[ExI] Chips The Size Of[interplanetary] Dust [and matrioshka brains]

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Sun Sep 2 18:00:29 UTC 2007

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of John K Clark
> Subject: [ExI] Chips The Size Of Dust


Cool John!  I have been thinking about this for some time, while thinking
about what is the optimal size and spacing of the nodes when creating a
Bradbury-esque Matrioshka brain.



I once spent a lot of mental energy trying to figure out how to do
station-keeping with M-brain nodes approximately the size of a dime (but
much thinner).  

Last spring, I was at a lecture by Dawkins.  At dinner afterwards, Amara
made an offhanded comment that has rattled around in my brain.  She said
that interplanetary space carries a small net electrical charge.  I never
realized that, but it makes total sense, and explains why interplanetary
dust behaves the way it does.  In retrospect that fact was (I think)
mentioned in Amara's PhD thesis, but for some reason it didn't sink in back
in January of 02 when I read that work.

Since then, it occurred to me that if the processors are small enough,
station keeping of individual nodes would require far less precision than
Robert and I originally calculated in March 2002.  Possibly they would not
require station keeping at all, which would save a lot of mass and
complexity.  If we could make individual nodes such that the mass is
sufficiently small, we could arrange for each node to carry a net electrical
charge.  Then the nodes would repel each other electrostatically, obviating
the need for station keeping.


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