Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good News for the Great Unwashed

Finally, my plumber replaced the clogged water line that fed my shower. Today I took my first "normal" shower at home in weeks!

Of course, I can shower because there is still electricity flowing to my water heater and pump. The recent ice storms have left thousands without power in the Midwest and New England. (And without power, they can't read my blog! I must be missing two, maybe three readers right now because their power is out.)

On a different topic, there's a nice article on lying and evolution in the Science Times section of today's New York Times. Basically, it seems that the more sophisticated the species, the more use they have for lying.

I'm not surprised. It's not like a slime mold has that much to lie about. ("Hey, babe! I've got the biggest spores in this entire hectare!"*)

It's been known for years that apes that are trained to communicate in sign language will lie, usually to escape disapproval. ("No, Buddy no poop on floor! Dr. Ebbeson pooped on floor. Bad Dr. Ebbeson!") But field researchers have discovered that even apes in the wild will lie to each other. The article gives the example of a young baboon about to be pounded by an angry, larger baboon. The youngster stopped fleeing, stood up, scanned the horizon, and gave the impression that he had spotted an intruder. The angry baboon--and the entire tribe--started preparing for the nonexistent intruder. (Suckers!)

Somehow, knowing that animals lie makes me feel better about being human. Or at least better about lying.

* Coincidentally, while in college, I once used this exact line to pick up a female biology major. And it worked. No lie.

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