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Old 08-05-2011, 06:12 AM   #51
Ryanb9
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

If I can ask a question here... assume this is true as well as the big bang. Would that mean the big bang lead to a multiverse or there was a big bang in the miltiverse that lead to our universe?
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:32 PM   #52
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryanb9 View Post
If I can ask a question here... assume this is true as well as the big bang. Would that mean the big bang lead to a multiverse or there was a big bang in the miltiverse that lead to our universe?
The physics is time symmetric - meaning our universe could have spawned other universes which are in a certain sense older than our universe. I'm afraid we will probably never know the answer to your questions.
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:39 AM   #53
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Just read this and thought it was a good read

How a Computer Game is Reinventing the Science of Expertise

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...pertise-video/
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:40 AM   #54
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Some Biology Articles:

Russian, Japanese scientists planning on cloning a wooly mammoth


Article on the creation of viruses, addressing the two potentially highly-lethal strains of flu that were recently created.
Quote:
Instead of trying to make a virus that spreads among people, they infected ferrets, which turn out to have much the same experience with the flu as we humans do. In April, CDC scientists published the latest of these studies. They focused their attention on a protein called hemagglutinin, which flu viruses use to get into host cells. Based on earlier experiments, the CDC scientists reasoned that the right tweak to the structure of hemagglutinin in H5N1 could switch it from binding strongly to bird cells to mammal cells.

But their rational tweaks failed. They concluded that there was a lot more to becoming a human flu that we don’t yet understand.

The studies that have now hit the news have succeeded where other experiments have failed. The difference is that instead of trying rational tweaks, the scientists sat back and let evolution do the tweaking.
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:47 PM   #55
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

A 40-year-old puzzle of superstring theory solved by supercomputer
December 23, 2011
A group of three researchers from KEK, Shizuoka University and Osaka University has for the first time revealed the way our universe was born with 3 spatial dimensions from 10-dimensional superstring theory in which spacetime has 9 spatial directions and 1 temporal direction. This result was obtained by numerical simulation on a supercomputer.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-12-...rcomputer.html
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Old 12-26-2011, 05:36 PM   #56
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Science's breakthrough of the year: HIV treatment as prevention

A clinical trial that revitalized HIV research tops the journal's list of advances in 2011

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Old 01-09-2012, 11:08 PM   #57
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Completely drug resistant tuberculosis strains found in India
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:58 PM   #58
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Say hello to intelligent pills
http://www.nature.com/news/say-hello...t-pills-1.9823

Quote:
This product, called Helius, will include “sensor-enabled tablets” to monitor patients' medication use.
I guess we all saw this coming? But still, kinda crazy.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:35 PM   #59
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Wild flower blooms again after 30,000 years on ice
http://www.nature.com/news/wild-flow...on-ice-1.10069

If they get these flowers reproducing enough I would like to buy a seed and grow it. The thought of having one of these flowers in a pot in my house seems really cool to me.

I guess the ice must have froze what would normally decompose these seeds? If so, did that come along too when they were thawed? =P
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:38 AM   #60
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Vibrating atom image
http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/10/r...-moving-atoms/
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:44 AM   #61
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

New supernova in nearby galaxy that can be seen with small telescopes:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/ba...-the-pictures/

Nice color picture here:

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120322.html
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:35 AM   #62
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

New book by Edward O. Wilson: The Social Conquest of Earth

NYT Review:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/bo...arth.html?_r=1


Amazon review (book available on Monday)


http://www.amazon.com/Social-Conques...3945739&sr=1-1


From above link:

From the most celebrated heir to Darwin comes a groundbreaking book on evolution, the summa work of Edward O. Wilson's legendary career.

Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of religion, philosophy, and science while “overturning the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover magazine). Refashioning the story of human evolution in a work that is certain to generate headlines, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to show that group selection, not kin selection, is the primary driving force of human evolution. He proves that history makes no sense without prehistory, and prehistory makes no sense without biology. Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, Wilson presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere. 90 illustrations


Review

“Starred review. With bracing insights into instinct, language, organized religion, the humanities, science, and social intelligence, this is a deeply felt, powerfully written, and resounding inquiry into the human condition.” (Booklist )

“The Social Conquest of the Earth has set off a scientific furor... The controversy is fueled by a larger debate about the evolution of altruism. Can true altruism even exist? Is generosity a sustainable trait? Or are living things inherently selfish, our kindness nothing but a mask? This is science with existential stakes.” (Jonah Lehrer - New Yorker )

“The Social Conquest of Earth is a huge, deep, thrilling work, presenting a radically new but cautiously hopeful view of human evolution, human nature, and human society. No one but E. O. Wilson could bring together such a brilliant synthesis of biology and the humanities, to shed light on the origins of language, religion, art, and all of human culture.” (Oliver Sacks )

“Wilson’s newest theory...could transform our understanding of human nature—and provide hope for our stewardship of the planet.... [His] new book is not limited to the discussion of evolutionary biology, but ranges provocatively through the humanities.... Its impact on the social sciences could be as great as its importance for biology, advancing human self-understanding in ways typically associated with the great philosophers.” (Howard W. French - The Atlantic )

“Starred review. Never shy about tackling big questions, veteran evolutionary biologist Wilson (The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth) delivers his thoughtful if contentious explanation of why humans rule the Earth... Wilson succeeds in explaining his complex ideas, so attentive readers will receive a deeply satisfying exposure to a major scientific controversy.” (Kirkus Reviews )

“A monumental exploration of the biological origins of the Human Condition!” (James D. Watson )

“Once again, Ed Wilson has written a book combining the qualities that have brought his previous books Pulitzer Prizes and millions of readers: a big but simple question, powerful explanations, magisterial knowledge of the sciences and humanities, and beautiful writing understandable to a wide public.” (Jared Diamond, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel )

“E. O. Wilson’s passionate curiosity—the hallmark of his remarkable career—has led him to these urgent reflections on the human condition. At the core of The Social Conquest of Earth is the unresolved, unresolvable tension in our species between selfishness and altruism. Wilson brilliantly analyzes the force, at once creative and destructive, of our biological inheritance and daringly advances a grand theory of the origins of human culture. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the intersection of science and the humanities.” (Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern )
__________________________________________________ ____________

The review hype aside, Wilson does write well and the book is probably worth a read.

-Zeno
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:07 AM   #63
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeno View Post
New book by Edward O. Wilson: The Social Conquest of Earth
He was on Charlie Rose a while back and stated something along the line of "Dawkins is a bit confused."

Last edited by BrianTheMick; 04-13-2012 at 12:08 AM. Reason: He was on Charlie Rose's TV show, not actually on Charlie Rose...
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:37 PM   #64
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Mustafa's Space Drive: An Egyptian Student's Quantum Physics Invention
Quote:
Aisha Mustafa, a 19-year-old Egyptian physics student, patented a new type of propulsion system for spacecraft that uses cutting edge quantum physics instead of thrusters.

Mustafa invented a way of tapping this quantum effect via what's known as the dynamic Casimir effect. This uses a "moving mirror" cavity, where two very reflective very flat plates are held close together, and then moved slightly to interact with the quantum particle sea. It's horribly technical, but the end result is that Mustafa's use of shaped silicon plates similar to those used in solar power cells results in a net force being delivered. A force, of course, means a push or a pull and in space this equates to a drive or engine.
Did not find any more specific literature about the patent.

From last year:

First Observation of the Dynamical Casimir Effect
A rapidly moving mirror that turns virtual photons into real ones is the first experimental evidence of the dynamical Casimir effect.
KFC 05/26/2011


Observation of the Dynamical Casimir Effect in a Superconducting Circuit
C.M. Wilson, G. Johansson, A. Pourkabirian, J.R. Johansson, T. Duty, F. Nori, P. Delsing


I am wondering how much real-world potential, if any, this new propulsion system has.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:30 PM   #65
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Lead in environment -> increased crime rates?

