Archive for November, 2011

November 29, 2011

The importance of interactivity in large-scale experiments, the importance of getting approximate partial results soon that one can selectively refine later.

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Endosymbiosis

November 27, 2011

« The endosymbiont hypothesis has been refined in two major ways. First, as it became increasingly apparent (especially for mitochondria) that many organellar functions are encoded in the nucleus, it was assumed that these nuclear genes had been relocated to the nucleus by lateral transfer from the organellar genome (a reason why some genes have remained in the organelle is then needed). Second, 16S rRNA phylogenies also required that, at least for chloroplasts, existing organelles are descended not from one endosymbiont but from several which invaded different lineages at different times. A central unresolved problem concerns whether mitochondrial evolution is monophyletic or polyphyletic. Moreover, there is substantial evidence for secondary loss of the mitochondrion from various protists, in which several well identified mitochondrial genes are found in the nuclear chromosomes. Multiple independent losses and gains of genes (and of full mitochondria and chloroplasts) is probably the norm. »

« The dinucleotide relative abundance values of temperate double-stranded DNA phages are very close to their hosts, filamentous and single-stranded DNA phages are moderately to distantly related to their hosts, and lytic double-stranded DNA phages are generally distant from their hosts, with phage T7 being substantially farther than phage T4. This gradient in similarity to the host parallels the extent to which the phage uses the complete replication and repair machinery of the host and the duration of such use. »

~ “Compositional biases of bacterial genomes and evolutionary implications”. S. Karlin, J. Mrazek, A.M. Campbell. Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 179, No. 12, 1997.

November 20, 2011

A medium-sized, ancient room, with white and black squares of marble on the walls and on the floor. The room is completely empty. It has a high ceiling, and it feels very cold. At the center of the floor there is a small hole: I’m standing up inside the hole, with a sense of cold, fear, oppression.

Another time I see the room animated by suspended particles that interact with each other. I feel that those particles are all the ideas in my mind, that their interaction is instantaneously producing new ideas, and that this interaction is inevitable and spontaneous, given the degree of density of the particles themselves. I hear a voice saying “This is the way I think”.

Inneres auge

November 19, 2011

[…]

La linea orrizzontale ci spinge verso la materia,
quella verticale verso lo spirito.
Con le palpebre chiuse s’intravede un chiarore che con il tempo
e ci vuole pazienza, si apre allo sguardo interiore:
inneres auge, das innere auge

La linea orrizzontale ci spinge verso la materia,
quella verticale verso lo spirito.
Ma quando ritorno in me, sulla mia via,
a leggere e studiare, ascoltando i grandi del passato
mi basta una sonata di Corelli, perché mi meravigli del creato.

~ Franco Battiato

Inverno

November 19, 2011

Sale la nebbia sui prati bianchi
come un cipresso nei camposanti
un campanile che non sembra vero
segna il confine fra la terra e il cielo.

Ma tu che vai, ma tu rimani
vedrai la neve se ne andrà domani
rifioriranno le gioie passate
col vento caldo di un’altra estate.

Anche la luce sembra morire
nell’ombra incerta di un divenire
dove anche l’alba diventa sera
e i volti sembrano teschi di cera.

Ma tu che vai, ma tu rimani
anche la neve morirà domani
l’amore ancora ci passerà vicino
nella stagione del biancospino.

La terra stanca sotto la neve
dorme il silenzio di un sonno greve
l’inverno raccoglie la sua fatica
di mille secoli, da un’alba antica.

Ma tu che stai, perché rimani?
Un altro inverno tornerà domani
cadrà altra neve a consolare i campi
cadrà altra neve sui camposanti.

~ Fabrizio De André

No time no space

November 19, 2011

Tell me of the existence
Of worlds and planets far away
Of past civilizations
Of continents gone adrift.
Talk to me about love
Tell me more about human love,
Of anomalous travelers
In magical, mystic territories.

Ahead we followed by instinct
Only the comets trail
As vanguards of another system
In search of the end.

No Time No Space
Another race of vibrations,
The sea of the simulation.
Keep your feelings in memory
I love you especially tonight.

~ Franco Battiato

November 19, 2011

« There is an interesting paradox about words that do or do not apply to themselves (Grelling’s paradox). Let us call a word that applies to itself or that is true of itself autological. Examples are “English”, which is itself an English word, and “old”, a word which has been in use for many centuries now. Call a word that does not apply to itself heterological, such as the clearly non-red word “red”, or the non-German word “German”. Now the question is: is the word “heterological” itself heterological? If it is, then it isn’t; if it isn’t, then it is. […] A clear example of a heterolocial word is “simplicity”, which is exceedingly complex and hard to explain. »
~ “Philosophical applications of computational learning theory”, R.M. de Wolf.

November 19, 2011

« Him she found sweating with toil as he moved to and fro about his bellow in eager haste; for he was fashioning tripods, twenty in all, to stand around the wall of his well-builded hall, and golden wheels had he set beneath the base of each that of themselves they might enter the gathering of the gods at his wish and again return to his house, a wonder to behold. »
~ Iliad, XVIII.

November 16, 2011

« L’informatizzazione dell’umanità non consiste nell’inserire la vita nella macchina, ma al contrario nel mettere la macchina al servizio della vita. »

« Spazi autonomi come quelli degli hacker assumono un ruolo educativo che sta progressivamente scomparendo nelle scuole e soprattutto nelle universita’. »

~ From a hacker mailing list

November 16, 2011

« Creo que con el tiempo mereceremos no tener gobiernos. »
~ Jorge Luis Borges