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    • CommentAuthorAnopheles
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2009 edited
     (6276.1)
    A single ant mega-colony may cover a good chunk of the earth.

    Ants are cool.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8127000/8127519.stm
  1.  (6276.2)
    Well, shit. If we all die to ants, we know whose fault it is.

    That's right. OURS.

    On the other hand, supercolonies of ants are just one step closer to the blissful perfect future where ants provide transport and heavy lifting across all terrain.
    • CommentAuthorPablo
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2009
     (6276.3)
    So cool.
    •  
      CommentAuthormister86
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2009
     (6276.4)
    Now how do we get them on our side?
    •  
      CommentAuthorstsparky
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2009
     (6276.5)
    I like ants but I wonder what would happen if you made ants in one sub-colony 'smell' different from another sub-colony?
    •  
      CommentAuthorJeff Owens
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2009
     (6276.6)
    This is some pretty awesome stuff.
  2.  (6276.7)
    @stsparky
    Next time you see a great heaving mass of ants, pour some cinnamon on them. Watch the ensuing ant-carnage. THAT'S what happens.
  3.  (6276.8)
  4.  (6276.9)
    Ants are amazing. This story reminds me of that awesome cement cast of a giant ant colony as seen here, 3:55 or thereabouts:

    So I knew they had cities. Now they have empires. Fuck?
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2009
     (6276.10)
    You think this is how aliens reacted while they were watching us during the Roman Empire?
  5.  (6276.11)
    Damned commies won after all!

    Seriously though, that's astonishing. I wonder how much material they collectively consume in a day?
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2009
     (6276.12)
    That video strikes me as.. somewhat strange.
    "It is truly a wonder of the world!... And we just filled it with cement and dug it up."

    The scale and design of it is staggering, but... I can't help thinking that this is the adult equivalent of pulling the wings off flies and watching them scurry about or seeing how many legs you can pull off an insect before it can no longer walk.
  6.  (6276.13)
    Oh absolutely. I assume though that they chose a type of ant that's pretty numerous in the area, so the wanton, almost whimsical genocide of a lesser species is sorta kinda not as horrifying...?

    It was in the name of Science God Damn It!

    In all seriousness, yeah, it's pretty shitty, but I'm still glad I got to see it.
  7.  (6276.14)
    I'm amazed in equal parts by the giant ant colony and by the itty bitty one hidden inside an acorn. It's crazy how versatile ants are.
  8.  (6276.15)
    Somewhere, the guy who comes up with ideas for Sci Fi original movies is masturbating furiously.

    Billy Baldwin starring in MEGA COLONY. Make it happen baby jesus make it happen.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDraug
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2009
     (6276.16)
    @lemmycaution
    Until baby Jesus gets off his ass: Them!
    •  
      CommentAuthorstsparky
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2009
     (6276.17)
    I remember a friend telling me that he saw a movie about super smart ants back in the 1970s. I thought the film was called "M5" but I guess I was in error.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFinagle
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2009 edited
     (6276.18)
    The insects are definitely the future inheritors of the Earth - they're so damn highly evolved. Check out some insect security countermeasures (and some more here):

    Cabbage aphids arm themselves with chemical bombs:

    Its body carries two reactive chemicals that only mix when a predator attacks it. The injured aphid dies. But in the process, the chemicals in its body react and trigger an explosion that delivers lethal amounts of poison to the predator, saving the rest of the colony.
    The dark-footed ant spider mimics an ant so that it's not eaten by other spiders, and so it can eat spiders itself:

    M.melanotarsa is a jumping spider that protects itself from predators (like other jumping spiders) by resembling an ant. Earlier this month, Ximena Nelson and Robert Jackson showed that they bolster this illusion by living in silken apartment complexes and travelling in groups, mimicking not just the bodies of ants but their social lives too... it also uses its impersonation for attack as well as defence. It also feasts on the eggs and youngsters of the very same spiders that its ant-like form protects it from. It is, essentially, a spider that looks like an ant to avoid being eaten by spiders so that it itself can eat spiders.

    How much of a headfuck is that? /The Art of War/ has nothing on the insects, I tell you. I worry that one day they're going to find Schneier done in by cockroaches like that guy from /Creepshow/.
  9.  (6276.19)
    Ant Man's powers don't seem quite so silly now, do they?
  10.  (6276.20)
    to further expound on what Stygmata is saying, I recommend Tom Waits, Orphans, Disc 3: Bastards, track 4: "Army Ants."