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The Mysteries of Animal Movement

David Hu was changing his infant son’s diaper when he got the idea for a study that eventually won him the Ig Nobel prize. No, not the Nobel Prize — the Ig Nobel prize, which bills itself as a reward for “achievements that make people laugh, then think.”As male infants will do, his son urinated all over the front of Dr. Hu’s shirt, for a full 21 seconds. Yes, he counted off the time, because for him curiosity trumps irritation. That was a long time for a small baby, he thought. How long did it take an adult to empty his bladder? He timed himself. Twenty-three seconds.…

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ScienceTake: The Secret to Ant Efficiency Is Idleness

Aug. 16, 2018Ants are renowned for their industriousness. Ask the grasshopper in the story by Aesop. He had to come begging the hard-working ant for food when winter came because he had frittered away his summer.But that is fable, the ultimate in what scientists call anecdotal evidence. And new research at Georgia Tech suggests that although ant colonies are very efficient, that may be because 70 percent of them are doing very little — at least when it comes to tunnel digging.Daniel I. Goldman, a physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his colleagues, found that the secret to efficient tunnel digging by fire ants was…

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