Taking Lessons From Slime Mold
As a cop I dealt with a lot of slime mold — or at least, humanoids who sure resembled slime mold — but I can’t say I learned much from them.
Now, growing numbers of scientists are hard at work developing computer programs that replicate the way slime mold “thinks.” True, slime molds are masses of single-cell organisms without a brain or eyes, but they demonstrate amazing abilities to engage in organized behaviors, carry out coordinated movements and especially, to find their way through mazes and over obstacles to locate food sources.
Professor Atsushi Tero of Kyushu University says slime molds actually out-calculate modern computers, but when slime mold behavior is analyzed and arranged into bits and bytes, computers could be programmed to mimic slime mold’s capabilities.
We could suggest some other related experiments: Hide bags of Doritos and six-packs of Jolt Colas in a big house with a group of teenage geeks and watch — without even knowing the chips an’ sips are there, they’ll slowly but inexorably find ’em. Scatter a bunch of politicians in a big park in the proximity of a news camera and you’ll really see slime mold at work! How do ya think conventioneers can find the Hospitality Room with the open bar in a 2,000-room hotel without a map?
Saved From Another Terrorist Incident!
Vanessa Gibbs almost got away with her nefarious plot, but TSA’s super-sleuths snagged this 17-year-old pregnant arch-criminal before she could board her flight from Norfolk to Jacksonville. What’s truly frightening, though, is she had recently flown from Jacksonville to Norfolk carrying the same article of contraband — and it wasn’t even caught!
The horrible device was her little leather purse, which is embossed with the outline of an “old-fashioned revolver” a couple of inches across. What chaos might have ensued if she had threatened someone with it? Oh, mercy!
Vanessa might have laughed it off, but she wasn’t very tickled when they told her that attempting to bring her gun-embossed purse aboard an aircraft was a serious federal offense, and yanked her outta line. Finally, after determining that the embossed image was not a real firearm, they told her to either check it, or surrender it.
But the investigative process had already caused her to miss her flight. The airline rerouted her to Orlando, which kinda upset her mother. She had been waiting for Vanessa at the Jacksonville airport, told only that her pregnant child had been detained by federal authorities.
Ain’t it ironic that the least common form of sense is “common sense”?
Putting Aside Differences
Put a hardcore white supremacist and an equally hardcore black gangbanger in the same halfway house after release on parole from prison, and what do you get? Mutual mayhem and maybe murder? Lifelong loathing and death threats? A mini race war? Nope. You get a prosperous, if illegal, business partnership.
According to Saint Louis police, Richard Treis, 38, and Robert “Biz” Swinney, 22, formed an extremely efficient drug-manufacturing and sales enterprise. In that halfway house, they learned that Treis is a skilled and experienced methamphetamine “cooker.” Swinney, meanwhile, has remarkable skills in sales operations, both at the street-distribution level, and in peripheral activities like organizing numbers of people without criminal records to purchase restricted pseudoephedrine products from local pharmacies — the materials needed to cook up meth. Together, they were doing gangbuster business until their arrests in February.
“They put away their differences to get the job done,” a deputy told reporters.
They sound like good candidates for a federal small business assistance grant, don’t they?
Here’s Another Court Date
Jose Romero-Valenzuela didn’t want to be late for his court hearing in Oregon City, Ore. Maybe he figured the judge might already have a low opinion of defendants on drug charges, and he didn’t want to add tardiness to his personal profile.
He was running late though, so he kinda goosed the accelerator a tad. OK, maybe more than a tad.
In less than an hour on I-84, one sheriff’s deputy and two different state troopers pulled him over and issued speeding citations for velocity in excess of 90 miles per hour. The third officer to cite Jose heard about the other tickets and tailed him for several miles, reporting that Jose finally got the message.
We don’t know if he made it to his dope hearing on time, but whether he did or didn’t, it was good practice for his three upcoming appearances.
By Commander Gilmore
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