Random Thoughts

Tech, words and musings from an Englishman in Seattle

Grey Goo

I was just browsing Hacker News and was intrigued by the link to Grey Goo.

Nanotechnology has been a fascination of mine since 1986 when I first read K. Eric Drexler's wonderful book Engines of Creation. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend that you do. It's a wild ride through our probable future.

Anyhow, I was particularly struck by one of the paragraphs in the wikipedia article that alludes to the class of bugs that all of us as programmers strive to avoid:

In a History Channel broadcast, grey goo is referred to in a futuristic doomsday scenario: “In a common practice, billions of nanobots are released to clean up an oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. However, due to a programming error, the nanobots devour all carbon based objects, instead of just the hydrocarbons of the oil. The nanobots destroy everything, all the while, replicating themselves. Within days, the planet is turned to dust.”

Indeed.

Let's not do that.

Episode V

What an astoundingly great review of The Empire Strikes Back

Their dialogue fairly crackles, from the first exchange in the corridor of Hoth (“Afraid I was going to leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?” “I'd sooner kiss a Wookie!”) to the famous last lines before Han is put into carbonite: “I love you.” “I know.” Incidentally, never ever say that to a girl when she utters those words unless you are actually about to be frozen in carbonite.

Recommended for nostalgia reasons alone.

Tip'O'Hat to John Gruber for the link.

I'm Living In The Future

I'm currently cruising at 35,000 feet on a Virgin America flight from San Francisco to Seattle. I'm surfing on my iPad whilst being served a Rum and Coke by a very nice flight attendant.

Being upgraded to first class didn't hurt either.

Seriously, Virgin America is the best airline I have ever flown. Friendly; a little bit irreverent; spotlessly clean. Recommended.

Did I mention the WiFi?

© 2001 to present, Steve Lacey.