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Selected Replies to "The Symmetry Principle"

Some of the more interesting replies, with names and other identifying information removed.

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Bear Babysitting

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Bear Babysitting
Hello, I've read your site for quite awhile now. I often point others toward certain pages of your site, particularly when my explanation on a matter doesn't form as eloquently as yours. I'm a big fan, to say the least. Thanks! I particularly enjoyed your article on symmetry. It must've been exhilarating to have a mother bear in such close proximity. If I had been entrusted with her cubs, even if just momentarily, it would have likely brought me to tears; which may or may not have resulted in my being mauled. Yes, as it happens I've had that precise reaction during a number of similar experiences in Alaska. It's really very moving to be entrusted with the children of an animal that could tear you to pieces if she chose. Did the cubs take to you at all? No, they were rather unhappy about the whole thing. They were pretty young and had no experience with people. I think they were terrified, actually. They didn't move away, but they didn't move toward me either. I think they were in shock that mama bear left them with me.

The problem with bear babysitting (I've had a number of similar experiences over the years) is not that the cubs will be nervous and docile, it's that they might decide to play with you (this happens with older cubs). Then the problems begin — either the cubs overpower you without really meaning to, or mama bear returns to see you tussling with her cubs and thinks you're hurting them.
If you don't mind my asking, that is. I don't mind at all. I get all kinds of inquiries at this Web site, about whether someone's partner is certifiable, or whether some profession is or is not scientific, or whether science or religion is evil. That sort of thing. But until now no one has asked me about bear babysitting, a topic I would much prefer to talk about.

So congratulations on breaking new ground, and thanks for writing.
 

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