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

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

New York Times Goes Nano

The New York Times goes nano with Tiny Is Beautiful: Translating 'Nano' Into Practical. It is mostly nanomedicine with a bit of nano-environmental engineering. There is only a small amount of fear mongering with a brief reference to brain damaged fish.

I find the NYT science reporting is generally more horror story* than science so I am pleased that the story is generally positive. It lays out lots of potential benefits to society with a reasonable warning about the risks. I have written dismissively about nanoshirts, nano-stain fighting is great but it is not the kind of killer application that drives a society to change or accept any risk. We need to get out to the hustings and teach people about the potential benefits of nanotechnology. Lets push breast cancer cures, fuel cells and terabyte memory, not shirts. Society is not going to accept a risk of brain damaged fish for stain resistant shirts so I am glad the NYT is talking about cures rather than pouring cups of coffee on its nano-pants like CBS did a few weeks ago.

It seems that the New York Times Rolodex is full of the PR agents for:

Quantum Dot Corporation
Nanospectra Biosciences Inc.
Altair Nanotechnologies

It will be interesting to watch if this article will cause a bounce in the values of these stocks. Publicity never changed the long term value of a company or increased its sustainable competitive advantage but the power of the NYT can send these companies on a bumpy ride for the next few weeks.

There is also a medieval nano technology story that I haven’t seen in a major publication (and in fact, I did not know that the gold particles in
ruby glass were ~25 nanometers). Of course by this definition Otto Diesel is probably the most successful nanotechnologist the world will ever create. His invention “diesel soot” contains a huge amount of nanomaterials.

*I think that The New York Times science reporting is mostly left wing environmental orthodoxy, worst case scenario, numerators without denominators and extrapolation of short term data far beyond any reason. “It is two degrees warmer today than yesterday, at this rate the oceans will be boiling by April.”


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