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      Virus – On the Edge of Art and Science, Human Beings, and Nature

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          In this article, the author shares his eastern and western perspectives on biomedicine, science and arts as well as his personal experiences during the coronavirus epidemics in China. Virus is described symbolically as a messenger on the edge of art and science, human beings and nature leading to a discussion over the sustainable development of human beings in harmony with nature.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Are viruses alive? The replicator paradigm sheds decisive light on an old but misguided question

          The question whether or not “viruses are alive” has caused considerable debate over many years. Yet, the question is effectively without substance because the answer depends entirely on the definition of life or the state of “being alive” that is bound to be arbitrary. In contrast, the status of viruses among biological entities is readily defined within the replicator paradigm. All biological replicators form a continuum along the selfishness-cooperativity axis, from the completely selfish to fully cooperative forms. Within this range, typical, lytic viruses represent the selfish extreme whereas temperate viruses and various mobile elements occupy positions closer to the middle of the range. Selfish replicators not only belong to the biological realm but are intrinsic to any evolving system of replicators. No such system can evolve without the emergence of parasites, and moreover, parasites drive the evolution of biological complexity at multiple levels. The history of life is a story of parasite-host coevolution that includes both the incessant arms race and various forms of cooperation. All organisms are communities of interacting, coevolving replicators of different classes. A complete theory of replicator coevolution remains to be developed, but it appears likely that not only the differentiation between selfish and cooperative replicators but the emergence of the entire range of replication strategies, from selfish to cooperative, is intrinsic to biological evolution.
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            History of art paintings through the lens of entropy and complexity

            The critical inquiry of paintings is essentially comparative. This limits the number of artworks that can be investigated by an art expert in reasonable time. The recent availability of large digitized art collections enables a shift in the scale of such analysis through the use of computational methods. Our research shows that simple physics-inspired metrics that are estimated from local spatial ordering patterns in paintings encode crucial information about the artwork. We present numerical scales that map well to canonical concepts in art history and reveal a historical and measurable evolutionary trend in visual arts. They also allow us to distinguish different artistic styles and artworks based on the degree of local order in the paintings. Art is the ultimate expression of human creativity that is deeply influenced by the philosophy and culture of the corresponding historical epoch. The quantitative analysis of art is therefore essential for better understanding human cultural evolution. Here, we present a large-scale quantitative analysis of almost 140,000 paintings, spanning nearly a millennium of art history. Based on the local spatial patterns in the images of these paintings, we estimate the permutation entropy and the statistical complexity of each painting. These measures map the degree of visual order of artworks into a scale of order–disorder and simplicity–complexity that locally reflects qualitative categories proposed by art historians. The dynamical behavior of these measures reveals a clear temporal evolution of art, marked by transitions that agree with the main historical periods of art. Our research shows that different artistic styles have a distinct average degree of entropy and complexity, thus allowing a hierarchical organization and clustering of styles according to these metrics. We have further verified that the identified groups correspond well with the textual content used to qualitatively describe the styles and the applied complexity–entropy measures can be used for an effective classification of artworks.
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              Ecosystem biogeochemistry considered as a distributed metabolic network ordered by maximum entropy production.

              We examine the application of the maximum entropy production principle for describing ecosystem biogeochemistry. Since ecosystems can be functionally stable despite changes in species composition, we use a distributed metabolic network for describing biogeochemistry, which synthesizes generic biological structures that catalyse reaction pathways, but is otherwise organism independent. Allocation of biological structure and regulation of biogeochemical reactions is determined via solution of an optimal control problem in which entropy production is maximized. However, because synthesis of biological structures cannot occur if entropy production is maximized instantaneously, we propose that information stored within the metagenome allows biological systems to maximize entropy production when averaged over time. This differs from abiotic systems that maximize entropy production at a point in space-time, which we refer to as the steepest descent pathway. It is the spatio-temporal averaging that allows biological systems to outperform abiotic processes in entropy production, at least in many situations. A simulation of a methanotrophic system is used to demonstrate the approach. We conclude with a brief discussion on the implications of viewing ecosystems as self-organizing molecular machines that function to maximize entropy production at the ecosystem level of organization.

                Author and article information

                Creative Arts in Education and Therapy
                Eastern and Western Perspectives
                Translated title: 创造性艺术教育及治疗-东西方视角 :
                Inspirees Education Group (The Netherlands )
                August 2020
                : 6
                : 1
                : 13-18
                Inspirees Institute, China
                Copyright © 2020 Inspirees International

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

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