Recently, The Very Reverand P. Dolding-Beedle, Egregious Professor of Divinity, and Chair of the Advanced Research Centre for BioNanotechnology, Nanoethics, Nanoenvironment and Nanorobotics of El Dorado State University, announced the development of the Nanolithographical Nanotoolbox; as well as its use for the nanotechnological development of Nanorock Nanoscissors and Nanopaper nanorobots. Hot on the trail of these world class discoveries is new research into the ethics of NASA sponsored Civilisation Destroying technology, as well as the practical creation of the world's first functioning scale invarient self-assembled Nanobots!
Much of this is the outcome of the very recently created Centre for Nanoethical Nanononesense (CNN). The CNN was split out of the Advanced Research Centre of El Dorado State University. While working for this new institution, the Reverend Professor became disturbed by a NASA-funded $400,000 study study into the use of bionanobots for space colonization. The NASA-proposed bionanobot comes with two arms and legs and a propeller on its head. The Reverand Dolding takes objection to this ill-conceived research.
The Rev P Dolding-Beedle had doctrinal difficulties with one of the main aims of the NASA-sponsored study:
"Once these nano-robots are shown to sustain and create life, transporting them to far away planets will yield results not currently possible."
As a Minister of the First Self-Assembly of God, P. Dolding believes that the creation of life is a bound that science should not cross.
Dolding-Beedle examined their Vision for the period 2022-2032:
"With the nano-robots in full function, they will now need to collaborate with one another to further develop systems and "colonies" of similar and diverse nano-robots. We envision that this phase will take place between 20 to 30 years from now. Since most of these robots will be composed of the basic fundamental elements of life, they will be able to self-replicate and multiply. They will produce identical copies of themselves and eventually variations of themselves to adapt to the environment and conditions. They will in effect create new life forms, perhaps biological systems, like plants, that will one day sustain human life on distant planets."
"Sending these robots on planetary exploration and colonization is the final step. This phase can take place in 30 to 50 years from now. Due to the fact that these robots will be on the nanometer scale, the cost to transport them will be minimal."
With his keen intellect, Dolding-Beedle immediately noticed a very slightly conceivable, imaginable, possible outcome: that once these bionanobots are launched into space in an ultralight payload, have dispersed across the entire universe, colonized planets, and learned to create and sustain life: they could mutate, turn feral, and come back to destroy all civilization on earth.
There are now many ethical think tanks, such as the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, which specialize in debating almost every conceivable outcome in postulated nanotechnological developments, and spend much time organizing conferences. "But 'almost every' just isn't good enough when you're dealing with total annihilation of all sentient life. At the Centre for Nanoethical Nanononsense we pride ourselves on investigating every conceivable possible ethical problem, before the technology is developed. I see the stony silence from the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology on this issue as tacit approval for the destruction of all civilization as we know it. When are they going to stand up and take a stand on this serious issue?"
In addition to (NASA-funding), the National Science Foundation (NSF) also contributed to the tune of $1,050,017 (NSF Site link), for research into bionanomotors which such space-based bionanobots might use. Professor Dolding-Beedle is "highly distressed" by this figure. "I can understand the million," he said, "I couldn't do much NanoVisioning for less these days - even crumpled pieces of torn envelopes add up, and I could soon burn through $50,000 on a few conferences at 5-star hotels in Hawaii. But the $17 is simply 'outrageous excess'. I can see absolutely no justification for this ridiculous figure." Dolding-Beedle is publicly calling upon the NSF to perform a full accounting and justification for this $17 sum, but has had no response.
"Despite full color renderings of these bionanobots on blood cells, it appears that so far NASA have not yet been able to construct functioning versions of these. At first, I found this puzzling, as full-color renderings of a desktop nanofactory are available for use at the Foresight Insitute," claims Dolding-Beedle. This is very strange indeed, as there has existed since 1980, a very modest proposal "for a self-replicating automated lunar factory system, capable of exponentially increasing productive capacity and, in the long run, exploration of the entire galaxy within a reasonable timeframe." The 'Advanced Automation for Space Missions' project (Link 2), was a study that only cost $11.7m in 1980, but was "quietly declined with barely a ripple in the press". "One wonders why such a project which was apparently conceivable in 1980 has still not come to fruition," quizzed the Reverend Professor.
NASA's startling lack of progress in practical bionanobots has not stopped the Reverend Professor from boldly going one step further than any researcher before him, and in a true breakthrough announced late yesterday the world's first functioning nanobots.
