5.3.02 - Go
I sorta kinda tackled
evolution a while
back, but I need to return to the topic, and reinforce my negative opinion of El
Schmucko, Charles Darwin.
Now. I appreciate all the
work that Darwin did. I really do. I mean, he went out, he looked at
animals and stuff, he probably had to crap in the woods and off the side of his
boat a lot, and he did his share of writing. That's all very nice.
He came up with his theories of evolution and natural selection, made a few
bucks, retired to Boca. I won't begrudge him any of that. Wait, I
will, actually. Right now.
I don't want to bore you with
the entire concept of natural selection, so I'll just bore you with two little
1) If a creature possesses a
certain trait that helps it live long enough to doink other creatures, it will
contribute disproportionately to the offspring that make up the next generation
of creatures, yo.
2) There will be a higher
proportion of creatures in the next generation possessing the same
characteristics that helped their capable and obviously horny parents
survive. Fo sheezy.
This is all very well and good
and seemingly accurate. Take a case like an insect that looks like a
leaf. It's easy to see that it helps them survive, because if they look
like a leaf and not like a bug, creatures who eat bugs or things that look like
bugs will have a tough time spotting and eating the bug that looks like a
leaf. Of course, creatures that eat leaves will probably often wind up
with a mouthful of bugs that look like leaves... a somewhat glaring hole
in Darwin's case, though not the particular hole I'd like to focus on.
So, we see that bugs that
looked less like bugs and more like leaves would have a better chance of
survival, and a better chance of passing on the "Hey, get me, I'm a
leaf!" gene to their offspring, and the bugs that looked less like leaves
and more like bugs would tend to get eaten, until all that was left were the
bugs looking like leaves, breeding like crazy. This process can take a
very, very long time, as many as ten to fifteen years. The leafbug, or
whatever the hell its called, is a pretty simple case, and it's easy to see how
it works. Look like a leaf, live, make other bugs that look like leaves.
But if we want to make fun of
Darwin, we have to look at more complicated creatures. For instance, the
coolest fish of all time, the Archer Fish.
fish are those fish featured on nature documentaries, the fish that spit streams
of water at bugs (the kind that look like bugs) on branches, knocking the bugs
into the water and then eating them.
If you've ever tried spitting
water on a bug, you know it's, well, kinda easy. Especially if the bug is
just sitting there, and you have a glass of water handy. But keep in mind
you have a bigger mouth than a fish, okay? Jaded bastards.
To shoot a bug, the archer fish
presses its tongue against the groove in the roof of its mouth, forming a
tube. It then sticks its snout out of the water and snaps its gills shut,
forcing a jet of water towards its target.
It can do this about seven
times in rapid succession. It has excellent aim for up to five feet, due
to large eyes located near its mouth, which give the fish good binocular
vision. It can even make allowances for the curvature in trajectory of the
stream of water, if necessary, and holy fuck, it actually has the ability
to fucking compensate for refraction (italics and swear words
mine). See, the great vision isn't enough, because it's ultimately looking
through a layer of water, which distorts the light, which makes the bug appear
to be somewhere it isn't, so it actually learns how to position itself
directly below the insect to cut down on refraction. Amazing. What's
more, its back is darkly colored, which helps to camouflage it from the insects
sitting up on the branch, and its body is shaped to allow it to cruise just
below the surface of the water.
We're well beyond stupid bugs
that look like leaves, here, Darwin, you asshat. We're talking about
multiple characteristics that needed to develop in this fish (and this is apart
from the basic fish things, like swimming and breathing underwater and being
delicious pan-fried with garlic):
1) A grooved palate
2) A tongue that can be
pressed against it, forming a tube
3) The gill-snapping shut
4) The rapid-fire
power-up (which completely 0wnz)
5) Knowing to stick its
little fishmouth out of the water, which is just so darn adorable
6) The big eyes, as well
as said eyes being set forward in the head
7) Knowing or learning to
adjust aim for trajectory
8) Actually being able
to adjust aim for trajectory
9) Learning how to
compensate for fucking refraction, fer crying out loud.
Jesus. Fucking refraction.
10) The camouflage and
Now. Darwin. Honey.
All of these things need to be present for this fish to be able to make a living
shooting bugs off sticks. All of them. So, am I really
supposed to believe that all of these traits just developed in tandem?
All of them?
This whole thing doesn't work,
and doesn't provide an evolutionary advantage, if these elements develop one or
two at a time. I mean, take away the groove in the fish's palate, and you
got nothin'. You've got a camouflaged fish with binocular vision that knows a
fuck of a lot about physics but can't catch a bug to save its life. Take
away the gill-snap and you've got a fish with a mouthful of water. Take away
all the aim or even just the ability to correct for trajectory, and you've got a
fish that can't hit the side of the barn, just firing jet after jet of water
into the air, missing by embarrassing margins.
I'm not buying all of these
traits just happening to develop simultaneously, Chimpy, and I'm not seeing how
these traits are advantageous one or even a few at a time. Hence, natural
selection, in this case, is a load of flop.