Article:
http://www.motherjones.com/environme...-link-gasoline

I heard about it when I was listening to this weeks SGU podcast:
http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

When they first started talking about it I was giggling inside about how these guys would tear this idea apart, turns out they didnt. I think this is the second time its happened to me since listening to this podcast cant remember what the first one was tho.. wish i could >.<
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:05 PM   #66
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Sticky Wheel Forces Kepler Mission Safe Mode

how relevant will the kepler telescope be when the james webb telescope is active?

i'm guessing there's no scope for sending a manned mission to repair the broken kepler.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:47 PM   #67
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DNA can store 2.2 petabytes per gram

A problem with cost for now but I thought this was an interesting article giving details on possible future data storage using DNA
read about it here:
http://www.techspot.com/news/51431-s...-per-gram.html
a Petabyte for those that don't know is 1,000 Terabytes or 1,000,000 Gigabytes
btw an average paperclip weighs a gram.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:01 PM   #68
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Water Found in Atmosphere of Nearby Alien Planet:


http://news.yahoo.com/water-found-at...104812288.html

From above link:

Water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of one of the first alien planets ever identified by astronomers.

Advances in the technique used to scan the atmosphere of this "hot Jupiter" could help scientists determine how many of the billions of planets in the Milky Way contain water like Earth, researchers said.

The exoplanet Tau Boötis b was discovered in 1996, when the search for worlds outside our solar system was just kicking off. At about 51 light-years away, Tau Boötis b is one of the nearest known exoplanets to Earth. The planet is considered a "hot Jupiter" because it is a massive gas giant that orbits close to its parent star.

To analyze the atmosphere surrounding Tau Boötis b, scientists looked at its faint glow. Different types of molecules emit different wavelengths of light, resulting in signatures known as spectra that reveal their chemical identify.

"The information we get from the spectrograph is like listening to an orchestra performance; you hear all of the music together, but if you listen carefully, you can pick out a trumpet or a violin or a cello, and you know that those instruments are present," study researcher Alexandra Lockwood, a graduate student at Caltech, explained in a statement.

"With the telescope, you see all of the light together, but the spectrograph allows you to pick out different pieces; like this wavelength of light means that there is sodium, or this one means that there’s water," Lockwood added.

Scientists have used spectrographic analyses to find water signatures on other alien planets before, but only when those worlds passed in front of their parent stars. Tau Boötis b does not transit in front of its parent star from our viewpoint on Earth, but Lockwood and colleagues were able to tease out the weak light emitted by the planet using the Near Infrared Echelle Spectrograph (NIRSPEC) at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

Researchers had previously used a similar technique to find carbon monoxide around Tau Boötis b. That compound is thought to be the second-most common gas in the atmospheres of hot Jupiters, after hydrogen.

The new analysis showed that the glow of the planet's atmosphere matches the distinct molecular signature of water, the researchers say.

The spectrographic technique is presently limited to big planets orbiting closely to bright stars, like hot Jupiters, but it could eventually be used to study super-Earths (planets slightly larger than Earth) and worlds in the "habitable zone" around their parent stars, where liquid water and perhaps life as we know it could exist.

"While the current state of the technique cannot detect Earth-like planets around stars like the sun, with Keck it should soon be possible to study the atmospheres of the so-called 'super-Earth' planets being discovered around nearby low-mass stars, many of which do not transit," Caltech professor Geoffrey Blake said in a statement.

"Future telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will enable us to examine much cooler planets that are more distant from their host stars and where liquid water is more likely to exist," Blake added.

Astronomers found the first evidence of an exoplanet in 1992. Since then, more than 1,000 worlds have been discovered outside of our solar system, and many more await confirmation.

The new findings were detailed in the Feb. 24 online version of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The results are also freely available on the preprint service Arxiv.

