“The Lives of a Cell” by Thomas, L. (1974).

pp 22

The music of this sphere…. on bio acoustics

It is one of our problems that as we become crowded together, the sounds we make to each other, in our increasingly complex communication systems, beome more random sounding, accidental or incidental, and we have trouble selecting meaningful signals out of the noise. Our reason is, of course, that we do not seem able to restrict our communication to information bearing, relevant signals. Given any new technology for transmitting information, we seem bound to use it for great quantities of small talk. We are only saved by music from being overwhelmed by nonsense.

… Somewhere underlying all the other signals is a continual music. Termites make percussive sounds to eah other by beating their heads against the floor in the dark, resonating corridors of their nests. The sound has been described as resembling, to the human ear, sand falling on paper, but spetrographic analysis of sound records has recently revealed a high degree of organisation in the drumming; the beats occur in regular, rhytmi phrases, differing in duration, like notes for a tympani section.

…Bats are obliged to make sounds almost ceaselessly, to sense, by sonar, all the objects in their surroundings. They can spot, with acuracy on the wing, small insects, and they will home onto things they like with infallibility and speed

“Once at Princeton, Bassler turned to identifying the elusive molecule that enabled V. harveyi to communicate with other species. In 2002, her team finally nailed it, christening it AI-2 (autoinducer 2). With the help of Princeton's chemistry department, they determined that the AI-2 molecule contains the element boron, trace amounts of which lurk everywhere in the biosphere, though few biological roles for it have ever been found. When they cloned the gene that makes AI-2, they discovered that at least 50 bacterial species possess the genetic machinery to produce the molecule.

To Bassler, AI-2 is bacterial Esperanto: a molecular language for interspecies conversation and conspiracy that has been spoken on earth for more than a million years.”

bacteria communication → http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.04/quorum.html

autocat:; Reading Notes

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