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  • February 27, 2015
  • 11:17 AM
  • 24 views

How Deep Mind learns to win

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

About a year ago, DeepMind was bought for half a billion dollars by Google for creating software that could learn to beat video games. Over the past year, DeepMind has detailed how they did it. Let us say that you were … Continue reading →... Read more »

Mnih V, Kavukcuoglu K, Silver D, Rusu AA, Veness J, Bellemare MG, Graves A, Riedmiller M, Fidjeland AK, Ostrovski G.... (2015) Human-level control through deep reinforcement learning. Nature, 518(7540), 529-533. PMID: 25719670  

Volodymyr Mnih, Koray Kavukcuoglu, David Silver, Alex Graves, Ioannis Antonoglou, Daan Wierstra, & Martin Riedmiller. (2013) Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning. arXiv. arXiv: 1312.5602v1

  • February 24, 2015
  • 10:56 AM
  • 48 views

A Few Citizen Scientists Do Most of the Work

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Nothing turns your internet procrastination time into feelings of goodwill and teamwork like a citizen science project. You can click through a set of penguin photos or moon craters and know that your data are contributing to real science. As more citizens take part, and more researchers discover the joys of free labor, these projects are gaining popularity. But not all citizen scientists pull their weight. In fact, most do nearly nothing.

Henry Sauermann, a management professor at the G........ Read more »

Sauermann, H., & Franzoni, C. (2015) Crowd science user contribution patterns and their implications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(3), 679-684. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1408907112  

  • February 24, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 38 views

Seeing Our Way to Invisibility

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Star Trek had cloaking devices, and Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins had their magic cloaks. In real life, we can make things disappear too. Cloaking devices are quickly becoming reality, and we bend light to make them work.... Read more »

Choi, J., & Howell, J. (2014) Paraxial ray optics cloaking. Optics Express, 22(24), 29465. DOI: 10.1364/OE.22.029465  

Fan, P., Chettiar, U., Cao, L., Afshinmanesh, F., Engheta, N., & Brongersma, M. (2012) An invisible metal–semiconductor photodetector. Nature Photonics, 6(6), 380-385. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2012.108  

  • February 23, 2015
  • 05:52 PM
  • 36 views

Merging bacteria and solar technology to make biofuel

by This Science is Crazy in This Science Is Crazy!

https://thisscienceiscrazy.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/merging-bacteria-and-solar-technology-to-make-fuel/... Read more »

Torella JP, Gagliardi CJ, Chen JS, Bediako DK, Colón B, Way JC, Silver PA, & Nocera DG. (2015) Efficient solar-to-fuels production from a hybrid microbial-water-splitting catalyst system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25675518  

  • February 20, 2015
  • 10:52 AM
  • 70 views

Video Tip of the Week: RStudio as an interface for using R

by Mary in OpenHelix

Although typically we focus on databases and algorithms in use in bioinformatics and genomics, there are some other tools that support this work that are crucial as well. The statistical software and computing tools associated with R fall into this category. Increasingly RStudio is being adopted by folks in genomics, and although we talked about R in the past, I hadn’t highlighted the RStudio interface before. But this really lowered the barrier to entry, and has changed the way to use R e........ Read more »

  • February 17, 2015
  • 07:05 AM
  • 68 views

I'll Beam Right Over

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Star Trek’s 50th anniversary is next year. Wouldn’t transporting a person to the ISS be a great way to celebrate? Well, there are a couple of problems to overcome, but we’re on our way. We have recently learned how to transport information and light from one place to another, without it ever existing anywhere in between! And this will help us make quantum computers that will be able to transport all the information contained in every atom of your body.... Read more »

Ma, X., Herbst, T., Scheidl, T., Wang, D., Kropatschek, S., Naylor, W., Wittmann, B., Mech, A., Kofler, J., Anisimova, E.... (2012) Quantum teleportation over 143 kilometres using active feed-forward. Nature, 489(7415), 269-273. DOI: 10.1038/nature11472  

Yokoyama, S., Ukai, R., Armstrong, S., Sornphiphatphong, C., Kaji, T., Suzuki, S., Yoshikawa, J., Yonezawa, H., Menicucci, N., & Furusawa, A. (2013) Ultra-large-scale continuous-variable cluster states multiplexed in the time domain. Nature Photonics, 7(12), 982-986. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2013.287  

  • February 14, 2015
  • 10:00 PM
  • 120 views

Evolutionary non-commutativity suggests novel treatment strategies

by Dan Nichol in Evolutionary Games Group

In the Autumn of 2011 I received an email from Jacob Scott, now a good friend and better mentor, who was looking for an undergraduate to code an evolutionary simulation. Jake had just arrived in Oxford to start his DPhil in applied mathematics and by chance had dined at St Anne’s College with Peter Jeavons, […]... Read more »

