It occurred to me the other day that the spectrum of rodents in my yard is discrete, rather than continuous. There are chipmunks, squirrels, and
groundhogs, but no intermediate creatures. (The groundhogs showed up recently, and are currently squatting under my
4' x 8' slab of concrete front porch.) Below the
chipmunks in the great chain of rodent being are probably mice, voles, and shrews, although I never see
them, probably because they're active mainly at night, except for the mice who sometimes get into the house in the winter and are killed and partly eaten by the cat.
While I was watching a chipmunk, I realized that we take things like discrete species for granted... but why should we? Why should there be discrete chipmunks and squirrels, and no intermediate species, like creatures that are, say, 73% squirrel and 27% chipmunk? Why is species quantitized rather than continuous? I've heard it said that two ecological niches must be at least 10% different to be filled by different, non-competing species. Maybe the quantization of species reflects the quantization of the niches they occupy. Yes, I realize that speciation is an active area of investigation in biology. I'm still not sure I understand why species are quantitized rather than continuous.
I've started thinking about how one would refract rodents, to create a sort of rodent spectrum. It might be possible, if one could generate a stream of coherent groundhogs, to produce something I call 'Rodent Amplification and Stimulated Emission of Marmots'. Such a tool might be used in consumer devices such as DVD players some day (an average size groundhog, traveling at non-relativistic speeds, has a deBroglie wavelength of < 10-34, and can carry an immense amount of information). Also, a rasem cannon, firing a coherent beam of high-energy garden rodents, clearly would have awe-inspiring firepower, outclassing even the most powerful x-ray laser, and dovetails well with my plans for world conquest.
|Three 'mouth's (口), indicating a group of people. This 'group' meaning became associated with 'things' rather than people, hence the current meaning. Henshall suggests taking these as three boxes, and as a mnemonic: 'Quality goods come in boxes.'|