RE: Major Technologies

Billy Brown (
Mon, 18 Jan 1999 08:35:36 -0600

Forrest Bishop wrote:
> I would not presume to characterize the Foresight Institute
> and its Associates as "naive".

In general, no. However, their treatment of military issues does tend to give that impression.

> I've put out a few scattered bits and pieces on this topic over the past
> few years. One defense is simply bulk: all the nukes in the world today
> would barely make a dent in Mt. Everest (a relatively tiny structure), nor
> are they of much effect against deep underground installations.
> Because a nuke has minimum size limitations, it's ammenable to early
> detection via 'Star Wars' (or 'Land Wars') sensing and response.
> As for an all-out strike, consider this- radionucleotides are
> scarce relative to Si, C, H, Pb, etc. Explosive construction can
> Of course the best defense of all is vacuum- lots of it.

IMO, the picture isn't that simple. Early nanotech won't be able to burrow that well - remember, there is nothing preventing us from using 100 MT warheads instead of the puny <200 KT devices currently in fashion. Later nanotech could do it, but by then you're facing multi-gigaton weapons. Mature nanotech could protect you from anything reasonable, but by then I would expect all threats to be pretty unreasonable. For a good level of security, you really need a good anti-missile system and enough room to use it.

BTW - H should be on the 'nuke-building material' side of the ledger, not the 'stuff to build walls with' side.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I