And a few more tidbits to take
into account: the archer fish is also a pack hunter, and many of them will
gather together to shoot down the insects cooperatively. Ya dig
that? And you know what else? Shooting bugs isn't even the fish's first
choice for capturing prey. When first spotting an insect overhead, it will
jump out of the water (it can do that, you know) and try to catch the bug in its
mouth, only resorting to spitting if the insect is out of reach. By
jumping, one would guess, it doesn't run the risk of a fellow shooter taking the
Another point to be
considered: the bug. It's sitting there on a stick, watching a fish
jump out of the water at it for a couple minutes. I don't know what it's
thinking, probably something along the lines of "Huh. I'm a
bug. Lookit the fish jumping out of the water at me. Wonder what
he's up to. Well, anyway. I'm bug." Perhaps, by now, it
should have evolved to where it knows that, if it doesn't clear out of there or
start looking like a leaf, it will soon be pinned down by sniper fire?
5.2.02 - Oook
Here's something I came across
a while back and wanted to incorporate into a temp chat, an Internet
Chat with Koko the Gorilla.
Unfortunately, I can't think of any way to really make use of it, so I'll just
I've always been amazed by
Koko's intelligence and vocabulary, but this chat log kinda took the wind out of
my pro-talking gorilla sails. I'm starting to think that Koko might not be
as gifted as advertised.
A lot of the answers she gives
don't seem to have much to do with the questions she is asked, but her trainer
can always find some way to explain how relevant Koko's responses are.
You'll see what I mean when you read it. It's pretty funny! I think
Koko outdoes me with chat humor.
And, that's about all I've got
for today. Kinda pooped. Seeya tomorrow!
5.1.02 - Temp
Lore from brunching.com has a
book coming out in October! Hooray! You can pre-order it from
amazon.com by clicking the banner up there. You can? Nay, you
Speaking of advertising, that
happens to be the theme of the latest Temp Chat!
here to check it out!
Three Guys Walk Int....
I decided to quit my current
agency and sign with a new one. Time for a change, really. Time to
Signing with a new temp agency
is always a huge pain in the ass. You can pretty much kiss an entire
afternoon goodbye, mainly because of the paperwork and computer skills testing
The paperwork is especially
bad, because you basically need to re-write your entire résumé on the agency's
own unique forms. I don't even know why I bother with a résumé, since I
wind up simply recopying it into little boxes once I get there.
However, this agency I signed
up with recently was different! When I called to set up my appointment,
they told me I could take care of about 50% of the paperwork online before I
even arrived. Hey, great! Welcome to the paperless office of the
So, I went and used their
online forms. Since I had time to think about my responses, and wasn't
rushing, I could edit myself and even add in humorous comments, which I
did. I decided I would let this agency know outright just who they were
dealing with. They'd know I was a wiseass, they'd know I had a sense of
humor, and maybe I'd even tell them about my website, something I never even
tell the people I work with. I've always had this vision of my ideal temp
agency, one where they know who I really am (a shiftless yet amusing
layabout), and one where they will really try to find me good or at least
One section of the form asked
me to describe the kind of career I was looking for, my ideal job, my special
abilities and traits, etc. So, I typed my responses into the little box
provided, trying to make the last line of my response light-hearted and
humorous. This would surely tip them off that I was no ordinary run of the
For example, under:
"Please briefly describe the type of career opportunity you are
seeking", I wrote something along the lines of:
"I am seeking a
challenging, exciting career full of variety and growth potential; a career that
would allow me to exercise not only my administrative capabilities but also my
creativity and problem-solving skills. I would prefer an Executive
Assistant position, although I would consider an Administrative Assistant
position if the environment was right. Oh, and jeans, man. I gotta
be able to wear jeans."
Well, it was something like
that, only a little better. Not funny, really, but it might tip them off
that I'm taking the whole thing too seriously. Under "Traits
and Abilities", I listed the usual cluster:
"I am self-starter, a
creative problem-solver, and am able to cope with high-energy environments and
deadline-oriented projects. I am highly organized, efficient, dedicated,
and I work extremely well both in groups and on my own. I keep a cool head
under pressure, I am familiar with a wide variety of software, and I possess
excellent written and communication skills. I can also use phrases like
'connective facilitation of proactive paradigms' with a straight face, if need
There were about ten little
boxes like this to fill in, and I tried to add one humorous line to the end of
each of them, then submitted it to them over the internet.
When I went in to the agency
the following day, I took the tests, then finally sat down with the temp
agent. I saw him pull out a paper, and could see the responses I submitted
were printed out on them. Perfect! Soon he'd be chuckling at my
comic genius and I'd be joking around with him and then we'd be good pals and
play basketball and talk about chicks and he'd find me cool jobs.
I quickly noticed, however,
that he was not laughing, or smiling, or even commenting on my
comments. We was looking down at the paper, reading all the lame-ass
arglebargle, but not reacting in any way to the light-hearted stuff. Sure,
maybe they weren't all knee-slappers, but he could at least acknowledge them in
some way. Even, for the first one, just saying something like "Oh,
you wanna wear jeans, huh?" Something.
