March 28, 2013 |
Which is smarter: a swarm of brainless mini-robots with clockwork guts, or a colony of ravenous, half-blind Argentine ants? If you answered mindless robots, you're right - but just barely. Researchers studying the problem-solving abilities of foraging ants enlisted the aid of 10 sugar-cube-sized robots to determine whether the real-life insects had to put any thought into deciding which direction they should go when they came to a fork in the road or an obstacle in their path.
April 24, 1988
Groves suggested that today's audiences are too sophisticated to appreciate a classic like "Them!," and I must, unfortunately, agree. "Them!" treated 1954 viewers to an intelligently written script, a limited number of realistic-looking colossal black ants and a minimum of blood-letting in a story that was both suspenseful and credible from start to finish. By contrast, 1988 moviegoers would expect dialogue liberally laced with four-letter words, thousands of titanic ants cast in psychedelic hues, buckets of blood in every scene and a few pornographic embellishments tossed in for bad measure.
April 29, 2012 |
For those who think spring is all about robins arriving, or window cleaning or crocuses budding, I have two words for you: ant sex. Now, I know what you're thinking: Those tiny black creatures marching relentlessly toward the sugar bowl or streaming across the driveway are all infertile females who have no interest in sex at all. This is true. But when the days lengthen and the earth warms, the thoughts of a select class of ants turn to passion. An ant queen produces all of the other ants in the colony.
May 23, 2013 |
It ain't exactly a match made in heaven, but it's a friendship forged in the steamy peat swamp forests of Borneo. That's where the fanged pitcher plant, or Nepenthes bicalcarata, teams up with a plucky, fluid-diving ant that makes its home nowhere else in the world but on the stalks and leaves of the carnivorous plant. The ant, Camponotus schmitzi , even swims around in the plant's lethal pools of digestive fluid! Ordinarily, N. bicalcarata is a deathtrap for ants and many other insects.
June 13, 2012 |
A recent art exhibition in Tunisia that some claim was insulting to Muslims has provoked new riots in the streets of the capital city of Tunis this week. The provocative exhibition was the annual Le Printemps des Arts, the Northern African country's largest visual arts show, which took place in the Tunis suburb of La Marsa. The exhibition featured a work that spelled out the word "Allah" with a string of ants, as well as other pieces that depicted the city of Mecca, according to reports from the BBC News and Reuters.
December 10, 2004
Re "Rain Has Ants on the Move; People Are Crying Uncle," Dec. 6: I never thought I'd be writing about my cure for home ant invasions, but here's what I've devised: If the ants are in the kitchen or bathroom and are marching along the counters, I take some liquid soap (I prefer Dawn but I'm sure any would work) and draw out a line of soap around the portal of entry. I also encircle any other sites on the counter that I don't want the ants to cross. In just a few seconds the ants will become mired in the soap, drown and die -- without getting through the soap moat.