Sunday, February 17, 2013

from NPR to rats

I'm getting contradictory messages on this,  but since my plumbing has been on "watchful waiting" I've been told that bicycling is bad, and I'm actually using the evil 4-wheel contraption. Which leads to more NPR. Which leads to often waiting in the stopped car for a program to finish. I was laid back, transfixed, listening to Natalie Batalha describe what it is like to lie on top of a telescope with stars and only stars in all directions when I saw what: a rat, exiting what I thought was an impenetrable grill on one of basement's ventilation holes, and stroll leisurely down the vertical brick wall to the ground. Yes,

Rats can climb brick walls, trees, and telephone poles, and walk across telephone lines.
Rats can fall from a height of 50 feet without getting hurt.
Rats can jump three feet in the air from a flat surface and leap more than four feet horizontally.
Rats can scamper through openings as small as a quarter. General rule: If a rat’s head fits into the hole then the body will follow.
Rats are prolific. Mother rats can have as many as 8-12 offspring about every 30 days as long as there is enough food, shelter, and water. The young rat is sexually mature at 3-4 months of age.
Each year, rats destroy approximately 20% of all the agricultural products in the world.
Rats are nocturnal (active at night), so when you see rats during the day this may signify a rat population out of control, or you may be seeing weaker, less competitive rats that are forced out into the daylight by stronger more dominant rats.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Obsessive is good

Looks-like-John Lenon writes:

Now. Obsessive is good. We love you for being obsessive. When all is said and down, the most important thing in science/mathematics is simply being correct. In novel work, simply getting to "correct" not to say "elegant" generally requires busting a gut. And there is often a difference between the truth and the whole truth. 

My personal record to date was an  8-word sentence that expanded and mutated wildly into three paragraphs of prose only to collapse back to it original form after five hours of angst. What a waste (?) of an evening!

But, without obsessives, mankind would still be scavenging for berries in the forests. Certainly the Wright Brothers would have never gotten off the ground. As a female Slovakian poet once passionately impressed upon me (in my last PhD year ...):

"The detail is all."