The Inner Life of a Cell. (Flash 8 vids in various res-es at the link.) Computer animations showing processes that occur in the cells of our bodies every day. A good '90s rave video, with late (i.e., symphonic) Tangerine Dream score instead of 303s by Hardfloor. Lots of molecular zipping and unzipping, oozing, probing, drifting through permeable membranes, and the occasional shameless anthropomorphization (I'm thinking of one little "keep on truckin" character dragging an enormous blob up a column--I believe the filmmakers that something at the subcellular level actually does that, but it still resembles Monsters, Inc.). The visual working out of intricate processes is more beautiful than the standard "translucent plastic" surfaces of the animation. The makers admit they added the vertiginous empty spaces so the inner world would be comprehensible. I like this mostly for the intuitive sense that we are all Rube Goldberg devices at the most basic level, and marvel that we function at all. Whoops, I mean, I Humbly Thank the Creator For His Most Intelligent Design. I'm sure it's not as fragile and kludgy as it looks.

- tom moody 10-07-2006 7:41 pm

Me thinks such videos are the new kitsch. There is some scientific data used in order to create "beautiful pictures". In the end nobody comprehends more than before, but like with infotainment one might have the illusion of "intuitively" understanding something or looking grasping the complexity of nature. It goes in the same category as cool grids of dots and lines or colorful threedimensional diagrams that represent the file system on somebody's harddisk or a famine in the 17th century or whatever. For artistic purposes i prefer a drawing in MS Paint or a Gameboy Camera picture. For scientist i think it is a shame to produce videos as this one.
- drx (guest) 10-08-2006 5:00 pm

Thought it was way cool, but still didn't understand what I was actually looking at.
- anonymous (guest) 10-23-2006 10:47 pm

I have to respectfull disagree with drx. When Tom first posted this I went digging around and found other animations of these processes that were more diagrammatic and yes they did describe the process but they did not stretch the brain to actually identify with the process in the way this video does. I don't think this video is claiming to be the definitive visual model, and it doesn't seem as if scientists are taking it that way, but accurate visualizations are an important part of science and a very big part of learning. I comprehend a lot more about the functions of motor proteins than I did before I saw that video (like for instance, now I have heard of motor proteins).
- sally mckay 10-24-2006 12:17 am

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