Member 1397
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Utrecht, NL
Immortal since Jan 6, 2008
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I am a Crystalpunk from Bongo-Bongo Land, that is in DaDaFriCa.
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    Crystal Constructors

    As an emblem of order, the crystal symbolizes objects created by adding self to self in order to grow into inescapable perfection. This idealism is a form of fascism in the disguise of chemistry. A crystal does not exist in a vacuum, but in a real, messy, world and this is what allows it to shine. Alien molecules distort its pattern of tessellation, psychical forces set bounds to the limits of its size and shape. Crystals, in other words, evolve and those that are stable can adapt even further, not in size but in organisation. Complexity is useless in itself. Evolution makes possible the growth shapes seemingly impossible to achieve without engineering.

    Graham Cairns-Smith was the first to postulate that the basis of life was to be sought in the replication of RNA by crystals. Each crystal grows according to a fixed pattern, when it becomes to big it falls apart. The separated pieces both remain the original shape as they go their separate ways. In this way a template for growth can survive while its bearers have a limited life .

    In the lower right corner, moving into the centre, the marbles have perfectly tessellated. Perfect here meaning that they are most optimally filling the plane. But some event must have prevented them from continuing this pattern. We see the pattern return elsewhere (it is after all caused not by outside forces but out of its own structural necessity), but aligned in different directions. The resulting fault-line memorizes the upset. By shape, size and location, crystals can be used to read the environment in which they grew.

    A gemstone jewellers nightmare: 6 ways in which fluids and other material (allowing for crystals inside crystals) can be included in a crystal.

    DNA-tiles can be engineered to self-assemble into built-in shapes, like for instance Sierpinski triangles. But this shape is also the answer to a calculation, a Sierpinski triangle is after all something which can be generated with an algorithm.

    Gordon Pask designed electro-chemical computers (iron-crystals in a acidic bath under current) in which the computer could grow its own functions and components. The thing would not just grow for as long as it could, it would also get rid of its branches when the need arose.

    Organic and inorganic are not opposites but two sides of a continuum, and right in the middle where these 2 branches meet reside viruses. Their behaviour seems lifelike to us, but chemically they are (just?) very large crystals. This picture of an infected cell shows the truth of this: orderly aligned viruses belong to the party of the crystal. Or as Samuel Butler wrote in 1880: "The only thing of which I am sure, is that the distinction between the organic and inorganic is arbitrary; that it is more coherent with our other ideas, and therefore more acceptable, to start with every molecule as a living thing, and then deduce death as the breaking up of an association or corporation, than to start with inanimate molecules and smuggle life into them."

    This looks like a snowflake but it is not. These tracks are made by a bacteria looking for food: under extreme stress bacteria start to behave like crystals. Or it least that is how it looks to us.

    Few people realize that when John von Neumann invented the cellular automata, he did not invent the name (CA). He talked about granular lattice theory and (aha!) crystal automata. Von Neumann’s 26 state universal constructor remains an enigma, but the genre has only one star: John Conway’s Game of Life. As shown Life is capable of self-reproduction and many things more.

    Note: All these images and the stories behind them have been important to Crystalpunk. To my shame I can’t locate all sources of pictures used. In some cased because I did not keep track of them at the time, in others because the original page is gone.

    Sun, Jan 13, 2008  Permanent link

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