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Nanotechnology, US Government, and Secrecy

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the in-the-open-or-in-the-clear dept.

Science 275

Glenn Reynolds has written an interesting, albiet a bit speculative, in regards to the role of the US Government in the possible quieting of nanotechnology research. As Gleen points out, there's some good pre-existing guidelines to research as well, from the Foresight Institute.

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First cock (-1)

Rock 'N' Troll (566273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409318)

This is the first cock

Re:First cock (-1)

Luke SkyTroller (564295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409353)

Congrats on a fine first post that makes my attempt that ended up 5th or 6th look really gay. Keep up the good work.

Re:First cock (-1)

Rock 'N' Troll (566273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409522)

The AC scum shall be exterminated, that's all I care about.

Nanotech != Good. (2, Interesting)

NickRob (575331) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409328)

Has anyone ever thought that nanotechnology can be used for a whollllle lot of evil. I mean, in theory, it could used as Syphon Filter or Fox-Die (anyone else notice those games had the same plot?). A programmable virus, effectively destroying whatever they want. The UN has mentioned that idealy 80% of the world's population would be killed.. This could be a means to do that.

Re:Nanotech != Good. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409360)

Has anyone ever thought that nanotechnology can be used for a whollllle lot of evil.

Nope. You're the first person to ever think of that idea. In other news, it's been reported that pointy sticks might be used to put out someone's eye.

Seriously, take a look at the pages at There's scads of material on this.

Re:Nanotech != Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409473)

In other, other news, it's been reported that running with scissors may be dangerous.

Re:Nanotech != Good. (-1)

L1nUx h4x0r (574828) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409535)

Running with scissors is fun! Weird Al taught me that! (Just look at how happy he looks on his album!)

Wow, technology can hurt people? You don't say! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409367)

Yeah, a few years back they developed this little thing called atomic weapons that could eliminate 100% of the population. Mayber this is a bad idea?

You jackass, all technology has a downside.

Re:Nanotech != Good. (1)

fabiolrs (536338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409375)

I agree completely!

Most of the stuff researched today is, unfortunately, aimed to bad stuff. Like the Anti Ballistic Missile Shield (aim a laser to the space and destroy the missile), there are documentation that clarifies the purpose of that laser, if you can shoot a laser to space having a base on earth you can pretty much do the oposite dont you? If you have a satelite, as instance, you can deliver a laser bean anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately nanotechnology will have the same end....

Re:Nanotech != Good. (4, Interesting)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409386)

Fuck that! I want nanobots in my bloodstream that automatically repair wounds, keep my arteries clean, and generally upkeep my body. Prefereably extending my lifespan to 200 or so years. Which should be long enough to implant my brain in an immortal robotic body that is indistinguishable from human in all the important ways. If the government wants to make Nano-bombs, fine... As Long as I get mine.>:)


Re:Nanotech != Good. (4, Funny)

Servo5678 (468237) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409397)

I want nanobots in my bloodstream that automatically repair wounds, keep my arteries clean, and generally upkeep my body.

I think this is how the Borg Collective got started...

No... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409474)

They got started in the 1970 in Washington state.

Isn't that what white blood cells do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409405)

see above..

Re:Nanotech != Good. (2, Funny)

NickRob (575331) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409415)

I want nanobots in my bloodstream that automatically repair wounds

You mean Platelets?

Re:Nanotech != Good. (1)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409521)

Only better!!


Yes while we have good intentions (2)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409681)

Our government is obssessed with power.

Nano technology = the ultimate weapon

You and I see nano technology as a way to extend our lives and make our lives better.

Nano Technology is good, I support it, i think we should be spending hundreds of billions on nano technology and things like it.

We also should be spending hundreds of billions on reforming the school system.

Theres always ignorant people, the problem with public schools, the current system isnt built to create mature intelligent thinkers, its built to create good hard workers who respect authority.

Thats good for a labor based society where you can be dumb as hell as long as you obey orders. As society changes to a more intellectual society, we need to teach children to think for themselves. we need to redesign school in a way so that it teaches them to think for themselves.

College seems modern in this respect but highschool and middleschool need complete reform, kids are just doing work from text books and following scripts,

you dont learn by following the script, you learn by creating the script.

What we need to teach in schools now, responsibility, maturity, the ability to think for yourself, the ability to teach yourself and teach others, and the ability to learn from others.

Ways to do this, Set up the school system so that students teach other students, set up the school system so students are often required to learn about something on their own without being guided by any teacher, get rid of tests and exams and use the portfolio system which judges a student by the quality of the results of their work and not how many small facts they memorize, and last, give the children state of the art technology, let highschool kids learn and do experiments with nano technology, let them learn about bio tech in highschool if they choose.

By putting more money into the school system it will allow schools to buy the equipment needed to teach kids about these very important and dangerous technologies.

If we keep doing things the way we do it now, we will create a bunch of drones who cant think for themselves, and eventually some intelligent terrorist will decide to attack us with a nano virus and no one will be smart enough to defend themselves from it.

Instead by educated everyone about nano technology, everyone will be able to develop ways ot defend themselves from it, even if this means everyone creates various nano anti virii or develops a way to completely destroy nano bots such as EMP fields

Education and Research is the key, we should be spending the majority of our money on this.

Re:Nanotech != Good. (3)

hij (552932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409404)

Yes, it is possible that nanotech could be used in bad ways. The article is so vague that it is meaningless.. For example:

Some work, presumably, would move into classified programs,...

Gee there's some earth shaking news. Some stuff is classified. God damn gover'ment must be out to get me again!

Re:Nanotech != Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409435)

Very possible, but there are lots of easier ways to do that, like one of those nice little warfare viruses. It would probably also kill about 80%, as long as it was spread in the right manner.

Using something like nanotechnology to kill 80% of the human population would be probably impossible currently anyway, considering the issues of producing and controlling nanobots, unless you made them replicate themselves, but then they would be exactly identical to viruses. Only I doubt that it would work very well considering the stuff that's readily available in a human body.

