Soaring Birds, Droning Bees: Too Much Observation, but not Enough Attraction

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Preamble and Introduction

This article speaks metaphorically in order to allow it to be readable by anyone, presumably without giving offence to the reader, or any necessary parent or guardian of the same.  Nevertheless, we do expect to bore those who would not be capable of understanding the message hidden herein.  May that not be the case for others, but this writer may be out of touch with the tastes of the majority of contemporary readers.  We’ll see! 

Rather than following the rules of making the introduction interesting, we must resort to teasing our visitors into unraveling the mystery of the meaning.

We will speak about drones, which exist in a variety of forms, whether as bees, parasites, or as instruments of observation.  It is to be hoped, that in spite of our desire to have some suffer, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, the necessary ennui, we do not seem to drone on for the others who are here!

We will write about birds, of which many could be named, but our scope is limited (in part) to those which are really disguised drones of the third type mentioned in the previous paragraph. Others are related, in song, or expression, to the first part of the aforementioned section.

The birds are the better of the two at observation.  According to at least one dictionary, a bird can even be a fellow, or in Britain, a girl.  This makes the word a convenient term for the current sociological terms of inclusion and diversity.  It appears that anyone, using the “inclusive” dictionary definition, can be a bird-watcher.  Sometimes, such an activity is best done from a blind, but at other times, that could be a punishable act – it all depends on the bird(s) being watched.  In case of doubt, caution advises restricting oneself to the ones that are capable of perching on trees!

We have already suggested the idea of observation in the preceding item.  It is a given in modern society.  This article, even if read by no one, may have been filed away, in order to keep tabs on the writer, while records may also be kept on what devices are providing the necessary interface with our readers.  No fear, we intend to be harmless! If we contend, as we do, that there is a little too much observation, and not enough action, (paraphrasing Elvis Presley) ,[1] even I might not be sure what I meant if, after a case of amnesia, I were to come back to this, and not read until the end.  This is what becomes of trying to be child-safe and politically-correct!

And finally, we come to the question of attraction.  It is completely irrelevant to the worker bees.  It’s a really bad deal for the drone, which ends up dead.  Only the queen is in a satisfactory position – but wait!  Cannot the drone sight another drone, and its controller will zoom in for a closer look?  Maybe the heavier one can force a formation like the military jet, the F-16 Tomcat.  Here is a question of speed and agility on the part of the drone, and skill on the part of the operator.  However, except for the training of operators, in the case of actions “on-the-ground”, that is, in the air, only one party would be authorized to be attracted. Clearly, this is an unequal relationship.

Perhaps, one day, this metaphor of attraction could become even more inclusive, insofar as some scientists have worked on, and perhaps still look for, the elusive “monopole”.[2]  That is, not the “south” or the “north” of the magnet, but one which would violate the rule of “opposites attract”.  The new world also rejects the notion taught in physics, that for each and every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction, Newton’s third law of motion.  In philosophy, it has its expression in the Hegelian dialect, that for action and reaction, we get synthesis.  Marxists love it!  It rather contradicts all their “withering away” ideas which seem to have found a twin idea in the concept of getting to some ideal state, such as expressed by Teilhard de Chardin[3].  [How many minors are still here? How many readers have majored in something, which explains their continued interest?]

Ending the Drone

Let’s finish droning on about the military applications of military flying objects, by being more specific.  It is not just the United States of America which is heavy into unmanned aircraft, some invented by their science fiction like DARPA[4] program.  We have miniature ones that imitate mosquitos (not very well, from what we’ve seen)[5].  We will not mention the practical applications any more that we have already hinted at, because that would not be germane to our purpose, but we find it interesting that even such a country as Poland has its project[6], and a bird-like drone was shot down in Somalia, supposedly of domestic manufacture[7].  It rather reminds this writer of the bird-like outline at Nazca, Peru[8].

With that, we can conclude about these devices.

Bees and Smell

Going back to bees, now, we consider their capacity for smell. Whether the drone does it as well as the worker, probably doesn’t matter.  Queen and drone can stay in their hive, and the workers bring in the gold.  In technology, there are sniffing machines that imitate a search for nectar, except that these are used for detecting unsavoury smells.  Your favourite soft-drink maker probably employs one for reusable bottles[9].  An airport at London had to stop using such a device, because it was way too sensitive[10].  In this writer’s younger years, he read in LIFE Magazine that each person has a unique smell, the same as unique fingerprints[11].  That may or may not be true, because nothing more is known about this, the same as about the promises of no more cavities, and the definitive extermination of roaches and perhaps mosquitoes.

