Bionic Connectivity

There is a quite well known riddle. Imagine there are two hooks on the ceiling. On each hook hangs a short thin rope. Both ropes have the same length. The distance between the hooks is twice and half the length of a rope. The room with hooks is beside described empty. How do you connect the two ropes?

Have you ever wondered about ants? At first glimpse anthills look very chaotic, thousands of tiny insects crawl on the in any direction. Looking closer with some patience one can observe systematic patterns of division of labour and finally get the impression each ant owns a purpose serving anthill‘s community.

What happens if you place a sweet, well ripened fruit in certain distance from the anthill? Pretty sure, you imagine ants finding the fruit and in a short time ants cover the fruit. Byte by byte, ants take the fruit apart, take rather large bytes to the anthill.

How did they find the fruit? Maybe they can smell it. Smell driven many ants would stop less fruitful work and run to the ripened fruit. Observation tells another story. There are ant scouts running around the hill always looking for something useful or harmful for their community. Ants meeting another ant on their track seem to exchange information. On a empty paper sheet several ants often walk the same way as if there were given paths. Indeed there are invisible tracks of scent. A scout ant does not require to run to the anthill to tell other ants that there is a delicious meal. Instead the scout ant marks its way walking away from the fruit. If a gatherer ant meets the scout ant or the gatherer ant crosses the scent marked path it decides to follow the track to the promised good. It takes a way until information about food source reaches the anthill on ants’ typical roundabout ways. Then, after a while, more and more gatherer ants find the way to the fruit and the more ants are involved the straighter their tracks get. Just a few ‚simple‘ rules ensure finding, track establishing and path optimization.

Did you recall or find one of at least two solutions of the riddle with the hooks?

If Yes, do not tell. If No, are you still thinking on a ray like path?