Earlier this month Dr Ronald Breslow of Colombia University suggested that life forms based on slightly different amino acids and sugars could have evolved on other planets and that humankind might be better off not meeting them.
On other worlds ferocious dinosaur creatures could have evolved human-like intelligence and technologies, giving them all of the advantages of scientific progress whilst retaining a taste for raw meat.
The amino acids, sugars, DNA and RNA found in life forms can be of two orientations, right or left, and different shapes. Apart from a few bacteria, the amino acids found in life on Earth all have the same orientation as do the sugars. However it would need only a tiny tweak to these building blocks for a very different life form to grow.
For humans to see themselves as the pinnacle of creation is the height of intellectual arrogance when it is entirely feasible that alternatives could have developed elsewhere.
I am fascinated by all this and have a question I’d like to put to Professor Breslow.
If there’s a chance that dinosaurs could have a planet to themselves, does he think it possible that cats might too. If so, I want to go there and see what it is like.
Once again I am at a loss for words.
The Marlborough District Council is reported to have withdrawn support for a proposed extension of King Salmon‘s fish farms in the Sounds.
If approved by the Environmental Protection Agency the extra 12 hectares of salmon pens would have brought 1600 new jobs into the area, dramatically increased the supply of a luxury food for overseas markets and met the government’s much talked about objectives in regional development.
However, despite initial enthusiasm for the project, the District Council now says that there is ‘no certain economic benefit to Marlborough’. What on earth is going on over there in South Island? Can’t they count?
I suspect the anti-development hand of some environmentalists and it makes me want to spit because it’s obvious that if there were more salmon in the world I’d get to eat it more often. And that after all can only be a Good Thing.
A female African Bush Elephant in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania Français : Femelle éléphant africaine au Parc national de Mikumi, Tanzanie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Because if you do, there’s an arbitration role waiting for you at the Franklin Zoo at Tuakau, south of Auckland.
Sadly Jumbo, an African elephant who was rescued(?) from a circus a couple of years ago after a campaign by animal rightists, has killed the veterinarian who was trying to work with her.
Jumbo’s original circus owners say this happened because the staff at the zoo were not specialist elephant handlers and didn’t know how to treat her properly. The zoo staff are keeping quiet at present – quite properly in the circumstances – but the SPCA has spoken in the zoo’s defence claiming that Jumbo was treated well and that the vet’s death was an unfortunate accident not an attack.
In the meantime the circus spolesman says that for the 3 days Jumbo was in the care of the SPCA before the zoo gave her a home, she was left to stand in her own dung and urine. An allegation which the SPCA vehemently denies.
This has all the ingredients of a thoroughly entertaining ‘He said…she said..’ fracas but no-one has yet bothered to ask Jumbo, who after all knows the truth of the matter, for her opinion.
So if you can help, raise your paw now. As well as being able to talk to all felines whatever their dialect, I speak Ratish, Mouseish and that super-ugly argot called doggish but I’ve never had the chance to learn Elephantese. However I’d be prepared to try if that would help as I suspect Jumbo needs all the friends she can find at the moment since there’s bound to be a few voices asking for her to be ‘put down’.
N.B. Will this incident be full of the hypocrisy and double standards of homo sapiens? When big cats or smelly dogs are responsible for a human death they are promptly euthanased and few people complain. When one human kills another the rest spend years holding trials and arguing about it. So I wonder what will they decide to do about Jumbo………
The slaves are jubilant. At last they’ve managed to catch (some of) the rats that party in the walls.
but effective when cage meets bucket:
So far the strike rate is three out of five. Not very impressive. However it has been more successful than poison, spring-traps or the high frequency sound emitter which supposedly drives rodents crazy.
I’m sitting back enjoying the extermination of small furry creatures but I predict that the rats will soon apply their native cunning and even fewer will be forced to take the plunge.
Talking of small furry creatures – I really don’t like the speculative way in which one of my slaves eyes me as he lowers the cage into the bucket……..but perhaps he’s just teasing.
If only I had one of these…….the rats, rabbits and mice could live in it too and I’d have heaps of space to chase them.
Having told you about Yvonne, the clever cow, I must maintain balance by writing about some cows who behaved in a more typical bovine fashion.
In the snowy north of America herd instinct caused a group of cows to gather for shelter in a shed which was too small for their combined bulk. Being typical cows they were too stupid to organise themselves so they were unable to get out again and froze to death stuck to each other like a package of steak in the freezer.
Now the local authorities are confronted by a problem. How to remove the tightly packed frozen carcases before the spring thaw rots them. Dynamite? A giant barbeque?
Surely there are some hungry wild cats in the area who could help out. Though personally I don’t like frosted meat and probably the wild cats wouldn’t either.
I of course, am green with envy. I’m certain a movie of my life would be far more interesting.
Humans should read this story with humility. Yvonne was far smarter than anyone thought possible. Perhaps humans might not be the highest form of intelligence in this universe.