So Bees Can Count. We’re All Doomed.


Results recently reported in PLoS ONE of a study conducted by the ANU have revealed that honeybees can be taught how to count to four. They attempted five, but then they exploded, and tiny segments of leg and honey flew all over the place and things had to be dry-cleaned. Stage two of the study will involve an investigation into whether they can be also taught to perform simple arithmetic. You’re probably thinking, “Awww imagine all the tiny honeybees doing elementary division,” but don’t. If we teach them arithmetic, do you really think it will end there? Oh no, pretty soon they’ll be asking us to teach them how to read, write and forge signatures, and we’ll be like, “hehe okay,” because who amongst us can deny something so little?*

When I was about tenish, I was pretty obsessed with insects, and the only one I hadn’t really kept as a pet at some point was a bee. So I caught one in a jar and watched in horror as it manically bashed itself against the walls and the lid until it was dead. It took about two and a half minutes. And we want to teach these reckless, nihilistic villains the value and beauty of knowledge. Really? It’s all well and cute until they figure out how to commit fraud and suddenly everyone starts receiving credit card bills for over $15,000 and eight dozen overdue library book notifications. Don’t think it can’t happen. And if bees can successfully learn that shit, you’d want to bet that all their insect brothers and sisters can too. We’ve already had the Bubonic plague, outbreaks of malaria, the deaths of hundreds of innocent Lakertyans and one tragically allergic eleven-year-old, and that was before they could accurately draw an angle bisector through an isosceles triangle. DON’T TEACH THINGS THAT CAN KILL YOU MORE THAN THEY ALREADY KNOW.

* I can, because I don’t get the luxury of free tertiary education like they do.

– bec

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Filed under Insects, Random Rants, Science

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