September 12, 2012

Link Hive #10; or Levitating Slinkies, Y'all!

With all this talk about facts and misinformation floating around the political sphere these days, we thought we'd put together a Link Hive about information theory.  How knowledge and information is sent and received in the real world.  Enjoy:

The always excellent Radiolab podcast looks at the Mystery of the Levitating Slinky.  This is a great demonstration of both dynamic equilibrium, and how information is transferred through space-time.  Yes, Virginia, a Slinky is a great way to demonstrate really heavy stuff about the nature of the universe.  By the way, if you are at all curious about the world around you, Radiolab is strictly essential listening.  It is routinely brilliant and sometimes mind blowing.

Speaking of the way that information is sent and received, scientists have discovered examples of affine symmetry when looking at the brain's control of motor functions.  What is Affine Symmetry;*Warning* math intensive Wikipedia link. - ed.]  It's the origin independent symmetry that describes parallelism and distance of paths along a smooth 3D surface, and it's also the way your brain organizes and plans motor movements in an incredibly efficient way.  This finding may indicate a more fundamental law that underlies how information is transferred.  Roboticists everywhere are keen to know the answer.

And, speaking of using information to predict outcomes, Technology Review has interesting article about scientists using computational modeling to study the anticancer properties of Gadolinium.

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