Sunday, January 26, 2014


A Little Knowledge Goes A Long Way.

     Once upon a time there was a high IQ cheetah who couldn’t run at a top speed of 120 km per hour. As a result, the Thompson’s gazelles that he chose to chase easily outran him and he was never able to get hold of one. Thus, in order to survive, he was forced to catch rodents and frogs and other small animals which lived in the Serengeti.
Of course he had to do this surreptitiously because if any of the other cheetahs ever found out it would be terribly humiliating for him. “What’s the use of being the fastest land animal in the world,” he would often say to himself, “if I can’t even run down a decent high speed deer for dinner?”

So one day he went to a cheetah who was renowned for her astonishing speed and blurted out his predicament. “I have all the evolutionary adaptations that enable our species to run as fast as we do, including large nostrils that allow for increased oxygen intake, and an enlarged heart and lungs which work together to circulate oxygen efficiently. Also, during a typical chase when I can accelerate from zero to 100 in three seconds my respiratory rate increases from 60 to 150 breaths per minute.
"And, while running, in addition to having good traction due to my semi-retractable claws, I use the tail as a rudder for steering which allows me to make razor sharp turns, necessary to outflank prey who often make such turns. And yet”, he concluded lamely, “I can’t manage a top speed of 120 km an hour no matter how hard I try.”

“That’s interesting,” said the other cheetah who was staring at him wide-eyed by now. “Because you know, all this time I thought my nostrils were for only for smelling and my heart and lungs for keeping me alive. During a chase all I ever had time to notice was that the surroundings became a blur, my breathing increasingly deep and heavy, and by the time it’s over I’m pooped for the rest of the day.
"As for my claws and tail, I just try to keep them clean. But, like I said, this is amazing stuff. If we were to live together I could do the hunting while you can teach me things about myself and the world so that I too can become as knowledgeable as you.”
So the two hitched up and soon the Serengeti had two cheetahs that couldn’t run at a top speed of 120 km an hour and had to live off rats and frogs instead of gazelles to the end of their days.

Moral: A lot of knowledge is also a dangerous thing.

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