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Jobless & Sustainable Growth

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  • Jon Chance
    The industrial economy has been trending toward jobless growth since the first machine was built. Overlooked by most so-called economists , the very notion of
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 1, 2003
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      The industrial economy has been trending toward jobless growth since
      the first machine was built.

      Overlooked by most so-called "economists", the very notion of
      creating more "jobs" is antithetical to an economy that becomes
      increasingly efficient and automated.

      R. Buckminster Fuller and others have known this for decades, as
      described very well in CRITICAL PATH (1980).

      The question is how to reprogram "our" fraudulant and dysfunctional
      monetary system to adjust to the realities of jobless and sustainable
      growth - at least till the Earth's human population becomes stable,
      healthy and adjusted to ecological realities.

      Is there a system that's simpler and more efficient than Time-Energy
      Accounting?

      - Jon Chance

      Robot, Build Thyself

      And when you finish that, build some more of you. Go ahead, fill a
      whole desert valley. And then produce unlimited energy while
      eliminating the greenhouse effect. Okay? Thanks.

      By Thomas Bass

      DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 10 | October 1995 | Technology

      http://www.discover.com/issues/oct-95/features/robotbuildthysel569

      According to the vision of Klaus Lackner and Christopher Wendt, a few
      short decades from now the desert chaparral of what was once the
      White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico will be transformed
      into a strange new world. For hundreds of miles in every direction
      the alkali flats will be covered with a blinking array of solar
      panels. These might look familiar enough, but not the little suitcase-
      size robots scurrying among the panels on a grid of white ceramic
      tracks.

      The robots, called auxons (from the Greek auxein, to grow), are
      designed for specialized tasks. Digger auxons scrape an inch of dirt
      off the desert floor. Transport auxons carry the dirt to a beehive of
      electrified ovens. Out of these ovens, which work at superhigh
      temperatures, come useful metals, like iron and aluminum, or the
      silicon required for making computer chips. Production auxons shape
      these materials into machine parts and solar panels. Assembly auxons
      fit them into place. Then the process begins all over again as a new
      batch of self-replicating automatons rolls into the desert to scoop
      up another load of dirt.

      This electrified grid of tracks and bustling robots grows
      exponentially across the New Mexican mesas, doubling in size every
      six months. Though it started out the size of a football field, in
      ten years it could cover the continent. Before this happens, however,
      some built-in constraint will tell the system to stop growing.
      Instead of continuing to reproduce itself, the huge array of solar
      panels will feed its electricity into the national power grid. This
      one colony of auxons alone, limited to the test site where the
      world's first atomic bomb was exploded, will produce enough power to
      meet the current electrical energy needs of the United States.

      Elsewhere on the continent, other auxon colonies stretch inland from
      the coasts. When switched from reproduction to production, the
      colonies will desalinate seawater, pump freshwater to the nation's
      farmland, and suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere,
      transforming carbon dioxide into mountains of limestone. Another
      exponentially growing auxon colony, once it covers a bit more than 10
      percent of the Sahara, will be able to meet the world's total energy
      demands three times over. No longer starved for power or limited to
      the polluting technologies once used to get it, people will be
      looking forward to the twenty-second century, when things should
      really get interesting.

      The vision began to take shape in the summer of 1992. Klaus Lackner,
      a 43-year-old physicist in the Los Alamos National Laboratory's
      theoretical division--which researches such classified phenomena as
      bomb blasts, and such unclassified ones as climate--and his friend
      Christopher Wendt, a 36-year-old particle physicist at the University
      of Wisconsin, were enjoying a beer in Lackner's house on the Los
      Alamos mesa when they began wondering why scientists no longer think
      about big projects. Back in the 1950s people weren't afraid to pop
      off ideas about interplanetary travel or terraforming Mars into a
      space colony. But today, with fear of technology in the air, no one
      talks about building big projects on the scale of the pyramids or the
      great cathedrals of Europe.

      After a few more beers, Lackner and Wendt started thinking big
      themselves. They talked about the problem of global warming and how
      it could be solved by transforming carbon dioxide into carbonate rock-
      -a stable form of matter that would give us no more trouble than the
      cliffs of Dover. But to make these chalky white cliffs of stabilized
      CO2 would require so much machinery that the cost of buying or
      manufacturing it would bankrupt you. The only way you could do it
      would be to produce the machinery automatically. So we concluded that
      the means of production, as part of their job, would have to build
      copies of themselves, says Lackner. The number of these self-
      replicating machines at work, then, would increase exponentially.

      Lackner and Wendt did some back-of-the-envelope calculations. During
      the day, some 300 to 1,000 watts of solar power rains down on every
      square meter of land. Harness this power into a self-reproducing
      system and two things happen. The system grows big fast, and it
      produces a phenomenal amount of energy. A million-square-kilometer
      auxon system, which represents 4 percent of North America, or half
      the cropland in the United States, could produce 25 times the world's
      current output of electricity. A 10- million-square-kilometer auxon
      system would provide all the elements for a sustainable world
      economy. The price tag for developing this system? Anywhere from $1
      billion to $100 billion--cheap compared with, say, the current
      military budget of $264.7 billion.

      Once you start talking about projects this big, says Wendt, the
      amount of energy available to you becomes staggering.

      We live in an energy-starved society, says Lackner, and here was an
      idea for getting virtually unlimited energy, which would be a great
      thing to have.

      At this point in their discussion, they had only a vague idea of what
      could be done with an automated industrial process growing like algae
      over the surface of the planet, but they knew it was big and powerful
      and could be programmed for a wide variety of human uses. They would
      bring the dark, satanic mills of the nineteenth century into today's
      sunlight. They would scoop up the free energy raining down on Earth
      and use it to put the spark of life into dirt, water, and air, which
      were all that were needed to build artificial life.

      We fell in love with this idea of making something really huge, says
      Wendt. Then we tried to justify our love by thinking of useful things
      for it to do.

      When they met over breakfast the next morning, Lackner and Wendt
      looked at each other and said, That wasn't such a crazy idea we had
      last night. They agreed to pursue the project. They would moonlight
      in their spare time, researching the industrial processes and
      chemical reactions required to build self-reproducing machines. They
      couldn't think of one, but they imagined that somewhere there had to
      be a bottleneck, a first principle or fundamental law that made the
      idea impossible. They never found one.

      Laus Lackner, a tall, well-knit man with a domed forehead and graying
      hair curling over his ears, is a naturalized American, born in
      Germany. He wears sandals with socks, speaks English with a German
      accent, and is gracious to a fault. He also tends to wander. He picks
      up new ideas and calculates their feasibility with so much gusto that
      in his company one often feels like Alice tumbling down the rabbit
      hole.

      At such moments, Wendt interrupts to say, Oh, Klaus, don't get into
      that. The two men have known each other since they shared a computer
      in a research lab at Caltech in the early 1980s, when Lackner was a
      postdoc in high-energy physics and Wendt was an undergraduate. They
      found themselves together again after Lackner moved to the Stanford
      Linear Accelerator Center in Palo Alto and Wendt began graduate
      school next door at Stanford. Their friendship now includes their
      wives and Lackner's three young daughters.

      With hair clipped short on the sides and pointy ears, Wendt has a
      Vulcan air about him. He wears high-tech metal-frame glasses,
      collarless shirts, chinos, and hiking boots, which give him the hip
      look of someone still young enough to get carded at the university
      pub. Although he too was born in Germany, where his father was a
      visiting academic, Wendt is basically an American whiz kid, the
      product of some of the country's best schools and laboratories. He
      now researches Z bosons, muons, and other abstruse forces in high-
      energy particle physics. I still have this nagging idea that physics
      should be good for something, he says. And since I don't know what
      high-energy physics is good for, I'm always looking around for
      something useful. No wonder he fell in love with auxons.

