From the Physics Arxiv Blog

How the credit crisis spread
January 14th, 2009 | by KFC

“The graphic may be dramatic but it shows only how the collapse occurred, not why. That’s much more subtle and is related to the far more complex network of links that exist between the companies involved.

“However, the graph does bear a remarkable resemblance to any number of other network-related catastrophies, such as the spread of disease, forest fires and fashion. That’s almost certainly because  all these events can be described terms of the physics of self-organised criticality.”
The Spread of the Credit Crisis: View from a Stock Correlation Network
Authors: Reginald D. Smith
(Submitted on 10 Jan 2009)

Abstract: The credit crisis roiling the world’s financial markets will likely take years and entire careers to fully understand and analyze. A short empirical investigation of the current trends, however, demonstrates that the losses in certain markets, in this case the US equity markets, follow a cascade or epidemic flow like model along the correlations of various stocks. A few images and explanation here will suffice to show the phenomenon. Also, whether the idea of “epidemic” or a “cascade” is a metaphor or model for this crisis will be discussed.

Comments:     3 pages, 6 figures; submitted to the Journal of the Physical Society of Korea; animations of credit crisis spread available at: this http URL
Subjects:     Statistical Finance (q-fin.ST); Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability (
Cite as:     arXiv:0901.1392v1 [q-fin.ST]

Public Release: 16-Jan-2009
Journal of Neuroscience
Canada-US scientists discover gene responsible for brain’s aging
According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, a research team from the Universite de Montreal, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has identified a gene that controls the normal and pathological aging of neurons in the central nervous system: Bmi1.
“Will scientists one day be able to slow the aging of the brain and prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? Absolutely – once the genetic coding associated with neuronal degeneration has been unraveled.”

Public Release: 16-Jan-2009
Swiss and Dutch health systems provide lessons for US on achieving universal coverage
A new Commonwealth Fund study says that policies in the Switzerland and Netherlands that achieve near-universal coverage and low administrative costs can help inform the US health-care reform debate. Both countries effectively cover all but one percent of their population — compared with 15 percent uninsured in the US — due to an individual mandate to purchase health insurance and premium assistance for those with low incomes.
Commonwealth Fund

Public Release: 15-Jan-2009
High-tech solutions ease inaugural challenges
Transportation and security officials on Inauguration Day will have a centralized, consolidated stream of traffic information and other data displayed on a single screen using software developed by the University of Maryland. The Regional Integrated Transportation Information System gives officials a single real-time view far more comprehensive than previously available. The idea is to enhance officials’ ability to monitor vehicular traffic, accidents, incidents, response plans, air space, weather conditions and more.


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