Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stunningly banal

Wherein fuck it write the damn research paper and let's get the fuck out of this hellhole of a country

New York Times headline,
Hunted by Puma, It Flees, but Against Fox, It Fights. The gist of the article being that animals have different response levels to different levels of threat.
Specifically, in this article, to repeat the headline, the guanaco runs from a cougar but takes a stand against the culpeo fox. Why, oh why, might this be? Let's go the tape:
  • The guanaco, a relative of the camel and the llama, stands about 4 feet tall and weighs around 200 pounds. Able to run 35mph over rocky terrain.
  • The cougar, weighing up to 250 pounds, runs 35-45 mph, and has been known to bring down elk and moose. Frequently dines on deer and cattle.
  • The culpeo fox weighs in at 30 lbs and has a diet of rodents and rabbits.

Upon careful review it is apparent that the answer to the scientific question -- why does the guanaco not flee the fox and instead kicks the shit out of it? -- has two complementary answers:
  1. Because it knows it can.
  2. Insulted by the hubris of the fox


Blogger reader_iam said...

Because it knows it can.

Love this, Bill, as I'm sure you'd expect I would.

But then I'm sure you also know that one of the things I've learned in life and most strongly believe [in]as well is that "because he/she/they can" is one of the most likely and common answers to "why do[es] X people[person] do [most]x['s] more often than not"?

The longer I live, the more disabused do I get of the notion that this is an obvious thing which ought to be obvious to people.

My bad.

2/19/2009 09:17:00 PM  

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