[Server-sky] Demandite - machines versus biology

Keith Lofstrom keithl at gate.kl-ic.com
Fri Jul 19 20:15:37 UTC 2013

A response to a friend's email, perhaps worth sharing with the list:

> ...
> Recalling D.R. Criswell, and his 'demandite' papers from the 1970s;
> ... [more about the mass spectrometer mining of arbitrary rock]

The only thing that really costs money is human attention. 

Nature is not uniform;  ore bodies occur by beneficiation, which is
driven by heat, gravity, oxygen and water chemistry on a planet with
plate tectonics operating over deep time.  Earth has perhaps 20 times
(WAG) as many mineral types as Mars and 100 times as many as the moon.

The machines we build are also subject to all those effects and require
continuous attention;  maintenance and optimum operation in a varying
environment are two attention sinks that limit the size our machine
collection can grow to.

Software can multiply productive human attention.  Some software
(like facebook and twitter) multiply attention by a factor much 
smaller than one.  Television, very close to zero.  Other software,
like adaptive machine control driven by CAD, multiplies attention
by two to ten, computable from the dollar income of those buying
the tools and the people they hire to operate them.  Data mining
operations at Google are probably the most productive multiplier
in the world, but Google restricts access to the data needed to
estimate their multiplier. 

I don't think we will get to the attention multiplier factors needed
for macromechanical demandite processing without better software,
and organizations and hardware platforms optimized for using it. 
That might come with time, but there are shortcuts we will use first.

I was thinking about balloon hydrogen generators, information, biology,
and working with nature, and came up with this:


Still tweaking on it, getting feedback. 

We are passing from the machine age and entering the information and
biology age - there will still be lots of machines around (there
are still people hunting with pointy sticks), but information-guided
self-replication is the future.  When we need a chemical element, we
will not dig for it, we will send bacteria and ants after it,
incentivized by the chemical rewards and cues they evolved to pursue. 
We are already using water mining to extract most of our uranium and
methane.  Some friends are studying artificial xeolite molecules for
element extraction in toxic waste ponds.  Paying attention to nature,
instead of fighting her, can be very rewarding.

Think galacticly, act microscopicly.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993

----- End forwarded message -----

Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993

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