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Social Foraging
Dynamics of Social Interaction
Curated by Ashish Umre
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The Visualizing Global Marathon 2012 - Nov 9th-11th

The Visualizing Global Marathon 2012 - Nov 9th-11th | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The Visualizing Marathon is the world's largest student data visualization competition. This year, we're bringing the global student design community together for one weekend to tackle real world issues with data and design.

 

Dive into data visualization alongside students from around the world. At the start of the marathon we'll unveil the data set and challenge you to design and build a project that creatively visualizes the data. You can work individually or in teams, participating online or at one of our in-person meetups. We'll be broadcasting workshops by data viz rockstars throughout the weekend. There will also be games, mini-challenges and more ways to connect with other students. Upload your finished project by the deadline, and then get to see what everyone else has been working on!

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Predicting Hurricane Sandy

Predicting Hurricane Sandy | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In 2009, the U.S. National Weather Service set ambitious goals—to improve the accuracy of forecasts of hurricane tracks and intensity by 20 percent by 2014 and by 50 percent by 2019. Last year for the first time, in modeling Hurricane Irene, the National Weather Service was able to incorporate data from flying planes through the storm directly into the simulations of the storm’s progress. Adding that detailed data from inside the storm, and other advances, meant that the 48-hour forecast of Hurricane Irenewas just as accurate as a 24-hour forecast had been a decade earlier.And the advance forecast of Hurricane Sandy, now heading for the east coast of the United States, should be even more accurate, thanks to a couple of advances in modeling that earlier this year moved from the research laboratories into operational use as part of the U.S. Global Forecast System (GFS). (Other countries run their own models; for example, Europe has a model called the ECMWF Model and the United Kingdom has UKMET Office Model.)

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A defeasible reasoning model of inductive concept learning from examples and communication

This paper introduces a logical model of inductive generalization, and specifically of the machine learning task of inductive concept learning (ICL). We argue that some inductive processes, like ICL, can be seen as a form of defeasible reasoning. We define a consequence relation characterizing which hypotheses can be induced from given sets of examples, and study its properties, showing they correspond to a rather well-behaved non-monotonic logic. We will also show that with the addition of a preference relation on inductive theories we can characterize the inductive bias of ICL algorithms. The second part of the paper shows how this logical characterization of inductive generalization can be integrated with another form of non-monotonic reasoning (argumentation), to define a model of multiagent ICL. This integration allows two or more agents to learn, in a consistent way, both from induction and from arguments used in the communication between them. We show that the inductive theories achieved by multiagent induction plus argumentation are sound, i.e. they are precisely the same as the inductive theories built by a single agent with all data.

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BabelNet: A very large multilingual semantic network

BabelNet: A very large multilingual semantic network | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

BabelNet, a very large multilingual semantic networkwith millions of concepts obtained from:

 

1. an integration of WordNet and Wikipedia based on an automatic mapping algorithm

 

2. translations of the concepts (i.e. English Wikipedia pages and WordNet synsets) based on Wikipedia cross-language links and the output of a machine translation system

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Algorithmic Typography, Crafted Entirely With Computer Code

Algorithmic Typography, Crafted Entirely With Computer Code | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Even the most serious typographers realize their work is in some ways a means to an end: While individual letters may be beautiful, they exist ultimately to form words. Yeohyun Ahn is a designer who has a different fate in mind for typography. She uses computer code compiled in the visual programming language Processing to algorithmically craft letters as individual pieces of software. The collection of 10 typefaces is called TYPE+CODE II, and it reimagines letters as complex, visually varied creations that, while not quite sentient or interactive, don’t utilize any of the traditional tools in a typical typographer’s arsenal.

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Slime mold uses an externalized spatial “memory” to navigate in complex environments

Spatial memory enhances an organism’s navigational ability. Memory typically resides within the brain, but what if an organism has no brain? We show that the brainless slime mold Physarum polycephalum constructs a form of spatial memory by avoiding areas it has previously explored. This mechanism allows the slime mold to solve the U-shaped trap problem—a classic test of autonomous navigational ability commonly used in robotics—requiring the slime mold to reach a chemoattractive goal behind a U-shaped barrier. Drawn into the trap, the organism must rely on other methods than gradient-following to escape and reach the goal. Our data show that spatial memory enhances the organism’s ability to navigate in complex environments. We provide a unique demonstration of a spatial memory system in a nonneuronal organism, supporting the theory that an externalized spatial memory may be the functional precursor to the internal memory of higher organisms.

