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“Nano-Savvy Journalism”: needs tweaking

The Nanotech Company has published a white paper titled "Nano-Savvy Journalism – 7 things every reporter should know before writing about nanotechnology and 7 questions to ask every nano company," currently available on request using a button on their homepage. It's good overall but needs at least two key tweaks, one on quantum effects and one on nanoscale robotics. Read more for details.

"The novel properties and functions are derived from quantum physics effects that sometimes occur at the nanoscale, that are very different from the physical forces and properties we experience in our daily lives, and they are what make nanotechnology different from other really small stuff like proteins and other molecules." It is not the case that nanotechnology experiences quantum effects and proteins do not. This needs work.

"There are no such things as nanobots…Nanobots and grey goo and self-replicating nano-machines and unicorns and leprechauns are figments of the imagination, period." Journalists should indeed make clear that nanoscale robotic systems do not yet exist (unless one wants to count biological ones), but to group them with leprechuans would be a serious mistake. Even Mihail Roco of the NNI projects robotics in his longer-term nanotechnology plans, as mentioned here in a previous story.

Sorry if there are the nonstandard characters in the quotes, but that's how the original article looks on my screen. –CP

3 Responses to ““Nano-Savvy Journalism”: needs tweaking”

  1. Anonymous Coward Says:

    The complete article

    http://unspun.mithuro.com/content/view/48/33/

  2. RobertBradbury Says:

    Positioning in the nanorealm…

    Here is the direct click URL. Bear in mind when reading that the author is Dr. Nathan Tinker.

    Dr. Tinker's PhD is in 17th century English literature from Fordham University (ref). Dr. Tinker is also the Executive Vice President of the NanoBusiness Alliance and the Executive Director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute Cancer Vaccine Consortium (ref).

    Though the paper indicates he has a reasonable understanding of nanotechnology, as Christine indicates there are problems when it comes down to the details. The article cites him as a "Senior Director, The Nanotech Company", yet I cannot find mention of him on their web site. It begs questions such as whether The Nanotech Company is simply collecting names or references and whether Dr. Tinker is catering to that demand?

  3. JimLogajan Says:

    Re:The complete article

    Except for points 4 and 7 of what "…7 things every reporter should know," I think it isn't a bad list. The questions to ask nanotech companies appears to me to be a pretty standard set of "due dilgence" questions an investor should ask – and therefore something a reporter should ask (at a minimum).

    The use of many reasonable points and the references to a "PhD", among other things, appears to be a deliberate use of what Cialdini ("Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion") calls the authority principle to legitimize the couple of unreasonable ones.

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