giovedì 19 ottobre 2017

# gst: cooperating vs self-serving bacteria in transitional (noise) scenarios

AA << study a well-mixed, finite population consisting of two strains competing for the limited resources provided by an environment that randomly switches between states of abundance and scarcity >>

AA << consider two scenarios—one of pure resource competition, and one in which one strain provides a public good—and investigate how environmental randomness (external noise) coupled to demographic (internal) noise determines the population’s fixation properties and size distribution >>

Karl Wienand, Erwin Frey, Mauro Mobilia. Evolution of a Fluctuating Population in a Randomly Switching Environment. Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 158301 Oct 11, 2017

AA << showed that a randomly changing environment can create a level playing field between self-serving bacteria and bacteria that work together >>

<< Cooperating bacterial populations are more likely to survive in changing habitats >>

Fluctuating environments can help cooperating bacteria. Oct 12, 2017

martedì 17 ottobre 2017

# pharma: waiting for new 'magic strings': psilocybin to treat depression

AA << data fill an important knowledge gap regarding the post-treatment brain effects of psilocybin, and are the first in depressed patients [..] A ‘reset’ therapeutic mechanism is proposed >>

Robin L Carhart-Harris, Leor Roseman, et al. Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. Sci Rep  2017; 7 (13187) doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7

<< Patients taking psilocybin to treat depression show reduced symptoms weeks after treatment following a 'reset' of their brain activity >>

Ryan O'Hare. Magic mushrooms may 'reset' the brains of depressed patients. Oct 13, 2017.

'Magic mushrooms' may 'reset' the brains of depressed patients, study suggests. Oct 13, 2017

to update:

lunedì 16 ottobre 2017

# gst: more on the three-body problem (695 families of collisionless orbits)

<< The famous three-body problem can be traced back to Isaac Newton in the 1680s >>

In a recent paper AA << numerically obtain 695 families of Newtonian periodic planar collisionless orbits of three-body system >>

Li, X. & Liao, S. More than six hundred new families of Newtonian periodic planar collisionless three-body orbits. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. (2017) 60: 129511. doi: 10.1007/s11433-017-9078-5

the movies:

Scientists discover more than 600 new periodic orbits of the famous three-body problem. Oct 12, 2017

sabato 14 ottobre 2017

# soc-tech: unexpected obsolescence (from the user) for stochastic self-destruct

<< “There are products which we have our doubts about,” said Hiroya Kawasaki, chief executive of Kobe Steel >>

<< Making his first public appearance since the company admitted falsifying inspection data on aluminium and copper parts at the weekend, Mr Kawasaki acknowledged the reputational damage caused by the scandal >>

Emiko Terazono. Kobe Steel chief says trust in company has ‘fallen to zero’. Oct 12, 2017

<< Kobe Steel President Hiroya Kawasaki said on Thursday there may be other cases in which data has been fabricated by Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker, which is reeling from a cheating scandal that has reverberated along global supply chains >>

Kobe Steel president says there may be other cases of data fabrication. Oct 12, 2017

venerdì 13 ottobre 2017

# zen: short daily mental practices induce structural plasticity in socio-affective and socio-cognitive brain networks

AA << have recently discovered that different types of mental training positively affect either our attention abilities or our social competencies such as compassion and perspective-taking. These improvements in attentional-, socio-emotional or cognitive capacities are parallelled by structural changes in dissociable brain networks supporting these skills. In addition, the scientists were able to show that the release of the stress hormone cortisol after exposure to a psychosocial stressor was significantly reduced only after practising mental techniques aiming at improving social competencies but not by mindfulness-based attention-increasing techniques >>

Tania Singer,  Verena Muller. Improving social skills through mental training changes brain structure and reduces social stress. Max Planck Institute. Oct 4, 2017

Sofie L. Valk, Boris C. Bernhardt, et al.  Structural plasticity of the social brain: Differential change after socio-affective and cognitive mental training. Sci Adv  2017; 3(10) e1700489    doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1700489 Oct 4, 2017

mercoledì 11 ottobre 2017

# pnei: pulsatile testosterone to drive pulsatile decision making during trading

<< Testosterone (..) has been shown to affect economic decision making and is taken as a performance enhancer among some financial professionals >>

Amos Nadler, Peiran Jiao, et al. The Bull of Wall Street: Experimental Analysis of Testosterone and Asset Trading. Management Science.
doi: 10.1287/mnsc.2017.2836  Sep 25, 2017.

Raging Bull: First study to find link between testosterone and stock market instability. Oct 10, 2017

martedì 10 ottobre 2017

# acad: anyone can hack biology, by Tiffany

<< Biohacking is a relatively new field of amateur and professional scientists conducting “do-it-yourself” biology experiments >>

Now That Anyone Can Hack Biology—Should We Be Afraid? Singularity Hub. October, 2017

Tiffany Vora. What Is Biohacking and Should We Be Afraid of It? Tech-x-planations. Singularity Hub

lunedì 9 ottobre 2017

# gst: detect and monitor a deep tremor

<< “Deep tremor is very sensitive to small stress changes,” Chao [Kevin Chao] said. “So, we decided to use them as stress meters to monitor local variations in stress build-up and release before and after large earthquakes” >>

Amanda Morris. Do Earthquakes Have a ‘Tell’? Data scientists and seismologists use “deep tremor” to forecast strong earthquakes. Oct 5, 2017.

Kevin Chao, Zhigang Peng, et al.
Temporal variation of tectonic tremor activity in southern Taiwan around the 2010 ML6.4 Jiashian earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 2017; 122(7): 5417–34 doi: 10.1002/2016JB013925


sabato 7 ottobre 2017

# brain: a unique patterns of activations during processing narratives

<< English, Farsi and Mandarin readers use the same parts of the brain to decode the deeper meaning of what they're reading >>

<< Even given these fundamental differences in language, which can be read in a different direction or contain a completely different alphabet altogether, there is something universal about what occurs in the brain at the point when we are processing narratives >> Morteza Dehghani.

<< In the case of each language, reading each story resulted in unique patterns of activations in the "default mode network" of the brain. This network engages interconnected brain regions such as the medial prefrontal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex, the inferior parietal lobe, the lateral temporal cortex and hippocampal formation >>

<< One of the biggest mysteries of neuroscience is how we create meaning out of the world. Stories are deep-rooted in the core of our nature and help us create this meaning >> Jonas Kaplan.

University of Southern California. Something universal occurs in the brain when it processes stories, regardless of language.  ScienceDaily. Oct 5, 2017.

Morteza Dehghani, Reihane Boghrati, et al.  Decoding the neural representation of story meanings across languages. Human Brain Mapping. 2017 doi: 10.1002/hbm.23814

venerdì 6 ottobre 2017

# evol: an ultra-rare survivor, the Malagasy striped whirligig beetle H. milloti

<< a whirligig beetle species, Heterogyrus milloti, inhabiting forest streams in southeastern Madagascar is the last survivor of a once dominant and widespread Mesozoic group. With a Late Triassic to Early Jurassic origin (226–187 Ma) it is the hitherto oldest dated endemic lineage of animal or plant on Madagascar >>

Grey T. Gustafson, Alexander A. Prokin, et al. Tip-dated phylogeny of whirligig beetles reveals ancient lineage surviving on Madagascar. Scientific Reports 2017; 7 (8619) doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08403-1

<< Even today, the ageless striped whirligig beetle keeps its own company, preferring to skitter atop the surface of out-of-the-way forest streams in southeastern Madagascar—not mixing with latecomers of the subfamily Gyrininae who have become the dominant whirligig beetles on Madagascar and abroad >>

