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« Molecular Manufacturing On Fox News | Main | Fast Takeoff: RepRap Rocks »

April 20, 2009


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Svein Ove

..you can at least give us a hint. You don't get to say that and then just take off!


When you review the risks of nanotechnology, please take a close look at this site:


Tom Craver

My guess would be something in the realm of genetic engineered organisms for producing biofuel.

We should assume by default that any artificial self-replicator - right now that means genetically engineered organisms - applied beyond tightly controlled lab environments WILL escape control in some fashion.

I'm not terribly concerned about ideas of organisms that eat coal and turn it into biofuel, simply because if that were energetically favored to work in underground coal seams, it would have likely evolved already.

Now something that can eat relatively recent human products, such as plastic - THAT I could see as a likely risk - energy rich materials in an oxygen rich environment, unable to defend itself. If someone is creating an organism to break down plastics in landfills, THAT's a HUGE risk.

todd andersen

If someone is creating an organism to break down plastics in landfills, that’s a HUGE risk"

True and can you see, if the genetically engineered organism gets out the local gas station will have a mess on its hand, when all the plastic containers brake down. :)

Tom Mazanec

Read "An Ill Wind" novel for what this might do.

Chris Phoenix

"An Ill Wind" is not very realistic. If you want to write hard science, you have to get the details right. It's a cautionary fable, not to be taken literally.

There are already a number of microorganisms that can live on diesel fuel. The world hasn't ended yet.

A quick google found this page on bacteria in diesel, and this reference to free-living Antarctic bacteria that can degrade diesel as the sole organic substrate.


John Hunt

> The researchers acknowledge some of the danger, but may be too confident in their safety measures.

Chris, don't you see that you guys will never be able to stay ahead of every emerging threat? Lifeboat and CRN need to give up the idea that defenses can be developed to all potential threats. At best, actions can only delay the inevitable.

Is there anywhere in the world an underground bunker with the ability to sustain survivors indefinitely? Will the survivors have the capability to eventually leave the bunker and construct a safe life outside of it? If not then the survival side of the equation is not being adequately addressed.

Tom Mazanec

Perhaps they are trying to hybridize human and H5N1 bird flu so they can start work on a vaccine?

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