Monday, September 28, 2009

67. Holmium


Nanotechnologist's Lung

The greatest occupational hazard of nanotechnology is poor lab technique. It is important for the lab tech to remember that nanotechnological devices are very, very small. The slightest carelessness can result in a release of self-replicating agents into the air. If the technician subsequently breathes them in, it is quite possible that they will lodge in his or her lungs, and begin to build a civilization there.

Early signs of nanotechnologist's lung include a heaviness in the chest, difficulty breathing, and unaccountably high cell-phone bills. The latter are the result of the nascent nano-civilization attempting to obtain an independent financial base by selling complex information services, and to establish diplomatic relations with the existing macro-nations.

It is extremely important to deal with nanotechnologist's lung quickly! If left untreated too long, the nano-civilization will obtain legal representation and a writ conjoining you from seeking out medical treatment.

Such treatment is usually applied via laser surgery. For this purpose, a 60-watt holmium laser with 5.37 kilojoules of energy is best employed. Because its laser energy is rapidly absorbed by water in the tissues, the pulse has an ultimate depth of penetration of 0.4 mm or less, resulting in efficient ablation of industrial sites and almost bloodless cutting of soft tissue. Further, it has long been used in arthroscopy, angioplasty, thermokeratoplasty, lithotripsy, and other surgical procedures and thus its applications are well understood.

The nano-civilization will of course respond by building its own, though smaller, holmium lasers and launching a counterattack. For which reason, it is advised that nanotechnologist's lung be treated not by doctors but by the armed forces of the technologist's home nation, who will be better equipped to defend against hostile military action.

In the United States of America, the Constitution clearly states that war can only be declared by an act of Congress. For which reason those afflicted with nanotechnologist's lung are urged to immediately apply for citizenship in a nation with more flexible policies of national defense. You must not wait for the months it may take for legislation to be enacted.

It is vital that you obtain help before your infection obtains nuclear capability.

© 2002 by Michael Swanwick and SCIFI.COM.

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