The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the fifty-fifth contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Danny Weltman.
Personal Identity and Personal Idantity
In the movie Antz, the worker ant Z-4195 regards hundreds of ants all dully dancing in the same shuffling motion and moans “why does everybody have to dance the same way? It’s completely boring. It’s monotonous.” In the ant colony depicted in the movie, all the worker ants are more or less the same, which is why they only get numbers for names. But, of course, all the workers are different from each other, too. They each have their own number, at least. If they’re all basically the same, what makes them different from each other?
There is an African ant species of tiny workers that lives in big trees. In these big trees, […]
What do you do if you’re a huge singer-songwriter and also named Paul Simon? You join forces with […]
Committed readers will remember fondly our coverage of Anty Gin, the Beer Ants Gel Habitat, Funky Fresh ant beer brewer Dailey Crafton, and an antspired cocktail from Singapore. Well, we have another exciting libation to share with you!
Our editor-in-chief is currently in southern China for an investigative journalism project on Polyrhachis spiny ants. But he also recently found a treasure: 黑蚂蚁养生酒.
One of the more stunning biological discoveries to date is that organisms like ants are not merely individual organisms, but also hosts to trillions of bacteria. Some biologists have increasingly focused on this “microbiome”, and naturally work in ants is no exception. A few months ago, a group of ant researchers discovered yet another cool thing about ants and their microbiome!
The Daily Ant maintains “Formicid Form”, a Sunday ant poetry series. When possible, our Verse Correspondant, Natalia Piland, provides a short commentary at the end of each poem. Enjoy!
The Ant (1902-1971)
By Ogden Nash
The ant has made herself illustrious
By constant industry industrious
Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?
The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the fifty-fourth contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Daniel Singer.
To Understand Ant Communication, We Can’t Forget What Ants Forget
It is well-known (to any reader of this blog, anyway) that ant communication is very complex and not entirely well-understood. Among myrmecologists, there is disagreement about how information is transferred (most think that pheromones play a key role, but some think there may be other mechanisms at play, including sound), what kind of information is transferred, and whether we should explain ant communication in terms of the communication behaviors of individuals or groups.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve been spending a lot of time lately wondering about ant species coexistence. How can there possibly be 13,384 species of ants, when so many species have overlapping niches in space, food resources, and other traits? Shouldn’t the most competitive ant species ultimately drive all the others to extinction?
Well hello there! We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, haven’t we? We do apologize for any pain our absence may have caused to our most dedicated readers, and are happy to report that premier ant content once again flows from the pages of The Daily Ant.
The sci-fi show Travelers is a pretty great show. But one of the best things about the show is also its greatest secret: a little ant egg tailored to readers of our work. At approximately 29:30 of Season 2, Episode 1 (“Ave Machina”), we are introduced, for but a second, to some pleasing content:
Here at The Daily Ant, we’ve consistently found that the brilliant Samantha Bee lives up to her namesake. Bee’s wit frequently skewers the worst of the vertebrate right. Thus, we were truly shocked when Fraternal Correspondant Joshua Blanchard shared with us a tragic comment Bee made in a recent show, laying bare that even Bee is anti-ant:
The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the fifty-third contribution in the series, submitted by Gretchen Ellefson.
What Do (Ant) Emojis Mean?
According to the reputable website emojis.wiki, the ant emoji, , is “a synonym for ‘hardworking.’” This came as a surprise to me; I, a proficient emoji user, have never used the ant emoji in that way (despite that I have used an ant emoji), nor have I ever interpreted an ant emoji sent to me in that way. More importantly, however, I’m not quite sure what it means for an emoji to be synonymous with an English word. Generally, we take two words to be synonymous when they have the same meaning. But what it takes for an emoji to mean something is rather different than what it takes for an ordinary word to mean something. Philosophers of language sometimes talk about sentences as having the same meaning when they have the same “truth conditions”—when the conditions under which they would count as true are the same—and bits of sentences as having the same meaning when they play the same role in contributing to the truth conditions of a sentence. So “My students are hardworking,” is true whenever my students have the property of being hardworking. What about, “My students are ”? Does this have the same truth conditions? Probably not. On the one hand, the association between ants and hardworkingness is sufficiently commonly accepted that I could certainly use “My students are ” to mean that they are hardworking. But it is just as likely that in saying, “My students are ,” I could communicate something else: that my students are very small, or that they can carry many times their body weight, etc. So what does “My students are ” mean?