But why is all this pumping of blood necessary to keep alive?
Questions are just as important as answers. Growth seems ordinary and commonplace, until you stop to think about it.
Plants and animals grow; you are expected to do the same. But stones and dead things don't grow; why is it that living things do?
Living things aren't put together in just any fashion. They are built according to definite plans. Take yourself, for example. You are growing, but you won't become twenty feet tall. And this is fortunate. A person twenty feet tall would have a terrible problem just trying to
The Giant's Problem
is NOT a children's book.
It was originally a a savage and brilliant satire \
Jonathan Swift. Swift wasn't impressed by many of the current (17th
to 18th Century ) Travel stories, or with science, or any hope for “human progress”. He did have a strong social conscience. He combines fantasy
(time travel, Islands that fly around like space ships, people who live “backwards” and slowly grow younger and younger)
with political and philosophical satire, which involves a good deal of scatology. When captured by the Lilliputlians he is housed in what is to them a large building, to him as large only as a dog kennel. He eventually has to shit, which he does. His shit is, for the Lilliputlians, enormous, and they have to cart it away barrow by barrow! When a castle of one of the Queens of that land catches fire, he stands over it and puts it out by pissing on it.
So, Gulliver's Travels was a great satirical
the tradition of Mennipean satire say of Horace, The Saytricon,
The Golden Ass by Apuleus,
Rabelais's famous romp Gargantua etc...not intended to be read by
children. I doubt Swift had much interest in children, and in fact in
his time, the time of Pope and Burke and Marlborough etc there were
no children's books as we know them. Our sentimental attachment to
“lovely little children” was not fashionable in the 18th Century.
And the point of the imagined giants in Brobdignag is to be able to
examine human beings as if one had a microscope or magnifying
glass. This, seeing it from one aspect, shows that what would be a
beautiful being at “normal” size, is, seen up close, quite ugly.
The way we confuse appearance and reality and a swipe a women
(and some men at the time) who were over-possessed of vanity in
VANITAS VANITATIS as Thackeray repeats with relish through-
out his great VANITY FAIR, another clever and devious satire...
[Locke and St. Augustine copped it also in the example
of Swift's word making machine. A deliberately ridiculous device.
That Swift attacked science and any naive progressive ideas argues
that there was perhaps something to attack.
Imagine what would happen to a full-grown man if his height were doubled and he became a giant, but his proportions stayed the same. The giants volume would be eight times heavier. But the cross-section of his leg would be only four times greater – that is, it would have increased only half as much as his weight.
This would be bad for the giant, since strength of bone and muscle depends on their cross-section.The giant's legs would only be half as strong as needed. If his legs were to have strength in proportion to his weight, their cross-section would have to become eight-times greater when his height doubled.
And if he grew [as tall as a mythological giant say of 12 feet (or more than 2.5 to 3 metres say)] he would need legs as big as tree trunks! Otherwise he couldn't even stand. The earth's gravity would pull him down with terrible crushing force.
Theropods are not truly bipedal.
The largest creature known to have existed, the blue whale was / is supported by the sea, such a creature, with legs, could never survive on land with or without lungs.]
The law works like this. Suppose there are two creatures of similar shape, and one is half the length of the other. Then the volume of the smaller one will be one-eighth that of the larger. You can prove this form the blocks on the opposite page. The weight of the smaller, like its volume, will be one-eighth that of the larger. But its surface area will be one-quarter that of the larger. So a small creature has a large surface for its volume and weight.
This is what helped the falling mouse. Air striking against its large surface slowed the fall. An animal as small as a mouse does have another problem - keeping its balance.A wind might easily blow it over if it were tall and long-legged. But the mouse has short legs and a low-slung body, so he doesn't topple and tumble around.
For a still smaller creature, something more is needed. Notice how a spider's legs spreadout. This helps the spider to keep its balance.
Suppose there are two insects, and one is half the size of the other. The smaller one's weight will be one-eighth that of the larger, but it will have muscles one-quarter as large in cross-section, and this makes the smaller one twice as strong for its weight.
Compare the flea and the grasshopper. The little flea is a better jumper. The grasshopper can jump thirty times its length; the flea, two hundred times!
In the great realm of the sea drift billions of green or yellow specks that can't be seen with the naked eye. They are plant's, and need light in order to live.This means they must remain within a few hundred feet of the surface, where the water is well lighted. Beneath that level is twilight; and beneath that, darkness.
To live and grow, plants need several kinds of dissolved substances called nutrients. Some of these are many thousands of times scarcer in the ocean than in good soil. During seasons when the ocean plants grow and multiply rapidly, the scarce nutrients are almost completely used up. Then little plants stop increasing, and nearly die out.
second place, it has a large surface for its volume.
All nutrients come through the surface, so plenty can be taken in. Tiny sea plants are the food of hordes of little animals. Most of these are so small that they can barely be seen with the naked eye. The most numerous kind, the oar-feet or copepods, swim along waving little fringed nets with which they catch the plants. Tiny plant-eaters are eaten by small fishes, and these in turn by larger fishes and other animals. All the ocean's creatures, from copepods to whales, owe their lives to the microscopic plants, whose small size enables them to thrive in the sea.