The confusion—which now seems insurmountable—over the advanced material science that accounts for the nanotechnology being used in products today and the molecular mechanosynthesis of the famed “nanobot” variety has now resulted in violence.
Some radical group that calls itself “Individuals Tending Toward the Savage” (oh dear!) has taken credit for at least two bomb attacks on Mexican researchers and written up a manifesto to accompany the attacks that expresses “fears that that nanoparticles could reproduce uncontrollably and form a 'gray goo' that would snuff out life on Earth.” I have done my bit with the baby-talk explanation that would prevent people from confusing nanoparticles with mythical “gray goo,” but sometimes stupidity is just too difficult to overcome. I first heard about threats to nanotechnology research facilities when attending the opening of IBM’s new nanotech lab in Zurich back in May. I have since learned that three so-called “eco terrorists” were convicted of planning to bomb the IBM facility. It seems to me there might be much to be radical about in this day and age, but focusing your frustration and outrage at a bunch of material scientists who ride their bikes to work and spend their days focusing atomic force microscopes hardly seems like it’s well directed or helpful. It’s even worse when you clearly have no idea of what you’re talking about. You need to know what nanotechnology is before you can be outraged by it.