Ants and Their Friends

By Anupum Pant


If you consider the habits, social organization, communities, network of roadways, possession of domestic animals, and counting skills of ants, they are not very different from humans. Yes, ants even domesticate animals. And we’ve talked about their counting skills in the past. Then, I came across a very interesting experiment sir John Lubbock decided to do on ants.


He had in his captivity a number of varieties of ants living in different colonies. One day he saw a group of ants feeding on honey together. He picked twenty five of them and managed to intoxicate them by some method, others were left there, feeding on honey.

Next, he picked twenty five other ants of the same species, from a different colony and intoxicated them too. He then placed all of these 50 intoxicated ants near the honey, in the path which the ants were using to move to and fro from the honey.

He watched them for hours and it was an amazing thing he found. The twenty five ants which belonged to the same colony of ants that were feeding on honey were treated much differently by them, than the other 25 ants of the same species that belonged to a different nest! Somehow they were able to identify the ants of their own nest – differentiate friends from strangers.

Twenty out of the twenty five friend ants (which belonged the same nest) were carried by the honey feeding ants to their home. While about 18 of the other intoxicated stranger ants were picked up and thrown into water.
There were just 5 friend ants which were thrown into water (probably accidentally) and 6 stranger ants which were carried back to home (probably accidentally, again)

Nevertheless, most ants were correctly identified as friends and strangers. Moreover, I think their reaction to drunk friends and drunk strangers was so much like what human beings would do!

Next Experiments

In an experiment which he did later, the researcher tried separating friend ants (of the same nest) for about 4 months. And when they met after 4 months they were able to clearly identify each other. They caressed each other with their antennae.

In other experiments when he introduced a stranger ants in a nest, the strangers were evicted immediately and sometimes even killed.

There are a couple of other interesting experiments he has mentioned in his article here. Do read it whenever you find time. [link]

The New York Pizza and Subway Ride Connection

By Anupum Pant

This is funny and interestingly true at the same time. According to Eric M. Bram of New York, there’s an unspoken rough law that says – there’s a connection between the price trends of a pizza* and a subway ride ticket in the New York city.

Their prices have remained more or less same for about 50 years now, moving up and down together! If one goes up, the other has been seen to move in the same direction too. The trend has been observed to be more or less valid for the last half century. 

Don’t ask why. I say, just go with the flow.

It was first observed in the year 1980 by Eric M. Bram. He observed that there was an uncanny similarity in the price of a slice of a pizza and a subway token in the year 1960, in the NYC – Both 15 cents.

In the 70s pizza started costing about 35 cents. So did the subway token! and so on…

Fairly recently, in the year 2002, when the price of pizza was about $2.00, and the price of a subway token was $1.50, it was predicted that the price of the subway ticket would rise. And as the “law” states, it did!

Again in the year 2005, the price of pizza went up to $2.25 and it was predicted that the subway token price would rise. It did again!

Once again in the year 2007. In 2013 the fare moved to $2.50, again just after the average pizza price had risen to the same price. No one probably knows why.

With 50 years of record, I’m pretty sure that the trend is going to keep up. Some one from the future, living in New York could confirm it in the comments section below.

So, if someone starts mass producing pizzas, floods the pizza market in the NYC, and drops the price, will the Subway ticket drop too? Someone should try that. 

*When we say pizza here, specifically, we are talking about a plain tomato + mozarella + crust pizza only.