Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Nature’s Oddballs by Lisbeth Zappler

A book I got a long time ago, written for a juvenile reader, about a wide variety of animals that defy the standards and norms of taxonomy. Interesting at times, mostly because it reinforces the point that so much that we think of as “Nature’s Laws” are really just descriptions of observable phenomena, and that there are always those things that live on the edges of our conceptual constructs that are best ignored because they threaten to topple our entire house of cards. Birds fly—except for the ostrich. Mammals have live births—except for the platypus. F=ma—except when speeds approach the speed of light. It’s all part of the same condition. There is less order in the universe than we would like to think. A lot of the order that seems to be there is only so apparent because we have put it there.

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