Hank Roth, on the InterNUT since 1982
Past (post) Commander Jewish War Veterans
* Cryptologist and Voice Security in the White House
and in the War Room for JCS at the Pentagon
BIO [with pics] http://inyourface.info/bio/
H O M E - C R Y P T - L I N K S - B I O
Atoms are Forever
We wake up each morning to a world of hurt. The pain is all around us. We take an
anthropomorphic view, but all life experiences birth, reproduction and dissipation. Life is
often referred to as a gift. A better description would be to refer to life as food. We are
being harvested. The specter of life is to be consumed as food.
Life is a self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution and DNA
are the self replicating molecules for the blueprints of life.
James Watson claimed that he and Francis Crick discovered the secret of life, the very
elegant double helix, DNA. Just four chemical bases stored in strands of double nucleotides
chains, each chain a replica of the other can spell the recipes for life. Their discovery
changed the world of science as it had been known up until that time.
These were the blueprints. The energy for life is ATP (adenosine triphosphate),
manufactured in photon pumps in the mitochondria of living cells. The analogy which is
sometimes used for ATP is a re-chargeable battery.
Over 30 years ago, Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene: "At some point a particularly
remarkable molecule was formed by accident. We will call it the Re-plicator. It may not
have been the biggest or the most complex molecule around, but it had the extraordinary
property of being able to create copies of itself."
"As the battery's energy is used, its energy state is lowered until it reaches the point
where it cannot be used again until it's recharged. ATP is the charged battery. ADP is the
discharged version, while the input of additional energy `recharges' ADP into ATP once
again, in a process known as oxidative phosphorylation." (Ed Regis, What is Life, 2008)
ATP synthesis is life's motive force. ATP is recycled, converted to ADP and back again to
ATP; over and over again. This process occurs in the mitochondria organelles in a cells
cytoplasm. A million mitochondria packed together would be no larger than a grain of sand.
In most cells there are hundreds of them and we get them all from our mothers. When the
synthesis of ATP stops the cell dies. Without it, muscles would not have their flexibility.
Without it, the deficiency of new ATP in cells, rigor mortis sets in.
(It is the phosphate in fertilizers which provides for ATP synthesis in plant cells.)
What is similar to all life is a means of reproducing. A single stranded version of the
double helix is RNA (ribonucleic acid) which can replicate. Its version uses uracil in
place of DNA's thymine. RNA molecules are called ribozymes. The theory is RNA came along
first and synthesized proteins and DNA came along later.
It has been suggested that RNA preceded DNA reproduction and perhaps it did because RNA can
replicate without DNA but DNA cannot replicate without RNA. RNA contains ribozymes which
with enzymes produces proteins and ALL life as we know it shares the same chemistry.
Pollock (94) in Signs of Life wrote: "...we are related enough to a duck and an orange that
we can eat them both."
We are carbon based life. DNA is a helix of the building blocks of life: the code which is
a recipe for constructing and maintaining life. The three components necessary for life -as
we know it- is energy, water and carbon; all of which is found throughout the universe.
Most of our energy comes from the sun but now we know energy also comes from the core of
the planet as hydrogen sulfide which provides energy for life which survives without the
sun, i.e. thermophylic bacteria and other organisms which live in the depths of the oceans.
"...The current need for carbon from carbon dioxide by all photo-synthesizers totals one
hundred billion tons per year. Yet only a half billion tons per year is supplied as new
carbon into the biosphere from rocks and volcanos. Without recycling, global productivity
would only be a half billion tons per year, a mere two-hundredth of its current value.
Invert this number and we can say that our real world recycling the dead increases all life
two hundred times above what it would be without recycling. Death, thus two times more
life." (Tyler Volk, What is Death, a Scientist Looks at the Cycle of Life, 2002)
Life becomes food. Life feeds life and it changes, it is "chemically transformed", subsumed
by the planet "into a gigantic functioning system", says Tyler Volk.
