Platypi

December 14, 2014 at 10:58 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

It’s platypuses. I always want to say platypi, though. It might be because octopus is pluralized octopi, or it might be that when my brother and I were young we used to pluralize everything with an i when we would were feeling silly. I’m not really sure how it all started, outside of the fact that it’s fun to say, but it’s a conversational tic that I’ve held on to throughout my life. It really only works if the plural involves -eses or -uses. For instance, walri for walruses.

Anyway.

I’ve been listening to more podcasts lately, and one of my favorites is the popular “Stuff You Should Know” podcast. They did one on platypuses that I found quite fascinating. For instance, did you know:

-Platypuses are small – only ~5lbs

– Platypuses are poisonous. They have a barb on their back foot, and it’s poisonous. They can and will totally stab you with it (fun fact – pick up platypuses by their tail so as to not get stung. However, they can still bite you).

– Platypuses are monotremes, which means that they have one hole for excreting waste and eggs. Birds are monotremes, too, as is the spiny echidna (it’s the only other mammal).

-They don’t have nipples – milk just comes out of pores in the platypus’ skin. Weird, right?

-Evolutionarily speaking platypuses have a crazy genetic makeup. They are this weird, interesting offshoot that most mammals did not follow. For instance, one of the reasons platypus poison is super painful is that we don’t have a cure for it. Snakebites can be cured with antivenin, but platypuses developed poison INDEPENDENTLY of reptilian poison. Coincidence, or does it just mean that nature really only has a limited number of tricks? In any case – super fascinating.

-Platypuses hunt for food underwater with their eyes closed; they search with electric impulse receptors in their face.

I’ve been chatting about platypi with several people since listening to this podcast – I am always thrilled with the joy that learning gives me. I could go on with platypus facts, but mostly what I think it highlights is that being a lifelong learner is important. It’s important to find the things that give us joy and cultivate those interests. If I want to feel like (or maybe even be) an interesting, well rounded person, I have to take action to make that happen.

It’s important to like yourself and to be kind to yourself. I think in some ways I have struggled with that lately. What kind of person am I? Who do I want to be? It’s easy to get comfortable; to go through the motions. It’s also easy to get stuck in a rut, and to feel trapped. I find myself sometimes wondering if a particular moment is representative of my life, if I am doomed to not feel good about myself forever. That is almost certainly not the case, but what I do think IS the case is that the way feel about ourselves leads to the thoughts we have, which effects our mood, which influences our actions.

It’s one thing to logically know those kind of things about yourself and quite another to take that action. I think that’s why I really enjoy learning new things – it makes me feel like I’m being the person I would like to be. When I’m excited about platypuses or stem cells or the deep web I’m not in this negative head space that has been a bit too pervasive as of late. I think that a good next step for me is learning to be kind to myself and appreciate the present moment and positive directions that things are headed in.

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