First of all, you all SUCK at open forums. I got two responses to the question I posed the other day. My own mother didn’t even respond! I’m convinced you are not as interested as I am in the fine details of the evolutionary process. But in case you are, and for those two wonderful people who did respond, here’s the answer.
Q: Why/how do some organisms evolve to become infertile?
A: It has to do with propagation of genes in the gene pool. Consider a community of bees. Worker bees live generally a month, while the queen can live up to six years. The queen is the only bee in the hive that can reproduce, and she lays thousands of eggs. Every bee in the hive descends from her, so they all share half of her genes. Now say a worker bee is able to reproduce but can only produce, say, ten offspring. That is ten offspring with his genetic material. But say he can use his energy to feed the queen, who can produce thousands of offspring. Though these offspring are not his, they do share some of the same genetic material. So therefore, he continues to expand his gene line indirectly. And ergo, infertility.
Ok, now that we’ve covered that, I have 2 points to make with this post. First is that last night, I went to see the Banff Mountain Film Festival. For those who don’t know, Banff is a collection of the most badass stunts you will ever see in one show. Badasses from around the world film themselves doing insane things (free solo climbing, naked high lining, off-trail skiing, white-water kayaking…) and these videos are exhibited everywhere. Freshman year, I had a chem lab, so I couldn’t make it to the showing in Hamilton. But last year, I saw it, and it was fantastic. This year, though, was special. This year, I saw the Banff Mountain Film Festival in the most badass country in the world, surrounded by 1400 other BAMFs. It was one of the largest turnouts in the world out of North America, I heard. How nice it was to share a room with a whole lot of people who share a passion for the outdoors with me.
One of the highlights of the festival each year is the joke film. Last year, it was a group of guys mountaineering up a car garage. They had full packs and tents, and they ventured all the way up to the top level of the garage through treacherous winds and temperatures. They made it, in case you’re curious.
This year’s joke film was CARCA, the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Cat Association. A bunch of guys in the Canadian Rockies claimed cats made search and rescue expeditions 75% more effective, and they brought their felines up mountains with them, packed away in little cages. When they let the cats (on leashes) out to find lost bodies, the cats needed to be pushed. They hissed, ran the other direction, and showed little interest in the snow. Another reason I prefer dogs to cats.
I’m always inspired by these films. It’s probably a good thing that I’m leaving the country soon, because after watching them, I always want to do stupid things.
I took two quotes away this year:
“When you’re young you find yourself in situations that are idiotic and out of control.”
“The world is super vast, and theres an unlimited supply of this stuff.”
I feel these quotes accurately sum up my time in New Zealand.
Which brings me to my second point. I have had an amazing time abroad. I have no regrets about choosing New Zealand over anywhere in Europe, no regrets about going on a program unaffiliated with Colgate. But that doesn’t mean this place is perfect. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about things that I miss about home, or things that I wish were different here. Not just the typical “I miss my dog” (which is true), but more trivial things that have been bothering me. I made a list of them for you. They appear in no particular order other than in the order in which they came to mind.
1. Top-up phone service. I cannot wait to rid myself of pre-paid phones. What a hassel they are.
2. I want ice cream. It all tastes funky here, with a flavor kind of reminiscent of bubble gum. Gross.
3. I want a dishwasher. I hate doing my dishes.
4. The public transportation here is a bitch, I tell you. A bitch. I miss being able to take a train… or just get in my car and drive. Buses here are sparse and inconvenient, not to mention, expensive.
5. A consistent system of measurement. Would it really be that hard to do? Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the metric system. Often, I prefer it. But people here can’t seem to make up their mind between pounds and kilograms, miles and kilometers… it’s so confusing!
6. I miss the radio. And Pandora.
7. Good New York style pizza. I want it.
8. McIntosh apples
9. Mammals. I like mammals.
10. My tall decaf skim latte at Starbucks. Coffee here is expensive and small. Once in a while when I really need coffee, I’ll pay $4.00 for a small flat white, or coffee with milk, but it’s tiny!! It’s also really, really strong.
11. The nutritional value of energy is listed in kilojoules, not calories. I find myself dividing the kj count by 4.5 in order to get the calorie count. Such a pain.
12. Food is so freaking expensive. Nuts are something like $48/100g. I’ve accidentally spent near $30 on mixed nuts before. Oops.
13. My flatmates are wonderful, but for whatever reason, they refuse to replace the toilet paper roll so it rolls over. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves, when the toilet paper rolls under. I have to change it EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s not that it’s hard to do… more just that it’s tedious. And in a house where nobody but me cares which direction the paper rolls (I presume), and when there’s a 50% chance that the roll will end up one way or the other, you’d think that at least half the time it would end up in a more favorable position.
I’m not really sure how to end this post. I’m not in the mood for writing a deep conclusion. There is studying to be done… and Daily Show/Colbert Report to be watched. So that’s it for now… the end. Until next time something pops into my head. Bye.