Wired.com has a nice article on the science of collective behavior.

Note that the first profile is an example of good science, in part – in large part – because of this:

Couzin figured out an elegant proof for the theory: “You can cut the nerve in their abdomen that lets them feel bites from behind, and you completely remove their capacity to swarm,” he says.

This is exactly how Feynman describes doing good science. You don’t just formulate a hypothesis, test it, and call it quits. You verify counterfactuals. You test the corners of equation and see if it still works. The purpose is not to write papers. It is to understand the world.

Note that all the things you have to do to do good science are pretty much all the reasons why virtually no social science is good science.

-JD Cross

 

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