Monday, July 1, 2013


I have always tried to be extremely careful with my things, but occasionally, as my father had noted, I have tried to do too much.  Trying to do too much leads to all sorts of issues, not the least of which is misplacing my things in my hurry to get to the next thing.  Or, as a teacher told me once, I get ninety percent of the way there and figure the last ten percent isn’t worth it because I am in a rush to do the next thing.  But then, also since I do try to do too much, I get a lot done.  And I also usually find my things in the course of doing other things.  But dammit, I get a little tired of my inefficiency. 

So when I lost my notebook I wasn’t that worried.  It’ll turn up, I thought.  But as the rest of the day went by, and I still didn’t find it, I got annoyed at myself in a low level kind of way.  I write things down so I don’t have to remember them (and for the lawyers and scientists too) but if I don’t have the book, I have to remember them, and I wasted effort in writing them down. 

I don’t put most stuff on the computer either.  Too much risk.  And as I tossed everything in my apartment, drove to my lab and tossed everything there, I thought the system had to change.  Either I had to do less, or start duplicating my stuff so I always had two of everything. 

Which is actually kind of ironic.  Because the stuff in my notebook was all about duplicating me.  Making another one of me.

Let me give you a little background -- you lawyer or scientist of the future parsing my every word.  I am an inventor, scientist and engineer who, for the past ten or so years, has been working on methods of duplicating life.   Not creating life.  I don’t think we can get there anytime soon.  But we can copy living things, from plants to animals, using nano technology.

Nano technology means we can copy things, even living things, by a pretty simple process.  First, we expose the thing to a bunch of nano.  The nano swarms into the thing.  Nano are small, very, very small.  Nano are fuzzy too; they stick to each other like Velcro.  So the nano, once they’ve swarmed into the thing, start moving through the thing and even the parts of the thing, and even parts of the parts of the thing, all the way down to atoms and parts of atoms, and surround the whatever – the thing, or the parts or the thing, or the parts of the parts of the thing – like scaffolding around a building and they end up making a mold of the thing while they are still inside the thing.

We then pull the nano out of the thing, using something that’s like a nano magnet, that makes the nano swarm out from the thing it’s in.  Once the nano’s out, we have it rebuild its mold and voila, we have a perfect mold of something. 

And then it gets really cool.  We fill that mold with more nano…and that nano becomes a mold of the mold – or a positive of the negative mold – a copy of the original thing.  (Nano are amazing.  We make them through a process that involves (sort of) making mathematical equations real, and I will explain a little more about that later on.)

So, for example, in our first successful effort in mammals, we exposed a lab mouse to nano by putting him in an airtight cage, pumping nano (and air of course) into the cage and letting him breathe the nano in.  We named him Dr. Jekyll in case the experiment went horribly wrong – who said we aren’t funny?  

The nano started traveling into his nose (mice are something called obligate nose breathers – they have to breathe through their nose) where some stuck and mapped the surface of the tissue inside the nose.  Other nano went deeper into the nose tissue and dove into the nerves and blood vessels too, and even other nano traveled beyond that, into the cells and parts of cells, and then nano went all way down, into the chemicals and molecules and atoms that Dr. Jekyll’s nose is built from.  (Remember nano are very very small – and we use billions and billions to do the mapping.)  Yet more nano went past Dr. Jekyll’s nose, into his paranasal sinuses, into those, into the muscles and vessels and cells (oh my!) there, and yet more traveled down his airway, mapping that surface and then moving into that surface, and the parts there, deeper and deeper, into the tissues and cells there and yet more nano kept going into his lungs, and they mapped those and went into his blood and cells and other parts there, and so nano kept moving into Dr. Jekyll’s body, and into the cells and all the way down to the molecules and atoms and parts of atoms that make up Dr. Jekyll.

And the really cool thing is that since nano copied a living Dr. Jekyll – and didn’t hurt him in the process but I do think he looked a little bloated by the end with all that nano in him – it also kept track of the electrical and chemical and other reactions necessary to life.  So once the nano had flooded through Jekyll, and copied everything about him (which didn’t take long; maybe a minute or two – nano are fast)  during which Jekyll didn’t seem to be bothered at all and in fact looked a little bored (but bloated!) we pulled the nano out with our nano magnet and it came out but had kept a memory of where it had just been so when we turned the magnet off the nano reassembled into a 3D mold, a negative, of the mouse.  It wasn’t alive of course and looked kind of like Jekyll but with the colors reversed because it was a negative, and it was a little bigger (a scaffolding is always bigger than the building.)   We hung it from a little teeny sling so it was just hanging there with all four feet dangling.

