Be successful, join a group

The Science Times today ran an interesting little story about all the gender bias in animated insect movies.  Despite the fact that most social insect societies are completely dominated by females, the movies (e.g., Bee Movie, Bug's Life, Antz, etc.) tend to focus on males that would have no analog in the real insect world.  The article makes a pretty good case that you could have quite a dramatic story for an insect movie more based on gender reality (though, a comedy it would not be):

A successful male is a dead male. A failure [to successfully breed with a new queen] lives to stagger home and
beg to be fed and to try again tomorrow. After a week or so of lekking,
that?s it. The drone is deemed a drain, and if he won?t die for love,
he must die for its lack. ?The workers will start withholding food, the
male gets weakened, and at some point the workers will grasp him and
dump him out of the hive,? said Gene E. Robinson, who studies bees at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The story concludes by looking at the amazing dominance of social insects.  In the insect world, at least, living in a society means success:

A heartless ending, perhaps, but what a box office smash. Over 100
million years of evolution, the social insects have come to rule the
insect world, forcing solitary species out to the edges and to make do
with their scraps. Dr. Hölldobler observes that although ants, bees,
termites and other hive-minded tribes account for only 1 percent of
known insect species, ?this 1 percent makes up 80 percent of all insect
biomass.? The dry weight of ants alone, he said, already equals the dry
weight of our own. Who knows whether by tomorrow the standard master of
our domain won?t have a thorax, six legs and be best addressed as

In political terms, I think it is safe to conclude that the individualistic, (Libertarian?) insects are clearly the failures.

The Alex and Julianne Moore connection

I don't often mention here the rare disease, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), that my middle son Alex suffers from.  But, I just came across a nice on-line video featuring TSC's very-own spokes-celebrity, Julianne Moore discussing her involvement with finding a cure for the disease.  (Though, I have to wonder about a true “cure” for a genetic disease– new genes?).  Anyway, CNN has a nice story and video

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