*************************************************
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:26 PM   #69
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

http://www.universetoday.com/110353/...been-detected/

Big news tomorrow, speculation commencing
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:55 PM   #70
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

http://www.businessinsider.com/harva...scovery-2014-3

Quote:
They found these signatures of cosmic inflation are gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background radiation of our universe.
So the article you linked a day before this news came out was correct i'd say. Any idea how much (by a percentage) this new information expands / adds to our current aggregate of knowledge in the filed of physics?
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:58 AM   #71
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Shovel face - A new fossil reptile is unlike anything previously found

http://timeli.info/item/1316094/The_..._The_Economist

From above link:

YUNNAN province, in China, is home to the Luoping formation, a trove of spectacularly preserved fossils of creatures that roamed the seas 240m years ago, during the Triassic period. The latest—and arguably most spectacular yet—is Atopodentatus unicus, described this week in Naturwissenschaften by Long Cheng, of the Wuhan Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, and his team.

People have been digging up and classifying prehistoric reptiles for more than two centuries, so it might be reasonable to suppose that all the main groups would by now have been identified. Atopodentatus unicus suggests this is not true, for it resembles no other known fossil. Its limbs seem to have evolved into paddles, suggesting it was indeed aquatic, but its toe bones look adapted for walking, as they resemble those in hoofed animals. Also, its pelvis is unusually solid and well-structured for a creature which could rely on the water’s buoyancy to counterbalance the force of gravity. Then there is its head, which is tiny, shovel-shaped and armed with more than 175 teeth, outwardly needlelike and inwardly bladelike, arranged in a way reminiscent of a comb.

And a comb is just what Dr Long thinks they were. But not a comb for grooming. He believes Atopodentatus unicus combed the seabed, and probably also beaches and mudflats exposed at low tide, for buried creatures such as worms. It would have taken in mouthfuls of sand or mud and squeezed them back out through its teeth, trapping its prey in the comb as it did so in the way that a baleen whale traps krill.

The creature’s shovel-shaped head supports this idea, for it would have been easy to push through the sediment. Its need to walk along the bottom while doing so explains the toe bones. And emergence from the water for a bit of beachcombing explains the strong pelvis. Where Atopodentatus unicus fits into the tree of life, then, is a mystery—and a reminder of how little-understood the history of life still is.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:23 PM   #72
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

http://med.stanford.edu/ism/2014/may/young-blood.html

Cliffs: blood from young humans may fix issues in old humans, let the vampire games begin
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:04 PM   #73
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5352530

NSA proof free email service has already been maxed out on user requests, they are building more servers but you can reserve your username in the mean time.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:23 PM   #74
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Worlds First Simulated Organism Computer

From the recent Economist comes this very interesting article:

http://www.economist.com/news/scienc...anism-computer

Copied in full below; because the article touches on many concepts and recent thread discussions/debate in SMP. I have bolded three paragraphs that are particularly telling and are worthy of attention and scrutiny: And Implications for discussion.

_________________________________________________

ANY scientist will tell you that most of the work which gets done at the conferences they attend happens not in the lecture halls but around the coffee machines outside them (not to mention in the bars that delegates repair to after the lectures are finished). That is where ideas are swapped, phone numbers exchanged and collaborations begun.

One of the undersold boons of the internet is that it functions a bit like a permanent, rolling global coffee break. A good example of the result is OpenWorm, an informal collaboration of biologists and computer scientists from America, Britain, Russia and elsewhere. On May 19th this group managed to raise $121,076 on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website. The money will be put towards the creation of the world’s most detailed virtual life form—an accurate, open-source, digital clone of a critter called Caenorhabditis elegans, a 1mm-long nematode that lives in the soils of the world’s temperate regions.

C. elegans is a scientific stalwart. It is simple, transparent, easy to feed and easy to breed. As a result it is one of the best-understood organisms in biology. Hermaphrodite individuals (which is most of them) have exactly 959 cells, of which 302 are neurons. The location and the function of every one of these cells is known. Thanks to work begun in the 1970s, scientists even have a complete map—a “connectome”—of how the neurons link up with each other to form the worm’s nervous system. Despite 40 years of technological progress, C. elegans remains the only animal for which such a diagram is available.

