ժ NO2004.01

Complexity Digest 2004.01 Jan. 05, 2004

Archive: http://www.comdig.org, European Mirror: http://www.comdig.de Asian
Mirror:
http://www.phil.pku.edu.cn/resguide/comdig/ (Chinese GB-Code) "I think the
next century will be the
century of complexity." Stephen Hawking

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Content:

01. E-Learning ?Predictions, DarwinMag.com
01.01. Bringing the Historical Confucius to Life, NYTimes
02. How to Measure Student Proficiency?, NYTimes
02.01. Wins, Losses and Algorithms, NYTimes
03. Increase Of Complexity From Classical Greek To Latin Poetry, Complex
Systems
04. Corporate Pensions Face Pressure Despite Stock Rally, NYTimes
04.01. An Operation to Ease Back Pain Bolsters the Bottom Line, Too, NYTimes
04.02. Is Your Future Written?, CIO Magazine
05. Way to Track U.S. Cattle Isn't Ready for Quick Use, NYTimes
06. Therapeutic Approaches To Protein-Misfolding Diseases, Nature
06.01. Protein Folding And Misfolding, Nature
07. Squaring The Circle: South African Fruit Exports, J. Int. Development
07.01. Vietnam In The Global Economy: Trade, Employment And Poverty, J.
Int. Development
08. Workplace: The Bad Apples Do Spoil The Whole Barrel, J. Org. Behavior
08.01. Mapping Weblog Communities, arXiv
09. Songbird Duets Resonate To Beat, Natue Science update
10. Are Viruses Driving Microbial Diversification And Diversity?, Env.
Microbiol.
10.01. A Computational Algebra Approach to the Reverse Engineering of Gene
Regulatory Networks,
arXiv
11. Evolution Of Spatial Expression Pattern, Evol. & Development
11.01. Structure Trees And Species Trees: What They Say, Evol. & Development
11.02. Coral Reveals Ancient Origins Of Human Genes, Nature
12. 'Reverse Genetics' Could Offer Forward-Thinking Flu Vaccine, Nature
12.01. Modelling of SARS for Hong Kong, arXiv
13. Midlife Crisis In Brain Circuitry As Key To Brain Aging, ScienceDaily
13.01. Young Nerve Cells Can Rewind Their Developmental Clocks, Eurekalert
13.02. MIT Helps Unlock Life-extending Secrets Of Calorie Restriction,
ScienceDaily
14. Scientists Grapple with 'Dark Energy' Theory, NPR Audio
14.01. The Time We Thought We Knew, NYTimes
15. Gaia: The living Earth, Nature
15.01. Planetary Science: Icy Martian Mysteries, Nature
15.02. Ships' Logs Uncover Past Climate, BBC News
16. Heavyweights Are Choosing Sides in Battle Over Next DVD Format, NYTimes
16.01. Computer Hardware 2004's Top Technology Trends, Forbes
17. What We Will Do in 2004, NYTimes
17.01. The Fantasy and Reality of 2004, Wired
18. How the Internet has Changed Our Lives, Nielsen-Netratings.com
18.01. The Battle Against Junk Mail and Spyware on the Web, NYTimes
18.02. Viruses Make Criminal Move, BBC News
19. Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Networks
19.01. Freeze On Terror Cash Not Working, Associated Press
19.02. A Nuclear Headache: What if the Radicals Oust Musharraf?, NYTimes
19.03. FBI Warns of Potential Almanac Terror Link, NPR Audio
19.04. Guarding Incoming Airliners, NYTimes
19.05. Bus Thief's Trip to Kennedy Raises Alarm, and Questions, NY Times
20. Links & Snippets
20.01. Other Publications
20.02. Webcast Announcements
20.03. Conference & Call for Papers Announcements
20.04. ComDig Announcement: New ComDig Archive in Beta Test

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01. E-Learning ?Predictions , DarwinMag.com

Excerpts: Think customizable simulations that can be available on
demand.Tools are easier to use,
learning management systems (LMSs) are in place and catalog vendors have
consolidated to just a few
players.

With that in mind, I hereby put forth my top five e-learning trend
predictions for 2004:

Customer e-learning courseware will gain enterprise importance.
Outsourced e-learning will be the model or choice for corporate buyers.
Buyers will spend more; strong vendors will thrive.
Simulations will prove to be the premier choice for compelling training.
On-demand e-learning technology services will go mainstream.

* E-Learning ?Predictions, 03/12, DarwinMag.com

Contributed by Dean LeBaron


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01.01. Bringing the Historical Confucius to Life , NYTimes

Excerpts:


Provincial Museum of Shandong
Confucius, as portrayed in a silk painting.



The Muse Guimet in Paris has set out to bridge the gap between East and
West by devoting an
exhibition to this central pillar of Asian thought.
By all accounts, he was a man devoted to learning (...).
In Book 2, Verse 4, of the Analects, he is quoted as summarizing his life
in typically
philosophical terms: "The Master said, `At 15, I had my mind bent on
learning. At 30, I stood firm.
At 40, I had no doubts. At 50, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At 60, my ear
was an obedient organ
for the reception of truth. At 70, I could follow what my heart desired,
without transgressing what
was right."

* Bringing the Historical Confucius to Life, Alan Riding  , 04/01/01, NYTimes


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02. How to Measure Student Proficiency? , NYTimes

Excerpts:


Disparities in Testing




Three-quarters of children across the country would fail South Carolina's
tough fifth-grade test,
one study shows, while seven out of eight would ace the third-grade tests
in Colorado and Texas.
(...)

The divergent standards also have ramifications under the federal education
law, passed in 2001.
Schools deemed failures eventually face stern consequences, including loss
of students and
reorganization. And in some states with high standards there could be lots
of failing schools. In
other states with low standards, schools with equally poor performance
could be left alone.

* How to Measure Student Proficiency?, Ford Fessenden , 03/12/31, NY Times


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02.01. Wins, Losses and Algorithms , NYTimes

Excerpts: How computers made a mess out of college football.

Moral: when people try to divide subjective opinions into components and
put them together to get
more accuracy, they often end up disagreeing with the result. Maybe you've
experienced this when
you've tried using a checklist to choose a house or a housemate and ended
up following your
instincts instead.

Most of the practical decisions that people make are based not on logic but
on intuition. Most
decisions hang on too many things that can't be objectively measured and
combined.

