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Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

Nanotechnology advice from philosopher & physicist surprisingly useful

Posted by Christine Peterson on October 30th, 2006

First a confession: I have not, in fact, read the entire article “Living with Uncertainty: Toward the Ongoing Normative Assessment of Nanotechnology” by Jean-Pierre Dupuy and Alexei Grinbaum of the Ecole Polytechnique in France, published in Techn√©: Research in Philosophy and Technology. It is about 10,000 words long and has a great deal of philosophy [...]

German philosophers take on nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 30th, 2006

It had to happen: a book in which German philosophers direct their attention to nanotech. (Ethicists and social scientists too.) Excerpts from the English abstracts (pdf), with my commentary inserted: An account is provided of how the purpose of gaining knowledge is reoriented towards purposes of application. This helps clear up the relation of discovery [...]

New Reynolds’ book covers nanotech & power

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 8th, 2006

Foresight director Glenn Reynolds has a new book coming out March 7 which you can order on Amazon now: An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths. Chapter 9, “Empowering the Really Little Guys”, is on nanotechnology. Some excerpts [emphasis added]: “All sorts [...]

Bayh-Dole & Nanotechnology: corporate corruption of U.S. higher education

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 6th, 2006

In the journal Nanotechnology Law & Business, there’s a book review by J. Steven Rutt of Foley & Lardner titled “Bayh-Dole and Nanotechnology: A Review of University Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of American Higher Education”. The abstract: “Nanotechnology joined the Dummies book series in 2005.¬† While Dummies is a light read, Jennifer Washburn’s grave book, [...]

Nanotech’s role in 15 Global Challenges

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 15th, 2005

Jerry Glenn, Director of the Millennium Project sponsored by the American Council for the United Nations University, brings our attention to the 2005 State of the Future report, now available for ordering. He points out that the “Royal Society of Arts in London has just published a distillation, of the distillation, of the distillation of [...]

New nanotech book by Josh Hall available on Amazon

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 18th, 2005

It's not available until May 6, but on Amazon you can preorder a copy of Nanofuture: What's Next for Nanotechnology by J. Storrs Hall, Ph.D. From the foreword by Eric Drexler: "Reaching a solid understanding of new technology–the understanding necessary to judge its effects–is an intellectual adventure. I could not wish you any better guide than Josh Hall. Before the term 'nanotechnology' had reached a tenth of its current popularity, he had already formed the first worldwide Internet discussion group and led the discussion for a decade. He has done research and development in nanotechnology since the early days, with multiple inventions and discoveries to his credit…You'll get the whole story here." The price is right too: only $18.48.

Feynman’s letters now available in new book

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 13th, 2005

Just received a review copy of Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman, edited by his daughter Michelle, sister of Foresight member Carl Feynman. It includes letters about the two miniaturization prizes that Feynman offered personally, and quite a few new photos. I had the privilege of attending a couple of his informal tutorials for Caltech students — he made the most challenging physics seem so understandable. Foresight is proud to administer nanotech prizes in his name.–CP

Nanotech books: request for reviews

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 18th, 2005

This book has a great title, but is it great? We could use a review of Self-Assembled Nanostructures. Unfortunately, it costs US$135, and is not much cheaper used. This list from AzoM has a number of other intriguing-sounding nano books.

Nanotechnology 2003: The year in review

Posted by harperb on January 29th, 2004

What do you think were the most important nano-related developments of 2003? What were the downsides and upsides of nanotechnology's breakthrough into the mainstream?

Phillip Ball from Nature magazine makes his case, from a British perspective, here.

Analysis of Spielberg’s move, AI

Posted by RichardTerra on July 2nd, 2001

from the gradual-future-shock? dept.
redbird (Gordon Worley) writes "Most of this is filled with spoilers, so I recommend that, unless you've seen the film, don't click read more. For those of you looking for a basic review, this is an okay movie (I'd give it about 2.5 out of 5 stars), but certain aspects of the film really ruin it. Basically, I consider this a cute movie about subhuman AIs and is not dangerous to the public's perception of AIs (in fact, it may actually help it by gradually future shocking them)."

Read more for the redbird's review . . .

Nanotechnology and The Ultimate Terrorists

Posted by BryanBruns on February 24th, 2001

from the choice-of-weapons dept.

There has been much discussion on Nanodot recently about regulating nanotechnology. Some of the scarier scenarios of abuse come from the threat of nanoweapons unleashed by terrorists. Jessica Stern's book, The Ultimate Terrorists, offers a useful framework concerning the choice of weapons by terrorists, within which potential threats from terrorist use of nanoweapons can be considered. - Bryan
Read More
for a review.

KurzweilAI.Net: new site discusses Singularity

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 22nd, 2001

from the tomorrowland dept.
Bryan Hall writes "Raymond Kurzweil, author of 'The Age of Spiritual Machines' has a new website showcasing the ideas of leading visionaries and breakthrough web technologies. The site is hosted by Ramona, a real-time virtual hostess, using natural language processing, real-time facial animation, and other technologies to answer visitors' questions vocally. Ramona is programmed to verbally explain hundreds of `thoughts' (such as `artificial intelligence') to visitors as well as provide articles, glossary definitions, links, and other information…A major focus of the site is the exponential growth of technology, leading to the 'Singularity,' which Kurzweil described as “future accelerated technological change so rapid and profound that it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.'' The site's content includes parts of Kurzweil's forthcoming book, “The Singularity is Near.''"

Nanotechnology and The Experience Economy

Posted by BryanBruns on February 9th, 2001

from the dramatic-futures dept.

