Archivio per giugno 2015

29
Giu
15

When Does Workplace Wellness Become Coercive?

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

A small but growing number of employers tie financial incentives to losing weight and exercising. The cost of nonparticipation can be so high that critics question whether workers have a true choice.

See on npr.org

29
Giu
15

As a music therapist I can give people back the power to communicate

See on Scoop.itSocial Neuroscience Advances

Regular sessions can help reduce anxiety among people with mental health conditions such as depression and dementia On a weekday, it’s normally an early start; responding to urgent emails before heading to my office at the music therapy research…

See on theguardian.com

29
Giu
15

Ecological communities by design

See on Scoop.itPapers

In synthetic ecology, a nascent offshoot of synthetic biology, scientists aim to design and construct microbial communities with desirable properties. Such mixed populations of microorganisms can simultaneously perform otherwise incompatible functions (1). Compared with individual organisms, they can also better resist losses in function as a result of environmental perturbation or invasion by other species (2). Synthetic ecology may thus be a promising approach for developing robust, stable biotechnological processes, such as the conversion of cellulosic biomass to biofuels (3). However, achieving this will require detailed knowledge of the principles that guide the structure and function of microbial communities (see the image).

Ecological communities by design
James K. Fredrickson

Science 26 June 2015:
Vol. 348 no. 6242 pp. 1425-1427
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aab0946

See on sciencemag.org

29
Giu
15

Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction

See on Scoop.itPapers

The oft-repeated claim that Earth’s biota is entering a sixth “mass extinction” depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the “background” rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 100 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction
Gerardo Ceballos, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anthony D. Barnosky, Andrés García, Robert M. Pringle and Todd M. Palmer

Science Advances 19 Jun 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 5, e1400253
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400253 ;

See on advances.sciencemag.org

29
Giu
15

Jesse’s Café Américain: China, World Reserve Currencies, the SDR, and an Emerging ‘Gold Standard’

See on Scoop.itGold and What Moves it.

“Gold has worked down from Alexander’s time. When something holds good for two thousand years I do not believe it can be so because of prejudice or mistaken theory.”

Bernard M. Baruch

I thought this was interesting, particularly given the source of the interview at Bloomberg News.

It is short and so a little bit of a light touch perhaps, but a nice overview nonetheless.
 
One little point of fact I would raise is that the comparison of China M2 and the US M2 is not the whole story.  Since China is not a particularly international currency their M2 is probably a significant subset of their overall issuance. 
 
But in the case of the US, M2 does not account for ‘eurodollars’, which the Fed intentionally stopped tracking some years ago ‘to save money’ and thereby stopped issuing M3 figures.  This is a significant factor for the world’s reserve currency as you might imagine, and a glaring omission in the validityof the comparison.

A key factor would be their price peg mechanism vis a vis the dollar, and any redeemability features.

They must approach this carefully, because the Anglo-American Banks and Funds will be …

Hal’s insight:

Click through for the rest.

See on jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

29
Giu
15

Unpacking the Principle of Openness in EU Law: Transparency, Participation and Democracy by Alberto Alemanno :: SSRN

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Abstract:      
The purpose of this article is to shed some light on the emerging, yet largely undefined, principle of openness in EU law. After addressing the semantic confusion existing between openness and transparency, it attempts – through a textual and systemic interpretation of their respective legal basis – to identify the normative content of the EU turn to openness. It then moves to explore the principle’s potential for attaining its declared Treaty-sanctioned objectives: promoting good governance and ensuring the participation of civil society in the democratic life of the Union. It illustrates that, although openness largely maintains an instrumental rationale – aimed at enhancing the quality of the regulatory outcome rather than at promoting a more inclusive process –, the institutional, substantive and societal landscapes surrounding its operation have changed in recent times. It demonstrates that these alterations may help to shift the understanding of openness in the EU away from a specific, unidirectional, bottom-up right of access to information to a much broader, proactive and top-down duty of the EU administration to genuinely open its vault of information to the public and create new avenues of participation for civil societies and other organised interests. The changing nature of the openness rights accompanied by the growing demand for more active participation inherent to our times is set to reinvigorate civic life and, more importantly, to ensure political legitimacy grounded in democratic values. 

