brni (brni) wrote,
brni
brni

more things in heaven and earth

It's a day for posting, apparently. Sorry, y'all.

So, at the beginning of the summer we found termites in a raised bed planter box I'd built for the deck, so I deconstructed it for disposal. We found many mysterious and intriguing things growing under it, and Linda took pictures.

Linda just posted some of the pictures up. I encourage y'all to take a look. The thing in the middle picture is called a Slime Mold. There's many interesting things about slime molds. The most impressive is that, despite being "lower life forms" with no nervous systems, central or otherwise, they are capable of directed movement. They move like amoebas, seeking out digestible foodstuffs like rotting wood and leaves.

Most interesting, though, is that they are able to negotiate mazes. From Wikipedia:


It has been observed that they can find their way through mazes by spreading out and choosing the shortest path, an interesting example of information processing without a nervous system. Perhaps the most efficient algorithm for negotiating a maze - follow all paths simultaneously until the exit is found.

"Nature is intelligent," Linda told me last night. "It's just people who are stupid."


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http://waynesword.palomar.edu/slime1.htm for even more information.
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