Create an Account
username: password:
  MemeStreams Logo

The place with the things, and the stuff...


Picture of k
My Blog
My Profile
My Audience
My Sources
Send Me a Message

sponsored links

k's topics
   Sci-Fi/Fantasy Literature
   Electronic Music
   Rap & Hip Hop
   Indie Rock
  Tech Industry
  Markets & Investing
  Video Games
   PC Video Games
Health and Wellness
  Weight Loss
Home and Garden
Current Events
  War on Terrorism
  Cars and Trucks
  Martial Arts
  Camping and Hiking
Local Information
  United States
  Nano Tech
  International Relations
  Politics and Law
   Civil Liberties
    Internet Civil Liberties
   Intellectual Property
  Skiing & Snowboarding
   Computer Security
   PC Hardware
   Human Computer Interaction
   Knowledge Management
   Computer Networking
   Computing Platforms
    Microsoft Windows
   Software Development
    Open Source Development
    Perl Programming
  Military Technology
  High Tech Developments

support us

Get MemeStreams Stuff!

Current Topic: Biology

Garage Bio Terror - Technology Review
Topic: Biology 2:45 pm EDT, Apr 10, 2006

Biotechnology’s advance could give malefactors the ability to manipulate life processes--and even affect human behavior.

[ A long article and pretty good. Anyone who's been following this meme (that is, the "cheap, easy bioengineering" meme) won't find too many surprises here I guess, but some of the details offered are scarier than usual.

I'll go ahead and ruin the ending for you -- the conclusion ends up being virtually identical to K. Eric Drexler's on the topic of nanotech. It all boils down to, and I'm paraphrasing, "This shit is happening, can't be stopped, and will be both dangerous and profitable, so we better damn well be at the head of the class." That's it. Bio and nano are similar in that discoveries that produce positive benefits (say, universal constructors in nano and viral therapy in bio) can be tweaked just a tiny bit to produce terrifying weapons (universal deconstructors, highly targeted pathogens).

No one's got a good solution, as far as I can tell, so I guess I agree... for now, the only defense is to be the best of the best, and hopefully be capable of responding rapidly to the threats that seem almost inevitable.

p.s. on the subject of ethnically targetted viruses, did anyone else read Frank Herbert's "The White Plague"? It is, sadly, now out of print, but might be available from used sellers online.

Garage Bio Terror - Technology Review

Paul Boutin : Biowar for Dummies
Topic: Biology 11:54 am EST, Feb 22, 2006

A few months ago, Roger Brent, a geneticist who runs a California biotech firm, sent me an unpublished paper in which he wrote that genetically engineered bioweapons developed by small teams are a bigger threat than suitcase nukes.

Brent is one of a growing number of researchers who believe that a bioterrorist wouldn’t need a team of virologists and state funding. He says advances in DNA-hacking technology have reached the point where an evil lab assistant with the right resources could do the job.

Gold Star, but I'm wondering how alarmist this is.

[ That last sentence of the quote quite evokes 12 Monkeys, probably purposefully.

I think the level of concern is as it should be. Nanochick could probably speak 1 million times more intelligently on the subject, but I'm convinced that the equipment and raw materials are trivial and getting more so.

The question becomes skills and training... even if you have the materials for a nuke, putting one together is non-trivial. In comparison, how much schooling would a potential terrorist need to get to work on bioweaponry? A PhD? How likely is that to happen? Still, when it comes down to it, it only has to happen once to be tremendously devastating, and it looks like it's easier than nuke building, all told. On top of which, it's *much* easier to transport and deploy than a nuke...

I think the analogy to computer tech is a good one. 25 years ago people were building computers with wirewrap techniques. Now you can click a couple buttons and have a blog, publush music, make movies, talk to anyone, anywhere.

I agree that bio is much greater potential threat than nuclear, at least in the hands of small actors. I think nations are still gunshy to move that direction because of the potential lack of control you have with bio... at least a nuke has a well defined blast radius. With bio, it's tough to banish scenarios in which you miscalculate the virulence or mutations occur and suddenly instead of killing a bunch of the enemy, you've killed yourself too, and everyone else. Small, independent malefactors may have no such yoke.

