Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Building Blocks

My daughter is a little over one years old. She likes to play with her building blocks. She takes them one by one, and puts them in various configurations. Sometimes the blocks are on top of each other. Sometimes the blocks are side by side. Some times they make patterns and sometimes they don't. These blocks are between 5 and 10 centimeters on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to.

In a few years she may be playing with blocks about 10 times smaller, Lego. She make take them, one by one, and put them into various configurations. She may put the blocks on top of each other. She may put them next to each other. Sometimes she will build things into familiar patterns. She may build things that serve a purpose. Sometimes she won't. These blocks are between .5 and 1 centimeter on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to.

A few years after that she may be playing with blocks 10 times smaller, beads, glitter, seeds. She may take them one by one and put them into various configurations. She may put the blocks on top of each other. She may put the blocks next to each other. Sometimes, she will build things into patterns. Sometimes she will build things that serve a purpose. Sometimes she won't. These blocks are between .5 and 1 millimeter on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to.

Some time later she may be playing with blocks that are 10 times smaller, paints, flour, confectioners sugar. These blocks will be on top of each other and next to each other. Sometimes, she will put hundreds of thousands of these blocks into patterns. Sometimes groups of the blocks will serve a purpose, sometimes they wont. These blocks are between 50 and 100 microns on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to. She may even use these blocks to read or write on electronic paper.

A few years after this, she may be playing with blocks that are 10 times smaller, soluble powders for making chemical solutions, insoluble powders for making suspensions, fine inks. These blocks will be on top of each other and next to each other. Sometimes, she will put millions of these blocks into patterns. Sometimes groups of the blocks will serve a purpose, sometimes they wont. These blocks are between 5 and 10 microns on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to.

By this time she may also be playing with other blocks that are 10 times smaller. These blocks will be on top of each other and next to each other. Sometimes, she will put millions of these blocks into patterns. Sometimes groups of the blocks will serve a purpose, sometimes they wont. These blocks are between .5 and 1 microns on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to. They show up in many of the items she will be using like coatings on the LCD screen of her devices, the accelerometers keeping her safe in her car, or even the solar cells she may have where she lives.

Perhaps by this time she will even be playing with blocks that are another 10 times smaller. These blocks will be on top of each other and next to each other. Sometimes, she will put millions of these blocks into patterns. Sometimes groups of the blocks will serve a purpose, sometimes they wont. These blocks are between 50 and 100 nanometers on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to. They show up in many of the items she will be using like the microprocessor in her computer, the chips in her Ipod, and the medicines she may be developing or using.

Depending on her field of interest, with some more time she may play with blocks that are even 10 times smaller that that. These blocks will be on top of each other and next to each other. Sometimes, she will put billions of these blocks into patterns. Sometimes groups of the blocks will serve a purpose, sometimes they wont. These blocks are between 5 and 10 nanometers on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to. They show up in many of the items she will be using like catalysts in a fuel cell she may be using, or as quantum dots that may make her lights more efficient, her solar cells better or to improve medicinal targeting.

If she continues to study and learn about nature, she may play with blocks that are 10 times smaller. These blocks will be on top of each other and next to each other. Sometimes, she will put billions of these blocks into patterns. Sometimes groups of the blocks will serve a purpose, sometimes they wont. These blocks are between 5 and 10 angstroms on a side. They have colors and patterns and some of them behave differently depending on what they are next to. These blocks may be interesting buckyballs or nanotubes used to improve the electrodes in her batteries, make her energy use more efficient, make surfaces harder than diamonds. Perhaps she will make further progress in treating illness and abnormalities with genetic engineering.

Further playing could bring along blocks that are even smaller. Ten times, 100 times, even 1000 times smaller blocks are all around for playing with. Further use of these items can yield (and has already yielded) great strides in energy efficiency, medicine, and new sources of economic activity.




Why have I talked about my daughter and her blocks so much? It turns out that most of this country thinks that at some point in her playtime with blocks, she will have done something immoral. I have read some pretty silly things coming out of the religious folks in this country, but this tops them all. I dont know where they define the problem to be, which size blocks was it? As the blocks get smaller, they become more and more useful. The list of exciting and extremely beneficial uses of nanotechnology is ever increasing.

It isn't a fear that someone will create a self replicating nanobot that will turn everything to goo. Its a fear that at some size, the rationale is that we have left the realm human building blocks and are now playing with God's building blocks. I didn't realize God was as selfish with his blocks as a 3 year old at playtime.

Is this the same 65% that think evolution is a nice little story but the real way we got here is a giant invisible sky daddy, waved his arms and poof, in a week, the universe, the world, and all its inhabitants appeared?

Is this the same 65% that wouldn't vote for an atheist for president regardless of his or her solutions to the various issues?

We really need to flush organized religion from our society, though education and teaching of morals with respect to humanity, rather than fictitious space gods . I really don't have a problem with people personal beliefs, and for many folks, religion is a path to inner peace. But organized brain washing in the form of religion, often funded by our government, is really continuing to hurt our country, make it less competitive and in the end less secure. The road to happiness and equality lies only in the respect of evidence, not faith. Blind faith will simply allow those who wish to respect evidence and data to advance right past us, soon relinquishing our great country to the sidelines of third world.




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Fractal Wrongness

Maybe I am not part of the 'in' crowd. Maybe this term has been around for a while, I'm not sure. But I heard it for the first time today. It really hit home with me since I tend to peruse around the blogosphere and see this type of thing almost on a daily basis. For those who have not heard it:

Fractal Wrongness:

The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person's worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person's worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

This isn't simply one person's worldview with respect to another persons worldview. For example if a muslim and a christian consider an atheists world view, they will simply presume wrongness (and most likely vice versa). However only by using actual data and not accepting things that do not have hard data, the state of fractal wrongness be avoided.

The most frustrating part about listening to (or reading) people who are in a state of fractal wrongness, is that no matter where you examine their view, you simply find more wrong stuff. If you examine parts of the part, lo and behold, more wrong stuff. The funniest part is that throughout it all, they still consider themselves to be expert and infallable. Its psychopathy.

Two encounters I had recently at other blogs with people who were mired in a state of fractal wrongness were John Best at Skeptico's and Justin at Berlezebubs. Its an interesting and sometimes hilarious, read if you can make it through.

I often question myself when I engage in debate with folks like that. It seems to be an obsession I quite enjoy.


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