Inflorescence Update : More Biotech

A single month has gone by since I last dumped a bunch of bio-tech stories. Here are the stories that have accumulated since then. You see? You see how fast this is moving? We’re being pulled into some sort of massive, techo-acid-trip that englobulates all of external reality.


1) Anti-Aging drugs undergoing clinical trials in humans this year.


So what actually did happen in the 20thC ? – a lot of predictable stuff I suppose – but most of it… the really big things, completely blind-sided us. One of these… one of the really big, demographic-changing, tectonic scale revolution came in the form of the contraceptive pill. It’s hard to understate the social impact of this.

Anti-aging drugs are conceivably a bigger deal. So long as they don’t turn 60 year old humans into 20 year old mice, although that too would be cool, especially as the early customers are likely to be people who don’t deserve to live, let alone live forever.

2) 3D Printing of beating heart cells

Building blocks for organ-regeneration. Elsewhere, lab-grown vagina implants successfully performed, which may be the sort of thing that teenage boys snigger about, but it’s a really important life-changing technology for people who receive it.

3) DNA Nanobots hosted by living cockroaches

This one for me goes off the radar of strange – origami robots made out of DNA, that act as switches in the presence of specific proteins/chemicals.

“This is the first time that biological therapy has been able to match how a computer processor works,” says co-author Ido Bachelet of the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar Ilan University.

“The higher the number of robots present, the more complex the decisions and actions that can be achieved. If you reach a certain threshold of capability, you can perform any kind of computation. In this case, we have gone past that threshold,” he says.

The team says it should be possible to scale up the computing power in the cockroach to that of an 8-bit computer, equivalent to a Commodore 64 or Atari 800 from the 1980s.

Something I’ve noticed about computer tech, is we keep coming back to 8-bit power. We seem to have successive waves of technology that can demonstrate the “snake game” off Tron. The first computer I ever saw played this game. It was the size of a fridge with an oscilloscope screen. Then our school computers could do it (TRS80s etc), then tech moved on… and then I was back with the snake-game on hand-held devices in the mid 1980s. Then watches. Then phones… then javascript web-tech. Then Arduinos.

And then origami DNA robots implantable into living systems.

4) Wellcome invent factory-produceable blood.


Blood-banking is almost exactly 100 years old. End of an era.

5) “Safe Alcohol” projected to arrive in 2015

The joy of drinking is “getting drunk”, rather than “being drunk”… and the sainted Professor Nutt, former drugs adviser who was sacked by the cretins in the UK govt because he pointed out alcohol was more dangerous than E, has created an alternative (as well as an anti-intoxicant pill)… and is working with a company to bring it to market.

Unfortunately the company is called “Imperial Innovations”, and is all about “IP”, which radically reduces the chances of the thing ever being made. “IP” is the kiss of death to innovation – he should have just released the plans into the wild, and let the web do with them what they will.

Incidentally, here’s an interesting glimpse into the sort of progress/innovation you can expect when the government decides it isn’t in charge of our bodies… as well as the struggles faced in the culture change. Here’s the pot vaporiser the article is about:


And like it or not, psycho-active drugs are going to be an integral part of whatever’s up ahead… partly because they’re embedded in the DNA of the culture, partly because they’re embedded in the human condition.

6) Autodesk has a bio-tech innovation-hot house. aka skunk-works.

Autodesk being the creators of Autocad – now playing with DNA Printers, and crowd-sourcing cancer cures.

“Today, dozens of DNA print shops can turn digital designs into biology, essentially by what Hessel calls “3D printing DNA.” Biohackers and academics at prestigious institutions are using these tools to do all sorts of things, both freakish and useful. They’ve grown glow-in-the-dark plants and managed to add unnatural base pairs, such as X and Y, to the DNA alphabet. Groups at several universities have engineered bacterial cells that selectively target and invade cancer cells before releasing toxic enzymes.”

“There remain significant dangers. In 2002 a Stony Brook University professor synthesized the polio virus using mail-order DNA. Three years later influenza researchers re-created the 1918-19 Spanish flu virus, which at the time killed more than 20 million people. Hessel warns it may eventually become possible to create personalized bioweapons targeting only people with a specific genetic makeup. And genomic information is easy to acquire: “If Brad Pitt goes for coffee, the spoon [he uses] has his DNA,” says Hessel. “You can sequence it and learn more about Brad Pitt’s medical background than Brad knows.”

(elsewhere, a French lab loses 2000 vials of a deadly virus)

Interesting times.

7) Bacteria used to make/arrange inorganic materials.


“By tweaking the bacterium to produce different sorts of curli fibers, the researchers were able to make gold nanowire, biofilm that can conduct electricity, and quantum dots, nanocrystals with quantum mechanical properties and boasting a wide range of potential applications, from quantum computing to lasers to “tagging” cancer cells for removal.

Personally I think that future 3D printers will have adjunct devices containing e-coli (or yogurt, or algae), that create whatever material you want the 3D printer to print. The biotech creates the matter, the robot does the construction. There will probably be similar devices to turn your “creations” back into compost.

8 ) Open Source Seeds

Because “IP” is not compatible with a free future. We need to eradicate all scarcities – coming down with particular destructive force on artificial scarcities. Some scarcities (eg: copper), are hard-coded into the environment, so we need to route around these by achieving the same ends with different materials.

Much as the internet perceives censorship as damage, and routes around it, The Inflorescence must perceive scarcity as damage and route around that – otherwise it’s going to turn into some sort of hi-tech jack-booted hell. Matter is just physical information. The Inflorescence (whatever it turns out to be) has something to do with turning all hardware into software – or dissolving the boundary between the two.

9) Biowelding

Cold-plasma used in place of staples/stitches – reducing scarring etc

10) Lab on a chip using DNA to detect MSRA superbugs

Which (as far as I can gather) uses strands of captured enemy DNA to betray enemy DNA in the wild.

11) Electronic Skin Patch


Stretchable memory that can deliver drugs and collect data.

12) Darpa has boosted funding for “life sciences”

13) New Da Vinci Surgical Robot is now using augmented reality to boost normal senses of surgeons