Tag Archives: nanotechnology

A Case for Reverting the US to a Hemp-based Economy

Dear Americans, statespersons, and citizens of the world,

Hemp (Cannabis sativa) can be used for nearly everything currently utilized in our society: from food, to clothing, to paper, to textiles and housing materials, to plastics, to graphene and hence nanotechnology, as well as providing fuel for automobiles and power centers. It is without doubt the most versatile natural resource available on the planet and bears negligible, nearly untraceable amounts of THC (>.3%) and is purposefully bred industrially to keep that psychotropic chemical low.

This proposal calls for a complete legal reform pertaining to industrial hemp; (optimally) to include governmental subsidy to industrialists for the building of processing centers in agricultural areas (this would help to keep energy of production low); and to farmers (regulated by a governing body), growing purposefully diversified strains of hemp (as some strains of hemp are good for fuel, others are good for food, and still others for fiber – farmers would then be partially constrained based on what processing center or centers opened near them [It is preferential, of course, to have every sort of processing plant within a near proximity of the fields, as this would allow each region to become more self-sufficient]) to provide the individual communities that comprise the United States the security they so greatly need and deserve; and to help facilitate a cultural shift in consciousness about hemp and its consumer consumption.

Whatever Made Humanity also gave us a plant that will do everything that we need, but we have villainized it, for greed and Industry and misunderstanding. But we cannot bow any longer to the corruption of capitalism and corporate self-interest, or to ignorance. The status quo can no longer stand – there has been too much damage to the environment for the sake of fiscal gluttony and it will kill us all, fat cats and paupers alike, unless we act radically as immediately as possible.

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Nerd (Micro) Blurbs: Dick Jokes Edition

Interesting late-breakings around the News-o-sphere today regarding size: it DOES matter after all. What’s that? Oh, that was a cheap, inaccurate dick joke? Okay, we’ll get to the actual news then. Scientists have been making tiny breakthroughs and large discoveries and we’ll give you the size of it in this edition.

“…I’m Going to Need a Microscope…” (That’s What She Said!) “…To See Your Processor…”

Because great scientific discoveries always seem to come in twos: two different research facilities are working on processors the size of atoms. But IBM is taking an upper-hand it seems, as The New York Times reports, by making twelve atoms their bitches forcing them to spit out both zeroes and ones. Now, I’m not about to out-write The Times so I’ll let you read that article and not pontificate, but they are partially responsible for all these dick jokes because they interviewed a Stanford professor for this article named Shan X. Wang. I shit you not.

Now, we’re not only talking about quantum computing, but processors infinitely smaller than the ones we have today that can process information better than even the most formidable super computer today. Crazy.

Of course we’re still left with a measurement problem:

"Your porn, under such a quantum processor, would both exist and not exist. Also, your wiener is tiny." -Albert Einstein

That was…uh…helpful, Einstein. Thanks for that. Moving on.

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How Plastics Can Be Beneficial to a Body

AntibodyCHODisulfide.gif

Yeah, melt down that water bottle and turn it into this.

Researchers out of UC Irvine, working with researchers at the Japanese University of Shizuoka have discovered a means of turning a type of plastic into artificial antibodies, Popular Science reported yesterday. The process involves taking a microscopic amount of a particular plastic with inherent anti-pathogenic properties and molding them into the shapes you see above, imprinted with the shape of the foreign body they’re meant to attack. Set them loose in a body and they have been shown, in lab mice, to significantly amplify a body’s natural foreign-body-fighting ability.

The experiments they’ve run involve using the active ingredient in bee toxin, melittin, in doses fatal to something as small as a mouse – those little rodents that received a dose of the artificial antibodies had a greater success rate than their unfortunate counterparts, indicating to researchers that the plastics are effective at augmenting an immune system. The next step would be tailoring these pseudo-anti-bodies to different pathogens, allergens, toxins, and the like, to effectively create a boost to the immune systems of people suffering from a wide range of infections, from the common cold to, well theoretically, HIV.

I personally have some hangups on this tech. Yes we’re talking about nanoparticles smaller than the width of a human hair, but there’s got to be a threshold. Pump enough of this stuff in someone, whether it’s every time they get a cold or during a hospital stay to ward off the typical ward infections, there’s a great possibility of a pile up. And real antibodies die and get reabsorbed by the body – what happens to these things, when plastics can take millennia to degrade – couldn’t they get absorbed into the body and potentially mutate the person into developing plastic powers, turning him invulnerable to all things except, like high heat?

Okay, I’ve convinced myself. Sign me up for human trials.

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Chips Built in DNA, If Duke A.P. Has His Way

Tetris Waffle

The only waffles nerdier than these...

MMM...DNA waffles

Are these.

Engineer Chris Dwyer of Duke University wants to build computer chips out of DNA bonds affected with a molecule called chromophores, which are affected by light and can produce binary sequences, as the paper he submitted outlines in the science journal Small. Popular Science and Phys Org both have stories on Dwyer’s ideas. The Assistant Professor teaches Nanotechnology at the school and has written the book, Introduction to DNA Self-Assembled Computer Design, besides being an editor for the Journal of Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems, where he writes that his interests include: “…DNA self-assembly and its application to computational and sensor systems, self-assembled computer architecture, circuit design and fabrication, and modeling and simulation of nanoscale phenomena.”

Theoretically, the DNA chip would be a very cheap way to make chips as the DNA can be sequenced to grow themselves endlessly; chips of this type would be extremely efficient, running at the speed of neurons, rather than the choppy (by comparison) digital signals silicon chips operate under today. We’re not exactly at the end of the silicon age, but it does have a foreseeable ceiling, one that would be shattered by the development of this technology.

So far, according to the Phys Org article, Dwyer and company have been able to synthesize a 16-piece chip, which arranged itself from billions of pieces of unattached DNA – the process relied on DNA’s natural attraction to its corresponding piece. Dr. Dwyer explained the reaction like this: “It’s like taking pieces of a puzzle, throwing them in a box and as you shake the box, the pieces gradually find their neighbors to form the puzzle.” Yes, it’s really that easy: in the future we will potentially have Shake and Bake computers.

Dwyer

All thanks to this man, who plays with molecule-sized K'nex for a living.

As these chips are also essentially sensors, they could also be used to test single drops of blood for a gamete of possible tests, including, eventually, DNA sequencing. That’s right – soon, confirming paternity will be as easier than making a damn sandwich. The future of computing sounds positively delicious.

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