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Precisely targeted electrical brain stimulation alters perception of faces, study finds

Precisely targeted electrical brain stimulation alters perception of faces, study finds | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

In a painless clinical procedure performed on a patient with electrodes temporarily implanted in his brain, Stanford University doctors pinpointed two nerve clusters that are critical for face perception. The findings could have practical value in treating people with prosopagnosia -- the inability to distinguish one face from another -- as well in gaining an understanding of why some of us are so much better than others at recognizing and remembering faces.

 

In a study published Oct. 24 in the Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists showed that mild electrical stimulation of two nerve clusters spaced a half-inch apart in a brain structure called the fusiform gyrus caused the subject's perception of faces to instantly become distorted while leaving his perception of other body parts and inanimate objects unchanged.

 

The surprised reaction of the subject, Ron Blackwell of Santa Clara, Calif., is captured in a video made during the procedure. "You just turned into somebody else. Your face metamorphosed," he tells the researcher in the video.

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Algorithmic Architecture

This short film is intended to encourage a creative audience to seek out Kevin Slavin’s talk Those Algorithms Which Govern Our Lives. It employs an effect which takes place in Google Earth when its 3D street photography and 2D satellite imagery don’t register correctly. This glitch is applied as a metaphor for the way that our 21st century supercities are physically changing to suit the needs of computer algorithms rather than human employees.

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Grid cell firing patterns signal environmental novelty by expansion

The hippocampal formation plays key roles in representing an animal’s location and in detecting environmental novelty to create or update those representations. However, the mechanisms behind this latter function are unclear. Here, we show that environmental novelty causes the spatial firing patterns of grid cells to expand in scale and reduce in regularity, reverting to their familiar scale as the environment becomes familiar. Simultaneously recorded place cell firing fields remapped and showed a smaller, temporary expansion. Grid expansion provides a potential mechanism for novelty signaling and may enhance the formation of new hippocampal representations, whereas the subsequent slow reduction in scale provides a potential familiarity signal.

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Neuroscientists propose revolutionary DNA-based approach to map wiring of whole brain

Neuroscientists propose revolutionary DNA-based approach to map wiring of whole brain | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A team of neuroscientists has proposed a new and potentially revolutionary way of obtaining a neuronal connectivity map (the "connectome") of the whole brain of the mouse. The details are set forth in an essay published October 23 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology.

 

The team, led by Professor Anthony Zador, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, aims to provide a comprehensive account of neural connectivity. At present the only method for obtaining this information with high precision relies on examining individual cell-to-cell contacts (synapses) in electron microscopes. But such methods are slow, expensive and labor-intensive.

 

Zador and colleagues instead propose to exploit high-throughput DNA sequencing to probe the connectivity of neural circuits at the resolution of single neurons.

 

"Our method renders the connectivity problem in a format in which the data are readable by currently available high-throughput genome sequencing machines," says Zador. "We propose to do this via a process we're now developing, called BOINC: the barcoding of individual neuronal connections."

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Start of ethnocentric cooperation

Start of ethnocentric cooperation | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Szabo & Fath attribute the first study of evolution of tag-based cooperation to Hales (2000); an unfortunate attribution for two reasons. First, Hales (2000) used tags in a way that is significantly different from the modern treatment. Instead of interacting with people regardless of tag, and then making a decision to cooperate or defect based on tag, the agents decided to interact or not based on tag. In Hales (2000), agents interact only with others of the same tag, thus it is simpler to think of the tags as loci on which agents live. This approach is more consistent with patch-structured or island models of the sort used by Taylor (1992).

 

Cooperation in patch-structured models with limited dispersal was already well understood in biology by the time of Hales (2000). It was a lack of identification that these tags were patches and Hales publishing in computer science not biology that lead to the duplication of efforts. Second, if we admit this theme of tag-dependent interaction, then the first papers should be attributed to Holland (1993) & Riolo (1997). Holland (1993) outlined the mechanism in general and showed how to study it computationally, but did not run simulations. Riolo (1997) studied the mechanism through computer simulation (and some crude analytic approximations) for both iterated and single-shot prisoner’s dilemma. However, I prefer to think of these models as patches with limited dispersal and so do not consider them as the start of the current treatment of tag-based cooperation.

