Thursday, January 06, 2005

Catchphrase Cop

nanoo nanooThe Brainerd (Minn.) Dispatch manages to get two nanotech cliches in one headline:

"Nano, nano
Tiny technology could be big deal

There's even a "width of a human hair" analogy in the story to complete the trilogy. I'll always have Cientifica's Tim Harper to thank for showing me how useless that comparison is, since humankind, in all its splendid diversity, does not come with one-size-fits-all strands of hair.

But what bothers me most about these local-newspaper nanotech stories (and, yes, I'm feeling especially cranky this evening) is something that does not involve humankind at all. It's that "Nano, nano" thing. Actually, not only in newspapers, but people I meet who find out that I write about nano often tug at their ears and do what they remember as the "Mork" catchphrase.

So, OK, yeah, this is a small (nano) annoyance, but I'm a child of the '70s who wasted part of his misspent youth glued in front of the TV. So, listen everybody. I'm only going to say this once. Mork, a space alien played by Robin Williams, would sign off every show (after his report to his leader, Orson) with two twists of his ears and the phrase that replaced "Dyn-o-mite!" in the TV lexicon: "Nanoo Nanoo."

Not "Nano Nano"

"Nanoo Nanoo"

Thank you berry much

Update: This critic had bigger problems with the Brainerd Dispatch piece.

    Nanotechnology (willful, unnatural recombinations of sub-atomic particles) holds the same devious "promise" as biotechnology or nuclear energy through the law of unintended consequences. "Business as usual" will eventually bury us with toxic waste and global warming as we fiddle around. More here

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