Meet Madagascar's oldest animal lineage, a whirligig beetle with 206-million-year-old origins. Oct 4, 2017

giovedì 5 ottobre 2017

# behav: innovations among wild capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus)

<< understanding what makes some individuals more likely to innovate and/or transmit new behaviors is critical for creating realistic models of culture change >>

<< Older, more social monkeys were more likely to invent new forms of social interaction, whereas younger monkeys were more likely to innovate in other behavioral domains (foraging, investigative, and self-directed behaviors). Sex and rank had little effect on innovative tendencies. Relative to apes, capuchins devote more of their innovations repertoire to investigative behaviors and social bonding behaviors and less to foraging and comfort behaviors >>

Susan E. Perry, Brendan J. Barrett, Irene Godoy. Older, sociable capuchins (Cebus capucinus) invent more social behaviors, but younger monkeys innovate more in other contexts. PNAS. 2017; 114 (30): 7806–7813

Research reveals how new behaviors appear and spread among capuchin monkeys. Aug 24, 2017

mercoledì 4 ottobre 2017

# behav: the oddity about the highly inactive ants (Temnothorax rugatulus)

<< Social insect colonies are highly successful, self-organized complex systems. Surprisingly however, most social insect colonies contain large numbers of highly inactive workers. Although this may seem inefficient, it may be that inactive workers actually contribute to colony function >>

Daniel Charbonneau, Takao Sasaki, Anna Dornhaus. Who needs ‘lazy’ workers? Inactive workers act as a ‘reserve’ labor force replacing active workers, but inactive workers are not replaced when they are removed. PLOS ONE 12(9): e0184074. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184074 Sep 6, 2017

<< Analyzing the video recordings revealed that a colony breaks down into four main demographics [..]: inactive, lazy ants; so-called walkers that spend most of their time just wandering around the nest; foragers that take care of outside tasks such as foraging and building protective walls from tiny rocks; and nurses in charge of rearing the brood >>

Lazy ants make themselves useful in unexpected ways. Sep 8, 2017

martedì 3 ottobre 2017

# behav: spreading conflicts through monkey societies

<< How does conflict spread through a society? One way to think of conflict spreading is to picture an epidemic, with aggressive individuals "infecting" others and causing them to join the fight >>

<< It appears that it is not individuals who control the length of fights, but the relationships between pairs of individuals >>

AA << found evidence for a more complicated structure behind >>

AA << found evidence that conflict duration is strongly affected by the first interaction, which sets the tone for the fight. If the first interaction is brief, then following episodes are likely to be just as brief. A long drawn out initial brawl, however, will be followed by similarly difficult episodes. This, Flack [Jessica Flack] says, "is a signature of collective memory," meaning "the duration of the conflict is not just determined by individuals independently deciding whether to continue fighting or drop out, but through their joint memory for the past and subsequent collective decision-making." >>

How conflicts spread through monkey societies. Sep 7, 2017

Edward D. Lee, Bryan C. Daniels, et al.  Collective memory in primate conflict implied by temporal scaling collapse. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2017.0223 Sep 6 2017.

lunedì 2 ottobre 2017

domenica 1 ottobre 2017

# acad: cinnamon buns, pretzels and bagels to explain unusual phases or states of matter, by Thors

<< What do a pretzel, a lock of hair and a scream have in common? >>

<< Thors Hans Hansson, a member of the Nobel physics committee, uses a cinnamon bun, a pretzel and a bagel to explain the field of topology, a highly specialised mathematics field studying unusual phases or states of matter >>

<< Referring to the two holes in the pretzel, the one hole in the bagel, and the shape of a bun, Hansson demonstrated that topology explains how a material's shape can be completely deformed into a new one without losing its core properties >>

Ilgin Karlidag. Bagels, pretzels, Boo! How to explain science Nobels. Oct 1, 2017

sabato 30 settembre 2017

# bot-nano: programmable molecular machines to assemble molecular machines

<< It has been convincingly argued that molecular machines that manipulate individual atoms, or highly reactive clusters of atoms, with Angstrom precision are unlikely to be realized >>

AA << detail an artificial molecular machine that moves a substrate between different activating sites to achieve different product outcomes from chemical synthesis >>

AA << anticipate that future generations of programmable molecular machines may have significant roles in chemical synthesis and molecular manufacturing >>

Salma Kassem, Alan T. L. Lee, et al.  Stereodivergent synthesis with a programmable molecular machine. Nature 2017; 549: 374–378. Sep 21. doi: 10.1038/nature23677

Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’ capable of building molecules. Sep 20, 2017

CAMERA - Chemistry at Manchester Explains Research Advances

giovedì 28 settembre 2017

# chem: self-assembly in icosahedral (3D) nanoscale architectures

<< capsid proteins of spherical plant viruses can self-assemble into well-organized icosahedral three-dimensional (3D) nanoscale multivalent architectures with high monodispersity and structural symmetry >>

Narayanan KB, Han SS. Icosahedral plant viral nanoparticles - bioinspired synthesis of nanomaterials/nanostructures. Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2017 Aug 31. pii: S0001-8686(16)30366-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cis.2017.08.005.

martedì 26 settembre 2017

# gst: to estimate a minimum size of an earthquake

<< Although the overall size of an earthquake cannot be predicted from the rate of energy release, a minimum size can be estimated. Estimating this minimum size could add valuable seconds to early earthquake warning algorithms >>

M.A. Meier, J. P. Ampuero, T. H. Heaton. The hidden simplicity of subduction megathrust earthquakes.  Science Sep 22,  2017: 357 (6357): 1277-81. doi: 10.1126/science.aan5643

lunedì 25 settembre 2017

# astro: FRBs [Fast Radio Bursts]; you can imagine the sky is filled with flashes like paparazzi

<< If we are right about such a high rate of FRBs [Fast Radio Bursts] happening at any given time [at least one FRB is going off somewhere every second], you can imagine the sky is filled with flashes like paparazzi taking photos of a celebrity >> Anastasia Fialkov

Fast radio bursts may be firing off every second. Sep 21, 2017

Anastasia Fialkov, Abraham Loeb. A Fast Radio Burst Occurs Every Second throughout the Observable Universe. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2017; 846 (2). doi: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8905 Publ Sep 8, 2017.

sabato 23 settembre 2017

# chem: strange transitions: tying a crystal into a knot

<< Single crystals are typically brittle, inelastic materials. Such mechanical responses limit their use in practical applications, particularly in flexible electronics and optical devices >>

AA << describe single crystals of a well-known coordination compound—copper(II) acetylacetonate—that are flexible enough to be reversibly tied into a knot >>

Anna Worthy, Arnaud Grosjean, et al. Atomic resolution of structural changes in elastic crystals of copper(II) acetylacetonate. Nature Chemistry. doi: 10.1038/nchem.2848. Aug 28, 2017

<< crystals exhibit traditional characteristics of not only hard matter, but soft matter like nylon >> John McMurtrie

<< Under strain the molecules in the crystal reversibly rotate and reorganise to allow the compression and expansion required for elasticity and still maintain the integrity of the crystal structure >> Jack Clegg

Bendable crystals tie current thinking in knots. Aug 29, 2017.

venerdì 22 settembre 2017

# gst: chaotic networks inside a chaotic world, a 2015 review by Jennifer

<<  Networks grow as individual nodes connect to one another. By tweaking the rules that govern when nodes connect, researchers can shape the network’s properties >>

Jennifer Ouellette. The New Laws of Explosive Networks. Researchers are uncovering the hidden laws that reveal how the Internet grows, how viruses spread, and how financial bubbles burst. Jul 14, 2015.


