Tuesday, 20 August 2013


If the cockroach is an example of how to design a creature to survive in a world with unanticipated environments, the furu, a once-dominant fish in Lake Victoria in the middle of Africa, is a good example of how a specialized creature can be defeated by unanticipated environmental changes. Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater lake, covering an area the size of Ireland, lies in east-central Africa, bordering Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and is the chief head water for the Nile River. For its huge size, it is relatively shallow, with an irregular coastline of countless inlets and swampy bays. Straddling the equator, its evaporation creates morning clouds that define the weather for a wide region of the continent.

I run downstairs to grab some breakfast. There is white and rye bread and some bagels (sesame seed, poppy seed, and plain) in a cupboard, butter and a couple of jars of jam in the fridge. Or I can grab one of four boxes of cereal. When I am done eating, I head back upstairs to figure out what to wear. Then it is off to work. I can take the bus, the subway, or a taxi, or in nice weather just walk. I live on 85th Street and Riverside Drive on the west side of Manhattan and my office is a mile and a half to the southeast on 53rd and Sixth, so I can stroll along a number of scenic paths through Central Park or Riverside Park or be more efficient by taking advantage of the fact that for part of the way Broadway cuts toward my office on a southern....

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