There’s a long tradition of using anthropomorphic common names for animals that do things analogous to humans. Years ago, there was some disagreement about whether we should stop using the term “slave making ants.” Alex Wild recalls that episode and proposes a new common name for these creatures: “kidnapper ants.” In terms of sensitivity to victims of crimes, I’m not sure this is a big step up. I just call ’em Polyergus.
Mulling over job interviews and offers usually presents big-time dilemmas. Mizuki Takahashi discusses his own experience with frank detail. The seasonality and non-synchronicity of interviews leads to some interesting thoughts about bet-hedging and game theory, with really high stakes.
On Wednesday morning, I heard a heartbreaking story on NPR about a Pakistani family that traveled to Washington DC to testify in a hearing about drone strikes. They recounted the remote-controlled murder of their grandmother by the US Government. One thing that they didn’t mention on NPR, as much as I recall, is that only five members of Congress attended this hearing.
Sometimes blogs include posts about blogging. This post by Simon Goring is about the personal motives for blogging and how whether, or not, it matters how well read your blog is. This post ended up getting seen, and commented on, by a bunch of other bloggers and the comments are worthwhile if you’re interested in the topic. (Note: this link starts out saying really nice stuff about this site. That’s not why I linked to it, though I always appreciate nice words.)
The density of people on the planet is unevenly distributed, to put it mildly. This animation of birth and death events, simulated using real demographic data, is really cool.
What if Darwin died on The Beagle? Jeremy Fox reviews the book Darwin Deleted that delves into this thought experiment. It was an interesting review, so interesting that I think I might not have to read the book. I’m not big on the alternative history genre, but I did enjoy and learn a lot from Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America when it came out.