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Not so fast: Economic growth will be steady no matter who's the next president

TechAndComputer (Nov. 5, 2012) — There's no doubt that the economy is the deciding factor for many voters. Americans are looking to presidential candidates for a fast remedy, but the reality will be far less immediate, according to Saint Joseph's University economist Benjamin Liebman, Ph.D.

"The economy is already slowly improving, and probably will continue to do so, regardless of who's elected," he says. "What's reasonable for the candidates to promise is that they will help set the stage for more rapid, more sustainable economic growth and reduced deficits. However, either winner will have to work with Congress to enact policies to achieve these goals, so compromise is going to be important."

Given the likelihood...

Were dinosaurs destined to be big? Testing Cope's rule

In the evolutionary long run, small critters tend to evolve into bigger beasts -- at least according to the idea attributed to paleontologist Edward Cope, now known as Cope's Rule. Using the latest advanced statistical modeling methods, a new test of this rule as it applies dinosaurs shows that Cope was right -- sometimes. (Credit: © Derrick Neill / Fotolia)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 2, 2012) — In the evolutionary long run, small critters tend to evolve into bigger...

Disaster defense: Balancing costs and benefits

TechAndComputer (Nov. 2, 2012) — Do costly seawalls provide a false sense of security in efforts to control nature? Would it be better to focus on far less expensive warning systems and improved evacuation procedures that can save many lives?

Seth Stein, a Northwestern University geologist, has teamed up with his father, Jerome Stein, an economist at Brown University, to develop new strategies to defend society against natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy as well as the...

Privacy vs. protection: Study considers how to manage epidemics in information blackouts

TechAndComputer (Nov. 1, 2012) — When foot-and-mouth disease swept through the British countryside in early 2001, more than 10 million sheep, cattle and pigs were slaughtered to control the disease. Despite the devastation, the disease was contained within ten months in part owing to the availability in that country of finely detailed farm data, which enabled mathematical modelers to make accurate predictions about the spread of the disease and suggest optimal ways of managing...

Music in our ears: The science of timbre

A new study offers insight into the neural underpinnings of musical timbre. (Credit: © vlorzor / Fotolia)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 1, 2012) — New research, published in PLOS Computational Biology, offers insight into the neural underpinnings of musical timbre. Mounya Elhilali, of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues have used mathematical models based on experiments in both animals and humans to accurately predict sound source recognition and perceptual timbre...

Hurricane Sandy: Power outage prediction model was accurate

TechAndComputer (Nov. 1, 2012) — A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins and Texas A&M universities spent days tracking Hurricane Sandy's power outage potential as the storm made its deadly march up eastern seaboard. Seth Guikema, an engineer at Johns Hopkins, and Steven Quiring, a geographer at Texas A&M, fed weather forecasts as well as real-time and historic hurricane data into a computer model to predict the total number of power outages. How'd they do?


Computational medicine enhances way doctors detect, treat disease

TechAndComputer (Nov. 1, 2012) — Computational medicine, a fast-growing method of using computer models and sophisticated software to figure out how disease develops -- and how to thwart it -- has begun to leap off the drawing board and land in the hands of doctors who treat patients for heart ailments, cancer and other illnesses. Using digital tools, researchers have begun to use experimental and clinical data to build models that can unravel complex medical mysteries.


Predicting what topics will trend on Twitter: Algorithm offers new technique for analyzing data that fluctuate over time

TechAndComputer (Nov. 1, 2012) — Twitter's home page features a regularly updated list of topics that are "trending," meaning that tweets about them have suddenly exploded in volume. A position on the list is highly coveted as a source of free publicity, but the selection of topics is automatic, based on a proprietary algorithm that factors in both the number of tweets and recent increases in that number.

At the Interdisciplinary Workshop on Information and Decision in Social...

When people worry about math, the brain feels the pain

UChicago researchers have found that the higher a person’s anxiety about math, the more anticipating math activated areas of the brain related to experiencing pain. (Credit: Courtesy of Sian Beilock)

TechAndComputer (Oct. 31, 2012) — Mathematics anxiety can prompt a response in the brain similar to when a person experiences physical pain, according to new research at the University of Chicago.

Using brain scans, scholars determined that the brain areas...