Baby lizards!

On the way to the office this morning, we spotted this little guy running around…he’s so ky00t! He’s a Florida anole; the whole place is overrun with them, but I’ve never seen one this small before. (This pic is very close to actual size.)

He was a bugger to catch the first time, but after I caught him, he had a great time running all over me. He finally jumped off (onto the sidewalk, not a good place for a lizard to be), so I had to catch him again to get him into the bushes. By the time I got him there, he’d just about lost all fear of humans, and was letting me handle him with no problem.



Joe gets up at 6 am and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance — now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body an d how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It’s noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

What dreams may come…

So yesterday, I was dreaming about nanotech.

Specifically, I was dreaming about Shelly, datan0de, and nanotech. In a weird kind of way.

In the dream, the three of us were in a huge industrial factory of the kind that was built at the start of the industrial revolution–an enormous brick building, with spinning metal shafts along the ceiling that drive great pulleys connected by long belts to machines that did the actual work (and sometimes lopped off people’s fingers). For some reason I’m not quite clear on, it was desperately, vitally important that we come up with a way to construct generic, programmable nanoscopic assemblers, soon (like in six months), or we would all die.

During the dream, the three of us were arguing about the best way to go about constructing prototype assemblers. datan0de, who was wearing his DragonCon gear, was arguing for a “bottom-up” approach: design a molecule that would do what we wanted, then figure out a way to make that molecule spontaneously self-assemble when the correct ingredients were brought together in the correct way.

I was arguing for a “top down” approach, where we first design the assembler, then construct it on a molecule-by-molecule basis by using devices such as atomic force microscopes to place every molecule in position. Once the first assembler had been hand-built in this way, we could then program it to build more assemblers.

Shelly was arguing for a third approach–namely, designing the assembler, then constructing protein-based machinery to build the assembler by using custom strands of DNA to create the protein-based machinery. She argued that datan0de and I were trying to reinvent the wheel; the mechanism to create proteins from a strand of DNA already exist, so if we could figure out how to build a machine out of proteins that would construct the assembler, then we could use the machinery inside a living cell to cause the cell to churn out assemblers just by cooking up the appropriate DNA and introducing it into the cell.