Sunday, February 17, 2013

Some interesting links

A blogger called Armondikov at RationalWiki takes apart the wishful thinking of Singularitarians about Nanotechnology. Complete agreement - both with the real promises of Nanotech properly understood and their criticism of Singularitarians who perennially fail to realize that we have nanobots already, and we have had them for the last three billion plus years. (They are called enzymes.) The idea that you can build something like a robot at the micrometer scale and still expect it to work as it would on the macro scale is ludicrous. There are simply constraints on and tradeoffs with "machines" that small that are very counter-intuitive to somebody used to thinking in terms of centimeters and more. The comment stream under the post is a bit depressing though, as they often are.

Just like probably everybody else, I sometimes have these "if only people would" thoughts. You know, the hope that there is some simple solution that would, if adopted, make a big positive difference in many fields at the same time. Others may think "if only people were nicer to each other", but in my case it is generally something on the lines of "if only people would receive a better education in science and formal logic". Another one that I would immediately second is discussed by blogger Mathbabe: If only people would consider it a sign of honesty when somebody admits that they don't know something, as opposed to a sign of incompetence. As a third option I would add: if only it would be considered courageous and reasonable when politicians publicly change their mind in the face of new evidence, as opposed to flip-flopping and a sign of weakness.

Finally, a very funny exchange between creationists and a real scientist.


  1. The best bit about Armondikov's article was definitely the comments. That guy's great.

  2. Well yes, I was not referring to his replies...