Re: >H Happy New Year!

Forrest Bishop (
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 11:27:28 -0800

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Transhuman Mailing List
> Just a small new years greeting to you all.

> ... Honestly, I can't list all the really important stuff of
> 1997 since most of it just disappears into the flood of discoveries
> and ideas; it is hard to tell the truly relevant from the merely
> amazing, and I'm starting to realize that I'm are getting numbed by
> the pace.

Uh oh. If Anders is overloading, we're all in trouble. :)

> Overall, I think biotechnology stole the show this year. If there is
> a single breakthrough to remember it is Dolly. Not because cloning is
> important, but because it showed so clearly that 1) things that look
> hard or impossible might be surprisingly simple to do,

Yeah, but things that look easy might not be, either, e.g. fusion energy
has been just around the corner for the last 50 years.

> future is here *now*. The reactions to Dolly were largely predictable
> and shows that we have a long way to go before transhuman ideas can be
> accepted in the mainstream.

> Another thing to remember is the rescue of Mir. Why was it important?
> Because it shows that we humans are tenacious and will not let go of
> our grip on space just because the equipment fails.

Or because the country that built it no longer exists.
Mir presents an interesting oppoertunity for privatization: its
components will (stupidly!) not be used in the new International
Space Station, though the Russians did propose and push for this. They
are accustomed to reusing gear; some of Mir's equipment was salvaged
Salyut 7 (?), the previous station, and hence is older than Mir itself.
Mir might be abandoned in place, a fully functioning, proven habitat
11 years old. It would make a great construction shack.

> Time is too short to list all the fun stuff that is happening in the
> nanotechnology direction (cubical DNA, buckytube diodes, monolayers
> and NASA making nanotech a serious subject),

Yeah, just what we need, another Space Shuttle (paraphrasing a leading
Caltech dept. head).
Ned Seeman is making octohedral, dodecahedral, and other DNA these days,
stronger joints and "tabs" of single-strand DNA at the vertices for
connecting units together.
Carbon nanotubes also make transistors, quantum wires,
property devices (depending on how much they are bent), "plumbing"
components (elbows, reducers, tees, crosses, etc.).

> Any predictions for 1998?

We will see hybrids of silicon/molecular machinery this year.
like (and unlike) processes will produce 10nm features across cm^2 dies.
Light wavelength barriers for photolith will be obviated in the process.
Private rockets will reach free orbit (X-Prize claimed).

> Have a great new year!

Forrest Bishop
Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering