Friday, July 23, 2010

To respect nature is to respect ourselves

Apart from the direct and indirect services we get from nature, nature also has great esthetical and cultural value for us. It gives us another perspective, many reference points; it is an unprecedented piece of art.

Nothing we do can compete with a piece of nature. A square meter of land contains so many organisms, with so complicated and complex relationships with each other that we can’t understand them. One gram of forest soil may contain over a million bacteria colonies. It is estimated that several million individual animals and over a thousand different species may reside beneath one square meter of soil surface (Perry 1994), and all of them are constituted by many, many cells and there is interaction between them, exchange of energy and nutrient, eating and to be eaten. Most likely a square meter of nature is more complex and contains more information than the whole internet.

There are some 100,000,000,000,000 cells in a human body. I don’t know how many bits of information there is in the cell as such, but there are some 30,000 genes in each cell. Just for the sake of getting some number say there is a million bytes of information per cell and its relation with the other cells. Then we would arrive at 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 bits which is something like 10 exabyte of information. Never heard about an exabyte? No wonder. The first terabyte (SI prefix, 1000000000000 bytes) hard disk drive was introduced in 2007, and an exabyte is a million terabyte -which in turn is a million gigabyte, to bring it down to the scale of our own hard drives.

OK number-crunchers, anyone up for the challenge of proving me wrong, don’t ask me to prove it right, I haven’t tried!

The purpose with the exercise is not to bash the internet or modern technology and to say that it is worthless and a nit-wit’s accomplishment - it is just to realise how little we know about the wonders of nature; even of ourselves. And then I have only thought about the physical expression of ourselves. Our imagination and ingenuity creates a lot more - drama, movies, songs, love, hate, sensations and emotions all over the place, yes and the internet as well....

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