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friday :: july 30, 2004
einstein@home: gravitational wave research project

Einstein@Home is a project developed to search data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) for signals coming from rapidly rotating neutron stars, known as pulsars.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space and time produced by events in our galaxy and throughout universe, such as black hole collisions, shockwaves from the cores of exploding supernovas, and rotating pulsars. These ripples in the space-time fabric travel toward Earth, bringing with them information about their origins, as well as invaluable clues to the nature of gravity.

Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity, but only now in the 21st Century has technology advanced enough for scientists to detect and study them. Although gravitational waves have not yet been detected directly, their influence on a binary pulsar (two neutron stars orbiting each other) has been measured accurately, and was found to be in good agreement with original predictions. Joseph Taylor and Russell Hulse shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies in this field.

Einstein@Home will rely on private owners of PCs, like you, to donate computer time to the analysis of LIGO data. All you’ll have to do is install a small, screen saver program to your computer. The screen saver will automatically download a tiny portion of the enormous data set that LIGO will collect. When your computer is otherwise idle, it will analyze the data and send it back to the LIGO scientists. The screen saver only runs when you’re not using the computer, or when you choose to manually turn the program on. Einstein@Home will not affect your computer’s performance. The screensavers are being developed for Linux, Windows and Mac operating systems. >from *World Year of Physics 2005. Einstein in the 21st Century*.

related context
quantum universe: the revolution in 21st-century physics. 'what is the nature of the universe and what is it made of? what are matter, energy, space and time? how did we get here and where are we going?.' june 11, 2004
> space/time atoms?: quantum gravity-based universe. 'the tiny scale at which the microscopic structure of space and time becomes observable is the planck scale.' february 26, 2003
> in search of extra dimensions: beyond the standard model. 'somewhere within the planck scale, or at extreme energy levels, an incredibly small extra dimension may finally combine gravity and electromagnetism.' february 20, 2002
> artists and cosmonauts: art in zero gravity. february 28, 2002
> search for gravity waves: another window into the universe. 'gravitational waves are at the frontier of astrophysics. there's no question they exist, but they have not yet been detected directly'. december 10, 2001
> seti@home. distributed computation in seti@home. distributed computing projects @home. december 18, 2000

catch a wave from space-time fabric !

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friday :: july 23, 2004
fused space: new technology in/as public space

Fusedspace is an international, on-line competition for innovative applications for new technology in the public domain.

Technology has not only changed the way we use public space, it also has brought about its virtual expansion. Through technological innovations like the Internet, text messaging, mobile communication, intranet and gps we can freely share information and develop a community life on the web. One can meet people, assume a meaningful identity and exchange thoughts. In the privacy of one's own room the world has become infinitely larger and more noisy than the world out on the street. Some of the idealistic concepts of what public space should be are being realized in virtual public space.

Within a few years time the whole city will be jam-packed with cables providing fast connections everywhere. It is up to artists, designers and architects to find an answer to the question how current technology can breathe new life into the urban environment and into public domain. The emerging virtual space and urban space increasingly are being privatized and are becoming more and more exclusory. Now is the time to occupy space for public use through the development of meaningful ideas. Public space is by no means dead. It just has to be looked for at different places.

Stroom, SKOR, Premsela and 'de InformatieWerkPlaats' have organized this particular competition so as to investigate the nature of the relationship between new technologies and public space. Through an international open competition, the organizers intend to put on the agenda the theme 'groundbreaking interventions in public domain' under the umbrella of Fusedspace.
Fusedspace collaborates with V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media (follow-up), Doors of Perception (network) and Electronic-highway Platform Netherlands (arbitration).

Definitions= Public space : the physical collective space that is freely accessible to everyone. Virtual public space : the space created by the Internet and other kinds of technological networks like sms, and mobile phones accessible to everyone. Public domain : both the physical and the virtual public space; the commonly shared space of ideas and memories and the physical manifestations that they embody.

