Monday, October 21, 2013

For Science!

When we were kids, if you took a magnifying glass and fried an ant with it, technically you were demonstrating the principles of refracting light. But it was just seen as being mean to ants.

Good kids got ant farms, but the colonies were by nature restricted to the shape of the container, and besides, the ants were likely to die in short order. So you may not have actually learned too much.

But if you go to school, and study hard, and get a degree from Florida State, one day you will gain access to molten aluminum, as has former biology professor Walter Tschinkel. You will be able to pour it into an anthill and fry all of the ants. But now it's not mean anymore! You're just getting a cast of an ant colony, honest! It's science! No, it's ART! Like in that one Roger Corman movie! What was it called? A Bucket Of Blood?

Tshinkel used to use plaster, which didn't fry the ants, but the problem was that plaster's more fragile and he had to glue it all back together afterwards. So aluminum it was.

Or... you could always get a really big anthill and start pouring in 10 tons of cement over the course of three days.

The documentary, available here on Hulu, never said exactly where it was; however, the Daily Mail pegged it as being located in Brazil and populated by a leafcutter ant colony that had abandoned it by the time of the Cement Apocalypse. Though most people who deal with leafcutter ants may wish the ants were still in there.

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