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Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
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Your brain is not that big, get over it

Your brain is not that big, get over it | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Humans are proud of their brains, and rightfully so. A new comparative analysis suggests however, that we should not be so obsessed with size when considering our smarts.

 

This week evolutionary anthropologists Robert Barton and Chris Venditti report the results of a wide analysis in PNAS Early Edition comparing human frontal lobe size to other brain structures. For an animal our size, our frontal lobes are not larger than expected.

 

This finding runs counter to conventional wisdom in the popular press and much scientific literature.

 

“One of the most pervasive assumptions about human brain evolution is that it involved relative enlargement of the frontal lobes,” the authors write. “We show that this assumption is without foundation.”

 

Prior studies cited as evidence for relative expansion of the frontal lobes, involved in higher-order functioning, have sometimes been based on unscaled measurements. These comparisons confuse selective enlargement with allometric scaling.

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Sexual selection and mating systems

Sexual selection is among the most powerful of all evolutionary forces. It occurs when individuals within one sex secure mates and produce offspring at the expense of other individuals within the same sex. Darwin was first to recognize the power of sexual selection to change male and female phenotypes, and, in noting that sexual selection is nonubiquitous, Darwin was also first to recognize the importance of mating system—the “special circumstances” in which reproduction occurs within species. Analyses of mating systems since Darwin have emphasized either the genetic relationships between male and female mating elements, usually among plants, or the numbers of mates males and females may obtain, usually among animals. Combining these schemes yields a quantitative methodology that emphasizes measurement of the sex difference in the variance in relative fitness, as well as phenotypic and genetic correlations underlying reproductive traits that may arise among breeding pairs. Such information predicts the degree and direction of sexual dimorphism within species, it allows the classification of mating systems using existing genetic and life history data, and with information on the spatial and temporal distributions of fertilizations, it may also predict floral morphology in plants. Because this empirical framework identifies selective forces and genetic architectures responsible for observed male-female differences, it compliments discoveries of nucleotide sequence variation and the expression of quantitative traits. Moreover, because this methodology emphasizes the process of evolutionary change, it is easier to test and interpret than frameworks emphasizing parental investment in offspring and its presumed evolutionary outcomes.

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Big-O Algorithm Complexity Cheat Sheet: Know Thy Complexities!

Big-O Algorithm Complexity Cheat Sheet: Know Thy Complexities! | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Hi there!  This webpage covers the space and time Big-O complexities of common algorithms used in Computer Science.  When preparing for technical interviews in the past, I found myself spending hours crawling the internet putting together the best, average, and worst case complexities for search and sorting algorithms so that I wouldn't be stumped when asked about them.  Over the last few years, I've interviewed at several Silicon Valley startups, and also some bigger companies, like Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, and Google, and each time that I prepared for an interview, I thought to msyelf "Why oh why hasn't someone created a nice Big-O cheat sheet?".  So, to save all of you fine folks a ton of time, I went ahead and created one.  Enjoy!

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How does the brain react to a romantic breakup?

How does the brain react to a romantic breakup? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and at the Miriam Hospital, responds: You're in the midst of a breakup and feel like a different person. You find yourself spending a lot of time longing for your ex, constantly checking her Facebook updates, and wondering what went wrong. This shift in patterns of thought and behavior may be caused by neural changes that occur after a breakup.

 

Neuroimaging studies have found that being rejected, even by a stranger, activates many of the same regions in the brain as when experiencing physical pain. In one study, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University recruited brave participants who held still in a functional MRI scanner while they looked at pictures of the person who had recently dumped them. These participants exhibited increased brain activity in several regions associated with reward, motivation, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which helps to explain why you might struggle to let go after a romantic relationship ends.

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GitHub Is Helping Companies Work Together by Crowdsourcing Software

Even GitHub uses GitHub: Co-founder and CEO Tom Preston-Werner recently experienced in a very meta way the power of his online hosting service for software-development projects (and the largest open-source community around). Preston-Werner asked users to help him build a new type of data format; within two days, hundreds of contributions to the project had been made.

 

"To see a community rally around an idea, all in such a short time frame ... is pretty stunning," he says. "GitHub is able to pull people together and inspire people to contribute, because they can become part of something that's bigger than themselves."

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M. Smoluchowski Symposium on Statistical Physics: Complexity of Brain - Critical Behaviour and Scaling

The Marian Smoluchowski Symposium on Statistical Physics is a cyclic scientific meeting organized annually in Poland since 1988. The conference takes name after the famous Polish physicist who made huge contributions in the natural science and foundation of statistical physics. Links to the most important scientific works by Marian Smoluchowski are available here.

