A virus is basically a recipe for making more viruses
Viruses are tiny, but they pack a big punch. Viruses spread and multiply fast, causing some of the most common and contagious diseases in the world. If you've ever had a rash, flu, or warts, you've probably hosted a few viruses. Actually, you've hosted a few billion. Once a virus sets up residence in an organism, it doesn't stay solo for long. One type of virus, HIV, can make 10 billion new viruses in a single day.
A virus consists of a small amount of genetic material inside a protein case. The genetic material of some viruses, such as herpes viruses, is DNA, while the genetic material of other viruses, like HIV, is RNA. DNA and RNA store information for making proteins, which in turn build a complete organism.
Whether it contains DNA or RNA, a virus is basically a recipe for making more viruses. But a virus can't make new copies by itself; it needs the equipment of a living cell. Viruses attach themselves to cells and dump their genetic material inside. The virus takes over the cell's machinery, which then starts turning out copies of viruses instead of its own products. The new viruses bud from the cell and go on to infect other cells. To viruses, your cells are nothing more than giant copy machines for making more viruses.
I revere [trees] when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. […] A tree says: The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone ...
The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.
(…) That's because viruses aren't, strictly speaking, living things. They have no inner metabolism and can't reproduce on their own. They are nothing more than protein shells, which carry in them the equipment necessary to get into cells and then use the cell's own machinery to make copies of themselves. (…)—they thrive at their host's expense, they use some tricks to evade the immune system, and they can sometimes even change their hosts' behavior to increase their spread.