Daily Archives: October 29, 2018

What is the scariest species on Earth and possibly in the universe?

It probably isn’t what you think. Looking objectively there is a species that eats almost anything, lives almost anywhere it wants, has no natural predators, and reproduces almost at will, and hunts by exhausting its prey to death. You might say that such a species should have overrun the planet, and yes we have. What species did you think I was writing about? 🤔

On the “eat anything”, large segments of our diet consist of essentially spoiled food that we call “fermented”, which is food that has been modified by the action of microbes or molds. We are evolved from scavengers, and much of our diet is toxic to other species. Also we are the only species that regularly consumes the milk of unrelated species outside of infancy. And don’t even get me started on alcohol. There are only a few species that can consume alcohol on a regular basis without dying from it, and one of those is the microbe that makes acetic acid from alcohol. We have genes that make enzymes that perform a similar function in our livers, literally letting us consume poison. We evolved this after our ancestors scavenged fermented fruits and didn’t die because they had those enzymes. In fact our ability to consume spoiled fruit is part of the root of the hypothesis we evolved from a scavenger species.

As for our primitive hunting techniques, they are still in use in many parts of the world. When we don’t have ranged weapons we hunt in packs, isolating an individual and constantly pursuing them, never letting them rest more than a few seconds at a time, switching off so that the pursuers are always less tired than the prey, and chasing in circles so that our pack has fresh hunters while never letting the prey rejoin with its herd or family group. And we continue this hunt until the prey drops from exhaustion and allows a close up kill with hand weapons or it just dies from exhaustion and gets butchered on the spot to take the meat back to the rest of the tribe. Sometimes it’s both at the same time, we don’t wait until it’s dead before butchering. Because we are scary like that.

The “reproducing at will” bit is easy to explain, what day is your birthday? Are all your relatives born in the same month? Then we reproduce pretty much whenever we want to or don’t want to but “oops”. As Londo Mollari put it in Babylon 5 “Your women have no season.” We have sex all the time, and get pregnant all the time, and give birth, you guessed it, “all the time”. We reproduce so much that sex has become disconnected from reproduction and has become mostly recreation instead of procreation. For some species sex is a literal death sentence, they die shortly after reproducing. Looking at you, salmon. For humans, we have “le petite mort“, but barring complications during birth, we can reproduce again almost immediately if there is enough food available. The only thing slowing us down is a relatively long gestation period.

Throw technology and agriculture on top of our natural abilities, and you have the scariest species on the planet

I’m not ignoring the recent events involving guns

I’m just trying to not think about them. Because there’s nothing I can do that will change our gun laws one iota, nothing I can do about liars occupying the White House who do nothing except tweet and play golf and drink Diet Coke and eat McDonald’s all day. I write about building a car now, because when I wrote about bike wrecks I made myself crazy and super depressed, and I don’t like being crazy or any level of depressed.

Seriously this is like the 300th mass shooting in the US this year and if the other 299 or so haven’t gotten the ball rolling another one won’t either, even if it’s a hate crime. A hate crime that we enabled by allowing people to buy what are essentially low-performance weapons of war without proof of need or even proof of sanity. It’s just ridiculous how easy it is to buy devices capable of killing so many people in so little time. I mean, sure I said similar things about cars, and I mean them, but at least you have to show some degree of competence to own a car (license), show some financial responsibility (insurance), and register the damn thing with the government (tags). I’m convinced the only reason why we aren’t up to out necks in bodies is it takes a fair degree of skill and a smidgen of depravity to use a gun like that, plus bullets are expensive. It takes a lot of practice to get skilled, and since ammunition is so expensive that degree of practice is also expensive. That’s one reason so many mass shooters are either well-off, or ex-military so they get the ammo to get the practice to get the bullets on target. The last time I shot a long arm was when I was in the Army, and it has been more than 20 years since I shot a pistol, all because I can’t afford to shoot the guns I (used to) own. I let the last one go when my dad died and we sold his guns off, I put mine in with his and Mom’s.

But, I haven’t written about the shootings until now because I have nothing useful to add.

Something else I can’t do anything about is the depravity of men. The reason the synagogue shooter gave for targeting the sanctuary is he “wanted to kill Jews”. There is nothing I can do about him wanting to kill Jews except prevent him from acquiring the capability of carrying out the desire, and as already demonstrated there’s Fuck All I can do about crazy people getting access to that capability. Unless you are convicted of a violent crime there is absolutely nothing preventing you from getting your hands on as many guns and as much ammunition as you can buy or physically carry, whichever limit you hit first. And even a conviction for a violent crime might not prevent you from legally owning a gun, if the conviction was not properly recorded, or if the crime is not sufficiently criminal to warrant preventing you from buying firearms, like many misdemeanor assaults or cruelty to animals.

So to keep from stewing about all the things going on that should make me insane I have been building cars in my head, making sketches on paper and designs in my head about what to do to solve the myriad of problems that come from building a car from Bits You Bought At Random (Not Really At Random It Just Seems That Way). Basically every time I buy something I freeze that part of the design, and everything else has to work with or around the parts I already bought unless it becomes cheaper to abandon the sunk cost. And that phrase means that replacing or bypassing the parts I already bought is significantly cheaper than using them.

For example, I have a straight front axle that I bought so the hubs up front would have the same spacing as the hubs on the front of the minivan used in the rear as a mid-engine, which I bought when I had some more money than I have now and less expenses, and before I discovered I wasn’t going to get the minivan because Mrs. the Poet told the people not to give it to me 😦 She told them something about not wanting a derelict vehicle in the driveway because Codes would tow it, after we had already solved that issue. But anyway, now I have to build with that front axle and spindles unless it would cost less to do something else in the front suspension than to complete what I already have. And as I only need to buy shocks and springs, 4 straight links, hubs and disks, and calipers and fabricate a few brackets to finish tying all those bits together there is little possibility I could make anything cheaper unless someone gives me a small RWD car with a complete front suspension to swap out, and given what happened to the engine and transmission that was supposed to come from the minivan… I’m putting that possibility on the same level with meeting a Sasquatch or Santa Claus in person. Not saying that’s not going to happen, just getting the car and the required bits removed before Mrs. the Poet finds out the car is in the driveway and at no cost to me is a low probability event. It might happen but I would need Mrs. the Poet to not be at home for an extended period and also for it to be cool enough to remove the bits in the driveway and not get consumed alive by insects. Those conditions almost never line up because she goes to see her family in July and August, and it doesn’t get cool around here until, well now, and it’s still kinda warm this time of year. So free car when Mrs. the Poet is gone, and cool enough to not die working outside. It could happen, someday.

Or I might win the lottery and have enough money to buy what I need and also a place to work away from the house. Which do you think will happen first, free car or win the lottery? Leave a comment.