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January 28, 2004


A GROWING -- AND SURPRISING -- BATTLE OVER NANOTECHNOLOGY: My TechCentralStation column is up.

UPDATE: Mark Modzelewski of the NanoBusiness Alliance, responding to an earlier post on this topic here at InstaPundit, puts down "bloggers, Drexlerians, pseudo-pundits, panderers and other denizens of their momís basements."

Hmm. I'm going to nominate Modzelewski for the newly-created Purpuro Award for needless put-downs to potentially valuable constituencies. It's not as if I'm not a nanotech booster, and I actually thought that the post he's complaining about was pretty mild, under the circumstances. . . . But this just underscores the point in my TCS column: For shortsighted political reasons, the nanotech business community is going out of its way to try to marginalize people it will surely need as allies later. That's just dumb.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Day by Day cartoonist Chris Muir, who did the Purpuro cartoon linked below, was so taken by the idea of a "Purpuro Award" that he sent the graphic now adorning the right side of this post. Thanks, Chris! It'll probably see regular use. . . .

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Modzelewski sends this, which I find rather astonishing:

Clearly being educated man, I can hardly even fathom how you take Drexler's fantasies and turn them into reality in your head. As far as our "pr strategy" as you call it-its not so much pr strategy as a "reality strategy." I don't promote nor spend much time worrying about science fiction and frankly don't even view the zettatechnology/molecular manufacturing/Foresight folks thinking as on the table in the environmental debate. I am clearly not between two poles, as your misguided views on the subject frankly don't constitute a pole in the landscape as far as I see it. I would say my skills as a long time political damage control specialist leave me -all ego aside - a little better skilled then Howard Lovy or yourself at these type of things. So just the same, I will actually be the one with a degree of sympathy here.

Keep fighting the -strange-if not good fight for your lost cause.

I'm not sure what he means by "lost cause." (For that matter, I'm not sure what "zettatechnology" is). I've been calling -- as have quite a few others -- for serious discussion of nanotechnology's implications, so as to prevent the nanotechnology industry from facing the sort of problems that have crippled the GMO food industry. (Here's my about-to-be-published Harvard Journal of Law and Technology article on that, and here's a more recent column from TechCentralStation. Here's another TCS column on the subject.) I certainly hope that cause isn't lost, and -- speaking as someone who's quite thorougly pro-nanotechnology -- I don't see why Modzelewski would want it to be.

I don't think that Modzelewski's public name-calling, or his email, is evidence of good political damage-control, either. But then, I'm not a professional damage-control expert, though I don't live in my mom's basement, either. . . .

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