Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nano safety as a tool for political change

Big warning here folks. Some self-agrandizing idiot is about to redefine the bases of responsibility within the western legal system again (akin to the problems with copyright Lawrence Lessig has been warning us about for so long)

In the above linked article Greenpeace is making a grab for omnipotence again. Their chief Scientist in the UK, Doug Barr, is calling for a moratorium on all products which contain unbound nanoparticles. I wish Dougy (to his elitist pals) had stayed awake in chem 101. Virtually the entire planet contains unbound nanoparticles. Hell, you're shedding them right now in the form of keratin cells from your hair and skin. The CO2 molecules you're exhaling could be considered nanoparticles. When will these people learn to think before making sweeping generalizations? Oh, that's right it's Greenpeace.

If these sort of draconian limitations are placed on our burdgeoning nano-industry it will be a virtual abortion for a child technology which could easily bring about untold wealth and prosperity for every man, woman, and especially child on earth within the next 20 years. Abortion you say? Oh that's right, it's Greenpeace.

What's even worse is that this sort of maneuver is an opening for applying even more tyranny to our society. As I said, you contain unbound nanoparticles, so we'll have a moratorium on you as well. Fortunately, since I'm made of pure spirit I won't have to worry about it. However, the automobile is a powerful producer of nanoparticles in the form of soot. Just what you need, even tighter emission standards and higher gas prices from nanoparticle control taxes. Can you imagine the negative impact on the economy of our country?

Oh, that's right. It's Greenpeace.



At 6:21 AM, Blogger Rae Ann said...

I don't know much about nanotechnology, but I do know that our planet is constantly bombarded by stuff from space, probably lots of nanoparticles. Oh, but that's right, if humans do it, it's bad. Or so the Greenpeace (the most wrongly named group) wants us to believe.

On a side note, this interested me in how it seems to correspond to physics (though my understanding that that subject is minimal):

"You get down to a size where the differences between these terms - solid, liquid, powder - start falling apart."

At 1:38 PM, Blogger The Guy said...

One of the most common misconceptions I find in others and myself is exactly what is involved in the nano world. The sizes are vanishingly small and the item count is staggeringly huge. A glass of water might contain something like 10 to the 24th power molecules of water for instance. That's 10 followed by 24 zeros. You drink it and don't think anything of it.

I have struggled with the concepts of the ultra-small since junior high, thank you Mr. Stoddard (my 7th and 8th grade science and math teacher.) and I sometimes think I'm finally starting to grasp some of the reality of it. When you think of a single molecule, the idea of its state or phase is radically different from the state of bulk matter. When molecules act as an ensemble they can easily be categorized as solid, liquid, gas but when properties have been engineered below the point where these definitions apply you almost have to label the resultant set of ensemble behavior as another phase of matter altogether. The classic definitions still apply somewhat but their exact applications need to be modified.

However particle physics at the subatomic level is a whole other matter altogether. Below the quantum threshold you have to completely redefine exactly what you mean by terms like solid, liquid or gas. They become more contingent on things like entropy, information and energy and less subject to the large scale inter-relationships which define order and disorder at the molecular level.


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