Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Programming DNA Video

This is an hour long introductory video given by Drew Endy that was shown at the Chaos Communication Congress on how the hacker ethic, in the programmer sense, applies to biological engineering.

(Via Hack a Day)

About 25 minutes in he talks about something completely off topic, and something I hadn't heard of before ... an M.I.T project called Fab Tree Hab that genetically engineers trees so they grow into a house. So in the future, rather than my Bonsais dying I can use them to house my cat.


Dan tdaxp said...

Very interesting to see the accelerated evolution of the ghomeplex, and not just the master genome and old fellow-travelers (such as dogs, corn, etc.).

G said...

Hey, dan. I read your post on artificiality and the genome. It reminded me of a few things.

Have you ever read the book "Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World: An Investigation into the Evolutionary Roots of Form and Order in the Built Environment" by Norman Crowe? He builds on a Cicero quote which states: "We enjoy the fruits of the plains and of the mountains, the rivers and the lakes are ours, we sow corn, we plant trees, we fertilize the soil by irrigation, we confine the rivers and straighten or divert their courses. In fine, by means of our hands we essay to create as it were a second world within the world of nature."

So Crowe argues that rather than urban and architectural environments being artificial that they are in fact a form of nature (a second world within nature). He also reckons there must be some form of harmony between the built environment and nature (that harmony stemming from quasi-noble savage-esque ideas about sacred place and sacred time).

Do you think the genomeplex extends to the built environment?

I also wonder if the concept of the nation-state is a "second world" that man built, as it is similar to the built environment at a macro level, hence why writers like Hobbes seen nature as nasty, brutish and short and therefore wrote about a second world of the state that harmonized with nature.

Dan tdaxp said...

Fascinating thought.

My guess would that buildings, cities, nations, etc, would be artifacts of the genomeplex -- while such creatures are created and sustained by the genomeplex, and alter the evolution of the genomeplex, they do not have genomes of their own.

This is the best video I have ever seen on the web.

Jay@Soob said...

That Crowe fellow must be the bane of environmentalism! His ideas sound very interesting and I'll have to toss it on the book mountain. I haven't had a chance to watch the entire vid yet (just past the "intro" most of which I'm pleased to say, I "get".)