Sunday, August 15, 2010

Slime Moulds Would Probably Become Teabaggers....

A slime mould oozes into a fancy restaurant and is offered a wine list. The list has only 2 bottles, one priced at $7.00 and another better bottle at $25.00. The $25.00 bottle seems too expensive and the slime mold, before absorbing the antipasto tray chooses the the $7.00 bottle.

The next week, the slime mold returns, ready to engage in its asexual reporduction process and is taking itself out for another nice meal to get "in the mood" and is presented the wine list and there is another bottle on the list! It is a vintage bottle of 1998 Petrus, priced at a staggering $1,200. Suddenly, the $25.00 bottle doesn't seem all that expensive, especially when it's trying to score, and this time it takes it instead.

Businesses use this tactic all the time-presenting customers with options that make the middle of the road, non choice, seem more attractive. The $25.00 bottle costs the same either way, but in one scenario, it looks crazy and in the other, it is a steal. The value to the average, non thinking slime mould depends on the things around it. Economists refer to this as "irrational".

But now, this same irrational decision making process has been found to operate in much the same manner when the average, nonthinking dumbed down FOX Network addicted voter is presented with the same dillemma.
Say, an average FOX viewer is presented with the choice between 2 candidates, one, a Republican Conservative who preaches a sort of free market doctrine that would  protect the wealth of the upper classes and protect corporations and investment firms from interferring regulations or a liberal Democrat that preaches a doctine of social responsiblity and corporate regulation.
The next time he tries to think about these issues...he is presented with a new possiblity. All politicians are corrupt so, why not vote for none of the above and join the Teabag Movement?

When you think about the slime mould (physarum polycephalum), a large single celled  creature with out a brain that spends most of its life as a large mat (a plasmodium) that can send out tendrils to seek out food sources, they are a very sophisticated organism, in fact they might be a little more sophisticated than your average FOX NEWS viewer!

In fact, Japanese researchers have found that if they places the mould among food sources arranged like Tokyo's Urban centers, it created a network that closely resembled Tokyo's actual railway system. The slimy network was optimised to transport nutrients to the main plasmodium. This is way more sophisticated than your average FOX viewer and the path to the refrigerator, the microwave, the bags of chips, the trips to the 7-11, the beer, the Beer-Nuts...24 hour Krogers...cheese filled pretzel logs...the donuts....etc..etc..If you'd like to learn more about slime moulds and the striking similiarities with the human decision making process , check out this link at Discover. If you'd like to watch a slime mould choose to join the tea baggers, watch the video.

1 comment:

mud_rake said...

GREAT Video and metaphor!