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James Brody
November 24th, 2006, 10:53 PM
Posted 11/24/06

Richard Feynman commented, "Physics is like sex: Sure, it may have practical results, but that is not the reason we do it." http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Science (11/22/2006). Darwin supplied a layer of detail for what physicists now explore in the field of emergent networks. And I like to find situations where we act not only like animals but also like particles.

For example, power laws lurk in the Country & Western Top 40: a few major stars control the top ten spots, lots of small timers occupy the bottom 30. Most of the new material is in the bottom half, the familiar stuff is in the top.The Yanomamo provide another example that, by Chagnon's descriptions, falls into an emergent network and so do aspects of inner city neighborhoods and Middle Eastern organizations that want to kill us.

So does the chatter late at night on the American Trucking Network! (I pick it up at 700 AM, radio station MWM, Cincinatti. There are human hubs (the host and a smaller set of regular callers) and nodes (the less frequent but novel/weird) and topics that also function as hubs (food, sex, weather, dominance, and safety).

Semis in south Georgia have 3-lane drag races despite cops in the trees. (Sounds like a case of mutual sync: predators and targets lead each other to become more resourceful in this old perversion of T4T. Jeremy Clarkson, in the UK, hosts "Top Gear" and suggests populist uprisings such as defeating "in clever ways" the Ministry of Transport's speed cameras.

One trucker buys his cigarettes on Indian reservations and saves $200 per yr.

Another trucker watches the man in front, back, and to either side. He behaves according to rules that he never heard of for 'boids (move to the center and don't hit another 'boid). He mentions altruistic motives: "Their lives are in my hands and mine in theirs." (11/11/06 @ 3:40 A.M) Termites have the same contract but in more subtle ways when they build a palace. Pheromones and proximity trigger termite behaviors. Pheromones also influence truckers.

On 11/22/06: One of them brags that he handles Thanksgiving when he doesn't bathe for a week. He often eats alone and has no need for birth control...

A report of "ice fog" in 34 degrees at about 2 A.M. Somewhere in the northwest: the front of the truck was coated, ΒΌ inch thick. "Not much traffic out here but I can't see nuth'n anyhow."

CarolinaDaisy was thankful for the bears: a four-wheeler with a trailer pulled out in front of her. She veered to the shoulder and stopped with her front bumper next to his. "At least the bears keep everybody slowed down."

She also tells the highway crossing where you can get a full Thanksgiving dinner for $3.99 if you show the host a CDL.
Random Darwinian thought: males do first, females do later when things are safer and help to make them still safer. The males eventually fade out. The Mullas will have their turn...

I like this program for another reason: there are no ads that ridicule males, no brats that scream for Ovaltine, and no inane cleverness from GEICO. There are, instead, straight-from-the-shoulder pitches for gadgets that improve mileage, improve horsepower, or, implausibly, do both at once.

I rolled out of bed and hit the road at 3:30 A.M. Drizzle alternated with sheets of water but I didn't care. My father drove long distances in his youth (sometimes moving logs down a Wyoming mountain and without a clutch) and in his retirement when he delivered mobile homes long distances from their point of assembly. I felt at one with the other roamers in the dark.

Kuramoto proved that, given similarity and mutual influence, oscillators come into sync with each other. He didn't exclude protein when he derived his proof. Lovers can be oscillators. So can truckers. So can parents. My son and his three-month-old daughter sit in the next room. Samantha is as intent on the Celtic's game as he is. Gracie, his dachshund sleeps to their left...

Happy Thanksgiving to all and good night Mz McGillicudy, wherever you are!

Copyright, James Brody, 2006, all rights reserved.