This is the view from my favorite New York rooftop — the rooftop of the apartment I sublet in August when I first moved here. Before I moved out of there, I was walking and, you know, I just slipped and the key to the stairwell fell right into the key-copying machine at the hardware store. Today I climbed the 6 flights of stairs and perilous metal ladder to have a solitary picnic. I looked out at the city, remembering what it was like to set eyes on that skyline for the first time. I used to sit up there for hours and imagine the pathways I would take to penetrate Manhattan, wondering what stops I would make and the ground I would cover before I would get to the top of one of those big tall buildings. I haven’t been up to that roof in months, having been insulated in the core of that concrete labyrinth. But now I am on the outside looking in again, plotting my next point of entry like life is just a game of Capture the Flag.
Ed Yong from Not Exactly Rocket Science has a post up about Komodo dragons and how scientists have finally caught on to one of their tricks. It was previously thought that the 3-meter long lizard took down live animals like deer by infecting them with bacteria from the rotting animal innards it gets stuck in its teeth. But by using digital imaging technologies, Bryan Fry from Melbourne has shown that Komodos actually inject their prey with poisonous venom!
By putting a virtual dragon skull through a digital crash test, Fry showed that its bite is relatively weak for a predator of its size – instead it’s adapted to resist strong pulling forces. This is a predator built to inflict massive wounds through a “grip and rip” style that involves biting lightly but tearing ferociously. The wounds provide a large open area for the dragon to inject its venom and Fry unquestionably showed that the dragons poison their prey.
Have you ever heard of anything more adorable?? If there is one characteristic I value in an animal, it is tricksyness. Oh Komodo dragon, be my pet!
I know that you would never poison ME, and that you prefer to eat dead things rather than living. I don’t blame you for being testy and lashing out, what with all that terrible stuff building up in your teeth. Komodo dragon, I will care for you and brush your teeth for you every night, and I will take you everywhere with me. You can sleep under my bed, or in it with me and we will cuddle. I will keep you warm and happy!
Time and time again, I’ve pondered the Internet behavior in which one sends a message out into the aether in response to an interaction that occurred in real life. This usually manifests as a Craigslist “Missed Connection” and is prompted by some kind of heavy eye contact in a crowded venue, a collision on the sidewalk, or a shared subway car. I’ve never understood why people do this — especially in New York City — when, taking into account the likelihood that the person with whom the connection was missed a) noticed, b) reciprocated the sentiments, and c) reciprocated them enough to wade through the pile of Missed Connections — is slim to none.
What about this act provides a sense of personal satisfaction? Is it that sending the message prevents the “if I had only” feeling that can live in the back of one’s mind as regret for years? Does it immediately reward the message-sender in the way that completing any task does? Is it because it’s easier than actually trying to track a person down but you still feel like you’ve done something?
Perhaps we’ll never know, but I’m going to try it now and see what happens, because the kindness of strangers I’ve seen lately has gone a long way in convincing me that we aren’t all just selfish bastards.
So, to the strangers who will probably never see this…
To the woman who picked me up off the curb where I was crying and told me to move so a car wouldn’t hit me, and asked me what was wrong. She asked how old I am and laughed in my sad face when I told her that I am 22. She told me that it would be OK because I’m young and I’ve got a long way to go, and that she knows a lot of people in my industry and to call her because she could help me. I got very drunk that night and have no idea what I did with your information, but thank you.
To the homeless man pushing a walker on the subway who informed me that it was the last stop, and somehow knew when he saw my face that I was the most recent victim of the desolate economy. “Don’t worry darlin’, pretty girls don’t starve,” he told me with confidence. Sir, that statement was both comforting and disturbing, and I will remember it for the rest of my life. Thank you… and I hope you don’t starve either.
To the innocent guy in the subway who I snapped at because he was looking at me, “Do you think it won’t happen to you too?” To which he smiled at me and responded, “I got laid off 3 months ago, unemployment benefits are pretty nice” and made me feel sheepish, yet comforted.
To the bartender who provided me the tools for efficient memory erasure (Side Cars and chocolate cake shots) and didn’t charge me anything……. yeah, you probably shouldn’t have done that, but thanks.
And to the waiter at the fancy French restaurant where my roommate works who gave me his employee dinner credit when I hadn’t eaten all day and couldn’t access any of my funds. Thank you very much, it was delicious, and you have validated the homeless guy’s statement! And… I’m sorry that the mussels you shared with my roommate gave you both food poisoning.
Well, I’ve reached the end and I still don’t know why I am writing this Missed Connection, but I do feel pretty good about it. Perhaps there’s a similarity between the impulse to send a message out there into the Internets, not knowing what — if anything — will come of it, and that which inspires strangers to help people they’ve never met before and will probably never see again in order to claim their thank-you prize. I thought I had this shit all figured out when I was a cynical undergrad in philosophy class and argued the “ethical egoist” perspective until I was blue in the face. But in light of this new evidence, perhaps a revision of my original stance is in order.
Here I go, back in the world of blogospherics — for real this time. If for no other reason than that this video is the best thing I have ever seen. Ever.
Don’t worry, I’m a scientist.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, I am Arikia and I am the queen of The Internets. This will be my primary blog post from here on out. Shortly, you will be able to access this blog by going directly to http://arikia.com.
I’ve never really blogged under my real name before, non-professionally. It kind of makes me feel all queasy in my stomach. But I will overcome! Because I just have too many LOLs and WINs and especially FAILS bottled up inside me and I can’t contain them anymore. Oh yeah, and I will probably write about science occasionally too.
Hello. This is a blog about musings on scientific events, inventions and conventions, whether they are in the big world that most people in the media are so concerned about, or in my mental world of LOLing and other preoccupations.