There are lots of ethical questions with the majority of new science focuses. Nanotechnology can bring a lot of very very useful things aswell. Think of internal repairing of humans and hardware. Also they could be used to contruct very fine surfaces and small objects.

and Nanotech != Evil (5, Insightful)

pagsz (450343) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409552)

Like any other technology, it is not good or evil in and of itself. It just is. What people do with it is either good or evil.

I must admit, there certainly are some scary possibilities with nanotech. Programmable viruses (as mentioned), which could be used to target specific groups or people (program by DNA); imperceptible tracking devices; and any other whacked idea you can come up with.

But there are also some productive possibilities as well. That same DNA programming could be used to detect cancer cells. Or imagine nano-surgical bots, fixing organs without ever having to open up the body again. The possibilities are endless here too.

The point is, the technology is going to go forward anyway. It's not like the U.S. is the only nation on earth researching nanotech. The question is: What do we do with it? Does it remain secret? A potential government monopoly? That would, in my opinion, be worse. The best way to discover the constructive and destructive possibilities of nanotech is to openly explore them; not to let the government say, "Well, that's a potential weapon. No research down that route." As I mentioned before, the same techniques that could allow programmable viruses could also allow DNA-targeted therapies, attacking cancers, bacteria, and (natural) viruses. So what happens then? Does fear trump potential?

That's just what I think. But then again, I don't really know what I'm talking about. I'm just winging it (ten years and counting),

Re:and Nanotech != Evil (4, Funny)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409699)

"Like any other technology, it is not good or evil in and of itself. It just is. What people do with it is either good or evil."

That's right, and when I finish building my "Death Ray", I will only use it for good.

Re:Nanotech != Good. (3, Insightful)

ioscream (89558) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409556)

"The UN has mentioned that idealy 80% of the world's population would be killed.. "

Umm... citation?

Hype Machine In Overdrive! (5, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409590)

The UN has mentioned that idealy 80% of the world's population would be killed.

Do you have some kind of reference for this statistic or are you just scare-mongering? When you post something far-fetched like that you should include a hyperlink to some corroborating evidence on the web.

From my perspective the entire article by Reynolds was largely hype and scare-mongering. He makes references to rumors and whispers of a military crackdown on nanotech but never mentions where he's getting this stuff from. For all I know, he could have overheard a bunch of tie-dye shirt wearing hippies down at the local coffee-shop/pseudo-intellectual-hangout.

That having been said, I ask is it even possible for the government to suppress something as big as nanotech? A recent issue of Scientific American had a multi-article feature on nanotech and the possible uses. It just seems that this is going to be too big and wide-ranging for even the Pentagon to be able to control. Yeah, he cites some examples in past history of how militaries have tried to suppress "essential" technologies but things are different now. It was easier in "the old days" for the government to control information. With the amount of free-flowing data that we have today I doubt that the government would be able to do a very good job of controlling any exciting new technology. Yes, I understand the important role the Pentagon plays in determining what research gets done. But these people aren't idiots. They realize the best way for the US to gain the lead in nanotech is to just let scientists run for awhile. Maybe in the future they'll try to steer the direction of research. But until I start seeing some evidence of this, I disregard Reynolds and all the rest as revving up the hype machine


Re:Nanotech != Good. (2, Informative)

DarenN (411219) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409607)

I think it's sad that we all have to think this way. Nanotechnology, and specifically the branch of nanatechnology known as molecular manufacturing is the bright light on the horizon. It _could_ be used to for good. Making goods with no imperfections, from the molecular level for instance.

Think spacecraft that don't fail, all manufacturing producing 100% "perfection" rates, no failures. Goods that last for longer, and are more reliable.

And what about the workforce. Oh, wait a minute. Seeing as virtually everything will be made by nanomachines, that removes any form of slavery....

Unforunately, no-one in the current power structure wants these things. Goods that don't fail mean no replacement or servicing. Machines that can build houses quickly, and perfectly, kill the building industry. There goes a vast number of your workforce. And there's more!

Basically, the advent of nanotech and molecular manufacturing will mean a seismic shift in our social structures and way of life, and like all such things, will be viewed as threats (like the tecnology that exists now) by those at the top of the food chain, because they threaten the power balance. And it's a sad indictment that this is so.

I mean, can you see the 1st world bringing the rest of the world to a par with them? I can't, to be honest. From what I've seen and heard, there are too many vested interests, too many chiefs, and none of them want to listen to the indians. Otherwise, frankly, there wouldn't be nearly as much suffering in the world (remember that the world already produces enough food by volume to feed everyone on the planet, but economics, and I'm sure, politics prevents it)

Medical nanotechnology such as the nanites that could extend lifespan by repairing the minor damages that eventually knock us off is wayyy cool too, but again, FUD will hold us back. How many will say "They're out to get us" when the time comes? Lots I can think of :)

Anyway, I'll leave my rant here :) But I would encourage you all to think what a world where unskilled labour is virtually unecessary, and everything is high quality and low cost. Because that's what nanotech will ultimately mean

NanoTech = Good, People = Bad (2)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409627)

In my previous post i mentioned how our government spends very little on nano technology. The reason is most people arent ready for even computer technology. Look at our laws and how our government and copyright system refuses to change with the technology.

Old laws dont work anymore, its time to change.

This is exactly why we need to educate the people to a much higher standard.
Most of our money should be on building much better schools, we need a complete reform of the school system so school creates people who are free thinkers instead of bots who work in an office.

More and more, our mental abilities will matter.

Nano technology is good, we should put hundreds of billions of dollars into this, but if we are to accept these advances in technology we must advance socially as well..

No more wars.
No more creating terrorists (like bin laden)

We need to find a way to handle oppressed people in the third world, so they dont all become terrorists.

I'm personally ready for nano technology, I think alot of people on slashdot may be ready, but your average idiot is not ready.

I'm hoping, if we spend vast amounts of money on education, it will cause less people to be ignorant, In a society filled with nano technolgy we cannot tolerate ignorance anymore, a KKK member will be able to destroy all minorities in an instant, a Nazi will be able to destroy all jews in an instant.

The only thing we can do, is educate ignorant people in such a way that they are less likely to do stupid things.

Some people we wont be able to educate at all, but at least by building better schools we give it a shot.