Anyway, my 2c.

Paul Boutin : Biowar for Dummies

Biological Solution to Natural Gas Scarcity
Topic: Biology 3:58 pm EDT, Jun 20, 2005

Some of these bacteria produce methane that accumulates in "gas hydrates" — a super concentrated methane ice that contains more carbon than all conventional fossil fuels and, therefore, a potentially enormous energy source. However, we know little about gas hydrates as they melt during recovery due to the fall in pressure.

There is some crap in here about the Bermuda Triangle that I strongly urgue you to ignore. The real story here is bacteria that produce methane hydrates. I was not aware of this. This means that if technology for extracting natural gas from methane hydrates is realized, natural gas will be a long term sustainable energy solution. Thats awesome. The DOE wants to be able to produce commerical natural gas from methane hydrates by 2015.

Biological Solution to Natural Gas Scarcity

EE Times -Experts worry that synthetic biology may spawn biohackers
Topic: Biology 10:17 am EDT, Jul  9, 2004

] "There is an opportunity here because the
] oligonucleotides contain a lot of information which can
] be used to track and monitor what is being done with
] them."

A very interesting article on EE Times on the Bill Joy tip.

EE Times -Experts worry that synthetic biology may spawn biohackers

Congratulations, Nanochick!
Topic: Biology 1:14 pm EDT, Jun  2, 2004

[ Just wanted to take a minute to give a shout-out to Marie for completing her Qualifying exams today!

We all know you kicked they ass!

When does the drinking start? ;) -k]

Injectable Medibots: Programmable DNA could diagnose and treat cancer: Science News Online, May 1, 2004
Topic: Biology 4:33 pm EDT, May 17, 2004

] Scientists have created a miniature medical computer out
] of DNA that can detect cancer genes in a test tube and
] respond by releasing a drug. Proving what had been only a
] concept, the feat offers a vision of how medicine might
] look in the future.

[ NANOTECH! well, we're getting there, slowly... -k]

Injectable Medibots: Programmable DNA could diagnose and treat cancer: Science News Online, May 1, 2004

Wired News: Designer Virus Stalks HIV
Topic: Biology 11:14 pm EDT, May 13, 2004

] It took Adam Arkin and David Schaffer just $200,000 and a
] grad student to develop a potential treatment for AIDS.
] And that scares them.
] That's because the therapy itself is a virus. The
] Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory assistant
] professors created a virus altered to latch onto HIV and
] mute its ability to become AIDS. They've tested the
] theory in a computer model and in cells in a dish. The
] results have been promising, and if they continue in that
] vein, the researchers could begin animal testing by the
] end of this year.

Wired News: Designer Virus Stalks HIV

News in Science - Push to free up biotech tools for all - 01/12/2003
Topic: Biology 1:08 pm EST, Dec  1, 2003

] Scientists anywhere in the world, including developing
] nations, should have free access to the scientific tools
] of modern biology and genetics, says an Australian
] geneticist.

Open Source Biotech? Do we have concerns about easing access for terrorists? Or can they already get this stuff? Would the benefits outweigh the risks. I think in OSS the answer is a clear yes... is biotech different?

News in Science - Push to free up biotech tools for all - 01/12/2003

Wired News: DNA, Now in XXX-Large
Topic: Biology 4:36 pm EST, Oct 31, 2003

] Stanford University researchers seeking better-looking
] DNA have created XDNA, extra-large DNA molecules that
] glow.

Wired News: DNA, Now in XXX-Large

New Scientist - US develops lethal new viruses
Topic: Biology 10:57 am EST, Oct 30, 2003

] The new virus kills all mice even if they have been given
] antiviral drugs as well as a vaccine that would normally
] protect them.
] The work has not stopped there. The cowpox virus, which
] infects a range of animals including humans, has been
] genetically altered in a similar way

this doesn't make me feel particularly good. GM viruses w/ 100% kill rate == bad in my book. i don't care if they are noncontagious right now... shit mutates man.

New Scientist - US develops lethal new viruses

<< 1 - 2 >> Older (First)
Powered By Industrial Memetics