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U.S. $1 billion supplemental request for nanotech

Earlier this week, the Bush Administration submitted a $1.05 billion supplemental request for nanotechnology research in 2006. See the 52-page report in pdf format. From a list of strategic priorities on page 26: "designing and developing active nanostructures, systems of nanosystems, and molecular nanosystems", also on page 52. (Info from Daryl Hatano of the Semiconductor Industry Assoc.)

33 Responses to “U.S. $1 billion supplemental request for nanotech”

  1. Kadamose Says:

    Only 1 Billion?

    This just shows how stupid politics is…the idiots can spend 162 billion dollars (current figure) on an illegal war (i.e. Iraq), but only offer 1 billion for research into the world's most important technology.

    At this rate, I fear for the future; I really do.

  2. Chemisor Says:

    Re:Only 1 Billion?

    Why would a politician want to spend any money on nanotech? It's a long-term investment with no payoff coming anytime soon. The war in Iraq, on the other hand, has had incredible financial return to certain companies given reconstruction contracts. It gave us a permanent military presence in the middle east, right next to Iran, so that we can avoid a lengthy staging time for the next invasion and thereby provide an effective deterrent to islamic nations from attacking Israel. Also, thanks to the war, US companies now control most oil production in Iraq, from the well to the terminal, which might help us a lot when the oil crunch hits this summer. On the home front the war on terrorism has granted the government enormous powers to run people's lives, spy on anyone they want, and to get rid of undesirable persons without trial. This all seems like a pretty good deal to me for a measly 162 billion.

  3. Anonymous Coward Says:

    People like you make no sense.

    You want nanotech and you want people like Saddam to have power. Do you know what that is a recipe for, fools? Ok, let's say we spend 100 billion dollars on nano now and didn't invade Iraq, then we give our nanotech assemblers to everyone in the world around 2008/2010 or so. What do you think the terrorists and their friends are going to do with it? Think real hard. We have to clean up this world first, no ifs ands or buts, or we will all die by nano enabled terrorists states. I doubt we will have adequate defense systems when an assembler comes out and our only hope will be to have only responsible governments in existance until we get defense systems. Anyways, you guys are just trying to hate and not see the other side, so I have wasted my time with more trolls, sigh.

  4. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    You have no idea of the complexity of and numbers of people required for robust nanoengineering. The assembler *doesn't* matter. I can order a "bio-" nanoassembler kit out of a catalog *today* and yet the terrorists do not use them to assemble bioweapons.

    Sit down for a minute and figure out how how much manpower (and computer power) will be required to design a bio/nano-weapon containing billions or trillions of atoms. It doesn't matter if they can assemble it if they don't know how to design it.

  5. Anonymous Coward Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    The first poster said we should spend the money we spent on Iraq on nano, and I told him that it would be foolish to develope nanotech now (without mentioning whether it was even feasible) because of the terrorists regimes' intent to destroy us. An assembler kit with control systems would be quite able to kill us all, and the idiots with their fantasies of 72 virgins would surely try to do it. So why you are trying to lecture me about complexity of an assembler and biotech, I have no idea, other than to make yourself look smart I suppose. Hope you're happy with the outcome..

  6. Chemisor Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    > Sit down for a minute and figure out how how much manpower
    > will be required to design a bio/nano-weapon containing
    > billions or trillions of atoms

    Just one man will be able to do it. When you design a nanomachine you don't do it by placing each little atom exactly where it should go. That's like programming Microsoft Office in machine code. Like punching tape. Like flipping switches. Get real! We have had high-level languages for this stuff for years. We have code libraries that let you write a basic word processor in an hour.

    Trillions of atoms? Sure. Each logic rod will have a few thousand, but it's not like you'd design each one by hand. You'd say "put a logic rod here". Then you'd have component libraries, where you'd say "put CPU here, and 1 Gb of RAM here". Here's your assembler pack, here's your propulsion unit, here's your skin drill, here's your toxin factory. It's not that hard.

    A simple nanoplague doesn't have to do a whole lot. It needs to get through the skin, build a few spore factories in the lungs, and park itself near some large blood vessel waiting for the big day. Once you figure out how to do self-replication (which is the hard part, and the reason we can't do it now), the thing can be designed in a week.

  7. Kadamose Says:

    Re:Only 1 Billion?

    The war in Iraq was illegal, and basically, just showed the rest of the world of what the United States' long term goals are: global domination under a New World Order.

