19 October 2005

Visualising the Tree of Life

this post is simpler groundwork
for longer, subtler
semantic graph-theory

to have any hope of a semantic web
we need a unifying root-model

which i propose is the Tree of Life
four billion years old
mostly confined to the surface of Earth

so to particularise this image
let's print Fuller's flattening
on a sheet of notebook paper one atom thick
representing this year

with four billion more sheets stacked beneath it
representing Earth's history
(continents drifting over the eons)
making a stack a little over one foot tall

within whose three dimensions we can trace
the worldlines
of atoms, molecules, cells, organisms, artifacts, etc

with the full Tree of Life
tracing all dna-based organisms

a single molecule of dna first appearing
somewhere in the bottom half
spreading quickly but thinly across the globe
then thickening
so that trillions of trillions of organisms' lives' lines