Sunday, October 31, 2010

Science, Par Deux

“The mysticism of the religious visionaries of old arose from an intolerable disparity between the hugeness of their desire and the smallness of reality.”
Spanish Philosopher, Miguel de Unamuno

Did you know that “metacognition” is thinking about thinking, and that which allows us to outsmart ourselves - like leaving your credit cards at home when you go shopping? I think I should think about thinking more often. According to Walter Michel, Stanford University professor of psychology, metacognition/discipline is one of the most important lessons we can teach our children. Michel says, “Even the most mundane routines of childhood, not snacking before dinner and saving allowance, are sly exercises in cognitive training. Children are learning to outsmart their desires.” My thoughts on this topic could go really, really deep, but I’ll spare you.

Last year United States Geological Survey scientists in Alaska tracked and documented the longest non-stop migratory bird flight ever recorded. A bar-tailed godwit flew non-stop for 8 days at an average of 35 miles per hour, covering 7,250 miles! Well, I guess if you don’t have to stop to pee…. but on to more important matters, ants.

I’ve always said that humans are the fire ants of the universe. Well apparently I’m more right than I realized as humans and ants are eerily similar. For example, some ants get forced into low-status jobs and are prevented from becoming upwardly mobile by other members of their colony. Non-garbage workers who respond aggressively to the odors that linger on the garbage workers’ bodies confine ant garbage workers, to that thankless task. Hmmmm. In some ant species, the females venture out of the nest, seduce males, drag them back into the nest, snip off their genitals, and toss the rest of him out the door. Sound familiar? Some ant species herd and milk other bugs, take slaves, and farm (growing mushrooms). Oh, and by the way, insect poo poo is call frass. I knew you’d want to know that. Click on Read More Below...

• Did you know that Darwin was a preacher before he penned “The Origin of the Species”?
• Did you know that the US imports more oil from Canada than from any other country?
• Did you know that all of the shrimp served at Red Lobster, and most of the shrimp served and sold in New Orleans is actually from Ecuador?

Me neither, but I now also know that our country’s fiscal failure is all the fault of the Gaussian copula every stock trader adopted about five years ago, which is a classic recipe for a bubble and inevitable bust. Feel free to quote me.

Oh dear, look at the time! Happy Hour! Ba-Bye!

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