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What happened to nature?
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Austin, US
Immortal since Dec 11, 2007
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    From Athila
    2001: A Space Odyssay...
    From alborz
    I Don’t Think I Believe...
    From partymarty
    The Waste Land
    From danthonymous
    Symmetry & Chaos...
    From partymarty
    Random Thoughts
    partymarty’s project
    What happened to nature?
    How to stay in touch with our biological origins in a world devoid of nature? The majestic nature that once inspired poets, painters and...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    If there were water
    And no rock
    If there were rock
    And also water
    And water
    A spring
    A pool among the rock
    If there were the sound of water only
    Not the cicada
    And dry grass singing
    But sound of water over a rock
    Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine tress
    Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
    But there is no water

    -T.S. Eliot



    The Hollow Men

    III

    This is the dead land
    This is cactus land
    Here the stone images
    Are raised, here they receive
    The supplication of a dead man's hand
    Under the twinkle of a fading star.

    Is it like this
    In death's other kingdom
    Walking alone
    At the hour when we are
    Trembling with tenderness
    Lips that would kiss
    Form prayers to broken stone.

    -T.S. Eliot
    Sun, Dec 16, 2007  Permanent link

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    So I was browsing through the gallery on this site, trying as best I could to avoid studying for exams and whatnot, when I came across the Hydrozoa Picture Gallery. I started scrolling down the page looking at all of the stunning images when I realized, wow, there are a lot of hydrozoa out there...

    If there are this many different types of, well, jellyfish, how many different species of animals and plants are there on Earth? I did a little bit of research and came across the wikipedia article on Biodiversity. Heres what it had to say on the number of species:

    * 287,655 plants, including:
    o 15,000 mosses,
    o 13,025 ferns,
    o 980 gymnosperms,
    o 199,350 dicotyledons,
    o 59,300 monocotyledons;
    * 74,000-120,000 fungi[11];
    * 10,000 lichens;
    * 1,250,000 animals, including:
    o 1,190,200 invertebrates:
    + 950,000 insects,
    + 70,000 mollusks,
    + 40,000 crustaceans,
    + 130,200 others;
    o 58,808 vertebrates:
    + 29,300 fish,
    + 5,743 amphibians,
    + 8,240 reptiles,
    + 10,234 birds, (9799 extant as of 2006)
    + 5,416 mammals.

    However the total number of species for some phyla may be much higher:

    * 10-30 million insects[11];
    * 5-10 million bacteria[12];
    * 1.5 million fungi[11];
    * ~1 million mites[12]

    Those figures are, simply put... amazing. I was literally stunned (and still am) by the sheer abundance of life there is to be found everywhere we look. The diversity of life on this planet is practically incomprehensible to us. 70,000 different types of mollusks??... 40,000 different types of crustaceans??... What the hell??... Nature truly is an artist.

    And to think, this diversity of life that we see here on Earth is just that: here on Earth. The Earth is like a grain of dust in the universe, or, as a friend of mine once put it, "we are less than .0000000000001% of the matter in the universe (and in reality, much MUCH less). It is closer to say that we make up 0% of the matter in the universe than it is to say anything else."

    Imagine the most absurd, ridiculous creature you can think of. It's probably got multiple sets of eyes, tentacles coming out of its ass, a purple exterior etc etc... Well, when you consider the vastness of space and the Picasso-like vision of nature and evolution, theres probably a good chance that something like it exists somewhere out there in the cosmos (hell, it might even exist here on Earth!). Talk about diversity of life...

    Another thing that caught my eye in the wikipedia article:

    "Biodiversity found on Earth today is the result of 4 billion years of evolution."

    4 billion years... What does that number even mean? We think 100 years an incredibly long period of time; longer than most lifetimes in fact! How can we be expected to grasp a number like 4 BILLION??

    Generations of human beings are separated by about 20 years, meaning we can't even relate to people TWENTY YEARS younger or older than us!... What the hell does 4 BILLION mean to creatures who consider two decades an almost unbridgeable gap??

    I don't know... I really don't know...
    Thu, Dec 13, 2007  Permanent link

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    When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
    When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
    When I was shown the charts, the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
    When I sitting heard the learned astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture room,
    How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
    Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
    In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
    Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

    -Walt Whitman


    Wed, Dec 12, 2007  Permanent link

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