Isn’t this an amazing image?
I saw this on Twitter, and had to talk about it. I am impressed that this can be an electron photograph. It has color and shadow. How? I wouldn’t have thought that possible. But most amazing is what it is, a T4 bacteriophage, a virus which infects E.coli. Why is that impressive? Well, look at it! Before this alien lander touched down on this cell, it was a virion, a completely static entity, an inert device in the “off” position. Once the legs contact the ‘active sites’, it logically activates, just like a space probe; it ‘switched on’. What it does then is insidious.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41aqxcxsX2wThe way it drills into the cell, so mechanical, so cold. Just like a robotic probe, a mere machine. The thing is, these things are not alive. They’re genetic, they reproduce, they evolve, and they can even be killed, -yet they do not qualify as living organisms. They’re so very close to that, and they certainly look the part. Many even have DNA. But they can’t achieve homeostasis. They can’t maintain an internal chemical balance, and that is what defines an organism as living. This thing however, this alien invader -is a supra-complex macromolecular nanite mite, existing right at the edge of being ‘alive’.
I don’t know; I just find some concepts fascinating. Had to share.