It is detailed information like this that makes OpenWorm possible. There are two ways to build a model: from the top down or from the bottom up. The top-down method is easier. Instead of worrying about how the thing being modelled works, you need only find some equations that reproduce its behaviour; economic models often work this way. It would be possible, for example, to model the snakelike locomotion of C. elegans using high-school mathematics. But that would not be very illuminating.

OpenWorm therefore proceeds in the other direction. The idea, says Stephen Larson, a neuro- and computer scientist, who is the project’s co-ordinator, is to model the biochemical behaviour of every one of the worm’s cells, and how they interact with each other. If that can be done, then movement—and all the beast’s other behaviour patterns—should emerge by themselves from that mass of interactions.

Building a complete electronic organism in this way, one that aims to be functionally indistinguishable from its fleshy counterpart, would be quite an achievement. It would also be useful. The human brain, for instance, differs from the worm’s tiny nervous system only in the number and interconnectedness of its neurons. But although plenty of cash and brow-sweat have been thrown at the problem over the years, nobody really knows how the brain works. Having a detailed, proddable model of a far simpler nervous system would be a good first step. And C. elegans is already used to probe everything from basic biochemistry to the actions of drugs in laboratories. The ability to run those tests electronically, with no need for actual worms, and to be reasonably sure that the results will nonetheless be the same as in the real world, would be a boon to biological and medical research.

Details, details

For now, no one is quite clear what a faithful simulation would look like. The point of a model is to remove unnecessary, cluttering details, while preserving the essence of whatever it is the model-maker wants to study. But even for an organism as well-researched as C. elegans, no one is sure which details are crucial and which extraneous. A living cell is a complicated mess of enzymes, ion channels, messenger molecules and voltages. Attempting to simulate everything faithfully would bring even a supercomputer to its knees.

For the moment, the team is planning systems that will simulate how the worm’s muscle cells work, how its neurons behave and how electrical impulses move from one to the other. There will be physics algorithms that give the worm a realistic simulation of a Petri dish to move through. They will also make sure its virtual muscles can deform its virtual body by the correct amount when they receive a virtual jolt from a virtual neuron.

The results will be compared with reality, in the form of a database of about 12,000 videos of how C. elegans behaves in the real world. The more kinds of behaviour the electronic worm can accurately reproduce, the better it will be. Crucially, says Matteo Cantarelli, another of the project’s founders, the system is designed to be flexible and easy to tweak. That lets the team improve it on the fly, either through subtle changes to what is already there, or by adding completely new chunks of code. For instance, proteins can diffuse through the worm, and change aspects of its behaviour when they do so. OpenWorm cannot model that at present, but the team has plans to make it do so.

This flexibility also allows the researchers to modify their model as science advances. On May 18th a group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Vienna published in Nature Methods a way to scan the nervous system of a live C. elegans in real time. That adds crucial data. If a connectome is like a road map, the ability to watch its neurons firing is like getting satellite video that shows how traffic is flowing along the map’s roads: which are busy (and when), and which are rarely travelled. The OpenWorm team is already keen to integrate these data into its model.

As its name suggests, OpenWorm is available to anyone to play with. And its success on Kickstarter may help raise interest—and cash—from elsewhere. “We’ve thought about applying for traditional grants,” says Dr Larson. “And the success of this crowd-funding proves that there’s public interest in this, which ought to help our case.” If he and his collaborators succeed in their ambitions, then doing biological research may one day become a simple matter of downloading some animals onto your computer, and getting started.

_______________________________________________
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:03 PM   #75
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Re: Official SMP News Articles Thread

Quote:
If he and his collaborators succeed in their ambitions, then doing biological research may one day become a simple matter of downloading some animals onto your computer, and getting started.
lol
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