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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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Recent Additions: New and Updated Entries in the Past 60 Days
Displaying entries 1 through 15 of 67 found.


The Natural Genesis Vision

The Genesis Vision > Current Vistas

Dyson, George. Analogia: The Emergence of Technology beyond Programmable Control. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020. The polycultural sage, at home in both tradition and science, writes another a unique, insightful contribution. Its timely theme courses from Gottfried Leibniz to 1950s mathematic computations at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton where his father, Freeman was posted, and onto the current algorithmic Internet. By this vista, the innate presence of two discrete digital and integral analogue modes can be well discerned. So to say, this natural realm which our human intellect has long tried to comprehend is now found to be graced by such particle/wave, node/link apart/together, serial/spatial, me/We archetypes. By this view, one could infer, as the Civilization section does, that indigenous peoples abided in an analog milieu.

On a personal note, in 2005 I was paired with Freeman Dyson as a speaker (slides on home page for slides) so to attempt a 21st century “natural philosophia,” which he says is vital to recover today. (search FD). For this review, while George D. closes with a concern that a worldwide AI analogic phase bodes to take over, his 2020 witness of a universal reality which is deeply distinguished by an interactivity of these informational states could advise a salutary resolve by way of their complementary unity. (As I write this in late August, our American land is being devasted by their polar opposition.)


George Dyson is an independent historian of technology whose works have included the Aleut kayak (Baidarka, 1986), the evolution of artificial intelligence (Darwin Among the Machines, 1997) and the transition from numbers that mean things to numbers that do things (Turing’s Cathedral, 2012).

In 1716, the philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz spent eight days with Peter the Great in Saxony, seeking to initiate a digitally-computed takeover of the world. In his Darwin Among the Machines (1997) and Turing’s Cathedral (2012), Dyson chronicled the mid 20th century realization of Leibniz’s dream by a series of iconoclasts who brought his ideas to life. In his pathbreaking new book, Analogia, he chronicles the people who fought for the other side―the Native American leader Geronimo and physicist Leo Szilard, among them―by vignettes that will change our view not only of the past. The convergence of this historical archaeology with Dyson’s personal story - in Princeton frontier physics and computer science and the rainforest of the Northwest Coast - leads to a prophetic vision of an analog revolution already under way.

Nature uses digital coding, embodied in strings of DNA, for the storage, replication, and modification of instructions conveyed from one generation to the next, but relies on analog coding and computing, embodied in brains and nervous systems, for real-time intelligence and control. Coded sequences of nucleotides store the instructions to grow a brain, but the brain itself does not operate like a digital computer by storing and processing digital code. (6) In a digital computer, one thing happens at a time. In an analog computer everything happens at once. Brains process three-dimensional maps continuously, instead of one-dimensional algorithms step by step. Information is pulse-frequency coded in the topology of what connects where, dot digitally coded by precise sequences of logical events. (6)

There is a corollary to the continuum hypothesis concerning computation among living and non living things. Computers, like Cantor’s infinities, can be divided into two kinds. Digital computers are finite but unbounded discrete-state machines whose possible states can be mapped in one-to-one correspondence to the integers. Analog computers, lacking discrete states that can be mapped directly to the integers, belong instead to some subset of the continuum, with every such subset having the power of the whole. Digital computers deal with integers, binary sequences, deterministic logic and time that is idealized into discrete increments. Analog computers deal with real numbers, nondeterministic logic, and continuous functions, including time. (247-248)

Earth Learn: A Planetary Prodigy Comes to Her/His Own Knowledge

A Learning Planet > The Spiral of Science

Ju, Harang, et al. The Network Structure of Scientific Revolutions. arXiv:2010.08381. Seven University of Pennsylvania scholars from neuroscience to history to physics including Danielle Bassett apply “network revolution” (Barabasi 2012) models which by now define node and link geometry in active response (see Cynthia Siew 2019) to analyze the historic formation of our library of natural cosmos and of human congress. With regard to an iconic Wiklpedia, an array of modular networks are composed of articles whence each node is a single site, and edges are hyperlinks to other relevant entries. As a result, and in tune with our own premise, knowledge learning proceeds on its own as a constant growth process. (Since it is said this goes on by seeking and filling in gaps, we add that it also resembles a self-organizing complex adaptive system.) Herein a further apt analogy is cited in the form of a genetic process by way of core nodes, relative mutations, and new interlinks.

