Five Things You Didnâ¿¿t Know About Nanotechnology

I donâ''t know about you, but at the top of my list of things I didnâ''t know about nanotechnology is that the menâ''s magazine (or is it just a website) AskMen.com, famous for its lists, added a list for â''5 Things You Didnâ''t Know: Nanotechnologyâ''.

So, nanotechnology joins similar lists on Star Trek and Howard Stern. Somehow this all seems fitting, especially if you read the article, which is an eccentric mash up of some misconceptions about molecular nanotechnology, surveys on how culture perceives nanotechnology, video game fantasy fulfillment, and a smattering of some real science.

With articles like this, itâ''s a wonder that the American male is able to formulate any coherent thoughts.

For example, we are presented with â''Nanotechnology is being used against the Talibanâ'' as one of the five things we didnâ''t know about nanotechnology. However, when you actually read the example, nanotechnology is not being employed for this purpose at all, miniature (six-inch scale) robots are being used. Umhhâ'¿thatâ''s not nanotechnology!

But not to fear we are told that someday nanotechnology can be used in military applications, and it will be possible for some of us to live out a real-world â''Haloâ'' video game.

Thatâ''s an odd interest but it is a menâ''s magazine so puerile distractions are paramount, I suppose. But it gets really strange when the article delivers ominous warnings of â''nanoweaponsâ''.

Nanoweapons are easy to build, conceal, maintain, and deliver, which makes them almost impossible to track and regulate. Furthermore, nanoweapons become obsolete almost immediately, forcing nations toward perpetual development in an inevitable and unstable arms race, unless a conscious global understanding can be achieved -- and one can only hope that the latter will be the case.

Based on the articleâ''s cited references, this concept of nanoweapons likely came from here. Check it out yourself, I prefer to refrain from further comment.

But getting back to the article, it seems both strange and somehow appropriate that an article on nanotechnology that is slanted so as to gain the interest of a men's magazine audience would end with encouragement to greater global understanding and world peace. Cognitive dissonance exemplified.

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