Re: will the government allow the public direct access to nanotech??

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Wed Jan 19 2000 - 17:50:06 MST

On Tue, 18 Jan 2000, Zeb Haradon wrote:

> The government will absolutely not allow the public access to nanotech,
> biotech, or any matter controlling technology.

Zeb, I hate to tell you this, but there are *virtually* no controls
on the access to biotech. An amateur could even order the most dangerous
bacteria from the ATCC up until a few years ago (they've tightened up
on this after somebody did). Of course they haven't quite realized
that it isn't the life-forms you have to secure, its the information
about the lifeforms. There are controls on the access to chemicals
that are potential upstream feedstock for "dangerous" drugs. (But a
clever chemist could probably work around this).

> [snip], it wouldn't be long before someone caught on to the idea of
> engineering goats to produce morphine in their milk as well, or other
> variations on this theme (I've had this idea for a while, in the form of
> engineering bees so that rather then stinger venom, they produce THC,
> morphine, cocaine, or whatever, which they inject into someone upon
> stinging).

While I think the bee engineering makes little sense (entertainment
perhaps?), as soon as the complete pathways are know for the production
of the aforementioned drugs, then engineering them into bacteria or
goats will take a relatively small scale G.E. effort.

The government can spot coca plants -- how can it spot fermentation
apparatus in everyones basement?

The best thing to do would be to produce the bacteria and put the
culturing information up on the net, then offer to mail anyone
who sends you some amount of money an envelope with the GE-bacteria
impregnated into the envelope flap glue. Just deposit the envelope
paper in your home grown fermentation apparatus and voila' -- instant
drug plant. The most interesting part is that its probably legal
(currently). I don't know of any laws prohibiting the distribution
of bacteria that manufacture drugs... :-)

[If the above statement doesn't get me arrested tomorrow, then we
can assume the Feds are not monitoring this list...]

> From what I understand, this would be technically possible today,
> by inserting the proper genes from the poppy, the coca plant, or the
> marijuana plant into the proper place in the bee genome.

Yes, but most of the genes are probably not currently known.

> Nanotech would make drug access even easier.

Nanotech probably makes drug access irrelevant. You can have nanorobots
do manufacture, controlled uptake and release of the neurotransmitters
(or variants thereof) that trip the standard "drug" receptors. The
interesting part is that when you press the "sequester" switch, there
is probably no way for the authorities to discover you are harboring
a "controlled" substance without a highly invasive dismantlement of
your nanobots!

Police Nanobot says to Self-Nanobot, "do you have any drugs in your
possession?". Reply, "Why no sir, I do not". Police: "Ok, open up
all of your holding tanks for analysis". Self: I must refrain from
doing so on the basis of preventing self-incrimination... It gets
dicey if the nanobots are highly integrated into your mental architecture
and the police have to destroy them to prove you are harboring drugs.
I find it difficult to believe that courts would grant search warrants
that were guaranteed to damage the subject of the search.

Interesting thoughts otherwise Zeb, food for the grist mill.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:23 MDT