Philosophers of science have long considered how collaborative scientific knowledge grows. Empirical validation has been challenging due to limitations in collecting and systematizing historical records. Here, we capitalize on Wikipedia as the largest online encyclopedia by which we are to formulate knowledge as growing networks of articles and their hyperlinked inter-relations. We demonstrate that concept networks grow not by expanding from their core but rather by creating and filling gaps. Moreover, we observe how network modules reveal a temporal signature in structural stability across scientific subjects. In a dynamic network model of scientific discovery, data-driven conditions underlying breakthroughs depend just as much on identifying uncharted gaps as on advancing solutions. (Abstract edits)

The findings described herein reveal that human knowledge grows by filling gaps in knowledge, perhaps driven by the collective curiosity of individual scientists through inward and outward exploration and gradual modifications to network structure. Moreover, knowledge discovered while creating and filling knowledge gaps is likely to be more influential and more frequently awarded in the scientific community. Our mathematical formulations of historical data pave the way to describe, understand, and even potentially guide scientific progress for individuals and funding agencies. Furthermore, our findings provide a data-driven approach to identifying novel contributions, especially those by underrepresented groups whose works are typically devalued yet are vital for vibrant scientific innovation. (6)

A Learning Planet > Mindkind Knowledge

Heersmink, Richard and John Sutton. . Cognition and the Web: Extended, Transactive, or Scaffolded? Erkenntnis: An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy. 85/1, 2020. In this European journal whose title means “understanding, realization, knowledge,” La Trobe University and Macquarie University philosophers scope out various ways that an individual web user and the global Google repository which is being interactively viewed might be seen as a novel wider representative phase of our cerebral domain. In such regard, here is another appreciation of how a person’s sapience can and does in fact expand beyond the biological brain itself.

In the history of external information systems, the World Wide Web presents a significant change in terms of the accessibility and amount of available information. Constant access to various kinds of online information affects the way we think, act and remember. Cognitive scientists have started to examine the interactions between the human mind and the Web, mainly how online information influences our biological memory. We use concepts from extended and distributed cognition frameworks and from transactive memory theory to analyse such an inter-relation. (Abstract)

A Learning Planet > Mindkind Knowledge

Last, Cadell. Global Brain: Foundations of a Distributed Singularity. Korotayev, Andrey and David LePoire, eds. The 21st Century Singularity and Global Futures. International: Springer, 2019. A Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, Vienna scholar achieves a well researched, thoughtful essay upon the emergent formation of an informational worldwise phase of collective, informed intelligence. It is proposed that this evident presence appears to have a capability to gain actual knowledge by its own analogous cognizance. In regard, if this spherical sapience can be rightly identified, enhanced and availed, it could provide a vital resource to advise, edify and solve dire problems which are otherwise intractable. See also the author’s 2020 book Global Brain Singularity (Springer) which is his doctoral thesis at the Free University of Brussels with Francis Heylighen.

Global Brain is a concept used to describe and understand the distributed, self-organizing intelligence currently emerging from all people and information-communication technologies (ICT) connected via the Internet. In its future network form it could become more intelligent and coherent with the capability to coordinate the functional operations of human civilization. Such a system would represent a new level of organized complexity which would allow people to deal with planetary problems that cannot be solved by contemporary methods. Thus, in a Global Brain metasystem, the human possibility space would open up levels of freedom and opportunity which have never before existed in evolutionary history. (Abstract)

“Global Brain” is a helpful metaphor to understand how our modern human society has become mediated by Internet functions like a biological brain. Here we posit that as brains produce intelligence, goal-directedness, and consciousness, so our species as a whole civilization produces higher order intelligence, goal-directedness, and consciousness. In positive regard, a Global Brain would help the human superorganism solve problems too complex for any lower level of intelligent organization. In another way, neurons within neural networks process information in a parallel and distributed fashion transmitting information; this is the same basic structural pattern used by humans to transmit information via the Internet. (3, edits)

Therefore, the Global Brain may be a useful metaphor for describing a distributed and self-organizing planetary superintelligence emerging from humans and ICT interacting and learning via the Internet. (4) But importantly for our inquiry, the idea of the Earth itself as a superorganism asks us to reflect on the possibility that the Global Brain would function as the structure of a nervous system. Thus, just as animals grew increasingly sophisticated brains so that they could make better models of the world and eventually their own models (self-consciousness), the Earth could be forming a brain so that it can accurately model its surrounding environment (i.e., the universe). (5)

