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27 May 2009 @ 03:29 pm
Humanity Poof  
Hayls woke me at 15 to 7. We were awake revising. I got through all of my sets of notes but four. Was pleased. Scarfed a croissant and was on my way.

Met up with Jojo and Pip and Emma. Could tell Pip was upset about something, sensed that it wasn't exam-related from posture and a few things she mentioned to Emma she probably didn't know I heard. I gave her arm a rub and didn't mention anything. Had icky exam-nerves.

Went in and saw the questions. Laughed inside.

First question: Unicorns are closely related to horses and are sexually dimorphic. Only males bear the characteristic horn and they have very large testes relative to their body size. Both sexes are long-lived. Outline what you think their likely social system (i.e. pattern of mating, dispersion of males and females) is and describe the studies you would undertake to quantify the relative costs and benefits of male versus female offspring to parents.

I think I rocked it. I was unsure at first, and I know I didn't cover the studies very well (remembering the scientific processes/experiments is not my particularly skill), but other than that I think I did well.

Second question: Extinction is a natural process, but conservation organisations typically fight to prevent any species from going extinct. Imagine that you have to let a single mammal species go extinct. Which species would you opt to let go extinct and why?

As soon as I got halfway through the question I thought "human." We're an engineer species--in times keystone species--but we've gone haywire. We're pretty much invasive at this point. So I knew immediately I'd be writing that. We're a mammalian species, I thought, why not? We have hair, mammae, a single lower jaw bone, squamosal jaw articulation, diphyodont teeth, 3 middle ear ossicles, one main artery leaving the heart branching left and a muscular diaphragm. Why wouldn't we count as a mammal we could let go extinct?

So I wrote about it. Our habit for clear-cutting and monoculture, world trade affecting species populations, invasives, inability to share (wealth vs. poverty), demands on the planet and resource, global warming, our affect on the sea and soil and sky. I just let loose. I didn't see why not. We have a big footprint on the world. Huge. Bigger than the dinosaurs, despite our small stature. I didn't see any reason not to write humans. In fact, I thought everyone would be.

I mentioned using humans to Pip and she laughed and laughed. She hadn't even thought of it. She took me out for hot chocolate and talked about her family and uncle, who is HIV pos and now dying of lymphatic cancer but is refusing treatment. She's upset, with good reasons. Hard news to hear during exams. She mentioned to me that he had attempted suicide. She told me she thought I would get what she was saying, because I've been brought up liberal and don't seem to have such a stigma with death and all. She mentioned that in a way she was happy for him. She was relieved when I started nodding along. We talked about what it was like for him to finally have a natural way out when he had decided he didn't want to live so long ago. He knows his deadline now--before it had just been hanging over his head, keeping him from living the life he wanted--and time to get his affairs in order. We talked things over. I mentioned the Forum somehow and explained how my parents had met, and how I had done the Forum and Advanced course to cement my ideas of how to live my life with good communication and integrity. She said she thought that was why I was who I am today, why she finds it so easy to speak with me despite my only being 19, and we smiled. Went on to lighter easier subjects. Talked quite a bit and then split ways, after I was hopping up and down. [I occasionally just start popping up and down in my interactions with people. My body says hop, I do it. It amuses her as well.]

Came back and apparently my choosing humans was much more controversial than I expected. I ended up in two debates on others' status updates. Both of them brought the personal into it ("that would include you and your friends!" or how it would be an iffy marking chance) and I don't know, I guess I was just looking at is objectively, not personally. I took a step to the left and chose which species extinction I thought would have the most positive long term effect and thought it was humans. I didn't see how my answer was any less valid than some others mentioned, especially given that the first question was to describe the social patterns of UNICORNS of the possible eusociality of WOMBLES, a made-up burrow-dwelling creature!

Eventually with both debates we came to the general agreement that long-term, yes, humans would be the best to go but that we all prefer that DOESN'T happen, and that instead we stick around and clean up our mess. Keep our population from rising out of control, clean up the huge poverty issue and inability to share resources, ease of the requirements we have on the resources and just clean up the earth. So in the end it was a day's good work in the name of ecology!

