Biology Professor Emeritus John Bonner’s microscope films show the curiously collective nature of slime molds. 

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Biology Professor Emeritus John Bonner’s microscope films show the curiously collective nature of slime molds. 

A strange creature called a slime mould (belonging to the category ‘Protist’) falls halfway between a collection of single cells and an organism. Dictyostelium discoideum as it is called, is interesting in that it is at times multicellular (with around 100,000 cells), while at others, as Winfree puts it: ‘Its cells wander independently, like the individual workers of an ant colony. Like the ant hive, Dictyostelium is a superorganism, a genetically homogenous being composed of autonomous individuals, nevertheless organised altruistically for the collective good.’ (Coveney & Highfield, 1991: 230-1). 


Some Assembly Required

THE TONE OF THE MAJORITY OF technology writing on the web falls within a narrow spectrum of gee-whiz “this will change everything” bewilderment at one end and brand-loyal fanboyism at the other. It…

Some Assembly Required