Fusedspaces winners 2004: Ulrika Wachtmeister with Transitions (a conceptual project exploring the domain in between the private and the public, the virtual and the physical, memories and present, through the development of a fictional company offering alternative spaces for commemoration and mourning), Joes Koppers and Susann Lekås with OPTIONALTIME/ public expanse (uses new new media to make a non-linear experience tangible in public space, this infuses the public to understand their surroundings in a more dynamic way; it appears as a big mirror that in fact is an interactive movie), Marcus kirsch and Jussi Angesleva with Urban Eyes (a service combining 2 natural networks, the CCTV and the pigeon population in a city to provide an alternative, living extension for the view on our surroundings).

>from *Fusedspace site* . via pablo

related context
ParcCentralPark. 'es proposa recuperar aquest espai per a l'ús públic. estarà obert a tot tipus d'iniciatives urbanes que retornin l'espai públic als habitants de la ciutat. parc central park esta a internet i internet esta a parc central park!'
> fadaiat: a new kind of public space. 'first free wireless link between europe and africa.. the project aims to promote creativity, thought and action based on the ideas of freedom of knowledge and freedom of movement in the context of the recent geopolitical history of the zone. the mix, local-global, physical-digital, of outgoing and incoming streams will produce a new kind of public space.' june 18, 2004
> civic tv: alternative visions of the urban experience. 'showcase subjective/subversive strategies which struggle with indoctrinated notions of the urban experience and question the authorities regulating the physical and mental environment.' november 21, 2003
> psy-geo-conflux: the meaning of living in a city. 'an event dedicated to current artistic and social investigations in psychogeography (the study of the effects of the geographic environment on the emotions and behavior of individuals).' may 14, 2003

ParcCentralPark_lab: an emerging urban kitchen

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friday :: july 16, 2004
hurricanes in ocean: storm-induced biological activity

Whenever a hurricane races across the Atlantic Ocean, chances are phytoplankton will bloom behind it. According to a new study using NASA satellite data, these phytoplankton blooms may also affect the Earth's climate and carbon cycle.

Dr. Steven Babin, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., studied 13 North Atlantic hurricanes between 1998 and 2001. Ocean color data from the SeaWiFS instrument on the SeaStar satellite were used to analyze levels of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants. The satellite images showed tiny microscopic ocean plants, called phytoplankton, bloomed following the storms.

"Some parts of the ocean are like deserts, because there isn't enough food for many plants to grow. A hurricane's high winds stir up the ocean waters and help bring nutrients and phytoplankton to the surface, where they get more sunlight, allowing the plants to bloom," Babin said.

"Because 1998 was the first complete Atlantic hurricane season observed by this instrument, we first noticed this effect in late 1998 after looking at hurricane Bonnie," Babin said.

Whenever the quantity of plants increases or decreases, it affects the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As phytoplankton grow, they absorb carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. The gas is carried to the ocean floor as a carbon form when the tiny plants die. This enables atmospheric carbon to get into the deep ocean. It is one of several natural processes that contribute to Earth's carbon cycle. >from *NASA data shows hurricanes help plants bloom in 'ocean deserts'* . June 17, 2004

related context
climate affect earth rotation: metereology and astronomy. march 12, 2003
> microbes may control the weather:: ecology of the atmosphere. june 3, 2002
> life come from explosions of stars. september 25, 2001

live after mitch: phytoplankton bloom in the oceans

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friday :: july 9, 2004
diversity: there’s more than one way of doing things

In finding an answer to "perhaps the greatest unsolved ecological riddle," evolutionists propose that diversity is a testament to there being more than one way to make a living.

The riddle: Why are some habitats loaded with many more species than others? The answer: Nature and evolution respect that there's more than one way of doing things.

"What we've learned," said Michigan State University scientist Charles Ofria, "is that if there isn't just one way to succeed, you'll see diversity."

An interdisciplinary team of scientists at MSU, the California Institute of Technology and Keck Graduate Institute, with the help of powerful computers, has used a kind of artificial life, or ALife, to gain insight into questions of evolution.

Up to a point, organisms that are overachievers at what they do to survive – consume resources – will find there’s a ceiling to their good performance. Once they run low on resources, their ability to dominate loses steam and other hard-working organisms have a chance to get a foothold in the habitat.

"We show why more than one species can exist in a place," Ofria said. "We've found that in a place where resources are finite, there are limiting effects of productivity."

