some mezoued from tunisia this time. its short range leads to a more rhythmic style of playing. i’d argue these pipes are somewhere between more melodic and more rhythmic instruments.
summarizing, first we saw how thermodynamics and information theory are similar, and how the latter is more abstract, applicable to both elementary particles, letters and numbers. by mixing the two, we have a quantitative metric for arrangements of things. then we defined things using a fractal equation. then, from the ground up, we visited the first realms of knowledge. today we continue our journey.
as molecules grow and interact, they develop strange shapes, this is, they become spatially arranged. like the water molecule, proteins for example are nothing more than very big molecules, exhibiting strange shapes. as molecules become bigger, their interactions become more complex. an example of this is a catalyst. we can see it as a special harbor of sorts. imagine you are learning to sail. you can try it in a big open ocean, plagued by storms, or you can try it in a safe harbor where the waves are not too high. a catalyst is a molecule that, for its simple properties, facilitates the reaction of other molecules.
let’s think about it for a second. different molecules can interact with each other, and their own properties (in this case spatial) can affect other molecules profoundly. note that a catalyst exists anyway, independent of whether it will ever affect other molecules or not. but for the other molecules the difference can be dramatic.
for example, though not very scientifically correct, would be using anti freeze in your car’s radiator. the anti freeze itself is just a molecule that does very little alone. but if mixed with water, it will lower its freezing temperature. this can be very important if you are trying to get to work and your car is frozen. so a tiny molecule sometimes can make a big difference.
one of these cases is life. it might be arguable whether certain moving molecules are “alive”, but as soon as molecules get big enough, they start doing work. the same work we talked about before, the one we can measure. an example of this work would be the work of the contents of a cell to assemble molecules. these are just like tiny robots. if a molecule can do work, and another can use the work to create other molecules, we can have molecular evolution.
i won’t try to explain how this works, i’m sure many experts would be better at it. but one thing i can say is that as information increases, so do these unintended consequences. the bigger and more arranged a molecule is, the more likely it can do work on others for example. so after many many years of molecular evolution, a good set of working producing molecules got together in things we call cells, . cells themselves are a multitude to explore, but what i am interested in is how to save and retrieve them, or, how to quantify them in terms of information.
it is common to say DNA (one of the in cells) is the script for life. i disagree. as the analogies i used before, it is not enough to store the alphabet, it is necessary to store the agents that can work with it (like the painter and the painting, or kolmogorov complexity). this would be a contribution of computer scientists that is overlooked. just read this interview of richard stallman (founder of the GNU free software movement), and how profound it is (search for quaternary).
DNA is a quaternary program that runs on a cell computer. to accurately describe a cell system, we need all the information of the DNA, but also the information of the computer it runs on. all the proteins, all the structure, all the constraints. DNA might be a key, but alone it is worthless.
so we have a new layer of agents. we have the laws that govern things both in groups and alone (laws), and we now have things that can do work independently. the why is easy, it is part of their properties, these small machines are just like elaborate catalysts, mindless automatons. but they function as new laws for bigger systems.
but more essential to them is the fact that their activity adds to the structure of their surrounding world. like the boy picking up pebbles to draw a circle, these molecules take in simpler forms of matter and energy and convert them in more arranged forms thereof. information must include not only the “actg” letters, but also all the machinery required. so to quantify a cell, we would have to quantify everything.
how much information are we talking about? i am leaving quantification for later. but if we survey all the constituents of a cell, which themselves are thousands, and if we compute how unlikely it is that they are all together versus apart, we can quickly realize that the information stored there is no short than a universally big number. note that physical information is not computing the “actg” unique sequence in bits, that is computational ignorance. that is not physical information, that is information we perceive as high level, us being humans. the real information includes all constituents and their structure. the names, as we’ll see soon, are a human illusion.
already we begin to see tiny minds at work. the molecules that move molecules around, following some anti-entropic imperative. that ensemble then, using the same rules, clusters itself in groups, becoming what we call organisms: . some of these will be specified, where large groups of similar cells can be called organs, systems, and so on. all these abstractions, as we’ve been saying, are just encapsulating names for things, since things themselves require no layers whatsoever.
so we continued our journey into the realms of the biochemist and now the biologist. to biologists, evolution and replication is about organisms. to a biochemist, it might be just about replication of certain molecules. either way, they are expressions of how entropy can locally be reversed, and slowly, we build up our complexity. soon, we will come full circle.