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China has embraced nanotechnology

Anonymous Coward writes "China has embraced nanotechnology. Alexandr Nemets reports on the 'nanotechnology revolution' that has been taking place in China during the past five years. http://www.scidev.net/Features/index.cfm?fuseactio n=readFeatures&itemid=319&language=1"

11 Responses to “China has embraced nanotechnology”

  1. Chemisor Says:

    Yet another article with no meaning whatsoever.

    So China is "embracing nanotechnology"? Great! What "nanotechnology"? The article says they have "300 enterprises and 7000 researchers" working on it, but what are they working on? Is it nanoscale electronics, which these days is mostly about decreasing mask feature size? Is it "nanoscale" materials, like concrete? Is it nanopants? CNT production? MNT research? Basic chemistry, that everybody calls nanotechnology these days? Or are they just sitting around in those spaceous offices that the government provided for them and trying their best to not be blamed for anything without having to do any real work except for occasionally writing an empty-worded, glowing progress report? Thank you, Foresight, for making nanotechnology so popular! Except that the word seems a lot more popular than its intended meaning. Does it even have meaning any more?

  2. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:Yet another article with no meaning whatsoever.

    Ok, we have a reasonable definition for nanotechnology given the wikipedia definition and the actual article does provide some details of their focus (not much different from other efforts it would appear with a focus on nanomaterials research rather than MNT).

    It is however worth noting the awareness of the technologies at a commercial and governmental level. That would suggest perhaps that western economies may move too slowly to take advantage of emerging technologies (For example, China and Korea may already have significant leads vs. the U.S. regarding stem-cell "bionanotechnology" applications.)

    It leads one to question whether a "western" survival of the fittest paradigm will work within an environment of rapid change? Do VCs take too long to evaluate proposals? Do they require an ROI that is too short to develop the most productive ideas? Do grant application and approval processes consume too much time (of the principle investigators) that could better be devoted to more productive activities?

    Would it not be more efficient (for a 'command' economy') to say *this* is what we are going to focus on and excel at?

    This would suggest that "command" economies (let us suggest Singapore, China, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others) may be best positioned to take advantage of nanotechnology from the mere fact that the may be willing to say "we are going to do this"? [while the U.S. is still debating whether or not MNT is feasible].

    I grew up in country which once had leadership. Where the statement "We choose to go to the moon… Not because it is easy but because it is hard." was invoked to motivite people. It is too bad that it now seems to be lacking with respect to MNT.

    Robert

  3. Kadamose Says:

    Re:Yet another article with no meaning whatsoever.

    I grew up in country which once had leadership. Where the statement "We choose to go to the moon… Not because it is easy but because it is hard." was invoked to motivite people. It is too bad that it now seems to be lacking with respect to MNT.

    What country are you talking about again? Because the one that crosses my mind NEVER had any leadership qualities to begin with.

    Oh, and the moon mission was definitely an elaborate hoax, hence the reason why there haven't been more attempts to land on the moon since then.

    But just because the government isn't paying attention or funding any of the public venues of Nanotech, does not mean that the private sector is not heavily funded. On the contrary, I'm quite sure working prototypes of self-assembling/self-replicating systems have been operational for several years now. Why it isn't being shared with the rest of the world is obvious (can you say – major catastrophic, paridigm shift?)

  4. nanomid Says:

    …and what would "China" sacrifice for a leg up?

    China, specifically the highly concentrated power elite that would make the nanotech decisions,
    is the one population group on this planet willing to sacrifice the lives of it's citizens for a
    technological advantage.

    Not that there aren't others, but their predictors are at least an order of magnitude higher.

  5. Chemisor Says:

    Re:Yet another article with no meaning whatsoever.

    > Would it not be more efficient (for a 'command' economy')
    > to say *this* is what we are going to focus on and excel at?

    Centralized "command" economy may sound attractive to those who have never lived in one, but I know from personal experience just how inefficient it is. You see, the "command" principle never stays up at the top tier for long. It always diffuses downward until "command" supercedes all other considerations for everyone, and in that climate creativity of any kind is quickly replaced by obedience. A scientist can not obey and think simultaneously; he can either take his superiours or nature as his authority, not both. If he chooses the former, he will be forced to follow their plans, wrought by people who know nothing of science. If he opts for the latter in defiance to authority, he will be punished, either directly or through lack of funding.

    The people in power seldom know anything about science. They rose to the top by using very different skills of mooching, ass-kissing, and being as uncontroversial as possible. How can we ask such people, be they in China or in the US, to chart the course of scientific research? Especially research in such a complicated field as nanotechnology (by which I only mean MNT, not nanomaterials), where even the scientists themselves must posess an unprecedented breadth of knowledge across many disciplines. Is it any wonder that the only thing that is coming out of "nanotechnology" these days is new surface coatings, which are about as revolutionary as paint?

    > "We choose to go to the moon… Not because it is easy but because it is hard."

    We chose to go to the moon to "prove" we are better than the Russians. There was no other real reason, and that is why nobody ever went back. "Going to the moon" was a prestige issue, something that people in power understand very well, while MNT has incredible (literally) benefits that look like magic, with any steps in between completely undefined. We can see the paradise over the chasm, but no way to build the bridge.

