Bow Shock by Gregory Beniford is so. cool. Its a short story about a radio astronomer who has discovered an object that is speeding across the plane of the sky - a simple story about the life of a scientist who gets blindsided by everyday life. Even if the thing that he's working on because turbulent it just makes him more curious about it. He follows it wherever it goes.
This short story also takes us farther into the life of the scientist than you have probably ever before been. How strange the feelings you can feel, standing at your girlfriends mercedes benz dealership where while you get your oil change, you can work on your putting game and drink latte. Are scientists second class citizens? Not enough "O.C."?
I think we tend to forget what happens in modern life. The lab rats are stillw orking away, they've chosen harder problems. Just as in "Prey" by Michael Crichton, there are moments when we can glimpse the vaudeville of their attempts to keep themselves funded. Nanotechnology still hasn't reduced the eart to gray goo. IBM spelled out in atoms on a circuit once - to show what can be done with molecular engineering - and the rest of the scanning electron equivalent of sideshow bob that would take an entire 9 hour day to spell out three letters - are usually relegated to the last page.
There was a time when even politics would touch upon some of these changes, if only to justify massive military budget expenditure.
But I am telling you, seriously. What is coming next will truly blow your mind. And that if I can, I want to work in this field. I will need to be sharper. I thank those of you that have helped me to become sharper.. I remember that inn grad school, I was more or less forced between a choice of mind. body. or soul. Pick two.
Out here. It seems that you have to pick one. Your body deteriorates exponentially around kids eating junk and keeping you in one place to watch them play. But I am wondering at this point what is the next best sacrifice. If the fedex arrives before the repo guy... =)
At the dinner table my son remarked that this friendof mine (I swear she's jsut a friend) would die soon. I said why. He said "because she's so old". "why do you have a friend who is so old, dad." and I told him. "we sometimes dont get to choose who is our friend and who is not. and besides, she's not that old." I was silently thankful that my wife wasn't there. Her inability to control her anger was legendary it welled up within her like poison and if even a friend of mine's name alone (she preferred to use the online name and never refer to her by her real name) were mentioned at the table - it would be lights out all over town. Tonight my daughter said "dad, why is it that your friends are all female". I couldn't answer. Godels paradox of relationships. Hey that reminds me. There's a domme somewhere that keeps a teddy bear. By the name of "paradox". She made her sub eat grass from the front lawn. He was a grown man. She said it was better than sex. God she is such a lamer.
In the final scene of a film "The Fountain" there is a man who suddenly understands that part of what he must do, to finish the story that his dying wife had left behind . Three timelines from 1500, 2000 and 2500. All as if they are all happening simultaneously - and all very simple. Two people dedicated to each other. And at the same time. She is beginning to lose feeling. She is dying. Through his tears he reads what she left behind for him.
He finally understands. In the far future, and then again. In the past. The bow shock draws out across the dying star and - like my friend's aim in life - when he goes he leaves a 50 foot schmear across the sky (well my friend wants to leave a stain on the concrete, but he is a bush republican. I am trying to get him to aim higher. lets see if he votes for Obama this year)
The image of the tree there within the sphere - is so vivid still in my mind. But so also is the image of the man, her mate. And his last moment.
In the beginning, god made two trees. The tree of life and the tree of knowledge. And after the fall he hid the Tree of Life was hidden from us.
The paperboy just drove by with a paper thrown on my driveway. I will have to turn to work soon. The india team will be up.
As in the short story, the approach to studying energy driven molecular networks or - Self organizing complex systems - there are two approaches - Rasmussen has chosen bottom up. As did, similiarly - the antagonist of "bow shock"
Craig Venter (a fellow surfer) chose top down. Surfers rule.
Um. Sorry. Did you know that there are females out there, who, if they were betty page - would say that if they were, they would have to spend their whole day fucking themselves? I would seriously like to meet them. Isn't gonna happen.
Ok. So anyway. Guess which organism he chose to build first. Come on. Think. What do guys think of all the time? I will give you a hint: its called Mycoplasma Genitalium.
Here's what I think they've both missed. Why is it that this organism, happens to be the simplest organism on the planet. Biologists see something and they get excited about it (ahem) but ... do we ask the question. Why is it that here, of all places - is to be found the simplest (517 genes total) organism.
While we're on the subject of tight, he's probably doing it on Dept. of Defense funding to be able to synthesize a life form that can suck CO2 down into itself and kick back out methane fuel. But don't whisper that too loudly. They might hear you.
The bottom line from the Top is that Venter succeeded in loading genetic code into a parent organism and using that organism to replicate his code. Yeah baby!