This week's interesting articles

Anders Sandberg (
21 Nov 1998 17:51:04 +0100

This week has been rather busy (or something, I haven't got much work or reading done anyway) so the crop of articles is fairly brief.

	Evolving molecular designs
	Casing assemblers
	The pharmacology of Long Term Potentiation
	Two websites


The papers from the Sixth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology have begun to arrive, see

Some fun reads so far are (I look forward to many other of the papers)

Globus, Al, John Lawton, and Todd Wipke: "Automatic molecular design using evolutionary techniques"

They describe an algorithm to evolve graphs representing molecules, trying to get them to approximate a desired molecule. They could get it to evolve benzene, cubane and purine relatively reliably, and runs for diazepam, morphine and cholesterol are underway. It seems possible to improve the algorithm quite a bit and it looks eminently parallelizable (definitely something to run on the net!).

Merkle, Ralph C.: "Casing an assembler"

About how to case an assembler with a bag of carbon. The fun thing isn't necessarily the solutions, but that it is clear that Merkle really seems to be moving towards a fairly complete assembler model. It also fits in nicely with some ideas Henrik Öhrström and I have discussed for our paper on nano-immune systems.


Memory and the Brain: Unexpected Chemistries and a New Pharmacology by Gary Lynch, Neurobiol. of Learning and Memory 70, 82-100 (1998)

A review article where Lynch deals with the substrate of LTP and modulation of synaptic change. And of course he has a section about ampakines, positive modulators of AMPA receptors that seem to increase and prolong LTP. In experiments they improve many forms of memory, both in rats and humans (especially older people). In rats they also produce a faster performance on complex, well-learned tasks. Overall, it seems like there is a big potential here.

[ Did you really think I could avoid finding a paper about memory enhancing drugs? :-) ]

No articles, but two good websites:

Falling Into a Black Hole by Andrew Hamilton - animations of various phenomena around black holes. Seems there are a lot of optics that people get wrong, I learned that I was wrong about some phenonmena during the approach.

A lot of wearble links gathered by KPJ of Aleph:

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