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Opinion: No Objections to Nano?

While biotechnology has met with mixed public reactions, to date nanotechnology seems to invoke much less public concern.

By | February 3, 2012

image: Opinion: No Objections to Nano? Metal oxide nano particles Flickr, BASF - The Chemical Company

Metal oxide nano particlesFLICKR, BASF - THE CHEMICAL COMPANY

Some forms of biotechnology have become notoriously controversial. Genetic modification of crops, for example, altered the food supply in ways some consumers found troublesome, either because of anticipated consequences, a lack of tangible benefit, lack of opportunity to participate in the decision-making, or simply a sense of inherent “unnaturalness.” Stem cell research has raised similar uneasiness, albeit for entirely different reasons, largely moral beliefs that equate it with the destruction of human embryos. So far, though, public perception of nanotechnology does not seem to be headed in the same direction. Sure, there are appeals for regulation and isolated protests, but it doesn’t seem as though there is really as much in the way of concerted will behind them. While some might be waiting for the other shoe to drop—I’ve been told many times that public concerns about nano are bound to emerge “just as soon as people understand what this is all about”—events so far suggest it may be a long wait.

Despite emerging evidence of potential toxicity to human health and the environment from some forms of nanotechnology under some circumstances, not much popular alarm has arisen. Great uncertainty remains over which products and under what circumstances we should be concerned, but of course this hasn’t stopped public reaction in the past. Several potential “triggering events” of the sort we social scientists might have expected would unleash underlying fears have already happened. In 2006, reports emerged of serious respiratory problems among German consumers using a household cleaning product called “Magic Nano,” and evidence published in 2009 indicated severe lung disease and even deaths among a small group of Chinese factory workers exposed to nanoparticles (and many other chemicals, as it turns out). In both cases, the link between nanotechnology and disease is far from clear. “Magic Nano” may not even have contained nanoparticles; the label was apparently chosen in an attempt to hype the product, much like the name “iPod nano.” Clearly, the marketers involved believed the word “nano” is attractive to consumers, rather than a source of concern for them.

To me, as a social scientist who studies risk communication, perception and reality are indeed the same thing, and so the interesting question is why, when uncertainty about risks has certainly not stopped public opinion from turning sour in the past, should nano be getting the benefit of the doubt while so much of bio remains persistently controversial?

The answer may lie in the nature of our technoscientific culture. I recently published a multi-year panel study involving 76 citizens of South Carolina, representing various walks of life, which reinforced the notion that because most Americans like technology, they are generally willing to give nanotechnology a pass, at least for now, even though they don’t know much about it. About two-thirds of the panel held positive views, and the negative minority seemed to draw on negative expectations about technology more generally, rather than specific views about nanotechnology. Panelists’ views changed little over the 32 months of the study. The most common concerns, reasonably enough, centered on unexpected consequences and unanticipated side effects. Indeed, people seemed perfectly aware of the uncertainties surrounding nano-associated risks, but this hardly appeared to induce fear.

To those of us who lived through the early years of the genetically modified (GM) food “wars,” which some tended to attribute to a lack of familiarity alongside low levels of trust, this is pretty interesting. Nano involves many of the same sorts of key actors (major corporations, government regulators, scientists, engineers, and consumer advocacy groups) and, if anything, even greater levels of scientific uncertainty. Yet there’s something quite different about what we call the “climate of public opinion” for nanotechnology as opposed to biotechnology, particularly GM. To be sure, some observers are invoking the so-called precautionary principle (the largely European idea that we should not adopt a technology until the evidence shows it does not cause harm), but even in such cases it usually seems that they are calling for precaution because they think this is generally the right way to manage any new technology, rather than because nanotechnology is particularly worrisome.

So what makes nano so different from bio? Simply put, manipulating DNA simply seems to challenge our underlying cultural ideas about how the world ought to be in ways that manipulating otherwise ordinary materials does not.

For those who want to communicate about risk in a responsible way with the so-called “lay” or non-specialist public, nano represents a novel challenge. Rather than being an “amplified” risk, by which I mean one that the media and other social institutions have tended to highlight, nanotechnology may represent an “attenuated” risk, or one that these institutions have tended to ignore. If people are too fearful of a technology, they may lose out on its potential benefits, yet if too trusting, they may ignore important risks. But few among us really want to be the one yelling “Fire!” in a crowded world. After all, we’re still not even sure there’s a problem. Are we?

