Penguin, How would you know?

A male and a female penguin exchange work, raising their young. The male spends four months without food standing in sub zero temperature. When at last winter comes, the antartic penguin exchanges the egg with the female, or the new hatchling one. Both still fit neatly into the male penguin's breeding pouch.

Neglect here between parents, given the conditions - is defined as - being unable to exchange the egg from one parent to another, in less than 15 to 20 seconds. There are other factors. But roughly, the parents have to make sure the egg is protected at all costs.

There are known instances of the male not wishing to yield the hatchling to the female. The male will walk away, chick in pouch. In these instances the female always carefully and patiently pursues the male until the male finally transfers the chick to the female and breakfast time ensues. And the male can eat for the first time since overwinter.

While the males wait for the females to return, they randomly press each other into the center, knocking each other about in a great big circle, slowly forcing odd man out.

Seeing penguins swirling around in a big pattern reminded me the mosh pit. I liked how someone would pick you up even if it was just to hit you in the face. There was always this sense I had of a particle accelerator

So I started thinking, what if this is sort of like what happens with these males, with lower life forms? After all the male propensity for following moving objects on the screen is identical to that of the average canine. Watch their heads follow the ball as it goes into midair flight. UGA grads at my house are a good example.

Well lower life forms or molecular beginnings of life shouldn't start with DNA. DNA is pretty complicated - its just too improbable to appear spontaneously. To have DNA just show up is like playing golf just by the fact that the ball (like the pairs of DNA) can roll around and , since - the earth +can+ have earthquakes and windstorms and so on - would be , like by setting the ball on the first tee, and having the earth knock the ball into the hole eighteen times in a row. DNA is like, really complicated - helical structure.

What if life began not as this sort of , complex spiral of DNA but rather, like slam dancing. Or this penguin mosh pit. Because this looks like molecular activity. Like energy driven networks of molecules. So I looked it up. Here's what we would need to get life from just energy driven molecular networks:

  1. A boundary is needed to separate life from non life
  2. An energy source is needed to drive the organization process
  3. A coupling mechanism must link the release of energy to the organization process that sustains and produces life
  4. A chemical network must be formed to permit adaptation and evolution
  5. The network must grow and reproduce

If Trent Reznor can start life out by playing New Wave as an opening band for Boy George in the culture club, then molecules can go to the mall. >:) I bet they think its cool to go hang around at the Mall. So here is the updated version of the requirement. I am writing of course from a molecular perspective (as if):

  1. Those other guys are like, so lame. Lets stay on this side of the mall
  2. Gawd that guy is so hawt. Lets go over, and like, stand near him. (giggles)
  3. His coupling mechanism was +that+ long? OMG (giggles)
  4. Like, she's my friend because like no matter what mood I'm in she's there for me.
  5. Everyone hangs out here. This place is just so cool. OMG there he is. I want to have his baby. (giggles)

I never saw an underage couple there in the documentary. As it turns out the breeding season is never really complete with penguins, and the only underage couples that are out there are the ones that breed late in the season, to an almost 100 percent mortality rate. The line that is crossed in chick rearing for single parents is the Teen years when the chick has become almost full grown, and needs , like all kinds of food and both parents have to hunt all the time just to throw up in its mouth to feed it. This is also when the baby penguin is first left alone. When does the baby penguin start feeding for itself? It would be like that airplane with the lug nuts loosened, it would shake itself to pieces as it gets up to cruising speed. Like building a network that can't handle load. So the copy would die off. It wouldn't have enough energy to keep from flying apart under stress.

Remember, for the first part of life here neglect is measured on timescales in the seconds and not minutes or hours or days. And when it gets around to the downy adult sized teenage penguin, its both parents feeding all the time. So this is kind of a different measurement of neglect. At this point, the chick actually has a chance to make it on its own. I wonder if its voice change is what triggers the parents to move on.

Mosh pits are fun. I never imagined that we could find the origin of life there. The places where a region increases order through cycles driven by energy flow that could be considered alive. There is a soviet guy named Alexander Oparin that is doing work on this. So who knows. Maybe it might be cool to be there in the cold night looking up at the Aurora. And slamdancing penguins.

The implications, if molecular networks can start off life, are pretty interesting. It means that life isn't really unique. Our number just came up in the montecarlo game.

DNA follows suit here as a way of storing energy and transformations. First through RNA, then later systems of RNA become DNA. Like you care. But whats really interesting is that all biological molecules have one orientation. Betcha didn't know that. They are all right handed. That made me think about polyamory and penguins, not that polyamory can be a basis for neglect. (the failure rate in pengions breeding cycles is apalling, actually). The pressing question that polymory sets out to answer:

You can fuck some of the people all of the time, and you can fuck all of the people some of the time. But can you fuck all of the people, all of the time?

Its negative 120 degrees outside and she says to this one. Like. Gag me with a fork. She's saying, what - I so totally have better things to do. Think it might be the fact that everything has a time limit on it. Not pairing off before the overwinter means a schedule push to the next season. I guess maybe people that face their own death and shut down that part of themselves too. I haven't done any extensive testing or research in this field.

I try not to write long boring posts. I am a political blogger, remember. Political blogging is a different world. Politics deals with large systems of complex molecules, all interacting differently. You write less (in terms of posts and comments) but you read more and the post is fundamentally different than livejournal/blogspot type posts. You have to take the time to dig up sources. Hell you can even go back and hyperlink them. Just follow a few simple rules. For example, don't let the blog touch down on K Street. And try to write about what you know. I know, for example, that penguins are vicious meat eaters.

But I'm not, like an expert or that I know what I am talking about here. Remember that Whoopi Goldberg monologue - where she recounted how a Nun tried to give her advice about sex. She looked back at the sister and said: Penguin, how would you know?

We're all just in the dark, slowly circling around each other. Hoping not to trip and fall. Waiting to get laid..


Anonymous said…
Fine. Here's a comment.

This one was too long.

Most penguins fail their first or second attempt a chick rearing. Something happens in that 15 to 20 seconds. They learn and move on.
Yep. Thats what she said last night.

About penguins and failure rates you are only telling half the story (favorite reader of mine).

Its not just the first attempt, its recurrent. And sometimes they actually breed so late that the attempt is doomed to fail.
But this is the only shot that a single mom or dad has to raise the chick so they do it anyway.

So the chick is dead. The male doesn't always release it and continues to care for it.

I bet the female nudges the male to let the chick go and eventually the male just realizes the chick is dead. Its kind of obvious once you break the pattern.

The total time required for all the things the penguins do, during mating season is in , by its schedule alone too much to fit into that season sothe complete breeding cycle is actually more than one year.

Normally critters follow the food.
I'm trying to hammer out the primitives here. The cycle for food would obviously be out there when its warm. Thats when they mate.

You know what would be an interesting question. I bet a male who won't let go of a dead chick is probably a male who wouldn't be a good dad to begin with.

I bet the secret is to develop a feel for it. To know when the egg is too cold or something and if you can't even know if the thing is dead, you're probably not going to know if its alive.

Of course you can still have the dad sitting there happily at home in that case. I'd just wonder if I'd be the one to say. Later bitch.

Or if I'd be the one to just hold on forever, hoping for life to come back into a dead chick.

Girlfriend in a coma. >.)
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
You would hold on forever.