      After spending a few weeks refining their original big idea via E-
      mail, Lackner and Wendt had outlined a self-reproducing system with
      closure. This means it was capable of making copies of itself without
      the addition of material from outside. Designed into the system were
      the powers of production, replication, growth, and self-repair.

      The tools required for building an auxon system are borrowed from
      experimental physics, chemistry, robot design, and Boy Scout
      inventiveness. Start with common dirt and break it into its
      components. Dirt from anywhere, your backyard included, is filled
      with iron ore, aluminum, silicon, copper, carbon, and virtually every
      other element required for industrial production.

      So why isn't your backyard being strip-mined? Because the
      concentration of metals in ordinary dirt is low--down in the range of
      5 percent for iron, for example, while the metal in a good iron mine
      might be concentrated at 30 percent. But low concentrations present
      no problem to a system with unlimited energy; it can simply crunch up
      more dirt.

      Slightly more problematic for the backyard miner is that the metals
      in dirt often exist in the form of oxides. Before you can obtain
      usable iron or aluminum, you have to strip away the oxygen. Ripping
      oxygen off the molecules to which it is attached is an energy-
      intensive process, requiring high heat, electricity, or both.
      Scientists have developed ways to make the procedure more efficient--
      by reducing the melting temperatures of ores and improving the
      electrolytic processes by which they separate the good stuff from the
      bad. Aluminum oxide, for example, is mixed with cryolite, a fluoride,
      to cut its melting temperature in half.

      But fluoride is rare, and to avoid bottlenecks, Lackner and Wendt
      wanted to steer clear of any substance in short supply. So they
      developed the chemistry for a new kind of industrial process. They
      would strip away the oxygen molecules in metallic oxides by binding
      them to silicon (which abounds in dirt) or carbon (which abounds in
      air). The one sticking point in making this process work is the heat
      it requires. Ores break down in the presence of carbon and release
      their constituent metals only when fired at temperatures ranging up
      to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit; the silicon reaction does work at lower
      temperatures, but more heat makes it go faster. These temperatures,
      although feasible in today's industrial processes, are too expensive
      to maintain--unless the system is being run by auxons with plenty of
      solar energy to spare.

      Lackner and Wendt's element separation cycle has another unique
      feature: it requires no outside materials beyond those created in its
      ten steps. After an initial priming with silicon and carbon, the
      system recycles all the elements required to keep itself going. You
      scoop up dirt and heat it. Into the furnace goes silicon. The silicon
      gloms on to the oxygen atoms, ripping them away from the iron,
      sodium, potassium, and magnesium. There they are--the metals you were
      after, in the form of a liquid or a gas.

      The oxygen stolen from the metals turns the silicon into silicon
      dioxide, or quartz. Carbon rips away the oxygen atoms again, turning
      the quartz back into silicon and carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, in
      the presence of hydrogen, becomes carbon and water. Carbon reduces
      aluminum. Electricity splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, and the
      process starts all over again, with silicon, carbon, and hydrogen
      being dumped into dirt- filled high-temperature furnaces.

      After they'd outlined their process, Lackner and Wendt checked their
      work by searching the literature on industrial techniques for making
      metals. Iron, magnesium, calcium--all at one time or another have
      been extracted by applying intense heat to ores, as Lackner and Wendt
      suggested doing. Even aluminum, which requires the highest
      temperatures, has been extracted this way. Reynolds Metals Company
      went so far as to build a pilot plant that used carbon instead of
      cryolite to make aluminum. The technology worked fine, even if it was
      too expensive at today's prices. It would not be too expensive, of
      course, for an auxon.

      We reinvented the wheel, says Lackner, which makes me feel quite
      comfortable. Industry has experimented with all these ideas. They
      just never put them into a coherent system.

      Once dirt is broken down into piles of metals, there's no conceptual
      difficulty with the rest of the technology required for shaping these
      piles into rods, panels, cogs, conductors, insulators, computer
      chips, and the other stuff of modern machine tools. Robots are now
      very good at rolling ingots, hammering them into sheets of metal,
      cutting and shaping machine parts, and then assembling them into
      usable tools. A close cousin to all the automated steps required to
      build auxons already exists in industry, says Lackner. A car can be
      made in 16 hours almost entirely by robots. Robots controlled by
      Apple computers assemble parts of Apple computers. Lackner and Wendt
      consider their auxon system a logical extension of automated methods
      already in place. The difference will not be how the robots work but
      what they produce: more of themselves.

      Lackner and Wendt were not trying to draw up blueprints for actual
      robots; they were merely trying to prove that their idea wasn't
      impossible. Still, they had a sense of the problems they'd encounter
      in founding an auxon community, and the kinds of solutions they would
      propose.

      Once the suitcase-size bolt cutters and nut fasteners were up and
      running, they knew, the trick to keeping the system going would be
      simplicity. Rather than smart robots--which have a history of taking
      three steps and falling over--Lackner foresaw a decentralized system
      of dumb machines, each performing its dedicated task. You want them
      cheap and dispensable, he says. An auxon can jump off a cliff and you
      won't miss it.

      The auxon system wouldn't have any brain or automatic administrative
      center, like the one a NASA research team envisioned in 1980 when it
      proposed building self-growing mining modules on the surface of the
      moon. Those visionaries pictured a lunar industrial park complete
      with 3 billion robots, some of which would be devoted to keeping the
      American flag flying over Central Control. But Lackner and Wendt
      considered such a centralized control system cumbersome and
      unnecessary. They proposed instead to manage their auxons using
      remote, localized sensors that work by reflex. Each auxon would be
      able to sense what was going on in its immediate neighborhood and
      respond in a simple, appropriate way--perhaps by speeding up or
      slowing down production.

      Generally the system would be left to its own devices, spreading
      across the desert like an automated kudzu vine. But while the auxons
      were busy copying themselves, outside observers might want to keep an
      eye on the system through satellite monitoring or feedback loops.
      Humans might occasionally enter the scene to reprogram some machines,
      either to improve their design or to root out bugs; they might also
      want to keep an eye on auxons threatening to trespass beyond their
      allotted bounds.

      The ultimate control, of course, would lie in turning off the energy.
      The system could be designed to respond to a broadcast radio signal
      that would shut down the solar panels. Even if some of them ignore
      you, the bulk of the system would collapse, says Lackner.

      Other controls could be provided by what Lackner jokingly calls
      administrative auxons--regulators that scuttle around enforcing
      production specs and preventing mutations from reproducing
      themselves. The system's strategy could be changed--from growth to
      maintenance, for example--by injecting new blueprints into the
      assembly robots, which would be retrofitted with new computer chips
      or reprogrammed. The system will not evolve, Lackner says, unless you
      approve it.

      When they were satisfied that they'd addressed all the important
      issues, Wendt and Lackner looked at the system critically. Suspicious
      that it might be too good to be true, they devised various
      productivity measures for proving it would work. Then they tested the
      design with a barrage of imaginary disasters.

      A rainstorm washes out part of the grid? Put up a sign saying track
      closed and reroute your auxons down a stretch of elevated track. An
      auxon dies on the perimeter? Tow it into a furnace to have its parts
      recycled. Nowhere in the scheme was there a bottleneck or an
      insurmountable obstacle. The system was go. Lackner and Wendt wrote
      up their idea in a paper, Exponential Growth of Large Self-
      Reproducing Machine Systems, which was published in May in
      Mathematical and Computer Modeling.

