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1032Re: [nanotech] Re: Bill Joy (Japanese)

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  • Bruce Bombere
    Aug 10, 2000
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      Christopher J. Phoenix wrote:
      > At 08:09 AM 8/10/00 EDT, DonSaxman@... wrote:
      > >In a message dated 08/09/2000 7:46:04 PM Central Daylight Time,
      > >cphoenix@... writes:
      > >
      > >> 3) Consequence to others. If there were a risk of creating a new infectious
      > >> disease by fiddling with human DNA, we'd have to analyze that risk. I've
      > >> never heard this suggested. I don't see offhand how it could happen unless
      > >> it were done deliberately (there's a _lot_ of genetic information even in a
      > >> virus). And I don't see any other mechanism for genetic change to affect
      > >> people whose genes were not directly changed.
      > >
      > >Thanks for the lengthy post in reponse to my concerns. I'm not a Luddite by
      > >any means, but the highlighed "consequence" is the one that concerns me.
      > >THat we could inadventantly make a new, breeding organism that turns out to
      > >have undeirable properties. I'm not so worried about a new strain of
      > >bulletproof armadillos as I am new viruses or bacteria. In fact, the most
      > >dangerous "undeirable property" might just be a tendency to mutate
      > >differently or more frequently.
      > One of the main problems with AIDS is that it mutates so often... one day's
      > production of HIV in one human will typically contain *every* single-base
      > mutation.
      > >For instance, something that would mutate ebola into a strain that infects
      > >humans, is deadly, *and* is spread through the air (so far, we've had
      > >variuous combinations of two out of three). If the people "responding" to
      > >these kinds of threats are, say, the Army doofusses described in "The Hot
      > >Zone," we could be in trouble.
      > New diseases are certainly a major concern. To my mind, that's one argument
      > *for* nanotech: "labs on a chip" may not be enough to let us isolate,
      > characterize, treat, and distribute a solution to a new virulent fatal
      > disease within a few days. But one billion automated mm^3 labs in a cubic
      > meter might be enough.
      > >There is also a lot of potential for ptoducing microorganisms that produce
      > >toxic byproducts. (in fact, some of them will probably be designed
      > >specifically to metabolize and store or excrete toxic stuff. I've written a
      > >couple books on bioremediation, and have met a number of people in the field,
      > >and their techniques are not even close to controlled. In fact, one of the
      > >most popular techniques, called bioaugmentation, is to just feed the existing
      > >suite of microorgamisms (mollasses and oxygen are popular) and hope for the
      > >best. If this happens to start working, you culture the resulting soup,
      > >sometimes dump in some new "secret" yeast nutrients, and then reintroduce the
      > >culture to the waste pit).
      > Yes, but producing microorganisms is an almost completely different process
      > from modifying the human genome. Some genome-modification schemes use virus
      > capsules, but the viruses aren't supposed to be infectious. I haven't heard
      > of any genome-modification scheme that uses bacteria.
      > Bioaugmentation is effectively controlled breeding, not germ line
      > modification. Microbes are bred under a wide range of conditions in nature.
      > We should be a little bit careful about encouraging them to, for example,
      > eat plastic. But we already have a bacterium that lives on a mixture of
      > aviation fuel and aluminum(!) that evolved without our help.

      <editorial deletage>

      I have been enjoying all of your posts so far, I just decided to
      interject here.
      I recollect a project that Bionetics Research did some years back with
      that had mutated in the holds of oil tankers hauling sea water for
      Little silicon bastards, about the same gauge as diatomaceous earths,
      which is what had caused the fuel filter problem. So, they might have
      evolved without our help, but not entirely without our influence.
      It was an Air Force contract, as I recall. Jets were crashing for the
      reason that the diatomaceous earth fuel filters were clogging with those
      mutated bastids that made it through distillation and normal
      and filtration. Just the right size to lodge in a silicaceous filter.

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