online: 15 june 2004
modified: 15 june 2004

14 june 2004 fact and fiction

19:47 An insect: it hovers (usually for 1-4 seconds, occasionally for 5-10) until it suddenly jumps, 3-5 times a second, each jump is up to 50 times its own length... I'm amazed at its speed, accelleration, precision of movement - perhaps 10 times greater than that of a bird, maybe 50 times that of an aircraft. Much of this difference comes of the scale effect* but some of it comes of the clumsiness and primitiveness of engineering when compared with natural evolution.

As I began to write that, I noticed a green moth crawling on the asphalt path by my feet. Now it is near the middle of the path and seems unaware of the danger from walkers, runners, cyclists - who pass about once a minute. I'm unable to resist moving it into the grass. Yet earlier today I squashed a moth as I swept it off my clothes.

Is there no way to live and move without killing smaller creatures, or even large ones, even people?... I imagine that any visit to a supermarket could kill someone in the third world.

I'm now on Parliament Hill. The city before me is lit by the sunset. I can hear several conversations in languages I don't recognise. The air is cooling after a hot day (28C?) and it is clear enough to see the hills beyond South London (15-30 kilometres away, I estimate**).

I brought my working copy of the internet and everyone with me today, intending to continue writing 'the education of everyone', the first chapter of which begins within it... But so far I haven't been able to connect the book to these outdoor moments...

But now the author disappears from the scene as he turns to page 444...

Gentle reader,
What, you may ask, is the purpose of this book, or even of this world?

These words of fiction, you may observe, are of an entirely different quality from those written before to describe and to note existing moments in external reality... These words are not that, they are not an attempt at bringing life into literature - they are the reverse. They bring an imagined reality into life... Our education continues!

The author looks up at the city. The words describing him doing that, Gentle Reader, are both fictional and real. The city lights are switching on, a woman poses for a flash photo, and the education of all of us becomes a story in itself. This is it, integrative writing.

*things of larger size move slower, relative to their length, because their weight is proportional to the cube of their weight but their strength is proportional only to the square of it, i.e. the weight of body is proportional to its volume but its strength is proportional to the cross-sectional area of muscles.

**Hold your thumb up at arm's length. Close the left eye and align the left side of your thumb against a prominent object in the distance. Keep your thumb still while you open the left eye and close the right eye. The edge of your thumb will move to the right a certain distance. Open both eyes and estimate the distance the edge of your thumb moved e.g. 1000 metres. The distance from you to the prominent object is 1000 x 10 (or more precisely x 9). This works because it is relatively easy to estimate lateral distances (from side to side) but nearly impossible to estimate longitudinal distance (from far to near). This is because each point of the intervening ground is at a different distance and some of it may be hidden behind hills. I was taught this in the army. It seems to work.

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