X-Message-Number: 21083
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 08:21:32 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #21066 - #21080

A bit backwards:

For Michael C Price:

Thank you for your compliment about the inflexibility of my mind. As
I said in my last posting, I would find it quite incredible that
our present ideas about electrons (or any subatomic particles etc
etc) will be considered valid and up-to-date in 500 years --- or
even in 100. 

Since you do not wish to discuss this subject further, I propose
a test. If we both survive our suspensions, we will get together
and study whatever theories discuss the phenomena we now attribute
to subatomic particles. If the notion of electron has changed 
radically, then you will apologize to me about your compliment. If
it remains much the same, then I will admit that you were right
about its persistence.

So how about that? 

And if one of us applies the same test while the other did not
survive, then I'd like you to remember what I said. And if I
survive and you do not, I promise to remember what YOU said.

For Mr Kluytmans:

I note that presently we have no nanodevices of the kind you
describe, though various people have proposed PARTS for them.
I have also written math papers and worked on algorithms for
parallel computers. This experience gives me a strong skepticism
that we can really work out nanosystems to the extent you 
seem to believe. The problem with theoretical calculations is
that we all have a tendency to forget some vital point, which
we discover when we actually implement one of the objects
we propose. In math, this might be the first draft of our 
paper: I've never been able to construct more than the simplest
of arguments without correcting myself many times.

I actually own and have read Nanosystems. I also take seriously
how biological "devices" work, if only because they are presently
the only instance of complete nanosystems which we can look at
and study. In your arguments on Cryonet, you make several
assertions which suggest that you think you need pay little
attention to living systems and how they work. For instance,
YOUR nanodevices will have rigid parts. Enzymes and other
biological nanoparts may be rigid sometimes and highly flexible
at other times. Rigidity is not a universal advantage --- even
if we design our own nanosystems. Nor is it true that biological
nanoparts simply "wear out". Sometimes they are eliminated 
because their presence serves no metabolic purpose at that
time, sometimes they can be more cheaply made than the cost
of repairing an existing one. For that matter, cells are complex
and perform many functions: they are complex assemblies of
nanodevices and should not be thought of simply as nanodevices
themselves. No, the nanodevices which make them up do not
work independently (except in specially constructed laboratory
systems). THAT TOO may tell us something about how to engineer
our own nanodevices when we make them in the real world rather
than in pure theory.

It has been years since I read Nanosystems. However I will expand
on the point that rigidity isn't always an advantage: suppose
we have a nanosized mechanical computer. Fine, and I believe
the calculations which say that IF LEFT TO ITSELF it will 
break down very rarely. Well, if we put it in a universe of
its very own, that will certainly be true, but in real life
we're going to have to deal with all kinds of external 
influences, even living things, that could get inside it
and mess it up. Especially if it is rigid, such invasions
will cause problems. If it is to be part of a repair system
for suspended patients, it will go into a milieu in which
such problems will show up all over.

            Best wishes and long long life for all,

               Thomas Donaldson

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