      Even if an auxon system could be built, of course, some question
      whether it should be built. What if it turns into an ecological
      nightmare? After all, one reason big projects are out of favor may be
      that they carry big risks.

      The potential of self-reproducing machines to wreak ecological havoc
      was addressed back in the 1970s, when physicist Freeman Dyson
      conducted some famous thought experiments on the future of machinery.
      Among other ideas, Dyson proposed building a rock-eating automaton
      that would fill the Sonoran Desert with self-reproducing machines.
      Devoted to collecting sunlight and producing electric power, these
      machines would generate so much power that the rock eaters could
      easily support another colony, this one of rock restorers--automatons
      devoted to putting the desert back to its original form. Auxons owe
      an obvious debt to Dyson's rock eaters, and Dyson has said some kind
      words to Lackner and Wendt about their idea.

      The developers of the rock eaters' auxonal progeny face not only the
      Frankenstein problem of runaway machines but also the question of
      real estate. Sure, you need a certain amount of land for it, says
      Lackner. Just as in your house you have to commit a certain number of
      square feet to the bathroom. We plowed under the state of Iowa and
      turned it into a cornfield, which is not all that natural either.
      Clearly he and Wendt think the benefits of self-reproducing machines
      outweigh the costs of siting them in various parts of the world, or
      elsewhere in the universe.

      Maybe it's unhealthy thinking about these ideas, muses Wendt. It
      requires hubris.

      But that's what makes it fun, says Lackner.

      The two scientists admit that their ideas are out of tune with a
      fashionable present-day notion that the way out of our problems is
      not more technology but less. Lackner and Wendt argue that there is
      no going back to preindustrial days. They believe we will need new
      technologies to live in an increasingly energy-hungry world. They are
      serious about getting their system built, and they hope to design
      prototype auxons and start researching the alchemy of dirt within the
      next few months. As their work moves forward, self-reproducing
      machines are scuttling one step closer to reality.

      *************

      http://egroups.com/group/JPChance - Lenny Bruce for President.

      http://egroups.com/group/Time-Energy-Accounting - TEA.

      http://BFI.org/operating_manual.htm - R. Buckminster Fuller.

      http://Cinetopia.Net - Rola Cola, Notes from Earth, October Suprise.

      http://landru.myhome.net/monques - The Debt-Money Virus.

      http://www.AWEA.Org - Prosperity, Not War & Pollution.

      http://Treasurynet.Org - Time + Energy = Wealth.
    • Lyn Milnes
      Talking about job losses, the article below deals with tiny particles which can manufacture energy sources, all by themselves. There are also other nano-scale
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 1, 2003
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        Talking about job losses, the article below deals with tiny particles which can manufacture energy sources, all by themselves.

         

        There are also other nano-scale developments we ought to know about.  

         

        Nanoshells for example are tiny coated particles which are taken into the body or bloodstream.  They attack the body like bullets if given a certain stimulus (which is a form of lightbeam which travels through body tissue easily).   On command, as it were, they attack surrounding cells, killing them.   It seems that the nanoshells could enter the body via an injection, food or vaccine.   They would sit there dormant until stimulated the exactly right way, on the right light frequency.  

         

        It is being talked about to “cure cancer” (there are so many people working on this that if they ever did “cure cancer” the western world would suffer job losses which would have a severe economic effect).

         

        But the light beam (infra-red to ultra-violet spectrum) could come from aircraft flying low over a town where there is civil unrest, to attack previously “dosed” people.   A lot of vaccines are ordered individually on a “client-named” basis by the doctor.   Or the nanoshells might be in food.  

         

        LLM

         

         

        http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994406

         

         

        NewScientist.com

         

         

        Nano-transistor self-assembles using biology

         

        19:00 20 November 03

         

        NewScientist.com news service

         

        A functional electronic nano-device has been manufactured using biological self-assembly for the first time.

        Israeli scientists harnessed the construction capabilities of DNA and the electronic properties of carbon nanotubes to create the self-assembling nano-transistor. The work has been greeted as "outstanding" and "spectacular" by nanotechnology experts.

        The push to shrink electronic circuits to ever smaller dimensions is relentless. Carbon nanotubes, which have remarkable electronic properties and only about one nanometre in diameter, have been touted as a highly promising material to help drive miniaturisation. But manufacturing nano-scale transistors has proved both time-consuming and labour-intensive.

        The team, at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, overcame these problems with a two step process. First they used proteins to allow carbon nanotubes to bind to specific sites on strands of DNA. They then turned the remainder of the DNA molecule into a conducting wire.


        Proof of principle

        "DNA is very good at building things in molecular biology, but unfortunately, it does not conduct electricity. We had to get a metal conductor on the DNA," explains physicist Erez Braun, who led the research.

        "This is spectacular work," says Cees Dekker, a nanoscience expert at Delft University in the Netherlands. "It demonstrates that it's possible to use biology to build an inorganic device that works."

        "But while it is a first step towards molecular computing based on this type of DNA configuration, we are still many years way from large scale self-assembly electronic devices, such as computers," Dekker cautions.


        Bacterial protein

        Braun's team began their manufacturing process by coating a central part of a long DNA molecule with proteins from an E. coli bacterium. Next, graphite nanotubes coated with antibodies were added, which bound onto the protein.

        After this, a solution of silver ions was added. The ions chemically attach to the phosphate backbone of the DNA, but only where no protein has attached. Aldehyde then reduces the ions to silver metal, forming the foundation of a conducting wire.

        To complete the device, gold was added. This nucleates on the silver and creates a fully conducting wire. The end result is a carbon nanotube device connected a both ends by a gold and silver wire.

        The device operates as a transistor when a voltage applied across the substrate is varied. This causes the nanotubes to either bridge the gap between the wires - completing the circuit - or not.

        Out of 45 nanoscale devices created in three batches, almost a third emerged as self-assembled transistors. They work at room temperature and the only restriction for future devices is that the components must be compatible with the biological reactions and the metal-plating process.

        The team have already connected two of the devices together, using the biological technique. "The same process could allow us to create elaborate self-assembling DNA sculptures and circuitry," says Braun.

        Journal reference: Science (vol 302, p 1380)

         

        Gaia Vince

         

         

        © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

         

         

         

         

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jon Chance [mailto:president2002usa@...]
        Sent:
        02 December 2003 04:03
        To: cia-drugs@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [cia-drugs] Jobless & Sustainable Growth

         

        The industrial economy has been trending toward jobless growth since

        the first machine was built.

         

        Overlooked by most so-called "economists", the very notion of

        creating more "jobs" is antithetical to an economy that becomes

        increasingly efficient and automated.

         

        R. Buckminster Fuller and others have known this for decades, as

        described very well in CRITICAL PATH (1980).

         

        The question is how to reprogram "our" fraudulant and dysfunctional

        monetary system to adjust to the realities of jobless and sustainable

        growth - at least till the Earth's human population becomes stable,

        healthy and adjusted to ecological realities.

         

        Is there a system that's simpler and more efficient than Time-Energy

        Accounting?

         

        - Jon Chance

         

        Robot, Build Thyself

         

        And when you finish that, build some more of you. Go ahead, fill a

        whole desert valley. And then produce unlimited energy while

        eliminating the greenhouse effect. Okay? Thanks.

