Thursday, October 18, 2007

Aren't we amazing

About five years ago I caught one of my coworkers gazing out the window and when I asked him what he was staring at he pointed at an airplane flying overhead and said "don't you think that it's amazing that man designed his own wings and learned to fly?" (I'm serious, that's actually what he said. He was kind of a nerd.)

"No," I said.

I wasn't trying to be a jerk. I just don't think it's all that amazing. Or rather, it's not the kind of thing that amazes me.

I think that we as a human race tend to have a very expansive view of what is incredible or amazing. We glorify technology and fantasize about building space ships and colonies on other planets and like a robot police force made out of's weird but I don't really get excited about that. I remember when I was a kid I liked Star Wars as much as the next person but the thing that really would enrapture me was hearing about how in the deep deep ocean there were organisms that we haven't even found yet, there are a ton of ancient life forms right under our noses and we don't even know that they exist or what they could possibly be like. I guess I tend to have a more concentrated view--to me the coolest thing is not how far you can go or what you can build but how deeply you can see into something that's always been there, something that we might not even find to be particularly interesting.

So all of that is just a long-winded way of explaining why this video gave me a total Science Erection.

This is a super-awesome animation of what goes on inside a cell. Like, one of the billion trillion or whatever cells that you have in your body right now. I mean I know we all learned about this stuff in school but this video is just nuts--it's like there's a whole fucking universe in there, and it's cooler than any universe I've ever seen in any science fiction film. I've posted the music video version because it's kind of cool and beautiful, but if you'd rather watch the full-length educational version (watch out, it'll make you feel stupid) then you can watch it here.

Created by XVIVO science animation studio (how cool would that job be)


Derekh said...

This makes me think of a Neil Degrasse Tyson quote, well maybe not quote, but something he was riffing on one time.

You look at a video like this, and realize that all our blogging, and talking, and driving cars, and having sex, and all that activity is facilitated completely by the insanely mathematical and machine-like operations that all happen in this video. If you were an observer, some kind of alien observer, and for some reason could only see this cellular life, how could you ever guess that it would lead to human culture? To laughing and farting and loving and plaid shorts. Watching this makes me realize that we're just matter, organizing in complex ways, which leads me to what Neil said:

"We have come to an amazing point where matter can contemplate the exist of matter. Matter becoming aware of itself, and thinking about why and how it's become aware."

(This isn't a direct quote, so I don't know if those ""s are necessary. Whatevsky.)

Anonymous said...

it is the little, internal things that are the most amazing. also, horrifying.