Monthly Archives: April 2014

If I had one wish …

I write about our park in this blog a lot and there is a reason why.

If I had one wish that would be granted, here it is:

I would find every sad human, every politician, every criminal, every person who hated.  I would feed them their favorite meal and let them have a wonderful night’s rest.  Then I would bring them to our park.

I would ask them the sit on a bench in the sunshine and relax.  They would see the female swan on her nest and the families watching her in wonder.  They would hear children laughing and see them skipping on the path around the pond.  They would hear the squeals of delight as adults and children of all ages saw the snapping turtles and red-eared sliders basking on the fallen tree in the water.

After some time the wrinkled foreheads would smooth and smiles would appear.  They would greet each other and the couples strolling by them.  They would see fellow humans, old and young,  black, brown, white and every skin shade possible all enjoying this sunny afternoon.

They would see that this is how humans should live.  They would build more parks and make sure everyone had a good meal every day and a nice place to sleep and relax.  They would see that we don’t need to fight, steal and hate.

That is my one wish.


Imagine Earth without humans or human made structures and products.  Plants and animals would blanket the Earth.  There would be no plane crashes, no mass shootings, no bombs, no pollution, no deforestation, and no wars.

Of course animals would kill each other but it would be mostly for food and on a much lesser scale than happens through human strife.

We are the wild card.  Once we entered the scene the rules of the game changed.  The balance has been disturbed and the biosphere is roiled with chaos.

The answer is simple.  We need to uncover the rules of nature and begin to play by them.  One of the best ways to do this is to learn from nature.  There are some great people who are promoting this idea and you can find out more at the following websites:

Biomimicry 3.8

Kurt Vonnegut on kindness – “I would just as soon be a rattlesnake.”

You have got to read this.  It is a commencement speech from Kurt Vonnegut and you can find it at this great website, “Brain Pickings,” Maria Popova wrote a wonderful article with excerpts from Vonnegut’s commencement addresses.

This is the line that hooked me:

I would just as soon be a rattlesnake.

Humans are fiendishly creative

Looks like I am on a Raspberry Pi binge again.  I checked my email this morning and found this:

Augment Your Reality With The iTorch raspberry pi flashlight projector

Wouldn’t it be great if we let kids in school work on projects that they were interested in?

It wouldn’t have to be computer-related.  Instead of drill and practice for standardized exams they could make an augmented reality device, paint a picture, make a Rube Goldberg machine, make a movie, a cartoon, write a novel.  I think anything like this would be better than the deadening, creative killing process we put kids through in most schools.

Inside the mind of a tortoise

We have two red-footed tortoises.  You might think that tortoises are not the brightest of animals but I beg to differ.  Over the years the behavior that I’ve seen indicates that they might be quite clever.

The tortoises’ home is a large aquarium.  Inside there are two stone water dishes and a stone food dish.  In addition there are two hollow log shaped wood objects.  These pieces of wood are easily movable by the tortoises.  I believe that they use these movable objects in attempt to communicate with us.

For example, I tried an early experiment where I placed a computer monitor that played video next to the aquarium.  I thought it might be entertaining to them.  What did the tortoises do?  They erected a barrier that was obviously meant to block the view of the computer.  I suspect that the computer and monitor also produced sound that might have irritated them.  As soon as I turned off the computer and monitor they took down their barrier.

There have been many other examples of the tortoises doing things that appear to be attempts to get our attention and to change our behavior.  They have ways to indicate that they want fresh water or fresh food, and that they wish to go out into the yard.  They also make a variety of sounds by moving things and using their mouths.

Sometimes at night I check on them and they are both awake and alert in the dark.  What are they thinking, sitting in the dark?  Do they have a mental life?  Can they entertain themselves?  Can they communicate with each other?

Tortoises live for many years compared to other animals.  Do they learn, develop culture, and mental skills?

I’d like to imagine that they have a rich intellectual tradition and that they are having learned discussions late at night.

Who knows, maybe tortoises could teach us a thing or two.


Loons in the pond!

This morning I struggled to come up with something to write.  I gazed out the window and saw them.  Four loons are in the pond today, hooray!  The curve of their necks and shape of their heads is so distinct.  It is a pleasure seeing them dive and then waiting and watching to see where they will pop up.

Yesterday I saw another animal that I haven’t seen for months.  At the edge of the pond a young muskrat nibbled on green shoots.  I stopped to watch and it stared at me for a few seconds and then it went back to its leafy treat, seemingly unconcerned with my presence.
This is a great time of the year to get out and soak in the sunshine.

Rainy day

The rain is pounding down.  We need a good soaking in order to get Spring started.  A male swan is the only bird on the pond.  His mate is huddled next to the boardwalk on a nest of sticks and grass.

We need to find other materials for our roads, sidewalks and other paving.  It would be great if they were porous in order to reduce runoff.  Maybe the nanotechnologists will help with that.

What a boring post this is.  The muse must be cranky this morning since she refuses to make me a visit.