(PhysOrg.com) — Marketers dream of finding ways to get something to “go viral” on the Internet. Indeed, viral marketing, whether it be through email, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, has become the Holy Grail of online marketing campaigns. With viral marketing, it is possible for the message to reach millions in a matter of hours. Marketers and scientists alike have been studying this phenomenon in the hopes that it will yield information about human dynamics. “There has been a lot of research done on social networks,” Esteban Moro tells PhysOrg.com. “However, until now it has been rare to get feedback from an actual performed experiment. Most research on social media is done with data that is inferred. But we have real experimental data for the basis of our model.” Moro is a scientist at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain. Along with José Luis Iribarren at an IBM division based in Madrid, Moro devised a viral marketing experiment that provides some quantitative conclusions about how something goes viral online. Their work appears in Physical Review Letters: “Impact of Human Activity Patterns on the Dynamics of Information Diffusion.”“Most models of information diffusion through social media are based on the idea of homogeneity in human response,” Moro explains. According to Moro, most models are based around the average time that it takes for a person to respond to a request and then to pass it on. This model, while it might be useful in predicting some aspects of online marketing campaigns, does not adequately account for the reasons that some rumors, advertisements, content and even viruses suddenly explode worldwide in what is known as “going viral.”“Humans respond differently,” Moro continues. “We performed a viral marketing experiment and used the response to build a different model, based on the heterogeneity of human response.” The experiment consisted of seeding a campaign over the Internet that rewarded participants for passing it along via email to friends and colleagues. The email messages reached more than 30,000 individuals in 11 European countries, and Moro and Iribarren were able to track the spread of the piece of information through social networks. “Collectively, most information moves at a slower pace through networks than expected,” Moro says.But, if information moves slower than expected through social networks, how does one explain some information that “goes viral” quickly? Moro says that there is a tipping point of information spreading through social networks. The ability to surpass that tipping point and reach most of the collectivity is determined by those who are more actively involved in social media. “Some people respond to email within a couple of minutes. They are more active on social networks. If these people find something compelling, they respond quickly and propagate the information through their social neighborhood,” Moro says. “It’s about a difference in the way we schedule priorities, and differences in the way humans send information.” Time dynamics of the biggest viral cascade, from Spain. Each “snapshot” represents the process at different times. The circles represent participates and the arrows describe the propagation of the message. Colors are meant to help you keep track of different stages of the message propagation. Image credit: Esteban Moro and José Luis Iribarren. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. On the other hand, if information does not reach the tipping point needed to “go viral,” it is because that information is at the mercy of those who take longer to respond. Instead of capturing the interest of the fastest responders, some information merely moves slowly through social networks, sometimes lasting months or years as it continues to be pushed through social media channels as people get around to it after days or weeks. “Even though our experiment lasted only a couple of months,” Moro says, “we were still receiving responses after finishing it. People were still responding. It was just taking them longer to get around to it.”The model offers interesting insight into human dynamics. “Our work shows that there is no such thing as a typical time scale in human dynamics, and the impact of this fact in information diffusion,” Moro insists. “This sharply contrasts with current information diffusion models that base information spread on homogenous response time.” He also points out that this work could also be helpful in tracking the spread of fads, hoaxes, opinions or rumors. Moro says that IBM has a patent to detail a model for viral marketing campaigns. “Our model allows us to predict how many people get the campaign message the first day, and how long it will take the message to go through social networks. The model provides a mathematical framework for modeling efficiency in social networks.” More information: José Luis Iribarren, Esteban Moro, “Impact of Human Activity Patterns on the Dynamics of Information Diffusion,” Physical Review Letters (2009). Available online: link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.038702 . Copyright 2009 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Citation: New model for social marketing campaigns details why some information ‘goes viral’ (2009, August 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-08-social-campaigns-viral.html The Physics of Friendship Explore further
