Of Bytes and Base-Pairs

We interrupt this series on running for a brief reflection on computers and genetics.  (That and I’ve been too exhausted after this weekend to write part three yet.)

There’s been a bit of a flurry around work the past few days looking for a file.  We had an idea that a copy may be in a group of archives, so went to those files.  But even though we clicked on “filename.pst” a dozen times, we got a pop-up each time saying, “Cannot open this.  You need to be opening a .pst file.”

Which means somewhere in that file there’s something wrong.  And it could be as tiny as one character being off in the way it was saved.  One place where there’s a 1 instead of a 0.  And now the file’s useless.  It’s a huge file and most of it actually is fine, but we can’t access it because of a problem in the way it was saved.  (Or something.  I’m not computer illiterate, but certainly not an IT genius.)

And it made me think of DNA.  You know, that line of millions – or is it billions? – of bits of chemicals in a row in each one of our cells that defines how our bodies look and operate.  But if you get even one base-pair wrong, it can be disastrous.  Like sickle cell anemia.  One thing out of millions and you have problems.

And it made me bow my head at my computer right there and praise God for being so wonderfully made.

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