0520: "Cuttlefish"

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petmar
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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby petmar » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:32 pm UTC

Yes, I'd guess that some Rudy Rucker was being read here. But why kill the physicists? Oh, well... kind of reminds me of the plotline of "Mathematicians in Love" by Rucker. Only, those were cone shell cephalopods.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby yohanleafheart » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:01 pm UTC

GodShapedBullet wrote:Maybe there is something wrong with me, but as a Biologist I just don't find the prospect of world domination as attractive as it apparently is to my Physics counterparts.


Looking at my friends Bio major's at college, too much grass smoke can do that too you :) As the Physicist, the ones I knew were more the "undo-the-world" type, while the CS (like myself) were destined to be Evil Overlords.
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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby philsov » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:53 pm UTC

Funny, I always saw the chemists and the biologists joining forces to kill the physicists.
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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:05 pm UTC

YES! Finally someone notices! Cuttlefish are freaking awesome! :mrgreen:

jmorgan3 wrote:The physicists should be joining forces with engineers; we already make all the world's weapons.


Why join the physicists? It's the programmers that make your weapons work correctly... :D
Bring me some reinforced steel parts. I need to build and program 100 defender Golem robots.
Every type of scientist can either join me or be destroyed! :mrgreen:

dennisw wrote:But what of the mathematicians?


The mathematicians have their own weapons. They will make up unbelievably perplexing equations to slow down the easily distracted,
and nigh-on paradoxical ones to make the others' heads explode. :|

What you really have to watch out for is the psychologists. They'll convince you it's not worth fighting about, and then let the sociologists sneak up behind you and slit your throat. :|
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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:19 pm UTC

yohanleafheart wrote:
GodShapedBullet wrote:Maybe there is something wrong with me, but as a Biologist I just don't find the prospect of world domination as attractive as it apparently is to my Physics counterparts.


Looking at my friends Bio major's at college, too much grass smoke can do that too you :) As the Physicist, the ones I knew were more the "undo-the-world" type, while the CS (like myself) were destined to be Evil Overlords.


Yup, it's all that weed I've been smoking that killed my dreams of world domination. It's certainly not the impracticality and nonsensicalness of categorically overthrowing all world governments. Running countries is hard work and I can't see how it would be nearly as interesting as analyzing migration patterns, protein synthesis regulation or any of the billions of other awesome things biologists have to study.

I've always thought highly of Physics and Computer Science, but I guess if they aren't interesting if you'd rather forgo them to try and take over the world.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby Nomic » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:25 pm UTC

Cuttlefish are frwakign awesome. Mantis shrimps are awesome too. They have the best eyesight of any living creature, being able to see the full spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet, aswell as polarized light. And they can hack you'r fingers off before you even realize what happened.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby toysbfun » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:31 pm UTC

Immediate Early wrote:
The more I learn about DNA, the more amazed I am at how similar it is to machine code.

I'm really surprised some CS people haven't gotten on making an assembly language for DNA.
Or at least writing straight machine code / base pairs like Woz did for the Apple II...

Start from scratch, just make a bacteria that divides a few times before it runs out of energy. 1 chromosome. We can take care of eating later. A proof of concept, I beg you.

I would do it myself, but 1.) ASM is hard as fuck ( I make a little more than hello world on a z80) and 2.)I have no way of writing to to a cell. Relatively speaking, though, this isn't hard; we do it in these cloned gerbils no one cares about anymore.


Go to http://bbf.openwetware.org/. It is already in full swing. Chalk one up for the biologists/programmers when it comes to world domination. Think of all of the microorganisms that biologists have access to now.

See also:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1907 ... d_RVDocSum

And pertinent cited research within.


That was my plan for becoming a genetic engineer. Get a bachelor's in biology and wait for the technology to lower the entry barrier to where I already was. Then I found out that most of the good bioengineering materials are restricted to institutions that perform oversight. And that reductionist biology is horribly depressing. So I switched to CS where the compilers already exist and there's no oversight.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby Kitsusyn » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:51 pm UTC

Haha, I liked this one. :3
Get off my Internet.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby GIR » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:51 pm UTC

Heh. Heh Heh. hahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
(I'm graduating in May with a Bio degree)

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby LuNatic » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:56 pm UTC

Zombies, mutants, cuttlefish, cloned velociraptors, super-bugs... We need mandatory capital punishment for biologists, and now!
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This is, for some reason, one of the funniest things I've read today.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby math.english.ginger » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:58 pm UTC

i have successfully determined where i stand as a math/english double major. on the first count, i am so far away from the battle that i will not see it happening http://xkcd.com/435/
on the second count, im too busy naively accepting 2 books and 8 papers worth of b.s. literary criticism theories to pay attention http://xkcd.com/451/

hooray oblivion! p.s. please don't kill me cuz i use both sides of my brain, my fields are fairly useless, i promise.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby earthgirl2 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:32 pm UTC

Ok, dunno if someone's already said this, but in response to the confusion over the screen joke: Cuttlefish are fucking awesome. One of the reasons why they are awesome is because they are constantly shifting their colors. It's kind of unbelievable; you kind of think it must not be real, it's a computer screen or something. So, that's what that was about.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby RockoTDF » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:32 pm UTC

my_ledge_ends wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:Also, on a more technical note, the proper term is "the animals learned to..." not "we trained them to..."


