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  • July 11, 2014
  • 05:24 AM

Reward Prediction Error Signals are Meta-Representational

by Doctor Spurt / David Spurrett in Effortless Incitement

Critical discussion of Nicholas Shea's (2014) paper with the same title. (Trying import because embedded citation didn't get picked up after 48 hours.)... Read more »

  • July 11, 2014
  • 05:24 AM

Reward Prediction Error Signals are Meta-Representational

by Doctor Spurt / David Spurrett in Common Currencies

Explanatory and constructive discussion of a recent paper by Nicholas Shea with the title "Reward Prediction Error Signals are Meta-Representational". Contains Research Blogging citation code, but has not been picked up in nearly four days.... Read more »

  • July 10, 2014
  • 11:19 AM

Haha, kkkk, 555, LOL, jaja: Globalization Through Internet Jokes

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

In a recent article from Shifman, Levy and Thelwall, internet jokes are found to serve as an important and powerful agent of globalization and americanization. To research the role of internet jokes, they look at the concept of “user-generated globalization”, where internet users are the focal points through which user-generated content (in this case jokes) is translated, customized and distributed across the globe.... Read more »

Shifman, L., Levy, H., & Thelwall, M. (2014) Internet Jokes: The Secret Agents of Globalization?. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. DOI: 10.1111/jcc4.12082  

  • July 7, 2014
  • 03:54 PM

Transparent Graphite Can Be Used to Make Better Solar Cells

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at the University of Maryland Energy Research Center and Monash University, Australia, have used lithium to make a graphite sheet transparent and highly conductive. This new material shows promise for applications in solar cells, flexible displays and touchscreens.... Read more »

  • July 7, 2014
  • 11:04 AM

Simple Process Improves Manufacturing of Silicon Nanoholes

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and Nanyang Technological University have invented a simple procedure that transforms silver nanospheres into silicon nanoholes. The process can significantly increase the cost-effectiveness of nanowire-based solar cells.... Read more »

Hong, L., Wang, X., Zheng, H., He, L., Wang, H., Yu, H., & Rusli, . (2014) High efficiency silicon nanohole/organic heterojunction hybrid solar cell. Applied Physics Letters, 104(5), 53104. DOI: 10.1063/1.4863965  

  • July 4, 2014
  • 02:00 PM

OhMyDog! Discover The Ins And Outs Of Your Pet, And Yourself

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

A new health collar or chip may be the next big accessory for dogs, and humans.... Read more »

Xu S, Zhang Y, Jia L, Mathewson KE, Jang KI, Kim J, Fu H, Huang X, Chava P, Wang R.... (2014) Soft microfluidic assemblies of sensors, circuits, and radios for the skin. Science (New York, N.Y.), 344(6179), 70-4. PMID: 24700852  

  • July 2, 2014
  • 09:03 AM

Chimps stick grass in their ears to be cool: notes on cultural transmission

by Neuroecology in Neuroecology

1. In 2010, a female chimpanzee named Julie began repeatedly stuffing a stiff blade of grass into her ear. This Grass-in-ear behavior has affectionately been dubbed “GIEB” by the scientists who observed it.... Read more »

Huffman, M., Nahallage, C., & Leca, J. (2008) Cultured Monkeys: Social Learning Cast in Stones. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(6), 410-414. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00616.x  

Stocker R, Green DG, & Newth D. (2001) Consensus and cohesion in simulated social networks. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 4(4). info:/

Rendell L, Fogarty L, Hoppitt WJ, Morgan TJ, Webster MM, & Laland KN. (2011) Cognitive culture: theoretical and empirical insights into social learning strategies. Trends in cognitive sciences, 15(2), 68-76. PMID: 21215677  

  • July 1, 2014
  • 09:25 AM

To Feed the World, Try Legos

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

“It was an idea that just popped into my head,” says Ludovico Cademartiri, a materials scientist who’s upped his research game by using Legos. He hopes other researchers will steal his idea, and not just because Legos are fun. Cademartiri thinks the humble bricks could help solve the world’s impending food crisis. Members of Cademartiri’s […]The post To Feed the World, Try Legos appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

  • June 29, 2014
  • 04:59 PM

Snowflakes Help Study Wind Turbine Airflow

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at the University of Minnesota (UMN) used snowflakes from a winter snowstorm to study the airflow patterns around large wind turbines. This measurement technique could prove valuable to improving wind energy efficiency.... Read more »

Hong, J., Toloui, M., Chamorro, L., Guala, M., Howard, K., Riley, S., Tucker, J., & Sotiropoulos, F. (2014) Natural snowfall reveals large-scale flow structures in the wake of a 2.5-MW wind turbine. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5216  

  • June 28, 2014
  • 11:19 PM

Predicting the Flu

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Using search engines to predict the future of infectious diseases: computer science meets epidemiology. [Infographic]... Read more »

