Statistical study of the distribution of Korean family names... Read more »
When asked to indicate their favorite type of music, plenty of people say they like “anything but country.” Is this really accurate? Why do rock music fans also tend to like punk and heavy metal? And why on earth would … Continue reading →... Read more »
Rentfrow PJ, Goldberg LR, & Levitin DJ. (2011) The structure of musical preferences: a five-factor model. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(6), 1139-57. PMID: 21299309
Crop circles have been popular ever since hoaxes were, and should remain more popular than any of your G+ circles. It is one more (here is another) of those instances — unlike downright crap like Quan-dumb Table or Nano Art — where Art is created out of crafted and conjured up Science. Interestingly, over decades, [...]... Read more »
Haselhoff, E. (2001) Opinions and comments on Levengood WC, Talbott NP (1999) Dispersion of energies in worldwide crop formations. Physiol Plant 105: 615-624. Physiologia Plantarum, 111(1), 123-124. DOI: 10.1034/j.1399-3054.2001.1110116.x
I recently published my first history article. Titled The Life-Spans of Empires, it’s published in the delightfully-named journal Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History. Using a fun dataset I unearthed from some articles in the Nineteen Seventies, I explore the lifespans of empires, and their similarities to other complex systems: The collapse [...]... Read more »
Samuel Arbesman. (2011) The Life-Spans of Empires. Historical Methods, 44(3), 127-129. info:/10.1080/01615440.2011.577733
In a previous post, I considered a proof of the Church-Turing Thesis that Dershowitz and Gurevich published in the Bulletin of Symbolic Logic in 2008. It is safe to say that the proof is controversial — not because it is … Continue reading →... Read more »
Nachum Dershowitz, & Evgenia Falkovich. (2011) A Formalization and Proof of the Extended Church-Turing Thesis. International Workshop on the Development of Computational Models. info:/
Description of a superluminal communication device... Read more »
Ghirardi, G., Rimini, A., & Weber, T. (1980) A general argument against superluminal transmission through the quantum mechanical measurement process. Lettere al Nuovo Cimento, 27(10), 293-298. DOI: 10.1007/BF02817189
For some time now, the idea of building light-based devices to supplement semiconductor-based computing has attracted the interest of researchers and computer engineers alike. Why? Because, as eloquently put in a 2007 issue of Scientific American, "Light is a wonderful medium for carrying information."... Read more »
Wei H, Wang Z, Tian X, Käll M, & Xu H. (2011) Cascaded logic gates in nanophotonic plasmon networks. Nature communications, 387. PMID: 21750541
Wei H, Li Z, Tian X, Wang Z, Cong F, Liu N, Zhang S, Nordlander P, Halas NJ, & Xu H. (2011) Quantum dot-based local field imaging reveals plasmon-based interferometric logic in silver nanowire networks. Nano letters, 11(2), 471-5. PMID: 21182282
The Church-Turing Thesis lies at the junction between computer science, mathematics, physics and philosophy. The Thesis essentially states that everything computable in the “real world” is exactly what is computable within our accepted mathematical abstractions of computation, such as Turing machines. … Continue reading →... Read more »
Nachum Dershowitz, & Yuri Gurevich. (2008) A Natural Axiomatization of Computability and Proof of Church's Thesis. The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic. DOI: 10.2178/bsl/1231081370
There is a comapnion article which discusses this project’s role in decentralized community and citizen science at ArkFab. You can find the current paper here. A while back, I got the idea to investigate how the entropy of a poker tournament evolves with time. In thermodynamics, entropy is a measure of how ‘spread out’ energy [...]... Read more »
Clément Sire. (2007) Universal statistical properties of poker tournaments. J. Stat. Mech. (2007) P08013. arXiv: physics/0703122v3
This week I am interviewing Louise Ogden, a science blogger on our own community blog Student Voices, which is hosted on Scitable by Nature Education. Louise also has her own science blog, It’s All Relativity, where she talks about space missions, climate change, exoplanets, solar eclipses, and much more! Louise is currently finishing up her Masters project at City University in London, which will earn her an (exciting!) degree in science journalism.... Read more »
Alison Wright. (2010) High-energy physics: Top of the class . Nature Physics, 6(644). info:/10.1038/nphys1783
At some point in your teenage years, you probably kept a compass and straightedge in your backpack, learned the ways to prove two triangles are congruent, and knew what a secant was. It all had a taste of the classical about it: Euclid, Archimedes and Pythagoras had figured everything out and passed it down to us. But geometry may be more democratic than it seems. As a group of native Amazonians showed, you don't need to go to school to explain Euclid.French researcher Veronique Izard and h........ Read more »
Izard, V., Pica, P., Spelke, E., & Dehaene, S. (2011) From the Cover: Flexible intuitions of Euclidean geometry in an Amazonian indigene group. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(24), 9782-9787. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1016686108
In this post, I will discuss Schaefer’s Theorem for Graphs by Bodirsky and Pinsker, which Michael Pinsker presented at STOC 2011. I love the main proof technique of this paper: start with a finite object, blow it up to an … Continue reading →... Read more »
Manuel Bodirsky, & Michael Pinsker. (2011) Schaefer's Theorem for Graphs. Proceedings of 43rd Annual ACM Symposium on the Theory of Computing. info:/
So, today (June 23, 2011) marks the 99th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, British supergenius who played a critical role in winning World War II and is one of the founding fathers of computer science.
