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October 24, 2006 1:44 PM   Subscribe

"We are living in science fiction." --William Burroughs
posted by jason's_planet (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
This is a pretty run of the mill nanotech story...
posted by delmoi at 1:52 PM on October 24, 2006


Get back to me when I can take a ride in it.
posted by ursus_comiter at 2:02 PM on October 24, 2006


really awesome GIF from "Fantasic Voyage" goes here.
posted by GuyZero at 2:09 PM on October 24, 2006


This is a pretty run of the mill nanotech story...

You think that creating a motor that will take a robot through human blood vessels is run of the mill?

What can I say? I guess we have different sensibilities. If you told me twenty years ago that we'd see this stuff in my lifetime, I wouldn't have believed you.
posted by jason's_planet at 2:15 PM on October 24, 2006


This reads like a Chinese press release run through Babelfish. I'm curious -- according to the story, the motor is (will be?) made in China, but the nanobot it powers is (to be?) made in Kent State. So why no Kent State press release? At least I can't seem to find one.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:39 PM on October 24, 2006


It smells wrong to me, too. IANAEngineer, but the "powered by microwaves" part rings false to me. I mean, I understand power transmission by microwaves in principle, but as a practical power source for a nanodevice designed for use in living tissue? Uh-uh.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:45 PM on October 24, 2006


That's kind of a funny timeline, jason's_planet, since K. Eric Drexler's book, Engines of Creation, which pretty much put nanotechnology on the map in the public imagination, came out in 1986. Here is one relevant section from the book, now freely available online.
posted by cgc373 at 2:57 PM on October 24, 2006


George_Spiggott writes "So why no Kent State press release? At least I can't seem to find one."

Yeah, Google pulls up nothing, and I can't find anything at the Kent State web site. They could have at least named the researcher in charge of this "nanobot".

George_Spiggott writes "This reads like a Chinese press release run through Babelfish. I'm curious -- according to the story, the motor is (will be?) made in China..."

Thai and Thailand, actually. Chiang Mai University is in Thailand.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:00 PM on October 24, 2006


(And actually it likely wasn't translated; The Nation is an English-language Thai newspaper.)
posted by mr_roboto at 3:02 PM on October 24, 2006


This story makes no sense. There's a neato tiny ceramic motor, apparently, but the rest of this medical nanorobot remains imaginary, it would seem. The "journalist" who wrote this puff piece is an idiot.
posted by nowonmai at 3:09 PM on October 24, 2006


nowonmai writes "There's a neato tiny ceramic motor, apparently"

Actually, I don't think they've made anything that a layperson would call a "motor". It's not like they've fabricated a tiny little engine or something. Based on what seem to be the relevant papers, Ananta has synthesized some piezoelectric ceramic materials which produce mechanical force in an applied electromagnetic field.

Do you like how they phrase the press release to make you think that they've made some kind of tiny nanomotor with spinning gears and maybe a crankshaft, though? It's funny how they do that, and not at all deceptive.

So yeah, this is some (maybe very good; I can't judge it really) ceramics work. Everybody's gotta have a nano angle, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:21 PM on October 24, 2006


I think Burroughs was talking about...something...else.
(and anal sex)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:21 PM on October 24, 2006


We are living in science fiction - William Burroughs
Who are you calling "we", dead man?
posted by bunglin jones at 3:38 PM on October 24, 2006


You never did the Kenosha Kid?
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:44 PM on October 24, 2006


That's Pynchon.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:48 PM on October 24, 2006


Duh.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:05 PM on October 24, 2006


Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to right puff pieces?
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:08 PM on October 24, 2006


er, "write."
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:09 PM on October 24, 2006


You think that creating a motor that will take a robot through human blood vessels is run of the mill?

If it's a common story, it's run of the mill. It may be exciting if you don't read many stories about nanotech, but it's nothing major, cool sounding advances come all the time.

What can I say? I guess we have different sensibilities.

Er, well. Like I said it's not a breakthrough or anything...

