Friday, October 11, 2013

The Citizen Journalist In America - 2

Whistle-blowers deserve coverage
There is no better time to consider the merits of "citizen journalist" than when main stream media fails.

In today's post, however, I want to reflect on the main stream journalism's editors who have taken the proper position on the abuses the military NSA has done.

Those editors are also reporting on what the military NSA is still doing to the citizens of the world, and even to their own citizens in the U.S.A.

One story which is especially interesting concerns The Guardian of Great Britain, which stands out in its effort to poll editors of major news organizations around the world, showing that they all stand firm concerning the importance of holding fast under government attacks against journalism.

A licentious periodical, The Daily Mail, criticized the Guardian over the leaks exposing the military NSA to the world, so the Guardian editors asked other editors around the world for comment, to which they replied:
"In a democracy, the press plays a vital role in informing the public and holding those in power accountable. The NSA has vast intelligence-gathering powers and capabilities and its role in society is an important subject for responsible newsgathering organisations such as the New York Times and the Guardian. A public debate about the proper perimeters for eavesdropping by intelligence agencies is healthy for the public and necessary." - New York Times
"The utmost duty of a journalist is to expose abuses and the abuse of power. The global surveillance of digital communication by the NSA and GCHQ is no less than an abuse on a massive scale with consequences that at this point seem completely unpredictable." - Der Spiegel
"Journalists have only one responsibility: to keep their readers informed and educated about whatever their government is doing on their behalf – and first and foremost on security and intelligence organisations, which by their nature infringe on civil liberties. The Snowden revelations, and their publication by the Guardian, have been a prime example of fearlessly exercising this journalistic responsibility." - Haaretz
"The Guardian, with whom, among others, Le Monde collaborated in the publication of the WikiLeaks cables, made the right decision to publish the documents released by Snowden. It did so responsibly, acting in the public interest, as we had done with the WikiLeaks documents, and more recently with the "OffshoreLeaks" documents." - Le Monde
"When a newspaper prints a story, or a series of stories, such as the Snowden case, the first attacks are always aimed at its editors and publishers. State or homeland security reasons are always claimed.

It happened when The New York Times and The Washington Post printed the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1973, and it happened with WikiLeaks. Now, the object of criticism is the Guardian for having printed Edward Snowden's revelations. What is sad, baffling and dangerous is that the attacks now come not only from governments but from other newspapers too." - El Pais
"I have just been reading Tim Weiner's history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, which is heavily based on leaked and declassified government documents. Over and again, one is struck by how poorly Americans' interests have been served by secrecy – and by the folly, misjudgment, and abuse of power that might have been prevented by public knowledge. One does not have to admire Julian Assange or Edward Snowden to recognise that their revelations, filtered by scrupulous journalists, have served the fundamental democratic interest of knowing what our governments are up to and how they may be abridging our rights." - Slate
"Those attacking the media on the NSA issue wilfully ignore the fact that what the Guardian, the New York Times, the Hindu and other newspapers around the world have published so far are details of snooping that is not even remotely related to fighting terrorism." - The Hindu
"It is really striking and bold to accuse journalists of being allies of terrorism simply for performing their professional responsibilities. And it is even more dangerous when, in the name of a "national interest", censorship and concealing information is sponsored on the ground that journalists are not "security experts" to judge what can and should be published." - Clarin . com
"The Snowden affair, one day, will be understood as a historic milestone at which democratic societies began to realize that the political cost of new technologies still needed to be negotiated. Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, one of Germany's last great intellectuals and certainly not a leftist, sees it as a transition to a post-democratic society. And had the Snowden files not opened our eyes to this transition already, the way how the current debate about these documents unfolds, certainly did.These revelations are not only about secret services, but just as much about all the new social touchpoints of every citizen who is equipped with a smartphone and online access: Who controls and analyses these touchpoints and why? Is it so difficult to understand that in a world in which – according to Eric Schmidt's concise formulation – the digital self not only mirrors but substitutes our true selves, all these issues become questions of human rights?" - Frankfurter Allgemeine
"Journalists have not only the right but a responsibility to challenge government – its behaviour, its reasoning and its assertion of fact. There will always be times when an editor has to rely on his own judgment in making decisions about what to publish and weighing the implications. Editors know these can be profoundly important decisions and they should listen with care to arguments from all sides, including government. Experience has taught scepticism.

