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Showing posts with the label Ants

An ant colony has memories that its individual members don’t have

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Like a brain, an ant colony operates without central control. Each is a set of interacting individuals, either neurons or ants, using simple chemical interactions that in the aggregate generate their behaviour. People use their brains to remember. Can ant colonies do that? This question leads to another question: what is memory? For people, memory is the capacity to recall something that happened in the past. We also ask computers to reproduce past actions – the blending of the idea of the computer as brain and brain as computer has led us to take ‘memory’ to mean something like the information stored on a hard drive. We know that our memory relies on changes in how much a set of linked neurons stimulate each other; that it is reinforced somehow during sleep; and that recent and long-term memory involve different circuits of connected neurons. But there is much we still don’t know about how those neural events come together, whether there are stored representations that we use to tal…

Learning Laziness from Ants

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Ants have always been the epitome of industriousness and team work.  Since childhood, we have been fed with stories where ants put in the hard work and are well rewarded in the end for their effort. Time and again, ants save the day because they are hard working. Ask the lazy grasshopper, if you do not believe me. But, that's not completely true. In a recent study published in Science Magazine, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, studied burrowing techniques of ants and found that 30% of the ants actually do the work. This might just be the reason, you have been looking for, to justify your lazy attitude but before you harp on it, do read this post to know why ants do so. 
Like humans, ants, too, are social insects and do their work collectively.  Division of work is common phenomenon in the ant society and so is movement of individual units to and fro from home to place of work. Problems of the social structure should affect ants in equal measure as they affect h…

Genes don't call all the shots, your environment does to.

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The usage of the terms such as 'DNA' and 'genes' has exploded in recent years and is  commonly used to denote characteristics and traits in people, features of products and even as lyrics for a song. The theory of genetics that genes assign traits to individuals has been rooted so deeply into our psyche, that we fail to see the other side of the story completely. The role of the environment in shaping how our genes function is a fact that is unheard by many people and is something I would like to shed a little light on in this post.
The public understanding about genetics is more or less like the way people follow astrology . If the newspaper predicts that the day at work will not go well, we tend to blame the stars/ sun sign for everything that goes wrong that day. Similarly, the presumption that genes control the way we function and act, has set the tone for genes to be solely in control of everything that is happening inside our cells. However, this is not how genes …

A raft like none other!

If you have always gloated about how intelligent humans are, how we have built, boats, houses, smartphones and computers for ourselves and how we have built communities to protect ourselves and to work together, well, you have never seen ants in action then!

If you still do not believe us on this, ask yourself this is,

Would you cross the Amazon with nothing but your large extended family or people in your neighbourhood. 
Well, ants do!

Here, this colony of ants migrate across the Amazon by making a raft out of themselves