Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Now you know Jack

Small Times Correspondent Jack Mason has a well-written a nanotech story on "Nano Inc. Vs. Nano Think." Jack places the public disagreement between nanotech pioneers Eric Drexler and Richard Smalley in its larger context. "There's a long way between Drexler's dreams and Smalley's reality," Jack writes. "But the very fact that there is some friction between scientists on the ground and visionaries such as Drexler is proof that nanotechnology has made impressive strides over the past decade and a half." One of Small Times' star correspondents, Jack made up for his lack of total devotion to my publication by quoting his Small Times editor: "Real progress in the field is obvious to anyone paying attention. Howard Lovy, news editor at 'Small Times Media,' a 2-year-old magazine and Web site covering the commercialization of nanotechnology, doesn't think Smalley and Drexler are really arguing with each other, or about the particular merits of molecular manufacturing, at all. "He believes the two are really wrestling to shape public perception of, and government policy toward, nanotech. 'They're doing this in a public way, because they're aiming to set the tone for what nanotech will be,' says Lovy. He sees them jockeying for position in a coming battle, a fight that, like the one that continues to smolder around genetically modified food, will probably center on the potential environmental consequences of nanoparticles and materials." "As for the feud fueling the competing visions, Small Times' Lovy says to remember that 'Drexler is a futurist. He's interested in people looking back 50 or 100 years from now and thinking, "Boy, was he right." ' Smalley, from what Lovy knows of him, is more of a businessman." Jack again proves his innate ability to come up with the perfect catch phrase not only through the headline (which he wrote), but through his description of a man-on-the-moon national nanotech goal as a "Nanhattan Project." Discuss

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