When you try so hard to stick to your rule not to block people and you have been very successful so far, even through very annoying, disgusting and incredibly senseless allegations, but then one day you’re happily strolling in the sun, all calm and relaxed and notice that a het Harrie whose blog fully consists of reblogs where they hijack larries’ posts to shame them and posts about how much they wish for Harry to go solo added a nasty comment under your words and you feel that something click inside. It clicks and you’re like, “it might be time to break my rule and if I have to do it, what better chance to start than this?” and you feel like you just opened the gates of heaven.

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Island of ants seen floating after SC flooding

Not even record flooding can stop the fire ants in South Carolina. Video recorded by WSAV photojournalist Chris Murray shows what appears to be a floating island of fire ants on top of the water in Dorchester County, South Carolina. (Video)

Put a bunch of fire ants into water, and they’ll link their bodies together to form a solid ball that can float on the surface, transforming into a raft-like assemblage. Put that ball of ants on dry land, though, and it will “melt” away as the ants decouple and scurry off.

These attributes—along with other amazing abilities, like creating bridges with their bodies that other ants can climb across—inspired a group of materials scientists and physicists to perform a variety of tests on the animals. Their primary question: Do ants act like liquids or solids?

The answer is they act like both.

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When they want to cross a body of water, Fire Ants will cluster together and make a “raft” out of their own bodies that floats on the water. A layer of ants on the bottom of the raft serves as a base for the rest of the colony to gather on. Water cannot penetrate the raft, allowing the ants to stay safe and dry. Some of these rafts consist of millions of ants, and appear as a large brown splodge on the water.

How workers can become queens

A honey bee’s fate is decided at birth. The larvae develop to become a queen or a worker. If you’re born a queen, you get to rule the hive.

But other insects are more flexible.

For example, paper wasps and dinosaur ants are able to switch role from worker to queen at any point in their life - and new research uncovers the basis of this flexibility.

Researchers from the University of Bristol, the Babraham Institute and the Centre for Genomic Regulation analysed individual wasp and ant brains from queens and workers of both species to see whether caste differences could be explained by variations in how the genome is ‘read’ and regulated.

In the paper wasps as seen in the video above, the queen is identifiable by behaviours such as shaking the abdomen and aggression to exert dominance.

By looking at the genetic makeup of the insects, the researchers were able to determine what genetic influences were controlling behaviour.

They found very little difference between roles, which was surprising given that hundreds of genes are involved in determining the differences between queens and workers in the honeybee.

This suggests that there is no single master gene determining the role of these wasps and ants.

So you don’t have to be born a queen after all…

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Video: Solenn Patalano