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Link between creativity and mental illness confirmed in large-scale Swedish study

Link between creativity and mental illness confirmed in large-scale Swedish study | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

People in creative professions are treated more often for mental illness than the general population, there being a particularly salient connection between writing and schizophrenia. This according to researchers at Karolinska Institutet, whose large-scale Swedish registry study is the most comprehensive ever in its field.

 

Last year, the team showed that artists and scientists were more common amongst families where bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is present, compared to the population at large. They subsequently expanded their study to many more psychiatric diagnoses — such as schizoaffective disorder, depression, anxiety syndrome, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, autism, ADHD, anorexia nervosa and suicide — and to include people in outpatient care rather than exclusively hospital patients.

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Beer Can Keyboard, Created Using Raspberry Pi And Arduino And 44 Beer Cans (video)

Beer Can Keyboard, Created Using Raspberry Pi And Arduino And 44 Beer Cans (video) | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

If you are looking for something a little more unique to type out your emails and documents on, you might be interested in this beer can keyboard which has been created for Staropramen, and was on show at Webstock a large blogging and social media event in Romania

 

The unique beer can keyboard has been created to act just the same as a standard keyboard, but instead of keys 44 beer cans have been used, that when touched create the input required. Check out the keyboard in action in the video after the jump.

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Duncan Watts: From Sociology to Social Network

Everything changed for an Ivy League professor when he reinvestigated the “six degrees of separation”...
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What Do Animals Want?

What Do Animals Want? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Whatever anybody says, I feel that the hard problem of consciousness is still very hard, and to try and rest your ethical case on proving something that has baffled people for years seems to me to be not good for animals. Much, much better to say let's go for something tangible, something we can measure. Are the animals healthy, do they have what they want? Then if you can show that, then that's a much, much better basis for making your decisions.

 

MARIAN STAMP DAWKINS is professor of animal behaviour at the University of Oxford, where she heads the Animal Behaviour Research Group. She is the author of Why Animals Matter.


Via Complexity Digest
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An Efficient and Versatile Approach to Trust and Reputation using Hierarchical Bayesian Modelling

In many dynamic open systems, autonomous agents must interact with one another to achieve their goals. Such agents may be self-interested and, when trusted to perform an action, may betray that trust by not performing the action as required. Due to the scale and dynamism of these systems, agents will often need to interact with other agents with which they have little or no past experience. Each agent must therefore be capable of assessing and identifying reliable interaction partners, even if it has no personal experience with them. To this end, we present HABIT, a Hierarchical And Bayesian Inferred Trust model for assessing how much an agent should trust its peers based on direct and third party information.

 

This model is robust in environments in which third party information is malicious, noisy, or otherwise inaccurate. Although existing approaches claim to achieve this, most rely on heuristics with little theoretical foundation. In contrast, HABIT is based exclusively on principled statistical techniques: it can cope with multiple discrete or continuous aspects of trustee behaviour; it does not restrict agents to using a single shared representation of behaviour; it can improve assessment by using any observed correlation between the behaviour of similar trustees or information sources; and it provides a pragmatic solution to the whitewasher problem (in which unreliable agents assume a new identity to avoid bad reputation). In this paper, we describe the theoretical aspects of HABIT, and present experimental results that demonstrate its ability to predict agent behaviour in both a simulated environment, and one based on data from a real-world webserver domain. In particular, these experiments show that HABIT can predict trustee performance based on multiple representations of behaviour, and is up to twice as accurate as BLADE, an existing state-of-the-art trust model that is both statistically principled and has been previously shown to outperform a number of other probabilistic trust models.

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Civil and Environmental Engineering: From bacteria to bridges, CEE researchers tackle natural and built environments.

Civil and Environmental Engineering: From bacteria to bridges, CEE researchers tackle natural and built environments. | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

This is a department with a very long history,” says Andrew Whittle, the head of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). That history, dating back to the Institute’s founding, is reflected in the department’s designation as Course 1 (of the many courses of study available to MIT students). But CEE is also a department that has changed significantly over time, as reflected in its renaming 20 years ago, when environmental engineering was added to its name.