The Alife program, called Avida, is basically an artificial petri dish in which organisms not only reproduce, but also perform mathematical calculations to obtain rewards. Rather than sugar, their reward is more computer time that they can use for making copies of themselves. The digital organisms come in different 'species' – identifiable by the mathematical functions they perform.

Avida randomly adds mutations to the copies, thus spurring natural selection and evolution. The research team watches how the bugs adapt and evolve in different environments inside their artificial world.

Avida is the biologist's souped-up race car. To watch the evolution of most living organisms would require thousands of years – without blinking. The digital bugs evolve at lightning speed, and they leave tracks for scientists to study. >from *Digital evolution reveals the many ways to get to diversity* . July 2, 2004

related context
old is young: the modern advantage. senior citizens played an important role in the dramatic spread of human civilisation. july 5, 2004
> science misuse. diversity of scientific opinion on the research. february 24, 2004
> racism can make you stupid. racial diversity and interaction. december 1, 2003
> yanomami, spirit of the forest. diversity of our own species. october 22, 2003
> low latent inhibition: one of the biological bases of creativity. openness to the diversity of incoming stimuli. october 13, 2003
> space of flows: characteristics and strategies. diversity of emerging technological forms of life. december 2, 2002
> rosetta project: linux of linguistics. the critical legacy of linguistic diversity. november 7, 2002
> amazon rainforest: impact of habitat fragmentation. the biology of extinction. june 4, 2002
> biodiversity include sexual diversity. extended concept of biodiversity. june 14, 2002

avida bugs in an artificial petri dish

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friday :: july 2, 2004
deconstructing brain waves: view of thought in action

Neurobiologists has developed a new approach to interpreting brain electroencephalograms, or EEGs, that provides an unprecedented view of thought in action.

The new information processing and visualization methods make it possible to follow activation in different areas of the brain dynamically. The significance of the advance is that thought processes occur on the order of milliseconds —thousandths of a second— but current brain imaging techniques, such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and traditional EEGs, are averaged over seconds. This provides a 'blurry' picture of how the neural circuits in the brain are activated, just as a picture of waves breaking on the shore would be a blur if it were created from the average of multiple snapshots.

"Our paper is the culmination of eight years of work to find a new way to parse EEG data and identify the individual signals coming from different areas of the brain," says lead author Scott Makeig, a research scientist in UCSD's Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience of the Institute for Neural Computation. "This much more comprehensive view of brain dynamics was only made possible by exploiting recent advances in mathematics and increases in computing power. We expect many clinical applications to flow from the method and have begun collaborations to study patients with epilepsy and autism."

To take an EEG, recording electrodes—small metal disks—are attached to the scalp. These electrodes can detect the tiny electrical impulses nerve cells in the brain send to communicate with each other. However, interpreting the pattern of electrical activity recorded by the electrodes is complicated because each scalp electrode indiscriminately sums all of the electrical signals it detects from the brain and non-brain sources, like muscles in the scalp and the eyes.

"The challenge of interpreting an EEG is that you have a composite of signals from all over the brain and you need to find out what sources actually contributed to the pattern," explains Makeig. "It is a bit like listening in on a cocktail party and trying to isolate the sound of each voice. We found that it is possible, using a mathematical technique called Independent Component Analysis, to separate each signal or 'voice' in the brain by just treating the voices as separate sources of information, but without other prior knowledge about each voice."

Software for performing the EEG analysis is openly available at no cost at http://www.sccn.ucsd.edu/eeglab. >from *New Technique Developed At UCSD For Deciphering Brain Recordings Can Capture Thinking As It Happens * by Sherry Seethaler. June 15, 2004

related context
electroencephalographic brain dynamics following manually responded visual targets by scott makeig, arnaud delorme, marissa westerfield, tzyy-ping jung, jeanne townsend, eric courchesne, terrence j. sejnowski. PLoS Biology, june, 2004
> others' intentions. march 5, 2004
> neuroscience networks: data-sharing in an information age. october 17, 2003
> brain is a dynamic network: new paradigm for how the brain functions. october 15, 2003
> electric mind: electromagnetic field theory of consciousness. may 22, 2002

interpreting eeg signals + patterns

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