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I am traveling to and from Atlanta today, so I leave you with a few quick stories to check out:

  • Dominant tech firms: Jordon Golson lists 5 tech firms that are in firm control of their respective markets, achieving over 50% market share in the areas such as search, CPU, printers, OS, and digital music.  Not a big surprise who these firms are, but the interesting question is whether they can maintain their position (e.g. Google has seen its share of search cut into–albeit by less than 2%–by Microsoft’s  launch of Bing), or if they have no place to go but down.
  • The Evolution of Cheating: Brandon Keim at Wired Science discusses the results of a recent experiment in the area of evolutionary robotics in which the robots “quickly evolved to deceive one another”.  The experiment involved a competition amongst the robots the aim of which was to earn points by moving and standing next to discs which represented food.  After a number of iterations, where researchers took the most successful digital brains and used them to reprogrammed the robots, the competitors began to cheat so as to avoid competition:

At first, the robots moved and emitted light randomly. But their innocence didn’t last.

Soon the robots learned to follow the signals of others who’d gathered at the food. But there wasn’t enough space for all of them to feed, and the robots bumped and jostled for position. As before, only a few made it through the bottleneck of selection. And before long, they’d evolved to mute their signals, thus concealing their location.

  • Plant-based vaccine production: Interesting news story on the advantages (e.g. speed and cost) of manufacturing vaccines in plants.