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XYlophonetreeZ
09-03-2007, 03:44 PM
Everyone has some kind of fascination that strikes others as odd. I always like to hear about these, and I always like to tell people about mine. Usually I find that people have pretty good reasons for their interests, no matter how weird they may initially seem. Like when I just tell people one of mine, like for instance, Suriname, they don't get it at all. Then after I explain all my reasons why I think Suriname is awesome and fascinating, they understand, and even appreciate it, but still not nearly enough to share the fascination at the same level. Which is exactly the effect I would hope for. They understand my passion, but it's still, like, MINE. It's still a weird, special, odd little passion that feels like part of who I am.

I have a friend who excitedly jumped at an opportunity to work at the city dump. He's a smart kid who could have easily gotten a better-paying and more pleasant job, but he proceeded to explain to me why trash fascinates him. And after hearing him get all excited and passionate in his explanation, it had the same effect on me. I sort of understood it.

My latest one is cephalopods. Squids and octopuses are popular species on the discovery channel and stuff, and people think they're scary/gross/cool, but my interest in them goes a bit deeper. Basically I like them because I see them as humans' most likely successors for the dominant animal species on Earth. Meaning in millions of years, I think it's plausible that all humans can be dead and the world will be run by descendants of squids with capabilities of space travel.

I actually have a few reasons for this. First is their intelligence. Studies have shown that cephalopods are by far the most intelligent class of invertebrates, but what's more remarkable is that the intelligence is the result of an entirely different nervous system than that which gave rise to human intelligence today. In fact, it's the only notable time in evolutionary history that any appreciable amount of problem-solving intelligence has ever evolved outside of mammals and birds. Second is their excellence at niche partitioning. We've all heard how nobody ever saw a live giant squid until 2004. I don't think that's an accident. As the most intelligent and largest animals occupying their niche in the deep sea, they've already built up a dominant role for themselves with no natural competition, which has included steering clear of the Earth's most dangerous species, Homo sapiens. Basically they're one of the most left-alone species in the world, allowed to go about their evolution peacefully, and it's paid off for them in ways we may never know- because we don't know how many there are. It just blows my mind to think how the amazingly complex cerebral physiology we see in the animals we consider "intelligent" has evolved TWICE. Cephalopod intelligence is an up-and-coming study that has still been insufficiently researched (opportunities for me, mayhap?), but it's generally agreed upon that they're smarter than dogs. Cephalopods alone can serve to debunk the historicist view of evolution, and could really serve as a tool to tie up some loose ends in newer structuralist views.

So, does anybody else have any weird fascinations to share?

Endymion
09-03-2007, 03:51 PM
i've always wanted to learn how to dislocate my jaw like a snake so that i could fit large things (ie a baby's head) in my mouth.

i'm aware that that's not what you meant.

i guess the weirdest fascination i have is i love watching families fight. not the mother vs father sort of couple fighting, but the stuff involving kids. it's so fun watching what sort of bullshit reasoning parents will pull out of their ass to try to con kids into believing something. or when kids get way too pissed and start crying or otherwise throwing a tantrum, watch which parent caves first.

coke_a_holic
09-03-2007, 05:26 PM
I have no idea if this is at the same level as an academic or Lamarckian desires, but I'm enamored with expressions.

For instance, if I'm watching tv with someone and it's a comedy, and a joke is made, I immediately turn to the person I'm watching tv with and watch their facial expression change (or not change) with the sudden stimulus. I do this with music, also, if I show someone a song or something, and they're wearing my headphones, I watch their expression change depending on the song. It's almost inadvertent at this point, which drives my mom crazy, but SHE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND ME NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME I HATE THE TEACHERS I HATE THE SCHOOL I HATE THE CHEERLEADERS AND ANYONE WHOSE COOL YEA

EDIT: Endy, do you ever watch families and try to see the resemblance between parents and kids? It's remarkable how frighteningly similar some children and their parents are. Not to mention it's a great way to waste time in the DMV.

wheelchairman
09-03-2007, 05:31 PM
No, I'm not a fag. All my interests are healthy, and have no relation to japanese fetishes.

Jakebert
09-04-2007, 10:27 PM
Cemetaries. That's right, cemetaries.

I don't even know why, but I'm really interested in cemetaries. Any time I pass one driving, I slow down to take a look. I think it's more about the calmness of the landscape rather than anything weird, though.

HornyPope
09-05-2007, 02:41 PM
I like war and shit. Nothing really weird. I like to observe society and people but that just comes naturally to me, not really a fascination. In fact, I hate society and the people.

Andy
09-05-2007, 02:44 PM
Inhuman murders.

JoY
09-05-2007, 05:46 PM
fire. I can stare at it endlessly, it's really ridiculous.

JoY
09-05-2007, 05:48 PM
i've always wanted to learn how to dislocate my jaw like a snake so that i could fit large things (ie a baby's head) in my mouth.

i'm aware that that's not what you meant.


look no further, I can do it.

Andy
09-05-2007, 05:50 PM
look no further, I can do it.

I want to be the first to not make the obvious blowjob joke.

killer_queen
09-05-2007, 06:01 PM
Cats, definitely. You might think that it's not that odd since there are lots of cat-lovers but I'm just beyond loving cats. I believe they are the only flawless creatures in the world. I'm not talking about just a couple of them, I mean all of them, even the disgusting, filthy ones that live on the streets. I can (and I do) spend hours just looking at them, watching them eat, sleep, play, clean.

And they are all different, you know. Just look at Maine Coons and Siamese cats. It's like they're different species. Not just their looks. They all have a unique personality.

Shortly, I think cats are awesome.

Jakebert
09-05-2007, 06:52 PM
Here's where 0r4ng3 posts a lolcat.

Sin Studly
09-06-2007, 01:52 AM
I ate a cat once.

Mota Boy
09-06-2007, 07:27 AM
I don't really have any odd fascinations. Rather, I have a general interest in knowledge. When I was younger it's outlet was rather silly - I'd buy books on random facts, like the Guinness Book of World Records or The Top Ten of Everything 1998 (which is where I learned such useless facts such as that Sikhism was [is?] the fastest-growing religion in the United States and that Live's Album "Throwing Copper" holds the record for the longest time between release and reaching number 1 on the Billboard charts [I believe it to be something like 54 weeks]), as well as every Ripley's Believe it or Not book I could get my hands on.

Now that I've left college, I find myself returning again to the relentless pursuit of information (OK, it relents a lot, but the general drive is still there), but this time it's relatively structured. Rather than accumulating a bunch of factoids, I suppose I'm striving for a greater knowledge of how the world works as a whole. Lately I've been reading a bunch of books in economics, finance, history, philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology, evolutionary biology and many that weave those various fields together (Jared Diamond and Malcolm Gladwell being some of the more illuminating, more famous authors), with the vague goal in mind of figuring out the meaning of life - or, at least, developing the best possible series of mental models to understand and explain the true nature of the world, and then determining the optimal way to live in harmony with it (i.e. be as happy and successful as possible while simultaneously elevating those around you).

It's a bit of a ridiculous goal, I feel a little obnoxious just typing it out and I suppose I'm overselling myself - I've only read perhaps a dozen non-fiction books this year, and my "to read" list is growing much faster than it's getting knocked down. Fortunately it's one that gives accumulated benefits rather than a single payoff - already I view the world much, much differently than I did just a few months ago. And as ridiculous a goal as it is, that's part of the fun - setting up a grand project. It's very nice to have an arc laid out for myself, especially after finishing up college only to realize that I've never really had a goal in life, just a series of tasks.