Re: Homework, was Re: Goo You--was Re: Nuke weapon/reactor/waste horror story links?

From: John Marlow (
Date: Wed Jan 10 2001 - 16:39:55 MST

Thanks for the pointers. As to local infestations, you
could always satellite detect and nuke 'em--but when
you add decision and flight time to target--you're too
late in most cases. Add the fact that the target may
well lie inside the borders of another nation and
decision time alone screws it.

Still reading.

john marlow

--- "S.J. Van Sickle" <> wrote:
> On Tue, 9 Jan 2001, John Marlow wrote:
> > I'm reading it now. The science is good,
> obviously,
> > and I'm not all the way through it, but holes
> appear
> > in the first few paragraphs. For example--the
> comment
> > that a stealth buildup would take 20 mo to
> accomplish
> > and that a more rapid buildup would be detected,
> > thereby enabling defenses to be deployed.
> >
> > Yah, right.
> >
> > WHAT defenses? The basic problem, of course, is
> that
> > you really need a nanodefense--and that you can't
> > possibly develop one until (as Drexler has pointed
> > out) the tech is already here.
> The difference being that there is a wide variety of
> possible molecular
> nanosystems, of which self-replicating goo is only a
> small subset, and
> likely the most difficult to design. It is possible
> (but by no means
> certain) to have non-self-replicating nanodefenses
> in place well before
> anyone is capable of building a nanoreplicator.
> Read towards the end of
> Rob's paper, where he makes a strong but admittedly
> not entirely
> convincing argument that prepositioned defenses can
> trump replicators.
> The rub in this argument is the time lag between the
> first nanosystems and
> the first wild nanoreplicators. If we have to rely
> on more or less
> conventional design (CAD systems, shape description
> languages,
> standardized part systems, design compilers, etc)
> the the time lag could
> be many years. If, on the other hand, MNT results
> rapidly in strong
> super-human AI, then the lag could be only hours. AI
> is the important
> factor (IMHO), not nanotech itself.
> It is also not quite true to say that nano is the
> *only* defense against
> nano. Rob and I discussed it, and came to the
> conclusion that, for
> localized infestations, napalm would work just
> dandy. Inelegant, though,
> and rather tough on the neighbors.
> > But, as I say, I'm still looking it over. Homework
> is
> > what I'm doing; that's why I'm here.
> Good for you! May I also suggest Chapters 13 and 14
> of Drexler's
> "Nanosystems". They concern overall architecture,
> and are a little less
> technical than the previous chapters. This may give
> a little
> perspective beyond the "self replicating little
> critters" paradigm.
> Hint: neither the word "replicating" or
> "self-replicating" appear in
> Nanosystem's index. Pages 66 and 67 of
> "Nanomedicine" also have a good
> discussion of the varieties of replication, and
> their relative benefits
> and difficulties.
> steve

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