...Wouldn't it actually be "we conditioned them to..."?


Nope. "Learn" is very general, "conditioned" is more specific to a simple stimulus-response or a basic operant task.
Just because it is not physics doesn't mean it is not science.
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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby Kythyria » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:03 pm UTC

The more I learn about DNA, the more amazed I am at how similar it is to machine code.

I'm really surprised some CS people haven't gotten on making an assembly language for DNA.
Or at least writing straight machine code / base pairs like Woz did for the Apple II...

Start from scratch, just make a bacteria that divides a few times before it runs out of energy. 1 chromosome. We can take care of eating later. A proof of concept, I beg you.

I would do it myself, but 1.) ASM is hard as fuck ( I make a little more than hello world on a z80) and 2.)I have no way of writing to to a cell. Relatively speaking, though, this isn't hard; we do it in these cloned gerbils no one cares about anymore.


We'd probably need a high-level language, and I shudder to think how complicated the equivalent of C++ for genetics would be. You don't just shoot yourself in the foot. You don't just blow your whole leg off. You create something that removes everyone's legs.

And we also need machinery that can emit a complete chromosome given the list of bases on one strand. Given improvements in DNA sequencing, it's not too far-fetched to imagine reading in the DNA sample, altering the list of base pairs, and producing all-new chromosomes, rather than all that chemical cutting and pasting. Of course, this puts the biologists at the mercy of the CS majors writing the compiler.

Us CS majors will be the arms dealers for the science wars. So will engineers, but who do you think wrote the firmware for all those weapons, and who do you think wrote the compilers they used for that firmware? :twisted:

We'll be too busy betraying everyone and stealing their secrets to fight openly, even if we wanted to. After all, we count the BOFHs among our number, and since when have they played fair? :twisted: :twisted:

I've been waiting to use this quote for ages:
Terry Pratchett wrote:This is what distinguishes humans from, say, cuttlefish (although there are some beguiling similarities, particularly the tendency to hide behind a big cloud of ink in difficult situations).
Maurog wrote:I prefer "If God didn't want us to have X, He wouldn't have given us brains", with X being any human invention except religion.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby Klotz » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:14 pm UTC

Image

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby gruchul » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:16 pm UTC

Physicists should join the side of chemistry. For as long as anyone can remember they've had a symbiotic relationship; physicists think something up, chemists make it work.

Also, we have explosives.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby tungstencore » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:23 pm UTC

The Metallurgists have joined the Physicts, as by our nature we study the 90%+ of the periodic table that is inorganic and we are already against the bio majors.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby 3clipse » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:42 pm UTC

I am a bio major.

Yes, Randall: help us to strike down the chemists once and for all, and the physicists will be left in peace.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby thetimman » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:42 pm UTC

gralamin wrote:Chemists have had a backup plan to poison us all for a while, though my information gathering on them might be outdated.


Very literally, lol

Hah. Some chemists are very small. Some are veeeeeery far away!

Beware the former, the nanoscientists.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby Mr. Lostman » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:19 pm UTC

I actually understood this the first time I read it! I must be getting smarter...
ImageImage
^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW ^NSFW

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby Kitsusyn » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:42 pm UTC

thetimman wrote:Very literally, ¡This cheese is burning me!


0_0 You have my pity.
Get off my Internet.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby jdmack » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:46 pm UTC

I don't know if Randall keeps tabs on how many hits each comic receives, but now that this one has been linked to by both the Pharyngula and Bad Astonomy blogs, the hits may run into the millions!

J. D.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby synthgene » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:52 pm UTC

Hehehehehehehehe. While all you foolish natural science majors fight among yourselves we engineers will be waiting together and unified...
Hey, why does the chemistry lab smell like almonds?

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby treddy » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:54 pm UTC

I'd just like to point out that, at 200 pigment cells per mm^2 [wikipedia], its resolution is actually more like 360 DPI.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby almightyze » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:05 pm UTC

SolkaTruesilver wrote:I, for one, would like to welcome our new Invertebrate Overlords...

wait a minute..

(check degree)

Oh, I'm an Actuarial Mathematician. I only fear shareholders!