Observation: A Question of All the Senses, or Total-Spectrum Dominance

The best detectives and spies are those that can deploy the totality of their senses: sight, sound, smell; and to a lesser degree, taste and touch.  If each of the senses were a weapon, they would, perhaps with the addition of extrasensory powers, and surely, tact, constitute the equivalent of the rainbow’s spectrum – and whoever best managed the spectrum, would be the dominant character.  Clearly, these skills are not necessary in all facets of life.  What the modern world has forgotten though, is that the withering away of these capacities leads to a divorce from reality.  In fact, improper application leads, in the private sphere, to infructuous relationships – which might suggest corollaries for the scientific principles previously enunciated, i.e. that opposites attract, and that, (applicable to a lesser extent to our purposes), for each and every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction.[12]

At any rate, modern world is too much into observation.  This is what television and the Internet have lead to, a substitution of real human relationships for ersatz fulfillment.  We are not criticizing the castes which have always been dedicated to the proper use of sources of information, we merely remark on those who unwittingly channel their energies into the wrong currents.

But as long as we are observing, there is one fact that may well be overlooked – beyond our actual physical traits, we may be judged by a subconsciously-detected asymmetrical face, taken as a sign of genetic defect[13].  Whether one actual is photogenic seems to be less important.

Endgame [Sniff! Sniff!]

(We just love words with more than one meaning!)

Well, it was pointed out in a book by Desmond Morris in the 1960s that we wash much more than necessary for the purposes of hygiene.[14]  Someone, perhaps, was preparing us to circumvent the sniffing machines, but that would seem to be doubtful.  But for the purposes of the endgame, we should neither be misled by the lack of odor, nor the presence of masking fragrances. It has been shown that the right smells put us onto the desired track.  In a book Body Language, it is mentioned that there is a culture which visibly “breathes in” the other (our re-wording, and we find it prudent not to name the peoples involved).[15]  Related, in German, is an expression for not being able to tolerate someone, jemanden nicht riechen können, where the idea of intolerance to smell compares with the English expression of not to being able to stand the sight of somebody.

A less convincing argument regarding attraction is that the genetics of the one attracting must be similar.  Logic would exclude the bee paradigm, in that the ratio of queens and drones to the general population is obviously of an elitist nature, given that bee and ant societies are often given as models for human governance.  Birds are better – much better – but as in known from experimentation on animals, results of observations must be extrapolated with the utmost care to humans – and no guarantees are offered as to their validity – at least in the mind of this writer.  Nevertheless, it has been shown that there exist cases of genetic similarity in the case of some cultures.  In this case, we suspect the studies to be flawed.  It has been said, for example, that almost all French-Canadians share the same ancestors.[16]  Certainly there are isolated areas of the world, untouched by civil wars, where a population has little chance at interaction with strangers.  Such, as we remember from a no longer identifiable book,  read in 1980, was the situation somewhere in an Andean region, where the locals enjoyed the best of health.

In any event, in order to avoid separation or divorce from one’s goal, we suggest not being waylaid by absence of scent, or the presence of fragrances. For best results, prior ages suggested [but we would not want to be rigorous on these points] comparable economic and social levels, and equivalent cultural (including religious) background.  We are not, of course, talking about choosing our friends.  We also believe that nothing prevents people from disparate regions of the world from deciding to share the same culture.  We would only hope that such decisions are not to be made of from on high, as it was in the days when parents designated marriage partners, and society determined the work to be done by one’s children.

Conclusion

This article was inspired by others read on the Internet in the decade or so, on reasonably respectable web-sites, so one would expect that the information should not give offense, and be valid.  However, further investigation shows the existence of many counterclaims.  We leave those to be followed up by others, because, as mentioned before, we are restricted in how clearly our ideas may be expressed.

On a more positive note, the end of a movie seen on the night before writing this, brought to mind what we are trying to illustrate here.  In the old Western, Born to the Saddle, the very end shows a couple kissing.[17]  The hero of the tale, a rather youngish fellow, insinuates to his female companion that he does not want to watch, “C’mon, let’s get out of here”.  She begs to differ, saying she wants to learn something.

“What?”

“This,” and she kisses him.