 

The conference is traditionally organized under the patronage of the Mark Kac Complex Systems Research Center at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and the consortium of four other Polish academic institutions, i.e. the Institute of Chemical Physics, Polish Academy of Science (Warszawa), Silesian University of Technology (Gliwice), August Chekowski Institue of Physics, Silesian University (Katowice) and Wrocaw University of Technology. European Science Foundation was involved in preparation and co-sponsoring of the symposium in the past within the program STOCHDYN (Stochastic Dynamics) and EPSD (Exploring Physics of Small Devices). In 2012 the anniversary XXVth Smoluchowski Symposium has been organized and promoted with the assistance of the Division of Statistical and Nonlinear Physics (SNP), a part of the European Physical Society (EPS).

 

The XXVIth conference, devoted to the complexity of brain will take place in Krakow, Poland in Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University, 28-31 August 2013. The program of the meeting will focus on various aspects and principles of brain structure and functioning, understanding modular character of its components and synchronization, modeling brain activity, behavior and cognition. Participation of experts involved in computational neuroscience and neurophysiology is expected to shed light on recent evidence of critical phenomena observed in human brain dynamics at various spatial and temporal scales. The subject of the conference will also cover the issue of neural information gain, transfer and processing. Decoding of brain signals allows to extract features from the preprocessed brain signals which are further classified to represent different mental states. An inverse mapping should provide relation between brain signals and specific stimuli. Hierarchical structure of cortical connectivity will be discussed in the context of characterization of complex networks.

 

The broad scope of the conference is meant to attract international community of neuroscientists to share their opinions and possibly, creating a new platform for common research.

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Journal Cortex launches Registered Reports

Journal Cortex launches Registered Reports | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

On May 1st, Cortex launched a new innovation in scientific publishing called a Registered Report. Unlike conventional publishing models, Registered Reports split the review process into two stages. Initially, experimental methods and proposed analyses are pre-registered and reviewed before data are collected. Then, if peer reviews are favourable, we offer authors “in-principle acceptance” of their paper. This guarantees publication of their future results providing that they adhere precisely to their registered protocol. Once their experiment is complete, authors then resubmit their full manuscript for final consideration.

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Ecologists warn of overreliance on unvetted computer source code by researchers

A team of scientists, led by ecologist Lucas Joppa of Microsoft Research, has published a commentary piece in the journal Science, highlighting what they say is a growing problem in research efforts.

 

The problem, Joppa et al, say, is that increasingly, researchers are relying on existing software to perform their research, despite the fact that no one has peer reviewed the software itself. It's a problem, they say, that is particularly troubling when big applications are used because small coding errors can be compounded. A rounding error in a spreadsheet generally won't cause much problem, they note, but when a rounding error is repeated over and over again, perhaps millions of times, it can lead to completely inaccurate results.

 

In a Podcast interview with Science, Joppa explains the problems with software use in research have come about mainly due to the software being written by researchers themselves, rather than by trained software engineers. Software written by one research group can very easily become the standard for use by many other groups, despite the fact that it has never been thoroughly tested to ensure it's giving accurate results.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-ecologists-overreliance-unvetted-source-code.html#
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Robots learn to take a proper handoff by following digitized human examples

Disney Research and KIT scientists achieve natural human-to-robot handoff motion

 

A humanoid robot can receive an object handed to it by a person with something approaching natural, human-like motion thanks to a new method developed by scientists at Disney Research, Pittsburgh in a project partially funded by the International Center for Advanced Communication Technologies (interACT) at Carnegie Mellon University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

 

 

Recognizing that a person is handing something and predicting where the human plans to make the handoff is difficult for a robot, but the researchers from Disney and KIT solved the problem by using motion capture data with two people to create a database of human motion. By rapidly searching the database, a robot can realize what the human is doing and make a reasonable estimate of where he is likely to extend his hand.

 

 

The researchers presented their findings at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Karlsruhe, Germany, where their paper was nominated for a Best Cognitive Robotics Paper Award.

 

 

People handing a coat, a package or a tool to a robot will become commonplace if robots are introduced to the workplace and the home, said Katsu Yamane, Disney Research, Pittsburgh senior research scientist. But the technique he developed with Marcel Revfi, an interACT exchange student from KIT, could apply to any number of situations where a robot needs to synchronize its motion with that of a human, such as in a dance.

