Warfare by Megaponera analis. A day in the life of termites and ants and what it can tell us about the importance of Earth day, science and fact based education.



Warfare by Megaponera analis.
The Science of healthy living.



They came marching in at dawn, shoulder to shoulder they formed long winding columns of wordless but well-armed soldiers in gleaming dark armor that stretched as long as the eye could see. 500 men passed us by with the rising sun painting the light of this new day behind their backs. But this would not be a day of peaceful tranquility under the light of the rising sun, instead, the sun rose up from beneath the horizon as the herald of war and death in what we all knew would turn out be just another day in their relentless campaign.






4 times per day their armies marched like the well-oiled clockwork they were, through the gates they lay claim to the outside of their walled-in home and fortified trenches, they did so in what looked like endless and orderly dark lines stretching across the abandoned path that continued down the lake and the daisies meadow, 4 times per day they came for us with horns and drums playing out loud as they kept a beautiful but terrifying order, marching wordless to the beat of the drum.







And 4 times per day once the carnage had subdued, once the soundless dead had stopped moving, they would leave their own dead behind them as if they meant nothing to their former friends, now that the force of life had been snuffed out.
In their world of logical thinking and nature's relentless progress and never ending adapting evolution there was no point in spending time on mourning those who had died, you did so by continuing to live in the best way possible, that was how you best honored the dead.
And really, when you think about it, they were of course, absolutely right.











music of the day while you are reading our article
Flesh coffin by Lorna Shore












The dead do not need mourning.





While they always left their own dead behind, they always took the utmost care to bring each and every one of their own wounded soldiers back home with them, abandoning no one, bringing them home together with the many dead and captured enemies that their supply lines managed to ferry back home to their city like capital.









Once back home they would nurse and rest up their wounded soldiers, providing them the very best healthcare and nutrition, rest and sleep that would allow them to recover and heal to the point where they would once again be able to march with their comrades against us. As for our own unfortunate dead and captured, they would feast upon them, of that, I had never had any grand illusions, and so, we tell our children of how they scavenge their flesh off of their tortured and twisted bodies, strengthening their own in the pain, and death of our losses. Transforming our lost and dead into nutritious biogenetic energy.
It was for all intent and purposes a campaign of relentless resolve. Efficient and endless in its sustainable and ingenious construction.










Kill, hunt and recover, this was the rhythm that was stuck on endless repeat and it would never, ever cease to be, in some ways that certainty and the absolute way they went about executing it day in and day out was as beautiful as it was utmost terrifying. An entire society, advanced and ever evolving, primed with a focus that made each individual as strong as their collected entity, all for one, and one for all in a way that a tiny few advanced species and societies had ever come close to mastering to the same kind of level.
This cycle was the daily life and struggle in the year 4.5 billion, and this was just the way life was for us termites on planet Earth, the planet of the ants.
Endless warfare caught inside a hailstorm of nature's beauty and every day it started brand new.


















The Science
[ Megaponera analis and the science behind my semi fictional day in the life of endless warfare and life between ants and termites. ]













A recently published study in Science Advances 12 Apr 2017 gives us a fact based glimpse into the daily cycle of warfare and healthcare as the Ant species Megaponera analis carries it out, in what might be a first in the kingdom of ants.








At least this is the first time homo sapiens have managed to see this nursing behavior amongst ants were they intentionally set out to rescue and bring home every injured ant soldier with the intent of safely bringing injured ants back home in order to get them healed up and back out on the theater of war as soon as possible.
The reason why I call it a theater of war is because Termites and Ants truly are engaged in a campaign of war made up of equal measures of attrition and adaptation.
Providing the human race with a pretty fascinating window into the evolutionary arms race of two species.
Both of these species provide the other with a cunning predatory foe that is quick to adapt and evolve on their cross-species battlefield and equally capable at dishing out violence and building defenses.
And as such, it is perhaps not a surprise at all to see that M. Analis have decided that dividing attention and troops that make sure that the raiding party bring home every single one of their injured soldiers so society can heal them up is a pretty cost and time efficient way for the entire ant society to sustaining your army instead of having to endure unnecessarily heavy losses that would otherwise need to be sustained by starting over from scratch with the resource intensive task of first giving birth to a new soldier every time an ant get wounded and crippled and eventually die, not to mention divide precarious resources from society to feed and "train" him into a proper and experienced soldier.

















