You know that gunky slime you wiped up off the stove the other day... the one that had been sitting there growing for weeks as you ate take-out day after day?
You think that slime would know better.
Japanese scientists are looking at something called an amoeboid yellow slime mold as a way to better understand human intelligence.
I know. I think they should study slime mold to see if they can figure out the scuzzy gene men develop when thy go out to a pick-up bar.
The slime mold is a brainless organism. Brainless. Men. Pick-up bar. Been there. Tried to do that. Apparently I'm not scuzzy enough since leaving Japan in 1993.
Anyhow... Japanese scientists believe that the slime mold seems to have an innate information-processing ability to determine the best route to grow in order to reach food (like rotting leaves) while avloiding bad things like light that could hurt it.
These Japanese scientists are using the slime mold to best design the ideal transport network - to design bio-computers to solve the most complex problem.
At least that is the hope of Nakagaki Toshiyui, a professor at Future University Hakodate in Hokkaido, who says that the yellow slime mold he grows in petri dishes actually does organize itself via growth to reach food. That his smiling self in the photo up above. He looks like a fungi (pronounced fun guy) and not at all slimy.
"Humans are not the only living things with information-processing abilities," explains Nakagaki. Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife knows this. He has a watchdog. I call him a watchdog because he has ticks. Sorry. Back to the serious stuff.
"Simple creatures can solve certain kinds of difficult puzzles," Nakagaki said. "If you want to spotlight the essence of life or intelligence, it's easier to use these simple creatures."
The yellow slime mold grown and used by Nakagaki is Physarum polycephalum, (also known as grape-cluster slime) which looks kind of like mayonnaise (gah!), and can grow large enough to obeserve without the need of a microscope (it makes it easier to apply to your bread - sorry... back to the article!).
Ah... this blog is making me hungry!
Compiled by Andrew Joseph
The title? Well... just like all great and well-meaning science projects, someone will use it to try and destroy the Earth. If you have the means, I'm sure I have the ideas. I'm a... what's the damn word... uhhhh... yeah! Writer!