We went to a discussion by a professor of wildlife on the subject of the wolves of Wisconsin. Our local university specializes in natural resources such as our soils, water and wildlife. The professor said that there are about 850 wolves in Wisconsin. The population has risen in a satisfactory way since wolves moved back into the state from Minnesota. Our Department of Natural Resources estimates that at the time of the first white explorers in the state, we had 3-5 thousand wolves.
We have Lyme's disease in Wisconsin. It is a dangerous disease that is usually easy to treat if caught early. However, it is often not caught early and then the bacteria that cause it can spread to the heart and the nervous system. The author Amy Tan describes in her book of essays, The Opposite of Fate, her mental difficulties before she was finally diagnosed with the problem. Once the bacteria have spread in the body, they can be difficult to eliminate.
Researchers have discovered that increases in the wolf pack result in decreases in the number of coyotes in the state. Fewer coyotes results in more foxes. More foxes mean fewer mice. Fewer mice mean less Lyme's and other tick-borne disease.
Our lives are filled with unexpected consequences. A nurse makes a remark during an operation and the patient hears it despite being anesthetized. He walks away from the hospital carrying an idea about his health that is invalid but his unconscious mind received and is accepting the comment. One of the reasons history is interesting is that over time, we get to find out about consequences that are a surprise but still matter, sometimes matter very much. Ask the Native Americans who accepted blankets from white settlers and contracted deadly disease from doing so.
Sometimes in the complex age of computing, we find a combination of steps and applications in programs that surprise us. Modern tools and ideas are sufficiently complicated that no one can know the result of all the combinations of yes and no decisions in setting the software options. Often, it easier and more economical to simply try to see if a given procedure works than to figure out beforehand what it will do.
We hear about similar problems with diet and dietary supplements. There are so many combinations and people carry so many different genetic and individual propensities that research cannot test them all. We often find out about a result because we stumbled on it or are faced with its effect as a surprise.
Of course, we have many expected consequences, too. I turn the steering wheel to the left and the car goes to the left. I smile at her and she smiles back. I eat some chocolate with sea salt and get a strong taste of a wonderful flavor.
I have just downloaded "The Science of Consequences" by Susan Schneider, which has very positive reviews. I wonder if the book will teach me anything new and useful about consequences. I will see what the consequences of reading the book are for me.
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