* Wins, Losses and Algorithms, Thomas K. Landauer


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03. Increase Of Complexity From Classical Greek To Latin Poetry , Complex
Systems

Abstract: In this paper a method is developed to analyze the increase of
complexity from classical
Greek poetry to classical Latin poetry by mapping large samples of poems
onto a symbolic time
series. This mapping setup intends to characterize the regular succession
of rhythms, that is, the
patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables in a verse. Using techniques
from information theory;
more precisely, the mutual information function, it is shown how the
rhythmical patterns in Greek
poetry evolve to more complex behavior in Latin poetry. Some interesting
results are reported.

* Increase Of Complexity From Classical Greek To Latin Poetry, R.
Mansilla  , E. Bush , 2003,
Complex Systems
* Contributed by Atin Das


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04. Corporate Pensions Face Pressure Despite Stock Rally , NYTimes

Excerpts: A year ago, even though stock prices were lower, the same
companies were considerably
closer to meeting their obligations, being only $212 billion short. (...)

That is because their obligations to their workers have spiraled up at an
even faster pace than
stocks have risen. One obvious reason for this is that as the baby boom
generation ages, many more
people are starting to claim their money. Another factor is that many
pension calculations
incorporate several years' worth of data, to smooth out shar

* Corporate Pensions Face Pressure Despite Stock Rally, Mary Williams Walsh


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04.01. An Operation to Ease Back Pain Bolsters the Bottom Line, Too , NYTimes

Excerpts: Critics say there is a clear reason why a complex surgery called
spinal fusion is being
performed more and more often: money.

A complex operation called spinal fusion has emerged as the treatment of
choice for many kinds of
unrelenting back pain. (...)

But a number of researchers say there is little scientific evidence to show
that for most patients,
spinal fusion works any better than a simpler operation, the laminectomy.
(...) Some people,
experts add, would be better off with no surgery at all. (...)

* An Operation to Ease Back Pain Bolsters the Bottom Line, Too, Reed
Abelson , Melody Petersen , NY
Times


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04.02. Is Your Future Written? , CIO Magazine

Excerpts: (...) Thurow argued that globalization is inexorable, and that
we're moving toward a
harsher form of capitalism than we've seen in the past. This belief is
reflected in some of our
reporting in this issue. But Businesspeople can influence the course of
events to create a better
future-for themselves, for the U.S. economy and for the developing world as
well, Thurow asserts in
  his interview with Art Jahnke.

Working to shape that future requires CIOs and other executives to make
choices that demand real
moral courage in the face of

* Is Your Future Written?, Abbie Lundberg  , 03/12, CIO Magazine


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05. Way to Track U.S. Cattle Isn't Ready for Quick Use , NYTimes

Excerpts: An animal identification system that the Agriculture Department
has said it will begin
putting in place immediately to help safeguard the meat supply against mad
cow disease is expected
to take a year or two to phase in, an official said yesterday.

Weaknesses in tracking cattle have been revealed in the last week as
officials have scrambled to
try to locate cows connected to the one in Washington State found to be
infected with mad cow
disease.

(...) trace them to their origins within 48 hours.

* Way to Track U.S. Cattle Isn't Ready for Quick Use, Denise Grad , NY Times


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06. Therapeutic Approaches To Protein-Misfolding Diseases , Nature

Summary: Several sporadic and genetic diseases are caused by protein
misfolding. These include
cystic fibrosis and other devastating diseases of childhood as well as
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and
other debilitating maladies of the elderly. A unified view of the molecular
and cellular
pathogenesis of these conditions has led to the search for chemical
chaperones that can slow,
arrest or revert disease progression. Molecules are now emerging that link
our biophysical insights
with our therapeutic aspirations.

* Therapeutic Approaches To Protein-Misfolding Diseases, Fred E. Cohen1  ,
Jeffery W. Kelly ,
03/12/18, DOI: 10.1038/nature02265, Nature 426, 905 - 909


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06.01. Protein Folding And Misfolding , Nature

Excerpts: The manner in which a newly synthesized chain of amino acids
transforms itself into a
perfectly folded protein depends both on the intrinsic properties of the
amino-acid sequence and on
multiple contributing influences from the crowded cellular milieu. Folding
and unfolding are
crucial ways of regulating biological activity and targeting proteins to
different cellular
locations. Aggregation of misfolded proteins that escape the cellular
quality-control mechanisms is
a common feature of a wide range of highly debilitating and increasingly
prevalent diseases.

* Protein Folding And Misfolding, Christopher M. Dobson  , 03/12/18, DOI:
10.1038/nature02261,
Nature 426, 884 - 890


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07. Squaring The Circle: South African Fruit Exports , J. Int. Development

Abstract: South African fruit growers simultaneously face rising standards
imposed within
supermarket global value chains, falling market prices internationally, and
increasing government
legislation. These pressures are leading to falling permanent employment
and increasing use of
contract labour on fruit farms, tempered by the need to employ skilled
workers to meet quality and
labour standards. Informal contract employment provides some (male) workers
with regular work at
relatively good pay, but others (particularly women) work for short periods
at low pay. None enjoy
work security or employment benefits. The informality of work intensifies
their risks and
vulnerability to poverty.

* Squaring The Circle: Global Production And The Informalization Of Work In
South African Fruit
Exports, S. Barrientos s.barrientos@ids.ac.uk , A. Kritzinger , 2003/12/18,
DOI: 10.1002/jid.1064,
Journal of International Development
* Contributed by Pritha Das


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07.01. Vietnam In The Global Economy: Trade, Employment And Poverty , J.
Int. Development

Abstract: Vietnam has undergone a significant change from a relatively
closed economy as a result
of the reform process initiated in the late 1980s. Since one of the main
mechanisms through which
greater openness is expected to lead to poverty reduction is via the labour
market, the paper
examines the impact which trade flows have had on employment in Vietnam
since the early 1990s.
(...) the paper shows that the growth of exports has had a significant
positive effect on
employment, while increased import competition had a negative effect both
directly and indirectly
through rationalization of producers facing foreign competition.