Then came the second part.  We filled that 3D mold, that negative, with new nano, to make a positive, to take on the characteristics that were copied from Dr. Jekyll, so the nose was recreated, and the support tissues and nerves and blood vessels of the nose, and the cells and parts of cells, and the chemicals and molecules and atoms, and then the paranasal sinuses, and the parts that make up those parts, and then airway, and the lungs, etc. etc. etc. 

And when that nano was done we lowered the little sling, pulled out the nano mold with our magnet from our new positive and voilĂ ! – we have an exact copy of Dr. Jekyll.  And the really really cool thing is that since we had copied a living mouse we got a living mouse, a living mouse that started breathing as soon as the last piece of new nano went into the mold -- an exact copy of Dr. Jekyll – or as we called him, Mr. Hyde.

And Mr. Hyde was now looking at me inquiringly as I tossed my office looking for the missing notebook.  Technically speaking, Dr. Jekyll should have been doing the exact same thing.  After all, they were the same mouse.  But Dr. Jekyll was busy chewing on a tube and ignored my frantic search.  We did expect them to do the same thing, and we watched them closely and took their vitals for months (the poor assistant who had to put on the little blood pressure cuff on the mouse’s little leg really suffered)  (kidding!  That’s not how you take a mouse’s BP, it actually goes on her tail) and for a little while they did because they had the same body parts and even the same neurons and neuronal connections.  But once Mr. Hyde was made, his experiences were different, and he started to react differently after a time.  Not always, and not (usually) with regard to major stimulants like food and sex – yes there was a Mrs. Jekyll, who frankly was a little bit of a slut because she slept with both of them willingly, apparently not able to tell the difference, but that is a tough call since mice; a) sleep with any other mice willingly when they are “in the mood” (which happens surprisingly often for lab mice); and, b) I could swear she looked a little confused the first few times she was in with Hyde.  After all, he looked the same and smelled the same (as far as we could tell) yet something in her tiny mouse brain seemed to be telling he wasn’t the same.  Of course we can’t really tell what is in a tiny mouse brain or if they have any thoughts at all so we aren’t that sure about b)  but Jekyll and Hyde did seem to have the same moves – Hyde maybe being a little more aggressive.  But some mouse women like that.

But I digress.  I now am writing this down in another notebook, having more or less given up the search for the moment.  I grab whatever I can – so they are all different, with different pages and margins.  Like I said above I try to do too much and having a consistent notebook structure was a little too much – I had to store them in a consistent place, keep the same idea in memory until I could find an available notebook, etc.  Now I just play catch as catch can with the notebooks which drives the lawyers and scientists nuts. 

Part of doing too much is moving ahead – maybe too quickly – and getting bored with mundane tasks.  And as you can see, I have gotten a little bored with straight note taking through the years.  So even through the lawyers want these notebooks for their records, and even though the scientists want these notebooks for their research, and even though they both want to end up comparing the nano me to the non nano me to see how different if at all we are, and each have their desires there, the lawyers want us to be different so they can make their case we are different, they law couldn’t really deal with one person split in two, would both “splits” control the property?, and the scientists don’t know what they want because if we are the same the reductionists win, and if we are different, the non reductionists win (even though neither, strictly speaking, is a scientific viewpoint) and all that is predicated on these notebooks, but after a few years what was supposed to be straightforward records of my research, thoughts and procedures, ends up digressing some.  Or maybe more than some.

In any event, we are doing some cool things with nano, and the next step is to duplicate something bigger than a mouse.  Like me.  Which has all sorts of interesting implications when you think about it, not just for the lawyers and scientists, but for the philosophers and theologians and really most other people of any kind, and I wanted to get on with it as soon as we could so I could see those implications play out and observe them firsthand, which went out of style some time ago as an experimental protocol – sometime around the time Timothy Leary did LSD and wrote down the results.  Which probably makes sense given his later career.

So because observation leads to corruption (as Heisenberg sort of said with his Uncertainty Principal) subjective experimentation went out of fashion.  But I saw no other way to continue our research, and even though I will be the subject and the primary observer, we do understand the potential for corruption and knowing that  will help us compensate for it.  Just like Man knows he is subject for original sin and has been able to compensate for that.  Ha.

  But I do think my observations will be invaluable.  Plus I’m CEO and majority shareholder so I get to decide.  (My investors are concerned about me being the lab rat.  I pointed out to them however with two of me, their investment should be worth twice as much.  They quieted down after they thought about that.)