16 January 2008

Goose barnacles, voters and drift

Goose barnacles often look as if they're gregarious, but a group isn't necessarily a collective. These two individuals settled poles apart in their infancy and then could only do the goose-barnacle wave when their lushly forested home turned out to be only a pebble anchored to nothing, and was beached.

Although goose barnacles aren't known for existential choices, it is surprising how often the word drift comes into play when one puts it together with voters and decisions.

Read, for instance, this thought-provoking column in The Jamaican Gleaner.

The drift of public opinion these days is disturbing. Most commentaries and editorials seem to want the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader to sit down together in private meetings. They seem to want them to arrive at a consensus on the way forward. This is ludicrous. These are not merely opposing political parties, but under any reasonable system of government, they represent separate and different views from which the public are asked to choose. That is the basis of democracy.
– Dawn Ritch, Political correctness gone mad, 6 January 2008
And this column in The Daily Yomiuri.

...victory or defeat in upper house elections might hinge upon the drift of public opinion.
– Tetsuya Harada, Political Pulse, 8 January 2008

Goose barnacles are sometimes called simple, but they have baffled great minds and have given rise to much romantic myth and confusion. They are, for example, no more barnacle geese than they are clams with long necks.

See The Secret Life of Barnacles by Phil Rainbow of the Natural History Museum, London.

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