I thought, if it's not too big of an imposition, that you might be able to point me to information on this. I'm writing humor for my column, and I can't bear being scientifically incorrect. I'm thinking of suggesting (tongue in cheek) that somebody shrink themselves down to nano-size and get in with a screwdriver and start tinkering with somebody's DNA. Again, tongue in cheek, but I do want to be correct on nano -- whether it's the right size to shrink to if you were going to tinker with somebody's DNA. Hate to be one of the wrong information propagators. If you don't have the time or inclination to respond, I understand. Best, -Amy Alkon, syndicated columnist
Well, I wouldn't want to anger a goddess, so I'd better respond. I enjoy tongues in cheeks, by the way, especially with the science crowd that reads me. Wakes them up a bit.
So, in answer to your question, a DNA molecule is about 2-and-a-half nanometers wide. To be considered "nano," a technology should generally be smaller than 100 nanometers, so you're definitely in the territory of my prefix. Here's more info than you need: Most animal cells are 10,000 - 20,000 nanometers in diameter, so nanoscale devices are tiny enough to enter cells and analyze DNA and proteins. That's how you can cure cancer or do some malicious tinkering with a screwdriver.
Hope this helps, and please send me a link when it runs. My geek audience will love it.
Oh, and here's an illustration of how big nano is.
And do you mind if I run our little exchange on my blog?
Not at all. ... If you're so inclined, you can link to my blog, where I rail against religion and for science, among other things.
Thanks so much for your response. And thanks, in the face of all this irrational primitivism taking over our country, for being yet another person on the side of science and reason. Best, -Amy
Hmmm. Well, then, I'm hesitant to let you take a look at the link below. ...
Epiblog: Well, I haven't heard from rational, reasonable Amy since I sent her the NanoKabbalah link. Damn. Why, oh why do I always write inappropriate things! Anyway, here's an excerpt from Amy's column, which it turns out did not incorporate my useful nano facts (I responded too late for her deadline).
- Dear Amy: I got irritated reading your advice to "More To Love," the wife who went from size 3 to size 14. Your contention: She needed to lose weight because her husband couldn't change what he was attracted to. My view? Men are shallow because we allow them to be. If her husband is justified in not loving her for better or worse, isn't a woman equally justified when her spouse loses his Wall Street job and she claims she can't "push a button" and be attracted to a high school math teacher? I'm glad we're learning about how we're wired, but the last thing we need are all these reasons why blindly following our instincts is perfectly normal, and why any attempts at improvement are futile. Where, in your model, does rational thought come into play?
Let's Get Modern
Dear Modern: What makes more sense for "More To Love" — cutting back on Fritos and joining a gym … or shrinking herself down to nano-size, going in with a tiny screwdriver, and rewiring her husband's DNA? More here