March 10, 2008

Contemplate — with a plate — the difference between a cockroach eye's view and a cockroach's eye view.

Commenter-blogger XWL tries to figure it all out.

And did you know we have a cockroach as one of our commenters here? Blogging Cockroach — right here — responds:
hi xwl

nice work
although the iphone field of view is too narrow
and it just doesnt have that fish- or bug-eye thing
that althouse paid a lot of money to do on her nikon slr
which would be closer to my way of seeing things

anyway its hard to test cockroach vision
i mean there arent too many cockroaches who are going to sit there
and tell the optometrist which way the letter e is pointing
and what they can read in 9 pt type in that little mirror

but us cockroaches do see in color
yes we do
just not the colors you see
our vision goes from what you call green
into the ultraviolet
so i can see at least three colors
of ultraviolet light
ha ha you cant see them
and what you call green looks pretty grey to me
thats your basic night vision perfect for kitchen floors at 2 in the morning
plus--and here is where it gets weird--
i can tell which way light is polarized too
thats so i can tell direct light from light reflected off water
extremely handy to keep from falling into a toilet bowl
or a sink full of water
when what im really looking for
are the crumbs on the cutting board
plus i would never be fooled by a mirage in the desert
i mean how many cockroaches in little foreign legion uniforms
have you seen in movies dragging themselves over the sand
going 'water water i see water...'
never has happened for good reason

anyway its all a matter of perspective
you think you see the world the way it is
let me tell you there are alternative views
but this comment is getting too long
and although i live near harvard u
im not getting paid to teach cockroach epistemology
not to mention metaphysics
which has been in a bad odor for a long time anyway
speaking of which
something tells me me
theres a piece of foil with camembert stuck to it
that slipped off the counter last night
which really deserves a little visit
adieu mes amis
je vais a la gloire
Insect philosophy! I've never thought about it. But I have thought about insect politics!

"Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I! Insects don't have politics.... they're very brutal. No compassion.... no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first insect politician. I'd like to, but.... I'm an insect.... who dreamed he was a man, and loved it. But now the dream is over, and the insect is awake."


kjbe said...

thank you, blogging cockroach - you put a smile on my face, this Monday morning.

Chip Ahoy said...

What do you mean you can't trust the insect?

Knock knock.

"Who's there?"


"We're closed! Can't you see the sign?"

"Well yeah, but the light was on."

Insects can be trusted to behave as insects. It's why they're so easily caught and killed.

Jason said...

Blogging Cockroach...Best comment EVARRR!!!11!!!!1!!!

Bill Harshaw said...

Archy and Mehitabel, anyone?

Ann Althouse said...

I have a first edition copy of archy and mehitabel. I should scan some pages when I'm in madison in honor of our little guy.

Dreaming in the Clear said...

Just what I was thinking! How wonderful... I have a copy of Archy and Mehitabel at home, I've never finished but the parts I've read have brought me great joy.

I think he does a very good job of imitating old Archy; though of course some of those problems of typing that Archy had could perhaps be alleviated by a modern computer keyboard...
On the other hand, old habits die hard.

Great stuff. :)

Eli Blake said...

What's the scariest thing a cockroach can see?


Wonder what that would look like to a cockroach?

blogging cockroach said...

hi eli

i must tell you that n i k e doesnt bother me
as much as the shoes i described here
i went over to st eulalias for their saint paddys day bash
on sunday looking for irish sodabread crumbs
and they had sodabread all right
but they also had these beefy but loverly oirish lasses
doin step dancin
in those shoes...
clompety clomp
well you can read about the shoes for yourself
but after that
nike holds no terrors as far as im concerned