Public culture has a cutesy understanding of Evolution: how it brings about perfect little creatures - how nice! I was watching the sparrows on the earth in the garden, pecking at the seeds we had scattered like benign Gods. Actually, I could hardly see them, they were so well camo'ed. Around each sparrow I 'see' a dozen virtual ones - all those tiny, vulnerable sparrow-brethren who were not so beautifully drab .. and who were picked off by predators, to die in horrible ways so that evolution could do its cutesy work.
Someone should surely tell the children.
Why aren't sheep green? We are tall creatures and often view sheep from a distance. Their fleeces stand out against the green backcloth of the grassy meadow. But their predators are low and close. Their view of sheep-background comprises tree-trunks and the branches of bushes. That's why sheep are brown ... *
* (To be fair, most terrestrial, herbivorous, temperate ungulates are .. as were sheep before domestication.)
Today I got a letter from the NHS advising me that it was time again for my colon-cancer-preventative faecal occult blood (FOB) test. Important but unaesthetic. But I had a colonoscopy two months ago (q.v.). I phoned - and I'm let off for two years.
I think it was Marx who said that all capitalists would like the workers to be paid more ... by their competitors! Naturally the effect would be to increase demand for their own products while saddling their rivals with increased costs.
The Government asked businesses (in the run-up to the election) to pay their workers more. How d'you reckon that's working out, Karl?
"No-one ever went to their death-bed wishing they had spent more time at the office."
Apparently. So say those advocates for 'work-life balance' and time made for family and friends.
But what about wishing they had spent more time studying quantum mechanics? Or differential geometry?
It's hard to see how you're going to explain R3 x R as emergent on the basis of quantum theory, when space-time is assumed a priori in the development of quantum theory. Or is it me?
[A physicist writes; "Yes, it is you."]
I don't have a Twitter account so I save my more banal thoughts for here ...