Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 6.4

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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23 Comments

  1. That aphid game is really fun. I played it three times and the results weren’t exactly what I expected. I thought that the aphids would evolve into mostly green-colored ones to blend in with the background, but each time I ended up with more light blue than light green. Maybe it was just chance and I ate all the green ones at the very beginning before they had a chance to reproduce and mutate. The yellow, brown, and red ones never had chance though. Did anyone else have a similar result with the colors?

  2. For me, the hardest to catch were the ones without a set patterns. I think I eventually made them all go extint, but it wasn’t easy. When they developed new movement patterns and higher speeds, I was lucky to catch them. Once I took them out, then I went for the ones with known patters, and just posted up on their route until they can came by, and had an aphid burger buffet. It was tasty!

  3. When I tried to be smart and eat all the fast ones first, I did get the average speed way down, but when I was gobbling up the remaining slow aphids at an awesome rate they reevolved high speed in the blink of an eye.
    Only when some of them evolved to go in really tight circles, and I ate everyone who didn’t before going after the clusters of spinning aphids did I manage to clear the field.

  4. Kind of O / T… or maybe not.

    Here is the background. I own my own little business “Frog’s Pool Service and Spa Repair” and have been in the business for twenty years. My niece is a firm believer in homeopathy. After having “a discussion” with her on Facebook, I thought of a question that I just can’t answer and maybe you or the SGU guys can help:

    If homeopathy is so great, and diluting something in water creates a memory in the water that retains the healing properties of the original substance…. Then why the hell doesn’t it work in swimming pools?

    I mean, come on! I’ve dumped enough chlorine in that thing for it to remember what the hell chlorine is!!!! And yet, I still have algae. Have I not diluted my chlorine enough, or is my water just too stupid to remember anything???????

  5. I didn’t realize that the goal of the aphid game was to make them extinct. Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to leave some of your food supply alive so they can continue to supply you?

  6. Wow. I think this pot and LSD chemical weapon is a wonderful thing. I wonder why it hasn’t been used. I am thinking pre-paralyze THC would be great for mobs. Everyone laughs and/or just lays down.
    If we have to have war, which I suppose is evolutionarily inevitable, why not make it fun?

  7. Loved the aphid game. Selected primarily againstanything going in circles, then the fastest buggers turned out blue, so I had to compromise a little on speed, but in the end I had some pretty damn quick aphids in the colour spectrum of the surrounds.
    My kitten was most impressed.

  8. The “Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing” article completely misses the mark. It is about “why is there more matter than antimatter” which already presumes the existence of a universe to contain the matter and antimatter.

    Any scientific attempt to answer this problem would be very much like the ontological proof of the existence of god: I define god to have properties A, B etc. One of those properties is existence.

  9. @Sonicfrog: Exactly the question. Why doesn’t walking down the medicine aisle cure you of everything. As to the chlorine, the homeopathe would tell you you haven’t diluted it enough. Remember, proper dilution would mean not a single molecule in a pool the size of the earth.

    Also, the true homeopath will point out that you must start out with distilled water that has been properly cleared. You do this by placing the water in a test tube, and then smacking it seven times on a board covered with a horse leather that’s been specially treated (ie, magically treated). If you talk about homeopathy without mentioning this step, you make the concept sound stupid.

  10. That aphid-game is awesome.

    The first time around, I had finished before I even realised. Only ate about 90 aphids. I more or less ate all the ones crossing vertically, and then noticed those had been all the fast ones. I was left with two groups of slower, circling ones at the top and bottom.

    Second time around was a lot harder (almost 1200 before they were extinct, and at one point they got up to a speed of 14). I ended up adjusting my hunting pattern several times (from actively chasing to lying in wait, patrolling back and forth, etc).

    Very interesting.

    I suppose it is easier to make them go extinct if you catch all the hard ones first (and thus let the ones easier to catch survive). Domestication as it were …

  11. whoa, people were trying to win that game? I tried to play like an actual ladybug (trying to imagine that I didn’t know it was a game about evolution) and eat as many as possible to see what patterns would emerge. The bugs got faster and predominantly greener (with some odd bursts of color when “green-ness” was correlated with “going-around-in-a-circle-ness”).

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