27 December 2012

Thorny devil

Moloch horridus

Twenty-ninth in a series of notes and comments on The Book of Barely Imagined Beings

Chapter 20: Thorny devil

page 298: remarkable Australian nativeHere is charming short paper on the Thorny devil.

page 299: Life is a pure flame. Olivia Judson compares fire to an animal like sheep a slug because it eats plants. But unlike a normal animal, it’s a shape-shifter. Francis Ponge (1942):
Fire's gait can only compared to that of an animal; it has to leave one spot to occupy another; it makes moves like both an amoeba and a giraffe, lunging forward with the neck, trailing along with the foot.
Italo Calvino (1985):
models for the process of formation of living beings “are best visualized by the crystal on the one side (invariance of specific structures) and the flame on the other (constancy of external forms in spite of relentless internal agitation).”

Picture below, by Tim Holmes, added 9 Jan

Added 18 Jan: Australian inferno previews fire-prone future.

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