* Vietnam In The Global Economy: Trade, Employment And Poverty, R. Jenkins
R.O.Jenkins@uea.ac.uk ,
2003/12/18, DOI: 10.1002/jid.1060, Journal of International Development
* Contributed by Pritha Das


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08. Workplace: The Bad Apples Do Spoil The Whole Barrel , J. Org. Behavior

Abstract: The influences of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and
workplace deviant
behavior (WDB) on business unit performance were investigated using data
from branches of a fast
food organization. Data included measures of WDB and OCB obtained from
staff, ratings of
performance provided by supervisors, and objective measures of performance.
It was found that WDB
was negatively and significantly associated with business unit performance
(...). OCB, however,
failed to contribute to the prediction of business unit performance beyond
the level that was
achieved by WDB. It appeared, therefore, that the presence of deviant
employees among business
units impinges upon the performance (...).

* Workplace Deviance, Organizational Citizenship Behavior, And Business
Unit Performance: The Bad
Apples Do Spoil The Whole Barrel, P. D. Dunlop patrick@psy.uwa.edu.au  , K.
Lee , 2003/12/23, DOI:
10.1002/job.243, Journal of Organizational Behavior
* Contributed by Atin Das


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08.01. Mapping Weblog Communities , arXiv

Abstract: Websites of a particular class form increasingly complex
networks, and new tools are
needed to map and understand them. A way of visualizing this complex
network is by mapping it. A
map highlights which members of the community have similar interests, and
reveals the underlying
social network. In this paper, we will map a network of websites using
Kohonen's self-organizing
map (SOM), a neural-net like method generally used for clustering and
visualization of complex data
sets. The set of websites considered has been the Blogalia weblog hosting
site (based at
http://www.blogalia.com ), a thriving community of around 200 members,
created in January 2002. In
this paper we show how SOM discovers interesting community features, its
relation with other
community-discovering algorithms, and the way it highlights the set of
communities formed over the
network.

* Mapping Weblog Communities, Juan-J. Merelo-Guervos , Beatriz Prieto ,
Fatima Rateb , Fernando
Tricas , 2003-12-20, DOI: cs.NE/0312047, arXiv
* Contributed by Carlos Gershenson


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09. Songbird Duets Resonate To Beat , Natue Science update

Excerpts: The synchronized rhythms of South American ovenbirds may be
driven by simple physics, say
researchers, rather than deep-rooted musical talent.
(...) When a male and female strike up song, the male begins by singing (...).


Instead of keeping pace with her partner, the female punctuates his beat
with one of her own. The
result is "a most appealing rhythm," (...).
(...) muscles controlling the birds' breathing and syrinx, the
sound-generating organ, work like
so-called nonlinear oscillators. Nonlinear oscillators can respond to
regular 'driving' signals in
complex ways.

* Songbird Duets Resonate To Beat, Philip Ball  , 04/01/02, Natue Science
update


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10. Are Viruses Driving Microbial Diversification And Diversity? , Env.
Microbiol.

Abstract: Viruses can influence the genetic diversity of prokaryotes in
various ways (...) by
'killing the winner' and keeping in check competitive dominants. This may
sustain species richness
and the amount of information encoded in genomes. Viruses can also transfer
(viral and host) genes
between species. Such mechanisms have probably influenced the speciation of
prokaryotes.
Whole-genome sequencing has clearly revealed the importance of
(virus-mediated) gene transfer.
Here, we present data supporting the hypothesis that viral genes and viral
activity generate
genetic variability of prokaryotes and are a driving force for ecological
functioning and
evolutionary change.

* Are Viruses Driving Microbial Diversification And Diversity?, M. G. Weinbauer
Weinbauer@obs-vlfr.fr , F. Rassoulzadegan , Jan. 2004, DOI:
10.1046/j.1462-2920.2003.00539.x,
Environmental Microbiology
* Contributed by Atin Das


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10.01. A Computational Algebra Approach to the Reverse Engineering of Gene
Regulatory Networks ,
arXiv

Abstract: This paper proposes a new method to reverse engineer gene
regulatory networks from
experimental data. The modeling framework used is time-discrete
deterministic dynamical systems,
with a finite set of states for each of the variables. The simplest
examples of such models are
Boolean networks, in which variables have only two possible states. The use
of a larger number of
possible states allows a finer discretization of experimental data and more
than one possible mode
of action for the variables, depending on threshold values. Furthermore,
with a suitable choice of
state set, one can employ powerful tools from computational algebra, that
underlie the
reverse-engineering algorithm, avoiding costly enumeration strategies. To
perform well, the
algorithm requires wildtype together with perturbation time courses. This
makes it suitable for
small to meso-scale networks rather than networks on a genome-wide scale.
The complexity of the
algorithm is quadratic in the number of variables and cubic in the number
of time points. The
algorithm is validated on a recently published Boolean network model of
segment polarity
development in Drosophila melanogaster.

* A Computational Algebra Approach to the Reverse Engineering of Gene
Regulatory Networks, Reinhard
Laubenbacher , Brandilyn Stigler , 2003-12-17, DOI: q-bio.QM/0312026, arXiv
* Contributed by Carlos Gershenson


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11. Evolution Of Spatial Expression Pattern , Evol. & Development

Summary: How can complex patterns of gene expression evolve? Understanding
the near-precise
repeatability of morphology created by animal development (...) is one of
the most difficult
outstanding problems in developmental biology. Spatial patterns are created
in part by interactions
between transcription factors and their DNA targets. Here we simulate the
evolution of such
interactions to compare the success and the evolvability of simple and
complex gene networks (...).
We find that adding more genes to a network makes only a slight difference
to evolvability.
Expression patterns can evolve within a few hundred mutational events, and
some simulations show
partial redundancy.

* Evolution Of Spatial Expression Pattern, L. J. Johnson  , J. F. Y. Brookfield
John.Brookfield@Nottingham.ac.uk , Nov. 2003, DOI:
110.1046/j.1525-142X.2003.03064.x, Evolution &
Development
* Contributed by Pritha Das


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11.01. Structure Trees And Species Trees: What They Say , Evol. & Development

Summary: The evolutionary history of morphological structures generally is
equated with that of the
taxa that carry them. It is argued here that, analogous to genes,
developmental genetic pathways
underlying morphological structures may be subject to developmental
evolutionary changes that
result, for instance, in. Entities that undergo evolution are expected to
be related to each other
as a tree. Just as with molecular evolution, "structure trees" and species
trees sometimes may be
incongruent, (...). These analyses suggest that leaf primordia in monocots
and close relatives are
related to each other as a tree and, therefore, are developmentally
integrated, evolving entities.