In studies, it has been shown that when M. Analis is allowed to carry through their task of helping to carry back home their injured friends they managed to bring down the mortality rate for injured soldiers down from 30+ percent to zero.
Which in turn also seem to translate into what comes out as a roughly 30% bigger ant colony compared to nests that did not make use of this search and rescue operation in their own army.

















And so, in my own peculiar way, I think that this is a pretty fascinating piece of the pie that is life that showcases us why science matters and why knowledge and ever-evolving fact-based education matters.
All aspects of a healthy life on planet Earth matters to us all, even the small stuff such as the life and war of ants and termites, and education and science are the tools that provide us all with the proper building blocks to understand and protect, enjoy and preserve that beautiful and ever changing treasure that is life on planet Earth.
And that is why Earth Day and Science, and sustainability matters, now more than ever before.
And perhaps, this time, ants and termites can even teach us the lesson of how proper care for every person matters.



You can find the complete study behind my fictional day in the life of ants and termites here. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1602187
Earth Day 2017 takes place on April 22.
Make it matter, not just on April 22 but every single day going forward.
















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Writer and photography

Mike Koontz
To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

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Last Few Published Books and Articles

  • Warfare by Megaponera analis. A day in the life of termites and ants and what it can tell us about the importance of Earth day, science and fact based education.

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes


    Warfare by Megaponera analis.
    The Science of healthy living.



    They came marching in at dawn, shoulder to shoulder they formed long winding columns of wordless but well-armed soldiers in gleaming dark armor that stretched as long as the eye could see. 500 men passed us by with the rising sun painting the light of this new day behind their backs. But this would not be a day of peaceful tranquility under the light of the rising sun, instead, the sun rose up from beneath the horizon as the herald of war and death in what we all knew would turn out be just another day in their relentless campaign.

  • Healthy living: The bad health curse of smoking, almost 7 million dead people and 150 million health related issues in one year due to smoking.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    150 million health related issues in one year.
    The Science of healthy living.



    Almost 7 million dead people around the world in one single year ( 2015 ), due to smoking.
    Making it account for 11.5% of worldwide deaths during 2015.
    Out of the roughly 7 million dead people, 52.2% lived in four countries, China, India, the USA, and Russia.

    13 countries, Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA have showed significant year-to-year rates of decline of smoking between 1990 and 2015.

    But while an increasingly lower percentage of the global population keep up with the filthy and unhealthy habit of smoking, as time goes by due to our global population increase the total number of smokers is still going up, and it is now close to 1 billion people!.

  • This is a story of salt: The female perspective, your health and the 2.5 million people that die worldwide every single year due to excessive salt consumption.

    Quality time needed: 12 minutes


    A story of salt, the outcome, your health & the female picture.
    The Science of healthy living.



    Let us start from the tail of the end. Because we all know that every good tale comes equipped with an end that makes the rest of the story worth reading.
    And as such, the developing story of salt is a story of the roughly 2.5 million deaths around the world which could be prevented each year if global salt consumption was to be reduced below the recommended levels.

  • Health: A life of health and fitness is in truth exactly like a game of chess.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    A life of fitness is a game of chess.
    The Science of healthy living.



    When it comes down to health and fitness, and the cerebral battlefield of chess the simple truth is that they are very much alike.
    There are no unearthly and illogical surprises waiting in the dark of night that will upend and change the actual fabric of the landscape.
    Your opponent can not cast fiery magic and summon demons from the netherworld to do their bidding.
    Instead what we have is a beautifully defined field of known and still developing, yet for now, unknown for you and me facts and variables, and the vast amount of personal choices those known, but evolving facts allows us to make.