He was also gay, which was illegal Britain at the time. In 1952 he was prosecuted under the same law that had sent Oscar Wilde to gaol. He chose to undergo chemical castration (in the form of treatment with feminizing hormones) as an alternative to prison.
In 1954 he committed suicide in ........ Read more »
Turing, A. M. (1950) Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind, 59(236), 433-460. info:/
Right off the top let me say I'm not well versed enough in statistics to know who's right.On one side of the fence are the findings of Christakis and Fowler, famously published in the New England Journal of Medicine that posited obesity is socially contagious. Non-statistically, their paper didn't sit right with me, but as far as stats go, I'm no maven.On the other side of the fence is a new paper published by Russel Lyons who posits that Christakis' and Fowler's work is a great example of stat........ Read more »
Lyons, R. (2011) The Spread of Evidence-Poor Medicine via Flawed Social-Network Analysis. Statistics, Politics, and Policy, 2(1). DOI: 10.2202/2151-7509.1024
Chaos has been used to create variations on musical and dance sequences (Dabby, 2008; Bradley & Stuart, 1998). Here, I apply this to birdsong. It could also be used to model the evolution of creative cultural features.... Read more »
Bradley E, & Stuart J. (1998) Using chaos to generate variations on movement sequences. Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.), 8(4), 800-807. PMID: 12779786
Spencer, K., Wimpenny, J., Buchanan, K., Lovell, P., Goldsmith, A., & Catchpole, C. (2005) Developmental stress affects the attractiveness of male song and female choice in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 58(4), 423-428. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-005-0927-5
Soma, M., Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, M., & Okanoya, K. (2009) Song-learning strategies in the Bengalese finch: do chicks choose tutors based on song complexity?. Animal Behaviour, 78(5), 1107-1113. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.08.002
Hosino, T., & Okanoya, K. (2000) Lesion of a higher-order song nucleus disrupts phrase level complexity in Bengalese finches. NeuroReport, 11(10), 2091-2095. DOI: 10.1097/00001756-200007140-00007
I was recently asked about a volume descriptor in Bioclipse, which is not yet available. Jmol can calculate surfaces, so that was my first thought. However, I then ran into a paper from 2003 by Zhao, called Fast Calculation of van der Waals Volume as a Sum of Atomic and Bond Contributions and Its Application to Drug Compounds (doi:10.1021/jo034808o).
The paper presents a very simple mathematical model, which approximates the molecular volume by a sum of atomic contributions, and a three terms t........ Read more »
Zhao, Y., Abraham, M., & Zissimos, A. (2003) Fast Calculation of van der Waals Volume as a Sum of Atomic and Bond Contributions and Its Application to Drug Compounds. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 68(19), 7368-7373. DOI: 10.1021/jo034808o
Computer-based simulations that use an organism's hereditary information are revealing previously unknown but essential life functions of special bacteria that can be modified to help clean our water and produce electricity for our alternative energy needs... Read more »
Mahadevan R, Palsson BØ, & Lovley DR. (2011) In situ to in silico and back: elucidating the physiology and ecology of Geobacter spp. using genome-scale modelling. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 9(1), 39-50. PMID: 21132020
Today at work we had a journal club about a recent paper in Nature that had caused a bit of a stir. It had suggested that the reason we don't see as many extinctions due to habitat loss as we'd...... Read more »
He, F., & Hubbell, S. (2011) Species–area relationships always overestimate extinction rates from habitat loss. Nature, 473(7347), 368-371. DOI: 10.1038/nature09985
Discussion of a population-based South Korean study of the prevalence of autism... Read more »
Kim, Y., Leventhal, B., Koh, Y., Fombonne, E., Laska, E., Lim, E., Cheon, K., Kim, S., Kim, Y., Lee, H.... (2011) Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in a Total Population Sample. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.10101532
(I conned GrrlScientist into posting this on her Guardian blog) Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936) Image: Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) Common domain. As an old fashioned liberal, I want us all to be happy, and for the State to play a...... Read more »
Plucinski, M., Ngonghala, C., & Bonds, M. (2011) Health safety nets can break cycles of poverty and disease: a stochastic ecological model. Journal of The Royal Society Interface. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0153
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