Indeed, just last month (January 25), the National Research Council issued a report calling for a coordinated research plan to investigate nanotechnology's poorly understood risks to both health and environment, lest its beneficial promise for society ultimately go unrealized.

Susanna Priest (susannapriest@yahoo.com) is the author of Nanotechnology and the Public: Risk Perception and Risk Communication (Taylor and Francis, 2012), as well as a November 2011 article in Risk Analysis (Volume 31, Issue 11, pp. 1718-1733) on “Envisioning Emerging Technologies,” which reports on the panel study results as part of a special issue. She also edits the academic journal Science Communication.

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Avatar of: mem_somerville

mem_somerville

Posts: 1457

February 4, 2012

That's not my experience. I'm finding exactly the same people are wailing about Nano as GMOs, using the same denier strategies of fear, doubt, and cherry-picking. Here's one example:
Is Nanotechnology the New GMO?
http://www.theatlantic.com/hea...

Marion Nestle is a popular food policy writer with a large following. She's yelling "Fire". I think the only reason it's not congealing the same is because there's no single bogey-man like Monsanto in this case.

But you are also aware of the bombing and the bomb plot right? These kinds of things also happened for GMOs.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 4, 2012

That's not my experience. I'm finding exactly the same people are wailing about Nano as GMOs, using the same denier strategies of fear, doubt, and cherry-picking. Here's one example:
Is Nanotechnology the New GMO?
http://www.theatlantic.com/hea...

Marion Nestle is a popular food policy writer with a large following. She's yelling "Fire". I think the only reason it's not congealing the same is because there's no single bogey-man like Monsanto in this case.

But you are also aware of the bombing and the bomb plot right? These kinds of things also happened for GMOs.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 5, 2012

Really good questions Susanna.
Our early polling results suggests some concern amongst Australian consumers of sunscreen.
http://nano.foe.org.au/polling...
Indeed, the overwhelming majority of the 1300 people polled want nano-ingredients labelled and tested.
But as you highlight, it's still early days.

cheers,
Gregory Crocetti
Friends of the Earth Australia

Avatar of: FOEA Nano Project

FOEA Nano Project

Posts: 1457

February 5, 2012

Really good questions Susanna.
Our early polling results suggests some concern amongst Australian consumers of sunscreen.
http://nano.foe.org.au/polling...
Indeed, the overwhelming majority of the 1300 people polled want nano-ingredients labelled and tested.
But as you highlight, it's still early days.

cheers,
Gregory Crocetti
Friends of the Earth Australia

Avatar of: Matthew Putman

Matthew Putman

Posts: 2

February 6, 2012

I find it a relief that society is not reacting to something they are not educated in with  emotional responses, the way they did for GM foods, vaccines and stem cells. Still, i do think that you over state it to say that there is evidence of health hazards. This is true if it were not being handled by scientists, and is true for traditional materials as well. By the time the products reach consumers they are safe. An example of a more common material is silica. The processing of silica can lead to certain cancers, but embedded in a tire it is benign. the same is true for all nanomaterials i am aware of.

Avatar of: johnfryer

johnfryer

Posts: 11

February 6, 2012

Looking at the general health of people in USA that have been at the forefront of GMO technology makes me wonder if people are blind to the change on health in this nation?

In England we never got to the real reason for BSE which did involve GMO milk or rather GMO for the cows that went mad. Just a multi million pound cover up.

In animals fed GMO here in France, England and Europe we have new mysterious illnesses for animals. Eg bleeding disorders.

Also hospital has a shift in health issues which may be GMO related. Organs being damaged like never before including the brain and heart.

Returning to nanotechnology, the public is largely unaware of this technology just as GMO producers seem unaware that GMO food is SUBSTANTIALLY different to genetic food of the past. Watching a TV programme on nanotechnology I got the feeling that nobody has much of an idea of how it will develop.

Mixing animal genes with plant genes for example shows a FUNDAMENTAL lack of even genes by those experimenting in FRANKENSTEIN technologies.

