Re: A thread that has nothing to do with memes or the Singularity

Hal Finney (
Wed, 4 Dec 1996 19:43:04 -0800

From: Lyle Burkhead <>
> When a protein embedded in a membrane encounters a certain
> molecule, it reacts -- it suddenly changes its mode of vibration, and
> this change reverberates all over the membrane, causing further changes
> in the vibrations of all other proteins embedded in the membrane.
> As a result of one molecule encountering one protein, pores may
> open or close all over the membrane, as other proteins react to the
> change in vibration of the sensor protein.
> That's how membranes work. At a very low temperature, such
> pulsations would not exist. The atoms would be nearly motionless.
> Therefore biological membranes require temperatures in a certain range.
> Below that range, one would have to use other mechanisms to replace
> membranes.

I have never heard of this phenomenon. It would be interesting and
surprising if this is really how information is transported to the
various proteins within membranes. I would think the (thermal?) vibrations
of the proteins would be swamped with other thermal noise within the
membrane environment and be unable to propagate for any distance.

Is this a real effect, or is this just one of Lyle's games?