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Early intervention could counteract the effect of

mdtee001 posted @ 2015年4月17日 09:15 in 未分类 , 68 阅读

Early intervention could counteract the effect of an abusive childhood (Image: Oscar cheap nfl jerseys china B. Castillo/Fractures Collective)

In The Anatomy of Violence, Adrian Raine makes a strong case often based on his own research that distinct biological traits shape criminal behaviour

SUPPOSE you had to predict which kids in a roomful of 3 year olds at your local preschool were likely to grow up to be violent criminals. How would you decide?

Most of us would probably round up the usual sociological suspects, and check whether a child comes from a broken or abusive home, is part of a family living below the poverty line, or has a parent who is a convicted criminal. But there's an easier way, says Adrian Raine: just measure their resting heart rate. His research shows that lower heart rates are a better indicator of criminal behaviour than smoking is of lung cancer.

In The Anatomy of Violence Raine, a criminologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, uses this and other evidence much of it unearthed by himself over decades of research to build a convincing case that violent criminals are biologically different from the rest of us.

Ignoring stress's social background puts the burden of change on the poor (Image: Steve Liss/Polaris/Eyevine)

Two opposing strategies for dealing with the stress of modern life have been put forward by Dana Becker and Marc Shoen, but which is best?

STRESS is the epidemic of our age, or so it seems: a disfiguring consequence of modern life that we all succumb to from time to time. Yet it is hard to know what it really is, other than a miscellany of physical and psychological symptoms covering everything from anxiety to hypertension. It speaks of brass beads and rice piles, of power laws and positive feedback, of phase changes, chaos and complexity. Resembling an actual science, it might come to have some bearing on the real world and help reduce future financial catastrophes. That is the main message of Mark Buchanan's new book, Forecast.

It is no longer possible for leaders to control how a political story unfolds (Image: Larry Downing/Reuters)

In Present Shock, Douglas Rushkoff says everyday technologies have destroyed our sense of perspective, but his insights need better backup

TOWARDS the end of Present Shock, the media theorist Douglas Rushkoff describes a radio talk show participant called Cheryl. She had phoned in to discuss the white trails that aircraft leave behind as they pass overhead.

Like other followers of the "chemtrail" conspiracy theory, Cheryl argued that these clouds contain chemicals that governments are distributing for some unknown but certainly nefarious purpose. Perhaps, she suggested, the aim was the creation of a planet wide system for causing earthquakes. "Illuminating," replied the host, apparently in earnest.

Rushkoff knows why people like Cheryl think the way they do. In recent decades, he says, everyday technologies have forced us into a discombobulated state of constant alert. Our phones beep around the clock with news of emails, tweets and text messages. And entertainment networks have largely abandoned long form narratives in favour of the strobe like intensity of reality television.

The travelling salesman problem still defies the most powerful computers (Image: Quentin Bertoux/Agence Vu)

Lance Fortnow shows how an esoteric mathematical problem has deep implications for our future in The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the search for the impossible

IT SEEMS as if computers can do almost anything. Serve up the world's knowledge in an instant? No problem. Simulate a human brain? Working on it.

But are there some tasks that computers will never be able to perform, no matter how powerful they become? This question forms the basis of one of the most important problems in computer science and mathematics, known by the esoteric name: P versus NP.

The definition of this problem is tricky and technical, but in The Golden Ticket, Lance Fortnow cleverly sidesteps the issue with a boiled down version. P is the collection of problems we can solve quickly, NP is the collection of problems we would like to solve. If P = NP, computers can answer all the questions we pose and our world is changed forever.

Big Data: A revolution that will transform how we live by Viktor Mayer Sch and Kenneth Cukier alternates between enthusiasm and apocalyptic caution

IN A former life I was a research assistant. After painstaking weeks spent gathering data, I was tasked with putting the numbers into a statistics application that would help us deduce our trends.

While I was analysing the figures, my boss peered over my shoulder and pointed at a record on the screen. "Get rid of that one," I was told. "Also that one, that one, that one and that one." They were outliers and they were going to mess up the findings. "You're never going to trust science again," said my superior with a rueful laugh.

But if you believe Viktor Mayer Sch and Kenneth Cukier, science will be just fine because such practices are about to become as archaic as leeching.

Big data seemed to reach the apex of its hype cycle around 2012, when journalists and experts variously extolled its virtues or wrung their hands about its implications. And yet, somehow it remained elusive: what exactly was it? This book answers that question.

First, then, a definition. Big data describes the idea that everything can be digitised and "datafied" thanks to cheaper storage, faster processing and better algorithms. And that really means everything, from your current location or liking for strawberry pop tarts, to your propensity for misspelling and degree of personal compassion. And not just your data: everyone's data. Could biased sample sets be at the root of many failed attempts to replicate experiments?

Whatever the answer, store everything and the need for proxies disappears. Instead of formulating hypotheses and then looking for confirmation in small, error prone trials or experiments, scientists now have the storage, processing and algorithmic sifting power to simply trawl through the constellation of all data and spot trends.

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