Nanoscale materials often have electronic, thermal, and mechanical properties vastly different from “bulk” materials constructed from the same elements. The low-dimensional underlying physics is rich with many potential applications. This talk will examine unique properties of carbon and boron nitride nanotubes, and the exploitation of those properties for nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) including molecular scale electric motors, resonators, relaxation oscillators, phonon waveguides, and thermal rectifiers. The experiments are often motivated by concurrent theoretical advances in nanoscale physics. A connection between nanocrystal-powered nanomotors and the erection of large stone statues on Easter Island will presented.