Re:Nanotech != Good. (1)

chaoticset (574254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409640)

Ever notice that there's really only four or five plots that games revolve around?

Further, anybody notice that -- depending on your view of things -- there's really only maybe fifteen "plots" at all?

I hadn't noticed the parallel between Syphon and MGS, but it's an interesting point.

Automobile != Good. (3, Funny)

chaoticset (574254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409672)

Car research should be stopped now; do you know how many people are already being killed every day by cars? The numbers are staggering.

Car manufacturers are researching ways to make cars drive more efficiently (increasing the likelihood of long-term rampant roadkilling sprees) and increase their top speed (maximizing the damage done when one of these murderous machines hits its target).

Did I mention that car ownership is on the rise? Did I ALSO mention that selling cars is a huge industry? I see conspiracies everywhere, trying to promote the pro-car lobbies!

Something must be done. Write your political representatives and notify them that -- along with this newfangled "nanotechnology" thing -- you want the car lobby stopped.

Hell With the Evil, Think of the Stupid! (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409682)

All it takes is one bozo to put an = where he should have put an == to turn the whole planet into grey goo. I've been programming for nearly two decades now, professionally for a decade. I've followed behind other programmers. I would not trust 99.999% of them (Including myself, by the way) to program nanomachines.

Oh sure, they'd probaly run simulations with the code first, and stuff. But SOMETHING always makes it through QC, and when a minor mishap could destroy all life on the planet, you REALLY want to be sure.

hi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409330)


hi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409339)

hi there :)

Re:hi (1)

burts_here (529713) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409385)

er hi how are you?

Re:hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409401)

I'm just great.

Re:hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409545)

I'm fine too!

Re:hi (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409586)


I'm not fine.
I'm lonely and hungry.
I've got nothing to do but troll slashdot.

Oooh, it's all conspiracy-ish and stuff! (-1, Offtopic)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409332)

Looks like Majestic never got around to taking all those old sites down.

Please please please please . . . . . (-1)

Luke SkyTroller (564295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409335)

fp ?

responsibility (1)

Romancer (19668) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409342)

With the responsibility that comes with areas of science like this, I'm very glad the Govt. has a hand in curbing and watching development that might release a cure, or weapon, so easily.

With some knowledge, I wouldn't even trust myself.

Re:responsibility (1)

Dr. Weird (566938) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409399)

Yes, when it comes to responsibility, I implicity trust the government. They do so well in preventing weapons from being created, and in supporting good scientific research...

Wait. No they don't... shit.

Re:responsibility (2)

Romancer (19668) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409497)

Without the sarcasm :)
, I trust them more than I trust an individual not supervised by anybody but himself.

Think, if you were alone, walking down the street and saw a hundred dollar bill attached to a phone bill or electric bill, would you keep the hundred dollars, or would you spend the .35 cents to mail it in for the person who lost it?

What would you do if you were with your parents?

I can rely on the Govt to an extent, when there is no one else to look to. I don't trust corperations, they have too many benifits, at least the Govt has reporters and alarmists among them to at least keep them more honest than the average CEO or rich "terrorist" backing the research.

In a perfect world I would'nt need to ask anybody to watch over us, scientists could research and discover anything they wanted, no fear of misuse or terrorism. but this is not a perfect world. So my choices are to try and keep things safe a little longer, so that we may have the chance to see the percect world where we can all be as free and idealistic as we want. When we can respect eachother implicitly.

Re:responsibility (1)

Dr. Weird (566938) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409568)

I agree that I don't trust individuals unsupervised, in general.

On the other hand I can honestly say that I would mail it back to the person who lost it. At the very least, I wouldn't take the money. I have been confronted with analogous choices a few times, and have never kept the "money."

Even if I were to steal it, that behavior wouldn't change if I were with my parents. My parents do not influence my decisions.

So, I think your analogy is horrible (no offense) but I understand the point. I certainly don't trust corporations. And I understand that I am probably being too idealistic -- it is a habit of mine. However, I still have trouble with crippling fundamental research into this area with such magnificent possibilities. Regulate the USES not the creation.

As a person who works in condensed matter physics, however, I am probably very biased, so take my opinion as you decide.

Re:responsibility (2)

Romancer (19668) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409622)

Who will regulate the uses if the creation cannot be monitored?

Who will know of it's discovery untill it's being used? Perhaps already too late.

That's why we have neuclear testing restrictions, no one wants the results of that research. some scientists want to do it for pure science, but the Govt. has (wisely, in my honest opinion) restricted those kinds of tests to safeguard the safety of the people from results (and in some cases the actual tests, ie: fallout, exposure, etc.) that cannot be reasonably assured as safe and predictable. We don't know what we will release, and the cost to the whole of the human race is too great to justify the persuance of such (possibly dangerous) research.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409345)

Just trying to be informative

Wow! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409348)

Man this is TINY!

Nanotech has important implications (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409352)

...for pr0n!!!

It makes sense... (2, Funny)

1WingedAngel (575467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409356)

The government wants to quash this for a good reason.

We can't all be beautiful people walking around in skintight suits with Borg implants in our faces.


Re:It makes sense... (2)

An. (Coward) (258552) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409490)

The government wants to quash this for a good reason.

We can't all be beautiful people walking around in skintight suits with Borg implants in our faces.

Sure we can! When did you ever see fat ugly Borg in too-skimpy metallic thongs?

Dude! (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409531)

Some of us are trying to eat lunch...

But they're already using MEMS! (2, Funny)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409359)

They're planting nanomechanical bugs all over the place, in people, around places, it's a total conspiracy, I swear to GOD! The resistance told me all about it when I stumbled onto some stuff onl...

Oops, my bad. That was just the two months of Majestic I played.

... Or was it?

The scary thing about nanotech (5, Funny)

Aexia (517457) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409366)

is that it's not^H^H^H easily noticed. But my bloodstream could NOT be chock full of nanoprobes right now, subtley altering me, possibly even changing my thoughts and what I'm NOT typing right now, without me even NOT realizing it. It could NOT lead to some kind of cognitive dissonance where people are being told one thing but they DON'T believe they heard something completely different.

The future of nanotech is a HAPPPY HAPPY scary world.

I wish... (0, Offtopic)

CrazyDwarf (529428) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409418)

I had mod points. This is VERY funny. Thank you.

Re:I wish... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409477)

I wish I hadt posted to the thread so I could use my mod points on it....

This is a good one.....

Mod it up....

Re:The scary thing about nanotech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409480)

I wish they would tell me what H^H^H means.

Re:The scary thing about nanotech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409503)

^H = backspace... I think. I know it took me a while to realize what it meant as well.

Re:The scary thing about nanotech (1)

po8 (187055) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409550)

OK, so I'm old.

Back in the day, ^H^H^H (a sequence of ASCII BS (08H) chars) was what you'd get inserted into your text if you had your backspace key misconfigured and tried to back over something. The best part was that the editor text would often then display overstruck: i.e., the stuff you tried to backspace over was still there, but invisible until some app (typically a mail reader) rendered the backspace chars as ^H^H^H revealing all your "deleted" typos.

Made for some embarrassing moments. These days, with editing typically done in some GUI tool, it's almost impossible to have a misconfigured backspace key, and if you do, the editor is usually really obviously borken...

Nanotechnology is a way to apocalypsis (2, Interesting)

WetCat (558132) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409368)

See Stanislav Lem, "Invincible", "Fiasco"...
The evil in such technology is that after some time you can lose control after it...
Sad that defense is involved in it...

Uh... (3, Funny)

nat5an (558057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409390)

Glenn Reynolds has written an interesting, albiet a bit speculative, in regards to the role of the US Government in the possible quieting of nanotechnology research.

Um, is it just me, or is this sentence missing something, like what exactly was written?

Re:Uh... (2)

Lionel Hutts (65507) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409441)

Obviously, he wrote a "research"; there's just a misplaced modifier and missing comma in front of the last word, not to mention the other half-dozen problems. The sentence should read:

Glenn Reynolds has written an interesting, albeit a bit speculative, research in regards to the role of the US Government in the possible quieting of nanotechnology.

See how much more fun Slashdot is if you squint a little and don't think very much?

Re:Uh... (2)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409505)

Glenn Reynolds has written an interesting, albeit a bit speculative, opinion in regards to the role of the US Government in the possible quieting of nanotechnology

Re:Uh... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409512)

If you think "research" is a phrase that can go in that space, you may want to apply for that slashdot editor position.

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409654)

If you think "research" is a phrase that can go in that space, you may want to apply for that slashdot editor position.

If you think "research" is a phrase at all, then so can you.

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409663)

Um, is it just me, or is this sentence missing something, like what exactly was written?

I'm going to go with either "an opera", or "a one-man play in three acts".

weigh the possibilities (1)

CrazyDwarf (529428) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409391)

This, just like any other technology CAN be used for evil. That didn't prevent us from cloning sheep (evil redneck farmers) or from developing nuclear weapons. The plain and simple fact is, we don't even know how it will affect us. Nanotech could lead us down avenues of thought we haven't even considered to develop all kinds of other technologies. That's not even considering the applications for nanotechnology, which I'm sure I don't have to list here. 200 years ago did someone say, "Guns can be used to hurt people, so we shouldn't make them, even though it helps us to feed our families"? Of course not. Now I do think a lot of times we jump in without thinking of the consequences, and if the government was trying to make sure we had thought things out pretty well first, then great (just don't over-do it.) If they're just trying to quash technology out of fear, then shame on them!

Did I miss something? (1, Informative)

BennyTheBall (575374) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409403)

Where exactly does he mention what are the indications that the govt is trying to take controll over nanotechnology? Sorry if im being naive or missing the obvious..

Google Mirror (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409417)

Google mirror here [] , in case of slashdotting.

mod this up please (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409539)

i'm all out of mod points :(

Re:Google Mirror (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409638)

Does that man have two bungholes?

Or is it a really pronounced divot?

Nanotech and 420 Lewis !!! @# +1 ; Humane #@ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409423)

Courtesy of About 420 []

Connotative Use/Meaning

420 is a phreak's (and not just a hippie's) favorite number for a
variety of reasons, or maybe for no reason at all, but colloquially
the number says pot -- "let's smoke pot", or "someone's smoking
pot", or "gee, i really like pot", or "time to smoke pot", either by
time (4:20 a.m. or p.m.), date (April 20th), or otherwise (e.g. State
Route 420). April 20th at 4:20 is marked by annual events in
Mount Tamalpais, CA (an informal gathering); Marin Conty, CA
(the 420 Hemp Fest); Ann Arbor, MI (the Hash Bash); and
Washington, D.C. (buildup towards the July 4th Smoke-In).

Original Source(s)

Conventional wisdom: The most common tale is that 420 is the
police radio code or criminal code (and therefore the police "call")
in certain part(s) of California (e.g. in Los Angeles or San
Francisco) for having spotted someone consuming cannabis
publicly, i.e. "pot smoking in progress"; that local cannabis users
picked up on the code and began celebrating the number temporally
(esp. 4:20 a.m., 4:20 p.m., and April 20); that the number became
nationally popularized in the late 1980s and, more ferverently, in
the early- to mid-1990s; and is colloquially applied to a variety of
relaxed and/or inspired contexts, including not only pot
consumption but also a "good time" more generally (in contrast to
the drug war surrounding).