    And at every step of that personal journey, chess and fitness will leave you standing as the sole commander, at a vast field made up of pure facts and deductive knowledge and the cause and consequences that every single choice will give birth to.

  • MMA and 'The People that Bleed': Meet Brad Picket.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes


    The People that bleed
    UFC fighter Brad Picket



    'The people that bleed' is our own label for a series of videos, all produced by UFC, that I feel show us a more real and nuanced, intimate perhaps view of the actual soul and personality of the real human being that makes up the flesh and bone, heart and thoughts behind the bravado and attitude of the MMA fighter persona.

    In this 9 minutes long video, we get to meet Brad Picket (25-14 MMA, 5-9 UFC), a tiny blue collar sized UK based fighter whom retired after his final UFC fight on march 18, 2017 against Brandon Vera.

  • Health & Fitness: The unhealthy reality of the MMA style weight cut. A BBC documentary.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes


    The Unhealthy Practice of MMA weight cutting
    The Science of a Healthy Life



    For most people getting a bit more fit, and healthy by eating cleaner food and less calories and working out more is a great life improving choice.
    And for most, that will lead to health improving reductions in unhealthy body fat levels and body weight. But as we previously talked about in another article, when you are already in shape, rocking a fit and toned body, eating healthy amounts of healthy food, doing weights and cardio, there comes a limit where dropping even more in body weight and body fat becomes damaging and unhealthy instead of health and fitness improving.

    And beyond that basic reality, you have the insanity of MMA and Boxing weight cuts that far to many pro fighters go through just so they can fight in a weight class that they are to athletic and big to actually be fighting in.
    I am saying that because MMA style weight cutting is not something that anyone interested in health and fitness should ever do.
    Period.

    Neither should pro fighters in my own opinion. In a ideal world you would be the only one doing MMA style weight cuts, allowing you to fight people 20 to 30 lbs smaller than you, with much shorter leg and arm reach, 20+lbs less muscle mass and all the disadvantage that would give them in strength, endurance, strike impact and absorption.
    But you see, when every other fighter do the same weight cut, no one benefits, and everybody suffers from the exact same detrimental and unhealthy exhaustion that MMA style weight cuts are. With less fitness come fight night and potentially worse health for the long haul as the only real result.

  • Health & Fitness: Daily Milk, Fruit and Vegetable consumption, in relation to your mortality rate and health.

    Quality time needed: 10 minutes


    Dairy for the fit and healthy guidelines
    The Science of a Healthy Life



    Time and science continually march forward, and that is a thing of utmost beauty. But that simple fact also requires all of us to keep an open mind towards the way we do our own fit and healthy life so that we can continually adapt and improve as we uncover new layers of scientifically established health and fitness knowledge, and at times, accept that new health and fitness science-based knowledge might force us to change direction and toss out old established "truths".

    So today we find ourselves in a brave new world where a comprehensive Swedish study covering the health impact of daily dairy and fruit consumption ended up giving us so much new scientifically based knowledge about our health and food choices that the time has come to update our "dairy for the fit and healthy guidelines".

    Organic and sugar-free yogurt is still with us, while milk is completely tossed to the side, yes even lactose-free milk gets the boot out my door.
    Why you might ask?
    Well, the answer is simply put science baby, adapt or die :).

    Milk is as far as we understand it right now causing real health issues over time that simply do not happen when you consume sugar-free yogurt or no dairy at all.
    This Swedish study involved close to 200 000 people, and the accumulated data over several years indicates that a high milk consumption shortens individuals life span through increased oxidative stress and inflammation caused by that daily milk consumption.
    And as such milk has to go since yogurt provides all the same high-quality nutrition as milk and thus, all the benefits of dairy can be met through organic, sugar-free yogurt without risking the by now, strongly implicated long-term health issues associated with drinking milk.