         

        By Thomas Bass

         

        DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 10 | October 1995 | Technology

         

        http://www.discover.com/issues/oct-95/features/robotbuildthysel569

         

        According to the vision of Klaus Lackner and Christopher Wendt, a few

        short decades from now the desert chaparral of what was once the

        White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico will be transformed

        into a strange new world. For hundreds of miles in every direction

        the alkali flats will be covered with a blinking array of solar

        panels. These might look familiar enough, but not the little suitcase-

        size robots scurrying among the panels on a grid of white ceramic

        tracks.

         

        The robots, called auxons (from the Greek auxein, to grow), are

        designed for specialized tasks. Digger auxons scrape an inch of dirt

        off the desert floor. Transport auxons carry the dirt to a beehive of

        electrified ovens. Out of these ovens, which work at superhigh

        temperatures, come useful metals, like iron and aluminum, or the

        silicon required for making computer chips. Production auxons shape

        these materials into machine parts and solar panels. Assembly auxons

        fit them into place. Then the process begins all over again as a new

        batch of self-replicating automatons rolls into the desert to scoop

        up another load of dirt.

         

        This electrified grid of tracks and bustling robots grows

        exponentially across the New Mexican mesas, doubling in size every

        six months. Though it started out the size of a football field, in

        ten years it could cover the continent. Before this happens, however,

        some built-in constraint will tell the system to stop growing.

        Instead of continuing to reproduce itself, the huge array of solar

        panels will feed its electricity into the national power grid. This

        one colony of auxons alone, limited to the test site where the

        world's first atomic bomb was exploded, will produce enough power to

        meet the current electrical energy needs of the United States.

         

        Elsewhere on the continent, other auxon colonies stretch inland from

        the coasts. When switched from reproduction to production, the

        colonies will desalinate seawater, pump freshwater to the nation's

        farmland, and suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere,

        transforming carbon dioxide into mountains of limestone. Another

        exponentially growing auxon colony, once it covers a bit more than 10

        percent of the Sahara, will be able to meet the world's total energy

        demands three times over. No longer starved for power or limited to

        the polluting technologies once used to get it, people will be

        looking forward to the twenty-second century, when things should

        really get interesting.

         

        The vision began to take shape in the summer of 1992. Klaus Lackner,

        a 43-year-old physicist in the Los Alamos National Laboratory's

        theoretical division--which researches such classified phenomena as

        bomb blasts, and such unclassified ones as climate--and his friend

        Christopher Wendt, a 36-year-old particle physicist at the University

        of Wisconsin, were enjoying a beer in Lackner's house on the Los

        Alamos mesa when they began wondering why scientists no longer think

        about big projects. Back in the 1950s people weren't afraid to pop

        off ideas about interplanetary travel or terraforming Mars into a

        space colony. But today, with fear of technology in the air, no one

        talks about building big projects on the scale of the pyramids or the

        great cathedrals of Europe.

         

        After a few more beers, Lackner and Wendt started thinking big

        themselves. They talked about the problem of global warming and how

        it could be solved by transforming carbon dioxide into carbonate rock-

        -a stable form of matter that would give us no more trouble than the

        cliffs of Dover. But to make these chalky white cliffs of stabilized

        CO2 would require so much machinery that the cost of buying or

        manufacturing it would bankrupt you. The only way you could do it

        would be to produce the machinery automatically. So we concluded that

        the means of production, as part of their job, would have to build

        copies of themselves, says Lackner. The number of these self-

        replicating machines at work, then, would increase exponentially.

         

        Lackner and Wendt did some back-of-the-envelope calculations. During

        the day, some 300 to 1,000 watts of solar power rains down on every

        square meter of land. Harness this power into a self-reproducing

        system and two things happen. The system grows big fast, and it

        produces a phenomenal amount of energy. A million-square-kilometer

        auxon system, which represents 4 percent of North America, or half

        the cropland in the United States, could produce 25 times the world's

        current output of electricity. A 10- million-square-kilometer auxon

        system would provide all the elements for a sustainable world

        economy. The price tag for developing this system? Anywhere from $1

        billion to $100 billion--cheap compared with, say, the current

        military budget of $264.7 billion.

         

        Once you start talking about projects this big, says Wendt, the

        amount of energy available to you becomes staggering.

         

        We live in an energy-starved society, says Lackner, and here was an

        idea for getting virtually unlimited energy, which would be a great

        thing to have.

         

        At this point in their discussion, they had only a vague idea of what

        could be done with an automated industrial process growing like algae

        over the surface of the planet, but they knew it was big and powerful

        and could be programmed for a wide variety of human uses. They would

        bring the dark, satanic mills of the nineteenth century into today's

        sunlight. They would scoop up the free energy raining down on Earth

        and use it to put the spark of life into dirt, water, and air, which

        were all that were needed to build artificial life.

         

        We fell in love with this idea of making something really huge, says

        Wendt. Then we tried to justify our love by thinking of useful things

        for it to do.

         

        When they met over breakfast the next morning, Lackner and Wendt

        looked at each other and said, That wasn't such a crazy idea we had

        last night. They agreed to pursue the project. They would moonlight

        in their spare time, researching the industrial processes and

        chemical reactions required to build self-reproducing machines. They

        couldn't think of one, but they imagined that somewhere there had to

        be a bottleneck, a first principle or fundamental law that made the

        idea impossible. They never found one.

         

        Laus Lackner, a tall, well-knit man with a domed forehead and graying

        hair curling over his ears, is a naturalized American, born in

        Germany. He wears sandals with socks, speaks English with a German

        accent, and is gracious to a fault. He also tends to wander. He picks

        up new ideas and calculates their feasibility with so much gusto that

        in his company one often feels like Alice tumbling down the rabbit

        hole.

         

        At such moments, Wendt interrupts to say, Oh, Klaus, don't get into

        that. The two men have known each other since they shared a computer

        in a research lab at Caltech in the early 1980s, when Lackner was a

        postdoc in high-energy physics and Wendt was an undergraduate. They

        found themselves together again after Lackner moved to the Stanford

        Linear Accelerator Center in Palo Alto and Wendt began graduate

        school next door at Stanford. Their friendship now includes their

        wives and Lackner's three young daughters.

         

        With hair clipped short on the sides and pointy ears, Wendt has a

        Vulcan air about him. He wears high-tech metal-frame glasses,

        collarless shirts, chinos, and hiking boots, which give him the hip

        look of someone still young enough to get carded at the university

        pub. Although he too was born in Germany, where his father was a

        visiting academic, Wendt is basically an American whiz kid, the

        product of some of the country's best schools and laboratories. He

        now researches Z bosons, muons, and other abstruse forces in high-

        energy particle physics. I still have this nagging idea that physics

        should be good for something, he says. And since I don't know what

        high-energy physics is good for, I'm always looking around for

        something useful. No wonder he fell in love with auxons.

         

        After spending a few weeks refining their original big idea via E-

        mail, Lackner and Wendt had outlined a self-reproducing system with

        closure. This means it was capable of making copies of itself without

        the addition of material from outside. Designed into the system were

        the powers of production, replication, growth, and self-repair.

         

        The tools required for building an auxon system are borrowed from

        experimental physics, chemistry, robot design, and Boy Scout

        inventiveness. Start with common dirt and break it into its

        components. Dirt from anywhere, your backyard included, is filled

        with iron ore, aluminum, silicon, copper, carbon, and virtually every

        other element required for industrial production.

         

        So why isn't your backyard being strip-mined? Because the

        concentration of metals in ordinary dirt is low--down in the range of

        5 percent for iron, for example, while the metal in a good iron mine

        might be concentrated at 30 percent. But low concentrations present

        no problem to a system with unlimited energy; it can simply crunch up

        more dirt.