As to vaccines, yes they work but how do you explain SIDS and autism et al without lies?

It seems in a brave world there are "PAUVRE CLOCHARDS".

Avatar of: David W. Britt

David W. Britt

Posts: 1457

February 6, 2012

BSE is attributed to cattle feed containing neural tissue from slaughtered cattle. No GMO implications whatsoever. The tragedy was that UK sold all of its tainted feed to 3rd world countries.

Avatar of: mem_somerville

mem_somerville

Posts: 1457

February 6, 2012

I think you are really understating the resistance to this. I have seen it from all the same sources that resist GMOs. And you have to know about the bombing and attempted bombings of the nanotech researchers. 

And I think denying that those forces exist doesn't serve us well. If they act the same was as they did before it could really hinder research.

Avatar of: pdtpoet

pdtpoet

Posts: 1

February 6, 2012

One of the biggest outcries against nanotechnology was in the popular science fiction (??) novel Prey by Michael Crichton.  In that novel, a "swarm" of nanobots got loose from the lab and, after rapidly evolving, transformed the world into gray goo.  I just think the nanotechnology protest has a less specific focus than genetically modified foods because "nano" in technology can refer to cosmetic formulations of makeup as well as nanotechnological robots designed to travel through the bloodstream.  Thus the term is desensitized through overuse.  But protests will be there as soon as a viable nanobot medical technology emerges.

Avatar of: ssum

ssum

Posts: 28

February 6, 2012

One of several articles from a site that both expects great things from nanomaterials and warns against the currently careless application of them:

http://articles.mercola.com/si...

Tiny nanoparticles commonly used in sunscreens caused long-term
neurological damage in mice, researchers at the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) found.

The
study found that titania, listed on sunscreen labels as titanium oxide,
induced cultured mice brain cells to manufacture chemicals that are
protective in the short term but can cause damage over time.
It
is not known whether the same holds true for humans, but recently eight
lobby groups, including Friends of the Earth and The International
Center for Technology Assessment, petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) about safety risks of nanoparticles in cosmetics
and personal care products. 
Scientists
say the tiny particles may have different chemical compositions than
their larger derivatives, and because nanoparticles are so small they
are more easily absorbed into the skin, raising potential risks.

It
will still be years before the safety of nanotechnology can be proven,
however, the particles are already being put into use in sunscreens,
toothpaste, makeup and other products. 

Avatar of: alexandru

alexandru

Posts: 1457

February 6, 2012

From nano- to pico- biotechnology

No objection, because according
to Revelation the Science is the seventh lighted torch, and it shall drive the
man to all the truth.

Proverbs 1.22 - *How
long will you enjoy pouring scorn on knowledge? Will you never learn?*

The only real problem for
the science is to understand the soul reactivity.

Based on Adam mtDNA heritage, observed only at the puberty in seminal liquid,
I have developed a new bio-communication theory, *Mitochondrial Adam DNA data
transmission theory - ISBN
978-606-92107-1-0*:

Abstract: Brain
and soul storming - The
necessary and sufficient processes to a well function of the human body are
meticulous arranged by specific organizational cells, so called process
biomanagers, using interconditioned procedures, transmitted through three ways
of communication: chemical or “protein channelâ€쳌, electrical or “ion channelâ€쳌
and mitochondrial or “EMF wireless channelâ€쳌. The third type is out of the
visible and measurable spectrum and raises a new challenge to the scientists.
For this type of bio communication we bring a new theoretical hypothesis, based
on the managerial multidisciplinary analysis of a cybernetic model proposed by
us, by simulating the human body function with the virtual computerized system
based on the management of its total knowledge and its perfect quality way of
function. The main bricks used for this virtual construction are: the brain, as
main bioprocessor, and Eve mtDNA and Adam mtDNA, as bio-antennas. This assembly
of the total knowledge, build with “brain reasoning, biological feeling, and
unlimited soul feelingâ€쳌, is called by us “main decision triangle, IQ-EQ-CQâ€쳌.
The main principle of the management of the total knowledge imposes us to not
neglect any information produced by man during the time, even if it seems
creasy at the beginning. Because in the natural fertilisation the spermatozoids
are naturally equipped with the paternal mtDNA (a veritable main bio-GPS), we
consider that the paternal mitochondria DNA have a very important role in the
evolution of the human being life quality and we have developed a new
hypothesis, “Adam mtDNA theoryâ€쳌, in addition to “Eve mtDNA theoryâ€쳌.