* Structure Trees And Species Trees: What They Say About Morphological
Development And Evolution,
R. Geeta geeta@life.bio.sunysb.edu , Nov. 2003, DOI:
10.1046/j.1525-142X.2003.03066.x, Evolution &
Development
* Contributed by Pritha Das


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11.02. Coral Reveals Ancient Origins Of Human Genes , Nature

Excerpts: A study of coral suggests that ancient members of the animal
kingdom slithered through
the Precambrian mud with a hefty cache of genes in common with humans.

Surprisingly, many of these genes are not shared with creatures such as
flies and worms, even
though these animals evolved millions of years after coral. This calls into
question some studies
that use these model organisms to unravel the evolution of the human genome.

(...) much older origins, and have been lost during the evolution of the
fly and worm.

* Coral Reveals Ancient Origins Of Human Genes, Carina Dennis  , 03/12/18,
DOI: 10.1038/426744a,
Nature 426, 744


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12. 'Reverse Genetics' Could Offer Forward-Thinking Flu Vaccine , Nature

Excerpts: Scientists could rapidly engineer the seed strain in the
laboratory by stitching together
the viral genes they want, and then use it to mass-produce the vaccine in
hens' eggs.


Influenza vaccines made using reverse genetics have not yet progressed
through clinical trials,
however. And according to WHO officials and other experts, vaccine
manufacturers might be dissuaded
from using reverse genetics because they would owe licensing fees to
MedImmune, a biotechnology
firm based in Gaithersburg, Maryland that holds patents on the technique.

* 'Reverse Genetics' Could Offer Forward-Thinking Flu Vaccine, Helen
Pearson , 03/12/18, DOI:
10.1038/426742b, Nature 426, 742


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12.01. Modelling of SARS for Hong Kong , arXiv

Abstract: A simplified susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) epidemic model
and a small-world model
are applied to analyse the spread and control of Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (SARS) for Hong
Kong in early 2003. From data available in mid April 2003, we predict that
SARS would be controlled
by June and nearly 1700 persons would be infected based on the SIR model.
This is consistent with
the known data. A simple way to evaluate the development and efficacy of
control is described and
shown to provide a useful measure for the future evolution of an epidemic.
This may contribute to
improve strategic response from the government. The evaluation process here
is universal and
therefore applicable to many similar homogeneous epidemic diseases within a
fixed population. A
novel model consisting of map systems involving the Small-World network
principle is also
described. We find that this model reproduces qualitative features of the
random disease
propagation observed in the true data. Unlike traditional deterministic
models, scale-free
phenomena are observed in the epidemic network. The numerical simulations
provide theoretical
support for current strategies and achieve more efficient control of some
epidemic diseases,
including SARS.

* Modelling of SARS for Hong Kong, Pengliang Shi , Michael Small ,
2003-12-11, DOI:
q-bio.PE/0312016, arXiv
* Contributed by Carlos Gershenson


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13. Midlife Crisis In Brain Circuitry As Key To Brain Aging , ScienceDaily

Excerpts: A novel model of human brain aging developed by a UCLA
neuroscientist identifies midlife
breakdown of myelin, a fatty insulation coating the brain's internal
wiring, as a possible key to
the onset of Alzheimer's disease later in life. (...) the model presents
opportunities to explore
how lifestyle changes, hormone replacement therapy, higher education or
treatment with common
medications in middle age might help brains remain healthy longer. "This
model embraces the human
brain as a high-speed Internet rather than a computer. The quality of the
Internet's connections is
the key to its speed, fidelity and overall capability."

* UCLA Neuroscientists Pinpoint Midlife Crisis In Brain Circuitry As Key To
Brain Aging And Onset
Of Alzheimer's Later In Life, 2003/12/30, ScienceDaily & University Of
California - LA
* Contributed by Atin Das


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13.01. Young Nerve Cells Can Rewind Their Developmental Clocks , Eurekalert

Excerpts: Scientists have identified a gene in the cerebral cortex that
apparently controls the
developmental clock of embryonic nerve cells, a finding that could open
another door to tissue
replacement therapy in the central nervous system. In a new study, the
researchers found that they
could rewind the clock in young cortical cells in mice by eliminating a
gene called Foxg1. The
finding could potentially form the basis of a new method to push progenitor
cells in the brain to
generate a far wider array of tissue than is now possible.

* Young Nerve Cells Can Rewind Their Developmental Clocks , Pamela McDonnell
Pamela.Mcdonnell@med.nyu.edu , 04/01/01, Eurekalert


_________________________________________________________________

13.02. MIT Helps Unlock Life-extending Secrets Of Calorie Restriction ,
ScienceDaily

Excerpts: Shedding light on why drastically restricting calorie intake
prolongs life span in some
organisms, MIT researchers report (...) that lowering the level of a common
coenzyme activates an
anti-aging gene in yeast. Calorie restriction extends life span in a wide
spectrum of organisms,
and has been shown to delay the onset or reduce the incidence of many
age-related diseases,
including cancer and diabetes. (...) calorie restriction activates the
silenced information
regulator (SIR2) gene, which has the apparent ability to slow aging during
the low-calorie diet.
Humans carry a similar gene. This latest study probes how Sir2 is activated
by calorie restriction.

* MIT Helps Unlock Life-extending Secrets Of Calorie Restriction,
2003/01/01, ScienceDaily & Cold
Spring Harbor Laboratory
* Contributed by Atin Das


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14. Scientists Grapple with 'Dark Energy' Theory , NPR Audio

Excerpts: In recent years, scientists have theorized that as much as
two-thirds of the universe may
be made up of a mysterious substance called "dark energy." As new
observations continue to support
the existence of dark energy, scientists struggle to understand what it
portends for the fate of
the universe. Hear NPR's Richard Harris.

* Scientists Grapple with 'Dark Energy' Theory, 03/12/31, NPR Audio


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14.01. The Time We Thought We Knew , NYTimes

Excerpts:


Slide Show: The Passage of Time



Time and space themselves, though, would be rendered secondary, derivative
features, that emerge
only in suitable conditions (in the aftermath of the Big Bang, for
example). (...)
A hundred years ago today, the discovery of special relativity was still 18
months away, and
science still embraced the Newtonian description of time. Now, however,
modern physics' notion of
time is clearly at odds with the one most of us have internalized. Einstein
greeted the failure of
science to confirm the familiar experience of time with "painful but
inevitable resignation."

