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John Byrne
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Grumpy Old Guy

Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 24 January 2023 at 2:56pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

“Not where he eats, but where he is eaten.”

Hamlet said this of the recently murdered Polonious. “A certain convocation of politic worms are e’en now at him.”

THIS article considers, in amusing fashion, the various beasties that most likely made lunch of our ancestors.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 24 January 2023 at 3:32pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Quick story: When my father was about 11 years old, pre-WW2, he was tasked with taking the goats and sheep out to pasture on the mountainside. He brought them back to the pen by nightfall and had to ride back home. He was attacked by wolves. The horse, luckily, kick-clobbered most, by one managed to bite my father's leg. Once he was able to escape them, in a safe spot but far from home, he urinated in his hands and put that on the wound. Yes, it's a myth that this is helpful, but he was from an entirely different world.

In short, even in recent history (even now in many parts of the globe), we are FOOD!

"Top" of the food chain...!?
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 24 January 2023 at 7:40pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Being at the top doesn't mean there aren't many ambitious runners-up eager to dethrone us.

Edited by Andrew Bitner on 24 January 2023 at 7:41pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 30 January 2023 at 3:06pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Don’t deceive yourself that we are the “top”. Our position of “dominance” is entirely artificial, based on technology rather than biology. Drop any of us in our natural state into the middle of the Sahara, the Amazon jungle, or the Antarctic and we’ll be dead in no time—while thousands of creatures we consider “inferior” to us thrive.

And that’s not even considering bacteria, that every so often like to remind us who REALLY rules this roost!

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 30 January 2023 at 6:45pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Those are all excellent points. We kid ourselves that we're on top because we have technology that lets us kill, move quickly, and heal many injuries or illnesses--but as noted, that doesn't mean that any given member of us could or would survive even mild conditions without that help.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 30 January 2023 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

It annoys me when someone says “we went to the moon!” No, a few hundred very smart people accomplished that. The rest of us just watched (and if we were particularly stupid, denied).

I often have the same reaction when some sports team wins its trophy, and fans use “we” to describe the victory. Again, not “us”, but a small group of accomplished people.

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 31 January 2023 at 2:31pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

If I remember correctly, there was a good episode of THE WONDER YEARS that addressed exactly that point. The kid was so thrilled that "we" were winning a basketball tournament until the team lost--and the star player tore into the kid (a little) by saying HE was the one out there playing, not the fans on the bleachers.

I think it's something similar that gives people false confidence about what they can achieve. "Well so-and-so did it, I can too!" overlooks the accomplished person's background, talents, skills, and experience. 

It's true that American men have walked on the Moon, but "we" didn't get them there. Well said. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 31 January 2023 at 2:52pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Remembering when I was living in Brooklyn Heights, and there was a story on the news about a very complex and dangerous surgery having been successfully performed in a Manhattan hospital.

One of the TV reporters referred to it as a “miracle”, and the doctor in charge got angry, saying it wasn’t a miracle (ie, direct intervention by God), it was a highly skilled medical team doing what they were trained to do.

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 31 January 2023 at 3:17pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The word "miracle" has lost all meaning due to misuse like the example above. I'm glad the doctor spoke up in defense of the medical team and what they accomplished without divine assistance.

It would be a miracle if an insurance salesman with a pen knife performed that procedure successfully. It's not a miracle when a team of doctors and nurses, who have spent thousands of hours perfecting their skills, achieve the same--but it is worthy of recognition for what a heroic thing they did.


Edited by Andrew Bitner on 31 January 2023 at 3:19pm
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