<< The most celebrated part of this account, however, is at 2.216–93, where Lucretius [Titus Lucretius Carus] maintains that not only to explain how atomic collisions can occur in the first place, but also to account for the evident fact of free will in the animal kingdom, it is necessary to postulate a minimal indeterminacy in the motions of atoms, an unpredictable ‘swerve’ (clinamen) ‘at no fixed place or time’. Otherwise we would all be automata, our motions determined by infinitely extended and unbreakable causal chains >>

Lucretius. 4.Physics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. First published Wed Aug 4, 2004; substantive revision Sat Aug 10, 2013

giovedì 21 settembre 2017

# qubit-ai: inside the qubit AI neural “black boxes”

<< Neural networks’ powers of prediction have fueled the recent AI boom, but it can be hard to explain how they reach their decisions. A new technique aimed at uncovering the inner workings of language processing networks is just the latest effort to shed some light on these “black boxes.” >>

<< Going a step further, some researchers are trying to create AI able to explain its decisions to lay people, not just experts >>

Edd Gent. Machines Are Getting Smarter—Now They Should Explain Themselves. Sep 19, 2017


"but it can be hard to explain how they [AI machines] reach their decisions"

An easy prediction: "Qubit AI  Machines" will never fully explain themselves.

mercoledì 20 settembre 2017

# game: low-cooperativity feedbacks in burst size could be preferable for noisy proteins

AA << consider a specific kind of negative feedback, which makes bursts smaller in the excess of protein >>

<< Increasing the strength of the feedback may lead to dramatically different outcomes depending on a key parameter, the noise load >>

<< for noise loads smaller than critical, the coefficient of variation remains bounded with increasing feedback strength; contrastingly, if the noise load is larger than critical, the coefficient of variation diverges to infinity in the limit of ever greater feedback strengths >>

<< Interestingly, high-cooperativity feedbacks have lower critical noise loads, implying that low-cooperativity feedbacks in burst size can be preferable for noisy proteins >>

Pavol Bokes, Abhyudai Singh, Yen Ting Lin. High Cooperativity In Negative Feedback Can Amplify Noisy Gene Expression. biorxiv sysbio. doi: 10.1101/125914  April 10, 2017.

lunedì 18 settembre 2017

# soc: pulsatile self-destructive choices, by Oliver and Julia

<< Let’s all be thankful that FiveThirtyEight readers don’t control America’s nuclear arsenal >>

Last week AA << published an article on the game theory of nuclear standoffs. That article included an interactive game ... >>

Oliver Roeder, Julia Wolfe. Thank God You People Don’t Have The Nuclear Codes. Sep. 14, 2017.

<< Shall we play a game? >>

Oliver Roeder. How To Win A Nuclear Standoff. President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s saber-rattling is dangerous, but not irrational. Sep. 6, 2017

domenica 17 settembre 2017

# acad: ig-nobel 2017; not so evanescent but intriguing: contact with a live crocodile actually could affects a person's willingness to gamble

<< ECONOMICS PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, USA] — Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer, for their experiments to see how contact with a live crocodile affects a person's willingness to gamble.
REFERENCE: "Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal," Matthew J. Rockloff and Nancy Greer, Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 26, no. 4, December 2010, pp. 571-81. WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer >>

Mark Pratt. Research on big ears, crocodile gambling wins Ig Nobels. Sep 14, 2017

<< Tourists at the Koorana Saltwater Crocodile Farm in Coowonga, Queensland, Australia (..) were randomly assigned to play a laptop-simulated Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) either: (1) prior to entry, or (2) after having held a 1-m saltwater-crocodile >>

<< At-risk gamblers with few self-reported negative emotions placed higher average bets at the EGM after having held the crocodile when compared to the control >>

<< high arousal can intensify gambling in at-risk players, but only if this feeling state is not perceived as a negative emotion >>

Matthew J. Rockloff, Nancy Greer. Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal. Journal of Gambling Studies.  2010;  Vol 26, Issue 4, pp 571–581. Jan 6, 2010.

sabato 16 settembre 2017

# age: autophagy inactivation (e.g. in neurons) to reverse the effects of age (50% extension of life) in the whole old body (post-reproductive C. elegans)

AA << identified that the inactivation of genes governing the early stages of autophagy up until the stage of vesicle nucleation, such as bec-1, strongly extend both life span and health span >>

AA << demonstrate that the improvements in health and longevity are mediated through the neurons, resulting in reduced neurodegeneration and sarcopenia >>

AA << propose that autophagy switches from advantageous to harmful in the context of an age-associated dysfunction >>

Thomas Wilhelm, Jonathan Byrne, et al.  Neuronal inhibition of the autophagy nucleation complex extends life span in post-reproductive C. elegans. Genes & Dev. Sep 7, 2017 doi: 10.1101/gad.301648

<< By inactivating autophagy in the neurons of old worms they were not only able to prolong the worms life but they increased the total health of the worms dramatically >>

Why we did not evolve to live forever: Unveiling the mystery of  why we age.  Breakthrough in  understanding the origin of the  ageing process. Sep 07,  2017

Why we did not evolve to live forever: Unveiling the mystery of why we age. Sep 15, 2017.

venerdì 15 settembre 2017

# websec: post-quantum cryptography, all of today's secrets will be lost (!)

AA << analyze the options available for a post-quantum cryptography future >>

<< The expectation is that quantum computers will be built some time after 2025 >>

<< An attacker can record our secure communications today, and break it with a quantum computer years later. All of today's secrets will be lost >> Tanja Lange

How future quantum computers will threaten today's encrypted data. Sep 14, 2017

Daniel J. Bernstein, Tanja Lange. Post-quantum cryptography.     Nature 2017; 549: 188–194 Sep 14, 2017 doi: 10.1038/nature23461

giovedì 14 settembre 2017

# behav: scratch, also to socialize

<< Primates (including humans) scratch when stressed >>

<< scratching could potentially have social function >>

Jamie Whitehouse, Jerome Micheletta, Bridget M. Waller. Stress behaviours buffer macaques from aggression. SciRep  2017; 7(11083) doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10754-8 Sept 11, 2017

mercoledì 13 settembre 2017

# gene-evol: behind interactions among organisms: causality more than just correlation

<< Organisms engage in extensive cross-species molecular dialog, yet the underlying molecular actors are known for only a few interactions >>

AA << developed an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping-based approach to identify cause-and-effect relationships between genes from two partners engaged in an interspecific interaction >>

Yuelong Guo, Sylwia Fudali, et al. Networks Underpinning Symbiosis Revealed Through Cross-Species eQTL Mapping. Genetics August 1, 2017 vol. 206 no. 4 2175-2184;

<< In a first-of-its-kind study, NC State researchers applied a new approach to examine how members of two different species – a plant and a pathogen, for example, or a bacterium and a human – interact at the molecular level, and whether slight genetic changes in one species could affect gene expression in the other >>

<< "We're really trying to get to the genetics behind the interactions between two different organisms," said David McK. Bird [..] "Genetics gives us causality more than just correlation." >>

Mick Kulikowski. Study examines cross-species interactions. Sept  12, 2017

lunedì 11 settembre 2017

# qubit: the flip-flop quantum processor, the begin

AA << introduce the flip-flop qubit, a combination of the electron-nuclear spin states of a phosphorus donor that can be controlled by microwave electric fields >>

<< to encode quantum information in the electron-nuclear spin states of 31P [phosphorus] donors in silicon, and to realize fast, high-fidelity, electrically driven universal quantum gates >>

<< a credible pathway to the construction of a large-scale quantum processor, where atomic-size spin qubits are integrated with silicon nanoelectronic devices, in a platform that does not require atomic-scale precision in the qubit placement [..] and, with realistic assumptions on noise and imperfections, are predicted to achieve error rates compatible with fault-tolerant quantum error correction >>

Guilherme Tosi, Fahd A. Mohiyaddin, et al. Silicon quantum processor with robust long-distance qubit couplings. Nature Comm 8, 2017; 450 Sept 06, 2017 doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00378-x

<< a new way to define a 'spin qubit' that uses both the electron and the nucleus of the atom. Crucially, this new qubit can be controlled using electric signals, instead of magnetic ones. Electric signals are significantly easier to distribute and localise within an electronic chip >>

Flip-flop qubits: Radical new quantum computing design invented. Sept 6, 2017

Fiona MacDonald,  Mike McRae. Breaking: An Entirely New Type of Quantum Computing Has Been Invented. "It's amazing no one had thought of it before."  Sep 6, 2017


# ai-bot: 352 predictions of when machines will make humans obsolete. Sep 2, 2017

Bill Berry, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Michael Mills (R.E.M.).  "Begin The Begin". In: "Lifes Rich Pageant" (1986)

sabato 9 settembre 2017

# behav: even more devious than previously thought

<< The common cuckoo, notorious for evading parental duty by hiding her eggs in the nests of other brooding birds, is even more devious than previously thought >>

Scientists expose true extent of cuckoo's cunning. Sept 4, 2017

<< Parasites evolve not only to evade host defences but also to manipulate host behaviour >>

AA << test whether a brood parasitic cuckoo manipulates host perception of predation risk using an acoustic signal—a hawk-like call—that might misdirect host defences and thereby reduce the chance that hosts detect parasitism >>

AA << propose that the female cuckoo chuckle call tricks the hosts into responding vigilantly as if they were exposed to danger from a hawk, instead of from a cuckoo. This would divert host attention from clutch protection to self-protection, and so reduce the chance of the hosts detecting that they have been parasitized >>

Jenny E. York, Nicholas B. Davies. Female cuckoo calls misdirect host defences towards the wrong enemy. Nature Ecology & Evolution. Sept 4, 2017 doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0279-3

venerdì 8 settembre 2017

# behav: a kind of pulsatile motivation: believing is right even when it's wrong

<< people generally ignore new information that counters their beliefs, even though doing so costs them financially >>

<< It’s as if you don’t hear the voices in your head telling you that you’re wrong, even if you lose money >> Stefano Palminteri

Jessica Hamzelou. We ignore what doesn’t fit with our biases – even if it costs us. Sept 4, 2017

<< While the investigation of decision-making biases has a long history in economics and psychology, learning biases have been much less systematically investigated. This is surprising as most of the choices we deal with in everyday life are recurrent, thus allowing learning to occur and therefore influencing future decision-making >>

AA << show that the valence of an outcome biases both factual and counterfactual learning. When considering factual and counterfactual learning together, it appears that people tend to preferentially take into account information that confirms their current choice >>

Palminteri S, Lefebvre G, et al. Confirmation bias in human reinforcement learning: Evidence from counterfactual feedback processing. PLoS Comput Biol 2017; 13(8): e1005684. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005684

mercoledì 6 settembre 2017

# evol: the alien track of Trachilos

AA << describe late Miocene tetrapod footprints (tracks) from the Trachilos locality in western Crete (Greece), which show hominin-like characteristics [..] dated to approximately 5.7 Ma (million years) >>

<< The tracks indicate that the trackmaker lacked claws, and was bipedal, plantigrade, pentadactyl and strongly entaxonic >>

Gerard D. Gierlinski, Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki, et al. Possible hominin footprints from the late Miocene (c. 5.7 Ma) of Crete? Proceedings of the Geologists Association. doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2017.07.006 Aug 31, 2017

Matteo Marini. Scoperte a Creta impronte di forma umana risalenti a 5,7 milioni di anni fa. LaRepubblica. 03 Set 2017

martedì 5 settembre 2017

# acad: oops! sometimes they tend to reject H0 hypothesis instead of ...

<< We advertise interventions as working because statistically we think they're working. But they're actually not working. This is becoming a crisis in the sciences >> John List

Thomas Gaulkin. Scholars take aim at false positives in research. Sept 4, 2017

AA << propose to change the default P-value threshold for statistical significance from 0.05 to 0.005 for claims of new discoveries >>

<< The lack of reproducibility of scientific studies ... >>

Daniel J. Benjamin, James O. Berger, et al.  Redefine statistical significance. Nature Human Behaviour.  2017


ricordo che gia' negli anni '70 (vale a dire oltre quarant'anni fa) in aggiunta a questa aleggiava  anche un'altra intrigante quaestio, quella relativa all'uso,  diffuso, di test parametrici anziche' altro ...

lunedì 4 settembre 2017

# zoo: clever but not as clever as humans

<< Apes' intelligence may be entirely misunderstood, because research has so far failed to measure it fairly and accurately >>

<< Hundreds of scientific studies over two decades have told us that apes are clever – just not as clever as us >>

Apes’ abilities misunderstood by decades of poor science. Aug 31, 2017

<< in the last two decades, numerous contemporary researchers in comparative psychology have claimed human superiority over apes in social intelligence, based on two-group comparisons between postindustrial, Western Europeans and captive apes, where the apes have been isolated from European styles of social interaction, and tested with radically different procedures >>

David A. Leavens, Kim A. Bard, William D. Hopkins. The mismeasure of ape social cognition. Animal Cognition. doi: 10.1007/s10071-017-1119-1 Aug 4, 2017


# s-brain: the question is: Humans vs Woodstock, who is the smarter?  Jun 26, 2016

sabato 2 settembre 2017

# ai-bot: 352 predictions of when machines will make humans obsolete

researchers at the Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute  << have carried out the largest-ever survey of machine learning experts on the subject >>

they << contacted 1,634 researchers who published papers at the 2015 NIPS and ICML conferences—the two leading machine learning conferences—and asked them to complete a survey on the topic, with 352 researchers responding >>

<< The aggregate forecast was that there is a 50 percent chance that 'unaided machines can accomplish every task better and more cheaply than human workers' within 45 years >>

Edd Gent. When Will AI Be Better Than Humans at Everything? 352 AI Experts Answer. Jul 25, 2017

<< Researchers believe there is a 50% chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks in 45 years and of automating all human jobs in 120 years, with Asian respondents expecting these dates much sooner than North Americans >>

Katja Grace, John Salvatier, et al. When Will AI Exceed Human Performance? Evidence from AI Experts. arXiv:1705.08807 May 30, 2017


per mia opinione (di non esperto AI) se/quando il calcolo quantistico sara' fisicamente capillare e a basso costo come lo e' attualmente l'architettura x86, nel giro di 10-15 anni (anche prima) qualsiasi attivita' umana in qualsiasi distretto geografico del pianeta sara' riproducibile, a velocita', accuratezza, professionalita', fantasia  sorprendentemente superiori e a costi quasi nulli, tendenti a zero.

