The Daily Ant One-Year Antiversary: In Review

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s true. What started out one year ago from yesterday as a podunk formicid-friendly online media project with an inaugural post on loving your house ants has grown into a podunk formicid-friendly online media project with 196 published articles. Whether you’re joining us now for the first time, or have traversed the long foraging trail of myrmecological justice since the very beginning, it’s time to consider what we’ve accomplished together.

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Editorial: Message on Houston’s Fire Ants

Here at The Daily Ant, we know that so much of the mainstream media enjoys focusing on (allegedly) negative ant characteristics. Our online newspaper actively works to counteract this insidious bias. However, there are a few truly bad actors within the formicid family that deserve genuine condemnation. Fire ants are one of these few bad actors.

Amid the historic and devastating flooding disaster underway in Houston, Texas, many fear for their lives. It is thus understandable that the average citizen is subsequently terrified when, while on a boat in their neighborhood-turned-lake, they encounter this:

Although these are ants, and although a floating raft of ants is objectively amazing in addition to being genuinely terrifying, we strongly condemn any fire ant that attacks a human during these trying times. We also recommend that whether you are a human or a non-invasive ant, you avoid these floating rafts to the best of your ability! And, in solidarity with our vertebrate sisters and brothers, we urge you to donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

 

Note: We thank several of our readers – Rose, Nathan, Ted, and Jason – for reaching out to us about these ant rafts!

Mooch Monday: Sackful O’ Ants

Very few things have nothing to do with ants, and Anthony Scaramucci (or, as he is known in the adult cartoon we call reality, “The Mooch”) is no exception.

Many readers will have only just recently learned their Moochian Myrmecology from intrepid journalist and gleeful polemicist Matt Taibbi. Who is Matt Taibbi? Well, let me put it this way. In 2005, Matt Taibbi wrote an essay called “The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope” which, like Donald Trump, earned condemnation from both Hillary Clinton and Anthony Weiner. In 2012, he wrote this touching eulogy on the occasion of the actual death of Andrew Breitbart. In the very same year, he also wrote this love letter to David Brooks. (Which reminds me, I swear I once heard Ann Coulter describe David Brooks as the “Elisabeth Hasselbeck of the New York Times,” but I can’t find the reference.)

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 10.53.35 AM
See my problem?

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Editorial: Tennis, Flying Ants, and the Vertebrate Media

Thanks to a heads up from an avid reader who recently contacted us with the news, The Daily Ant has learned that this year’s Wimbledon tournament just received a great blessing. What blessing? Why, ants, of course!

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In a major upset, ants win! Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP/NYT/Getty Images

On Wednesday local time, millions of winged ants emerged to participate in a special nuptial flight the Brits call Flying Ant Day. While this should have been a cause for international celebration at this international Grand Slam tournament, the mainstream vertebrate media predictably responded with shock and horror. “Annoying” writes The New York Times. “Plague” and “menace” cries Deadspin. “Distraction” blathers The Guardian. “Anguish” and “irritation” whines The Telegraph. “Disruption” grumbles ESPN. “Bugs”, “pests”, and “irritants” vomits Reuters.

Yet the ants have emerged victorious, flying (and mating) above the slanderous fray. We here at The Daily Ant are not ashamed to voice our full-throated endorsement of these wondrous reproductives. As the world’s first publication dedicated to producing premier ant content, we also call on our vertebrate peers to retire their hateful anti-ant rhetoric. The formicid future is upon us!

Editorial: No Such Thing As A Fact?

Antrepid reader Megan Mitchell recently sent us the following note:

Ant facts featured on this week’s (episode 169) “No Such Thing as a Fish” podcast! Relevant bit starts at 27:36. [Link]

At first, as we began to listen, we were excited. The story begins with a nice quote about giant ants in India, from the 3rd century B.C.E. Thus, the vertebrate podcast members draw listeners in unawares, deceiving them into thinking they are enjoying a pleasingly pro-ant audio bit. But then… the Vertebrate Agenda is unmasked – these “ants” are really marmots! The hosts then rub boric acid into the wound by cheerfully agreeing that “myrmecology” must share an etymological root with “marmot”.

And the horror doesn’t stop there. Later on, one vertebrate podcast member confidently states that the bullet ant, Paraponera clavata, is the largest ant in the world and can “exceed 4 cm”. You don’t need to be Kellyant Conway to recognize this “alternative fact”. Readers of The Daily Ant already know, via our Style Saturdays series, about Dinoponera, which is actually the largest ant in the world. Then later, a different vertebrate podcast member even admits to being “a bit ant racist”.

In light of these recent developments, we believe it is time for this anti-invert podcast to change it’s name to “No Such Thing As A Fact”.

Editorial: President Trump Mimics Reagan, Insults Ants

It is not news that U.S. President Donald J. Trump is no friend of the media or, in fact, any other group of humans. But on Monday, in a shameful statement to the National Governors Association, Trump expanded his attacks on all that is noble by insulting the great ant. This moment was captured well by noted insect photographer and entomologist Alex Wild:

Dr. Wild correctly notes that this statement betrays just how ignorant Trump really is when it comes to issues that matter. As a self-described Christian, the president would do well to heed the words of Scripture and consider the ways of the ant.

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Editorial: NSA ANT Catalog Insults All Invertebrates

During the summer of 2013, leaks by Edward Snowden revealed to the world the extent of domestic and foreign surveillance by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). These revelations included the PRISM program, XKeyscore, and collaborations with phone companies to sweep up phone records. But one document, at the time, received comparably less press: the NSA product catalog offensively named the ANT catalog.

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One item in the NSA ANT catalog, revealed December 29th, 2013

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Editorial: Media Outlets Bury Ants With Dinosaur Tail

A story broke late last week about a new discovery: the tail of a dinosaur locked in amber. This is exciting, of course, as far as it goes. But in a shameful act of narrative misdirection, the mainstream media has avoided discussing the most substantive finding in the golden amber. As editor of The Daily Ant, I believe it is my duty to highlight the true hero of this story: Gerontoformica.

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Gerontoformica fossilized in amber, next to some random tail. Photograph by R.C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum

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