    Why would a politician want to spend any money on nanotech?

    None of them do, considering 98% of the politicians are millionaries, with investments in oil/steel/lumber/agriculture. If nanotech were introduced to the world, those vested interests would be moot, and the dishonest fortunes they had taken a lifetime to acquire would cease to exist. This is why they fear nanotechnology, and they have every right to be afraid.

    This all seems like a pretty good deal to me for a measly 162 billion.

    You honestly think so? If so, then you are just like the rest of the braindead/brainwashed americans who would rather watch the Price is Right, then to understand what's really going on in the world today.

    The U.S.'s ultimate goal isn't Iran, or even North Korea…it's China – the last remaining super-power that can stand up against the U.S. and those who are controlling it (i.e. the Illuminati).

    Seriously, you people need to wake the hell up.

  8. Kadamose Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    You want nanotech and you want people like Saddam to have power.

    On the contrary, I don't want anyone to be in power…one of the 'side effects' of true nanotechnology, would be the elimination of ALL forms of government. It would be pure anarchy (i.e. true freedom).

    And Saddam may have been a tyrant, but Bush and his ilk have murdered more people than Saddam ever did…the only difference between the two, is that Saddam visibly enslaved his people, while Bush, and the previous presidents, (who are all related, by the way…they all have ancestory going back to both Charlemagne and Alfred the Great), convertly enslave the people under the disguise of 'freedom'. The old saying goes…the best way to stop an enslaved person from fighting against the system, is to hide the prison bars – and the U.S. has been a very successful experiment in this regard.

    And, by the way, once true nanotech is released to the world, it will take only ONE person to destroy everything and everyone – and believe me, I'm not the only 'insane' person out there who would be willing to commit such an act; far from it.

  9. Chemisor Says:

    Re:Only 1 Billion?

    > The war in Iraq was illegal

    You can say many things about the war in Iraq, but "illegal" is not one of them. It is now a well established precedent that the president can go to war pretty much anytime he wants. It used to be that congress had to declare war, but that's not really necessary today. (It would also be prudent to point out here, that congress really did declare war on Iraq) There is no currently active US law that president Bush has violated.

    The "illegal" argument usually comes from violation of UN rules, and that's a whole different issue. The UN is a bunch of wimpy bureaucrats who can't make a decision to save their lives, and certainly are incapable of any real action. If president Bush wishes to tell them to stick it and do (what he thinks is) the right thing, I fully support that decision. I would also recommend the UN to be eliminated completely as a wholly irrelevant entity. Without the US military, the UN is nothing but a crippled whiner.

    > You honestly think so?

    Yup, I honestly think so. If I have a choice between losing oil supplies (thereby crashing the national economy, causing a world recession, and returning to the stone age) and invading some insignificant country to take their oil fields, I'd choose the invasion, no question about it. It is a question of survival and I would consider it highly immoral to just roll over and die out of fake concern for some poor iraquis who had never contributed to technological progress and never will.

    > it's China and those who are controlling it (i.e. the Illuminati).

    Oh dear, so "The Illuminati" are in China now? Goodness, they sure do move around! Are you sure you aren't mixing up your conspiracy theories?

    > Seriously, you people need to wake the hell up.

    Damn right. Oil production has reached its peak and unless we go boink some heads real soon, the United States won't last another decade. And since the rest of the world is totally dependent on us for trade, international aid, or military deterrence, we'll be taking them down along with us. So I really hope people start waking up soon, before we start living in caves again, and any hope of ever developing nanotechnology would be lost forever.

  10. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    I understand that there will be libraries and predesigned "systems". But you may be forgetting that it took the electronics industry 20+ years to get to the point where the software tools to do this were available. Even if you look at the software industry, it took probably 10+ years for CPAN (the perl library archive) to develop into a robust resource.

    All the time the "bad guys" will be looking for the components they could use for nanoweapons the good guys will be designing nanodefenses. Nanorobots that collect and breakdown toxins are very simple compared with nanorobots that have to manufacture them. (Manufacture is resource limited, decomposition or nullification tends to be more energy limited — and it isn't as if most people in developed countries have a shortage of sugar to fuel nanorobots.)

  11. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    I have no interest in looking "smart". I do have an interest in people understanding the complexity of the issues so one doesn't have fear mongers such as the ETC group or the "greens" distorting the issues and thus delay the development of robust nanotechnology.

