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Dr. Dartnell continues his consideration of the work of Dr. James Lovelock in this paragraph, with a description of a "book for all seasons".
Dr. Dartnell's own work is a starting seed for Lovelock's vision.
I am reasonably sure that the knowledge and skill set encapsulated by the human race in 2016/2017 is not documented, just as the contents of any human (or animal for that matter) is not documented.
It is anticipated by some future oriented writers that the day may come when the state of a biological neural network can be captured, just as can be done with a silicon neural network today, but I suspect that such a capability is some distance off.
A working alternative, and in point of fact, what we humans are attempting to do today, is to pass knowledge along from one generation to the next. The ability to write (and read what was written) has helped significantly in the efficiency of the process in recent centuries.
The idea of creating a 1,000,000 person Mars City Simulation on Earth, discussed in another thread on this forum, has the potential to identify knowledge and skills considered by the participants to reflect what is most valuable in the variety in existence on Earth in 2017.
As an addition to the theme of possible topics for authors envisioned by THIS thread, here is another example.
A dish washing brush is a common tool for kitchen use in the United States, and more than likely around the world, although the use of a simple cloth rag is very likely even more common.
In the Mars City Simulation, if all correspondence with the outside universe is via digital transmissions, it is possible to imagine that there would be a need for a digital file describing how to assemble atoms to provide a sturdy dish washing brush.
In considering a specific example, sold under the brand name of "Dawn", I can see that the Chinese manufacturer has employed at least two separate processes, and possibly three, in creating the product sold under UPC 0 11171 22613 7.
The product is (apparently) produced by Butler Home Produces LLChttp://www.dawnkitchen.com
The specific brush examined here is (apparently) no longer available on the web site, but produce 432253 (UPC 11171 32253 2) is similar.
The difference is that the product identified as UPC 0 1171 22613 7 has plastic bristles instead of the (apparently) brass ones shown on the web site.
Regardless that the difference of the bristles, the point of interest for this discussion is how a hypothetical resident of a Mars City Simulation would approach the challenge of making a brush equivalent to the one shown on the web site.
The major component of the brush is the white plastic handle and head, which I expect was made by injecting hot plastic into a mold.
Upon close inspection, I can see that the plastic handle and head were made it two sections, a top and a bottom.
It turns out that the bristles are an even number, which would be consistent with the bristles having been routed through pairs of holes in the base half of the head.
It seems reasonable to suppose that the top half of the head was then positioned over the bottom half of the head, while the bristles were held in place.
The final stage of assembly would (presumably) have been heat sealing of the top half of the assembly to the bottom half.
An additional step may have occurred, to provide the blue rubber-like coating at the end of the handle. This coating provides an agreeable texture that facilitates gripping of the handle, compared to the slick white plastic of the base of the handle.
A city of a million people would presumably be large enough to justify more than one injection molding establishment. In accordance with the principles of capitalist competition (as discussed in the Adam Smith thread in this forum), it would seem appropriate to insure that there are at least three injection molding establishments, and I suspect a million person community could support them.
However, I am more interested in the challenge of creating this brush using atom assembly, which is the technology I consider most likely to insure success of human expansion into space.
Such assembly systems are envisioned by Kim Stanley Robinson in "Aurora", as just one example of contemporary writers who are thinking about how human expansion into space is likely to occur.
Specification of assembly instructions for atom assembly of the subject brush seems to me to be similar to what would be required for 3D printing.
Specification of the handle and head (without bristles) would seem (to me) to be fairly straight forward, and if the handle is to be assembled in a gravitational field, then a reasonable approach would be to assemble from the tip of the handle vertically through to the curved tip of the head.
However, how a separate step to include the bristles would occur is beyond my imagination at the moment.
Thus, the process to design a complete brush similar to the one specified here is left as an exercise for an enterprising author who might appear on this forum.
May every member of The Knowledge forum grow financially, intellectually, socially and beyond.