Archive for November, 2008

observation on an ant

So I’m sitting there in the restroom waiting for nature to take its course, and my eye detects movement down there on the tiled floor. A tiny little ant, no more than one-eighth of an inch long, is running around looking for . . . what? Food, I suppose, though I’m not sure what the heck would be edible in that environment, but then again, I’m not an ant.

It’s amazing that this tiny, tiny thing – with a tiny, tiny brain hardly bigger than the tip of a pin – could not only navigate the terrain with multiple legs, but simultaneously find and evaluate whatever it was looking for. When you stop and think about the artificial intelligence researchers who have been trying to get a robot to do the same thing, the scale and success of their efforts pale in comparison to that little ant.

It is hardly even fathomable that there is room in that ant’s head for enough cells to make even the rudimentary brain that it must have. I’ve got a brain that is one hell of a lot bigger than that ant’s, and yet it feels like all it can do is allow me to crawl around on the floor looking for food, or at least the human equivalent of it.  I wonder how different our lives really are.


Berkeley Breathed has put Opus to rest, literally. You can see the beginning of the last comic here, and then follow the directions to the last frame, though if you have not been following the story, you might want to start here and go to the cartoon titled “Our loving and perfect creator” and read through the remaining strips. While I have never been a big fan of Breathed’s politics, I have been an Opus fan for a long time. Yes, I know, one might think it difficult to be one without being the other, but I’ve managed.

It’s difficult when something you have always enjoyed ends. I guess that’s really the norm for life – nothing lasts forever and everything always changes. Still, we grieve over what we have lost, though I cannot think of a better place for Opus to spend eternity.

I will confess that I shed a few tears over the final scene – not on Opus’ behalf, but on my own. I don’t want to give the ending away for anyone who has not seen it, so let’s just say that it brings back very fond memories, and that sometimes I think that I, too, would like to spend my eternity in circumstances related to that final scene.