Over at Accelerating Future, Michael Anissimov continues the discussion about nanofactories. He says a number of reasonable things, but then mischaracterizes, or at least greatly oversimplifies, Foresight’s position on nanofactories and self-replicating machines in general: The general implied position of the Foresight Institute appears to be, “we’ll figure these things out as we go, MNT [...]
Archive for the 'Environment, Health, and Safety' Category
Over at Accelerating Future, Michael Anissimov has a post about self-replication in which he seems to find it remarkable that Foresight, among others, can view a world containing mechanical replicators with aplomb: What is remarkable are those that seem to argue, like Ray Kurzweil, the Foresight Institute, and the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, that humanity [...]
A Newsdesk feature by Kelly Morris titled “Nanotechnology crucial in fighting infectious disease” in the April 2009 issue of Lancet Infectious Diseases surveys some highlights in developing nanotech efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious diseases. Examples include detecting disease through lab-on-a-chip technology featuring cantilevers that move upon binding antigens and nanowires that detect current [...]
The application is hydrophobic sand, which retains moisture near the roots of desert plants by virtue of a proprietary nanostructured coating on the grains of sand.
Following up on recent posts about concern in the insurance industry and in Congress about risk management practices for (current and near-term) nanotechnology, David Forrest passes along this news of recent action at EPA: The EPA has published their Interim Report on the Nanomaterials Stewardship Program and continues to invite comment for the final version. [...]
Last September we wrote that one insurer would “no longer insure against bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury related to the actual, alleged, or threatened presence of or exposure to nanotubes or nanotechnology in any form.” Now Christine Peterson passes along this item from Rhitu Chatterjee writing in the American Chemical Society [...]
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, via AAAS EurekAlert, brings us an update on federal efforts to address the potential environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks posed by engineered nanomaterials. “New House bill addresses need for more risk research, oversight“: The House Science and Technology Committee [on January 15] introduced legislation that highlights the growing attention [...]
From the February 2009 issue of the “science is culture” publication Seed magazine, not yet online: Hypothesis: Civil Nanotechnology Starting in 2009, nanotech-based sensing will enable a level of environmental monitoring that could help reduce pollution tremendously. Such devices could be of immense benefit to the environment, but unfortunately, without careful attention they will trigger [...]
The following is an edited and revised version of the talk I gave at the Global Catastrophic Risks conference that was held in conjunction with Convergence 08 (and which I reprised for Convergence). I’m posting it here because it seems to me that this is exactly the kind of thing Foresight was founded for: to [...]
How well prepared is the FDA to regulate nanotech products? Perhaps not very well, at least in the area of dietary supplements.
In an interesting coincidence and counterpoint to Jim’s Nanophobia post this morning, I ran across the following on Nature News: Fearing the fear of nanotechnology. It is, surprisingly perhaps, by our old friend Richard Jones. The thrust of the article is that a study in Nature Nanotechnology seems to show that the public’s reaction to [...]
It is not clear that there is any real danger from the nanotech products currently in use, but neither is there convincing proof that all are safe.
The report concludes that nanotech products are coming to market without adequate tests for safety based upon the unique properties of the nanomaterials.
Christine Peterson passes along this item from a recent (September 25, 2008) NanoBusiness Alliance Newsletter: Insurer Excludes Nanotechnology from Policies Beginning November 15, the Continental Western Insurance Group will no longer insure against bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury related to the actual, alleged, or threatened presence of or exposure to nanotubes [...]
Postdoctoral associate sought to conduct research on the social and ethical implications of nanotechnologyPosted by Jim Lewis on September 30th, 2008
An announcement of an open position from the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility: Successful candidates will have a Ph.D. in communication, science and technology studies, or closely aligned social scientific field. Research experience and knowledge of social and ethical issues of science, preferably nanotechnology, is preferred. For the complete announcement:
An increasingly serious research effort is being mounted to ensure the safe development and commercialization of nanotechnology (see, for example, this news from a couple weeks ago). The recent formation of an international alliance to establish the methods used to test the safety of nanotech materials is not only encouraging for the development of nanotechnology [...]
A new study will trace the movement of nanoparticles through the environment and determine their impact on health and natural systems.
From the conference report Setting an Agenda for the Social Studies of Nanotechnology (PDF): For example, researchers at Rice University have been working on the use of nanoparticles to absorb arsenic from drinking water supplies. Nanoscale iron oxide absorbs arsenic effi ciently, but in many countries implementing the process is either too expensive or technically [...]
The safe commercialization of nanotech will require special attention to the manufacture and disposal of materials using carbon nanotubes.
There is hope that nanotechnology in the form of silver nanoparticles will provide protection against drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals, but there is also concern that unregulated use of silver nanoparticles in commercial products will damage the environment.