Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Waggle Dance

Not just for bees any more
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(Note: The Culture/Game category is correct for this Idea.)

A few decades ago it was discovered that bees have a simple way of communicating where to find nectar. They dance in a waggling way, in a certain direction, for a certain amount of time (see link).

Well, humans are known to enjoy both nectar and dance, so there's no reason why they they can't dance a "waggle dance", also. Not to mention, humans like games, too, so....

Some modest adjustments are necessary, in translating the bee waggle dance for use by humans. First is that in a behive the dance usually takes place on a near-vertical surface, while humans mostly prefer to dance on horizontal surfaces. Instead of using the bee system that associates an angle from the vertical with a horizontal angle from the direction of the Sun, humans can simply dance directly toward the nectar lode.

Second is that since they are small, bee bodies can move rather faster than human bodies, so a dance-time adjustment needs to be made. Let's arbitrarily associate one complete back-and-forth waggle to refer to 100 meters of distance. Note that a half-waggle could be done at the end, allowing for slightly greater precision (50m).

If you haven't looked at the link yet, the waggle dance is performed something like a "figure 8", except that the shape of this "8" is more like what you can see on a calculator display, than what you would draw on paper --its middle is not narrow, at all.

That middle line is where the waggling is done. The direction the dancer moves indicates the direction of the nectar lode. (Help in the form of using GPS hardware, to get the direction right, is completely allowed!) The number of waggles indicates the distance. After that part, the dancer gracefully circles back toward the starting point and performs another line of waggles. Then another graceful circle (completing the figure 8), and, for humans, one last line of waggles could complete the dance.

(Note that a bee may dance the figure 8 many many times, partly to indicate how rich the nectar lode is, but possibly also because bees aren't very smart and may need to see the dance that many times to absorb the directions being given.)

Humans should be able to farily easily interpret the dance as it was described above. Suppose the "nectar source" is a fairly distant bar or pub --the game is to be the first of the dance-observers to identify it. If it is something else (humans don't live on nectar alone, after all), the dancer should say so before starting the dance.

For anyone who wants to claim that this Idea was developed merely to give guys another excuse to very closely watch girls waggling --the waggles have to be counted, after all!-- well, it is my understanding that despite the fact that all waggling bees are workers/females, human females occasionally enjoy watching guys waggling. So, no sexism intended.

Vernon, May 05 2011

Waggle Dance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waggle_dance
The "bee" version, as mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, May 05 2011]

(?) The "B" version http://www.youtube....ure=player_embedded
[normzone, May 05 2011]

[link]






       I can see this turning up on car GPS, "damn was that one waggle for turn left at the next junction?"
not_morrison_rm, May 05 2011
  

       [+] I'd waggle...(like square dancing, but not!)
xandram, May 05 2011
  
      
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