The Fish
for 16 October 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Erin Coull
Production Manager


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Copy Edit]
Copy Edit

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


T. Jay Fowler

Production Manager

& Ass Kicker


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

Small Is Beautiful
Interesting quotation at the
close of your article ...
Oppenheimer would relate the
event to a line from the
Bhagavad-Gita: "I am become
Death, destroyer of worlds."
Now you and Tom Clancy share
something in common, though I
must admit that I find
Clancy's "the end of
civilization as we know it"
scenario in The Hunt for Red
somewhat more
convincing than yours.

Al Thomas

I'm not clear on what it is I
share with Tom Clancy, and I
probably won't take the time
to find out since that would
apparently require acquiring
and reading a Tom Clancy
book. But I wonder if this
entitles me to a percentage
of his royalties?

I think though that nanotech
is a much better way to
destroy life as we know it
than nuclear weapons (I saw
the movie, so sue me). Even
with all the mega-tonnage
that we've created it would
be very difficult to
completely destroy the
earth's biota through sheer
force. But nanotech could
simply supplant indigenous
creatures. Human beings have
been doing it for centuries
now, and we're rather pitiful


Fish With Letter Icon

Most enjoyable Suck I ever

Tim Jennings

Thanks very much. Since I
have to assume that this is
the first time you've read
Suck, I'd also recommend
Monday's piece. I think it
was much better.


Fish With Letter Icon

It is an interesting subject.
But if it takes a room full
of hardware to do this, I
doubt we can replicate the
genetic code level of self-
reproduction without a huge
input of energy (that room
full of hardware.)

I do look forward to the day
that my Nike shoes are
fractal assemblies of the
Nike logo.

David A. Dorney

Nanotechnologists (who have a
unique ability to see around
engineering practicalities)
would argue that the energy
source is a no-brainer: the
sun. Or, hey, we've got all
those unused nuclear weapons
just going to waste.

I long for the day when the
entire universe is Nike
self-similar. Actually, if
nanotech could figure out a
way to get my 3-year-old's
shoes to stay tied, I'd be
all for it.



Fish With Letter Icon

Smile, You Son of a Bitch


Ohmigod ... tell us something
we don't know, like: Bambi
was a slut and Thumper a
remorseless assassin bent on
exterminating all the ugly,
slimy creatures in the
forest. It's obvious that
cuteness and fuzziness, not
to mention the ability to do
tricks, are traits that
ensure a long and blissful
existence for all of us;
especially if you're a girl.
Me and all my cute, fuzzy,
obedient girlfriends have
been riding that wave for
years sans regret and plan on
breeding heavily to
perpetuate these traits. And
hey, if I were as ugly and
smelly as a whale, I'd have
to be monogamous too. Even
those stuffed Shamus are

Portia Kersten

We like you.

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: 101 Things to do
with a Cucumber

There is a tradition I have
been trying to keep with in
creating a Halloween costume
that in some way incorporates
a cucumber into the
design.... John Wayne
Bobbitt, horny toad, horny
little devil, salad, Pee Wee
Herman, etc.... However, I'm
getting to the end of my
imaginative rope. Help me out
with this cheap gag, and I
promise never to write to you
again. By the by, I read the
hell out of Suck.

Kerby Talbert

You could go as Bambi. Bambi
was a slut, you know, and
sluts and cucumbers go
together like frogs and

Fish With Letter Icon

I just spent a couple of
hours looking through your
last few Suck columns, and I
just wanted to take a second
to tell you I think you're
tremendously talented, and
thank you. You seem a little
bitter, though.... I hope
you're getting enough
vegetables and all.

Francisco Toro

Oh, sure, we get enough
vegetables ... enough
cucumbers, at any rate.

Fish With Letter Icon

Small Is Beautiful

Thank you for a link (the
last one in your piece, to
Rich Gieb's site) that was
amazing, for lack of a better
vocabulary. I don't know
whether you put in the link
just for the one page or in
hopes that the reader would
probe further into the site,
but I will assume the latter.

I am a relatively new, though
very regular (all right,
addicted), reader of Suck,
and am almost always
entertained by the cynicism.
Yeah, I find Suck
intelligent, well written,
and sometimes even
informative, but it is
usually the cynicism that I
notice most. Now I think I
have a new respect. A sign of
wisdom (in my opinion) is the
ability to put yourself in
perspective. Linking to
Richard Gieb's site
reinforced (what I think is)
Suck's basic message: to not
take urban cynicism too
seriously, no matter how
engaging it may be, cause
there are heavier and greater
things out there.

I had hoped my first letter
to you guys would be more
than a just a thank you
letter, but oh well. I'm too
tired to go into the pros
and cons of nanotechnology. I
will say this though: Our
current civilization (or a
large portion of it)
approaches the universe in an
adolescent way. We are either
amazed or scared. Either
eager to touch and play with
everything, to poke our heads
into everything we can, or
fearful of unknown boogeymen.
This is an exciting (in a
childlike wonderment kind of
way) time for us, but
hopefully one we will
eventually grow out of. Truly
great advances in science are
part empirical, part subtle
wisdom, and that gives me
hope. Think of the advances
in physics earlier this
century: relativity, quantum
mechanics, etc., and
something thrown in there
called the Uncertainty
Principle, a true bit of
universal wisdom (in my
humble opinion).

The progress of the scientist
happens in very small daily
increments, but the progress
of the people occurs when we
actually learn something from
the data that is applicable
to more than the collection
of more data. It is at those
times that we as the human
race grow a little bit older.

Sincerely, Arijit Das

The "childlike wonderment"
of science and the fear of
the unknown really are the
same thing I believe: the
sense of mystery that
Einstein felt was at the root
of intellectual inquiry. I
wouldn't argue that humanity
should not seek to understand
the workings of the universe,
but the question of whether
knowledge should be
translated into technology is
surprisingly difficult, an
ethical-rather than practical-
question. The point I
struggled to make was that if
we could justify building the
bomb, we can justify doing
anything, even if we're not
sure of the consequences. Of
course, people can argue
convincingly that the A-bomb
shortened the war or that
fire-bombing was actually
more destructive and cruel,
but that's strictly
hindsight. Fact is, even if
the physicists at Los Alamos
knew that a single bomb
wouldn't destroy the planet
(physics reassured them that
it wouldn't happen), all of
them knew that the bomb would
kill many people if it
worked, and they weren't sure
it would save anyone; some of
them almost certainly were
motivated more by curiosity
or hubris than patriotism.
Unfortunately, the lesson of
Los Alamos is often
perversely interpreted as
evidence that even the most
potentially destructive
technology will work out OK
in the end.

Thanks, Dilettante

Fish With Letter Icon

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