[ExI] we stand on the shoulders of giants

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Fri Jul 3 17:53:33 UTC 2009

At 09:41 AM 7/3/2009 -0700, Spike wrote:

>All of us here can drive a car, most of us can buy one with a few weeks of
>our wages, some of us can fix one.  But not one here could build a car.  All
>of us together could not build a car from raw materials, not even one that

Versions of this thought experiment are not unknown in science 
fiction. Perhaps the most famous is Phil Farmer's RIVERWORLD series. 
He cheats by making the planet (populated by all the humans who have 
ever lived)  a construct with "grails" scattered all along a vast 
global river, and these provide a quantity of food, narcotics and 
clothing (?) each day, but to build a riverboat, the reincarnated Sam 
Clemens has to start from scratch. IIRC they get their iron from a 
large meteorite.

Damien Broderick

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