. 996-1000
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1256427


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