Data Crunching Is the New Science
What do algae blooms have to do with South American genocides? Computer companies searching for patterns amongst unfathomable amounts of data are changing how we do science.
What's the Latest Development?
At a recent technology conference in San Francisco, IBM discussed the future of computation, which may represent the future of science itself. The plummeting cost of data storage hardware means massive amounts of data—really massive amounts—can be analyzed for patterns and compared to other fields. An algorithmic analysis of a power grid can be applied to a water distribution scheme. Even traffic, which works best when it flows easily, can be analyzed using the same mathematics.
What's the Big Idea?
The laboratory-based model of gaining scientific knowledge has company. Today, some of the most powerful scientific papers are meta-analyses, or findings gathered from hundreds, perhaps thousands of individual studies. Pure data crunching makes these findings possible and IBM, which employes more PhDs than any other company, want to find where different fields intersect to 'leverage the cost structure of new mathematics'. Algea blooms, for example, have been use to determine whether a genocide occurred in South America.
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It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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