November 16th, 2003

battyden

SF, DNA, and pondering

Something level_head wrote got me thinking. Proteins. Are there other bases and base pairs besides Adenine, Guanine, Thymine and Cytocine? I expect there are but I don't know where to start looking for them.

I always wonder about this when I watch SF shows. The Heroes land on an alien planet, meet the natives, get invited to dinner and start stuffing food into their faces. Why should the carbohydrates twist the same way as their enzymes? Why should the proteins have the same bases? Why don't they get sick? The only way the Heroes wouldn't die of malnutrition is if God created all the worlds using the same basic DNA template. Assuming life on all worlds started from the same primordial soup random-act-of-bindness, the chances of two worlds having the exact same DNA would be astronomical. Even proteins with the same bases but a right-handed twist would make the stuff unusable as food for us.

In my stories each character's medical records are linked to the food services databases. How else would food synthsizers know what a character can and can't eat? Different body chemestry could mean something that is a coffee sweetener for one alien could be a narcotic for another, and instand death for a third.

If you find me shouting "WHY AREN'T YOU BEING SICK" at an SF show on the telly, it's probably dinner time for them.
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kelloggs2066 passes on a joke about the sillyness of Communism. Which is fair enough. Communism is a bad idea while there is a government trying to run it.True communism would use a barter system, and people like scientists and high-tech developers and such would have to rely on the charity from people who have the vague hope that the scientists etc. will develop something that will help them.



But what I see happening around me is that the little red hen (to use the same metaphore) is getting ready to plant the wheat, and the other animals are asking "Do you need help?"

"No thanks," says the LRH. "I have a new low-tillage direct pneumatic seed injection tiller. I can do it myself." and she does.

The wheat grows and the LRH goes to reap it. "Do you need help" ask the other animals.

"No thanks," says the LRH. " I have a combine harvester with a 1 ton grain capacity and can transfer by auger into a bulk bin. I can do it myself." and she does.

The LRH sells the grain to a flour company, who turns it into bread. The Little Red Hen buys a loaf with the money she made from the grain sale. The other animals come to beg for a piece of the bread. "Piss off, you lazy bastards," says the LRH. "And get a job!"


Sometimes being jobless is really being without a job.