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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Lifeboat Foundation

Lifeboat Foundation

June 4th, 2011
Our History Shapes the Future
Tihamer Toth-Fejel
Research Engineer, Novii Systems

American history teachers praise the educational value of Billy Joel's 1980s song ‘We Didn't Start the Fire'. His song is a homage to the 40 years of historical headlines since his birth in 1949.

Which of Joel's headlines will be considered the most important a millennium from now?

This column discusses five of the most important, and tries to make the case that three of them will become irrelevant, while one will be remembered for as long as the human race exists (one is uncertain). The five contenders are:
The Bomb
The Pill
African Colonies
Television
Moonshot Read the Whole Article


September 17th, 2010
The Politics and Ethics of the Hall Weather Machine
Tihamer Toth-Fejel
Research Engineer, Novii Systems

J. Storrs Hall's Weather Machine is a relatively simple nanofabracated machine system with significant consequences in politics and ethics.

After a brief technical description, this essay analyzes the ends, means, and circumstances of a feasible method of controling the weather, and includes some predictions regarding secondary effects. Read the Whole Article


January 6th, 2010
Filling the Gaps in "Global Trends 2025"
Tihamer Toth-Fejel
Research Engineer, Novii Systems

Because of the election cycle, the United States Congress and Presidency has a tendency to be short-sighted. Therefore it is a welcome relief when an organization such as the U.S. National Intelligence Council gathers many smart people from around the world to do some serious thinking more than a decade into the future. But while the authors of the NIC report Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World[1] understood the political situations of countries around the world extremely well, their report lacked two things:

1. Sufficient knowledge about technology (especially productive nanosystems) and their second order effects.

2. A clear and specific understanding of Islam and the fundamental cause of its problems. More generally, an understanding of the relationship between its theology, technological progress, and cultural success.
These two gaps need to be filled, and this white paper attempts to do so.
Read the Whole Article


October 6th, 2009
Productive Nanosystems and the 2009 Financial Meltdown
Tihamer Toth-Fejel
Research Engineer, Novii Systems

At a fundamental level, real wealth is the ability to fulfill human needs and desires. These ephemeral motivators are responsible for the creation of money, bank ledgers, and financial instruments that drive the world—caveat the fact that the monetary system can't buy us love (and a few other necessities). Technologies have always provided us with tools that enable us to fulfill more needs and desires for more people with less effort. The exponential nanomanufacturing capabilities of Productive Nanosystems will simply enable us to do it better. Much better. Read the Whole Article


July 10th, 2009
Bioethics and the End of Discussion
Tihamer Toth-Fejel
Research Engineer, Novii Systems

President Obama disbanded the President's Council on Bioethics after it questioned his policy on embryonic stem cell research. White House press officer Reid Cherlin said that this was because the Council favored discussion over developing a shared consensus. This column lists a number of problems with Obama's decision, and with his position on the most controversial bioethical issue of our time. Read the Whole Article


May 22nd, 2009
Be Careful What You Wish For
Tihamer Toth-Fejel
Research Engineer, Novii Systems

People have been worried about nanotechnology for quite some time now; nano-asbestos, advanced nano-enabled weapons, and self-replicating "gray goo" nanobots that accidentally go out of control. But what if everything goes right? What if nanotubes and nanoparticles are functionalized to stay out of the ecosystem? What if there are no major wars? What if nanoreplicators are never built, or if they are, they use modern error correction software to never mutate? What happens if nanotechnology fulfills humanity's desires perfectly? Read the Whole Article


March 21st, 2009
Detecting Disease by Tattoo
Summer Johnson
Columnist, Lifeboat Foundation

If you ever swore to your self (or to another) that you'd never get a tattoo, you may just want to reconsider. You may within just a couple of years have a very good reason to get one made out of "nanoink". Read the Whole Article


February 7th, 2009
"Nanotech Development: You Can't Please All of the People, All of the Time"
Thomas M. Powers
Member, Ethics Advisory Board, Lifeboat Foundation

What counts as rational development and commercialization of a new technology—especially something as potentially wonderful (and dangerous) as nanotechnology? I suspect that there is broad but shallow agreement on and advocacy of such development, but what is "rational" to the scientists might not be "rational" to many commercially oriented engineers. Ethicists and other philosophers also have a different conception of rational development of technology. In this essay I explore the reasons for the seeming agreement, and the roots of the actual disagreement, and suggest some ways to move towards better dialogue about nanotechnology. Read the Whole Article


January 6th, 2009
Could Spider Silk Save Your Life?
Summer Johnson
Columnist, Lifeboat Foundation

Advances in material science, particularly developing polymer nanocomposites, raise questions about their appropriate use for the military, consumers, for healthcare; and raise the question: could spider silk save your life? Read the Whole Article

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