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NewConcepts News

QUANTA MAGAZINE: Infinity and Beyond: The Ultimate Test/ In a Multiverse, What Are the Odds?

Testing the multiverse hypothesis requires measuring whether our universe is statistically typical among the infinite variety of universes. But infinity does a number on statistics.

PLOS: How to Make More Published Research True
John P. A. Ioannidis

Summary Points. Currently, many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85% of research resources are wasted. To make more published research true, practices that have improved credibility and efficiency in specific fields may be transplanted to others which would benefit from them—possibilities include the adoption of large-scale collaborative research; replication culture; registration; sharing; reproducibility practices; better statistical methods; standardization of definitions and analyses; more appropriate (usually more stringent) statistical thresholds; and improvement in study design standards, peer review, reporting and dissemination of research, and training of the scientific workforce. Selection of interventions to improve research practices requires rigorous examination and experimental testing whenever feasible. Optimal interventions need to understand and harness the motives of various stakeholders who operate in scientific research and who differ on the extent to which they are interested in promoting publishable, fundable, translatable, or profitable results. Modifications need to be made in the reward system for science, affecting the exchange rates for currencies (e.g., publications and grants) and purchased academic goods (e.g., promotion and other academic or administrative power) and introducing currencies that are better aligned with translatable and reproducible research.

YAHOO HEALTH: Seniors, Rejoice: Drinking Alcohol May Preserve Your Memory
Laura Tedesco

Alcohol is good for more than making memories—it’s also good for keeping them. (Photo by John Rowley/Digital Vision/Getty Images) Good news for cocktail lovers: Despite alcohol’s reputation as a brain-cell assassin, new research suggests that drinking daily in moderation after age 60 may actually help preserve your memory. In the study, published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, the researchers tracked the alcohol intake of 664 people, assessed their cognitive functioning with a handful of tests, and performed scans of their brains. During the first phase of the study, participants’ average age was 42; by the end of the study, it was 75. What they found: Imbibing later in life — as long as it was at a light to moderate level — was associated with better episodic memory, or the ability to remember specific events, compared to abstaining. This is a significant finding, since episodic memory is the type of recall that usually disappears with dementia. “Over time, you don’t necessarily lose memory for [how to do] things, like driving or having coffee,” said study author Faika Zanjani, an associate professor of behavioral and community health at the University of Maryland. “You usually lose memory of events — memories that you have to retrieve, instead of just use. It’s not just forgetting your keys. It’s forgetting key moments in your life.”

THE ATLANTIC: For a Better Brain, Learn Another Language The cognitive benefits of multilingualism

Multi-linguals are more perceptive to their surroundings and better at focusing in on important information. It’s no surprise Sherlock Holmes was a skilled polyglot.

QUANTA MAGAZINE: Elusive Form of Evolution Seen in Spiders A study of spider colonies supports a controversial idea in evolution — that natural selection can act on communities as well as on individuals.
Andy Gardner a biologist at the University of St Andrews

As a rule, spiders are antisocial. They hunt alone, zealously defend their webs from other spiders, and sometimes even eat their mates. “Cannibalism and territoriality comes naturally to Arachnida, even during sex,” said Jonathan Pruitt, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Pittsburgh. But a handful of the more than 40,000 known arachnid species on the planet have learned to rein in that aggression. Like ants or bees, they cooperate for the good of the group. For example, so-called tangle-web spiders form bands of 1,000 or more to spin webs that stretch for hundreds of yards, entrapping flies, small birds and “virtually any invertebrate imaginable,” Pruitt said. Smaller groups of a few dozen work together “like a pride of lions,” he said; some of the spiders hunt for prey, while others rear the colony’s young. The spiders present a puzzle to evolutionary biologists. According to ordinary Darwinian natural selection, only the fittest individuals will pass on their genes. But if that’s the case, why do tangle-web spiders act in ways that might conflict with an individual’s drive to outcompete its neighbors? A spider that defends the nest might put itself at personal risk, jeopardizing its chances of producing offspring. And a spider that rears the young might have to wait to eat until the hunters are sated, so it might go hungry. These are not behaviors that would be expected to enhance an individual’s fitness.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: New Particle Is Both Matter and Antimatter
By Clara Moskowitz

Since the 1930s scientists have been searching for particles that are simultaneously matter and antimatter. Now physicists have found strong evidence for one such entity inside a superconducting material. The discovery could represent the first so-called Majorana particle, and may help researchers encode information for quantum computers. Physicists think that every particle of matter has an antimatter counterpart with equal mass but opposite charge. When matter meets its antimatter equivalent, the two annihilate one another. But some particles might be their own antimatter partners, according to a 1937 prediction by Italian physicist Ettore Majorana. For the first time researchers say they have imaged one of these Majorana particles, and report their findings in the October 3 Science.