Keywords: brain,
mitochondria, maternal, paternal
 

Avatar of: Brian Olson

Brian Olson

Posts: 1457

February 6, 2012

This creationist has embarrassed himself even more than the social "scientist".

Avatar of: Brian Olson

Brian Olson

Posts: 1457

February 6, 2012

Rest assured that once a few pharmaceutical (or oil) companies make a profit, then there will be a major outcry from activists. 

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

February 6, 2012

Perhaps, if the non-science-literate feel much less fear of nanotechnology it may be because they never heard of a nano-robot morphing (via genetic mutation) into something new and unexpected and deleterious.

It is important, in bio-engineering of new things, to try to see the potential risks that could arise from a given new thing.  To expect zero risk would be tantamount to shutting down all research (and, engineering-wise, all development).

Some kinds of unpleasant surprises are scary.  To the extent we are duly diligent in foreseeing likely risks and avoiding them as much as possible, research and development will go on, or humankind will not... go on for very much longer, that is.

Avatar of: ssum

ssum

Posts: 28

February 6, 2012

Blindered dismissiveness of opposition to GE/GMO/GM productions (and cavalierly lumping this together with opposition to nanotechnology as from merely `research-hindering sources' may be disingenuous or honestly not informed.

Too many scientists have been `disciplined' for truthful reporting on the deleterious effects of GM crops. As a consequence there is a very unrealistic view of the safety issue.

What do these names mean to GM proponents:

--Dr Arpad Pusztai from the Rowett Research Institute in Scotland.
--Former New Zealand associate health minister Neil Kirton.
--Dr. Mae Wan Ho, ISIS director, formerly of UCSD, Queen's College and the UK's Open University.
--Michael Antoniou, molecular geneticist, Medical & Molecular Genetics, King's College.
--Dr. Joe Cummins, Emeritus Professor of Genetics, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
--Robert Mann, taught Biochemistry and Environmental Studies in the University of Auckland.
--Andrés Carrasco, Argentinian embryologist, Ministry of Science’s Conicet (National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations).
--Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, award winning journalists.
--Ignacio Chapela and David Quist, UC Berkeley.
--Dr. Don Huber. Professor Emeritus, Purdue University.
--Percy Schmeiser, farmer from Bruno, Saskatchewan Canada, representative also of many famers dealing with Monsanto in the USA.

Reviewing the work and obstacles and threats that were experienced respectively by these persons and many, many more to bring scientific data to light about GMO dangers obliges any honest person to reconsider the pro-GMO stance.

The problem is summarized in this 2002 article:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories...

"A feature of GE culture has been a refusal to accept dissent and unfavourable research. A massive campaign managed the prestigious scientific journal Nature to disavow in a novel ( and somewhat vague way,) a paper on Mexican corn that it had published – the first time in the 133 year history of the journal.
This campaign has also vigorously attacked the professionalism of the University of California at Berkeley scientists who conducted the original study.
Scientists who express divergent opinions or publish research results that differ from the GE programs are routinely subject to attack on their professional reputation."

Other references:

Open Letter From World Scientists To All Governments:
http://www.twnside.org.sg/titl...

Statement from Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST):

Alarming facts about genetically engineered foods :
http://www.psrast.org/intro1.h...

Monsanto Report:
www.masipag.org/monsanto%20rep...

"The Bacterium That (Almost) Ate the World"
http://kjpermaculture.blogspot...

One of a multitude of studies:

How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals -International Journal of Biological Sciences:
http://www.biolsci.org/v05p043....

Interviews (overlapping) with Dr. Don Huber:

"Dr. Don Huber Talks About Genetically Engineered Foods"
http://articles.mercola.com/si...

"Monsanto's Roundup Ready Herbicide Is More Toxic Than DDT"
http://articles.mercola.com/si...

"New Report Shows GMO Crops Are Destroying The Food System"
http://articles.mercola.com/si...

All of the above is just the tip of the iceberg.