  • Science: The Euphoric Flight of Creativity and what hides inside our mind.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes


    The Essence of Creativity, Hides Inside our Minds
    The Science of a Healthy Life



    The Cerebellum inside our individual selfs will dance its very best only to its own bidding. Hidden away, inside and behind the curtain of what we consider our conscious thoughts, our "little brain" powers on with magnificent poise.

    The small, behind the scene part of what we think of as our brain, is despite its small size (The Cerebellum makes up about 10% of homo sapiens total brain volume) commandeering the majority of our brains neurons.

  • Science: Air Pollution and dementia. Global pollution and unhealth, and the link to mortality rates for children under 5.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes


    Air Pollution and our health
    The factual Science of a Healthy Life, updated with WHO data, march 2017



    Science continually spits out more reasons in a never ending string as to why anyone interested in their own health and body should also be caring for a sustainable society and world.
    As if it is not already bad enough with modern day life´s annoying sidekick, air pollution, causing cancer, asthma and respiratory diseases and crazy smog in a growing number of cities. We can now add dementia to the list of unpleasant and unhealthy effects that life in any unsustainable society will cause through air pollution.


    Swedish researchers at Umeå University have uncovered compelling evidence for a direct link between air pollution and dementia. The run down is that if you happen to live in an area that leaves you exposed to air pollution you will run a 40 percent greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia compared to if you would have chosen to live in a city with healthier air and environment.

  • Book: "Legend of the Stone Cutter'', is a short fantasy adaptation of a man that wished for ever more . Originally written by the authors Brother Grimm with minor writing by Mike Koontz. This is an 1 hour long bed time read.




    Kid Friendly
    UHD book reading video TBA
    Short story ( coffee break bite )
    The legend of the stone cutter is often thought of as a Japanese folktale. But there are also seeds of pagan Europe and other parts of Asia in its many origins and crossroads.

    It weaves the tale of a poor man, plagued with unhappiness for his own lot in life. This man worked as a highly skilled but poorly paid stonecutter, and one day he simply came to the conclusion that enough was enough and that he deserved so much more than who he was. His wish for transformative change came to be through the aid of a supernatural being, and with that his greedy appetite for a world of ever more was awoken, until one day he had come full circle and reached a state of peace with himself.
    Written by no one, and everyone.
    Before this slightly altered version, the German authors Brothers Grimm put their thoughts to the pen, but you also had the Scottish author Andrew Lang writing his very own version of the stone cutter. And there have been countless of Asian authors and Nordic ones throughout history, before and after the Brothers Grimm. And as such, I am sure, many others that told their own version of this old folktale, because like the wind, this is an ageless story about life and man, and like the wind I am sure that it will both transform and stay the same for thousands of years to come.
    Enjoy the read!.

    Photography and web adaptation and minor writing by Mike Koontz
    2017, a Norse View Imaging and Publishing

  • Healthy living: When protein face off with protein, what comes out on top? Red meat, plants, nuts, dairy?. And how will it impact health, strength and even the effects of old age.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes


    Meat vs Plant when Protein gets to battle Protein & age.
    The Science of a healthy Life



    In a recently published study, we got to take a pretty comprehensive look at nearly 3,000 men and women all aged between 19 and 72.
    The study participants complete protein intake as well as all the various protein and food sources they consumed was measured. Including various dairy products, red meat and the healthier fish & chicken and plant-based protein sources. Beyond that the study also made sure to measure each participants lean muscle mass, their bone density, and individual strength.

    The takeaway?.
    When looking at the complete study, it was evident ( and to no surprise ) that the less protein you consumed the lower amount of muscle mass and strength. But to the surprise of some, the type of protein each person favored did not have any impact on their strength and musculoskeletal health, and there were no differences based on gender or age group.