Agli umani, per evitare gli usuali  vortici autodistruttivi, servira' "l'adatta stringa" ...

venerdì 1 settembre 2017

# music: harmonic resonances from moons and rings of Saturn

<< Wherever there is resonance there is music, and no other place in the solar system is more packed with resonances than Saturn >>. Matt Russo

<< Saturn's magnificent rings act like a sounding board that launches waves at locations that harmonize with the planet's many moons, and some pairs of moons are themselves locked in resonances >>. Dan Tamayo

Astrophysicists convert moons and rings of Saturn into music. Aug 30, 2017

giovedì 31 agosto 2017

# evol: about dino's status symbol

<< The thick body armour on some dinosaurs seems perfectly engineered to foil hungry predators. But the remains of a newly discovered armoured dinosaur hint that its spiky suit had another role: showing off to potential mates and rivals >>

<< Borealopelta lived around 110 million years ago >>

Traci Watson. Dinosaurs' spiky armour may have been status symbol. Soft-tissue patterns on a well-preserved fossil suggest that elaborate spines helped dinosaurs to attract mates and communicate. Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2017.22511 Aug 26, 2017

mercoledì 30 agosto 2017

# brain: to consider neurons driven by a shot noise

<< Individual presynaptic spikes can have a significant effect on a neuron's dynamics. It is thus desirable to explicitly account for the pulse-like nature of neural input, i.e. consider neurons driven by a shot noise >>

Droste F, Lindner B. Exact analytical results for integrate-and-fire neurons driven by excitatory shot noise. J Comput Neurosci. 2017 Aug;43(1):81-91. doi: 10.1007/s10827-017-0649-5. Epub 2017 Jun 6.

martedì 29 agosto 2017

# gst: something that is called "non-stationarity"

<< “We’re looking at historical data when really we have something that is called non-stationarity,” Dr. Knight [Sandra Knight, a senior research engineer at the University of Maryland and a former official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency] said. “The world isn’t stationary anymore and the hydrology isn’t. The landscape isn’t. So why are we still presuming the future will look like the past?”

Nadja Popovich, Claire O'Neill. A ‘500-Year Flood’ Could Happen Again Sooner Than You Think. Here’s Why. Aug. 28, 2017

lunedì 28 agosto 2017

# astro: the binary black hole spin distribution, a sort of cosmic estension of Mr. Jelly Roll

<< The direct detection of gravitational waves from merging binary black holes opens up a window into the environments in which binary black holes form. One signature of such environments is the angular distribution of the black hole spins >>

AA << report that, if the magnitudes of the black hole spins are allowed to extend to high values, the effective spins for these systems indicate a 0.015 odds ratio against an aligned angular distribution compared to an isotropic one [isotropic spin orientation: the spins of the black holes are randomly oriented with respect to the orbit of the binary system]. When considering the effect of ten additional detections, this odds ratio decreases to 2.9 × 10−7 against alignment >>

Will M. Farr, Simon Stevenson, et al. Distinguishing spin-aligned and isotropic black hole populations with gravitational waves. Nature 548, 426–429 Aug 24, 2017 doi: 10.1038/nature23453

<< Amico, qualunque  cosa suonerai . . . suonerai Jelly Roll >>

Jelly Roll Morton (opp. Mouton, alias di Ferdinand La Menthe, opp. La Mothe, New Orleans, 20 ott ~1885 - Los Angeles, 10 luglio 1941, ~56a).  Ref: Alan Lomax. "Mister Jelly Roll". Duell, Sloan & Pearce, New York (1950);  cit. in: Arrigo Polillo, "JAZZ". Oscar Saggi Mondadori. (1977):315,325.

domenica 27 agosto 2017

# cvd: oops! so (maybe) high levels of hdl cho (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) don't seem so good ...

<< Men and women in the general population with extreme high HDL cholesterol paradoxically have high all-cause mortality. These findings need confirmation in other studies >>

Madsen CM, Varbo A, Nordestgaard BG.  Extreme high high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is paradoxically associated with high mortality in men and women: two prospective cohort studies. Eur Heart J. Apr 12, 2017. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehx163.

Philip J. Barter, Kerry-Anne Rye; HDL cholesterol concentration or HDL function: which matters? European Heart Journal, Volume 38, Issue 32, 21 August 2017, Pages 2487–2489,

High levels of 'good' cholesterol linked to excessive mortality. Aug 23, 2017


("high-density lipoprotein cholesterol"[ALL] OR "HDL-lipoprotein cholesterol"[ALL]) AND "mortality"[ALL]

sabato 26 agosto 2017

# gst: modeling around the edge of a crack

<< It is said that a weak link determines the strength of the entire chain. Likewise, defects or small cracks in a solid material may ultimately determine the strength of that material – how well it will withstand various forces >>

<< What, exactly, happens right around the edge of the crack, in the area in which those large stresses are concentrated? >>

The Breaking Point. What happens at the moving edge of crack? Aug 23, 2017

AA << show that cracks undergo an oscillatory instability controlled by small-scale, near crack-tip, elastic nonlinearity. This instability occurs above an ultrahigh critical velocity and features an intrinsic wavelength proportional to the ratio of the fracture energy to the elastic modulus (..) This ratio emerges as a fundamental scaling length assumed to play no role in the classical theory of cracks, but shown here to strongly influence crack dynamics >>

Chih-Hung Chen, Eran Bouchbinder & Alain Karma. Instability in dynamic fracture and the failure of the classical theory of cracks. Nature Physics doi: 10.1038/nphys4237 Publ. Aug 21, 2017

venerdì 25 agosto 2017

# trade: the national cryptocurrency 'estcoin' by Kaspar, the begin?

<< In a Tuesday blog post, Kaspar Korjus, the managing director of the e-Residency program, said this experience gave Estonia an edge over other countries that are considering the introduction of national cryptocurrencies. Indeed, the estcoin could become bound up with the rest of the e-Residency ecosystem >>

David Meyer. This Country May Launch Its Own Virtual Currency. Aug 23, 2017

Estonia could offer ‘estcoins’ to e-residents. The proposal to issue crypto tokens would make the Republic of Estonia the first country with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Aug 22, 2017


# e-ai: an intriguing hypothesis: cheating that system will become near impossible

giovedì 24 agosto 2017

# ecol: reprogrammed by a virus

AA << work demonstrates how a virus can amend host–viral dynamics by modulating acquisition of nutrients from the environment >>

AA << data show that a virus can acquire genes encoding nutrient transporters from a host genome and that expression of the viral gene can alter the nutrient uptake behavior of host cells >>

AA << results have implications for understanding how viruses manipulate the physiology and ecology of phytoplankton, influence marine nutrient cycles, and act as vectors for horizontal gene transfer >>

Adam Moniera, Aurelie Chambouvet, et al. Host-derived viral transporter protein for nitrogen uptake in infected marine phytoplankton. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1708097114

<< A virus which infects ocean plankton can reprogramme cells and change the way they absorb nutrients - potentially changing how carbon is stored in the ocean >>

Virus reprograms ocean plankton.
Aug 21, 2017

martedì 22 agosto 2017

# gst: concerning turbulences, turbulence researchers & lovers ...

<< Charles Doering, a mathematical physicist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, says he hopes that the approach might ultimately point the way to a model of turbulence that is simpler to use than the Navier–Stokes equations, and works in all situations. That is the “grand dream”, he says >>

Davide Castelvecchi. Mysteries of turbulence unravelled. Simulations follow how swirls in a fluid transfer and dissipate energy. Aug 21, 2017 Corrected: Aug 22, 2017


"a model of turbulence that is simpler to use (..) and works in all situations"; una intelligenza artificiale, anche genericamente  di "media forza" sara' senz'altro in totale accordo con Charles Doering.

lunedì 21 agosto 2017

# gene: 99 loci to drive general cognitive function

AA << combined cognitive and genetic data from the CHARGE and COGENT consortia, and UK Biobank (total N=280,360; age range = 16 to 102) >>

AA << found 9,714 genome-wide significant SNPs  [Single Nucleotide Polymorphism] (P<5 x 10-8) in 99 independent loci >>

<< Among many novel genes associated with general cognitive function were SGCZ, ATXN1, MAPT, AUTS2, and P2RY6 >>

Gail Davies, Max Lam, et al. Ninety-nine independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function include genes associated with brain health and structure (N = 280,360). biorxiv. doi: 10.1101/176511 Aug18, 2017.


il sistema a 3 palle in fisica (three-body problem) qui genericamente estensibile a 99 ...

three-body problem:

