Ant Pompeii

You’ve likely already heard of the giant ant super-city found in Brazil.  If not, it’s pretty incredible looking and fantastically huge – check out this DailyMail link to see images of the structure.  This eerie and highly alien city includes agricultural gardens, highways, waste disposal areas, and organized ventilation shafts –  all distributed in a labyrinthine order of pods and stalks.

Leafcutter ants, the original colony, are food cultivators par excellence – you can see them beavering away in the short clip above (sorry about my unsteady hand – mucho coffee that morning). Basically they’re collecting leaves that are brought back to the colony and cultivated to grow fungus in the garden areas.

Sounds a little like organized agriculture to me.

To see the final structure, scientists poured ten tonnes of concrete into the ant city which then solidified.  Although the colony was apparently abandoned, one has to wonder what the ants think about their very own Pompeii for posterity.

Toxoplasmo: Zombies Among Us

I wonder what these little guys are plotting..

So there’s this pretty funky parasite that some researchers think gets into our brains and subtly manipulates our personality to engage in self-destructive behaviour (see articles in The Atlantic, The Guardian, and another similar example in Scientific American).

Apparently this parasite – Toxoplasmo gondii – might be subtly working on the connections in our brains to change our responses to situations, and possibly be contributing to car crashes, promiscuous behaviour, and certain mental disorders.

In rats for example, the parasite actually compels rats to go play with cats!

Makes one wonder…