Tan, L., Serene, S., Chao, H.X., & Gore, J. (2011) Hidden randomness between fitness landscapes limits reverse evolution. Physical Review Letters, 106(19), 198102. PMID: 21668204  

  • February 13, 2015
  • 03:36 PM
  • 97 views

Interstellar helps physicists research spinning black holes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There is a saying that life imitates art and while people like to disagree with the meaning of it, sometimes art can imitate life. For instance the team responsible for the Oscar-nominated visual effects at the centre of Interstellar, have turned science fiction into science fact by providing new insights into the powerful effects of black holes.... Read more »

Oliver James, Eugenie von Tunzelmann, Paul Franklin, & Kip S. Thorne. (2015) Gravitational Lensing by Spinning Black Holes in Astrophysics, and in the Movie Interstellar. Classical and Quantum Gravity. arXiv: 1502.03808v1

  • February 10, 2015
  • 07:00 AM
  • 104 views

Sometimes Warped Thinking Is A Good Thing

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

As Star Trek’s 50th anniversary approaches, are we getting closer to traveling at light speed? Believe it or not – yes, we are. We have begun to understand and harness the power of antimatter, and the plasma bubble-driven warp drive has moved from silly idea to serious consideration – so much so that NASA has designed a warp drive ship, the IXS Enterprise, of course.... Read more »

S. Beghella-Bartoli, P.M. Bhujbal, A. Nas. (2015) Confirmation of Santilli's detection of antimatter galaxies via a telescope with concave lens. America Journal of Modern Physics, 4(1), 34. info:/

Ganiev, Y., Gordeev, V., Krasilnikov, A., Lagutin, V., Otmennikov, V., & Panasenko, A. (2000) Aerodynamic Drag Reduction by Plasma and Hot-Gas Injection. Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer, 14(1), 10-17. DOI: 10.2514/2.6504  

Ronan Keane, & Wei-Ming Zhang. (2012) Beamed Core Antimatter Propulsion: Engine Design and Optimization. J.Br.Interplanet.Soc. arXiv: 1205.2281v2

  • February 9, 2015
  • 01:30 PM
  • 92 views

Slime mould and researcher set to play piano duet

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: A single-celled organism will perform a piano duet with a computer musician at Plymouth University on 1 March 2015. The public is invited. ... Read more »

Nakagaki Toshiyuki, Yamada Hiroyasu, & Tóth Ágota. (2000) Intelligence: Maze-solving by an amoeboid organism. Nature, 407(470). DOI: 10.1038/35035159  

Saigusa Tetsu, Toshiyuki Nakagaki, & Yoshiki Kuramoto. (2008) Amoebae Anticipate Periodic Events. Physical Review Letters, 100(1). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.100.018101  

Miranda Eduardo R. , Adamatzky Andrew, & Jones Jeff . (2011) Sounds Synthesis with Slime Mould of Physarum polycephalum. Journal of Bionic Engineering, 107-113. arXiv: 1212.1203

  • February 8, 2015
  • 03:11 PM
  • 109 views

‘Virtual virus’ unfolds the flu on a CPU

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The flu virus can be pretty nasty — it’s quick to evolve — which means yearly flu shots are needed and then it’s only a guess to which strain will be the most prevalent. Well new research aims to change all that, by combining experimental data from X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, cryoelectron microscopy and lipidomics (the study of cellular lipid networks), researchers have built a complete model of the outer envelope of an influenza A virion for the first time. So would that ma........ Read more »

Reddy, T., Shorthouse, D., Parton, D., Jefferys, E., Fowler, P., Chavent, M., Baaden, M., & Sansom, M. (2015) Nothing to Sneeze at: A Full-Scale Computational Model of the Human Influenza Virion. Biophysical Journal, 108(2), 31. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.11.195  

  • February 6, 2015
  • 08:34 AM
  • 155 views

Why do we have music? Can one trace the origins of musicality?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Why do we have music? And what enables us to perceive, appreciate and make music? The search for a possible answer to these and other questions forms the backdrop to a soon-to-be released theme issue of Philosophical Transactions, which deals with the subject of musicality. An initiative of Henkjan Honing, professor of Music Cognition at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), this theme issue will see Honing and fellow researchers present their most important empirical results and offer a joint rese........ Read more »

Honing, H., ten Cate, C., Peretz, I., & Trehub, S. (2015) Without it no music: cognition, biology and evolution of musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140088-20140088. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0088  

Gingras, B., Honing, H., Peretz, I., Trainor, L., & Fisher, S. (2015) Defining the biological bases of individual differences in musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140092-20140092. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0092  

Fitch, W. (2015) Four principles of bio-musicology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140091-20140091. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0091  

