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Re: lynx-dev Concerning the use of abort in the source of lynx

From: pAb-032871
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Concerning the use of abort in the source of lynx
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 08:31:54 -0700

Please forgive my babble: I'm not a scientist or programmer, or
Communist either [well-intentioned anarchist maybe] but I appreciate
anything that helps keep my brain alive.  Thanks again.  :-)

In "Re: lynx-dev Concerning the use of abort in the source of lynx"
[04/Jun/2000 Sun 18:57:47]
Michael Sokolov wrote:

> Those who specifically work with DNA (not just biologists in general) do
> understand that it's data, but not being computer scientists, they can't make
> real use of this knowledge. You really need to live and breathe computing and
> information sciences to solve this problem. Biologists obviously don't. Now
> this is *not* a disrespect to them. Their work is essential for handling the
> actual chemical processes and physical means of observing and affecting them.
> However, in addition to that a good computer scientist has to do the computer
> science part.

Right.  I'm neither, so my view on the subject and my way of expressing
that view might be too simplistic.

> And speaking of which, the DNA program isn't just data, it is a *program*,
> i.e., executable code, or microcode to be more precise. The ribosoma, the cell
> organelle that processes the DNA strand, executes it almost exactly the way a
> classical von Neumann fetch-execute processor executes instructions. A deeper
> analysis shows that the closest familiar equivalent of the ribosoma is the
> microsequencer unit of a processor, which executes microcode from the control
> store.

Okay, another [probably crude] analogy: I've heard the cell described
as machine, CPU, and even factory depending on what aspects the
speaker is describing.  None of them seem quite right but they
do what metaphors are supposed to do; bring very abstract and
complicated ideas into some manageable, familiar context.

Taking the executable code reference into account, it doesn't
seem that the body is a computer executing this code, but a network
of billions, interconnected more like the worldwide network of
machines.  I don't just mean the Internet or the WWW, but they
can be included in this model along with GPS systems, banking
networks, government data channels and so on.

Billions of little chemical CPUs sending out protein-based requests
for specific information, and sending other protein-based replies
to other requests; all running different aspects of the same code,
for different specialized tasks, but in general the same hardware/software
platform [the ideas of hardware and software also break down in
these discussions, but they are useful analogies up to a point].

I say "in general", leaving room for cancer, mucular dystrophy
and other diseases as exceptions to the rule.  Even then, cancer
is basically a poor, deviated implementation of healing and other
self-replication processes.  Going in and tweaking the code when
something's wrong makes a lot more sense than wiping out whole
networks -- in miniature, the equivalent to blowing up cities
or running house-current across your motherboard and hoping *that*
fixes the problem -- which is essentially what chemotherapy and
lymph-node removal surgery boil down to [by the way, I have an
uncle with no lymph-nodes in his right leg due to skin cancer.
It's resulted in some unusual health problems].


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