X-Message-Number: 10735
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 07:52:33 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10725 - #10733

Hi everyone!

To Tom Mazanec: Your claim that stone age technology "counted as a
form of nanotechnology" missed out on what I was saying. Biotechnology
however satisfies all the requirements if we define nanotechnology 
as a means of working with nanoscaled objects on nanoscales. And I
was pointing out that Drexler and his followers do NOT have a monopoly
on nanotechnology at all. As a matter of fact, I was not impressed by
NANOSYSTEMS, but will say that Drexler did do everyone a service 
in his earlier book by pointing out all the things that were going
on in terms of people learning to work on nanoscales. If you start
reading science more closely you will notice that much more is going
on than just Drexler's version of molecular nanotechnology. Even outside

Why wasn't I impressed? Basically I'm not convinced that we can do
ANY serious technology as a pure theoretical exercise. (Yes, apparently
some people have formed companies to try to actually develop devices 
using the Drexler variety of nanotechnology. I wish them well, really).
The problem with theoretical exercises is very simple: it's the 
difference between being able to write lots of very short computer
programs and have them work fine on first trial, and actually writing
a million-word program which works fine on first trial. The first I
have no trouble believing; the second strains my belief a lot... too

Moreover I think biotechnology presently is the most advanced form
of nanotechnology. Perhaps it will not keep that status permanently,
perhaps it will. I will say, though, that various claims by those 
fundamentally ignorant of it simply aren't true. There is no reason,
for instance, why we could not develop creatures(???? -- devices???)
capable of working on nonwater solvents at temperatures lower than
the freezing point of water. Various enzymes are being used RIGHT NOW
to do exactly that.

To Thomas Nord: I strongly suggest a bit more reading on both sides of
this issue, if you can do so from Sweden. The anti-gun idea is very
popular and too often accepted with no question. As for Switzerland,
the point that these guns are under control is exactly what I was
saying. Very few people believe that anyone should be allowed to own
a gun simply if they can buy one. At the least, it should require
some training, ideally by a nongovernmental entity (government branches
tend to be too influenced by politics). 

You state vaguely that you got most of your information from web sites.
Can you please be more specific? You did cite a publication (some years
ago) of the US Centers for Disease Control, but that was the only one.
Extrapolation of figures is always easy and often wrong --- if it were
usually correct, we'd all be starving. More contemporary figures would
be very useful.

The fact that gangs in the US use guns and kill one another is 
undeniable. It would be interesting to see figures which separated
the users of guns by age, ethnicity, and location. And for what it's
worth, I've lived in the US for long periods and not felt in danger ...
but then I was hardly foolhardy enough to go into areas where there
would be any danger, either. The situation in the US with "drugs"
does increase use of guns in those segments of the population involved.

And my personal opinion is that you'd do a lot for your fear of the
US if you simply went to visit there. Not to New York, but to some
other city in the Midwest or West. Arizona would be a good place. And
go to visit friends, not as a tourist.

To Tom Jonson: Ethanol? Interesting. It's been known for a long time
that individual cells will usually survive freezing. The crunch ( ;-))
comes when we try to preserve whole working organs: the freezing
disrupts structure at a supercellular level. Which gets me immediately
to my question: how well were the structures and operation of the
organs you froze preserved? If you tried hearts, for instance, could
you get them to beat afterwards? Even getting muscle tissue to 
respond to electricity as well as normal unfrozen muscles would be 
VERY interesting.

			Best and long long life for all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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