What is it that brings this poly-faceted multitude to the USMB? Apparent ill and then camaraderie will give way to attacks and applause Unusual? Schopenhauer described same in this way: On a cold winter's day, a group of porcupines huddled together to stay warm and keep from freezing. But soon they felt one another's quills and moved apart. When the need for warmth brought them closer together again, their quills again forced them apart. They were driven back and forth, at the mercy of their discomforts until they found the distance from one another that provided both a maximum of warmth and a minimum of pain. In human beings, the emptiness and monotony of the isolated self produces a need for society. This brings people together, but their many offensive qualities and intolerable faults drive them apart again. The optimum distance that they finally find and that permits them to coexist is embodied in politeness and good manners. Because of this distance between us, we can only partially satisfy our need for warmth, but at the same time, we are spared the stab of one another's quills. --Arthur Schopenhauer The unusual aspect here is that so many of us seem to thrive, not on the warmth of human contact, but on the pain of the quills.