 

 

In the case of accepting a handoff, it's not just sufficient to develop a technique that enables the robot to efficiently find and grasp the object. "If a robot just sticks out its hand blindly, or uses motions that look more robotic than human, a person might feel uneasy working with that robot or might question whether it is up to the task," Yamane explained. "We assume human-like motions are more user-friendly because they are familiar."

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Advances in Neuroprosthetic Learning and Control

Advances in Neuroprosthetic Learning and Control | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Significant progress has occurred in the field of brain–machine interfaces (BMI) since the first demonstrations with rodents, monkeys, and humans controlling different prosthetic devices directly with neural activity. This technology holds great potential to aid large numbers of people with neurological disorders. However, despite this initial enthusiasm and the plethora of available robotic technologies, existing neural interfaces cannot as yet master the control of prosthetic, paralyzed, or otherwise disabled limbs. Here I briefly discuss recent advances from our laboratory into the neural basis of BMIs that should lead to better prosthetic control and clinically viable solutions, as well as new insights into the neurobiology of action.

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Modelling Pedestrian Travel Time and the Design of Facilities: A Queuing Approach

Modelling Pedestrian Travel Time and the Design of Facilities: A Queuing Approach | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Pedestrian movements are the consequence of several complex and stochastic facts. The modelling of pedestrian movements and the ability to predict the travel time are useful for evaluating the performance of a pedestrian facility. However, only a few studies can be found that incorporate the design of the facility, local pedestrian body dimensions, the delay experienced by the pedestrians, and level of service to the pedestrian movements. In this paper, a queuing based analytical model is developed as a function of relevant determinants and functional factors to predict the travel time on pedestrian facilities. The model can be used to assess the overall serving rate or performance of a facility layout and correlate it to the level of service that is possible to provide the pedestrians. It has also the ability to provide a clear suggestion on the designing and sizing of pedestrian facilities. The model is empirically validated and is found to be a robust tool to understand how well a particular walking facility makes possible comfort and convenient pedestrian movements. The sensitivity analysis is also performed to see the impact of some crucial parameters of the developed model on the performance of pedestrian facilities.

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Neural Correlates of Sound Localization in Complex Acoustic Environments

Neural Correlates of Sound Localization in Complex Acoustic Environments | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Listening to and understanding people in a “cocktail-party situation” is a remarkable feature of the human auditory system. Here we investigated the neural correlates of the ability to localize a particular sound among others in an acoustically cluttered environment with healthy subjects. In a sound localization task, five different natural sounds were presented from five virtual spatial locations during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Activity related to auditory stream segregation was revealed in posterior superior temporal gyrus bilaterally, anterior insula, supplementary motor area, and frontoparietal network. Moreover, the results indicated critical roles of left planum temporale in extracting the sound of interest among acoustical distracters and the precuneus in orienting spatial attention to the target sound. We hypothesized that the left-sided lateralization of the planum temporale activation is related to the higher specialization of the left hemisphere for analysis of spectrotemporal sound features. Furthermore, the precuneus − a brain area known to be involved in the computation of spatial coordinates across diverse frames of reference for reaching to objects − seems to be also a crucial area for accurately determining locations of auditory targets in an acoustically complex scene of multiple sound sources. The precuneus thus may not only be involved in visuo-motor processes, but may also subserve related functions in the auditory modality.

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Evaluation of a Short-Form of the Berg Card Sorting Test

Evaluation of a Short-Form of the Berg Card Sorting Test | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The Psychology Experimental Building Language http://pebl.sourceforge.net/ Berg Card Sorting Test is an open-source neurobehavioral test. Participants (N = 207, ages 6 to 74) completed the Berg Card Sorting Test. Performance on the first 64 trials were isolated and compared to that on the full-length (128 trials) test. Strong correlations between the short and long forms (total errors: r = .87, perseverative response: r = .83, perseverative errors r = .77, categories completed r = .86) support the Berg Card Sorting Test-64 as an abbreviated alternative for the full-length executive function test.

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BDCS'13 | Conference on Big Data in Complex Systems 2013

BDCS'13 | Conference on Big Data in Complex Systems 2013 | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In the last ten years there has been an exponential increase of the quantity and the quality of available information obtained from many types of complex systems, ranging from the interactions of millions of users in social networks to the information contained in the genomic and proteomic databases. This has opened new challenges to scientists on (i) how to store and handle this massive amount of information, (ii) how to create new tools and adapt the current ones to process, study and visualize the information and (iii) what insight can we learn from systems that were previously not understood due to the lack of information.