Conventions are legends: 420 is not police radio code for
anything, anywhere. Checks of criminal codes (including those of
the City of San Francisco, the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles
County, the State of California, and the federal penal code) suggest
that the origin is neither Californian nor federal (the two best
guesses). For instance, California Penal Code 420 defines as a
misdemeanor the hindrance of use ("obstructing entry") of public
lands, and California Family Code 420 defines what constitutes a
wedding ceremony (Marco). One state does come close: "The
Illinois Department of Revenue classifies the Alcoholic Liquor Act
under Part 420, and the Cannabis and Controlled Substances Tax
Act are next, under Part 428." (RB 5/19/99)

True story?: "According to Steven Hager, editor of High Times,
the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School, in 1971,
among a group of about a dozen pot-smoking wiseacres who
called themselves the Waldos. The term 420 was shorthand for the
time of day the group would meet, at the campus statue of Louis
Pasteur, to smoke pot. ``Waldo Steve,'' a member of the group who
now owns a business in San Francisco, says the Waldos would
salute each other in the school hallway and say ``420 Louis!'' The
term was one of many invented by the group, but it was the one
that caught on. ``It was just a joke, but it came to mean all kinds of
things, like `Do you have any?' or `Do I look stoned?' '' he said.
``Parents and teachers wouldn't know what we were talking about.''
The term took root, and flourished, and spread beyond San Rafael
with the assistance of the Grateful Dead and their dedicated cohort
of pot-smoking fans. The Waldos decided to assert their claim to
the history of the term after decades of watching it spread, mutate
and be appropriated by commercial interests. The Waldos contacted
Hager, and presented him with evidence of 420's history, primarily
a collection of postmarked letters from the early '70s with lots of
mention of 420. They also started a Web site, ``We
have proof, we were the first,'' Waldo Steve said. ``I mean, it's not
like we wrote a book or invented anything. We just came up with a
phrase. But it's kind of an honor that this emanated from San
Rafael.''" Maria Alicia Gaura for the San Francisco Chronicle,
4/20/00 p. A19; and thanks to Noah Cole for the submission

Alternate explanations

There are a variety of other explanations, all much more interesting
than "police code", and many plausible. Some are more likely uses
of the 420/hemp connection rather than sources of it, such as the
score for the football game in Fast Times at Ridgement High,

Known Myths: It isn't police code (see above). There are 315
chemicals in marijuana, not 420. And although tea time in
Amsterdam is rumored to be 4:20, it is actually 5:30 (Gerhard
den Hollander).
Sixties Songs: For instance, Bob Dylan's famous "Rainy Day
Women #12 and 35" is a possible reference, or source --
12x35=420. And Stephen Stills wrote (and Crosby Stills Nash
& Young performed) a song "4+20" (first recorded 7/16/69,
released on Deja Vu 3/11/70) about an 84-year-old
poverty-stricken man who started and finished with nothing.
(Thanks to Sherry Keel 12/6/98.) Dylan aslo mentions "4 and
20 windows" in "The Balland of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"
(on John Wesley Harding).
Older Verse: But 420 in poetry is older than that - Greg
Keller notes the old nursery rhyme line, "four and twenty
black birds baked in a pie". Revelation 5:14 (in the King
James Version of the Christian Bible) reads, "And the four
beasts said 'A-Men.' And the four and twenty elders fell down
and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." (Travis
Spurley 2/15/99) And in Midnight's_Children, Salman
Rushdie wrote, "Inevitably, a number of these children failed
to survive. Malnutrition, disease and the misfortunes of
everyday life had accounted for no less than four hundred and
twenty of them by the time I became conscious of their
existence; although it is possible to hypothesize that these
deaths, too, had their purpose, since 420 has been, since time
immemorial, the number associated with fraud, deception and
trickery." (Comet 2/14/98) Comet's "best guess is that this
refers to something in Indian mythology or numerology, since
the book is set in India and frequently involves Indian history,
culture, and religion. Given the high interest in Eastern
religion among the phish/dead community, this seems a likely
origin of 420's current significance."
Temporal Significance: "Hands on analog clock at 4:20 look
like position of doobie dangling from mouth" "Larry in
Tuscan" and Alex Mack 5/19/99). Disruptive students are out
of detention and safetly away from school by 4:20, also
rumored to be "the time that you should dose to be peaking
when the Dead went on stage" Hart. "The Waldos" were a
group of teens back in the 70's that lived in San Rafael, CA.
420 was the way they talked about pot in front of teachers,
non-smoking family members etc. Also it was the time of day
they could just go relax, and get baked." ("PhunkCellar")
Jamaicans purportedly "worked till 4 then walked home then
lit up. They would talk 420 like our parents talked about after
5. That's when partying began" "Larry in Tuscan"). Albert (not
Abbie) Hofmann supposedly first encountered LSD at 4:20
p.m. on 4/19/1943 (Bart Coleman citing Storming Heaven by
Jay Stevens, recommended by Mickey Hart in Planet Drum).
Surrealist painter Miro was born April 20, 1893. And says the propoganda film Reefer
Madness has a copyright date of April 20, 1936 (i.e. 4/20).
(Patrick Woolford)
Misc: Could be that it comes from hydroponics, the practice
of cultivating plants in water often used by indoor marijuana
cultivators, since 4 is used for H on a calculator (420/H20).
(Nick Lowe 3/30/00) The number 80 (eight) is "quatre vingt"
(pronounced "cah-truh vahn"), meaning "four (times} twenty".
Dan Nijjar 1/27/00 (No connection yet between the number
80 and pot. A quarter pound is roughly 120 grams, rounding
quarter-ounces to 7.5.) The titanic was supposed to arrive
4/20/1912. (Thanks to RB.) Perhaps the heavy use of vt420
terminals in the Berkeley area is to blame? (BTW, 420 in
binary code is 110100100.)