* The Time We Thought We Knew, Brian Greene , 04/01/01, NY Times


_________________________________________________________________

15. Gaia: The living Earth , Nature

Excerpts: Like life, Gaia is an emergent phenomenon, comprehensible
intuitively, but difficult or
impossible to analyse by reduction ?not surprisingly it is often
misunderstood. A simple automatic
mechanism, like a thermostatically controlled oven, requires a sensor to
measure the difference
between the ambient temperature and the set point of regulation, (...) and
apply it as negative
feedback to oppose unwanted change. Living systems rarely work in this
simple way; they require
positive as well as negative feedback for homeostasis, and a restraining
function replaces the
simple manual set point.

* Gaia: The living Earth, James Lovelock  , 03/12/18, DOI: 10.1038/426769a,
Nature 426, 769 - 770


_________________________________________________________________

15.01. Planetary Science: Icy Martian Mysteries , Nature

Excerpts: Both Mars and Earth have experienced ice ages in geologically
recent times. (...)
scientific quest to answer the question of how ice ages originate.
Among the grandest of mysteries about planet Earth is the origin of its ice
ages and related
climate change. Human civilization developed during a warm, 'greenhouse'
climatic interlude of
several thousand years within the overall 'ice-house' conditions of a major
ice age that became
most intense during the past two million years. (...) evidence that this
same period coincides with
an occurrence of martian ice ages.

* Planetary Science: Icy Martian Mysteries, Victor R. Baker  , 03/12/18,
DOI: 10.1038/426779a,
Nature 426, 779 - 780


_________________________________________________________________

15.02. Ships' Logs Uncover Past Climate , BBC News

Excerpts:


East Indiaman under sail: The data collected was vital



An international team is pioneering a new source of information about
climate change: old sailing
ships' logbooks. (...)
The 19th and 18th Century logbooks from UK, Dutch, French and Spanish
fleets yield "consistent and
reliable" data.

Cliwoc says its work is slowly building up "one of the most accurate
pictures yet of daily weather
over the oceans."

Cliwoc says it "aims to discover more about the changing climate over the
world's oceans before
industrialisation could have had any significant influence on climate and
weather."

* Ships' Logs Uncover Past Climate, Alex Kirby  , 03/12/29, BBC News


_________________________________________________________________

16. Heavyweights Are Choosing Sides in Battle Over Next DVD Format , NYTimes

Excerpts: The next generation of DVD's, which will not be widely available
until at least 2005, are
already the subject of a multibillion-dollar fight.

The arguments are in many ways reminiscent of the Betamax-VHS showdown in
the 1970's (...)


(...) the HD (high definition) DVD, a disc that is 0.6 millimeter thick and
made with machinery
similar to that used for today's DVD's. On the other side (...) a disc only
0.1 millimeter thick
that can hold more data but needs additional investment to be produced.
Information on the discs
can be overwritten after it is recorded, something that is not possible wi

* Heavyweights Are Choosing Sides in Battle Over Next DVD Format, Ken
Belson , NY Times


_________________________________________________________________

16.01. Computer Hardware 2004's Top Technology Trends , Forbes

Excerpts: Bluetooth, the wireless technology that replaces the cables on
electronics, is set to
have a big year in 2004. (...) In the past, the companies said,
manufacturers of products like
keyboards and headsets had focused on perfecting one piece of the Bluetooth
technology. But now
they're ready to introduce full-fledged products. Once a few PCs start
shipping with built-in
Bluetooth keyboards and mice, watch skeptics start jumping onto the
Bluetooth bandwagon in August,
around back-to-school season. We'll be saying we told you so.
Editor's Note:: I can confirm: Bluetooth keyboard and mouse -like on my
mac- are really neat.

* Computer Hardware 2004's Top Technology Trends, Jon Fortt  , 04/01/02, Forbes


_________________________________________________________________

17. What We Will Do in 2004 , NYTimes

Excerpts: We resolve, of course, to expand freedom, and we are focused in
particular on Afghanistan
and Iraq. The Afghan people now have a constitution, a rapidly advancing
market economy, and new
hope as they look toward national elections. (...) free and talented Iraqi
nation are also taking
wing, now that Saddam Hussein's murderous and dangerous regime is no more.
We are working to return
sovereignty to the Iraqi people through a fair and open process and to
ensure that the country
receives the maximum feasible debt relief.

* What We Will Do in 2004, Colin L. Powell , NY Times


_________________________________________________________________

17.01. The Fantasy and Reality of 2004 , Wired

Excerpts: "I wish that spam would just go away in 2004.

"What probably will happen is that the amount of spam that is being sent
out will explode in
volume, (...).

"We'll have more poorly conceived laws like the recently passed U.S. and
British ones that are full
of holes that you can drive a truckload of spam through. Laws against spam
will be watered down by
direct marketers who tend to equate e-mail with physical direct marketing
(...), thanks to the
transference of cost.

* The Fantasy and Reality of 2004, Michelle Delio  , 03/12/29, Wired


_________________________________________________________________

18. How the Internet has Changed Our Lives , Nielsen-Netratings.com

Excerpts: It is almost impossible to overstate the extent to which the
Internet has changed our
lives in that time. Selected by Nielsen//NetRatings?European analytics
team, the following ten
websites and Internet applications are the ones we feel have had the
greatest impact on the
Internet and on society as a whole so far.  Google This website is so
successful it became a verb ?search engine Google is not only one of the
most-visited sites online, it is also the market leader
in a fiercely competitive sector.

* How the Internet has Changed Our Lives, Nielsen-Netratings.com


_________________________________________________________________

18.01. The Battle Against Junk Mail and Spyware on the Web , NYTimes

Excerpts: The communications breakthrough that was supposed to link people
and information in
revolutionary new ways is turning into a forum for digital detritus that
pushes Viagra, pornography
and penile enhancements.

The spam law that Congress recently enacted will have little impact on this
blight. The law makes
it easier to know who is sending the spam because it requires the senders
to furnish return
addresses and other information. But it also guts stronger state statutes,
which would have given
spammers more incentive to knock it off.

