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The Ghost in the Machine  [PDF]
A. Lawrence
Physics , 2002,
Abstract: I examine simple tests for the presence of accretion disks in AGN - changes of surface brightness with viewing angle, changes of colour temperature with luminosity, and behaviour during variability. AGN observations pass the first two tests but fail the third, unless there is some previously unobserved source of heating - the ``ghost in the machine''.
Ghost Systems: A Vertex Algebra Point of View  [PDF]
W. Eholzer,L. Feher,A. Honecker
Physics , 1997, DOI: 10.1016/S0550-3213(98)00061-3
Abstract: Fermionic and bosonic ghost systems are defined each in terms of a single vertex algebra which admits a one-parameter family of conformal structures. The observation that these structures are related to each other provides a simple way to obtain character formulae for a general twisted module of a ghost system. The U(1) symmetry and its subgroups that underly the twisted modules also define an infinite set of invariant vertex subalgebras. Their structure is studied in detail from a W-algebra point of view with particular emphasis on Z_N-invariant subalgebras of the fermionic ghost system.
A Personal Point of View about Scientific Discussions on Free Will  [PDF]
S. Esposito
Physics , 2012,
Abstract: I briefly present a personal view about alleged scientific results on free will.
Personal Well-Being among Spanish Adolescents
FERRAN CASAS,ARMANDO BELLO,MòNICA GONZáLEZ,MIREIA ALIGUé
Journal of Social Research & Policy , 2012,
Abstract: Although results from several samples of 12 to 16-year-old adolescents in Catalonia (region of N.E. Spain), obtained andpublished between 1999 and 2012, suggesting a constant decrease in adolescents’ subjective well-being (SWB) with age, untilnow no such data have been available for the general Spanish adolescent population. In this article we present results for arepresentative Spanish sample (N=5934), limited to students in the year of ESO (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria orCompulsory Secondary Education) (mean age = 12.09). aims of this article are twofold: (a) to validate an adaptationof the PWI for Spanish adolescents of around 12-years-old, which we will call PWI8adp; and (b) to identify variables whichshow rences in children’s subjective well-being (SWB) – using the PWI8adp as an indicator of SWB – whendichotomically comparing groups or categories of children. With this sample, among other we observe that Spanishadolescents scoring highest in subjective well-being tend to live in semi-urban environments, were born in Spain, have notrepeated a school year, live in only one family household, have two adults at home with paid employment, have parents withsecondary education or higher and have more material and cultural belongings at home compared to children with lower SWB.Furthermore, the adolescents with higher subjective well-being are those that never worry about money, think otherpeople treat them well, feel greater personal safety, feel they are listened to, report doing daily activities together with their family,do physical exercise or sport every day, have been told children have rights, have experienced fewer important recent changes intheir lives and feel their time is well organized.
50 Years of Computer Simulation -- a Personal View  [PDF]
Wm. G. Hoover
Physics , 2008,
Abstract: In the half century since the 1950s computer simulation has transformed our understanding of physics. The rare, expensive, slow, and bulky mainframes of World War II have given way to today's millions of cheap, fast, desksized workstations and personal computers. As a result of these changes, the theoretical formal view of physics has gradually shifted, so as to focus on the pragmatic and useful. General but vague approaches are being superceded by specific results for definite models. During this evolving change of emphasis I learned, developed, and described my simulation skills at Michigan, at Duke, at Livermore, and in Nevada, while forming increasingly wide-ranging contacts around the world. Computation is now pervasive in all the scientific fields. My own focus has been on the physics of particle simulations, mainly away from equilibrium. I outline my particle work here. It has led me to a model-based understanding of both equilibrium and nonequilibrium physics. There are still some gaps. There is still much to do.
Semantic science and its communication - a personal view
Peter Murray-Rust
Journal of Cheminformatics , 2011, DOI: 10.1186/1758-2946-3-48
Abstract: The articles have a common theme of representing information in a semantic manner - i.e. being largely "understandable" by machine. This theme is common across science and many of the articles can and should be read by people outside the chemical sciences, including information scientists, librarians, etc. An emergent phenomenon of the last two decades is that information systems can grow without top-down directions. This is disruptive in that it empowers anyone with energy and web-skills, and is most powerful when exercised in communities of people with similar or complementary skills.It is often possible to move very quickly, and in our hackfests (one was prepended to the symposium) we have shown that it is possible to prototype within a day or two. This creates a new generation of scientist-hackers (I use "hacker" as "A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities" [1]). Several of the authors in this issue would regard themselves as "hackers" and enjoy communicating through software and systems rather than written English. This stretches the boundaries of the possible but also creates tension where the mainstream world cannot react on a hacker timescale and with hacker ethics.More generally many scientists and information professionals are increasingly frustrated with the conventional means of disseminating science. Most conventional publishers regard scientific articles as "their content" and a very recent article (2011-06-20) from the STM publishers [2] indicates that the publishers believe they have the right to determine how content is, or more often is not, used. As an example most forbid by default indexing, textmining, repurposing, even of factual data to which the scientist has a legitimate subscription. This has an entirely negative effect on information-driven science, preventing even the development of the technology.Generally, therefore, there is a culture of bottom-up change ("web democracy") whic
The ghost and the machine
Mark A Jobling
Investigative Genetics , 2010, DOI: 10.1186/2041-2223-1-11
