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Still sick...

...and I've got just two words for that. Code signing.

Seriously. Code signing.

Viruses work because our cells contain machinery which will read, accept, and translate any RNA strands they see into proteins. Any RNA strands they see. Including RNA strands injected into our cells from viruses, or RNA strands transcribed from DNA injected into our cells from viruses.

Which is, from a security standpoint, pretty fracking stupid.

Code signing, I'm telling you. If our genetic material were signed with some sort of unique code that means "yes, this really does come from us, it's safe to translate this RNA and build this protein," and the transcribing and translating machinery would refuse to process RNA that wasn't signed, then viruses could inject their bits into our cells from now 'til Doomsday and it wouldn't mean diddly.

Code signing. Just one more reason why if we were designed by some Grand Creator, he wasn't very good at his job.

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Comments

tacit
Dec. 23rd, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
Yep, the lack of basic DNA security is in fact one of the things that make evolution possible. But bugger that, I say. Evolution is a blind, non-goal-directed process that's just as happy producing beetles as people. It may be speciesist of me to say, but human beings are unique among all the animals in that we have, theoretically, the ability to take over from this blind process and do things a little more intelligently.

Besides, if it means I never catch a cold again, I'm fine telling evolutionary forces to bugger off. :)
tyroticon
Dec. 23rd, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
There's a lot to be said for the intelligent approach, and we've yet to see any other species apply it to the level some humans have displayed. It's still worth noting how often the intelligent approach has benefitted from the occurence of fortunate accidents.

Having said that, I'd rather not leave things up to the accidents either. The phrase, "Let nature take its course," gives me the willies.
polycanuck
Dec. 24th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
ooooo.... hubris, hardly ever the downfall of civs that think they have got it all figured out...
tacit
Dec. 24th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
Downfalls of civilizations? Piffle. Civilizations are nothing on evolutionary timelines. Left to its own devices, the blind forces of evolution will wipe the human species right out of the universe in time. evolutionary forces don't care, and they've got a pretty good track record so far of wiping out entire ecosystems in the blink of an eye.

We don't have it all figured out, but we are unique in the history of the world in that we alone of all species that has ever existed on the face of the planet can have some say in shaping our destiny. I say that's a good thing.

Edited at 2008-12-24 03:18 am (UTC)