Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thinking Small

Here's the latest advance in making things really, really small...

You need to sit down with a calculator and work through the numbers to truly appreciate how small these details are. And it is done fairly rapidly. This is a wonderful technological breakthrough. It was only 29 years ago when an IBM team created the scanning tunneling microscope. That was a gee whiz feat of its day. It was followed up with the atomic force microscope in 1986. And now this nanoscale fabrication technique.

I really love the world map they etched. Beautiful. But the fact that they could etch it quickly and do it in 3D is what is mind blowing.

And while this advance occurs...

Crazies are caught by police. Here is a NY Times report that crazies planned to attack this very same Zurich research lab of IBM. Yep, while some humans try to create a better world, others who hear voices in their head (God? A moral vision that science is destroying 'traditional values', or just a hatred for things that are 'different' or 'new') are out to destroy this place. Sadly, if you go back through history you find the same thing again and again.

I'm sure the guy who invented fire had to fend off those who were convinced that creating fire was an offense to the Gods (think of Prometheus who was chained to a rock and tortured endlessly for stealing fire from the Gods to give to mortals for their benefit).

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