Abstract: "Who'd have thought thirty year ago we'd all be sitting here drinking Chateau de Chasselas, eh?""In them days we was glad to have the price of a cup o' tea.""A cup o' cold tea.""Without milk or sugar.""Or tea.""In a cracked cup, an' all.""Oh, we never had a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper."And so it goes on, the competitive reminiscences becoming more and more absurd in their invocation of hardship.Listening to geneticists of a certain age is sometimes a bit like this. Some event or remark sets off the litany: complaints from the lab about the slowness of the central sequencing service are met with harrumphing, and a tale about polyacrylamide gels and 35S labelling; this leads to a diatribe about the intricacies of cDNA library construction; at some point the 'three waterbaths' story of the early days of PCR is wheeled out; an esteemed colleague might raise the stakes by recounting the tribulations of making his own restriction enzymes.Is this just the universal nostalgia for a past era that is one of the hallmarks of ageing? To an extent, yes, but there's more to it than that. Certainly in the area of scientific endeavour within which many readers of this journal work, the average project has become experimentally far less interesting and challenging that it used to be.During my own PhD I grew cell-lines, made YAC, cosmid and phage libraries, did pulsed-field gel mapping, southern blotted, subcloned, and enjoyed plentiful exposure to phenol and radioisotopes, as did my lab-mates; nowadays my students spend their time putting Taq polymerase through its paces, waiting for the garish purple DNA extraction robot to beep, ordering kits, and outsourcing the really tricky stuff to the cheapest supplier. The benches can sometimes become repositories of paper - dusty adjuncts to the desk and computer - but at least the occasional pipette is in operation. My genome centre colleagues have been presented with spacious and gleaming labs, but every tim
Work Characteristics and Personal Social Support as Determinants of Subjective Well-Being  [PDF]
Stephen A. Stansfeld, Martin J. Shipley, Jenny Head, Rebecca Fuhrer, Mika Kivimaki
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081115
Abstract: Background Well-being is an important health outcome and a potential national indicator of policy success. There is a need for longitudinal epidemiological surveys to understand determinants of well-being. This study examines the role of personal social support and psychosocial work environment as predictors of well-being in an occupational cohort study. Methods Social support and work characteristics were measured by questionnaire in 5182 United Kingdom civil servants from phase 1 of the Whitehall II study and were used to predict subjective well-being assessed using the Affect Balance Scale (range -15 to 15, SD = 4.2) at phase 2. External assessments of job control and demands were provided by personnel managers. Results Higher levels of well-being were predicted by high levels of confiding/emotional support (difference in mean from the reference group with low levels of confiding/emotional support = 0.63, 95%CI 0.38–0.89, ptrend<0.001), high control at work (0.57, 95%CI 0.31–0.83, ptrend<0.001; reference low control) and low levels of job strain (0.60, 95%CI 0.31–0.88; reference high job strain), after adjusting for a range of confounding factors and affect balance score at baseline. Higher externally assessed work pace was also associated with greater well-being. Conclusions Our results suggest that the psychosocial work environment and personal relationships have independent effects on subjective well-being. Policies designed to increase national well-being should take account of the quality of working conditions and factors that facilitate positive personal relationships. Policies designed to improve workplaces should focus not only on minimising negative aspects of work but also on increasing the positive aspects of work.
A machine-assisted view of paraconsistency  [PDF]
Jesse Alama
Mathematics , 2013,
Abstract: For a newcomer, paraconsistent logics can be difficult to grasp. Even experts in logic can find the concept of paraconsistency to be suspicious or misguided, if not actually wrong. The problem is that although they usually have much in common with more familiar logics (such as intuitionistic or classical logic), paraconsistent logics necessarily disagree in other parts of the logical terrain which one might have thought were not up for debate. Thus, one's logical intuitions may need to be recalibrated to work skillfully with paraconsistency. To get started, one should clearly appreciate the possibility of paraconsistent logics and the genuineness of the distinctions to which paraconsistency points. For this purpose, one typically encounters matrices involving more than two truth values to characterize suitable consequence relations. In the eyes of a two-valued skeptic, such an approach might seem dubious. Even a non-skeptic might wonder if there's another way. To this end, to explore the basic notions of paraconsistent logic with the assistance of automated reasoning techniques. Such an approach has merit because by delegating some of the logical work to a machine, one's logical "biases" become externalized. The result is a new way to appreciate that the distinctions to which paraconsistent logic points are indeed genuine. Our approach can even suggest new questions and problems for the paraconsistent logic community.
The Machine as Data: A Computational View of Emergence and Definability  [PDF]
S. Barry Cooper
Computer Science , 2015,
Abstract: Turing's (1936) paper on computable numbers has played its role in underpinning different perspectives on the world of information. On the one hand, it encourages a digital ontology, with a perceived flatness of computational structure comprehensively hosting causality at the physical level and beyond. On the other (the main point of Turing's paper), it can give an insight into the way in which higher order information arises and leads to loss of computational control - while demonstrating how the control can be re-established, in special circumstances, via suitable type reductions. We examine the classical computational framework more closely than is usual, drawing out lessons for the wider application of information-theoretical approaches to characterizing the real world. The problem which arises across a range of contexts is the characterizing of the balance of power between the complexity of informational structure (with emergence, chaos, randomness and 'big data' prominently on the scene) and the means available (simulation, codes, statistical sampling, human intuition, semantic constructs) to bring this information back into the computational fold. We proceed via appropriate mathematical modelling to a more coherent view of the computational structure of information, relevant to a wide spectrum of areas of investigation.
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