Daily Archives: December 29, 2010

*** Honeybee Democracy by Thomas Seeley

Honeybee Democracy is written by a scientist who studies honeybees and has studied how they make decisions on when to swarm and where to create a new colony. Through painstaking observations, including painting tiny dots of color on the wings of bees and measuring how the scouts explore and describe the possible locations, he shows how bees make decisions collectively using remarkably complex heuristics. The bee stories are delightful. He is less successful when he attempts to draw close parallels to human decision making, since we rarely have the single-minded goal to survive together in a new environment, but you can just skip the last chapters.

A small rant. I read this book on a Kindle and I was appalled to find not only bizarrely-hyphenated words (par for the course, I suppose, when converting to an electronic format) but words missing mighty important letters altogether. Those bees often few rather than flew, for instance. Surely there could be some mechanism to prevent the problem?

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