Log in

LJ:REF:SCIAM's Journal

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

8:36PM - Infant Study Links Antibiotics and Asthma By Sarah Graham [Oct. 1st, 2003]

Excerpt: Antibiotics prescribed for infants within six months of birth may be contributing to increased rates of asthma, scientists say. The results of a new study suggest that babies who receive the medications are more than twice as likely to develop asthma than are children who did not take antibiotics. The findings were presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Respiratory Society in Vienna. Read more...Collapse )

Abstract: The hygiene hypothesis: does antibiotic exposure in infancy increase risk for childhood atopy and asthma? C. C. Johnson, S. H. Alford, E. M. Zoratti, S. L. Havstad, E. L. Peterson, C. L. M. Joseph, D. R. Ownby (Detroit, Augusta, United States Of America) Read more...Collapse )

Friday, July 18, 2003

11:19AM - Information in the Holographic Universe by Jacob D. Bekenstein [July 14,2003]

Article. Excerpt: Theoretical results about black holes suggest that the universe could be like a gigantic hologram

Ask anybody what the physical world is made of, and you are likely to be told "matter and energy."

Yet if we have learned anything from engineering, biology and physics, information is just as crucial an ingredient. The robot at the automobile factory is supplied with metal and plastic but can make nothing useful without copious instructions telling it which part to weld to what and so on. A ribosome in a cell in your body is supplied with amino acid building blocks and is powered by energy released by the conversion of ATP to ADP, but it can synthesize no proteins without the information brought to it from the DNA in the cell's nucleus. Likewise, a century of developments in physics has taught us that information is a crucial player in physical systems and processes. Indeed, a current trend, initiated by John A. Wheeler of Princeton University, is to regard the physical world as made of information, with energy and matter as incidentals. Read more...Collapse )

Friday, May 30, 2003

8:41PM - Rules for a Complex Quantum World By Michael A. Nielsen [October 15, 2002]

Excerpt: An exciting new fundamental discipline of research combines information science and quantum mechanics

Over the past few decades, scientists have learned that simple rules can give rise to very rich behavior. A good example is chess. Imagine you're an experienced chess player introduced to someone claiming to know the game. You play a few times and realize that although this person knows the rules of chess, he has no idea how to play well. He makes absurd moves, sacrificing his queen for a pawn and losing a rook for no reason at all. He does not truly understand chess: he is ignorant of the high-level principles and heuristics familiar to any knowledgeable player. These principles are collective or emergent properties of chess, features not immediately evident from the rules but arising from interactions among the pieces on the chessboard. Read more...Collapse )

Sunday, April 6, 2003

4:26PM - In the game called Core War hostile programs engage in a battle of bits by A.K. Dewdney [May 1984]

Other Computer Recreations columns (including this one) are here. Excerpt: Two computer programs in their native habitat -- the memory chips of a digital computer -- stalk each other from address to address. Sometimes they go scouting for the enemy; sometimes they lay down a barrage of numeric bombs; sometimes they copy themselves out of danger or stop to repair damage. This is the game I call Core War. It is unlike almost all other computer games in that people do not play at all! The contending programs are written by people, of course, but once a battle is under way the creator of a program can do nothing but watch helplessly as the product of hours spent in design and implementation either lives or dies on the screen. The outcome depends entirely on which program is hit first in a vulnerable area. Read more...Collapse )

Monday, December 30, 2002

2:54PM - The Once and Future Nanomachine by George M. Whitesides [Sept. 16, 2001]

Full Text: here. Excerpt:

Biology outmatches futurists' most elaborate fantasies for molecular robots

Among the promised fruits of nanotechnology, small machines have always stood out. Their attraction is straightforward. Large machines--airplanes, submarines, robotic welders, toaster ovens--are unquestionably useful. If one could take the same ideas used to design these devices and apply them to machines that were a tiny fraction of their size, who knows what they might be able to do? Imagining two types of small machines--one analogous to an existing machine, the second entirely new--has captured broad attention. The first is a nanoscale submarine, with dimensions of only a few billionths of a meter--the length of a few tens or hundreds of atoms. This machine might, so the argument goes, be useful in medicine by navigating through the blood, seeking out diseased cells and destroying them. Read more...Collapse )