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The amoxicillin is doing a number on the bad, bad streptococcus bacteria that have invaded my system.









Virii and bacteria are fascinating. The mechanisms by which a virus works are nothing short of amazing from an engineering and automata theory process.

A virus is a rather simple device with an ingenious design (I use the term "design" loosely here: all you ID purists can go take a flying pothole). The primary building blocks are protiens which form into "parts" for a "machine":

The baseplate is composed of 16 types of protein molecules, most present in multiple copies. Before infection, these proteins fit together to form a hexagonal shape. Together with the 12 legs that extend from the T4's tail to grasp the victim E. coli, the virus resembles an Apollo moon lander. When the T4 approaches "touchdown" on an E. coli's cell membrane, the baseplate's proteins unfold in a complex motion, opening like a flower's petals and changing shape from a hexagon to a star.


http://www.purdue.edu/UNS/html4ever/2004/040820.Rossmann.baseplate.html





This is the future of nanomachines. Protien engineering.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
avindair
Nov. 17th, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC)
I've always been fascinated by the seeming symmetry between the macro and micro world. Like you mentioned, the virus does look like an Apollo lander. What's more, it travels through relatively vast spaces to land on its target.

This is all silliness, of course. I see the similarity because my brain wants to find patterns. It's just another manifestation of pareidolia, which is, in itself, pretty darned fascinating.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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