Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Drop us in a Jungle…

So, it’s raining, and it rained a lot. I’m not going to speak about the rain and the damage it caused and the traffic caused by the damage. There are hundreds of blogs and articles where you can read about that. But the heavy rain did get me thinking about something I was discussing with some friends of mine over the weekend.

You see, if this rainfall happened a few million years ago, few hundred people would have died because they weren’t strong enough to get to the high ground, climb a tree, or hold on to something while the waters poured around them. You see where this is going.

Natural selection, survival of the fittest, evolution (in a way). While harsh and definitely strict, it was natures way of getting rid of the weak individuals of a species. Since only the strong ones, the fast ones, the fit ones would survive, that means that only they would procreate, thus strengthening the species as a whole.

Right, so human beings survived till now, so it’s assumed that we are the descendants of the strongest of our species. Well yes, technically, but, and here’s my point, we have cheated natural selection.

Evolution and natural selection has first let the fit, fast and strong people to survive, the big cats and animals with the sharp teeth and claws, and then man looked at his clawless hands and teeth that couldn’t really damage anything bigger than a mouse and figured that if he wanted to live a bit more freely, he’d have to make some changes. And tools and weapons were created. And for the first time a clawless, not so strong, not so big creature took down a tiger, and ‘Natural Selection’ went “hold on a second…”

And the rest is history.

For example: We invented cars to help us travel further than we physically could. And here’s the thin, everyone could travel the same distance, in the same amount of time if your car was fast enough. So all of a sudden, its not the strength you had, but on what car you could buy, what equipment you could use. So now the weaker people can still survive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we manage to live with our elders longer. I’m just pointing out that today we don’t bother with keeping fit, or training to be fast, because we don’t need to. We have stretched our race to every part of the world and there have pushed aside even the strongest animal in that region with the use of our weapons and tools.

Natural Selection looked at what we’re doing and throwing it’s hands in the air gave up and concentrated on the other creatures.

Drop us in a jungle today, and although we might like to think that we might manage to survive and get through, but let’s face it, there in the land where Natural Selection is ruler, we’d be something’s meal within a period of two days max.

Just to show my point: anyone who’s watched the PIXAR film “WALL-E” has seen the overweight, lazy, unable to move human beings of the future, and if we get to the point where we don’t even need to walk anymore, don’t need to turn our heads to speak to anyone, that is how we’d all become.

Well, I say we… I mean our ancestors… We, (and I mean me) will hopefully continue living, and come to the end of our lives still strong, still fast, still agile and still looking damn sexy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2 is not enough

Walking into my 9 o’clock lecture this morning I felt something was off. The room was dark with just one other waiting student. Admittedly, in the first lesson we were only 10 students in the first lecture, and all of them, except me, where law students, and we all know we can’t trust that lot.

Eventually, the lecturer walks in. He’s a good lecturer and the lecturer, from the introduction the credit promised to be an interesting one.

I forgot to mention that the credit has two lecturers, but one of them (as much as I can tell from the 1.0833 (not an invented number) lectures we’ve had), is always late. Either way, the first lecturer walks in and sits down behind his desk waiting until ten past just in case the students were late because of the impossible parking situation on campus.

Very sweet of him and all. Like I said, a very nice lecturer with an interesting subject.

Ten minutes pass, he looks at us, says “so, I think the others dropped the credit”. He then stands up, and as he unplugs his laptop continues, “I’ll ask administration if the credit will continue with only two students and inform you by email.” And then he walks out of the class room leaving us sitting there staring at the doorway.

So wait, are this other student I never met and I not worth teaching?

I don’t know about you, but as far as I know University only has a rule stating a maximum number of students in a class. Do not quote me on this, I could easily be wrong.

But I find it highly unfair that if, in this case, two students are interested enough to come to the lecture, interested to act polite as the lecturer walks in and smile at all his jokes, if I’ve read the course description, knew it was his lecture and still chose it, don’t I have the right to be lectured? I mean it is his job after all, isn’t it?

It’s like a priest walking into a church for mass and finding only two people and saying “there’s not enough people, try join the church down the street.”

Reading that, I find I need to correct myself, because it’s worse than that, as in Malta, most of you know, each locality has a great number of churches or chapels, so finding a mass to listen to is not a great feat. If this credit falls trough, the hassle and beaurocracy this other student and myself will have to go through to find another credit is impossible to describe. All of you who have survived at least one year on campus know what I’m talking about. To all the freshers reading this: You’ll see.


On a totally unrelated subject: I almost laughed out loud when at the end of my first ‘Basic Music Technology’ lecture notes, the further reading suggested was a link to a Wikipedia article. Like I said in an earlier blog around exam time last year, why buy books or go to lecturer? Stay home and read the internet. It’s where the lecturers are learning from anyway.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Carbonated Beverage

So another scholastic year has begun, and back at our beloved University of Malta not much has changed. The parking problem is still present, the chaos of Fresher’s week is still here, timetable and venue mix ups are still common occurrence.

The canteen has changed it’s look, but the caterers are the same, so not much improvement there. Either way, I was not one to be seen in the canteen often. So no real effect on me.

The Chaplaincy has given Ellie away (the pet rabbit) and filled the void with Chap (a beautiful, playful, clumsy, black puppy).

But there is one thing that has changed and I am going to complain about.

Vending Machines have changed. What do I mean? I mean that where there used to be a coffee machine, there is now only a snack machine. But that’s not the worse of it! I’m serious, it gets worse!

Half way through a double lesson, lecturers are usually humane enough to give a short break. So as usual I head out of the classroom heading to a vending machine I know is there. And indeed there was a vending machine there. But instead of a CocaCola machine, it was a Pepsi one!

You may mock or laugh but there is a difference. So when I’d been craving specifically CocaCola, and I know that there used to be a machine which when bribed will give me CocaCola, and all of a sudden I’m forced to drink, *shudder* Pepsi! I refused, I could not, I had to cope with Seven Up, and it was not satisfying at all.

I’ve been looking around campus since this horrifying event and up till now I have not found a CocaCola vending machine. I am concerned. I actually have to go off campus to buy my carbonated beverage of choice! If I’m wrong and there is somewhere, hidden in a corner, a vending machine which does not sell Pepsi, please please please tell me.

And if on the hour, at any point in time in the next year, you see me sprinting across campus with a thirsty but determined look on my face, I warn you, I’ve trained rugby.