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Food for Thought

challenges

BET YOU CAN’T! 
Science Impossibilities to Fool You  ⇒

V. COBB and K. DARLING
Illustrated by MARTHA WESTON

Steven Pinker shows us how the mind turns the finite building blocks of language into infinite meanings  ↓

•→Science Of Persuasion

•→ Iain McGilchrist_The Divided Brain ⇐

•→ Jeremy Rifkin_The Empathic Civilisation

ants

Ants are common insects, but they have some unique capabilities. More than 10,000 known ant species occur around the world. They are especially prevalent in tropical forests, where they may be up to half of all the insects living in some locations.

Ants look much like termites, and the two are often confused—especially by nervous homeowners. However, ants have a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax, which termites do not. Ants also have large heads, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws. These insects belong to the order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps and bees.

Enthusiastically social insects, ants typically live in structured nest communities that may be located underground, in ground-level mounds, or in trees. Carpenter ants nest in wood and can be destructive to buildings. Some species, such as army ants, defy the norm and do not have permanent homes, instead seeking out food for their enormous colonies during periods of migration.

Ant communities are headed by a queen or queens, whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Workers (the ants typically seen by humans) are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead forage for food, care for the queen’s offspring, work on the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties.

Male ants often have only one role—mating with the queen. After they have performed this function, they may die.

Ants communicate and cooperate by using chemicals that can alert others to danger or lead them to a promising food source. They typically eat nectar, seeds, fungus, or insects. However, some species have diets that are more unusual. Army ants may prey on reptiles, birds, or even small mammals.

National Geographic

The ratio of humans to ants is estimated as:  1:10,000;  in other words, there are ten thousand ants for each human being!

•→   7  Reasons Ants Will Take Over the World  ⇐
¤  Scary! Ants form Global Mega-Colony  –  [cryptoworld/July 4, 2009]

A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.  Argentine Ant (→Linepithema humile←)

Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another.

The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.

What’s more, people are unwittingly helping the mega-colony stick together.humilemap1s

Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) were once native to South America. But people have unintentionally introduced the ants to all continents except Antarctica.

These introduced Argentine ants are renowned for forming large colonies, and for becoming a significant pest, attacking native animals and crops.

In Europe, one vast colony of Argentine ants is thought to stretch for 6,000km (3,700 miles) along the Mediterranean coast, while another in the US, known as the “Californian large”, extends over 900km (560 miles) along the coast of California. A third huge colony exists on the west coast of Japan.

While ants are usually highly territorial, those living within each super-colony are tolerant of one another, even if they live tens or hundreds of kilometres apart. Each super-colony, however, was thought to be quite distinct.

But it now appears that billions of Argentine ants around the world all actually belong to one single global mega-colony.

•  Source and more info: ⇒Earth News

¤  Messages from Water  ↓

masaru_emotoDr. Masaru Emoto‘s Water Molecule Experiment
 – Most people first heard of Dr. Emoto in 2004 when the hit movie ‘What The Bleep Do We Know?’ was released. In the documentary-style film, Dr. Emoto’s findings on the energy of thoughts are demonstrated. His central premise put forward is that human beings can affect the shape and molecular structure of water just through conscious intention.

He demonstrates this in two ways: first by showing images of water molecules from the Fujiwara Dam, before and after they have been blessed by a monk. He then shows the impact of labeling bottles of distilled water with thoughts. Some bottles feature positive thoughts, while others feature negative ones. He then freezes contents from each bottle and photographs them at sub zero temperatures using a high powered microscopic camera.

 The resulting shape, color and structure of the water crystals shows marked variation. Water from bottles that were labeled with positive messages have intricate structures and shiny, diamond-like reflective qualities. Those that were labeled with negative thoughts have deformed, collapsed structures with black holes and yellow tinged edges.

⇓   Synesthesia . . . ‘Subjective Reality’

synesthesia

Guitar music doesn’t just tickle Carol Crane’s fancy–it also brushes softly against her ankles. When she hears violins, she also feels them on her face. Trumpets make themselves known on the back of her neck. In addition to feeling the sounds of musical instruments on her body, Crane sees letters and numbers in brilliant hues. And for her, units of time each have their own shape: She sees the months of the year as the cars on a ferris wheel, with July at the top, December at the bottom.

Sean Day, PhD, tastes in technicolor. “The taste of beef, such as a steak, produces a rich blue,” says Day, a linguistics professor at National Central University in Taiwan. “Mango sherbet appears as a wall of lime green with thin wavy strips of cherry red. Steamed gingered squid produces a large glob of bright orange foam, about four feet away, directly in front of me.”

Persons face in abstract

Crane and Day share an extraordinary sensory condition called ‘synesthesia‘ –from Greek: “to perceive together”— The phenomenon comes in many varieties. Some synesthetes hear, smell, taste or feel pain in color. Others taste shapes, and still others perceive written digits, letters and words in color. Some, who possess what researchers call “conceptual synesthesia,” see abstract concepts, such as units of time or mathematical operations, as shapes projected either internally or in the space around them. And many synesthetes experience more than one form of the condition…   [SIRI CARPENTER]

•→Synesthesia explained by Vilayanur Ramachandran
about the condition                                                                     http://www.mixsig.net/about/index.php
Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which a stimulus in one sense modality is involuntarily elicited in another sense modality.  For instance, someone with synesthesia (called a synesthete) may be able to see sounds, taste shapes, or read otherwise black-and-white printed words in color.
Synesthesia is thought to occur in anywhere from one in as few as 1:2 to 1:2,000 people.  In infant (and younger) humans, it has been shown that synesthesia could even be standard up until three months of age, in that infants may at least see sounds, if not have other synesthetic perceptions.  Synesthesia is also thought to commonly occur in other types of animals as well.
Both science and the public are rediscovering this exciting condition, which was well-known over a century ago, yet was ignored when behaviourism became the popular in psychology.  With recent advancements in science and technology, more data is discovered about synesthesia every day.  Further, with this knowledge, synesthesia may be helpful in understanding human consciousness, as well as something as straightforward as the different levels of human brain function.
synesthetic perception
A synesthete can be an associator, a projector, or both.  To explain the difference between associator and projector synesthetes, I will use the type of synesthesia known as chromagraphemia:  An associator synesthete of this type simply gets a “feeling” of color when looking at a letter – he can “think” or “know” the letter A is red, yet not actually see any red anywhere, whereas when a projector synesthete sees an A, he would literally – and involuntarily – project color out onto it; so, he would actually see red superimposed onto the written letter A.  Projector chromagraphemic synesthetes realize that the text they are reading is black (or whatever color it really is), yet they see synesthetic color as well when they read.  According to independent studies by Dr. Philip Merikle and Dr. Jonathan King / Lisa Emerson, only approximately one or two per hundred chromagraphemic synesthetes are projectors; the rest are associators.
For other types of synesthesia, such as projected colored hearing, the experiences are projected outside the body in a way which looks like an image on a 3D screen, as opposed to being seen as an image in the mind’s eye.  I personally can “project” my experiences anywhere from right inside my head to many feet away.  Usually the experience dictates where the image is to be seen (as with chromagraphemia).

 What is AIDS?  –   Explania:

AIDS is the most dangerous sexually transmitted disease. Men and women all over the world are infected with the HIV virus. AIDS primarily affects people during their ‘sexually active years’. In this video we have a brief look at what AIDS is, how the HIV virus is transmitted, and what you can do to protect yourself against AIDS  ↓

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