Official secrecy doesn't just cloak the national-security state; it hides everything from bureaucratic bungling and politicians' peccadillos to catastrophically bad policy." - The Washington Post
"It is journalism's most noble duty to write about and to describe what exists in our world. Our second duty is to add context to and to comment and to evaluate that which exists in our world. If it is a journalist's duty, however, to describe what exists, then this inherently implies the duty to write about those things and events about which certain humans and institutions do not want us to write about. This tends to be case whenever journalists write about the activities of secret services and it was the case during these last weeks when The Guardian, the New York Times or Süddeutsche Zeitung have written about the British secret services, most especially about GCHQ." - Sü
"... the role of a free press in a democratic country is to be the guardians – not the spokesmen – of power. Media is part of the check and balances system of an healthy democracy and they would betray their duty if they only reported what the power considers legitimate to reveal to the public opinion." - la
"In its reporting on the NSA stories, the Guardian has played a vital role in the global debate on how society in practice weighs freedom of speech and thought versus our common need for security.

Truths are at times inconvenient, but inconvenient truths are at times of the highest importance. This is such a case, and we strongly support The Guardians decision to publish these stories
." - Aftenposten (Norway)
(Guardian). That is not all of the supportive comments that the Guardian received, but those make the case.

Citizen journalists in the form of whistleblowers are a fundamental part of democracy from the earliest days of America (Whistleblowers According To The Early Americans).

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Johnny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government

The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did

God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin’ for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
By the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten
(by Bob Dylan - lyrics here)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What is a "Government" and What is a "Shutdown"?

"It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore"
The mail is being delivered.

The Supreme Court and other courts are handling litigation.

The White House is open.

The Congress is running around yapping on Capitol Hill and members are getting paid the-usual-too-much for it.

The Cabinet Heads of the various Administrative Departments are on the job.

Federal agencies are at work.

The military NSA is busy spying on all Americans, the lights are on at the Treasury, FBI, CIA, FAA, NRLB, IRS, EPA, NASA, and the Pentagon --just like Motel 6 ("We'll leave the light on for you").

But "the government" has been shutdown it has been said in the McTell News.

One wonders whether or not any of the McTell News crew took Civics 101, where the meaning of "the government" is taught.

Listen to the propaganda meisters peddle their confusion as if "the government" was a mystical entity with an "on" and "off" button like a light switch:
"Drown it!   Drown it!   Drown it!
"Why did the government shut down?" - CNN

"... the ninth day of the federal government shutdown." - CBS

"The shutdown of the federal government ..." - NBC
The propaganda going on reminds me of something Reagan thought about the size of government:
Reagan rhetoric exclaiming that government should be small enough to drown in a bathtub was a psychopathic notion being repeated by an Alzheimer sufferer (Reagan mentored G. Norquist: "ATR was founded in 1985 by Grover Norquist at the request of President Reagan"). Reagan repeated a lot of things fanatics ignorantly said.
(On The Size of "Government" - 2). Norquist infamously said: "I'm not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

Evidently someone has informed them that the government is in a bathtub in Washington, D.C., somewhere in the basement of The House of Representatives, so they are trying to find "the government" to drown it (She's Come Undone).

Recall what started this infantile circus, which is that the military thinks that "ObamaCare" is their number one threat (Why Is The Government Conditioning Us To Austerity? - 2).

I am sure that these mindless House episodes will make it into an Agnotology textbook or two (Agnotology: The Surge).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Uncertain Gene - 6

In this series, so far, we have been discussing issues which many of us may not see as relevant or in any way related to our personal lives.

So what if protons behave like waves to thereby do quantum tunneling which can cause mutations within some of our genome, and so what if microbes can also be impacted by proton tunneling induced mutation, to then later transfer some of their mutant genes into our human genome?

