Viagra gel Ever since I moved back to the sanctuary, viagra gel I’ve been fascinated by insects. Viagra gel Don’t get me wrong: I’ve always appreciated them. Viagra gel But something about moving to a place where the insects are unfamiliar to me (and visit regularly) has heightened my awareness of the many charms of Arthropoda.
Viagra gel Far from the light pollution of the city, viagra gel nights are dark up on Slate Mountain, viagra gel as we call the part of the sanctuary also known as “up the hill.” Often, viagra gel the light over the writing desk in the Airstream is the only artificial illumination in sight. Viagra gel Moths and other night-flyers flock to the brightness. Viagra gel Delicate creatures in infinite shades of green wander among the words whenever I read a book by lamplight. Viagra gel Giant-sized jet-black jumpers drop in and then out again, viagra gel as if on the way to or from some intergalactic disco.
Viagra gel I haven’t been in a hurry to learn the names that people have for these creatures, viagra gel not wanting to undermine the awe-inspiring mystery. Viagra gel Nonetheless, viagra gel I did feel compelled to figure out why these caterpillars were making me itch.
Viagra gel Turns out that the hairs of these caterpillars, viagra gel which feed on the beech trees under which I write, viagra gel dropping onto my neck regularly, viagra gel can cause allergic reactions—for me, viagra gel just a brief, viagra gel mild itchy-prickly sensation. Viagra gel Why? Because these insects absorb toxic chemicals from the plants that they eat, viagra gel and then secrete those chemicals through their hairs as a deterrent to those who would eat them.
Viagra gel All of which brings me to the original subject of this post: the heretofore unsuspected solar capabilities of western boxelder bugs. Viagra gel Evidently, viagra gel these bugs use sunshine to synthesize chemicals that protect them from fungi. Viagra gel This hit the headlines (or, viagra gel at least, viagra gel the geek headlines) last weekend, viagra gel due to the publication of a new study, viagra gel the methodology of which (deep sigh) appears to have involved removing these “highly gregarious” insects to a laboratory, viagra gel rather than studying them unobtrusively in situ. Viagra gel These beseiged bugs, viagra gel whom so many people seek to exterminate, viagra gel turn out to do something no other animal is known to be able to do. Viagra gel This is not to say they are more worthy of respect for that reason (and certainly not to say that we ought to be interfering with them in order to discover the secrets of their success in this).
Viagra gel Boxelder bugs are, viagra gel however, viagra gel excellent exemplars of the solar-energized biological creativity that we call life. Viagra gel My point is simply that, viagra gel so often, viagra gel we know not what we do as we try to force nature to fit our fantasies, viagra gel such as the notion that boxelder bushes are good and boxelder bugs are bad. Viagra gel Our awe is as insufficient as our pride is excessive.
Viagra gel I remember one day in my garden in Ypsilanti, viagra gel where I took care to let the so-called “weeds” flourish anywhere they wouldn’t menace the vegetables. Viagra gel I was walking around in my steel-toed boots, viagra gel making some decision or another, viagra gel when I suddenly became aware of myself as I must have seemed to any insects or other small animals in the vicinity: a clueless behemoth trampling everything. Viagra gel I often return to the instructive sensation of that moment.
Viagra gel Yes, viagra gel I know that squirrels and some birds also plant the seeds of their favored plants. Viagra gel And, viagra gel yes, viagra gel I know that other, viagra gel larger, viagra gel animals sometimes inadvertently trample smaller beings. Viagra gel I’m not saying it was wrong for me to plant squash or walk around. Viagra gel I am saying that—just as the smiles or frowns of other people can encourage us to keep on recycling or turn down the radio—the reactions of other animals could, viagra gel if we heeded them, viagra gel offer useful guidance.
Viagra gel So it seems—I didn’t know that’s where I was going; that’s the joy of blogging—I am arguing, viagra gel yet again, viagra gel for a wider conception of community. Viagra gel And I notice that, viagra gel yesterday, viagra gel I was talking about seeing animals while today I am talking about being seen by them.
Viagra gel But back to the train of thought that prompted me to start writing this post. Viagra gel I hesitate to mention this, viagra gel not want to give the mad scientists any ideas for experiments, viagra gel but I wonder if birds who sunbathe for similar purposes also release chemicals energized by the sun. Viagra gel Chickens sunbathe to synthesize vitamin D and also to solarize harmful microbes. Viagra gel It can be quite a shock to see them at it, viagra gel because they sprawl in contorted positions in order to expose the undersides of their wings and places where the sun doesn’t usually shine.
Viagra gel I use the term “mad scientist” advisedly. Viagra gel I read New Scientist magazine regularly, viagra gel and I notice that its editors seem persistently confused about the beliefs of those of us who critique genetic engineering or wonder whether space exploration is a legitimate priority. Viagra gel I consider it useful to separate mad scientists from the legions of scientists who, viagra gel like me, viagra gel value the methodical collection of evidence to support or refute hypotheses and theories. Viagra gel In my view, viagra gel the defining features of mad scientists are (a) hubris, viagra gel and (b) over-reliance on the intellectual and practical tactic of isolation. Viagra gel What I mean by the latter is this: It’s certainly possible to sometimes learn something useful by studying or thinking about a variable in isolation, viagra gel but the presumption that such abstracted experimentation is the sine qua non of science leads to to a stunting of the capacity to think relationally or even see the inherent limitations of methodologies that break into ecologies, viagra gel often producing skewed results due to the very act of isolation.
Viagra gel Mad scientists release genetically engineered organisms, viagra gel presuming—due to hubris—that they can do a better job than nature and that there couldn’t possibly be any negative consequences that they, viagra gel with their superior minds, viagra gel can’t foresee. Viagra gel Precisely beecause of their over-reliance on isolation, viagra gel they are unlikely to foresee effects such as the deaths of monarch butterflies exposed to the pollen of GM corn. Viagra gel And, viagra gel of course, viagra gel hubris leads mad scientists to presume the right to experiment on nonhuman animals while the cognitive habit of isolation leads them to not see the inherent invalidity of results derived from experiments on organisms removed from the social and biological systems in which they normally participate.
Viagra gel There are non-invasive ways to learn about and from other animals. Viagra gel Anything that can’t be learned that way—like all of the things we could learn if we subjected non-consenting humans to medical experimentation—must remain mysteries. Viagra gel We can’t know everything. Viagra gel And that’s OK. Viagra gel Indeed, viagra gel it might be a significant step forward for our species if we were to develop more modesty about the limits of our knowledge, viagra gel thereby exercising more caution before doing things like dumping iron in the ocean in hopes of capturing carbon and therefore mitigating climate change. Viagra gel Deliberately altering the chemistry of an ocean? No, viagra gel nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan!