Re: META (Lit. fi. - comments, related questions)

Anders Sandberg (
Sat, 15 Feb 1997 17:36:54 +0100 (MET)

> wrote:
> > "Globalhead" Bruce Sterling - anyone have comments on the story
> >"Our Neural Chernobyl", I'm interested in the idea of Gene-hacking, I'm
> >certain it's happening the only question is to what extent? According to
> >Sterling in the story (I'm wondering if this is factual, I suspect it is)
> >,quote:
> > "As early as the 1980's devices such as high-performance liquid
> >chromatographs,
> > cell-culture systems, and DNA sequencers were small enough to fit into
> >a closet
> > or attic. If not bought from junkyards, diverted, or stolen outright,
> >they could
> > be reconstructed from off-the-shelf parts by any bright and determined
> >teenager."

I don't know if it is happening, but we might make it happen. We have
some ideas here in Aleph to have a little genetics course for our
members, and I think quite a few of them would like to do their own

Still, take a look at Charles Stross' "Dechlorinating the moderator" at
for a (humorous) similar scenario in a different field :-)

> > "The Killing Star" Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski -
> >in which (at the end,in a info. section)
> >,they write quote:
> > "According to the latest laboratory experiments, 1 or 2 simple brain
> > proteins seem to determine the efficiency with which nerves fire and
> > thoughts are connected." etc.... "brain boosting drugs could become
> > available in as few as 5 years"
> >Unfortunately they don't give any hard particulars about the research,

Huh? This sounds unlikely, I haven't seen anything like it in my
neuroscience readings.

> > Also simmilarly if anyone knows about something called NSC "Natal
> >Stimulant
> >compound"? or something called "Beta-metalethetigine" ?

Hmm, the first sounds like a neurotrophic factor. I found no references
to them in the medical parts of the WWW, but several in a roleplaying
supplement on the net, suggesting that they might be fiction.

Of course, there are NGFs that act on the young brain, but I doubt they
are that useful in adults.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y