Bette Korber, of the Santa Fe Institute, along with 21 other researchers — including Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus- signed a short opinion piece recently published in the Journal of Science. The scientists believe that a $119 million federally funded experiment in which an AIDS vaccine is being tested on 16,000 volunteers in Thailand is doomed to fail and should never have been started. "They are taking two failed products and hoping that if they are combined that they are going to work," said Dennis Burton, an AIDS researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. "Everything I've seen about the Thai trial suggests that it doesn't have a prayer." The experiment is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Pentagon and is being carried out by the Thai government.
December 1, 2008 / SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Elhanan Borenstein and SFI Resident Professor David Krakauer developed a computational model which successfully illustrates the genotype-phenotype relationships in development and evolution. The model relates how a genetic input determines the phenotypic output. It also describes the phenotypic diversity across phylogeny.
SFI External Professor Mark Newman’s cartograms help explain the 2008 election results more accurately than general state maps. These cartograms maneuver the states in order to reflect the accurate size of the votes. Due to the even divisions of red and blue in some states, Newman’s cartograms show some purple.
Through computer simulations SFI Professor Samuel Bowles and coauthors recreated conditions experienced by our Late Pleistocene ancestors. Through these simulations, Bowles shows evidence that parochial altruism is part of our human legacy.
Online communities include people from many different groups and networks. Academics are now looking into the growth of these communities and how to market to them. SFI External Professor Duncan Watts shares his research regarding key influencers in reaching the masses.
SFI Director Geoffrey B. West, along with SFI External Professors James H. Brown, William H. Woodruff, and Chen Hou create a quantitative, predictive model which differs from phenomenological models and from the dynamic energy budget theory. Their model also addresses imbalances such as starvation and overeating.
SFI External Professor John Geanakoplos and coauthor Susan Koniak offer some solutions to the current financial crisis in America. Their solution includes a plan to help more Americans keep their homes and stabilize housing prices.
SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Lauren B. Buckley and coresearcher Walter Jetz provide an in depth study regarding the patterns of species and environmental turnover. They compare how amphibians and birds respond to the environmental changes.
Several researchers have developed a mathematical computation which can be utilized to form direct comparisons between different academic disciplines. SFI External Professor Sidney Redner, a specialist in citation statistics, states not all disciplines would match this citation curve.
PBS’s NewsHour’s economic correspondent Paul Solman interviews politicians regarding the economic differences throughout New Mexico. SFI Professor Samuel Bowles is also interviewed for an economists take on the situation.
The National Institutes of Health announced today that it has increased its support of high-impact research with 2008 NIH Director’s Pioneer and New Innovator Awards to 47 scientists. Each Pioneer Award provides $2.5 million in direct costs over five years. New Innovator Awards are for $1.5 million in direct costs over the same time period. Included in the Pioneer Award recipients is Joshua M. Epstein, Ph.D., Brookings Institution Center on Social and Economic Dynamics director and Santa Fe Institute external professor, who will integrate behavioral factors into models of the development and progression of infectious and chronic diseases.
Scientists at the University of Michigan, including Santa Fe Institute External Professor Mercedes Pascual, are researching the cycles of the infectious disease cholera by studying less dramatic, mild infections lurking in large numbers of people. Their findings will appear in Nature Magazine. Their goal was to understand the patterns of cholera, particularly the impact of infection-induced immunity on the dynamics of cholera outbreaks. Since it is difficult to get very sick from cholera, there are a lot of people who are walking around with the disease in high infection areas such as Bengal, and these researchers were interested in studying the consequences of this. Their findings showed that many more people are being exposed to the bacteria than are getting serious infections or dying, and that individuals with mild infections are losing their immunity quite quickly.
A new bluetooth system, called Talking Points, has been developed at the University of Michigan. The new system is primarily for the blind, but will also be useful for the sighted, and orients them to points of interest as they move around. It is the first step to an audio virtual reality. This is the first known system of its kind to use Bluetooth technology. "Location-based guide systems of one kind or another have been built and re-built by academic researchers for over a decade now, but this is the first project that has really focused on the needs of the visually impaired and gone out to make sure the system is being developed to meet those needs," said Mark Newman, co-author of the papers being presented and External Professor at Santa Fe Institute.
Environmental futurist and Santa Fe Institute trustee Peter Schwartz says that peak oil is not a driver of clean technology and those that support it are wrong. The peak oil theory claims that US oil production would peak between 1965 — 1970. Schwartz, however, claims we do not know how much oil is out in the world, and that estimates are conservative.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev decries America's military buildup since the Cold War and he is calling for more international cooperation in addressing political and environmental problems. Gorbachev says the growing U.S. defense budget is pushing other countries to do the same and he contends that the expansion of conventional weapons also will undermine efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. Gorbachev, who left office in 1991, was in Santa Fe to deliver a speech to benefit the Santa Fe Institute, a research and education center. He made his comments at a news conference before his lecture.
The strange world of quantum mechanics can provide a way to surpass limits in speed, efficiency and accuracy of computing, communications and measurement, according to research by (SFI External Professor) MIT scientist Seth Lloyd. "There are limits, if you think classically," said Lloyd, a professor in MIT ’s Research Laboratory of Electronics and Department of Mechanical Engineering. But while classical physics imposes limits that are already beginning to constrain things like computer chip development and precision measuring systems, "once you think quantum mechanically you can start to surpass those limits," he said.
The discussion about privacy is changing as users take control over their own online data. While they spread their Web presence, these users are not looking for privacy, but for recognition as individuals -- whether by friends or vendors. This will eventually change the whole world of advertising. The current online-advertising model will become less effective, even as it gets increasingly sophisticated.... This approach (called behavioral targeting and already in service by ad networks that track users through so-called tracking cookies) undercuts traditional online publishers, who employ content to lure users and to sell adjacent ads....This does not mean that traditional online advertising will go away, just that it will become less effective. Value is being created in users' own walled gardens, which they will cultivate for themselves in real estate owned by the social networks. The new value creators are companies -- like Facebook and Dopplr -- that know how to build and support online communities.
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - EBay said on Tuesday it is cutting fees it charges people to offer items for sale and raising standards at the online auction website. In a move aimed at staving off increasing competition from the likes of Google and Craigslist, eBay is trimming fees it charges aspiring sellers by as much as half. This is the first time eBay has offered incentives and discounts to sellers since it was founded in 1995 by (Santa Fe Institute Trustee and) French-born Iranian computer programmer Pierre Omidyar.