The great slime mold race


#1

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#2

Well that's just fucking great. Let's make them smarter AND faster.

I'm going to go on record right now and welcome our new amoeba/cancer cell overlords. (Second time I got to use that reference on BB today)


#3

What could possibly go wrong?


#4

It's like these guys have never seen a zombie apocalypse movie.


#5

Is their definition of "maze" fairly loose or am I missing something. To me it looks like there are no wrong ways.


#6

Not fair: why isn't HeLa allowed to compete as well?


#7

The "maze" is a grid, and the cells are supposed to move toward a pool of chemoattractant. The challenge is to design cells with speed and precision -- they typically have one but not the other quality. So the wrong way would be in any direction that doesn't bring them closer to the source of the attractant.


#8

When I saw "slime mold" in the headline, I was expecting something bigger that looked a bit more like my recent (last month) lithograph I made, based on the slime mold that lived on a mulch pile at our old house in Virginia:

(Also at my flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kipw/12754802633/ )

I was sorry when we moved, knowing that the next occupant would haul the pile away and doom this alien organism. The two lozenge-like black spots first looked to me like cockroaches standing on the yellow-orange cushions, but a closer look showed that they were some kind of extrusions. I falsified nature a bit in the print by putting in more connections between the marshmallowy bits.

It was fascinating to watch them develop. For a little while, I could almost believe it was trying to spell things out. ("Never mind. It just says 'HELF.'")


#9

There are in fact two different organisms that go by the common name slime mold. I don't think they are even related. Although I have seen at least one beautiful lithograph made from photos of dicty so I guess they do share the potential for beautiful art.


#10

Suddenly Kevin J Anderson's blob racing looks....well, just as stupid as it ever did, really.


#11

Time for Greg Bear to rewrite Blood Music, this time with a more plausible - or at least track-and-field tested - premise.


#13

I'm not in a hurry; I've already trained my slime mold to enter the contest for me.


#14

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