To quote from a recent The Scientist article, Opinion: The Dark Side of Science
News & Opinion, November 16, 2011
"scientists are responsible for both what they intend to achieve and that which is readily foreseeable, as we all are. There is nothing inherent in becoming a scientist that removes this burden of responsibility."

Avatar of: Aggirl

Aggirl

Posts: 4

February 6, 2012

People aren't necessarily upset about nanotechnology because it isn't something you eat. Nuff said.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

I find it a relief that society is not reacting to something they are not educated in with  emotional responses, the way they did for GM foods, vaccines and stem cells. Still, i do think that you over state it to say that there is evidence of health hazards. This is true if it were not being handled by scientists, and is true for traditional materials as well. By the time the products reach consumers they are safe. An example of a more common material is silica. The processing of silica can lead to certain cancers, but embedded in a tire it is benign. the same is true for all nanomaterials i am aware of.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

Looking at the general health of people in USA that have been at the forefront of GMO technology makes me wonder if people are blind to the change on health in this nation?

In England we never got to the real reason for BSE which did involve GMO milk or rather GMO for the cows that went mad. Just a multi million pound cover up.

In animals fed GMO here in France, England and Europe we have new mysterious illnesses for animals. Eg bleeding disorders.

Also hospital has a shift in health issues which may be GMO related. Organs being damaged like never before including the brain and heart.

Returning to nanotechnology, the public is largely unaware of this technology just as GMO producers seem unaware that GMO food is SUBSTANTIALLY different to genetic food of the past. Watching a TV programme on nanotechnology I got the feeling that nobody has much of an idea of how it will develop.

Mixing animal genes with plant genes for example shows a FUNDAMENTAL lack of even genes by those experimenting in FRANKENSTEIN technologies.

As to vaccines, yes they work but how do you explain SIDS and autism et al without lies?

It seems in a brave world there are "PAUVRE CLOCHARDS".

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

BSE is attributed to cattle feed containing neural tissue from slaughtered cattle. No GMO implications whatsoever. The tragedy was that UK sold all of its tainted feed to 3rd world countries.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

I think you are really understating the resistance to this. I have seen it from all the same sources that resist GMOs. And you have to know about the bombing and attempted bombings of the nanotech researchers. 

And I think denying that those forces exist doesn't serve us well. If they act the same was as they did before it could really hinder research.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

One of the biggest outcries against nanotechnology was in the popular science fiction (??) novel Prey by Michael Crichton.  In that novel, a "swarm" of nanobots got loose from the lab and, after rapidly evolving, transformed the world into gray goo.  I just think the nanotechnology protest has a less specific focus than genetically modified foods because "nano" in technology can refer to cosmetic formulations of makeup as well as nanotechnological robots designed to travel through the bloodstream.  Thus the term is desensitized through overuse.  But protests will be there as soon as a viable nanobot medical technology emerges.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

One of several articles from a site that both expects great things from nanomaterials and warns against the currently careless application of them:

http://articles.mercola.com/si...

Tiny nanoparticles commonly used in sunscreens caused long-term
neurological damage in mice, researchers at the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) found.

The
study found that titania, listed on sunscreen labels as titanium oxide,
induced cultured mice brain cells to manufacture chemicals that are
protective in the short term but can cause damage over time.
It
is not known whether the same holds true for humans, but recently eight
lobby groups, including Friends of the Earth and The International
Center for Technology Assessment, petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) about safety risks of nanoparticles in cosmetics
and personal care products. 
Scientists
say the tiny particles may have different chemical compositions than
their larger derivatives, and because nanoparticles are so small they
are more easily absorbed into the skin, raising potential risks.

It
will still be years before the safety of nanotechnology can be proven,
however, the particles are already being put into use in sunscreens,
toothpaste, makeup and other products. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

From nano- to pico- biotechnology

No objection, because according
to Revelation the Science is the seventh lighted torch, and it shall drive the
man to all the truth.

Proverbs 1.22 - *How
long will you enjoy pouring scorn on knowledge? Will you never learn?*

The only real problem for
the science is to understand the soul reactivity.

