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Gaining Perspective on Environmental and Health Concerns about Nanotechnology

The battle of facts and science over hyperbole and manipulation in nanotechnology and risk debate

2 min read
Gaining Perspective on Environmental and Health Concerns about Nanotechnology

I was reading with bemusement the latest expression of self-righteous indignation from an organic food organization banning “nanotechnology” from organic food and I was considering blogging on the absurdity of it all when I realized TNTLog had already reduced it to its silly posturing last month.

I thought I would also take a look over at 20/20 Science to see if this latest insult to our collective intelligence had been discussed and instead came across Dr. Andrew Maynard’s measured but ultimately devastating analysis of the Friends of Earth (FoE) latest screed on nanoparticles in sunscreens.

I would like for a moment to relate how I first came to know Dr. Maynard in the hope of illustrating just how open he is to the questioning and the estimating of nanotechnology’s risk. I was organizing a conference to be held at the Georgia Tech Research Institute back in 2006 on the topic of nanotechnologies’ applications in the food industry, and one of the speakers I invited was Dr. Maynard.

After all the conferences he has participated in I am fairly certain he has little to no recollection of this event, but I remember he spent a good portion of the two-day conference challenging his colleagues on really how sure they were that they had adequately addressed nanotechnology’s risks.

So, from first-hand and in-person experience I can testify that Dr. Maynard will challenge anyone on this issue. This to me makes his careful analysis, which manages to take apart card-by-card the house-of-cards argument of the FoE, all the more devastating.

Just when I begin to despair that hyperbole, misdirection, or manipulation of data around nanotechnology’s risk  will win out over careful analysis, I am comforted by a piece that sets out to carefully measure each charge and see where the truth or the fiction lies.

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3 Ways 3D Chip Tech Is Upending Computing

AMD, Graphcore, and Intel show why the industry’s leading edge is going vertical

8 min read
A stack of 3 images.  One of a chip, another is a group of chips and a single grey chip.
Intel; Graphcore; AMD

A crop of high-performance processors is showing that the new direction for continuing Moore’s Law is all about up. Each generation of processor needs to perform better than the last, and, at its most basic, that means integrating more logic onto the silicon. But there are two problems: One is that our ability to shrink transistors and the logic and memory blocks they make up is slowing down. The other is that chips have reached their size limits. Photolithography tools can pattern only an area of about 850 square millimeters, which is about the size of a top-of-the-line Nvidia GPU.

For a few years now, developers of systems-on-chips have begun to break up their ever-larger designs into smaller chiplets and link them together inside the same package to effectively increase the silicon area, among other advantages. In CPUs, these links have mostly been so-called 2.5D, where the chiplets are set beside each other and connected using short, dense interconnects. Momentum for this type of integration will likely only grow now that most of the major manufacturers have agreed on a 2.5D chiplet-to-chiplet communications standard.

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