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back to article Boffins simulate plasma-eating dusty 'life-forms'

Physicists have discovered that charged particles of dust can form themselves into life-like structures that appear to be capable of reproducing and passing information along, behaviour reminiscent of life on Earth. The researchers, (led by V N Tsytovich of the General Physics Institute, Russian Academy of Science, in Moscow, …

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Now hold on

This is just ripped off from the crystalline entity episodes in star trek:tng innit? Bleedin trekkie physicists are just 'avin a larf ain't they? Of course they're nothing wrong with trekkies *backs up slowly and reaches for coat*.

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How do we define life?

The dude says "It has a lot of the hallmarks for how we define life at present ..."

The definition of life I am most fond of is the one by Maturana and Varela (1973) where they coin the term 'autopoiesis' which literally means self-creating. The essence of it is that a living entity is one which is structurally open (takes in matter and spews it out) but organisationally closed (that matter is arranged in such a way as to preserve the functional interactions that define the entity).

It's a beautiful, if somewhat obtuse, definition. Would these plasma beings qualify as autopoietic?

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Life Jim, but not as we know it?

"exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter. They are autonomous, they reproduce, and they evolve".

I'm sorry, but until such time as these "life forms" can produce the dusty plasma equivalent of Pot Noodle, and show and appreciation for daytime TV, they will never evolve beyond the dusty spirals they are today!

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that explains it...

"...charged particles of dust can form themselves into life-like structures that appear to be capable of reproducing ..."

That SO explains what happens in my house between cleaning days.

"The next step is to go hunting for a real environment where such structures could have emerged. "

You're welcome to investigate the space behind my couch, or on top of my TV. Just so long as you take all the little aliens with you!

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Anonymous Coward

Typical...

...dust eating plasma, now THAT would have made sense.

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Trek-fest

And don't forget that nifty episode of Voyager where they flew into a nebula that turned out to be a big plasma creature.

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Why does the name Spock spring to my mind quite unbidden?

Ah, the silly season is truly upon us! Or am I being too cynical?

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Bronze badge

Fred Hoyle beat them all

Fred Hoyle published a novel entitled "The Black Cloud" in 1957. One of the key characters was the cloud, an intelligent Bok nebula that dropped in for an energy top off. He was quite surprised to discover that planets could have intelligent life.

JD

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@ Dave Fox

If they fail to appreciate daytime TV, doesnt that qualify them as a Higher life form ?

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Silver badge

Okay, they reproduce ?

Oh my goodness, all that kinky stuff going on all over the Universe and not a spycam in sight !

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@ the jim bloke

"If they fail to appreciate daytime TV, doesnt that qualify them as a Higher life form ?"

You shall never ascend to higher planes of existence with heretical beliefs such as these! :)

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Reproduction out of wedlock?

shurely the church must be protesting against this smut!

coat + cab

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Anonymous Coward

dark satanic clouds

Now the phrase 'dust devil' seems so much more personal.

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Anonymous Coward

Bit behind the times

Haven't they ever heard of Birkland currents and read existing Plasma

research which already demonstrates this type of helical twisted threading

in plasma at all scales from lab to space.

Re-inventing the research and calling their own in a slightly different

twist.

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Genesis

2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul

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