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Jul 23

Jul 21
From The Annals of Improbable Research,  Tastes Like Chicken?


  The field of culinary evolution faces one great dilemma: why do most cooked, exotic meats taste like cooked Gallus gallus, the domestic chicken?
  
  It is curious that so many animals have a similar taste. Did each species evolve this trait independently or did they all inherit it from a common ancestor? That is the burning question.


A phylogenetic tree about why so much stuff tastes like chicken.

From The Annals of Improbable Research, Tastes Like Chicken?

The field of culinary evolution faces one great dilemma: why do most cooked, exotic meats taste like cooked Gallus gallus, the domestic chicken?

It is curious that so many animals have a similar taste. Did each species evolve this trait independently or did they all inherit it from a common ancestor? That is the burning question.

A phylogenetic tree about why so much stuff tastes like chicken.


Jul 19
maxistentialist:

Adult transport is among the more striking ant behaviors.
A worker  curls up into fetal pupal position, allowing a nestmate  to pick her up by the mandibles and carry her about. Many species are  known to engage in adult transport (see here and here),  and as the behavior is frequently observed during nest relocation the  reason is thought to be related to communication- it’s easier for an ant  that knows where a colony needs to move to simply pick up another ant  and carry it rather than try to lead it or communicate the directions. A  second function may be ergonomic. One ant carrying another expends less  energy than two ants walking on their own.

Here’s a reference:

Möglich, M. & Hölldobler, B., 1974. Social carrying behavior and division of labor during nest moving of ants. Psyche, 81(2), pp.219–236.

Abstract:


  Social carrying behavior is one of the most remarkable social activities in ant societies. Not only eggs, larvae and pupae, but also adult workers, queens and males are frequently carried by worker ants to various target areas. Although carrying behavior has been observed in many ant species (see review in E. O. Wilson 1971), only a few analytical investigations have dealt with the biological significance of social carrying behavior in ants. Kneitz (1964) reports that in Formica polyctena special “storage workers” are passively moved between the summer nest and winter nest. Arnoldi (1932) observed that during the slave raids Rossomyrmex proformicarum uses the carrying technique to recruit sister workers to the nest of the slave ants. In Camponotus herculeanus social carrying behavior serves as a “social timer” during the nuptial flight activities: males that tend to take off too early or too late during the daily flight periods are carried back into the nest by their worker nestmates (Holldobler and Maschwitz 1964). 
  Most frequently, however, carrying behavior is employed during emigration from one nest site to another. If a nest becomes too small and cannot be extended, or if the microclimatic conditions change, the colony searches for a better site. Although the communication signals used by different ant species to organize nest movings vary considerably, adult transport seems to be the basic recruitment technique of most.

maxistentialist:

Adult transport is among the more striking ant behaviors.

A worker curls up into fetal pupal position, allowing a nestmate to pick her up by the mandibles and carry her about. Many species are known to engage in adult transport (see here and here), and as the behavior is frequently observed during nest relocation the reason is thought to be related to communication- it’s easier for an ant that knows where a colony needs to move to simply pick up another ant and carry it rather than try to lead it or communicate the directions. A second function may be ergonomic. One ant carrying another expends less energy than two ants walking on their own.

Here’s a reference:

Möglich, M. & Hölldobler, B., 1974. Social carrying behavior and division of labor during nest moving of ants. Psyche, 81(2), pp.219–236.

Abstract:

Social carrying behavior is one of the most remarkable social activities in ant societies. Not only eggs, larvae and pupae, but also adult workers, queens and males are frequently carried by worker ants to various target areas. Although carrying behavior has been observed in many ant species (see review in E. O. Wilson 1971), only a few analytical investigations have dealt with the biological significance of social carrying behavior in ants. Kneitz (1964) reports that in Formica polyctena special “storage workers” are passively moved between the summer nest and winter nest. Arnoldi (1932) observed that during the slave raids Rossomyrmex proformicarum uses the carrying technique to recruit sister workers to the nest of the slave ants. In Camponotus herculeanus social carrying behavior serves as a “social timer” during the nuptial flight activities: males that tend to take off too early or too late during the daily flight periods are carried back into the nest by their worker nestmates (Holldobler and Maschwitz 1964). Most frequently, however, carrying behavior is employed during emigration from one nest site to another. If a nest becomes too small and cannot be extended, or if the microclimatic conditions change, the colony searches for a better site. Although the communication signals used by different ant species to organize nest movings vary considerably, adult transport seems to be the basic recruitment technique of most.


I was reading Infinite Jest in the Kindle app, and came to this use of the word, “qua”. When I looked it up in the dictionary, the example was the sentence that I had just read in the book. I still don’t really know what the word means.

I was reading Infinite Jest in the Kindle app, and came to this use of the word, “qua”. When I looked it up in the dictionary, the example was the sentence that I had just read in the book. I still don’t really know what the word means.


Jul 14

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Jul 10

How to Write a Lot, by Paul J Silvia

Paul J Silvia, in his book, How To Write A Lot:

A writing schedule brings balance to your life—not balance in the pseudoscientific, New Age, self-help sense of wondrous fulfillment, but balance in the sense of separating work and play. Binge writers foolishly search for big chunks of time, and they “find” this time during the evenings and weekends. Bing writing thus consumes time that should be spent on normal living. Is academic writing more important than spending time with your family and friends, petting the dog, and drinking coffee? A dog unpetted is a sad dog; a cup of coffee forsaken is caffeine lost forever. Protect your real-world time just as you protect your scheduled writing time. Spend your evenings and weekends hanging out with your family and friends, building canoes, bidding on vintage Alvar Aalto furniture that you don’t need, watching Law & Order reruns, repainting the shutters, or teaching your cat to use the toilet. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t spend your free time writing—there’s time during the work week for that.

This might be my new manifesto. According to Silvia, the key is committing to three things: 1) writing on a regular schedule, 2) setting and meeting writing goals, and 3) regularly meeting with friends to encourage each other. In exchange for doing good writing, good work, consistently, one won’t feel pressure when not producing to be doing more, and one gets to pet the dog and build a canoe.

I recommend: How to Write a Lot by Paul J Silvia.


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