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Archive for the 'Environment, Health, and Safety' Category

Bill Joy on steering the future to lower-risk

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 11th, 2010

Many of you will recall Bill Joy’s famous article in Wired called Why the future doesn’t need us, where he expressed concern about various technologies including advanced nanotech. Apparently he gave an update of his views on this in his talk for TED, viewable here. An excerpt: So if we can address, use technology, help [...]

Don’t miss the Open Science Summit, July 29-31, in person or live webcast

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 19th, 2010

The Open Science Summit on July 29-31 in Berkeley is looking better and better. Topics include OpenPCR, DIY biology, open source hardware, brain preservation, synthetic biology, gene patents, open data, open access journals, reputation engines, crowd-funding and microfinance for science, citizen science, biohacking, open source biodefense, cure entrepreneurs, open source drug discovery, patent pools, tech transfer, and [...]

Single-atom sheet of carbon clears arsenic from water

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 15th, 2010

We can get a hint of the power coming from longer-term nanotech by seeing what is being discovered today on how to use some of the new materials becoming available.  Many of us have been intrigued with graphene, a one-atom-thick planar sheet of bonded carbon atoms.  It’s no surprise that exciting applications are being found [...]

Open Science Summit to be streamed live

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 21st, 2010

Not able to attend the Open Science Summit on July 29-31 in Berkeley, California? We’ll miss you, but you can watch the conference live at: Put it on your calendar now!  Or we’ll hope to see you in person, especially for the session where I’m speaking: “Safety and Security Concerns, Open Source Biodefense” at [...]

“Oceans”: it’s what keeps us working toward nanotech

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 18th, 2010

For many of us, it’s our desire to preserve and restore the environment that brought us into the work of pursuing molecular nanotechnology in the first place.  How do we keep going over the decades that this goal is taking to accomplish? One way is to restore our enthusiasm for the goal through films such [...]

Snow thoughts

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 26th, 2010

It’s been snowing continuously here for about 2 days.  The heaviest snows I’ve experienced in my life (for any significant amount of time) were an inch an hour, but this has been half that — amounting to a foot a day. If it were to keep snowing like this for a week, it would be [...]

New Freitas paper: Diamond Trees

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 18th, 2010

Rob Freitas has a new paper up: Robert A. Freitas Jr., “Diamond Trees (Tropostats):  A Molecular Manufacturing Based System for Compositional Atmospheric Homeostasis,” IMM Report 43, 10 February 2010 Abstract. The future technology of molecular manufacturing will enable long-term sequestration of atmospheric carbon in solid diamond products, along with sequestration of lesser masses of numerous [...]

Y2K + 10

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 31st, 2009

Tonight is the tenth anniversary of the end of the world, according to some people. May all your future angst be as groundless … and Happy New Year!

Life extension: taking those first steps

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 28th, 2009

Longtime readers know that we at Foresight would prefer that our members, and Nanodot readers in general, actually live long enough to experience the benefits of molecular nanotechnology personally.  In that vein, we bring to your attention America’s Wellness Challenge, which I am helping as a member of their Social Media Advisory Board. If you [...]

“Nanotechnology” causes global warming

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 15th, 2009

One of the reasons I inveigh so heavily against the use of the word “nanotechnology” to mean merely stuff that’s measured in nanometers, is that while it focuses on the size — “nano” — it tends to ignore the function — the “technology.”  Nanotech to me is about high-energy-density, high-frequency, eutactic machinery.  To those focused [...]

Reynolds advocates faster nano/AI R&D for safety reasons

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 19th, 2009

In Popular Mechanics, longtime Foresight friend Prof. Glenn Reynolds looks at the future of nanotech and artificial intelligence, among other things looking at safety issues, including one call that potentially dangerous technologies be relinquished.  He takes a counterintuitive stance, which we’ve discussed here at Foresight over the years: But I wonder if that’s such a [...]

Nanotechnology for chemical and biological defense: the book

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 2nd, 2009

Here at Foresight our main focus is on longer-term technologies such as molecular manufacturing, but we keep an eye on what’s arriving along the nearer-term pathways as well.  In 2007 I attended a workshop on “Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense” and the proceedings volume of that meeting, with the same name, is now available. [...]

Science Court

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on August 31st, 2009

“You have given considerable study to the Bible, haven’t you, Mr. Bryan?” “Yes, sir; I have tried to … But, of course, I have studied it more as I have become older than when I was a boy.” “Do you claim then that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted?” “I believe everything in [...]

Saving the Planet

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 24th, 2009

The word “planet” means wanderer. The ancients, with their lives lived largely outdoors and without artificial lighting, were much more intimately acquainted with the heavens than are we moderns, unless we specialize in astronomy. They noticed that although there was a fixed pattern of stars for the most part, some of them wandered around in [...]

Moral railroads (update)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 7th, 2009

I wrote in the Moral Railroads post that the key to trustable systems is that they work right. A recent post at Metblogs points out one reason they may have failed: overregulation because of the demonization of a substance. “In the aftermath of the crash on the Red Line between the Takoma and Fort Totten [...]

Nanotech and climate change

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 3rd, 2009

Eric Drexler is apparently at the Renaissance Weekend with the intent to speak to the assembled interesting people about how “advanced nanotechnology can address the climate change problem providing low-cost solar energy and by removing accumluated CO2 from the atmosphere.”  In the same spirit, for the rest of us, here’s how I think we should [...]

Attitudes to nanotech regulation

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on June 22nd, 2009

An article this past weekend on Nanowerk reports on a study about attitudes toward regulation of nanotechnology among nanoscientists and the general public: As reported in the online version of the Journal of Nanoparticle Research today (June 19), Scheufele and Corley found that the public tends to focus on the benefits — rather than potential [...]

More on Limits to Growth

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 11th, 2009

There was a gratifyingly large response to last Friday’s post Acolytes of neo-Malthusian Apocalypticism. Several of the commenters seemed to think I was trying to refute the LtG model, but that would require a whole book instead of one blog post. I consider LtG to have been demolished in detail by people with a lot [...]

Acolytes of neo-Malthusian Apocalypticism

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 8th, 2009

When I was in college 35 years ago, there was a major fad of neo-Malthusian doom-mongering, led by the “Limits to Growth” book and movement. A retreat was organized from the college, and some concerned, environmentally conscious professors and students, myself included, went off for a concentrated seminar in which we educated each other about [...]

Cool energy

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 8th, 2009

In this post I pointed out that in the foreseeable future, nanotech devices are likely to be energy-starved. Chris Peterson asks in a comment whether there would be a problem from the heat dissipation from this energy use. The analysis is worth a post of its own, so here goes: About 100 thousand terawatts of [...]