Soooo, you're fucked anyway? :mrgreen:

math.english.ginger wrote:i have successfully determined where i stand as a math/english double major. on the first count, i am so far away from the battle that i will not see it happening http://xkcd.com/435/
on the second count, im too busy naively accepting 2 books and 8 papers worth of b.s. literary criticism theories to pay attention http://xkcd.com/451/

hooray oblivion! p.s. please don't kill me cuz i use both sides of my brain, my fields are fairly useless, i promise.


You're fine, calm down. For the former, just use the "you made a mistake in your measurements" persuasion, and when they go back and obsessively figure out what they did wrong, bludgeon them (that way, if they live, their brains will be useless).

For the latter, just say you study the classics. No one will bother you then.
01010011 01110100 01101111 01110000 00100000
01110010 01100101 01100001 01100100 01101001
01101110 01100111 00100000 01100010 01101001
01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00101110

Allah o akbar! Azadi!

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What? An error?!

Postby Momonga » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:02 pm UTC

Wow, is the inter-science competition really that fierce? I guess I'm glad I went into music and languages. On my end of the "purity scale," we're all too busy bickering over differences in musical style to decide whether the theory majors are "purer" than the performance majors - or at least such has been my experience.

As a language lady and a grammar gal (as well as, clearly, an alliteration afficionada), I would like to note that there is a minor grammatical error in today's comic: there is a "which" where there should have been a "that" (unless I somehow missed a comma). I figure mentioning this isn't whining but rather flattery, because in most webcomics the occurrence of errors is so common that it's not really an occasion for note. So Mr. Munroe, if you're reading, thank you for my thrice-a-week source of fun, and if you ever want someone to double-check your wording, I am at your service. Insert sweeping curtsy here.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby marmoset » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:24 pm UTC

And my friends thought I was crazy to want to work with infectious disease and various microbes. I see they were right, I should be over in the invertebrate biology department.

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One weakness...

Postby _bud_ » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:28 pm UTC

I'm a bio major.

I probably shouldn't be giving away the cuttlefish's one weakness, but...

As amazing as cuttlefish are, they have one fundamental evolutionary flaw. Their brains are wrapped around their esophagus. If they eat something too big, they can give themselves brain damage.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby moonlitfractal » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:05 pm UTC

The answer is YES. Yes we will. (I hate chemists SO MUCH. An enemy of a chemist is my friend).

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Re: One weakness...

Postby moonlitfractal » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:07 pm UTC

_bud_ wrote:I'm a bio major.

I probably shouldn't be giving away the cuttlefish's one weakness, but...

As amazing as cuttlefish are, they have one fundamental evolutionary flaw. Their brains are wrapped around their esophagus. If they eat something too big, they can give themselves brain damage.



Traitor to the cause! :-P

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby moonlitfractal » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:15 pm UTC

philsov wrote:Funny, I always saw the chemists and the biologists joining forces to kill the physicists.


As a biologist, I can say that that's not likely. Maybe because of the healthy separation between the fields of biology and physics their practitioners have little to find conflict over. Myself, I tend to believe that it has to do with an inherent evil present in the discipline of chemistry (making up non SI units just to drive the rest of us mad and so on). When the war comes, the biochemists will have to chose sides. Let us hope they chose wisely.

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Re: One weakness...

Postby _bud_ » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:19 pm UTC

moonlitfractal wrote:
_bud_ wrote:I'm a bio major.

I probably shouldn't be giving away the cuttlefish's one weakness, but...

As amazing as cuttlefish are, they have one fundamental evolutionary flaw. Their brains are wrapped around their esophagus. If they eat something too big, they can give themselves brain damage.



Traitor to the cause! :-P


Don't worry... we have better plans! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Navy_Marine_Mammal_Program

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby fishyfish777 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:29 pm UTC

Haha, don't you love SMBC?
Neon Rain wrote:And somehow we humans can invent scanning-probe microscopes that can "see" individual atoms, yet still can't invent a machine that can reliably scan tests not taken with a #2 pencil.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby jamesag0101 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:33 pm UTC

cuttle fish have a 200 dpmm skin. or aprox 5080dpi. if i did my math correctly. which i think i didn't take into consideration that wikipedia stated 200 dpmm^2... and after doing that math the other guy above me is more accurate at 360dpi. not 200dpi.
Last edited by jamesag0101 on Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:42 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby keithc » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:40 pm UTC

frzn wrote:if you're worried about the cuttlefish, you should see the Entomology lab...

When I read this, I was wondering how they would hurt us with words. Then I thought about the last eight years. Then I read it again.

It's been a long day...

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mollusk
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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby mollusk » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:41 pm UTC

As long as physicists can still get sick, biologists will have the upper hand. Between our genetically enhanced minions and and the secret longevity treatments, the Biologists are a force to be reckoned with.

