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Complexity Digest's Blog

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The Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Data Means Better Science

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

Data provides the evidence for the published body of scientific knowledge, which is the foundation for all scientific progress. The more data is made openly available in a useful manner, the greater the level of transparency and reproducibility and hence the more efficient the scientific process becomes, to the benefit of society. This viewpoint is becoming mainstream among many funders,...
PLoS Biol

To Know, but Not Understand: David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington recorded daily weather observations, but they didn't record them hourly or by the minute. Not only did they have other things to do, such data didn't seem useful. Even after the invention of the telegraph enabled the centralization of weather data, the 150 volunteers who received weather instruments from the Smithsonian Institution in 1849...
The Atlantic

Paddy Ashdown: The global power shift

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

Paddy Ashdown claims that we are living in a moment in history where power is changing in ways it never has before. In a spellbinding talk at TEDxBrussels he outlines the three major global shifts that he sees...
TED.com

A Human Development Framework for CO2 Reductions

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

Consensus emerging in favor of low CO2 stabilization targets requires the participation of developing countries in the efforts to reduce global green-house emissions [1]. For example, it has been claimed that in order to keep global temperatures below a 2°C increase, developing countries should attain more than 20 % CO2 reductions below business-as-usual levels by the year 2020 [2]. The...
PLoS ONE

Failure of Adaptive Self-Organized Criticality during Epileptic Seizure Attacks

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

Over the recent years it has become apparent that the concept of phase transitions is not only applicable to the systems classically considered in physics. It applies to a much wider class of complex systems exhibiting phases, characterized by qualitatively different types of long-term behavior. In the critical states, which are located directly at the transition, small changes can have a large...
PLoS Comput Biol

The Economic Productivity of Urban Areas: Disentangling General Scale Effects from Local Exceptionality

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

The factors that explain differences in the economic productivity of urban areas have remained difficult to measure and identify unambiguously. Here we show that a synthesis of the classical representation of economic activity in a city in terms of a production function, together with a scaling perspective that accounts for the systematic effects of population size, leads to a new expression for...
SFI Working Papers

Effective Theories for Circuits and Automata

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

Abstracting an effective theory from a complicated process is central to the study of complexity. Even when the underlying mechanisms are understood, or at least measurable, the presence of dissipation and irreversibility in biological, computational and social systems makes the problem harder. Here we demonstrate the construction of effective theories in the presence of both irreversibility and...
SFI Working Papers

Predictability of Evolutionary Trajectories in Fitness Landscapes

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

Is evolution deterministic, hence predictable, or stochastic, that is unpredictable? What would happen if one could “replay the tape of evolution”: will the outcomes of evolution be completely different or is evolution so constrained that history will be repeated? Arguably, these questions are among the most intriguing and most difficult in evolutionary biology. In other words, the...
PLoS Comput Biol

Unraveling the Obesity-Cancer Connection

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

A growing body of research shows that insulin and a related hormone play a key role in fueling tumors. They also may be a link between obesity, diabetes, and...
Science

Ohm’s Law Survives to the Atomic Scale

January 6, 2012 Comments (0)

As silicon electronics approaches the atomic scale, interconnects and circuitry become comparable in size to the active device components. Maintaining low electrical resistivity at this scale is challenging because of the presence of confining surfaces and interfaces. We report on the fabrication of wires in silicon—only one atom tall and four atoms wide—with exceptionally low resistivity...
Science