NanoPundit -Where Society, Science and the Law get really, really small.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Miller & Barns a Fortune Go-To Firm

Some self promotional news.  

My firm, Miller & Barns, was just named as a "Go-To" law firm by in Fortune Magazine's "The Go- To Law Firms of the World's Leasing Companies."

Yeah, us.  I'll provide a link when the 500 issue of Fortune magazine is published.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Never Ask a Luddite to Fix Something

Professor Reynolds points to this and asks “IS THE PATENT SYSTEM stifling nanotechnology?”

Follow the link and you will find that the article is sourced from the ETC Group.  My long time readers (heh) may remember that I consider the ETC Group Luddites and an anti-science group.  ETC is known for such howlers as calling for a “mandatory moratorium on synthetic nanomaterials"  Looking to the ETC Group for direction on nanotechnology is like looking to the American Communist Party for direction on free market economics. 

Professor Reynolds is a libertarian scholar and knows the value of the market. In order to fund research and development one must obtain funding and that funding is based upon the ability to protect the R&D investment.  The ETC Group and the “Innovation Partnership” have started an all from war on bio and nanotechnology.  This is their strike against the value of the technology.

The patent system has a bunch of problems; the patent offices of the world are slow and have historically had trouble with new technology.  The plastics industry and the electronics industry faced these challenges during their early phases; those seem to have been worked out to everyone’s benefit.  The U.S. Patent system is the goose that continues to lay golden eggs why should we listen to Luddites to find solutions. 

Some of my proposed solutions for fixing the patent system are here.  Unfortunately, I came up with these without funding from “governments, industry and NGOs” that help ETC Group and the “Innovation Partnership.”   The top three are:

First, identify new technologies early on and develop the infrastructure to rigorously examine patent applications in those areas.

Second, establish meaningful inter partes opposition in the Patent Office that allows the party challenging validity to be fully heard and does not precluding further argument in district court.

Third, establish a unique district court with jurisdiction over patent cases.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Nanotechnology and My Knees

Cartilage has a pesky habit of not regenerating. Once it is gone, it is gone. Once it starts to go, the rate of degeneration only increases.
So a hearty well done to Thomas Webster at Brown University for his breakthrough on regrowing cartilage. Enhanced chondrocyte densities on carbon nanotube composites: The combined role of nanosurface roughness and electrical stimulation.
A conductive film of highly dispersed carbon nanotubes (CNT) in polycarbonate urethane (PCU) were injected into the knee and then electrically stimulated to increase the growth of chondrocytes (cartilage cells). The CNT/PCU film has improved electrical conductivity to allow low voltage stimulation and the nanoscale roughness provides a hydrophilic surface that improves adhesion of the cartilage cells to the surface.
So Dr. Webster, thanks. And when you are ready to start testing on humans give me a call.

See also, Could Nanotechnology End Cartilage Loss?

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Ohio Entrepreneurial Signature Programs

If you are a budding nano-entrepreneur in the State of Ohio, I strongly suggest contacting one of the Ohio Third Frontier Entrepreneurial Signature Programs (ESP). The ESP's can provide business counseling and are a source of funds for Ohio companies and entrepreneurs.

The state is divided into regions and each region has different technical specialties based on existing institutions. Contact your local region and if your technology isn’t a specialty, they can direct you to the best region for you.

The Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition (NorTech) serving Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Crawford, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Holmes, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, and Wayne counties.

Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) serving Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot counties.

TechColumbus serving Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Hocking, Knox, Licking, Logan, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, Ross and Union counties.

West Central
Dayton Development Coalition serving Champaign, Clarke, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties.

Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber serving Butler, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Highland and Warren counties.

Ohio University - Voinovich Center serving Adams, Athens, Belmont, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Muskingham, Noble, Pike, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties.

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Reporting from the 2008 Ohio Nanotechnology Summit.

The 2008 Ohio Nanotechnology Summit ran from April 9th to 11th at Great Wolf lodge in Mason Ohio. The striking change between 2008 and 2005 is how far Ohio has come, with the Third Frontier project and the growth of the Ohio Department of Development.