(PhysOrg.com) — Two new studies demonstrate how viruses, such as the one responsible for polio, use good bacteria in the human (or mouse) gut to evade detection by the immune system. © 2011 PhysOrg.com Citation: New research shows how viruses use ‘good’ gut bacteria to bypass immune system (2011, October 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-10-viruses-good-gut-bacteria-bypass.html Researchers find gut bacteria teaches immune cells to see them as friendly This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In one study, Sharon Kuss and her colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, show that the poliovirus, as they write in their paper in Science, is able to latch onto large molecules on the surface of good bacteria and ride around in the gut. Those large molecules make up lipopolysaccharide (LPS) which is a chemical that sets off the production of interleukin-10, a chemical that serves as a signal to the immune system to tell it that it’s a harmless bacteria, thus no need to attack. Meanwhile, Melissa Kane from the University of Chicago, and colleagues, have been doing similar work with the Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus (MMTV), which also rides the LPS molecules on bacteria to escape detection. They have also published their results in Science.As most people are aware, the human body is loaded with bacteria, most of it good. Some types help ward off disease, others help to keep us clean. The largest population by far though, lives in our guts, which includes our stomachs, intestines and other organs. In addition to helping digest food, they also manufacture nutrients that help us survive. Without such good bacteria, its likely humans, and most other animals, would soon perish.To show what is going on with viruses using good gut bacteria for their own benefit, both teams take roughly the same approach. They insert massive amounts of antibiotics into the gut of a mouse to kill off virtually all of the bacteria residing there, then test to see how susceptible the host is to infection from the virus they are testing. Kuss et al showed that in addition to getting a free ride on the backs of the good bacteria, the viruses also tend to get better at being infectious agents as a result of their stay on the bacteria. In one test, the poliovirus became twice as good at infecting the host in just two hours time.In addition to showing that the MMTV receives the same advantages from good bacteria as the poliovirus in the first study, Kane and her team showed that baby mice that are born to mothers with sterile guts, who themselves then wind up with sterile guts as a result, are virtually immune to the virus, which is transferred from mother to baby after birth via breast milk. When good bacteria is introduced to their guts however, they then fall prey to the virus.Both of these studies show that the more that is learned about the relationship between our own cells, the various kinds of bacteria that live inside of us (both good and bad) and viruses, the more we come to see how complex and interrelated the whole system is. Findings like these show that simply swallowing antibiotics to quash an errant bacteria, or perhaps in some cases to kill off a virus that is getting a free ride, may not be as simple as it once seemed. Explore further
As the algae grows—mostly in the summer—it provides more shade for the building, helping to keep it cool (and serves as a sound buffer as well). Excess heat that builds up in the water in the tanks is transferred to saline water tanks underneath the building for use later. When the amount of algae growth in the tanks reach a certain point, some is harvested and taken to a processing facility inside the building. There the biomass is converted to biogas which can be burned to provide heat in the winter. Thus, the building makes use of both solar thermal and geothermal energy allowing it to be heated and cooled without using any fossil fuels. The design and construction of the BIQ has taken three years and has cost approximately €5 million, all funded by Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA) as part of the ongoing International Building Exhibition – 2013. The BIQ House is one of 16 projects undertaken by the group, with the goal of proving that cost effective ways of making bio-friendly buildings are available today. To highlight the building, the team has painted its exterior green and has added a giant cartoon-like bubble on one side with the word “Photosynthesis?” in it. © 2013 Phys.org Traditional architecture fuel-efficient Explore further (Phys.org) —A 15-unit apartment building has been constructed in the German city of Hamburg that has 129 algae filled louvered tanks hanging over the exterior of the south-east and south-west sides of the building—making it the first in the world to be powered exclusively by algae. Designed by Arup, SSC Strategic Science Consultants and Splitterwerk Architects, and named the Bio Intelligent Quotient (BIQ) House, the building demonstrates the ability to use algae as a way to heat and cool large buildings. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The building is to serve as a test case and will be studied by various architects and engineers from around the world to determine if the design is feasible and if so, to perhaps serve as a model when erecting buildings in other cities. Citation: First algae powered building goes up in Hamburg (2013, April 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-04-algae-powered-hamburg.html To make use of the algae, which the team retrieved from the nearby Elbe river, it was put into large thin rectangular clear cases. Inside, the algae live in a water solution and are provided nutrients and carbon dioxide by an automated system. Each tank was then affixed to the outside walls of the building onto scaffolding that allows for turning the tanks towards the sun—similar to technology used for solar collectors.
