The Jellyfish Directive

jellyfish-webTwo jellyfish drift haplessly below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The current is warm where the jellyfish float and neither is inclined to go deeper where the pressures grow great, the light dimmer and the water colder—nor is either inclined to approach the surface where predatory oceangoing birds might pluck one up by the crown, hauling it away to desiccate on some beach, a gelatinous dessert for some seafaring scavenger.

As the current carries them they debate an issue which has preoccupied marine coelenterates for eons: the existence of free will.

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The Bear

bear-webBear decided it was time for a change. It was late summer and the heat was bothering him. Each year, it seemed to grow hotter. The river was drying to a trickle and food was scarce. He headed north following the receding glaciers.
An ice age was passing but even a bear moves faster than a glacier. So Bear didn’t have to go far. When he reached the cold, he wintered in a hollow tree a hundred miles from where he began. He didn’t wake until spring.
Then, as so often happens to bears on the move, Bear was distracted before he could resume his journey by that other more imperative call of nature, procreation. Bear mated and settled there by the hollow tree. He and his mate had five offspring.

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Standing Room Only

standing-room-only-webAfter the rains, a mud puddle forms in the vacant lot next door. Soon strands of a mysterious-looking viscous substance lined with a multitude of tiny black dots can be found floating in the puddle. The translucent strands are so long that lifting one high over head; both ends might still dangle in the water.

These are toad eggs. Tomorrow they’ll hatch into thousands of limbless black tadpoles wriggling about in an inch or so of water to compete for the limited quantity of sustenance offered by the puddle.

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