The reason is not only that it could be affecting us personally, but that it could also be affecting our entire species:
The human genome has been busy over the past 5,000 years. Human populations have grown exponentially, and new genetic mutations arise with each generation. Humans now have a vast abundance of rare genetic variants in the protein-encoding sections of the genome.
A team of scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine has found the strongest evidence yet that bacteria occasionally transfer their genes into human genomes, finding bacterial DNA sequences in about a third of healthy human genomes.
The trillions of bacteria in our bodies regularly exchange DNA with each other, but the idea that their genes could end up in human DNA has been very controversial.
Although her team has since found several cases of LGT [lateral gene transfer] between bacteria and invertebrates, “it’s still difficult to convince people that it may be happening in the human genome,” she said.
Danchin agrees that the results need to be validated but said, “I am personally convinced what they have found by screening the different databases is true. I think LGT happens much more frequently than we imagine but, most of the time, is just not detectable.”
(The "It's In Your Genes" Myth - 2, emphasis added). Concerning those potential or actual genetic changes taking place, some of them are mysterious:
The American population has experienced remarkable change in cranial morphology. Some of these have already been documented, but this paper expands on previous results by increasing the time frame, sample sizes and attempting to identify points in time when change begins, or proceeds most rapidly, which in turn may provide clues to reasons for the changes.
(The Skulls They Are A Changin'). This is especially interesting since microbiologists tell us that microbes may play a part in the development of our brains:
A recent paper by investigators from Sweden and Singapore reports on studies using a mouse model to demonstrate that the presence of the gut microbiota significantly influences the developing brain, influencing developmental pathways that affect both motor control and anxiety-related behaviors. The implications for human development are certainly not yet realized, but could be profound. Our anxiety, motor control, and even cognitive pathways are implicated in this paper. Microbes may indeed be subtly changing our brain early on — and for what purposes we cannot yet say. The article would imply that this interaction is beneficial to us, and thus indirectly to our microbiota, but the mere fact that microorganisms can shape our minds brings up many more questions about how humans develop their identity.
(A Structure RE: The Corruption of Memes - 4). Scientists who are looking at this data consider it worthy of more study:
The fact that microbes in our gut can have any effect on our brains surely gets our attention. That they may fundamentally change our brains as we develop is breathtaking indeed. Our symbiotic friends may be more connected to us than we know, and only a complete appreciation of their power will allow us to treat that relationship with the caution and respect it deserves.
(Small Things Considered, emphasis added). Add to that the evidence that microbes also interact with other species on our planet, and the importance of improving our understanding becomes more clear:
"Interactions of animals with their microbiota have a profound impact on their gene expression, and to create a stable association with a microorganism requires a lot of conversation between the microbe and the host," says UW-Madison medical microbiologist Margaret McFall-Ngai, senior author of the new study.
(Symbiotic Microbes Induce Profound Genetic Changes, emphasis added). We can see at once, then, that the pollution we are doing to our environment is a clear and present danger to our genetic makeup, because that pollution is also causing damage to the microbial world.

Human government may be impacted by some or all of these genetic dynamics too (The Germ Theory - of Government - 7).

Microbes have many other important functions that we are just recently becoming aware of:
A team of University of Toronto chemists have made a major contribution to the emerging field of quantum biology, observing quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis in marine algae.

"There's been a lot of excitement and speculation that nature may be using quantum mechanical practices," says chemistry professor Greg Scholes, lead author of a new study published in Nature. "Our latest experiments show that normally functioning biological systems have the capacity to use quantum mechanics in order to optimize a process as essential to their survival as photosynthesis." ... It also raises some other potentially fascinating questions, such as, have these organisms developed quantum-mechanical strategies for light-harvesting to gain an evolutionary advantage? It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans," says Scholes.
(The Tiniest Scientists Are Very Old, emphasis added). The plague of human pollution wrecking the planet may "come home to roost" in our genome, and that may be very bad for our species.

