A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘swarm intelligence

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Bad Astronomy notes the mystery of distant active galaxy SDSS J163909+282447.1, with a supermassive black hole but few stars.
  • Centauri Dreams shares a proposal from Robert Buckalew for craft to engage in planned panspermia, seeding life across the galaxy.
  • The Crux looks at the theremin and the life of its creator, Leon Theremin.
  • D-Brief notes that termites cannibalize their dead, for the good of the community.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at William Burroughs’ Blade Runner, an adaptation of a 1979 science fiction novel by Alan Nourse.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes a new study explaining how the Milky Way Galaxy, and the rest of the Local Group, was heavily influenced by its birth environment.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at why the Chernobyl control room is now open for tourists.
  • Dale Campos at Lawyers. Guns and Money looks at the effects of inequality on support for right-wing politics.
  • James Butler at the LRB Blog looks at the decay and transformation of British politics, with Keith Vaz and Brexit.
  • Marginal Revolution shares a paper explaining why queens are more warlike than kings.
  • Omar G. EncarnaciĆ³n at the NYR Daily looks at how Spain has made reparations to LGBTQ people for past homophobia. Why should the United States not do the same?
  • Corey S. Powell at Out There shares his interview with physicist Sean Carroll on the reality of the Many Worlds Theory. There may be endless copies of each of us out there. (Where?)
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why 5G is almost certainly safe for humans.
  • Strange Company shares a newspaper clipping reporting on a haunting in Wales’ Plas Mawr castle.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps looks at all the different names for Africa throughout the years.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers, in the case of the disposal of eastern Oklahoma, whether federal Indian law should be textualist. (They argue against.)
  • Window on Eurasia notes the interest of the government of Ukraine in supporting Ukrainians and other minorities in Russia.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at syntax on signs for Sloppy Joe’s.

[NEWS] Seven links about animal intelligence: orangutans, chimpanzees, humpback whales, fish, bees

  • Orangutans are smart enough to talk about things not immediately present, D-Brief notes.
  • The Crux notes that chimpanzees apparently have not developed small talk.
  • The remarkable evolution of the songs of humpback whales over time looks a lot like the evolution of pop culture among humans, I think. D-Brief reports.
  • Vox notes how, in many ways, trying to understand and communicate with humpback whales is so close to SETI.
  • This article at The Conversation looks at a recent adoption of a narwhal into a group of belugas. What does it mean about these species’ social relationships?
  • Gizmodo notes that, recently, the species of fish known as the cleaner wrasse passed the mirror test for self-awareness. What does this mean about fish intelligence? What does this mean about the test?
  • Honeybees, it turns out, can add and subtract. Motherboard reports.

[NEWS] Five D-Brief links: white dwarfs, FRBs, Barnard’s Star b, AT2018cow, termites

  • A new study by astronomers suggests that white dwarfs evolve over eons as they cool into immense crystals. D-Brief reports.
  • Canadian astronomers have found a second mysterious repeating fast radio burst. D-Brief reports.
  • Subsurface environments suitable for life could conceivably exist at Barnard’s Star b. D-Brief reports.
  • Astronomers observing the mysterious AT2018cow event in nearby dwarf galaxy CGCG 137-068t may have witnessed the formation of a compact object, a black hole or a neutron star. D-Brief reports.
  • The turning of the earth wrought by termite hives in tropical rainforests may help protect these environments from drought. D-Brief reports.