         

        Slightly more problematic for the backyard miner is that the metals

        in dirt often exist in the form of oxides. Before you can obtain

        usable iron or aluminum, you have to strip away the oxygen. Ripping

        oxygen off the molecules to which it is attached is an energy-

        intensive process, requiring high heat, electricity, or both.

        Scientists have developed ways to make the procedure more efficient--

        by reducing the melting temperatures of ores and improving the

        electrolytic processes by which they separate the good stuff from the

        bad. Aluminum oxide, for example, is mixed with cryolite, a fluoride,

        to cut its melting temperature in half.

         

        But fluoride is rare, and to avoid bottlenecks, Lackner and Wendt

        wanted to steer clear of any substance in short supply. So they

        developed the chemistry for a new kind of industrial process. They

        would strip away the oxygen molecules in metallic oxides by binding

        them to silicon (which abounds in dirt) or carbon (which abounds in

        air). The one sticking point in making this process work is the heat

        it requires. Ores break down in the presence of carbon and release

        their constituent metals only when fired at temperatures ranging up

        to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit; the silicon reaction does work at lower

        temperatures, but more heat makes it go faster. These temperatures,

        although feasible in today's industrial processes, are too expensive

        to maintain--unless the system is being run by auxons with plenty of

        solar energy to spare.

         

        Lackner and Wendt's element separation cycle has another unique

        feature: it requires no outside materials beyond those created in its

        ten steps. After an initial priming with silicon and carbon, the

        system recycles all the elements required to keep itself going. You

        scoop up dirt and heat it. Into the furnace goes silicon. The silicon

        gloms on to the oxygen atoms, ripping them away from the iron,

        sodium, potassium, and magnesium. There they are--the metals you were

        after, in the form of a liquid or a gas.

         

        The oxygen stolen from the metals turns the silicon into silicon

        dioxide, or quartz. Carbon rips away the oxygen atoms again, turning

        the quartz back into silicon and carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, in

        the presence of hydrogen, becomes carbon and water. Carbon reduces

        aluminum. Electricity splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, and the

        process starts all over again, with silicon, carbon, and hydrogen

        being dumped into dirt- filled high-temperature furnaces.

         

        After they'd outlined their process, Lackner and Wendt checked their

        work by searching the literature on industrial techniques for making

        metals. Iron, magnesium, calcium--all at one time or another have

        been extracted by applying intense heat to ores, as Lackner and Wendt

        suggested doing. Even aluminum, which requires the highest

        temperatures, has been extracted this way. Reynolds Metals Company

        went so far as to build a pilot plant that used carbon instead of

        cryolite to make aluminum. The technology worked fine, even if it was

        too expensive at today's prices. It would not be too expensive, of

        course, for an auxon.

         

        We reinvented the wheel, says Lackner, which makes me feel quite

        comfortable. Industry has experimented with all these ideas. They

        just never put them into a coherent system.

         

        Once dirt is broken down into piles of metals, there's no conceptual

        difficulty with the rest of the technology required for shaping these

        piles into rods, panels, cogs, conductors, insulators, computer

        chips, and the other stuff of modern machine tools. Robots are now

        very good at rolling ingots, hammering them into sheets of metal,

        cutting and shaping machine parts, and then assembling them into

        usable tools. A close cousin to all the automated steps required to

        build auxons already exists in industry, says Lackner. A car can be

        made in 16 hours almost entirely by robots. Robots controlled by

        Apple computers assemble parts of Apple computers. Lackner and Wendt

        consider their auxon system a logical extension of automated methods

        already in place. The difference will not be how the robots work but

        what they produce: more of themselves.

         

        Lackner and Wendt were not trying to draw up blueprints for actual

        robots; they were merely trying to prove that their idea wasn't

        impossible. Still, they had a sense of the problems they'd encounter

        in founding an auxon community, and the kinds of solutions they would

        propose.

         

        Once the suitcase-size bolt cutters and nut fasteners were up and

        running, they knew, the trick to keeping the system going would be

        simplicity. Rather than smart robots--which have a history of taking

        three steps and falling over--Lackner foresaw a decentralized system

        of dumb machines, each performing its dedicated task. You want them

        cheap and dispensable, he says. An auxon can jump off a cliff and you

        won't miss it.

         

        The auxon system wouldn't have any brain or automatic administrative

        center, like the one a NASA research team envisioned in 1980 when it

        proposed building self-growing mining modules on the surface of the

        moon. Those visionaries pictured a lunar industrial park complete

        with 3 billion robots, some of which would be devoted to keeping the

        American flag flying over Central Control. But Lackner and Wendt

        considered such a centralized control system cumbersome and

        unnecessary. They proposed instead to manage their auxons using

        remote, localized sensors that work by reflex. Each auxon would be

        able to sense what was going on in its immediate neighborhood and

        respond in a simple, appropriate way--perhaps by speeding up or

        slowing down production.

         

        Generally the system would be left to its own devices, spreading

        across the desert like an automated kudzu vine. But while the auxons

        were busy copying themselves, outside observers might want to keep an

        eye on the system through satellite monitoring or feedback loops.

        Humans might occasionally enter the scene to reprogram some machines,

        either to improve their design or to root out bugs; they might also

        want to keep an eye on auxons threatening to trespass beyond their

        allotted bounds.

         

        The ultimate control, of course, would lie in turning off the energy.

        The system could be designed to respond to a broadcast radio signal

        that would shut down the solar panels. Even if some of them ignore

        you, the bulk of the system would collapse, says Lackner.

         

        Other controls could be provided by what Lackner jokingly calls

        administrative auxons--regulators that scuttle around enforcing

        production specs and preventing mutations from reproducing

        themselves. The system's strategy could be changed--from growth to

        maintenance, for example--by injecting new blueprints into the

        assembly robots, which would be retrofitted with new computer chips

        or reprogrammed. The system will not evolve, Lackner says, unless you

        approve it.

         

        When they were satisfied that they'd addressed all the important

        issues, Wendt and Lackner looked at the system critically. Suspicious

        that it might be too good to be true, they devised various

        productivity measures for proving it would work. Then they tested the

        design with a barrage of imaginary disasters.

         

        A rainstorm washes out part of the grid? Put up a sign saying track

        closed and reroute your auxons down a stretch of elevated track. An

        auxon dies on the perimeter? Tow it into a furnace to have its parts

        recycled. Nowhere in the scheme was there a bottleneck or an

        insur

        (Message over 64 KB, truncated)

      • Bob
        This would unemploy a lot of single-car-accident contractors and jet-set coroners. -Bob ... This would unemploy a lot of single-car-accident contractors and
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 1, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          This would unemploy a lot of single-car-accident
          contractors and jet-set coroners.

          -Bob

          Lyn Milnes wrote:

          Talking about job losses, the article below deals with tiny particles which can manufacture energy sources, all by themselves.

           

          There are also other nano-scale developments we ought to know about.  

           

          Nanoshells for example are tiny coated particles which are taken into the body or bloodstream.  They attack the body like bullets if given a certain stimulus (which is a form of lightbeam which travels through body tissue easily).   On command, as it were, they attack surrounding cells, killing them.   It seems that the nanoshells could enter the body via an injection, food or vaccine.   They would sit there dormant until stimulated the exactly right way, on the right light frequency.  

           

          It is being talked about to “cure cancer” (there are so many people working on this that if they ever did “cure cancer” the western world would suffer job losses which would have a severe economic effect).

           

          But the light beam (infra-red to ultra-violet spectrum) could come from aircraft flying low over a town where there is civil unrest, to attack previously “dosed” people.   A lot of vaccines are ordered individually on a “client-named” basis by the doctor.   Or the nanoshells might be in food.  

