19 December 2009

Life on fire

At any moment a human body contains only about 10 grams of ATP but we consume and make our own body weight of the molecule each day.
-- from In the Beat of a Heart by John Whitefield (2006)
This fire stolen from heaven, this torch of Prometheus, does not only represent an ingenious and poetic idea. It is a faithful picture of the operations of nature, at least for animals that breath: one may therefore say with the ancients, that the torch of life is lighted at the moment the infant breathes for the first time, and is extinguished only on his death.
-- Antoine Lavoisier (1789)
It ever was, and is, and shall be, ever-living fire, in measures being kindled and in measures going out.
-- Heraclitus (circa 535–475 BC)

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