Friday, February 25, 2011

Conference explores how intelligence computes

Average IQ might have gone up a few points in Santa Fe this week thanks to a temporary profusion of gray matter at an international gathering of neuroscientists.

Meeting at La Posada for four days, 100 brain researchers and theorists shared current findings and pointed to new research directions.

Conference organizers said they were hoping to answer current challenges, including whether the discipline was close to an understanding of how the brain processes its information.

"There is a revolution coming in neuroscience and our embarrassing ignorance of how the brain works as an organism is primed to be replaced by some sort of understanding of how neural systems compute," said Garrett Kenyon, a staff member in biology and quantum physics at Los Alamos National Laboratory. . . . (full story)

Predicting the next terrorism hot spots

WASHINGTON — In the decade since 9/11, the U.S. government has used every tool in its arsenal to hunt down terrorists and prevent them from striking U.S. soil.

American military and intelligence powers account for the bulk of the effort, but increasingly, computer modeling is being used to help anticipate potential hotbeds of terrorist activity.

The information helps various federal agencies work to neutralize the threats. Los Alamos National Laboratory and its Center for the Scientific Analysis of Emerging Threats is an integral part of the effort.

On Sunday, as part of the Albuquerque International Association's lecture series on terrorism post 9/11, the center's director, Edward P. MacKerrow, will discuss how computers can help us understand the motivations for terrorism and who might engage in terrorist actions in the future (full story).

Visiting North Korea: Q&A with Siegfried Hecker

Metallurgist Siegfried S. Hecker is probably the leading US expert on the chemical and physical capabilities of plutonium. He is a former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory (1986–97) and now codirector of Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation. Hecker's expertise has been widely sought both within and outside the US government.

Last October, Hecker was privately invited by the North Korean government to view a new uranium enrichment plant. Shortly after his trip, Physics Today's Paul Guinnessy asked Hecker about his findings, which he published in a recent report (full story).

Los Alamos radio station features TA-21 pollution prevention

LANL's Al Chaloupka and radio host Gillian Sutton talk about environmentally friendly OREX suits on KRSN-AM (Los Alamos).

Chaloupka, program manager for the Material Disposal Area B cleanup project, was interviewed about his team's use of OREX protective suits (full story).

LANL infrastructure specialist testifies at Roundhouse on natural gas disruption

Speaking before the New Mexico House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Feb. 16, LANL scientist Loren Toole offered a technical overview of the “conceptual underpinnings” of New Mexico’s recent natural gas outage, an event that threw several thousand New Mexico households into a winter deep freeze for days (full story).

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