But it definitely reminded me that I generally feel icky when debating. The first one was alright but the second one felt a bit ick at first with a bit more aggressive tactics. The first one felt like a two-way discussion, the second more like a debate. But in the end they both seemed to end well and that's what I like. =)

This entry was way longer than I intended! It's now approaching half four and at some point I'll have to do chem revision. Not so worried about tomorrow's exam. Hayls will help me get the maths right, hopefully. I think I do understand a lot of the chemistry.

So! Here's to hoping I got good marks today despite my general controversial nature! We'll see how that goes! Hoping tomorrow will be good too.

5 down, 3 to go!
Current Location: Debation Station.
Current Mood: nerdyNerdy.
Mitheirien: they spend their lives on a rag dollgrey_gazania on May 27th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Your second question sounds like a really interesting essay. Also, unicorns rock.
Kiwi Crocus: Alice  WTFcranky__crocus on May 27th, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)
Giggles. I thought it was interesting! And yes, unicorns totally rock. :] I now have a completed novel and a completed university exam essay about unicorns. XP
Mitheirien: pay it no mind; you just walk on throughgrey_gazania on May 27th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
Which novel, if you don't mind my asking? Also, if you're ever in the mood for a sweet but slightly silly movie on the topic, may I suggest The Last Unicorn?
Kiwi Crocus: A Kiwibird Fruitcranky__crocus on May 27th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
I wrote a novel called Providential Horn. It's a finished novel (well, story-wise, someday it will be edited and the lot) but in an unfinished universe. It was wrapped up as a "pause" between events. So not a finished series!

I love The Last Unicorn! <3<3<3.
Mitheirien: pear pimples for hairy fishnutsgrey_gazania on May 27th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, I misunderstood; I thought you had read a novel, not written it. Oops!
Kiwi Crocus: Rainbow Don't Carecranky__crocus on May 27th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Grins, no problem! But if you were asking on the off chance that it would offer you a new book to read... I could send mine your way if you want to read through a unicorn book! =P
Treecreatesunspots on May 27th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
I like your answer to the second one a lot.

And goodness, unicorns. That's hilarious. :D
Kiwi Crocus: Addison  Deviouscranky__crocus on May 27th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
Awwr, thanks! Hopefully the marker will as well. I can understand if I get marks off for my presentation (I was rushed and ranting, so there's an angry tinge given it helped me write faster) but I think in general I had good information.

Yes, it was a highly amusing exam. XP Much more so than chemistry will be.
Gloryforestofglory on May 27th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
The 1st question is awesome and I second one not at all (bleag!).

People you are arguing with should remember the difference between "let go exciting" and "wipe off the face of the Earth".
Kiwi Crocus: Addison  Deviouscranky__crocus on May 31st, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Giggles. I liked the second one.

I agree with that second part, definitely. I mentioned that it would change the earth--habitat management would change and all, given an engineer species would be gone--but that the earth would adapt as it always does. That seemed to clear up most of the points anyone else had been making anyway.
101mutts: brown dog101mutts on May 27th, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
What did other people choose for the second question? Wiping out humans seems pretty obvious to me! Perhaps a certain amount of cynicism is required.

Starting with unicorns sounds like a great way to open the exam and make it more creative.
Kiwi Crocus: Rosethorncranky__crocus on May 31st, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
I heard: Cow, Great Panda (WTF?), mouse and some others that I can now no longer remember. I don't think any particular cynicism is required. Shrugs. Mayhaps.

I loved the unicorns. I loved both of them. That's probably been my best exam. I've actually liked most of my exams. I won't like Humans. There's just...no way.
101mutts101mutts on May 31st, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
Wow, you've LIKED your exams? Yay, Kiwi.

I like the concept of exams and the "oh wow, I actually remember this, how cool is that?" feeling.
lash_laruelash_larue on May 28th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
I applaud your choice of humans for extinction, and could not agree more. There is certainly no more arrogant, destructive, venal, ad infinitum animal on the planet.

It will happen, I have no doubt, for despite our pretension to divinity we are but a numerous large animal and we will doubtless pass away.

That does not, of course, excuse us from trying to do what is right while we are here. Nor does it mean we cannot love one another, just that we are finite.
Kiwi Crocus: Eco Speak for Treescranky__crocus on May 31st, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
101mutts: Britomartis butterfly101mutts on May 31st, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
I also agree!

Perhaps warfare is an ecological control of the human population.