Not only is Ohio’s investment improving but so is the quality of the Nanotechnology Summit. In 2005 the Summit was more of a meet and greet for graduate students presenting posters. in 2008 the Summit has grown up with general managers, business unit presidents and leaders of major technology institutions presenting.

Look for several posting over the next few days.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008


The 2008 Ohio Nanotechnology summit will be held on April 8th through 11th at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. Bring your swim suit and remember that swimsuits are one area where bigger is better.

Topics Include:

Experimental Methods and Modeling
Entrepreneurial Signature Program from the Ohio Department of Development and Pre-Seed Funds
Technology Transfer
Intellectual Property
An Emerging Technology Forum
Sensor Technology

The speakers will include:

Mike Roco -- National Science Foundation

Elliott Liggett -- Lockheed Martin

John Chang -- GrafTech

Asis Banerjie -- Ovation Polymers

Wayne Earley -- PolymerOhio

Dr. Linda Horton -- Oak Ridge National LaboratoryDirector, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences

Lance Criscuolo -- General Manager Zyvex Performance Materials
David Burton -- General Manager Pyrograf Products

Dr. Sharmila M. Mukhopadhyay -- Director, Center for Nanoscale Multifunctional Materials Wright State University

Carlos Gonzales --Deputy Division Chief, Physical and Chemical Properties Division

George Schatz -- Proffessor Northwestern University

Dr. Melanie Tomczak -- UES Inc.

Dr. Wolf Spendel -- Industry Liaison Miami University, Center for Nanotechnology

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

US Technological Dominance Threatened

Professor Reynolds links to Global Advances Challenge U.S. Dominance in Science and quotes:

The United States remains the world leader in scientific and technological innovation, but its dominance is threatened by economic development elsewhere, particularly in Asia, the National Science Board said Tuesday in its biennial report on science and engineering.

The comment "The United States remains the world leader in scientific and technological innovation, but its dominance is threatened by economic development elsewhere, particularly in Asia" strikes me about the same as rich folks complaining that the middle and lower classes are catching up. The United States has been dominant in Science and Engineering since World War II. In the post-war period, Japan and West Germany started to close the gap. If you go back 20 years, to when I was an undergraduate, we saw the beginning of an influx of (mostly Chinese) foreign students. More recently, South Asians and Africans have come to the US for an education. This is far from a problem, the way I figure, the world is better off with more scientists and engineers.

A problem that I have never seen addressed in the media is that of newly minted PhDs wanting to stay in the US but forced out by immigration law. Years ago, I interviewed Masters and PhD students for R&D jobs for a Fortune 500 company. Many of the Chinese, South Asian and African students wanted to stay in the US permanently but had to return home when their student visas expired.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

When Bad Thermodynamics Happens to Good People

Instapundit links to another Perpetual Motion Machine hoax. The nano link here is tenuous so try to follow along. It seems someone was trying to cure cancer with nanotechnology, pie pans and household current and discovered that he could separate hydrogen from oxygen using a radio frequency field. He was experimenting on RF heating of cancerous tissue augmented by “Tiny bits of certain metal . . . injected into a cancer patient.”

As a byproduct of his experimentation, he discovered electrolysis of water. The cancer treatment is not an original idea and “water into fuel” is thermodynamic illiteracy. In fact, without thinking too hard, I would guess that adding the nanoparticles reduces the efficiency of the process because energy is used to heat the nanoparticles rather than disassociate the hydrogen from the oxygen. Bucket brigades at hydroelectric dams is a better idea for producing ‘free’ energy.

I’m a big fan of InstaPundit, as you can tell by my blog name, but man-oh-man does he need a basic understanding of thermodynamics. Using a bunch of energy to separate H from O and then recombining the H’s and O’s back into water and a little bit of energy isn’t going to run anything anywhere. In fact, this is so basic that it didn’t even make the cut for one of those Encyclopedia Brown books.

And for the double bonus irony he takes a shot at creationists in an adjacent post. I can disprove “Water into Fuel” in a lab without any problem. Disproving creationism is a little tougher.