[extropy-chat] Computing Power: Moore's Law keeps going and goingand going

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at bigpond.net.au
Thu Jan 26 22:47:37 UTC 2006

Robert Bradbury wrote:
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Robert Bradbury 
  To: ExI chat list 
  Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 9:06 AM
  Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Computing Power: Moore's Law keeps going and goingand going

  On 1/26/06, Adrian Tymes <wingcat at pacbell.net> wrote:
    * Even if it is made top-down like traditional litho, rather than
      bottom-up molecular-manufacturing-style - if it's dealing with
      individual elements < 1 micron, it's real nanotech.

  By your definition perhaps.  In my mind "real nanotechnology" has to meet the NSF specification of < 100 nm and it has to be assembled small-molecule by small-molecule (just as the human body is) with a very high degree of positional accuracy. 
The unit of biology is the cell not the atom. Its the cell that does the replicating and any particular human body we have experience of to date has developed from cells, not atoms. Sure, I think along with just about everyone that isn't a supernaturalist that somewhere, somehow the first cell *must* have formed naturally from smaller elements but *how* that happened is not currently known. 

The significance of this in relation to nanotech speculations is that it is the cell which is a living replicator and its not nanoscale its micron scale.  DNA does not replicate on its own. Ribosomes don't work outside of their cellular environments. 

   Ion implantation of traditional lithography generally does *not* achieve the same accuracy that most enzymes do. 

   At 45nm you are probably 10-100 times larger than the scale biological systems are generally working at. 

The *generally* in that sentence is one hell of a hard working word. Cellular membranes are around 6nm. Cellular membranes are important because they compartmentalise regions in which biochemisty takes place.  In order for oxidative phosphorylation to work, or to stop free radicals spilling out of organelles,
you need to maintain membrane integrity. ie. You need to maintain the integrity of something that is only 6nm thick and exists as it exists only within certain
limits of temperature, pressure, pH etc.   

    * The rest of your post only commented on the rise of computer
      chips, and said nothing about glucose-powered fuel cells. 
      There'd be quite a market *right now* for glucose-powered
      "fuel cells" that don't actually produce useful amounts of
      power but do consume significant (relative to the average
      obese American's body) amounts of glucose. 

  Agreed.  But if that is you goal it isn't hard.  Just filter the glucose out of you blood and circulate it into a bag containing bacteria that utilize the glucose to produce light.  If you make the bag into a transparent suit jacket you can glow in the dark while losing weight. 

I am not an expert in this. 

But there are feedback mechanisms in place such that glycolysis operates sometimes and gluconeogenesis other times and various GLUT receptors on various types of cells are sensing different levels of blood glucose.  The balance of metabolic systems will be effected by adding in *anything* new. *How* it will be effected is hard to say unless the person proposing to add the thing in can say what its characteristics are and where it would be located. Would the nanobot glucose burner only be in the bloodstream or would it be cells, if so which cells. So far as I know those aspects are never adequately filled in in nanobot flights of fancy. 

There are whole homeostastis mechanisms that don't get touched with a level of analysis that says "just filter the glucose out of your blood".  "Just filter" how? "Just filter" where?

Brett Paatsch
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