Forces of Nature, Large and Small

The PC motherboard failed last week (right before the weekend, natch) and the replacement one was dead out of the box. I could launch into a long threatened tirade about the lost ethic of craftsmanship and the basically extinct concept of building things to last, but will instead just save this episode as one of many examples for some other time. We’re still waiting on another motherboard while pecking away on a laptop. I’m a lousy enough typist as it is, and the spell checker is going berserk with my wretched attempts at composition using large clumsy hands on a dainty, compressed keyboard. [Together my outstretched hands extend across the whole laptop surface and then some. It feels like microtyping!] Therefore no BLOG entries lately, ’til now.

This past weekend, within a 15 minute stretch, we had two remarkable glimpses of the power and beauty of nature, on scales large and small. First came a bumblebee nailed by a free roaming spider. From a distance the bee appeared to be visiting the daylily, but wasn’t moving. Closer examination revealed that the bee was dead, firmly fixed in the grasp of a spider that was sucking out its juices. The bumblebee had flown into the flower, and somehow the hidden spider had enough speed and strength to attack and subdue the bee, administering what must have been an instantaneously disabling bite. I wouldn’t have thought this to be possible, given that the bee seems at least equal to the spider in power, with the added ability of flight and a potent defense mechanism of its own.

As we studied this fascinating event, the skies overhead began to light up with something best apperciated by mariners and longtime coastal weather watchers — a hurricane sunset — but in Oklahoma! Rita had made landfall earlier in the day about 400 miles to our SE, near Sabine Pass. The cirrus in its outflow channel — generated while Rita still was a major hurricane centered over the Gulf, had spread NW then N across Oklahoma. Often the high cloud edges of strong hurricanes contain fibrous, radial bands that extend outward from the storm, perpendicular to the curving axis of the storm’s upper level outflow channel. They can be seen often in satellite photos of hurricanes, and this is what they look like at ground level. The ones pictured here were just a handful among at least a hundred that festooned the sky, north to south, horizon to horizon. It was, like the spider-versus-bee scene just moments before, a highly unusual and awe inspiring experience.


One Response to “Forces of Nature, Large and Small”

  1. bc on September 29th, 2005 8:28 am

    Should’ve let me build a PC for you and your lovely wife. I use only the finest parts and marinate them in the finest beer…no, wait, I was marinated, the parts weren’t…still, the Son of HAL 9000 isn’t the fastest gamer on the block, but it’ll do. And I have to admit the blue UV reactive cabling and fans looks sick in my jet-black Lian-Li case. All I need is some EL lightning along the edges of the PCI boards, a fan controller, two additional fans, a SATA HDD, and maybe a better video card, and I’m set.

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