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

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Not Enough Ridicule

USATODAY weighs in with an opinion piece by Kevin Maney “Scared of nano-pants? Hey, you may be onto something.” The hook is people getting naked in an Eddie Bower store to protest self-replicating nano clothing. I do believe this is a nano nutjob threefer: 1)nanoclothing, 2) naked protesters 3) self replication.

Wow where to begin: 1) the nanoclothing they are protesting is probably not made with nano-anything (its just Teflon); 2) NanoPundit rule number 1 is always ignore naked protesters; 3) “They've heard stories that it could self-replicate until it covers the Earth like a virulent kudzu” Self replicating pants? Are this people nuts?

Maney then goes on to contrast technologies that difficulty being accepted, natural gas, and those that were immediately accepted, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). Here is the gem, “In the 1940s, people labeled DDT the wonder pesticide. By the 1960s, Rachel Carlson published Silent Spring, alleging that DDT caused cancer and other environmental problems. The stuff was banned in the USA in 1973.”

**No mention that DDT saved
millions of lives during the years of its widespread use.**

Now I’m not saying that nanotechnology is going to save millions of lives. But, it will almost certainly save
some. Folks getting undressed in shopping malls are not what I would call rational actors and shouldn’t be steering an important debate on the costs and benefits of important new technologies. They should be ridiculed rather than treated as cute.


  • I disagree about "always ignroe naked protestors". My experience is that they tend to be young, in turn makes them more likely to be attractive. We can debate the net positive effect of having to view the unattractive ones naked in order to catch a glimpse of the attractive ones. This can also vary based on one's personal constitutional strength.

    However, we'll probably agree that they should never be taken seriously on whatever point they attempt to make.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:15 PM  

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