Alive vs. furniture

In the dim recesses of high school Biology, I remember hearing that the test for whether a system was alive or not was the acronym: SACRED FARMS. Some of the processes were Respiration, Elimination, Assimilation, Reproduction. Because those were the only things important to me then (as now) I immediately forgot the rest. Has anyone heard of this before? p.s. Where does that put a virus? What is NASA using as its basis for life and who told them they could dress themselves?

Success=Hard work + Hard play + Keeping your mouth shut

  • Albert Einstein

I was taught that in hihg school too. It’s handy in discussions of sea cucmbers vs. bean bag chairs. It’s rather unreliable when you look at the Rich Tapestry of Stuff that exists in the universe. Viruses are one example of something that lies between traditional descriptions of “alive” and “inanimate”.

Personally, I think that the characteristic of “being alive” is a gradient and not an either/or scenario.

What does SACRED FARMS stand for anyway?

Precisely. I’ve been unable to re-discover what it stands for and who came up with it.
I’ll take a stab

Systemic processes
Cellular structure

Fluid exchange
Asymetric energy exchange
Any ideas?