Sunday, January 22, 2012

Octopus is a force to be reckoned with

Camo: "Two deep-ocean species of cephalopod, an octopus and a squid, can go from transparent to opaque in the blink of an eye, a new study finds." (active camouflage)

Smarts: despite a walnut size brain (distributed through its arms and head), the octopus displays tool use and play and some basic language skills.

Technology: manipulates stones and shells for tools.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seals have dark eyes... an abyss of revolution

Thanks to Tali Ford for pointing to me this un/cute song about seals with some great lyrics including:

you've taken to hanging out on that rock about a mile from shore
given what I know about that rock mainly that it's populated by seals
I strongly suggest to you that you not hang out there anymore
'cause the seal is a wily and a vicious creature
and the seal will bite you if you give him half a chance
yeah the seal has a mind set on violence
and the seal is the sworn enemy of man

Long live the revolution.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Animal forgetting...outside of history

I'm working through Nietzsche's Untimely Meditations II
Here is a wonderful moment from chapter 1:

Consider the herds that are feeding yonder: they know not the meaning of yesterday or to-day; they graze and ruminate, move or rest, from morning to night, from day to day, taken up with their little loves and hates, at the mercy of the moment, feeling neither melancholy nor satiety. Man cannot see them without regret, for even in the pride of his humanity he looks enviously on the beast's happiness. He wishes simply to live without satiety or pain, like the beast; yet it is all in vain, for he will not change places with it. He may ask the beast—"Why do you look at me and not speak to me of your happiness?" The beast wants to answer—"Because I always forget what I wished to say": but he forgets this answer too, and is silent; and the man is left to wonder.

[a bit further on]
Thus the beast lives unhistorically, for it gets up in the present like a number without any odd fraction left over; it does not know how to play a part, hides nothing, and appears in each moment exactly and entirely what it is.  ... However, with the smallest and with the greatest good fortune, happiness becomes happiness in the same way: through forgetting or, to express the matter in a more scholarly fashion, through the capacity, for as long as the happiness lasts, to sense things unhistorically.