Monday, May 03, 2004


    You may not be able to see it, but you can't avoid its buzz. Nanotechnology is fast becoming as pervasive a cultural icon as TiVo or Levitra. The wizardry of building teeny things that are measured in one-billionths of a meter has begun to figure in Hollywood movies, in bestselling novels -- even in Jay Leno's monologues. More here

    Technology gurus, and even politicians such as Newt Gingrich, are pointing to nanotechnology as a force that will change our world. But to become reality, this science of the small will require an affordable, ready source of its primary raw material, carbon. Petroleum is the obvious choice, but as its price goes up, corn-based ethanol could turn out to be the preferred source of raw materials for our nano future. More

How important is California? (The Economist, via L.A. Observed)
    Ever since an 1848 newspaper article alerted the world to nuggets of gold in a stream in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the world has marvelled at the 800-mile-long sliver of land by the Pacific, and tried to get there. The first pioneers scrambled over the Sierra Nevada, leaving stragglers behind; the newer arrivals sneak across the desert border, paying coyote gangs to smuggle them in. After the gold came farming, then oil, movies, aerospace, computer chips, the PC, biotechnology, nanotechnology, topless shoeshines, chocolate zucchini cake, the Church of Scientology and much else besides... More

    The United States has started to lose its worldwide dominance in critical areas of science and innovation, according to federal and private experts who point to strong evidence like prizes awarded to Americans and the number of papers in major professional journals. More


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