    So keep active, eat healthy and make sure to include enough protein, and yeah, skip that red meat based protein right away because it provides zero health and fitness benefit for anyone.

  • Book: "Ligeia'', is a strange tale of love and those who cross back from the realm of the dead. Written by author Edgar Allan Poe. This is an 1 hour long bed time read.




    Suitable for teens and up. Explicit storytelling and events.
    UHD book reading video TBA
    Short story (One Evening Bed time read)
    Ligeia is an hour long read, taking us through a haunted dream when the beloved dead will rise again and make the journey back across the river, from the realm of the dead. And perhaps in this story it is in truth that we get to meet the tormented man that was Edgar Allan Poe.
    Enjoy the read!.

    Photography and web adaptation: Mike Koontz
    2017, a Norse View Imaging and Publishing

  • Space & Science: The flight across the black void and Kaguyas observations of Earth and the way we shower our lunar friend with oxygen.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes


    On continuous gusts of solar wind mixed with terrestrial ions Earth shower the moon with earthborn oxygen
    The Science of Life



    Outside our blue wonders shielded atmosphere, the coldness of space is filled with the burning solar wind. The dust and speckles of stars, radiation, vacuum and alien stuff like dark matter and gigantic black holes. It is a marvel of glorious destruction and life that continuously mix and merge outside our calm home, organic chaos tearing down and building new life things across the vastness of time and our Universe.

    And amongst it all, somehow, each month, Earth fires up its magnetic shields as we position ourselves between the sun and the moon, and for five whole day´s we Earthlings shower our cute little friend with Earthbound oxygen and organic matter.
    In other words, we colonize and shape the very fabric of the alien entity we call the moon with Earthborn biological life and air, organic matter traveling from our blue marble all the way to the moon through the dark void on the winds of the sun.

  • The global Environment Performance Index: Scandinavia sweeps the top 4 as the worlds best.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes
     
     

     

    Environmental Performance Index
     Scandinavia leads the world
    The Science of a healthy life

     

    2016 years Environmental Performance Index tells us in one more way, what we already know, and that is that Scandinavia is one hell of a wonderful place to live. The world's four best nations according to the index are all Scandinavians with Finland, Iceland, and Sweden being the only 3 nations in the world with an EPI score above 90.
    ( All three still have plenty of room to improve much more, and obviously do need to improve much more. )
    And just behind that trio, ranked as number four in the world is Denmark. So, just what is the Environmental Performance Index? Read on to find out.

  • Book: "1984''. Part 3 of 3 in this nightmarish dystopian world by author George Orwell.




    Suitable for teens and up. Explicit storytelling and events.
    UHD book reading video TBA
    Weekend read (Three Nights Bed time read)
    In the age of Donald Trumps alternative facts and war on science, perhaps George Orwell will turn out to be quite the oracle.
    Enjoy this dystopian read!.
    If you missed part 1 and 2, you can start reading the story from the beginning here.

    Author, George Orwell. Photography and web adaptation: Mike Koontz
    2017, a Norse View Imaging and Publishing

  • The science and health of space and the human body, all the things you can also expect from your future romantic, off world date. Updated.

    Quality time needed: 18 minutes


    To Dine and Kiss in Space
    Making love in zero gravity
    The Science of a healthy life



    Making love, off world.
    And some of the many wondrous and perhaps flat out strange things you can expect to encounter during your future romantic, space date.
    In our rapidly approaching near future and a few fortunate souls present day reality, the perplexing realities of dating far away from planet Earth will no longer be confined to the silvery screens of yesterday.

    Soon a rapidly growing number of people will be able to prepare and plan for romantic weekend dates out and away from Earth´s atmosphere. But beyond the tantalizing, and highly romantic aspect of kissing high up above as you look down back on this blue marble. What else is there to going off the reservate and into the dark unknown?. What about the little everyday things when you kiss, hold hands and make love beneath the stars, way out in space.

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