An Organic Habitable Zone UniVerse

Animate Cosmos > Quantum Cosmology

Conzinu, Pedro, et al. Primordial Black Holes from Pre-Big Bang Inflation. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. August, 2020. We enter this posting by University of Pisa and Bari physicists as an instance of worldwide online collaborations which are now able to explore, hypothesize and quantify, so it seems, across any spatial and temporal expanse. In 2020 regard, whom might we microcosmic collaborative peoples altogether be to span and learn about such universal breadth and depth? See also, for example, The Self-Tuning of the Cosmological Constant at arXiv:2001.05510. By a philoSophia view, could it be imagined that an ecosmic genesis is trying to self-recognize and pass its operational knowledge onto our Earthkinder agency for a future cocreativity.

We discuss the possibility of producing a significant fraction of dark matter in the form of primordial black holes in the context of the pre-big bang inflationary scenario. We take into account, to this purpose, the enhancement of curvature perturbations possibly induced by a variation of the sound-speed parameter during the string phase of high-curvature inflation. After imposing observational constraints, we find that the considered class of models is compatible with the production of a large amount of primordial black holes in the mass range relevant to dark matter. (Abstract)

Let us finally recall that, in the string cosmology scenario that we have considered, the collapse of primordial inhomogeneities leading to PBH formation can be associated with perturbation modes re-entering the horizon either in the radiation- or in the axion-dominated regime of post-inflationary evolution. In the second case, corresponding to a dust-dominated epoch, it turns out that the spectral constraints determining a significant PBH production might be somewhat relaxed with respect to the one used in this paper. (23)

Animate Cosmos > Quantum Cosmology > cosmos

Keeley, Ryan, et al. Reconstructing the UniVerse. arXiv:2010.03234. We cite this entry by five astrophysicists with postings in Korea, China and Mexico because its auspicious title could well allude to the phenomenal ecosmic project that we Earthlings altogether might be now embarking upon. We test the mutual consistency between the baryon acoustic oscillation measurements from the eBOSS SDSS final release, as well as the Pantheon supernova compilation.

Animate Cosmos > Quantum Cosmology > cosmos

Schumacher, Jorg and Katepalli Sreenivasan. Colloquium: Unusual Dynamics of Convection in the Sun. Reviews of Modern Physics. 92/041001, 2020. Technical University of Ilmenau, Germany and NYU Tandon School mathematicians (search KS) proceed to analyze, model and describe the active turbulence that composes our home star. We note for its content, and also to record and reflect how incredible it is that we curious creaturely beings are able to achieve such deep and wide cosmic quantifications. One wonders what participant agency and function we peoples are, as yet unawares, carrying out.

The Sun is our nearest star; it is also the most important star that determines life on Earth. A large variety of phenomena observed on the Sun’s surface, with potential impact on Earth, is thought to arise from turbulent convection in Sun’s interior, this being the dominant mode of heat transport within the outer envelope at r≳0.715R⊙. However, convection in the Sun differs in most of its aspects from convection processes known on Earth, certainly those under controlled laboratory conditions, thus seriously challenging existing physical models of convective turbulence and boundary conditions in the Sun. Solar convection is a multiscale-multiphysics phenomenon including the transport of mass, momentum, and heat in the presence of rotation, dynamo action, radiation fluxes, and partial changes in chemical composition. (Abstract excerpt)

Animate Cosmos > Organic > Chemistry

Azevedo, Helena, et al. Complexity Emerges from Chemistry. Nature Chemistry. 12/9, 2020. As the quote describes, this entry reports the current international frontiers of Systems Chemistry as it takes off on its own. Representative speakers included Phillipe Nghe, Daphne Klotsa, Sarah Perry, Stephen Mann, and Petra Schwille.

Systems chemistry is an active frontier focusing on (multi-)functional reactions from ensembles of molecular components. The most striking example of such emerging behavior is life itself, and unravelling the rules involves decreasing the gap between ‘dead’ molecules and living matter. This Virtual Symposium on Systems Chemistry was hosted by the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center from 18–20 May 2020. Discussions covered supramolecular assembly, out-of-equilibrium processes, chemical networks, and compartmentalization as they translate into phenomena from self-organization to motion, functional (bio)materials, new insights into the origins of life, to interventions with the SARS-CoV-2.