* The Battle Against Junk Mail and Spyware on the Web, Brent Staples


_________________________________________________________________

18.02. Viruses Make Criminal Move , BBC News

Excerpts: The communications breakthrough that was supposed to link people
and information in
revolutionary new ways is turning into a forum for digital detritus that
pushes Viagra, pornography
and penile enhancements.

The spam law that Congress recently enacted will have little impact on this
blight. The law makes
it easier to know who is sending the spam because it requires the senders
to furnish return
addresses and other information. But it also guts stronger state statutes,
which would have given
spammers more incentive to knock it off.

* Viruses Make Criminal Move, 03/12/31, BBC News


_________________________________________________________________

19. Complex Challenges: Global Terrorist Networks





_________________________________________________________________

19.01. Freeze On Terror Cash Not Working , Associated Press

Excerpts:


Pfc. Michael Oakes stood guard at McCarran International Airport in Las
Vegas on Wednesday.
Security was heightened in many cities across the United States.




Though an internal investigation in 2002 recommended OFAC make changes to
ensure it has the legal
authority to test banks' compliance with sanctions, the agency hasn't taken
steps to do so, (...).

  "This leaves OFAC in a position of not knowing what it does not know,"
(...). "While many
financial institutions report their own violations when they are detected,
we do not have the
luxury of assuming that all financial institutions do this.
  "The dangers of terrorism financing operating unhindered are too great to
take a passive
approach," (...).

* Freeze On Terror Cash Not Working, John Solomon , 04/01/02, Associated Press


_________________________________________________________________

19.02. A Nuclear Headache: What if the Radicals Oust Musharraf? , NYTimes

Excerpts: Two recent assassination attempts against Pakistan's president,
Gen. Pervez Musharraf,
have renewed concern in the Bush administration over both the stability of
a critical ally and the
security of its nuclear weapons if General Musharraf were killed or removed
from office.

Administration officials would not discuss their contingency plans for
Pakistan, but several said
the White House was revisiting an effort (...) to prevent Al Qaeda or
extremists within the
Pakistani military or intelligence services from gaining access to the
country's weapons and
fissile material.

* A Nuclear Headache: What if the Radicals Oust Musharraf?, David E. Sanger
, Thom Shanker , NY
Times


_________________________________________________________________

19.03. FBI Warns of Potential Almanac Terror Link , NPR Audio

Excerpts: The FBI warns that almanacs could be used by terrorists "to
assist with target selection
and pre-operational planning." The FBI warns police that terrorists could
use the books, which
compile data on everything from lunar cycles to weather patterns, to plan
an attack.
Editor's Note: Actually, any type of useful book or newspaper could be used
by a terrorist.

* FBI Warns of Potential Almanac Terror Link, Melissa Block  , Michele
Norris , 03/12/30, NPR Audio


_________________________________________________________________

19.04. Guarding Incoming Airliners , NYTimes

Excerpts: When the United States has intelligence about a possible
terrorist threat, it has every
right to demand that foreign airliners headed for the United States carry
air marshals or other law
enforcement officers onboard. The total freedom of air carriers from other
countries to make their
own security rules ends when their planes are bound for American airspace.
Tom Ridge, (...), made
the correct decision when he issued an emergency order (...) after six Los
Angeles-bound Air France
flights, which do not carry marshals, were canceled because of terrorism
concerns.
Editor's Note: Here is a scenario for the next terrorist attack: Al Qaeda
infiltrates an Air
Marshal service of a foreign airline, uses their officially sanctioned guns
to take over the plane
?Or did I see that scenario already in a movie?

* Guarding Incoming Airliners, 03/12/31, NY Times


_________________________________________________________________

19.05. Bus Thief's Trip to Kennedy Raises Alarm, and Questions , NY Times

Excerpts: A 55-seat private bus was stolen from the Port Authority Bus
Terminal in broad daylight
on Sunday ?(...). It was seven hours before the police knew it was gone. (...)
The tale also triggered more serious questions. At a time of renewed terror
warnings, some found it
unsettling to know that a bus ?surely a formidable weapon in the hands of a
terrorist ?could be
stolen in Midtown Manhattan and remain undetected for so long.

"It is particularly troubling that this could happen at a time of
heightened security (...).
Editor's Note: I was told by a shuttle bus driver at LAX that they are
never undergo a security
check when they approach the terminal.

* Bus Thief's Trip to Kennedy Raises Alarm, and Questions, Robert F.
Worth  , 03/12/30, NY Times