Based on Adam mtDNA heritage, observed only at the puberty in seminal liquid,
I have developed a new bio-communication theory, *Mitochondrial Adam DNA data
transmission theory - ISBN
978-606-92107-1-0*:

Abstract: Brain
and soul storming - The
necessary and sufficient processes to a well function of the human body are
meticulous arranged by specific organizational cells, so called process
biomanagers, using interconditioned procedures, transmitted through three ways
of communication: chemical or “protein channelâ€쳌, electrical or “ion channelâ€쳌
and mitochondrial or “EMF wireless channelâ€쳌. The third type is out of the
visible and measurable spectrum and raises a new challenge to the scientists.
For this type of bio communication we bring a new theoretical hypothesis, based
on the managerial multidisciplinary analysis of a cybernetic model proposed by
us, by simulating the human body function with the virtual computerized system
based on the management of its total knowledge and its perfect quality way of
function. The main bricks used for this virtual construction are: the brain, as
main bioprocessor, and Eve mtDNA and Adam mtDNA, as bio-antennas. This assembly
of the total knowledge, build with “brain reasoning, biological feeling, and
unlimited soul feelingâ€쳌, is called by us “main decision triangle, IQ-EQ-CQâ€쳌.
The main principle of the management of the total knowledge imposes us to not
neglect any information produced by man during the time, even if it seems
creasy at the beginning. Because in the natural fertilisation the spermatozoids
are naturally equipped with the paternal mtDNA (a veritable main bio-GPS), we
consider that the paternal mitochondria DNA have a very important role in the
evolution of the human being life quality and we have developed a new
hypothesis, “Adam mtDNA theoryâ€쳌, in addition to “Eve mtDNA theoryâ€쳌.

Keywords: brain,
mitochondria, maternal, paternal
 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

This creationist has embarrassed himself even more than the social "scientist".

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

Rest assured that once a few pharmaceutical (or oil) companies make a profit, then there will be a major outcry from activists. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

Perhaps, if the non-science-literate feel much less fear of nanotechnology it may be because they never heard of a nano-robot morphing (via genetic mutation) into something new and unexpected and deleterious.

It is important, in bio-engineering of new things, to try to see the potential risks that could arise from a given new thing.  To expect zero risk would be tantamount to shutting down all research (and, engineering-wise, all development).

Some kinds of unpleasant surprises are scary.  To the extent we are duly diligent in foreseeing likely risks and avoiding them as much as possible, research and development will go on, or humankind will not... go on for very much longer, that is.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

Blindered dismissiveness of opposition to GE/GMO/GM productions (and cavalierly lumping this together with opposition to nanotechnology as from merely `research-hindering sources' may be disingenuous or honestly not informed.

Too many scientists have been `disciplined' for truthful reporting on the deleterious effects of GM crops. As a consequence there is a very unrealistic view of the safety issue.

What do these names mean to GM proponents:

--Dr Arpad Pusztai from the Rowett Research Institute in Scotland.
--Former New Zealand associate health minister Neil Kirton.
--Dr. Mae Wan Ho, ISIS director, formerly of UCSD, Queen's College and the UK's Open University.
--Michael Antoniou, molecular geneticist, Medical & Molecular Genetics, King's College.
--Dr. Joe Cummins, Emeritus Professor of Genetics, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
--Robert Mann, taught Biochemistry and Environmental Studies in the University of Auckland.
--Andrés Carrasco, Argentinian embryologist, Ministry of Science’s Conicet (National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations).
--Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, award winning journalists.
--Ignacio Chapela and David Quist, UC Berkeley.
--Dr. Don Huber. Professor Emeritus, Purdue University.
--Percy Schmeiser, farmer from Bruno, Saskatchewan Canada, representative also of many famers dealing with Monsanto in the USA.

Reviewing the work and obstacles and threats that were experienced respectively by these persons and many, many more to bring scientific data to light about GMO dangers obliges any honest person to reconsider the pro-GMO stance.

The problem is summarized in this 2002 article:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories...

"A feature of GE culture has been a refusal to accept dissent and unfavourable research. A massive campaign managed the prestigious scientific journal Nature to disavow in a novel ( and somewhat vague way,) a paper on Mexican corn that it had published – the first time in the 133 year history of the journal.
This campaign has also vigorously attacked the professionalism of the University of California at Berkeley scientists who conducted the original study.
Scientists who express divergent opinions or publish research results that differ from the GE programs are routinely subject to attack on their professional reputation."

