Walking around in the market in Saigon you can see all manner of animals for sale. These ‘wet’ markets are the type of place where diseases, such as Covid-19, start up. Different species of wild animals are brought together in close proximity. The people like their food fresh (I suppose the heat has something to do with that). The animals are kept aline in cages and bowls. You select which ones you want and they are slaughtered on the spot – hence blood is splattered and cross-contamination occurs.
I was inspired to write a blog on boobs after reading a post by Jess from Half Girl Half Teacup.
Boobs – what a strange phenomenon or is it phenomena (there are usually two of them).
Everybody is obsessed with them.
Guys are nuts about them and can’t get enough.
Girls are worried about them all the time. They are either too big or too small. They pay billions for cosmetic implants. It’s the end of the world if they have to have a mastectomy. Young girls worry about not having any.
Boobs dominate everyone’s thoughts.
Boobs A Lot
(Yes, I like boobs a lot.)
Boobs a lot, boobs a lot.
Really like boobs a lot.
(You gotta like boobs a lot.)
Boobs a lot, boobs a lot.
(You gotta like boobs a lot.)…
They are obviously not there for the feeding of babies. Gorillas and chimps (our very close cousins) don’t have them and they feed their babies perfectly OK. In fact only 10% of a boob is glandular. 90% is adipose tissue (fat). If girls have boobs that are too big they find it hard to breast feed – the smaller the better is the rule.
So what are they for?
They are simply a secondary sex characteristic to attract males. Males like boobs a lot.
The trouble is that they are a bloody nuisance that women have been saddled with for thousands of years. They cause nothing but trouble (oh I know that a lot of girls like to flaunt their boobs and love the effect they have on men – but that hardly compensates in my opinion). Boobs get in the way. They are not built for running. They are not built for fighting. They have a short life (they head south rapidly if unsupported). They are cumbersome (guys – trying strapping two big bags of sugar to the front of your chest and see if they slow you down and get in the way).
They probably stopped women competing on a level playing field in primitive times. They could not hunt so well.
Women athletes tend to reabsorb their breasts.
The firmness of breasts denote fertility. Young girls are fertile. Older women are less so. The more pert the breasts the more fertile the girl.
Of course with modern technology women have conspired to keep their breasts pert longer and support them so they appear more pert than they are in order to subvert male proclivities. Men are easily fooled.
So why did something so useless and detrimental evolve?
Well Desmond Morris postulates that it is all to do with our bipedal evolution.
With chimps, gorillas and early man the quadrupedal nature of ambulation meant that the male face was lower down and the main focus of male attention was on the rump of the female – hence her rounded buttocks and reddened labia. The buttocks and labia were the main attractants.
When we walked upright the buttocks were nowhere near so visible so substitutes were evolutionarily selected. The boobs and big red lips took on the role of the buttocks and labia.
Aaah!! What does it tell us?
Men are such fools.
A little bit of lipstick and a push-up bra will take all the blood away from their brains. All they see and think about is boobs (and lips, labia and buttocks of course).
Humans and why we’re not evolving.
It is unlikely that we are evolving much at present. We have removed most of the selection pressures that cause evolution. Our amazing brains have produced science and technology that have removed much of the Natural Selection that operated on our populations in the past – at least in the developed countries and increasingly in the undeveloped ones.
- Killed off predators
- Conquered most diseases that would previously have killed us off before we had a chance to breed
- We have improved sanitation and clean water
- We have gained a secure food supply.All that is killing us off early is war, accidents and selfish greed.However there is some evolution. The fact that some people choose not to have children while others have many will, in time, skew the numbers of genes in the population. Is it a worry that it is the least intelligent and least educated that are reproducing most? Probably in the long term, if it is a trend that continues. Education is probably the answer to that one.Overpopulation will lead to war, food shortage and disease. Probably a new virus will emerge to which we have no resistance. Only those with a mutation that provides immunity will survive – or maybe nobody.The only difference between all of them and us is that we will be the first to do it to ourselves through our own greed, arrogance and foolishness. So much for intelligence. Without other qualities it counts for little.Time will tell.
- So will we evolve? Be a blip? A tiny layer in the strata of time?
- Science has demonstrated that 99.9% of all animals that have evolved have passed into extinction.
- But this state of affairs is a blip. It will not last. Soon the selection pressures will return with a vengeance. Our numbers have grown out of proportion and our intelligence will not outdo the threats.
- 95% of us survive long enough to have children.
The most likely selection pressure will be a virus – though we could find ourselves victims of our own greed as we destroy the natural world on which we depend. We could precipitate a disastrous climatic change or even a radical change in our atmosphere.
The Evolution of Humans
Hominids first evolved out of ape-like creatures in the Rift Valley in Africa only 7 million years ago. There have been a multitude of species of subhuman apes. Modern man with his brain-size and thinking power only evolved a mere two hundred thousand years ago. That is the blink of an eye.
The sub-human hominids all died off but for much of our short history we shared the planet with another human species. The Neanderthals, wrongly represented as brutal cavemen, had bigger brains than ours and were probably more intelligent. They certainly had culture and made tools. They were wiped out quite recently. We don’t know if that was through disease, climate change, competition with us or differences over religion. Maybe they came up against an early form of ISIS and were just too kind and nice?
It is a great shame that there aren’t other species of intelligent humans surviving to this day. It would have taken the wind out of religion. It’s hard to be the chosen species when there are more than one. But then I suppose the religious manage to do just that on a tribal basis.
It is only sixty thousand years ago that we migrated out of Africa (and now we’re doing it again) but look at what we’ve done!! We’ve gone from a handful to 7 billion in no time at all.
We think we are here for ever. We think we have removed selection and are immune. We are arrogant enough to think that we can do anything and survive.