"The bionano concept is fundamentally flawed. Why on earth would you chose something like DNA as a component for a nanomachine," asks the Reverend Professor, "something so complex the world did not even have an inkling of its structure until 1953. And with great variety among the 3 billion base pairs, it is just not standardized enough for a nanomachine. Proteins are even more complicated. The problem with this is uncontrolled mutation, especially in the high radiation fields of Outer Space to which these nanobots will be exposed. This mutation is even acknowledged in their Vision to 2052. There is a very minuscule, one might say almost nanoscopic, but real risk of a feral population developing that is hell bent on the destruction of mankind."
Instead, the Reverend Professor has led the Shining Path of Innovation by breaking out of the tired mould of bionanorobotics, and has chosen licorice allsorts as his construction medium. "They come in a variety of highly attractive colours, and zesty flavors," says Dolding-Beedle. In fact in an average package you'd be lucky to find more than about 6 very standardized types that can be used as building blocks, or nanotectonomonomers as the Reverend Professor prefers to call them. The structure of allsorts has been known for well over a hundred years, and since the discovery of this class of advanced materials, not a single new type of allsort has been discovered, suggesting they are morphologically stable over long periods of time.
Compared to proteins they are much simpler as all nanotectonomonomers are centrosymmetric: they crystallize without handedness; you can eat them just as easily whether you are left- or right-handed. Another major advantage of licorice allsorts is that, like the components for the nanolithographical nanotoolbox they are available at the local store.
Thanks to a $13.5m grant from DoE, Professor Dolding-Beedle has conducted extended experiments on proposed nanobots at very high radiation fields at the National Superconducting Nanocollider. At doses in excess of 1GigaGray the allsorts showed no detectable damage whatsoever, and tasted just as good as when they had come out of the box. From these experiments the Professor was able to conclusively prove that there is absolutely no danger of an invasion of feral licorice nanobots from the outer reaches of Space.
The same cannot be said of protein and DNA-based bionanobots. The Applied Mathematics Dept at neighbouring BSU, have examined the results of the experiments on the mutations of the NASA-proposed bionanobots under these fields. While many DNA-strands are so garbled they are not viable, one consistent result is found - and that result is horrifying. Armed with the structure of the mutated DNA they then computed the proteins which it coded for. In a compared to the NASA-visioned nanobots, it became apparent that they were partly correct: highly adapted arms and legs are present, as is an enormously mutated propeller on its head. However, the main result of the ion bombardment is the development of a highly nanoporous nanoorganism, which appears to be able to morph into uncountable forms, and is bent on the destruction of all mankind. BSU have also simulated some of the possible scenarios with this entity in the world. "The results have been so terrifying that quite frankly, I would not be happy with my children witnessing them", said P. Dolding-Beedle.
Fig 2: El Dorado State University and BSU researchers have found that NASA-proposed Bionanobots are subject to horrific mutations in outer space under high radiation fields and mutate into this terrifying nanoporous nanoorganism.
There has been much debate as to how much the effect called "Sticky Fingers" will be a problem for nanomachines, a problem well known to normal scientists. This is the speculated effect whereby objects become more and more attractive at the nanoscale, and therefore very difficult to pull apart and maneuver. It has been a contentious issue in the nanoworld.
However, while using well-established classical licorice allsort technology, the Reverend Professor has achieved a very important result in proving that the sticky fingers problem is scale invariant. "I had to wash my hands several times from handling the licorice allsorts, even at the macrolevel." This astounding result had not been predicted by any previous nanoresearcher. This break-through is currently being published by the prestigious nano-rag Nurture.
"While inconvenient, it does mean that one can experiment with the results of Sticky Fingers at the macrolevel, and once you can solve the problem at this length scale you can solve it at the nanolevel."
Nevertheless, while Sticky Fingers appears to be present at all length-scales, other effects became manifest at finer scales, which only affect nanoapparel. At the 10 micron level the bots started to construct finer microbots without hats. P. Dolding-Beedle theorizes that "strong hat-head repulsive and hat-hat attractive interactions dominate at this scale. This interaction can be described by a top-hat function, which is the main reason it only appears to affect quality headwear". However, due to the paradoxical nature of the quantum world at shorter length scales, the nanobot can be seen to don a nanoberet. Nanotop-hats are still "out of the question", says Dolding-Beedle, "- no self-respecting nanobot would be seen wearing them." An example of the evolving power of self-assembler nanotechnology, end effectors (hands and feet) are also modified as a function of scale; as obviously the methods of grappling and manipulation objects will change. But such is the power of nanotechnology, the self assemblers determine what is optimum, leaving the human mind free for advanced nano-visioning using such tools as the Nanolithographical Nanotoolbox.
Fig 3 (a-g): Nanoscopic images of Licorice Allsorts nano self assemblers showing their different hats and end effectors.