Rock (Art) of Ages: Indonesian Cave Paintings Are 40,000 Years Old Cave paintings of animals and hand stencils in Sulawesi, Indonesia, seem to be as old as similar cave art in Europe

Modern critics would probably hail the up and coming rock artists that once inhabited Indonesia. About a hundred caves outside Moras, a town in the tropical forests of Sulawesi, were once lined with hand stencils and vibrant murals of abstract pigs and dwarf buffalo. Today only fragments of the artwork remain, and the mysterious artists are long gone. For now, all we know is when the caves were painted—or at least ballpark dates—and the finding suggests that the practice of lining cave walls with pictures of natural life was common 40,000 years ago. A study published today in Nature suggests that paintings in the Maros-Pangkep caves range from 17,400 to 39,900 years old, close to the age of similar artwork found on the walls of caves in Europe.

В рейтинге мировых центров высоких технологий, Тель-Авив занял второе место в мире после Кремниевой долины в Калифорнии
по сообщению международных агенств

В рейтинге мировых центров высоких технологий, Тель-Авив занял второе место в мире после Кремниевой долины в Калифорнии. Здесь второе по абсолютному показателю количество Start-Up-компаний. Известно, в развитых странах мира - США, Великобритании, Австралии, даже в Японии, а в последнее время - и в Китае, очередь на приобретение израильских компаний сферы HighTech.

Через 5 лет израильские ученые обещают промышленное производство нефти из водорода и углекислого газа. Опытное производство уже налажено
телекомпания RTVI

так ли это, как заявляют и обещают? Если так, то это, разумеется, революция. Если же не более чем реклама - что ж, и такое бывает

BBC: Ageing: The girls who never grow older

A handful of girls seem to defy one of the biggest certainties in life: ageing. Virginia Hughes reports on the families wrestling with a condition they can’t explain, and the scientist who believes that these children could hold the key to immortality.

NAUTILUS: Machine learning is teaching us the secret to teaching.

There is a special, valuable communication that occurs between teacher and student, which goes beyond what can be found in any textbook or raw data stream.

SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE: Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the Planet for Wildlife?
By Tony Hiss

Throughout the 544 million or so years since hard-shelled animals first appeared, there has been a slow increase in the number of plants and animals on the planet, despite five mass extinction events. The high point of biodiversity likely coincided with the moment modern humans left Africa and spread out across the globe 60,000 years ago. As people arrived, other species faltered and vanished, slowly at first and now with such acceleration that Wilson talks of a coming “biological holocaust,” the sixth mass extinction event, the only one caused not by some cataclysm but by a single species—us. Wilson recently calculated that the only way humanity could stave off a mass extinction crisis, as devastating as the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, would be to set aside half the planet as permanently protected areas for the ten million other species. “Half Earth,” in other words, as I began calling it—half for us, half for them. A version of this idea has been in circulation among conservationists for some time.

Всемирный рейтинг высших учебных заведений 2014
Британская консалтинговая компания Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)

Московский государственный университет имени М.В. Ломоносова (МГУ) занял первое место среди российских вузов: он улучшил свои показатели на шесть позиций и поднялся на 114-е место. На втором месте среди отечественных высших учебных заведений находится Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет (СПбГУ): этот вуз QS поставила на 233-е место. Всего в рейтинг вошли 863 вуза, из них 21 — российский. Впервые в него попали Национальный исследовательский ядерный университет МИФИ, Национальный исследовательский технологический университет «МИСиС» и Национальный исследовательский Саратовский государственный университет. Высшие строки в списке, составленном QS, занимают американские и британские образовательные учреждения. Первое место, как и год назад, досталось американскому Массачусетскому технологическому институту (MIT). За ним следуют Кембриджский университет (Великобритания), Имперский колледж Лондона (Великобритания), Гарвардский университет (США), Оксфордский университет (Великобритания).

15 лучших изобретений женщин

Изобретения, разрушившие стереотип, что двигатель прогресса — это мужчина.

