March 6th, 2007


Down the way, the road's divided...

An apology regarding yesterday's entry. There were many, many thoughtful comments, and usually I am very good about replying to almost all comments. I am usually very glad for comments. But something went awry yesterday. I don't quite know what. I just sort of feel like I slipped off the face of the world for a bit there. I do very much appreciate the comments, that you guys took the time to make them. I'll come back to those questions later. Meanwhile, Liz, yes I would very much like to discuss this with you further. Do you have my e-mail?

Yesterday, I did 1,511 more words on "In View of Nothing." And I do not know if this story is going to work. I cannot seem to get it right. It's like I'm writing some dim shade of the story this ought to be. Yesterday afternoon, I was ready to shelve the whole thing. But I've decided to give it one more day.

The sun is bright today, and the warmth has returned.

I read an absolutely terrifying article yesterday afternoon in the new National Geographic, about the explosive growth and Disneyfication of Orlando, Florida since the mid-1970s. My first stepfather's parents (my step grandparents, I suppose) lived there back in the '70s, and I remember Orlando as a drowzy sort of nowhere in particular place, all blue crystal springs and citrus groves. I had no idea that it had become such a wasteland of consumerism and superhighways, megachurches and exurbs and McMansions. I suppose Orlando's another place I will never revisit.

Here's a marvelous quote from Lewin's Bones of Contention (1987). It's nothing especially profound, if you spend a lot of time thinking about evolution, but it does a good job of saying what it says:

Although we usually fail to think of it in this way, the world around us today is just one of countless possible worlds. The millions of species of plants, animals, and insects we see around us are the expression of myriad interacting processes, including chance — perhaps especially including chance. At any point in its prehistory, a species might just as easily have taken a different direction, given a slightly altered confluence of events, thus leaving today's world a slightly different place. And this includes the line leading to us. If, for instance, the massive asteroid collision that appears to have spelled the end of the dinosaurs had also wiped out completely the infant primate lineage that existed 65 million years ago, then there would have been no bush babies and other prosimians, no monkeys, no apes — and no us. And if the climatic changes that so altered the African landscape between 5 and 10 million years ago had in fact not occurred, apes might have remained the highest of the primate order, as they were then. There are so many "ifs" in our history that could so easily have shifted the course of events. Despite our intense desire to believe otherwise, Homo sapiens simply cannot be seen as the inevitable product of life on earth..

Oh, and Spooky found my glasses, so I can see again.

Also, a link for those who have not yet heard of the discovery of Albertaceratops nesmoi from the Upper Cretaceous of Alberta.