Thalassiosira pseudonana – Remark on the delicate structure made of silica. Having done some glass casting I can tell you anything that can fashion such a tiny delicate yet strong exo-skeleton out of what is essentially glass is incredible in nature. Its a very logical place to start if you want to know more about making silica structures. That is exactly what is being done. Diatom NanoTech Arty
Its such a delightful time to be an engineer because although you citizens can understand the big trends and results its us technical people who can actually feel its soul.
I want you to answer a question a truthfully as you can to yourself. Here is the scenario. At some point in your future you have exactly 10 years to live. This has happened to absolutely every person who has every lived, so far. How much would you pay for 10 more years additional on top the first 10 mentioned ? And if you only had 6 monthes to live? How much then ? Unless you some sort of unhealthy the truthful answer is most if not all of what you own.
Quite simply I can tell you this scenario is extremely likely to occur during the next 40 years. The money as a proxy for our desire will be enormous. ( For you lefties its all about the money.) To me its about the collective desire. There is absolutely no stopping this freight train.
Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Industrial Age(Mechanistic Age), Information Age……….Nano / Bio-Engineering Age.
The last entry is just starting. The first 3 ages are pretty much mature. The information age is ongoing but we’re not going to get a break this time. Concurrent with it is the bio-informatic age. Nano and Bio-engineering will indeed be very similar in informatics. However some of the results will not!
The photo of what you might consider a simple structure of a diatom above is enough to tell me as an engineer many things. A rule I have for solving problems goes thus:
99.9% of a solving a problem is simply KNOWING it can be done. The reason being is that its much harder to stick out the money and research time required to solve a problem you are not sure about. If you are sure it is psychologically much more tolerable. One place where even an atheist needs faith!
Well there you go. The diatom has done it. It CAN be done. Silica can be formed by nano / bio engineering means. The remaining challenge is to reverse engineer the process. Now as you open your eyes wider you can see all around you the potentials for reverse engineering in nature. An explosive realization occurs in your head. The next 50 years will bring such changes that the world will be unrecognizable to us today.
Energy will be a problem of the past as sunlight will be converted easily to electricity or fuel. Our minds will be augmented with such computing power. ( I mean the kind installed in your skull ! ) that people will be forever changed.
Followup: I have become more interested in this Thalassiosira pseudonana: An ocean diatom that is a major participant in the biological pumping of carbon to ocean depths. The DNA of this diatom is being sequenced. —
An exerpt of an arty I read: The research provided direct genetic confirmation of a hypothesis that diatoms evolved when a heterotroph, a single-cell microbe, engulfed what scientists say was likely a kind of red alga. The two became one organism, an arrangement called endosymbiosis, and swapped some genetic material to create a new hybrid genome.