See on papers.ssrn.com

27
Giu
15

Autopoiesis, Structural Coupling and Cognition: A history of these and other notions in the Biology of Cognition

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Humberto Maturana. My intent in this essay is to reflect on the history of some biological notions such asautopoiesis, structural coupling, and cognition, that I have developed since the early 1960’s as a result of my work on visual perception and the organization of the living. No doubt I shall repeat things that I have said in other publications (Maturana & Varela, 1980, 1988), and I shall present notions that once they are said appear as obvious truisms. Moreover, I shall refine or expand the meaning of such notions, or even modify them. Yet, in any case, the reader is not invited to attend to the truisms, or to what seems to be obvious, rather he or she is invited to attend to the consequences that those notions entail for the understanding of cognition as a biological process. After all, explanations or  demonstrations always become self evident once they are understood and accepted, and the purpose of this essay is the expansion of understanding in all dimensions of human existence.

 

See on gfbertini.wordpress.com

27
Giu
15

When did same-sex marriage laws become effective by state? – Decision Science News

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

We thought we’d look when various states allowed same-sex couples to marry (if they did at all) before today.

In light of the good news today that the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in the United States, we thought we’d look at when same-sex marriage laws became effective by state (if they did at all) before today.

Noting that same sex marriage is a dividing issue between the left and right in the US, we thought we’d compare the date of when same-sex marriage laws become effective in each state with each state’s Republican (two-party) vote share in 2012. Results are above.

Note that California’s same-sex marriage law was effective in 2008, then it was overturned, and then made effective again in 2013. We went with the earlier date because you’ve got to chose something.

The next question is “what about the states that were added by the Supreme Court decision today”? We made a second plot, below, in which we put today’s date for those states in the “effective date” column. The result is pretty much the same.

 
See on decisionsciencenews.com

24
Giu
15

The evolution of lossy compression

See on Scoop.itPapers

In complex environments, there are costs to both ignorance and perception. An organism needs to track fitness-relevant information about its world, but the more information it tracks, the more resources it must devote to memory and processing. Rate-distortion theory shows that, when errors are allowed, remarkably efficient internal representations can be found by biologically-plausible hill-climbing mechanisms. We identify two regimes: a high-fidelity regime where perceptual costs scale logarithmically with environmental complexity, and a low-fidelity regime where perceptual costs are, remarkably, independent of the environment. When environmental complexity is rising, Darwinian evolution should drive organisms to the threshold between the high- and low-fidelity regimes. Organisms that code efficiently will find themselves able to make, just barely, the most subtle distinctions in their environment.

The evolution of lossy compression
Sarah E. Marzen, Simon DeDeo

http://arxiv.org/abs/1506.06138

See on arxiv.org

24
Giu
15

Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much: Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

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Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much

~ Eldar Shafir (author) More about this product


List Price: $28.00
Price: $19.50
You Save: $8.50 (30%)

A surprising and intriguing examination of how scarcity–and our flawed responses to it–shapes our lives, our society, and our culture

Why do successful people get things done at the last minute? Why does poverty persist? Why do organizations get stuck firefighting? Why do the lonely find it hard to make friends? These questions seem unconnected, yet Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir show that they are all examples of a mind-set produced by scarcity.

Drawing on cutting-edge research from behavioral science and economics, Mullainathan and Shafir show that scarcity creates a similar psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need. Busy people fail to manage their time efficiently for the same reasons the poor and those maxed out on credit cards fail to manage their money. The dynamics of scarcity reveal why dieters find it hard to resist temptation, why students and busy executives mismanage their time, and why sugarcane farmers are smarter after harvest than before. Once we start thinking in terms of scarcity and the strategies it imposes, the problems of modern life come into sharper focus.

Mullainathan and Shafir discuss how scarcity affects our daily lives, recounting anecdotes of their own foibles and making surprising connections that bring this research alive. Their book provides a new way of understanding why the poor stay poor and the busy stay busy, and it reveals not only how scarcity leads us astray but also how individuals and organizations can better manage scarcity for greater satisfaction and success.

See on amazon.com




Time is real? I think not

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