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Electrostatic swarms

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(+2, -1)
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Many animals form swarms or flocks - starlings, bees, locusts and ants are just a few of the four examples I can think of.

On an apparently unrelated note, it is possible to build battery-powered ion guns which will spray out either positive or negative ions, leaving themselves (and whatever they are attached to) with a net negative or positive charge, respectively.

What I propose (for reasons which will become apparent in the fullness of due course*), is to fit each member of a flock or swarm with such an ion gun. Half the members of the flock will carry guns of one polarity, half the other. The result will be a flock (or swarm) consisting of individuals with two different net charges.

If two individuals of the same charge approach eachother, they will experience a slight repulsion. But if two individuals of opposite charge get too close, they will experience a short, painful zap as the charge sparks between them.

After a learning phase, this should result in entirely new flock dynamics, designed to minimize the frequency of zapping.

*not yet.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 06 2016

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       Humans are animals too,
pocmloc, Jan 06 2016

       //it is possible to build battery-powered ion guns   

       blueprints please
the porpoise, Jan 06 2016

       + before reading. Sounds great.
pashute, Jan 07 2016

       - after reading. Sounds terrible.
pashute, Jan 07 2016

       I think all the little rubber boots needed to prevent leakage of the charge could be awkward.
not_morrison_rm, Jan 08 2016

       // little rubber boots needed to prevent leakage of the charge// We'll start with things that fly.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 08 2016

       Traffic cones wouldn't need to fly.
pertinax, Jan 10 2016


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