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March 28, 2013 | By Monte Morin
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 4, 2014 | By Lauren Beale, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
No sooner did the mountain move -- the $125-million Fleur de Lys chateau listing that held the price peak in the Southern California market sold this week for a record-breaking $102 million -- than another pinnacle popped up to take its place at the summit of the price spectrum. Reentering the fray at $135 million is what's known as the Beverly House, built by local banker Milton Getz in the 1920s and known as the onetime residence of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and actress Marion Davies.
May 16, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
An invasion of alien "crazy ants" is making many residents of the U.S. Gulf Coast long for the old days of pesky, biting fire ants. Like fire ants, these South American invaders seem to be fond of electrical equipment . But unlike their stinging red counterparts, the tawny crazy ants create mega-colonies, sometimes in homes, and push out local populations of ants and arthropods, a University of Texas researcher warns. Here's a bit of the behavior that earns the "crazy ant" name.
February 21, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO - The $19 billion that Facebook Inc. is paying for a smartphone app, one of the biggest tech deals of all time, made jaws drop even in Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs tend to have an inflated sense of their own worth. "It's 19 Instagrams," observed serial start-up entrepreneur Adam Rifkin, referring to the $1 billion Facebook paid for the popular photo-sharing app in 2012. But analysts say the purchase of WhatsApp could pay off for Facebook as it takes on Google Inc. and other technology giants in the escalating arms race to be the next big thing in mobile.
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.
May 29, 2010 | By Lori Kozlowski, Los Angeles Times
Serfdom, war and dying for the tribe: It reads like a page out of a Russian novel. In fact, we're talking about ant life. Mark Moffett, an ecologist and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution, has observed all of these behaviors in ants — and much more. Known for his detailed photographs of insects and other small creatures, the author of books about the rain forest canopy and frogs has now written "Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions."
April 29, 2012 | By Marlene Zuk
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 | By Monte Morin
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 | By David Ng
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.
February 19, 2014 | By Amina Khan
When facing oncoming floodwaters, ants use their helpless babies as floating life-preservers - by sticking them at the very bottom of the life rafts that they build with their own bodies. The findings, described in a paper published in PLOS One, reveal that ant-rafts have a fascinating internal structure - one that maximizes the group's buoyancy and thus, their chances of survival. But it does so by putting the young ant brood at the very bottom of the boat, exposed to hungry fish and the potential risk of drowning.
November 26, 2013 | Amina Khan
Ants may seem tiny and weak when they're alone, but together they can form a sort of "super-organism" -- one with superpowers. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that a jumbled crowd of fire ants acts like both an elastic solid and a viscous liquid -- a rare and remarkable property that holds the secrets of self-healing materials. The discovery could one day help scientists design self-repairing bridges and self-assembling modular robots, said co-author David Hu, a mechanical engineer at Georgia Tech, at the American Physical Society's fluid dynamics conference in Pittsburgh.
November 23, 2013 | By Barbara Demick
BEIJING -- Upping the gamesmanship with Japan over disputed East China Sea waters, China said Saturday it had established an air defense identification zone that would allow its military to take “emergency defensive measures” against unidentified aircraft. The Chinese Defense Ministry said that aircraft flying through the zone would be required to identify themselves and implied that those in violation could be shot down. To underscore the threat, the air force conducted its first patrol at 10 a.m. Saturday, using two reconnaissance planes accompanied by early-warning aircraft and fighter jets "providing support and cover.
November 6, 2013 | By Amina Khan
When this tree is down in the trenches of a dry season and battling pesky leaf-eaters, it calls upon its trusty allies: ants. Ecuador laurel trees will produce an extra dose of sweet, sticky sap to attract Azteca pittieri ants that aggressively protect their arboreal home from herbivores, says a new study in PLOS Biology. Trees and ants are often sturdy allies, said lead author Elizabeth Pringle, an ecologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. A complex food chain can take place among their branches: Little scale insects suck sugary sap out of the tree's innards and then poop it out as "honeydew.
September 11, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
The outsiders arrive at a stranger's home with lethal chemical weapons, eat the host's food, kill its children and mutilate the adult females. And yet the host, the Costa Rican ant Sericomyrmex amabilis, is pretty simpatico with the arrangement: It goes along, gets along and survives over the long haul. There has to be something in the deal for the rather wimpy fungus-rearing host ant, which doesn't have much of a venom and often quits the battlefield by playing dead. Evolutionary biologist Rachelle M.M. Adams of the University of Copenhagen believes she knows what makes this social parasitism mutually beneficial.
August 15, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"Owner's Manual," a new reality series debuting Thursday on AMC, takes a familiar dichotomy of human nature - the way some people will read instructions when assembling some bit of flat-packed furniture or installing a new piece of home electronics, versus the way some people don't - and bumps it up in scale and riskiness, as two men operate powerful and potentially dangerous vehicles (trains, planes, race cars, a sailing ship) with which they were previously unfamiliar. Marcus Hunt (HGTV's "Hammer Heads")
September 18, 2003
With some embarrassment, I read David Colker's "Ants Balk at Chalk, but What's in It?" (Sept. 11). I've no claim to Asian ancestry, only a profound trust in urban legend. Street science assures me that ants don't breathe lung-wise, just through their hides. If I shut off whatever they use for pores, they quit gathering in my kitchen. I don't need to poison them; I just cosset them with leftover baby powder. Two years ago I explained this to a neighbor and he gratefully powdered his own ants to ant heaven and even applied a powdery trail around the kitchen of the Hermosa Beach house he was "sitting" for a traveling friend.
December 14, 2000 | Bloomberg News
Ants Inc.'s shares fell 32% after Frederick Pettit, 64, resigned as chief executive, two weeks after the software developer warned "present cash resources will sustain operations" only through January. Shares of the Burlingame, Calif.-based company, which says it has found a way to speed up data processing, fell 94 cents to $2 in Nasdaq trading. On Nov. 28, Ants said it was abandoning its new corporate headquarters as losses for its fiscal second quarter ended Oct.
August 10, 2013 | By Marlene Zuk
You may have heard of the Bechdel test. The idea, articulated in a cartoon drawn by Alison Bechdel, is that a movie isn't worth watching if it doesn't have 1) at least two female characters; 2) who talk to each other; and 3) about something other than men. These seemingly modest requirements aren't met by a surprising number of movies, which points to a troubling disconnect between the world as women experience it and the world portrayed in films. As a biologist, I see a similar disconnect between the way animals are portrayed in movies and the way they are in life.
July 30, 2013 | By Melissa Pandika
Our society often touts teamwork, but when faced with an easy task, groups may actually perform worse than individuals - at least when the group is made up of Temnothorax rugatulus ants. A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that T. rugatulus ant colonies could consider two competing nesting sites and make a good collective decision about which was the better option if the difference between the two was small. When the difference between the nests was obvious, however, the “group advantage” disappeared and colonies were more likely to choose the inferior site .    When T. rugatulus colonies in coniferous forests choose a potential nest, they  dispatch about 200 scouts to scope out the territory.
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