Re: Principle of Nonsuppression

Robert J. Bradbury (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 05:28:48 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 1 Sep 1999, Clint O'Dell wrote:

> It would happen anyways. People would develop out of their basement.
> Underground societies would form because we just aren't the kind of people
> to allow our freedom and immortality be taken/kept from us are we?

There is a critical difference between atomic-tech/space-tech and biotech/nanotech. The first generally requires large scales while the second can work at very small scales.

It is hard to hide uranium mining & radioactive material separation or concentrations. Rocket launchers & rockets generally have to have certain minimum sizes to be useful. These things cost money and are fairly observable.

With biotech & nanotech, the quantity of materials, the physical space needed to manipulate them and the costs are on declining curves with time. So the development of "basement" operations seems highly probable. I'm unsure whether you could make up a list of "items for restricted sale" in the case of biotech or nanotech. I suspect it would be an ever increasing list as the technologies of AFMs, MEMS, supra-molecular chemistry, etc. advanced.

I was amazed that during the depths of the Russia's financial disassembly a few years ago I heard about a couple of scientists, I believe at Moscow State University, who had assembled an AFM. [If anyone knows more, I'd be interested in details.] It basically demonstrated to me that clever people with minimal resources will be able to develop these tools.