I bought Pine and Gilmore'sbook,The Experience Economy a few years ago, but only recently got around to reading it. I discovered something both more profound and more practical than I had expected. I keep seeing new relevance for their ideas about increasing demand for experiences and transformations, including thinking about the implications of nanotechnology. Comments invited. –Bryan

Read More for the review.

Overview of nanotechnology: yesterday and today

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 19th, 2001

from the getting-oriented dept.
A well-done brief overview of molecular nanotechnology by University of Georgia chemist Dennis Rouvray is available at chembytes: "[Most] scientists were persuaded that nanotechnology was an unobtainable objective. Indeed, it was not until the second half of the 20th century that a few intrepid individuals risked raising their head above the parapet to question entrenched authority on the subject…Even with our current rudimentary chemical nanotechnology, it has been possible to fabricate a surprising range of simple nanomachines. These include abacuses, batteries, brakes, gears, plugs, rotors, ratchets, sensors, shuttles, sockets, switches and wires."

New book: Social policy bonds

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 18th, 2001

from the funding-difficult-goals dept.
Senior Associate WillWare writes "Ronnie Horesh, an economist in New Zealand, has recently published a book on his notion of social policy bonds. The government issues bonds at a low price, redeemable at a high price when a social goal has been accomplished. This allows the government to set and fund social agendas while leaving the details of implementation to the free market."

Reduce agony of learning chemistry for nanotech

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 7th, 2001

from the who-needs-lectures dept.
To do nanotechnology, one had better know a lot of chemistry. Chemistry is often poorly taught, so going to school isn't necessarily the answer. Instead, or in addition, get started with Bonding II from Cybered, reviewed in the 15 Dec 2000 issue of Science: "Bonding II provides electronic instruction on the basics of chemistry. Packaged on a Macintosh/Windows hybrid CD-ROM, the tutorial contains a narrated set of modules covering fundamental concepts for a freshman-level chemistry class." At $130, this is a lot cheaper than a college class, but we'd prefer an open source version: anybody know of one? Meanwhile, Cybered has other chemistry modules as well.

Review: “Evolution Isn’t What It Used To Be”

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 19th, 2000

from the nanotech-defined-as-protein-only dept.
David Coutts writes about the book Evolution Isn't What It Used To Be: The Augmented Animal and the Whole Wired World by Walter Truett Anderson: "In his brief mention of nanotechnology he says: 'The third generation, which – depending upon what you read – may never come or may be just around the corner, is nanotechnology: miniscule protein computers, submicroscopic protein machines that will sail through the bloodstream to fight disease or repair damage to the body'…He has limited the nanotechnology vision to a third generation protein building tool…This is either laziness, ignorance or a peculiar form of psychological blindness or phobia I shall dub nanophobia. So, whilst I would agree that skepticism of a largely unproven technology is entirely healthy, the author should try and present the full picture or at least clearly state that the working definition of nanotechnology (for any book or article) is deliberately limited by the author." Read More for the full post.

Respected science journalist ignorant of nanotech?

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 13th, 2000

from the chemistry-isn't-technology? dept.
David Coutts writes "I'm just finishing "Genome: The autobiography of a species in 23 chapters" by respected science journalist Matt Ridley…Genome is a good book, and I can recommend it…What prompted me to post to was the chapter on Self Assembly (Chapter 12, featuring developmental genes from Chromosone 12). Ridley opens the chapter by highlighting useful human analogies for most things we find in nature. Examples given are bats using sonar, the eye is a camera, natural selection is trial and error etc. However, Ridley states that there is no such analogy for self assembly. Nature can grow a human (or other creature) from a single cell, but there is "no human analogy at all" in our technology for self assembly. Hmm – how about nanotechnology? I found this a useful reminder that the concept of nanotechnology is both unfamiliar and alien to the vast majority of people." Read More for David's full post. CP: One could argue that synthetic organic chemistry technology is entirely based on self-assembly. The structures made are often not found in nature.

Physicist Michio Kaku dismissive of nanotech

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 4th, 2000

from the man-will-never-fly dept.
David Coutts writes from Australia: "I'm reading "Visions" by Michio Kaku (co-founder of string field theory), the paperback edition published in 1997 by Anchor Books…The purpose of this [post] is to focus briefly on his handling of nanotechnology, which comes under the Quantum Revolution heading. I found his treatment (pages 266 to 273) curiously dismissive… Feynman's famous article is mentioned, but no mention of Engines of Creation or Nanosystems, nor the Foresight Institute. Instead, he agrees with critics who say that "the claims are as breathtaking as their results are meager"… He concludes by saying that "the jury is out", and nanotechnology remains "purely speculative at this point". Has anyone else read the book? If so, what did you think of his treatment of nanotechnology? I would love to see someone from the Foresight Institute refute Mr Kaku paragraph by paragraph. As a layman, I felt that he had already made up his mind and therefore only interviewed those whose minds were similiarly opposed… " Read More for the full post.

Stu Kauffman’s “4th Law” – Investigations

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 26th, 2000

from the complexity-of-complexity dept.
smythe writes "Stuart Kauffman's latest book, Investigations speaks eloquently to what I believe will soon become the central issue in Nanotechnology. Namely, the(self-)organization and management of complexity of collections of atoms, molecules and molecular scale devices. The design of nanoscale devices and materials is about 'organizing atoms'. The Atomasoft coined phrase 'matter will become software' alludes to this but thoroughly underestimates it at the same time. Kauffman collects many ideas from Biology, Mathematics, Complexity Science and Physics proper and provides us with what he suggests what might be an 'adequate description of life itself'.
"Fourth Law" (the lecture)
Investigations (the book)
Investigations (online notes)"