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Barefoot Notes: The Fly on the Wall vs. Our Simulated Universe

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  OR The fabulous, fantastic, fascinating fly and our ridiculous, plain fascination for a sickly computer-simulated life Allegory on Life and Death (~1598), Joris and Jaccob Hoefnagel. Jacob Hoefnagel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. There is no escape from reality means the same as there is no world without insects. This uncharacteristic piece that started as an idea that disrupted my planned course of thought that had me announce of my hiatus last year presents itself as I get attracted to this preposterous idea of living in a bubble orchestrated, for all I know, by a child. Here, and since it has been resurrected, I go back to 1999 when I watched the movie The Matrix: my eyes squinting at the grainy green filter of the sixth simulated world, my mind screaming at the lack of non-human substance that drained life out of the movie’s substance. The movie itself amazed me, save for the, spoiler alert, use of humans, the most prolific consumer of all animals – as batteries; the

The Corridors Concept: learnings along the way

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A tiger crosses a river, beyond the designated Protected Area cover, in the central Indian wilderness, a rare parcel of land that is borderless, just a tad-bit careful about avoiding humans as they too amble along the same river. The process of population isolation, driven by habitat loss and fragmentation, leads to population extinctions and reduction in biological diversity (Rosenberg, Noon & Meslow, 1997). That isolated populations are significantly more prone to extinction with increasing interpopulation distance has been observed in various taxa, including insects (Saccheri et al., 1998), fishes (Magnuson et al., 1998), frogs (Sj√∂gren, 1991), snakes (Webb, Brook & Shine, 2002), and mammals – from the small island marsupials (see Miller et al., 2011) to large carnivores such as tigers (see Sagar et al., 2021), as has been theoretically put forth by Wright (1943) in the iconic ‘isolation by distance’, and later demonstrated by MacArthur and Wilson (1967) in their treatise ‘T

The Forest Spirit and the Neo-Naturalist

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The mosaic of the central Western Ghats, as viewed from Hassan, Karnataka Tea plantations, shola rainforests, and montane grasslands. That morning wasn’t any different. That gurgling stream, that timid click of the dancing frog, that flute-like song of the Indian Scimitar Babbler, that pressure-whistle of the invisible-under-the-canopy White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, and that low monotonous, shy greeting of the Malabar Trogon, underneath the dark canopy of the Ironwoods, Palaquiums, Syzygiums and Dipterocarps, the facies of the medium-altitude rainforest of the central Western Ghats, all of them together in a chorus refreshing mind-body-soul, would be punctuated by a long-drawn drone of the didgeridoo, making those of us raking the leaf-litter halt our time-specific chore for a moment. It was Day Three of the fourteen-day survey. That drone was another sound of the forest carrying another tune, primeval and raw, created by the damp, cold air of the rainforest understory reverberating