 

All these problems, coming from multiple disciples, are grouped under the term Big Data, and their main characteristic is the need to deal with massive amounts of information. As a consequence, there are some common challenges that all data focused scientists will have to confront, which might already be solved in other fields under the Big Data classification.

 

The main goal of this satellite is to serve as a meeting point for scientists working on all topics related with Big Data, with a special interest with its relation with complex systems research. We want to put in common the problems that scientists face when they work with Big Data, and to share the experiences on how to overcome them.

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Origin of a giant synapse discovered

Origin of a giant synapse discovered | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Humans and most mammals can determine the spatial origin of sounds with remarkable acuity. We use this ability all the time—crossing the street; locating an invisible ringing cell phone in a cluttered bedroom. To accomplish this small daily miracle, the brain has developed a circuit that's rapid enough to detect the tiny lag that occurs between the moment the auditory information reaches one of our ears, and the moment it reaches the other. The mastermind of this circuit is the "Calyx of Held," the largest known synapse in the brain. EPFL scientists have revealed the role that a certain protein plays in initiating the growth of these giant synapses. The discovery, published in Nature Neuroscience, could also help shed light on a number of neuropsychiatric disorders.

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Perfect skin: More touchy-feely robots

Perfect skin: More touchy-feely robots | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Robots could become a lot more 'sensitive' thanks to new artificial skins and sensor technologies. Leading to better robotic platforms that could one day be used in industry, hospitals and even at home.

 

The new capabilities, and a production system for building touch-sensitivity into different robots, will improve the way robots work in unconstrained settings, as well as their ability to communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans.

 

The EU-funded project 'Skin-based technologies and capabilities for safe, autonomous and interactive robots' (ROBOSKIN) developed new sensor technologies and management systems which give robots an artificial sense of touch -- until now an elusive quality in robotics.

 

According to the partners behind the research from Italy, Switzerland and the UK, it was important to create cognitive mechanisms that use tactile feedback (the sense of 'touch' or 'feel') and behaviour to make sure human-robot interaction is safe and effective for the envisaged future applications.

 

The artificial skin is modelled largely on real skin, which has a tiny network of nerves that sense or feel changes like hot/cold or rough/smooth. In this case, the electronic sensors collect this so-called 'tactile data' and process it using application software which has been front-loaded to include some basic robot behaviours which can be added to over time.

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Cradle turns smartphone into handheld biosensor

Cradle turns smartphone into handheld biosensor | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Researchers and physicians in the field could soon run on-the-spot tests for environmental toxins, medical diagnostics, food safety and more with their smartphones.

 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone's built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules.

 

Having such sensitive biosensing capabilities in the field could enable on-the-spot tracking of groundwater contamination, combine the phone's GPS data with biosensing data to map the spread of pathogens, or provide immediate and inexpensive medical diagnostic tests in field clinics or contaminant checks in the food processing and distribution chain.

 

"We're interested in biodetection that needs to be performed outside of the laboratory," said team leader Brian Cunningham, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of bioengineering at the U. of I. "Smartphones are making a big impact on our society -- the way we get our information, the way we communicate. And they have really powerful computing capability and imaging. A lot of medical conditions might be monitored very inexpensively and non-invasively using mobile platforms like phones. They can detect molecular things, like pathogens, disease biomarkers or DNA, things that are currently only done in big diagnostic labs with lots of expense and large volumes of blood."

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New rhythm for El Nino discovered

New rhythm for El Nino discovered | Social Foraging | Scoop.it
El Niño wreaks havoc across the globe, shifting weather patterns that spawn droughts in some regions and floods in others. The impacts of this tropical Pacific climate phenomenon are well known and documented.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-rhythm-el-nino.html#jCpEl Niño wreaks havoc across the globe, shifting weather patterns that spawn droughts in some regions and floods in others. The impacts of this tropical Pacific climate phenomenon are well known and documented.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-rhythm-el-nino.html#jCp

A mystery, however, has remained despite decades of research: Why does El Niño always peak around Christmas and end quickly by February to April?

 

Now there is an answer: An unusual wind pattern that straddles the equatorial Pacific during strong El Niño events and swings back and forth with a period of 15 months explains El Niño's close ties to the annual cycle.

