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August 2006 News on Preparing for Nanotech

Technologies Maintain Functional Foods' Goodness August 31, 2006 What’s more, the industry need only look at how European consumers responded to genetically modified food to see what they might be up against, says Frans Kampers of the Wageningen Bionanotechnology Centre for Food and Health Innovations in the Netherlands – particularly if they are associated with the term “nanotechnology.”

Finnish Presidency conference on nanotechnologies August 29, 2006 Key Specialist such as Prof. M. Welland, University of Cambridge, Dr. F. Roure, French Ministry of Finance, Prof. G. Oberdörster, University of Rochester, are analysing the possibilities of nanosciences and nanotechnologies to renew the world.

Key to national success in nanotechnology
nanodot August 29, 2006 Christine Peterson: Nanostart Investments based in Germany has an interview with Eric Drexler in Issue 3 of their NanoStart! magazine (PDF). One topic addressed is how nations compare and how they can succeed as nanotech goes forward.

Regulating Disruption
Responsible Nanotechnology August 28, 2006 Mike Treder: I was asked to provide an answer a new question in the "Brain Parade" series posted at the Meme Therapy blog. "Do you think the global economy and already existing regulatory structures will be able to adapt to the impact of nanotechnology without large-scale negative disruptions?"

Nanotech's tiny revolution raises caution August 25, 2006 In a Woodland, Calif., warehouse cluttered with particle detectors and chambers where mice inhale smoke, University of California Davis researchers are trying to learn whether a swirl of carbon with tantalizing promise could turn lethal.

"At the moment, nobody has died from engineered nanomaterials. To our knowledge nobody has even gotten sick," said physicist Andrew Maynard. "We have an opportunity to try to mitigate potential risks before they get significant," said Maynard, scientific adviser to the emerging nanotechnologies project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

UI announces new nanotechnology institute
University of Iowa August 24, 2006 Meredith Hay, University of Iowa vice president for research, today announced the formation of a new UI enterprise, the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Iowa (NNI@UI). The institute, to be directed by Professor Vicki Grassian, will include more than 30 core researchers from six UI colleges already engaged in more than $6 million of nanotechnology-related research.

Experts and consumers convene on nano risks August 23, 2006 The most inclusive assessment of the potential dangers of nanotechnology in the food industry is underway and could impact the technology’s wider integration into the common market. The collection of data is being undertaken by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and will evaluate the opportunities and risks of nanotechnology as voiced by experts and consumers.

Brave new world in life sciences
eurekalert August 23, 2006 The biosciences are converging with information technology, nanotechnology, and materials science in unforeseen ways, yielding remarkable advances that have the potential to cure--or kill.

LANL has big plans for nanoscience August 22, 2006 A Seattle company has bought the rights to a nanotechnology development at Los Alamos National Laboratory and plans to manufacture a new product in the city's research park based on lightweight nanotubes. CNT Technologies Inc. purchased the rights to some of the lab's carbon-nanotube technology, company vice president Randy Tremper said. Tremper said his company plans to have a pilot plant based at Los Alamos Research Park within six months that will produce one kilogram of SuperThread a day.

ACC Recruiting People In Nanotechnology August 22, 2006 Have you heard of nanotechnology? If not, you will. It's one of the top emerging fields that's all about making your life easier, and Austin Community College is trying to recruit more people into it.

New Methods for Screening Nanoparticles
Brookhaven National Laboratory August 21, 2006 Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a screening method to examine how newly made nanoparticles interact with human cells following exposure for various times and doses. This has led to the visualization of how human cells interact with some specific types of carbon nanoparticles. “Our experiments may provide scientists with information to help redesign nanoparticles to minimize safety concerns, and to optimize their use in health-related applications. They may also lead to effective screening practices for carbon-based materials.”

Nanotechnology patents delayed ...
nanodot August 21, 2006 Christine Peterson: Regardless of how one feels about nanotech patents, having applications pile up at the USPTO indicates a misallocation of resources somewhere. This problem seems likely to increase as the complexity of both the nano patent landscape and nano patents themselves increase.

Nanotechnology needs your support August 20, 2006 Nanotechnology, which is at a nascent stage, needs plenty of support from mechanical engineers and will have tremendous potential for graduates from this stream of engineering, said R. Balasundaram, general manager, Materials Planning and Logistics, Ford India.

Nano skin products lack specific regulations August 20, 2006 JB: These are manufactured particles of known substances, with the nano-sized particles making sunscreens, for example, transparent instead of thick and white.

PanAfrica: Continent's Nano Revolution August 18, 2006 Although sub-Saharan Africa is a late entrant in this new technological race, an African materials forum held at Johannesburg's Wits University two years ago provided a kick-start. A recent South African strategy document outlines two distinct opportunities in nanotechnology for the southern region of the continent: by adding enormous value to such African minerals as gold, titanium, palladium and platinum, and by using the technology to fight poverty. Nanotechnology can lead to affordable, low cost electronics, and more efficient drug delivery.

