Friday, March 18, 2011

what young dogs think - they're old so it doesn't matter

Sitting in the Creperie Restaurant last night (17Mar11) I couldn't help over hearing the table next to me. The volume and the proximity made it hard to concentrate. 

"They're old anyway, so it doesn't matter. They can go and do whatever, go anywhere." 
The young man was talking very enthusiastically to a young Vietnamese lady
It reminded me of myself in my younger days. 
I thought that older people would have less fears because after all they're older, there is MUCH less to lose, isn't there ? 
I mean, why worry, they're going to die soon anyway, so they can really cut lose and enjoy life, can't they ? 
They would not be so scared of life like me. Not so overly cautious would they ? 
I really did think something like that once, in my (more) naive youth. 
How wrong can you be ? 

Ha ha ha.... 
Would be nice. If only. 

I remember reading in the New Scientist (?  or somewhere like that) that bees and ants send the older bees out further from the hive, on the more dangerous missions, because they were more expendable. They had less working life to contribute to the hive. (Well ok, this is what the scientists THINK the bees are doing, I've not asked the bees). 

Now that I'm over 50 (what ME, over 50 ? I thought getting older only happens to others. Never to ME!) 
Let's try again: NOW THAT I"M OVER 50! 
I see that the opposite is true. As we get older we get more cautious, more afraid. 
Less adventurous, less passionate. 
There are exceptions. 

NB: I even saved that web-page about older bees going on the riskier missions on my hard drive, but can't find it now.... anyone has a copy ? 
FOUND IT: its not bees, its ants:
Let me quote a small bit from it:

In many ant species, younger workers spend their time at the center of the nest where it's safest, tending to the queen and eggs. As the ants age, they take up tasks further out. The oldest ants carry out the most dangerous work, foraging for food outside the nest where they are more likely to meet their doom. However, it has been determined that in many ants, the correlation between age and task is not so strong, where the division of labor is quite flexible. Age may influence what a worker does, but they may revert to old tasks if needed. Therefore, age isn't the organizing principle in division of labor for many species.

I wouldn't be surprised if something like that applies to bees  too.

Humans do something like that too. In an emergency it is 'women and children first' at least that is what the movies tell us when a ship goes down. I like think it would really happen like that. I like to think I would follow that rule if it ever came to it.

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