Now there's a 420 Pale Ale. One of the late-97/early-98 "Got
Milk" ads featured a character eating cookies without milk and
then passing a sign that reads "Next Rest Area 420 miles" (as Ross
Bruning). Reportedly, all of the clocks in the movie Pulp Fiction
are stuck on 4:20. Shirts with the number 420 on the red-and-blue
interstate highway shield (Interstate 420?) have show up on the
sitcom Will and Grace (Paul Risenhoover 5/14/99) and in several
videos. UPS' labelling software has a "420 postal code" legend for
next-day/2-day deliveries (which is how Phish tickets are sent).
(Jack Lebowitz 10/3/98) MTV's 1997 Viewer's Choice Award (for
the MTV Video Awards) was decided by calls to
1-800-420-4MTV. And by May of 1998, the number was
appearing in so many ads (eg Copenhagen 5/14/98 Rolling Stone
p54, Corvette p55 5/98 Car & Driver) that its presence is
presumed to be intentional. Many songs are around 4 minutes 20
seconds long (since many songs fall between 2:30 and 5:30),
including for example Pink Floyd's "A Great Day for Freedom" (on
The Division Bell, 1994), the Foo Fighters' "My Hero", and
"Smokin'" from Boston's first album. "There have also been some
420 references on The Simpsons. In the re-run episode aired on
April 20th, 1999 at a special time (probably in honor of those
college students staying in the holiday spirit ;-), Homer mentions to
Flanders that Barney's birthday is April 20th. Also, the jackpot sign
in one part of the casino says $420,000. There are a couple less
concrete ones, but these two have to be legit, especially since they
decided to air THAT particular episode on 4/20/99." (Submitted by
Matt Meehan 4/21/99) And (as of Fall '99) the 60 free minutes that
Working Assets Long Distance offers, at the 7 cents per minute
rate, is $4.20 free. There's even a band named 420, and another
names . In the first fifteen pages of Karel Capek's novel War with
the Newts, a man diving under wonder stayed down for four
minutes and twenty seconds. Grant Garstka 1/6/00 At the
suggested retail price ($3.96) and Michigan (6%) sales tax, a deck
of Uno cards costs $4.20. Nic Boris 4:20 marks the first downbeat
of the drums in Led Zeppelin's epic "Stairway to Heaven." (Dan
Harris) The bill authorizing force after the World Trade Center
attacks of 9/11/01 passed 420 to 1, and news reports in following
months noted many times that there are (or were then, anyway) 420
airports in the U.S. Allan Morris And don't forget that Adolf Hitler
was born on April 20, macabely "celebrated" (or at least
referenced) via the Columbine High School shootings.

Phish-related Occurances

Whatever the origin, the number appears frequently... For the
summer 1997 tour, TicketMaster service charges were $4.20. In
the Fall 1997 Doniac Schvice Dry Goods section, a limited edition
Pollack poster printed on 100% hemp is order number 420P. The
Great Went was 420 miles from Boston (former home of Phish).
The official logo includes 4 gills and 20 bubbles ("Gringo"
11/12/98). As of 6/15/97, including covers and originals, Phish
had performed a total of 420 songs (thought its 486 by 4/24/98).
(David Steinberg). Lawnboy is 420megs of memory. Patrick
Walker Phish's The Vibration of Life underlies a whirling loop
with Seven Beats per second (which makes 420 beats per minute.)
Trey has used the altered line "woke up at 4:20" in "Makisupa
Policeman", which also often indirectly celebrates 420ing, e.g. by
mention of goo balls. One of the funniest shirts around takes light
jabs at both the 4:20 phenomenon and the rumored evolution
(collapse?) of the Phish.Net (especially from
being Gamehendge to Flamehendge, and beyond. The first day of
the Great Went started at 4:20 (with Makisupa Policeman. (The
second day started late, at 4:37.) Noah Cole The first single from
Slip Stitch and Pass was played on WBCN 10/14/97 at 4:20 pm.
An uproar at 12/31/96 can be heard on tape during the 2001, in
response to an enormous digital clock (which was counting down
to midnight) reaching 11:55:40 and reading "-4:20". (Yoda)
During the 9-12-00 2001, Trey hits the first riff right at 4:20 into
the intro jam. (Cal 2/25/01) Some mail order tickets for the 1997
New Year's run were in section 420. The first Mass Pike toll
leaving Oswego was $4.20. (Camille Heath ) And the standard
shipping for The Phish Companion through Amazon was
originally $4.20.

420 Shows: Phish performed on April 20 in 1989, 1990, 1991,
1993, and 1994. The first day of the Great Went started at 4:20,
although that was called a soundcheck by Trey after three songs.
The Jazzfest Harry Hood 4-26-96 started at about 4:20 reported by
Trevor. At Big Cypress, "David Bowie" was playing at 4:20 a.m.
And the one event during the "hiatus" (10/8/00 - ?) featuring all
four members - for Jason Colton's wedding - was 12/1/01, 420

More Glenn Reynolds for ya (1)

yankeehack (163849) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409426)

Glenn Reynolds is a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Tennessee [] .

For more reading, his blog about politics and other musings is [] .

Now, I'd love to see that slashdotted! :-P

Re:More Glenn Reynolds for ya (1)

Mad Man (166674) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409604)

Glenn also posts on Slashdot as YIAAL [] .

Self regulation (1)

Dead Penis Bird (524912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409430)

Economic incentives could be provided through discounts on insurance policies for MNT development organizations that certify Guidelines compliance. Willingness to provide self-regulation should be one condition for access to advanced forms of the technology.

This struck me as one of the better ideas; a sort of "ISO standard" for nanotech research could be created, not only on the national level, but hopefully on the international level, where an independent body can inspect and certify (and re-certify; complying only once is not enough).

My question is: Can an independent body be more trustworthy than the government?

Re:Self regulation (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409501)

My question is: Can an independent body be more trustworthy than the government?


Can it be less trustworthy?


Details matter. Which government? Which independent body? What's the structure of each? Who gets to decide who's involved in either? What are the safeguards? How well are the safeguards guarded?

"Quis cusotdiet ipsos custodes?"

Don't beleive the Hype! (1)

1WingedAngel (575467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409431)

Reading this story takes a little more than a grain of salt.

I would have been kept interested if there was a single piece of factual evidence to this story instead of a thinly-veiled shot to convince those in the technology field that the govenment is hiding something.

I feel that this is yet another piece of non-news that will just get hyped up because the general /. community is all ready to jump on the government for anything they do that might be wrong and will gobble this up even with no facts.

Please understand that when you read this article and come to your own conclusions, not ones that someone else is feeding you.


First Troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409439)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
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x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/ \ (> / t
s / /\ C) (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
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* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

I dont see a problem here.... (2)

CDWert (450988) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409442)

First of all its not like any slashdotters are hacking nano in their basements here, we talking about the majority being govt funded university projects in the first place, this is no different that a half a dozen other similar things the govt has done.

We slashdotters for the most part are tech-heads, the same guys that a couple of generations before came up with dynamite and made nuclear fission a possibility, neither in its inception was anything other than an experiment or theory, and YES it is the use that becomes evil no the technology, but thats our problem, we are blinded by our views and say but its just science.

