Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thinking Without Neurons


While less recognized than their animal counterparts, many non-neuronal organisms, such as plants, bacteria, fungi and protists, also have the ability to make complex decisions in difficult environments (for a full review, see [1]). The most incredible feats of problem-solving among non-neuronal organisms, many previously reported only in the so-called cognitive organisms, have been demonstrated by the unicellular slime mould Physarum polycephalum. This unicellular protist lacks a central nervous system and possesses no neurons, yet it has been demonstrated to solve convoluted labyrinth mazes [2], find shortest length networks and solve challenging optimization problems [3], anticipate periodic events [4], use its slime trail as an externalized spatial memory system to avoid revisiting areas it has already explored [5] and even construct transport networks that have similar efficiency to those designed by human engineers [6].


The reference that got me was "amoebae anticipating periodic events".

January Temperatures

"But there is snow, it is really cold in New York, climate change is not real". Let's look at the overall trend. Pick Janua...