An international network of/for intelligent organisms
Has anybody ever thought of starting an international organization that makes decisions regarding slime molds? Like how they can be used in research or what the standards for raising them are... I'm pretty sure many fields have an organization that makes decisions like that. The group would essentially publish papers to set standards or compile information about slime molds, encourage public education, and so on. Kind of like a broader version of Ian's idea with the slime mold library.
Does anybody think that sounds like a reasonable idea?
We have such diverse goals with slime molds that we could probably cover a wide variety of topics and become pretty influential.
There's a lot of international bodies relating to various research topics but they don't lay down standards or make decisions on what areas of research should be prioritised ( there'd be out and out rebellion if they tried). They generally encourage coordination and exchange of information. There are a few slime mould conferences around, I've never been because I refuse to do more than a four hour flight for work ( because long haul flights are a living hell).
A less academically oriented body - public information, facilitating communication from public to academic , grow guides, a slime mould festival on the other hand.... We have the seeds of it here and a growing number of of active members - this could be a thing. Though funding..... But patreon....
There used to be small group in the 80s and 90s, maybe we should pick up the torch, start small with an online newsletter. Coming up on my arthritis painkillers at the mo - someone might want to rein this in a little or sanity check....
I don't mean set standards as in set rules which must be followed. I mean set standards like in the form of like advice or stuff we have proven will work. So that way first time users can use the document to assist them and have a baseline to work off of (instead of being like me and spamming the forum with questions).
I think a newsletter is a great idea!
I second that motion and move that we establish a formal club.
We already have one - the SLIme MOuld COperative, we just need people to start cooperating - which we're doing :) and be more cohesive. Actually doing it as a formal society would be a hell of a lot of work and take a bit of funding - which is possible but needs a reputation.
What about a test run? A research project? It's totally possible to get publications on physarum - there's a few hardcore researchers looking at behaviour and a few cell structure people but it's quiet out here, my dept would back me and cover publication fees.
I've got access to papers - anything that's not open access shout and I'll get it. We have the breeding idea but it's slow, behavioural stuff is faster.
What about looking at how it responds to artificial sweetener? Or comparing strain behaviour ( bit more complicated) or something else? Can we coordinate long enough to do a properly controlled study? If we can then we've earned the right to claim to be a formal society.
Yes, it's the cohesiveness of it that we need a bit more of, just a smidge. I'm familiar with parliamentary procedure and Roberts rules of order so if we could find a way to structure meetings of sorts around something like that we could come up with and vote on projects and have interested members sign up and meet online at pre coordinated times and dates to share results and ask/answer questions. Maybe even like a band or discord server or something, or even the chat feature here. I'm working on the breeding project at the moment, still waiting on some materials to arrive from China. I like the idea of a slime exchange stemming from the breeding process, we could all share our new strains with one another and build vast libraries of genetics, and all of us maintaining a copy would help ensure survival. The main goal I think though is getting the general public interested and engaged. The Paris exhibit has done an amazing job of that, but we need to not let the interest wane and fall by the wayside.
Regardless of whether we establish a formal society or not, I believe we should try to have at least one meeting every other week and do some sort of public outreach.
Public interest, I think, is the key to success.
We could partner with zoos or museums to display slime molds or even distribute sclerotia to people. Run more workshops. Btw, my P. polycephalum "Pikachu" is growing well but "Pichu" hasn't shown much growth.
Yeah...like every online instruction set says to use alcohol to sterilize and run through a flame or to autoclave agar and new people look at that and kind of give up. It takes a persistent person to find this site and find out that a sterile procedure isn't always necessary. If we make it so that raising a slime mold seems like more of a home activity instead of a laboratory activity, it would become a lot more popular.
So it looks like what we want is a manual or 'pet care sheet' of half arsed and slack techniques that work well - I suspect we're all using them but we don't write up
When you say meeting, you mean online I guess. Chat room? Or other things ( I know sod all about online communication platforms, I've physically disabled all my device webcams)
Chat room is fine. Any coordinated outreach plan would be great.