 

This finding is reported in the May 26, 2013, online issue of Nature Geoscience by scientists from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Meteorology Department and International Pacific Research Center.

"This atmospheric pattern peaks in February and triggers some of the well-known El Niño impacts, such as droughts in the Philippines and across Micronesia and heavy rainfall over French Polynesia," says lead author Malte Stuecker.



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-rhythm-el-nino.html#jCp
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Physicists Create Quantum Link Between Photons That Don't Exist at the Same Time

Physicists Create Quantum Link Between Photons That Don't Exist at the Same Time | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Now they’re just messing with us. Physicists have long known that quantum mechanics allows for a subtle connection between quantum particles called entanglement, in which measuring one particle can instantly set the otherwise uncertain condition, or “state,” of another particle—even if it’s light years away. Now, experimenters in Israel have shown that they can entangle two photons that don’t even exist at the same time.

 

“It’s really cool,” says Jeremy O’Brien, an experimenter at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the work. Such time-separated entanglement is predicted by standard quantum theory, O’Brien says, “but it’s certainly not widely appreciated, and I don’t know if it’s been clearly articulated before.”

 

Entanglement is a kind of order that lurks within the uncertainty of quantum theory. Suppose you have a quantum particle of light, or photon. It can be polarized so that it wriggles either vertically or horizontally. The quantum realm is also hazed over with unavoidable uncertainty, and thanks to such quantum uncertainty, a photon can also be polarized vertically and horizontally at the same time. If you then measure the photon, however, you will find it either horizontally polarized or vertically polarized, as the two-ways-at-once state randomly “collapses” one way or the other.

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Frontiers in Neurorobotics: Intrinsic motivations and open-ended development in animals, humans, and robots

Frontiers in Neurorobotics: Intrinsic motivations and open-ended development in animals, humans, and robots | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The aim of this Research Topic for Frontiers in Neurorobotics and Frontiers in Cognitive Science is to present state-of-the-art research, whether theoretical, empirical, or computational investigations, on open-ended development driven by intrinsic motivations. The topic will address questions such as: How do motivations drive learning? How are complex skills built up from a foundation of simpler competencies? What are the neural and computational bases for intrinsically motivated learning? What is the contribution of intrinsic motivations to wider cognition?

Autonomous development and lifelong open-ended learning are hallmarks of intelligence. Higher mammals, and especially humans, engage in activities that do not appear to directly serve the goals of survival, reproduction, or material advantage. Rather, a large part of their activity is intrinsically motivated - behavior driven by curiosity, play, interest in novel stimuli and surprising events, autonomous goal-setting, and the pleasure of acquiring new competencies. This allows the cumulative acquisition of knowledge and skills that can later be used to accomplish fitness-enhancing goals. Intrinsic motivations continue during adulthood, and in humans artistic creativity, scientific discovery, and subjective well-being owe much to them.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, May 27, 2013 7:58 PM

Neurorobotics and intrinsic motivation, quite the combo in this piece.  ~ D

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Is This Virtual Worm the First Sign of the Singularity?

Is This Virtual Worm the First Sign of the Singularity? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A far-flung team is trying to build the first digital lifeform to work out the basic principles of the brain.

 

For all the talk of artificial intelligence and all the games of SimCity that have been played, no one in the world can actually simulate living things. Biology is so complex that nowhere on Earth is there a comprehensive model of even a single simple bacterial cell. 

 

And yet, these are exciting times for "executable biology," an emerging field dedicated to creating models of organisms that run on a computer. Last year, Markus Covert's Stanford lab created the best ever molecular model of a very simple cell. To do so, they had to compile information from 900 scientific publications. An editorial that accompanied the study in the journal Cell was titled, "The Dawn of Virtual Cell Biology."

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Parcels find their way to you via the crowd

Parcels find their way to you via the crowd | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A new delivery concept uses the location of random strangers to TwedEx parcels directly to you – wherever you are


JANE yawns and climbs the stairs from the subway at 145th Street, New York. She's almost home. A stranger rises from a bench as she approaches, catching her eye. "Jane Murphy?" She nods. "Here's your package."

 

This is the ultimate aim of a crowd-powered delivery system dreamed up by a group of Microsoft researchers. Fictional Jane never has to deviate from her normal route to pick up her package. Instead, it is sent via a chain of people – an algorithm calculates the fastest route using aggregated location data from New York tweeters. Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research in Seattle, Washington, calls the concept TwedEx. The idea could make it possible to deliver purchases to customers on the move, as well as making it cheaper to send them.

