Notes On Attention Paid

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Various Articles

… i read a bit of the news, since i haven’t been watching any… mostly about Afghanistan, a fiasco that couldn’t be avoided, a fiasco that could have been handled better…

… onto a really interesting article about slime mold in which i encounter this paragraph:

Throughout their lives, myxomycetes only ever exist as a single cell, inside which the cytoplasm always flows—out to its extremities, back to the center. When it encounters something it likes, such as oatmeal, the cytoplasm pulsates more quickly. If it finds something it dislikes, like salt, quinine, bright light, cold, or caffeine, it pulsates more slowly and moves its cytoplasm away (though it can choose to overcome these preferences if it means survival). In one remarkable study published in Science, Japanese researchers created a model of the Tokyo metropolitan area using oat flakes to represent population centers, and found that Physarum polycephalum configured itself into a near replica of the famously intuitive Tokyo rail system. In another experiment, scientists blasted a specimen with cold air at regular intervals, and found that it learned to expect the blast, and would retract in anticipation. It can solve mazes in pursuit of a single oat flake, and later, can recall the path it took to reach it. More remarkable still, a slime mold can grow indefinitely in its plasmodial stage. As long as it has an adequate food supply and is comfortable in its environment, it doesn’t age and it doesn’t die.1

… and this…

Taxonomy has evolved in the centuries since Haeckel and Linnaeus, but much of their thinking still remains. Even if science no longer views humans as divided into different and unequal species, we continue to refer to “race” as if it were a natural, biological category rather than a social one created in service of white supremacy. The myth that humans are superior to all other species—that we are complex and intelligent in a way that matters, while the intelligence and complexity of other species does not—also exists in service to white supremacy, conferring on far too many people an imagined right of total dominion over one another and the natural world.2