Chaos Breeds Chaos

Filed by Lizzy Borden

While we can thank Mother Nature for providing us with plenty of moments of chaos (see: hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, George W. Bush), no one does a better job of helping her out than good ol' mankind. Reflecting back on my yearly battle with fire ants has made me think about how boring this country would be without the chaos we bring on ourselves. Sometimes our attempts to control chaos brings even more chaos. Here we offer some examples to prove that chaos is inevitable, and the more we try to control it, the more chaos we get.


What: Kudzu
Location: seven million acres in the Deep South (and counting)
Who we can thank: Florida nursery operators, Charles and Lillie Pleas

In Georgia, the legend says
That you must close your windows
At night to keep it out of the house.
The glass is tinged with green, even so...

                      Kudzu by James Dickey
Introduced to the US in 1876, kudzu was imported from Japan first for ornament and later to control the chaos of erosion. This tenacious vine is known to grow up to a foot a day during the summer months and will blanket anything that gets in its way. Sleeping dogs have been known to disappear in its grip, only to reappear once it withers in the fall.


What: Mongoose
Location: Hawaii
Who: ??
It's 1883 and rats (another invasive species) are overpopulating Hawaii. Solution? Let's introduce the mongoose to eat the rats! Oops, rats are nocturnal and mongoose are diurnal. Now we have two non-native rodents preying on the eggs of rare ground-nesting birds.


What: Africanized Honey Bees
Location: Your back yard, any day now
Who: Brazilian geneticist, Warwick Kerr
Though Prof. Chaos proclaims the killer bees to be a big tease, we still want to give a nod to Dr. Kerr, the Brazilian geneticist who came up with the bright idea of importing bees from South Africa and mating them with some good ol' European drones to create: Africanized Honey Bees (a.k.a. Killer Bees). You know the rest of the story - they escaped, and have been making their way to your back yard, slowly but surely, leaving a trail of dead cows and unsuspecting migrant workers in their wake.

What: Snakehead
Location: Maryland lakes
Who: unnamed man in MD
The story goes, some asshole had this unruly snakehead fish for a pet, couldn't handle it anymore, so decided to release it into a pond in MD. Okay, so this isn't necessarily someone trying to control chaos per se, unless we can assume that this snakehead was a real troublemaker at home and the guy released it in an attempt to reduce chaos in his own house. We may be stretching it, but come on, it's about time the snakehead got a nod from The Masters of Chaos.


What: Gypsy Moth
Location: Eastern U.S.
Who: Unnamed entomologist
In 1869, the gypsy moth was brought from France with plans to interbreed them with silkmoths to establish a new textile industry. In a bold move reminiscent of killer bees, they escaped (you saw that coming, didn't you?), established a colony and defoliated trees throughout New England. In 1953, state officials and the feds decided that spraying copious amounts of DDT would be a really clever way to irradicate the moths. This continued until DDT started showing up in soil, plants, and cow's milk. Doh!




What: War in Iraq
Location: uh, Iraq
Who: George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein
I'm not sure which one of these bozos deserves a bigger nod for the situation in Iraq. Saddam certainly knew how to create chaos by torturing, starving, oppressing, and otherwise being a nasty fellow. Now we can thank W. for dragging out the chaos in an attempt to control it by, uh, torturing, starving, and oppressing.

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