 

Basic crowdsourced systems already exist, which hire strangers from the internet to deliver packages. But TwedEx is different because it taps into existing human journeys. All the sender need do is write the recipient's unique identifier on the package, their Twitter handle, for example, and let the TwedEx algorithm and the crowd do the rest.

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meta: The Only Fully Augmented Reality Glasses

meta 1 Dev Kit- the first device allowing visualization and interaction with 3D virtual objects in the real world using your hands.

 

meta presents the world’s first developer kit and platform for augmented reality; users will have direct gestural control of 3D virtual objects attached to their real environment. A game-changing two part wearable computer allows users to play with virtual objects in 3D space using nature’s perfect controllers - their hands. This truly unique product has to be worn to be believed, so meta put the device on the heads of an Emmy® award winning team, and a number of top-notch UI engineers and they produced a series of promotional materials, the first of which is featured on http://www.meta-view.com.

 

We were inspired by the interfaces in films like Iron Man, Avatar and Minority Report and wanted to make them a reality. The meta 1 Developers Kit has the power to finally deliver a natural interface between the virtual world and reality.

 

We are integrating customized hardware components and building a robust SDK (software development kit). meta 1 is the most advanced and affordable interface for augmented reality, we want every developer to have the opportunity to create the apps of the future.

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luiy's curator insight, May 21, 2013 2:44 PM
Risks and challenges 

The most likely obstacle facing us is one similar projects have faced--managing production and shipping deadlines. Fortunately, we are working with established and experienced partners to manufacture meta 1. We have worked closely with our partners and planned out a manufacturing forecast that has led us to the tentative shipping date of September 2013.

Below are the primary components of our manufacturing roadmap: 


1. Licensing agreements with our glasses (Epson) and depth camera (we cannot disclose the name at the time) manufacturers- secured for shipment to us by the end of June

 

2. Integration and 3D printing 
- 3D printing will be done in a warehouse in Brooklyn 
- integration by meta team will take about one month per 100 units

 

3. Testing and package assembly 
- an additional week per 100 units

 

Additionally, we will be consulting industry experts to advise us as we progress. With the strength of our team, we hope to avoid the setbacks that inexperienced startups usually face. In any case, we will do our utmost to keep our supporters posted on our progress. Thank you!

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Modeling Wildfire Incident Complexity Dynamics

Modeling Wildfire Incident Complexity Dynamics | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Wildfire management in the United States and elsewhere is challenged by substantial uncertainty regarding the location and timing of fire events, the socioeconomic and ecological consequences of these events, and the costs of suppression. Escalating U.S. Forest Service suppression expenditures is of particular concern at a time of fiscal austerity as swelling fire management budgets lead to decreases for non-fire programs, and as the likelihood of disruptive within-season borrowing potentially increases. Thus there is a strong interest in better understanding factors influencing suppression decisions and in turn their influence on suppression costs. As a step in that direction, this paper presents a probabilistic analysis of geographic and temporal variation in incident management team response to wildfires. The specific focus is incident complexity dynamics through time for fires managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The modeling framework is based on the recognition that large wildfire management entails recurrent decisions across time in response to changing conditions, which can be represented as a stochastic dynamic system. Daily incident complexity dynamics are modeled according to a first-order Markov chain, with containment represented as an absorbing state. A statistically significant difference in complexity dynamics between Forest Service Regions is demonstrated. Incident complexity probability transition matrices and expected times until containment are presented at national and regional levels. Results of this analysis can help improve understanding of geographic variation in incident management and associated cost structures, and can be incorporated into future analyses examining the economic efficiency of wildfire management.

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Extracting the Information Backbone in Online System

Extracting the Information Backbone in Online System | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Information overload is a serious problem in modern society and many solutions such as recommender system have been proposed to filter out irrelevant information. In the literature, researchers have been mainly dedicated to improving the recommendation performance (accuracy and diversity) of the algorithms while they have overlooked the influence of topology of the online user-object bipartite networks. In this paper, we find that some information provided by the bipartite networks is not only redundant but also misleading. With such “less can be more” feature, we design some algorithms to improve the recommendation performance by eliminating some links from the original networks. Moreover, we propose a hybrid method combining the time-aware and topology-aware link removal algorithms to extract the backbone which contains the essential information for the recommender systems. From the practical point of view, our method can improve the performance and reduce the computational time of the recommendation system, thus improving both of their effectiveness and efficiency.

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