If you told me twenty years ago that we'd see this stuff in my lifetime, I wouldn't have believed you.

Well, twenty years ago I was six, so I probably would have believed just about anything.
posted by delmoi at 4:13 PM on October 24, 2006


Any science news-story that begins with the word "boffins" is immediately and automatically suspect.
posted by Hogshead at 4:28 PM on October 24, 2006


Bollox. Show me data from blood vessel size machine in vivo. Note the term will in the phrase "it will power" the text.

I will be a millionaire one day with a harem of beauties like the world has never seen. I've developed my speed seduction and money making techniques just for this purpose. Oh, you don't believe me?Yyou want evidence? I'm sorry.

Here's a press release.

Flagged as gullible. Scratch that: You know they have just removbed the word gullible from the dictionary.
posted by lalochezia at 4:37 PM on October 24, 2006



posted by sfts2 at 5:34 PM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oops
posted by sfts2 at 5:36 PM on October 24, 2006


When I first read Drexler's book I wondered if the Star Trek universe lacked bathrooms because the crew's digestive tracts had tiny bulk transporters that progressively beamed the contents of their colons to the Enterprise's central sewage processing facility.
posted by pax digita at 5:43 PM on October 24, 2006


Oh, well.

I guess this post wasn't what you'd call a crowd pleaser.

Sorry 'bout that. On to the next one . . .
posted by jason's_planet at 6:38 PM on October 24, 2006


I was about to say: I wish Bill had lived to write during the Bush years.

But somehow, I'm sure that somewhere he did.

Help ???
posted by Twang at 10:23 PM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Grrrrr! I hate your post!

/just kidding
posted by stinkycheese at 11:06 PM on October 24, 2006


The article is supremely trite. However, the technology is extremely interesting. For a great fictional view (currently fictional that is) of what nanotechnology may offer human nature in the future, have a read of the excellent book "Prey" by Michael Crichton (he of Jurassic Park and The Lost World fame).

Here's a fairly accurate review/story outline:

Having lost his job at a high tech firm, forty year-old Jack Foreman has become a househusband while his wife is now the breadwinner, working on a top secret Defense Department project. Jack raises their three children, while wondering how everything could collapse so fast. He even believes that his wife is having an affair while working an experimental design nanotechnology project at the Xymos Corporation in the Nevada desert.

Suddenly, their baby becomes extremely ill, but just as abruptly the infant recovers. Jack is stunned by both related events that have no explanation. However, before he can ponder what occurred, Xymos hires Jack as a consultant on his spouse's project that has problems leading to the Pentagon ready to shut the funding. Something goes wrong leaving Jack and a few others trapped in a war of survival against a highly evolved deadly nanotechnical swarm that he believes his wife released.

Perhaps the leading modern day cautionary tale author, Michael Crichton provides readers with his latest alarm that focuses on nanotechnical research. The story line is standard Crichton lamenting runaway science conducting experiments in areas in which consequences are ignored as funding only is considered. As usual, work occurs inside an isolated facility that leads to individuals heroically struggling to survive humanity's latest blunder. Fans of the author or just solid science fiction readers centering on a modern day controversy will appreciate Mr. Crichton who is at his masterly, but formulaic (at least its his own DNA) best.

Source: Harriet Klausner
posted by Inglesa Loquita at 1:47 PM on October 25, 2006


WTF?
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:12 PM on October 25, 2006


You don't like triteness.

But you do like Michael Crichton.

What is wrong with this picture?
posted by jason's_planet at 2:21 PM on October 25, 2006


Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, huh?
posted by cgc373 at 3:42 PM on October 25, 2006


Holy shit; did someone actually just post the plot outline of a fucking Michael Crichton book!?

Is he the one that's all into the global warming denial, or is that whatshisface?
posted by mr_roboto at 8:58 PM on October 25, 2006


I agree entirely.

William S. Burroughs wasn't that into global warning.
posted by kayalovesme at 9:45 PM on October 25, 2006


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