Nanotechnology and the developing world August 16, 2006 Brandon Keim: Worldchanging has already noted nanotechnology's many possible benefits to the world's poor and underprivileged, involving everything from energy storage and drug manufacture to pollution cleanup and crop monitoring. And while emerging technologies are always in danger of being shaped by -- and eventually furthering -- old inequalities, it's at least possible that nano is aleapfrog technology that will be produced by entities sensitive to local needs. If that's true, the trick will be to get cleaner water and cheaper drugs without introducing the nanotech equivalents of organophosphate pesticides and acid rain, or being stalled, a la GM crops, by public fears -- justified and unjustified -- of harm.

Nanotechnology: Applications and Opportunities
University of California, Irvine August 16, 2006 Seminar Designed to Propel Participants to the Forefront of Business and Demonstrate how New Technologies are Impacting Real World Applications Today

How the World Will End
Responsible Nanotechnology August 16, 2006 Mike Treder: What are the biggest threats faced by humanity? It's a question that has been in the news quite a bit lately...

ITEM: The Guardian published an article this week asking ten notable scientists how the world might end.

Guy Carpenter Publishes Comprehensive Study on Nanotechnology
businesswire August 15, 2006 Guy Carpenter & Company, Inc., the leading global risk and reinsurance specialist and part of the Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), today announced the publication of Nanotechnology: The Plastics of the 21st Century?

IMEC Research-Business Forum
businesswire August 15, 2006 IMEC, a world-leading independent nanoelectronics and nanotechnology research center, has announced that registration is now open for its annual research review meeting (ARRM), to be held from October 22-24 at the Province House in Leuven, Belgium.

Ethics Watchdog Needed?
Responsible Nanotechnology August 13, 2006 Mike Treder: "Scientists of the future will have to be controlled by an ethics watchdog to prevent a nightmare vision of nanotechnology becoming reality, according to a Church of Scotland expert. Dr. Donald Bruce, the director of the Kirk’s society, religion and technology project, said 'it was only a matter of time' before action had to be taken." That sounds pretty scary. And coming from a well-connected representative of the Church of Scotland, this warning probably carries some weight.

FDA Forms Internal Nanotechnology Task Force August 09, 2006 Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., today announced the formation of an internal FDA Nanotechnology Task Force. The new task force is charged with determining regulatory approaches that encourage the continued development of innovative, safe and effective FDA-regulated products that use nanotechnology materials.

White House Eyes Six Areas of Research for Nanotech Risk Strategy August 09, 2006 This article says that the U.S. President George W. Bush's administration is expected to release a nanotechnology health risk research strategy in the next two months.

U-M to hold nanotechnology symposium August 09, 2006 The Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences (M-NIMBS) will host a symposium on nanotechnology in science and society on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8 and 9.

Nanotechnology policy game for public shows bias
nanodot August 09, 2006 Christine Peterson: Dietram Scheufele writes of an event at the U.K.’s Dana Centre — whose website says “The Dana Centre is sexing up science for the masses” — using a nanotechnology-based card game to get the general public thinking about nanotechnology.

Patents vs. Free Market
Responsible Nanotechnology August 09, 2006 Chris Phoenix: Yesterday I posted about sharing information -- how it can be a self-interested thing to do, even if the information is valuable, and even if most people don't share theirs back.

Meanwhile, back in patent-land, patent experts are saying that it's not worth getting a patent these days for anything less than a million-dollar idea -- because that's how much it costs to defend one. That's also how much it costs to fight a fraudulent patent -- which are being issued in droves.

Nanotech advances could limit privacy August 07, 2006 Chris Toumey: ... a second area which I think is even more of a concern is the medical interface. That is, nanomedical diagnostics are providing now better information about one's genetic constitution, now to the point almost of molecular precision. And this is good because it means we're on the verge of some very personalized medicine.

Church of Scotland wants nanotechnology to respect certain limits drawn from…the arts?
nanodot August 07, 2006 Christine Peterson: While there is much that we would agree with in Dr. Bruce’s position — for example, a concern about nanotechnology possibly leading to “increased surveillance of citizens under the guise of national security, or even be used by terrorists” — he goes too far.

Existential Risks of Nanotech
Responsible Nanotechnology August 07, 2006 Mike Treder: Another "Brain Parade" question has been posted at the Meme Therapy blog. Commentators including David Berube, Patrick Lin (from CRN's Global Task Force), Dietram Scheufele, and yours truly were asked ...

On Supplement to the President's FY 2007 budget
NanoHype August 04, 2006 David Berube: We’re in year 6 and 13 agencies (joining NSET this year were the USDA Forest Service, Dept. of Labor, Dept. of Education, and DOD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency) are now involved. The strategic plan in the budget request involves seven PCAs (program component areas). I want to observe that the 7th item in societal dimensions. Ordinal ranking is telling. Under PCA7 – $44m is slated for EHS and $38m for educational related activities and implications for society.