    The way the argument was presented suggested that the only people who will have access to nanotechnology will be the people intent upon using it for evil purposes. That suggests (to me) that the people who want to use it for good purposes (or for defending against evil uses) will be sitting around sucking their collective thumbs. I was simply pointing out that it will be hard to use it for evil purposes (i.e. we are likely to know if somebody is attempting to do that). If we see it coming, or even know that there is enough public knowledge, software, assemblers, etc. that it *might* be coming, and we still sit around sucking our thumbs then we get what we deserve.

    For example, you might want to watch more closely the current discussion regarding the current bird flu in SE Asia and the risks it poses if it happens to mutate so it becomes communicable between humans. The news program I saw last night suggested we are talking hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. alone. But we are aware of it and people are developing strategies to deal with it.

    If you want to worry about something I would suggest you worry about the tons of undestroyed Soviet bioweapons that could leak into the wrong hands before you worry about nanoweapons that could not be developed for 10 or 20 or 30 years.

  12. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    Kadamose, once again you are making claims with facts not in evidence. Would you care to explain *precisely* how "ONE person" could "destroy everything and everyone"?

    Do you think thousands or millions of other people who are aware of the risks are going to sit around and do nothing while someone develops the ultimate bio/nano-weapon?

    And before you respond, I would urge you to consider that I have run a biotech company and have studied nanotech for over a decade. No hand-waving allowed — I want a detailed technical plan that I can rip to shreds. Otherwise your comments are a "sound and fury signifying nothing".

  13. RobertBradbury Says:

    Doubts about "supplemental" claim

    I started to read the report and it would appear from the Executive Summary (pgs i & ii) that this is not a supplemental "budget" request as much as a justification and explanation for the planned expenditures under the "21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act" which was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush last December. It is worth noting that in the public law, sections 2, 3, 4 and 9 all call for "reports" to be provided on various activities.

    In fact, upon reading the cover letter from John Marburger closely, it seems that the document is actually the annual report on the NNI called for under the law mentioned above and *not* a supplemental request as far as I can tell.

  14. Kadamose Says:

    Re:Only 1 Billion?

    You make the U.S. sound like it's the last remaining light in this forlorn world…that would make you both stupid and insane, if that's the case. The U.S. today, is like the Roman Empire of yesterday…except, even more corrupt.

    Oh dear, so "The Illuminati" are in China now? Goodness, they sure do move around! Are you sure you aren't mixing up your conspiracy theories?

    You read the quote wrong – it reads: "The U.S.'s ultimate goal isn't Iran, or even North Korea…it's China – the last remaining super-power that can stand up against the U.S. and those who are controlling it (i.e. the Illuminati)."

    While it's true the Illuminati are everywhere, the place where they control things is France…and the U.S. is being used as a vehicle for these people to advance 'the agenda' onto a world filled with clueless people, who are are completely unaware that the these secret societies still exist today.

    Damn right. Oil production has reached its peak and unless we go boink some heads real soon, the United States won't last another decade. And since the rest of the world is totally dependent on us for trade, international aid, or military deterrence, we'll be taking them down along with us. So I really hope people start waking up soon, before we start living in caves again, and any hope of ever developing nanotechnology would be lost forever.

    What you fail to realize is, the ultimate form of energy (Zero Point Energy) has already been tapped and used by the USAP (Unacknowledged Special Access Projects). This energy is unlimited, and it's uses are beyond scope. But if this is all true, then why isn't ZPE being released to the world? The answer is simple…if the world had an unlimited energy source, no one would be able to control it, and thus, no price tag could be placed onto it. This is the same situation that Tesla faced with J.P. Morgan 100 years ago…when Tesla proposed his idea to wirelessly transmit electricity through the atmosphere to everyone for free, and J.P. Morgan refused to fund it, because, and I quote, "Where would I put the meter?"

    I'd also like to point out, that there is evidence that all the old 'depleted' oil fields, are strangely filling back up again…

  15. Kadamose Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    Would you care to explain *precisely* how "ONE person" could "destroy everything and everyone"?

    With nanotechnology, all it would take is one individual with a decent I.Q. to destroy everyone…this can be done by either creating a self-replicating nano-pathogen or deliberately creating grey goo.

    Do you think thousands or millions of other people who are aware of the risks are going to sit around and do nothing while someone develops the ultimate bio/nano-weapon?