           

          LLM

           

           

          http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994406

           

           

          NewScientist.com

           

           

          Nano-transistor self-assembles using biology

           

          19:00 20 November 03

           

          NewScientist.com news service

           

          A functional electronic nano-device has been manufactured using biological self-assembly for the first time.

          Israeli scientists harnessed the construction capabilities of DNA and the electronic properties of carbon nanotubes to create the self-assembling nano-transistor. The work has been greeted as "outstanding" and "spectacular" by nanotechnology experts.

          The push to shrink electronic circuits to ever smaller dimensions is relentless. Carbon nanotubes, which have remarkable electronic properties and only about one nanometre in diameter, have been touted as a highly promising material to help drive miniaturisation. But manufacturing nano-scale transistors has proved both time-consuming and labour-intensive.

          The team, at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, overcame these problems with a two step process. First they used proteins to allow carbon nanotubes to bind to specific sites on strands of DNA. They then turned the remainder of the DNA molecule into a conducting wire.


          Proof of principle

          "DNA is very good at building things in molecular biology, but unfortunately, it does not conduct electricity. We had to get a metal conductor on the DNA," explains physicist Erez Braun, who led the research.

          "This is spectacular work," says Cees Dekker, a nanoscience expert at Delft University in the Netherlands. "It demonstrates that it's possible to use biology to build an inorganic device that works."

          "But while it is a first step towards molecular computing based on this type of DNA configuration, we are still many years way from large scale self-assembly electronic devices, such as computers," Dekker cautions.


          Bacterial protein

          Braun's team began their manufacturing process by coating a central part of a long DNA molecule with proteins from an E. coli bacterium. Next, graphite nanotubes coated with antibodies were added, which bound onto the protein.

          After this, a solution of silver ions was added. The ions chemically attach to the phosphate backbone of the DNA, but only where no protein has attached. Aldehyde then reduces the ions to silver metal, forming the foundation of a conducting wire.

          To complete the device, gold was added. This nucleates on the silver and creates a fully conducting wire. The end result is a carbon nanotube device connected a both ends by a gold and silver wire.

          The device operates as a transistor when a voltage applied across the substrate is varied. This causes the nanotubes to either bridge the gap between the wires - completing the circuit - or not.

          Out of 45 nanoscale devices created in three batches, almost a third emerged as self-assembled transistors. They work at room temperature and the only restriction for future devices is that the components must be compatible with the biological reactions and the metal-plating process.

          The team have already connected two of the devices together, using the biological technique. "The same process could allow us to create elaborate self-assembling DNA sculptures and circuitry," says Braun.

          Journal reference: Science (vol 302, p 1380)

           

          Gaia Vince

           

           

          © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

           

           

           

           

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Jon Chance [mailto:president2002usa@...]
          Sent:
          02 December 2003 04:03
          To: cia-drugs@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [cia-drugs] Jobless & Sustainable Growth

           

          The industrial economy has been trending toward jobless growth since

          the first machine was built.

           

          Overlooked by most so-called "economists", the very notion of

          creating more "jobs" is antithetical to an economy that becomes

          increasingly efficient and automated.

           

          R. Buckminster Fuller and others have known this for decades, as

          described very well in CRITICAL PATH (1980).

           

          The question is how to reprogram "our" fraudulant and dysfunctional

          monetary system to adjust to the realities of jobless and sustainable

          growth - at least till the Earth's human population becomes stable,

          healthy and adjusted to ecological realities.

           

          Is there a system that's simpler and more efficient than Time-Energy

          Accounting?

           

          - Jon Chance

           

          Robot, Build Thyself

           

          And when you finish that, build some more of you. Go ahead, fill a

          whole desert valley. And then produce unlimited energy while

          eliminating the greenhouse effect. Okay? Thanks.

           

          By Thomas Bass

           

          DISCOVER Vol. 16 No. 10 | October 1995 | Technology

           

          http://www.discover.com/issues/oct-95/features/robotbuildthysel569

           

          According to the vision of Klaus Lackner and Christopher Wendt, a few

          short decades from now the desert chaparral of what was once the

          White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico will be transformed

          into a strange new world. For hundreds of miles in every direction

          the alkali flats will be covered with a blinking array of solar

          panels. These might look familiar enough, but not the little suitcase-

          size robots scurrying among the panels on a grid of white ceramic

          tracks.

           

          The robots, called auxons (from the Greek auxein, to grow), are

          designed for specialized tasks. Digger auxons scrape an inch of dirt

          off the desert floor. Transport auxons carry the dirt to a beehive of

          electrified ovens. Out of these ovens, which work at superhigh

          temperatures, come useful metals, like iron and aluminum, or the

          silicon required for making computer chips. Production auxons shape

          these materials into machine parts and solar panels. Assembly auxons

          fit them into place. Then the process begins all over again as a new

          batch of self-replicating automatons rolls into the desert to scoop

          up another load of dirt.

           

          This electrified grid of tracks and bustling robots grows

          exponentially across the New Mexican mesas, doubling in size every

          six months. Though it started out the size of a football field, in

          ten years it could cover the continent. Before this happens, however,

          some built-in constraint will tell the system to stop growing.

          Instead of continuing to reproduce itself, the huge array of solar

          panels will feed its electricity into the national power grid. This

          one colony of auxons alone, limited to the test site where the

          world's first atomic bomb was exploded, will produce enough power to

          meet the current electrical energy needs of the United States.

           

          Elsewhere on the continent, other auxon colonies stretch inland from

          the coasts. When switched from reproduction to production, the

          colonies will desalinate seawater, pump freshwater to the nation's

          farmland, and suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere,

          transforming carbon dioxide into mountains of limestone. Another

          exponentially growing auxon colony, once it covers a bit more than 10

          percent of the Sahara, will be able to meet the world's total energy

          demands three times over. No longer starved for power or limited to

          the polluting technologies once used to get it, people will be

          looking forward to the twenty-second century, when things should

          really get interesting.

           

          The vision began to take shape in the summer of 1992. Klaus Lackner,

          a 43-year-old physicist in the Los Alamos National Laboratory's

          theoretical division--which researches such classified phenomena as

          bomb blasts, and such unclassified ones as climate--and his friend

          Christopher Wendt, a 36-year-old particle physicist at the University

          of Wisconsin, were enjoying a beer in Lackner's house on the Los

          Alamos mesa when they began wondering why scientists no longer think

          about big projects. Back in the 1950s people weren't afraid to pop

          off ideas about interplanetary travel or terraforming Mars into a

          space colony. But today, with fear of technology in the air, no one

          talks about building big projects on the scale of the pyramids or the

          great cathedrals of Europe.

           

          After a few more beers, Lackner and Wendt started thinking big

          themselves. They talked about the problem of global warming and how

          it could be solved by transforming carbon dioxide into carbonate rock-

          -a stable form of matter that would give us no more trouble than the

          cliffs of Dover. But to make these chalky white cliffs of stabilized

          CO2 would require so much machinery that the cost of buying or

          manufacturing it would bankrupt you. The only way you could do it

          would be to produce the machinery automatically. So we concluded that

          the means of production, as part of their job, would have to build

          copies of themselves, says Lackner. The number of these self-

          replicating machines at work, then, would increase exponentially.

