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"Most cacbitcoin egypt newsti are prickly as well.""The ability to reproduce is also of fundamental importance, obviously. Darwin studied the ingenuity of plant pollination in great detail. Flowers glow in glorious hues and exude delirious scents to attract the insects which are instrumental in pollination. To perpetuate their kind, birds trill their melodious tones. A placid or melancholy bull with no interest in cows will have no interest for genealogy either, since with characteristics like these, its line will die out at once. The bull's sole purpose in life is to grow to sexual maturity and reproduce in order to propagate the race. It is rather like a relay race. Those that for one reason or another are unable to pass on their genes are continually discarded, and in that way the race is continually refined. Resistance to disease is one of the most important characteristics progressively accumulated and preserved in the variants that survive."
"So everything gets better and better?""The result of this continual selection is that the ones best adapted to a particular environment--or a particular ecological niche--will in the long term perpetuate the race in that environment. But what is an advantage in one environment is not necessarily an advantage in another. For some of the Galapagos finches, the ability to fly was vital. But being good at flying is not so necessary if food is dug from the ground and there are no predators. The reason why so many different animal species have arisen over the ages is precisely because of these many niches in the natural environment.""But even so, there is only one human race.""That's because man has a unique ability to adapt to different conditions of life. One of the things that amazed Darwin most was the way the Indians in Tierra del Fuego managed to live under such terrible climatic conditions. But that doesn't mean that all human beings are alike. Those who live near the equator have darker skins than people in the more northerly climes because their dark skin protects them from the sun. White people who expose themselves to the sun for long periods are more prone to skin cancer.""Is it a similar advantage to have white skin if you live in northern countries?"
"Yes, otherwise everyone on earth would be dark-skinned. But white skin more easily forms sun vitamins, and that can be vital in areas with very little sun. Nowa-days that is not so important because we can make sure we have enough sun vitamins in our diet. But nothing in nature is random. Everything is due to infinitesimal changes that have taken effect over countless generations.""Actually, it's quite fantastic to imagine."By eight o'clock they had pitched their tent in a clearing by Grouse Top. They had prepared themselves for the night and their bedrolls were unfolded. When they had eaten their sandwiches, Sophie asked, "Have you ever heard of the major's cabin?"
"The major's cabin?""There's a hut in the woods somewhere near here ... by a little lake. A strange man lived there once, a major, that's why it's called the major's cabin.""Does anyone live there now?""Do you want to go and see?"
"Where is it?"Sophie pointed in among the trees.
Joanna was not particularly eager, but in the end they set out. The sun was low in the sky.They walked in between the tall pine trees at first, but soon they were pushing their way through bush and thicket. Eventually they made their way down to a path. Could it be the path Sophie had followed that Sunday morning?It must have been--almost at once she could point to something shining between the trees to the right of the path."It's in there," she said.
They were soon standing at the edge of the small lake. Sophie gazed at the cabin across the water. All the windows were now shuttered up. The red building was the most deserted place she had seen for ages.Joanna turned toward her. "Do we have to walk on the water?""Of course not. We'll row."Sophie pointed down into the reeds. There lay the rowboat, just as before.
"Have you been here before?"Sophie shook her head. Trying to explain her previous visit would be far too complicated. And then she would have to tell her friend about Alberto Knox and the philosophy course as well.
They laughed and joked as they rowed across the water. When they reached the opposite bank, Sophie made sure they drew the boat well up on land.They went to the front door. As there was obviously nobody in the cabin, Joanna tried the door handle.
"Locked... you didn't expect it to be open, did you?""Maybe we can find a key," said Sophie.She began to search in the crevices of the stonework foundation."Oh, let's go back to the tent instead," said Joanna after a few minutes.But just then Sophie exclaimed, "Here it is! I found it!"She held up the key triumphantly. She put it in the lock and the door swung open.
The two friends sneaked inside as if they were up to something criminal. It was cold and dark in the cabin."We can't see a thing!" said Joanna.
But Sophie had thought of that. She took a box of matches out of her pocket and struck one. They only had time to see that the cabin was deserted before the match went out. Sophie struck another, and this time she noticed a stump of candle in a wrought-iron candlestick on top of the stove. She lit it with the third match and the little room became light enough for them to look around."Isn't it odd that such a small candle can light up so much darkness?" said Sophie.
Her friend nodded."But somewhere the light disappears into the dark," Sophie went on. "Actually, darkness has no existence of its own. It's only a lack of light."
Joanna shivered. "That's creepy! Come on, let's go...""Not before we've looked in the mirror."Sophie pointed to the brass mirror hanging above the chest of drawers, just as before."That's really pretty!" said Joanna.
"But it's a magic mirror.""Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
"I'm not kidding, Joanna. I am sure you can look in it and see something on the other side.""Are you sure you've never been here before? And why is it so amusing to scare me all the time?"
Sophie could not answer that one."Sorry."
Now it was Joanna who suddenly discovered something lying on the floor in the corner. It was a small box. Joanna picked it up."Postcards," she said.Sophie gasped."Don't touch them! Do you hear--don't you dare touch them!"
Joanna jumped. She threw the box down as if she had burnt herself. The postcards were strewn all over the floor. The next second she began to laugh."They're only postcards!"
Joanna sat down on the floor and started to pick them up. After a while Sophie sat down beside her."Lebanon ... Lebanon ... Lebanon ... They are all postmarked in Lebanon," Joanna discovered.
"I know," said Sophie.Joanna sat bolt upright and looked Sophie in the eye.