Friday, May 16, 2014

A Day at the Races

Some people bet on horses. Today, science geeks are betting on slime molds, specifically, which one can traverse a 0.8 mm maze the fastest in the Dicty World Race 2014 (named after Dictyostelium, the genus of the competing amoebae). Unlike most sports, “doping and genetic enhancement are not only allowed, but encouraged.” The trainers of the winning mold get $5,000 and bragging rights at a slime mold conference in Germany. (Yes, there is such a thing as a slime mold conference.) Spectators have a chance to win $500 gift cards to Amazon and Chipotle for picking the winning mold.

The World Race is not without intrigue: The team from the University of Luxembourg’s amoebae were DOA when they arrived in Boston for the races. (Officials are suspiciously eying the team from Germany.) Luckily, replacement amoebae were shipped from Luxembourg in time to compete. The races are being streamed live, as well as live-blogged and tweeted, so you have no reason to miss out.

Actual Dicty World Race logo:

Actual slime mold scientist pipetting slime onto a microscope slide for the race:

Geek on!

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