Jon Cartwright. Physicists  Discover a Whopping 13 New  Solutions to Three-Body  Problem. Mar. 8, 2013

Institute  of  Physics  Belgrade. Three-body gallery

sabato 19 agosto 2017

# phyto: feel sounds to spot water

AA << used the model plant Pisum sativum to investigate the mechanism by which roots sense and locate water >>

AA << found that roots were able to locate a water source by sensing the vibrations generated by water moving inside pipes, even in the absence of substrate moisture. When both moisture and acoustic cues were available, roots preferentially used moisture in the soil over acoustic vibrations, suggesting that acoustic gradients enable roots to broadly detect a water source at a distance, while moisture gradients help them to reach their target more accurately >>

AA << results also showed that the presence of noise affected the abilities of roots to perceive and respond correctly to the surrounding soundscape >>

Monica Gagliano, Mavra Grimonprez, et al. Tuned in: plant roots use sound to locate water. Oecologia. Volume 184, Issue 1, pp 151–160. May 2017

venerdì 18 agosto 2017

# websec: everyone is a target (N3v$r M1^d!), by Kevin

<< At the end of the day, Cardwell [Kevin Cardwell] notes that "no product will make you secure." What's important is setting up a process of defenses because he says, "everyone is a target." >>

Leah Becerra. How to protect your data from cyberattacks. The Kansas City Star. May 25, 2017


<< “Much of what I did I now regret,” Burr [Bill Burr], who is now retired, told the Wall Street Journal. “In the end, it was probably too complicated for a lot of folks to understand very well, and the truth is, it was barking up the wrong tree.” >>

James Titcomb. Password guru who told the world to make them complicated admits: I got it completely wrong. 8 Aug 8, 2017

Robert McMillan. The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d! Aug. 7, 2017

giovedì 17 agosto 2017

# s-acad: the nomad razor by Richard

<< Over drinks one evening, a Christian journalist described witnessing an episode of faith healing. Instead of dismissing the story outright, Dawkins pressed for details >>

<< Some people define atheism as a positive conviction that there are no gods and agnosticism as allowing for the possibility, however slight. In this sense I am agnostic, as any scientist would be. But only in the same way I am agnostic about leprechauns and fairies. Other people define agnosticism as the belief that the existence of gods is as probable as their nonexistence.  In this sense I am certainly not agnostic >> Richard Dawkins

John  Horgan.  Richard Dawkins Offers Advice for Donald Trump, and Other Wisdom. Aug 10, 2017.

mercoledì 16 agosto 2017

# s-behav: they behave strangely in the darkness caused by a solar eclipse

<< Many accounts of solar eclipses include tales of animals behaving strangely >>

<< There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence for how animals and even plants respond to totality [of solar eclipses] >>

<< Crickets chirped and frogs croaked [..]  Gnats and mosquitoes swarmed [..] Bees returned to hives and chickens to roost >>

<< small, light-sensitive crustaceans and zooplankton swam upward toward the dark during eclipses, similar to how the tiny animals behave at night >>

<< The sun’s disappearance prompted orb weaver spiders to take down their webs >>

<< captive chimpanzees scaled a climbing structure and faced the blocked sun >>

Lisa Grossman. What do plants and animals do during an eclipse?
A citizen science project aims to gather data to put science behind anecdotal evidence. Aug 12, 2017

<< The behavior of colonial orb-weaving spiders (Metepeira incrassata) in tropical Veracruz, Mexico was studied during the total solar eclipse on July 11, 1991. Spiders behaved in a manner typical of daily activity until totality, when many began taking down webs. After solar reappearance, most spiders that had begun taking down webs rebuilt them >>

Uetz, G.W., Hieber, C.S., et al.     Behavior of Colonial Orb-weaving Spiders during a Solar Eclipse. Ethology, 96: 24–32. Jan 12, 1994. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.1994.tb00878.x

<< This year, the California Academy of Sciences is soliciting citizen scientists to record their observations of any animals they see using the academy’s iNaturalist app >>

Solar Eclipse 2017: Life Responds.

domenica 13 agosto 2017

# n-soc: charlottesville, what to do now, by Jeffrey

<< The question is: what to do now? The answer lies in the source of the problem. The huge mess began with bad ideas. The only means available – and it is the most powerful – is to fight bad ideas with good ideas. >>

<< What are those good ideas?  The progress of the last 500 years shows us precisely what the good ideas are: social harmony, human rights, the aspiration of universal dignity, the conviction that we can work together in mutual advantage, the market economy as a means of peace and prosperity, and, above all else, the beauty and magnificence of the idea of liberty itself. >>

Jeffrey A. Tucker. The Violence in Charlottesville. Aug 12, 2017


# n-laws: nashville looks back. Apr 8, 2016.

sabato 12 agosto 2017

# s-evol: nomadic pulses: when dinosaurs ruled the earth, they took to the skies ...

<< New fossil discoveries show that prehistoric “squirrels” glided through forests at least 160 million years ago, long before scientists had thought >>

<< In a study published on Wednesday, a team of paleontologists added some particularly fascinating new creatures to the Mesozoic Menagerie. These mammals did not lurk in the shadows of dinosaurs >>

Carl Zimmer. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Mammals Took to the Skies. August 9, 2017

<< Two new eleutherodonts from the Late Jurassic period have skin membranes and skeletal features that are adapted for gliding >>

Qing-Jin Meng,David M. Grossnickle, et al. New gliding mammaliaforms from the Jurassic. Nature  (2017) doi:10.1038/nature23476 Publ. Aug 09, 2017

giovedì 10 agosto 2017

# s-gst: they take decisions in a way that is not necessarily uniform (jazzy? funky? fuzzy?)

AA << found that fate decision is not a unique programmed event, but the result of a very dynamic process composed of spontaneous fluctuation and selective stabilisation of alternative cellular states >>

<< The whole process is reminiscent of trial-and-error learning in which each cell explores—at its own rhythm and independently of cell division—different molecular possibilities (i.e. different genes turned on or off) before reaching a stable combination of active genes and the corresponding morphology >>

AA << observed that some cells seem to "hesitate" and change morphology many times before reaching a stable state >>

Which type of cell to become: Decision through indecision.
July 27, 2017

<< Individual cells take lineage commitment decisions in a way that is not necessarily uniform >>

AA << identifies a new category of cells with fluctuating phenotypic characteristics, demonstrating the complexity of the fate decision process >>

Alice Moussy, Jérémie Cosette, et al. Integrated time-lapse and single-cell transcription studies highlight the variable and dynamic nature of human hematopoietic cell fate commitment. PLoS Biol 15(7): e2001867 doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2001867


in pratica un lancio di dadi, ... quasi.

