Friday, January 25, 2013

Non-Migratory Geese, and E-coli That Does Not Evolve into a Person

This morning I got up and stumped into the kitchen to put the kettle on.  I was in that stunned state I frequently am in when I wake up, eyes unfocused and staring, and I was standing at the kitchen window, but such was my state of still-feeling-asleep that it took me a moment to realize what I was seeing.  It looked like the whole pond was on the boil.  When I realized that it was the geese doing their morning ablutions, instead of the ducks, I was able to make the motion immediately relatable.   The ducks do just that same series of movements,  ducking their whole bodies under, head first, several times in a row, and then shuddering quickly to fling out the water.  But when they do it, it's sleek and quick and smooth, with some spraying of water as they shake their feathers out, but not this roiling, churning, splashing, swirling hugger-mugger that was going on with the geese.   Quite a lot of violent motion going on out there.

So -- I was thinking, as I made coffee.  Are the Canada geese that live in Milwaukie a step in the evolutionary path?  Since they no longer migrate, I mean.  Geese do migrate, right, and every time they fly somewhere, they fly in that pattern of long vees which makes me immediatley think of migration -- when I was a child I would see and hear a vee of geese going south, and my parent would exclaim, 'Look, honey, the geese are going south for the winter, see them?"  And now these geese, this flock of a couple hundred geese no longer goes anywhere, but lives here year round.  So that is changing their programming, isn't it?  They are now no longer migratory creatures.  Their children are also not migrating, but staying here with Mom and Dad.  This has been the case for at least three years, and probably much more, but these three years I can at least attest to.  So what the heck?  I haven't seen any articles about this, or even questions as other people notice and ask, so either I am the only human who has realized this, or else everyone realized it so long ago that it is now a non-issue.  The evolution of a species right before our eyes!  Or at least this sub-set of a species.

And this caused me to remember that senator from Louisiana, who will probably be remembered everywhere by everyone because of the stunning stupidity of his remark, which was immediately placed on YouTube, and will no doubt be making people exclaim for years to come.  He was opposing a group of science teachers who were there hoping to repeal Louisiana's current law which requires teachers to give equal class time to the myth of creation as laid out in the Bible.  Kept interrupting them to ask things like "Is evolution something that you can prove to me right here?"  and the science teacher, very patiently, was explaining the process of the evolution of the E-coli virus, and how each step can be frozen, and then viewed, and the progress of evolution seen right in front of your eyes, and this senator (Mike Walsworth, in case he ever runs for President) interrupts again to ask, "Does it evolve into a person?"

Into a -- does the VIRUS E-coli evolve into a -- do you have the faintest idea of what the word evolution means, you idiot?  Who elected you? 

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