Sunday, January 27, 2008


Autonomism is a term applied to a variety of social movements around the world, which the ability to organize in autonomous and horizontal networks, as opposed to hierarchical structures such as unions or parties. Autonomist Marxists, including Harry Cleaver, broaden the definition of the working-class to include salaried and unpaid labor, such as skilled professions and housework; it focuses on the working class in advanced capitalist states as the primary force of change in the construct of capital. Modern autonomist theorists such as Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt argue that network power constructs are the most effective methods of organization against the neoliberal regime of accumulation, and predict a massive shift in the dynamics of capital into a 21st Century Empire.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

DNA nanotechnology

DNA nanotechnology uses the unique molecular recognition properties of DNA and other nucleic acids to create self-assembing branched DNA complexes with useful properties. DNA is thus used as a structural material rather than as a carrier of biological information. This has led to the creation of two-dimensional periodic lattices (both tile-based as well as using the "DNA origami" method) as well as three-dimensional structures in the shapes of polyhedra. Nanomechanical devices and algorithmic self-assembly have also been demonstrated, and these DNA structures have been used to template the arrangement of other molecules such as gold nanoparticles and streptavidin proteins.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Personality psychology

Personality psychology studies enduring psychological patterns of behavior, thought and emotion, commonly called an individual's personality. Theories of personality vary between different psychological schools. Trait theories attempts to break personality down into a number of traits, by use of factor analysis. The number of traits have varied between theories. One of the first, and smallest, models was that of Hans Eysenck, which had three dimensions: extroversion—introversion, neuroticism—emotional stability, and psychoticism. Raymond Cattell proposed a theory of 16 personality factors. The theory that has most empirical evidence behind it today may be the "Big Five" theory, proposed by Lewis Goldberg, and others.

A different, but well known, approach to personality is that of Sigmund Freud, whose structural theory of personality divided personality into the ego, superego, and id. Freud's theory of personality has been criticized by many, including many mainstream psychologists.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Positivism is a philosophy that states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. It was developed by Auguste Comte (widely regarded as the first sociologist) in the middle of the 19th century. In the early 20th century, logical positivism-a stricter and more logical version of Comte's basic thesis-sprang up in Vienna and grew to become one of the dominant movements in American and British philosophy. The positivist view is sometimes referred to as a scientist ideology, and is often shared by technocrats who believe in the necessity of progress through scientific progress, and by naturalism, who argue that any method for gaining knowledge should be limited to natural, physical, and material approaches. As an approach to the philosophy of science deriving from Enlightenment thinkers like Pierre-Simon Laplace (and many others), positivism was first systematically theorized by Comte, who saw the scientific method as replacing metaphysics in the history of thought, and who observed the circular dependence of theory and observation in science.