Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Linux Unlocking the “Tree of Life”

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Cheap computing makes research easier and more feasable!

Researchers are using low-cost “super computing” ala Linux to figure out how species differentiate, according to this article on Wired News. They’re also investigating the relationship all these sub-species have to each other currently. It sounds so simple that I think it’s deceptive. They’re inputing tonnes of data, including habitat, diet, and reproduction statistics. Then, they’re analyzing all that for subtle relationships that might not be obvious to human researchers.
But, what’s cool is that they’re doing it on a budget using an Open Source operating system! Truly, we are all standing on the shoulders of giants as we march into this new century of high-technology. And, that, as far as I am concerned, is very, very cool.

Of course, I also wonder what they will find. Can we ever know how things evolved? More importantly, can we begin to predict in what way things will continue to evolve? Will we then try to steer that evolution? Should we? As always, new improvements in science and technology provoke moral and ethical questions that we, as a race, will need to answer eventually. We try to skirt these issues now, but we must deal with them or they will deal with us!

(And, again, this appeared on my other blog earlier this month. This, BTW, is a shameless attempt to promote my Diary of a Network Geek.)

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