Feeding the Planet of the Apes, the Skies of the Crows, and the Attack of the Ants

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The Humans

We are as diverse as our diets.

We can eat Korean Food in New Delhi – there was a Korean restaurant near the hostel I stayed at.  We can eat Vietnamese food in France.  Sushi in Chicago.  Pizza in Kathmandu – not too bad1)http://www.fireandicepizzeria.com/kathmandu.html.  Burgers in Okinawa – pretty good – and Taipei.2)http://www.roo-bar.jp/menu.html Doner kebabs in Tokyo and Leipzig.  BBQ, the American kind, in Seoul.

Americans and Chinese are eating eclairs and baguettes in Paris.3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_France  Koreans are serving up SPAM for breakfast – my couchsurfing host’s served me a delicious, not-so-nutritious 7-Elevn breakfast.  Nigerians in California and Greeks in Florida can feast on durian from Thailand if they wanted to.  Irish-Mexicans and Swedish-Japanese can enjoy Italian Gelato in San Francisco.  Chinese-Americans, French, Japanese, and Slovakians can enjoy delicious, Czechoslovakian sunflower honey and Hokkaido-buttered, locally-made-toast in Okinawa – hen hao chi!4)https://www.lostlaowai.com/blog/expat-stuff/teaching-esl-in-china/theres-nothing-delicious-about-delicious/

Our DNA is receiving novel and diverse stimuli from our diets; it’s no wonder the world is teeming with creativity and complexity.

¡Humans are increíble!

We can eat canned tuna or sardines from atop a mountain, ramen in a forest, steak and potatoes on the beach.  We can indulge ourselves in a nut mix while we sail across the ocean.  Ham sandwich and glass of milk up in the middle of the sky?  A bag of chips under water? (Think about it).5)http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/location/the-10-longest-underwater-tunnels-in-the-world/ No problem.

The Monkeys

Thailand: Obese Monkey Nicknamed ‘Uncle Fat’ Placed In Rehab

Are humans shirking off their obesity problem and transferring it to the wildlife?  Are projecting our desire to consume onto the animal kingdom?

Thank goodness visitors in Thailand fed Uncle Fat processed junk food and not salads and protein shakes from Smoothie King.  We would have a different problem on our hands…  War for the Planet of the Apes comes out this Summer.

I went on a hike with a friend in Kaohsiung.  We hiked ShouShan.  My friend’s uncle advised us to take a stick to protect ourselves from the wild monkeys that would attempt to remove the food from our hands and bags6)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q1MyVUze8M.  We decided not to take any bags with us.  We encountered a lot of monkeys that were probably saddened by our empty hands save for the empty bubble tea container.  We also happened upon a small pagoda which we wanted to explore.  After discovering the numerous monkeys sitting on the benches and realizing we were outnumbered/out-powered, we thought it better to just keep hiking.  We retreated to the path, slowly backing up the way we had came.

I hiked with another friend in Yangming Shan park outside Taipei.  We came across a healthy monkey larger than the ones I saw in Kaohsiung.  I was wearing a backpack.  When my friend looked up and saw the monkey, she gasped and froze.  I stepped in front of her as we attentively watched the monkey slowly stroll past and behind us.  Thankfully the monkeys here weren’t accustomed to people reaching into their bags to retrieve snacks.

One must always be ready to fight against the wild.  To turn off fear and turn on aggression.

The Sea Lions

Or at least ready to respond like this man in Canada.

Maybe the sea lion just wanted to play and he thought the giggling girl would be playful in the water?  Maybe the sea lion was still hungry and wanted to taste little girl?

There’s a reason why they tell us not to feed the wildlife in parks.  This dock was no park but the same rules should apply no matter where you are.  If they didn’t feed that sea lion, he may not have gotten close enough to cause the young girl harm.  7)https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/05/23/a-sea-lion-yanked-a-girl-into-the-water-officials-blamed-her-parents-for-reckless-behavior/?utm_term=.6681570e3ada

Why do we continue to feed other species when humans are dying of starvation?

The Squirrels

Tucked away under the trees in the outer-edges of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial park there are park benches, pull-up and monkey bars and a miniature square where older generations can dance and stretch their bodies to playful, flowery Chinese music.

Locals and tourists, equipped with their flashy cameras and bags of processed snacks, come to these Chiang Kai-Shek corner crevices to capture nature at its finest: a squirrel grasping a processed puff from the human hand.  It brings back a memory of my days at Swarthmore…

Outside of McCabe library, I remember witnessing a squirrel dive down into the garbage bin and resurface with a partially eaten package of Toast Chee peanut butter cracker, the kind with the candy-corn-neon-orange cracker.  As it perched on the garbage bin’s rim and removed a cracker from the plastic wrapper, a couple thoughts crossed my mind as it rested a mindful eye on me while nibbling on the cracker sandwich:

Who would waste food?

Who knew squirrels ate the same snacks as college kids?

Will he ever go back to eating just nuts?

I guess it does have peanut butter.


