Weekends are for internet rabbit holes: watching Jurassic Park (for the millionth time) and discovering some really interesting research on how toads see. Above are stills from a video by researcher Jörg-Peter Ewert, testing how toad neurons react to various worm-like stimuli. (Warning, the video includes some images of lab animals.)
The pattern testing, and subsequent neural network, seem very relevant to computer vision work today (bonus for day-glo yellow too).
Video (yes, video: recorded with two cameras and converted to the image we see here) of a virus attempting to enter a cell. A complex problem, likened in the article to trying to film something the size and speed of a hummingbird flying around in a space as large as a backyard.
Controlling the motion of single-celled paramecium using a brainwave scanner and an Arduino – thinking about how this could be turned into a videogame using motion-tracking of the paramecium and targets/obstacles on the screen.
… and from the same page as the last post, biologist Henry Linschitz suggested that a three-dimensional representation of a bacterium would require 10^13 (10,000,000,000,000) bits.
Based on my (possibly problematic) math, that’s 1.13686837721616 terabytes. If it was a cube made of 2×2 Lego bricks, one for each bit, it would measure approximately 551 x 551 x 678′ (168,046 x 168,046 x 206,826 mm) – about 7 stories high.
Original paper titled “Number of Bits Represented by A Single Bacterium” from Essays on the Use of Information Theory in Biology, pg 252.
James Gleick strikes here again, this time a short mention of radiologist Henry Quastler (University of Illinois) suggesting that “an amino acid has the information content of a written word and a protein molecule the information content of a paragraph” (page 289).
Visualization of the structure of a protein (specifically Putative Acetyltransferase)
This of course suggests the reading of texts into amino acids/proteins and vice versa.
Gleick’s notes cite this as from a paper by Quastler called “Some of the Physicists Now Turning to Biology” in Essays on the Use of Information Theory in Biology, 1953 – an intial search of Google and JSTOR didn’t find the paper.