Seriously though, as a guy with a BS in Biology and the username "mollusk" I felt I had to respond. Cephalopods are freaking awesome.
John Hodgman wrote:...while the truth may be stranger than fiction, it is never as strange as lies . . . or as true.

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby Rentsy » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:50 pm UTC

My Combat Robotics team was told that what we are doing is good, because it makes us all more prepared for the zombie invasion.

Of course, if that was our goal, I'd just make a horizontal sbod bot. (Spinny Blade of Death)

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby Arantor » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:04 pm UTC

I'm actually really annoyed with myself. I actually stopped by to check this comic out before I went to bed this morning, and I would have been the first person to post this comic (by about 10 minutes) but couldn't think of anything witty to say. :(

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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby sableye22 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:15 pm UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:
What you really have to watch out for is the psychologists. They'll convince you it's not worth fighting about, and then let the sociologists sneak up behind you and slit your throat. :|


Agreed. Once you can control the peoples' minds, the fight is already done. But everyone knows this.
You don't have to spend, you just have to pretend.

photosinensis
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Re: "Cuttlefish" Discussion

Postby photosinensis » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:48 pm UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:I am both a biology and CS major. So I have to choose between computational biology, i.e., data meta-analysis, or ROBOT CEPHALOPODS.

Guess which I'm picking.


I dunno about you, man, but I'm working on some ninja pirate zombie robots with my degrees in both fields (not one degree with two majors, but two totally separate degrees). Care to join me? We could rule the world with our undead cyborg minions.

Computational biology and bioinformatics ftl.
moonlitfractal wrote:
philsov wrote:Funny, I always saw the chemists and the biologists joining forces to kill the physicists.


As a biologist, I can say that that's not likely. Maybe because of the healthy separation between the fields of biology and physics their practitioners have little to find conflict over. Myself, I tend to believe that it has to do with an inherent evil present in the discipline of chemistry (making up non SI units just to drive the rest of us mad and so on). When the war comes, the biochemists will have to chose sides. Let us hope they chose wisely.


Let's see how you handle volume or temperature with only SI units. There's a reason for the liter and degree Celsius after all. The other non-SI units can burn in hell. I mean, really, who needs 20 different measures for pressure and energy?

_bud_ wrote:I'm a bio major.

I probably shouldn't be giving away the cuttlefish's one weakness, but...

As amazing as cuttlefish are, they have one fundamental evolutionary flaw. Their brains are wrapped around their esophagus. If they eat something too big, they can give themselves brain damage.


We're working on it, though. Wait until you see version 2.

Kythyria wrote:
The more I learn about DNA, the more amazed I am at how similar it is to machine code.

I'm really surprised some CS people haven't gotten on making an assembly language for DNA.
Or at least writing straight machine code / base pairs like Woz did for the Apple II...

Start from scratch, just make a bacteria that divides a few times before it runs out of energy. 1 chromosome. We can take care of eating later. A proof of concept, I beg you.

I would do it myself, but 1.) ASM is hard as fuck ( I make a little more than hello world on a z80) and 2.)I have no way of writing to to a cell. Relatively speaking, though, this isn't hard; we do it in these cloned gerbils no one cares about anymore.


We'd probably need a high-level language, and I shudder to think how complicated the equivalent of C++ for genetics would be. You don't just shoot yourself in the foot. You don't just blow your whole leg off. You create something that removes everyone's legs.

And we also need machinery that can emit a complete chromosome given the list of bases on one strand. Given improvements in DNA sequencing, it's not too far-fetched to imagine reading in the DNA sample, altering the list of base pairs, and producing all-new chromosomes, rather than all that chemical cutting and pasting. Of course, this puts the biologists at the mercy of the CS majors writing the compiler.

Us CS majors will be the arms dealers for the science wars. So will engineers, but who do you think wrote the firmware for all those weapons, and who do you think wrote the compilers they used for that firmware? :twisted:

We'll be too busy betraying everyone and stealing their secrets to fight openly, even if we wanted to. After all, we count the BOFHs among our number, and since when have they played fair? :twisted: :twisted:

I've been waiting to use this quote for ages:
Terry Pratchett wrote:This is what distinguishes humans from, say, cuttlefish (although there are some beguiling similarities, particularly the tendency to hide behind a big cloud of ink in difficult situations).


So basically, unless the given CS major has allegiances to another field, they're Ferengi? I'm not sure I like that. As for DNA, I fear that the language represented there is something that might go beyond a Turing machine's capability. I don't even want to know what the C++ of biota would be. I would prefer to work in the biological equivalent of Python. Of course, in order to construct any such language, we've got to know much more about chemistry.
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