    That's the ironic thing…even with all the mainstream press about nanotechnology, it's amazing how little the majority of the world truly knows about it. And, the funny thing is, even when mature nanotech gets here (7 years), the majority are still going to be as clueless as ever about the technology – and this lack of knowledge will work for any person who has ulterior motives. This has worked for the people currently working in the U.S.' "Black Projects", and it certainly would work here too.

    Oh, but you wanted me technical and precise..so I'll go into detail how one can achieve the ultimate destruction of the human race.

    1) First, one would have to decide which virus would be needed to be manipulated to affect humans. My choice would be the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) virus, since it is the most infectious virus known, and is capable of being spead by the wind, alone, with a distance of 170 miles from its source.

    2) Next, one would have to manipulate the virus, and find out why it is so infectious in the first place – once that's found, the main FMD viral material can be removed and be replaced with a different, more deadly, virus – in this case, Ebola.

    3) The next phase would be to place the virus in several locations around the globe. A few mg of the virus would need to be placed in timelocked vials which could be accessed via remote, and, in this case, the vials would need to be placed approximately 340 miles apart from each other. Since there are a total of 25,500 circumference earth miles total, approximately 75 vials would need be used.

    4) In order for everyone to become contaminated with this material, and to avoid anyone escaping its destruction, it is required that the virus is released simultaneously, hence the reason for the timelocked vials. These vials can either be set to open via a timer, via remote, or a biometric remote which runs your heartbeat…if you were, unfortunately, killed after all the vials had been placed because your plan had somehow been compromised, the biometric remote would activate the vials anyway, and it would be a win/win situtation.

    5) Death to the world.

    Of course, this is just an example and can be done without nanotechnology – therefore, I will leave it to your own imagination on the devastation a nanotechnology-created virus would cause…you certainly wouldn't need 75 vials and a trip around the globe to get your point across; that's for damn sure.

  16. Anonymous Coward Says:

    Money is our friend

    When nanotechnology will be there, money will still be in function, this is our ultimate friend for freedom. Social capital is the measurable form of trust that exists in real live community, and which guides real live decisions like who to buy from, where to live, who to vote for, who to believe when there's some real decision of importance to make.

  17. Kadamose Says:

    Wrong

    The money system, thanks to true nanotechnology, will be destroyed. People will be able to live wherever the hell they want, and no one will need to vote, because there isn't going to be any government left on the planet either. It will be a literal heaven on earth IF we play our cards right – right now, things aren't looking too good.

    Everyone needs to wake up before it's too late; otherwise, the consequences will be immense.

  18. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:Wrong

    Hmmm…. so you are saying that "property rights" will go away. If I want to build my house in the hills of Santa Monica right where your swimming pool happens to be I will be able to do so.

    Boy, this whole lack of government and anarchy thing is starting to look better and better…
    (sarcasm intended…)

  19. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    The example you cite can be done today with biotechnology. In fact it could largely have been done decades ago. The technical part of what you describe was largely done when the Soviet Union and the U.S. had bioweapons programs. Those programs required thousands of people — not "ONE person".

    The fact that the weapons were created and never used demonstrates how incorrect your ideas are. Even a limited execution of point 3 alone would require an extensive round-the-world trip which is likely to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The argument simply doesn't hold up under any reasonable analysis.

  20. Kadamose Says:

    Re:People like you make no sense.

    No, the reason why these concepts were never used, is the same reason no one, today, has the guts to launch a nuke. I find it ironic that these murdering bastards who created/funded the technology in the first place, suddenly get scared of their own mortality once a decisive moment to use it comes into view. It's cowardice.

    If I were faced in the same situation they were/are, I wouldn't hesitate to push the Doomsday button…and this is due to my resentment of where humanity is going in its evolution. We are all, currently, very vile and disgusting creatures with no respect for life other than our own. We are abominations in our current state – and since no one wants to change/become perfect/evolve to a higher plane, the only option is annihilation.

  21. Kadamose Says:

    Re:Wrong

    Yes, property rights/land rights etc is going to go away because no one truly owns the land.

    Of course, since this is anarchy we are talking about here, there will still be No Tresspassing signs up with the warning, "Tresspassers will be shot on sight". I'm hoping it doesn't come to that…but humans have proven time and time again to be extremely territorial.

    One way or another, however, I will get my Utopian society.

  22. Anonymous Coward Says:

    Re:Only 1 Billion?

