Friday, September 16, 2011

Crisp Friday Afternoon Round-up

Ever feel like you're being watched? Some idiot has recently taken the opportunity to have a good old nosy around in my Facebook and other online services. If only my life were interesting enough to warrant such an unpleasant invasion of my privacy! But that did not satisfy Mister Nosy, who this morning handed back to me my personal journal, which he had been reading all week!

I am upset by this. Besides the unlawfulness of hacking into another person's private online accounts, I am concerned about what these incidents say about Mister Nosy's inability to respect other people's boundaries.

I am also disappointed that my life as lived to date is so boring, because what Mister Nosy's snooping has uncovered is... nothing that he didn't already know. Nothing remotely interesting. No goat-shagging or slaying, no wife and seven children in Delaware. Which presumably means that instead of concluding that there's no point in further digging a hole for himself, as well as into my personal life, the lack of evidence will simply goad him to dig deeper. Like conspiracy theorists who, when they can't prove that Cheney and Bush planned the 9/11 attacks, conclude that the proof is buried deeper than they thought!

Moving on from poor Mister Nosy, it's an unusually cool, crisp September Friday, here in New York City. I've been reading The Relentless Revolution: a History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby.

What's this image, above? It may look like the austere, intimidating standard of some fictional fascist nation, but in fact it is the flag of Cornwall, that bit of south-west England that sticks out towards the Atlantic Ocean, like the toe of the 'boot' that is Italy. I've never been to Cornwall, but it is often associated with a lurid, ancient history involving tin mines, Roman times, little men with anvils and evil eyes...

...and so it comes as no surprise that the above photo is from Cornwall, and shows the most popular tourist attraction in the south-west of England. It looks like something H. G. Wells might have described. It is in fact the Eden Project, a biosphere that is the world's largest greenhouse.

And speaking of Italy, Cornwall and boot-like objects... what's this? If you remember any high school Biology, you may recall that in animal cells there are things called mitochondria (cut-away diagram, above), which process chemicals into energy (I'm simplifying dreadfully here), and are therefore essential to life. I am amazed to read recently that mitochondria contain small bits of DNA that fit logically into a family tree of various ancient viruses, leading to the theory that mitochondria were once viruses which fortuitously infected the animal cells, or were eaten -- but only partially digested -- by the animal cells, eons ago. Life is a fearfully wonderful thing:
I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well -- Psalms 139, 14