"For example, a dead leaf fallen to the forest floor will be consumed by dozens of species
of soil detritus feeders, from worms to bacteria, who release some of the former carbon
into the leaf into carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Thus what happens to the dead
amplifies not just any one other organism but to some extent all of life..." (ibid)
There are some theories that life arrived on in meteorites or comets. 70 separate amino
acids have been discovered in meteorites and contain all the essential ingredients for
life. Meteorites and comets have impacted the earth throughout its history and the force of
these impacts transformed amino acids into the proteins necessary for life. And some
theories [see Harper, Nova TV series, WGBH 2005, Origins: How Life Began] suggest bacteria,
the precursor of eukaryotes arrived from outer space transported here by meteorites and
Life is both prey and predator. My best non-human friend(s), my dogs, have the predatory
behavior of their ancestral wolf. My predatory behavior is tied to survival. Hostility and
war is as natural as life is old (in our frame of reference). My dogs also have instinctual
behaviors; they have "fear and flight" behaviors; they have hierarchy and dominance
behavior which they display with each other when they are not playing or sleeping and when
cornered they will fight.
We in our species will just kill our enemies who are those who compete with us for
territory and resources - which has been the history of groups since time began.
Dogs stalk, chase, grab and bite each other. Predatory motor patterns are obvious behaviors
in animals and we are just animals with a larger brain and we assume an awareness of these
things, which evolved as our defense against predators and our offensive strategies and the
success of our species.
Of course different animals display different patterns and so do we because we are by the
way, just animals ourselves, in spite of some who think humans are a higher form of life -
which we are not.
We are human-centric organisms and are too often oblivious to the pain of other animals.
Some cultures eat animals we would never think about as food. And the females of several
species also eat their mates after they copulate with them. This happens with spiders and
some other animals. The males actually welcome being consumed by these female spiders
because it ensures that their sperm will have longer to fertilize her and eating the male
spider is a distraction so the female doesn't move on to another spider until she finishes
her meal. I wouldn't exactly call it love, but maybe to a spider it is. It most assuredly
is the ultimate in love making. I like sex but not that much. But you know humans have some
weird sexual perversions also and can be very self-destructive.
There are some things we may never know. We may become extinct as a species before we
discover the theoretical distinctions between what is known and what can only be imagined.
Humans however, have a heightened awareness of self which is why religion has played an
essential role in human life since the dawn of history. There has been fear responses which
rely on escapism and apologia for what appears inevitable, and the need to believe in
stories and myths was a way to stay sane - to find explanation is what would otherwise be
inexplicable, until we discovered science and tested the theories. In spite of how far we
have advanced intellectually there is still this fear response which makes it satisfying to
hold on to comfort myths. Those themes are balm for the pain which accompanies conscious
Life is a product of death. Life recycles. Atoms become the stuff of new organisms. Death
makes possible more life.
Not only spiders and mayflies and wasps and ants AND to humans too; the essentiality to all
life is life.
"Biological recycling is the worm that munches leaf litter into microscopic bits that are
then further degraded by bacteria into nutrients that later can become tree leaves again
Death makes life..." (Tyler Volk, What is Death? -a scientist looks at the cycle of life-)
Life reproduces itself; it dissipates heat into the external environment. The cell is the
smallest life and besides pico-eukaryotes, bacteria is life; it is the life that was here
for billions of years before our more complex, nucleated cells, when Eukaryotic cells
Bacteria is also life but bacteria don't need to eat organic organisms to survive. They can
consume the garbage in land fills. They can consume carbon dioxide and they can clean up
after oil spills.
"Life is distinguished not by its chemical constituents but by the behavior of its
chemicals. The question `What is Life?' is thus a linguistic trap. To answer according to
the rules of grammar, we must supply a noun, a thing. But life on Earth is more like a
verb. It repairs, maintains, recreates and outdoes itself." (L. Margulis and D. Sagen -
What is Life? - 1995)
"The surge of activity which not only applies to cells and animals but to Earth's entire
atmosphere, is intimately connected to two of science's most famous laws--the laws of
thermodynamics. The first law says that throughout any transformation of the total energy
of any system and its environment is neither lost nor gained. Energy--whether as light,
movement, radiation, heat, radioactivity, chemical or other--is conserved." (ibid)
"But not all forms of energy are equal; not all have the same effect. HJeat is a kind of
energy to which other forms tend to convert, and heat tends to disorganize matter. The
second law of thermodynamics says that physical systems tend to lose heat to their
"The second law was conceived during the Industrial Revolution, when the steam engine
represented the state--of-art in engineering. French physicist Nicolas Carnot (1796-1832),
aiming to improve the efficiency of the steam engine (whose governor mechanism was invented
by James Watt), came to realize that heat was associate with the movement of minute
particles. And from that, he envisioned the principle that is now known as the second law.
