Dec 3


Category: animals

In case I haven’t mentioned it, most of the images on my blog are available in high resolution – just click on the image.

Here’s another beautiful insect, this one a katydid, found in the house. It is about 1.5 inches long. This animal is completely harmless, unless you’re a plant. These guys make a real racket – much like cicadas – and are seldom found at ground level. I have no idea how this one ended up inside. Like most insects it is fastidious and is cleaning itself, just like a cat.

You might be tempted to pigeonhole me as a bug-lover because of my last two posts, but that’s not really the truth. I am drawn to these creatures as I am any other, from unicellular to elephantine, because they are all amazing, and most of them are beautiful. There are few animals that I do not admire or appreciate. Bugs are just another form of animal. Of course, some animals are cuter than others!

Insects are almost universally reviled, and I am squeamish too sometimes. But that seems silly when compared to the miracle of these animal’s existence, their survival, their astonishing capabilities, and their intricacy. I often look at one and think “if only I could build something even nearly as reliable and sophisticated!” Currently, the most advanced machines are only shadows of even the simplest insects, or bacteria for that matter.

I remember reading about a computer that was supposed to have a particular skill almost as complex as that of some particular insect (I wish I could find this research now). But that computer, even if it could mimic some of the qualities of an insect, didn’t even come close to the real thing. I’m sure that it consumed hundreds of watts of power, wasn’t waterproof, and couldn’t reproduce or heal itself.

I’m sure that eventually, machinery will reach this level of complexity, but we are not even close yet. However, as Dijkstra once pointed out, maybe we shouldn’t measure the complexity of our machines by comparing them to ourselves – they are amazing in a much different way. There is room in this expansive universe for beauty and awe to be found in every direction. To look, to notice, is to be in awe – of animals and machines.

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