More information: Frontiers in Zoology 2013, 10:80 DOI: 10.1186/1742-9994-10-80 Citation: Researchers find dogs sensitive to small variations in Earth’s magnetic field (2014, January 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-01-dogs-sensitive-small-variations-earth.html A team of researchers in the Czech Republic has found that dogs can now be added to the list of animals that are able to sense and respond to the Earth’s magnetic field. In their paper published in Frontiers in Zooology, the researchers describe field experiments they conducted that indicated that dogs prefer to defecate while in a North-South stance relative to the Earth’s axis, during times when the magnetic field is calm. Journal information: Frontiers in Zoology © 2014 Phys.org Explore further Dogs recognize familiar faces from images Intrigued by the growing list of animals that appear to have a magnetic sensitivity, the researchers focused on dogs to see if they too had any such abilities. After some initial observations, the team began to notice a pattern of behavior related to stance during defecation—that was enough to embark on some field studies.The field studies were conducted in an open field so as to ensure that the dogs weren’t being impacted by familiar surroundings—in all 70 dogs (37 breeds) were observed circling and defecating for a total of 1,893 times. The dogs exhibited, the team reports, a very clear inclination to defecate with their bodies aligned in a North-South stance. But, more tellingly, when the magnetic field was not calm, the dogs showed no such preference, suggesting that when there is a clear magnetic field, dogs can feel it, and for unexplained reasons, prefer to align themselves in a certain posture.The team also found that freedom was a factor—dogs on leashes didn’t appear to have as much of an inclination to align themselves in any particular direction as did dogs who were allowed to roam free in a field as they did their business.No one can say for sure why dogs might prefer to align themselves in a particular direction when defecating, of course, though the researchers suggest they might simply feel more comfortable. They note that their study also found that the dogs tended to intentionally avoid crouching in an East-West, alignment, perhaps finding it the most uncomfortable of all. Their study, they say, is the first to conclusively show that dogs have magnetic sensitivity.Other studies have found that other animals, such as cattle, deer, foxes, birds and even some species of fish adjust their actions according to the Earth’s magnetic field, though how they do so is still unclear in most instances. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Journal information: Biology Letters More information: G. T. Lloyd et al. Probabilistic divergence time estimation without branch lengths: dating the origins of dinosaurs, avian flight and crown birds, Biology Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0609AbstractBranch lengths—measured in character changes—are an essential requirement of clock-based divergence estimation, regardless of whether the fossil calibrations used represent nodes or tips. However, a separate set of divergence time approaches are typically used to date palaeontological trees, which may lack such branch lengths. Among these methods, sophisticated probabilistic approaches have recently emerged, in contrast with simpler algorithms relying on minimum node ages. Here, using a novel phylogenetic hypothesis for Mesozoic dinosaurs, we apply two such approaches to estimate divergence times for: (i) Dinosauria, (ii) Avialae (the earliest birds) and (iii) Neornithes (crown birds). We find: (i) the plausibility of a Permian origin for dinosaurs to be dependent on whether Nyasasaurus is the oldest dinosaur, (ii) a Middle to Late Jurassic origin of avian flight regardless of whether Archaeopteryx or Aurornis is considered the first bird and (iii) a Late Cretaceous origin for Neornithes that is broadly congruent with other node- and tip-dating estimates. Demonstrating the feasibility of probabilistic time-scaling further opens up divergence estimation to the rich histories of extinct biodiversity in the fossil record, even in the absence of detailed character data. © 2016 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from the U.K. and the U.S. has mapped the biggest dinosaur tree yet, and in so doing, has found that the creatures may have evolved 20 million years earlier than most in the field have thought. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the team describes how they created the new tree using probabilistic methods and why the new findings suggest that the dinosaurs might have survived a prior mass extinction. Group builds most comprehensive family tree of birds to date This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Comparison of probabilistic APT dates (red bars, cal3; blue bars, Hedman; see the text) for key nodes in dinosaur phylogeny: Dinosauria I (Nyasasaurus as sister to Dinosauria), Dinosauria II (Nyasasaurus nested within Dinosauria), Avialae I (Archaeopteryx as first bird), Avialae II (Aurornis as first bird) and Neornithes (crown birds). Asterisks mark minimum bound or ‘traditional’ palaeontological estimate. Molecular and morphological clock dates for Neornithes are shown in the lower right corner (A–J; electronic supplementary material, table S3): circles indicate mean and horizontal bars the 95% HPD. Silhouettes were taken from public domain images on phylopic.org (Aurornis, Gareth Monger; Eoraptor, Scott Hartman; Vegavis, Matt Martyniuk), or modified with kind permission from works by Sergio Pérez (Archaeopteryx) and Nobu Tamura (Nyasasaurus). Credit: Biology Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0609 Citation: Biggest map of dinosaur tree yet suggests