In any moving or energy using system entropy increases."
"....(the first law of thermodynamics of conservation of energy holds), the amount of
energy available to do work decreases. In computer science entropy is measured as the
uncertainty in the information content of a message. The second law unequivocally claims
that in changing systems entropy increases, implying that heat, noise, uncertainty, and
other forms of energy not useful for work, increase. As local systems lose heat, the
universe as a whole is gaining it. Although not so popular now, in the past physicists and
chemists have made the prediction that the universe will whimper out in a `heat death' as a
consequence of the tendency for entropy to increase. More recently, they have even invented
the word `negentropy' for life, which in its tendency to increase information and
certainty, seems to contradict the second law. It doesn't; the second law holds as long as
one regards the system (LIFE) in its environment." (ibid)
As stated previously in quoting Ilya Prigogine, the interpretation of the second law has
changed and Prigogine, a Belgian Nobel laureate pioneered the view or "the consideration of
a larger class of `dissipative structures,' which also includes decidedly nonliving centers
of activity," [Margulis & Segan], i.e. whirlpools, tornadoes, flames. - A dissipative
system may grow and maintain itself. It does this by importing useful energy and exporting
less useful energy and as Margulis further points out, this thermodynamic view even extends
back to Schrodinger, who "likened living beings to flames, `streams of order' that maintain
their forms." (Margulis and Sagan)
Important to life is the ability to be self-sustaining and increasing itself. This is the
basis of evolution. Natural selection is one aspect of evolution. And maintaining itself
[autopoiesis] is a fundamental aspect of life.
"Islands of order in an ocean of chaos, organisms are far superior to human-built machines.
Unlike James Watt's steam engine, for example, the body concentrates order. It continuously
SELF-REPAIRS (emphasis mine). Every five days you get a new stomach lining. You get a new
liver every two months. Your skin replaces itself every six weeks. Every year, ninety-eight
percent of the atoms in your body are replaced. This nonstop chemical replacement,
metabolism, is a sure sign of life. This `machine' demands continual input of chemical
energy and materials (food)." (Margulis and Sagan)
And the fundamental component of life must be `autopoiesis' The reference is to the
continuous producing of itself. The reference applies to all life. Life is purposeful. It
reproduces. The molecules at the end of eukaryote life dissipates back to the external
"Life is a bitch, and then you die" - as the saying goes; but, it is somewhat of a comfort
to know that your life doesn't end, that it is transformative and is part of a much bigger
system, that you are integral to the process which sustains all life.
But to think about death as essential to life is to put us on the same level with the most
profound minds of history who recognized the focus of real life is not about death at all.
The focus on death distracts us from living. Life is existential. Life is self-awareness.
So why would we go through life asking ourselves what is death? We should change the
question to: What is Life? - because if life is predicated on death it is the gift of death
which gives us what is special which is our very unique consciousness and our loves and it
is our own atomic immortality we should be contemplating not the dying of our body.
All quoting per the Fair Use Doctrine
for educational and discussion purposes pursuant to^
Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, Copyright Law.
Today is Friday October 09, 2009
G 0 l e m D e s i g n s
Hank Roth (on the Internet since 1982)
Worm Hole (Home) - The Crypt - Hank Roth (Bio)
While I don't use a standard blog (weblog software) mostly because I've been doing this too
long - having been there with Ike when the precursor to the Internet, Arpanet got started
and every step of the way since, I can't get into all the many fads over the years (now it
is social networking), but I have been an observer and participant in events which shape
the world since my time with NSA and with Army Security and as a voice security
cryptologist in the White House for the President, and the War Room at the Pentagon for the
Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff plus two wars. You could say this site is one of the better
kept secrets [grin] on the InterNUT. You are invited back as often as you would like to see
what I and others, I trust, may be saying.
-- Hank Roth
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