Its science at a crossroads, where VERY easily it could be turned for purposes other than the utopian ones us slashdotters first envision, we see medical uses, technololgical uses, another may very well see a quicker undetectable way of killing as many people they can while inflicting the most pain and suffering.

In the end there is no difference between a quelch on this technology and nuclear science. It will go on, the same people will be doing it but under different guidlines of research and collaboration. Since the Govt. is footing the bill for the majority of this research (over 90% at this point) isnt it fair they decide how its disclosed ?

I do.....

Re:I dont see a problem here.... (2)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409529)

yes, this interests me a little more than most research that is going on, but this same thinking applies to EVERYTHING.

maybe not on such a grand scale, but all research could be used for good or evil. we can't always assume that it will be evil or earth is basically dead.

make your nano-bots... make them do useful things... take a million dollars from al queada and develop evil nano-bots... go to federal prison... USA will stop the bots and blow up your country... that is how it works. if you use new technology for evil, you will get knocked the fuck out.

Re:I dont see a problem here.... (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409615)

make your nano-bots... make them do useful things... take a million dollars from al queada and develop evil nano-bots... go to federal prison... USA will stop the bots and blow up your country... that is how it works. if you use new technology for evil, you will get knocked the fuck out.

Um, right. And the US gets to decide what is "evil" and what is not?

Thanks but no thanks. Contrary to the current general delusional state, evidence strongly suggests that the US isn't a very good judge of what is evil and what isn't.

Re:I dont see a problem here.... (3, Insightful)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409562)

Since the Govt. is footing the bill for the majority of this research (over 90% at this point) isnt it fair they decide how its disclosed?

"The Govt" is not footing the bill. The govt does not have any money. What it has is significant control over what is done with tax revenue, and it is at least supposedly accountable to the people whose money it controls and it is at least supposedly committed to implement the will of the people whose money it's spending.

Now granted, reality has diverged a long way from the ideal, at least in the US, but that's no reason to think that the decisions should be wholly theirs. Though no doubt many of them would be happy for us to believe that.

Re:I dont see a problem here.... (2)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409614)

" First of all its not like any slashdotters are hacking nano in their basements here..."

Mwaaahhaahaahaaa...that's what you think !!

(Note to any .gov agencies who might be reading this: it was joke OK, a JOKE) !

wouldnt it be better... (1)

BennyTheBall (575374) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409444)

If the us gvt tries to thwart new technology, that wont prevent other countries, or even underground groups within the us from developing it and use it for evil (in gb's words) means. So if you want to prevent being beaten by some new weapon, dont impair research, take the lead dmt!!! If you seek peace, get ready for war Julius Caesar

See it before (1)

brokenspoke (569526) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409454)

It is the same with any emerging tech that has the potential to change the world (which I think we must acknowledge that nanotech would).

The greater the potential benefits of a technology the bigger the potential disaster and misuse.

It has always been this way. Fission, fusion (yeah one day!), biotech and now nanotech.

spy games (1)

CrazyDwarf (529428) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409457)

If the government had nanotechnology, could they just spray those over a city to keep an eye on the population, instead of installing spyware on my computer? Is that why my skin's been itching lately?

I have one word: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409466)

The Matrix if you think about it from that angle, it's pretty scary.

Nanobots in my blood (2)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409467)

Help! Someone please remove these evil nanobots from my bloodstream before they....achphbtptp....There are no such things as nanobots, it's all a conspiracy.

Spelling nanobot? (1)

Jabroni54 (320749) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409469)

As Gleen points out

Maybe they can come up with nanobots for the Slashdot editors that automatically proofread all news submissions?

Eheheheheh, the smartass drive was running strong today....

the twilight of scientific openness (3, Interesting)

ezekeze (451493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409470)

Openness is a competitive tool, but now that the
U.S. is clearly by itself as the worlds only superpower,
its looking at errecting barriers to entry against
competitors aspiring to catch up and surpass. Forget
Europe here, think ahead a generation and look at
India & China. We are talking about technology as
a strategic asset, not just militarily but economically.
And I think it won't be just a nanotech thing.

Amazing how this trend runs counter to movements
(enabled by the internet!) for scientists to be
more open and abondon traditional publishers for
easily accessable electronic publishing!

research squelched? (2, Informative)

brarrr (99867) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409478)

As an student who will be entering grad school in materials engineering this fall with the intention of doing research in nanotech type things (opto electronics and molecular electronics) this is mostly horseshit. (also doing research on constructing photonic band gap materials currently)

The state of nanotech (a word that is surely to become a buzzword more overused any before) is such that no useful devices will come from current research for years. Compare it to the creation of the mechanical computer. The ideas are there certainly, but the execution in a useful mannar are long off. We just cannot control the exact placement of single atoms well enough, and possibly never will due to thermal energy (kT being larger than the intermolecular forces)

Certainly there are and will be uses for nanotech in the near future, but none will be NEMS (nano electro mechanical systems) or other machinations or devices. Also it will be years before any 'intelligent' device could be created that could do more than just move from one place to another.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about all that is in the field (comp sci, materials, bio, chem, physics) of nanotech, but it really is in an infancy. The current threat of anything being used harmfully is as far away as anything being use for good. There will be some things that will be 'censored' but those will be the monumental jumps in logic and technology that make the science become engineering, and useful products.

Like all cool tech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409481)

It will be researched to death by the gov, then eventually get to the masses after the war-fucks have finished with their purposes.

Dick Cheney will live forever! George Bush's face markings and falling off the couch were side effects of his treatments! Colin Powel will change his name to Colon Bowel!

Duality (4, Insightful)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409482)

Nanotech has some great possibilities, but some of the biggest advances are also the biggest problems.

Like he mentioned - nanotech could "cure" old age. What, then, will we do with the rapid population increase? We don't have the resources to handle that many people. Move into space, perhaps. And what happens to our rights when an "old" person decides they now want to grow old and die? Suicide is illegal here, might that not also be? Can you imagine being imprisoned for life if life meant forever?

Also, electronics are succeptible to electromagnetic fields. No MRIs for the people with nanotech running around inside them. And if you stand too close to the microwave or have a cellphone? It's bad enough with a pacemaker. What happens when nanotech is used to compensate for brian deterioration? Lead hats?

