cc:Mail Link to SMTP Undeliverable Message
Sun, 07 Sep 97 05:17:16 +0200

--simple boundary
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ACSII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Message is undeliverable.
Reason: Unable to access cc:Mail Post office.
Please retry later.
Original text follows:

--simple boundary
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ACSII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Received: from by (ccMail Link to SMTP R6.0)
; Sat, 06 Sep 97 19:16:59 +0200
Return-Path: <>
Received: (from majordom@localhost) by (8.7.5/8.7.3) id JAA00981 for extropians-outgoing; Sat, 6 Sep 1997 09:21:38 -0600
X-Authentication-Warning: majordom set sender to using -f
Date: Sat, 6 Sep 1997 10:34:51 +0000
From: Mark Grant <>
Subject: Re: Goo prophylaxis:consensus
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9709061018.A681-0100000@marui>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
Precedence: bulk

On Fri, 5 Sep 1997, Nicholas Bostrom wrote:

> Also, I think it is unnecessary to concede
> too much wisdom to traditional ethical systems -- most of them are
> very bizzare: "Don't eat pork!", "Don't use condoms!" or rest on
> assumptions that most of us don't believe in (the avenging wrath of
> the gods).

Yes, but that doesn't mean that those systems didn't make sense at the
time; clearly not using contraceptives was a gain for a small community of
Jews in a hostile area, and I once read an analysis of Old Testament
dietary laws which showed that they probably prevented outbreaks of numerous

> von Neumann was in favour of a preemtive strike, and so was Bertrand
> Russell (who was otherwise a pacifist!) For my part, I am not sure
> what would have been best, given the knowledge that was available
> then, or even the knowledge that we have today. But an intereting
> fact is: it didn't happen.

In the end, the problem was simple: despite its nuclear superiority,
there was no way the US could win a war against Russia, because the nukes
of the time were so low-tech. Sure, they could have devastated large
parts of the big cities, but they'd still have required an infantry
invasion to capture them, and we all know how effective that has been
against Russia in the past.

This is also a good example of why attempts to control nanotech
information will fail; some of the scientists involved in the Manhattan
Project gave the information to the Russians because they could see the
obvious dangers of a world with only one nuclear power.

> Perhaps it was just sheer luck that WWIII never happened. But
> somebody could argue that: "it is really only since the collapse of
> the Sovjet Union that USA has begun to behave virtuosly.

Are we both talking about the same USA here? 'Virtuous' is hardly the word
I would choose to describe the actions of the US Government. If anything
they're trying to drag the rest of the world down to their level of

> That would not mean exterminating their populations, but
> dissolving their military machines and doing whatever it takes to
> make sure they never obtain a dangerous level nanotechnology
> (relative to the defenses that the rest of the world has).

But, of course, the FBI will require a 'back-door' into all nano defences
for 'national security' reasons, and it will soon be exploited by other
bad guys too. You still seem to be talking purely theoretically and
ignoring the reality of human interactions, or the limitations of the


P.S. As for a world where everyone has nukes, a recent post on the
Cypherpunks list mentioned that the Russian government is about to
announce that they've 'lost' a hundred man-portable nukes. Presumably this
is supposed to make us clamour for further irrelevant restrictions on
cryptography, guns, fertilizer, 'militias', etc.

|Mark Grant M.A., U.L.C. EMAIL: |

--simple boundary--