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"I do think there is a link in that in both cases, writing fiction or writing a computer program, at any given moment you're focusing on a very specific and particular thing—one word, one line of code, whatever."
- Neal Stephenson

Dumb Matter  
  Ordinary matter, with no nano-value added.  

See the opposite of this term - computronium.

"Mars is just dumb mass at the bottom of a gravity well; there isn't even a biosphere there. They should be working on uploading and solving the nanoassembly conformational problem instead. Then we could turn all the available dumb matter into computronium and use it for processing our thoughts..."
From Accelerando, by Charles Stross.
Published by Ace in 2005
Additional resources -

"Dumb matter" is one of those wonderful sf terms like ground car, inert-wear or static home. In each case, an sfnal idea is introduced, along with a related term for something commonplace you already know.

Check out the opposite of dumb matter - computronium.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Accelerando
  More Ideas and Technology by Charles Stross
  Tech news articles related to Accelerando
  Tech news articles related to works by Charles Stross

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