In keeping with our previous narrative, we can remark that they had a common culture and interests: the “west” of the United States, horses, and a dislike of bullies.  The lifestyle would have meant less washing, so there would be no need to suggest the role of smell.[18]  Somewhat irrelevant to our theme would be the lack of idleness in such a society, except by its villains.  The difficulty of life in those times called for a “help meet”,[19] and neither of the pair was a drone to the other, which welfare states practically encourage by eliminating the need for self-reliance.  How is it that species such as birds and insects can get along without such assistance?

The lessons above are what should be taught to children in the schools, and not the more well-known topic to which we have alluded in our title.  We believe our few observations, based on scientific studies, can help obtain success and explain failure.  The current system used in most schools panders more to prurient interests than to anything else.  For those who negate a religious-inspìred curriculum in these matters, for those who care for the environment, for those who worry about overpopulation or broken families, here we have it: less waste of water, less instability.

But if we work in an office building, perhaps other social pressures make some of the above irrelevant.

August 31, 2016.

© Paul Karl Moeller

Notes

[1]  A Little Less Conversation

[2]  Dennis Eskow, “Is there a monopole”, Popular Mechanics, in section “Science Worldwide”, October, 1984, p. 52, https://books.google.com./books?id=f-QDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA52, Accessed 20160831

[3]  Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point.

[4]  Jeremy Bender, “15 Astounding Technologies DARPA Is Creating Right Now”, Business Insider, 21 July, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/15-current-darpa-innovations-2014-7

[5]  Mosquito drone.   We’ll include a reference to bees here, in drone form, see, for example: Geoffrey Ingersoll, “The New RoboBee Drone Will Navigate Using Sight And Smell”, Business Insider, 5 October 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com/no-kidding-bees-are-behind-the-design-of-americas-next-gen-mini-drones-2012-10, accessed 27 August 2016

[6]  Douglas Ernst, “‘Bee’ drones, developed for Polish military, offer both surveillance and sting”, Washington Times, 10 March 2015, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/10/bee-drones-developed-for-polish-military-bots-offe/, accessed 27 August 2016.

[7] Kelsey D. Atherton, “Small Bird-Shaped Drone Crashes In Mogadishu”, Popular Science, 14 July 2016, http://www.popsci.com/small-bird-shaped-drone-crashes-in-mogadishu, accessed 27 August 2016.

[8]  True, if something eagle-like can be compared to a humming-bird.

[9]  See second paragraph of “Sequence of Production” in “Coca-Cola Bottling Plant at HM Interdink (Germany)”, http://www.profibus.com/technology/profibus/case-studies/coca-cola-bottling-plant-at-hm-interdrink-germany/, accessed  31 August 2016.

[10]  Scott Carmichael, “Airport Security – What Works, and What Does Not?”, Jan 28, 2010, http://gadling.com/2010/01/28/airport-security-what-works-and-what-does-not/ has a reference to passenger puffer machines (pictured) and simply states that they were retired for “unforeseen technical reasons”.  Our comment about the sensitivity is from memory. Accessed 1 September 2016.  Wikipedia, in its article on these devices,  puts the failure rate at less than 1%, but mentions problems.  Further searching found the opinion by Micheline Maynard of the New York Times saying that the problem was “apparently” caused by sensitivity, in an interview conducted by Linda Wertheimer of National Public Radio:  “Christmas Day Attack Shows Holes In Airline Security”, 29 December, 2009, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121998651.

[11]  This was badly remembered, or just not found. There is an article online (or was), expressing this idea in LiveScience, by Andrea Thompson, 5 November 2008, but it may be too graphic for some tastes, so the curious must make their own search.

[12]  Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

[13]  Anthony C. Little, Benedict C. Jones, et. al., “Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research” United States National Library of Medicine – National Institute of Health, Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Jun 12; 366(1571): 1638–1659. doi:  10.1098/rstb.2010.0404

[14]  Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape, in LIFE, 22 December 1967, first column, first paragraph starting anew, contains this fragment: “The body is washed and bathed frequently – far more than is required simply by the demands of medical care and hygiene “ https://books.google.com/books?id=a0oEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA98

[15]  Julius Fast, Body Language, various editions available, according to Wikipedia, first published 1970.

[16]  “Immigration from Old France to New France”,  last database update March 2015 http://www.genealogy.umontreal.ca/en/LesPionniers#EtVotreAncetre, accessed  31 August 2016

[17] Born to the Saddle, contradictory data, 1951 or 1953. Available for free at archive.org.

[18]  Smell: Refer to footnote 14.

[19]  “help meet”: Genesis 2:18, KJV, original.

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