Resist Oil-Qaeda, and advocate for clean energy.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why Is The Government Conditioning Us To Austerity? - 2

You don't say
In the first post of this series (Why Is The Government Conditioning Us To Austerity?) we speculated that all of the political circus generated by right-wing-nuts was contrived.

Not stopping there, we (Dredd Blog readers and I) wondered whether there were other motives or surreptitious reasons for the demented behavior of T-party nuts posing as adults that are competently governing federal matters on behalf of all Americans:
The talk in McTell News circles, generated from the scripts they have been given to read (as good "journalists") is all about what they have stupidly named "the sequester."

They would have done better to name it "the sequel" because it seems like an ongoing bad TV Show.

I have been wondering "why are they doing it?", because I have been reminded of the statement made by the military, following years of preparation, about how they would be used to battle with the public once the economy got so bad people took to the streets ...
(ibid). A noted economist and previous cabinet member is also expressing himself along those lines:
An old friend who has been active in politics for more than 30 years tells me he's giving up. "I can't stomach what's going on in Washington anymore," he says. "The hell with all of them. I have better things to do with my life."

My friend is falling exactly into the trap that the extreme right wants all of us to fall into -- such disgust and cynicism that we all give up on politics. Then they're free to take over everything.
(Their Real Goal, by Robert Reich, emphasis added). Before we get a bit more into it, let's remember that the fundamental core, yes, let's remember what those in Washington, D.C. who are doing this nonsense mean, as well as what they do not mean, by their use of the word "government."

First, note that the congress is polling at very low popularity numbers, while the military is polling in a very high regard:
In the first post of this series, we pointed out that most Americans polled in an annual Gallup Poll think that the military is the most competent institution in America.

In that post we perused Gallup Poll figures from 2009, as shown on the graphic to the left (red lines added).

Today in 2011, the military is still seen as the most competent American institution, according to this year's Gallup Poll, even though the wars they are prosecuting are not at all popular.

Let's take a look for reasons and realities as to how it is that the military, once considered the lackey for the tyranny of the tyrants, has come full circle to invade and occupy the hearts of a once freedom loving people.
(Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids? - 2). Second, note that Dredd Blog has for a long time seen what the warmongers think, as evidenced by their manic behavior in the current "debt ceiling", "government shutdown", and "austerity" propaganda.

Dredd Blog has long known that the neoCon right-wing-nut mania is against "ObamaCare" because health care has been said, by military people, to be the number one economic threat to the military.

This will be specifically pointed out later in this post, as well as the fact that their anger over health care is that it is a challenge to the military budget:
We spend more on the military than the other nations of the world combined, so perhaps if we brought it down to half that, such a line in the sand would make more sense, even though even at that level it is still a bloated military budget.

Thus, the common welfare requires a fair military and a fair populace who share the wealth of the nation in a manner that does not do damage to the nation.

The democrats, it seems to me, have brought on a flanking manoeuvre by passing the Health Care Reform legislation.

They knew they could not take on military (MOMCOM) entitlements directly, because the populace has been filled with fear by MOMCOM security propaganda about the monsters under their beds.

So the democrats seem to have done a flanking motion going around and behind the propaganda.

Even if Health Care Legislation is flawed, still it signals a change in direction from mindless, endless warfare that saps the nation of its strength, toward a kinder and gentler nation that actually has compassion and other normal humane considerations for its own.
(Entitlement Wars - Guns vs. Butter). In fact Dredd Blog has for a long time pulled no punches when it comes to discerning the reality that your health care is considered to be their real enemy:
There are so many things that happen these days that when I tell people about them they will say "I can't believe that".

The issue of health care reform is only one of many issues where I can make the case.

Let me make the case by telling you that military thinkers believe that the number one enemy the military should fear is health care!

Now, unless you have researched this, you will exclaim "I can't believe that".

Let's look at what military scholars say by revisiting a Dredd Blog post from last March that focused on this issue:
Pentagonia, capitol of Bullshitistan, well aware of the current political climate, has declared who its greatest enemy is, believing it is health care:
The U.S. military keeps searching the horizon for a peer competitor, the challenger that must be taken seriously. Is it China? What about an oil rich and resurgent Russia?

But the threat that is most likely to hobble U.S. military capabilities is not a peer competitor, rather it is health care.
(The Enemy the Pentagon Should Fear Most: Health Care, National Defense Magazine, emphasis added). We have been pointing out this very strange ideology for a while now, using "MOMCOM" symbolism to isolate the militant energy fighting against the middle class and poor in the United States.
(Deja Vu - Guns v. Butter Election Looms). I can't believe that either, but there it is, written in military white papers for all to see.
(Your Health Is Their Number 1 Enemy?!). The apparatus is in place to "fix the problem" if and when "they're free to take over everything", as Dr. Reich stated in his quote near the top of today's post.

We know what that "fix the problem" dynamic will look like:
A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.
(Will The Military Become The Police - 4). They don't want Americans to have health care like the other modern nations (ObamaCare: Good Foreign Policy) but they do want their warmongering generals to lead the feudal lives of vassals and kings while the serfs suffer:
Then-defense secretary Robert M. Gates stopped bagging his leaves when he moved into a small Washington military enclave in 2007. His next-door neighbor was Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, who had a chef, a personal valet and — not lost on Gates — troops to tend his property.

Gates may have been the civilian leader of the world’s largest military, but his position did not come with household staff. So, he often joked, he disposed of his leaves by blowing them onto the chairman’s lawn.

“I was often jealous because he had four enlisted people helping him all the time,” Gates said in response to a question after a speech Thursday. He wryly complained to his wife that “Mullen’s got guys over there who are fixing meals for him, and I’m shoving something into the microwave. And I’m his boss.”

Of the many facts that have come to light in the scandal involving former CIA director David H. Petraeus, among the most curious was that during his days as a four-star general, he was once escorted by 28 police motorcycles as he traveled from his Central Command headquarters in Tampa to socialite Jill Kelley’s mansion ...

The commanders who lead the nation’s military services and those who oversee troops around the world enjoy an array of perquisites befitting a billionaire, including executive jets, palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.

The elite regional commanders who preside over large swaths of the planet don’t have to settle for Gulfstream V jets. They each have a C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737 ...
(American Feudalism - 3). There is an overwhelming abundance of evidence showing that, as General Clark said, a coup has taken place (A Tale of Coup Cities - 4).

President and once General Eisenhower would agree with General Clark:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
(Wee The People - 2, quoting President Eisenhower). Thus, the warmongering neoCons in congress mean that "government" is anything that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people" (The Common Good), while they fund the military as if it is the solution to "government" problems.

Let's hope we are wrong about this appraisal (She's Come Undone), and that instead they will come to their senses.

The previous post in this series is here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Uncertain Gene - 5

Pseudomonas shares genes with humans
In this series we have been looking into some fascinating dynamics concerning mutations of genetic molecules in carbon based life forms.

Specifically, we have been discussing dynamics described and explained by theories of quantum mechanics (e.g. proton tunneling) which predict genetic mutations in the RNA and/or DNA of biological organisms which originate at the atomic level, rather than originating at the higher molecular level we would usually expect to take place within biological organisms (The Uncertain Gene).

Today, let's consider whether those quantum dynamics could take place in microbial entities such as prions, phages, viruses, and/or other microbes such as bacteria:
“PrPC and PrPSC share the same amino acid sequence and are encoded by the same gene,” says Silva who has found evidence that non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), the kind that used to be thought of as “junk,” play a role in prion conversion from normal to disease inducing. The transformation probably takes place during transcription. There’s a vast amount of ncRNA in the cytosol of normal cells and the prions might interact with it there.
(Oddly Microbial: Prions, emphasis added). We need to consider this because some new scientific papers tell us that some microbes can and do transfer their genes into our human DNA:
A team of scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine has found the strongest evidence yet that bacteria occasionally transfer their genes into human genomes, finding bacterial DNA sequences in about a third of healthy human genomes and in a far greater percentage of cancer cells.
The trillions of bacteria in our bodies regularly exchange DNA with each other, but the idea that their genes could end up in human DNA has been very controversial. In 2001, the team that sequenced the first human genome claimed to have found 113 cases of such lateral gene transfers (LGT), but their conclusion was later refuted.

This high-profile error “had a chilling effect on the field,” according to Julie Dunning Hotopp who led the new study. Although her team has since found several cases of LGT between bacteria and invertebrates, “it’s still difficult to convince people that it may be happening in the human genome,” she said.
(The Scientist, "Bacterial DNA in Human Genomes", emphasis added). Regular readers know that we have previously discussed the evolution of placental mammals and the impact microbes have historically had on their biological evolution:
If not for a virus, none of us [placental human mammals] would ever be born.

In 2000, a team of Boston scientists discovered a peculiar gene in the human genome. It encoded a protein made only by cells in the placenta. They called it syncytin.

The cells that made syncytin were located only where the placenta made contact with the uterus. They fuse together to create a single cellular layer, called the syncytiotrophoblast, which is essential to a fetus for drawing nutrients from its mother. The scientists discovered that in order to fuse together, the cells must first make syncytin.

What made syncytin peculiar was that it was not a human gene. It bore all the hallmarks of a gene from a virus.
(Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 21, quoting Discover). The reason why this issue needs to be discussed is that most of the cells and genetic material that make up our human microbiome are microbial:
... some 90 percent of the protein-encoding cells in our body are microbes ... 99 percent of the functional genes in the body are microbial ... exchanging messages with genes inside human cells ... microbes cohabitating our body outnumber human cells by a factor of 10, making us actually “superorganisms” that use our own genetic repertoire as well as those of our microbial symbionts ... We just happen to look human because our human cells are much larger than bacterial cells ... no matter how you look at it, it’s high time we acknowledge that part of being human is being microbial ...
Microbes may indeed be subtly changing our brain early on — and for what purposes we cannot yet say ... the mere fact that microorganisms can shape our minds brings up many more questions about how humans develop their identity ... these findings call for a complete re-examination of human physiology and immunology. Attributes that were assumed to be human traits have been shown to result from human–microbe interactions.
Some would say that genomics has been able to distil some humility into humankind. The finalised version of the human genome deprived us of the illusion that we are one of the most complex creatures on Earth — an illusion that was at the basis of some guesses that Homo sapiens was expected to have at least 100,000 genes. When we look at a table of genomes by species, and specifically at the number of genes that have been counted or estimated for each species, we notice that humans are surpassed by several plants and invertebrates.
(The Human Microbiome Congress, emphasis in original). Thus, if microbial genes can become mutant due to quantum mechanical dynamics such as proton tunneling, we should expect some of those mutant genes to become part of us through subsequent biological dynamics.

That is, if microbial RNA/DNA mutates due to proton tunneling and that microbe subsequently transfers that mutant gene material to our human genetic material, then the chances of quantum proton tunneling induced mutations having an impact on the human genome are increased.

When the quantum proton tunneling induced mutation takes place in purely human genes there is a direct mutation, however, when it happens through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from microbes, it is an indirect mutation, nevertheless, both mutations will have been induced by abiotic evolution rather than having been induced by biotic evolution.

This would mean that unknown quantities of events of evolution happen without any natural selection (a biological term) having taken place.

That is, natural selection cannot be said to be the sole source or origin of evolutionary changes because DNA is not alive, rather, it is an abiotic molecule which is "machine-like", not "life-like" (Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?).

[Sample related papers on the reality of quantum tunneling: Quantum tunnelling creates the 'wrong' molecule, Tunneling and delocalization effects in hydrogen bonded systems, More can be done faster and easier than less - in the world of quanta, Quantum Tunnelling - Wikipedia, Tunnelling Diode, Quantum tunnelling - Science Daily, Proton Tunneling - DNA, Proton Tunneling in DNA and its Biological Implications, by Per-Olov Löwdin; Journal: Review of Modern Physics, Vol 35, No. 3, July 1963]

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.