Enlightenment Under Fire
Responsible Nanotechnology August 04, 2006 Mike Treder: Paul Starobin has posted a thought-provoking article in the National Journal entitled "Who Turned Out the Enlightenment?" "A fascinating, if somewhat frightening, societal experiment is under way. The question is whether democracy naturally advances science, or whether modern progress in science actually has less to do with heralded forms of government than with the fruit born of a special moment in historical time, the modern European Enlightenment, from which America, courtesy of the Founders, greatly benefited."

Regulations of Nanomaterial Wastes August 04, 2006 This report says that the EPA currently has authority under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to regulate the generation, transportation, management, and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes containing nanomaterials.

Nanotechnology risks & benefits debated at IRGC
nanodot August 04, 2006 Christine Peterson: The International Risk Governance Council held a meeting on nanotechnology in Zurich on July 6-7, 2006, to review and critique their white paper on Nanotechnology Risk Governance.

Normally such events are just about the risks of near-term nanomaterials, but not this one. The IRGC is looking at all sides: both near- and long-term nanotechnology (which they call Frame 1 and Frame 2), and both kinds of risks: the risks of negative outcomes, and the risks of missing out on positive outcomes.

Kirk seeks 'superman' technology watchdog to rein in scientists August 04, 2006 Scientists of the future will have to be controlled by an ethics watchdog to prevent a nightmare vision of nanotechnology becoming reality, according to a Church of Scotland expert. Dr Donald Bruce, the director of the Kirk's society, religion and technology project, said "it was only a matter of time" before action had to be taken.

Beware the well-meaning Westerner
Howard Lovy's NanoBot August 03, 2006 Howard Lovy: This spin on UNESCO's Ethics and Politics of Nanotechnology report concludes that developing nations are unlikely to lag behind the industrial world in nanotech research (this is correct, since poorer nations will likely focus nano research on their specific needs). But then it explores some dangerous, deadly territory.

Is opposing nanotechnology really being Friendly to the Earth?
nanodot August 03, 2006 Christine Peterson: Friends of the Earth Australia has published a special issue of their magazine titled Nanotechnology: Small Science, Big Questions! It includes over 17 short pieces opposing or questioning the endeavor.

Problems of Nanotechnology
Responsible Nanotechnology August 03, 2006 Mike Treder: Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) is a grassroots organization "working towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable future." Last month, we reported on a special issue of their magazine that focused on nanotechnology.

'Real' nano irrelevant to PopSci
Howard Lovy's NanoBot August 02, 2006 Howard Lovy: I have to chuckle every time this happens. Popular Science has a story on the old "nano bad/nano good" debate.

On ABA Environment, Energy, and Resources Reports
NanoHype August 02, 2006 David Berube: As I am writing a web-based adjunct to a composite publication and a White Paper on regulation for the International Council on Nanotechnology, I found the report interesting and useful. If you are as much as a nano-geek as I am, you will as well.

Before you spend a lot of time reading about regulatory options for the EPA, I recommend you skim the EPA, Nanotechnology White Paper. It remains one of the most useful document on the environmental implications of nanoparticles.

Nanotechnology: Managing Health and Environmental Risks
Cadmus August 02, 2006 

Tiny inhaled particles take easy route from nose to brain
eurekalert August 02, 2006 In a continuing effort to find out if the tiniest airborne particles pose a health risk, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists showed that when rats breathe in nano-sized materials they follow a rapid and efficient pathway from the nasal cavity to several regions of the brain, according to a study in the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Nanotechnology: alleviate poverty or reduce inequality?
nanodot August 02, 2006 Christine Peterson: The role of nanotechnology in the developing world is questioned by Prof. Guillermo Foladori of Mexico in his Nanotechnology Law & Business article “Nanotechnology in Latin America at the Crossroads”

Two ideas are being conflated here: (1) Can nanotechnology help poor countries? and (2) Can nanotechnology close the gap between rich and poor countries? The answers are very different.

Nano and Bio in Society Conference August 01, 2006 In attendance will be prominent scientists from around the world on the frontiers in nano and biotechnology research and product development; managers of companies involved in nano and biotechnology research, product development, and product sales; representatives from investment companies and government agencies; universities and regional enterprise agencies encouraging the growth of nano and biotechnology industry segments; and legal and financial advisers collaborating with scientists on emerging issues.

Warning over South's lack of nanotech regulations August 01, 2006 Developing countries are unlikely to be left behind industrialised nations in nanotechnology research but will probably lag in creating relevant regulations, which could pose safety risks. These are among the conclusions of a report that UNESCO released last week (28 July) on future ethical, legal and political issues surrounding nanotechnology.

Open-source research for nanotechnology?
nanodot August 01, 2006 Christine Peterson: The open-source research model continues to spread, now to biomedical research. An article by Sarah Everts in Chemical & Engineering News explores Open-Source Science, referencing a paper by Matthew Todd titled Open-Source Research—The Power of Us.

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