           

          Lackner and Wendt did some back-of-the-envelope calculations. During

          the day, some 300 to 1,000 watts of solar power rains down on every

          square meter of land. Harness this power into a self-reproducing

          system and two things happen. The system grows big fast, and it

          produces a phenomenal amount of energy. A million-square-kilometer

          auxon system, which represents 4 percent of North America, or half

          the cropland in the United States, could produce 25 times the world's

          current output of electricity. A 10- million-square-kilometer auxon

          system would provide all the elements for a sustainable world

          economy. The price tag for developing this system? Anywhere from $1

          billion to $100 billion--cheap compared with, say, the current

          military budget of $264.7 billion.

           

          Once you start talking about projects this big, says Wendt, the

          amount of energy available to you becomes staggering.

           

          We live in an energy-starved society, says Lackner, and here was an

          idea for getting virtually unlimited energy, which would be a great

          thing to have.

           

          At this point in their discussion, they had only a vague idea of what

          could be done with an automated industrial process growing like algae

          over the surface of the planet, but they knew it was big and powerful

          and could be programmed for a wide variety of human uses. They would

          bring the dark, satanic mills of the nineteenth century into today's

          sunlight. They would scoop up the free energy raining down on Earth

          and use it to put the spark of life into dirt, water, and air, which

          were all that were needed to build artificial life.

           

          We fell in love with this idea of making something really huge, says

          Wendt. Then we tried to justify our love by thinking of useful things

          for it to do.

           

          When they met over breakfast the next morning, Lackner and Wendt

          looked at each other and said, That wasn't such a crazy idea we had

          last night. They agreed to pursue the project. They would moonlight

          in their spare time, researching the industrial processes and

          chemical reactions required to build self-reproducing machines. They

          couldn't think of one, but they imagined that somewhere there had to

          be a bottleneck, a first principle or fundamental law that made the

          idea impossible. They never found one.

           

          Laus Lackner, a tall, well-knit man with a domed forehead and graying

          hair curling over his ears, is a naturalized American, born in

          Germany. He wears sandals with socks, speaks English with a German

          accent, and is gracious to a fault. He also tends to wander. He picks

          up new ideas and calculates their feasibility with so much gusto that

          in his company one often feels like Alice tumbling down the rabbit

          hole.

           

          At such moments, Wendt interrupts to say, Oh, Klaus, don't get into

          that. The two men have known each other since they shared a computer

          in a research lab at Caltech in the early 1980s, when Lackner was a

          postdoc in high-energy physics and Wendt was an undergraduate. They

          found themselves together again after Lackner moved to the Stanford

          Linear Accelerator Center in Palo Alto and Wendt began graduate

          school next door at Stanford. Their friendship now includes their

          wives and Lackner's three young daughters.

           

          With hair clipped short on the sides and pointy ears, Wendt has a

          Vulcan air about him. He wears high-tech metal-frame glasses,

          collarless shirts, chinos, and hiking boots, which give him the hip

          look of someone still young enough to get carded at the university

          pub. Although he too was born in Germany, where his father was a

          visiting academic, Wendt is basically an American whiz kid, the

          product of some of the country's best schools and laboratories. He

          now researches Z bosons, muons, and other abstruse forces in high-

          energy particle physics. I still have this nagging idea that physics

          should be good for something, he says. And since I don't know what

          high-energy physics is good for, I'm always looking around for

          something useful. No wonder he fell in love with auxons.

           

          After spending a few weeks refining their original big idea via E-

          mail, Lackner and Wendt had outlined a self-reproducing system with

          closure. This means it was capable of making copies of itself without

          the addition of material from outside. Designed into the system were

          the powers of production, replication, growth, and self-repair.

           

          The tools required for building an auxon system are borrowed from

          experimental physics, chemistry, robot design, and Boy Scout

          inventiveness. Start with common dirt and break it into its

          components. Dirt from anywhere, your backyard included, is filled

          with iron ore, aluminum, silicon, copper, carbon, and virtually every

          other element required for industrial production.

           

          So why isn't your backyard being strip-mined? Because the

          concentration of metals in ordinary dirt is low--down in the range of

          5 percent for iron, for example, while the metal in a good iron mine

          might be concentrated at 30 percent. But low concentrations present

          no problem to a system with unlimited energy; it can simply crunch up

          more dirt.

           

          Slightly more problematic for the backyard miner is that the metals

          in dirt often exist in the form of oxides. Before you can obtain

          usable iron or aluminum, you have to strip away the oxygen. Ripping

          oxygen off the molecules to which it is attached is an energy-

          intensive process, requiring high heat, electricity, or both.

          Scientists have developed ways to make the procedure more efficient--

          by reducing the melting temperatures of ores and improving the

          electrolytic processes by which they separate the good stuff from the

          bad. Aluminum oxide, for example, is mixed with cryolite, a fluoride,

          to cut its melting temperature in half.

           

          But fluoride is rare, and to avoid bottlenecks, Lackner and Wendt

          wanted to steer clear of any substance in short supply. So they

          developed the chemistry for a new kind of industrial process. They

          would strip away the oxygen molecules in metallic oxides by binding

          them to silicon (which abounds in dirt) or carbon (which abounds in

          air). The one sticking point in making this process work is the heat

          it requires. Ores break down in the presence of carbon and release

          their constituent metals only when fired at temperatures ranging up

          to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit; the silicon reaction does work at lower

          temperatures, but more heat makes it go faster. These temperatures,

          although feasible in today's industrial processes, are too expensive

          to maintain--unless the system is being run by auxons with plenty of

          solar energy to spare.

           

          Lackner and Wendt's element separation cycle has another unique

          feature: it requires no outside materials beyond those created in its

          ten steps. After an initial priming with silicon and carbon, the

          system recycles all the elements required to keep itself going. You

          scoop up dirt and heat it. Into the furnace goes silicon. The silicon

          gloms on to the oxygen atoms, ripping them away from the iron,

          sodium, potassium, and magnesium. There they are--the metals you were

          after, in the form of a liquid or a gas.

           

          The oxygen stolen from the metals turns the silicon into silicon

          dioxide, or quartz. Carbon rips away the oxygen atoms again, turning

          the quartz back into silicon and carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, in

          the presence of hydrogen, becomes carbon and water. Carbon reduces

          aluminum. Electricity splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, and the

          process starts all over again, with silicon, carbon, and hydrogen

          being dumped into dirt- filled high-temperature furnaces.

           

          After they'd outlined their process, Lackner and Wendt checked their

          work by searching the literature on industrial techniques for making

          metals. Iron, magnesium, calcium--all at one time or another have

          been extracted by applying intense heat to ores, as Lackner and Wendt

          suggested doing. Even aluminum, which requires the highest

          temperatures, has been extracted this way. Reynolds Metals Company

          went so far as to build a pilot plant that used carbon instead of

          cryolite to make aluminum. The technology worked fine, even if it was

          too expensive at today's prices. It would not be too expensive, of

          course, for an auxon.

           

          We reinvented the wheel, says Lackner, which makes me feel quite

          comfortable. Industry has experimented with all these ideas. They

          just never put them into a coherent system.

           

          Once dirt is broken down into piles of metals, there's no conceptual

          difficulty with the rest of the technology required for shaping these

          piles into rods, panels, cogs, conductors, insulators, computer

          chips, and the other stuff of modern machine tools. Robots are now

          very good at rolling ingots, hammering them into sheets of metal,

          cutting and shaping machine parts, and then assembling them into

          usable tools. A close cousin to all the automated steps required to

          build auxons already exists in industry, says Lackner. A car can be

          made in 16 hours almost entirely by robots. Robots controlled by

          Apple computers assemble parts of Apple computers. Lackner and Wendt

          consider their auxon system a logical extension of automated methods

          already in place. The difference will not be how the robots work but

          what they produce: more of themselves.

