Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Please Pull Up to the Second Window

Some nerve.
You take several tons of dead wood and assemble them into a house and then you see termites.
But what's a termite to think? They were here a long time - millions of years - before you were and they eat dead wood.
So building a big pile of dead wood is an open invitation to termites. They're very myopic and probably don't recognize that they're gnawing into an artificial structure. But even if they had sharp eyes and bigger brains the house wouldn't look very different from a freshly felled tree trunk.
At some point ants appear. They're foraging and find a place with water and carbohydrates of all kinds. (Your kitchen).
Again, ants have been looking for food since the dawn of time and they're just acting naturally. Same goes for earwigs, silverfish, centipedes, spiders, bees, wasps, and most other insect intruders.
Humans are semi-responsible for two vermin. Wherever we go cockroaches and rats follow. The brown and German roaches only live in proximity to people. Rattus rattus also doesn't venture far from our inevitable squalor.
Blattus and Rattus probably aren't conscious of humans either.
It's like some super-intelligence built McDonalds' on every corner for reasons we can't comprehend, and then tried to crush us or kills us with nerve gas every time we went there for a Quarter Pounder.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Attack of the Tick Monster

Crab monsters are hardly any problem these days.
Few buxom blondes are born away by enormous arthropods. What we have to contend with are crab's least likeable relatives, the ticks.
Crabs serve some ecological purpose. They consume detritus and other bits and pieces of stuff that other benthic organisms reject.
They're also a food source for octopuses and squids. And who knows, probably bigger crabs, too.
If crabs suddenly vanished from the seas, there would be consequences. Something unpredictably bad.
Consider the same exercise with ticks. No animals that we know of subsist on ticks.
Anteaters eat ants, which don't even taste good. Almost all organisms are consumed by other organisms. Mosquitoes provide food for birds, bats, reptiles and spiders. But ticks?
A creature that did eat ticks would have a difficult time finding them. They aren't a social insect, like ants. They're solitary and difficult to locate. And once captured, there isn't much to a tick unless it's engorged with blood.
Nature, in its wisdom, has eliminated the middle-man. Animals that live on blood take it directly from the source (leeches, bedbugs, mosquitoes, vampire bats, horseflies, and so on).
So, if ticks were no more, nothing would go hungry. Ticks don't even have fleas. Ticks, at their most benign, take blood and make more ticks. At their worst, they spread a variety of bacteria and protozoas.
This summer ticks are as thick as flies. They'll be with us until the daily high is 175 degrees and an absence of ozone bathes Earth in lethal ultraviolet rays. Even then, they will probably survive.
One need not believe in intelligent design to consider that ticks must be here for an important reason.
Once that becomes clear, it might shed light on the purpose of fleas.