<< Amico, qualunque  cosa suonerai . . . >>

mercoledì 9 agosto 2017

# s-phyto: mRNA instability may facilitate rapid recovery of plants after stressful events

<< Stress recovery may prove to be a promising approach to increase plant performance, and theoretically, mRNA instability may facilitate faster recovery.   Transcriptome (RNA-seq, qPCR, sRNA-seq, PARE) and methylome profiling during repeated excess-light stress and recovery was performed at intervals as short as three minutes >>

AA << demonstrate that 87% of the stress-upregulated mRNAs analysed exhibit very rapid recovery >>

Peter Alexander Crisp, Diep Ganguly, et al.  Rapid recovery gene downregulation during excess-light stress and recovery in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell Publ. July 2017 doi: 10.1105/tpc.16.00828

martedì 8 agosto 2017

# s-esobio: self-assembled azotosomes by convective activity, a kind of proto-life on Titan.

<< vinyl cyanide (C2H3CN; also known as acrylonitrile or propenenitrile) would be the best candidate species for the formation of (..) cell-like membranes, known as “azotosomes” >>

AA << report the first spectroscopic detection of vinyl cyanide in Titan’s atmosphere, obtained using archival data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), collected from February to May 2014 >>

AA << detect the three strongest rotational lines of C2H3CN in the frequency range of 230 to 232 GHz, each with >4σ confidence >>

the << production rate of vinyl cyanide and its saturation mole fraction imply the availability of sufficient dissolved material to form ~107 cell membranes/cm3 in Titan’s sea Ligeia Mare (Titan's second largest liquid body) >>

<< Reactions of hydrocarbons with hydrogen, both readily available on Titan, release energy, which could provide support for methanogenic life. The sedimentation time of atmospheric organics depends on the particle size and convective activity in the troposphere. This coupling of Titan’s atmosphere and surface completes the picture regarding the astrobiological importance of (..) detection of vinyl cyanide in Titan’s middle/upper atmosphere >>

Maureen Y. Palmer, Martin A. Cordiner, et al. ALMA detection and astrobiological potential of vinyl cyanide on Titan. Science Advances  28 Jul 2017: Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700022
doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1700022

lunedì 7 agosto 2017

# s-evol: a noise effect inside: new species pulsating by chance instead of ...

<< W. Andrew Barr, a visiting assistant professor of anthropology, published a report that says it's possible the pulse of new species could have occurred by chance and might not be directly related to climate change >>

Researcher's paper challenges the claim that the genus Homo originated in response to environmental changes. Aug 4, 2017

W. Andrew Barr. Signal or noise? A null model method for evaluating the significance of turnover pulses. Paleobiology 2017 doi: 10.1017/pab.2017.21 Publ. online: 31 July 2017


<< "Nell' Arte tutto e', o dovrebbe essere, un esperimento". Gill Evans. >>

2127 - enigmistiche tonalita'. March 23, 2007

sabato 5 agosto 2017

# s-phys: nanoquakes: driving them by phononic crystals

<< the extreme frequency sound waves - also known as surface acoustic waves [SAW] or 'nanoquakes' , as they run across the surface of a solid material in a similar manner to earthquake tremors on land >>

<< Although surface acoustic waves form a key component of a host of technologies, they have proved extremely difficult to control with any degree of accuracy >>

[AA] << have developed a new type of structure, known as a ' phononic crystal,' which when patterned into a device, can be used to steer and guide the nanoquakes >>

Riding the wave: Pioneering research tames nanoquakes. Aug 2, 2017

<< Phononic crystals can control the propagation of SAW, analogous to photonic crystals, enabling components such as waveguides and cavities >>

B. J. Ash, S. R. Worsfold, et al. A highly attenuating and frequency tailorable annular hole phononic crystal for surface acoustic waves.  Nature Communications 8, Article number: 174 (2017)  doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00278-0

giovedì 3 agosto 2017

# s-esobio: seeking a new "planetary protection officer"

<< Nasa is seeking a new "planetary protection officer" tasked with defending the earth from alien life >>

<< It is not a new idea - the original United Nations treaty on space exploration, signed in 1967, called for space-faring nations to take care about contaminants >>

Planetary protection officer wanted, generous salary. BBC. 02 Aug 2017

<< The mission of the Office of Planetary Protection is to promote the responsible exploration of the solar system by implementing and developing efforts that protect the science, explored environments, and Earth >>

About Planetary Protection. Aug 3, 2017

<< Degree: physical science, engineering, or mathematics that included 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as mechanics, dynamics, properties of materials, and electronics >>

FonT: nella lista dei requisiti desiderabili non sono contemplate le lauree in biologia, biochimica ...

"physical science"

mercoledì 2 agosto 2017

# s-gst: the importance of noise (transcriptional noise) in stem cell. dev., by Wolf et al.

<< Random differences between cells early in development could be the key to making different cells in the body, according to new research from a team co-led by Professor Wolf Reik >>

<< when cells start specialising into different cell types their gene activity becomes more 'noisy' - each cell starts to turn different groups of genes on or off >>

Noise helps cells make decisions: Team reveals the importance of genetic noise in development. Aug 1, 2017

AA << study systematically charts transcriptional noise and uncovers molecular processes associated with early lineage decisions >>

Hisham Mohammed, Irene Hernando-Herraez, et al. Single-Cell Landscape of Transcriptional Heterogeneity and Cell Fate Decisions during Mouse Early Gastrulation. Cell Reports , Volume 20 , Issue 5 , 1215 - 1228 doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.07.009 Publ. Aug 1, 2017

martedì 1 agosto 2017

# s-astro: cosmic nomads, transfers, impacts

a) cosmic nomads

Lee Billings. Wandering in the Void, Billions of Rogue Planets without a Home. New results suggest free-floating giant planets are less common than previously believed, but hint at vast numbers of smaller castaway worlds. July 24, 2017

b) cosmic transfers

Ashley Yeager. Half of the Milky Way comes from other galaxies
Simulations suggest that galactic winds blew the material in from elsewhere. July 26, 2017

Daniel Angles-Alcazar
Claude-Andre Faucher-Giguere
et al. The cosmic baryon cycle and galaxy mass assembly in the FIRE simulations. Mon Not R Astron Soc (2017) 470 (4): 4698-4719. doi: 10.1093/mnras/stx1517
Publ. June 20, 2017

c) cosmic impacts

Jenny Wells. Evidence of impacts that structured the Milky Way galaxy. July 18, 2017

Deborah Ferguson, Susan Gardner, Brian Yanny. Milky Way Tomography with K and M Dwarf Stars: The Vertical Structure of the Galactic Disk. The American Astronomical Society. The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 843, Number 2 . Publ. July 14, 2017.

lunedì 31 luglio 2017

# s-ecol: asymmetric cooperation during symbiosis (among Polynucleobacteria)

<< Relationships where two organisms depend on each other, known as symbiosis, evoke images of partnership and cooperation. But a new study in Nature Ecology and Evolution shows that, when it comes to certain microorganisms, symbiotic partners are actually being held "hostage" >>

Hostage situation or harmony? Researchers rethink symbiosis. July 27, 2017

Vittorio Boscaro, Martin Kolisko, et al.  Parallel genome reduction in symbionts descended from closely related free-living bacteria. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, 1160–1167 (2017) doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0237-0 Publ. July 21,  2017

giovedì 27 luglio 2017

# s-game: equilibrium, a chimeric target

<< In 1950, John Nash — the mathematician later featured in the book and film “A Beautiful Mind” — wrote a two-page paper that transformed the theory of economics. His crucial, yet utterly simple, idea was that any competitive game has a notion of equilibrium: a collection of strategies, one for each player, such that no player can win more by unilaterally switching to a different strategy >>

<< Nash’s equilibrium concept, which earned him a Nobel Prize in economics in 1994, offers a unified framework for understanding strategic behavior not only in economics but also in psychology, evolutionary biology and a host of other fields. Its influence on economic theory “is comparable to that of the discovery of the DNA double helix in the biological sciences,” wrote Roger Myerson of the University of Chicago, another economics Nobelist >>

In a paper posted online last September AA << proved that no method of adapting strategies in response to previous games — no matter how commonsensical, creative or clever — will converge efficiently to even an approximate Nash equilibrium for every possible game. It’s “a very sweeping negative result,” Roughgarden (Tim Roughgarden) said >>

Erica Klarreich. In Game Theory, No Clear Path to Equilibrium. July 18, 2017.

