As I suggested might become the case last month, we are now beginning to see that the ideas of Eric Drexler in his Metamodern blog are not quite matching up with those of the proponents of molecular manufacturing.
Drexler presents some of his concerns and doubts about diamondoid mechanosynthesis (DMS), which has been most vigorously pursued by Robert Freitas and Ralph Merkle.
This has started a bit of debate between the two parties, which can be chronicled over at The Next Big Future blog. In it we get parsing of words like DMS is not a ''necessary first step'' for molecular manufacturing but a ''highly desirable first step''.
Drexler seems to indicate that not only is DMS not a necessary first step but not a highly desirable first step either. Instead pointing to aqueous synthesis at room temperature as an attractive area of research.
This leads again to the debate over the ''Wet'' or ''Dry'' approach to advanced nanotech. While this debate constitutes a red herring according to some of the comments to Drexler''s blog entry, it''s hard to know how you graduate to automated exponential manufacturing if you don''t have any basic building blocks.
In any event, the vacuum surrounding molecular manufacturing research appears to have been relieved. Perhaps this will lead to more experiments and progress.