jsomers.net | I should have loved biology
In biology class, biology wasn't presented as a quest for the secrets of life. The textbooks wrung out the questing.
Great read on the thrill of learning biology from the principles of exploration. Education in general can be quite boring; more so for biology (my experience concurs). Even though there’s so much fascinating stuff to learn!
“I’ve never come across a subject so fractal in its complexity. It reminds me of computing that way. A day of programming might involve constructing an elaborate regular expression, investigating a file descriptor leak, debugging a race condition in the application you just wrote, and thinking through the interface of a module. Everywhere you look—the compiler, the shell, the CPU, the DOM—is an abstraction hiding lifetimes of work. Biology is like this, just much, much worse, because living systems aren’t intentionally designed. It’s all a big slop of global mutable state. Control is achieved by upregulating this thing while turning down the promoter of that thing’s repressor. You think you know how something works—like when I thought I had a handle on the neutrophil, an important front-line player in the innate immune system—only to learn that it comes in several flavors, and more are still being discovered, and some of them seem to do the opposite of the ones you thought you knew. Everything in biology is like this. It’s all exceptions to the rule.”Posted on 2022-07-14T05:20:31+0000