Coffee and cigarettes…

April 6, 2009

woohoo! i finally remember a dream!

Filed under: brain candy — techrat @ 8:55 am

I wound up, apparently, kicking myself awake this morning, and the timing was apparently quite good because I actually remembered dreamstuff long enough to jot it down. I almost never remember my dreams, and I’ve generally wondered what they’re like all of my life. Even on the best of occasions, I only remembered fragments. This morning’s had a good bit more fidelity left, and I was lucky to have a recording device handy that I could dump it out into for later retrieval.

There were ants. Lots of ants.

Standing in a pasture with AB, I’m studying the ants. They’re doing… odd… things.

I’m a Ph.D candidate in forensic psychology. My thesis, for which this is research, is on the phenomenon of emergent behavior and how it can be used as a model or baseline for predicting asocial behaviors… also, how to determine the difference between emergence and deliberate conscious thought. AB, ever helpful as she is, is there with me as a research assistant.

The ants are doing what ants do. They’re tunneling and burrowing. AB and I don snowshoes to reduce our ground pressure and its effect on the burrows beneath us, and we walk into the field.

But these ants are, apparently, afflicted with OCD.

There on the right is a pile of cigarette butts. They’ve been very carefully stripped of tobacco and paper, leaving just the filters behind. The filters are stacked, three layers high; a layer of three oriented one way, the next layer oriented at a 90 degree angle, and the last oriented the same as the first.

A little further ahead, we spy piles of pebbles of varying sizes. Each pile has pebbles of a specific size… one pile of pea gravel, one of slightly larger stones, and so forth.

This wasn’t our first encounter with emergence. As we’re walking and examining the ants’ organizational handiwork, we’re discussing the parallels between this event and the bees we’d seen a few days beforehand. Out in the orange groves, apiarists were reporting odd behaviors in their hives. At specific times every day, every worker would swarm out of the hives and form a cloud of buzzing insects that would form specific three-dimensional shapes. I pointed out the cigarette filter cubes the ants had made and was contrasting it to the platonic solid cube formed by the bees.

AB’s firm conviction was that there was an unknown intelligence behind the insect activities. I stuck to the original hypothesis of emergent behavior, because there was no direct evidence in any of the insects that they were being communicated with in any way. Specimens had been examined (humanely – no killings were involved) and there wasn’t any sign of tampering, physical abnormalities or anything like that. Some of our test equipment included broad-spectrum spark-gap transmitters that would saturate the spectrum from zero to daylight, which would preclude EMF interference or control mechanisms.

AB’s the intuitive one of us, and I’m the starkly logical half of the team, so the exchange isn’t heated so much as it is our unique form of continual intellectual foreplay.

I am struck with a particular insight and spin around to face her, as best I can in snowshoes, when the ground beneath me gives a little. Not a giant Sinkhole of Death or anything like that. Just a few inches.

And that’s when I kicked myself awake.

Apparently, my subconscious mind writes for “Fringe”.

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