_________________________________________________________________

20. Links & Snippets





_________________________________________________________________

20.01. Other Publications



- Modelling of SARS for Hong Kong, Pengliang Shi , Michael Small ,
2003-12-11, arXiv, DOI:
q-bio.PE/0312016
- Reasoning About Expectation, Joseph Y. Halpern , Riccardo Pucella ,
2003-12-17, arXiv, DOI:
cs.AI/0312037
- Clustering by Compression, Rudi Cilibrasi , Paul Vitanyi , 2003-12-19,
arXiv, DOI: cs.CV/0312044
- Reasoning About Expectation, Joseph Y. Halpern , Riccardo Pucella ,
2003-12-17, arXiv, DOI:
cs.AI/0312037
- A Computational Algebra Approach to the Reverse Engineering of Gene
Regulatory Networks, Reinhard
Laubenbacher , Brandilyn Stigler , 2003-12-17, arXiv, DOI: q-bio.QM/0312026
- Clustering by Compression, Rudi Cilibrasi , Paul Vitanyi , 2003-12-19,
arXiv, DOI: cs.CV/0312044
- Mapping Weblog Communities, Juan-J. Merelo-Guervos , Beatriz Prieto ,
Fatima Rateb , Fernando
Tricas , 2003-12-20, arXiv, DOI: cs.NE/0312047
- Redundancy Attributes Of A Complex System: Application To Bioinformatics,
P. S. Neelakanta  , T.
V. Arredondo  , D. DeGroff , 2003, Complex Systems
- What Does Measure The Scaling Exponent Of The Correlation Sum In The Case
Of Human Heart Rate?,
M. Säkki  , J. Kalda  , M. Vainu  , M. Laan Nõmme , 2003/12/24, Chaos: An
Interdisciplinary Journal
of Nonlinear Science, DOI: 10.1063/1.1636151
- Do The Web Sites Of Higher Rated Scholars Have Significantly More Online
Impact?, M. Thelwall
m.thelwall@wlv.ac.uk , G. Harries , 2003/10/28, Journal of the American
Society for Information
Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1002/asi.10362
- Does Citation Reflect Social Structure?: Longitudinal Evidence From The
Globenet
Interdisciplinary Research Group, H. D. White whitehd@drexel.edu , B. Wellman
wellman@chass.utoronto.ca , N. Nazer , 2003/11/13, Journal of the American
Society for Information
Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1002/asi.10369
- Testing For Anxiety, F. Ohl f.ohl@las.vet.uu.nl , 2003/11/21, Clinical
Neuroscience Research,
DOI: 10.1016/S1566-2772(03)00084-7
- Stress Models Of Depression, B. Vollmayr vollmayr@zi-mannheim.de , F. A.
Henn , 2003/11/21,
Clinical Neuroscience Research, DOI: 10.1016/S1566-2772(03)00086-0
- One Eye But No Vision: Cave Fish With Induced Eyes Do Not Respond To
Light, A. Romero
aromero@astate.edu , S. M. Green  , A. Romero  , M. M. Lelonek  , K. C.
Stropnicky , 2003/11/24,
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental
Evolution, DOI:
10.1002/jez.b.47
- Historian Reveals Christmas Dinner Wouldn't Be The Same Without the
Aztecs and Columbus, J.
Murray jennifer.murray@warwick.ac.uk , 2003/12/23, Alphagalileo
- The End Of The Line For Silicon Dioxide?, C. Först
clemens.foerst@tuwien.ac.at , 2003/12/23,
Alphagalileo
- 'Mad Cow' Mechanism May Be Integral To Storing Memory, 2003/12/29,
ScienceDaily & Whitehead Inst.
For Biomedical Res.
- New Understanding Of Why Brain Cells Die After Stroke Will Lead To
Development Of New Treatments,
2003/12/29, ScienceDaily & University Of Toronto
- Increasing Urban Wage Inequality In China Extent, Elements And
Evaluation, J. Knight
john.knight@economics.ox.ac.uk , L. Song , 2003/12/01, The Economics of
Transition, DOI:
10.1111/j.0967-0750.2003.00168.x
- Scoring Clustering Solutions By Their Biological Relevance, G.-Viks I. ,
Sharan R. , 2003/12/12,
Bioinformatics, DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btg330
- Wind Industry, Environmentalists Split on Energy Bill , Alternative
energy companies are at odds
with environmental groups over support for the energy bill currently
stalled in Congress. The wind
energy industry says passage of the bill is needed to renew tax credits,
which expire today,
crucial to their industry's survival. But environmental groups say the rest
of the bill will do
more harm than good. Jeff Young reports.
- The Cow Jumped Over the U.S.D.A., Eric Schlosser , You'd have a hard time
finding a federal
agency more completely dominated by the industry it was created to regulate
than the Agriculture
Department.
- Flight Sent Back on Terror Fear, U.S. Officials Say, Eric Lichtblau
, U.S. authorities imposed extraordinary security measures on at least
seven incoming flights
because of terrorist concerns.
- That Parent-Child Conversation Is Becoming Instant, and Online, John Schwartz

, Instant messaging, long a part of teenagers' lives, is working its way
into the broader fabric of
the American family.
- Immigration Reform, American officials cannot keep pretending that 8
million to 10 million
illegal immigrants do not exist.
- 'Specific Threat' To BA Flight, 04/01/03, Security scare grounds new flight
British Airways cancels a flight to Saudi Arabia hours after grounding a
Washington flight amid
fears of a terror attack.
- The Unkept Promise, Until we start chiseling away at our farm subsidies,
the promise of trade
will remain a promise unkept for many of the world's poor.
- Key Step Towards US Terror Trials, , 03/12/31, BBC News,



  The detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been held incommunicado



- 'Most Influential' Websites Named, The sites that have had the most
impact on how we see the net
have been chosen by analysts
- Tiny Nanotube Antennas May Yield Better Signals In Cell Phones,
Televisions, 03/12/31, Science
Daily
- Special Counsel Is Named to Head Inquiry on C.I.A. Leak, Eric Lichtblau
, At the same time, Attorney General John Ashcroft disqualified himself
from any involvement in the
politically charged case.
- The Right Thing, at Last, After a long delay, Attorney General John
Ashcroft finally has turned
the inquiry into last summer's C.I.A. leak over to a deputy.
- Effort to Promote U.S. Falls Short, Critics Say, Christopher Marquis
, America, the land that gave the world Coca-Cola, "Titanic" and the
Marlboro Man, is having a hard
time selling itself.
- This Car Can Talk. What It Says May Cause Concern, John Schwartz
, OnStar is one of a growing number of automated eyes and ears that enhance
driving safety and
convenience but that also increase the potential for surveillance.
- How Internet Banks Have Inched Ahead on Rates, John Kimelman
, If your bank offers too-low interest rates for your savings, it may be
time to go "branchless."
- Secrets of stone skimming revealed Magic angle boosts bounces, Helen R.
Pilcher  , 04/01/02
- Cell Cycle: Passenger Acrobatics , Toru Higuchi , Frank Uhlmann ,
03/12/18, Nature 426, 780 -
781, DOI: 10.1038/426780a
- A Self-Organizing System Of Repressor Gradients Establishes Segmental
Complexity Indrosophila,
Dorothy E. Clyde , Maria S. G. Corado , Xuelin Wu , Adam Par?, Dmitri
Papatsenko  , Stephen Small
, 03/12/18, Nature 426, 849 - 853, DOI: 10.1038/nature02189



