Posts

September 30, 2014

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1:49 PM | Metric Are… Everywhere
I’m taking a class on academic writing this semester.  It’s been quite the experience.  For the most part, the class is populated with social science majors.  Attending class each week is like taking a dip in a refreshing cold stream after the clinical dryness of my usual physics and engineering activities.  For class, we’re required [...]
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1:35 PM | Powerful Gene-Mutating Tech Needs More Debate
Gene drives allow scientists to edit the DNA in wild organisms and could have global consequences.
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1:12 PM | Professional Advancement.
The foundations of my empire at MECMC are beginning to be laid. I have been here now for about 18 months. After two consecutive good performance reviews, I am being promoted. It’s not a major promotion in terms of my job, from an institutional perspective. But it’s a big deal to me. I was asked to […]
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12:02 PM | Decline of pubic lice linked to removal of pubic hair, again
No summary available for this post.
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9:50 AM | DNews: This Apartment Building Runs on Algae
Experiments using algae to generate electrical power have been going on since the 1970s. Today a building in Hamburg, Germany exemplifies a proof-of-concept that's been running for a year and has happy tenants to vouch for it.
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5:01 AM | Flash Lecture for "Toy Models for Macroevolution"
Or, more toys at the Carnival.....Last summer, I did a series of "flash lectures" on Human Augmentation on my Tumblr site, which was subsequently cross-posted to Synthetic Daisies [1]. Flash lectures are short, 5 minute lectures that are either multimedia-rich or presented in the form of a very quick summary. Sometimes they meld two or three disparate topics together around a single theme. In this post, I have chosen to present a new Biosystems paper from myself and Richard Gordon in such a […]
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5:00 AM | Map Estimation for Bayesian Mixture Models with Submodular Priors ( and slides Fourth Cargese Workshop on Combinatorial Optimization )
We saw submodularity here before, take for instance Francis Bach's slides (page 99 and up) on Structured sparsity through convex optimization , where he mentions the use of submodularity to find new regularizers).  Here is another way of using submodularity in compressive sensing: Map Estimation for Bayesian Mixture Models with Submodular Priors by Marwa El Halabi, Luca Baldassarre and Volkan Cevher We propose a Bayesian approach where the signal structure can be represented by a mixture […]
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1:01 AM | Dung beetle Ig winner hailed in his home country
The University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg issued this press report: Two Witsies among World Class SAs 26 September 2014 Wits University Professors Lee Berger and Marcus Byrne have been included in the 2014 edition of City Press’ 100 World Class South Africans that was released online onwww.citypress.co.za on Heritage Day, 24 September 2014. “This is a […]

September 29, 2014

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6:06 PM | Wearable Selfie Cam Hovers, Points and Shoots
The lightweight Nixie quadcopter is designed to wrap around your wrist and take flight on command. Continue reading →
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4:55 PM | Inside the Mysteries of Massive Stars Within Our Galaxy with Dr. Loren Anderson
The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr.…
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4:34 PM | Weird Biology Fact of the Day: Mirror-image Amino Acids
In her fascinating and wide-ranging talk on multi-dimensional spaces and human consciousness, Tauba Auerbach briefly mentioned the fact that after an organism dies its molecules will gradually change... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:11 PM | Obsession in Sobriety.
Alcoholism is a disease of obsessions. It’s a disease of many things. I guess what I really mean is, “I’m about to talk about obsessions in alcoholism.” Because alcoholism is also a disease of isolation, of depression, etc.. It’s impossible to lay alcoholism at the feet of any one descriptor. But one powerful characteristic that […]
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2:09 PM | The Invisibility Cloak You've Been Waiting For
This device uses ordinary lenses to hide objects in plain sight. Continue reading →
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1:38 PM | Rating tiddlywinks (statistically)
No summary available for this post.
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1:36 PM | Map Monday: Will Global Warming Drown Your Hometown?
You may recently have read about climate change and North Carolina for all the wrong reasons, entailing laws designed to forbid the mentioning of the term “climate change” as well as outright banning... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:00 PM | 'Anti-Facebook,' Pro-Privacy Website Goes Viral
New website, Ello, states that the practice of collecting and selling personal data for profit is both creepy and unethical.
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12:28 PM | Superpowers for baristas
There’s reported progress in the struggle to give baristas (and their bosses, and their boss’s vendors, too) more reliable info about the identities of their coffee beans. Details are in the study “Voltammetric Electronic Tongue and Support Vector Machines for Identification of Selected Features in Mexican Coffee,” by Rocio Berenice Domínguez, Laura Moreno-Barón, Roberto Muñoz, […]
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6:04 AM | Image Classification with A Deep Network Model based on Compressive Sensing
Using compressive sensing to build the first layers of a neural network, we are getting there. Image Classification with A Deep Network Model based on Compressive Sensing by Yufei Gan, Tong Zhuo, Chu HeTo simplify the parameter of the deep learning network, a cascaded compressive sensing model "CSNet" is implemented for image classification. Firstly, we use cascaded compressive sensing network to learn feature from the data. Secondly, CSNet generates the feature by binary hashing […]
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5:40 AM | Determining Temperature Boundary of the A1→(A1+B2) Phase Transformation in the Copper-55 at% Palladium Alloy Subjected to Severe Plastic Deformation
The changes in phase state, electrical properties and microhardness of copper-55 at% palladium alloy samples with different initial states (as-quenched and deformed via severe plastic deformation (SPD)) were studied during isothermal annealing. Ordered B2-phase formation in the disordered (A1) matrix was found to occur at a significantly higher temperature than is indicated in the generally accepted phase diagram of the Cu-Pd system. Corresponding electrical resistivity is also lower than […]

