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Small Things

So you've bought yourself a micro-computer, and you're absolutely knocked out by the sheer brilliance of the boys who put all those capacitors and resistors and transiwhatsits together so compactly, and what that machine can't do is nobody's business.

My quail brought out chicks this morning, and I'm here to tell you that the mother of us all had miniaturisation down to a very fine art indeed before the ancestors of your great technologists had learned to stand upright.

Ever looked at an emu? Know what's inside, do you? Well, there's a very complex digestive system for a start, then there are lungs, with attached cooling arrangements, a heart that beats rather faster than yours, and the egg-making apparatus. Any of your pet technologists managed to make an egg yet? And we haven't started on legs, eyes, muscles - or the brain that keeps it all going.

OK. So much for emus. You knew all that. But consider the quail chick. It isn't quite two centimetres long. And it has exactly the same equipment as an emu. Think about that. Really think about it, and see if you can breath smoothly. I'm pleased that you like your computer. I'm sure it's very nice. But if we're going to talk about wonders, give me quail chicks any day!

Fay Johnston October, 1989

OK. I wrote this while I still thought that computers belonged in the nether regions. I do like them now—and even use them a little—but my thought about the miracles of nature still stands.



Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you. My email address is here.

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