Squirrels can communicate – they make noise for a reason.8)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llyMm3pgnFs)9)https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/learn-to-speak-squirrel-in-four-easy-lessons/2012/04/09/gIQAV8Jr6S_story.html?utm_term=.81ae34c8c322  It’s just a matter of time, and repetition of our dumb feeding behavior, that they screech to round up the gang in the trees and pounce on a little boy with a bag of chips in his hands.  It’s a matter of time before they become as bold and daring – fueled by their addiction to and epigenetically altered by our processed foods – to attempt the aforementioned maneuver.

Who would be to blame for such an attack?  The countless feeders from before that altered squirrel behavior.

Come one, come all – I don’t think we have this phrase in mind when we are feeding a squirrel, but it could happen.

The Crows

On Kiyuna Farm in Okinawa at around 11:30AM there are a fleet of crows perched in the nearby mulberry trees and they dive down, one by one, to the cow feeding area to poach large nuggets of esa before retreating back to the trees.  These crumbles are packed with carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.  If I were a crow, I too would steal from the cows to retrieve a hassle-free, nutritious meal prepared by an international WWOOFer.

Today animals, including humans, are eating things they never had access to in the past.10)https://www.soylent.com/11)https://www.trubrain.com/products/drinks  As a result, there are things we are unknowingly doing to nature (and ourselves) and their consequences are hibernating in a cocoon, hidden from observation.  What will be on the other side of the metamorphosis?

Will we be prepared for the Atmosphere of the Crows?

The Pets

I grew up with pets – a cat and a dog.  Paw Paw loved her two white Pomeranians to death.  She spoon fed them rice and chicken – duck if they were lucky – at the dinner table

But is the love you get from a pet truly unconditional?

Or is it based on the condition that they must be fed and sheltered first before they can have the capacity to love the owner?

A cat or dog can love if it’s not struggling to survive.

“I can love you unconditionally if a) I am not hungry and b) I have a warm, dry place to sleep at night,” says Snoopy.

Smells like a condition to me.  Only the dogs and cats can know.

Did you know cats can get diabetes?12)http://mycathasdiabetes.com/diagnosis.html

There’s a market for a feline-sized Apple Watch with glucose monitor.13)http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/18/apple-ceo-tim-cook-test-drove-glucose-monitor.html

Tim Cook, I hope you’re reading this.  Are you working on it too?

And maybe a potential market for monkeys once we domesticate them and feed them the way people feed themselves.

The Ants

Step-Dad and I were doing some weeding in the garden over the weekend – finally put my Japanese farmer boots back to work – and we got to talking about ants.  He mentioned that if you weighed all the ants in the world, they would outweigh all the humans.  Scary thought.

As I lost focus of my surroundings and stared off into the curiosity of my mind I asked him, “what if there are a whole bunch of ants underground right here that we just can’t see and they’re just waiting for their moment to take over the world.”

He laughed.

I did some research about the collective weight comparison of ants to humans.  Found an article from 2014 that says the weight of all the ants in the world is about as much as the weight of the humans.14)http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29281253  Who would win the battle in ants vs. humans?  Do we have enough pesticide to kill all the ants in the world?  And would that be the wise thing to do?  What would be our defense without pesticide?  Firetrucks?  Running for the ocean?  Or #Raindance

We don’t know the true population of the world.  Nor do we know the true population of ants.  They sure loved my Halloween candy when I was a kid.

Do Ed Naha and Tom Schulman know something we don’t?15)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C7ETQuhMhE

This has been a long post… Hungry?  Wait.  And don’t grab a Snickers.  It’s bad for you and bad for ‘Da Bears.’

Please don’t feed the bears Chankonabe16)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chankonabe – my best guess.

Warning: we must be careful with what we feed the squirrels, monkeys and the other wildlife.  As a result of their diversifying diets, they too may become as diverse in thinking and behavior as humans.

Do we really want to give the wildlife, after creating separation from them for millennia, a reason to get closer to us?

Do you know what happens if you keep feeding the wildlife?  I don’t.  Maybe that gives us a reason to do it.  Maybe our robots can protect us.

Let’s see.  Or not?

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. – Newton’s Third Law



Shoutout to my friend Tito Mazzetti making music in London.

This post was brought to you on an intermittent fast.  4:00pm EST, last night’s dinner ended at 8:00PM.


References   [ + ]

1. http://www.fireandicepizzeria.com/kathmandu.html
2. http://www.roo-bar.jp/menu.html
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_France
4. https://www.lostlaowai.com/blog/expat-stuff/teaching-esl-in-china/theres-nothing-delicious-about-delicious/
5. http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/location/the-10-longest-underwater-tunnels-in-the-world/
6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q1MyVUze8M
7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/05/23/a-sea-lion-yanked-a-girl-into-the-water-officials-blamed-her-parents-for-reckless-behavior/?utm_term=.6681570e3ada
8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llyMm3pgnFs)
9. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/learn-to-speak-squirrel-in-four-easy-lessons/2012/04/09/gIQAV8Jr6S_story.html?utm_term=.81ae34c8c322
10. https://www.soylent.com/
11. https://www.trubrain.com/products/drinks
12. http://mycathasdiabetes.com/diagnosis.html
13. http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/18/apple-ceo-tim-cook-test-drove-glucose-monitor.html
14. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29281253
15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C7ETQuhMhE
16. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chankonabe
The Three-Foot World of the Emoting Machine. Think with the heart. Live hard, train harder, die easy. =」

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