Natures teams: see them in action live

Some of the principles of bioteaming are based on the organisation, communications and behavior of social insect societies. The BBC has a wonderful series Life in the Undergrowth narrated by David Attenborough with a whole programme dedicated to Supersocieties and Super-organisms which shows the warts as well as the wonders underneath the covers. You can see short video clips of all the best bits including Giant Asiatic honeybees and Mangrove ants.

The Programme Trailer says

It's easy to be dismissive of invertebrates because, being so small, they often pass us by unnoticed. But some invertebrates have overcome the limitation of their small size by banding together in huge numbers. Many of these societies are so fine-tuned in the way they operate it's as if they were a single being or, in the words of David Attenborough, a "super-organism". And by working together they can achieve great things. Take, for instance, African termite mounds that act as huge ventilation systems and are so sophisticated in their structure that we humans are only just unravelling how they work. But insect societies aren't all shining examples of co-operative Utopias. As a bumblebee colony reaches its maximum size towards the end of summer, conflict spreads among the female workers; eventually they turn on their mother - the queen - and sting her to death. The programme ends with two insect societies meeting head on as Matabele ants raid a nearby termite mound. The ensuing battle lasts just 15 minutes and ends with a most horrific scene of carnage

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The secret physics of social network growth

The secret physics of social network growth

A crowd draws a crowd but you need to be fit too. Distinguished Physicist Albert Laszlo Barabasi in his excellent book "Linked - the New Science of Networks" lets us into the secret of how any kind of network grows.

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