Presumably the technology won't ever self-replicate. That would be a nightmare. Imagine the resources it would consume. We would need huge processing power in tiny spaces to prevent deaths from over-replication.

Don't get me wrong. Nanotechnology has some great potential benefits - going where no doctor could safely go, curing terminal diseases, destroying viruses, and much more. But at first, all those advances will come at a pretty high price.

It has been said that science and discovery is neither good nor evil, but scientists have to look at the potential consequences of their actions. Both Einstein and Oppenheimer were opponents of nuclear weapons after they had been created. A few quotes to close:

I do not know how World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
-- Einstein

I am not an evil man, but I have done evil things.
-- Oppenheimer

Misconception about nanobots (5, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409619)

Why do nanobots have to be metallic and reliant upon the whims of EM?

Virii and bacterium have been doing fine for millions of years without caring about magnetics except where it was an advantage.

Cheese and yogurt, as an example, are produced by the action of special natural nanobots that react and process milk into portable storable food products. Beer and wine, as well.

Nothing says nanobots have to be metallic at all.

stop talking about the borg... (2)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409499)


Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409518)

Diamond Age. This is why the government does *not* want nanotech.

keep yer pants on (5, Insightful)

OxideBoy (322403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409519)

Considering where we are with current nanotech research, I'm a little surprised everyone's so worried about it. What's the forefront of nanotech right now? You have molecular machines, but so far no known way to really make them independently powered or make them self-replicate in anything more than the simplest manner -- "goo" (harmful self-replicating swarms of nanomachines) is a long long long way off, if in fact it's ever possible. While several researchers have used nanotubes to demonstrate some interesting electronic devices, such as single-atom transistors [] , but the performance offered by such devices is still not "leaps and bounds" ahead of silicon CMOS. More conventional solid-state work is going on in pursuit of quantum computation [] that the US DoD is sponsoring, not suppressing.

I thought the analogy with 1950s comptuers was interesting, but I think a more appropriate analogy would be 1930s computing -- we're still a long way off.

And did anyone else note that Reynolds of the article didn't cite any sources for these "rumors" of a "nanotechnology clampdown"? Bad journalism + ignorance = hysteria.

No big deal (pun intended) (2)

Spackler (223562) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409538)

I've been working with nanotech for 2 years now. I don't understand people like this, suspecting the government of quieting our technology. We are allowed to freely... KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

Just a minute, let me get the door...

403 - forbidden


Get ready for a lot of changes (1)

Orangedog_on_crack (544931) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409540)

Most people, even a lot of the technically minded don't a grasp on just what this technology will be capable of. "Oh big deal, a bunch of Little robots!" some might say. It it MUCH more than that. I firmly believe that in the next five or six years, a small handful of new technologies are going to be refined and introduced , with nanotech being one of them. Imagine what this could do for materials research, developement and production. Nanotech could realistically allow us to custom make material with extreme precision at the atomic level. So you want an alloy that is lighter than aluminum, harder than diamond, more resiliant than titanium and a hidiously high melting point, all in one material? No problem, we've got ya' covered! How about a near room-temperature superconductor? No problem. Nanotech is a tool that will usher in a new age of technological developement, making things like quantum computers a reality. It's impact on medicine will be just as, if not more, profound than the discovery of anti-biotics. Imagine going to the doctor and having your DNA re-sequenced to eliminate any number of ilnesses. In short, imagine the entire microchip/microprocessor revolution happening, only twice as intense and occurring in the span of five or six years.

Not just on Humans (1)

schizm (543030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409563)

Might just be my anti-social side, but Nano-tech has a lot more uses than just infecting the bloodstream to cure/kill someone. Think of nanotech in space, repairing satellites that have been damaged, or on your vehicle, repairing that brake line that just got severed...(yeah, that is extreme, i know) and on the other side, think of nanotech destroying a fleet of tanks, or even an embassy. It can create or repair just about anything, without anyone knowing about it. It is one thing to design a robot to assassinate a certain race, but on a larger scale, this could dismantle all the technology centres and vehicles in a country, leaving it's inhabitants to fend for themselves. Think Forcible Nuclear Dis-armament.

Nothing like a good paranoid rant! (2)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409565)

Especially this early in the morning.

Re:Nothing like a good paranoid rant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409647)

Damn ... and I forgot my tinfoil hat at home. Normally I don't leave home without it ... but they must have made me forget when I was sleeping.

The Deliberate restriction of technology... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3409594)

Is not only possible, but is happening. Take a look at: The Disclosure Project [] to see what efforts are being made to have all potentially beneficial technologies that are currently being hidden from us, released, so that we can all prosper from them.

Comment on (3, Interesting)

Byteme (6617) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409595)

...from the Engines of Creation author makes this interesting statement [] . QUOTE: The basic concepts have also been more controversial than I had expected. Even now, after (for example) the US Science Advisor has called for the development of molecular manufacturing, segments of the science establishment are still having difficulties with some quite simple ideas. I know it is a little old (1996), but the US has had this in the bag for a while I assume. Then again, I am sucker for a conspiracy.

They are removing public Web pages (1)

Vadim Makarov (529622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409602)

I'll just cut-and-paste here what used to be an interesting link from our Quantum crypto [] page for the past three years:

Quantum cryptography at other places:

Quantum Information at Los Alamos National Laboratory []

Yup. "NNSA HQ has requested that LANL review all publicly accessible information".

Scanner Darkly (P. K. Dick) (1, Offtopic)

gelfling (6534) | more than 12 years ago | (#3409643)

Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair. The doctor told him there were no bugs in hair. After he had taken a shower for eight hours, standing under hot water hour after hour suffering the pain of the bugs, he got out and dried himself, and he still had bugs in his hair; in fact, he had bugs all over him. A month later he had bugs in his lungs.

Having nothing else to do or think about, he began to work out theoretically the life cycle of the bugs, and, with the aid of Britannica, try to determined specifically which bugs they were. They now filled his house. He read about many different kinds and finally noticed bugs outdoors, so he concluded they were aphids. After that decision came to his mind it nnever changed, no matter what other people told "Aphids don't bite people."
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