 

That expansion is not so unusual: Many other civil engineering departments have added an environmental component in recent years. And in a way, the addition of the environment as a specific focus in the department was not such a great change from its traditional purview, Whittle says. Water supply and sewage systems, for example, always a strong component of civil engineering, necessarily involve a close understanding of the links between large manmade structures and their ecosystems. These have “always been a big issue in the civil engineering world,” says Whittle, the Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who has been teaching at MIT for three decades.

 

But MIT’s approach to civil and environmental engineering, he says, is exceptionally well integrated between studies at the very largest and the very smallest scales: bridges and buildings at one end, and microbial ecosystems at the other. Unlike its peer departments elsewhere, Whittle says, CEE requires all its students to spend a year in an intensive course that tightly integrates the civil and environmental sides of the discipline.

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Ryan Dolack's curator insight, March 5, 2013 7:50 AM

The combination of civil engineering and other engineering fields

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Did bacteria spark evolution of multicellular life?

Did bacteria spark evolution of multicellular life? | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

A new study now suggests that bacteria may also have helped kick off one of the key events in evolution: the leap from one-celled organisms to many-celled organisms, a development that eventually led to all animals, including humans.

 

Published this month in the inaugural edition of the new online journal eLife, the study by University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard Medical School scientists involves choanoflagellates (aka "choanos"), the closest living relatives of animals. These microscopic, one-celled organisms sport a long tail or flagellum, tentacles for grabbing food and are members of the ocean's plankton community. As our closest living relative, choanos offer critical insights into the biology of their last common ancestor with animals, a unicellular or colonial organism that lived and died over 650 million years ago.

 

"Choanoflagellates evolved not long before the origin of animals and may help reveal how animals first evolved," said senior author Nicole King, UC Berkeley associate professor of molecular and cell biology.

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Probing the Neural Basis of Perceptual Phenomenology with the Touch-Induced Visual Illusion

Probing the Neural Basis of Perceptual Phenomenology with the Touch-Induced Visual Illusion | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Using the touch-induced visual illusion we examine whether the brain regions involved in coding sensory information are dissociable from those that contain decision information. Activity in the intraparietal sulcus, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging, was associated with the illusion suggesting a sensory coding role whereas activity in the middle occipital gyrus differentially modulated activity according to the decisions made by subjects consistent with their reported perceptual phenomenology.

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Exercise the body to keep the brain healthy, study suggests

Exercise the body to keep the brain healthy, study suggests | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

People who exercise later in life may better protect their brain from age-related changes than those who do not, a study suggests.Researchers found that people over 70 who took regular exercise showed less brain shrinkage over a three-year period than those who did little exercise.

 

Psychologists and Neuroimaging experts, based at the University of Edinburgh, did not find there to be any benefit to brain health for older people from participation in social or mentally stimulating activities.

 

Greater brain shrinkage is linked to problems with memory and thinking and the researchers say their findings suggest that exercise is potentially one important pathway to maintaining a healthy brain both in terms of size and reducing damage.

 

The researchers also examined the brain's white matter - the wiring that transmits messages round the brain. They found that people over 70 who were more physically active had fewer 'damaged' areas - visible as abnormal areas on scanning - in the white matter than those who did little exercise.

 

Additionally, the researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that the over-70s taking regular exercise had more grey matter - the parts of the brain with nerve cell bodies.

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Social Computing and Behavioral Modeling: Huan Liu,John Salerno,Michael J. Young

The pervasive use of computer and Internet technologies creates an unprecedented environment where people can share opinions and experiences, exchange ideas, offer suggestions and advice, debate and even conduct experiments. Social computing, the study of social behavior and context based on computational systems, facilitates behavioral modeling in model building, analysis, pattern mining, anticipation, and prediction. This unique volume presents material from the second interdisciplinary workshop focused on employing social computing for behavioral modeling and prediction. The book provides a platform for disseminating results and developing new concepts and methodologies aimed at advancing and deepening our understanding of social and behavioral computing to aid critical decision making. The contributions incorporate views from government, industry and academia, and address research problems arising from pressing demands in the real world.