НОВОСТИ ВСЕМИРНОЙ СЕТИ: Израиль становится энергетической сверхдержавой

Испанская компания Union Fenosa ведет переговоры о покупке 20% газа израильского месторождения «Тамар», являющегося сейчас главным поставщиком энергоносителей в еврейское государство. Предполагается, что газ будет поступать в Египет, где испанцы вместе с итальянской компанией ENI построили завод по сжижению газа для отправки его в Европу. Строился он ради египетского газа, но добыча газа в этой стране так и осталась в зачаточном состоянии, несмотря на гигантский потенциал долины Нила. Согласно газете «Глобс», если сделка состоится, товарищество по разработке «Тамар» получит ежегодный доход в размере 1,3 млрд долларов. «Тамар является вторым по размеру израильским месторождением с 9-10 триллионами кубических футов газа. Объемhttp://polpred.com/?ns=1&cnt=57§or=8 газа в «Левиафане» почти в 2 раза больше, и относительно этого месторождения ведутся переговоры с турецкой компанией Turcas.

НОВАЯ ГАЗЕТА: Немецкие СМИ: нефть дешевеет не в интересах ОПЕК и России
Александр Чурсин

На мировом нефтяном рынке уже несколько недель подряд продолжают падать цены,констатирует известная немецкая газета деловых кругов Handelsblatt, и это несмотря на то, что случились украинский кризис, израильско-палестинский конфликт, а исламские радикалы, захватив часть Сирии и Ирака, объявили о создании собственного государства. В прежние времена очаги международной и региональной напряженности обычно играли роль допинга для цен на нефть, сейчас же наблюдается стабильное снижение. Так, баррель норвежской нефти сорта Брент опустился на этой недели ниже 100 долларов, что отмечалось лишь в июне прошлого года. И если эта тенденция сохранится, как полагают специалисты, то нефтедобывающие страны, в том числе и Россию, ожидают серьезные экономические трудности.

Glasgow University News: Hydrogen production breakthrough could herald cheap green energy
Professor Lee Cronin

Scientists have taken a major step forward in the production of hydrogen from water which could lead to a new era of cheap, clean and renewable energy. Chemists from the University of Glasgow report in a new paper in Science today (Friday 12 September) on a new form of hydrogen production which is 30 times faster than the current state-of-the-art method. The process also solves common problems associated with generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind or wave energy.

Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google: Call me maybe? Introducing free voice calls from Hangouts
Posted by Amit Fulay, Product Manager

We know how important it is to keep in touch with friends and family, especially when they’re spread around the world. Hangouts already makes it easy to send a quick message, or start a group video chat. But sometimes it’s best to just call to say “I love you,” and with the new version of Hangouts you can. Starting today you can make voice calls from Hangouts on Android, iOS and the web. It’s free to call other Hangouts users, it’s free to call numbers in the U.S. and Canada, and the international rates are really low. So keeping in touch is easier and more affordable than ever. To get started on Android, just grab the new version of Hangouts (v2.3, rolling out over the next few days), then install theaccompanying dialer to turn on voice calls. On iOS and the web, voice calls will be available the next time you open the app.

TIME: Salt Doesn’t Cause High Blood Pressure? Here’s What a New Study Says
Mandy Oaklander

Sodium has long been labeled the blood-pressure bogeyman. But are we giving salt a fair shake? A new study published in theAmerican Journal of Hypertension analyzed data from 8,670 French adults and found that salt consumption wasn’t associated with systolic blood pressure in either men or women after controlling for factors like age.

A new foundation for mathematics
Vladimir Voevodsky

Is there a revolution coming along in mathematics? A shift that will fundamentally change the way in which mathematicians work? In the near future, will computers rather than humans reliably verify whether a mathematical proof is correct? According to Julie Rehmeyer, a blogger for the popular science magazine Scientific American, the Russian mathematician Vladimir Voevodsky (*1966) has developed an approach that could indeed revolutionize mathematics and its foundations: He has been able to show in principle that homotopy theory, which deals with the deformation of geometric objects, expresses the same ideas as the theory of programming languages and mathematical logic, only in a different language (homotopy theory plays a major role in Voevodsky’s work on the Milnor conjecture which earned him the prestigious Fields medal in 2002). Voevodsky, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, wants to bring together two streams of development of today’s mathematics. ETH has invited him to present his ideas in Zurich as a speaker of the 2014 Paul Bernays Lectures in September. Giovanni Felder, the director of the ETH Institute for Theoretical Studies (ITS), will introduce his research to the lecture audience at ETH. He says: “Voevodsky is developing a new theory which places mathematics on a new foundation. The questions he raises concern the foundations of mathematics as well as those of computer science and logic.” This theory is called Scientific American: “Homotopy Type Theory (HoTT)”, and “Univalent Foundations of Mathematics” is the computer-oriented project in which it is being investigated.

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