Other references:

Open Letter From World Scientists To All Governments:
http://www.twnside.org.sg/titl...

Statement from Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST):

Alarming facts about genetically engineered foods :
http://www.psrast.org/intro1.h...

Monsanto Report:
www.masipag.org/monsanto%20rep...

"The Bacterium That (Almost) Ate the World"
http://kjpermaculture.blogspot...

One of a multitude of studies:

How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals -International Journal of Biological Sciences:
http://www.biolsci.org/v05p043....

Interviews (overlapping) with Dr. Don Huber:

"Dr. Don Huber Talks About Genetically Engineered Foods"
http://articles.mercola.com/si...

"Monsanto's Roundup Ready Herbicide Is More Toxic Than DDT"
http://articles.mercola.com/si...

"New Report Shows GMO Crops Are Destroying The Food System"
http://articles.mercola.com/si...

All of the above is just the tip of the iceberg.

To quote from a recent The Scientist article, Opinion: The Dark Side of Science
News & Opinion, November 16, 2011
"scientists are responsible for both what they intend to achieve and that which is readily foreseeable, as we all are. There is nothing inherent in becoming a scientist that removes this burden of responsibility."

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 6, 2012

People aren't necessarily upset about nanotechnology because it isn't something you eat. Nuff said.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Most people still think it's a Robin Williams line: nano-nano.
 
But any material that has a cell wall intrusion potentiality when utilized in apparently neutral products like make-up, etc. needs to be studied seriously and reserved from mass implementation to avoid any Thalidomide type "unexpected consequences".

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

What is most amusing about this whole spectacle of "nano" is that Drexler's thesis is pure science fiction. He's made a living at it, but he's either conning his public or simply delusional and uninterested in learning actual physics and chemistry. I strongly suspect that it is pretty hard for him not to have figured out by now that he made stuff up that will never happen. But, it must be hard to let go of his income by coming out and saying, "I was wrong." It's basic things that he violates with grand flourishes.

Of course he has "The Kurzweil" in his corner now from the singularity religion, and a wiki page with a critique discussion section highly slanted toward's Drexlerite's fantasy notions of physics and chemistry. Anyone with a decent background reading the actual exchange between Drexler and Smalley finds it blindingly obvious that Smalley understood what he was talking about and Drexler did a fan-dance. It is also simply a lie for the wiki page to claim Drexler that he "had trouble" getting Smalley to respond. It was quite the reverse. And Smalley, having now died, can't say anything more. But if a person is intelligent and honest they can read Smalley and see that he doesn't have to say more.

No, I'm not going to engage in a religious war on Wikipedia over it. That's a problem for Jimmy Wales to deal with. Religious pages are not accurate and it's a problem.

Yes, Feynman (like Smalley, safely dead now) gave a lecture where he proposed this as a thought experiment long ago. But that's it. That's all it was, and he didn't carry on. He let sci-fi authors write the fantasies.

All that is why nano is an investment category, and a bucket for catching whatever people want to put in it. Susanna has hit that one correctly in this article. There is nothing specifically "nano" that emerged from "nanotechnology". There are just things in process or chemistry that was named that after the fact because it was cool or it helped get funding.

The public won't see gray goo or anything like it because it's impossible. And, by the way, Drexler didn't even invent that. It was in a sci-fi story published in the 1960's. I remember it well, because I read it as a kid back then.  Wrong and not even original. All in all a rather astonishing testament to the power of hope, delusion and hype. Sincerity through delusion is catching.

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Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

No reaction to nano? we have at least two bombs in Mexico against researchers for nano!!!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

I think the inherent difference here is that the public perception of biotechnology is that we really can't control the end product. Anything organic has a built in randomness to it and even more so when it has the ability to change itself through its own reproduction.

In nanotechnology there is a sense of control. Or a sense that anything bad that might happen can be traced back to someone making a mistake or not testing it enough - the same is true of technology in general. On the other hand that sense of randomness in biotechnology means that something bad could happen on its own.

I think that is where the fear difference comes from.

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Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

The nanoparticles could be considered to be a human model of iron excess ?

"Iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs)"
"An increase of oxidative injury to lipids, proteins and DNA as a consequence of exposure to SPIONs was detected in cells"

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Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Well, the mexican bomber group has posted a manifesto claiming they can be transformed into nano-cyborgs, a sadly misguided notion, since Drexler's ideas require physics of a universe other than this one. Haven't heard from them since.

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Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

 The most destructive and prevalent nanoparticles are smoke. That's were we found buckyballs and nanotubes.

Avatar of: Edward R. Mikol

Edward R. Mikol

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

Most people still think it's a Robin Williams line: nano-nano.
 
But any material that has a cell wall intrusion potentiality when utilized in apparently neutral products like make-up, etc. needs to be studied seriously and reserved from mass implementation to avoid any Thalidomide type "unexpected consequences".

Avatar of: Brian Hanley

Brian Hanley

Posts: 66

February 7, 2012

What is most amusing about this whole spectacle of "nano" is that Drexler's thesis is pure science fiction. He's made a living at it, but he's either conning his public or simply delusional and uninterested in learning actual physics and chemistry. I strongly suspect that it is pretty hard for him not to have figured out by now that he made stuff up that will never happen. But, it must be hard to let go of his income by coming out and saying, "I was wrong." It's basic things that he violates with grand flourishes.

Of course he has "The Kurzweil" in his corner now from the singularity religion, and a wiki page with a critique discussion section highly slanted toward's Drexlerite's fantasy notions of physics and chemistry. Anyone with a decent background reading the actual exchange between Drexler and Smalley finds it blindingly obvious that Smalley understood what he was talking about and Drexler did a fan-dance. It is also simply a lie for the wiki page to claim Drexler that he "had trouble" getting Smalley to respond. It was quite the reverse. And Smalley, having now died, can't say anything more. But if a person is intelligent and honest they can read Smalley and see that he doesn't have to say more.

No, I'm not going to engage in a religious war on Wikipedia over it. That's a problem for Jimmy Wales to deal with. Religious pages are not accurate and it's a problem.

Yes, Feynman (like Smalley, safely dead now) gave a lecture where he proposed this as a thought experiment long ago. But that's it. That's all it was, and he didn't carry on. He let sci-fi authors write the fantasies.

All that is why nano is an investment category, and a bucket for catching whatever people want to put in it. Susanna has hit that one correctly in this article. There is nothing specifically "nano" that emerged from "nanotechnology". There are just things in process or chemistry that was named that after the fact because it was cool or it helped get funding.

The public won't see gray goo or anything like it because it's impossible. And, by the way, Drexler didn't even invent that. It was in a sci-fi story published in the 1960's. I remember it well, because I read it as a kid back then.  Wrong and not even original. All in all a rather astonishing testament to the power of hope, delusion and hype. Sincerity through delusion is catching.

Avatar of: Alexei Licea

Alexei Licea

Posts: 1

February 7, 2012

No reaction to nano? we have at least two bombs in Mexico against researchers for nano!!!

Avatar of: nathanaelneveux

nathanaelneveux

Posts: 1

February 7, 2012

I think the inherent difference here is that the public perception of biotechnology is that we really can't control the end product. Anything organic has a built in randomness to it and even more so when it has the ability to change itself through its own reproduction.

In nanotechnology there is a sense of control. Or a sense that anything bad that might happen can be traced back to someone making a mistake or not testing it enough - the same is true of technology in general. On the other hand that sense of randomness in biotechnology means that something bad could happen on its own.

I think that is where the fear difference comes from.

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

February 7, 2012

The nanoparticles could be considered to be a human model of iron excess ?

"Iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs)"
"An increase of oxidative injury to lipids, proteins and DNA as a consequence of exposure to SPIONs was detected in cells"

Avatar of: Brian Hanley

Brian Hanley

Posts: 66

February 7, 2012

Well, the mexican bomber group has posted a manifesto claiming they can be transformed into nano-cyborgs, a sadly misguided notion, since Drexler's ideas require physics of a universe other than this one. Haven't heard from them since.

Avatar of: Brian Hanley

Brian Hanley

Posts: 66

February 7, 2012

 The most destructive and prevalent nanoparticles are smoke. That's were we found buckyballs and nanotubes.

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