Rite of Fire

Well, I ‘ve just experienced a rite of passage that every researcher goes through at some time: a loss of alot of data. Since I’ve moved interstate I’ve been trying to get my data off an old Linux server. Finally, last night, the system had enough and for some uncanny reason purged the one database I needed. It is gone. It is not all my thesis research, just a part of it. I created a cross-media wiki last year and had been pouring references, stats and ideas into it for months. I used it as a quick way to pop in info as I found them and then intended to transfer it to a bibliography program and my main thesis. Well, it is all gone now. 🙁

At least it wasn’t all of my thesis and I’ve learnt my lesson now. I’m backing up everyday. 🙂

Update: 2nd March: Some of my data has been retrieved!! Very happy indeed. Thanks Gary. 🙂 🙂

Did you say Teamwork?

I’m still sorting through old files and finding lots of items I’ve been meaning to share. One is this report which is 4 years old (yep, I’ve been busy), but it is well worth knowing about if you missed it the first time around. French, Swiss and Danish Scientists were studying the ant colonies in Europe. They were tracking the changes of the introduction of the Argentine ant. They found three amazing things:

1) The ants, contrary to their genetic predilection to socialising according to relatedness, were mixing with ants from other nests.

2) Not only were the ants mixing together, but they amassed into “two immense supercolonies (which effectively are two unicolonial populatons)”.

3) They discovered there was a main “supercolony” that spanned over “6,000 kms from Italy to the Spanish Atlantic coast”. It was/still is the “largest cooperative unit every recorded”.

Ant Colony pic from BBC News

Very cool, and a wonderful example of emergent interaction(?)…

Tatiana Giraud, J.S.P., and Laurent Keller (2002) ‘Evolution of Supercolonies: The Argentine Ants of Southern Europe’ in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, Vol. 99, p, pp:6075-6079 

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