    > It leads one to question whether a "western" survival
    > of the fittest paradigm will work within an environment of rapid change?

    What rapid change? There is no real progress in MNT because nobody is working on it, except perhaps for Zyvex who appears to be making those exponential assembly manipulators. Everyone else either does nanomaterials (=chemistry with a fancy new name) or nanotube architecture, which won't make you any assemblers because a nanotube can't make a nanotube, and thus anything built from nanotubes can not replicate any better than anything built from legos.

    > It is however worth noting the awareness of the
    > technologies at a commercial and governmental level.

    Yes, isn't it? What exactly are they aware of? They think nanopants are "nanotechnology". There are so many "nano-preachers" who cry out that "nanotechnology" will solve all our problems, give everyone a house, food, and a pony, and all of that for free. They forget though that those benefits can only come from replicating assemblers, while their "nanomaterials" can never get them there. And to preach "nanomaterials" as the way of getting to the assemblers, is simply a vicious fraud.

  6. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:…and what would "China" sacrifice for a leg u

    And your point is????

    It would appear that the U.S. is unwilling to sacrifice human lives for the advancement of humanity (i.e. the Space Shuttle, etc. perhaps because it lacks any vision at this time for the advancement of humanity [Oh but wait a minute one cannot loose a few astronauts as compared with a thousand or so ground troops in Iraq]).

    The point would be that whether the U.S. and the Chinese governments should have clear views as to where and how they are willing to risk human lives. *And* those human lives should have very clear views as to where and how they are being risked.

    So are we in a situation where China or other Asian countries are to chart and navigate a course for us? Because in part that they value human life differently *or* human progress may depend upon a lack of concern in this area? (I.e. human progress may depend upon how many human lives one is willing to sacrifice.)

    Robert

  7. Chemisor Says:

    Nanotechnology research is not dangerous

    > is the one population group on this planet willing
    > to sacrifice the lives of it's citizens for a
    technological advantage.

    Oh, please! I have never heard of a scientist dying in his laboratory while doing research of any kind. Research in nanotechnology (and even in nanomaterials) is perfectly safe; all those scenarios of "malevolent mutating nanobots" or "accidental gray goo" are utter nonsense. So, you see, citizens of China are in no danger. But if Chinese government discovers MNT, unlikely as that seems at this point, then it is the citizens of other countries who would have cause to fear for their lives.

  8. RobertBradbury Says:

    Re:Yet another article with no meaning whatsoever.

    It almost isn't even worth a reply, but with regard to:

    "Oh, and the moon mission was definitely an elaborate hoax, hence the reason why there haven't been more attempts to land on the moon since then."

    Having lived through that era (say from '66-'72) I would assert that this statement is false. There haven't been more attempts to land on the moon because there isn't much of a point. We are getting far more science out of the Mars Rovers and the Cassini-Huygens mission. (Or would you propose that they are elaborate hoaxes as well???)

    And then with regard to:

    "I'm quite sure working prototypes of self-assembling/self-replicating systems have been operational for several years now."

    Actually more likely hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions of years. If self-assembling and self-replicating systems were not in existance *you* wouldn't be here. [I will refrain from editorial comments on whether or not that might be a really good thing...]

  9. nanomid Says:

    Re:Nanotechnology research is not dangerous

    >Research in nanotechnology (and even in nanomaterials) is perfectly safe;

    What is the power of nanotechnology, then?
    What extraordinary tool is so asymmetrically powerful and safe simultaneously?

    Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary proof.

  10. Chemisor Says:

    Re:Nanotechnology research is not dangerous

    > What is the power of nanotechnology, then?
    > What extraordinary tool is so asymmetrically
    > powerful and safe simultaneously?

    A gun. Perfectly safe to manufacture, but the end product is not so safe when someone points it at you.

  11. Kadamose Says:

    Re:Yet another article with no meaning whatsoever.

    Having lived through that era (say from '66-'72) I would assert that this statement is false. There haven't been more attempts to land on the moon because there isn't much of a point. We are getting far more science out of the Mars Rovers and the Cassini-Huygens mission. (Or would you propose that they are elaborate hoaxes as well???)

    What makes more sense? Going to the moon, personally, to see if there is water to sustain a future scientific team, or crashing an obsolete multi-million dollar satellite into it to get those same results? With any scientific advance there has to be some sacrifice in the form of human lives…and, obviously, this country refuses to acknowledge that.

    The International Space Station is a good example of a waste of resources – why build a hunk of junk that's prone to massive failure, when you can have access to a sheltered moon base? The ISS makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever – and is another proof that man has yet to step on the moon for the first time.

    As much as I'd like to believe that we actually did go to the moon at one time, the facts simply outweigh the fabricated 'history'. Mankind, at this point, is too stupid, selfish, and unified to walk on the moon…and create MNT. The only way I ever see mankind getting out of this nasty rut, is if some cataclysm happens and annihilates a good portion of the human population on the planet – and in turn, unites the remaining humans. As long as we continue to have invisible borders, countries, cultures, etc, we will continue to have conflict and mankind will never be able to maximize its true potential.

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