To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]Continue reading
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Ecologist Deborah M. Gordon has learned that ant colonies can work without central control by using simple interactions like how often the insects touch antennae. Contrary to the notion that colonies are organized by efficient ants, she has instead discovered that evolution has produced “noisy” systems that tolerate accident and respond flexibly to the environment. When conditions are tough, natural selection favors colonies that conserve resources.
Her studies of ant colonies have led her and her Stanford colleagues to the discovery of the “Anternet,” which regulates foraging in ants in the same way the internet regulates data traffic. But as she said to Wired in 2013, "Insect behavior mimicking human networks ... is actually not what’s most interesting about ant networks. What’s far more interesting are the parallels in the other direction: What have the ants worked out that we humans haven’t thought of yet?" Her latest exploration: How do ants behave in space?
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Deborah Gordon’s TED talks
Deborah Gordon on the TED Blog
Armed with a few students, a backhoe and a handful of markers, Deborah Gordon digs up ant colonies in the Arizona desert. She asks: How do these chitinous creatures get down to business — and even multitask when they need to — with no language, memory or visible leadership? Her answers could lead to a […]Continue reading