    It used to be that congress had to declare war, but that's not really necessary today

    With the control over one of the largest and certainly the most modern nuclear arsenal in the world depending on the mental sanity of a single person, it should be more necessary than ever before.

    There is no currently active US law that president Bush has violated.

    Yep. And under Hitler, the Holocaust was perfectly legal, too, because there was no law to prohibit the industrial extermination of about 6 million jews. Would you say, then, that Hitler was right or not guilty in doing it? Honestly. I´m not drawing a typical Bush-Hitler comparison, but it´s the most drastic example I can think of that SHOULD make you think about the difference between juridical law and moral law. Come on, the Christian fundamentalists in your country are ever so eager when it comes to morality. But I know, everybody likes double standards; some just like them more than others.

    out of fake concern for some poor iraquis who had never contributed to technological progress and never will

    I know it must sound old and tiring, but you sound exactly like a Nazi. Yes, no different. You talk about these human beings as if they were worthless, unworthy life. That´s so Nazi rhetorics, it makes me sick. From '33 to '45 it was Lebensraum and Arian lineage, today it is oil and technical/industrial competency that determine policies.

    the United States won't last another decade

    Now seriously, that would be a pity. If the survival of the USA for the next 10 years means that you make the world into a toxic terrorist hell-hole, then I hope the USA (or at least its current administration) goes to their worst incarnation of their fundamentalist hell as soon as possible.

    One more thing to think about. The world is full of energy, not just the dwindling ponds of dead, liquid trees that destroy our environment while burnig it up. Even if a nanofactory cost 100 or even 200 billion to fully develop, then the USA could pay for it as easily as they could pay for the war, especially because this money would be spent over 5+ years at least, if there was an Apollo-style project. After these 5+ years, however, energy problems would be gone for good, for the rest of history, not just for a definitely very limited time span. The by far strongest reason why it´s not done, is fear of the future, fear of the uncertainty. But going on along as we were going along the last century spells certain doom. Fossil resources are a gift from nature to humanity. From God to humanity, if you like. We have the choice to blow it on fun, games, and war; or on fun, games and the return to renewable and sustainable resources, the way life worked for billions of years, with the sole exception of homo sapiens sapiens. Only with nanotechnology we could still vastly increase our living standard. Is that not worth ignoring the corporate interests for only once?

  23. Iron Sun Says:

    Re:Wrong

    Please don't make the mistake of equating Monkeyboy's petulant attention-seeking nihilism with anarchy. Just becuase he calls it a duck doesn't mean it quacks like one. There are as many flavours of anarchy as there are democracy, and most proponents with a mental age of greater than fifteen are able to talk about it rationally with due regard for its implications and responsibilities. The question of property rights is a vexatious one that I am so not getting into here, but a might-makes-right approach isn't going to suit anybody who wants to remain a member of polite society.

  24. Kadamose Says:

    Re:Wrong

    And what version of anarchy are you proposing, precisely? The 'don't tell me what to do, but let's be friends' anarchy…or the 'I don't give a shit' anarchy? Technically, those are the only flavors.

  25. Chemisor Says:

    Re:Only 1 Billion?

    > congress had to declare war, but that's not really necessary today
    >> it should be more necessary than ever before.

    I wasn't arguing about what "should" be, simply about what is. Today the president can go to war without the necessity of consulting congress; that's just the way it is. There were good reasons for the constitution to state otherwise, and it is indeed a pity that nobody cares any more.

    > Yep. And under Hitler, the Holocaust was perfectly legal

    Sure. Again, I was simply pointing out that the war in Iraq was not illegal. You can say it was the wrong thing to do, if you like, but you should not call it illegal.

    > I know it must sound old and tiring, but you
    > sound exactly like a Nazi. Yes, no different.
    > You talk about these human beings as if they
    > were worthless, unworthy life.

    And you talk about human beings as if their lives were somehow sacred and of unmeasurable worth. Yes, I do place value on human life, distinguishing people I care about and want to have around me, and those I dislike and would rather not have around at all. The former have value to me, the latter have none. The Nazis sought to kill the latter, while I prefer to simply ignore them. You place value on people too, you know, even if you don't wish to admit it because it offends your hypocritical egalitarian ideals.

