VISTA Enterprise Network - Successful Implementation, World Class Support

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Classic Definition of Life


The coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)
[The coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) satisfies the classic definition of life. Photo: Nick Hobgood. Source: Wikipedia.]

My friend, student, and coworker David Wicksell has pointed out that in my writing I use terms like "alive" and "living system" without specifying what I mean. Am I using these terms metaphorically, or do I somehow mean that VISTA is actually alive?

He raised this question because in Tuesday's webinar, An Introduction to VISTA Architecture, I said it's not a metaphor, that VISTA's literally alive - but how can that be true? Software is part of a machine, so how can it be alive? I agreed with him that I'm long overdue to spend some time laying out what I mean by these loaded terms.

The problem with calling VISTA alive is that it does not appear to satisfy the classic definition of life. I quote at length here from Wikipedia, whose article Definition of Life contains pretty much the definition I was first exposed to back in high school, and that most biology textbooks use:

Since there is no unequivocal definition of life, the current understanding is descriptive, where life is a characteristic of organisms that exhibit all or most of the following phenomena:


1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.


2. Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.


3. Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.


4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.


5. Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.


6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism) and by chemotaxis.


7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

One may quibble about terms or ideas here or there, but overall most biologists would agree that this is the current working definition of a living organism, more or less.

Does VISTA satisfy this definition?

10 comments:

Unknown said...

Awesome article, Great, & Informative..Wonderful article you wrote.
از مطلب خوبتون بسیار سپاسگذارم. اگر میخواهید به کشورهای تایلند، دبی، ارمنستان یا روسیه سفر کنید و اگر میخواهید تور ارمنستان یا تور دبی یا تور تایلند بخرید یا بدانید، حتما قبل از سفر جستجو کنید و مطلع اقدام به سفر کنید.

4W Tech said...

Awesome blog.....
Thanks for sharing such an excellent blog.
VistA Support

Unknown said...

Came across this post after doing much reasearch. Was

getting close to gving up on what I thought should be a very

simple way. Thanks for posting. As MW above states, the

inline images are not optimized, are they able to be fixed?
If not, the video is the next step.Many thanks again for

your post, its very much appreciated by us.sexually attract someone

all bangla newspaper said...

thanks

saad said...

Hello!
My website is about leather items such as leather bags,leather shoes,leather jackets,leather luggage and other accessories.Though its an new website..Leter many contents will be stayed here.
My website is LeatherSight

Bound it Solution said...

The DailySurma.com news has been published from our own News Reporter as well as from the sources of various news sites, blog websites, Bangla and English websites. Outside of our own report, there is no door for the Daily Surma for other news. There are news sources for each news. If there is any doubt about any kind of news please contact us. We'll remove the news. Also, by email, email us or contact us from the contact page to reveal the events that happened next to you.
all bangla newspaper, bangla news

aiub said...

The Biggest Degital Marketing site. Anybody can find Seo,Webdesign through this media site. Just Visite as Shimanto It Solution Best Degital wanted site

sattamatka said...

That was a really great. Helpful and insightful, as always! Thanks for the data and the supporting information.

Satta Matka Official is #1 India satta matka website; find satta matka fastest result of इंडियन मटका 155, kalyan matka, sattamataka.in net, satta matka Jodi chart, sattamataka143, sattamàtka, golden matka, sattaking143 guessing, satkamatka.com, Sattaking, and more. Our advanced tips & tricks help to play this Satta game properly. The tips provided by our expert Matka guessers help you to win the game and become the Satta king.

Lilian Wale said...

There are some natural remedies that can be used in the prevention and elimination of diabetes totally. However, the single most important aspect of a diabetes control plan is adopting a wholesome lifestyle Inner Peace, Nutritious and Healthy Diet, and Regular Physical Exercise. A state of inner peace and self-contentment is essential to enjoying a good physical health and overall well-being. The inner peace and self contentment is a just a state of mind.People with diabetes diseases often use complementary and alternative medicine. I was diagnosed with diabetes .It was at work and  feeling unusually tired and sleepy. I borrowed a cyclometer from a co-worker and tested at 760. Went immediately to my doctor and he gave me prescriptions like: Insulin ,Sulfonamides,Thiazolidinediones but Could not get the cure rather to reduce the pain but bring back the pain again. i found a woman testimony name Comfort online how Dr Akhigbe cure her HIV  and I also contacted the doctor and after I took his medication as instructed, I am now completely free from diabetes by doctor Akhigbe herbal medicine.So diabetes patients reading this testimony to contact his email     drrealakhigbe@gmail.com   or his Number   +234 802  501 2866   He also use his herbal herbs to diseases like:SPIDER BITE, SCHIZOPHRENIA, LUPUS,EXTERNAL INFECTION, COMMON COLD, JOINT PAIN, EPILEPSY,STROKE,TUBERCULOSIS ,STOMACH DISEASE. ECZEMA, GOUT, PROGENITOR, EATING DISORDER, LOWER RESPIRATORY INFECTION,  DIABETICS,HERPES,HIV/AIDS, ;ALS,  CANCER , TUMOR, HEART HEALTH, MENINGITIS,HEPATITIS A AND B,ASTHMA, HEART DISEASE, CHRONIC DISEASE. NAUSEA VOMITING OR DIARRHEA,KIDNEY DISEASE. HEARING  LOSSDr Akhigbe is a good man and he heal anybody that comes to him. here is email    drrealakhigbe@gmail.com    and his Number +2348025012866

satta king said...

That was a really great! Thanks for the data and the supporting information.
Satta Matka