Solemn Thoughts on Life, Luck and Snails

Fun fact subject of the day: Corallivorous snails! (corallivorous = eats coral)


We're about to start up a pretty interesting experiment with these little dudes in the lab I work in, and I've learned some really cool things about them as a result! One species' feeding mechanism was particularly interesting to me. All corallivorous snails make these little feeding scars (white spot to the left of the snail in the photo) whenever they eat coral tissue, and most snails will feed at night and then retreat to a less-exposed nook or cranny during the day. However, one species stays in its feeding scar 24/7 - burrowing so deeply in the skeleton that it can't even turn around - and it will feed on all the nutrients and materials the coral sends to the area in its attempt to heal the wound! (Another completely different but still awesome fact, corals actually have immune responses! Not like our insanely complex immune responses, but gah still so cool!) Sneaky little snailies. It's almost a parasitic relationship, the corals will continue pumping defensive organic material to the site until it gives up and leaves the tissue for dead - and our little snails get a nice, extended meal before moving on to another spot and doing it all over again. I have no idea how common these snails are, but I could imagine that having a lot of them in one area could do some serious damage to a reef! Hmm, I wonder...

On a completely unrelated note, one of the blogs/websites I frequent is full of witty and creative writings usually poking fun at the condition of being in your 20's, and today came across a great article outlining one person's interesting experiment posting a fake Craigslist job ad - said person was underemployed and looking for a good full-time job (what a concept) and wanted to see what it was like from the perspective of the people they were sending their resumes to. The article is here if you're curious, but the main thing that struck home for me was that the simple ad for a moderately-paid, full-time administrative position got over 600 responses within TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. Holy mackerel, I knew the job market was bad (hellooo, I have 2 part-time jobs and 2 more that don't pay me anything), but that is just an INSANE number! And as I went from shock over this number, to feeling pissed off about the state of the economy, to feeling depressed about my own future, I eventually came to the obvious (but sometimes elusive) realization that I AM SO FRICKEN LUCKY. Yes, I am completely underemployed and yes, I live with my parents because I am nowhere near being financially stable, annnnd yes I get extremely frustrated with the seeming lack of opportunity on the job front, but I have AMAZING parents that are willing to support me through all this "figuring stuff out" BS, and I've been able to slowly but surely add relevant experience to my resume despite the lack of payment. I'm in a much better place than a lot of people, and I need to remember that more often. Too often we compare our own lives to that of others and feel that we're "behind" or not up to par, but life is bizarre and complex and leads people down different, winding paths! Progress cannot be measured by a universal scale. I think I need to put the focus back on my own personal scale.. and count my lucky stars every single day!

K that's enough of me being a cheeseball, the next few posts will be more interesting and fun I promise ;)