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  • Cicada Algorithm Reverse Engineered

    Posted on May 24th, 2004 Brian No comments

    There are a few cicadas on my porch, and I have been fascinated for much of the morning by their behavior. One of them has spent a large portion of its time on my porch stuck in the following loop.

    10 Be on back, trying to flip over
    20 Flap wings a bunch
    30 Flip back rightside-up, after about two minutes of arduous labor
    40 Crawl two inches to chair
    50 Climb up chair a couple inches
    60 Fall off chair, landing upside-down on back
    70 GOTO 10

    Cicadas are like White Trash. They hang around for a long time underground, and nobody ever knows they are there. Every once in a while, they come to the surface, make a lot of noise, and everybody thinks they are gross and disgusting and wishes they would go away. And for them, this mating game is like the lottery. The odds of them winning are extraordinarily low, and they are so dumb that they play anyway. However, there are just so damn many of them that probability says that at least some of them will get to reproduce. Those that are successful have an absurd quantity of kids that spend the next seventeen years as parasites, sucking the life-juice from the trees around them.

    Okay, maybe that was a stretch. But you have to admit that its an interesting survival strategy.

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