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30 April, 2011

Procession of the Species Olympia Slime Mold

The search strings people cast to hook this blog can be interesting. I am an actual big brother, and my sister, fervid researcher of late antiquity, taught me the tech to look at "stats" like that, to peek into you all's URL and country of origin and see how many people are looking. But the best thing is seeing a good search string.

Most are boring. I'll be honest, most have to do with heatilators, because at any given time there are more than zero out of all humanity who yearn for knowledge on the finest innovation of 20th Century American green design. If you are here because you want to learn more about a heatilator, heatalator, or heat-ya-later, then scroll on down to the keywords at the end of this post and find what you need, because this hear post is about to tack wildly away.

As search terms are wont to do, when viewed as a narrative that dribbles in phrase by phrase by word. Yesterday's strings were a treat, finding that some poor people yearning to know who sat behind the queen at the royal wedding followed their string here. If you are still here because of that, check out yesterday's post, or better yet: forget about it. The wedding's over, and was boring and irrelevant anyway, compared to what you're about to here.

Someone entered the title of this post into google, and ran across my post about slime mold in Olympia, which is one of those accidental webifact discoveries that people unearth while not-quite-finding what they're looking for. Which in this case was this year's slime mold, which I think is what the photo above is. The photo in my slime mold post shows a fruiting body reminiscent of this costume, which I like a lot. My favorite slime mold costume (I've seen hundreds, of course, as most educated people have) was from the first Procession of the Species I ever saw, a guy covered in yellow balloons, lying on a skateboard, oozing his way along the entire route. I'm a sucker for slime mold costumes, and love both of these.

Or are they costumes? I assumed there were people in there, but maybe not. The northwest, evolutionary incubator for all things wet and not too demanding of photons, may have created something special. Your run of the mill slime can coalesce, move as a body, and optimize the timing of its fruiting--what about that special slime who punctures the equilibrium of eons and mutates radically?

A slime the size of a large mammal. Mold molds itself as well as any plastic, and could easily form perambulatory stuctures reminiscent of human legs. My guess is that it cannot talk (though it is surely highly intelligent), and therefore creates the intricate costume we think we see, that it may be a painfully shy creature who craves social contact but most of the time just tries to blend into the wallpaper, baseboards, tiles,...ruefully listening as the humans laugh and dogtails wag. Or maybe I'm just a chauvanist, expecting that slime mold would even want to be like a human, the slimiest of species. Maybe it loves who it is, "I'm slime, sublime, get used to it."

Regardless of why, the fact that it appears during Spring on the very day of the Procession bespeaks an awareness, a synchronicity of some kind with our kind. That it always exhibits the fruiting bodies on this day is also interesting. At the very least, it's a much better show than other states of slime being (unless you happen to have time lapse vision and it's on the move, making even the blob form interesting). I suspect there is more to it, though. I think  that it is sporing spectators, spawning on a downtown crowd unparalleled in size any other day in Olympia. 

Why? Probably as part of a long-term scheme to evolve into an organ of the mammalian brain. Fearmongers out there think this is because slime mold wants to take us over, render our bodies zombified in the service of slime, like when Keanu ran that giant battle robot thingy in the Matrix. I recognize that as the Fox-fed bignorance that it is, and believe that the idea is just to extend it's unicell self beyond the limitations of the body, to evolve some cognitive complexity on its part, and push the host's brain toward a greater awareness and love of slime mold. 

Yeah, of cours, I dunno why I ever thought of it before: the spores are part of slime mold's strategy toward evolutionary transcendence, bringing all us other creatures into it's essential one-ness. All these years of religious dead ends, and it turns out that what we were looking for all along was to be absorbed by an evolutionary paradox, melding complexity and unicellarity, feeling the slime love. I think it's working already.

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