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Posted by wmmbb in Duckspeak.

This is the Duckpond right. Now this story about animal behavior appeared in The Guardian appearing as among their most popular articles for the week. It involves the sort of subjects I would personally like to steer clear of – rape, homosexuality, necrophilia – but the murder of human beings is OK. The Guardian has no particular idea as to why this story was apparently so interesting.

I suppose in general that animal behavior is interesting. We try to decode the behavior of those animals with which we have the most contact. We develop close emotional bonds with our pets, exploring the boundaries between mammalian species. As I observed yesterday at the vets, our grief is genuine when they die, which I think on a practical level prepares us for dealing with the death of those closest to us, without the ritualistic aspects. We will put dogs down rather than leave them comatose or in pain, but not humans.

Then, I suppose, there is the issue of the boundaries of moral codes. The apparent ease in which they might sometimes transmute, so that young people from country towns placed in a military organization can become torturers. We ( the presumptive “we” again) would like to believe that some behavioral prohibitions were deeply encoded in our nature. The behavior of ducks, without a full consideration of circumstances, might be seen as completely separate from human behavior.

Since we overconsume in this household, now might be the time, for me to read what Peter Singer has to say about these matters of animals and ethics.


This topic is discussed by John Quiggin ,who thinks we should spend on the alleviation of human poverty, and Jason Soon that capitalism requires innovation and risk (while Brad DeLong wonders what is results from Microsoft’s billions spent on research and development program). Me, I am concerned to get my drains fixed, get well, and go back to work, if I still have a job.

However, I particularly like the comment made by Francis Xavier Holden in response to Jason’s post:

The waste is even worsererer than Clive Hamilton mentions. Each day there are hundreds of thousands of blogs on the net NOT used or read.

Ducks require rivers, dams and duckponds, although the ability and competence to think ecologically is not something that can be taken for granted in the decision making processes, as we see evidenced around us. In the meantime, I am proposing computers for ducks, failing that a continuing march through a non-echoing corridor. It is an analogy for life, or not.



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