Animate Cosmos > Organic > Chemistry

Schwerdtfeger, Peter, et al. The Periodic Table and the Physics that Drives It. Nature Reviews Chemistry. 4/7, 2020. Massey University, New Zealand and University of Helsinki (Pekka Pyykko) theorists consider how the formation of chemical elements can necessarily be traced in an analogic way to deep physical forces such as relativistic electronic-structure theory, nuclear-structure theory and the astrophysical origins.

The periodic table can be seen as parallel to the Standard Model in particle physics, in which elementary particles can be ordered according to their intrinsic properties. The underlying theory to describe the interactions between particles comes from quantum field theory and its inherent symmetries. In the periodic table, the elements are placed into a certain period and group based on electronic configurations that originate from principles for the electrons surrounding a positively charged nucleus. In this Perspective, we critically analyse the periodic table of elements and the current status of theoretical predictions and origins for the heaviest elements, which combine both quantum chemistry and physics. (Abstract excerpt)

Animate Cosmos > Intelligence

Elek, Oskar, et al.. Plyphorm: Structural Analysis of Cosmological Datasets via Interactive Physarum Polycephalum Visualization. arXiv:2009.02441. We cite this entry by UC Santa Cruz computer scientists and astrophysicists for its innovative application of the seemingly intelligent, goal-directed. optimizations used by this eukaryotic cellular aggregation as it searches for food. See also the PBS NOVA program Secret Mind of Slime, aired Sept. 16, 2020, for much more. And for a consideration, since this generic behavior is available across simple invertebrate and insect populations, along with its ready service to widely removed scientific studies, maybe it implies that the whole universal scenario which we peoples are coming upon might have an innate cerebral character, whence its natural cognitive methods can apply everywhere.

This paper introduces Polyphorm, an interactive model fitting tool that provides a novel approach to investigate cosmological datasets. Through a fast computational simulation method inspired by the behavior of Physarum polycephalum, an unicellular slime mold organism that efficiently forages for nutrients, astrophysicists are able to extrapolate from sparse data, such as Sloan Digital Sky Survey galaxy maps and then use these them to analyze of a wide range of other results, such as spectroscopic observations by the Hubble Space Telescope. (Abstract excerpt)

Animate Cosmos > Thermodynamics > autocat

Adamski, Paul, et al. From Self-Replication to Replicator Systems en Route to de Novo Life. Nature Reviews Chemistry. 4/8, 2020. Centre for Systems Chemistry, Stratingh Institute, University of Groningen, Institute of Evolution, MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Hungary including Eors Szathmary and Sijbren Otto provide a latest exercise with regard to how the Darwinian evolution model might be reconciled and joined with increasing scientific evidence that an array of self-generative systems are in effect prior to selections. It is now recognized that a common cellular formation can be defined (see Abstract), which is here seen as due to a self-replicative process, aka collective autocatalysis. Life’s natural emergence is further traced to far-from-equilibrium energies and nonlinear complex dynamics. In so many words and ways, these original agencies are well known to be at work to impel and guide life’s oriented development before winnowings take place.

The process by which chemistry can give rise to biology remains one of the biggest mysteries in contemporary science. Both the de novo synthesis and origin of life require the functional integration of three key characteristics — replication, metabolism and compartmentalization — into a system that is out of equilibrium and is capable of open-ended Darwinian evolution. This Review takes systems of self-replicating molecules as starting points and describes the steps necessary to integrate these vital aspects. We analyse how far experimental self-replicators have come in terms of Darwinian evolution and also cover models of replicator communities. Successful models rely on a collective metabolism and the formation of compartments suggesting that the invention and integration of these two features is driven by evolution. (Abstract)

Animate Cosmos > Thermodynamics > autocat

Blokhuis, Alex, et al. Universal Motifs and the Diversity of Autocatalytic Systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 41/25230, 2020. Systems biochemists AB and David Lacoste, Paris Sciences et Lettres University and Philippe Nghe, CNRS Chimie Biologie Innovation post a wide-ranging study to a notable extent that this self-creative organic process is seen to play a more important, pervasive role in life’s evolution than previously thought. By way of analogy, the vital presence of a beneficial symbiosis was also sidelined until recent times. Into the later 2010s, it is becoming evident that from earliest origins, life’s precursor biochemical networks grew and evolved in complexity because of these innate agencies. See also An Ecological Framework for the Analysis of Prebiotic Chemical Reaction Networks by Zhen Peng, et al in the Journal of Theoretical Biology (Vol. 507, 2020).

