We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Bee Swarms and Human Cognition
This is an odd bit of insight
into the decision process inside a bee swarm and certainly begs the question of
how decisions are made in humanity.It
is also reasonable to presume that each individual brain cell is itself an
effective processing unit but obviously not too mobile.So it is a bit hard to see how the brain
could actually directly emulate a bee swarm which is clearly capable of dynamic
Also the approach appears suited
to a nearest location rather than a best location.More scouts would return quickest from a
nearer site and dominate the decision process by subduing other returning
scouts.Notice how the queen has nothing
whatsoever to do with this process.
This all broaches the question of
how is comparative decision making set up.Our brains are always searching continually for advantage and various
choices are all painted with various levels of emotional loading that generally
affect the final choice.In this
environment it is not too surprising the rational component is tasked for
justifying the preferred choice rather than the other way around.
As I have posted in the past, all
organic choice is made by emotional loading.The rational brain has the task of checking after the fact.This readily explains the excessive
attachment to ideas often noticeably observed in academic circles and
everywhere else of course.
Swarms of bees could unlock secrets to human brains
Scientists at the University
of Sheffield believe
decision making mechanisms in the human brain could mirror how swarms of bees
choose new nest sites. Striking similarities have been found in decision
making systems between
humans and insects in the past but now researchers believe that bees could
teach us about how our brains work.
Experts say the insects even appear to have solved indecision, an
often paralysing thought process in humans, with scouts who seek out any
honeybees advertising rival nest sites and butt against them with their heads
while producing shrill beeping sounds. Dr James Marshall, of the University
of Sheffield's Department of Computer Science, who led the UK involvement in
the project and
has also previously worked on similarities between how brains and insect
colonies make decisions, said: "Up to now we've been asking if honeybee
colonies might work in the same way as brains; now the new mathematical
modelling we've done makes me think we should be asking whether our brains
might work like honeybee colonies.
"Many people know about the waggle dance that
honeybees use to direct hive mates to rich flower patches and new nest sites.
Our research published in the journal Science, shows that this isn't the only
way that honeybees communicate with each other when they are choosing a new
nest site; they also disrupt the waggle dances of bees that are advertising
Biologists from Cornell University, New York, University of California
Riverside and the University of Bristol set up two nest boxes for a homeless
honeybee swarm to choose between and recorded how bees that visited each box
interacted with bees from the rival box.
They found that bees that visited one site, which were marked with pink
tended to inhibit the dances of bees advertising the other site, which were
marked with yellow paint, and vice versa
Tom Seeley of Cornell University, author of the best-selling book
Honeybee Democracy said "We were amazed to discover that the bees from one
nest box would seek out bees performing waggle dances for the other nest box
and butt against them with their heads while simultaneously producing shrill
We call this rough treatment the 'stop signal' because most bees that
receive this signal will cease dancing a few seconds later."
Dr Patrick Hogan of the University of Sheffield, who constructed the
mathematical model of the bees, added: "The bees target their stop signal
only at rivals within the colony, preventing the colony as a whole from
becoming deadlocked with indecision when choosing a new home. This remarkable
behaviour emerges naturally from the very simple interactions observed between
the individual bees in the colony."