Yakov Babichenko, Aviad Rubinstein. Communication complexity of approximate Nash equilibria. arXiv:1608.06580 Sep. 13,  2016

mercoledì 26 luglio 2017

# s-pnei: brain-like activities; syntesis and release of dopamine by T-cells

<< a proportion of human TFH  [follicular helper T] cells contain dense-core granules marked by chromogranin B, which are normally found in neuronal presynaptic terminals storing catecholamines such as dopamine.  TFH cells produce high amounts of dopamine and release it upon cognate interaction with B cells >>

<< faster dopamine-induced T–B-cell interactions increase total germinal centre output and accelerate it by days >>

Ilenia Papa, David Saliba, et al. TFH-derived dopamine accelerates productive synapses in germinal centres. Nature 547, 318–323 (July 20, 2017) doi: 10.1038/nature23013

Kate Prestt. Discovery of brain-like activity in immune system promises better disease treatments. July 13, 2017

martedì 25 luglio 2017

# s-astro: a macro "switch-like" dynamics

AA << propose  that  a  “switch-like”  magnetosphere  exists  at Uranus  in  both  equinox  and  solstice  seasons,  where  the  planetary rotation  drives  the  interchange  between  an  open  magnetosphere  and  a closed  magnetosphere  each  Uranus  day >>

Xin Cao , Carol Paty. Diurnal  and  seasonal  variability  of  Uranus's magnetosphere. Journal  of  Geophysical  Research:  Space  Physics. Vol. 122,  Issue  6, June  2017 Pages  6318–6331 Publ. June 27, 2017 doi:  10.1002/2017JA024063

<< Stay weird, Uranus. We wouldn’t have you any other way >>

Rae Paoletta. Uranus Is Even Freakier Than We Thought. June 23, 2017.

lunedì 24 luglio 2017

# s-chem: self-assembled also into cuboids

<< Phospholipid liposomes are archetypical self-assembled structures. To minimize the surface tension, the vesicles typically are spherical >>

<< A 1,2-diamidophospholipid is presented that self-assembles into a cuboid structure. Owing to intermolecular hydrogen bonding, the bilayer membranes form an exceptionally tight subgel packing, leading to a maximization of flat structural elements and a minimization of any edges. These conditions are optimized in the geometrical structure of a cube >>

Frederik  Neuhaus, Dennis  Mueller, et al. Vesicle  Origami:  Cuboid  Phospholipid  Vesicles  Formed  by Template-Free  Self-Assembly. Angewandte  Chemie  International  Edition.  Vol. 56,  Issue 23, June  1,  2017. Pages  6515–6518. doi: 10.1002/anie.201701634

Phosphorus-containing lipid  molecule self-assembles into a cuboid structure. June  5,  2017

venerdì 21 luglio 2017

# s-astro: the “mudball” model; a terrestrial muddiness from carbonaceous asteroids

<< Scientists have long held the belief that planets – including Earth – were built from rocky asteroids, but new research challenges that view >>

Planets like earth may have had muddy origins. July 14, 2017

<< It would have been a mud, rather than a rock >>

Philip A. Bland, Bryan J. Travis. Giant convecting mud balls of the early solar system. Science  Advances 14 Jul 2017: Vol.  3,  no.  7,  e1602514 doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1602514

giovedì 20 luglio 2017

# s-lang: jazz session during a bird song

<< Music is thought to engage its listeners by driving feelings of surprise, tension, and relief through a dynamic mixture of predictable and unpredictable patterns, a property summarized (..) [by AA] as "expressiveness" >>

<< birds render their songs more expressive by subtly modifying note timing patterns, similar to musical operations like accelerando or ritardando >>

AA << findings bear consequences for neuronal models of vocal sequence generation in birds, as they require non-local rules to generate rhythm >>

Tina C Roeske, Damian Kelty-Stephen, Sebastian Wallot. Birds have swing: Multifractal analysis reveals expressive rhythm in birdsong. BioRxiv June 29, 2017 doi: 10.1101/157594

<< A veery thrush, ready to join the band >>

Michael Le Page. Swinging birds play with rhythm like jazz musicians. July 14, 2017

Lang Elliott. Veery Thrush. June 1, 2010

mercoledì 19 luglio 2017

# s-chem: self-assembling 'origami' nanoscale architectures by DNA staple strands

<< DNA origami is a technique that uses hundreds of short DNA oligonucleotides, called staple strands, to fold a long single-stranded DNA, which is called a scaffold strand, into various designer nanoscale architectures >>

Hong F, Zhang F, et al. DNA Origami: Scaffolds for Creating Higher Order Structures. Chem Rev. 2017 Jun 12. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00825.

martedì 18 luglio 2017

# s-behav: disruptive colouration to gain cryptic benefits (among the reef fish Dascyllus aruanus)

<< Animals use disruptive colouration to prevent detection or recognition by potential predators or prey. Highly contrasting elements within colour patterns, including vertical or horizontal bars, are thought to be effective at distracting attention away from body form and reducing detection likelihood. >>

AA << results provide evidence that fish camouflage is more complex than it initially appears, with likely many factors influencing the detection likelihood of prey by relevant predators >>

Phillips GAC, How MJ, et al. Disruptive colouration in reef fish: does matching the background reduce predation risk?  J Exp Biol. 2017 Jun 1;220 (Pt 11): 1962-1974 doi: 10.1242/jeb.151480

lunedì 17 luglio 2017

# s-gene: epigenetics, more than just genes

<< We are more than the sum of our genes. Epigenetic mechanisms modulated by environmental cues such as diet, disease or lifestyle take a (..) role in regulating the DNA by switching genes on and off >>

AA << focused on a particular modification called H3K27me3 that can also be found in humans >>

Max Planck Society. Epigenetics between the generations: Researchers prove that we inherit more than just genes. July 14, 2017

Fides Zenk, Eva Loeser, et al. Germ line–inherited H3K27me3 restricts enhancer function during maternal-to-zygotic transition. Science  14 Jul 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6347, pp. 212-216 doi: 10.1126/science.aam5339

sabato 15 luglio 2017

# s-behav: mafia-style among Cuckoos (the brown-headed cowbird Molothrus ater)

<< Why do many hosts accept costly avian brood parasitism even when parasitic eggs and nestlings differ dramatically in appearance from their own? Scientists argue that evolutionary lag or equilibrium can explain this evolutionary enigma. Few, however, consider the potential of parasitic birds to enforce acceptance by destroying eggs or nestlings of hosts that eject parasitic eggs and thereby reject parasitism.  This retaliatory “mafia” behavior has been reported in one species of parasitic cuckoo but never in parasitic cowbirds. >>

AA << present experimental evidence of mafia behavior in the brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater ) >>

Jeffrey P. Hoover, Scott K. Robinson. Retaliatory mafia behavior by a parasitic cowbird favors host acceptance of parasitic eggs. PNAS 2007 vol. 104 no. 11: 4479–4483  doi: 10.1073/pnas.0609710104

Andy Coghlan. Cuckoos use mafia-style tactics to raise young.  March 5, 2007

Brown-headed cowbird

venerdì 14 luglio 2017

# e-tech: store data with CRISPR–Cas tech.; biologists have now joined the party

<< Internet users have a variety of format options in which to store their movies, and biologists have now joined the party. Researchers have used the microbial immune system CRISPR–Cas to encode a movie into the genome of the bacterium Escherichia coli. >>

<< “Cells have this privileged access to all sorts of information,” he [Seth Shipman] says. “I would like to have these molecular recordings functioning in the developing nervous system and recording information.” >>

Heidi Ledford. Lights, camera, CRISPR: Biologists use gene editing to store movies in DNA. Technique demonstrated in E. coli suggests ways to record key events in a cell's life. July 12, 2017

Shipman, S. L., Nivala, J., et al. Nature doi: 10.1038/nature23017 (2017).


2073 - a few hints of our presence. Oct 13, 2006.