Monday, July 23, 2007

You had shown me that page of The Fountainhead twice, with great ardour, each time seeking my opinion of it. Not having read the book then, I did not understand the meaning of Dominique Francon's marrying Peter Keating. But now I do.

I am sorry that it took me so long to see what you had lived for and loved. Now you are gone, and there is nothing I could say that would not have been more rightly said earlier when you had asked me.

It surprises me that I think of you sometimes.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Very tired. I hope something comes out of this hard work.

Monday, July 09, 2007

This has got to be the quote of the day:

"... identified more than 2,000 bacterial species that typically associate as communities inside us - including on or in our skin, guts and mouth. These coevolved, resident comunities are often in direct contact with our tissues, are relatively resistant to perturbations, such as starvation, and provide us with the metabolic benefit of millions of additional genes and activities."

- Margaret McFall-Ngai
'Care for the community'
Nature 445:153.
11 Jan 2007

I like the part about additional genes and activities. Benefits without apparent costs, haha.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My home is constructed such that the rain tends to come in.

So, as with all normal humans, I pay attention to sounds of imminent rain when I'm at home. And for the first time in a long time, tonight, I heard the trees talk. Their leaves swish when the wind blows strongly, and it sounds very much like rain. I remembered I hadn't truly heard this sound for a long time now, nor enjoyed it. (I'd only seen the rain, and rushed to close the windows.) But now I can, and I do.

In this way I recover pieces of my childhood.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Erwin Schrodinger, eminent physicist, mutters well about natural selection and evolution in an aside in a book:

"... Now as a species we are developing, and we march in the front-line of generations; thus every day of a man's life represents a small bit of the evolution of our species, which is still in full swing. It is true that a single day of one's life, nay even any individual life as a whole, is but a minute blow of the chisel at the ever unfinished statue. But the whole enormous evolution we have gone through in the past, it too has been brought about by myriads of such minute chisel blows. The material for this transformation, the presupposition for its taking place, are of course the inheritable spontaneous mutations. However, for selection among them, the behaviour of the carrier of the mutation, his habits of life, are of outstanding importance and decisive influence. ..."

- Mind and Matter
Erwin Schrodinger
first published 1958
Canto edition published 1992 with What is Life? and Autobiographical Sketches
Cambridge University Press

I'm not so keen on the 'statue' comparison myself, it has too much of the implication of 'grand directed purpose' for my liking. Also, it's an open question if inheritable mutations are more important sources of genetic variation for natural selection to act upon than any other hereditary genes. But I like how the last sentence emphasizes that natural selection acts at the level of the organism phenotype rather than the organism genotype.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Trying to discuss something I've been thinking about for a while now. Not sure if it'll come out coherent, but here goes.

I am physically female. I self-identify as a girl, or a woman, or a woman who was once a girl, one of these three at every point in my life. And I'm straight i.e. I like men.

I know several people who have these qualities of physical attributes, gender identity, and sexual orientation, in other permutations.

I know someone who is physically male, self-identifies as a man, and is gay. This is important - he doesn't think of himself in derogatory terms, just because he's not of the majority heterosexual group. He has been happily attached for the past 4 years, and his relationship has weathered crises and bounced back whole.

I know someone who is physically female, self-identifies as a male, and is technically straight i.e. likes men. She wonders if she'll still like men after her sex-change operation, but that's a minor consideration compared to her discomfort in her female skin.

I know someone who is physically female, self-identifies as a woman etc., and has sworn off men for the rest of her life in favour of another lovely gal.

I know someone who is physically female, self-identifies as female, and is happily bisexual.

I also know someone who is physically male, self-identifies as male, and is absolutely certain from the time he was 8 years old that he is gay. And he's remarkably straight-acting, but would never want a girl in -that- sense.

So you see, there are lots of people, men and women all, who don't let their physical attributes define who they are. Because they know who they are, and it's much more than the bodies they have. Or what society tries to say they must be, according to the bodies they have.

Men sleep with women. Women brush their hair and wear mascara. How shallow these labels are, in light of all there is to a person.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Tired of the male species.

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