Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Intelligent Slime Mold

Arcyria cinerea- Mark Bower
When I wrote about slime mold in a November blog, I planned to followup with this story of intelligent slime mold.  Since then I have come across even better resources.
Physarum polycephalum
Mark Bower has created a book on Valley Water Mill slime molds, now available to see at the Watershed Center.  You can see some of his pictures in this Flickr album.  Looking at these pictures, it is hard to remember to the naked eye view of Physarum polycephalum above, single cell creatures smearing the tree bark are the same as the beauties pictured below.
Physarum polycephalum close up- Mark Bower
Physarum polycephalum is a lab rat, a cooperative slime mold that has been studied in all ways imaginable and new ways daily by scientists, engineers, neurobiologists, artists, and now even amateurs. There are 200+ Youtube videos of Physarum polycephalum over 200 Youtube videos of P. polycephalum running mazes, creating road maps, demonstrating other collective intelligence and even making music.

Rather than wading through all of these, just watch this TED talk on slime mold.  The speaker even shows interested citizens linking up to reproduce the movements of slime molds.  And friends say I have too much time on my hands!

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