It's Recess-time Somewhere

Proud Member of the Reality-Based Sandbox

April 25, 2005


I read this article in Discover Magazine last week while I was waiting at the mechanics for those thieves to fix my car.

Flocks of birds, herds of wildebeests and schools of fish have
long intrigued scientists. How do they know to turn simultaneously?
Why do they come together or break apart? How do they communicate with
one another? Recently a team led by Princeton University biologist
Simon Levin found a big clue to this scientific puzzle.

Using a computer model, Levin's team found that no communication is
necessary. All that is required is for any one of a few individuals to
have a strong preference for a certain direction. When one of these
individuals turns, everyone turns. If no one else turns, the individual
gets back in the pack as a follower. It doesn't take much to direct the
whole, Levin says.

The computer model, designed by research fellow Iain Couzin, could lead
to improved guidance systems for clusters of robots, such as those used
to gather oceanographic and atmospheric data. Levin also hopes insights
gleaned from the model will help scientists grasp the origins of
collective human behaviors, such as the emergence of social norms and
attitudes about important issues. It only takes a few strongly
opinionated people, says Levin, to dominate the dynamics of whole

It got me to thinkin' about how people like James Dobson end up influencing politics so much. He's just loud and opinionated. And most people don't really care that much about politics, as they are more worried about how to pay the mortgage and how much the groceries are gonna cost this week. They just go along with the loudest most opinionated jackass because it's the easiest thing to do, or maybe one of their loud and opinionated friends told them they should.

I think Progressives have such a 'live and let live' attitude that most of us tend to not be very loud and opinionated, unless someone is directly infringing on our rights. We just accept others and their beliefs for what they are and move on. But if "it doesn't take much to direct the whole," then maybe we should all be a little more vocal. We should educate ourselves and others on what Bush Co. is doing to our country and our world, and let others know too.

In a nice non-confrontational kind of way, of course.


  • At April 25, 2005, Anonymous mary said…

    I think Sen. Frist is trying to move the herd, but most are walking away shaking their heads. I agree, we need to be much more present and vocal. Did you get the scoop on the rally in downtown tampa, next Wed - MoveOn?

  • At April 25, 2005, Blogger cookie christine said…

    No, I wasn't aware of it. Do you have any details? Thanks!


Post a Comment

<< Home