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Raw Food Not Enough to Feed Big Brains

Raw Food Not Enough to Feed Big Brains | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Eating a raw food diet is a recipe for disaster if you're trying to boost your species' brainpower. That's because humans would have to spend more than 9 hours a day eating to get enough energy from unprocessed raw food alone to support our large brains, according to a new study that calculates the energetic costs of growing a bigger brain or body in primates. But our ancestors managed to get enough energy to grow brains that have three times as many neurons as those in apes such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans. How did they do it? They got cooking, according to a study published online today in the

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

"If you eat only raw food, there are not enough hours in the day to get enough calories to build such a large brain," says Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil who is co-author of the report. "We can afford more neurons, thanks to cooking."

 

Humans have more brain neurons than any other primate—about 86 billion, on average, compared with about 33 billion neurons in gorillas and 28 billion in chimpanzees. While these extra neurons endow us with many benefits, they come at a price—our brains consume 20% of our body's energy when resting, compared with 9% in other primates. So a long-standing riddle has been where did our ancestors get that extra energy to expand their minds as they evolved from animals with brains and bodies the size of chimpanzees?

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Identifying the Brain's Own Facial Recognition System

Identifying the Brain's Own Facial Recognition System | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

The ability to recognize faces is so important in humans that the brain appears to have an area solely devoted to the task: the fusiform gyrus. Brain imaging studies consistently find that this region of the temporal lobe becomes active when people look at faces. Skeptics have countered, however, that these studies show only a correlation, but not proof, that activity in this area is essential for face recognition. Now, thanks to the willingness of an intrepid patient, a new study provides the first cause-and-effect evidence that neurons in this area help humans recognize faces—and only faces, not other body parts or objects.

 

An unusual collaboration between researchers and an epilepsy patient led to the discovery. Ron Blackwell, an engineer in Santa Clara, California, came to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, in 2011 seeking better treatment for his epilepsy. He had suffered seizures since he was a teenager, and at age 47, his medication was becoming less effective. Stanford neurologist Josef Parvizi suggested some tests to locate the source of the seizures—and also suggested that it might be possible to eliminate the seizures by surgically destroying a tiny area of brain tissue where they occurred.

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Fishy physics: Adaptation lets silvery fish reflect light without polarization, may help them evade predators

Fishy physics: Adaptation lets silvery fish reflect light without polarization, may help them evade predators | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Silvery fish such as herring, sardine and sprat have evolved special skin that gets around a basic law of physics, according to new research from the University of Bristol published Oct. 21 in Nature Photonics.Reflective surfaces polarize light, a phenomenon that fishermen or photographers overcome by using polarizing sunglasses or polarizing filters to cut our reflective glare.

 

However, PhD student Tom Jordan and his supervisors Professor Julian Partridge and Dr Nicholas Roberts in Bristol's School of Biological Sciences found that these silvery fish have overcome this basic law of reflection -- an adaptation that may help them evade predators.

 

Previously, it was thought that the fish's skin -- which contains "multilayer" arrangements of reflective guanine crystals -- would fully polarize light when reflected. As the light becomes polarized, there should be a drop in reflectivity.

 

The Bristol researchers found that the skin of sardines and herring contain not one but two types of guanine crystal -- each with different optical properties. By mixing these two types, the fish's skin doesn't polarize the reflected light and maintains its high reflectivity.

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Backyard Brains: On neuroscience and cockroach legs

Backyard Brains: On neuroscience and cockroach legs | Social Foraging | Scoop.it

Neuroscience may not be for everyone. But Backyard Brains co-founder Greg Gage hopes to make it a little less intimidating and a lot more accessible.Gage believes that basic neuroscience research is the answer to curing many of the most devastating neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

 

Greg Gage and his partner Tim Marzullo hope to make learning about the brain easy and accessible for all ages and income levels. With a simple do-it-yourself approach they started a company that creates affordable kits for learning about the brain. Gage hopes to show students that neuroscience can be fun and, in the process, inspire the next generation of neuroscientists.

 

One of the products they designed, called the SpikerBox, allows users to record and stimulate neurons from things such as insects and display the neural activity on devices like iPhones via custom apps. Gage hopes that with these tools, kids of all ages will be able to learn about how the brain communicates.

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