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Updated on Monday and Thursday.
"Is it golden?" I said.

"I don't know. It is Odin's disk and it has only one side."

— J. L. Borges, The Disk.

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Monday, August 2nd, 2004

I cheated myself this weekend and got little accomplished, creatively or otherwise. I did manage to redesign the site to support page archiving, but such modification is trivial and not to the point.

To conquer such slacking is the reason I started this site, and so I shall inexorably provide... watch for an update by Monday afternoon. In the meantime, you can revisit older entries via the directional arrows or the Site Map.


I've mentioned earlier that my aliens will be bipedal. (The critter to the left is tripedal; more about it in the next entry.) There are a host of assumptions behind this; the first is that the aliens use feet and legs to get around. (Alternatives that exist on Earth include flight, slithering, oozing (snails), burrowing and swimming.)

I'm also assuming that they get around, and are not rooted to one spot, which brings up the question: Would it be possible for a tree-like being to develop intelligence? I think not, because I see intelligence as developing in response to environmental challenges. If you're stuck in one place for your whole life, there's not much to which you can respond, and your experience and ability to change your environment are extremely limited.

Swimming 'tree,' from the Codex SeraphinianusEven as I write this, however, I can come up with counterexamples. Suppose we have a tree-like being which contains within itself a complex miniature ecosystem, perhaps itself inhabited by intelligent life; might this count as an environmental challenge? And plants on Earth are capable of movement of stems and leaves, so is it too much of a stretch to imagine rooted beings that can shift their position in the soil over time, and thus move about (very slowly)? The surrealist artist Luigi Serafini, in his Codex Seraphinianus (a massive encyclopedia of a bizarre alternate history, full of enigmatic illustrations and written in an undecipherable language), presents tree-like things (see image at right) that can uproot themselves and even migrate across the sea by using paddle-shaped roots as flagellae... At this point, I've talked myself into exploring this in the main project as at least a side issue. But this doesn't change my intent for the Eaie (the primary race of aliens that I intend to present) which I have imagined as bipedal.

As to why I assume that my aliens would even have feet and legs... That will be the topic for the next entry.

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