In addition the Professor points out fundamental changes in the hands and the feet of the bots over various length scales. At scales well below the wavelength of light, optical microscopy could not be used. Instead the bots, using communal, distributed intelligence, constructed a nanoallsort-enabled nanoscope, from high quality nano-optical-grade pieces of licorice they found just lying around in the nanoenvironment. This device was used to take the images of the bots at finer levels, and the image processed and sent back to the macroworld. "This is one of the proofs of nano- bio- opto- cogno- Convergence," said Dolding-Beedle.
Unfortunately, as nano-optical-grade licorice components are quite rare, to date the Professor informs us that the bots have only been able to construct one such instrument, and so it is not possible to communicate an image of this wondrous device to the public at this time.
Dolding-Beedle firmly believes that since WWII, governments around the world have secretly turned back to alchemy, and that there is clear evidence that Richard Feynman was Arch Mage, and sole survivor, of an ancient and secret order of powerful alchemists. There are parallels between the development of nuclear power and nanotechnology: both are technologies which are driven by excessive government-funded research, as few sane private corporations are willing to spend money on them, and Richard Feynman was involved in the very earliest modern works in both fields, being a member of the Manhattan Project and author of There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom.
One of the primary research activities of the alchemists of the Middle Ages was to turn other metals into gold. Feynmann finally re-achieved this in modern times thanks to the extravagant government-funded research. "Thanks to people like Feynman, since the nuclear age, we have been able to turn the base metal uranium into isotopes of gold, at least for a few seconds before they disintegrated into a pile of other radioactive crap", says the Reverend Professor.
Dolding-Beedle sees nanotechnology following this path. What other alchemical goal were Feynman and the U.S. Government trying to pursue with his unfinished hopes of There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom? The answer is obvious "I have always wondered why most renderings of nanobots, and bionanobots bear an uncanny resemblance to human beings, with a head, a body, two arms and two legs." The Reverend Professor has come up with a possible explanation for this. "Using machines at one length scale to create machines at finer and finer length scales was one of Feynman's ideas. Originally alchemists attempted to create the homunculus from mixtures of hair, skin and bones. But being a fully functional little man, this homunculus can create a smaller and smaller homunculus. It appears to me that Feynman was recycling concepts of earlier alchemists that went before him, without fully crediting their earlier work."
In trying to leap straight to the nanohomunculus, using mixtures of fundamental units such as DNA and bacteriorhodopsin, leaving out the intermediate length scales, NASA are doomed to failure. Instead, Dolding-Beedle has used the tried and tested mechanism of steady scale reduction, working out the problems at every length scale before proceeding to the next. The first homunculus was assembled at the macroscale. This licorice homunculus went on to assemble a smaller homunculus and so on until the nanohomunculus was created.
Rather than carbon nanotubes and DNA, realistic nano-materials are therefore licorice and compacted coconut. The waste material from the coconut, includes fibres from the shell which can be roasted and used as a raw ingredient for carbon-nanotube production, "which is about all it's good for", adds Dolding-Beedle with disdain. And unlike carbon-nanotubes, which are fiendishly difficult to prepare as a single-walled variety, the Reverend Professor claims he has never seen even one multi-walled licorice nanotube.
The lower set of images is what Dolding-Beedle considers the NASA-sponsored nanobots would look like when constructed out of realistic nanomaterials. Rather than DNA, peptides and carbon-nanotubes, the nanobot is constructed largely from licorice nanotubes. Unlike carbon-nanotubes, which are notoriously poor absorbers of materials such as hydrogen (even at temperatures as low as 77 Kelvin / -196 Celsius), licorice nanotubes are very strong absorbers of coconut, achieving packing densities mankind could only dream of before. "Enough coconut can be absorbed by a single licorice nanotube to feed the average American family for 9 months. This will surely be one of the major contributions of nanotechnology. Nanotech has long promised to give us eternal life, end sickness, and poverty, and to that impressive list we can now add the end of world hunger."
Fig 4 (a-g): Nanoscopic images of nano self assemblers going from the meter to the nanometer range (scale to the right of the assembler)
Using nanoscopy, an image of licorice nanohomunculus, formed using realistic nanomaterials, can be seen locating a highly-diseased red blood cell in the lower left-hand corner using the quanto-nano sensors in its feet. Inside itself, the nanobot is preparing a nanodrug to inject into the blood cell to cure it.
Fig 5 (a,b,c): Nanoscopic images of human bloodstream compatible nanobot. In the right hand side image, the human bloodstream compatible nanobot is preparing a nanodrug to inject into a highly-diseased blood cell to cure it
The Reverend Professor has envisioned a rough timeline for how he sees licorice nanotechnology affecting the world in the years to come:
It takes allsorts...