September 28, 2014

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2:50 PM | When good chat bots go bad
Allow me to start off by expunging any possible notion that what you will read in the following post has anything to do with Sky Net-like types of robotic systems. There will likely come a day when I will write further on the topic of artificial intelligence. Today however, it seems that the subject at hand is more aptly described as artificial ineptness.Last week I started writing code for an open-source chat-bot program. My goal was to create something that was basically an open-source […]
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12:02 PM | Concocting pulp covers: The journal Inadvisable Science
No summary available for this post.
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5:01 AM | Ten to the Fifth!
Congratulations! Synthetic Daisies has just garnered 100,000 all-time views. Just two years since the 20,000 mark, and a bit less than a year after 50,000 readers. Daily readership has been increasing steadily from the early years of the blog (2009-2011). Below is an analysis of the top 10 posts by readership and their frequency of readership.

September 27, 2014

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7:15 PM | Scientists, We Do Trust You, Even If You Could Be a Little Warmer
In a study published online before print in PNAS on September 15 this year, Susan Fiske and Cydney Dupree from the psychology and public affairs department at Princeton University explore how credible, warm and competent Americans find scientists. Why? Because in their expanding role as communicators, scientists need to engage people’s emotions and values as well as their ‘brains.’ And to do so, scientists as communicators need the public’s trust. “Science […]
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3:47 PM | On shellshock
The 'net is currently focused on Shellshock, leading to interesting discussions of the responsibility for the problem. Recently, someone posted Not a bash bug, which was linked on Hacker News. The argument there is that: I would argue that the bash security concern is not a bug. It is clearly a feature. Admittedly, a misguided and misimplemented feature, but still a feature.... It is an old precept for security on unix systems, that environment variables shall be controlled by the parent […]
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1:08 PM | Dropping in on the Ig Nobel after-party
The Ig Nobel after-party, each year, is a chance for the new Ig Nobel Prize winners and the other ceremony participants to get together and let their hair (if they have any) down. Journalist Carmen Nobel came to this year’s party, and wrote about that experience, for Science Friday. Here are snippets of her entire report: […]
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11:00 AM | Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week (Sept 28)
This week we feature glowing, flying, gooey tech.

September 26, 2014

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8:57 PM | Science Blogging Tips from Mass Communication Students
Paige Brown Jarreau: This is a guest post by Maddie Duhon, Kathryn Courtney and Savanna Ronco, students of #SciCommLSU, a coastal environmental communication course I currently co-teach at the Manship School of Mass Communication. These students are mass communication undergraduates interested in learning how to communicate about science. This week, they were tasked with surveying a sample of blogs/posts from the science blogosphere and coming up with their own tips to engage readers. […]
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8:18 PM | Should Silicon Valley Hire Microbes?
Companies truly committed to diversity in the workplace could learn a lot from bacteria. Continue reading →
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7:20 PM | Meet Jeff Potter: The Computer Software Engineer With Culinary Science Smarts!
The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Jeff…
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6:37 PM | Next Floor, the Moon: Space Elevator Going Up By 2050
It will take about seven days to transport people or cargo along the 59,651-mile journey. Continue reading →
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