Re: Nanotech Scenarios

Anders Sandberg (
01 Jun 1999 10:49:13 +0200

"Martin Anso" <> writes:

> It's quite likely that the Pentagon will try to fully exploit
> nanotechnology. The New Zealand Herald (May 21 1999) reported that
> Michigan Uni scientists were developing 'nano-bombs' to help protect
> soldiers from biological warfare. The research was funded by the
> Defence Department. (These nanobombs apparently fuse with bacteria
> etc, such as anthrax, and then explode, while leaving human cells
> unharmed.)

Huh? This sounds rather silly or mis-reported. As far as I can understand, the detonation of a sub-micron pellet of TNT or whatever is only going to create a sub-micron sized bubble (inside a bacterium which is already elastic) - the reaction will not even be very quick (huge surface area / volume ratio), and you are not likely to get shock waves to do extra damage. It would probably work more by poisoning the bacteria.

I could imagine something like liposomes as a vector for getting something into cells, and it might even be possible (although I'm not an expert) to coat them with immune-based proteins to make them slightly selective for non-human cells. But it isn't nanotechnology in the sense the original question was asked.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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