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[APD] Humanity and the low-tech aquarium

For the sake of argument, I have to post something
post-mortem regarding human v. animal, even though it
has now dissipated (haven't read the list in a while,
so missed the best part)...my apologies...

Language is the word we use for an exceptionally high
development of communication ability (vocal or
otherwise), but communication is, in the end, what it
is.  Nearly, if not all, animals communicate...we just
happen to do it better than most.  There is no
difference in the end.  It's all degree of comlexity. 
What defines a bird from the other animals?  Flight? 
NOpe...bats fly.  Eggs?  Nope.  Feathers?  Well,
maybe... but we're not exactly talking about quite the
same basket of ova as language.  Many birds and
primates have demonstrated extremely well developed
forms of communication.  So a chimp or gorilla learns
'symbols'...communication is still achieved, and, not
only that, but with a system that WE developed and
they LEARNED.  No small feat.  Should I mention the
ultrasound of dolphins, the songs of humpbacks, the
infrasound of elephants?  Sure, we can't make any of
it out...but it seems very likely to a lot scientists
that there is more there than random vocalization.

The biggest problem humans have is the
shortsightedness and overconfidence to not realise
what is going on in the world outside our own heads. 
One theoretical differentiation between humans and the
rest is our propensity for abstract thought.  Most
would consider dogs brighter than crows, yet an
experiment proved that crows were frightfully
intelligent.  Food hung from a cord, and setup in such
a way as not to allow the crow to latch onto it and
eat it led to the crow sitting on the branch the food
was attached to and, foot over beak, hauling the food
up by the cord itself.  And it didn't take very long
at all for it to figure that out.  The point is maybe
not so much that the bird can think abstractly, as it
is that we fail to recognise or differentiate
intelligence (and its various forms)in creatures other
than ourselves.  We often have a hard time
understanding what someone from a different culture
thinks.  How can we assume to understand how an
entirely different species is up to?  

In the end we all fundamentally function the same
(all, as in animal kingdom), and to a non-human (or
non-terran) I'm sure it's not all that mysterious.
It's not so much differences as nuance.  The best
thing Desmond Morris did was to look at humans as a
zoologist would look at any other animal on this
planet, no matter what you may think of his theories.

As for low-tech aquariums...well, I've forgotten what
I was going to say, but it has pained me to read all
about everyone else's tanks while I, having just moved
to Toronto over the summer, have been settling in and
am only now ready to plan out my first rig in my new
home.  Does anyone from the TO area know of any places
taht sell a decent selection of driftwood locally?

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