Re: Clinton's National Nanotechnology Initiative

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Mon Feb 28 2000 - 14:17:29 MST

Damien Broderick writes:

> >Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance.
> Not in this case. My sense is that the mainstream nano people regard
> Drexler et al as bogosity writ large. This is probably unfair, and to some

They probably highly resent his publicity stunt. Anything which isn't
being paid for by NSF grants/industry and is published in
peer-reviewed journals only, plus hasn't a single proof of principle is
bound to be hard to swallow.

> extent ahistorical (but then again, the new academic work seems almost
> wholly independent of Drexler's). As I probably stated previously,

Hey, I've been hitting the libraries in mid '80s, reading nano
papers. Eric certainly hasn't invented the field, though his
particular powerful dream is certainly unique (and, since
interdisciplinary, much harder to grasp).

> scientific reviewers of THE SPIKE found it defective precisely because of
> the respectful attention I paid to the plausibility of drextech and its
> promoter. They wanted MEMS. This wasn't ignorance (at least one had met
> Eric, attended Foresight, finds him over the top). It's a judgment call.
> And an institutional paradigm thang. If Drexler and his followers ever
> build a positional assembler, everyone will change lanes fast. Until then,

I think viability of machine-phase chemistry is relunctantly being
accepted. It's just that people still see certain macromolecules (the
neon pump, the fine-motion controller) and immediately judge them
impossible to synthesize.

> expect the same reaction mainstream scientists (surely correctly) have
> toward claims of `hydrinos'.
> Damien

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