FW: 2/22/2005 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education
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From: The Chronicle [mailto:daily@...]
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 5:00 AM
To: Chronicle Daily Report
Subject: 2/22/2005 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education
ACADEME TODAY: The Chronicle of Higher Education's
Daily Report for subscribers
Here are news bulletins from The Chronicle of Higher Education
for Tuesday, February 22.
* D-Q UNIVERSITY, the only tribal college in California, has
closed after being stripped of its accreditation amid a
--> SEE http://chronicle.com/daily/2005/02/2005022204n.htm
WHO OWNS ISLAMIC LAW? Some liberal scholars of Islam want to
open the explication of the religion's sacred texts to all, but
others insist the path to democracy in the Arab world lies
--> SEE http://chronicle.com/weekly/v51/i25/25a01401.htm
MAGAZINES & JOURNALS
A glance at the February issue of "Discover":
Evolution in a digital world
A group of scientists at Michigan State University is studying
evolution without looking at a single fossil or biological
specimen. Their research subjects are all computer-generated,
says Carl Zimmer, a freelance writer.
A software program called Avida lets researchers create and
track generations of organisms "made up of digital bits that can
mutate in much the same way DNA mutates," he says. Because the
faux organisms reproduce so much faster than organic creatures,
he says, researchers can easily study long-term evolutionary
"Avida makes it possible to watch the random mutation and
natural selection of digital organisms unfold over millions of
generations," he writes. "In the process, it is beginning to
shed light on some of the biggest questions of evolution." Those
questions include: How do complex systems evolve? Why do some
environments produce many species while others produce only one?
And what characteristics might we find in life on other planets?
Mr. Zimmer quotes Robert Pennock, an associate professor of
philosophy at the university and a member of the Avida team, who
says their digital creatures go through all the essential parts
of the Darwinian process and are getting closer all the time to
fulfilling the biological definition of life.
"Avida is not a simulation of evolution," says Mr. Pennock. "It
is an instance of it."
The article, "Testing Darwin," is on the author's Web site at
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- This avida digital evolution article is pretty entertaining - and a logical
outgrowth of so many trends.
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