Some species of Theridiidae, or cobweb weaver, gettin busy in the Twisty recycle bin, June 2005
Update (not that I expect any but the nerdiest among you to get excited about this): Professor John A. Jackman of the Entomology Department at Texas A&M, who gets paid fabulous sums to pronounce on these matters, says these aren’t Theridiidae at all, but in fact Linyphiidae, or sheet web weavers. The key is apparently in the oblong, as opposed to round, abdomen shape. Thanks, Dr. Jackman!
I’ve been remonstrating lately against the American press corps’ inability to grow a pair — e.g. why, for the lovagod, has nobody asked W about the Downing Street Memo? It’s the case for impeachment in 1000 words or less! — but, as I gaze upon this pair of little arachnids who lately have been carrying on in my recycle bin, I realize I’ve sort of lost sight of the big picture. So, great news! None of this political shit really matters.
Why not? We’ve got global warming to look forward to, for one thing. I guarantee — and what more do you need than the guarantee of some random spinster aunt blogger? — that this little climatic response to human self-absorption is gonna take out way more people than Osama bin Laden ever could.; Global warming will not be distinguishing between red and blue states. It will not care whether you nuke gay whales for Jesus. Driving that Prius is a nice try, but it’ll be too little too late. This is gonna be big, I tell ya.
Of course, if global warming doesn’t wipe out everything but the cockroaches, we still have the inevitability of drug-resistant pandemics, Peak Oil, depletion of biodiversity, the unsustainability of human population. I don’t need to tell you that things are already really, really messed up. I mean, when was the last time you ate a peach that was worth a damn?
Humans are so preoccupied with wars and boobs and whose imaginary deity can kick whose ass in a knife fight that we rarely consider the comforting truth: that such fetishes, whatever quaint talismanic attractions they hold for us, are of infinitesimal importance to our utterly indifferent cosmos. Our world-within-a-world-within-a-world is a fantasy. The universe couldn’t give a fig for Homo sapiens; as far as it’s concerned, our whole planet is just e pluribus unum, one of a gazillion-bazillion cosmic chemical reactions. The whole of human history means less to it than a speck of sand in a desert means to you. So the universe isn’t going to bat an eye when some meteor slams into Kansas (please, please let it be Kansas! And please let me be there to see the look on their face when they realize that gee, maybe science was really true after all!). Because whole stars explode every day.
I feel a lot better knowing that, for all its arrogant bluster, our wretched species has fuck-all to say about what’s going down in the cosmos. Time and space make us irrelevant! What a relief!