Thursday, January 05, 2006

Zeitlist: Feuilletons: Everything Counts in Large Amounts

Zeitlist: Feuilletons: Everything Counts in Large Amounts
11 secrets of swarm success
by GENDY ALIMURUNG
LA Weekly

When individual units combine to form complicated, intelligent structures with well-coordinated divisions of labor, command hierarchies, and problem-solving skills — that’s a swarm. More than just strength in numbers, the swarm is an emergent property: the whole can achieve what the parts alone cannot; but paradoxically, without the parts the whole does not exist. A nest of wasps. The antibodies in our immune system. Data moving through a network. WTO protesters in Seattle. This is why swarm theory is resonating these days throughout many disciplines, from biology to computer science to politics. The superorganism potential seems to exist everywhere. Here are some examples:


1. Autonomous NanoTechnology Robots. Soon, many tiny robots may go to Mars. A whole lot of nanobots — part of NASA’s Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarms, or ANTS project — were shipped to McMurdo Station in Antarctica for testing in harsh climates.
[snip]
2. Killer Bees. Still swarming with gusto, Apis mellifera adansonii, also called “Africanized” honeybees, were created in 1956 when scientists in Brazil imported colonies of studly African bees for crossbreeding experiments. The downside: 26 African queens escaped to produce aggressive hybrid hives in the wild with drones that are cantankerous, attack in greater numbers, sting 10 times more, and give chase for longer distances.
[snip]
3. Locusts. A.k.a. spam from God.
[snip]
4. Grunions.
[snip]
5. Bats. Each night, 2 million free-tailed bats exit the Gua Payau Cave in Borneo’s Gunung Mulu National Park, writhing in a long, sinuous ribbon across the dusk, headed for unknown feeding grounds.
[snip]
6. Sharks. There always seems to be Shark Summer news packages in Florida, but this year the normal migratory pattern turned swarm when thousands of blacktip sharks suddenly appeared off the coast.
[snip]
7. Velvet Ants.
[snip]
8. Feral Chihuahuas.
[WTF?]
[snip]
9. The Evildoers.
[snip]
10. Zulu Warriors.
[snip]
11. Smart Mobs. In 2003, the flash-mob phenomenon put swarms in the service of agitprop, when spontaneous e-mail organization caused 100 unconnected people to gather at the New York City Macy’s carpet section to all stare at one particular very expensive rug then, as instructed, declare that they were shopping for a Love Rug.

2 comments:

melomane said...

Wouldn't it be cool if you could get mobs all over the US to return their library books at the same time??

Really stress out all those laided back librarians... LOL!!!

(Reference: Recent BBC report citing librarianship as more stressful than police work or fireman. Or, I should say, the librarians experience more job-related stress.)

Nonetheless, run with the idea. Flash Returns!

RETURN YOUR BOOKS TODAY!
(then check out more... :)

Jack Lord said...

Yes, but those draconian fines! I can't look a librarian in the face for the shame of it!