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Sep 16 2012

Island of snakes and spiders

When I was a kid lo these many years ago, there was a comforting notion about the balance of nature. I didn’t know at the time, but an eclectic mix of computer hobbyists and assorted math and physics geeks were in the process of demolishing it with a new branch of study called Chaos Theory. That’s also comforting when learning of ecological shifts, especially ones involving armies of snakes and spiders:

DiscNews– “Anytime you have a reduction in insectivorous birds, the system will probably respond with an increase in spiders,” Rogers said. And she thinks this may be true elsewhere. “With insectivorous birds in decline in many places in the world, I suspect there has been a concurrent increase in spiders.

“Guam spends $1 million per year searching departing planes and cargo for stowaway snakes. But the nocturnal reptile is hard to find, especially on the island itself; residents and tourists rarely see them, and even those who actively hunt the snakes often come up empty-handed, according to the release.

I’ve occasionally seen more informed conservatives whip out the bifurcation argument against what they like to call tree-nazis. Informed conservatives that can grasp recursive and fewer and fewer everyday so it’s not exactly a threat to conservatism. But the point they miss is that ecological/environmental upheavals do indeed reach and rest on points of equilibrium for long stretches, but there’s also a lot of chaos, especially starting out, usually in the form of death and suffering, and even for the lucky duckies who race through the bottleneck, that’s not a fun thing to live through whether you are a man or a mouse.

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