[NEWS] Five links about smart animals: elephants, octopuses, gorillas, primates, termites

  • D-Brief notes that elephants seem to count the same way humans do.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the reasons why octopus mothers maintain such long, silent vigils over their eggs.
  • Happily, the mountain gorilla is now no longer a “critically endangered” species. CBC reports.
  • The Crux looks at how studies of communication among other primates can help solve the question of how language developed among humans.
  • D-Brief notes the determination that a collection of termite mounds dates back four thousand years, product of a sophisticated hive insect society.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 19, 2018 at 9:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber praises Candice Delmas’ new book on the duty of resistance to injustice.
  • D-Brief looks at how the designers of robots took lessons from wasps in designing a new robotic swarm that can pull relatively massive objects in flight.
  • Dead Things notes new evidence that the now-extinct elephant birds of Madagascar were nocturnal.
  • Far Outliers notes how the reeducation of Japanese prisoners of war by Chinese Communists helped influence American policy towards Japan, imagining a Japan that could be reformed away from imperialism.
  • At the Island Review, Alex Ingram profiles–with photos–some of the many different people who are the lone guardians of different small isolated islands removed from the British mainland.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how asteroids can preserve records of the distant past of the solar system.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money has contempt for Pence’s use of Messianic Jews to stand in for the wider, non-Christian, Jewish community.
  • At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen considers the consequence that a decline of art galleries might have on the wider field of modern art.
  • The NYR Daily considers the lessons that Thucydides, writing about Athens, might have for the United States now.
  • Anjali Kumar at Roads and Kingdoms writes about a meal of technically illegal craft beer served with raw shrimp in Bangkok.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel illustrates the six different ways a start can end up in a supernova.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that official Russian efforts to reach out to the Russian diaspora do not extend to non-Russian minorities’ own diasporas, like that of the Circassians of the North Caucasus.
  • Arnold Zwicky, starting by noting the passing of Dorcas, she who invented green bean casserole, looks at different pre-prepared foodstuffs.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares the latest from exoplanet PDS 70b, which has a gain in mass that has actually been detected by astronomers.
  • The Crux considers what information, exactly, hypothetical extraterrestrials could extract from the Golden Record of Voyager. Are the messages decipherable?
  • D-Brief shares the most detailed map yet assembled of Comet 67P, compiled from images taken by the Rosetta probe.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes about the way changing shopping malls reflect, and influence, changes in the broader culture.
  • Hornet Stories notes that, while Pope Francis may not want parents of gay children to cut their ties, he does think the parents should look into conversion therapy.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper examining how beekeeping in early modern England led to the creation of a broader pattern of communications and discourse on the subject.
  • Language Hat shares the story of an American diplomat in 1960s Argentina, and his experiences learning Spanish (after having spoken Portuguese) and travelling in the provinces.
  • Language Log shares a biscriptal ad from Hong Kong.
  • The LRB Blog shares a story told by Harry Stopes about a maritime trip with harbour pilots from Cornwall.
  • Roads and Kingdoms shares an anecdote of a family meal of empanadas in the Argentine city of Cordoba during the world cup.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why, in the early universe, the most massive stars massed the equivalent of a thousand suns, much larger than any star known now.
  • Towleroad shares Karl Schmid’s appearance on NBC Today, where he talked with Megyn Kelly about HIV in the era of undetectability.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the many obstacles placed by the Russian government in the way of Circassian refugees from Syria seeking refuge in their ancestral North Caucasus homeland.

[LINK] “Watch How Bees Teach Each Other to Solve Problems”

National Geographic‘s Brian Clark Howard describes a new study that demonstrates how bees, that epitome of a swarm intelligence, learn.

Bee see, bee do. At least that’s the conclusion of research published earlier this month, showing that bumblebees learn to solve problems by watching each other.

In the first study of its kind in insects, scientists constructed experiments that challenged bees to pull strings in order to access rewards of nectar. It’s a technique that has long been used to test cognition in various vertebrates, but hadn’t yet been tried with insects.

[. . .]

The first step was proving that bees could learn to solve a simple problem. But what’s more interesting is that other bees that hadn’t encountered the problem before picked up the ability to solve it more quickly when they had a chance to watch a trainer bee that had already figured out the puzzle.

Further, that knowledge was shown to spread from bee to bee throughout a colony, even if the first bee that figured out the trick died.

The scientists hoped their study would shed light on a bigger picture: how social learning spreads through a population. That might even have implications for the evolutionary roots of culture in human beings, they noted.

The study in question is available here.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm