The incredible floating fire ant

Creepy-cool description of emergent behavior in ant colonies — complex survival strategies that develop when relatively dumb individual insects interact with each other in surprisingly complex ways. Back in the lab, Mlot deposited colonies of 500 to 8,000 ants in large beakers. When gently swirled, each colony spontaneously formed a sphere. Mlot dropped these spheres into water, and the amazing social behavior of ants became evident. The ants on top…

“No Day But Today”: A look at Jonathan Larson’s Word Files | The New York Public Library

Doug Reside writes an informative blog about the digital legacy of the author of Rent. Like paper palimpsest drafts in which a revision is written over an early text (which is itself still visible), Jonathan Larson’s Microsoft Word files provide scholars and artists a fascinating glimpse into his creative process.  For textual scholars practicing genetic criticism and lyricists trying to improve their craft by studying the practices of a master,…