Swarm
November 13, 2007 6:51 PM   Subscribe

From Ants to People, an Instinct to Swarm. Carl Zimmer looks at the work of Iain Couzin. [Via The Loom.]
posted by homunculus (17 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
But there was only one human who was badass enough to swarm individually. "ICE CUBE WILL SWARM ON ANY MUTHAFUCKA IN A BLUE UNIFORM!"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:56 PM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


See the pretty boids, swarming for the last 20 years.

It seems those who ignore history can make a pretty good academic living rediscovering it.
posted by hexatron at 7:20 PM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


The optimal army ants in the computer model reminded me of "bee space"
posted by Pants! at 7:28 PM on November 13, 2007


Evolution: Survival of the selfless, by David Sloan Wilson and Edward O. Wilson (subscription required).

Goodbye Selfish-Gene: A New Upheaval in the Science of Human Behavior
posted by homunculus at 7:30 PM on November 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Want to see something mind boggling and exquisitely beautiful?

Starlings swarming in England.

A couple of swarming behaviors that cause totally different visceral reactions in me. The swarms of millipedes (nightmare) in a small town that have been going on annually for centuries and swarms of starlings at twilight...love the spectator comments... here, here, here....can't get enough of these waves of birds in flight, more

Blackbirds swarming in Montana.

As ever, thanks for the interesting and stimulating post homunculus.
posted by nickyskye at 7:52 PM on November 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


In Denmark the swarming of the starlings is called Sort Sol, Black Sun.
posted by nickyskye at 8:26 PM on November 13, 2007


But you will never see ants stuck in gridlock.

“We haven’t evolved in the societies we currently live in,” Dr. Couzin said.


So, the next step in our evolution is cars than can climb over each other? Sweet.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:33 PM on November 13, 2007


Get him!
posted by stavrogin at 8:40 PM on November 13, 2007


Nice starling action there, nickyskye. I was fortunate enough a few years back to witness just such flocks in flight: caught them looking out of the windows of some trains rolling through Germany, France, etc. It is a truly spellbinding sight. Magic.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:19 PM on November 13, 2007


The characterizing property of a swarm intelligence system is its ability to act in a coordinated way without the presence of a coordinator or of an external controller.
posted by Aghast. at 9:59 PM on November 13, 2007


From one of Homunculus's in-comment links:

...reconcile their years of bamboozling the public with cute stories about how this or that...

Why do people think they can write like this without throwing all of their credibility out the window?
posted by davejay at 11:10 PM on November 13, 2007


looks and sounds like Critical Mass.
posted by eustatic at 11:19 PM on November 13, 2007


Why do people think they can write like this without throwing all of their credibility out the window?

It is annoying. If the main article wasn't subscription only, I wouldn't have included that commentary. I hope they make the two Wilsons' article available to everyone at some point.
posted by homunculus at 11:27 PM on November 13, 2007


Iain's brother Mikey always swarmed harder than he did. True story.
posted by imperium at 5:30 AM on November 14, 2007


Read Prey by Michael Crichton. People who study swarms give me the creeps.
posted by petersn1 at 5:03 PM on November 14, 2007


Michael Crichton is a creep.
posted by homunculus at 6:34 PM on November 14, 2007


Ah, here's the complete article by the two Wilson's (scroll down past the Salon piece).
posted by homunculus at 9:48 AM on November 19, 2007


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