But I got nothing from
this guy. At one point, near the end of the interview, he leaned over to
open a desk drawer, and I squinted at the paper. Here, basically, is what
of Career Opportunity Sought*
|I am seeking
a challenging, exciting career full of variety and growth potential; a
career that would allow me to exercise not only my administrative
capabilities but also my creativity and problem-solving skills. I
would prefer an Executive Assistant position, although I would consider
an Administrative Assistant position if the environment was right.
Whaaaa? Da hell?
Where did my charming little comment go? It got cut off! There must
have been some sort of character limit that they didn't bother mentioning!
I didn't print my entire entry. I glanced at the next one and saw:
self-starter, a creative problem-solver, and am able to cope with
high-energy environments and deadline-oriented projects. I am
highly organized, efficient, dedicated, and I work extremely well both
in groups and on my own. I keep a cool head under pressure, I am
familiar with a wide variety of software, and I possess excellent
written and communication skills. I can al....
no. It cut that one off too! It cut them all off!
Without my stupid little jokes, I'm nothing! I'm nothing!
threw me. I didn't know what to do or say after that. I somehow
muddled through, sweating and mumbling, until he was done with me.
I haven't gotten a
call from them yet. Maybe it has nothing to do with the interview.
Maybe they just haven't found something for me yet. And hey, at least
while I sit home, I
get to wear jeans!
We really need to start keeping
an eye on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They're being very
In March, the military forked
over $50 million to M.I.T. to design futuristic combat gear for U.S.
soldiers. And when they say futuristic, they really mean it.
For example, they're envisioning a technology-laden supersuit that will make
soldiers bullet-proof, super-strong, and even invisible.
An actual quote:
psychological impact upon a foe when encountering squads of seemingly invincible
warriors protected by armor and endowed with superhuman capabilities,'' MIT's
publicity materials said.
Uh-huh. They're talking
about nanotechnology, engineering on a molecular scale. A very silly
molecular scale, apparently. Some features this cyberoutfit will
1) Allow a soldier to
become bullet-proof. Sounds good.
2) Allow a soldier to
jump twenty feet into the air. One must ask why. Do soldiers in
combat often grit their teeth and curse the luck that left them without the
ability to leap twenty feet straight up? Are we finding most of our
enemies hiding on the rooftops of two story buildings? Are we planning an
offensive against that dastardly Hadrian?
3) Automatically apply
pressure on a bleeding wound, which, uh, doesn't really make me to confident in
the whole bullet-proof concept.
4) Harden a section of
the uniform into a splint, in the event a bone is broken. Possibly a leg
bone? Possibly from plummeting twenty feet?
5) Harden a section of
sleeve for use in hand-to-hand combat. This was actually referred to in
one article as a "karate-sleeve." Kung-fu grip can't be far
6) Inject morphine
directly into the soldier's body. If they're wounded, or, you know, if the
bars are all closed.
7) Recycle the wearer's,
um, moisture. Ew. Calling Frank Herbert!
8) Changing colors or turning
the wearer invisible.
This paints a picture not only
of "squads of seemingly invincible warriors protected by armor and endowed
with superhuman capabilities", but of "squads of seemingly invincible
color-changing karate-chopping warriors, leaping twenty straight up and landing
with a scream as their ankles snap and their outfits harden and inject them with
drugs and they slump over into unconsciousness." I'm not sure what
this will strike into the hearts of enemies, but it might not be fear.
Perhaps I'm being a bit
skeptical. There is, after all, an obvious danger in developing invisible,
nigh-invulnerable soldiers, namely: every goddamn news reporter who does an
article or story on it using the line "But is this science-fiction?
Or science-fact?" and then being all smug like they're really clever
to have thought of that.
Another concern I am pretending
to have is the possible impact this technology will have upon the temping
industry. I mean, what if they start designing super-temps? Temps
outfitted with special Dockers that will protect their shins from getting
bruised from contact with open file drawers! Or conceal unwanted,
mid-morning erections from the rest of the staff! What if they develop
white cotton button-downs that will inject caffeine and nicotine directly into
the temp's bloodstream, eliminating the need for breaks and naps? Special
gloves that will protect them from the horror, the sheer horror, of getting a
staple jammed under their fingernails. Clothing that can change colors to
match the shade of embarrassing toner smudges. Special soundproof
ear-covers that can snap into place to protect the temp from annoying phone
calls. My very livelihood could be in jeopardy!
Come to think of it, maybe the
military would pay me $50 mil to develop a special temp cybersuit. I can
start right away. Just as soon as the caffeine kicks in.
week: All Look Same? This test shamed me horribly, so I
thought I'd pass it on. Can you tell the difference between Chinese,
Japanese, and Korean faces on sight? I only got 4 out of 18 and I feel
like a total dick about it. See how you do! Also, Mini-Putt,
a flash miniature golf game that is incredibly enjoyable for some reason.
And, Incriminati! Your folks are coming over, hide the porn!
And the drugs! And the underwear! And Gary Glitter! And about
a million other things. A very noisy yet entertaining flash game.
Week on Not My Desk!