Hoeschele, M., Merchant, H., Kikuchi, Y., Hattori, Y., & ten Cate, C. (2015) Searching for the origins of musicality across species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140094-20140094. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0094  

  • January 27, 2015
  • 07:30 AM
  • 145 views

Star Date: Pretty Darn Soon

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016. In preparation for the celebrations, we’re checking in on how close we are to making Star Trek technology a reality. The replicator made food and recycled trash, and later was used to make parts for the Enterprise. A machine fabricated what they needed on the spot. We have that now on the space station! Do you know how 3-D printing works and how we print parts, food, and even living tissue? Here’s how.... Read more »

  • January 25, 2015
  • 09:19 PM
  • 134 views

Coding Responsibly Part I: Version Control

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

As a result of the growing number of resources allowing everyone to learn how to code, as well as numerous other awesome educational efforts, programming is steadily growing in popularity and accessibility...... Read more »

Perkel, J. (2011) Coding your way out of a problem. Nature Methods, 8(7), 541-543. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1631  

  • January 13, 2015
  • 02:01 PM
  • 149 views

Publishing to Keep up with Ebola

by Roli Roberts in PLOS Biologue

As you read this, thread-like viruses less than one micron in length are spreading through human populations in West Africa, taking lives, wrecking communities and generally creating havoc in the countries affected. Infection with the Ebola virus results in an … Continue reading »The post Publishing to Keep up with Ebola appeared first on PLOS Biologue.... Read more »

Drake JM, Kaul RB, Alexander LW, O’Regan SM, Kramer AM, Pulliam JT, Ferrari MJ, Park AW. (2015) Ebola Cases and Health System Demand in Liberia. PLoS Biology, 13(1). info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002056

  • January 13, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 202 views

Delicate Arteries Of Energy

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

As dependent on electricity as America is, it is surprising how easily it could be taken away. Do you know how electricity comes to your house? Here is the national electrical grid easily explained and the points at which it can be vulnerable to sun, weather, and terrorism.... Read more »

Paul W. Parfomak. (2014) Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations . Congressional Research Service Reports. info:/

  • January 12, 2015
  • 05:14 AM
  • 214 views

Why do some people see ghosts?

by Isabel Torres in Science in the clouds

For most people ghosts and spirits are part of the imaginary, but a few are truly convinced they can sometimes feel a strange presence near them. These individuals are not experiencing a paranormal phenomenon—they’re having an illusion. Schizophrenics, for instance, consistently report hearing voices or feeling someone—a ‘shadow’ or a ‘man’—close to them. Scientists have long known that illusions have a neurological cause, but they haven’t managed to pinpoint exactly ........ Read more »

Blanke Olaf, Masayuki Hara, Lukas Heydrich, Andrea Serino, Akio Yamamoto, Toshiro Higuchi, Roy Salomon, Margitta Seeck, Theodor Landis, & Shahar Arzy. (2014) Neurological and Robot-Controlled Induction of an Apparition. Current Biology, 24(22), 2681-2686. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.049  

  • January 9, 2015
  • 10:09 AM
  • 198 views

Memo to Carmakers: This Fish Is a Bad Model

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



In 2005, Mercedes-Benz revealed a concept car with a strange shape. Called the Bionic, the cartoonishly snub-nosed vehicle was modeled after Ostracion cubicus, the yellow boxfish. Car manufacturers aren't the only ones to take inspiration from this weird coral dweller. But researchers now say engineers who mimicked the boxfish might have been misled.

Shaping the car like a boxfish was supposed to make it aerodynamic. And the fish's allegedly low drag underwater wasn't its only interest........ Read more »

Van Wassenbergh S, van Manen K, Marcroft TA, Alfaro ME, & Stamhuis EJ. (2015) Boxfish swimming paradox resolved: forces by the flow of water around the body promote manoeuvrability. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface / the Royal Society, 12(103). PMID: 25505133  

  • January 6, 2015
  • 11:45 PM
  • 218 views

Cataloging a year of blogging: cancer and biology

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Welcome to 111101111. Another year has come to an end, and it is time to embrace tradition and reflect on the past twelve months. In fact, I will try to do one better and start a new tradition: cataloging a year of blogging. Last year, I split up the 83 content heavy posts of 2013 […]... Read more »

Kaznatcheev, A., Scott, J.G., & Basanta, D. (2014) Edge effects in game theoretic dynamics of spatially structured tumours. arXiv. arXiv: 1307.6914v2

  • January 6, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 204 views

What It Takes To Kill A Watt

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Do you have any idea where your home's electricity comes from? Sure, people have all heard of solar power, wind power, and fossil fuels, but they know very little about how electricity is most often generated. Is fossil fuel the most important natural resource for electricity production – nope, it’s water.... Read more »

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