Autocatalysis, the ability of chemical systems to make more of themselves, is a hallmark of living systems, as it underlies metabolism, reproduction, and evolution. Here, we present a unified theory of autocatalysis based on stoichiometry. This allows us to identify essential motifs of autocatalytic networks, namely, autocatalytic cores, which come in five categories. In these networks, internal catalytic cycles are found to favor growth. The stoichiometry approach furthermore reveals that diverse autocatalytic networks can be formed with multiple compartments. Overall, these findings suggest that autocatalysis is a richer and more abundant phenomenon than previously thought. (Significance)

In this way, autocatalysis can emerge from reaction schemes as simple as a bimolecular reaction. The principle is more general, however: Autocatalysis may also emerge from coupling phases with physical–chemical conditions conducive to different reactions, as observed in liquid–solid and solid–gas interfaces. Overall, our framework shows that autocatalysis comes in a diversity of forms and can emerge in unexpected ways, indicating that autocatalysis in chemistry must be more widespread than previously thought. This invites a search for further extensions of autocatalysis, which provides new vistas for understanding how chemistry may complexify toward life. (25235)

Animate Cosmos > Fractal

Ettori, Stefano, et al. From Universal Profiles to Universal Scaling Laws in X-ray Galaxy Clusters. arXiv:2010.04192. Two decades into the 21st century, INAF Osservatorio di Astrofisica e Scienza dello Spazio, Bolonga are able to well quantify the “standard self-similar behavior” of celestial spacescapes. Again it amazes that our individual and collective sapience on an infinitesimal bioworld can altogether yet learn about any infinite reach. Wherever did these intrinsic, non-random, geometries that continue in kind to our own selves actually come from?

As end products of the hierarchical process of cosmic structure formation, galaxy clusters present some predictable properties from astrophysical dissipative processes that show remarkable "universal" behaviour once rescaled by halo mass and redshift. However, a consistent picture that links these profiles and the thermodynamic intracluster medium has to be demonstrated. In this work, we use a semi-analytic model based on a "universal" pressure profile in hydrostatic equilibrium within a cold dark matter halo with a defined relation between mass and concentration to reconstruct the scaling laws between the X-ray properties of galaxy clusters. (Abstract)

Animate Cosmos > Astrobiology

Oberg, Karen and Edwin Bergin. Astrochemistry and Compositions of Planetary Systems. Physics Reports. October, 2020. In this epochal year, Harvard-Smithsonian Center and University of Michigan astrophysicists provide a comprehensive graphic survey which seems to have no limit as to the expanse, depth and quality that our sapient individual and worldwide cumulative intelligence can achieve. A typical section is Setting the Chemical Trajectory: Planet Formation Begins in Molecular Clouds, and a detailed image is Protoplanetary Disk Chemistry. By a philoSophia vista to allow a genesis uniVerse which exists on its own, we ought to wonder who are we phenomenal, microcosmic Earthlings to perform, unawares until now, this vital functional task of retrospective self-quantification, description, witness and affirm?

Planets form and obtain their compositions in disks of gas and dust around young stars. The chemical compositions of these planet-forming disks regulate all aspects of planetary compositions from bulk elemental inventories to access to water and reactive organics, i.e. a planet's hospitality to life and its chemical origins. In this review we present our current understanding of the chemical processes active in pre- and protostellar environments that set the initial conditions for the disk chemical processes that evolve during the first million years of planet formation.. (Abstract excerpt)

Ecosmomics: A Survey of Animate Complex Network Systems

Cosmic Code

Gershenson, Carlos, et al. Self-Organization and Artificial Life. Artificial Life. 26/3, 2020. CG, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Vito Trianni, Italian National Research Council, Justin Werfel, Harvard, and Hiroki Sayama, SUNY Binghamton provide a tutorial upon this interface between complexity science and their advance via this computational frontier. An extensive list of 217 references bolsters the presentation.

Self-organization can be broadly defined as the ability of a system to display ordered spatiotemporal patterns solely due to interactions among its components. Placed at the frontiers between disciplines, artificial life has borrowed concepts and tools from the study of self-organization to interpret lifelike phenomena as well as constructivist approaches to artificial system design. In this review, we discuss aspects of self-organization and its usages within primary ALife domains of “soft” (mathematical computation), “hard” (physical robots), and “wet” (chemical/biological systems). (Abstract excerpt)

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