Re: Invasion of the Meme Snatchers

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 21:02:32 MST

At 02:21 PM 2/15/02 -0800, Robert wrote:

>one has to ask what what level of "proof" would be
>required that such nanobots do not exist. To prove it demonstrably
>in my mind, one would need to slice up the brains of every
>individual on the planet at the 0.1-1 micron level and look
>for signs of nanobots.

By a strange coincidence (or IS it? I THINK NOT), I've just started reading
NEEDLE, a 1949 classic sf novel by Hal Clement (Harry Stubbs). His alien
Hunter is a highly intelligent 4 lb skinless liquid/jelly symbiont that
oozes into the pores of its vehicle-host and lives off oxygen and nutrients
abstracted from the host's metabolism. Lacking telepathy or other super
powers, it needs to find plausible ways to communicate with the host (in
this case a teenage schoolboy) without causing meltdown freakouts. The
book's clunky--but then it was written more than half a century ago, when
sf was still young--but it's a more interesting spin that Heinlein's puppet
masters from two years later. I found it in the recent NESFA compendium of
three Clement novels, charmingly titled TRIO FOR SLIDE RULE AND TYPEWRITER.

>Paraphrasing Sagan, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Um, that's not paraphrasing Sagan, that's quoting him exactly.

Damien Broderick

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