  • June 28, 2014
  • 01:57 PM

On Luck, Skill and Hard Work - in Soccer and Life

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

Big data doesn't always get us closer to truth. Especially if there a fair bit of luck involved. And many think this applies to football/soccer games (Sally and Anderson, for example, say that soccer results are 50% luck). Yet data analysis provides valuable, sometimes counter-intuitive insights into this beautiful sport and the science of winning and losing in general.How many measurable elements of a soccer game contribute to the outcome? 2014 FIFA world cup's statistics page displays scores calculated with sophisticated motion analysis from thousands of player movements along with more straightforward measures such as goals scored, short, medium and long hits, completion rate of passes, blocked and saved shots, attempts off target, tackles and blocks. And there are also flops, screams, winces, poundings of the grass and other theatrical elements that may also decide the fate of the game.Just a quick glance at the FIFA statistics page (refreshed after each game) might bring surprises. On June 24th, the best defending team was Columbia that advanced to the next round, while the best attacking team, Côte d'Ivoire, and the team with the highest number of successfully completed passes, Spain, were not able to make it. The leader board is now featuring winning teams as the best attacker (France, as of June 25th) and the best passer (Germany,  as of June 26th), but obviously neither of these achievements alone is sufficient to predict the winner. Data from the last seasons of the British Premier League demonstrated that scoring a goal was twice less valuable than not conceding a likely goal. Yet England - #6 on the list of top attackers, #8 on the list of best passers and #11 on the list of best defenders  - did not make it into the top 16, while France - #32 as a defender and one of the very best attacking teams has advanced to the round of 16. Only three teams among the top ten attackers won the 1st round and all three - Argentina, France and Germany - are leaders in their respective groups. Compare it to seven from the ten best defending teams that advanced to 1/16th finals. Note that all of them took second, not the 1st positions in their groups. So the ability to defend against counter-attack is definitely crucial to success, but the propensity to attack increases both the risk and the potential return.A good example of skill in soccer is the elegant passing style of Spanish players dubbed Tiki-taka. This approach, based on speed, unity and a comprehensive understanding of the field geometry, helped Spain to win in Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012. Network analysis of interactions among the players (Cota t al., 2011; Peña & Touchette, 2012) highlighted the importance of skillful passes, yet the ability to do it well doesn't always lead to success - as was demonstrated by Brazilian team during the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup (they won despite possessing the ball only 47% of the time vs 53% for Spain) and by Netherlands and Chile that knocked Spain out in the group stage.How can we measure luck in soccer separate from skill?One way would be to forecast game outcomes in terms of probabilities (as a researcher from Wolfram Alpha did for the upcoming round of 2014 world cup -- see the figure) then look at the distribution of actual results of games between these teams. Another useful tool adopted from ice hockey analysis is PDO - the sum of a team's shooting and save percentages (fraction of shots resulted or not resulted in a goal scored). Neither of the approaches was able to pinpoint particularly lucky teams. In analysis of a 2010/2011 season, good and bad teams appeared to be equally "lucky" or "unlucky"."I am a great believer in luck,"said Thomas Jefferson, "and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it".Perhaps we need to focus on values like amounts of running during the game  - as a proxy for hard work? US defender Michael Bradley holds the trophy for the 1st round of world cup (largest distance covered), but average distance ran by players that advanced or did not advance to the next round seems to be about the same. However, if we compare players from higher and lower divisions of national teams, the differences in these distances become more dramatic. In one Dutch study, top-class players performed 28% and 58% more high-intensity running and sprinting, respectively, than the moderate players (Mohr et al., 2003). Better goalkeepers ran more too, as seen from a recent Italian study (Paduli et al, 2014). So hard work (and good health to carry on) is very important, indeed. At least in order to join the elite soccer club.The amount of data created every minute for the analysis of soccer games is absolutely amazing. In order to accurately predict the outcome of the game played by almost equally skilled & hardworking teams one needs to know minute-to-minute movements of every player. Like the weather, the scores of such games might be hard to forecast past a certain timeframe. Yet, better models and more sophisticated computations will be yielding more accurate results  (as shown by Aurametrix for subtle cause-effect relationships contributing to how you feel on a daily basis).But for now let's call it luck when we can't see the unseen and predict things before they happen. And let's enjoy top-flight soccer for the next few weeks.REFERENCESJavier López Peña, & Hugo Touchette (2012). A network theory analysis of football strategies In C. Clanet (ed.), Sports Physics: Proc. 2012 Euromech Physics of Sports Conference, p. 517-528, \'Editions de l'\'Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, 2013. (ISBN 978-2-7302-1615-9) arXiv: 1206.6904v1... Read more »

Javier López Peña, & Hugo Touchette. (2012) A network theory analysis of football strategies. In C. Clanet (ed.), Sports Physics: Proc. 2012 Euromech Physics of Sports Conference, p. 517-528, \'Editions de l'\'Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, 2013. (ISBN 978-2-7302-1615-9). arXiv: 1206.6904v1

Cotta, C., Mora, A., Merelo, J., & Merelo-Molina, C. (2013) A network analysis of the 2010 FIFA world cup champion team play. Journal of Systems Science and Complexity, 26(1), 21-42. DOI: 10.1007/s11424-013-2291-2  

Padulo J, Haddad M, Ardigò LP, Chamari K, & Pizzolato F. (2014) High frequency performance analysis of professional soccer goalkeepers: a pilot study. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness. PMID: 24921614  