    > If the survival of the USA for the next 10 years means
    > that you make the world into a toxic terrorist hell-hole

    Yup. It also means postponing the global economic collapse. In case you haven't noticed, all other contries are economically linked to the US. When the Wall Street markets go down, the rest of the world goes down with them. Check the world market reports from last friday, if you don't believe me. Although the US no longer produces anything, it sure consumes a lot. When the US economy goes into recession, the producers will suffer from the lost of market. US employees are so overpaid, they are the only ones able to pay such high prices for the goods they buy. Without them, China's profits would be considerably smaller.

    Then there is scientific research. The vast majority of it is done in the US. Europe does some, and so does Japan. Nobody else is even on the chart. Once the US is in recession (and I would argue that it already is), research would be reduced enormously; pretty much all scientific progress would stop. Japan is linked to the US, so it would go down too, and Europe is so deep down in their welfare state problems, they wouldn't be doing much of anything until all the old people die out in forty years or so.

    > Even if a nanofactory cost 100 or even 200
    > billion to fully develop, then the USA could pay
    > for it as easily as they could pay for the war

    Well, of course they could. The point is that they don't want to spend money on a pure research project. The Apollo program was obviously doable from the beginning; put a capsule on top of a rocket and shoot it to the moon. Nothing to it (at least in the minds of the sponsors).

    With a nanofactory, we don't even have a slightest idea about how it would work. All we have is cute animations of conveyor belts with molecules on them, which magically assemble something. There's simply not enough detail. It's not just an engineering problem – it's an invention, and an invention is not something that can be done by pouring billions of dollars into it. You need someone with insight to think of how to do it, and such a someone is mighty difficult to find.

    > Only with nanotechnology we could still vastly
    > increase our living standard. Is that not worth
    > ignoring the corporate interests for only once?

    Not if they are the ones who'd have to pay for it. If you take other people's money without their consent, that's called robbery, whether you put the money toward a good cause or not.

  26. Chemisor Says:

    Re:Wrong

    > And what version of anarchy are you proposing, precisely?

    I can tell you what version of anarchy you are proposing: the "do as I tell you or I'll blow your brains out" kind. Somehow it doesn't sound too appealing to me.

  27. Kadamose Says:

    Re:Only 1 Billion?

    Not if they are the ones who'd have to pay for it. If you take other people's money without their consent, that's called robbery, whether you put the money toward a good cause or not.

    I guess you don't consider 'double taxation without representation' robbery, either, do you? Because that's exactly what the U.S. does…not only is it dishonest, it's illegal. You probably didn't even know that the 16th Amendment of the Constitution was never ratified; therefore, the IRS and Income Tax are very much illegal.

    So who's doing the robbing again?

  28. Chemisor Says:

    Income taxes

    > I guess you don't consider 'double taxation
    > without representation' robbery, either, do you?

    I assume you didn't mean to have the "don't" in there.

    I'm somewhat ambivalent about taxes. While I have no wish to sponsor all those welfare state programs we have, I do want some military protection against invading barbarians. (A function, in which our government is sorely deficient: just look at the Mexican border) Even if the only taxes collected were those for legitimate national government functions, such as national defense and immigration control, they would pretty much have to be involuntary.

    It is rather difficult to "unsubscribe" from such services and have the Army commander hand the invading barbarians a list, saying: "now hear this, we can't just let you invade the country and plunder our citizens' houses. However, here's a list of those who unsubscribed from military protection. Feel free to loot their houses, but if you even try to go anywhere else, we'll kill you!" Even so, the situation sounds a lot like that of a neighborhood Godfather demanding "protection money".

    > You probably didn't even know that the 16th
    > Amendment of the Constitution was never ratified

    Curious, but irrelevant. If the issue ever comes up in court, which so far has not happened, congress could simply ask for ratification process to be repeated. I guarantee you that every state will vote for it, since to do otherwise would be a virtual death sentence to the government. Hell, we're half a trillion dollars in debt every year! If the income tax disappears, the value of the dollar will instantly drop, the US government will collapse, and the global economy will follow shortly.

    There are alternatives to income tax, of course. The national sales tax, for example. However, none of them support the progressive taxation scale, to tax the rich more than the poor. Since the poor have more votes, and currently pay almost no income taxes, such proposals are unlikely to be adopted in a democratic government.

  29. Dr_Barnowl Says:

    Re:Wrong

    As opposed to the "do as I tell you or I'll blow your brains out" kind of capitalism that you advocate with regard to the US foreign policy on terror suppression / oil aquisition?

  30. Chemisor Says:

    Re:Wrong

    Touche! :) I guess I was being inconsistent. After some reflection, I've decided that the "do as I tell you or I'll blow your brains out" anarchy would be a good idea after all.