           

          Lackner and Wendt were not trying to draw up blueprints for actual

          robots; they were merely trying to prove that their idea wasn't

          impossible. Still, they had a sense of the problems they'd encounter

          in founding an auxon community, and the kinds of solutions they would

          propose.

           

          Once the suitcase-size bolt cutters and nut fasteners were up and

          running, they knew, the trick to keeping the system going would be

          simplicity. Rather than smart robots--which have a history of taking

          three steps and falling over--Lackner foresaw a decentralized system

          of dumb machines, each performing its dedicated task. You want them

          cheap and dispensable, he says. An auxon can jump off a cliff and you

          won't miss it.

           

          The auxon system wouldn't have any brain or automatic administrative

          center, like the one a NASA research team envisioned in 1980 when it

          proposed building self-growing mining modules on the surface of the

          moon. Those visionaries pictured a lunar industrial park complete

          with 3 billion robots, some of which would be devoted to keeping the

          American flag flying over Central Control. But Lackner and Wendt

          considered such a centralized control system cumbersome and

          unnecessary. They proposed instead to manage their auxons using

          remote, localized sensors that work by reflex. Each auxon would be

          able to sense what was going on in its immediate neighborhood and

          respond in a simple, appropriate way--perhaps by speeding up or

          slowing down production.

           

          Generally the system would be left to its own devices, spreading

          across the desert like an automated kudzu vine. But while the auxons

          were busy copying themselves, outside observers might want to keep an

          eye on the system through satellite monitoring or feedback loops.

          Humans might occasionally enter the scene to reprogram some machines,

          either to improve their design or to root out bugs; they might also

          want to keep an eye on auxons threatening to trespass beyond their

          allotted bounds.

           

          The ultimate control, of course, would lie in turning off the energy.

          The system could be designed to respond to a broadcast radio signal

          that would shut down the solar panels. Even if some of them ignore

          you, the bulk of the system would collapse, says Lackner.

           



          (Message over 64 KB, truncated)

        • Bob
          http://swpat.ffii.org/index.en.html#intro If Haydn had patented a symphony, characterised by that sound is produced [ in extended sonata form ] , Mozart would
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 1, 2003
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            http://swpat.ffii.org/index.en.html#intro

            If Haydn had patented "a symphony, characterised by that sound is produced [ in extended sonata form ]", Mozart would have been in trouble.

            Unlike copyright, patents can block independent creations. Software patents can render software copyright useless. One copyrighted work can be covered by hundreds of patents of which the author doesn't even know but for whose infringement he and his users can be sued. Some of these patents may be impossible to work around, because they are broad or because they are part of communication standards.

            Evidence from economic studies shows that software patents have lead to a decrease in R&D spending.

            Advances in software are advances in abstraction. While traditional patents were for concrete and physical inventions, software patents cover ideas. Instead of patenting a specific mousetrap, you patent any "means of trapping mammals" or "means of trapping data in an emulated environment". The fact that the universal logic device called "computer" is used for this does not constitute a limitation. When software is patentable, anything is patentable.

            In most countries, software has, like mathematics and other abstract subject matter, been explicitely considered to be outside the scope of patentable inventions. However these rules were broken one or another way. The patent system has gone out of control. A closed community of patent lawyers is creating, breaking and rewriting its own rules without much supervision from the outside.

            The European Parliament voted on September 24th for a directive proposal which confirms the existing European law, makes software explicitely unpatentable and codifies additional safeguards, such as freedom of publication and interoperation. The amended directive proposal thereby achieves the claimed aims of the European Commission, especially "harmonisation and clarification of the status quo" and "prevention of a drift toward US-style patentability of pure software and business methods". However, the European Commission doesn't seem to be happy. Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein and others have been threatening to withdraw the directive project and to pass the ball back to national patent administrators and, should that fail, to rely on brotherly help from Washington. But the European Parliament was neither deceived nor intimidated. Now the patent movement's strategy is to dismiss the Parliament's position as "unworkable" and to attribute it to "ignorance" rather than to a conscious policy decision. Bolkestein's friends can be counted on to resort to whatever inconsistency, illoyalty or illegality is necessary in order to obtain what they really want: "legal security" for the owners of more than 30,0000 US-style patents on software and business methods, granted in accordance with a law-to-be, which the European Parliament has refused to pass for them. A few months of intense struggle lie ahead.

            http://swpat.ffii.org/group/todo/index.en.html
            sign petitions


          • Bob
            House of Horrors--examples why software patents bring on a dark age-- http://swpat.ffii.org/patents/samples/index.en.html Crippling software patents debunking
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 1, 2003
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              House of Horrors--examples why software patents
              bring on a dark age--

              http://swpat.ffii.org/patents/samples/index.en.html

              Crippling software patents debunking the notion of
              software patents--

              Send a preliminary message back to the screen, if due to a slow network connection the program in the background can't send the final message quickly enough

              Converting Windows95 filenames to WindowsNT filenames

              use a computer for testing pupils

              If you want to program your online shop so that it delivers your articles as gifts to a third person specified by the customer, you might want to negotiate with Amazon Inc for a license. This patent, which is a direct descendant of Amazon's One Click Patent, was granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) in May 2003

              trapping viruses

              electronic shopping cart

              visualizing a process

              control by speech

              inserting marketing hype into cooking recipes

              --how shall we then live?

              Bob wrote:
              http://swpat.ffii.org/index.en.html#intro

              If Haydn had patented "a symphony, characterised by that sound is produced [ in extended sonata form ]", Mozart would have been in trouble.

              Unlike copyright, patents can block independent creations. Software patents can render software copyright useless. One copyrighted work can be covered by hundreds of patents of which the author doesn't even know but for whose infringement he and his users can be sued. Some of these patents may be impossible to work around, because they are broad or because they are part of communication standards.

              Evidence from economic studies shows that software patents have lead to a decrease in R&D spending.

              Advances in software are advances in abstraction. While traditional patents were for concrete and physical inventions, software patents cover ideas. Instead of patenting a specific mousetrap, you patent any "means of trapping mammals" or "means of trapping data in an emulated environment". The fact that the universal logic device called "computer" is used for this does not constitute a limitation. When software is patentable, anything is patentable.

              In most countries, software has, like mathematics and other abstract subject matter, been explicitely considered to be outside the scope of patentable inventions. However these rules were broken one or another way. The patent system has gone out of control. A closed community of patent lawyers is creating, breaking and rewriting its own rules without much supervision from the outside.

              The European Parliament voted on September 24th for a directive proposal which confirms the existing European law, makes software explicitely unpatentable and codifies additional safeguards, such as freedom of publication and interoperation. The amended directive proposal thereby achieves the claimed aims of the European Commission, especially "harmonisation and clarification of the status quo" and "prevention of a drift toward US-style patentability of pure software and business methods". However, the European Commission doesn't seem to be happy. Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein and others have been threatening to withdraw the directive project and to pass the ball back to national patent administrators and, should that fail, to rely on brotherly help from Washington. But the European Parliament was neither deceived nor intimidated. Now the patent movement's strategy is to dismiss the Parliament's position as "unworkable" and to attribute it to "ignorance" rather than to a conscious policy decision. Bolkestein's friends can be counted on to resort to whatever inconsistency, illoyalty or illegality is necessary in order to obtain what they really want: "legal security" for the owners of more than 30,0000 US-style patents on software and business methods, granted in accordance with a law-to-be, which the European Parliament has refused to pass for them. A few months of intense struggle lie ahead.

              http://swpat.ffii.org/group/todo/index.en.html
              sign petitions


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