they emerged 20 million years earlier than thought (2016, November 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-11-biggest-dinosaur-tree-emerged-million.html Explore further By examining dinosaur bones, scientists have been able to establish what they believe are reasonable estimates for the time period that dinosaurs existed. But such estimates have always left some room for error. In this latest effort, the researchers used two probabilistic methods to create a massive tree representing almost 1,000 species and calculated the date of first emergence of what we now call dinosaurs. The results from the studies matched, giving credence to the results. Their tree shows dinosaurs first appearing approximately 250 million years ago. Furthermore, the tree shows what are believed to have been the first birds branching off the tree approximately 165 to 172 million years ago. It also shows that the group that includes all known birds came to exist approximately 69 to 108 million years ago—during the Late Cretaceous, which, interestingly, was before the mass extinction that wiped out all the other dinosaurs.Notably, the tree shows dinosaurs coming into existence during a time prior to the oldest known dinosaur fossil, a Nyasasaurus, which has been dated to just 240 million years ago. This means researchers will have to rely on math and faith if they are to accept the new tree—at least until an older fossil is found. The team also believes that there is some evidence that indicates the timeline could be pushed back another 10 million years.The new timeline, if correct, would mean that the creatures that evolved into dinosaurs somehow managed to survive the Permo-Triassic extinction—believed to be the largest mass extinction that ever occurred.
Their findings are detailed — they can be read in full here — but the basic summary is that emotions are expressed in a huge variety of ways, which makes it hard to reliably infer how someone feels from a simple set of facial movements. To achieve this, tech companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon all sell what they call “emotion recognition” algorithms, which infer how people feel based on facial analysis. For example, if someone has a furrowed brow and pursed lips, it means they’re angry. If their eyes are wide, their eyebrows are raised, and their mouth is stretched, it means they’re afraid, and so on. Clients can put this tech to use in a variety of ways, building everything from automated surveillance systems that look for “angry” threats to job interview software that promises to weed out bored and uninterested candidates. The review was commissioned by the Association for Psychological Science, and five distinguished scientists from the field were asked to scrutinize the evidence. Each reviewer represented different theoretical camps in the world of emotion science. “We weren’t sure if we would be able to come to a consensus over the data, but we did,” Barrett says. It took them two years to examine the data, with the review looking at more than 1,000 different studies. “Companies can say whatever they want, but the data are clear,” Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University and one of the review’s five authors, tells The Verge. “They can detect a scowl, but that’s not the same thing as detecting anger.” … “People, on average, the data show, scowl less than 30 percent of the time when they’re angry,” says Barrett. “So scowls are not the expression of anger; they’re an expression of anger — one among many. That means that more than 70 percent of the time, people do not scowl when they’re angry. And on top of that, they scowl often when they’re notangry.” Read the whole story: The Verge As artificial intelligence is used to make more decisions about our lives, engineers have sought out ways to make it more emotionally intelligent. That means automating some of the emotional tasks that come naturally to humans — most notably, looking at a person’s face and knowing how they feel.
The Lebanese parliament failed Wednesday for the 17th consecutive time to convene and elect a new president because of lack of the constitutionally required quorum.Speaker Nabih Berri issued a statement calling for a new session Jan 28 following the failure of the parliament to convene, Xinhua reported. According to the constitution, two-thirds of the 128-member parliament should be present for the election session to proceed, but only 50 MPs were present at the house Wednesday. Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenBecause of the sharp political division among the Syrian-backed March 8 camp and the Western-backed March 14 camp, the parliament has failed since April 2014 in convening for the presidential election.The March 14 camp is backing head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea for the post, while the March 8 camp is backing head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun for president. The centrist Democratic Gathering, led by MP Walid Jumblatt, is backing MP Henri Helo for the post. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanLebanon has been without a president since the end of former president Michel Suleiman’s term May 25, but has witnessed a similar situation back in 1988 and 2007.Following the end of former president Amine Gemayel’s term in 1988, the parliament failed to elect a president and the post was only filled following the approval of the Taef agreement in 1989 when President Michel Moawad was elected. In July 2007, when former President Emile Lahoud’s term ended, the post was left vacant until May 2008 when the Doha agreement was approved and President Michel Suleiman was elected.According to the country’s power sharing pact, the president should be a Christian Maronite, the speaker a Shia and the premier a Sunni.