_________________________________________________________________

20.02. Webcast Announcements


   Presentation Webcasts from Scientific Sessions 2003,
   American Heart Association
   EVOLVABILITY & INTERACTION: Evolutionary Substrates of
   Communication, Signaling, and Perception in the Dynamics of Social
   Complexity, London, UK, 03/10/08-10
   The Semantic Web
   and Language Technology - Its Potential and Practicalities,
   Bucharest, Romania, 03/07/28-08/08
   ECAL 2003, 7th
   European Conference on Artificial Life, Dortmund, Germany,
   03/09/14-17
   IMA International
   Conference Bifurcation 2003, Univ. Southampton, UK, 27-30 July,
   2003
   New Santa
   Fe Institute President About His Vision for SFI's Future Role,
   (Video, Santa Fe, NM, 03/06/04)
   SPIE's 1st Intl Symp
   on Fluctuations and Noise, Santa Fe, NM, 2003/06/01-04
   NAS Sackler
   Colloquium on Mapping Knowledge Domains, Video/Audio Report,
   03/05/11
   Uncertainty and
   Surprise: Questions on Working with the Unexpected and Unknowable,
   The University of Texas Austin, Texas USA, 2003/04/10-12
   13th Ann Intl Conf,
   Soc f Chaos Theory in Psych & Life Sciences, Boston, MA, USA,
   2003/08/08-10
   CERN
   Webcast Service, Streamed videos of Archived Lectures and
   Live Events
   Dean
   LeBaron's Archive of Daily Video Commentary, Ongoing Since
   February 1998
   Edge Videos





_________________________________________________________________

20.03. Conference & Call for Papers Announcements



  Complex
  Physical, Biological and Social Systems, MIT, Cambridge,
  MA, 04/01/05-09

  2nd
  Biennial Seminar on the Philosophical, Epistemological, and
  Methodological Implications of Complexity Theory, Havana,
  Cuba, 04/01/07-10

  2004
  Western Simulation MultiConference (WMC'04), San Diego,
  CA., USA, 04/01/18-24

  The
  Mathematica Gulf Conference, Muscat, Oman, 04/01/26

  1st
  International Workshop on Biologically Inspired Approaches to
  Advanced Information Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland,
  04/01/29-30

  Physics
  of Socio-Economic Systems, 1st Intl Winter School
  2004, Konstanz, Germany, 04/02/16-20

  Advances
  in Molecular Electronics: From molecular materials to single
  molecule devices, Dresden, Germany, 04/02/23

  Leadership in
  Rapidly Changing Business Environments -Learning and Adapting in
  Time, Cambridge, MA, 04/02/26-27

  4th
  Intl ICSC Symposium Engineering Of Intelligent Systems (EIS
  2004), Island of Madeira, Portugal, 04/02/29-03/02

  Conference
  on Longevity , Sydney, Australia, 04/03/05-07

  Arbeitskreis
  Physik sozio-ökonomischer Systeme Jahrestagung
  (AKSOE), Regensburg, Germany, 04/03/08-12

  11th Annual Winter Chaos Conference Dynamical Systems Thinking in Science
and Society, Stony
Creek, CT, USA, 04/03/12-14

  Capital
  Science 2004, Washington, 04/03/20-21

  Fractal 2004,
  "Complexity and Fractals in Nature", 8th Intl
  Multidisciplinary Conf, Vancouver, Canada, 04/04/04-07

  6th German Workshop on Artificial Life 2004 (GWAL-6), Bamberg, Germany,
04/04/14-16

  The
  9th IEEE Intl Conf on Engineering of Complex Computer
  Systems, Florence, Italy, 04/04/14-16

  2004
  Advanced Simulation Technologies Conference (ASTC'04),
  Arlington, VA., USA, 04/04/18-22

  NKS
  (New Kind of Science) 2004 Conference and Minicourse,
  Boston, Massachusetts, 04/04/22-25

  Urban
  Vulnerability and Network Failure: Constructions and Experiences
  of Emergencies, Crises and Collapse, Manchester, UK,
  04/04/29-30

  5th
  International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2004),
  Boston, MA, USA, 04/05/16-21

  3rd Intl Conf on
  Systems Thinking in Management (ICSTM 2004) "Transforming
  Organizations to Achieve Sustainable Success",
  Philadelphia, Pa, USA, 04/05/19-21

4th Intl Conf on
Fractals And Dynamic Systems In Geoscience, München, Germany, 04/05/19-22

  9th
  Annual Workshop on Economics and Heterogeneous Interaction Agents
  (WEHIA04), Kyoto, Japan, 2004/05/27-29

  13th
  International Symposium on HIV & Emerging Infectious
  Diseases, Toulon, France, 04/06/03-05

  ECC8
  Experimental Chaos Conference, Florence, Italy,
  04/06/14-17

  7th Intl Conf on Linking Systems Thinking, Innovation,Quality,
Entrepreneurship and Environment
(STIQE), MARIBOR, SLOVENIA, 04/06/24-26

  From Animals To Animats
  8, 8th Intl Conf On The Simulation Of Adaptive Behavior
  (SAB'04), Los Angeles, USA, 04/07/13-17

  3rd
Intl Conf Autonomous Agents & Multi-Agent Systems Conference (AAMAS 2004),
New York City,
04/07/19-23

7th
Intl Workshop on: Trust in Agent Societies , New York City, 04/07/19-20

  8th
  World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and
  Informatics, Orlando, Florida, USA, 04/07/18-21

  2004
  Summer Simulation MultiConference (SummerSim'04), San Jose
  Hyatt, San Jose, California, 04/07/25-29

  6th
  International Mathematica Symposium (IMS 2004), Banff,
  Canada, 04/08/02-06


Fractals and Natural Hazards at 32nd Intl Geological Congress (IGC),
Florence, Italy, 04/08/20-28

  ANTS
  2004, 4th International Workshop on Ant Colony
  Optimization and Swarm Intelligence, Brussels, Belgium,
  04/09/05-08

  Dynamic
  Ontology, An Inquiry into Systems, Emergence, Levels of Reality,
  and Forms of Causality, Trento, Italy,
  04/09/08-11

  9th
  Intl Conf on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems
  (ALIFE9), Boston, Massachusetts, 04/09/12-15

  The
Verhulst 200 on Chaos, Brussels, BELGIUM, 04/09/16-18

  The
  8th Intl Conf on Parallel Problem Solving from Nature
  (PPSN VIII), Birmingham, UK, 04/09/18-22

  XVII Brazilian
  Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Sao Luis, Maranhao -
  Brazil, 04/09/22-24

   TEDMED Conference ,
Charleston SC, 04/10/12-15

  Wolfram
  Technology Conference, Champaign, Illinois,
  04/10/21-23





_________________________________________________________________

20.04. ComDig Announcement: New ComDig Archive in Beta Test

We are in the process of upgrading the Complexity Digest archives to a
format with improved search
capabilities. Also, we will finally be able to adequately publish the
valuable feedback and
comments from our knowledgable readers. You are cordially invited to become
a beta tester of our
new ComDig2 archive.





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