Collective Behavior For those of you who enjoyed the Murmuration of Starlings video that went viral on G+ last week,…

Collective Behavior For those of you who enjoyed the Murmuration of Starlings video that went viral on G+ last week, here is another lovely treat, taken at the refuge at Otmoor, Oxfordshire. Watch the graceful swoops and soars set to the music of Pachelbel’s Canon, thought to have been written for Bach’s wedding and lost until rediscovered in the 20th century.

If you’ve wondered about schooling fish, swarming insects and flocking birds, watch this superb RadioLab interview given by Iain Couzins, Princeton researcher and boss of fellow G+ser Simon Garnier . Mathy geeks will be gratified to learn that astonishingly simple algorithms can recapitulate seemingly complex collective behavior. The video is 24 minutes long, but worth every second! It is interactive, funny, wholly charming, and I promise you, the next time you find yourself in a crowd, you will thank your stars that you are not a locust.

http://icouzin.princeton.edu/iain-couzin-on-wnyc-radiolab/

Short video of swarming fish that behave like Dr. Couzin’s software models: Clip from Swarm (Natures invasions)

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8 Responses to Collective Behavior For those of you who enjoyed the Murmuration of Starlings video that went viral on G+ last week,…

  1. Liz Krane says:


    Wow! How’d I miss that one? Beautiful! I’m bookmarking all those links.


  2. Wow… really beautiful 🙂

  3. Anonymole says:


    Do you think they’re having fun? They look like they are. You can just imagine afterwards, them talking amongst themselves: “Roy, what a show eh?”, “Sure was Jerry, we really flew that one to a T.”, “Bob? You OK there buddy?” “errrrmmmm, I think I’m too dizzy to sit on this wire tonight, anyone have a nest I can borrow ’till I feel better?”

  4. Sherri Vance says:


    From a theist perspective, I see them praising God. And that gives me great joy.

  5. Peying Fong says:


    Thank you for sharing this Rajini.


    I remember freezing in my steps one night while walking home in Baltimore, catching the sight of a mini-version of this…gajillions going round and round the Ambassador!


    The choreography (okay, the editing) couldn’t be better. I really liked the exit at the very end. Made me think of a part in Balanchine’s “Serenade”. But the score was Tschaikovsky in that case!

  6. Martha E Fay says:


    Amazing. Beauty all around us.

  7. Martha E Fay says:


    And being of a scientific bent, here’s this: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/11/starling-flock/ – The Startling Science of a Starling Murmuration

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