With four secular bloggers being killed by suspected Islamists in Bangladesh in recent months, police here have asked secular writers not to “cross the limit” and write anything which hurts religious beliefs of others.“Do not cross the limit. Do not hurt anyone’s religious belief,” Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque said as investigators struggled to nab the killers of secular blogger Niloy Chakrabarty Neel who was hacked to death at his flat here on Friday. Also Read – Nine hurt in accident at fireworks show in French resortThe “freethinkers” should keep in mind that hurting someone’s religious sentiment is a criminal offence,
From Snow White to Tarzan, Robin Hood to Alice, Lord Rama to the Pandavas, Ali Baba to Winnie the Pooh, Dorothy (of Oz) to Harry Potter, from works of Shakespeare to Henry David Thoreau, Rudyard Kipling to Bill Bryson and Enid Blyton to Cheryl Strayed, there is one common thread, wholly or partly, to some of our most remembered and favourite literature – forests as a setting for key action.Earth’s dominant terrestrial ecosystem, forests are commonly taken to mean a large area with trees or other woody vegetation though there isn’t any common global definition – 800 definitions are available around the world! What is however more acceptable and indisputable is their role in human imagination and culture, be it folklore, fantastic or legendary, and modern literature, whether children or adult. They can represent a place of refuge or menace, of succour or challenge, of restful contemplation or exciting adventure, a metaphor for nature at its most basic and untrammeled by human civilising, and a source of sustenance – or danger. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’But best-served are those who take some benefit from their sojourn in the woods. As a Shakespearean character ruminates: “And this our life, exempt from public haunt,/Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,/Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”This was the Senior Duke, perfectly content in his exile in the Forest or Arden in “As You Like It” (Act II, Scene 1) but forests are not always that welcoming and instructive for the Bard’s other creations. In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, some unwelcome changes afflict various characters, especially poor Nick Bottom in the forest (though everything gets amicably and amenably solved in the end), while in another, the appearance of the Dunsinane forest (or a branch of it, excuse the Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflixpun) before Macbeth’s castle spells his doom!In ancient Hindu epics, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman first exhibit their mettle by ridding some forests of demons before their eventful exile to the forest, as do the Pandavas who raise their capital after clearing a notorious forest and then spend part of their own exile in forests.But some of the most memorable and universally-known stories set in the woods – Snow White, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Briar Rose, Hansel and Gretel and many more of brave young princes and fair maidens.
Drinking too much alcohol may disrupt the healthy balance in the lungs and impact your breathing, a new study has warned. In the study, adults who drink excessively were found to have less nitric oxide in their exhaled breath than adults who do not drink. The finding were published in the journal ‘Chest’, and is significant because nitric oxide helps protect against certain harmful bacteria that can cause respiratory infections.“Alcohol appears to disrupt the healthy balance in the lung,” said a researcher. Nitric oxide is a colourless gas produced by the body during respiration. The researchers examined data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES). It conducts interviews and physical examinations to assess the health and nutritional status of Americans.For the study the researchers have examined data from 12,059 adults who participated in NHANES between the years 2007 and 2012. Excessive drinkers were defined as heavy drinkers (more than one drink per day on average for women and more than two drinks per day for men) and people who binge drink at least once per month (four or more drinks per occasion for women and five or more drinks for men).In the sample population researchers examined, 26.9 percent of the participants weto be excessive drinkers. The researchers found that exhaled nitric oxide levels were lower in excessive drinkers than in adults who never drink, and the more alcohol an excessive drinker consumed, the lower the level of nitric oxide.In an asthma patient, the amount of exhaled nitric oxide in a breath test provides a good indication of how well the patient’s medication is working. “Excessive alcohol consumption might complicate the results of such tests. “Lung doctors may need to take this into consideration,” the researcher said.