Facebook Meets the NLRB: Complications Arising from Employee Terminations Due to Social Media Postings

With the continued growth of social media platforms, it was inevitable that employees would complain about work online. Employers may be inclined to discipline or even fire employees due to online postings critical of the workplace; however, the National Labor Relations Act may prevent employers from...

Exploring a Timeless Landscape: What can physics tell us about the potential scope of physical technology?

An engineering-based methodology can answer a limited but illuminating range of questions about the potential of physical technology. This line of inquiry leads to a more specific question: What can physics tell us about the potential scope of atomically precise fabrication technologies? Today’s knowledge...

Copyright in the Digital Age: Mine, Yours, and Ours?

The intricacies of copyright law — once the province of publishing companies and their lawyers — are now relevant to the everyday lives of everyone with a computer and an Internet connection. Van Houweling will explore the implications of this development. What does it mean for a legal system that has...

Sociology in the Genetic World: What We Can Learn From Microbial Genetic Co-Occurrence

The phenotype of any organism on earth is, in large part, the consequence of interplay between numerous gene products encoded in the genome, and such interplay between gene products may affect the evolutionary fate of the genome itself through the resulting phenotype. In this regard, contemporary genomes...

Violent Trauma and Risk Preferences in Afghanistan

Trauma has complex and strongly enduring mental, physical, and social consequences, especially among populations with direct exposure to extreme violence. Documenting, understanding, and treating these effects lie, appropriately, in the medical and psychiatric fields. Many of the most severe consequences,...

Matter-Wave Quantum Optics on a Chip

At the heart of quantum mechanics lies the duality of particles and waves, and the resulting correspondence of light and matter. Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC) of ultracold atoms provide a versatile source for experiments with matter-waves, mimcking, but also significantly extending schemes of classical...

Ulam Memorial Lectures: Cognitive Ubiquity: The Evolution of Intelligence on Earth Part Three: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

Finally, Krakuer will consider the future of biological intelligence in a world of distributed machine intelligence, where there is a prospect of new cultural mechanisms capable of eclipsing the analytical capabilities of our own species.

Ulam Memorial Lectures: Cognitive Ubiquity: The Evolution of Intelligence on Earth Part Two: Invasion of the Inferential Cell

Krakauer will recount the evolution of life on Earth focusing on the advent of increasingly complex forms of behavior and thought, identifying the common principles of intelligent biological systems.

Ulam Memorial Lectures: Cognitive Ubiquity: The Evolution of Intelligence on Earth Part One: The Adversarial Quartet

Starting with our efforts to define and measure order and intelligence, Krakauer will survey key ideas from the history of mathematics, physics, computation, and biology that have extraordinarily converged on very similar explanations for adaptive behavior.

The Past, Present, and Future of Marine Ecosystems: Archaeology, Historical Ecology, and Shifting Baselines

Devastated by overfishing, pollution, climate change, eutrophication, and numerous other processes, marine ecosystems around the world are at a crisis point. From coral reefs to kelp forests, deep oceans, and estuaries, considerable debate rages about how to restore, conserve, and manage ocean ecosystems...

Using Sparse Coding to Find Independent Units of Conflict

Collections of individuals with incompatible objectives leads to conflict, and each individual is motivated to understand the patterns of observed conflict to guide decisions about future involvement. In order to predict future conflict events using limited cognitive machinery, the past must be distilled...

A Power Law of Death

Approximately 1,250 individuals have been executed by judicial authorities in the US since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1976. The geographical distribution of these executions follows a power-law distribution whether we look at the 50 states or across the ~3,000 counties in the country....

The Ecology of Indoor Environments: Microbial Biodiversity and Sustainable Well Being

The vast majority of earth’s species are microorganisms. Recent advances in measuring and visualizing microbial diversity in nature have prompted a new era of microbial research, one that builds on the foundations of well established plant and animal biodiversity research. SFI External Professor Jessica...

Sizing the Clean Economy: A Discussion of Recent and Planned Work from the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program

With the U.S. economy stagnating during what needs to be a recovery period, many have wondered where growth will come from. One area of hope is the clean economy, and yet for all the excitement and debate it generates, little has been known about its size, growth, and region concentrations. A recent...

Brain Circuits Underlying the Sense of Smell

Most animals use several hundred types of odorant receptors to detect volatile chemicals (there are about 1000 receptor types in mice and about 300 in humans). Receptor neurons in the nose send their axons to the olfactory bulb and form anatomical units called glomeruli. Odor information is then processed...

Towards Quantitative Models of the Ageing Epigenome

Ageing is characterized by a gradual functional decline of virtually every tissue system and increased vulnerability and susceptibility to numerous diseases. Various experiments demonstrated that restrictions in regenerative mechanisms are fundamental in mammalian ageing, affecting whether tissue homeostasis...

How to Prevent the Next Crisis

In this paper we propose an empirical methodology to measure systemic risk. Building upon Acharya et al. (2010), we think of the systemic risk of a financial institution as its contribution to the total capital shortfall of the financial system that can be expected in a future crisis. We propose a systemic...

Why We Can Recognize Line Drawings So Easily

We all can recognize people and objects in line drawings even though a line drawing is quite different from what is actually in the visual scene. Computers have a problem recognizing the content of line drawings, whereas it is easy for us because our visual system is designed to represent objects as...

How Smart Can You Get?: Your Brain and the Limits of Intelligence

The human brain weighs about 1.5 kilograms, and is made up of 100 billion neurons intricately connected via a network so dense that every cubic millimeter of the brain contains 4 kilometers of wire. The electrical activity of this incredibly complex network of neurons makes up human thought, and allows...

On the Origins and Persistence of Group Inequality

In this paper, Rajiv Sethi, Sam Bowles, and I explore conditions under which inequality across equally well-endowed social groups can emerge and persist from one generation to the next, despite the fact that the groups' members face equality of economic opportunity in the marketplace. We focus on the...