  31. RobertBradbury Says:

    Anarchy v. capitalism?

    I'm not sure why you would say this. It should be clear that killing people via either system is highly undesirable (with some exceptions for evil despots or psychopaths that can clearly not be redeemed — but those are not good discussions for nanodot). I think the "conquest for oil" scenario is a bit overplayed as well. Iraq *was* pumping oil under the UN oil-for-food program (or whatever it was called) even if it was gradually becoming corrupted. I think you may want to devote some attention to the many editorials Tom Friedman has written in the NY Times about the importance of what is really happening in the mid-east. Whether I like it or not (and I was split by the desire to remove the despot and my dislike of war of any kind) the there are two possibly good results.

    • The gradual democratization of the middle east leading to a decreased likelyhood that majority of young people who are unemployed would rise up against the small autocracies in such a way that would likely result in severe disruptions of oil supplies (without significant involvement from the U.S. at all). This would most likely have severe negative economic consequences (which in turn *would* likely slow down the pace of nanotechnology development).
    • A target closer to home for radical Islamic fundamentalists keeping them busy going up against trained professionals rather than attacking innocent civilians in the U.S.

    I have serious doubts that either of these were the justifications used to go to Iraq but it would appear in retrospect that they might have been good reasons.

  32. Chemisor Says:

    Re:Anarchy v. capitalism?

    > It should be clear that killing people via either system is highly undesirable

    Well, of course! You don't want to kill people. You want to tell them you'll kill them so that they would do as you say. That's how all human societies (that I know of) work. Whether you hide this attitude underneath the facade of "law" and "regulation", is the distinction between anarchy and the other archys. It still all comes down to the gun barrel at the end, even if the actual threat of death is never mentioned. In modern society it is considered more polite to take away all your money and property with lawsuits (backed by police guns, of course) and then let you starve to death, become a lifetime welfare recepient, or whatever.

    The real question is whether natural human tendencies would be optimal for civilization. Most people would say no. I am willing to give them a chance. Anarchy gives better chances to the individual, since a neighborhood thug is a lot easier to kill than a few thousand of national guard infantry. To maintain anarchy one must keep power centers small to prevent them from exerting excessive control over people. Ironically, this requires someone big enough to squash every such threat as it comes up. Otherwise we'll go up the control chain again: first the neighborhood gang, then the lord, then monarchy, and the empire.

    > I think the "conquest for oil" scenario is a bit overplayed as well.

    Perhaps. I was merely stating that the scenario would be a good idea, whether anyone planned it that way or not. Control of a scarce resource is the key to ensuring global domination. Just play Civ3 a few times ;)

    > you may want to devote some attention to the many editorials

    I am well aware of other reasons for the war, but they weren't nearly as appropriate to mention.

    > I was split by the desire to remove the despot

    So you like killing people if you think them "bad"? Do you even know anything about Saddam Hussein? Would you by any chance happen to be among the majority of US citizens who think that he was involved in the WTC attacks? Or had nuclear weapons? Or has supported Al Quaida? When you see the sort of theocracy that will replace him, you'll want him back, trust me.

    > The gradual democratization of the middle east

    The thing about democracy is that majority rules. The majority of Arabs want an Islamic government. That is probably not what you picture when you think of the future.

    > leading to a decreased likelyhood that majority of young
    > people who are unemployed would rise up against the small autocracies

    Oh, please! The current insurgency in Iraq is a full-scale war compared to anything that ever happened when Saddam was in power. There was a lot less unemployment, oil production was chugging along, and women had a chance for a sane existence.

    > A target closer to home for radical Islamic
    > fundamentalists keeping them busy going up
    > against trained professionals rather than
    > attacking innocent civilians in the U.S.

    Oh, so killing trained soldiers is ok too in your book? Just remember that it was those "innocent civilians" who sent them there.

    > but those are not good discussions for nanodot

    Agreed entirely. Let's just end this thread now. Nanotechnology has nothing to do with politics.

  33. Anonymous Says:

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    -.- | Do i have a choice?
    ——————————————————
    >.> | Who said you had a choice!, You have my new nano chip installed!.
    ——————————————————
    -.- |
    ——————————————————
    Slight pause…
    ——————————————————
    >.> | I love this shiny button!!!!!
    ——————————————————
    >.> | DROOL!!!!!

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