The edges are no longer parallel…

G

goinghome

Guest
Or, where moths are concerned, modern life is war…

“Moths fly into the candle flame and it doesn’t look like an accident. They go out of their way to make a burnt offering of themselves. We could label it ‘self-immolation behaviour’ and, under that provocative name, wonder how on earth natural selection could favour it….

Artificial light is a recent arrival on the night scene. Until recently, the only night lights in view were the moon and the stars. They are at optical infinity, so rays coming from them are parallel. This fits them for use as compasses. Insects are known to use celestial objects such as the sun and the moon to steer accurately in a straight line, and they can use the same compass, with reverse sign, for returning home after a foray. The insect nervous system is adept at setting up a temporary rule of thumb of this kind: ‘Steer a course such that the light rays hit your eyes at an angle of 30 degrees’. Since insects have compound eyes (with straight tubes or light guides radiating out from the centre of the eye like the spines of a hedgehog), this might amount in practice to something as simple as keeping the light in one particular tube or ommatidium [any scientists around to explain that one?!]

But the light compass relies critically on the celestial object being at optical infinity. If it isn’t, the rays are not parallel but diverge like the spokes of a wheel. A nervous system applying a 30 – degree (or any acute angle) rule of thumb to a nearby candle, as though it were the moon at optical infinity, will steer the moth, via a spiral trajectory, into the flame. Draw it out for yourself, using some particular acute angle such as 30 degrees, and you’ll produce an elegant logarithmic spiral into the candle.

Though fatal in this particular circumstance, the moth’s rule of thumb is still, on average, a good one because, for a moth, sightings of candles are rare compared with sightings of the moon. We don’t notice the hundreds of [hung on, hung on, hung on!!] moths that are silently and effectively steering by the moon or a bright star, or even the glow from a distant city. We see only moths wheeling into our candle, and we ask the wrong question: why are all these moths commiting suicide? Instead, we should ask why they have nervous systems that steer by maintaining a fixed angle to light rays, a tactic that we notice only when it goes wrong. When the question is rephrased, the mystery evaporates. It never was right to call it suicide. It is a misfiring by-product of a normally useful compass.”

- From The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins.

‘But we cannot cling to the old days anymore’ .

Granted, the link seems obscure but to me it captures a regular refrain in the sub-text of Morrissey’s songs; an unease about how the world has changed in various ways. New conditions foisted on people in the name of progress are not always welcome or even necessarily beneficial.

Does anybody feel the same way I do?!

And speaking of the challenges of technology etc, I wonder how this effort is going to turn out...



“I feel inexhaustible” - *SNORES*
 

CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.
Thank you, goinghome. This is something to think about.
 
G

goinghome

Guest
Don't mention it, ChrystalGeezer :p ;)

Do you like the GIF? Does anyone know how to import it into the body of a post other than as an attachment?

Talk about moths flying into flames :o: :eek:
 
G

goinghome

Guest
Anyway Wall you get it, don’t you?!

That resistance to the manipulation of our intrinsic instincts is something that Morrissey almost embodies by his career.

‘There’s so much destruction all over the world’, but as the culprits duck under the radar, the air is filled with fiddling and burning.

Kewpie just directed me to DiCartright’s very kind response to my request for this GIF which I have only now seen. Thanks, the quality is far better than mine, which my pal Richard created without the proper technology, and did just omit that wonderful snore. I think, putting the two together (which sorry, I can’t do, so please imagine), it’s a very witty moment.

The input is much appreciated!
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Or, where moths are concerned, modern life is war…

“Moths fly into the candle flame and it doesn’t look like an accident. They go out of their way to make a burnt offering of themselves. We could label it ‘self-immolation behaviour’ and, under that provocative name, wonder how on earth natural selection could favour it….

Artificial light is a recent arrival on the night scene. Until recently, the only night lights in view were the moon and the stars. They are at optical infinity, so rays coming from them are parallel. This fits them for use as compasses. Insects are known to use celestial objects such as the sun and the moon to steer accurately in a straight line, and they can use the same compass, with reverse sign, for returning home after a foray. The insect nervous system is adept at setting up a temporary rule of thumb of this kind: ‘Steer a course such that the light rays hit your eyes at an angle of 30 degrees’. Since insects have compound eyes (with straight tubes or light guides radiating out from the centre of the eye like the spines of a hedgehog), this might amount in practice to something as simple as keeping the light in one particular tube or ommatidium [any scientists around to explain that one?!]

But the light compass relies critically on the celestial object being at optical infinity. If it isn’t, the rays are not parallel but diverge like the spokes of a wheel. A nervous system applying a 30 – degree (or any acute angle) rule of thumb to a nearby candle, as though it were the moon at optical infinity, will steer the moth, via a spiral trajectory, into the flame. Draw it out for yourself, using some particular acute angle such as 30 degrees, and you’ll produce an elegant logarithmic spiral into the candle.

Though fatal in this particular circumstance, the moth’s rule of thumb is still, on average, a good one because, for a moth, sightings of candles are rare compared with sightings of the moon. We don’t notice the hundreds of [hung on, hung on, hung on!!] moths that are silently and effectively steering by the moon or a bright star, or even the glow from a distant city. We see only moths wheeling into our candle, and we ask the wrong question: why are all these moths commiting suicide? Instead, we should ask why they have nervous systems that steer by maintaining a fixed angle to light rays, a tactic that we notice only when it goes wrong. When the question is rephrased, the mystery evaporates. It never was right to call it suicide. It is a misfiring by-product of a normally useful compass.”

- From The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins.

‘But we cannot cling to the old days anymore’ .

Granted, the link seems obscure but to me it captures a regular refrain in the sub-text of Morrissey’s songs; an unease about how the world has changed in various ways. New conditions foisted on people in the name of progress are not always welcome or even necessarily beneficial.

Does anybody feel the same way I do?!

And speaking of the challenges of technology etc, I wonder how this effort is going to turn out...



“I feel inexhaustible” - *SNORES*

Or the other subtext appropriate to Morrissey: the inability to be anything other than what you are, even if it means disaster.
 
G

goinghome

Guest
True enough, Worm. In a way he can be situated amongst types like Socrates, Pericles, Jesus, Anazagoras, Aristotle, Savonarola, Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno, Huss, Wycliff; all banished in the name of protecting the institution, whether of state, religion, or in Morrissey’s case, of pop music!

In an exquisitely insightful volume by Elbert Hubbard called “White Hyacinths”, published in 1903, the fate of Frederich Froebel (1782-1852), a German educator and psychologist who was a pioneer of the kindergarten system and influenced the growth of the manual training movement in education, is used as an example. Because fear tactics, cruel punishments and suppression were engrained behaviours used to raise children across Western society, Froebel met with so much opposition from schools and parents that he could only access very young children to enroll in his nurturing system when parents were glad of someone to take them off their hands for a while. From this accident sprung up the standard Kindergarten programme. Said Hubbard: “Froebel knew his methods were right – he never faltered in his faith. But the constant unkind criticisms of rival teachers who clung to monastic methods, the stupidity of parents and the opposition of school boards wore him out... But with his last dying breath, in a broken whisper he said to his nurse,”The world will yet accept my words – the idea of a child-garden will live. I am dying but my thought will not perish – God cannot afford to allow it to wither.”’

The GIF is a clip of humorous self-awareness from the 2006 Culture Show interview with Danny Robbins which does differentiate Morrissey from these earlier geniuses, or ‘disasters’. This is because during his lifetime he is receiving accolades and acknowledgement for his influence on artists and audience alike as a great living British icon. The Scorch-prone but Nonflammable Moth, is Moz!
 
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