What is life, anyway?


No, this is not some philsophical treatise.  Nature recently published a paper by a French team that discovered a virus that infects another virus.  (You probably don’t have access to Nature either, but keep reading, there is hope.)

Wait a minute:  Are viruses alive? They can’t reproduce on their own, so, some scientists argue, they are not really alive.  Viruses infect living things.  Well, then doesn’t a virus infecting a virus imply the host virus is alive?

What is life?  Do we have to redefine it, once again, again?

It’s turtles, all the way down, for some of us — but you, Dear Reader, should probably read a good description of the paper, over at Living the Scientific Life.

Oh — the name of the new thing?  It’s a satellite virus, sorta, and it looks right, so the team that discovered it calls it “Sputnik.”

2 Responses to What is life, anyway?

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    With any luck, the turtles themselves will be alternating layers of chocolate, caramel and nuts.

    Like

  2. zhoen says:

    I don’t think it’s turtles all the way, gotta be elephants on the turtles, to separate the layers…

    Like

Please play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes. While your e-mail will not show with comments, note that it is our policy not to allow false e-mail addresses. Comments with non-working e-mail addresses may be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: