Sphyngolipids and beyond

I finally got around to watching The Inner Life of the Cell from the Biovisions at Harvard initiative (via Make’s blog a week or so ago). The animation is, well, amazing. The narration tumbles along polysyllabically (can you say ‘Leukocyte Extravasation’? I thought you could…), and it’s a damn good thing that one can watch and re-watch, and that there won’t be a quiz… On a more serious note, the watching prompted me to scratch my head again over the challenge of Gardner’s comment to my Grand Jeté post, which ends with this interesting observation/question:

…the notion that knowledge is dynamic, ever-circulating, breathing in and out, washing some books up to shore while washing others away to the great unbounded deep, works very well for certain of the humanities, but works only occasionally for the physical sciences. A test case: what about advances in medical knowledge? Are they part of this great sussuration of knowledge, or are we really getting somewhere? Do we really need to rethink, oh, the idea of a cell?