But can we?
The Creation of Life
After all the gases and dust created by the Big Bang had swirled its way into galaxies and coalesced into stars the remaining debris orbiting those suns was attracted together through its own gravitational pull to form the planets and moons.
The Big Bang occurred 13.8 billions years ago – a length of time too long for human minds to grasp.
Our planet formed 5.2 Billion years ago.
For 1.7 billion years it raged, boiled and shook as a ball of molten rock with an iron core.
Finally it developed a crust and became cool enough for the creation of life.
Through the searing heat, UV Light, hard radiation, electric storms that bombarded the poisonous atmosphere of methane, ammonia, hydrogen, nitrogen, and water vapour, along with the catalysts of silica and metals, the simple chemicals fused into the building blocks of life – the protein chains and RNA bases.
It took a billion years or so.
The complex organic chemicals built up into a soupy broth in those primordial seas.
All that is possible will happen given enough time. And time there was.
Simple organisms of protein were formed. Then RNA was incorporated to provide greater organisation. One can only wonder at the extraordinary role of chance and unlikeliness of circumstance that conspired through those billion years.
What we know is that 3.5 billion years ago, when conditions had calmed, the first simple, one-celled organisms based on protein and RNA were created. The DNA came later.
Life was a single cell. It prospered and multiplied and evolved for nearly 3 billion years until the planet was a mass of microscopic bacteria-like organisms flourishing on the soup and each other before developing the means of harnessing their own energy through chemosynthesis.
Then the ability to photosynthesise mutated and the atmosphere changed, the oxygen providing greater possibility.
The creation of life was a wondrous thing. One wonders how many other times anything as astounding has happened in this universe. But then time is immense and chance plays its part. In a universe of this immensity we are almost certainly not alone.
Creation might even be easier than we think and a fairly common occurrence. Time will tell.
Isn’t it absolutely awesome????
This one was in the toilet directly above my head and was at least ten inches across from leg to leg. Fortunately it retained its grip and did not fall. Constipation was not an issue!
Being an arachnophobe (peculiar for an entomologist) Australia, like many tropical countries, is particularly daunting. These babies were all bigger than your hand and many were up to a foot across! But they sat quietly in their webs. I could cope – just!
In no hurry.
Effortlessly gliding along,
Lost in the quiet.
Lost in wonder,
In the moment of being,
To gently croon
Across the vastness
To family and friends.
With no enemies,
No need for technology,
No need for weapons.
Traversing the globe,
In no hurry.
To the icy poles
To languidly feed
On the vast shoals,
The plentiful bounty,
Then to the shallow lagoons
To gleefully meet,
To frolic in the warmth
And give birth.
A life of ease.
Back to now,
To be one with the oceans,
To add to the song
Under the stars,
The sun and moon.
A free spirit,
A guru of the unfathomable,
Chaser of mysteries,
An aesthete who craves
A mystic of the deep.
Who knows what giant thoughts go on in the minds of such huge brains?
They have chosen a life of serenity. Not the hustle and bustle of cities but the quiet solitude of being at one with nature.
They live in a world without danger, without enemies and without limits. Food is plentiful. There is no need to shelter from the elements, to hunt, to starve.
They have no need for weapons, shelters or armies, for possessions, work or ownership. They have no war, crime or endless toil. They do not have to scratch a living out of a difficult terrain. They have all they need.
It is a quiet life of contemplation, composing intricate melodies to share across oceans.
They are exquisite musicians, artists and procrastinators.
Their garret is the sea.
They have all they could ever want.
They lived in their millions. There were estimated to have been a million and a half blue whales.
Then came man.
Plants live. Plants think. Plants dream.
We have a tendency to anthropomorphize. We imbue creatures that are most like us with feelings but creatures that are less like us are not gifted with such characteristics. We greatly value brains. The brain is the peak of evolution in our eyes. Creatures with big brains are seen as of more importance.
I suggest that this is a false premise.
Plants, being very unlike us, not being able to move or even visibly react, and not being endowed with a brain, are not afforded any great gifts. We accept that they are alive but we do not afford them intelligence, nor even consciousness. They merely exist and we can chop them up, cut them back and ill-treat them with impunity.
Science is beginning to demonstrate that this view is false. The more we find about plants the more it becomes apparent that plants are conscious, they have memories and they communicate. They are aware of their environment and react when things happen around them. They register people approaching. They react when attacked by insects or diseases. They can even count and hear.
They hear water moving underground and move towards it. They respond to stimuli and communicate through chemicals. Their language is nuanced. They pass on information about the approach of animals or attack from diseases or insect pests. They respond dramatically with electrical shrieks when they are damaged.
How is this possible?
We do not yet know.
Brain cells communicate via electrochemical transmissions through a huge interconnecting network of cells. Plants cells interact in the same way. Perhaps the whole plant operates as one huge brain?
Plants like in communities and families and support one another. But we isolate them from their communities. We chop them down and treat them as inanimate objects.
What if trees are indeed conscious, wise and sensitive? What if all plants are conscious and really do feel pain every bit as much as us but are unable to show us that they are feeling pain? Do plants fear us? Do they dream? Are we their greatest nightmare?
Think of the implications for how we treat them?
Mowing the grass takes on a whole new dimension. Cutting down a tree is of a far greater significance.
Would you be quite so comfortable eating a salad?
Electric Pink Blancmange
A pink blancmange throbbing
Creating our own reality
Out of chemistry.
One of the wonders of the universe: a throbbing pink jelly full of wonder in which our dreams are conceived; an intricate web of trillions of connections which enable us to see.
What thoughts are created in that convoluted series of pulsing folds – so delicate, so fragile, so mysterious? Enough to fill a universe.