‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Weekend Wonders: Viruses

A popular introduction to viruses:

Computer animation of a bacteriophage T4 virus attacking an E. Coli cell:

How the bacteriophage T4 virus puts itself together inside its host:

30 minutes from T4's initial attack to exploding the host and spreading multiple new copies of itself:

How? Every second, there are more chemical reactions inside one cell in your body than you could count aloud in your entire lifetime.


Paddington said...

And, as a biochemist told me yesterday, the cell is such a mess of slap-dash mechanisms that any putative designer had to be drunk, or on a deadline.

Sackerson said...

Drunk would explain it. Hmmm... new theology coming up.

Sackerson said...

JD comments:

This is interesting -
Even Dr John Howard Northrop was baffled by the mystery. Northrop won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1946. It was Northrop who 'isolated and crystallized the first bacteriophage' in 1938.

Does Paddington's biochemist friend not understand that a cell is organic and cannot be a 'mechanism'? And if he thinks the cell 'designer' must have been drunk, can we assume that he has a better design?
Perhaps 'drunk' is beneficial for life, and sober and rational is detrimental; that fits with my experience of life - drunks are alive but sober-rational people are deadly dull.
I might be biased of course because I have a form of hyperaesthesia, auditory and visual, and so I am drunk on life!

Sackerson said...

@JD: Your first link reminds me that Eric Newby says that he and his wife (see "Slowly Down The Ganges") always drank water from the Ganges without ill-effects, and only became sick when they travelled away from the river and stopped drinking its water. Despite everything carried in that river, or because of it?