  • June 26, 2014
  • 02:03 PM

Researchers Quantify How Energy Storage Costs Affect Wind Farms

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University have quantified what the price of energy storage needs to be to justify the use of energy storage devices at remote wind farms.... Read more »

  • June 24, 2014
  • 02:50 PM

Concentrating Solar Power Can Meet Up to 80% of Electricity Demand

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new study suggests that connecting concentrating solar power (CSP) plants together could provide a considerable part of electrical energy demand at costs comparable to other energy technologies.... Read more »

Pfenninger, S., Gauché, P., Lilliestam, J., Damerau, K., Wagner, F., & Patt, A. (2014) Potential for concentrating solar power to provide baseload and dispatchable power. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2276  

  • June 24, 2014
  • 06:43 AM

Pyramid-Like Arrangement Makes LEDs Brighter

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

According to the scientists at the University of Michigan, triangular phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes (PHOLEDs) arranged into a pyramid-like structure shine three times brighter than a flat configuration of LEDs at the same current.... Read more »

Lee, J., Slootsky, M., Lee, K., Zhang, Y., & Forrest, S. (2014) An electrophosphorescent organic light emitting concentrator. Light: Science , 3(6). DOI: 10.1038/lsa.2014.62  

  • June 24, 2014
  • 04:50 AM

A clever use of SciPy’s ndimage.generic_filter for n-dimensional image processing

by Juan Nunez-Iglesias in I Love Symposia!

This year I am privileged to be a mentor in the Google Summer of Code for the scikit-image project, as part of the Python Software Foundation organisation. Our student, Vighnesh Birodkar, recently came up with a clever use of SciPy’s ndimage.generic_filter that is certainly worth sharing widely.

Vighnesh is tasked with implementing region adjacency graphs and graph based methods for image segmentation. He initially wrote specific functions for 2D and 3D images, and I suggested that he should merge them: either with n-dimensional code, or, at the very least, by making 2D a special case of 3D. He chose the former, and produced extremely elegant code. Three nested for loops and a large number of neighbour computations were replaced by a function call and a simple loop. Read on to find out how.... Read more »

Stefan Van Der Walt, S. Chris Colbert, & Gaël Varoquaux. (2011) The NumPy array: a structure for efficient numerical computation. Computing in Science and Engineering 13, 2 (2011) 22-30. arXiv: 1102.1523v1

  • June 22, 2014
  • 10:23 AM

The Love Song of Philo T. Farnsworth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Philo Farnsworth, if the name sounds vaguely familiar than you might just be a Futurama watcher. If you don't watch and know who I'm talking about or even better are a fan then, "YAY!" and for those of you who don't know, don't sweat it you're not alone. One of the forgotten greats, Farnsworth should be a household name, namely because one of his biggest inventions is in practically every home.... Read more »

The associated press. (2006) Elma Gardner Farnsworth, 98, Who Helped Husband Develop TV, Dies. The New York Times. info:/

Edwin Cartlidge. (2007) The Secrete way of Amateur Fusion. Physics World. info:/

  • June 20, 2014
  • 07:31 AM

Journal Club: Passenger pigeon extinction: it’s complicated

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

A newly published study reveals that the extinction of the passenger pigeon likely was due to the combined effects of their natural dramatic population fluctuations and human over-exploitation. Read more... Read more »

Hung Chih-Ming, Shaner Pei-Jen L., Zink Robert M., Liu Wei-Chung, Chu Te-Chin, Huang Wen-San, & Li Shou-Hsien. (2014) Drastic population fluctuations explain the rapid extinction of the passenger pigeon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401526111  

Groenen Martien A. M., Archibald Alan L., Uenishi Hirohide, Tuggle Christopher K., Takeuchi Yasuhiro, Rothschild Max F., Rogel-Gaillard Claire, Park Chankyu, Milan Denis, & Megens Hendrik-Jan. (2012) Analyses of pig genomes provide insight into porcine demography and evolution. Nature, 491(7424), 393-398. DOI: 10.1038/nature11622  

  • June 18, 2014
  • 06:44 PM

New Architecture Allows to Charge Li-ion Batteries in 10 Minutes

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a three-dimensional, silicon-decorated, cone-shaped carbon-nanotube cluster architecture for lithium-ion battery anodes that could enable charging of portable electronics in 10 minutes, instead of hours.... Read more »

  • June 17, 2014
  • 05:06 PM

Polychromat Layer Boosts Solar Cell Efficiency by 50%

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

University of Utah electrical engineers have designed a thin layer made of a transparent plastic or glass that sorts and concentrates sunlight to boost the overall efficiency of solar cells by up to 50 percent.... Read more »

  • June 17, 2014
  • 10:54 AM

Power grid designs for the future

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

Planning electrical grids in a steady environment is not overly difficult. A number of large power stations are connected to urban population centres, where much of the power is consumed. Typically, such power grids would look like meshes with  interconnected distribution points that make sure that if one power station fails, others can compensate . However, as electrical demand […]... Read more »

Menck, P., Heitzig, J., Kurths, J., & Joachim Schellnhuber, H. (2014) How dead ends undermine power grid stability. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4969  

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